Kaveh Afrasiabi: Al-Qaeda emerges as Bulgaria bomb suspect

by Kaveh Afrasiabi (source: Asia Times)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

As the Israeli government seizes on last week’s suicide bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria as an opportunity to discredit Iran and Hezbollah, the on-going investigation in Bulgaria is increasingly pointing the finger at a different culprit – al-Qaeda.

As reported in Lebanese media, an al-Qaeda cell has taken responsibility for the suicide bombing that took the lives of five Israeli vacationers, as well as a bus driver and a suicide bomber. [1] This has been corroborated by Bulgarian media reports that focus on two individuals, an American and a former Guantanamo inmate from Sweden with ties to al-Qaeda.

Although the DNA evidence is still under investigation, on Thursday when Bulgarian media began identifying the suspected suicide bomber as Mehdi Ghezali, US officials quickly rejected this and insisted that “there was no evidence” linking him with the bomb. The same “anonymous” US officials simultaneously told the New York Times that this was a “tit-for-tat” Hezbollah job launched by Iran in revenge for Israel killing Iranian nuclear scientists.

Emboldened by the US government’s endorsement of his allegations against Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in appealing to the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations, while vowing massive retaliation for the attack.

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Kevin Carson: The Predictable “Scandal” at the FDA

Protecting Big Business From Real Accountability

by KEVIN CARSON

It’s gradually emerged in recent months that the Food and Drug Administration not only spied on its employees, but did so on a massive scale — collecting tens of thousands of employee emails to one another, as well as to journalists, members of Congress and congressional staff workers. The FDA also intercepted draft statements to the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates complaints of whistleblower harassment and reprisal. This monitoring, authorized by the agency’s chief counsel, was clearly a deliberate policy of the highest levels of FDA leadership.

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Inside the Investigation of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson

ProPublica

by Matt Isaacs, Lowell Bergman and Stephen Engelberg

July 16, 2012

A decade ago gambling magnate and leading Republican donor Sheldon Adelson looked at a desolate spit of land in Macau and imagined a glittering strip of casinos, hotels and malls.

Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau’s hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.

Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.

The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.

Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.

Internal email and company documents, disclosed here for the first time, show that Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands.

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Stephen Gowans: Syria’s Uprising in Context

By Stephen Gowans

Since the beginning of the unrest in Syria, “the government has said that while some protesters have legitimate grievances, the uprising is driven by militant Islamists with foreign backing.” [1] This hardly squares with the view of Western state officials and media commentators who say that an authoritarian regime is killing its people and violently suppressing a largely peaceful movement for democracy.

Who’s right?

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Eric Schmitt: C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition

By ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times, 21 June 2012

WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

[…]

By helping to vet rebel groups, American intelligence operatives in Turkey hope to learn more about a growing, changing opposition network inside of Syria and to establish new ties. “C.I.A. officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people,” said one Arab intelligence official who is briefed regularly by American counterparts.

American officials and retired C.I.A. officials said the administration was also weighing additional assistance to rebels, like providing satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements. The administration is also considering whether to help the opposition set up a rudimentary intelligence service. But no decisions have been made on those measures or even more aggressive steps, like sending C.I.A. officers into Syria itself, they said.

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