June 5, 2015 - The Constantine Report    
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
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

ALEC Responds to Atlanta TV Station's Investigative Report

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

 After our 11Alive Investigators report, the organization that put the corporations and lawmakers together at a Savannah resort is responding.

WXIA

ATLANTA (WXIA) — The 11Alive Investigators caught legislators and lobbyists meeting behind closed doors in an investigation that has been seen by millions nationwide.

Now, the organization that put the corporations and lawmakers together at a Savannah resort is responding.

They’re the back rooms where laws are born. The Investigators traced a Georgia asbestos law to its origins inside a Las Vegas casino hotel.

Last month’s meeting was at a Savannah resort, where the American Legislative Exchange Council — or ALEC – had us kicked out when we tried to get into the “back room” where Georgia lawmakers and corporations were creating legislation.

American-Legislative-Exchange-Council-cartoon“You need to be credentialed at registration,” an ALEC spokesperson said when 11Alive’s Brendan Keefe tried to enter the meeting room.

“We are credentialed,” Keefe said.

“Nope, you’re not credentialed,” she said.

“We are Georgia media,” Keefe said, showing her his state credentials.

“Please step over here,” the woman said, stepping away from the doorway. “Please step over here.”

“But,” Keefe said. “We’re…”

“You’re not allowed,” the spokeswoman said.

“But there’s Georgia legislators here,” Keefe said.

We were wearing Georgia State Capitol credentials – but those were not good enough to observe Georgia state legislators discussing potential laws in Georgia.

Bill Meierling, ALEC’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, then spoke with Keefe.

“Can we do an interview with you?” Keefe asked.

“Actually, no,” Meierling said.

“Why not?” Keefe asked.

“If you’d please turn the camera off,” Meierling said.

“No, we can’t turn the camera off,” Keefe said. “That’s one thing we don’t do.”

“Okay,” Meierling said, motioning to four deputies nearby. “Well, then I’d like to have you escorted out of the building, please.”

“Okay, I’m a guest of this hotel,” Keefe said. “I’m actually staying here at this hotel.”

“You are staying at this hotel?” Meierling asked.

“So here’s the question,” Keefe said. “If Georgia legislators are meeting here; we’re credentialed, right here to see Georgia legislators making laws. Are they discussing things that could become law here?”

“Georgia legislators are here participating in discussions where they’re learning from legislators from other states,” Meierling said.

“So why can’t the people who elected them see the process?” Keefe asked.

“This is a private meeting,” Meierling said.

“A private meeting, paid for by whom?” Keefe asked.

“By our members and donors,” Meierling said.

Keefe said, “…are lobbyists, correct?”

“No,” Meierling said.

“They’re not lobbyists – the ones that we recorded in the bar last night aren’t lobbyists that are here as members?” Keefe asked.

In the conversation in question, lobbyists could be seen talking about their affiliation with ALEC in the hotel’s bar.

Keefe: Do you have to pay your way?

State Rep: Well on a trip like this, (he turned to the lobbyist seated next to him) – and this is where you would come in ma’am — on a trip like this, I’m the state, (bleep) state chair of ALEC, and I look for financial supporters.

Keefe: Right?

State Rep: Lobbyists and the like (turning to lobbyist once again) such as yourself to send us a couple thousand bucks every so often that gives me money to help those folks with. Now, on the other hand —

Lobbyist: And we pay more to be here, so it helps support them.

Meierling clasped his hands, closed his eyes and let out a sigh.

The “back room” was inside a resort hotel in Savannah, guarded by uniformed sheriff’s deputies we saw taking their orders from ALEC staffers – which included kicking us out.

“I’m going to have ask you to leave,” a deputy said.

“Alright,” Keefe said. “I’m a guest of the hotel, sir.”

“Not for long,” the deputy replied. “Not for long.”

“I’m a paying guest of this hotel, sir,” Keefe said.

“We’ll take care of that,” the deputy said.

“Did we violate some law or something?” Keefe asked. “I mean, are we violating a law?”

“Don’t say nothing,” the deputy said to a second deputy who had come over to assist with throwing us out.

ALEC responded on its website, saying the 11Alive report “exhibited a fundamental misunderstanding of ALEC… ALEC is a forum for the exchange of ideas and free-market policies by a diverse array of members including legislators, business and thought leaders, think-tank scholars and individuals.”

You can view the entire ALEC statement at the bottom of this page.

We asked an ALEC state chair from New England if we could join.

“Is it an organization that Joe Public can join? Or do you have to be a lobbyist or legislator?” Keefe asked.

“Yeah,” the representative said. “The only way would join is to be a…”

“I see,” Keefe said. “Now, I’ve gotta run for office!”

“Well, or be a lobbyist,” the rep said.

The ALEC spokesperson in the video said we caught him off guard, and then referred to his media policy, which allows the organization to hand-pick which reporters are allowed in. It requires written permission to rebroadcast legislative meetings like the one we walked into.

He also touted the organization’s transparency efforts.

So we asked ALEC for permission to show you the video from inside that committee room.

We are still waiting for an answer to that request.

As for the deputies that kicked us out of the hotel? They were Chatham County Sheriff’s deputies, but it is not clear what law they were actually enforcing. The Chatham County Attorney is reviewing our open records request for invoices and other documents which will let us know who was actually calling the shots on that day at the hotel.

ALEC statement on NBC Atlanta (WXIA-TV)

For several years, ALEC has welcomed journalists from prominent outlets to ALEC workshops and plenary sessions. In December 2014, 34 journalists were credentialed to attend the Washington, D.C. meeting. The ALEC media policy clearly states which meetings are open.

Unfortunately, the recent piece on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) broadcast by NBC Atlanta (WXIA-TV) sensationalizes and misrepresents ALEC member engagement and policy discussions. ALEC is a forum for the exchange of ideas and free-market policies by a diverse array of members including legislators, business and thought leaders, think tank scholars and individuals.

11 Alive Atlanta takes issue with the format of policy discussions as well as ALEC travel reimbursement and media policies, all of which are clearly posted at ALEC.org. The report exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of ALEC.

All ALEC policy discussions are abstract, educational in nature and use examples from existing state policy as the basis for academic discussion and professional development. All drafts are posted at ALEC.org, as are those models approved by the Board of Directors, comprised solely of state legislators. This was not made clear in the 11 Alive piece.

Unlike other state legislative organizations, ALEC is not taxpayer funded. Travel reimbursement for continuing education is a universally accepted practice and conforms to regulations set forth by the IRS and state ethics commissions. ALEC reimbursement guidelines are posted at ALEC.org.

ALEC members look forward to future meetings where they will exchange ideas as they have for 42 years. Policy formulation is a collaborative process whereby all stakeholders impacted by a given issue should be engaged. There is no greater demonstration of American democracy than the gathering of people to discuss and exchange ideas.

In 2012, a journalist visited Vladimir Katriuk at his farm about 40 miles outside Montreal. At one point during the encounter, Katriuk, who was in his 90s, grabbed part of a beehive and started talking about a queen bee.

“You see?” he told the Canadian Press reporter. “Here they have started to make the royal cell.”

The reporter hadn’t asked about the hive, though. His question was about a list from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had named the Ukrainian-born beekeeper — who died this month — as one of the world’s most wanted suspected Nazi war criminals.

The Canadian Press noted that the Jewish human-rights organization named for a famous Nazi hunter had ranked Katriuk fourth on its list, “after a new study alleged he was a key participant in a village massacre during World War II.”

The reporter trekked to Ormstown, Quebec, and confronted Katriuk, who “repeatedly refused to discuss anything about himself — other than his passion: the honey bees.”

“I have nothing to say,” Katriuk said. “When we talk about bees, that’s different. When we talk about my own affairs, that’s something else. I’m sorry.”

This week, with Katriuk now up to No. 2 on the Wiesenthal Center’s list for the “murder of Jews and non-Jews in various locations,” the Associated Press reported that he had died in Canada at age 93.

Katriuk’s attorney said the death occurred earlier this month. “It was a stroke or something do with a stroke,” the lawyer, Orest Rudzik, told the Canadian Press.

[The moral guilt of Oskar Groening, the ‘Accountant of Auschwitz’]

Katriuk, who moved to Canada in the 1950s, was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS, the elite Nazi storm troops, between 1942 and 1944, according to the AP, citing war reports.

And he was accused of taking part in a brutal massacre during World War II, the horrifying details of which were included in a 2012 Holocaust and Genocide Studies report.

Nazi troops annihilated the village of Khatyn in Belorussia — now known as Belarus —  on March 22, 1943, killing nearly 150 people, most of them children and women, and burning down their houses.

“Its residents were herded into a barn and burned alive,” reads the report, authored by Lund University historian Per Anders Rudling.

“One witness stated that Volodymyr Katriuk was a particularly active participant in the atrocity,” Rudling’s paper says. “He reportedly lay behind the stationary machine gun, firing rounds on anyone attempting to escape the flames.”

One of the few survivors of the massacre was a young boy, Viktor Andreevich Zhelobkovich, who, Rudling wrote, recalled years later that a “punitive squad” ordered his family into the street and brought them, along with other families, into a barn just outside their village.

“I could see between the planks of the barn wall how they piled up hay against the wall, which they then set on fire. When the burning roof caved in the people and and people’s clothes caught on fire, everybody threw themselves against the door, which broke open. The punitive squad stood around the barn and opened fire on the people, who were running in all directions.”

Zhelobkovich said he and his mother “made it five or six meters from the doors of the barn,” where his mother died.

“The barn burned down, burned corpses lay all around,” Zhelobkovich said. “Someone moaned: ‘drink…’ I ran, brought water, but to no avail, in front of my eyes the Khatyn villagers died one after another. Terrible, painful deaths.”

[Criticized by fellow survivors, Auschwitz victim defends hugging Nazi guard]

By the 1950s, according to the Canadian Press, Katriuk was living in Canada, where he became a beekeeper. In 1999, the Federal Court in Canada found that he falsely represented himself and concealed facts to obtain citizenship in the country. Years later, however, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet didn’t strip his citizenship.

Earlier this month, Russian authorities asked for Katriuk’s extradition to Moscow so he could be tried for alleged war crimes, according to the Globe and Mail. “Harper’s Conservative government ignored the request, saying it will never recognize Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its interference in Ukraine.” the AP reported.

Just hours before Katriuk’s death was announced, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto called on the Canadian government “to review this case and take the necessary steps to ensure that, if guilty, Katriuk be held accountable for war crimes committed in collaboration with the Nazi regime.”

The case, the Globe and Mail noted, “has upset Jewish Canadians and war-criminal hunters for years.”

The newspaper noted that in 2012, Mark Adler, a conservative member of Canada’s House of Commons, “suggested via Twitter that Mr. Katriuk needed to leave.”

“Vladimir Katriuk hid his past as a Nazi collaborator,” Adler tweeted. “We must never forget. Collaborators’ lives shouldn’t end on a soft Canadian pillow.”

As news of Katriuk’s death spread, Russian officials criticized Canada for allowing him to remain in the country.

“Sadly, the Canadian government ignored numerous appeals by Canadian Jewish organizations and efforts by the Russian authorities to ensure that justice be served, allowing Vladimir Katriuk to retain citizenship of Canada while peacefully residing in this country,” press secretary Kirill Kalinin for the Russian Embassy in Ottawa said in an e-mail sent to the Canadian Press. “Employing legal or politically motivated loopholes to evade from trying or extraditing Nazi war criminals is totally unacceptable.”

[How Alois Brunner, the world’s most wanted Nazi, evaded justice for more than 60 years]

“Of course, Katriuk’s death ends the case,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, told the New York Times. “Because Russia asked for his extradition, finally there was a country that was willing to bring him to justice, but that didn’t happen because of contemporary politics.”

Zuroff told the Times that Katriuk’s prosecution was made difficult by the lateness of Rudling’s revelations. “The most damning evidence against him was discovered relatively recently,” Zuroff said of Katriuk.

The Times noted that Rudling’s article was “derived from Soviet interrogation files that were declassified only in 2008 and were unavailable during earlier proceedings against Mr. Katriuk in Canada.”

In 2012, shortly after the publication of Rudling’s research, Zuroff told the Canadian Press that a lack of political will is often the biggest obstacle in bringing suspected Nazis to justice.

“What’s the chance of a 90-year-old Nazi war criminal committing murder again? Zero,” he said at the time. “All they have to do is wait it out. People are going to die soon anyway and they’ll spare themselves the expense, the embarrassment and the problems — logistically or whatever — of prosecuting one of their own (citizens).”