December 12, 2010 - The Constantine Report    
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

Vatican Bank Mired in Money Laundering

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

Associated Press | Dec 11, 2010

This is no ordinary bank: The ATMs are in Latin. Priests use a private entrance. A life-size portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall. Nevertheless, the Institute for Religious Works is a bank, and it’s under harsh new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize euro23 million ($30 million) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.

 The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital.” 

The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia. 

 The documents pinpoint two transactions that have not been reported: one in 2009 involving the use of a false name, and another in 2010 in which the Vatican Bank withdrew euro650,000 ($860 million) from an Italian bank account but ignored bank requests to disclose where the money was headed.  

The new allegations of financial impropriety could not come at a worse time for the Vatican, already hit by revelations that it sheltered pedophile priests. The corruption probe has given new hope to Holocaust survivors who tried unsuccessfully to sue in the United States, alleging that Nazi loot was stored in the Vatican Bank. 

Yet the scandal is hardly the first for the centuries-old bank. In 1986, a Vatican financial adviser died after drinking cyanide-laced coffee in prison. Another was found dangling from a rope under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982, his pockets stuffed with money and stones. The incidents blackened the bank’s reputation, raised suspicions of ties with the Mafia, and cost the Vatican hundreds of millions of dollars in legal clashes with Italian authorities. 

On Sept. 21, financial police seized assets from a Vatican Bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano SpA. Investigators said the Vatican had failed to furnish information on the origin or destination of the funds as required by Italian law. 

The bulk of the money, euro20 million ($26 million), was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino. 

Prosecutors alleged the Vatican ignored regulations that foreign banks must communicate to Italian financial authorities where their money has come from. All banks have declined to comment. 

In another case, financial police in Sicily said in late October that they uncovered money laundering involving the use of a Vatican Bank account by a priest in Rome whose uncle was convicted of Mafia association

Authorities say some euro250,000 euros, illegally obtained from the regional government of Sicily for a fish breeding company, was sent to the priest by his father as a “charitable donation,” then sent back to Sicily from a Vatican Bank account using a series of home banking operations to make it difficult to trace. 

The prosecutors’ office stated in court papers last month that while the bank has expressed a “generic and stated will” to conform to international standards, “there is no sign that the institutions of the Catholic church are moving in that direction.” It said its investigation had found “exactly the opposite.” 

Legal waters are murky because of the Vatican’s special status as an independent state within Italy. This time, Italian investigators were able to move against the Vatican Bank because the Bank of Italy classifies it as a foreign financial institution operating in Italy. However, in one of the 1980s scandals, prosecutors could not arrest then-bank head Paul Marcinkus, an American archbishop, because Italy’s highest court ruled he had immunity. 

Marcinkus, who died in 2006 and always proclaimed his innocence, was the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s character Archbishop Gilday in “Godfather III.” 

The Vatican has pledged to comply with EU financial standards and create a watchdog authority. Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of “Vatican SpA,” a 2009 book outlining the bank’s shady dealings, said it’s possible the Vatican is serious about coming clean, but he isn’t optimistic. 

“I don’t trust them,” he said. “After the previous big scandals, they said ‘we’ll change’ and they didn’t. It’s happened too many times.” 

He said the structure and culture of the institution is such that powerful account-holders can exert pressure on management, and some managers are simply resistant to change. 

The list of account-holders is secret, though bank officials say there are some 40,000-45,000 among religious congregations, clergy, Vatican officials and lay people with Vatican connections. 

The bank chairman is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, also chairman of Banco Santander’s Italian operations, who was brought in last year to bring the Vatican Bank in line with Italian and international regulations. Gotti Tedeschi has been on a very public speaking tour extolling the benefits of a morality-based financial system. 

“He went to sell the new image… not knowing that inside, the same things were still happening,” Nuzzi said. “They continued to do these transfers without the names, not necessarily in bad faith, but out of habit.” 

It doesn’t help that Gotti Tedeschi himself and the bank’s No. 2 official, Paolo Cipriani, are under investigation for alleged violations of money-laundering laws. They were both questioned by Rome prosecutors on Sept. 30, although no charges have been filed. 

In his testimony, Gotti Tedeschi said he knew next to nothing about the bank’s day-to-day operations, noting that he had been on the job less than a year and only works at the bank two full days a week. 

According to the prosecutors’ interrogation transcripts obtained by AP, Gotti Tedeschi deflected most questions about the suspect transactions to Cipriani. Cipriani in turn said that when the Holy See transferred money without identifying the sender, it was the Vatican’s own money, not a client’s. 

Gotti Tedeschi declined a request for an interview but said by e-mail that he questioned the motivations of prosecutors. In a speech in October, he described a wider plot against the church, decrying “personal attacks on the pope, the facts linked to pedophilia (that) still continue now with the issues that have seen myself involved.” 

As the Vatican proclaims its innocence, the courts are holding firm. An Italian court has rejected a Vatican appeal to lift the order to seize assets. 

The Vatican Bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage assets destined for religious or charitable works. The bank, located in the tower of Niccolo V, is not open to the public, but people who use it described the layout to the AP. 

Top prelates have a special entrance manned by security guards. There are about 100 staffers, 10 bank windows, a basement vault for safe deposit boxes, and ATMs that open in Latin but can be accessed in modern languages. In another concession to modern times, the bank recently began issuing credit cards. 

In the scandals two decades ago, Sicilian financier Michele Sindona was appointed by the pope to manage the Vatican’s foreign investments. He also brought in Roberto Calvi, a Catholic banker in northern Italy. 

Sindona’s banking empire collapsed in the mid-1970s and his links to the mob were exposed, sending him to prison and his eventual death from poisoned coffee. Calvi then inherited his role. 

Calvi headed the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982 after the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans made to dummy companies in Latin America. The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans. 

Calvi was found a short time later hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge, his pockets loaded with 11 pounds of bricks and $11,700 in various currencies. After an initial ruling of suicide, murder charges were filed against five people, including a major Mafia figure, but all were acquitted after trial. 

While denying wrongdoing, the Vatican Bank paid $250 million to Ambrosiano’s creditors. 

Both the Calvi and Sindona cases remain unsolved. 

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/vatican-bank-mired-in-money-laundering-scandal/723421/0

” … If prosecutors get their way, the four could become the first white-collar defendants sent to jail under the 1975 ‘Park Doctrine,’ which holds them responsible as corporate officers whether they intended to break the law or not. In court papers, prosecutors argue that the four [corporate officers] acted knowingly, especially after a Synthes medical consultant warned early on that the tests amounted to ‘human experimentation.’ … “

Pa. company admits crimes in unapproved test of bone cement on patients, faces $23M fine

By MARYCLAIRE DALE

(AP – 11-30-10) A medical device company near Philadelphia pleaded guilty to dozens of crimes Tuesday for conducting unauthorized tests of its bone cement on about 200 spinal surgery patients, three of whom died on the operating table.

Synthes Inc. and its subsidiary, Norian Corp., performed the tests from 2002 to 2004.

The product was approved for use in the arm, but not in the weight-bearing spine. Synthes, though, had trained surgeons to use it “off-label” so the company could gather data to support its expanded use. Doctors are allowed to use drugs and medical products for “off-label” uses, but companies cannot promote them that way.

Synthes executives put profits over patient safety as they bypassed the long, expensive process of getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the clinical trial, the 2009 indictment charged.

Norian pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single felony, conspiring to impede FDA functions, along with 110 misdemeanor counts of shipping a mislabeled product. Synthes pleaded guilty to the shipping misdemeanor.

The West Chester-based companies will also pay the maximum $23 million in fines.

“Often times, those who defend off-label use are talking about desperate measures for the terminally ill,” Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said recently about the case. “Using a glue or a stent or (other devices) on an elderly person for a nonapproved purpose is not trying to rescue someone, it’s experimenting on them.”

Four former Synthes executives have also pleaded guilty or no contest to a related misdemeanor in the case.

If prosecutors get their way, the four could become the first white-collar defendants sent to jail under the 1975 “Park Doctrine,” which holds them responsible as corporate officers whether they intended to break the law or not.

In court papers, prosecutors argue that the four acted knowingly, especially after a Synthes medical consultant warned early on that the tests amounted to “human experimentation.”

Defense lawyers deny their clients had any specific intent to defraud the FDA. The defendants are: former Synthes North America President Michael D. Huggins, 51, of West Chester; former senior vice president Thomas B. Higgins, 52, of Berwyn; vice president Richard E. Bohner, 55, of Malvern; and director of regulatory and clinical affairs John J. Walsh, 46, of Coatesville. Their lawyers have declined to comment before the sentencings, which are not yet scheduled.

According to the June 2009 indictment, the company’s pilot studies showed the bone cement could cause blood clots in humans, while pig research suggested such clots could move to the lungs.

The patients who died suffered severe hypotension, or low blood pressure, following injections of Norian bone cement, authorities said. None of the surgeons could rule out the product as a factor in the deaths, an FDA investigator has said.

However, nor was it ever ruled the cause of death.

The $23 million in fines pales in comparison to the $2.3 billion imposed last year on Pfizer over its promotion of several drugs, or the $1.4 billion paid by Eli Lilly for off-label marketing of the anti-psychotic Zyprexa.

But the Synthes case is being closely watched because of the government’s push for prison time. The four men pleaded guilty or no contest last year to a catch-all “responsible corporate officer” misdemeanor, which has already cost each his job, perhaps his career and a $100,000 fine.

“It’s very unusual (to seek jail time), and it’s one of the things that I’ve been pushing for a long time,” said Dr. Jerome Kassirer, who teaches medical ethics at Tufts University Medical School near Boston. “The problem with all of this off-label marketing is that the companies view these settlements of $300 million, $400 million, even … $1 billion, as almost spare change.”

The Justice Department in recent years has collected billions from off-label marketing cases, many of them filed in Philadelphia, a hub for both pharmaceutical companies and the department’s health care fraud efforts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease, chief of the health care fraud unit, declined comment until the executives are sentenced.

As part of the corporate plea agreement approved Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis, Norian will be sold to an outside buyer.

Synthes’ defense lawyer, Donald J. Goldberg, declined to comment on the company’s behalf. Norian lawyer James T. Smith did not immediately return a call for comment.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=12275314&page=3

Report: Hitler’s Shadow – Nazi War Criminals, US intelligence, and the Cold War

A report reveals fresh details on how US intelligence officers protected a number of Nazi war criminals after World War II. Facing the Cold War, the US became less interested in punishing Nazi criminals as early as 1946.

By Andreas Illmer
Deutsche Welle | December 12, 2010

Some Nazi war criminals escaped the Nuremberg Trials

Newly declassified material from the CIA and the US military confirm that after World War II Allied intelligence officers protected former Nazis and war criminals if they proved useful and cooperative.

“Undoubtedly, the onset of the Cold War gave American intelligence organizations new functions, new priorities, and new foes. Settling scores with Germans or German collaborators seemed less pressing; in some cases, it even appeared counterproductive,” said the report, which was published Friday by the US National Archives.

“Despite variations, these specific cases do show a pattern: the issue of capturing and punishing war criminals became less important over time.”

The report, titled Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence and the Cold War,  draws on information classified until 2005 and made available under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, an effort by Washington to shed more a critical light on its own secrets.

The report looks into a number of former SS and Gestapo members who escaped justice with the US either knowingly tolerating their escape or even helping them to flee.

Auschwitz aide protected from extradition

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  When the war was over, the Cold War created new priorities and new foes

Rudolf Mildner, for instance, was initially arrested in an operation searching for Nazis might lead an underground Nazi resistance.

US authorities knew Mildner had long been a Gestapo member but never pressed him for details on the Gestapo’s crimes against Jews or any other groups. Held and questioned in Vienna, US officials found him to be “very reliable and cooperative.”

A closer look into his past, however, revealed that he had ordered the execution of between 500 and 600 Poles at the Auschwitz death camp. Confronted with the accusations, Mildner confessed and is quoted in the report as having tried to rationalize his actions claiming that “to preserve order and prevent sabotage, the Germans in Poland and Silesia had to do that too.”

Later, countries including Britain and Poland requested Mildner’s extradition. But according to the report, “tracking and punishing war criminals were not high among the Army’s priorities in late 1946.”

US authorities are believed to have protected him from extradition and even facilitated his escape later to South America, which became a haven for many former Nazi war criminals fleeing from justice.

Hitler’s plans for post-war Palestine

The newly declassified material also sheds light on Nazi Germany’s plans in the Middle East, where the Nazi leadership established close ties with the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Husseini always denied his close ties with Nazi Germany

Husseini received substantial financial and logistical support from Nazi Germany with an eye on using him to control Palestine once Germany would have defeated Britain in the Middle East. Husseini and Berlin where united mostly by regarding Jews as their common enemy.

The newly declassified CIA and Army files establish that the Allies knew enough about Husseini’s wartime activities to consider him a war criminal. Fearing prosecution, he fled to Switzerland, where the country’s authorities handed him over the French.

The British government was against Husseini being put on trial as it feared political unrest in Palestine. He went on to live in Syria and Lebanon and always rejected allegations of having had ties with Nazi Germany. He claimed he visited Berlin only to avoid arrest by the British.

Ex-Nazis employed by Western spy agencies

Earlier this year, Germany declassified material from former East German Stasi files that detailed how the West German intelligence service drew on having former Nazis and war criminals in its rank and file. The new post-war West German secret service was set up with the help of the Allies.

Klaus Barbie

As the Soviet bloc was the West’s common enemy after 1945, several historians have said Allied authorities widely accepted that former Nazis could escape justice if their skills proved useful on the new fronts of the Cold War.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6321004,00.html

New Island, €18.99, Paperback

Irish Independent | December 11 2010

Mad, bad and dangerous to know? Perhaps Jim O’Donovan was all three. Perhaps he is best understood as a disturbed product of his disturbed times, but there is no doubt he was disturbed.

O’Donovan led a life that was undercover and remarkable.

As a young chemistry student at UCD he became the IRA’s top explosives man during the War Of Independence.

During the Civil War he was jailed as an enemy of the State, bragging that he’d bettered Jesus Christ by hunger-striking for 41 days. He finally settled into a job with the ESB, but kept his cherished one with the IRA. In that capacity he became the terrorist group’s chief link to Hitler’s henchmen in Nazi Germany.

Stirred by the 1916 Rising, the 21-year-old chemistry student worked late in the UCD labs concocting, as he later recalled, “poison gas, tear gas and things like that. . . During one of these experiments (the mixture) blew up and I got the liquid gas on my face. I thought I was blinded but fortunately after 15 or 20 minutes I found I could open my eyes.”

According to David O’Donoghue’s new account of the life of the IRA’s chief weapons expert, entitled The Devil’s Deal, the staff and students of UCD were fully aware of his extra-curricular activities, but were happy to turn a blind eye. The Satanic pact of the title refers to his love affair with the Nazis and in particular his key role in the bombing campaign of Britain in 1939-1940. In advance of the war he made visits to Berlin and Hamburg to cosy up to the masters of the Third Reich.

Jim O’Donovan in Dublin, 1941

It’s thought that one of O’Donovan’s chief Nazi contacts in Ireland was Adolf Mahr, who was director of the National Museum in the 1930s. Mahr had a busy time in Dublin, recruiting 23 of his fellow Irish-based Germans to the party.

An intriguing photo from that decade of the Local Group Leader of Ireland’s Nazis shows him presiding at a football friendly between Bohemians FC and a German selection where the Irish crowd raised their arms in a Nazi salute.

With O’Donovan one of those at its helm, the IRA declared itself the rightful government of the Irish Republic. It issued Britain with an ultimatum in January 1939 demanding a complete withdrawal from the island of Ireland and from Irish affairs. Three days later, and nine months before World War Two ignited Europe, a proclamation was posted on Ireland’s walls declaring war on Britain.

A document known as the S-Plan or Sabotage Plan set out precise tactics aimed at paralysing Britain by destroying civic, military and industrial targets. Direct military action against troops and armament factories were only to be carried out if there was a chance they wouldn’t become suicide missions. Public utilities including railways, water supplies and gasworks were targeted. Businesses and industrial plants were on the hit list, as were the big newspapers, which were unfriendly to the recently independent Free State.

One day after the IRA’s declaration of war, five bombs probably engineered by O’Donovan exploded. Three targeted power stations, causing little damage, but the attack brought strife to the market towns of Coleshill and Alnwick. The following day there were more explosions.

Police were assigned to gas works, power stations and telephone exchanges, while security was stepped up at the BBC. All ships from Ireland were given a thorough search.

Fourteen Irishmen in Manchester and London were arrested. The Irish Government rushed through two Acts arming itself with draconian powers against the IRA. The IRA released a statement saying that it intended there would be no killing.

There was killing though, and Jim O’Donovan was at the heart of it. A bomb planted in the left-luggage area of King’s Cross Railway Station severely injured three people, one of them fatally. Five were badly wounded the same day in an explosion at Victoria Station.

The most notorious outrage of the campaign took place in Coventry, where a bomb went off in a crowded shopping district, killing five and wounding over 50. Two Irishmen found guilty of the Coventry bombing were speedily hanged. By February 1940 the number of Irish deported under new legislation was 119.

The “demolition” campaign dreamed up by Jim O’Donovan and others had fizzled out by the spring of 1940. By then a large number of IRA suspects were detained in Irish and British jails and internment camps, including O’Donovan himself. He spent two years in captivity before his release in 1943.

Remarkably he walked straight back into his job with the ESB, despite the fact that the gardai had proof of his IRA membership and his Nazi links.

It was a time in the early life of the country when you could (just about) get away with either.

If the first half of Jim O’Donovan’s life reads like a true-life adventure story, the second half was one of disappointment and dullness. He died of kidney failure in 1979, a retired civil servant, having long abandoned his involvement with the physical force movement.

He went to his grave frustrated that his struggle for a united Ireland had failed.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/review-the-devils-deal-the-ira-and-nazi-germany-by-david-odonoghue-2456940.html