- Bank Fraudsters Use Bankruptcy Court to Take Down Popular Independent Media Center to realize $10MM + Payday, an interview with Lenny Charles Labanco
- Egypt’s “Torturer-in-Chief” Running for President, an interview with Lisa Hajjar
More about our guests:
Lenny Charles Labanco
Chicago based MB Financial Bank is on another financial rampage. The bank is again trying to use the court system to white wash a fraudulent loan and turn it into a legitimate mortgage note for the purpose of foreclosure and sale of a valuable New York City property. If it succeeds with the scam, the bank will realize a $10MM + payday in selling off the building that is worth upwards of $20 MM. And, when the smoke clears, a prominent progressive media resource called INN and the community center will soon be closed.
The not for profit news group INN World Report headed by a 10 year veteran news reporter and its President/Founder Lenny Charles Labanco is about to lose not only its studios, but also the popular community center at 56 Walker Street in TriBeCa that it has operated for the last 5 years. As a news reporting team specializing in social justice and rights issues INN “the International News Net” broke stories daily for Free Speech TV, WBAI, and dozens of affiliates across the country since 2003. As operators of the 200 seat center on the ground floor, which goes under the name of ‘Epifaneo Cafe,’ it has been a host to Occupy Wall Street, conferences, film screenings, fund raisers, art exhibits, and live music events on a weekly basis. The list of guests featured by INN for events and TV appearances is impressive, including names like Presidential candidates Ron Paul and Mike Gravel, activists such as Bobby Kennedy, Jr, ,Gore Vidal, etc.
The building is owned by INN board member Guy Morris and his company 56 Walker LLC. Morris, a civil liberties advocate, gave the not for profit INN “the International News Net” a 20yr discounted lease in 2007 to insure its success through management and short term rental income. The lease predates the loan and any financial troubles, but that doesn’t seem to matter in the current situation.
Lisa Hajjar teaches sociology at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Her research and writing focus on law and legality, war and conflict, human rights, and torture. She is the author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, 2005). In addition to being a Co-Editor at Jadaliyya, she serves on the editorial committees of Middle East Report and Journal of Palestine Studies. She is currently working on a book about anti-torture lawyering in the United States. She wrote the piece “Omar Suleiman, the CIA’s Man in Cairo and Egypt’s Torturer-in-Chief.”
The piece states: “At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt — Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib — was tortured by Suleiman himself. … A far more infamous torture case, in which Suleiman also is directly implicated, is that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Unlike Habib, who was innocent of any ties to terror or militancy, al-Libi allegedly was a trainer at al-Khaldan camp in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Pakistanis while fleeing across the border in November 2001. He was sent to Bagram, and questioned by the FBI. But the CIA wanted to take over, which they did, and he was transported to a black site on the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, then extraordinarily rendered to Egypt. Under torture there, al-Libi ‘confessed’ knowledge about an al-Qaeda-Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s ‘confession’ was one the central pieces of ‘evidence’ presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war. As it turns out, though, that ‘confession’ was a lie tortured out of him by Egyptians. …
“According to Evan Kohlmann, who enjoys favored status as an ‘al-Qaeda expert’ among U.S. officials, citing a classified source: ‘Al-Libi’s death coincided with the first visit by Egypt’s spymaster Omar Suleiman to Tripoli.’ Kohlmann surmises and opines that after al-Libi recounted his story about an al-Qaeda-Saddam WMD connection, ‘The Egyptians were embarrassed by this admission, and the Bush government found itself in hot water internationally. Then, in May 2009, Omar Suleiman saw an opportunity to get even with al-Libi and traveled to Tripoli. By the time Omar Suleiman’s plane left Tripoli, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi had committed ‘suicide.””
See in The New Yorker by Jane Mayer “Who is Omar Suleiman?”
Hajjar was quoted in USA Today: “Suleiman’s reputation holds dread for some in Egypt.”