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Exposed: Stratfor’s 3-Step Plan To Conquer & Divide Activists

5:51 pm in Uncategorized by Steve Horn

Cross-Posted from Mint Press News

Part 1 of this exclusive Mint Press News investigation examined the strategies employed by Stratfor precursor Pagan International. So named for its founder Rafael Pagan, corporate clients hired the company with the aim of diffusing grassroots movements mobilized against them around the world.

Stratfor logo

A look at Strategic Forecasting, the private intelligence agency.

Part 2 takes a closer look at how Pagan International’s successor, Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin (MBD), revised and refined these strategies — and how what began as a corporate public-relations firm evolved into the private intelligence agency Stratfor, which wages information warfare against today’s activists and organizers.

Rafael Pagan — who died in 1993 — was not invited to be a part of his former associate’s new firm, Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin. His tactic of conquering and dividing activist movements and isolating the “fanatic activist leaders” lived on, though, through his former business partner, Jack Mongoven.

Mongoven teamed up with Alvin Biscoe and Ronald Duchin to create MBD in 1988. While “Biscoe appears to have been a largely silent partner at MBD,” according to the Center for Media and Democracy, Mongoven and Duchin played public-facing starring roles for the firm.

Duchin, like Pagan, had a military background. A graduate of the U.S. Army War College and “one of the original members of [Army] DELTA” — part of the broader Joint Special Operations Command that killed Osama Bin Laden — Duchin had jobs as a special assistant to the secretary of defense and as spokesman for Veterans for Foreign Wars prior to coming to Pagan.

Duchin served as head of the Pentagon’s news division during “Operation Eagle Claw,” President Jimmy Carter’s failed 1980 mission to use special forces to capture the hostages held in Iran.

Referred to by The Atlantic as the “Desert One Debacle” in a story Duchin served as a key confidential source for — as revealed in an email in the “Global Intelligence Files” announcing Duchin’s 2010 death — “Eagle Claw” ended with eight U.S. troops dying, four wounded, one helicopter destroyed, and President Carter’s reputation in the tank. The failed and lethal mission served as the impetus for the creation of the U.S. Special Operations.

Largely avoiding the limelight while working as Pagan’s vice president for Issue management and strategy — the brains of the operation — Duchin became a notorious figure among dedicated critical observers of the public relations industry while co-heading MBD. During MBD’s 15 years of existence, its clients included Big Tobaccothe chemical industryBig Agriculture and probably many other industries never identified due to MBD’s secretive nature.

MBD worked on behalf of Big Tobacco to fend off any and all regulatory efforts aimed in its direction. Philip Morris paid Jack Mongoven $85,000 for his intelligence-gathering prowess in 1993.

Get Government Off Our Back,” an RJ Reynolds front group created in 1994 by MBD for the price of $14,000 per month, serves as a case in point of the type of work MBD was hired to do by Big Tobacco.

“The firm has developed initiatives for RJ Reynolds that advocate pro-tobacco goals through outside organizations; among other projects, the firm organized veterans organizations to oppose the workplace smoking regulation proposed by OSHA,” explains a 2007 study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health. “[It] was created to combat increasing numbers of proposed federal and state regulations on the use and sale of tobacco products.”

Paralleling the Koch Family Foundations-funded Americans for Prosperity groups of today, “Get Government Off Our Back” held rallies nationwide in March 1995 as part of “Regulatory Revolt Month.”

“Get Government Off Our Back” dovetailed perfectly with the Republican Party’s 1994 “Contract with America” that froze new federal regulations. The text of the “Contract” matched “Get Government Off Our Back” “nearly verbatim,” according to the American Journal of Public Health study.

‘Radicals, Idealists, Realists, Opportunists’

While its client work was noteworthy, the formula Duchin created to divide and conquer activist movements — a regurgitation of what he learned while working under the mentorship of Rafael Pagan — has stood the test of time. It is still employed to this day by Stratfor.

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NATO 3: Chicago Judge Rules Illinois Terrorism Statute Constitutional

5:58 am in Uncategorized by Steve Horn

Cross-Posted from Antiwar.com Blog

Chicago, IL

Judge Thaddeus Wilson – holding down the house in Room 303 of the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, IL – ruled the Illinois terrorism statute constitutional on its face.

Judge Thaddeus Wilson

This ruling was issued approximately two months after the attorneys defending the three clients known as the “NATO 3” issued a motion and memorandum arguing the law defied the dictates of the First Amendment because it is overly-broad as currently written, an argument rejected by Wilson.

Thus, it was confirmed that the three activists – Jared Chase from Keene, NH; Brent Betterly from Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Brian Church also from Fort Lauderdale – who were in the Windy City to protest the May 2012 NATO Summit will be charged by the State of Illinois with three counts of “conspiracy to commit terrorism,” “material support for terrorism,” and possession of an incendiary device (allegedly molotov cocktails) to “commit the offense of terrorism.”

“Mo” and “Gloves”

Mentioned only obliquely by Wilson in his ruling: two undercover police informants who played a role in pushing the terrorism plot forward, potentially manufacturing it wholesale and then slapping the label “terrorism” on it.

Known in Chicago activist circles in the run-up to the NATO Summit as “Mo” and “Nadia”/”Gloves,” Nadia is mentioned directly but not by name in Wilson’s ruling as someone “believed [to be a] co-conspirator” when Church asked her if she was “ready to see a cop on fire” in the days leading up to the Summit.

“Nadia” wore a hidden recording device while having a slew of meetings with the “NATO 3″ from May 1-May 16, 2012, the audio from which has been used as the evidence for the prosecution of the three.

“We think the terrorism charges should’ve never been brought in the first place,” Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office, an attorney co-representing Brian Church with Gelsomino, said in an interview. “It’s not a terrorism case, it never was and it never should’ve been – it’s politically-motivated use for improper purposes.”

The Scene From Within

The hearing unfolded roughly a week after a key oral argument between the two parties, lasting a mere 15 minutes in a small circular room featuring a painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. resting on the wall behind the left shoulder of Judge Wilson. Held in a room sealed off by sound-proof glass, the sound inside the courtroom was projected via a microphone and the speakers sitting on the other side of that glass.

Three uniformed police officers sat with the defendants in the front room and another four stood with the audience in the glassed-off back room featuring two columns of wooden church-like pews that ran three rows deep. Roughly 20 Chicago-area activists came out in support of the activists, many of them donning yellow shirts in solidarity with the “NATO 3,” two out of three who were also ushered out in yellow “protective-custody-level” IL Department of Corrections (DOC) prison garb.

“It’s what a lot of scholars and people who pay attention to national security call the ‘new normal.’ That is, because the terrorism statute is in play, you end up having police officers sitting in bullet proof vests in the court room,” attorney Thomas Durkin of Durkin & Roberts, representing Jared Chase, said in an interview. “Over time, you’ve got what legal scholars call ‘seepage,’ in which these ‘new normals’ start seeping into the court room incrementally.”

The hearing had an ominous feeling from jump street, with the State of Illinois bringing a nine-person cadre to Chicago, much bigger than the usual three-person team attending the hearings so far. Prior to the hearing’s commencement, People’s Law Office attorney Sarah Gelsomino, co-representing Brian Church, came to the attendants’ gallery and told supporters to remain calm because the ruling would likely not be favorable – a doomsaying hypothesis which merely 15 minutes later proved true.

Court Date Set for Two-Year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street

Two other activists charged with similar crimes, Mark Neiweem and Sebastian Senakiewicz – part of the broader “NATO 5″ – also are still sitting in Cook County Jail with the “NATO 3″ awaiting their final destiny. The Jail was under federal investigation for its conditions in 2008.

A final trial date for the “NATO 3″ is still set for Sept. 16, 2013, the day before the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Occupy Wall Street movement.