From: WhizNews <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 9:39 PM
Subject:  Appeal to Obama: Help Find my husband Kidnapped by CIA - Michelle Obama Is The "Specifically Named Individua by FBI - Blagojevich's corruption: a warning for Democrats - Financial crisis hits world's largest seed bank
To: Whiz News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
DHR/046/10. 12.08 December 10, 2008
Barrack Hussein Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Subject: Earnest request to find Masood Janjua and other missing loved ones in Pakistan.
I congratulate you on becoming the President-Elect of the United States. If I was able to cast a vote, I would certainly cast in your favor because you give a new sense of hope to many people around the world. I know for you and for all Americans, family means "The Most" in your life. Similarly, family means the most to me and to all Pakistanis'. My letter today is all about "family and their loved-ones".
My husband Masood Janjua is the most loving and vital part of our family. We got married in June 1989 and since then had all the happiness in the world. With two sons and a daughter, our life was full of love and fun. But our lives changed on July 30, 2005 when Masood was abducted on his way to Peshawar for a business trip. The love of my life was snatched away from me without any reason and I am left all alone to suffer, struggle and grief for my husband. In spite of trying hard and approaching the highest level personnel in Pakistan, I am still desperate and clueless for any news about Masood for over three years. Recently Aasim Qureshi, a UK based International Lawyer of Cage-Prisoners held a press conference in Pakistan on December 4, 2008 telling that he talked to senior military officials in Pakistan and was informed that Masood is detained in Pakistan and could not be released because of the CIA's involvement.
Sir, please request the CIA to let me get in touch with my husband. Our family is desperate for him. He has been missing for over 3½ years. The children deserve to have their father with them. Our right to live peacefully and blissfully as a family has been taken away. Today, on December 10, 2008, the world celebrates the 60th anniversary for the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The first sentence of its preamble states, "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." Sir, please help our family.
Kindly show solidarity with the aggrieved victims of enforced disappearances and their families. We have high hopes that justice and human rights will prevail in your administration and morality, honor and human dignity will prosper in your leadership. Please take concrete measures to solve this dilemma for the families of thousands of lost love ones. Sir, as the President of the United States of America, you are a role model for the world and therefore are duty bound to respond to the cry for justice, by innocent aggrieved families of enforced disappearances; asking nothing but to be united with their long lost loved-ones.
I had no idea that my tireless struggles to find Masood will lead to a movement of Missing Persons in Pakistan, registering over 600 persons subjected to enforced disappearance as of December 3, 2008. Attached list shows some of the missing persons. Thousands of more honorable citizens of Pakistan are being abducted by intelligence agencies, for years without end and aren't allowed any contact with their families. They are not given a chance of fair trial nor have access to any legal aid. They are constantly being tortured beyond the protection of all domestic and International laws. Unfortunately, short-sighted foreign policies created by the Bush administration and supported by the military dictator, General Musharraff of Pakistan in the last eight years have sacrificed the respect for the Rule of Law, and lost all Ethical and Moral Values of Humanity. These policies have increased terrorism exponentially in Pakistan.
In 2001, there was not a single suicide attack in Pakistan. Last year in 2007, there were over 60 attacks that claimed the lives of over 1400 people in Pakistan. There is a great urgency to undo the Human Rights Violations, Human Torture and Abuse of Power, which are a disgrace for both America and Pakistan.
- Sir, pay homage to the love of a couple who was forcefully separated by the cruel and unjust forces of the world.
Pay homage to the love of a wife who has never rested and carried out hundreds of protests, rallies, campaigns, conducted countless seminars, walks, sit ins, press conferences and traveled over half of the world in search of her husband.
Pay homage to this divine feeling and this strongest of emotion called "Love" which will never allow a loving wife to give up. She will consider it an honor even if she has to lay down her life on the way of finding her husband.
Pay homage to a selfless commitment, a fearless courage and a restless endeavors of a lone, helpless woman who has embarked on a great journey to help all missing persons get traced and released.
Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only Love can do that." Sir with your most sincere efforts, let your "Love" for humanity do the magic of uniting our Loved-ones. Human today is the epitome of modernization yet he makes humanity suffer for its most basic right "Love of the Loved-ones". Attached are a few letters from U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Congressman David Wu, U.S. Department of State and UK Minister of State, Lord Avebury regarding Masood's disappearance. Kindly help us get justice by finding Masood. Thanks.
Please invite our family to visit the United States to share our journey with the U.S. Congress. It would be an honor and a privilege to meet you. Kindly help us reunite with our loved ones. Sir, we really need your help.
Anxious and Hopeful
Amina Masood Janjua Chairperson, Defense of Human Rights (DHR)
Phone: +92 301 5240550, +92 51 5464805
Address: 40-C/1 Nagi Road , Westridge-1 Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Attachments: Letters from US and EU Government officials
Evidence showing Masood's detention by intelligence agencies List of Missing Persons per DHR
Read full letter with attachments
Please read the Criminal Complaint filed by David W. Cain, Special Agent of the FBI. Details of the conversations Blagojevich had with his operatives about Barack Obama and the possibility Barack Obama would strike several deals with Blagojevich regarding the open Senate seat are discussed, and yes, quotations are provided.
I enjoy this gem from pages 63-64, where a telephone conversation between Blagojevich, Advisor B, a political consultant in Washington, DC, another Washington, DC, political consultant and John Haris, the Governor's General Counsel, is discussed:
ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to "suck it up" for two years and do nothing and give this "motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him." ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put "[Senate Candidate 4]" in the Senate "before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don't get anything." (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to find a way to take the "financial stress" off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, "the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family." Later in the phone call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that absent getting something back, ROD BLAGOJEVICH will not pick Senate Candidate 1. HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICH's thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICH's financial security as well as maintain his political viability. HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICH's appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.
Senate Candidate 1 is Valerie Jarrett, an Obama advisor who also served as Daley's Chief of Staff. Jarrett is very close to the Obamas. Senate Candidate 4 is either Dean Martinez, Bob Greenlee or Louanner Peters, all of whom are Deputy Governors of Illinois.
The "specifically named individual" is Michelle Obama, who was appointed to the Board of TreeHouse Foods, a WAL-MART vendor, on June 25, 2005, even though she did not have experience in the private sector previous to the appointment. Here are the benefits the Obama family received as a result of Michelle Obama's stint with the WAL-MART vendor:
According to the couple's tax returns, Mrs Obama earned $51,200 (£25,700) for her work as a non-executive director on Treehouse's board last year, on top of the $271,618 salary she was paid as a vice-president of the University of Chicago Hospitals.
She also received 7,500 Treehouse stock options, worth a further $72,375, as she did the previous year, when she banked a $45,000 salary from the company.
Michelle Obama is the "specifically named individual" who was able to sit on corporate boards, although she lacks the experience of Blagojevich's wife. And notice how Michelle Obama's position with the WAL-MART vendor helped alleviate the "financial stress" of the Obama family at a time when they were purchasing a mansion from Rezko they could not afford.
Why is this relevant?
Blagojevich, according to the FBI complaint, thought Barack Obama could appoint his wife to corporate boards if he were to appoint Valerie Jarrett to the open Senate seat vacated by Obama. I quote pages 54-55 of the criminal complaint filed by Special Agent of the FBI David Cain:
By law, after the President-elect's resignation of his position as a U.S. Senator, which was effective on November 16, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has sole authority to appoint his replacement for the two years remaining of the President-elect's Senate term. See 10 ILCS 5/25-8. During the course of this investigation, agents have intercepted a series of communications regarding the efforts of ROD BLAGOJEVICH, JOHN HARRIS, and others to misuse this power to obtain personal gain, including financial gain, for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his family. In particular, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has been intercepted conspiring to trade the senate seat for particular positions that the President-elect has the power to appoint (e.g. the Secretary of Health and Human Services). ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for his wife's placement on paid corporate boards or ROD BLAGOJEVICH's placement at a private foundation in a significant position with a substantial salary. ROD BLAGOJEVICH has also been intercepted conspiring to sell the Senate seat in exchange for millions of dollars in funding for a non-profit organization that he would start and that would employ him at a substantial salary after he left the governorship.
Blagojevich, in other words, assumed Obama would appoint his wife to a Board for the political favor of selecting Valerie Jarrett for the Senate seat. Blagojevich is not a stupid man. Indeed, he only assumed Obama would participate in this "pay to play" scheme, for he knows Obama is acutely aware how the game is played in Illinois and in Chicago. This explains why Blagojevich mentions Michelle Obama and her lack of qualifications to serve on the Board of TreeHouse Foods when he discusses how Obama could appoint Mrs. Blagojevich to a Board for the political favor of appointing Jarrett to the US Senate seat. Michelle, after all, was appointed to sit on the Board of TreeHouse foods AFTER Obama was elected to the US Senate. Moreover, Michelle Obama's salary at The University of Chicago nearly TRIPLED after her husband gained the power to submit earmark requests on her employer's behalf. Just appoint the spouse to a Board and increase his or her salary if you need a political favor from an Illinois politician. That is how the "play to pay" game is played.
Blagojevich understands this, and he knows Obama understands this. Why else does FBI Agent Cain report the following discussion that occurred on Nov 8, 2008?
On November 8, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with JOHN HARRIS about the Senate seat. During the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and HARRIS discussed whether it would be possible to obtain a financial benefit for ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife in relation to the Senate seat. Specifically, ROD BLAGOJEVICH referred to his wife's Series 7 license and asked "is there a play here, with these guys, with her" to work for a firm in Washington or New York at a significantly better salary than she is making now. Also, ROD BLAGOJEVICH wanted to know whether SEIU could do something to get his wife a position at Change to Win until ROD BLAGOJEVICH could take a position at Change to Win.
Michelle Obama, Blagojevich implies, received an appointment to a Board for which she was not qualified as a result of a "pay to play" scheme. What about his wife? After all, Obama ally Valerie Jarrett wants the Senate seat. What about Blagojevich's wife? What about Blagojevich's "financial stress?"
Blagojevich and his advisers only thought of this as a possibility, for they know Obama has already played the game. Again, these are smart men who know the rules of the game. Why else would they think Obama would participate in a "pay to play" scheme? Michelle was paid for someone to play, they thought. What about Mrs. Blagojevich? Besides, Mrs. Blagojevich has a Series 7 license. All Michelle has is a license to practice law that was revoked as a result of a court order in 1993.
Blagojevich thought Obama would "pay to play," as the Obamas have been engaged in "pay to play" schemes in the past. That is what Blagojevich thought, and that is why the Obamas are yet again mentioned in a complaint filed in a Court of law.
December 11, 2008
Very [expletive] dumb, to use the vernacular favored by newly indicted Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. With obscenity-laden bravado, Blagojevich continued to discuss new corruption schemes on his bugged phone long after receiving clear signs that he was under FBI investigation.
And how venal can you get? Apparently, very [expletive] venal. Telling cronies he was financially strapped and tired of being governor, Blagojevich allegedly sought to get a lucrative union sinecure created for himself in exchange for political favors, held up funds for a hospital to extract contributions from its executives, wondered if he could foist his equally foul-mouthed wife onto high-paying corporate boards and tried to sell to the highest bidder the Senate seat just vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Blagojevich's dramatic downfall is the first big Democratic scandal story of the Obama era. Granted, Obama has yet to set foot in the Oval Office (though right now he's probably wishing his transition headquarters wasn't in Chicago). But there was no way for Obama to completely avoid comment on a scandal involving the Democratic governor of his home state -- especially when Blagojevich's downfall was integrally related to his illegal efforts to profit from Obama's success.
That's not to say that the Blagojevich scandal will hurt Obama. Based on the documents released so far, Obama's looking better than ever. In fact, it was Blagojevich's inability to corrupt the Obama camp that drove the doomed and frustrated governor to a new obscenities-per-minute record. Blagojevich saw his gubernatorial right to appoint Obama's Senate successor as an opportunity that was "[expletive] golden": A Senate seat is "a [expletive] valuable thing," he explained to an advisor. And he was willing to appoint someone he imagined Obama might favor, but only if he got something lucrative in return. "I'm just not giving [the Senate seat] up for [expletive] nothing." Yet Obama, to Blagojevich's astonishment, expected him to do just that.
When Blagojevich realized that Obama wouldn't "pay to play," he told aides he wouldn't just "suck it up" and give this "mother-[expletive]" -- the president-elect -- "his senator. [Expletive] him. For nothing? "[Expletive] him."
Given the context, Obama should consider it something of an honor to be called an unprintable name by Blagojevich.
All the same, Blagojevich's downfall should be a cautionary tale for Democrats still basking in the reflected glory of Obama's win. It's a reminder that even at this magic moment of victory and party unity -- even as the Clinton lions are lying down with the Obama lambs, and as Democratic dreams of vast infrastructure investments and a renewed commitment to international diplomacy are coming true -- powerful Democrats aren't immune to human weaknesses.
Idiocy and greed aren't just for Republicans. For every Larry Craig, there's an Eliot Spitzer; for every Ted Stevens, there's a Rod Blagojevich.
In our heads, we Democrats know that. It's just that in our hearts, we don't want to believe it. Because we're the good guys, right? The ones who honed our progressive values during years in the political wilderness and who finally saw those values vindicated in November's electoral victories.
But it's precisely when a party achieves power that its members need to start worrying the most about idiocy and greed. When you're in the opposition, you're already down and out, so what difference does it make if your side's idiocy leaves you -- temporarily -- a little bit more down and out? And being in the opposition offers fewer patronage opportunities.
But power really does corrupt.
I'm not predicting a rash of new Blagojevich-type scandals plaguing the new administration. The Obama transition team has already issued unusually stringent ethics rules, and Obama's track record of supporting tough ethics legislation (including an Illinois state ethics law) suggests that he'll continue such efforts as president.
But illegal corruption isn't the only thing Democrats should be on guard against. Gaining political power also corrupts in far more subtle ways.
Members of political majorities succumb easily to smugness and complacency, to the conviction that explaining and justifying ideas is no longer necessary, to the temptation to dismiss critics as so many irrelevant cranks. "Groupthink" is mainly a disease of the powerful and complacent, not the fractious opposition.
Never mind Blagojevich. Majorities can get very dumb indeed -- and what the new Democratic majority most needs to resist are those more subtle forms of intellectual and moral laziness and corruption. For in the end, arrogance and groupthink can prove far more lethal than even the most scandalous financial shenanigans.
Just ask the thousands dead in Iraq.
Financial crisis hits world's largest seed bank
Global Research, December 8, 2008
The Millennium Seed Bank in Britain – a sort of Noah's Ark for plants – is under threat due to a lack of funding caused by the credit crunch.
The world's largest plant conservation project opened in 2000 and was meant to gather seeds from every flowering plant on the planet and keep them stored for future generations.
"We are, if you like, the real world bank," said Paul Smith, Head of the Millennium Seed Bank. "Countries choose to store their seeds with us. So the seed which is sitting in the vault from South Africa doesn't belong to us - just like in your high street bank - it belongs to the government of South Africa, and they can choose how that seed is used. Maybe they want a long-term account; maybe they want a current account."
The bank already hosts 10 per cent of the world's plant species. But just as it is counting its success, the global financial crisis has arrived to threaten the bank's future.
Managers have been unable to secure the next 100 million pounds needed to reach its 2020 target of ensuring safe storage for a quarter of the world's total flowering plant species.
Worried botanists have put together a team to lobby government departments, funding bodies and wealthy people.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't lose sleep over it because of course we're in unknown territory when it comes to the financial situation," Smith said. "We don't know if this recession is going to get worse, we don't know how that will impact on the general public, as well as trust funds and potential sources of income for this project."
Dried, sorted and stored the seeds await the day that scientists hope will never come – extinction of their species. At least six plant species that are kept here are already believed to have died out.
Three vanished after plant experts collected seeds for the seed bank, the other three had already died out by 2000 but a handful of seeds were saved.
"It's vital to conserve the species that we have before they disappear," Seed Conservation Assistant Angie Gardener said.
The temperature at the sanctuary of the Millennium Seed Bank is minus 20 degrees Celsius. The seeds need to be kept cold in order to preserve them.
But the cooling of the global economy is threatening to freeze the whole project. All it takes is 2,000 pounds to save one seed, and with at least four species of plants vanishing every year, conservationists believe this is an excellent value.
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