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Archive for September, 2009

Mysterious Private Security Firm Gets Control Of Empty Jail In Small Montana Town

TPM Muckraker- Justin Elliott | September 30, 2009, 3:16PM

A shadowy private security company that has no known clients but claims to have helped foreign governments combat terrorism and will protect anything from cruise ships to Pakistani convoys has taken over a jail in a small Montana town, with plans to build a law enforcement training facility on the property.

The state legislature is looking into the matter and residents of Hardin, MT, were alarmed last week when executives from the firm, American Police Force, showed up in the town, which does not have its own police department, with Mercedes SUVs bearing “City Of Hardin Police Department” decals.

And the town has had to tamp down reports on conspiracy Web sites that APF plans to impose experimental H1N1 vaccines on residents under threat of quarantine in the jail.

Under a lease signed with Hardin, APF, based in Santa Ana, California, and incorporated just six months ago, is now in control of a 400-bed detention facility the town built a few years ago but never used, a town official confirmed to TPMmuckraker today. The town reportedly stands to make over $2 million per year.

Just what American Police Force plans to do with the detention facility, which comes with 50 acres of land in the small south-central Montana town, is unclear. Also not clear is who, if anyone, APF plans to put in the jail. (Watch a video tour of the jail here.)

Hardin, which is in default on the bonds it used to build the jail, recently undertook an unsuccessful campaign to make the jail a new home for Gitmo detainees. When that failed, the town turned to APF

The 10-year contract that is now awaiting final approval of lawyers gives APF the option of building a training facility, said Al Peterson, spokesman for the Hardin economic development authority. APF has said it plans to invest $30 million in the site, including $17M in the training facility, where law enforcement will get sniper training and learn “DNA analysis” skills.

And where is American Police Force getting the money for this venture? Company spokeswoman Becky Shay — until about a week ago the Billings Gazette reporter covering APF — says they are no plans to answer that question. She did not respond to a request for comment.

The matter has attracted the attention of the Montana state legislature, which is seeking more information about the arrangement between Hardin and APF. The committee that deals with legal matters will send a letter to Hardin officials to get more details on the deal, Representative Bob Ebinger (D) tells TPMmuckraker.

“Because of the apparent secretiveness of this, it gives the far right and far left to come up with all kinds of ideas. That’s why I’d like to see some clarification,” Ebinger says.

Peterson, the Hardin official, says the controversy sparked last week when APF executives appeared in black SUVs marked “City Of Hardin Police Department” was a misunderstanding of an act of goodwill by the company. The decals were taken off within the day, he says.

MORE HERE

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TOUR JAIL IN THIS VIDEO:

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Lenny Kravitz – Calling All Angels

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Global Research, September 29, 2009

Representatives of Iran and six of the world’s most powerful countries are scheduled to meet this week in Geneva, one of a series of events that increasingly looks like a rerun of the build-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

As we prepare for a barrage of anti-Iranian media spin, it would be good for anti-war activists to remember five basic facts:

One: There is absolutely no evidence that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Two: The U.S. has not discovered a “secret nuclear facility” in Iran.

Three: The recent Iranian tests of long-range missiles is a purely defensive exercise.

Four: Despite what we all have repeatedly heard, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not deny the Holocaust. (Please see quotes below.)

Five: Iran has a lot of oil. A whole lot.

SOURCE

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The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is ‘rotting away’ — and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it

Tim Teeman
London Times
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Last year he famously switched allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the Democratic nomination process for president. Now, he reveals, he regrets his change of heart. How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”

(more…)

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Earthquakes Rock Samoa, Indonesia (UPDATES)

KENI LESA and FILI SAGAPOLUTELE | 09/30/09 12:55 PM | AP

APIA, Samoa — Disaster officials rushed food, medicine and a temporary morgue to the Samoas on Wednesday after a powerful earthquake unleashed a tsunami that flattened villages and swept cars and people out to sea. At least 99 people were killed.

Survivors fled the waves for higher ground on the South Pacific islands after the magnitude 8.0 quake struck at 6:48 a.m. local time (1:48 p.m. EDT; 1748 GMT) Tuesday.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high roared ashore on American Samoa about 15 minutes after the quake, reaching up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

Military transports carrying medical personnel, food, water, medicines and other supplies were headed to the stricken islands.

“Right now, we’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. A Coast Guard C-130 plane loaded with aid and carrying FEMA officials was headed from Hawaii to American Samoa’s capital of Pago Pago, where debris had been cleared from runways to allow for emergency planes to land.

“I cannot tell you exactly what kind of damages we had. We’re getting reports just like everyone else that this is a significant impact,” he said.

New Zealand’s acting Prime Minister Bill English said tents, stretchers, the temporary morgue facilities and a body identification team were sent to Samoa after a “specific request” from local officials, who are “are very concerned about the growing death toll.”

The quake was centered about 120 miles south of the islands of Samoa, which has about 220,000 people, and American Samoa, a U.S. territory of 65,000.

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Asia Hit By Tsunamis, Earthquakes: Send Us Your Photos

Huffington Post
First Posted: 09-30-09 10:03 AM   |   Updated: 09-30-09 12:06 PM

Earthquakes and tsunamis have wreaked havoc on multiple nations in Asia and the South Pacific over the past few days, killing hundreds, causing serious damage and sometimes destroying entire villages.

Go here for the latest info on the disasters. And look at the slideshow below.

Do you have photographs or video of the earthquakes and tsunamis in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, or elsewhere? Send them to us here. The best ones will be published on the HuffPost.

SLIDE SHOW AND SEND YOUR PHOTOS HERE

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by Paul Craig Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal, Sep 30, 2009

Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by President Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed.

The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the US government.

Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran.

Continues >>

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APF Reveals Little Information

By Nick Lough & Katie Ussin

Story Published: Sep 28, 2009 at 7:53 PM MDT

Story Updated: Sep 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM MDT
Multimedia

BILLINGS – Confusion and secrecy about American Police Force has grown during the last few weeks.

“APF has been here for 10 months but it has never been stealth,” said APF spokesperson Becky Shay at a press conference on Saturday morning. The group announced its plans to fill the $27 million dollar detention facility and build a police training center next to the jail. While they gave details for the site, other questions went unanswered.

Where will the prisoners come from? What experience does APF have in prisoners and training police officers? Why was Two Rivers Authority Executive Director Greg Smith placed on administrative leave?

During the press conference APF also refused to release any information on its funding or organization “The decision is the name of the parent company will not be released,” said Shay.

When questioned about the decision to show up in Hardin last week in vehicles with “Hardin Police” templates, members were brief in their explanation. “They are to show are intentions are good,” said APF leader Captain Michael Hilton. “Why not put an APF logo on it,” said Shay. “You know we’re getting there.” All of the decals were removed from the vehicles two days later.

APF has consistently stated the community has nothing to fear and says its plans will help stimulate the Hardin economy. “This corporation’s intention is to buy local and stay local and do local business as much as we can,” said Shay.

Residents appear split in their feelings over the company. Some want more information, but others believe it will be a tremendous boost to the area. The company plans to hold a job fair in Hardin the third week of October.

Another development this weekend was the naming of Shay as APF’s new public relations director. Shay was a reporter with the Billings Gazette who had covered the detention facility story for last few years. She announced on Friday she was leaving the paper and hosted the APF press conference Saturday morning.

Be sure to check out comments on this…
~More~

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