How will people hold governments to account? - Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service - CNS One of the major failures of current times is how democratic systems are being made ineffective so that people w...
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"A Palestinian-rights group, Adalah-NY, now alleges the companies are controlled by Shaya Boymelgreen, a controversial real-estate developer in New York City.
As evidence, they cite Israeli media reports from 2005 and 2006 that identify Boymelgreen as Green Park's principal stakeholder."
"Boymelgreen's name does not appear in Bilin's $2-million lawsuit. Both Green Park and Green Mount list a Montreal woman as their sole director, president and secretary.
But Bilin's Canadian lawyer says he believes the woman - Annette Laroche - is only a figurehead.
'We believe (her) to be simply the secretary at the law firm that incorporated the company with really no knowledge or involvement,' said Mark Arnold.
'I have no evidence that she has done anything wrong. Nevertheless she is liable for the conduct of that company.'
Both companies have Byzantine ownership structures with ties that extend to the African diamond trade.
Quebec government records say Green Park and Green Mount are each controlled by Lexinter Management, which lists a commercial photo studio in Montreal as its address.
Lexinter in turn lists its majority shareholder as F.T.S. Worldwide Corp., a Panama-based company involved in the past with the diamond trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
F.T.S. Worldwide was formerly the majority shareholder of Emaxon Inc., which was granted an exclusive deal to market Congolese diamonds in 2003.
Emaxon's sole director, president and secretary is Karen McIntyre, who served the same functions for Green Mount until she was replaced by Laroche in 2007.
Efforts to reach McIntyre and Laroche were unsuccessful.
Repeated calls to Ronald Levy, the lawyer representing Laroche and the two companies in her name, were not returned.
The Montreal offices of Levy's law firm, De Grandpre Chait, also serve as Emaxon's head office, at least for government tax records.
Adalah-NY argues Boymelgreen used Green Park and Green Mount to sub-contract the construction of the settlements near Bilin to Danya Cebus, a subsidiary of Africa Israel Investments.
The conglomerate is headed by Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev, who partnered with Boymelgreen in a series of New York real-estate ventures between 2002-2007.
UNICEF, the UN children's fund, cut its ties with Leviev last month after it found 'at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" that Danya Cebus was involved in settlement building, which is considered illegal by the UN.'
"In the 1990s, FBI scientists estimated the rarity of each genetic marker by extrapolating from sample populations of a few hundred people from various ethnic or racial groups. The estimates for each marker are multiplied across all 13 loci to come up with a rarity estimate for the entire profile.
These estimates make assumptions about how populations mate and whether genetic markers are independent of each other. They also don't account for relatives.
Bruce Weir, a statistician at the University of Washington who has studied the issue, said these assumptions should be tested empirically in the national database system.
'Instead of saying we predict there will be a match, let's open it up and look,' Weir said.
Some experts predict that given the rapid growth of CODIS, such a search would produce one or more examples of unrelated people who are identical at all 13 loci.
Such a discovery was once unimaginable."
"In a database of fewer than 30,000 profiles, 32 pairs matched at nine or more loci. Three of those pairs were 'perfect' matches, identical at 13 out of 13 loci."
"The phone company Qwest Communications refused a proposal from the National Security Agency that the company’s lawyers considered illegal in February 2001, nearly seven months before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the former head of the company contends in newly unsealed court filings.
The executive, Joseph P. Nacchio, also asserts in the filings that the agency retaliated by depriving Qwest of lucrative outsourcing contracts.
The filings were made as Mr. Nacchio fought charges of insider trading. He was ultimately convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading and has been sentenced to six years in prison. He remains free while appealing the conviction.
Mr. Nacchio said last year that he had refused an N.S.A. request for customers’ call records in late 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks, as the agency initiated domestic surveillance and data mining programs to monitor Al Qaeda communications.
But the documents unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Denver, first reported in The Rocky Mountain News on Thursday, claim for the first time that pressure on the company to participate in activities it saw as improper came as early as February, nearly seven months before the terrorist attacks.
The significance of the claim is hard to assess, because the court documents are heavily redacted and N.S.A. officials will not comment on the agency’s secret surveillance programs. Other government officials have said that the agency’s eavesdropping without warrants began only after Sept. 11, 2001, under an order from President Bush.
But the court filings in Mr. Nacchio’s case illustrate what is well known inside the telecommunications industry but little appreciated by the public: that the N.S.A. has for some time worked closely with phone companies, whose networks carry the telephone and Internet traffic the agency seeks out for intercept."