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The Functions of War & a Perversely Shocking Development (video)

Dandelion Salad

slimjim006

The Authority of the State over its people resides in its War Powers.Therefore a threat must be present at all times in order for this to be effective.And that can’t find one then they’ll make one up.

Added: February 13, 2008

from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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Getting a Grip on Money & Politics, Part II (video; Lappe)

Dandelion Salad

FMLappe

Author Frances Moore Lappé talks with John Rauh, founder of the Just 6 Dollars, about his campaign to get public financing of all federal elections. For more on how we can take back our democracy from moneyed interests, see Frances’ new book, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad.

Added: February 13, 2008

more about “Getting a Grip on Money and Politics,…“, posted with vodpod

see
Interview with Frances Moore Lappe: Getting a Grip + The Invisible Revolution (must-see videos)

http://www.just6dollars.org/splash/

How We Missed the Story on Afghanistan (video)

Dandelion Salad

NewAmericaFoundation

In How We Missed The Story: Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the Hijacking of Afghanistan, award-winning journalist Roy Gutman weaves a narrative that exposes how and why the U.S. government, the United Nations, and the Western media “missed the story” in the leadup to 9/11.

Focusing primarily on events in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s, Gutman contends that foreign policy in the region was non-existent. He argues that instead of a comprehensive foreign policy, the U.S. government chose to conduct a counter-terror policy that inadvertently fueled the very fire it was trying to fight. Gutman is also critical of the media’s role during this period — questioning the lack of coverage of Afghanistan prior to 9/11.

Added: February 13, 2008

from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

see

The Real Cost Of Defeat In Forgettistan – Swan Song for NATO By Mike Whitney

Real ID Act a Real Intrusion On Rights, Privacy By Bob Barr

Dandelion Salad

By Bob Barr
ICH 02/12/08
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution02/06/08

The federal government for several years now has been fighting a guerrilla action with citizen groups and a number of state legislatures over imposing on the states and the citizenry this privacy-intrusive and costly mandate. With the announcement Jan. 11 of the final regulations, the debate is fully joined and pits those who support the principle of states’ rights against the legions of Big Government advocates.

Big Government advocates are personified by the current Bush administration, favoring central control of virtually every facet of activity in our society, from education to transportation and from the plumbing in our bathrooms to the bulbs in our lamps. While the Real ID debate shares some elements with its sister debate concerning voter ID, mixing the two as if two sides of the same coin dilutes the host of fundamental constitutional concerns and responsibilities affected by the Real ID Act program now being forced down the throats of the states.

Let’s leave aside for the moment the underlying federalism question — where does the federal government get the power to dictate to the states who can get a driver’s license? — to focus on civil liberties that would be undercut by the Real ID Act.

If, as proposed in the law, a person must have a Real ID Act-compliant card in order to access a federal building, access any regulated or interstate mode of transportation, or obtain any federal benefit, then we have surrendered to the federal government (that is, federal bureaucrats) the power to deny citizens all manner of activities guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Consider:

  • A person not possessing a Real ID Act-compliant identification card could not enter any federal building, or an office of his or her congressman or senator or the U.S. Capitol. This effectively denies that person their fundamental rights to assembly and to petition the government as guaranteed in the First Amendment.
  • A person seeking to exercise their right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment could henceforth be denied that ability if they do not possess a precious Real ID card, because the federal bureaucracy known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives probably will decree that such a form of identification is necessary to meet federal requirements for purchasing a firearm.
  • Very possibly the Real ID card will be required in order to vote in any election for federal office.
  • A veteran may be denied access to a VA hospital because he or she lacks the requisite Real ID card, perhaps because they did not have the money required to purchase it or because they could not locate the background forms the Department of Homeland Security required to obtain one.
  • A business traveler, unable to afford to travel by private jet, is denied the ability to make a living because their job requires air travel and they do not have a Real ID card — even though they demonstrably pose no danger whatsoever to their fellow travelers.
  • Even though individual states, such as Georgia, may provide greater legal protection for private information of its residents than other states or the federal government, this will mean nothing in the Real ID Act world, because all the data under that law will be subject to the lower federal standards, thereby subjecting residents to a higher likelihood of identity theft than they would risk under the laws of their state.
  • And, they would have no recourse to correct erroneous data, or prevent identity theft pursuant to the Real ID regulations.

On the other side of the ledger, arguing in favor of this intrusive and expensive federal mandate, are hollow promises of “security” — not freedom or liberty — but “safety,” the promise of which trumps all else in this post-9/11 world, at least for this Congress and this administration. I, for one, commend the state of Georgia and those other states that are standing against this assault on states’ rights and the Bill of Rights.

Copyright© 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Real Cost Of Defeat In Forgettistan – Swan Song for NATO By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
ICH
02/13/08

“It is our right to defend our country. We are not a threat to other countries. But we have to use our rights when our country is occupied by foreign forces.” – Mullah Omar, Taliban leader


It was supposed to be “the good war”; a war against terror; a war of liberation. It was intended to fix the eyes of the world on America’s state of the art weaponry, its crack troops and its overwhelming firepower. It was supposed to demonstrate—once and for all– that the world’s only superpower could no longer be beaten or resisted; that Washington could deploy its troops anywhere in the world and crush its adversaries at will.

Then everything went sideways. The war veered from the Pentagon’s script. The Taliban retreated, waited, regrouped and retaliated. They enlisted support from the Pashtuns and the tribal leaders who could see that America would never honor its commitments; that order would never be restored. Operation Enduring Freedom has brought neither peace nor prosperity to Afghanistan; just occupation. Seven years have passed and the country is still ruled by warlords and drug-merchants. Nothing has gotten better. The country is in shambles and the government is a fraud. The humiliation of foreign occupation persists while the killing goes on with no end in sight.

War is not foreign policy. It is slaughter. Seven years later; it’s still slaughter. The Taliban have taken over more than half of Afghanistan. They have conducted military operations in the capital of Kabul. They’re dug in at Logar, Wardak and Ghazni and control vast swathes of territory in Zabul, Helmand, Urzgan and Kandahar. Now they are getting ready to step-up operations and mount a Spring offensive. That means the hostilities will progressively intensify.

The Taliban’s approach is methodical and deliberate. They’ve shown they can survive the harshest conditions and still achieve tactical victories over a better-equipped enemy. They are highly-motivated and believe their cause is just. After all, they’re not fighting to occupy a foreign nation; they’re fighting to defend their own country. That strengthens their resolve and keeps morale high. When NATO and American troops leave Afghanistan; the Taliban will remain, just as they did when the Russians left 20 years ago. No difference. The US occupation will just be another grim footnote in the country’s tragic history.

The United States has gained nothing from its invasion of Afghanistan. US troops do not control even a square inch of Afghan soil. The moment a soldier lifts his boot-heel; that ground is returned to the native people. That won’t change either. General Dan McNeill said recently that “if proper US military counterinsurgency doctrine were followed; the US would need 400,000 troops to defeat Pashtun tribal resistance in Afghanistan.” Currently, the US and NATO have only 66,000 troops on the ground and the allies are refusing to send more. On a purely logistical level; victory is impossible.

The battle for hearts and minds has been lost, too. A statement from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) sums it up like this:

“The reinstatement of the Northern Alliance to power crushed the hopes of our people for freedom and prosperity and proved that, for the Bush administration, defeating terrorism has no meaning at all….The US doesn’t want to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and achieve their economic and strategic goals in the region….After seven years, there is no peace, human rights, democracy or reconstruction in Afghanistan. The destitution and suffering of our people is increasing everyday. …We believe that if the troops leave Afghanistan, our people will become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts…Afghanistan’s freedom can only be achieved by Afghan people themselves. Relying on one enemy to defeat another is a wrong policy which has just tightened the grip of the Northern Alliance and their masters on the neck of our nation.” (RAWA http://www.rawa.org)


Gradually, the Allies are beginning to see that Bush’s war cannot be won and that continuing the fighting is counterproductive. There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and the political objectives are getting murkier all the time. The lack of direction just adds to the growing frustration.

Recently Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tried to bully the allies into sending more combat troops to fight in the South, but he met with stiff resistance . He said:

“I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security,” Gates said. “We must not become a two-tiered alliance of those who are willing to fight and those who are not. Such a development, with all its implications for collective security, would in effect destroy the alliance.”

But public support for the war is waning in Europe. This is America’s war, not theirs. Europeans don’t need to occupy foreign nations to meet their energy needs. Their economies are thriving and they can simply pay for their fuel on the open market. Only America wants the war. It’s all part of a crazy geopolitical “grand strategy” to project US power into the region to control its resources. So far, there’s no indication that the plan will succeed.

Germany has the third biggest economy in the world. Over the last few years, they have strengthened ties with Russia and made agreements that will satisfy their long-term energy needs. But German involvement in Afghanistan has put a strain on relations with Moscow. Putin thinks that the US is using the war to put down roots in Central Asia so it can control pipeline-routes from the Caspian Basin while surrounding Russia and China with military bases. Putin is right. Naturally, he’d like to persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel to withdraw from Afghanistan which would strike a blow against the US-led alliance. And, that is the way it will probably turn out, too.

Eventually, German leaders will see that its foolish to tweak the nose of the people who provide them with energy (Russia) just to support Washington’s adventures. When Germany withdraws from Afghanistan; NATO will disband, new coalitions will form, and the transatlantic alliance fall apart. The cracks are already visible.

President Bush has said that the war in Afghanistan must continue or the country will become a haven for drugs, terrorism and organized crime. He says we are fighting a “poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism which threatens to become a global movement”.

But the Taliban and Pashtun tribesmen see it differently. They see the conflict as an imperial war of aggression which has only added to the suffering of their people. A recent report by the United Nations Human Development Fund appears to support this view. It shows that Afghanistan has fallen in every category. The average life expectancy has gone down, malnutrition has risen, literacy has dropped, and more than half the population is living below the poverty-line. Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced by the war. The occupation has created plenty of misery, but no democracy. The war was a failure.

Afghanistan now produces 90% of the world’s opium; more than any other country. The booming drug trade is the direct corollary of the US invasion. No one even denies this. Bush has created the world’s largest narco-colony. Is that success?

Presently, there are no plans to improve the lives of ordinary Afghanis or to remove the warlords. Reconstruction is at a standstill. If the US stays in Afghanistan, the situation 10 years from now will be the same as it is today, only more people will have needlessly died. Most Afghanis now understand that the promise of democracy was a lie. The only thing the occupation has brought is more grinding poverty and random violence.

There’s no back-up plan for Afghanistan. In fact, there is no plan at all. The administration thought the Taliban would see America’s high-tech, laser-guided weaponry and run for the hills. They did. Now they’re back. And now we are embroiled in an “unwinnable” war with a tenacious enemy that grows stronger and more resolute by the day.

Eventually, the Europeans will see the futility of the war and leave. And that will be the end of NATO.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Admit it: You don’t know where the !@#$% Tajikistan is by Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

by Greg Palast
February 12, 2008

Or Kyrgyzstan. Or Turkmenistan. But as your kids will be fighting there among the oil pipes, you should kiss Ted Rall’s crazy ass for going there first – and getting it all down in a book of dead-on cartoons and reportage, Silk Road to Ruin.

Rall almost didn’t make it back. The Taliban who was supposed to execute Rall spoke English – the gunman picked it up as an NYU grad student. As happens when two guys from New York get together, they talked about New York women. Rall told his executioner that you could learn a lot about women by looking at their legs. The Talib said he looks at their eyes. “Not like you got much choice,” Ted opined, noting the draped figures nearby.

Selling Out the Uyghurs, or, Why even More of them Hate Us

from Ted Rall’s Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East

A four-day ride on the westbound express train from Beijing takes you to China’s Wild West. Xinjiang Province, hundreds of miles beyond an eroded earthen mound that was once the Great Wall, lies southwest of Mongolia, east of Afghanistan and north of the Tibetan plateau. Full of dusty deserts, soaring mountains and eight million Muslims, Xinjiang is—like so many geopolitically sensitive places—the middle of nowhere but in between a lot. (Early 20th century British explorer Aurel Stein noted the region’s “desolate wilderness, bearing everywhere the impress of death.”) Today Chinese-occupied Central Asia is a case study in how American foreign policy turns pro-American Muslims into deadly enemies.

“From the pre-modern era until the mid-18th century, Xinjiang was either ruled from afar by Central Asian empires or not ruled at all,” Joshua Kurlantzick writes in Foreign Affairs. During the 1950s Mao’s Communist Party worked to consolidate its power by centralizing Chinese culture and politics in Beijing. That meant suppressing cultures and religions out of step with the majority ethnic Han Chinese, such as the Tibetans and Mongols. The jackboot came down hardest on Xinjiang, where in 1955 more than ninety percent of the population were Turkic Muslims—mostly Uyghurs along with smaller portions of such Central Asian tribes as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Tatars. The Uyghurs, whose rich pre-Muslim Buddhist culture gave their language (which can be written in Arabic and Roman script) to Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire, were viewed by China’s new government as a threat to national cohesion. They may have had a point. After all, they had revolted against precommunist China forty-two times in two hundred years.

…continued plus cartoon strip by Ted Rall

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tajikistan

larger view

see

LET THEM DRINK RAPESEED OIL by Ted Rall

Rall-Ted

Ted Rall

Key Clinton Backer Guilty in Sibel Edmonds Case by Luke Ryland

by Luke Ryland
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Luke’s blog post
February 13, 2008

The UK’s Times has already run three bombshell articles on the nuclear black market element in the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds this year, and we are expecting more fallout in the near future as new evidence and witnesses come forward.

In the meantime, another important angle to Edmonds’ case has opened up. Earlier this week, the New York Post ran a Page 6 piece, ODD FILM BY HILLARY BACKER, which highlights the close relationship between Hillary Clinton and Chicago-based Turkish businessman Mehmet Celebi.

Celebi, “one of the national leaders of the Turkish-American community in the US,” is a key fundraiser for Clinton, and is one of Clinton’s Chicago delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Celebi was also heavily involved in the controversial 2006 movie “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq” which has been widely regarded as “anti-Semitic, anti-American, conspiratorial agitprop.”

Mehmet Celebi is also a key figure in the Sibel Edmonds case – he is heavily involved in the narcotics trade in the US and the corruption and bribery of high-level US officials.

According to Celebi’s bio:

He has been serving as the President of the Turkish-American Cultural Alliance (TACA) since 2000, and as Member of the Board/Vice-President of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA), a Washington, D.C. based umbrella organization representing 57 organizations.

The Chicago-based Turkish-American Cultural Alliance (TACA) and the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) both figure prominently in Sibel Edmonds’ case. Both are reported to be front groups for criminal activity involving illegal weapons sales, narcotics trafficking, and the bribery and corruption of high level US officials.

Mehmet Celebi first came to my attention in my first interview with Sibel in January 2006. My notes from that interview read:

“Sibel mentioned the mafia nature of the Turkish business establishment – in particular she mentioned Celebi as one of the key players – apparently they are involved in an arms trading cartel, and they ship narcotics in the cargo of their planes as they zoom around.

One of the Celebi family members (Mehmet Celebi) is chairman of the Turkish American Cultural Association (TACA) in Illinois. (Sibel has often pointed to both Chicago, and also to ‘cultural exchanges’).”

TACA and the ATAA were both targets of an FBI counter-intelligence operation investigating the corruption and bribery of high-level US officials from 1997 onward, including the period when Celebi had high level positions at these organizations.

According to the 2005 investigative piece in Vanity Fair into Sibel’s case:

Vanity Fair has established that around … December 2001, Joel Robertz, an F.B.I. special agent in Chicago, contacted Sibel and asked her to review some wiretaps. Some were several years old, others more recent; all had been generated by a counter-intelligence that had its start in 1997. “It began in D.C.,” says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. “It became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on.”

Its subject was explosive; what sounded like attempts to bribe elected members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican. “There was pressure within the bureau for a special prosecutor to be appointed and take the case on,“ the official says. Instead, his colleagues were told to alter the thrust of their investigation – away from elected politicians and toward appointed officials. “This is the reason why Ashcroft reacted to Sibel in such an extreme fashion,” he says “It was to keep this from coming out.”

In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing. In all, says a source who was present, she managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associates (ATAA).

Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. To a person who knew nothing about their context, the details were confusing and it wasn’t always clear what might be significant. One name, however, apparently stood out – a man the Turkish callers often referred to by the nickname “Denny boy.” It was the Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.”

Hastert is from Chicago, of course, but he wasn’t the only congressmen who was bribed by these groups – others who were identified in Sibel’s Rogues Gallery are Roy Blunt, Tom Lantos, Dan Burton, Robert Livingston and Steven Solarz.

The Vanity Fair article identifies a number of different mechanisms for bribing these Congressmen, and the bribes appear to come from three separate, yet overlapping, groups. In an article in 2006, I attempted to categorize these groups:

The first group is a criminal element of the Military Industrial Complex, represented primarily by Richard Perle, Doug Feith and Marc Grossman among others – generally using AIPAC and the American Turkish Council as front organizations.

The second group suspected of bribing Hastert is the ‘mafia-like’ Turkish ‘Deep State‘, probably a mix of Turkish military, heroin producers and drug-runners. It is suspected that these funds are laundered through ‘lobbyists’ – originally Perle & Feith’s company International Advisors Inc, and later (and currently) through Bob Livingston’s company The Livingston Group.

The third group is a bit more hazy, but it is suspected that it is a group of Turkish heroin ‘baba’ (mafia) operating in the US, probably headquarted in Chicago. This group appears to use front organisations such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.) and the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (T.A.C.A.)

Mehmet Celebi is a key player in this third group, the Turkish heroin mafia.

Ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi has also previously linked TACA and ATAA to Sibel Edmonds case,

“The commercial interest (between has also fostered close political ties, with the American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance (TACA) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) all developing warm relationships with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.”

Given the strong connections between the Turkish and Israeli lobbies identified in Sibel’s case, it is perhaps not surprising to see members of Israeli lobbying groups stepping forward to defend Celebi in the NRO and elsewhere, although the claims made in his defense are easily debunked.

Why is Hillary Clinton involved with such a character? The claims against him are well documented, and extend back to her husband’s presidency, including steps in place to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Celebi and the bribery of Hastert’s and others. Sibel described the situation on a radio program in early 2006:

“In 1999, the Clinton Administration actually asked the Department of Justice to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Hastert, and certain other elected officials that were not named in this (VF) article, to be investigated formally. And the Department of Justice actually went about appointing this prosecutor, but after the Administration changed they quashed that investigation and they closed it despite the fact they had all sorts of evidence, again I’m talking about wiretaps, documents – paper documents – that was highly explosive and could have been easily used to indict the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. That investigation was closed in 2001, and this was around the time I started reporting my cases to the Congress.”

Has Hillary forgotten all this? Or is she too for sale to the highest bidder? We are all well aware of George Bush’s fund-raising giants, the Rangers and Pioneers, which resulted in many a scandal and prosecution including Ken Lay, Jack Abramoff and Brent Wilkes – yet here is Hillary Clinton engaging in the exact same behaviour, taking large sums of money from corrupt interests, and appointing these people to positions of political power. How can we even hope that a Clinton presidency will be an improvement over the last 8 years?

The right-wing blogs are already beginning to pick up this story of Celebi and Clinton – Debbie Schlussel, National Review Online, Gateway Pundit – focusing solely on Celebi’s involvement with the movie “Valley of the Wolves.” The Right-Wing-Noise-Machine will no doubt go into overdrive if Hillary wins the nomination to be the next president. This information needs to be made public immediately.

When asked for a comment, Sibel said:

“In 2005, Vanity Fair reported that Dennis Hastert had been bribed by Turkish interests. If people want to investigate this further they should FOIA the FBI’s Chicago Field Office for information regarding Mehmet Celebi going back to 1997. If the FBI is honest, there will be boxes and boxes of files responsive to these FOIA requests.

Hillary Clinton knows, or should know, about Mehmet Celebi’s activities. If she doesn’t, she should ask Bill Clinton or his Attorney General Janet Reno.”

The FBI’s Chicago Field Office has investigative files relating to Mehmet Celebi’s involvement in the trafficking of narcotics as well as the corruption of high-level US officials. We need to recruit some prominent ‘good government’ groups, of any political persuasion, to file a FOIA request with the FBI’s Chicago Field Office (CFO) for all information relating to Mehmet Celebi and this criminal activity. I expect that the CFO will deny and stonewall, but as we saw with the recent UK Times article, false denials can lead to other frustrated whistleblowers coming forward with documents and other evidence which can prove the case. Please contact me if you can prepare, file, and follow-up the FOIA request.

(Email me if you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: ‘Sibel email list’)

Special thanks to Sherlock at Liberty Post and Mizgin at Rasti for being on this story for months already.

see

Valerie Plame Wilson Describes Sibel Edmonds Disclosures as ‘Stunning’ by Scott Horton (audio link)

High Treason and Felonies by Ted Lang

Edmonds-Sibel