Eco Man | 6 Sep 03:04 2007

MMM. Cuba's organic food. Liberation from oil companies, drug companies.

Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?

From the article farther down:
"Before the crisis hit, Cuba used more than 1 million tons of synthetic fertilizers a year; today it uses about 90,000 tons. During the Soviet period, Cuba applied up to 35,000 tons of herbicides and pesticides a year; today the number is about 1,000 tons. The country is a living example of how to grow food on a large, national scale without being reliant on petroleum-based inputs. ... There are, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture, some 150,000 acres of land being cultivated in urban and suburban settings."


Earth Island Journal

Spring 2007
Vol. 22, No. 1

Growing it alone

by Jason Mark

ReutersMembers of Cuba's Union of Young Communists and students of the Lenin School tend a vegetable garden in Havana.

The Alamar district in eastern Havana is a typical example of Soviet-style housing. Perfectly rectangular apartment blocks march in formation, one after another. The plazas between the buildings are spacious, yet somehow eerie in their geometric severity. The uniform architecture is meant to erase class distinctions, but the effect – as in the public housing complexes of the US – serves mostly to erase creativity and liveliness. The monotony of the layout seems to check morale.

Until, that is, one discovers Vivero Alamar – Alamar Gardens. Surrounded on all sides by seven-story apartment buildings, Vivero Alamar is a kind of oasis, a 27-acre working farm set right in the middle of a bustling city of 2 million people. The farm is everything that the surrounding architecture is not – polyform, versatile, organic.

Founded in 1994 on a smaller nine-acre parcel of land, Vivero Alamar today is a 140-person venture growing a wide range of fruits and vegetables. A patchwork quilt of orchards, shade houses, and row crops provides a steady harvest of bright green lettuces, carrots, tomatoes, avocados, culinary and medicinal herbs, chard, and cucumbers. The crops are healthy-looking, well tended, and all grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Vivero Alamar is a completely organic operation.

Upon harvest, the farm's produce is sold to the neighbors at a colorful farm stand. Vivero Alamar also sells a range of organic composts and mulches for families' use, as well as a broad selection of patio plants, propagated on site. In 2005, this neighborhood-managed, worker-owned co-operative earned approximately $180,000. After capital improvements and operating expenses are taken into account, that translates to about $500 per worker annually; not bad, considering that the Cuban minimum wage is $10 per month.

Noel Peña, the 41-year-old production manager of Vivero Alamar, is quick to describe the farm's benefits. "First, it's a job opportunity for the people. Second, it provides a fresh food supply to the community. Third, it has many economic benefits for the families. And I could mention a fourth, which is that an ugly place in the city has been turned into a
beautiful garden."

Vivero Alamar is just one example (albeit a best-case one) of a revolution in food production that swept Cuba in the early 1990s and continues today. From Santiago de Cuba in the east to Pinar del Rio in the west, thousands of urban gardens like Vivero Alamar are blossoming. In community food parks, backyard patios, and larger urban farms like the one in Alamar, some 300,000 Cubans are busy growing their own fruits and vegetables and then selling the surplus to their neighbors.

This innovative system has distinguished Cuba as a model of urban, organic agriculture; the Cuban government and Cuban NGOs have won numerous international awards for their agriculture system. While the experience of this tropical nation of 10 million people is not entirely replicable in US communities, the Cuban experiment nevertheless offers important lessons. For the Cubans' recent history proves that, if driven by necessity, people can and will organize grassroots, community-based ways to feed themselves. At the same time, the Cuban experience shows that even a modest amount of government support and investment can greatly amplify community efforts. If – as a growing number of academics warn – industrial nations ever face food supply disruptions due to climate change or peak oil, such lessons will be vital.

Because, in one crucial aspect, the Cuban story is universally applicable. After all, everyone eats.

Things fall apart

The Cubans did not come to their exalted status as organic pioneers through some benevolent ecological epiphany. Their conversion to organic agriculture was, quite simply, the result of scarcity. The Cubans ran out of money and oil, and then they started to run out of food.

During the Cold War, the Cuban economy relied heavily on support from the Soviet Union and the other members of the Socialist Bloc. The Cubans sent sugar to the USSR, and in return received, most importantly, oil, but also a range of industrial products, including farm inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and tractors. The Soviets also sold cattle to the Cubans, and provided animal feed and antibiotics. Approximately 50 percent of Cuba's food came from abroad. The USSR may have provided Cuba a security shield against US aggression, but it also left the island dangerously insecure when it came to food.

When the USSR collapsed, Cuba ground to a halt. From 1989 to 1993, the Cuban economy contracted by 35 percent; foreign trade dropped a precipitous 75 percent. Without Soviet oil, city streets were emptied of cars and, more ominously, tractors were idled in the fields; domestic agriculture production fell by half. Millions of hogs, cattle, and goats died as the processed forage and antibiotics they had come to depend on evaporated. Imported essentials such as vegetable oil and wheat flour were difficult to come by.

During this time, which Fidel Castro euphemistically called "The Special Period," food scarcities became acute. The average per-capita calorie intake fell from 2,900 a day in 1989 to 1,800 calories in 1995. Protein consumption plummeted 40 percent. As Cubans lost weight, cats disappeared from the streets of Havana, destined for family soup pots.

Then the Cubans went to work, proving that necessity is, in fact, the mother of invention. Without government direction or urging – an important point, given the state-run nature of Cuban society – people began to spontaneously grow their own food. In the cities, residents took over garbage dumps, parking lots, and abandoned corners, and started to plant gardens and build chicken coops. In the countryside, the old-timers went back to the fields and showed people how they could make do with oxen and using their own hands to do the labor.

"We started this with no money," said Vilda Figueroa, who built one of the first urban gardens in Havana and who now hosts a nutrition education program on television with her husband, Pepe. "We knew that the most valuable thing was the support of the community. So we started training volunteers who could horizontally spread the knowledge among their neighbors. We wanted something grassroots so we could popularize this idea of small-scale production."

While urban residents built community gardens to meet their own needs, the government undertook a sweeping national agrarian reform program. The large, Soviet-model state farms were broken into smaller, farmer-run co-operatives. The state started to set up an infrastructure of organic compost and organic pest and disease control centers to help farmers make the transition away from chemical inputs. To give farmers incentives to grow produce for the domestic market, the government allowed the creation of farmers' markets in the cities, a break from the formerly state-dominated food system.

"It's amazing. When we had more resources in the '80s – oil and everything – the system was less efficient than it is today."

Today, Cuban agriculture is on the mend. Vegetable production doubled from 1994 to 1998, and then doubled again in 1999. Harvest totals for key crops such as potatoes and plantains have tripled. Cereal and bean yields are up, as are numbers for meat and egg production. Perhaps most significantly, daily caloric intake is back to its 1989 level and, in a sign of restored prosperity, some Cubans are beginning to worry about obesity.

And all of this has occurred using just a fraction of the chemicals that agriculture in the "developed" world depends on. Before the crisis hit, Cuba used more than 1 million tons of synthetic fertilizers a year; today it uses about 90,000 tons. During the Soviet period, Cuba applied up to 35,000 tons of herbicides and pesticides a year; today the number is about 1,000 tons. The country is a living example of how to grow food on a large, national scale without being reliant on petroleum-based inputs.

"It's very simple. We've moved to organics, not because we're Greenpeace members, but because we can't afford chemicals," Juan José León, an official at the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, told me. "Everything we have gained, all the experience we have gained, we are not going to leave that behind."

Growing community

Like many small, poor countries, Cuba remains reliant on exported agriculture to earn hard currency. The island is a robust exporter of tobacco, sugar, coffee, and citrus, and is selling a significant amount of the last three products as organically certified. Foreign investment in such ventures is on the rise.

But when it comes to sustainable agriculture, Cuba's most impressive innovation is its network of urban farms and gardens. There are, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture, some 150,000 acres of land being cultivated in urban and suburban settings. That represents thousands of community farms, ranging from modest courtyards to production sites that fill entire city blocks.

These urban farms and gardens – organoponicos, as they are called in Spanish – offer an inspiring example of community organizing and empowerment. An unusual mix of private initiative and public investment, the organoponicos show how a combination of grassroots effort and official support can result in sweeping change. They illustrate, in a very real and tangible way, how neighbors can come together to fulfill that most basic of needs – feeding ourselves.

When the food crisis hit, the organoponicos were an ad hoc response by local communities to increase the amount of available food. No government official from on high had to tell the people that they needed more to eat. But as the potency of the community farming movement became obvious, the Cuban government stepped in to provide key infrastructure support and to assist with information dissemination and skills sharing.

At most organoponicos, the government provides the community farmers with the land and the water. The gardens can buy from the government key materials such as organic composts, seeds, and irrigation parts. Especially important in an organic system, the government sells "biocontrols" such as beneficial insects (predatory bugs like lacewings that eat pests such as aphids); bacterial agents that help keep plant diseases in check; and plant-based oils (such as Neem oil) that work as pesticides. These biological pest and disease controls are produced in some 200 government centers, deliberately small-scale and spread out to increase access to local farms and decrease the need for transportation and fuel use.

What the people provide is the labor. Since most of the organoponicos are built on land unsuitable for cultivation, they rely on raised planter beds to grow their crops – planter beds that require a lot of muscle power to complete. No matter what city or town you find them in, the organoponicos have a signature look: 4-feet-wide by 2.5-feet-deep white-washed planter beds dominate the scene. The length depends on the size of the lot. Some beds are 10-feet-long. Others are closer to 300-feet-long: A football field-sized vegetable garden in the middle of a city.

Once the organoponicos are laid out, the work remains labor-intensive. All of the planting and weeding is done by hand, as is the harvesting. Soil fertility is maintained through a complex system of worm composting. The farms feed their excess biomass, along with manure from nearby rural farms, to worms that then produce a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Crews spread about two pounds of compost per square yard on the bed tops before each new planting.

Despite the tropical heat, it doesn't look like drudgery. Among organoponico employees, there is a palpable pride in their creation. The atmosphere is cooperative and congenial: There is no boss in sight, and each person seems to understand well their role and what's expected of them. The work occurs fluidly, with a quite grace.

Reuters photo.A disabled Cuban child waters a garden with the help of a
therapist at a special needs kindergarten in Havana.

"We have all kinds of gardeners – artists, doctors, teachers," said Fernando Morel, president of the Cuban Association of Agronomists. "It's amazing. When we had more resources in the '80s, oil and everything, the system was less efficient than it is today."

Indeed, the hybrid public-private partnership appears to work well. In return for providing the land, the government receives a portion of the produce – usually about one-fifth of the harvest – to use at state-run daycare centers, schools, and hospitals. The workers get to keep the rest to sell at produce stands located right at the farm. It seems a more-than-fair trade.

Progress you can eat

By statistical measures, the Cuban experiment with urban agriculture is a success. The city of Havana, for example, produces enough food for each resident to receive a daily serving of 280 grams (9.88 ounces) of fruits and vegetables. The United Nations Food Program recommends 305 grams (10.76 ounces) of fruits and vegetables a day. There are few other cities in the world that could say as much.

But, beyond the government press releases and brochure-friendly images of gardens next to highways, does it really work for ordinary Cubans? The answer is yes, at least as measured by the good cheer of the farmers and the gratitude of the shoppers.

Joe Kovach, an entomologist from Ohio State University who visited Cuba on a 2006 research delegation, sums up the situation: "In 25 years of working with farmers, these are the happiest, most optimistic, and best-paid farmers I have ever met."

The workers at the five-acre "Cellia Sanchez Manguley" organoponico in the provincial city of Sancti Spíritus prove the point.

"This is beautiful work," a woman named Aymara said as she harvested tomatoes. "It's great to be able to reclaim the production for ourselves."

"I like working here," said another worker, cigar clamped firmly in his teeth, as he helped with the tomatoes. "It's close to home. I can go home for lunch. And if I want to work a Saturday or a Sunday and then take off a Monday, I can."

The other proof is the lines of people that every day stretch past the organoponico produce stands. People are hungry for the local, fresh produce. Questioned about why they shop at the organoponicos, Cubans almost always give the same response: "Quality."

"It's good quality, it's good quantity, and it's good price," a woman shopping at the largest urban farm in the central city of Santa Clara told a foreign visitor. "It's fresh. Look, look at it. They're harvesting it right now." She points, and indeed they are. As each customer places an order at the farm stand, farm workers fulfill the request, a system that ensures against any waste. It's incredible: harvest-on-demand.

ReutersA Cuban man smokes a cigar while standing next to oxen used to plow soil.

This is a stellar example of the kind of direct marketing that small farmers in the US hope to achieve through sales at local farmers' markets. By eliminating the middleman, the farmers get paid a higher price for their product. And by bringing the consumer closer to the point of production, people get healthier foods. It's local food production at its finest, and everybody wins.

Exporting revolution?

Of course, it's important to acknowledge that Cuba's green revolution – as impressive as it may be – is not entirely replicable in other countries. After all, Cuba remains a state-dominated society with a high degree of social cohesion (or social control, depending upon your point of view). The question is whether a more liberal society without that kind of central command structure would be able to respond as effectively to a sudden breakdown in the food system.

Perhaps the answer can be glimpsed in the resilience of the experiment. For people in other countries, the lessons of the Cuban success come not through the details of the systems, (which are society- and site-specific) but via the average Cuban citizen's commitment to the ideal of local food production.

The case of bicycling in Havana helps make the case. During the "Special Period" bikes became a common sight throughout Cuba as the country grasped for fossil fuel-free transportation. Recently, however, Venezuela's ideologically sympathetic president, Hugo Chavez, has given some $2 billion a year in subsidized oil to Cuba. Not surprisingly, perhaps, most people in Havana have given up their bikes and returned to their cars. But while the bikes have disappeared, the urban farms and gardens have not. That's because they provide a direct source of jobs and food to the community. Nothing sharpens the attention quite like hunger.

Even as Cuba enjoys increased opportunities to return to a chemical-based, long-distance food system, the country is sticking with its organoponicos.

Urban farmer Israel Hernandez says that he, for one, would not give up managing his half-acre organoponico. A wiry and intense old-timer, he has the leathery hands and wrinkled features of someone who has spent most of his years in the sun. When he talks about his garden – the work he does there with children, and how he provides vegetables to a local daycare center – his pride is obvious. In his commitment to growing food for his neighborhood, one hears the persistence of nature, the yearning that we feel to be connected to the biological systems on which our very lives depend.

"I used to live in the mountains, and I fought in the mountains with the Revolution, and I worked on a dairy," Hernandez said. "I became a history teacher, and later I worked for the government in the Interior Ministry. I was retired. I stopped working. And then I came back to run this garden. I love it, I love it. We have a saying here in Cuba: 'The wild animal returns to the wild.' … I am that wild animal."

Jason Mark is working on his second book, Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots, to be published in the fall of 2007 by PoliPointPress. He co-manages San Francisco's Alemany Farm (


eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
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Eco Man | 6 Sep 22:16 2007

MMM. BREAKING. Bush Knew Saddam Had No Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The proof keeps rolling in. Did Bush know? Is the Pope Catholic? :)


  Thursday, September 06, 2007  

Bush Knew Saddam Had No Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Sydney Blumenthal

On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

On April 23, 2006, CBS's "60 Minutes" interviewed Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe, who disclosed that the agency had received documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD. "We continued to validate him the whole way through," said Drumheller. "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy."

Now two former senior CIA officers have confirmed Drumheller's account to me and provided the background to the story of how the information that might have stopped the invasion of Iraq was twisted in order to justify it. They described what Tenet said to Bush about the lack of WMD, and how Bush responded, and noted that Tenet never shared Sabri's intelligence with then Secretary of State Colin Powell. According to the former officers, the intelligence was also never shared with the senior military planning the invasion, which required U.S. soldiers to receive medical shots against the ill effects of WMD and to wear protective uniforms in the desert.

Instead, said the former officials, the information was distorted in a report written to fit the preconception that Saddam did have WMD programs. That false and restructured report was passed to Richard Dearlove, chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), who briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair on it as validation of the cause for war.

Secretary of State Powell, in preparation for his presentation of evidence of Saddam's WMD to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, spent days at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and had Tenet sit directly behind him as a sign of credibility. But Tenet, according to the sources, never told Powell about existing intelligence that there were no WMD, and Powell's speech was later revealed to be a series of falsehoods.

Both the French intelligence service and the CIA paid Sabri hundreds of thousands of dollars (at least $200,000 in the case of the CIA) to give them documents on Saddam's WMD programs. "The information detailed that Saddam may have wished to have a program, that his engineers had told him they could build a nuclear weapon within two years if they had fissible material, which they didn't, and that they had no chemical or biological weapons," one of the former CIA officers told me.

On the eve of Sabri's appearance at the United Nations in September 2002 to present Saddam's case, the officer in charge of this operation met in New York with a "cutout" who had debriefed Sabri for the CIA. Then the officer flew to Washington, where he met with CIA deputy director John McLaughlin, who was "excited" about the report. Nonetheless, McLaughlin expressed his reservations. He said that Sabri's information was at odds with "our best source." That source was code-named "Curveball," later exposed as a fabricator, con man and former Iraqi taxi driver posing as a chemical engineer.

The next day, Sept. 18, Tenet briefed Bush on Sabri. "Tenet told me he briefed the president personally," said one of the former CIA officers. According to Tenet, Bush's response was to call the information "the same old thing." Bush insisted it was simply what Saddam wanted him to think. "The president had no interest in the intelligence," said the CIA officer. The other officer said, "Bush didn't give a fuck about the intelligence. He had his mind made up."

But the CIA officers working on the Sabri case kept collecting information. "We checked on everything he told us." French intelligence eavesdropped on his telephone conversations and shared them with the CIA. These taps "validated" Sabri's claims, according to one of the CIA officers. The officers brought this material to the attention of the newly formed Iraqi Operations Group within the CIA. But those in charge of the IOG were on a mission to prove that Saddam did have WMD and would not give credit to anything that came from the French. "They kept saying the French were trying to undermine the war," said one of the CIA officers.

The officers continued to insist on the significance of Sabri's information, but one of Tenet's deputies told them, "You haven't figured this out yet. This isn't about intelligence. It's about regime change."

The CIA officers on the case awaited the report they had submitted on Sabri to be circulated back to them, but they never received it. They learned later that a new report had been written. "It was written by someone in the agency, but unclear who or where, it was so tightly controlled. They knew what would please the White House. They knew what the king wanted," one of the officers told me.

That report contained a false preamble stating that Saddam was "aggressively and covertly developing" nuclear weapons and that he already possessed chemical and biological weapons. "Totally out of whack," said one of the CIA officers. "The first [para]graph of an intelligence report is the most important and most read and colors the rest of the report." He pointed out that the case officer who wrote the initial report had not written the preamble and the new memo. "That's not what the original memo said."

The report with the misleading introduction was given to Dearlove of MI6, who briefed the prime minister. "They were given a scaled-down version of the report," said one of the CIA officers. "It was a summary given for liaison, with the sourcing taken out. They showed the British the statement Saddam was pursuing an aggressive program, and rewrote the report to attempt to support that statement. It was insidious. Blair bought it." "Blair was duped," said the other CIA officer. "He was shown the altered report."

The information provided by Sabri was considered so sensitive that it was never shown to those who assembled the NIE on Iraqi WMD. Later revealed to be utterly wrong, the NIE read: "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

In the congressional debate over the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, even those voting against it gave credence to the notion that Saddam possessed WMD. Even a leading opponent such as Sen. Bob Graham, then the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who had instigated the production of the NIE, declared in his floor speech on Oct. 12, 2002, "Saddam Hussein's regime has chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get nuclear capacity." Not a single senator contested otherwise. None of them had an inkling of the Sabri intelligence.

The CIA officers assigned to Sabri still argued within the agency that his information must be taken seriously, but instead the administration preferred to rely on Curveball. Drumheller learned from the German intelligence service that held Curveball that it considered him and his claims about WMD to be highly unreliable. But the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) insisted that Curveball was credible because what he said was supposedly congruent with available public information.

For two months, Drumheller fought against the use of Curveball, raising the red flag that he was likely a fraud, as he turned out to be. "Oh, my! I hope that's not true," said Deputy Director McLaughlin, according to Drumheller's book "On the Brink," published in 2006. When Curveball's information was put into Bush's Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address, McLaughlin and Tenet allowed it to pass into the speech. "From three Iraqi defectors," Bush declared, "we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs … Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them." In fact, there was only one Iraqi source — Curveball — and there were no labs.

When the mobile weapons labs were inserted into the draft of Powell's United Nations speech, Drumheller strongly objected again and believed that the error had been removed. He was shocked watching Powell's speech. "We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails," Powell announced. Without the reference to the mobile weapons labs, there was no image of a threat.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, and Powell himself later lamented that they had not been warned about Curveball. And McLaughlin told the Washington Post in 2006, "If someone had made these doubts clear to me, I would not have permitted the reporting to be used in Secretary Powell's speech." But, in fact, Drumheller's caution was ignored.

As war appeared imminent, the CIA officers on the Sabri case tried to arrange his defection in order to demonstrate that he stood by his information. But he would not leave without bringing out his entire family. "He dithered," said one former CIA officer. And the war came before his escape could be handled.

Tellingly, Sabri's picture was never put on the deck of playing cards of former Saddam officials to be hunted down, a tacit acknowledgment of his covert relationship with the CIA. Today, Sabri lives in Qatar.

In 2005, the Silberman-Robb commission investigating intelligence in the Iraq war failed to interview the case officer directly involved with Sabri; instead its report blamed the entire WMD fiasco on "groupthink" at the CIA. "They didn't want to trace this back to the White House," said the officer.

On Feb. 5, 2004, Tenet delivered a speech at Georgetown University that alluded to Sabri and defended his position on the existence of WMD, which, even then, he contended would still be found. "Several sensitive reports crossed my desk from two sources characterized by our foreign partners as established and reliable," he said. "The first from a source who had direct access to Saddam and his inner circle" — Naji Sabri — "said Iraq was not in the possession of a nuclear weapon. However, Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon."

Then Tenet claimed with assurance, "The same source said that Iraq was stockpiling chemical weapons." He explained that this intelligence had been central to his belief in the reason for war. "As this information and other sensitive information came across my desk, it solidified and reinforced the judgments that we had reached in my own view of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and I conveyed this view to our nation's leaders." (Tenet doesn't mention Sabri in his recently published memoir, "At the Center of the Storm.")

But where were the WMD? "Now, I'm sure you're all asking, 'Why haven't we found the weapons?' I've told you the search must continue and it will be difficult."

On Sept. 8, 2006, three Republican senators on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — Orrin Hatch, Saxby Chambliss and Pat Roberts — signed a letter attempting to counter Drumheller's revelation about Sabri on "60 Minutes": "All of the information about this case so far indicates that the information from this source was that Iraq did have WMD programs." The Republicans also quoted Tenet, who had testified before the committee in July 2006 that Drumheller had "mischaracterized" the intelligence. Still, Drumheller stuck to his guns, telling Reuters, "We have differing interpretations, and I think mine's right."

One of the former senior CIA officers told me that despite the certitude of the three Republican senators, the Senate committee never had the original memo on Sabri. "The committee never got that report," he said. "The material was hidden or lost, and because it was a restricted case, a lot of it was done in hard copy. The whole thing was fogged up, like Curveball."

While one Iraqi source told the CIA that there were no WMD, information that was true but distorted to prove the opposite, another Iraqi source was a fabricator whose lies were eagerly embraced. "The real tragedy is that they had a good source that they misused," said one of the former CIA officers. "The fact is there was nothing there, no threat. But Bush wanted to hear what he wanted to hear."

-Sidney Blumenthal

© 2007

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13 Comments so far

  1. Paul Bramscher September 6th, 2007 12:08 pm

    Now why didn't the CIA debrief members of the Senate/House about this before they gave Bush a green-light for Iraq?

  2. COMarc September 6th, 2007 12:14 pm

    Anyone who could add 2+2 and get 4 knew Iraq had no WMDs in 2002.

    The first 2 …
    The UN inspectors that went back to Iraq in fall 2002 had full access and the ability to go anywhere they wanted to go and to check anything. If you don't believe this, their reports back to the UN Security Council where they state this are available on the UN website.

    The second 2 …
    If the US or any intelligence agency had a hint as to where these weapons were, had been or had been produced, then they could easily have told this to the UN weapons inspectors, who, since they had unlimitted access in Iraq, could have gone and checked out the site. These inspectors had pretty sophisticated gear that could detect chemical traces or radiation traces left behind by the WMDs.

    Add 2+2 together and you get the fact that when the UN inspectors were there for months and couldn't find a shred of evidence that there were WMDs, then this means that the 'intelligence' saying Iraq had them was at best very questionable … if not an obvious outright lie. And it certainly meant there was no immediate threat to the US or Europe or anyone else from these weapons that no one could find a hint of.

    This is why I laugh so hard every time I hear some Democrat that supported the war try to say it was because they were given bad intel. It was obviously bad intel to anyone who could think and add 2+2 and get the correct answer. Thus its also obvious that the Democrats voted yes to support the war because they really wanted to support the war.

  3. Kristina40 September 6th, 2007 12:43 pm

    I just got in an argument with a Republican customer of mine last Thursday night about this exact thing. He insisted all the intel pointed to Iraq having WMD's and that Britain also had intel that stated the same. I printed this article to take to work with me tonight, he should enjoy reading it *smile*

  4. kivals September 6th, 2007 1:27 pm


    I do not believe that the Democrats were or are as bloodthirsty as the Bush/Cheney criminal gang, but instead that they showed themselves to be craven feckless worms. They like their cushy jobs and they were afraid that if they opposed the war then not only would the rightwing echo chamber and its associated crazies beat up on them, but the regular corporate media would subject them to steady fire, AIPAC would hound them, and their opponents in the next election could expect hefty contributions from the oil and defense industries. And they figured so what if a few thousand defenseless Iraqis and a few dozen Americans get killed (a common estimate at the time), the US abandoned any pretense of respecting international law or other nations' sovereignty, and Bush's oil and defense buddies would make out like bandits? It was no skin off their noses.

    It showed a cavalier and callous attitude towards governing, rather than bloodlust, and that should be enough to earn our eternal disdain.

  5. curmudgeon99 September 6th, 2007 1:50 pm

    It was no mistake!

    Google "Rebuilding America's Defenses" a document created by the Project for a New American Century.

    It's all been available on the web since 1998 even though the doc. was changed to remove direct quotes by Condoleeza and others in 2003/2004 timeframe.

  6. laddy September 6th, 2007 1:53 pm

    Isn't it funny that Bush believed Saddam when he told them that he had WMD but refused to believe him when he told Bush and the world that he didn't have any. But as we see now that Bush didn't believe him at that time. Now look what's happened to Iraq and the rest of the world. I believe Bush thinks that it is his job to deliver Jesus to us. Thanks but now thanks.

  7. MountainMike September 6th, 2007 2:05 pm

    I can't help but feel extremely irritated with Bush true believers in 2007 saying that there is no evidence that Bush lied or manipulated intel in order to get the invasion the neo cons wanted. I would like to grind a few Republican noses into this article. I'm sure they will go on a true believers in Bush, but it would be a good exercise in demonstrating how utterly shameless they are in their infatuation with the president.

  8. KEM PATRICK September 6th, 2007 2:12 pm

    Of course Bush knew. The problem was, the American public didn't know ___ because Bush and his gang lied to us and to congress about the entire situation and corrupted the intelligence reports. Those in power who did suspect, or know the truth, were shut up and the press didn't do their rightful duty. I blame the press more than anyone, other than Bush and cheney, for the entire criminal acts thet led up to what we have now.

  9. Paul Bramscher September 6th, 2007 2:45 pm


    The more looming question is why the intelligence agenicies didn't inform the relevant Senate/House intelligence committees what the real data suggested. And, if they did inform Congress — and they still gave Bush the green light — then we should be blaming Congress. Bush may be insane, but Congress ought to have known better.

    So what's the real story here? The CIA serves only Republicans or the Democrats are fully complicit?

  10. KEM PATRICK September 6th, 2007 3:08 pm

    Paul good point, but due to the number of intelligence agencies and their mind set of being so secret about any and everything, the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. They still don't.

    The entire Iraq operatin from 9-11 to the invasion didn't actually take long; besides, it was being planned prior to 9-11. Also, some agencies directors could have been in cahoots with Rummy and Cheney. They were both involved up to their eyeballs with dissimilation of the intelligence. I believe some in Congress were in the loop and many were suspect of what Bush was reading from his well prepared papers. In adddition, Bush promised to exploit every avenue before starting a war.___ He lied. I don't blame Congress as a whole, some of course were well aware of what was going on, not enough of them were. The press should have known, that's their duty.

  11. notasonata September 6th, 2007 3:49 pm

    SON OF A BUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Vince Lawrence September 6th, 2007 3:57 pm

    Oh come on folks the whole country is complicit. I knew Sadam didn't have the weapons and, except that I don't gamble, would have bet money on it. And I'm just an ordinary schmuck in rustbelt USA.

    How did I know and why was I so certain?

    In '91 we bombed Iraq back to a pre-industrial state in Desert Storm (TM). Then we destroyed his army in the field.

    For the twelve years between the wars we sanctioned Iraq into near starvation all the while U.N. weapons inspectors went about the business of locating and destroying plants, munitions, and feedstocks. Not even known to me at the time was the full extent of our continual air operations over Iraq (between the wars) in the "no-fly zones," and that would have been a clincher for sure.

    It was my conclusion that Sadam had just enough wiggle room to line his pockets and await the second coming. Though it was within the realm of possibility that he could still produce a limited quantity of chemical weapons, I was fairly certain that biological weapons were not possible due to the staggering destruction visited upon his nation. The claim that he was developing an atomic weapon was laughable if you even know a little of the massive effort it takes to accomplish that.

    All of the information I cited above was readily available via the mainstream media. I watched on network TV with horror and trepidation the first war - Desert Storm - and understood the methodical destruction of Iraq's infrastructure. Again, network TV and my local paper always carried stories during the 12 year interlude concerning the activities of U.N. weapons inspectors disabling Sadam's WMD capabilities.

    My own eyes and my common sense told me that Bush and his cronies were full of shit. The final proof came upon reading the PNAC document and then hearing Bush outline the initiation of never-ending war in the months leading up to the invasion. I recognized the WMD bullshit for the convenient lie that it was.

    Bush knew? Of course he did, and so should anyone else with even a modicum of common sense. Don't give me that b.s. "it's not our fault he lied to us." Those who believed it wanted to be lied to.

    I also predicted several years ago on this site that because so many people were involved in this scam that eventualy some would come forward and spill the beans. It is not too late to begin impeachment proceedings.

  13. John F. Butterfield September 6th, 2007 4:00 pm

    COMarc is correct.

    I remember seeing videos of inspectors getting in their vehicles, driving in one direction, and then suddenly changing direction. The idea was to confuse any Iraqis who might be watching them and trying to guess their destination. The inspectors wanted to make surprise inspections.

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eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
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Eco Man | 7 Sep 18:13 2007

MMM. Denver. "Lowest Law Enforcement Priority" marijuana initiative.

Google also Seattle's successful "Lowest Law Enforcement Priority" law. They have very few cannabis possession arrests.


Feature: Stirring the Pot in Denver -- "Lowest Law Enforcement Priority" Marijuana Initiative to Go to Voters As Activists Bedevil Council, Mayor

Issue #500, Sep 07, 2007

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Feature: Stirring the Pot in Denver -- "Lowest Law Enforcement Priority" Marijuana Initiative to Go to Voters As Activists Bedevil Council, Mayor

The Denver city council agreed August 27 to put an initiative to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority on this fall's municipal ballot. It's not that the council likes the idea; in Denver, the council must either send initiatives that have gathered the required number of voter signatures to the voters or approve them and put them into law immediately.

Unlike a number of other cities across the country that have lowest law enforcement priority marijuana ordinances, marijuana is actually legal under Denver's municipal code. Voters there voted to legalize it in 2005, but local law enforcement and political officials have refused to implement the will of the voters, instead arresting marijuana offenders under Colorado state law. Despite the clear signal from the voters, marijuana arrests actually increased last year.

SAFER rally, August 27, 2007
Although the council unanimously approved putting the initiative before the voters, various members lambasted it as mainly symbolic and its supporters for making "a joke" out of elections.

"You're trying to make a joke out of the electoral process in Denver," said Councilwoman Carol Boigan. "I think this is aimed at street theater and capturing media attention."

Even members who support drug policy reform, like Councilman Chris Nevitt, who supported the 2005 legalization initiative and the failed 2006 state legalization initiative, said the lowest priority initiative was the wrong way to go.

"The war on drugs is as misguided as the war on Iraq," said Nevitt, who compared the country's drug laws to the failure of Prohibition. "This issue needs to be taken to the state and federal level. Denver voters have already spoken."

The initiative is the brainchild of Citizens for a Safer Denver, the latest incarnation of executive director Mason Tvert's SAFER (Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation), which started off winning campus votes to equalize penalties for marijuana and alcohol, then moved on to the stunning legalization victory in Denver two years ago. SAFER's primary point, which it hammers at continuously, is that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

Tvert and his fellow activists have specialized in tormenting the Denver political establishment for its stand on marijuana, particularly targeting Mayor John Hickenlooper, who owns the Wynkoop microbrewery and who opposed the legalization initiative, the failed statewide legalization initiative (which won majority support in Denver), and the pending initiative. They once followed Hickenlooper around with a man wearing a chicken suit named "Chickenlooper" when he refused to debate them.

SAFER and its latest municipal incarnation have also specialized in innovative tactics designed to incite media attention to advance their cause. And they've been at it again in recent weeks. In an August 23 press release the group offered to withdraw its initiative if the city council and mayor would agree to enact a moratorium on marijuana arrests during next summer's Democratic national convention, agree to formally recognize that adult marijuana use is less harmful than alcohol use, and agree to explore marijuana policies that reflect the understanding that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

"In order to demonstrate their commitment to a more rational approach to the use of marijuana and alcohol -- and to set an example for the rest of the nation -- our campaign respectfully requests city officials enact a moratorium on citations for adult marijuana use during the 2008 Democratic National Convention," said Tvert in the press release. "Tens of thousands of people will be flooding Denver for this tumultuous event, and visitors and city residents should not face the threat of arrest for simply making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. After all, this is the first city in the United States that has voted to remove all penalties for private adult marijuana use," he noted.

"We understand the Denver City Council and Mayor Hickenlooper are extremely concerned about maintaining order during the convention. By allowing adults to consume marijuana instead of alcohol during this hectic time, they could potentially prevent the disorder that all too often accompanies the use and abuse of alcohol."

"The council was looking for ways to keep our initiative off the ballot, so we decided to help them out," Tvert told the Chronicle this week. "We also wanted to generate some attention as the spotlight is put on Denver for the Democratic national convention."

The council and mayor unsurprisingly didn't bite, but the offer received saturation press in Denver and Colorado, and even managed to earn a story in the Washington Times, "Pot Touted to Calm Denver Rallies."

"The council basically pulled a 180 trying to fight to keep it on the ballot in the face of our offer," Tvert said. "We weren't allowed to withdraw the initiative, but this just shows they're trying to void this any way possible."

Tvert also had some less than kind words for the mayor and the council. "The council has signaled they will oppose the initiative," he said. "There are three who say they are with us in spirit but against this particular law. Our city council has every right to tell the police to stop arresting adults for marijuana possession, but these people are acting like cowardly sell-outs," he said, singling out council members Chris Nevitt and Doug Linkhart, both of whom support marijuana legalization.

Neither Nevitt nor the mayor's office returned Chronicle calls seeking comment, but Linkhart did.

"I would like to see marijuana legalized in Colorado," said Linkhart. "Voters here in Denver have twice voted for that, and I supported those efforts. But I don't support this initiative. The police are sworn to enforce the law, and you either have the law or you don't," he said.

Linkhart also attacked Tvert over his tactics. "His stunts make some elected people angry, and that may hurt his cause," he said. "He is good at getting a lot of attention and getting the media involved, but I'm not sure that really helps his cause."

"They say this measure is only symbolic, but it will create a law that they will have to break if they want to continue doing business as usual," Tvert said. "We're forcing their hand on this."

Tvert and Citizens for a Safer Denver also managed to generate a story in the Denver Daily News the day of the council vote that outed at least four council members and the mayor as having smoked marijuana. Titled "Hypocrisy on Pot?," the piece could not have been more timely.

"We knew the mayor had partaken," said Tvert. "He says he had admitted it, but it was news to most people. This just shows how full of crap they are. We had a couple of council members saying marijuana is a gateway drug, but those council members who smoked, as well as the mayor, all seem to be functioning well," he snorted.

And while the fall vote is still weeks away, Tvert and the crew are keeping up the pressure on the mayor and the council. Their latest move is to demand a public hearing on a measure that would renew the city's partnership with the Coors Brewing Company, based in suburban Golden. The deal would allow Coors to sponsor events at the Colorado Convention Center, among other venues. The deal "sends the wrong message to children," said Tvert.

"Once and for all, the Council needs to explain why it is necessary to punish adults for using marijuana in order to send the right message to children, yet somehow it's no problem to have our city officially partner with an alcohol company to promote alcohol use to all who attend these events, including children," he said, adding that he is concerned that Coors could be sponsoring a circus next month where many children will be in attendance.

Maybe the Denver political establishment would be better off getting on board with its citizens' views on what the marijuana laws should be. At least then, it wouldn't have Tvert to hound it.


another strategy

They should pass a law that says "when both a city and state law cover the same crime, the law with the lesser penalty shall be applied".

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eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
Your email settings: Individual Email|Traditional
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Eco Man | 7 Sep 20:38 2007

MMM. Add info to 2008 GMM city pages. Wiki. Global Marijuana March. May 3, 2008.

Cannabis action worldwide!

There is a self-serve wiki for 2008 (and all years) GMM cities.
Global Marijuana March. May 3, 2008.

Just click any city link on these pages, and then click the edit buttons. Anybody can put in some info and links. It is just like email. Except everybody gets to see the info.

Wiki home:
All years. 473 city pages ready for use:

Wikipedia always needs more info too:
Cannabis Portal:

Check this out:


Just put a city name in the searches too.

eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
Your email settings: Individual Email|Traditional
Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
Change settings via email: Switch delivery to Daily Digest | Switch to Fully Featured
Visit Your Group | Yahoo! Groups Terms of Use | Unsubscribe

Eco Man | 8 Sep 17:34 2007

MMM. Almonds FUMIGATED! Boycott Blue Diamond nuts. Buy imported almonds.

2 articles below detail recent USDA pollution of domestic raw almonds with a toxic, cancer-causing fumigant. The USDA wants to prevent the repetition of a couple, small industrial-farming-caused salmonella incidents concerning almonds. By substituting deaths from fumigant-induced cancers. Brilliant solution to a non-problem. Since the so-called problem is due to cross-contamination of poorly-cleaned equipment from factory-farming pollution. The USDA doesn't fumigate or steam-sterilize raw, organic, lettuce mixes! So why almonds? The reason is domestic, shared-monopoly lobbying from Blue Diamond, the major almond producer, and others, in order to further prop up their shared monopoly. By destroying smaller almond producers through this burdensome rule that requires the use of some v ery expensive fumigation, or steam-sterilization, equipment. You WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BUY  RAW DOMESTIC ALMONDS!

Please forward this boycott info widely. Almonds FUMIGATED! Boycott Blue Diamond nuts. Buy imported almonds.


Food & Health : Laws & Politics
ALERT: USDA Says Foods Labeled as 'Raw' Can Be Pasteurized
Under pressure from industrial agriculture lobbyists, the USDA has quietly approved a new regulation that will effectively end distribution of raw almonds, while putting many family farmers out of business. The regulation is scheduled to go into effect in just a few short days on September 1st, unless thousands of consumers take action now.
Sep 2, 2007 - 6:52:58 PM

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Food & Health : Laws & Politics Last Updated: Sep 2, 2007 - 7:06:42 PM

ALERT: USDA Says Foods Labeled as 'Raw' Can Be Pasteurized
By Organic Consumers and The Cornucopia Institute
Sep 2, 2007 - 6:52:58 PM

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Editor's note:  We prefer almonds like many other nuts not being processed in any way for any purpose and then being claimed to be raw or natural.  Using a chemical to kill microorganisms is not a pasteurization process.  When you call it pasteurization, you change the original definition of pasteurization, which potentially misleads consumers.  Some consumers will avoid ALL almonds if such a process is allowed to be used.  That is the message the industry needs to hear.  After all, almonds are not an indispensable vitamin.

Sunday September 2, 2007 ( -- Under pressure from industrial agriculture lobbyists, the USDA has quietly approved a new regulation that will effectively end distribution of raw almonds, while putting many family farmers out of business. The regulation is scheduled to go into effect in just a few short days on September 1st, unless thousands of consumers take action now.

The rule requires pasteurization of almonds, including organic, yet allows those same almonds to continue to be labeled as "raw". Nutritionists point out that raw, organic almonds are far superior, in terms of nutrition, than pasteurized almonds.

One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods requires the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a "possible human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.

Organic and family-scale almond farmers are protesting the proposed rule, saying it will effectively put them out of business, since the minimum price for the pasteurization equipment is $500,000.

The agency claims pasteurization is necessary, since there have been two food contamination incidents with raw almonds since 2001.

But both of these incidents, in fact, were the result of blatant mismanagement on large industrial-scale almond farms.

Take action now or read on?  The following is written by The Cornucopia Institute.

The Cornucopia Institute, April 17, 2007
Straight to the Source

In response to two outbreaks of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004 traced to raw almonds grown in California, the Almond Board of California and the USDA have quietly developed a new regulation mandating that all almonds undergo a sterilization process that includes chemical and/or high-temperature treatments.

The plan is angering many small-scale farmers, retailers, and consumers. This new rule is controversial for many reasons.  It could force family farms out of business, ignores the underlying systemic problems with conventional agriculture that cause food contamination, and is upsetting to consumers seeking organic and raw foods.

Truth in Advertising, or Greenwashing Questionable Technology?

While the USDA generously describes the new almond treatments as pasteurization, the most common treatment method expected to be used fumigates almonds with propylene oxide.  In lab experiments, the chemical leads to gene mutation, DNA strand breaks, and neoplastic cell transformation.  The U.S. EPA has classified propylene oxide as a probable human carcinogen.  Its use in treating food for human consumption is banned in the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and most other countries. 

Organic Almonds Might Be Safer but Will Not Be "Raw"

The only exemptions to these new regulations will be organic "raw" almonds, which will not be fumigated, but will undergo the steam-heat treatment, and small-scale growers who can sell truly raw almonds but only direct to the public from farm stands. Almonds that have heat treatment will deceptively still be labeled as "raw," despite having undergone surface sterilization treatments.

Family Farmers Could Be Squeezed Out of Business

The costs of the chemical and heat treatments, in addition to the costs of transporting and recording the new procedures, will be especially onerous on small-scale and organic farmers.  The equipment to pasteurize almonds is very expensive.  A propylene oxide chamber costs $500,000 to $1,250,000, and a roasting line can cost as much as $1,500,000 to $2,500,000.  Smaller, family-operated handlers that buy almonds from small, family-owned almond growers and cater to the organic and natural foods markets, are concerned that they will not be able to afford such expensive equipment and will be forced out of the almond business.


Unlike milk, eggs, and meats, for which real pasteurization or cooking offers an important protection from food-borne illness, no scientific evidence exists to show that almonds are an inherently risky food.  In fact, Salmonella contamination of almonds can only occur when livestock manure or fecal matter is inadvertently transferred to the nuts through contaminated water, soil, or transportation and handling equipment.  Almonds may also be infected by poor employee sanitation either on the farm or in processing facilities. 

While two outbreaks may bring bad publicity and economic losses to the almond industry, it does not prove that almonds are inherently unsafe.  Is it justified to impose these onerous regulations on an entire industry, impacting all consumers, because of two relatively small outbreaks, one of which has been traced to Paramount Farms, a giant, industrial-scale farming operation raising 70,000 of acres of nut crops, that is by no means representative of the industry as a whole?

Rule Status

The rule is set to go into effect on September 1.  The Cornucopia Institute has formally asked the USDA to re-open the regulatory proceeding to allow for additional public input and review.  Only 18 public comments-all from the almond industry-were received on the draft rule when it was open for public comment in early 2007.  Unlike consumers, retailers, or other organizations concerned with food safety, all almond handlers received a personal letter or fax from the USDA alerting them to the sterilization proposal and inviting their comments. It's time other stakeholders-consumers and retailers-have an opportunity to have their voices heard in this matter.

We urge all concerned consumers, retailers, and farmers to contact the USDA and demand that the new rule mandating "pasteurization" of almonds be re-opened for public comment and review.  Cornucopia has a comprehensive fact sheet on the almond issue on its web page, and a sample letter for interested individuals to send to the USDA can be found at

Your support of The Cornucopia Institute underwrites our work on food and farm policy issues concerning sustainable and organic agriculture.  You can donate online using our secure credit card server.  Your personal and financial information will not be shared with anyone.

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Article:Organic almond supporters roast pasteurization plan:/c/a/2007/08/23/BUE8RN9HJ.DTL
Article:Organic almond supporters roast pasteurization plan:/c/a/2007/08/23/BUE8RN9HJ.DTL

Organic almond supporters roast pasteurization plan

Thursday, August 23, 2007

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A new food regulation that mandates the pasteurization of California almonds leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Jesse Schwartz, a purveyor of raw organic almond butter and other natural foods in Berkeley.

For 25 years, as president of Living Tree Community Foods, he has done business with small Central Valley farmers, and now, effective Sept. 1, he'll have to buy raw nuts for processing from Italy, Spain and Turkey - almonds of lesser quality, he will tell you.

"Almonds are a part of the heritage of the American people, and it makes me very sad that they're about to dump a fumigant on our American heritage," Schwartz said, referring to a method of pasteurization that involves chemicals.

After two outbreaks of salmonella bacteria poisoning that were traced to almonds - in 2001 and 2004 - the Almond Board of California, the industry's trade association, proposed to the Department of Agriculture that mandatory sterilization be imposed in the name of consumer safety. The government agreed, the rule was written and was scheduled to take effect next month.

On Aug. 1, the Almond Board's directors, fearing there was insufficient sterilization equipment and too few operators in place to treat the nuts and deliver an uninterrupted supply, petitioned for a postponement of the rule to March 1.

This week, the government denied the request, confident the deadline can be met.

The rule that was more than three years in the making - one that burnishes the almond industry's reputation for safety or sullies the noble nut, depending upon your view - will apply to about 500 million pounds of almonds sold in the United States annually.

All the nation's almonds, 1.3 billion pounds this year, are produced in the Central Valley. More than half are exported, and those are exempt from the pasteurization rule. Growers at farmers' markets and those selling from roadside stands are also exempt and can sell raw, unpasteurized almonds to consumers. But the share of the crop sold in the U.S. market - to retailers and food processors, for example - is covered.

In most cases, almond handlers - middlemen who buy nuts from growers and sell to customers - will have responsibility for the pasteurization, and some of the work will be done by food processors or third-party companies.

Some of those almonds will be sterilized by oil roasting and blanching. Organic growers will submit their crops to steam heating, a method approved by organic overseers, although many organic growers are still queazy about the rule.

The most common method of sterilizing almonds is propylene oxide fumigation, using a chemical compound that is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen and that was briefly used as a racing fuel that added oxygen molecules to gasoline.

The National Hot Rod Association put a stop to that in 1993 because of propylene oxide's association with cancer, according to a spokesman.

"The only people who can use that stuff are dressed in space suits with rubber hands and masks," said Schwartz, the raw foods advocate who says the pasteurization rule is an overreaction to the two outbreaks and that "nature provides almonds to us in sterile form" protected by husk and shell.

However, propylene oxide has been used for food sterilization - particularly in nuts, spices and cocoa power - since 1958 and is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.

In the 2001 salmonella incident, several dozen people were sickened in Canada. In 2004, several dozen people were sickened in the United States and eight other countries. In both cases it is believed the almonds came into contact with bacteria at processing plants.

"We said that is unacceptable, that both consumers and our industry are at risk," said Richard Waycott, the chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, in Modesto. "We said, 'Let's figure out what we can do.' "

California almonds handled by Blue Diamond Growers in Sacramento, the largest nut processing and marketing company in the world, representing 3,000 growers, have been pasteurized for four years. The sterilization was a response to the outbreaks. "This is to assure consumers that our products are safe to eat," said Susan Brauner, director of public affairs for the company.

She said the majority of almonds are consumed either as an ingredient in other products and therefore roasted or heated to a temperature that effectively achieves pasteurization. Uncooked almonds are less than 10 percent of the total market, she said.

It's a passionate sector, nonetheless. Advocates in the raw foods and organic movement have prompted more than 15,000 people to sign petitions seeking a halt to enforcement of the pasteurization rule.

"This rule is the brainchild of a subset of the industrial agricultural community" and generated only 18 public comments before critics turned their attention to it, said Mark Kastel, executive director of the organic watchdog group Cornucopia Institute, which is fighting the government's ruling.

"It's more of a ploy by the big outfits, the big handlers, to drive the small guy out of business, because it's easier for them to do the treatment on a large scale," said Hendrik Feenstra, an almond handler in Orland (Glenn County).

Glenn Anderson, an organic almond grower in Hilmar (Merced County) for the past 18 years, said, "It feels like somebody has really done a number on us here. My customers tell me they want to buy the same product they have bought from me for the last 18 years, and I would like to have the right to do that, if that's what the consumer wants. Seems like the American way to me."

Anderson and other organic growers also object to the rule because they believe sustainable farming methods they use, including mulching rather than controlling weeds with chemicals, naturally prevent bacteria.

There will be a cost for the treatment, estimated at 3 to 5 cents per pound, and growers may absorb those costs, said Dave Phippen, a co-owner of Travaille and Phippen, growers, packers and shippers of almonds in Manteca (San Joaquin County).

"That's the way it should be, to advance a very healthy product," said Phippen, a former chairman of the almond board.

He said that objections from raw foods and organic advocates were considered in the rule-making process and that is why the heating process was added to the other methods of sterilization.

"The flip side of that is if there is another outbreak, usually the press does not distinguish between organic and nonorganic - they just made someone sick," said Phippen. "So the consensus was that all almonds would have to go through the kill step because with an outbreak we would have a blemish on the California almond name whether organic or not."

Waycott, the Almond Board's chief executive, said that "a prerequisite was that there would be no degradation of the product" in the pasteurization process. He said nutrition specialists have tested almonds pre- and post-pasteurization and have not found differences in "sensory attributes."

That's a tough sell for Schwartz of Berkeley.

"Before long, it seems," he writes on his Web site, "all the food sold in the Untied States will be genetically modified, irradiated, pasteurized, homogenized, hydrolyzed and packaged for a two-year shelf life and it will all be labeled as 'All Natural.' "

Online resources

Anderson's Web site

Schwartz's Web site

Cornucopia Institute

E-mail George Raine at

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


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eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
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Eco Man | 9 Sep 19:54 2007

MMM. Re: [asa] Medical Marijuana in the News: Week of 9/7

This newsletter is well-formatted. I like the index at the top. I am forwarding this to the cannabis action email list, and public archive:
Please forward widely!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: William Dolphin <asa <at> >
Date: Sep 9, 2007 10:57 AM
Subject: [asa] Medical Marijuana in the News: Week of 9/7
To: asa-w/

ASA's Media Summary for the Week Ending 9/7

FEDERAL: Northern California Raids Spark Protests, Policy Talk

The DEA's latest attempts at interfering with how California is implementing safe access to medical marijuana resulted this week in protests by patients and meetings of local officials. The raids on the San Francisco Bay Area community have created problems for the patients who relied on the three dispensaries. As in Los Angeles, many are challenging local law enforcement over their cooperation with federal agents. San Mateo ASA is launching a campaign to protect dispensaries; they testified at the city council meeting and will be doing the same at the County supervisors hearing next week.

Medical marijuana advocates protest shutdown of three San Mateo clubs
by Michael Manekin, MediaNews
Medical marijuana patients and advocates, upset over the federal raid and closing of three medical cannabis dispensaries in downtown San Mateo last week, are asking city officials for help. "We do not want to see our local tax revenues wasted on paying our local law enforcement to aid in federal raids when there has been no violation of state law," said Brent Saupe, a San Mateo resident and a volunteer with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), an Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy group.

Officials to shape pot policy
by Dana Yates, San Mateo Daily Journal
Patients affected by the closure and recent raids of three San Mateo medical marijuana dispensaries have officials meeting to form a new countywide pot club policy, San Mateo City Manager Arne Croce told members of the City Council last night.

City calls for pot shop regulation
by Michael Manekin, San Mateo County Times
The many battles raging in California over medical marijuana are fueled by a basic disagreement between federal law, which prohibits the possession of cannabis altogether, and state law, which has allowed the selective use of medical marijuana for more than a decade.

OREGON: Federal Judge Says Patient Records Off Limits

A serious challenge to patients' privacy was turned back by a U.S. District judge this week, who denied the federal government's attempt to obtain patient records from Oregon's state medical marijuana program. A chief criticism of programs that require patient registration – as most do – is that it leaves patients vulnerable to being target by the DEA and other federal agencies.

Ruling protects pot patients
by Anne Saker, The Oregonian
A federal judge has thrown out sweeping subpoenas for patient records kept by Oregon's medical marijuana program and a private clinic, saying privacy concerns overruled a grand jury's demand for information.

U.S. court won't allow subpoena of Ore. medical marijuana records
Associated Press
A U.S. District Court has decided the medical records of 17 Oregon medical marijuana patients do not have to be released.

NEW MEXICO: State Working to Implement New Program

Governor Bill Richardson personally assured the creation of the new medical marijuana program in his state, but now the real work of ensuring safe access for patients is underway. Already, federal agents have raided a paraplegic man authorized by New Mexico to grow and possess cannabis, causing the governor, who is also a former federal official and now a candidate for President, to vow a full scale battle.

Patient finds temporary relief with medical marijuana
by Sue Vorenberg, Albuquerque Tribune (NM)
There's no lie in her face, no subtlety in her responses - only a resigned acceptance and willingness to fight against her circumstances. At age 62, she has AIDS. She weighs 78 pounds. The side effects of her medications aren't as sickening as they used to be, but she's still constantly nauseated and in pain. What gets her through it all, she says, is marijuana.

Medical marijuana patients face difficult task of finding drug
by Sue Vorenberg, Albuquerque Tribune (NM)
At the center of the labyrinth of issues around medical marijuana is a snarled garden of Catch-22. Certified patients in New Mexico can use it - but they have no way to legally get it.

Commentary: Why fight medical marijuana?
by J. Michael Jones, Albuquerque Tribune (NM)
New Mexico is the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana - not the last. The feds' pursuit of those violating federal laws but not state laws is a waste of time, money and effort. But the tide is turning, and eventually this version of prohibition will come to an end, like the previous one, for much the same reason.

WASHINGTON: Officials Seek Input on Medical Marijuana Rules

For the past two years Washington state officials have been trying to improve their medical marijuana law. Currently they are engaged in a statewide process of consulting with stakeholders over reasonable limits for how much patients may cultivate and possess. Many state programs have limits far below what the most desperately ill or injured patients need. The federal government's own medical marijuana program distributes more than six pounds a year to a handful of patients, more than most states currently allow.

Medical Marijuana Laws Under Scrutiny
by Evan McLean, Sequim Gazette (WA)
Marijuana growers and law enforcement in Clallam County are watching the state cultivate rules to better define the legal medical use of the drug.

COLORADO: Registration Requirement Enforced, But No Jail

Like most medical marijuana states, Colorado requires medical marijuana patients to register with the state to enjoy full immunity from prosecution. But many patients who use marijuana on their doctor's advice do not register, either out of fear of giving their name to the government (see Oregon) or for other reasons. A Colorado man challenged the registration requirement at trial, arguing that his doctor's recommendation should be enough to acquit him of criminal charges. A jury disagreed, but even the prosecutor urged the judge to impose no jail time.

Jury finds ill man guilty in pot case
by Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News
A Thornton man with several debilitating conditions didn't get the verdict he wanted when an Adams County jury found him guilty of cultivating marijuana - but not guilty of possessing more than 8 ounces of the drug. Jack Branson, 39, and his attorney, Rob Corry, argued that because Branson, who is HIV- positive and has hepatitis B, needs marijuana to help him with his pain - and had gotten a verbal recommendation from a doctor - it was irrelevant that he hadn't filed the proper medical marijuana forms with the state.

DISPENSARIES: Officials Balancing Community Concerns and Patient Needs

California officials are finding that careful regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries helps them monitor distribution while ensuring that their neediest constituents get the services they need. ASA's report on the experience of communities with regulations shows that fears about dispensaries are misplaced, as they tend to reduce crime in the neighborhoods where they operate. For more info, see

AG resident in medical marijuana battle
by Hector Trujillo, Santa Maria Times (CA)
Arroyo Grande resident Charles Lynch is embroiled in a legal battle with federal prosecutors over his medical marijuana dispensary.

Cities racing to set rules
by Harrison Sheppard, Daily Bulletin (Inland Valley, CA)
More than a decade after California voters passed legalization of medical marijuana, an explosion of dispensaries and patients has cities and counties scrambling to regulate the operations.

Dealing a harsh blow
by Raheem Hosseini, Ledger Dispatch
When the Jackson City Council voted unanimously to repeal an ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate, I was disappointed, but not surprised.

FEDERAL: Denial of Medical Efficacy Disproven by Patients

Much science and medical experience demonstrates the absurdity of the federal government's continued insistence that there is no medical use for marijuana. But nothing shows the folly of their position like the testimony of patients for whom it is a life-transforming treatment.

Why Do People the Government Says Don't Exist Keep Writing Us?
by David Borden and Paul Armentano, Huffington Post
According to the federal government, 53-year-old Deborah Palmer (not her real name) doesn't exist. A grandmother and former California corrections officer, Ms. Palmer suffers from chronic spinal pain (the result of a pair of botched back surgeries) and fibromyalgia. Because her body is allergic to opioid medications, she recently began using medical marijuana to obtain relief from her daily suffering. That is until federal and state law enforcement officials raided the California dispensary that provided her medicine.

FEDERAL: Patient Collective Cannot Block Future Raids

When the DEA descended on the Wo/Mens' Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz, a patient cooperative that provided marijuana free to seriously ill members, they created a lasting controversy. The mayor and City Council responded by giving away marijuana to patients at City Hall, and then joined the collective in suing the federal government. In a ruling that echoed the US Supreme Court Decision in the case of Angel Raich, a federal judge this week said that WAMM cannot get an injunction against future raids.

U.S. Court hands setback to WAMM's fight for legal medical pot
by Kurtis Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
A federal court ruling Thursday dashed hopes of local medical marijuana advocates seeking to keep the government out of their pot gardens. In the case of Santa Cruz County v. Alberto Gonzales, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel granted the attorney general's motion to prevent a Santa Cruz marijuana cooperative and its supporters from suing the office to stop federal marijuana raids.


Find out more about ASA at More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at

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eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
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Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
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Eco Man | 15 Sep 00:59 2007

MMM. Another CIA-arranged war.

I had a dream... about how the average recruit is kept in the dark... well, it is
also the officers who are being deceived...
Just so you know how it is done, and more importantly, covered up.

See also:


Orange County Weekly - Who Killed Col. James Sabow?


Who Killed Col. James Sabow?

Was Marine Corps Col. James Sabow the victim of a military cover-up?

By Nick Schou
Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 12:00 am

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1991, began as a particularly busy day at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Earlier that month, U.S. and allied forces in Saudi Arabia had begun the bloody air war that turned Operation Desert Shield into Operation Desert Storm.

El Toro was on high alert, but all was quiet on F Street, a narrow lane of modest ranch houses for base officers and their families. One of those officers was Colonel James E. Sabow, a 51-year-old, no-nonsense, straight-as-a-ramrod Marine Corps jet pilot.

His wife, Sally, a devout Catholic, rose early to dress for church. Normally, Sabow would already be at work, performing his duties as El Toro's assistant chief of staff. But he hadn't worked for two days, ever since the base's commanding officer, General Wayne T. Adams, had temporarily relieved him and another officer, Chief of Staff Colonel Joseph Underwood, from their respective commands.

The two officers were charged with bringing extra luggage on training missions, using those missions to fly themselves on weekend excursions, and falsifying flight records to conceal their activity. While the Marine Corps regarded the allegations as career-threatening, Sabow told friends and family the charges were petty and would amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Sheehan outside El Toro:
Still Chasing the CIA

Despite the frenzied activity surrounding Desert Storm, Marine Corps Inspector General Hollis Davison flew nonstop to El Toro to supervise the investigation firsthand. By the end of the year, the scandal had spread to Adams himself, and both he and a disgraced Underwood had retired from the military.

Sabow wasn't nearly as lucky.

At 7:30 a.m., Sabow's daughter, Deirdre, a sophomore at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, left for the day. Sabow made a point of kissing his daughter goodbye. Deirdre would later recall that he seemed to be in a rather cheerful mood, given the circumstances.

As Sally prepared to leave for St. John Neumann's Catholic Church in nearby Irvine, Sabow was still sitting on the living-room couch in his pajamas, drinking coffee and watching CNN. The family's dogs—one of them a notoriously aggressive German shepherd called Nika—played in the back yard.

At about 8:30 a.m., Sally walked to the front door. As she started to close it behind her, she heard the telephone ring inside the house. Sabow put the television on mute and then picked up the phone.

"This is Colonel Sabow," he said.

Sally paused, but there appeared to be no response.

"This is Colonel Sabow," he repeated, now slightly annoyed.

Sally heard him utter the phrase a third time before she shut the door. It was the last time she saw her husband alive.

Sally returned an hour later. Opening the door, she noticed the television was still on mute. The family's two dogs, which had been playing happily in the back yard, were now locked in the garage. Sabow's glasses were lying folded next to the phone.

She walked through her living room and looked outside. Her husband, still pajama-clad, was lying stiffly on his side in the middle of the back yard, next to an overturned lawn chair. As she approached him, she could see that both of his hands were frozen in a haunting grasp, fingers curled neatly together about five inches from his gaping mouth. His face was swollen and had turned a chalky blue color. Beneath his lifeless body was his Ithaca 12-gauge shotgun.

"I had worked in hospitals because I was a social worker," said Sally, now a registered nurse. "I looked at him and thought about trying CPR. Then I thought, 'No, he's dead.'"

She knelt down and silently cradled his head in her hands. Then she noticed something strange: a pear-sized bulge just above the base of her husband's skull. A small pool of blood had poured from his right ear onto the lawn, but otherwise the scene seemed completely sterile. Besides the small puddle on the grass, there wasn't much blood, not even on the shotgun—no telltale splatter of gore that typically accompanies a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, except for a small trace on his forearm.

"I ran through the house," Sally said. "I think I broke the screen door because I was shaking so hard. I can remember this like it was this morning."

She ran next door to Underwood's house. Running into the house, Sally found Underwood, who was wearing golf clothes, and his bathrobe-clad wife, Jean, who suffered from a brain tumor and therefore rarely left the house, standing in their living room.

"Jimmy's dead! Jimmy's dead!" she remembers screaming hysterically before she collapsed in shock on the floor of the Underwoods' living room.

According to Sally, Jean then blurted, "Joe, this has gone too far."

As Sally remembers it, Underwood said nothing. He calmly walked over to the Sabows' back yard, returning a few moments later. "Well," he said finally, "we've got to call General Adams."

According to the Orange County coroner's report, Sabow perished from a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the mouth. That finding was included in a U.S. Navy Criminal Investigations Service (NCIS) crime-scene investigation that took place at El Toro. Two successive 1991 Navy Judge Advocate General Manual (JAGMAN) investigations also reached the conclusion that Sabow committed suicide. Five years later, the Marine Corps' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted a separate investigation that the Sabow family had requested. It, too, found that Sabow killed himself.

At first, it seemed obvious Sabow had committed suicide. He had every reason to think his military days were over, and his family readily acknowledges that Sabow felt abandoned by the Marine Corps, which he had served loyally for three decades and had grown to love. On the other hand, his wife says Sabow spent the weekend before he died typing up his résumé. And according to both Sally and retired Marine Corps Colonel Bill Callahan, Sabow's best friend, he planned to become a pilot for America West Airlines, where Callahan already worked.

Dr. John David Sabow, Sabow's brother and a South Dakota neurologist, had both the medical background and the tenacity to mount his own investigation. His increasingly pointed questions about his brother's death led to a March 9, 1991, meeting with El Toro's commanding officer and Sabow's boss, General Adams. During that meeting, the Sabows have alleged, the military used scare tactics to prevent them from going to the press with their doubts about the suicide, referring to the late colonel as "a felon and a crook."

This meeting—and that phrase—eventually produced a lawsuit filed by the Sabow family in an Orange County federal court in 1996. Three weeks ago, the suit was thrown out of court by U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler. According to the lawsuit, Sabow was murdered because he threatened to expose an illegal covert operation at El Toro involving Sabow's fellow officers, CIA-sponsored airlifts to Central and South America, black cargo planes landing in the middle of the night and drugs.

Just a few weeks before Sabow's death, his mother had fallen ill in Minneapolis. The colonel joined his brother at her bedside, and they used the time to catch up on their lives. Sabow told his brother about the charges against him and Underwood, dismissing them as "no big deal," Dr. Sabow recalled.

The last thing Dr. Sabow expected was the telephone call he received Jan. 22. He was treating a patient at his Rapid City office when he heard the news from an El Toro base chaplain. His brother had been found dead within the hour, apparently a suicide.

Had Sabow's state of mind changed so dramatically in a matter of weeks that, without warning, he would blow his brains out in his back yard?

"Let me explain that anyone would have some doubts if they knew my brother," Sabow said. Those doubts prompted him to call Underwood that afternoon. Had Underwood or his wife heard the shotgun? According to Sabow, Underwood said he hadn't. "No, my wife was having seizures—epileptic seizures—all morning," Dr. Sabow said Underwood told him. "She has been totally out."

Two days later, Dr. Sabow flew to Orange County, troubled by doubts about the suicide.

That evening, a rosary was held for Sabow at El Toro. Both Underwood and Jean were there. So was Adams, who never introduced himself to Dr. Sabow and stayed conspicuously away from the family, according to Bill Callahan.

The next day, Callahan escorted Sabow's body to Arizona for burial. A Marine Corps honor guard from nearby Fort Huachuca arrived at the service in full-dress uniforms. But despite the fact that Sabow was third-in-command at El Toro, the only officer from the base to show up for the funeral was Underwood, who came without his wife. After the ceremony, Underwood returned to El Toro.

Along with Callahan, the Sabow family regrouped that evening at Sally's sister's house near Fort Huachuca. Dr. Sabow said he drove to a nearby Kmart, bought a small tape recorder, and brought it back to the house. One by one, he recorded every question that entered his brain. "Something stinks in Denmark," Dr. Sabow remembered announcing at the time. "I began my investigation right there."

Dr. Sabow had been receiving telephone calls from Eric Lichtblau, a Times Orange County reporter eager to speak with him. But he wanted to give the military a final opportunity to open a new investigation into Sabow's death before he went public with his doubts.

Dr. Sabow called Adams, El Toro's base commander, who, Sabow later testified, grew upset upon learning that Sabow intended to go to the press. "If you do that," Adams allegedly warned, "it would not be good for Colonel Sabow's reputation. It would not be good for his family, and it would definitely not be good for the Marine Corps."

Adams promised Dr. Sabow that he would arrange an urgent meeting at El Toro to help assuage the doctor's doubts. "It was (and still is) my opinion that to try the Sabow case in the media is not in the best interests of the Marine Corps or the Sabow family," Adams wrote in an undated letter to Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. On March 9, 1991, the meeting took place. Adams and Colonel Wayne Rich, a judge advocate, were present, as were Burt Nakasone, a Navy forensics investigator, and Mike Barrett, NCIS supervisor.

Instead of getting concrete answers to his questions about Sabow's death, Dr. Sabow testified last month that he was told to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The autopsy report, crime-scene photographs and other materials weren't yet available, but both Barrett and Nakasone reminded Dr. Sabow that it was the Orange County coroner—not the Navy—that had officially ruled Sabow's death a suicide.

Dr. Sabow also wanted to know about the charges that had led to the recent investigation of his brother and Underwood. Dr. Sabow would later testify that Adams angrily jabbed his finger in the air and called Sabow "a felon and a crook."

the fruitless March 9, 1991, meeting apparently triggered Dr. Sabow's sense of outrage. He filed FOIA requests for the military's various death investigations and even got flight records from El Toro. Contrary to a military investigator's assertion that "the jets were taking off so frequently" the morning Sabow died—thereby explaining why nobody heard the shotgun blast—records indicated only two departures during the estimated time of Sabow's death, at 8:35 a.m. and 9:03 a.m.

Dr. Sabow also got a copy of the Orange County coroner's report. That report—and the photos that accompanied it—became the core of Dr. Sabow's campaign against the Marine Corps.

Informed by Sally of the strange swelling she discovered on the back of the colonel's head, Dr. Sabow looked for evidence in the coroner's report that might support her observation. While the report documented a "massive fracture of the skull" caused by the shotgun blast, it didn't mention any lump on the rear of his head. However, a report on the death scene by the NCIS reported that "the posterior surfaces of the head and neck appeared to be swollen." The swelling was isolated from the head wound caused by the shotgun, which destroyed much of Sabow's brain but produced no exit wound whatsoever.

This mystery was compounded by the fact that the coroner had inexplicably found a large amount of aspirated blood in Sabow's lungs. According to Navy experts, Sabow had somehow taken one or two deep breaths before he died. But according to Dr. Sabow and other neurologists who have examined the evidence, this would have been impossible for a man whose brain stem—including the medulla, which regulates breathing and other bodily functions—had been vaporized by the shotgun blast.

Furthermore, crime-scene photographs and reports made it clear that almost no blood had spilled from the body. If the colonel was still alive when he pulled the trigger, why hadn't blood spilled everywhere? The only sizable spray of blood on Sabow's body had coated a patch of his left forearm and palm, ending abruptly in a neat line across his skin. To Dr. Sabow, this seemed to suggest his brother was already lying on the ground on his right side when the shotgun went off.

The military also found that Sabow had fallen forward and to his side after the shotgun went off. This meant he would have had to be leaning far forward over the shotgun when he pulled the trigger. However, Sabow was only 5 feet 10 inches tall, while his shotgun was about a yard long. Dr. Sabow reckoned that if his brother was seated in the lawn chair at the time of his death (as claimed by the military), the relatively short colonel would have had to be leaning back—not forward—in order to fit the barrel deep into his mouth, as shown by the coroner's report. So why hadn't his body been launched backward by the force of the blast?

There was one last critical point, raised not by the coroner's report but by the Navy Department's investigation: How did Sabow retrieve his shotgun from the closet, load it, shoot himself in the head—and leave the weapon completely devoid of his fingerprints? According to the Navy, Sabow's hands were oil-free because he had just bathed. The only print on the shotgun turned out to belong to Sabow's son, David Nicholas, who had cleaned the shotgun months earlier. The Navy failed to test the tipped-over lawn chair—or anything else at the Sabow residence—for fingerprints that might have been left by Sabow that morning, thereby highlighting the mystery of the print-free shotgun.

To Dr. Sabow, if not the Marine Corps or the Orange County coroner's office, the medical and crime-scene evidence suggested not only that Sabow hadn't committed suicide, but also that somebody had struck him violently on the back of the head with a blunt object, knocking him unconscious. The assailant then posed Sabow's body, jammed the shotgun deep into the colonel's mouth, pulled the trigger, and wiped the gun clean.

Dr. Sabow provided the medical reports and photographs to several other doctors, including a team of neurologists and neuroradiologists at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and asked them to review the evidence. Dr. Kent B. Remley, an assistant professor of radiology and otolaryngology at the university, wrote that the "direction of the skull fracture is inconsistent with the effects of a shotgun wound." Remley also found that the swelling was caused by an external blunt-force instrument. "The degree of soft tissue swelling in the occipital region on the right indicated that the blunt force to the head occurred prior to death," he noted.

Jack Feldman, chairman of the department of physiological science at UCLA, also reviewed the evidence. He summarized his conclusions in a June 20, 1994, written statement included in a Marine Corps report on Sabow's death. "Colonel Sabow was rendered unconscious or immobile by a blow to the head that fractured the base of the skull, causing bleeding into the pharynx. Breathing continued after the injury, aspirating blood into the lung. At some time later, a shotgun was placed in the mouth and triggered (by another party) causing death and obscuring any evidence of prior injury. . . . I conclude that the preponderance of evidence does not support the finding that Colonel James E. Sabow died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

In April 1994, the Sabow family filed a claim against the military at the Orange County Federal Courthouse. Assigned to the case was U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler, who promptly dismissed it because, she declared, families of servicemen have no right to sue the military.

At that point, the case looked lost. The Sabows' first attorney refused to appeal but mentioned in passing a case that eerily paralleled their own. Dr. Sabow would soon discover the lawyer was speaking about the now-defunct, Washington, D.C.-based Christic Institute and referring to Daniel Sheehan, the group's founder and former guiding light. Dr. Sabow was intrigued; he offered the case to Sheehan, who agreed to handle the appeal. A panel of federal judges in Sacramento heard Sheehan's appeal and upheld the lawsuit, sending the Sabow case back to Stotler for trial.

But the case was delayed for months when the Justice Department's U.S. Attorney's Office, which represented the Marine Corps, challenged Sheehan's request to practice law in California. Though Stotler ultimately allowed Sheehan to proceed, the government's protest is worth considering because it begins to address an important question: Who is Dan Sheehan?

In seeking to bar Sheehan from participating in the Sabow trial, the government's attorneys noted, "Mr. Sheehan's application materially misrepresents his status and omits information required to be submitted as part of this application." Sheehan had failed to report that the Christic Institute had been fined more than $1 million by a federal judge in Miami. According to the government's motion, the judge fined Sheehan after he submitted "an affidavit with unknown, nonexistent, deceased sources," using a "deceptive style used to mask its shortcomings, which ultimately resulted in two years of vexations and fruitless discovery in furtherance of a frivolous lawsuit."

The case in question, Avirgan v. Hull, is better known as the Christic Institute lawsuit. It concerned a still-unresolved May 30, 1984, assassination attempt against Nicaraguan contra leader Eden Pastora at a press conference in La Penca, Costa Rica. Tony Avirgan, one of the journalists injured in the bombing, and his wife, investigative reporter Martha Honey, began investigating the incident, convinced it was carried out by Cuban exiles working for the CIA in the Reagan administration's secret war against Nicaragua. Their hunch was based on a simple fact: just moments before the bombing, Pastora, a former Sandinista, had criticized the CIA's favored contra wing, the National Democratic Front, or FDN, which had been set up by former members of ousted dictator Anastasio Somoza's National Guard.

In 1985, Honey and Avirgan published a book linking the bombing to a group of Cuban exiles and American civilians operating on behalf of the contras, including John Hull, a right-wing, larger-than-life American expatriate who lived on a sprawling ranch along Costa Rica's northern border with Nicaragua. Hull's ranch doubled as a drop-off point for CIA-sponsored flights to and from, among other locations, El Salvador's Ilopango Airport, a key link in the contra-support operation. Hull didn't appreciate the publicity and sued the couple for defamation, demanding $1 million in damages.

Honey and Avirgan were clients desperately in need of a lawyer; Sheehan's Christic Institute was a crusading nonprofit law firm in need of a high-profile case. The most intriguing evidence came from Jack Terrell, an employee of Rob Owen, who reported directly to Oliver North at the White House National Security Council. Terrell, who later testified in congressional hearings, told Sheehan he witnessed Hull admitting responsibility for the bombing during a meeting in Costa Rica with FDN leader Adolfo Calero.

In Sheehan's mind, however, that testimony was just one small part of a much larger puzzle. Sheehan saw the La Penca incident as a perfect vehicle to expose a covert team he believed was operating on the fringes of the CIA and the White House, a crew that went all the way back to the Bay of Pigs and the CIA's war in Laos. In May 1986, Sheehan filed suit on behalf of Avirgan and Honey against Hull and several other Reagan administration officials, charging them with negligence in the bombing injuries suffered by Avirgan.

Named in the lawsuit were more than two dozen defendants, including several who later turned up as conspirators in the Iran-contra affair, Sheehan is proud to point out. But he also named a broad array of expatriates, terrorists and drug dealers.

In the midst of the La Penca lawsuit, a CIA cargo plane was shot down over Nicaragua in October 1986, quickly thrusting the Iran-contra scandal into living rooms—and courtrooms—around the world.

Despite the fact that Sheehan had named high-ranking Reagan officials, Judge James L. King granted Sheehan discovery power, and Sheehan furiously began collecting additional affidavits. But somewhere in all the excitement, it became unclear what Sheehan's lawsuit had to do with the La Penca bombing. After two years of increasingly wild-sounding allegations, King threw the case out of court. Sheehan appealed King's ruling, lost, and was ordered to pay the legal fees for the defendants: $1,034,381.35.

The Christic Institute declared bankruptcy, and Sheehan moved on to other causes. Avirgan, Honey and several other journalists later reinvestigated the La Penca bombing and came to the conclusion that the CIA most likely had nothing to do with it. Instead, they blamed the bombing on a newly discovered Argentinean who appeared to have ties to the Sandinistas. Honey, now the peace and security program director for the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, told the Weekly that Sheehan single-handedly ruined the La Penca case.

"Sheehan's a lousy, lousy lawyer," she said. "None of the good legal work was done by him." Honey stated that she has unsuccessfully tried to get Sheehan disbarred as an attorney and has even sued him to recover investigative material and other records from the unsuccessful lawsuit. "After we found out about the Sandinista connection, we realized we had wasted millions of dollars and a decade with Sheehan," Honey concluded.

Sheehan still defends the Christic Institute's lawsuit. In an interview the day after he lost the Sabow case, he argued that Honey and Avirgan were the ones who claimed that the CIA was responsible for the bombing, not him. "[Honey's] theory has never been proved one way or the other," said Sheehan. "The attorney general of Nicaragua said that he investigated the entire case and was completely convinced that the bomber was the same guy we had identified as being in the meeting with John Hull. Martha changed her mind about the bombing more than a year after the case lost in court. So how does this come out to my doing anything wrong?"

The Ronald Reagan Federal Building in downtown Santa Ana is one of Orange County's tallest, an ironic testament to a man who talked so often about limited government. And there is this historical irony: the Sabow case would pit Sheehan against the ghost of the Reagan administration. Call it La Penca II. That's not how Stotler saw it, of course. Though Stotler had thrown out the Sabows' claim in 1996, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent it back to her, and on Jan. 18, 2000, the case began in Stotler's courtroom on the 10th floor of the Reagan Building.

By the time Stotler and U.S. Justice Department attorneys had finished their pretrial slicing and dicing, the Sabow case was limited to one rather innocuous-sounding question—not "Was Colonel Sabow murdered, and if so, by whom?" but a far less compelling one: Had Marine Corps officers intentionally caused severe emotional distress to the Sabow family in the March 9 meeting, three months after the death?

On that narrow question, Sheehan had impressive evidence—not just the Sabows' testimony that they felt threatened but a package of official Marine Corps documents mailed secretly to Dr. Sabow from someone at El Toro. The package included hand-written notes by Colonel Wayne Rich detailing how he and Adams—who had proposed the meeting to Dr. Sabow—planned to persuade the Sabows to abandon their interest in pursuing the investigation into Sabow's death. In that memo, Rich suggested that the pair would "try to convince Sabow's brother that his brother was a crook and so big a crook that he [committed suicide]."

As in La Penca, Sheehan took a narrowly defined case and leveraged it into something grand; as in La Penca, he was ultimately blown out of court. He started out smoothly enough on the first day of the trial, casually expanding the narrow case into something a little bigger. In his opening remarks, Sheehan referred obliquely to "black box" evidence contained in the lawsuit—none of which the court would allow him to discuss. One of Sheehan's briefs shows that the "black box" contained numerous assertions from mostly anonymous sources that Sabow's death had something to do with midnight, covert flights into El Toro rumored to involve drug running —activities that had allegedly produced a federal drug investigation of the base, Operation Emerald Clipper.

Because Sally and Dr. Sabow had discussed their suspicions about Sabow's death in the March 9 meeting at issue, Sheehan used their time in the witness box to go through each of the accusations they made at the meeting. The trial's early high point: Dr. Sabow's assertion that he believed "Underwood had participated in the murder of Colonel Sabow" and that Adams was a "co-conspirator."

Sheehan was brilliant at crowbarring his little case into a big one, but then he got derailed—or, more accurately, he derailed himself. Witness Anthony Verducci—then a Marine Corps captain who performed the original JAGMAN investigation into Sabow's death—was supposed to tell the court that his investigation had no merit because it was based entirely on secondhand information already collected by the NCIS. Sheehan also would have liked Verducci to repeat what he had told the Long Beach Press-Telegram one year ago: that Sabow had been murdered. But this had nothing to do with the March 9 meeting; Stotler prevented Sheehan from asking either question. (Now a lieutenant colonel stationed at the Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, Verducci told reporters outside the courtroom only that he believes "there is a possibility it was a murder.")

Witness testimony that might have shown Marine Corps officers lied to the Sabows about their official investigation into the death was either excluded by the court as irrelevant or was obscured by Sheehan's habit of asking interminable, speculative and, in some cases, unintelligible questions. Indeed, toward the end of the six-day trial, the government's lawyers needed only to look as if they might object to Sheehan's questions—to lean forward, look annoyed or raise a hand—and Stotler would stop him.

The increasingly testy Stotler occasionally challenged Sheehan's skills as a lawyer, at one point observing, "Counsel, that is literally the worst question I have ever heard in my life." When Sheehan repeatedly pressed NCIS agent Mike Barrett about the quality of the Navy's original death investigation, Stotler intervened again. "That has nothing to do with this case," she told Sheehan. "Do you have any other questions for this witness?"

On the fifth day, the Justice Department asked Stotler to end the trial; the plaintiffs had called all their witnesses and hadn't proved a thing, the government attorneys argued. Stotler said she would consider it; 24 hours later, on the afternoon of Jan. 27, it was clear that she had had enough. "I am prepared to grant the defense's motion. I don't need to hear any further testimony at this point," she announced with finality, just moments before Adams was supposed to take the stand. "It's pretty apparent that, looking only at the plaintiff's testimony, their allegations have not been met by the evidence."

Sheehan hadn't just failed to prove a vast conspiracy involving drug running, covert flights and murder. He had also failed to prove the government acted maliciously in a death investigation. Well before Stotler finished her concluding remarks, Dr. Sabow was outside the courtroom. In the hallway, he confronted Adams, who was leaving the witness room with his lawyer.

"General Adams, you killer!" he snarled.

Adams didn't even turn around, disappearing around the curve of the building.

"You fucking bastard! You killed him! You bunch of fucking fascists!"

Shaking with anger, Dr. Sabow hadn't quite finished. He let out one final roar.

"This is not over yet, you killer!"

After being convicted of misuse of government aircraft as a result of the investigation that preceded Sabow's death, Marine Corps General Wayne Adams, who spent a brief tour in Quantico after leaving El Toro, quickly retired, taking a job at a private military school—but not before he fired Colonel Joe Underwood. Underwood paid a $3,000 fine, pleaded guilty to the charges, and quickly left the Marine Corps and moved to Florida. Neither Underwood nor Adams was available to be interviewed for this story.

Both men have steadfastly maintained their innocence in the death of Sabow. In June 1996, the OIG reviewed the Navy's original investigation into Sabow's death, reaffirming its finding of suicide and officially rebutting the Sabow family's allegations that the Marine Corps covered up Sabow's murder after he threatened to expose covert operations at El Toro.

The OIG interviewed Adams and Underwood for its report. "Colonel Underwood denied any knowledge or involvement in covert activities of any kind," the report stated. "He also denied involvement in or knowledge of unannounced landings of C-130 aircraft at MCAS El Toro during his assignment there. . . . During our interview, we specifically asked Colonel Underwood if he had murdered Colonel Sabow or if he had any knowledge of foul play in the death of Colonel Sabow. Colonel Underwood denied all allegations that he had anything to do with the death of Colonel Sabow."

The OIG report also claimed to have found no credible evidence to support any allegations that Underwood or anyone else at El Toro was involved in covert operations. This claim was based on interviews with 21 Marine Corps personnel at El Toro, including Sergeant Randall Robinson. Robinson, a military policeman (MP), told OIG investigators that one day, he had gone to Underwood's office to brief him on an investigation, accompanied by another MP identified only by her last name, Harries. "During the conversation, the topic of aircraft landing late at night came up," the OIG report stated. According to Robinson, Underwood told them, "Keep your ass off the airstrip at night. Leave those airplanes alone. Don't go near them. Don't worry about them. Don't go near them."

Robinson also told OIG investigators that because of his often late-night schedule, "sometimes he would see an aircraft taking off at 4 a.m. He told us the aircraft were C-130s that were painted black with no markings on the tail, wings, fuselage, or anywhere else. He stated that, through binoculars, the crew appeared to have shoulder-length hair and that he assumed they were civilians. The flights began about four to six months prior to Colonel Sabow's death. Mr. Robinson stated that prior to that, he had worked regular daytime hours and may not have noticed the aircraft since they operated only at night. He told us that junior troops had told him they saw aircraft landing at night, parking at the end of the runway and taking off shortly after they arrived."

OIG investigators interviewed Robinson's eyewitness to Underwood's alleged tirade, Captain Harries. According to the report, Harries hadn't heard anything about "any strange aircraft using the airfield late at night under unusual circumstances" but "stated that Colonel Underwood had placed a number of unreasonable restrictions on her and the MPs. However," the report concluded, "she did not remember any incident in his office when she was ordered to keep MPs away from any aircraft."

While the OIG said it found no evidence to support the conclusion that Sabow was murdered, Sheehan's lawsuit contains what purports to be unassailable direct eyewitness testimony showing that Sabow was murdered. That allegation is based on the claims of "Mr. X," whom Dr. Sabow identified as an ex-Marine Corps official, now a law-enforcement officer somewhere in the southwestern United States. Sheehan refused to identify Mr. X or produce him for interviews either with military investigators or the media.

In his court brief, Sheehan listed Mr. X's assertions as Nos. 113-116 of 155 "factual contentions." According to that brief, Mr. X saw "three civilian-dressed employees of the defendant United States" enter Sabow's back yard. The trio "then altered the Sabow death crime scene" by "removing a blood-spattered wooden club" that lay in the grass. Sheehan alleged two of the three "then exited the back yard of the Sabow home through the front gate." The third man "exited the Sabow back yard with the blood-spattered wooden club, through the back yard of chief of staff Underwood."

Dr. Sabow's obsession with his brother's death didn't end with the dismissal of his lawsuit. A few years ago, Dr. Sabow broke his leg after collapsing from exhaustion he says was brought on by his years-long investigation, resulting in his confinement to a wheelchair. He no longer practices medicine. He stays at home, does some medical consulting—and ruthlessly follows a trail of evidence he says leads to only one conclusion: his brother was murdered, and the U.S. government is covering it up.

No piece of evidence, no inconsistency in testimony is too small to escape his attention. While his body slows, his mind is exercised by a single overwhelming obsession: proving his brother was murdered.

Just a simple phone call to touch base with Dr. Sabow can turn into a marathon monologue in which the doctor piles up the minutiae of evidence into a mountainous conspiracy that casts its shadow across the republic.

Take, for example, a story that involves one of Sabow's friends, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Albin. Fifteen minutes after Sally left for church at 8:30 on the morning of Jan. 22, Albin showed up at the Sabows' to return a flight-test booklet he had borrowed. Albin's visit occurred at the estimated time of Sabow's death—8:45 a.m. When Albin knocked, he heard no answer. Seeing Sabow's Corvette parked in the driveway, Albin says, he lingered, figuring Sabow was taking a shower. After standing on the front porch for 10 minutes, Albin saw Underwood come out of his front door, holding a cup of coffee.

In Dr. Sabow's version of the chance meeting, Underwood told Albin that the Sabows had left to go to the base exchange. To Dr. Sabow, this is revealing because Underwood told NCIS investigators that he had bumped into Albin while on his way to have coffee with Sabow. Why, Dr. Sabow asks, would Underwood say that if he told Albin the couple had already left?

Dr. Sabow says this inconsistency clearly shows that Underwood was lying, and moreover that the colonel had played some role in his brother's death. As Dr. Sabow sees it, Underwood lied to Albin about Colonel Sabow's whereabouts because he had to come up with a pretext to get Albin away from the murder scene.

But there's a much less ominous explanation for Underwood's behavior on the morning of Sabow's death. It is provided by Albin himself, who retired from the Marine Corps in 1991. In a recent interview with the Weekly, Albin stated that Underwood didn't seem nervous, nor did he appear to be in any kind of rush when Albin saw him coming out of his house. More important, Albin says, he remembers Underwood telling him only that Sabow and Sally "might" have gone to the base exchange—a reasonable guess in Albin's mind, given that her car was missing from the driveway.

Albin doesn't believe Underwood had anything to do with Sabow's death. "Knowing Colonel Sabow, I personally think he committed suicide," he explained. "He was that kind of a Napoleonic-type guy. Even though the charges against him weren't so egregious, they would have ended his career in the military. I think that he felt dejected to a point where he felt committing suicide would be the manly thing to do."

Sitting in a friend's house on Balboa Island during a break from the recent trial, Sally watched as the yachts of the idle rich floated by just yards from the window. Not once during the interview did her face, hollowed out by years of grief, crack into a smile. While Dr. Sabow's obsession with his brother's death has all but taken over his life, Sally constantly struggles to put the past behind her.

After her husband's death nine years ago, Sally left El Toro and moved to Arizona. Last year, she completed 12 months of training and got her license to work as a registered nurse. She said those classes kept her from staying as involved in the family's lawsuit as her brother-in-law did. But Sally said she also lacks the mental energy to keep pursuing events and memories that so violently turned her world upside-down.

Once a self-described "staunch Republican" and "one of America's 10 most patriotic wives," Sally now says she has lost all faith in the system. "I will never salute the flag again," she declared, shaking her head. "Now I can't stand to look at people in uniform. I think the military is a mockery. They brainwash people. It's the most pathetic organization in the world."

While Sally says she is saddest for her children, she admits that her own recovery is still a long way off. "Every day, I wake up and there's such pain," she said. "It's a very quiet, seeping sore. It just goes and goes. . . . It's a very secret misery."

Research assistance provided by Marcelo C. Imbert.

====end of first article====


=====Start of 2nd article=====

Orange County Weekly - Cold Case at the Marine base.


Cold Case at the Marine base

An El Toro officer's 1991 death could re-open controversy over military drug trafficking

By Nick Schou
Thursday, September 4, 2003 - 12:00 am

Everyone agrees on one thing: Colonel James E. Sabow, assistant chief of staff at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, died from a shotgun blast to the head.

After that, everything about Sabow's death on the morning of Jan. 22, 1991, is morbid, murky and controversial. Within days, the Orange County coroner performed an autopsy and declared the shooting self-inflicted. Four separate military investigations have reached the same conclusion.

But David Sabow, the colonel's brother and a South Dakota neurologist, believes his brother was murdered. He says military officials executed his brother to keep him from revealing covert operations that allowed illegal drug shipments to move through the base.

Now, Dr. Sabow wants to force Sheriff Mike Carona to re-open the 12-year-old case. He has powerful friends on his side, including Representative Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. It was Hunter who wrote into 2004's massive National Defense Authorization Act a line item directing the Secretary of Defense to conduct a new investigation into Col. Sabow's death. Acknowledging Dr. Sabow's frustration with the military, not to mention the obvious conflicts of interest, Hunter's item requires the participation this time of "medical and forensic experts outside the Department of Defense."

Relying on his own medical training, Dr. Sabow began mounting his own investigation into his brother's death even before the first official inquiries had been completed. He says the Orange County coroner's report provides the best evidence of foul play. The coroner's discovery of a large amount of aspirated blood in Sabow's lungs led Navy experts to theorize that Sabow had taken a few deep breaths after shooting himself in the head. According to Dr. Sabow and other neurologists who reviewed the evidence on his behalf, those breaths would have been impossible for a man whose brain stem—including the medulla, which regulates breathing and other bodily functions—had been vaporized by the shotgun blast. Dr. Sabow's conclusion: an assailant knocked Col. Sabow unconscious, and then placed the shotgun in the colonel's mouth and pulled the trigger.

Suicides involving shotguns are notoriously bloody, but crime-scene photographs and reports reveal Sabow's death was almost bloodless. The only sizable spray of blood on Sabow's body coated a patch of his left forearm and palm, ending abruptly in a neat line across his skin, suggesting (to Dr. Sabow at least) that his brother was lying on the ground on his right side when the shotgun went off.

This isn't the first time Dr. Sabow has sought help in proving his brother was murdered. In January 2000, he lost a federal lawsuit charging the military with mistreating and threatening him and other family members when they first raised questions about Sabow's death (see "Who Killed Col. James Sabow?" Feb. 18, 2000). That suit was supposed to focus on the narrow question of whether military officials intimidated the Sabow family following Col. Sabow's death. But crusading attorney and conspiracy hunter Daniel Sheehan used it to argue that the military covered up Sabow's murder.

Just days before Sabow's death, he and two other high-ranking officers at El Toro had been charged with illegally using aircraft at the base—a career-threatening allegation. Sheehan argued that Sabow, incensed at being brought up on charges, had been murdered because he threatened to expose much more serious crimes. Sheehan's legal briefs include numerous assertions from mostly anonymous sources who claim that black-painted cargo planes were secretly landing at El Toro after midnight, and that the flights, which had something to do with drug-running, had produced a federal drug investigation of the base, Operation Emerald Clipper.

Dr. Sabow still believes in the conspiracy, but says he should have stayed away from Sheehan, the attorney who directed the unsuccessful 1986 Christic Institute lawsuit charging several members of the Reagan administration with involvement in a still-unresolved 1984 bombing in Nicaragua. "Now I believe that all the people who warned me about [Sheehan] were correct," Sabow said. "I think there was a lot of duplicity involved. I don't lose any sleep over using the people that offered to help me, but I am disappointed in their character."

Dr. Sabow now hopes the 2004 defense bill will force Sheriff Carona to re-examine the case. But so far, Carona has refused to get involved, saying he has no jurisdiction because Sabow died on a military base. Dr. Sabow points out that the Orange County coroner's office didn't see that as a problem in 1991 when it quickly jumped into the case to declare Sabow's death a suicide.

"The moment Orange County accepted that body, they at least shared jurisdiction," he said. "They sent out an investigator from the coroner who took custody of the body. That was involvement, no matter how you cut it up. Then to just walk away from the case is totally illegal and wrong."

The sheriff's department declined to comment.

"Mike Carona could turn this case right around," Dr. Sabow said. "He could be a hero. Maybe he'd rather investigate now, than to wait for the House Armed Services Committee to subject him to an unfavorable inquiry. If Carona would get on the case, I know we're going to pull it off."

====end of 2nd article====

eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
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Eco Man | 15 Sep 04:05 2007

MMM. Another CIA-arranged war. More "suicides", etc..

More "suicides" listed at the end.

Part one is archived at:

Another CIA-arranged war.

I had a dream... about how the average recruit is kept in the dark... well, it is
also the officers who are being deceived...
Just so you know how it is done, and more importantly, covered up.

See also:
"His syndicated public radio talk show, Natural Living with Gary Null, earned eight Silver Microphone Awards and remains the longest-running, continuously airing health program in America for 27 years and counting from New York City.[8][9][10][11]"

From,_CA :
"Gangster Al Capone once had a home in Fontana, which was notable for the initial 'C' displayed on one of the home's chimneys."

See also:

=====start of article=====



By Gary Null

The official version of the colonel's death just doesn't add up. So his brother is left asking a number of questions: What happened? Is it possible that elements of every major department of government could have been involved in either incompetence or intentional malfeasance, including a coordinated coverup? And if the latter is the case, what could have been the motive?

On the morning of January 22, 1991, neurologist Dr. David Sabow received a telephone call while he was at work in his office. The call was one that would change his life forever, and change his outlook on the integrity of parts of this country's military and political systems. It was from a Marine Corps chaplain, informing him that his older brother, Colonel James E. Sabow, had just committed suicide. At first, Dr. Sabow could not process the information. His thoughts were continually interrupted by snapshots of his brother Jimmy's life. And there was also this: David knew his brother so very well, and suicide was completely out of character for the man. Jimmy Sabow was a well-respected, highly intelligent, and extremely talented Marine officer, a man who had the ability to work as hard as he played and who demonstrated a strong devotion to his family. David recalls, "He was, without exaggeration, one of the best balanced individuals I've met in my life. So, I was immediately taken aback by the designation of suicide, simply because I knew my brother inside and out."

As it turned out, there were logical holes in the official account of Colonel Sabow's so-called suicide. These, combined with the discrepancy between what Dr. Sabow knew his brother to be and the idea of the man committing suicide, led Dr. Sabow into an investigation of his brother's death. He knew in his heart he could do no less.

Colonel Sabow's "suicide" and its aftermath have turned up far-ranging ramifications. As this special in-depth investigation will show, an unreported secret network of CIA agents was involved in illicit drug traffic from Mena, Arkansas, and dozens of other small airports around the country, the illegal sale of C-130 aircraft from the Forest Service, and the untimely deaths of investigative reporters and pilots. These agents were also involved with one of the largest drug trafficking operations coming into the country and illegal arms going out of the country.

Events Leading to Colonel Sabow's Death

Dr. Sabow begins his account of the events preceding his brother's death in late 1990. That was when Chief of Staff Colonel Joseph Underwood came under investigation, allegedly as the result of an anonymous phone call to the Department of Defense's fraud and abuse hotline. While Colonel Sabow was in Minneapolis due to a family crisis, he received a phone call from Colonel Underwood. They discussed the fact that the Inspector General of the Marine Corps, Hollis Davison, and three assistants, had arrived on base, in El Toro, California. Underwood stated that he (Underwood) was under investigation for the illegal use of government aircraft.

After the call, Colonel Sabow explained to his brother David that Underwood's investigation probably had to do with taking some golf clubs along on a training flight. When David asked if this was a serious offense, Jimmy replied that it wasn't; it was, in fact, rather commonplace. When you went out on a training flight, he explained to the doctor, you took equipment with you. If you played tennis, you took tennis rackets; if you read, you took books; and if you were a golfer, you took golf clubs. Jimmy went on to explain that Colonel Underwood was a champion golfer who played in Marine Corps tournaments. At this point, James did not seem to be overly concerned.

The Inspector General's visit took place in the middle of Operation Desert Shield and right at the beginning of Desert Storm. Why the Marine Corps would send the Inspector General's team to the California base at that particular time to investigate Underwood for taking golf clubs along on a flight remains a mystery, for, after all, Underwood was chief of staff.

On January 12, 1991, Colonel Underwood was relieved of his duties as chief of staff. A day later, Colonel Sabow returned to El Toro, and learned of Underwood's dismissal. He called his close friend Bill Callahan. Both men were sure that something else was going on because many of the allegations seemed trivial, commonplace, and not at all deserving of dismissal.

In the days following Underwood's dismissal, many officers were interviewed, but Colonel Sabow was not one of them. He found it odd that no one was talking to him. On January 16, General W.T. Adams informed Colonel Sabow that he, Sabow, was under investigation by the Inspector General, who had requested his presence at the legal department the next day.

Colonel Sabow immediately sought legal help and was assigned to Captain Paul McBride, a young attorney in El Toro's legal department. Since no allegations had been made against Sabow, McBride advised him not to make any statements to the Inspector General during their meeting.

On January 17, Colonel Sabow and Captain McBride arrived at the Law Center and met with the Inspector General and his staff. Colonel Sabow was informed that he was under investigation for the alleged misuse of government aircraft. The meeting lasted ten minutes. When Colonel Sabow left the room he was immediately met by an aide who directed him to General Adams' office across the street. General Adams relieved Colonel Sabow of his duties. The entire scenario was obviously prearranged, as there was no time for the Inspector General's office to discuss the situation with General Adams.

Colonel Sabow informed his staff of the news, collected his personal belongings, and left. No sooner had he arrived home when military personnel entered his premises and removed his autovan phone system and cellular phone.

Colonel Sabow could not comprehend why he was being treated like a criminal after he had devoted his entire life to the Marine Corps. His wife believed that some terrible mistake had been made that would soon be righted. After all, her husband, a loyal officer, had a sterling reputation. But much to Colonal and Mrs. Sabow's dismay, no one called to tell them that an error had been made.

Colonel Sabow met several times with his defense attorney, Captain McBride, over the next four days and learned that no formal allegations had been made against him. Several general areas of inquiry were provided by the Inspector General, but any allegations against him in these areas Sabow could easily refute through log books, signed orders, and other hard data.

Only one area was not covered by hard data--the transportation of several unauthorized insignificant articles to his son in Spokane, Washington. The articles, which included two posters, several carpet remnants, a pair of twenty-year-old stereo speakers, and two plastic beer advertisements, had no monetary value. The Inspector General's office repeatedly insisted on referring to these items as furniture. Captain McBride believed that further investigation was to be carried out on Colonel Underwood, but not on Colonel Sabow.

On January 18, the Inspector General's team handed over their allegations to General Adams. That evening, General Adams, General Davison, and General J.K. Davis, a retired Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, met for supper at Adams' residence. The following day, Davison returned to Washington.

On Monday, January 21, 1991, Colonel Sabow met with Colonel Underwood and a mutual friend, Archibald Scott. Scott quoted Colonel Sabow as saying, "Quitters never win and winners never quit."

When James Sabow returned home, his wife, Sally, recalls, he was white as a ghost. He was obviously upset but did not want to talk about it. An hour later, Underwood stopped by and repeatedly tried to talk Jimmy into accepting an early retirement to avoid a court-martial. Jimmy objected strongly. At this, Underwood became quite angry. Sally stated, "I have never seen such a vicious face as Joe's when Jimmy said he would not retire and would take the entire matter to a court-martial if necessary. Underwood jumped up and said, "You'll never go to a court-martial, and I mean never!"

Jimmy telephoned General J.K. Davis to get some advice. He assumed that the general did not know about his situation. Davis never once mentioned his prior Friday dinner with Generals Adams and Davison where he obviously would have learned of the allegations against Colonel Sabow. General Davis later did admit to Dr. Sabow that Jimmy intended to demand a court-martial to clear his name. He spoke to Jimmy the night before his death and indicated that Jimmy was in good spirits. Yet no one ever questioned him after the death regarding Jimmy's state of mind.


Colonel Sabow's Death

Dr. Sabow relates what happened the day of his brother's death:

"Sabow arose between 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sally did not feel well and remained in bed and dozed. She was aware of many telephone calls while she lay resting.

"Deirdre [Colonel Sabow's daughter] left for school at 7:20 a.m. She had talked with her father while she prepared her lunch. He seemed cheerful, talkative, and relaxed. She observed him as having already showered and shaved.

"Sally joined her husband in the living room just after Deirdre left for school. He showed Sally the morning newspaper, which contained an article about Colonel Underwood being relieved of his command. Underwood had called Sabow at about 7:00 a.m. and told him of the article. He also stated that Jimmy would be in the news, the very next day. When Sabow told Sally of Underwood's warning, Sally said this was absurd, for Underwood had no way of knowing what would appear in the following day's newspaper."

Colonel Sabow's lawyer, Captain McBride, recalls three separate telephone conversations he had with his client that morning. The last one was made at 8:10 a.m., and lasted ten minutes. In a later conversation with Dr. Sabow and in a letter to General Adams, McBride described Sabow's attitude as being appropriately concerned about his situation, but as not being desperate. (This is important because it directly contradicts statements made by Marine Corps investigators.)

"At 8:30 a.m.," Dr. Sabow reports, "Sally finished talking to Sue Bloomer, the wife of a retired general. She checked her time, because she wished to attend Mass at the Catholic church located a short distance off the base. She explained to Jimmy that since it was already 8:30 she would miss most of the mass but that she would go anyway and receive Holy Communion."

"Exactly at the moment when she was opening the front door to leave, the phone rang and she stopped to observe Colonel Sabow, who was sitting in his leather easy-chair in front of the TV, which was approximately twelve feet from the front door. Colonel Sabow answered, saying, 'Colonel Sabow...[pause]...Colonel Sabow...[pause]...This is Colonel Sabow.' What was further said by Jimmy is unknown, for just at that moment, Sally closed the door behind her as she left for Mass. Mysteriously, the one who placed this final call to Colonel Sabow has never acknowledged making it. That call was made just minutes before Colonel Sabow died, and consequently identification of the caller was of the utmost importance. All other calls made to Sabow earlier that morning have been identified."

Dr. Sabow stresses strongly that the fact speaks for itself. "The caller was involved in the murder. The caller gave Sabow a message which caused him to go into his backyard and lock his two dogs in the garage. However, first he put the TV on mute, which he often did if he intended to momentarily return."

Dr. Sabow also explains that Colonel Underwood, Jimmy's next-door neighbor, was afraid of the Sabows' German shepherd. So before Underwood would visit his neighbor he would telephone him and have him secure Nika in the garage.

At the exact time that Jimmy received his final phone call, a meeting was in progress in the base commander, General Adams', office. Present were Adams, the new Chief of Staff, Colonel Williams, Colonel Lucas, the chief legal officer, and Captain Betsy Sweat, the publicity officer. They had been summoned for an 8:00 a.m. meeting.

Lucas stated that the meeting was to discuss the potential for bad publicity that could emerge from the newspaper article about Colonel Joe Underwood. However, since the article had only just appeared in the Orange County Register that morning, it's unlikely, if not impossible, for that to have been the reason for that gathering. Except for General Adams, all the others lived off base, and even if they had been notified immediately after the newspaper delivery, there simply would not have been enough time to gather them at 8 a.m.

Dr. Sabow goes on: "Lucas recalls being notified on Monday evening about the meeting, but he can't recall by whom. Furthermore, since Monday was Martin Luther King Day, it was a federal holiday and the base was, for all practical purposes, closed. It would have been highly unlikely for a leak of the Underwood article to have been made on Monday, January 21, under these circumstances. Hence, it must be assumed that the meeting was called for other than the expressed purpose and probably by General Adams himself. If so, a possible, if not probable, explanation was to establish an alibi.

It has been acknowledged that the Colonel's death occurred between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. During that time frame, Sally was attending Mass, General Adams was at a meeting in his office, and Colonel Underwood was at his home next door to the Sabow house. It is presumed that Colonel Sabow, who had just been on the telephone, had gone into his back yard, put the dogs in the garage, and was intending to return to his living room to resume viewing the reporting on the Gulf war. He never made it!"


The Aftermath

"Sally arrived home at 9:30 a.m.," Dr. Sabow explains. "She noticed that the television was on mute and called for her husband, but there was no response. Out on the patio, she saw him laying on the grass. Sally ran to him, placed her arms around his head, and felt a large swelling."

She immediately ran next door to get help from Underwood. As she went in she exclaimed that Jimmy had shot himself. Sally never once mentioned that her husband was in the backyard, yet Underwood went directly to the backyard gate and confirmed the death at a distance of over 40 feet.

Underwood claims not to have heard the 12-gauge shotgun blast due to noise from air traffic and the television. Records show no air traffic at this time, and the TV was kept exceptionally low due to Mrs. Underwood's sensitivity to sound.

Underwood immediately called General Adams at headquarters even though it was an hour before the general normally arrived. The general notified the provost martial, Major Goodrow and his deputy, Captain Fouquer, by radio, and they were the first to arrive on the scene. The radio dispatch was intercepted by Sergeant Randy Robinson, an M.P. patrolling the vicinity. He was the next to arrive at the scene.

Robinson observed several Naval Investigation Service personnel handling the weapon without gloves. He also found the ammunition closed up in a garage cabinet with two shells missing. But the ammunition was photographed as if it was strewn on the floor.


Suspicion of Murder

Several hours after learning of his brother's death, Dr. Sabow called Underwood in an attempt to make sense of the apparent suicide. The colonel mistakenly thought that the call was from another David Sabow, Jimmy's son. When the doctor corrected him, explaining that he was Jimmy's brother, not his son, the colonel changed his entire demeanor. Responses to inquiries became cold and calculated, Dr. Sabow reports, and Underwood hesitated before answering even simple questions.

Finally, David caught the colonel in an outright lie. When David asked, "What, my God, happened that my brother would have taken his life?" Underwood replied that Colonel Sabow had just come under investigation for the illegal use of aircraft. David told the colonel he understood that he (Underwood), was the one under investigation, and Underwood said that Colonel Sabow was too. David then said, "For God's sake, Jimmy was third in command, and you were second. What happened to General Adams? Doesn't he take care of you guys?" To this, Underwood replied that General Adams and Jimmy were very, very close friends.

That statement immediately put up a red flag, as far as David was concerned. The doctor knew that his brother was not a friend of Adams, and that, in fact, he did not respect him. Colonel Sabow had even described General Adams as a disgrace to the Marine Corps. So David knew immediately that Underwood was lying. Within hours, he went from wondering why his brother committed suicide to a firm suspicion of foul play.

This impression was strengthened during the funeral, when David had a chance to speak to Underwood in person. The first thing he noticed was that Underwood did not want him to speak to Mrs. Underwood alone. He surmised that Underwood was afraid that his wife would contradict his account of what took place on the morning of the Colonel's death. Over the phone, for example, Underwood had told David that his wife had a series of seizures on the morning of the murder. Yet, Sally Sabow says that when she ran into the Underwood house after discovering Jimmy's body, she found Mrs. Underwood sitting up and watching television.

Further information implicating Underwood's involvement was collected on the way to the funeral. David rode in the van driven by Underwood. This allowed him the opportunity to interview him. Underwood talked about how he had told Colonel Sabow to move his guns from a rack in the garage to his son, David's, vacant bedroom. He specifically mentioned to Jimmy that someone was going to walk into the garage and take his gun since the garage door was often left open. Underwood noted that the shotgun was a special gift from his father and that he ought to move it to a safer location. Sally overheard the conversation. This means that Underwood was one of the few people who actually knew where the shotgun was kept. He also knew where the ammunition was located and that it was left in a cabinet in the garage.

Underwood went on to state that it was a terrible thing to be under investigation by the military. David asked what this meant since Jimmy had only just come under investigation. Joe Underwood replied that back in 1980 and 1981 he had been the target of an NIS (Naval Investigation Service) investigation.

David continued to question Underwood about being under investigation. He learned that Underwood had been stationed in Panama at the time he was accused of smuggling somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 worth of contraband into this country. The NIS had conducted a 10-month investigation of Underwood and then suddenly dropped it "for unknown reasons."

Something that seemed strange to David at the funeral was that right after the requiem mass, none of the high command or field grade officers came up to him, his brother Tom, or their wives to express condolences. It appeared as if they wanted to stay away.

So after one day in El Toro, David Sabow became highly suspicious, if not convinced, of foul play in his brother's death. He came to believe that something very bad was going on, and resolved to find evidence of his brother's murder. He knew he had to do so in a truly scientific manner because the authorities were going to dismiss him as simply a bereaved brother.


Meeting with the Military

Following his brother's death, David sought cooperation from the Naval Investigation Service and from the legal department at El Toro. But no cooperation was forthcoming. After a month and a half of frustration with the military channels of information, he set up a meeting with a journalist from the Los Angeles Times. General Adams became aware of the planned meeting, and begged David to meet with him first. This was the first time that David had heard from the military. David agreed to the meeting only if several others would be present: Colonel Lucas, the head of the legal department; General David Shuter; and General J.K. Davis, retired Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps ('83-'87). General Adams said that he would comply with these terms.

On March 9, 1991, David and his brother's widow, Sally, attended the meeting. Several Marines, including generals, were there. Colonel Lucas, however, was conspicuously absent. This disturbed David, who believed that Lucas had information critical to his search. In his place was a man by the name of Wayne Rich, a supposedly retired, but reactivated, Marine. At the time, David did not know Rich's importance to the meeting.

The meeting, Dr. Sabow reports, turned out to be nothing more than an attempt at intimidation. For five hours, he and Sally sat dumbfounded as Adams and Rich slandered Dr. Sabow's dead brother. James Sabow was accused of felony, of falsifying documents, and of other serious crimes. No one came to the dead colonel's defense. Only General Shuter reminded those present that Colonel Sabow had been found guilty of absolutely nothing, and that these charges were only unproved allegations. In the face of intimidation, however, he did not go on to defend the colonel's reputation of incorruptibility. It became obvious, David says, that Adams and Wayne Rich had conspired to concoct a scenario of lies that would paint the dead colonel with a brush of disgrace. They hoped to shame the colonel's widow and brother into silence.

During the meeting, General Adams pointed to Sally and demanded that she not talk to his ex-wife. Sally, taken by surprise, countered that she would talk to anyone she pleased. Adams then warned her to stop spreading rumors that he had some involvement in her husband's death. But up until that point, Sally had never considered this idea; she believed her husband's death was a suicide.

David asked General Adams why Colonel Sabow was implicated for the misuse of government aircraft. Adams suggested that he did a lot of flying with Underwood. David says that this was an outright lie--for several reasons. First, Colonel Sabow was not allowed to be the first officer of the type of planes they were flying. This is because he was a jet pilot and a fighter pilot, but had never qualified on small aircraft.

Also, Underwood was in a somewhat similar situation. Underwood was overweight, hypertensive, and on medication for a prostate condition. He did not pass his physical, and consequently, for a great deal of the time that Colonel Sabow was stationed in El Toro, Underwood was not allowed to be the first pilot. Therefore, the two could not fly together. In the course of reviewing Underwood's flight record, Adams claimed to have seen Sabow's name a lot, when that could not be the case. He could only have flown with a qualified first officer.

After four hours, General Adams dismissed everyone but the NIS agents. David insisted on speaking to them privately, which irritated the general. David had asked for a full report to back up their official determination of suicide. But it appeared that General Adams was determined to keep this information from him. After all this, he was not even able to obtain autopsy or fingerprint information from the NIS forensic experts.


The First Real Help

Three months subsequent to the meeting, David obtained information from a secret source that he developed. The information included copies of several documents.

The most damaging evidence was a five-page hand-written summary by Wayne Rich. By this time, David knew that Rich was an Assistant Attorney General from Washington, who replaced Colonel Lucas at the March 9 meeting. These notes were written by Rich during a telephone conversation with the deputy SJA in Washington, Colonel Lang, on the day before the El Toro meeting, and included statements such as: "We are about to try to convince Sabow's brother that his brother was a crook and so big a crook..."

The packet also contained an order from one legal officer to another regarding the investigation of ways to have Dr. Sabow's medical license revoked.

There was also a copy of a memorandum written by the head legal officer, SJA Colonel Lucas. The memorandum was in reference to the peculiar behavior of Lieutenant General Hollis Davison, the Inspector General of the Marine Corps, during an investigation into Colonel Sabow and Colonel Underwood at El Toro from January 10 until January 17, 1991, days before the murder. Lucas talked about the repetitiveness of the Inspector General's questions, and his peculiar behavior while conducting his interviews. The last paragraph of Lucas' memorandum stated that he put this into his personal files to protect himself for the future. He stated that if the Inspector General's behavior became public, it would be very bad for the Marine Corps.

There was also a memorandum from Captain McBride to Colonel Lucas. The memo reported conversations between McBride and Dr. Sabow. This order was from Rich or Adams ordering McBride to divulge confidential information, and violated the trust of the attorney-client relationship.

The packet also included transcribed responses of "witnesses" interviewed by the I.G. in an attempt to depict Colonel Sabow's misconduct. There was a glaring omission in the transcription--the questions asked of those "witnesses." David learned that at least one person interviewed, Major Bob Friend, would not sign the transcript because the statements did not reflect his responses.


The JAGMAN Reinvestigation

In the fall of 1991, David contacted Captain Tony Verducci, a Marine Corps officer at El Toro. Verducci had authored the first Judge Advocate General Manual Investigation (JAGMAN), and David appealed to him to reopen a second one. He was also handling his sister-in-law's attempt to obtain death benefits from the Veteran's Administration. The V.A. was withholding money on the grounds that Colonel Sabow died in a manner "not becoming of a Marine Corps officer." Sally trusted Captain Verducci to clear up this problem.

Verducci appealed to Brigadier General Drax Williams, who had replaced General Adams. Williams immediately assigned Verducci to the case. After two days of getting things organized, Verducci was dumbfounded when Williams removed him from the case, stating that the investigation was near completion.

The reinvestigation was reassigned to other legal officers who were not from El Toro, but from adjacent bases. According to Verducci, Colonel Pearcy and Captain Bowe had no previous knowledge of the case. Their entire inquiry and analysis spanned approximately 2« days. During that time, they never left the legal department, and they never consulted Verducci. They never even talked to major players in the affair, including Underwood and Adams. Nor did they visit the crime scene. Their reinvestigation relied on two interviews and old NIS reports. Basically, they shuffled papers.

The sizable document that resulted from this supposed reinvestigation was approved by the appropriate people in Washington. Yet, this report is "replete with misstatements, illogical conclusions, and outright lies," according to David. Indeed, there were accusations of guilt against a man who was never formally charged, and, further, who could not defend himself against the charges. These are the basic conclusions of the reinvestigation:


Colonel Sabow was desperate.

Colonel Sabow was guilty of misconduct.

Colonel Sabow was guilty of conduct unbecoming a Marine Corps officer.


The transparency of the lies was obvious. For instance, the report included a letter by Captain McBride, who had spoken to Colonel Sabow minutes before his death. In the letter, McBride described Sabow as appropriately concerned "but not desperate." The report contradicted his statement by saying that Colonel Sabow was desperate. Strangely, McBride's letter was attached as part of the evidence, an apparent ploy to make suicide appear more plausible.

The specific allegations of misconduct against Colonel Sabow were revealed for the first time during the JAGMAN reinvestigation. They claim that he made several illegal flights. David gave the material to Colonel Sabow's best friend, Colonel Bill Callahan, who disproved the allegations by obtaining the relevant flight records, orders, and flight plans. Callahan showed conclusively that each and every allegation was unfounded. For example, Colonel Sabow was said to have flown to his ranch for business rather than for a training flight. Yet Sabow never even owned a ranch. His in-laws had owned a ranch south of Tucson, but sold it in 1985 due to illness. According to the report, Colonel Sabow took these illegal flights in 1990. At times, Colonel Sabow would fly to a nearby base to fulfill required training hours, and stay over at his in-laws to visit, but he would never do so if friends and family were there to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The Marine Corps and the NIS twisted the colonel's caring behavior to discredit him.

Another allegation was that Colonel Sabow went to Phoenix to pick up Callahan to fly him back to El Toro. What actually happened was that Colonel Sabow was assigned to Yuma, Arizona to attend a change of command ceremony for an officer. On his way back, he was to stop in Phoenix, and then return to El Toro. Colonel Sabow knew that Colonel Callahan had been ordered back to El Toro, and that the Marine Corps would have to pay for his commercial flight. Since Colonel Sabow had to come that way, he let Callahan know that he could make the flight back with him. So this "illegal flight" amounted to transporting a friend back to the base, and saving the Marine Corps money!

The report also claimed that Captain Verducci voluntarily removed himself from the reinvestigations. Upon seeing this, Verducci was appalled. He told David that this was an outright lie. "I wanted to investigate this case to get to the bottom of it," he said. Commenting on the report, Verducci added, "Not only is this a mass of lies, it is a gross violation of law!"


Irrefutable Evidence of Murder

After ten months, David was finally able to obtain the autopsy report and other forensic materials. As he reviewed the material, he slowly began to understand why it had been withheld: The reports contained hard, irrefutable evidence of murder. These are some of the findings:


Colonel Sabow was killed by a 12-gauge shotgun blast that made contact with the soft palate. This is difficult to fathom for two reasons. First, unlike the relatively insensitive hard palate, the soft palate reacts negatively to touch. Contact with the soft palate initiates a gag reflex in a conscious person. Second, the soft palate is narrow, causing David to wonder, "How could my brother have put the shotgun up against his soft palate, when the barrel is literally as wide as the soft palate?" This evidence suggests that Colonel Sabow was unconscious during the time of the shot.


The autopsy report states that the brain was literally pulpified from the shooting. It was completely lacerated and turned to pulp. Yet, the autopsy report states that Colonel Sabow's lungs were filled with aspirated (inhaled) blood. This would indicate that the colonel was able to breathe without a brain or brain stem, an impossibility. Several minutes of coordinated breathing were necessary to fill the lungs with blood. After the brain was destroyed in this manner, the colonel would have been unable to take a single gasp. It proved that his brother was rendered unconscious and breathed for several minutes before the shooting destroyed his brain.


The report indicated that there was no exit wound. Therefore, the entire explosive force of the 12-gauge discharge was contained within the confines of the skull itself, except for the "blowback" out the mouth. The fact that the entire explosive energy was contained in the brain and rendered the cervical spinal cord functionless precludes any chance of even a slight gasp, let alone several minutes of coordinated respirations. So it is far more likely that a powerful blow to the head rendered Sabow unconscious but breathing for several minutes before the shooting. Autopsy photos and interviews of Sally Sabow and Cheryl Baldwin, an NIS agent in charge of investigation, indicate a large bulge on the back of the colonel's head, an obvious sign of external trauma. The military has consistently denied this evidence.


Colonel Sabow s fingerprints were not on the gun. Yet, he would have touched the gun several times in a suicide scenario.


No blood was found on the gun or on any portion of the colonel's body below his upper chest. Yet, from the way he was discovered, it was assumed that the colonel shot himself while sitting in a patio chair. David states, "If he had bent over to stretch his right arm to discharge the weapon and to hold the gun barrel in his mouth with the left hand, the blowback would have drenched the intervening clothing. The posture would have placed his face with mouth open directly over his chest, torso, thighs, legs, and feet. But there was no blood below the chest, none over his bathrobe, none on his pajama bottoms, none over his athletic socks, and none on his slippers. But even more impossible and more ridiculous--not one drop of blood was on the gun!"


Furthermore, photographs demonstrated that the ring and small finger of the left hand were covered with blood, but that there was absolutely none on the thumb, index, middle fingers, and back of his hand. If he held the gun in his mouth, his left hand, the back of the hand, thumb, and forearm, including the gun, would be covered with blood. David states that this is extremely important because the NIS said that Colonel Sabow was sitting in a lawn chair holding the gun in his mouth against the soft palate, his left hand grasping the barrel. He then supposedly reached down with his right hand to depress the trigger with his right thumb or index finger. If the weapon had been discharged in that position, blood would have blown back, covering his thumb and index finger, and the web of the hand and the gun. But there was no blood there whatsoever. David points out, "Indeed, when you look at the way he was lying, the ring and little fingers were fairly close to his mouth, and the left forearm was right in front of his mouth."


After careful study of the material, evidence of homicide was obvious. In fact, it was so apparent that David at times doubted his own judgment. To see if he had been making some mistake in interpretation, David realized he should consult with respected experts. He did contact two such people. One was a leading specialist in the neurological control of respiration, and the other an authority in ballistics trauma.

Dr. Jack Feldman is chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at UCLA. He lectures worldwide and has published over 500 treatises on how the nervous system controls breathing. Upon studying Colonel Sabow's autopsy reports, Dr. Feldman asked, how did blood enter the lungs? As David had thought, blood in the lungs was a sign that the colonel had been breathing for several minutes before he died. Furthermore, the body was discovered laying on its right side, and blood was found in both lungs. A strong, coordinated breathing effort would have been necessary for the blood to travel uphill to the left lung. Dr. Feldman concluded that since respiration requires an intact brainstem and spinal cord, and since the blast produced massive damage to this area, the colonel would not have been able to generate respiratory movements after the gunshot. On June 20,1994, Dr. Feldman wrote and signed an affidavit that painted the most likely scenario:


"Colonel Sabow was rendered unconscious or immobile by a blow to the head that fractured the base of the skull, causing bleeding into the pharynx. Breathing continued after this injury, aspirating blood into the lung. Sometime later, a shotgun was placed in the mouth and triggered (by another party), causing death and obscuring any evidence of prior injury. This scenario is consistent with the evidence available."


Dr. Feldman wrote to David that the investigation should be reopened and the evidence reexamined to explore alternatives to the conclusion that Colonel Sabow committed suicide. "It seems to me," he said, "that the evidence as presented in the autopsy is inconsistent with the scenario that Colonel Sabow placed a shotgun in his mouth, shot himself, fell to the ground, and wound up with a significant amount of aspirated blood."

David next approached Dr. Martin Fackler with the same evidence. Dr. Fackler founded the Wound Ballistics Laboratory at Letterman Army Institute of Research at the Presidio in San Francisco, and directed it for ten years. Newly retired from the army after 30 years of service, he was the Department of Defense's expert on wounds. In his report to David, Dr. Fackler's comments closely echoed those of Dr. Feldman. These were his main conclusions:


"The position of the shotgun (under his body) and the lack of gross blood on the front of the white garments that Colonel Sabow was wearing at the time of his death make suicide appear, to me, unlikely...."


"The amount of blood, and edema, found at autopsy in Colonel Sabow's lungs would seem, to me, to indicate that he took at least a dozen breaths after the shot. The structures destroyed by the shot, however, would seem to preclude this: the autopsy report states 'No intact brainstem, including midbrain, pons, or cerebral peduncle is identified'"....


"The fact that none of Colonel Sabow's fingerprints were found on the shotgun seems strange to me, but the techniques of fingerprinting are out of my field of expertise. One of the reasons given, however, for the lack of fingerprints--that the barrel gets so hot that any fingerprints on it would be burned off--is simply absurd. This is within my area of expertise: I have handled many shotguns immediately after they have been fired--the barrels are not even hot to the touch."


Dr. Fackler says the strongest evidence of murder is the small amount of blood found on the victim. He says, "Since no blood went out the back of his head, I would expect more of it to blow back and be over things in the front of him. As far as I'm concerned, that's the most supportive evidence to support Dr. Sabow's beliefs."

Deputy Sheriff Freiberg of the San Diego Sheriff's Department, whose field of expertise is fingerprint evidence, was also contacted. According to the JAGMAN reinvestigation, Freiberg said that it's not infrequent for no fingerprints to be found on a shotgun if the individual washed his hands with strong detergent prior to the use of the shotgun. It further refers to him as stating that the heat of even a single shot commonly obliterates fingerprints on a shotgun.

When he found out what was attributed to him, Freiberg became incensed and denied making the statement. Then he vaguely recalled someone from El Toro calling him and concocting an imaginary scenario of a suicide in which the weapon was devoid of prints. Freiberg's response to the far-fetched situation was, "I suppose anything is possible." He was given no factual information surrounding Colonel Sabow's death, and was only asked to render an opinion on some hypothetical, unlikely situation.


In Search of Justice

Gene Wheaton, a retired military investigator, learned about David from an article in the Los Angeles Times, and offered his help. Wheaton began by educating Dr. Sabow on dark forces within the government, the unelected "shadow government" that resorts to any means to exert control, including, when all else fails, threat of financial ruin and assassination.

At first, David did not understand how this affected him, but as he delved into matters he could not help coming to the conclusion that "Colonel Sabow was murdered by fellow Marines, and a conspiracy to cover up the murder involved officers locally and at Marine Headquarters, Navy headquarters, the NCIS, the Department of Justice, including the FBI, and the Orange County Coroner's Department. It probably also included at least one federal court judge."

At one point, the Marine Corps contacted Wheaton about the Sabow affair, and David sent him to Washington, where he met with senior field grade officers and gave them an account of the evidence proving murder. He also let the Marine Corps know that Dr. Sabow was not out to ruin the Corps, since his brother had served with them for almost 30 years. He was out to get to the bottom of the murder.

Wheaton let the Marine Corps know that Dr. Sabow was available for discussion and willing to fly to Washington at his own expense and to cooperate fully. But no one ever called.

Dr. Sabow appealed to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of the Navy, and even FBI Director William Sessions. No one would listen. He commonly received form letters with words to this effect: We have reviewed all of the in-depth investigations that have been carried out in great detail, and we find no evidence of foul play.

David gave up on the military and sought private channels. He had an equally difficult time finding a lawyer. No one wanted to help. They claimed it was too difficult to win such a case. Several attorneys said that the Feres doctrine prevented servicemen or their families from suing the government. It soon became obvious that trying to get a law firm to take on a case involving the government was almost impossible.

Finally, David found a small law firm in southern California that was willing to work with him. The firm was having financial difficulties and would not work on a contingency basis. They would proceed on a per hour basis only. David accepted the terms as they were the only law firm willing to take on the case. They prepared a Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) against the government.

Dr. Sabow requested partial discovery because he knew that full discovery would not be granted. The government would become too vulnerable. But the judge in the Santa Ana federal district court, Alice Marie Stodler, refused to grant the plaintiffs even limited discovery.

In the meantime, the Department of Defense was ordered by Congress to reinvestigate certain deaths due to an act signed by President Clinton in early 1994. Due to David's persistence, the DOD knew that they would have to at least make a pseudo attempt at a reinvestigation. In March 1994, Special Investigator Larry Swails was assigned to the case. Swails was from the Division of Criminal Investigation Services (DCIS) for the Inspector General of the DOD.

Swails interviewed several key people, including Colonel Sabow's immediate family, Lt. Col. Bill Callahan, Captain Anthony Verducci, Randy Robinson, Dr. Jack Feldman, Gene Wheaton, and individuals from the Orange County Coroner's office.

Many of these people had key information to offer. Robinson, for example, had witnessed tampering with the patio chair's position at the scene of the death, and discovered the ammunition inside a garage cabinet. He saw the same ammunition photographed on the garage floor to make it appear that it had been found in that location. Gene Wheaton provided Swails with much evidence of murder. Captain Verducci told Swails that Dr. Sabow was the only one who had ever investigated the case, and that he had overwhelming evidence of foul play. But Swails was only interested in finding out what these people knew about covert activities. He was not interested in the events of the death and the material that pointed to murder.

Needless to say, the FTCA claim was thrown out of court by Federal Judge Alice Marie Stodler. And this was despite the fact that Dr. Sabow was able to prove that no thorough investigation was ever done.

Sabow learned that a huge legal team was working against him. The Justice Department sent a Mr. Zipperstein from Washington, D.C., to southern California to coordinate the efforts of the government against him.

David summed it up: "The end result was that we were denied our day in court....The decision of the judge was at best outrageous in addition to being unconstitutional."

In October 1994, Larry Swails finally interviewed Dr. Sabow. When Swails started his investigation in March 1994, Sabow expected that he would be the first person interviewed. He called Swails several times and asked why he was not seen. After all, he had autopsy material, photographs, and other documents. He had more than an opinion to offer--he had the hard evidence. Despite this, Sabow was the last to be summoned.

A week before the interview, Swails phoned David and requested Sally Sabow's presence at the meeting. Sabow surmised that this would be an exit interview and did not bother to tell Sally about it.

A couple of days prior to the meeting, Sabow invited a close friend to sit in on the talks. Judge Marshall Young was a prominent judge and a past president of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

On October 22, 1994, Larry Swails and his assistant, Nancy Sundervan, came to David's home. The investigators immediately started questioning Sabow about his knowledge of covert activities, and his sources of documentation. Their questions were direct: Who are your sources? Who supplied you with information from headquarters? And so on. David told them that he was not interested in this type of conversation. He reminded them that there was only one reason for the interview, and that was to establish the manner of death of Colonel Sabow.

The two were clearly at odds in their intent. David would start to present his evidence, but before he could finish a sentence, Swails would say, "no, that's not quite right. It's this way." Judge Young interrupted several times saying that he didn't understand the way the interview was being conducted. They had come all this way to find out what Dr. Sabow knew regarding the manner of his brother's death. Yet any time Dr. Sabow opened his mouth to present a piece of evidence, they would counter it by saying that their experts say otherwise. This was not a court, Judge Young reminded them, but a fact-finding mission.

Sabow insisted on going over the evidence point by point, and the two so-called investigators continued to resist. They were not open to any evidence that did not support their point of view. The two were particularly disturbed by statements and autopsy photos regarding a large lump on the back of Colonel Sabow's head, and by the idea that it was not likely that a person would hit himself over the head before shooting himself. According to David, whenever such an inconsistency arose, the two would ignore it, change the topic, or offer to show it to the FBI. At one point during the interview the investigators actually said that they were not going to consider any evidence that was not pointing toward suicide.

After Swails and Sundervan left, Judge Young told David that "I have never seen anything in my life like this, and I've been on the bench for over 30 years. I have never seen a capital crime proved so conclusively. You have proved murder in spades." He went on to say, "But I want you to know, you're dealing with evil people. And you make one grave mistake. You have faith in the judicial system. I don't."

Three or four days after the meeting, Gene Wheaton called Larry Swails to find out how the Rapid City investigation went. Gene had known Larry years before when he was a criminal investigator for the army. Swails answered that the meeting was "an absolute waste of time. All Dr. Sabow wanted to talk about was the investigation of his brother's murder. He didn't want to say anything about covert activities."

Judge Young told David about a dedicated FBI agent, Bill Grode, and David was able to arrange a meeting with Grode. He expected their talk to last a half hour or so, but Grode was deeply interested and stayed for 3« hours. He took voluminous notes and left with copies of the evidence. In early January 1995, Grode called to set up another meeting.

At this meeting, Sabow started showing a magnetic resonance film demonstrating the extent of damage that would have occurred with a shotgun blast contacting the soft palate. But after a few words, Grode looked at him and said, "Dr. Sabow, that's really interesting, but we know it's homicide." Sabow dropped his pointer and began to weep. This was the first time in four years that anybody in the government had acknowledged him.

Interestingly, Grode had said we instead of I. Subsequently, David learned that the other person was an Agent Fred Collins, head of the north central FBI district and stationed in Minneapolis. Together, Grode and he reviewed information before sending a report to Washington. David subsequently learned that from Washington it had been referred to the Los Angeles FBI bureau but that "it was too hot to handle" and sent back to Washington.

Dr. Sabow wrote a letter to the director of the FBI after not hearing anything for several months. The letter was detailed, and filled with hard evidence. A week or two later, Dr. Sabow received a letter from the Congressional liaison and public affairs officer for the FBI, a man by the name of Collingwood, stating, in essence, that the FBI had already conducted investigations into the matter in 1993, and had found absolutely no evidence of foul play. They were sorry that his brother was dead, but it was over. The FBI didn't want any part of it.

David was devastated at this point. By this time, he had been stonewalled by the Marine Corps, the Secretary of the Navy, the Justice Department, and the FBI. He had written to Senators and Congressmen, and had received nothing except perfunctory responses, such as that they had given the material to the Marine Corps or to the Department of Defense, and they were looking into it. He could not get a major commitment from anybody.

His law firm did launch an appeal, which is in front of the court right now. It appears that it will be a year to a year-and-a-half before he will get a decision.

In the interim, David decided to go to Washington. He was fortunate in that he met Senator Tom Daschle, a man who he feels has the integrity and commitment to help him all the way. Upon seeing the evidence, Senator Daschle acknowledged its importance. Currently, his staff is working with David. With this help, David continues to pursue justice. His plan is to request a special Senate inquiry and a meeting with Janet Reno and Louis Free at which time they will demand a federal grand jury.

One thing is for sure: Dr. David Sabow is not going away. He is sure that it is only a matter of time before the truth will out, and Colonel Sabow's name is cleared.


Pete Barbee and the Drug Connection

Dr. David Sabow's investigation has proven without a shadow of a doubt that Colonel Sabow's death was murder, not suicide. But why was he killed? Captain Pete Barbee, who has conducted investigations into drug trafficking at air bases for several years, claims to know.

Barbee was a mustang in the Marine Corps (a mustang is an officer who came up through the ranks). In 1985, Barbee was a Captain in the Marine Corps in Tustin, California, serving as a helicopter aircraft commander. Barbee was selected for a degree completion program, so he left the Marines for two years to obtain a Bachelor's Degree at the University of California at Irvine.

During this time, Colonel Sabow became aware of drugs on the base. He and his staff decided to use undercover methods to find out how the drugs were getting there. Somebody recommended Barbee, who, as a mustang, had rapport with the troops. In the latter part of 1987, Colonel Sabow contacted Barbee and discussed his concern about drug trafficking within the El Toro and Tustin bases.

Investigations confirmed suspicions that drug activity was taking place. But the information uncovered was surprising. After much research, Barbee discovered chemicals used to make methamphetamine were being sold.

In 1987, Barbee graduated from the University of California at Irvine, and was assigned back to the Marine Corps in Tustin, where he continued to investigate and report on chemical trafficking. Colonel Sabow advised him to report to him and no one else.

Barbee learned that the chemicals red phosphorus and P2, a bluish liquid used for cleaning ships and aircraft for quality control, were being removed from the military stockpile and transferred through DRMO, the Defense Regional Management Office, and several NIS agents.

Barbee left the Marine Corps but he did stay in southern California, and therefore saw the newspaper articles about Colonel Sabow's death in the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register. When he read about the "suicide" he immediately said that that was impossible. He knew the death had something to do with drug interests. Barbee had a great respect for Colonel Sabow, and felt that he owed him a debt. He would repay the debt by continuing with the investigations in an attempt to find the killer. Barbee continued to go to DRMO auctions to watch what was happening, and to gather information and leads. In the back of his mind, he could hear the colonel's words, "Trust no one."

In 1993, Barbee moved to Fontana, close to Waters' Country store, the center of massive and open drug dealing. Twelve to twenty drug dealers worked there seven days a week, and he could not understand why they were dealing so openly, and why nothing was being done to stop them. There were no drug busts made, and no police monitoring them. Yet everything from heroin to cocaine, speed, and pot were being sold and bringing in easily $50,000 to $70,000 a week.

Barbee became too visible. On the night of November 10, 1993, he was kidnaped, drugged, and left for dead in Ventura County. Several underlings who worked for drug lords Carlos Segura, Rudy Garza, and Augustine were responsible. They were major dealers and providers at Waters' Country Store.

Barbee was discovered by the police, and after a short stay in the emergency room was taken to jail on drug charges. After getting out of jail, he obtained a gun, and continued his search. He slowly gathered more knowledge on why and how these dealers were allowed to operate with such impunity. He discovered a great deal of corruption.

With the backing of the Ventura sheriff's office, Barbee was able to make an agreement with Mr. and Mrs. Waters. His goal was three-fold. He wanted to remove the debris that they had collected for over 40 years in back of Waters' Country Store, to remove the drug dealers, and to remove the people who were living in the back of the store.

Barbee worked with the sheriff's office for approximately three months, during which time he denied the drug dealers access, moved things around so that they weren't familiar with their territory, and gave the sheriff's department information about types of drugs and drug deals being made.

At the end of three months, a big raid took place, and the drug dealers were gone. Once they found out that Barbee had a lot of information, and that he was passing it along, Garza and Augustine saw to it that Barbee was badly beaten. This happened more than once. Guns were pulled on him, his head was cracked, and his nose was crushed.

After recovering, Barbee continued working. Garza was determined to put an end to his interference. He told several people that he was going to take Barbee down because of his connection with the sheriff, and because he had eliminated him from the drug scene. Barbee did not perceive this as an idle threat. Garza had a rap sheet three or four pages long filled with violent assaults, including murder.

On August 29, 1994, Garza attacked Barbee with a knife at his place of business. Barbee pushed Garza away and armed himself. Garza came at him again, and Barbee shot him four times in the head.

Several witnesses saw what Garza had done. Others heard Garza's threats to kill Barbee. Unfortunately, the sheriff chose to ignore witnesses. They also ignored reports by emergency medical technicians who found Garza lying on the pavement, knife in hand. Barbee was arrested that night for first-degree murder, which shocked several police officers who had been working with him.

Barbee subsequently identified the district attorney in the Fontana Court as someone he frequently saw with Garza at Waters' Country Store. He told the sheriff's investigator, and co-defender investigator this information. They informed Barbee that they were doing an investigation into the prosecuting DA. They said that the situation would be worked out and that it would not be a problem--this was strictly a case of self-defense.

Barbee then learned that the DA was aware of the investigation. As a result, he had an even greater dislike of Barbee.

While in jail, Barbee was threatened and beaten. He was told he would be killed in jail. At one point, Barbee was moved from his cell block to another one, right next to Rudy Garza's cousin, Eddie. Like his cousin, Eddie Garza was involved in a great deal of violence and drug trafficking.

In prison, Barbee has given information to the sheriff's department concerning DRMO involvement in the sale and use of red phosphorus and P2. The information has panned out for them. Yet he has not received any help in return. They also have records of Barbee's investigation with the sheriff's department into the Garza crime family.

On November 17, 1994, Diane Barbee, Pete Barbee's wife, saw Connie Chung's Eye-to-Eye television program, which had a report about Dr. Sabow investigating the death of his brother. They phoned Pete to tell him about the show. Pete Barbee broke down in tears when he learned that someone else cared enough to investigate the murder. As a result, Dr. Sabow and Pete Barbee made contact.

Dr. Sabow informed Jim Willworth, an investigative reporter for Time magazine, about Barbee, and he subsequently interviewed him in depth several times. Willworth later told Dr. Sabow, "I've done this business for 28 years. This man is legitimate." After Jim Willworth's interview, the prosecution changed the charge against Barbee from first-degree murder to manslaughter. The reason given for the manslaughter charge: He had overreacted with his gun. Rather than fight this in court, Barbee pleaded no contest. (His attorney had said that they could fight it, but if they lost he could get up to a ten-year penalty. Believing the system to be corrupt, Barbee thought it best to serve for a lesser time, especially since the time served before he was given bail is included.)

So Barbee took the plea of manslaughter and has been sentenced to three years in state prison. The last time his wife, Diane, visited him, Barbee stated that he needed to talk about Colonel Sabow. He needed to get all the information to them so that he could repay the debt he owes. Diane says that her husband wants to verify that he brought up Colonel Sabow's death long before he was incarcerated. He actually gave the information to the sheriff's department, and they were supposed to have turned it over to other authorities, including the DEA. But nothing has been passed along. Also of interest is the fact that Barbee was interviewed by the FBI months ago, and has heard nothing from them since that time.

Some say that Barbee was arrested because of his insight into Colonel Sabow's death and his knowledge of covert government operations. Not surprisingly, Barbee fears for his life. "There is a lot of corruption here in Fontana," he says. "I am going up against a DA who has prostituted his position, and a judge who has prostituted his. The judge has eliminated evidence, and has lied about it. I am scared. I fear for my life, and my wife fears for hers. She has had to move. I need help, and I just pray that I can get it."


Other Casualties of the Sabow Affair

The following additional individuals connected to the Sabow affair have met with strange misfortunes. Evidently, they knew too much.


Randy Robinson, the MP who witnessed evidence tampering at the death scene, was arrested two months after the murder, and charged with rape. The charge was then changed to the lesser one of adultery, for which he has served a six-month sentence. Captain Verducci, who acted in Robinson's defense, felt that the whole affair was bizarre, because the alleged victims did not file a complaint and refused to testify in court.


Archibald Scott, a highly decorated colonel who heard Colonel Sabow exclaim to Underwood that "Quitters never win and winners never quit," was accused of impersonating an officer. Scott took the case to court, and the decision has been reversed in his favor.


Captain Leslie Williams worked for Colonel Sabow and thought highly of him. She openly protested derogatory remarks against him. Despite a highly rated performance and recommendations for promotion by Colonel Sabow, Williams was "passed over" by the military and had to "get out."


Provost Marshall Goodrow and deputy, Forquer, were the first on the scene when Sabow died. Both were given new assignments in the summer of 1991. One was sent to Okinawa and the other to Twenty-Nine Palms. They were "short-termed."


Jack Chisom, the co-owner of T&G Aviation, who supplied C-130 and DC-7 operations in the Persian Gulf, was found dead in the Arizona desert as the result of a hit-and-run accident.


"Kevin," a marine who retired in the summer of 1994, was at the home of some friends when ®MDBR¯Eye-to-Eye With Connie Chung®MDNM¯ appeared on television. The program contained a segment on the death of Colonel Sabow and included a reference to large quantities of drugs being delivered to military bases, and an interview with a pilot who was involved in these flights. The group of people watching the program were astounded. "Kevin" assured them that everything they saw was true. He himself had been ordered to load vast quantities of drugs onto airplanes with the idea that drugs would be used for sting operations. He was not supposed to discuss the matter with anyone. Later, David Sabow learned of him and tried to reach "Kevin" for an interview. Five days later, a secret source told him "Kevin's" place of work and his unlisted phone number, but "Kevin" was dead. He was found hanging from the rafters of his parents' barn.


Tom Wade was a computer specialist who accessed confidential records for the Inspector General during his bogus investigation in January 1991. He found that the MWR files had been purged, including contracts with proprietary airlines, which are suspected of being involved in illegal C-130 acquisitions and illicit drug traffic. Wade's brutal death remains a mystery. He was shot in the head early on Christmas Day, 1994, as he was returning from Midnight Mass. As Wade's colleague at El Toro, computer installation chief Felix Segovia, explains, Wade was a single parent living in an apartment complex. "He had a small daughter. He was going home Christmas Eve from services. He was on his way home to pick up some gifts to take back to the give out to the kids, and he was accosted by a couple of individuals in the parking lot of his complex, and shot in the back of the head, execution-style. Nothing was taken from his car. His daughter was left in the car crying. And no one saw anything. And until 6 in the morning when finally someone heard his daughter crying, it was never reported to the police."


Sergeant Felix Segovia is awaiting court-martial. He was a close friend of Tom Wade's, and had filed a "wholesale theft of computer equipment" report after having found that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of computers, hardware, and software were missing from the El Toro base.


Colonel Jerry Agenbroad was found hanged in the BOQ in El Toro, on Feb. 24, 1994, five days after a 60 Minutes segment on illegal acquisitions and use of C-130s. He was in charge of MWR and at one time had been the head of the Air Museum at El Toro.

======end of article======

eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
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Eco Man | 21 Sep 14:00 2007

MMM. GMM Uruguay photos. Marijuana March

Thanks! to whoever uploaded the images to

I moved them to

Please forward widely!


 Montevideo, Uruguay. May 5, 2007 Global Marijuana March. 

 4 images in this album   [slideshow]  [login]  
 Gallery: Marihemp Network Gallery   Album: Cannabis Events Worldwide.   Album: Cannabis events worldwide. By year.   Album: 2007 cannabis events.   


eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
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Eco Man | 24 Sep 00:55 2007

MMM. War Costing $720 Million Each Day. Washington Post. Sept 23 2007.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi violent deaths due to the war.
Some casualty photos, stats:


War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says.

  Sunday, September 23, 2007  

War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says

by Kari Lydersen

CHICAGO  — The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity, according to the American Friends Service Committee, which displayed those statistics on large banners in cities nationwide Thursday and Friday.

The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group's analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.

The estimates made by the group, which opposes the conflict, include not only the immediate costs of war but also ongoing factors such as long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware.

"The wounded are coming home, and many of them have severe brain and spinal injuries, which will require round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives," said Michael McConnell, Great Lakes regional director of the AFSC, a peace group affiliated with the Quaker church.

The $720 million figure breaks down into $280 million a day from Iraq war supplementary funding bills passed by Congress, plus $440 million daily in incurred, but unpaid, long-term costs.

But some supporters of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq say that even if the war is costly, that fact is essentially immaterial.

"Either you think the war in Iraq supports America's national security, or not," said Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "If you think national security won't be harmed by withdrawing from Iraq, of course you would want to see that money spent elsewhere. I myself think that belief, on a certain level, is absurd, so the question of focusing on how much money we are spending there is irrelevant."

The war's unpaid long-term costs do not include "macro-economic consequences" described by Bilmes and Stiglitz, including higher oil prices, loss of trade because of anti-American sentiments and lost productivity of killed or injured U.S. soldiers.

In 2006, Bilmes, who was an assistant secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton, and Stiglitz, a former chief economist at the World Bank, placed the total cost of the Iraq war at more than $2.2 trillion, not counting interest. The American Friends group used cost breakdowns and interest projections from the Congressional Budget Office to calculate the daily cost of war emblazoned on the banners flown in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities.

The banners show what this could buy in terms of health care, Head Start programs, new elementary schools, free school lunches, renewable energy and hiring new teachers. Protest organizers say they hope to turn more people against the war by laying out its true financial impact.

"I think people are becoming more aware of these guns or butter questions," said Gary Gillespie, director of the group's Baltimore Urban Peace Program, which displayed the banners in the Baltimore suburb of Bel Air on Friday. "But when you talk about $720 million a day, even people who work on this issue are shocked by the number and shocked by what could have been done with that money. War has no return — you're not producing a product."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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12 Comments so far

  1. KEM PATRICK September 23rd, 2007 4:07 pm

    Pehaps I missed somethng, but I thought the daily cost of the war figures was pretty well known in 2002. This is a well written and swell reminder however, of how stupid humanity and governments can be. I understand Halliburton and all of its many subs, including Blackwater, etc, collect about 20% of this money figure. That must be some "benefit" for our shakey economy.

  2. saywhat September 23rd, 2007 4:08 pm

    Hey mister, can you spare a dime?

  3. wild rose September 23rd, 2007 4:26 pm

    That's what y'all get for voting Democrat instead of voting for Nader.

  4. ezeflyer September 23rd, 2007 4:32 pm

    All that money is going to other corporations instead of to We the People Inc.

  5. wild rose September 23rd, 2007 4:37 pm

    ezeflyer.. Yup. Plus, all that money has been going to the corporations since FDR's finalizing of the Federal Reserve.

  6. Gail Moore September 23rd, 2007 4:43 pm

    Well, gosh - no WONDER we "can't afford" health care for children. You know, the bill that George is going to veto because it's "too expensive". What's too expensive is George.

    Incidentally, have you heard that Karl Rove's emails did NOT all get erased as he'd hoped when he quit? Greg Palast set up a very similar website to Rove's, and quite a few of them were misdirected to Greg Palast. Check out for the full story.

  7. iwarrior September 23rd, 2007 4:58 pm

    Sweet Jesus, what the people could do with that money.

  8. ezeflyer September 23rd, 2007 5:06 pm

    iwarrior said:

    "Sweet Jesus, what the people could do with that money."

    And all We the People have to do to get it is to incorporate.

  9. locust September 23rd, 2007 5:41 pm

    Keep in mind that nobody is actually paying for this credit card war and occupation. The debt just piles up.
    Have you told your children how much they owe already? Get those 5 year olds to work, if they want to even pay the interest, let alone balance of $9 trillion. Otherwise they'll owe even more when they grow up and wonder why this generation hated their children this much, and impoverished them.

    It's nice to hear again from the American Empire Institute. Tell us some more about how money grows on trees and this misadministration can spend whatever it wants on Iraq, and the next crisis, and the next.
    At what point does America go bankrupt?

  10. matthood September 23rd, 2007 6:31 pm

    America is still paying for WW1 and WW2. Why do the people imagine a vain thing hoping Bush would ever dream of telling the truth. I said from the begining that the war would cost a minuim 3 trillion dollars. I was mocked and laugh at! The elite have shifted the tax burden under the leadership of former Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon who caused the great depression when the nation realized it had no money in its treasury from the 5 tax breaks he gave the wealthy who shifted the tax burden to the non-wealthy who had no money! The non-wealthy have been paying for every american military action since FDR. Our tax structure is design on kissing the butt of the wealthy in this countrty! It would be cheaper to get rid of this nations wealthy by taking away their citizenship and start over without them by deporting them all! The wealthy have committed economic treason! They are using america has their personal slush fund in conquering Iraq for Exxon-Mobil! I wonder how many of our elected officials have been given cheap oil stocks to buy their loyality! Treason is on a massive scale by the oil companies and Washington! The truth is that JD Rockefeller found oil in the middle east to avoid paying taxes in America and to avoid Washington having any control over his companies that the anti-sherman act had broken up!Corporate law was written and created to circumvent the constitution and the Bill of Rights. Corporate law is a form of long term treason where international corporation like those who gave money to Hitler to build up Germany's economy by weakinging America economy! Bush's war in Iraq is a war against us! He deliberatly went to war without no regard for this nation. I am sure he will be well paid after he leaves office! He prayed for war before he came to office. His father if he had been re-elected would have gone back to war in IrAq. President Clinton was impeached because he did not obey the orders of the Bush adminstratin fanatical foot soldiers. Bush war to go back to Iraq was written in stone and ojn the wall before he became President! If Clinton gets elected the war will go on! She is a Yale graduate! This is Yale's war. What the press have failed to ask President Bush Jr. is-has he or as he ever been on the pay role of the CIA. Bush Jr is a covert CIA officer who is on the domestic pay role of the CIA like his father! It is a felony for a covert CIA officer to be a federaly elected official without disclosing that he is a CIA officer! It is a crime!

  11. figmentzenguitar September 23rd, 2007 6:35 pm

    If we had all voted for Nader, they would have shot him or crashed his plane.

  12. imagineusa September 23rd, 2007 6:41 pm

    GREAT ARTICLE, Our adversarys are not on the battle field in Iraq! We created those foe's. Americas real enemies are right here at home and we elected them. Our current leadership will bankrupt America both financially and morally. What we need is a good old fashion revolution. Thats what it will take if "we the people" what to restore America values (pre-Bush) and protect the Constitution.

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eco man,
MMM (Global Million Marijuana March):

when the subsidy and health costs of fossil fuel pollution are accounted for.
Chart of cumulative installed photovoltaic solar power in the IEA PVPS countries 1992 to 2005. In megawatts:
Why are the sheeple (sheep-like people) following oil companies into Iraq and possibly Iran?
Solar power in detail:
Wiki: __._,_.___
Your email settings: Individual Email|Traditional
Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
Change settings via email: Switch delivery to Daily Digest | Switch to Fully Featured
Visit Your Group | Yahoo! Groups Terms of Use | Unsubscribe