Monthly Archives: April 2014

Libya: Seeking a “zero footprint”

Material Support to Terrorism: The Case of Libya

April 22, 2014
by Clare M. Lopez

Libya in 2011 marks the place and the time that the United States (U.S.) and the Obama administration formally switched sides in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). A mere 10 years after al-Qa’eda (supported by Hizballah and Iran) attacked the American homeland in the worst act of terrorism ever suffered by this country, U.S. leadership decided to facilitate the provision of weapons to jihadist militias known to be affiliated with al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring down a brutal dictator who also just happened to be a U.S. ally in the GWOT at the time.

And the U.S. media were silent. The major broadcast, print, and Internet outlets said not a word about this astonishing turnabout in American foreign policy. To this day, they have not seemed even to recognize that the pivot to support al-Qa’eda took place. But it needs to be said. The American people deserve to understand that their most senior leaders, both elected and appointed, have violated their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

United States law is quite explicit about providing material support to terrorists: it’s prohibited. Period. 18 U.S. Code § 2339A and 18 U.S. Code § 2339B address Providing Material Support to Terrorists or Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Together, these two sections outlaw the actions of any U.S. person who attempts or conspires to provide, or actually does provide, material support to a foreign terrorist organization knowing that it has been designated a foreign terrorist organization or engages, or has engaged, in “terrorism” or “terrorist activity.” Conspiracy means agreeing or planning to provide such support, whether or not such support ever is actually delivered. Penalties for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism are stiff: imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a fine of not more than $250,000. Penalties for actually providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism are even harsher: imprisonment from 15 years to life, with a life sentence applicable if the death of any person results from such crime. Aiding, abetting, counseling, or procuring in support of a violation of Section 2339B is punishable by the same penalties as for the offense itself.

The Arms Export Control Act is another law that makes it illegal for the U.S. government to export “munitions” to any country determined by the Secretary of State to have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” While this provision applies specifically to those countries—Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria—that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism, the case of Libya stands out nevertheless. Removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2006, Libya by early 2011 was swarming with al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Muamar Qaddafi’s regime.

The identities of those jihadis and their al-Qa’eda affiliations were well known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of State, and Tripoli Embassy long before the 17 February 2011 revolt broke out against Muamar Qaddafi. As with other al-Qa’eda branches, the Libyan al-Qa’eda affiliates such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) trace their origins back to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, which was founded in 1949 when Egyptian Brotherhood members “fled a crackdown in Cairo and took refuge in Benghazi,” according to a May 2012 study by the Brookings Doha Center. Colonel Muamar Qaddafi took over Libya in a 1969 coup d’état and showed little tolerance for Brotherhood activities. Brutal waves of repression kept the Brotherhood in check through the 1980s and 1990s when many Libyan fighters went to Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen in their battle against the Soviet Army. Some of those who fought there, like Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj, would figure prominently in the revolt that ultimately ousted Qaddafi in 2011.

The LIFG was founded in 1990 by Libyan fighters returning from the Afghan jihad who were now intent on waging jihad at home. Qaddafi came down hard on the group, though, and crushed the LIFG’s 1995-1998 insurgency. Some LIFG members had moved to Sudan when Usama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri found refuge with Omar al-Bashir’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in the early 1990s and others (including Belhadj) eventually fled back to Afghanistan, where both bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri also had relocated by the mid-1990s. Abu Anas al-Libi is alleged to have taken part in the pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya a few years prior to the 1998 al-Qa’eda attack there.

By 1995, things were becoming hot for the jihadis in Sudan and while bin Laden and al-Zawahiri returned to Afghanistan about this time, others such as Anas al-Libi were offered safehaven by the British. In return for political asylum in the UK, MI 6 recruited Anas al-Libi’s support for a failed 1996 plot to assassinate Qaddafi. In all, Anas al-Libi lived in Manchester from 1995-2000—despite his known history of association with bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and other AQ leaders, as well as willingness to participate in assassination plots against national leaders, as I wrote in an October 2013 piece at The Clarion Project. The U.S.’s British partners also provided asylum to Abu Abdullah As-Sadeq, the LIFG’s top commander and allowed the LIFG to publish an Arabic language newspaper called al-Wasat in London. By 2000, though, as the FBI and other Western security services began to close in, Anas al-Libi and others were on the move again, leaving behind a 180-page al-Qa’eda terror training manual that became known as the “Manchester Document.” In the run-up to the 11 September 2001 attacks, Anas al-Libi, Abdelhakim Belhadj, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, and other known LIFG members reconnected with bin Laden in Afghanistan. As John Rosenthal points out in a 10 October 2013 posting, “The Inevitable Rise of Al-Qaeda in Libya,” in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “the history of close cooperation between the LIFG and al-Qa’eda was so extensive that the Libyan group figured among the very first organizations to be designated as al-Qaeda affiliates by the UN Security Council.” In fact, according to Rosenthal who cites former LIFG member, Norman Benotman, Belhadj was actually present with bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001. The LIFG was formally accepted as an al-Qa’eda franchise by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the AQ deputy at the time, in 2007.

In the years following 9/11, various LIFG members were detained: Abu Sufian bin Qumu was captured in 2002 and sent to Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) and in 2004, both Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj were captured. By the mid-2000s, GITMO detainees were being released to their home countries. Abu Sufian bin Qumu, for example, was released from GITMO and returned to Libya in 2007. Beginning about 2005, Qaddafi was under pressure from both the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and his own son, Seif, to begin what came to be known as “the reconciliation process,” in which LIFG and other jihadist prisoners were released from Libyan jails. In this process, LIFG Muslim Brotherhood cleric Ali Mohammad Al-Sallabi was a key mediator. Abdelhakim Belhadj was released in 2008 (just as Christopher Stevens was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission to Tripoli) and Abu Sufian bin Qumu in 2010, after which he returned to Derna to begin plotting the revolt against Qaddafi.

Even as this “reconciliation process” was underway and Christopher Stevens was preparing for his new posting, Libyan jihadis were flowing out of eastern Libya in droves to join the al-Qa’eda jihad against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. According to a June 2010 study compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” coalition forces in Iraq captured a stash of documents in October 2007 which documented the origins of the foreign fighters who’d traveled to Iraq to join al-Qa’eda between August 2006 and August 2007. Termed the “Sinjar Records” after the nearest town where these personnel records were found, the data showed that by far the largest contingent of foreign fighters per capita came from Libya. Across the spectrum, the most common cities of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq were Darnah, Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Darnah is located in the eastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, long known as an incubator of jihadist ideology and the place which would become the cradle of the 2011 Islamic uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

Nor was the new Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Christopher Stevens unaware of what was going on. A June 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that went out over Stevens’ signature was obtained by the London Telegraph from Wikileaks. The report was given the name “Die Hard in Derna,” after the Bruce Willis movie, and described the determination of the young jihadis of this eastern Libyan town to bring down the Qaddafi regime. Because they believed the U.S. government supported the Qaddafi regime and would not allow it to fall after it had abandoned its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and begun to provide counter-terrorism support, and as documented in the West Point study of the “Sinjar Records,” the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) instead sent its fighters to confront the U.S. in Iraq, believing that was a way to strike a blow against both Qaddafi and his U.S. backers. A local Derna resident told the visiting Embassy officer that Libyan fighters who had returned from earlier battlefields in Afghanistan (1980s) and elsewhere sometimes went on for additional “religious training” in Lebanon and Syria; when they eventually returned to Libya in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they began the process of preparing the ground for “the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime…”

Career Foreign Service Officer Christopher Stevens was first posted to the American Embassy in Tripoli, Libya in June 2007 as the DCM and later as charge d’affaires until 2009. For his second tour in Libya, Stevens was sent to rebel headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, to serve as special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council. He arrived on a Greek cargo ship on April 5, 2011 and stayed until November. His mission was to forge stronger links with the Interim Transitional National Council, and gain a better understanding of the various factions fighting the Qaddafi regime. His reports back to Washington were said to have encouraged the U.S. to support and recognize the rebel council, which the Obama administration did formally in July 2011.

As is now known, under urging from Sen. John McCain and other Congressional members, the White House endorsed Qatar’s plan to send weapons to the Libyan rebels shortly after Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a 21 February 2011 fatwa that called for the killing of Qaddafi. Seeking a “zero footprint,” no-paperwork-trail profile itself, the U.S. instead encouraged both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to arm the Libyan jihadis, according to a key New York Times article published in December 2012. Knowing full well exactly who those rebel militias and their leadership were, and how closely they were connected with al-Qa’eda (and perhaps even mindful of the legal restrictions on providing material support to terrorism), the U.S. sought to distance itself as the source of these weapons, which included small arms such as automatic rifles, machine guns, and ammunition. The NY Times piece noted that U.S. officials made sure to stipulate the weapons provided would come from elsewhere, but not from the U.S.

But the fact that from the end of March 2011 onward, U.S. and other NATO forces completely controlled Libyan air space and the sea approaches to Libya means that the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and elsewhere were being waved through with full U.S. knowledge and support. The U.S. mission in Libya, and especially in Benghazi, ramped up in this period to facilitate the delivery of the weapons to the Libyan al-Qa’eda terrorists.

What followed should hardly have come as a surprise to anyone. After NATO air support cleared the way to Tripoli, the Qaddafi regime fell in October 2011 and the Muslim Brotherhood political leadership and al-Qa’eda fighters took over. Abdelhakim Belhadj was named Tripoli military commander. Chaos reigned, especially in the eastern regions, and now the weapons flow reversed—out of Libya, and into the hands of jihadis in West Africa, the Sinai, and Syria. Some of that flow was wildly disorganized and some of it was directed, with the U.S. mission in Benghazi once again playing a key role as its teams on the ground facilitated the weapons delivery, now destined for the Syrian rebels, dominated by al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. In this endeavor, the U.S. was allied with its new Libyan partner, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and once again, with Qatar.

The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was underway, with a new Presidential Finding, and material support to terrorism firmly established as official policy. Congress and the media and the military remained silent. The American people barely noticed.

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Do the Fed’s Really Own the Land in Nevada? Nope!

April 19, 2014
by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Is it true that nearly 80% of Nevada is still owned by the Federal Government who then pays no tax to the State of Nevada? This seems very strange if true as a backdrop to this entire Bundy affair.

You seem to be the only person to tell the truth without getting crazy.

Thank you so much

HF

REPLY: The truth behind Nevada is of course just a quagmire of politics. Nevada was a key pawn in getting Abraham Lincoln reelected in 1864 during the middle of the Civil War. Back on March 21st, 1864, the US Congress enacted the Nevada Statehood statute that authorized the residents of Nevada Territory to elect representatives to a convention for the purpose of having Nevada join the Union. This is where we find the origin of the fight going on in Nevada that the left-wing TV commenters (pretend-journalists) today call a right-wing uprising that should be put down at all costs. The current land conflict in Nevada extends back to this event in 1864 and how the territory of Nevada became a state in order to push through a political agenda to create a majority vote. I have said numerous times, if you want the truth, just follow the money.

The “law” at the time in 1864 required that for a territory to become a state, the population had to be at least 60,000. At that time, Nevada had only about 40,000 people. So why was Nevada rushed into statehood in violation of the law of the day? When the 1864 Presidential election approached, there were special interests who were seeking to manipulate the elections to ensure Lincoln would win reelection. They needed another Republican congressional delegation that could provide additional votes for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. Previously, the attempt failed by a very narrow margin that required two-thirds support of both houses of Congress.

The fear rising for the 1864 election was that there might arise three major candidates running. There was Abraham Lincoln of the National Union Party, George B. McClellan of the Democratic Party, and John Charles Frémont (1813–1890) of the Radical Democracy Party. It was actually Frémont who was the first anti-slavery Republican nominee back in the 1940s. During the Civil War, he held a military command and was the first to issue an emancipation edict that freed slaves in his district. Lincoln maybe credited for his stand, but he was a politician first. Lincoln relieved Frémont of his command for insubordination. Therefore, the Radical Democracy Party was the one demanding emancipation of all slaves.

With the Republicans splitting over how far to go with some supporting complete equal rights and others questioning going that far, the Democrats were pounding their chests and hoped to use the split in the Republicans to their advantage. The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931 that was the mouth-piece for the Democrats. From 1883 to 1911 it was under the notorious publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911), who started the Spanish-American war by publishing false information just to sell his newspapers. Nonetheless, it was the New World that was desperately trying to ensure the defeat of Lincoln. It was perhaps their bravado that led to the Republicans state of panic that led to the maneuver to get Nevada into a voting position.

The greatest fear, thanks to the New York World, became what would happen if the vote was fragmented (which we could see in 2016) and no party could achieve a majority of electoral votes. Consequently, the election would then be thrown into the House of Representatives, where each state would have only one vote. Consequently, the Republicans believed they needed Nevada on their side for this would give them an equal vote with every other state despite the tiny amount of people actually living there. Moreover, the Republicans needed two more loyal Unionist votes in the U.S. Senate to also ensure that the Thirteenth Amendment would be passed.  Nevada’s entry would secure both the election and the three-fourths majority needed for the Thirteenth Amendment enactment.

The votes at the end of the day demonstrate that they never needed Nevada. Nonetheless, within the provisions of the Statehood Act of March 21, 1864 that brought Nevada into the voting fold, we see the source of the problem today. This Statehood Act retained the ownership of the land as a territory for the federal government. In return for the Statehood that was really against the law, the new state surrendered any right, title, or claim to the unappropriated public lands lying within Nevada. Moreover, this cannot be altered without the consent of the Feds. Hence, the people of Nevada cannot claim any land whatsoever because politicians needed Nevada for the 1864 election but did not want to hand-over anything in return. This was a typical political one-sided deal.

Republican Ronald Reagan had argued for the turnover of the control of such lands to the state and local authorities back in 1980. Clearly, the surrender of all claims to any land for statehood was illegal under the Constitution. This is no different from Russia seizing Crimea. The Supreme Court actually addressed this issue in Pollard’s Lessee v. Hagan, 44 U.S. 212 (1845) when Alabama became a state in 1845. The question presented was concerning a clause where it was stated “that all navigable waters within the said State shall forever remain public highways, free to the citizens of said State, and of the United States, without any tax, duty, impost, or toll therefor imposed by said State.” The Supreme Court held that this clause was constitutional because it conveys no more power over the navigable waters of Alabama to the Government of the United States than it possesses over the navigable waters of other States under the provisions of the Constitution.”

The Pollard decision expressed a statement of constitutional law in dictum making it very clear that the Feds have no claim over the lands in Nevada. The Supreme Court states:

The United States never held any municipal sovereignty, jurisdiction, or right of soil in and to the territory of which Alabama, or any of the new States, were formed, except for temporary purposes, and to execute the trusts created by the acts of the Virginia and Georgia legislatures, and the deeds of cession executed by them to the United States, and the trust created by the treaty of the 30th April, 1803, with the French Republic ceding Louisiana.

So in other words, once a territory becomes a state, the Fed must surrender all claims to the land as if it were still just a possession or territory.

Sorry, but to all the left-wing commentators who call Bundy a tax-cheat and an outlaw, be careful of what you speak for the Supreme Court has made it clear in 1845 that the Constitution forbids the federal rangers to be out there to begin with for the Feds could not retain ownership of the territory and simultaneously grant state sovereignty. At the very minimum, it became state land – not federal.

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Connect the Dots :: Questions Raised About Senator Reid’s Connection to Bundy Ranch Dispute

Written by  Warren Mass

The standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deescalated on April 12, when the bureau announced that it will stop its operation to confiscate Bundy’s cattle.

But another aspect to this ongoing story is jumping: The blogosphere is alive with allegations that Senator Harry Reid (pictured), and his son, Rory, have motivations of their own for wanting Bundy’s cattle off the disputed lands.

Though the major media announced that a “deal” had been reached between Bundy and the BLM, Bundy explained what transpired differently in an interview with KLAS TV in Las Vegas: “There is no deal here. The citizens of America and Clark County went and took their cattle. There was no negotiations. They took these cattle. They are in possession of these cattle and I expect them to come home soon.”

The BLM stated in its statement released on April 12: “Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”

The BLM’s language made apparent that the bureau still regarded its actions “to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders” as being legally justified:

This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

As William F. Jasper noted in his April 11 article about the standoff, however, there was more to the federal action to remove Bundy’s cattle from “public lands” (where they are, allegedly, damaging the “fragile” habitat of the protected desert tortoise) than has been widely reported:

According to Bundy, whose family has been ranching in the area since the 1800s, the BLM’s armed invasion and occupation of Nevada has nothing to do with protecting the tortoise and everything to do with running him off the land, as it has already done to all of the other ranchers in Clark County.

As for the BLM’s assertion that its actions “to remove illegal cattle” are legally justified, among the many points that Joe Wolverton II made in his April 12 article charging that the seizure of Bundy’s cattle was unconstitutional was this citation from Section 1 of the Nevada constitution, titled “Inalienable Rights”:

All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

Wolverton observed: “Despite the Nevada constitution’s capitulation to supreme federal authority (authority, remember, that does not exist in the Constitution) … it could be argued [that the above-quoted language from Section 1] supersedes the other article’s cession of state and popular sovereignty.”

That which is unconstitutional, therefore, cannot properly be called legal.

As the tension between Bundy and the BLM ratchets down, a number of conservative bloggers and pundits have raised questions about another angle in this case: Does the BLM want Bundy’s cattle off the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to free up the land for the construction of solar panel power stations?

That question was prompted, in part, by since-deleted information previously posted on the BLM website, information retrieved from Google’s cache.

The text of a BLM document retrieved from Google’s cache and posted by Liberty News Online contains the following chronology of events:

• “In 1993, some of the terms of Mr. Bundy’s grazing permit for the Bunkerville allotment were modified to protect the desert tortoise.”

• “In 1998, the United States filed a civil complaint against Mr. Bundy for his continued trespass grazing in the Bunkerville Allotment.”

• “In 1999, the Las Vegas Field Office Resource Management Plan designated the Bunkerville allotment as ‘Closed to Grazing’ to protect desert tortoise habitat.”

• “In March 2011, BLM counted 903 cattle from a helicopter spread out over approximately 90 miles in northeast Clark County within the Gold Butte area … 41 percent had either brands or earmarks registered to Cliven Bundy.”

• “In May 2012, the United States filed a Complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for Cliven Bundy’s trespass grazing within the Gold Butte area outside the Bunkerville Allotment.”

A PDF of the BLM’s document, “Regional Mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar energy Zone: Technical Note 444,” produced by the BLM in March, can be found online.

Technical Note 444 states that the “’Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone’ recommends a strategy for compensating for certain unavoidable impacts that are expected from the development of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) in southern Nevada.”

Technical Note 444 states: “The resource values found in the Gold Butte ACEC are threatened by: unauthorized activities, including off-road vehicle use, illegal dumping, and trespass livestock grazing ; wildfire; and weed infestation.” (Emphasis added.)

The above-referenced BLM “Technical Note 444” specifically mentions the Gold Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) 76 times. While the document expresses many environmental concerns, including “trespass livestock grazing,” it is important to keep in mind that the title of the document reveals the BLM’s ultimate objective, which is to create a “solar energy zone.”

One of the references listed in Technical Note 444 is “Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. FES 12- 24, DOE/EIS-0403,” published jointly by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The PEIS, notes TN 444, “assessed the impact of utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in the six southwestern states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.”

The BLM and the DOE’s joint venture is — stated concerns about tortoises aside — about the generation of solar energy.

An article published by The New American in September 20012 noted that Rory Reid, the eldest son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is the chief representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.

The plan generated a great deal of controversy because Clark County officials voted to sell ENN the public land for $4.5 million, a figure far below its $38.6-million appraised value.

It is important to recognize that the land on which Bundy grazes his cattle is not the same land that ENN sought near Laughlin, which is over 200 miles away. However, the Bundy grazing land is within the BLM’s Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, an area the BLM and DOW also want to use for “utility-scale solar energy development,” whether constructed by ENN or someone else. As blogger and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 8th District Rodney Lee Conover recently wrote:

As part of the plan for the Dry Lake solar zone, any solar developers are expected to pay into a fund to “mitigate” the Gold Butte area. However, the “mitigation” activities can’t take place with cattle grazing in the area. If the mitigation doesn’t take place, no money for the BLM.

Conover’s assertions are supported by the BLM’s document entitled “Cattle Trespass Impacts,” which states that grazing by Bundy’s cattle “impacts” solar development, more specifically the construction of “utility-scale solar power generation facilities” on “public lands.”

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” an article by Kit Daniels posted by Infowars quoted the document.

Motivations are not always easy to prove, but in this case, Senator Reid’s hand has shown up more than once. The BLM’s principal deputy director, Neil Kornze, previously served as Senator Reid’s senior policy advisor. And we have noted Rory Reid’s role as the chief representative for China’s ENN Energy Group, which has sought to develop solar energy in Nevada. Whether these suspicions are proof of wrongful or illegal acts remains to be seen.

However, one thing is evident from what has transpired in Nevada: The federal government has reneged on a long-standing arrangement made by a rancher in good faith by which he and his family have earned a living for generations. In so doing, they have run roughshod over the rights of a U.S. citizen and have employed constitutionally dubious means to do so. If justice prevails, some judge with respect for the Constitution may follow the example of Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada. Last year — in the case of U.S. v. Hage — Jones issued an impassioned preliminary bench ruling in which he charged federal officials of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with an ongoing series of illegal actions against Nevada rancher E. Wayne Hage. Jones described the bureaucrats’ actions as “abhorrent” and a literal, criminal conspiracy.

Which is a pretty apt description of the BLM’s recent actions against Cliven Bundy.

Related articles:

Last Man Standing: Nevada Ranch Family in Fedgov Face-off

Bundy’s Case: Feds Do Not Own the Land Where His Cattle Graze

BLM’s Seizure of Nevada Rancher’s Land Rights Unconstitutional

Harry Reid Bolsters Son’s Interests in Chinese Solar Plant Deal

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Rolls-Royce Secures Deck Machinery Contract for Tugs

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a £19m contract to deliver deck machinery for four ocean going tugs, designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions, for Dutch company ALP Maritime Services.

The vessels will be constructed in Japan by Niigata Shipbuilding & Repair.

The vessels are being developed for towing large structures like oil rigs and floating production units over long distances. The bollard pull for each of the four vessels will be 300 tons and they will be equipped for anchor handling.

John Knudsen, Rolls-Royce, President Offshore, said: “This project is a good example of how our solid industry know-how makes us a partner of choice for innovative ship owners and design  teams. The new vessels will place ALP Maritime Services in the elite division for large offshore towing operations across the world.”

The deck machinery delivered from Rolls-Royce will include a complete low pressure winch solution and a stern roller. The towing/anchor handling winches are specially developed in cooperation with the ship designer and owner. The supply of rudder and steering gear is also included in the Rolls-Royce scope.

Intended for world-wide operations, the vessels will be delivered from Japan by Q1 2016. They will be of Ulstein design SX157, developed especially for this project.

Tore Ulstein, Ulstein Group, Deputy CEO, said: “This is a very important contract involving activities in a new market for us and with a new customer. The contract is a result of close cooperation with the shipyard, the ship owner and our partners in the Norwegian maritime cluster, a cooperation we will work to develop further in the years to come.”

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Gulf of Mexico: Noble Energy Hires EMAS for Gunflint Project

EMAS, the operating brand of Ezra Holdings received a Letter of Agreement (LOA) from Noble Energy for the Gunflint Project in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

Under the terms of the agreement EMAS’s Subsea Services division, EMAS AMC has been nominated to perform the offshore installation of pipelines, umbilicals and ancillary equipment for the Gunflint Project in the Mississippi Canyon area of the US GoM in water depths in excess of 2,000 metres. The pipelines will be installed with EMAS AMC’s flagship vessel the Lewek Constellation while the EMAS Marine Base in Ingleside, Texas will be used to perform the pipe stalking and fabrication of various subsea structures.

Project preparation activities have already started and offshore works are scheduled to be carried out during 2015.

“I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to Noble Energy for their vote of confidence by awarding this important project to us,” said Mr Lionel Lee, EMAS’s Group CEO and Managing Director. “The Gunflint project is another significant milestone for us as it is a testament to the growth and current capabilities of EMAS AMC. It affirms that our combined engineering and asset capabilities, including our flagship construction vessel Lewek Constellation, are being endorsed by the industry to execute challenging subsea projects anywhere in the world. It is also the second major contract awarded to us by Noble Energy, following our successful work for the Noble Tamar Project and I look forward to working with Noble again and deliver a mutually successful outcome on Gunflint.”

The Group has secured more than US$300 million subsea contracts since the beginning of 2014, with the subsea backlog standing at more than US$1.4 billion to date.

Press Release, April 11, 2014

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