Monthly Archives: January 2008

States In Fight With Feds Over Federal ID Card Plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Residents of at least 17 states are suddenly stuck in the middle of a fight between the Bush administration and state governments over post-September 11 security rules for driver’s licenses — a dispute that, by May, could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes or enter federal buildings.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who unveiled final details of the REAL ID Act’s rules on Friday, said that if states want their licenses to remain valid for air travel after May 2008, those states must seek a waiver indicating they want more time to comply with the legislation.

Chertoff said that in instances where a particular state doesn’t seek a waiver, its residents will have to use a passport or a newly created federal passport card if they want to avoid a vigorous secondary screening at airport security.

“The last thing I want to do is punish citizens of a state who would love to have a REAL ID license but can’t get one,” Chertoff said. “But in the end, the rule is the rule as passed by Congress.”

Chertoff spoke as he discussed the details of the administration’s plan to improve security for driver’s licenses in all 50 states — an effort delayed due to opposition from states worried about the cost and civil libertarians upset about what they believe are invasions of privacy.

Under the rules announced Friday, Americans born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to get more secure driver’s licenses in the next six years.

The Homeland Security Department has spent years crafting the final regulations for the REAL ID Act, a law designed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants and con artists to get government-issued identification. The effort once envisioned to take effect in 2008 has been pushed back in the hopes of winning over skeptical state officials.

To address some of those concerns, the government now plans to phase in a secure ID initiative that Congress approved in 2005. Now, DHS plans a key deadline in 2011 — when federal authorities hope all states will be in compliance — and then further measures to be enacted three years later.

To make the plan more appealing to cost-conscious states, federal authorities drastically reduced the expected cost from $14.6 billion to $3.9 billion, a 73 percent decline, said Homeland Security officials familiar with the plan.

The American Civil Liberties Union has fiercely objected to the effort, particularly the sharing of personal data among government agencies. The DHS and other officials say the only way to ensure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government data; critics such as the ACLU say that creates a system that is more likely to be infiltrated and have its personal data pilfered.

In its written objection to the law, the ACLU claims REAL ID amounts to the “first-ever national identity card system,” which “would irreparably damage the fabric of American life.”

The September 11 attacks were the main motivation for the changes.

The hijacker-pilot who flew into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had four driver’s licenses and ID cards from three states. The DHS, created in response to the attacks, has created a slogan for REAL ID: “One driver, one license.”

By 2014, anyone seeking to board an airplane or enter a federal building would have to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, with the notable exception of those more than 50 years old, Homeland Security officials said.

The over-50 exemption was created to give states more time to get everyone new licenses, and officials say the risk of someone in that age group being a terrorist, illegal immigrant or con artist is much less. By 2017, even those over 50 must have a REAL ID-compliant card to board a plane.

So far, 17 states have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to the REAL ID Act’s provisions, many due to concerns it will cost them too much to comply. The 17, according to the ACLU, are: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state.

Among other details of the REAL ID plan:

  • The traditional driver’s license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of the end so that if someone is rejected for failure to prove identity and citizenship, the applicant’s photo would be kept on file and checked if that person tried to con the system again.
  • The cards will have three layers of security measures but will not contain microchips as some had expected. States will be able to choose from a menu which security measures they will put in their cards.
  • Over the next year, the government expects all states to begin checking both the Social Security numbers and immigration status of license applicants.

    Most states already check Social Security numbers and about half check immigration status. Some, like New York, Virginia, North Carolina and California, have already implemented many of the security measures envisioned in REAL ID. In California, for example, officials expect the only major change to adopt the first phase would be to take the photograph at the beginning of the application process instead of the end.

    After the Social Security and immigration status checks become nationwide practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks, including state DMV offices checking with the State Department to verify those applicants who use passports to get a driver’s license, verifying birth certificates and checking with other states to ensure an applicant doesn’t have more than one license.

    A few states have already signed written agreements indicating they plan to comply with REAL ID. Seventeen others, though, have passed legislation or resolutions objecting to it, often because of concerns about the cost of the extra security.

    Big Brother To Control Thermostats In Homes?

    By Chelsea Schilling
    © 2008 WorldNetDaily.com

    Add thermostats to the list of private property the government would like to regulate as the state of California looks to require that residents install remotely monitored temperature controls in their homes next year.

    The government is seeking to limit rolling blackouts and free up electric and natural gas resources by mandating that every new heating and cooling system include a “non-removable” FM receiver. The thermostat is also capable of controlling other appliances in the house, such as electric water heaters, refrigerators, pool pumps, computers and lights in response to signals from utility companies. If contractors and residents refuse to comply with the mandate, their building permits will be denied.

    The proposal, set to be considered by the commission Jan. 30, requires each thermostat to be equipped with a radio communication device to send “price signals” and automatically adjust temperature up or down 4 degrees for cooling and heating, as California’s public and private utility organizations deem necessary.

    Claudia Chandler, assistant executive director for the California Energy Commission, told WND the new systems would be highly beneficial to residents.

    “From the Energy Commission’s perspective, all we’re doing is ensuring that this new technology is included in new homes instead of the older programmable technology,” she said.

    The Programmable Communication Thermostat, or PCT, will allow power authorities to control home temperatures while denying consumers ability to override settings during “emergency events.” Nowhere in the proposal does it clarify what type of situation would qualify as an “emergency,” but Chandler offered her own explanation: “An emergency is when the utilities need to implement rolling blackouts and drop load in order to be able to meet their supplies because the integrity of the grid is being jeopardized.”

    She claims residents will be able to manually override controls in all cases, but the 2008 Building Efficiency Standards (Page 64), known as Title 24, specifically states: “The PCT shall not allow customer changes to thermostat settings during emergency events.”

    Michael Shames, executive director of California’s Utility Consumers’ Action Network, told WND he believes the idea of a chip consumers are unable to override is not feasible. While he considers the technology to be a positive development, he said denying consumers control over their own appliances is a highly problematic concept.

    “The implications of this language are far-reaching and Orwellian,” he said. “For the government and utility company to say, ‘We’re going to control the devices in your house, and you have no choice in that matter,’ that’s where the line is drawn. That sentence must be removed.”

    Additionally, no provisional exceptions for people with health conditions worsened by excessive temperatures are mentioned in the current proposal; however, the Energy Commission spokeswoman said existing supply problems are more worrisome to Californians with health issues than the projected solution.

    “I actually was more concerned in the 2001 electricity crisis that folks on critical medical devices like respirators, kidney dialysis machines and things like that were going through rolling blackouts,” Chandler said. “That’s a very challenging thing to face. Moving somebody’s temperature up by a few degrees really seems mild by comparison.”

    Jim Gunshinan, managing editor of Home Energy, based in Berkley, Calif., told WND the changes would also provide consumers with an option to control thermostats via the Internet.

    “That means someone can turn on the air conditioning before they leave work for home and have the house comfortable when they walk in the door. Or if they forgot before leaving home for a ski trip, they can remotely lower the thermostat at home and save money.”

    Gunshinan claims the new system is needed because it will be more beneficial to the environment than building new energy facilities for the state.

    “Since utilities have old, inefficient and dirty power plants on reserve to use during peak demand hours, dropping demand will mean less use of these dirty power plants and less pollution.”

    Some critics say California authorities will be incapable of enforcing compliance if homeowners and renters bootleg heating and cooling systems from other states, block radio reception with inexpensive FM Transmitters or simply install window air conditioning units and space heaters, a bypass method that could use more energy than traditional units.

    Concerned California residents expressed outrage with the proposal in several online postings:

    “I hate this state. Why don’t we just fly a communist flag while we are at it? We are planning a move out of state. I’m done.”

    “This is insane. Please, everyone reading this, take action. Write your representatives, call the RINO governor, call your local radio programs and, lastly, write letters to the editors of your local papers. Dear God, just when I thought California couldn’t get much worse!”

    Other opponents of the state proposal expressed concern that its mandatory nature is a sign of increasing “Big Brother” government control.

    The California Energy Commission invites public comment until the proposed adoption date, Jan. 30. Written responses must indicate “Docket No. 07-BTSD-1.” Members of the California Energy Commission are appointed by the governor. Concerned individuals can also contact California state legislators.

    County Seizes Son For Forced Medical Care

    By Pete Fowler
    January 8, 2008

    Father says his family’s rights were violated

    NEW CASTLE – The Garfield County All Hazards Response Team broke down Tom Shiflett’s door Friday night and, following a court order, took his son for medical treatment.

    The doctor’s recommendation: Take Tylenol and apply ice to the bruises. The boy was back home a few hours later.

    Authorities said they had reason to believe Shiflett mistreated his 11-year-old son, Jon, by failing to provide him proper medical care for a head injury. But Shiflett says his privacy and his rights were invaded, and that he has the right and the skill to treat his son himself. Shiflett, 62, said he served as a medic in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.
    “Who in the world puts a stipulation on how adequate a person is to care for an injury?” Shiflett asked.

    Speaking about the incident from his home in the Apple Tree Park on Monday, Shiflett was very upset. Perhaps most offensive, Shiflett said, was that law enforcement didn’t announce there was a warrant before breaking into his home south of New Castle.

    “I would have let them in,” he said. “It was traumatic to my children, and it’s unnecessary.”

    His spouse, Tina, and his six of 10 kids who are still at home were shocked at the manner of entry. Tina said law enforcement, wearing masks, broke down their door with a battering ram and pointed guns in her children’s faces.

    “They didn’t need to bash into my home and slam my kids to the floor,” Tina said, adding later, “I think they get a kick out of this.”

    She said law enforcement threatened criminal charges should the family even try to follow Jon or find out where he was taken. Jon was returned hours later, around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

    “In all there was not one shred of evidence found that we had done anything wrong or that Jon had not been properly cared for at home,” Tina said.

    According to a copy of Jon’s patient aftercare instructions, a physician recommended Jon drink fluids, take Tylenol, use ice and keep his cuts from his injury clean. Jon still had a nasty-looking black eye and visible bruising on his face Monday after having been hurt in a fall on Thursday.

    Jon injured himself by grabbing onto the handle of a moving car his sister was driving and falling. Shiflett and his family said Shiflett ran down the street, checked Jon for injuries and brought him back into their home, where they prayed, applied ice to his head and monitored his condition.

    Someone – possibly a neighbor – called paramedics. Shiflett said paramedics looked at Jon after coming through an open front door uninvited. Shiflett told them he didn’t want them to treat Jon and asked them to leave.

    Friday morning, caseworkers from the Garfield County Department of Social Services arrived. Shiflett allowed them to look at Jon briefly but refused to allow them to take his son for treatment or medical evaluation.

    Ross Talbott, who owns the Apple Tree Mobile Home Park and rents to Shiflett, said, “I thought it was an incredibly stupid power move by people who went in there misinformed and ill-informed. I think they violated their personal rights, their constitutional rights and their rights to family.”

    Talbott also writes a freelance column for the Post Independent.

    “I’ve been (Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario’s) longtime supporter, but I tell you what, to send a SWAT team down there was just absolutely over the hill,” he said. “Inappropriate is not nearly strong enough a word. It was gross irresponsibility and stupidity. … Is this Russia? I don’t know what we’re coming to when they think your kid needs medical help and they send a SWAT team.”

    Community relations sheriff’s deputy Tanny McGinnis said two deputies were first sent to notify Shiflett of a court order for his son’s medical treatment and that Shiflett did not comply.

    Phone messages to Vallario were not returned Monday afternoon.

    A search warrant and order for medical treatment says there was good reason to believe Jon needed treatment. It states that two social services caseworkers tried to explain to Tom Shiflett they believed the boy needed medical treatment after observing injuries including a “huge hematoma” and a sluggish pupil. They offered to pay for treatment, and said they would have to obtain a court order for treatment if they couldn’t get Shiflett’s consent, the warrant says.

    “Shiflett shouted at this worker and advised this worker that if he obtained a court order, he better ‘bring an army,'” the warrant states.

    A first responder with West Care Ambulance wrote in an affidavit that she and others in an ambulance crew also believed the boy needed medical treatment.

    The responder wrote that paramedics left the residence for fear of their safety after Tom Shiflett refused to let them treat his son and became “verbally abusive” to the ambulance crew.

    But Talbott said he was there when paramedics responded, and that Shiflett was not yelling or acting abusive. He only asked them to leave, Talbott said, and paramedics were in fact acting belligerent. Shiflett says authorities had no right to enter his home uninvited and without announcing they had a warrant.

    “When American law allows federal and state agencies to come in a home and confiscate family, there is something wrong with our system,” Shiflett said. “If I can find a law firm or lawyer that can take this pro bono, because I have no money, I’m going to sue everyone on that warrant.”

    Garfield County Director of Social Services Lynn Rennick said social services is legally required to intervene when it receives a report about possible mistreatment of children, and that sometimes court orders are necessary. She wouldn’t discuss any specific case.

    Asked what he thought of being taken for medical treatment after the break-in, Jon said, “I think it’s ridiculous. There’s no reason for it.”

    Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

    California Toll Agency Wants Power to Seize Cars

    The Newspaper
    January 10, 2008

    Toll road officials in San Francisco, California want the authority to seize any vehicle accused of “cheating” on toll payments. A Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) presentation yesterday called for new powers that would ensure that the agency collected the maximum amount of revenue each year. BATA will ask the state legislature to adopt legislation granting BATA the authority to locate and tow away any vehicle it says has not paid up. It also would like the authority to revoke the driver’s license of a vehicle owner accused of not paying a notice of violation. Despite the tough talk, however, the tolling agency grudgingly admits some violations are not actually the fault of the motorist.

    “These violations mainly result from the toll lane equipment not reading the tag of a FasTrak customer,” BATA Deputy Executive Director Andrew B. Fremier wrote in a memo to committee members. “There are a number of reasons that the lane equipment may not read a tag of a FasTrak customer, including the tag reader in the lane becomes misaligned… or the toll tag malfunctions.”

    In 2005, FasTrak system overcharged at least 600 motorists crossing the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland because ACS, the company in charge of the program, allowed its laser scanning devices to become dirty. In most cases, when the toll transponders fail, customers have their credit card on file billed based on a photographic scan of their vehicle’s license plate. This usually is not a problem unless the credit card expiration date arrives and the automatic billing function fails, or the scanner misreads the plate. When such problems occur, the tolling authority can impose fines of up to $93,000 as several Orange County FasTrak users learned.

    BATA also is seeking legislation that will force automobile dealers to issue license plates to customers when they purchase a new vehicle. It also wants the authority to take money out of the paycheck of anyone accused of not paying a fine.

    FasTrak is not unique in having difficulties with the accuracy of its toll system. Similar issues have been reported with toll roads throughout the country, including the imposition of substantial fines.

    Diebold Voting Machine Contractor Executive Has Criminal Background

    Steve Watson
    Infowars.net
    January 10, 2008

    It has been revealed that a high ranking executive at the company that was contracted to program all of New Hampshire’s Diebold voting machines has a criminal record and has previously defended the illegal act of “swapping out” memory cards for the machines during live elections.

    The revelations, which were uncovered by investigative journalist and vote fraud expert Bev Harris of Blackboxvoting.org and announced yesterday on the Alex Jones show, once again plunge Diebold and the controversial electronic voting systems into the spotlight.

    Harris reports that Ken Hajjar, the Marketing and Sales Director at LHS Associates was arrested, indicted, and pleaded guilty to “sale / CND” (sale of controlled narcotic drugs) and sentenced to 12 months in the Rockingham County Correctional facility, and fined $2000. As things go for the politically connected, he was then given a deferred sentence and $1000 of his fine was suspended.

    LHS Associates is a private company that counted over four fifths of the New Hampshire vote with no oversight whatsoever and also holds Diebold contracts for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

    Harris exclusively revealed some of the details on the Alex Jones show yesterday as she was still awaiting triple confirmation on the information and a full copy of the criminal record from a source who was investigating Hajjar regarding a separate matter.

    “They program every single voting machine in New Hampshire, Connecticut, almost all of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.” Harris comments. “But did state officials in five New England states ever do a criminal background check on this company’s executives? Do the laws of these five states even ALLOW them to hire convicted criminals for services paid for by the state? What about over 500 local towns and municipalities?”

    The story becomes even more compelling given comments made by Ken Hajjar himself in a recent interview as he revealed that he totes memory cards around in the trunk of his car and defends the concept of swapping out memory cards during live elections!

    Other LHS staff members we spoke with, including Mike Carlson and Tom Burge, provided similar comments. They said they would open machines up during an election and swap memory cards as needed. This is illegal under Connecticut law and Deputy Secretary Mara told us she has since informed LHS that such actions were in violation of Connecticut election laws.

    “In 2006, as Hajjar argued in favor of their policy to change cards during elections, I asked him about about the laws which govern chain of custody issues. His response: “I mean, I don’t pay attention to every little law. It’s just, it’s up to the Registrars. All we are is a support organization on Election Day”.

    He said he had three memory cards in the trunk of his car and, in the event they had to be used, the chain of custody issues wouldn’t matter since, “once you run the [pre-election] test deck through, you’re golden”.”

    Bev Harris has also asked for complaints filed on a threat allegedly made in recent years to a New Hampshire woman, and any other reports for Hajjar or LHS owner John Silvestro. The pair grew up together in Lawrence, Massachusetts before moving to Londonderry, New Hampshire.

    As we detailed in our report on Tuesday, John Silvestro has been at the center of a long-running public dispute in trying to deflect accusations made by hacker Harri Hursti that the voting machines are wide open to tampering and can easily be rigged.

    Video of John Silvestro as he tangles with Harri Hursti recently surfaced on the web:

    The Hursti/Silvestro saga formed the centerpiece of the recent 80 minute HBO film “Hacking Democracy”.

    The new revelations concerning LHS may prove even more explosive in wake Tuesday’s New Hampshire results vastly differing from the pre-election polls and the emergence of clear widespread evidence of vote fraud involving the machines.

    If the allegations are accurate, it won’t be the first instance of Diebold employing a convicted felons to run its ballot printing operations.

    Harris previously revealed that an embezzler named Jeffrey W. Dean, who specialized in sophisticated alteration of records of computerized systems, was a programmer of voting systems.

    Dean was the senior vice president of Global Election Systems and a director of the company previous to Diebold’s takeover in 2002. Despite Diebold’s claim that Dean left the company when they took over it was later revealed that they retained Dean as a consultant.

    Dean and his prison buddy John Elder, who did five years for cocaine trafficking, ran a ballot plant on the West coast and were also responsible for writing vote tallying software. Harris’ research has further shown that Global Election Systems/Diebold vote machines were specifically built to allow tampering.

    “It’s weird, these guys are not even allowed to vote because they are convicted felons!” Harris commented yesterday.

    Ron Paul: 9/11 Commission ‘Hid Ineptness’ Just as Most Government Investigations Usually Do

    Aaron Dykes & Luke Rudkowski
    JonesReport.com
    January 10, 2008

    Reporters from WeAreChange.org confronted Ron Paul in a New Hampshire spin room about supporting victim’s family members in pursuing a new 9/11 investigation. “Yes, I support more investigation,” Paul responded.

    The Presidential candidate indicated that the full truth was still not known “because ineptness was hidden” in the 9/11 Commission investigation.

    “This is generally what government investigations do,” Ron Paul said. “They hide inefficiencies and ineptness.”

    He further criticized those in charge who “can’t and won’t admit” that the country is “fighting a war for no good reason.” “They’ve dug their heels in and they’ll lose everything they’ve said,” he said about war hawks.

    Paul commented that Giuliani’s intention to expand the military by 200,000 troops would lead to a draft and the printing of more money. “Get ready. They’re going to draft you– all you young people,” Paul warned.

    “They’ll print it and the dollar will go bust– and everyone going to get poor– and then we’ll bring our troops home. I don’t want to wait to that point I want them bring home in a more logical fashion,” Paul said.

    Other reporters asked about Giuliani’s odd dismissal of history as a factor in current middle-east foreign policy. “He’s been saying that for a long time,” Paul told cameras, “but I’ve given my explanation and I bet a majority of Americans agree with me.”

    Giuliani and his advisors have consistently refused to even discuss foreign policy or address the consequences it could have.

    WeAreChange.org asked Norman Podhoretz– a Giuliani advisor– about the U.S.-led overthrow of Iran in 1953. Podhoretz dismissed the incident as “ancient history,” when reporters brought up its impact in current tensions. Yet, Podhoretz advocates a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

    Ron Paul also addressed his concerns about the emerging North American Union, stating that “there are people who would like to have it, like a European Union.” But, he said, “the American people are waking up to this and are resisting it.” Paul urged people to “join the Ron Paul Revolution.”

    Ron Paul has been the only presidential candidate unafraid to stand up to WeAreChange.org questions and give an explanation without avoiding the issues. Others on the campaign trail have deflected or even run away.

    Trans Texas Corridor Maps Detailed Infrastructure Dismissed as “Conspiracy Theory”

    Aaron Dykes
    JonesReport.com
    January 9, 2008

    WACO, TEXAS – In the larger story of land seizure and subjugation to an unpopular super-highway toll road system, a particularly stinging case of displacement has surfaced in central Texas.

    A newly uncovered conceptual map reveals plans to pave a stretch of TTC-35 outside Waco over the rebuilt church of the Branch Davidians who were raided by ATF and FBI agents in 1993, killing many church members.

    The TTC plan would add insult to injury for the infamous Davidian group that has already been more than wronged by governing forces. Traffic lanes would, according to the map, over-run almost half of the entire Branch Davidian property.

    On the left, the proposed TTC-35 route, coursing over the Branch Davidian property off of Double EE Ranch road. In the center, proposed locations for coal plants and a serving railway.

    Those coal plants have been put on hold, amidst contention over concerns about the impact such plants would have on environmental designations for the Waco area. Rep. Chet Edwards, of Waco, and other officials fear that the coal could hurt the area by giving it a federal nonattainment status.

    However, Edwards is ready to support the plants if they prove to have minimal impact on environmental ratings.

    Phone calls to check on the status of the maps were deflected from the McLennan County (Waco) office to TxDot. Ken Roberts, of the TxDot Waco district office, commented that it was “unusual” for the TTC and TxU projects to be mapped out together as, he stated, TxDot has no involvement whatsoever with the TxU proposals, though it does with the TTC.

    The McLennan County map office, whose name is on the map, admits they drew up the map, but said it was based on plans submitted to County Commissioner Lester Gibson’s office by Donald Montgomery of TxU.

    Montgomery confirmed that the plans had been hatched at TxU, but quickly referenced that the projects were put on hold (though they are likely to be revived). Montgomery dismissed the notion that any relationship existed between the proposed highway infrastructure and the proposed energy & rail infrastructure, calling it another “conspiracy theory.” He further dismissed the concerns expressed by Roberts of TxDot.

    But the map conceptualizing future developments in Waco also reveals details about several coal plants the TxU energy giant was planning to build only a short distance south of the Davidian ‘compound’ as well as a new railway system to serve the infrastructure.

    Though both Montgomery and the McClennan County office agreed that Montgomery himself had submitted the proposal for a map that outlines 1) a ‘TTC-35 Route’ used for cost estimating purposes and 2) ‘TxU Proposed Rail Routes,’ it is clear that Montgomery at least considered the TTC relevant to his TxU proposal– otherwise, it wouldn’t be prominently featured and mapped out.

    It is true that the two projects are not directly related nor are they mutually dependent on the other’s viability. However, it is clear that both the TTC and TxU projects are under the management and interests of global firms looking to control assets in Texas.

    It is worth noting that TxU was bought out over the past year for a record $32 billion by Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts (KKR) and two other globalist firms who are all represented annually at Bilderberg Meetings.

    The TTC was conceived in a brokered-deal with a number of multi-national firms including the Spanish-owned Cintra and the Australia-based Macquerie.

    Both the TTC and TxU project proposals were widely unpopular yet enjoyed unlimited political support from Gov. Rick Perry, who stood defiant against a 2-year moratorium passed by the legislature in the case of the TTC and who passed an executive order to fast track permits in the case of TxU.

    Additionally, both the TTC and TxU were represented by the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm, based in Houston.

    For the TTC, Bracewell & Giuliani facilitated Cintra in its ambition to build the first ever private toll road in Texas. Bracewell & Giuliani are credited dubiously as the ‘guiding’ law firm on the privatization of Texas State Highway 121. Cintra is further partnered with the Australian company Macquarie, who “previously acquired the business and assets of an investment bank known as Giuliani Capital Advisors,” according to Cliff Kincaid.

    For TxU, Bracewell & Giuliani handled environmental and state regulatory issues. Later, when the TxU leveraged-buyout resulted in insider-trading charges against high-level Pakistani bankers who worked for Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston, both involved in the deal, Bracewell & Giuliani represented the cases. In fact, Marc Mukasey, the son of the current U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, personally represented Hafiz Naseem, then a Credit Suisse investor now charged with multiple counts of white-collar crime.

    In the on-going battles for both of the highly-contentious infrastructure proposals, it is interesting to note what an unwavering ally Rick Perry has been.

    Yet, Perry met with the Bilderberg group in 2007, a secretive meeting among the elite echelon of the global financial architecture. Amongst the select attendees were King Juan Carlos of Spain, who is the primary shareholder for Cintra, as well as Henry Kravis, the principal for KKR– who led the TxU buyout. Also at the exclusive meeting were heads from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston and other top investment firms.

    One connection is certain between the TTC and TxU– both represent the interests of the global elite.

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