TBR News April 17, 2018

Apr 17 2018

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. April 17, 2018:” It has been said that no general staff ever developed a new weapon that they did not fully intend to use. Although Hitler was strongly opposed to the use of poison gas, having been a victim of it in the 1914 war, German scientists developed terrible nerve gasses during the Second World War that were never used, but were certainly loaded into standard artillery shells for possible use. After the war, these shells were dumped into the Baltic Sea and it is only a matter of time before the metal casings corrode sufficiently to permit an enormous amount of lethal gas to escape, wreaking havoc on the Baltic states and parts of Poland.

Bacteriological warfare has been practiced in the past as witness the comments about infecting Indians with smallpox, and no doubt it will be practiced in the future.

Information has emerged in the 90s that during the Cold War, US military agencies have experimented to one degree or another with such substances, using their civilian population as guinea pigs. A number of outbreaks of diseases such as Legionnaire’s Disease and AIDS have been suggested by reputable epidemiologists as highly suspect in origin but as official governmental agencies strongly deny these allegations, such suggestions must be entirely discounted.”


Table of Contents

  • Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?
  • Trump’s Syria Airstrikes are Unconstitutional
  • False flags are real – US has a long history of lying to start wars
  • Operation Northwoods
  • San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble
  • Forecasting California’s Earthquakes
  • The most dangerous fault in America
  • Stargate and other frauds: Out of brain experiences
  • Class Dismissed


Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

April 17, 2018

by Patrick J. Buchanan


“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a “one-shot” deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: “The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will.”

The Journal’s op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon: “Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits.”

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush’s war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953.

The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.

The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO. How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?


Trump’s Syria Airstrikes are Unconstitutional

April 14, 20218

by Michael Boldin

The Tenth Amendment Center

The Constitution imposes rules about how the United States is to enter a war, and the Trump administration has violated those rules in Syria.


Under the Constitution, the Founders intentionally prohibited the Executive branch from having the power to unilaterally determine whether or not the country would engage in war. Few were more adamant about this than James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” who wrote:

“The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature.”

Thus, Congress has the power to determine if the country will wage offensive war and against whom.  Once that decision is made by the Congress, the President is in charge of waging that war.

Madison emphasized this point again:

…The executive has no right, in any case to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.

In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department.

The power in question is delegated to Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution:

[Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

As I wrote in an early-2007 article, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, on the other hand, refers to the President as the “commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States.” What the founders meant by this clause was once war was declared, it would then be the responsibility of the President, as the commander-in-chief, to direct the war.

Alexander Hamilton supported this when he said that the President, while lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized.”

Thomas Jefferson stated this quite eloquently when, in 1801, he said that, as President, he was “unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.”

Thus, under the Constitution, the President, acting without a Congressional declaration of war, is authorized only to repel invasion and sudden attacks. Pre-emptive strikes, “humanitarian missions,” and other undeclared military expeditions are not powers delegated to the executive branch in the Constitution, and are, therefore, unlawful.

As an aside, it’s also important to note that no federal branch has the constitutional authority to transfer powers delegated to it to another branch.  So, for example, if Congress would pass a resolution giving the President the power to make the final decision on whether or not the country will go to war, that would be a transfer of delegated power, and unconstitutional as well.

There simply is no debate. Congress, not the President, decides if the country will go to war.


Confronted with the Constitutional requirement that Congress is the federal branch that determines when the country goes to war, supporters of unilateral executive power will often take one of two paths to avoid following the Constitutional mandate that Congress declare the war before the Executive can take action.

  1. Refer to the action as defensive.

This is the classic argument that “proves too much.” As James Madison pointed out, a constitutional argument is “triable by its consequences.” Here, the consequences would be essentially unlimited executive war power, since almost any significant activity can be linked to “national security” or a need to “defend American interests.” Because it is incontrovertible that unlimited executive war power is not what the Founders’ Constitution granted, the argument fails.

In short, actions only qualify as “defensive” under the constitution if they are in response to a direct attack or an imminent threat of attack. While not conclusive, there is Founding-era evidence to support the constitutionality of a defensive military response to protect U.S. personnel abroad as well. It’s also instructive to note that even this broader understanding is limited to “U.S. personnel abroad” and not just “U.S. interests.”

  1. Refer to the action as something other than “war.”

Under the Constitution, a war is a war whether you call it a war or something else.

Constitutional scholar, Rob Natelson, wrote about the legal meaning of the word “war”” in March, 2011:

Founding-Era dictionaries and other sources, both legal and lay, tell us that when the Constitution was approved, “war” consisted of any hostilities initiated by a sovereign over opposition.  A very typical dictionary definition was, “the exercise of violence under sovereign command against such as oppose.”  (Barlow, 1772-73).  I have found no suggestion in any contemporaneous source that operations of the kind the U.S. is conducting were anything but “war.” [emphasis added]

All U.S. military actions qualify as “violence under sovereign command.” And attacks in Syria, whether for strategic, political, or humanitarian purposes, are “over opposition.”

The bottom line? By using military to engage in hostilities with a foreign nation without a Congressional declaration of war, Donald Trump has committed a serious violation of the Constitution.

While he certainly is not the first to do so in regards to war powers, it’s high time that he becomes the last.


False flags are real – US has a long history of lying to start wars

April 16, 2018

by Danielle Ryan


Use of the term ‘false flag’ is often met with raised eyebrows and accusations of conspiracism. But false flags are a very real and very present feature of geopolitics — and denying that is simply denying reality.

Last week, the United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, bombed Syrian government targets, ostensibly in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack which was carried out one week before in the city of Douma.

The story we’re told is simple: Syrian President Bashar Assad is an evil maniac who uses poison gas on his citizens for the sheer entertainment value. As neocon think tank the Atlantic Council put it last week, when Assad gasses people, he is simply “indulging an addiction” — an addiction which he seems to have only recently acquired, given the fact that before Syria’s war began, American journalists were busy praising the “educated” and “informed” Assad and marveling at the “phenomenal” levels of peace and religious diversity within Syria.

Anyway, so intense is Assad’s newfound desire for watching Syrian babies foaming at the mouth, that he is willing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by deciding to use these weapons despite knowing it would provoke worldwide outrage and potentially a major US military effort to oust him. So, that’s the story. Assad is a monster and the world must unite to stop him.

There are plenty of people who are less than convinced by this narrative, however. One of them is Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria. Ford told BBC Radio Scotland that “in all probability” the alleged chemical attack never happened and that the video and image evidence used as proof by the US and its allies was falsified. There are others who believe that the attack could have been real, but that the perpetrators were anti-Assad rebels trying to provoke fresh military action from the US — in other words, it was very possibly a false flag event which served its purpose perfectly.

One of the best questions to ask when something like this happens, is: Who benefits? Very clearly in this case, Assad has not benefited at all, but the rebel groups fighting against him have.

Whatever the truth about this alleged chemical attack, the notion of false flag events being used to prompt military action should not be met with such skepticism. The US has a long history of using lies (or ‘fake news’ you might call it) as a pretext for war. It is important to look at recent events in Syria within that context.

Nayirah testimony

Perhaps the most famous of all examples was the heart-wrenching testimony to Congress of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, identified only as Nayirah, which was used to sell the first Gulf War to the American people in October 1990. An emotional Nayirah told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the floor to die.

What Americans did not know, was that Nayirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and she had been coached by the American PR firm Hill and Knowlton. But before the details of the stunt and false testimony became widely known, it had already been used to sell America’s war against Iraq in 1991.

Operation Northwoods

In the 1960s, American military leaders devised plans to bomb US cities and blame Cuban leader Fidel Castro in order to manufacture public and international support for a war.

The plan was codenamed Operation Northwoods and what it advocated was nothing short of horrendous. The American military suggested sinking boatloads of Cuban refugees, hijacking planes and bombing Miami. The goal was to convince Americans that Castro had unleashed a reign of terror upon them.

The top brass were even willing to cause US military casualties by blowing up an American boat in Guantanamo Bay and blaming Cuba. Why? Because, as they put it, “casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation” and help manufacture support for war. The plans were quashed by President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated one year later, leading some to speculate on a link between those events.

Gulf of Tonkin

Top US officials also distorted the facts in the lead-up to the Vietnam War and the media dutifully reported the official narrative as absolute fact, helping launch perhaps the most disastrous war in America’s history.

On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attack the USS ‘Maddox’ while it was on “routine patrol” in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Two days later, the US Navy reported a second “unprovoked” attack on the ‘Maddox’ and the USS ‘Turner Joy’ — a second destroyer which had been sent in after the first attack. President Lyndon B. Johnson told the American people on TV that “repeated acts of violence” against the US ships must be met with a strong response. Soon after Johnson appeared on TV, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which pre-approved any military action that he would take from that moment on.

The only problem was, there was no second attack on the US ships at all — and the allegation that the first attack had been “unprovoked” was also a lie. In reality, the USS ‘Maddox’ had been gathering intelligence and providing it to South Vietnamese boats which were attacking North Vietnam. As for the second attack, the US boats had misinterpreted radio signals and radar images and spent two hours firing at nothing. Nonetheless, the “attack” was used to convince the American people to support war.

Soviet aircraft false flags

Recently declassified documents show yet more American false flag plotting, this time against the Soviet Union. A three-page memo, written by members of the National Security Council, suggested that the US government should acquire Soviet aircraft which would be used to stage attacks and provide the pretext for war.

Such aircraft, the memo said, “could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for US intervention.”

The government even considered producing the soviet planes domestically in a massive covert operation. They went so far as to acquire estimates from the Air Force on the cost and length of time such an operation would take.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Is there even any need to rehash the lies which were told in the lead-up to the Iraq war? The media here again swallowed the government’s lies, one by one — and 15 years later, the region is still suffering the consequences and very few lessons appear to have been learned.

These are not conspiracy theories. They are cold, hard evidence that the US has no qualms whatsoever about using false flag events and fake evidence to provide pretext for military action.

Continued lack of critical inquiry from the media, given the severe potential consequences of escalating the conflict in Syria, is tantamount to a crime.



Operation Northwoods


Subject: Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS)

  1. Reference is made to memorandum from Chief of Operations, Cuba Project, for General Craig, subject: “Operation MONGOOSE”, dated 5 March 1962, which requested brief but precise description of pretexts which the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.
  2. The projects listed in the enclosure hereto are forwarded as a preliminary submission suitable for planning purposes. It is assumed that there will be similar submissions from other agencies and that these inputs will be used as a basis for developing a time-phased plan. The individual projects can then be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. This plan, incorporating projects selected from the attached suggestions, or from other sources, should be developed to focus all efforts on a specific ultimate objective which would provide adequate justification for US military intervention. Such a plan would enable a logical build-up of incidents to be combined with other seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries as well as the United States. The plan would also properly integrate and time phase the courses of action to be pursued. The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.
  4. Time is an important factor in resolution of the Cuban problem. Therefore, the plan should be so time-phased that projects would be operable within the next few months.
  5. Inasmuch as the ultimate objective is overt military intervention, it is recommended that primary responsibility for developing military and para-military aspects of the plan for both overt and covert military operations be assigned the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Pretexts to Justify Military Intervention In Cuba



(Note: The courses of action which follow are a preliminary submission suitable only for planning purposes. They are arranged neither chronologically nor in ascending order. Together with similar inputs from other agencies, they are intended to provide a point of departure for the development of a single, integrated, time-phased plan. Such a plan would permit the evaluation of individual projects within the context of cumulative, correlated actions designed to lead inexorably to the objective of adequate justification for US military intervention in Cuba).

  1. Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US military intervention in Cuba a cover and deception plan, to include requisite preliminary actions such as has been developed in response to Task 33 c, could be executed as an initial effort to provoke Cuban reactions. Harassment plus deceptive actions to convince the Cubans of imminent invasion would be emphasized. Our military posture throughout execution of the plan will allow a rapid change from exercise to intervention if Cuban response justifies.
  2. A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.
  3. Incidents to establish a credible attack (not in chronological order):

(1) Start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio.

(2) Land friendly Cubans in uniform “over-the-fence” to stage attack on base.

(3) Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.

(4) Start riots near the base main gate (friendly Cubans).

(5) Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires.

(6) Burn aircraft on air base (sabotage).

(7) Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations.

(8) Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or vicinity of Guantanamo City.

(9) Capture militia group which storms the base.

(10) Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires — napthalene.

(11) Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims (may be lieu of (10)).

  1. United States would respond by executing offensive operations to secure water and power supplies, destroying artillery and mortar emplacements which threaten the base.
  2. Commence large scale United States military operations.
  3. A “Remember the Maine” incident could be arranged in several forms:
  4. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.
  5. We could blow up a drone (unmanned) vessel anywhere in the Cuban waters. We could arrange to cause such incident in the vicinity of Havana or Santiago as a spectacular result of Cuban attack from the air or sea, or both. The presence of Cuban planes or ships merely investigating the intent of the vessel could be fairly compelling evidence that the ship was under attack. The nearness to Havana or Santiago would add credibility especially to those people that might have heard the blast or have seen the fire. The US could follow up with an air/sea rescue operation covered by US fighters to “evacuate” remaining members of the non-existent crew. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.4. We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.

The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.

  1. A “Cuban-based, Castro-supported” filibuster could be simulated against a neighboring Caribbean nation (in the vein of the 14th of June invasion of the Dominican Republic). We know that Castro is backing subversive efforts clandestinely against Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Nicaragua at present and possible others. These efforts can be magnified and additional ones contrived for exposure. For example, advantage can be taken of the sensitivity of the Dominican Air Force to intrusions within their national air space. “Cuban” B-26 or C-46 type aircraft could make cane-burning raids at night. Soviet Bloc incendiaries could be found. This could be coupled with “Cuban” messages to the Communist underground in the Dominican Republic and “Cuban” shipments of arms which could be found, or intercepted, on the beach.
  2. Use of MIG type aircraft by US pilots could provide additional provocation. Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type planes would be useful as complementary actions. An F-86 properly painted would convince air passengers that they saw a Cuban MIG, especially if the pilot of the transport were to announce such fact. The primary drawback to this suggestion appears to be the security risk inherent in obtaining or modifying an aircraft. However, reasonable copies of the MIG could be produced from US resources in about three months.
  3. Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft should appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the government of Cuba. Concurrently, genuine defections of Cuban civil and military air and surface craft should be encouraged.
  4. It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

A .An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone.

  1. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will being transmitting on the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to “sell” the incident.
  2. It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack.
  3. Approximately 4 or 5 F-101 aircraft will be dispatched in trail from Homestead AFB, Florida, to the vicinity of Cuba. Their mission will be to reverse course and simulate fakir aircraft for an air defense exercise in southern Florida. These aircraft would conduct variations of these flights at frequent intervals. Crews would be briefed to remain at least 12 miles off the Cuban coast; however, they would be required to carry live ammunition in the event that hostile actions were taken by the Cuban MIGs.
  4. On one such flight, a pre-briefed pilot would fly tail-end Charley at considerable interval between aircraft. While near the Cuban Island this pilot would broadcast that he had been jumped by MIGs and was going down. No other calls would be made. The pilot would then fly directly west at extremely low altitude and land at a secure base, an Eglin auxiliary. The aircraft would be met by the proper people, quickly stored and given a new tail number. The pilot who had performed the mission under an alias, would resume his proper identity and return to his normal place of business. The pilot and aircraft would then have disappeared.
  5. At precisely the same time that the aircraft was presumably shot down a submarine or small surface craft would disburse F-101 parts, parachute, etc., at approximately 15 to 20 miles off the Cuban coast and depart. The pilots returning to Homestead would have a true story as far as they knew. Search ships and aircraft could be dispatched and parts of aircraft found.


[Document ends]


San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

April 17, 2018

by Thomas Fuller, Anjali Singhvi and Josh Williams

New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Sailors arriving in San Francisco in the 19th century used two giant redwood trees perched on a hill to help guide their ships into the bay. The redwoods were felled for their lumber at around the time of the gold rush, but San Francisco now has a new beacon: Salesforce Tower, the tallest office building in the West.

Clustered around the 1,070-foot tower are a collection of high rises built on the soft soil and sand on the edge of the bay. They represent a bold symbol of a new San Francisco, but also a potential danger for a city that sits precariously on unstable, earthquake-prone ground.

San Francisco lives with the certainty that the Big One will come. But the city is also putting up taller and taller buildings clustered closer and closer together because of the state’s severe housing shortage. Now those competing pressures have prompted an anxious rethinking of building regulations. Experts are sending this message: The building code does not protect cities from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think.

It’s been over a century — Wednesday marks the 112th anniversary — since the last devastating earthquake and subsequent inferno razed San Francisco. Witnesses on the morning of April 18, 1906, described the city’s streets as rising and falling like a ribbon carried by the wind.

The violent shaking ignited a fire that lasted three days, destroying 500 city blocks and 28,000 buildings.

Half of the population of around 400,000 was made homeless. Many were forced to flee the city.

California has strict building requirements to protect schools and hospitals from a major earthquake. But not skyscrapers. A five-story building has the same strength requirements as a 50-story building.

Yet skyscrapers cast a much broader shadow of risk across a city and their collapse or impairment could cause a cascade of consequences.

How safe are San Francisco’s skyscrapers? Even the engineers who design them can’t provide exact answers. Earthquakes are too unpredictable. And too few major cities have been tested by major temblors.

“The profession does the best job we can to model and predict, but there are a number of uncertainties,” said Ron Hamburger, one of the country’s leading structural engineers. “We don’t have as many records, particularly for large magnitude earthquakes, as we would like.”

Previous earthquakes have revealed flaws with some skyscrapers. A widely used welding technique was found to rupture during the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles. (Many buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles have not been retrofitted.)

California has made significant strides in earthquake preparedness over the past century. Freeway overpasses, bridges and some municipal buildings have been strengthened. Many Californians live in single-family wood frame homes, which have been found to hold up relatively well during earthquakes.

But until recently, high-rise buildings were not a focus of San Francisco’s seismic safety.

Newer high rises across California, which are typically built around a concrete core, are designed using computer modeling.

This raises concerns among experts such as Thomas H. Heaton, the director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology and perhaps the most prominent skeptic of building high rises in earthquake zones.

“It’s kind of like getting in a new airplane that’s only been designed on paper but nobody has ever flown in it,” he said.

Last September, San Francisco’s former mayor, Edwin M. Lee, responding to a scandal about a skyscraper that was sinking and leaning, ordered city officials to strengthen building codes for high rises and requested an independent study on their safety.

Known as the Tall Buildings Study, it will for the first time create a detailed database of the more than 160 high rises, classified by building type. Ayse Hortacsu, the structural engineer who is leading the study, has deployed Stanford graduate students to pore over blueprints and records at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

“It would have been great to do this before this building boom in San Francisco,” Ms. Hortacsu said. “But we are going to seize the moment and make the best out of it.”

For years the city restricted building height to 500 feet in most neighborhoods. The objection to high rises was largely cultural and aesthetic — critics deplored “Manhattanization” and said high rises were not in keeping with the ethos of the city.

But by 2004, city officials had put in motion a plan to redevelop a neighborhood of warehouses and vacant lots that today are the heart of downtown.

The city pushed for the construction of a tall, iconic building — the future Salesforce Tower..

“We saw that as a symbol of the new San Francisco and we wanted the building to be at least 1,000 feet in height,” said Dean Macris, a key figure in conceiving the new high-rise San Francisco who led the planning board under four mayors.

Now retired, Mr. Macris said the issue of seismic safety of high rises was “never a factor” in the redevelopment plans of the South of Market area, or SoMa, as it’s known.

What shifted the debate on seismic safety was the sinking and tilting of the 58-floor Millennium Tower.

When it was completed in 2009, the building won numerous awards for ingenuity from engineering associations, including Outstanding Structural Engineering Project of the Year by the San Francisco office of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The developer and city officials knew of the building’s flaws for years, but kept them confidential until 2016, when news leaked to the public. The latest measurements, taken in December, show that the building has sunk a foot and a half and is leaning 14 inches toward neighboring high rises. It is across the street from Salesforce Tower and right next to a transit hub for buses, trains and eventually high speed rail that is being touted as the Grand Central of the West.

With the Millennium Tower, San Francisco got a foretaste of what it means to have a structurally compromised skyscraper. If the city is hit by a severe earthquake, experts fear there could be many more.

The area around Millennium Tower is considered among the most hazardous for earthquakes. The United States Geological Survey rates the ground there — layers of mud and clay — as having a very high risk of acting like quicksand during an earthquake, a process known as liquefaction.

In light of the problems with the Millennium Tower, there are now increasing calls in California for a reassessment of earthquake risks, much of it focused on strengthening the building code.

Right now the code says a structure must be engineered to have a 90 percent chance of avoiding total collapse. But many experts believe that is not enough.

“Ten percent of buildings will collapse,” said Lucy Jones, the former leader of natural hazards research at the United States Geological Survey who is leading a campaign to make building codes in California stronger. “I don’t understand why that’s acceptable.”

The code also does not specify that a building be fit for occupancy after an earthquake. Many buildings might not collapse completely, but they could be damaged beyond repair. The interior walls, the plumbing, elevators — all could be wrecked or damaged.

“When I tell people what the current building code gives them most people are shocked,” Dr. Jones said. “Enough buildings will be so badly damaged that people are going to find it too hard to live in L.A. or San Francisco.”

In January a Southern California assemblyman, Adrin Nazarian, introduced a bill in the State Legislature that would require the building code to make new buildings strong enough for “functional recovery” after an earthquake. The bill passed its first hurdle, a committee hearing, last week.

Driving the push to change the code is the notion that California has so much more to lose than it did in 1906.

The billions of dollars of infrastructure, headquarters of global industries and the denser, more vertical downtown make San Francisco a much more interconnected and vulnerable place.

The goal of the code, say proponents of a stronger one, should be the survival of cities — strengthening water systems, electrical grids and cellular networks — not just individual buildings.

“We’ve been sitting on our hands for decades about this problem,” said Keith Porter, a seismic engineer at the University of Colorado, who is hoping to spur greater public participation in a debate.

Dr. Porter’s research offers warnings on the economic consequences of a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has calculated that one out of every four buildings in the Bay Area might not be usable after a magnitude 7 earthquake, which although severe is not the worst the area could experience.

Dr. Porter calculates, hypothetically, that if buildings were built to a stronger standard, only 6 percent of buildings would be unusable.

Some structural engineers, however, say our modern crop of high rises are strong enough.

Ron Klemencic, the chief executive of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, the company that did the structural engineering for Salesforce Tower, says he agrees that water and sewage systems need higher strength requirements, but not high rises. “Buildings falling on top of other buildings — that’s not going to happen,” Mr. Klemencic said.

How much would stronger buildings cost to build?

At a time when the average price of a home in San Francisco is above $1.2 million, even a marginal increase in price tag is bound to meet resistance.

“We are already facing the concern of extremely high cost of housing and displacement,” said Brian Strong, the director of the office of resilience in San Francisco’s city government. In recent years the city has been focused on other seismic dangers, including older, low-rise apartment buildings with inadequate ground floor structures that could collapse, known as soft stories.

Charles Richter, the earthquake pioneer who invented the scale used to measure their power, had strong opinions about skyscrapers. Don’t build them in California, he said.

In the years since Mr. Richter’s death in 1985, construction materials have become stronger and engineering more precise.

Yet Hiroo Kanamori, an emeritus professor of seismology at the California Institute of Technology who developed the earthquake magnitude scale that replaced Dr. Richter’s, says the vast power and mysteries of earthquakes should continue to instill a deep humility.

In recent decades scientists have recorded violent ground motions that were previously thought impossible. A soon-to-be-published paper by Caltech engineers showed that an earthquake with a similar intensity of the one that struck Chichi, Taiwan in 1999 would bring down or render unusable numerous steel frame high rises in Los Angeles.

“People say, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s an outlier,’” Dr. Kanamori said. “This is the problem with earthquakes. By nature of the process there are a lot of unpredictable elements.

“And a single event can be catastrophic,” he said.

Forecasting California’s Earthquakes

Earthquake Safety.com

California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years, according to scientists using a new model to determine the probability of big quakes.

For northern California, the most likely source of such earthquakes is the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault (31% in the next 30 years). Such quakes can be deadly, as shown by the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta and the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquakes.

The new study determined the probabilities that different parts of California will experience earthquake ruptures of various magnitudes. The new statewide probabilities are the result of a model that comprehensively combines information from seismology, earthquake geology, and geodesy (measuring precise locations on the Earth’s surface). For the first time, probabilities for California having a large earthquake in the next 30 years can be forecast statewide.

Greater Shaking Intensity in the Bay Area

A major quake can occur at any time, in any part of this densely populated region. The epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was in the Santa Cruz Mountains, distanced some 30-70 miles from Bay Area cities. The USGS warns that should an earthquake strike at one of the closer fault areas, such as the Hayward fault, shaking in local cities can be expected to be 5 to 12 times stronger than it was in 1989. Therefore, there is an ongoing need for all communities to continue preparing for the quakes that will strike in the future.


The most dangerous fault in America

by Steven Newton


Last summer, a startling article appeared in The New Yorker magazine outlining what could happen to the Pacific Northwest in the event of a large earthquake resulting from a full rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. As recently as 1700, this convergent zone produced an earthquake estimated at magnitude 9. If such an event happened today, the results would be devastating. The article attracted a great deal of attention, especially among people who had never heard of the possibility that the heavily populated Pacific Northwest could, in a geologic moment, become “toast” — as someone quoted in the article put it.

The Pacific Northwest is not the only region of the United States in tectonic jeopardy. The San Francisco Bay Area also suffers from the unfortunate confluence of large populations and active faults. However, the nine counties of the Bay Area are home to dozens of major faults — the San Andreas, the Calaveras, the Concord-Green Valley, the San Gregorio, the Rodgers Creek and the Hayward, chief among them. These very active faults, which produce small quakes (mostly under magnitude 2.5) on a daily basis as well as occasional quake swarms — a swarm in October 2015 produced more than 400 small quakes in two weeks — cut through important infrastructure in every city in the region, potentially affecting more than 7 million people.

Most people have heard of the San Andreas, which they assume will be the source of the next big quake in the Bay Area, thanks in part to Hollywood disaster movies, such as the dreadful “San Andreas,” which perpetuate geologic absurdities. Despite the notoriety of the San Andreas Fault, it is not the greatest seismic threat to the Bay Area. East of San Francisco, across the muddy, green waters of San Francisco Bay, sits a smaller fracture in the crust: the Hayward Fault. One day, the Hayward Fault could produce the greatest natural disaster ever to hit the United States.

Location, Location, Location

The Hayward Fault splinters from the Calaveras Fault, which itself is an offshoot of the San Andreas Fault, near Hollister, south of the Bay Area. All three faults are right-lateral strike-slip faults. The Hayward Fault is shorter than the San Andreas, running about 70 kilometers from Fremont to Point Pinole, and is therefore not expected to produce the magnitude-8-plus quakes we know the San Andreas can generate. But what the Hayward Fault lacks in potential magnitude, it makes up for with proximity to people, lying directly under structures where many people live and work: hospitals, schools, retirement homes, and house after house after house.

The San Andreas cuts predominantly through remote areas, whereas the entire length of the Hayward Fault runs through densely populated cities such as Oakland (pop. 406,000), Fremont (pop. 224,000) and Berkeley (pop. 116,000), and is not far from the metropolises of San Francisco (pop. 805,000) and San Jose (pop. 945,000). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) describes the Hayward Fault as “the single most urbanized earthquake fault in the United States.”

While some of the fault lies at a depth of 15 kilometers, near the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train station in Fremont, the fault breaches the surface. The surface expression can be seen near the Fremont Main Library and the Fremont Police Department, as well as two hospitals. It skirts the East Bay hills, then plunges into downtown Hayward, where it offsets the old Hayward City Hall, creating cracks in the walls and distinct offsets in the tile floor, and slices a retirement home. In San Leandro, the Hayward Fault runs near the Fairmont Hospital and the earthen dam holding back the Lake Chabot Reservoir. The entrance to the Oakland Zoo is marked by the fault; the zoo even notes the location of the fault on its grounds with a sign. In Berkeley, the fault runs beneath the University of California at Berkeley’s football stadium, where offset on the south wall can be seen. The fault continues north, underneath residential areas and the campus of Contra Costa Community College.

When it ruptures, the Hayward Fault will do more than damage homes, zoos and football stadiums: It will endanger numerous lives and likely deal a devastating economic blow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the region is home to 87,000 businesses, 1.5 million jobs and quarterly wages nearing $25 billion; the Bay Area’s overall GDP would, if it were a separate country, rank as the 19th largest in the world.

Some of the most important American technology companies are located near the Hayward Fault. The headquarters of Facebook and Google and Apple’s new “spaceship” campus are less than 20 kilometers away — all close enough for shaking to affect the operations of the companies.

The Hazard

Given the Hayward’s proximity to large populations, its rupture presents a huge risk. But when might that risk become reality? The last significant quake on the Hayward Fault was in October 1868. That quake is estimated to have been about magnitude 6.8. James Lienkaemper of the USGS has done pioneering work both in mapping the location of the Hayward Fault and in estimating the long-term frequency of its major tremors. In a 2012 paper in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Lienkaemper and colleagues determined that the fault’s recurrence interval over the last two millennia is about 161 years, plus or minus 65 years. The last quake was 148 years ago, so we currently sit within that range.

In 2015, the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities released the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, which increased the probability of a major quake (magnitude 6.7 or above) in the San Francisco Bay region to 72 percent within the next 30 years. Of the many faults in the Bay Area, the Hayward Fault has the greatest likelihood of producing such an event.

The Hayward Fault is unusual in that, in addition to rupturing every so often, it experiences aseismic creep; in other words, the fault slips, releasing stress gradually without necessarily producing earthquakes. Aseismic creep is rare throughout the world, although it occurs on the San Andreas, the Calaveras and the Hayward faults. However, the accumulated creep on these faults does not match estimates of stress expected to have accumulated on them, as Sarah Titus, now at Carleton College, and her colleagues demonstrated in a 2005 paper in Geology. This “slip deficit” suggests that creep will not prevent future quakes, according to Kristy Tiampo, now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her colleagues, who explored the issue in a 2013 study in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. But creep on the Hayward Fault does allow us to map its trace precisely, and to see where large ruptures might happen when the fault does break again.

A Point of Comparison

When the last quake struck the Hayward Fault in 1868, the Bay Area was sparsely populated. The town of Hayward had about 500 residents, and just 24,000 people lived in the East Bay in the immediate vicinity of the fault. Thirty people in the region were killed by the quake while nearly every building in Hayward was damaged or destroyed. Today, Hayward has about 149,000 people, and 2.6 million people live in the immediate vicinity of the fault. What would a big quake on the Hayward Fault do?

One way to assess this question is to compare a potential large Hayward quake to events of similar size in areas of similar population. The 1995 Kobe quake, a magnitude-6.9 event in southern Japan, has been proposed as the best analogue for a future Hayward earthquake, which is expected to have a similar magnitude and may have a similar rupture length. The length of rupture in Kobe was similar to that of the 1868 Hayward quake. The Kobe quake also caused 1.5 meters of horizontal displacement on the ground; given the energy accumulated since the 1868 quake and the displacement observed in that event, scientists expect about 2 meters of horizontal displacement on the Hayward Fault, according to a 2008 fact sheet from USGS. The idea of a Kobe-type quake occurring on the Hayward is unsettling: Out of a population of 1.5 million in Kobe, nearly 5,000 people were killed.

Another way to assess the Hayward Fault’s potential damage is through FEMA’s hazard modeling program, HAZUS, which allows users to select variables such as the location of an earthquake’s epicenter, the length of a rupture, the magnitude and depth of a quake, and the time of day when it occurs.

I recently ran a HAZUS model for a Hayward Fault rupture. I set up the model runs under three scenarios with varying event magnitudes: low (magnitude 6.7), moderate (7), and major (7.2). Sufficient stress for a magnitude-6.7 quake is thought to have already accumulated, but recent research suggests even larger quakes are possible; in a 2015 paper in Geophysical Research Letters, Estelle Chaussard of the University at Buffalo and her colleagues suggested the Hayward and Calaveras faults are deeply connected, and thus a rupture could propagate along the two faults and produce quakes greater than magnitude 7. For my model runs, I chose an arbitrary epicenter near the Lake Chabot Reservoir dam (which is one of many reservoirs located near the fault that could inundate neighborhoods if the dams fail).

Assessing casualties is more challenging. For instance, a lot depends on where people are when the quake hits. At 2 a.m., most people would be home asleep in wood-framed, single-family homes that are unlikely to collapse completely. But if a quake occurred at 2 p.m. on a weekday, many people would be at work or school in vulnerable structures constructed with brick walls and unreinforced masonry. The HAZUS model estimates the death toll of a 2 p.m. quake would be five times greater than a quake occurring at 2 a.m. (The Kobe quake occurred before 6 a.m., as did the 1994 Northridge quake and the 1906 San Francisco quake. It is possible that each of these quakes could have produced higher casualties if they had occurred later in the day.)

Clearly, there is a big difference in the number of deaths predicted by the HAZUS model for this potential Hayward earthquake and the experience in Kobe, with HAZUS estimating an order of magnitude fewer. We can only hope that the computer model proves the better predictor.

Ripple Effects

HAZUS can also model how infrastructure other than buildings will be affected by a quake. For instance, it suggests that immediately after a magnitude-7 Hayward Fault event, out of 920,502 households near the fault trace, 298,605 (32 percent) will be without water and 367,519 (40 percent) will be without electricity. These losses are just the beginning of the infrastructure problems a Hayward Fault quake will create. A big quake in a highly populated area means that virtually every aspect of modern civilization — transportation, gas, sewer, water, electricity, Internet access and more — will be affected.

Transportation problems will be felt immediately after the quake. More than 400,000 commuters use the BART system on weekdays. BART has made efforts to retrofit its infrastructure, but a 2002 study estimated that major damage from an earthquake to the underwater trans-bay tunnel, through which the rail line travels, could shut down the BART system for two to three years, with disastrous effects on the local economy. A 2010 report by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute noted the 2 meters of expected offset in the BART Berkeley Hills Tunnel, versus the 0.6 meters of displacement it was engineered to accommodate, could “put the tunnel out of commission indefinitely.”

Traveling over the water will be no less difficult; HAZUS estimates between 43 and 78 bridges will be damaged. Since many of these bridges form choke-points in traffic flow, damage to even a few could create epic traffic jams. However, such traffic jams may never materialize if damage to road infrastructure is so severe that people cannot get on the freeways at all.

Long stretches of freeways in the Bay Area sit near sea level, built on marshy tidal flats that will almost certainly experience liquefaction during the quake. If liquefaction damages even small sections of such freeways, they become unusable. Additionally, if freeway overpasses collapse or become too damaged for vehicles to travel underneath them safely, then freeways are rendered useless. In many parts of the Bay Area, these roadways represent the only feasible way to move between areas; freeways physically isolate some communities, with pedestrian movement impossible between them. The quake would essentially cut off large parts of the Bay Area.

Ground movement also has the potential to destroy water delivery systems at multiple levels: at the household level, with pipes breaking and flooding homes or unsecured water heaters detaching; at the neighborhood level, with breaks in municipal water lines or water mains; and at the city level, with municipal water treatment plants failing or reservoirs and dams rupturing. Repairs for many of these problems, which involve digging up streets and rebuilding major parts of the water infrastructure, would take months to years. While hazard planners commonly advise Bay Area residents to stockpile enough water for 72 hours, the reality is that many areas will be cut off from water infrastructure for far longer.

A further problem is flooding. Most of the Bay Area’s water is impounded in reservoirs, in hills far out of sight and out of mind of the residents. Each reservoir has the potential for damage and catastrophic failure. The worst flooding could happen to the city of Fremont. The Calaveras and San Antonio reservoirs store more than 180 million cubic meters of water, perched above the city of Fremont and its 224,000 residents. These reservoirs sit 8 and 11 kilometers, respectively, from traces of the Hayward Fault as it passes through Fremont.

The worst-case scenario is a rupture of one or both of these reservoirs. Inundation maps based on ruptures from these reservoirs show the entire city of Fremont flooded, from the hills to the bay. Underscoring this risk, the Calaveras Reservoir’s earthen dam, constructed in 1925, has been deemed so seismically vulnerable that a replacement dam farther downstream is currently under construction.

The Calaveras and San Antonio reservoirs are part of the Hetch Hetchy water system, an improbable Rube Goldberg-like scheme to move water from the Sierra Nevada across the Central Valley, across the Calaveras Fault, across the Hayward Fault, across the liquefaction-vulnerable marshes of the southern bay, then into two long, linear sag ponds: the Crystal Springs and San Andreas reservoirs. (The latter gave its name to the fault when it was first recognized in 1895.) The Hetch Hetchy water system is extraordinarily vulnerable to seismic disruption. Unfortunately, it is also the prime water source for San Francisco.

Preparation or Denial

The Hayward Fault holds the potential for great devastation, but many people are only vaguely aware of the danger it poses. In my nearly two decades of teaching geology in the Bay Area, I have found that surprisingly few people even know where the fault is. But all they have to do is look. There are dozens of places where streets and parking lots are cracked, where sidewalks are dramatically offset by creep along the fault, and where cracks have appeared in buildings, such as the concrete wall of a playground near the Hayward Plunge swimming center. These cracks are the harbingers of the major seismic disaster that will one day affect millions of people in the region.

The science is clear: We know where the Hayward Fault is and we know it is going to rupture in the future. When it will happen is unknown, but the effects of such an event are quite clear: Major shaking to fragile infrastructure will result in loss of life and great economic damage. The scientific community has mapped the fault and assessed the risk. Scientists have done their jobs.

Governments, however, have not done theirs. Not only are homebuyers not protected by any required disclosures in contracts, but there has also been a failure to prepare for the inevitability of this quake. How will hundreds of thousands of newly homeless people in the region survive absent running water, absent sewage systems, and absent electricity?

Local governments could have helped this situation by restricting development in areas near the fault. They can still remedy the mistakes of the past, however, in part by offering buyouts as an incentive to move people away from the worst zones. Instead, the opposite is happening, and across the Bay Area, new homes are being built in fault zones with seemingly no consideration for what could happen to the people in them.

Building codes could be strengthened to require retrofitting of weak, soft-first-story buildings and to require demolition of dangerous brick buildings that cannot be retrofitted. Household gas meters could be required to have motion-activated automatic shut-off switches, a technology widely used in Japan to reduce post-quake fire danger. Local governments could establish community caches of critical supplies — drinking water, food, medicine and tents, for example — in areas likely to be devastated by the shaking. Unfortunately, for the most part, such prudent preparations are not being made.

We have no excuse not to prepare for the coming quake. Just as the citizens of the Pacific Northwest may one day find themselves affected by the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the Bay Area will be damaged by the Hayward Fault. It’s just a matter of time before a large earthquake on the Hayward Fault happens, but how we choose to prepare — or not to prepare — will make a tremendous difference to those caught in the aftermath of this inevitable disaster.


Stargate and other frauds: Out of brain experiences

April 17, 2018

by Christian Jürs

SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), is a American technology applications company headquartered in the United States and who works for a number of U.S. federal, state, and private sector clients. It works extensively with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the American domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, as well as other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.From 2001 to 2005, SAIC was the primary contractor for the FBI’s unsuccessful Virtual Case File project. SAIC relocated its corporate headquarters to their existing facilities in Tysons Corner in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near McLean, in September 2009. As part of its outsourcing solution, SAIC has development centers in Noida and Bangalore, India. Scicom Technologies Noida was acquired by SAIC in September 2007.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) transitioned a Remote Viewing Program to SAIC in 1991 and it was renamed Stargate Project. STARGATE was one of a number of “remote viewing programs” conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by the eccentrics at the CIA. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool.

The program consisted of two separate activities. An operational unit employed remote viewers to train and perform remote viewing intelligence-gathering. The research program was maintained separately from the operational unit.

This effort was initiated in response to CIA concerns about highly unreliable reports of Soviet investigations of ‘psychic phenomena.’ Between 1969 and 1971, US intelligence sources erroneously concluded that the Soviet Union was engaged in “psychotronic” research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately 60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975. The money and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial and “fringy.” Using a declared, but fictional ‘Soviet threat,’ the CIA and other agencies have successfully deluded Congress, and often the White House, into heavily funding project that the agencies consider to be ‘cash cows.’

The initial research program, called SCANATE [scan by coordinate] was funded by CIA beginning in 1970. Remote viewing research began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute [SRI] in Menlo Park, CA. This work was conducted by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, once with the NSA and a later-identified Scientologist. The effort initially focused on a few “gifted individuals” such as the very eccentric Ingo Swann, an OT Level VII Scientologist. Many of the SRI “empaths” were from the Church of Scientology. Individuals who appeared to show potential were trained and taught to use talents for “psychic warfare.” The minimum accuracy needed by the clients was said to be 65%, and proponents claim that in the later stages of the training effort, this accuracy level was “often consistently exceeded.”

Ingo Swann born in 1933 in Telluride, Colorado, has been heavily involved with the bizarre Scientology movement from its onset and is best known for his work as a co-creator (according to his frequent collaborators Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff) of what has been called ‘remote viewing,’ specifically the Stargate Project.

Swann has described himself as a “consciousness researcher” who had sometimes experienced “altered states of consciousness.” In other words, Swann actually believed that “special” individuala can leave their body and travel through space..

Swann helped develop the process of remote viewing at the Stanford Research Institute in experiments that caught the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency. He proposed the idea of Coordinate Remote Viewing, a process in which ‘remote viewers’ would see a location given nothing but its geographical coordinates,. This bizarre project, was developed and tested by Puthoff and Targ with CIA funding.. Details and transcripts of the SRI remote viewing experiments themselves were found to be edited and even unobtainable.

A Dr. Silfen and Swann prepared an unofficial report of later out-of-body experiments and circulated it to 500 members of the ASPR, before the ASPR board was aware of it. According to Swann, Dr. Silfen has ‘disappeared’  (or like so many other Scientology stories, never existed) and ‘cannot be located.’ Swann claimed he searched diligently for her and begged help from all his Scientology friends. According to Swann, in April 1972 a move was made at the ASPR in New York to discredit him and throw him out because he was a scientologist

GONDOLA WISH was a 1977 Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) Systems Exploitation Detachment (SED) effort to evaluate potential adversary applications of remote viewing.

Building on GONDOLA WISH, an operational collection project was formalized under Army intelligence as GRILL FLAME in mid-1978. Located in buildings 2560 and 2561 at Fort Meade, MD, GRILL FLAME, (INSCOM “Detachment G”) consisted of soldiers and a few civilians who were believed to possess varying degrees of natural psychic ability. The SRI research program was integrated into GRILL FLAME in early 1979, and hundreds of remote viewing experiments were carried out at SRI through 1986.

In 1983 the program was re-designated the INSCOM CENTER LANE Project (ICLP). Ingo Swann and Harold Puthoff at SRI developed a set of instructions which theoretically allowed anyone to be trained to produce accurate, detailed target data. used this new collection methodology against a wide range of operational and training targets. The existence of this highly classified program was reported by columnist Jack Anderson in April 1984.

In 1984 the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council evaluated the remote viewing program for the Army Research Institute. The results were unfavorable.

When Army funding ended in late 1985, the unit was redesignated SUN STREAK and transferred to DIA’s Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate, with the office code DT-S.

Under the auspices of the DIA, the program transitioned to Science Applications International Corporation [SAIC] in 1991 and was renamed STAR GATE. The project, changed from a SAP (Special Access Program) to a LIMDIS (limited dissemination) program, continued with the participation of Edwin May, who presided over 70% of the total contractor budget and 85% of the program’s data collection.

Over a period of more than two decades some $20 million were spent on STAR GATE and related activities, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990s. Over forty personnel served in the program at various times, including about 23 remote viewers. At its peak during the mid-1980s the program included as many as seven full-time viewers and as many analytical and support personnel. Three psychics were reportedly worked at FT Meade for the CIA from 1990 through July 1995. The psychics were made available to other government agencies which requested their services.

Participants who apparently demonstrated psychic abilities used at least three different techniques various times:

  • Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) – the original SRI-developed technique in which viewers were asked what they “saw” at specified geographic coordinates
  • Extended Remote Viewing (ERV) – a hybrid relaxation/meditative-based method
  • Written Remote Viewing (WRV) – a hybrid of both channeling and automatic writing was introduced in 1988, though it proved controversial and was regarded by some as much less reliable.

By 1995 the program had conducted several hundred intelligence collection projects involving thousands of remote viewing sessions. Notable successes were said to be “eight martini” results, so-called because the remote viewing data were so mind-boggling that everyone has to go out and drink eight martinis to recover. It is now believed that they drank the martinis before the sessions.

Reported intelligence gathering failures include:

  • Joe McMoneagle, a retired Special Project Intelligence Officer for SSPD, SSD, and 902d MI Group, claims to have left Stargate in 1984 with a Legion of Merit Award for providing information on 150 targets that were unavailable from other sources. There is no support for the Legion of Merit story and less on the so-called ‘150 targets.’• One assignment included locating kidnapped BG James L. Dozier, who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades in Italy in 1981. He was freed by Italian police after 42 days, without help from the psychics. [according to news reports, Italian police were assisted by “US State and Defense Department specialists” using electronic surveillance equipment, an apparent reference to the Special Collection Service]
  • Another assignment included trying to hunt down Gadhafi before the 1986 bombing of Libya, but Gadhafi was not injured in the bombing. One remote viewer said that the Libyan dictator was in Morocco but he was not. The “target” supplied by another government ‘remote viewer’ was a hospital.
  • In January 1989 DOD asked the SAIC project about Libyan chemical weapons work. A remote viewer reported that ship named either Patua or Potua would sail from Tripoli to transport chemicals to an eastern Libyan port. Subsequent investigation by legitimate agencies disclosed that there was no such ship registered under any flag and that no chemicals has been transported to an eastern Libyan port.
  • During the Gulf War remote-viewers suggested the whereabouts of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, but their information was not accurate and, at best, “confused” and “an obvious attempt to please” the DoD officials.
  • The unit was tasked to find plutonium in North Korea in 1994, but the results were “totally incorrect” and “worthless.”
  • During the US attack on Belgrade, a remote viewer “positively identified” the Chinese Embassy as an ‘important Serbian military headquarters.’ The U.S.immediately attacked it with serious diplomatic repercussions.
  • Remote viewers also vainly attempted to find SCUD missiles and secret biological and chemical warfare projects, and tunnels and extensive underground facilities in Iraq as the justifying evidence for an invasion. None of this material “had the slightest worth” and was “completely delusional.”

The US ‘STARGATE” program was sustained through the support of Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., and Rep. Charles Rose, D-N.C., who were convinced of the program’s effectiveness. However, by the early 1990s the program was plagued by uneven and “often bizarre” management, poor unit morale, divisiveness within the organization, poor performance, and few, if any results that could be considered accurate.

The FY 1995 Defense Appropriations bill directed that the program be transferred to CIA, with CIA instructed to conduct a retrospective review of the program. In 1995 the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by CIA to evaluate the program. Their 29 September 1995 final report was released to the public 28 November 1995. It was highly negative in nature. The final recommendation by AIR was to terminate the STARGATE effort. CIA concluded that there was not a single case in which ESP had provided data used to guide intelligence operations.

In June 2001 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) paid SAIC $122 million to create a Virtual Case File (VCF) software system to speed up the sharing of information among agents. But the FBI abandoned VCF when it failed to function adequately. Robert Mueller, FBI Director, testified to a congressional committee, “When SAIC delivered the first product in December 2003 we immediately identified a number of deficiencies – 17 at the outset. That soon cascaded to 50 or more and ultimately to 400 problems with that software … We were indeed disappointed.”


Class Dismissed

Class Conflict in Red State America

by Steve Fraser

Tom Dispatch

Teachers in red-state America are hard at work teaching us all a lesson. The American mythos has always rested on a belief that this country was born out of a kind of immaculate conception, that the New World came into being and has forever after been preserved as a land without the class hierarchies and conflicts that so disfigured Europe.

The strikes, rallies, and walkouts of public school teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, soon perhaps Arizona, and elsewhere are a stunning reminder that class has always mattered far more in our public and private lives than our origin story would allow. Insurgent teachers are instructing us all about a tale of denial for which we’ve paid a heavy price.

Professionals or Proletarians?

Are teachers professionals, proletarians, or both? One symptom of our pathological denial of class realities is that we are accustomed to thinking of teachers as “middle class.” Certainly, their professional bona fides should entitle them to that social station. After all, middle class is the part of the social geography that we imagine as the aspirational homing grounds for good citizens of every sort, a place so all-embracing that it effaces signs of rank, order, and power. The middle class is that class so universal that it’s really no class at all.

School teachers, however, have always been working-class stiffs. For a long time, they were also mainly women who would have instantly recognized the insecurities, struggles to get by, and low public esteem that plague today’s embattled teachers.

The women educators of yesteryear may have thought of their work as a profession or a “calling,” subject to its own code of ethics and standards of excellence, as well as an intellectual pursuit and social service. But whatever they thought about themselves, they had no ability to convince public authorities to pay attention to such aspirations (and they didn’t). As “women’s work,” school teaching done by “school marms” occupied an inherently low position in a putatively class-free America.

What finally lent weight to the incipient professional ideals of public school teachers was, ironically, their unionization; that is, their self-identification as a constituent part of the working class. The struggle to create teacher unions was one of the less heralded breakthroughs of the 1960s and early 1970s. A risky undertaking, involving much self-sacrifice and militancy, it was met with belligerent resistance by political elites everywhere. When victory finally came, it led to considerable improvements in the material conditions of a chronically underpaid part of the labor force. Perhaps no less important, for the first time it institutionalized the long-held desire of teachers for some respect, a desire embodied in tenure systems and other forms of professional recognition and protection.

Those hard-won teachers’ unions also paved the way for the large-scale organization of government workers of every sort. That was yet another world at odds with itself: largely white collar and well educated, with a powerful sense of professionalism, yet long mistreated, badly underpaid, and remarkably powerless, as if its denizens were… well, real life proletarians (which, of course, was exactly what they were).

Rebellion in the Land of Acquiescence and Austerity

Despite their past history of working-class rebelliousness, the sight of teachers striking (and sometimes even breaking the law to do so) still has a remarkable ability to shock the rest of us. Somehow, it just doesn’t fit the image, still so strong, of the mild-mannered, middle-class, law-abiding professionals that public school teachers are supposed to be.

What drives that shock even deeper is where all this uproar is happening. After all, for decades those “red states” have been the lands of acquiescence to the rule of big money and its political enablers. The state of Oklahoma, for example, had a legislature so craven, so slavishly in the service of the Koch brothers and the oil industry, that it prohibited the people’s representatives by law from passing new taxes with anything but a legislative supermajority. (A simple majority was, of course, perfectly sufficient when it came to cutting taxes.)

Arizona typically has had a “right-to-work” law since 1947 to fend off attempts to organize workers. Such laws are, in fact, a grotesque misnomer. Rather than guaranteeing employment, they ban unions from negotiating contracts requiring that all workers who benefit from the contract become members of the union and contribute dues to cover the costs of their representation. In all these states, teachers (along with other public employees) are prohibited or severely limited by law from striking.

Such concerted and contagious insurgency in the homelands of the bended knee was unimaginable… until, of course, it happened. Both acquiescence and the current explosive wave of resistance from teachers were the wages of austerity. Those particular Republican-run states were hardly the only ones to cut social services to the bone while muscling up on giveaways to corporate powerbrokers. (Plenty of Democrat-run state governments did the same.) But the abysmal conditions of public schools and the people who work in them in those states have made them the poster children for an age of austerity that’s lasted decades.

Oklahoma, for instance, cut funding per student by 30% over the past 10 years and led the nation when it came to education cutbacks since the 2008 recession. Meanwhile, Arizona has spent less per student than any other state. And that’s just to start down a list of red-state austerity measures in education. The nitty gritty result of such slash-and-burn tactics has meant classes with outdated textbooks, antiquated computers (if any at all), schoolhouses without heat, and sometimes even a four-day version of the usual five-day school week.

West Virginia’s teachers, the first to go out on strike, averaged salaries of $45,240 in 2016, which ranked them 47th in the nation in teacher pay. At $41,000, Oklahoma is even worse. Arizona’s teachers, now threatening to join the strike lines, are 43rd, while Kentucky does only a bit better at $52,000. At some point — always impossible to predict no matter how inevitable it may seem in hindsight — enough proved enough.

Austerity is a politics of class overlordship, or (as we tend to say these days) the dominion of the 1%. It entails, however, far more than just the starving of the public sector, especially education. Those teacher’s salaries and the grim conditions of the deprived schools that go with them are just the budgetary expression of a deeper process of ruthless economic underdevelopment and cultural cruelty.

After all, over the last generation, the deindustrialization of America has paid handsome dividends to financiers, merger and acquisition speculators, junk bond traders, and corporations fleeing a unionized work force for the sweated labor of the global South. In the process, deindustrialization ravaged the economic and social landscape of working-class communities (including that of red-state teachers), turned whole cities into ghost towns, leaving millions on the down escalator of social mobility, and made opioids the dietary staple of the country’s rural and urban hinterlands.

In the process, deindustrialization dried up sources of industry-based tax revenues which had once helped maintain a modicum of social services, including ones as basic as public education. Tax givebacks, subsidies, or exemptions for the business world grew lush as roads, bridges, public transport, health care, and classrooms deteriorated.

Blaming the Victims

Scapegoats for this unfolding disaster were rounded up — the usual suspects, of course: the inherent laziness of the desperately poor and immigrants, all living off the public weal; liberal sentimentalists manning the welfare state; greedy unionized workers undermining American competitiveness; and above all, the racially disfavored.

Oh yes, and there was one extra, far more surprising miscreant in that line-up: those otherwise quintessentially respectable, law-abiding professionals teaching our kids. If those children failed to measure up, if they couldn’t read or write or do math, if they were scientific illiterates, if they grew up black or “undocumented” distrusting official authority, if they dropped out or were drugged out, if they seemed to exhibit an all-sided dysfunction and ill-discipline, it had to be the fault of their teachers. After all, they had cushy jobs, went home at three, had their summers off, and enjoyed immunity from public oversight thanks to their all-too-powerful unions.

Acquiescence and austerity breed cultural decline, a telling sign of which has been the blaming of teachers for a profound, many-sided social breakdown they largely bore the brunt, and were not the cause, of. A country undergoing systemic underdevelopment like the United States can’t provide decent housing or health care, a non-toxic environment or reasonable child care, color-blind justice or well-equipped schoolhouses, no less rewarding work. The classroom inherits all those deficits.

Millions of children arrive at school burdened by the costs of secular decline before they ever enter their first class. Teachers try to cope, often heroically, but it’s a losing battle and they get stigmatized for the defeat. It matters not at all that many of them, like those staffing the school systems of West Virginia or Oklahoma, spend innumerable hours beyond the “normal” school day prepping and inventing ways to treat the wounds of social meanness. They even draw on their own spare resources to make up for yawning gaps in books, computers, paper (and not just notebook paper, but toilet paper) that state and local governments have refused to provide funds for.

In those children and those schools can be seen a vision of our society’s future and clearly it doesn’t work. Like so much else about American life of late, this is a world of “winners” and “losers” — and the kids, as well as the teachers, have been on the wrong side of that equation for far too long now.

How convenient it is for the powers-that-be to depict the striking teachers as the problem, as the “losers,” while whittling away at their salaries, supplies, tenure arrangements, and other union protections (when they’re fortunate enough to even have unions), while lengthening teaching hours, reducing vital prep periods, and subjecting them to the discipline of teaching to the test. Just to make ends meet, teachers in those red states often have to moonlight as waitresses or car-service drivers. In a word, until the recent strikes and walk-outs, they had been turned into powerless rather than empowered proletarians.

If Not Now, When?

Punishing and demoralizing as this regime has been, the teachers stood up. Though the urge to write “finally stood up” is there, no one should underestimate the courage and desperation it takes to do just that. Moreover, this moment of resistance to an American world of austerity overseen by plutocrats is not as surprising as it might seem.

We live in the era of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. In their starkly different ways each of them is symptomatic of our moment — in Trump’s case of a pathological condition, in Sanders’s of the possibility of recovery from the disease of acquiescence and austerity. In both, you can see the established order losing its grip. Even before the Sanders campaign, there were signs that the winds were shifting, most dramatically in the Occupy Wall Street uprising (however short-lived that was). Today, thanks in part to the Sanders phenomenon, millennials who were especially drawn to the Vermont senator make up the most pro-union part of the general population.

Atmospheric change of this sort was abetted by elements closer to the ground. Irate teachers in the red states were generally either not in unions at all or only in union-like institutions with little power or influence. So they had to rely on themselves to mold a fighting force, an act of social creativity which happens rarely. When it does, however, it’s both captivating and inspiring, as the West Virginia uprising clearly proved to be in a surprising number of other red states.

Class matters as does its history. West Virginia wasn’t the only place where striking or protesting teachers entered the fray well aware and proud of their state’s long history of working class resistance to the predatory behavior of employers. In the case of West Virginia, it was the coal barons. Many of the strikers had families where memories of the mine wars were still archived.

Kentucky, most memorably “bloody Harlan County,” where strikes, bombings, and other forms of civil war between mine owners and workers went on for nearly a decade in the 1930s (requiring multiple interventions by state and federal troops), can say the same. Oklahoma, even when it was still a territory, had a vibrant populist movement and later a militant labor movement that included robust representation from the Industrial Workers of the World (the legendary “Wobblies”), a tradition of resistance that flared up again during the Great Depression.

Arizona was once similarly home to a militant labor tradition in its metal mining industries. Its grim history was most infamously acted out in Bisbee, Arizona, in 1917. At that time, copper miners striking against Phelps Dodge and other mining companies were rounded up by deputized vigilantes, hauled out to the New Mexican desert in fetid railroad boxcars, and left there to fend for themselves. Those mine wars against Phelps Dodge and other corporate goliaths continued well into the 1980s.

Memories like these helped stoke the will to resist and to envision a world beyond acquiescence and austerity. Under normal circumstances to be proletarian is to be without power. Before capital is an economic category, it’s a political one. If you have it, you’re obviously so much freer to do as you please; if you don’t, you’re dependent on those who do. Hiding in plain sight, however, is a contrary fact: without the collective work of those ostensibly powerless workers, nothing moves.

This is emphatically the case with skilled workers, which after all is what teachers are. Discovering this “fact” and acting on it requires a leap of moral imagination. That this happened to the beleaguered teachers of so many red states is reflected in the esprit de corps that numerous accounts of these rebellions have reported, including the likening of the strikes to an “Arab Spring for teachers.”

And keep in mind that many other parts of the modern labor force suffer from precarious conditions not so dissimilar from those of the public school teachers, including highly skilled “professionals” like computer techies, college teachers, journalists, and even growing numbers of engineers. So the recent strikes may portend similar recognitions of latent power in equally improbable zones where professionals are undergoing a process of proletarianization.

An imaginative leap of the sort those teachers have taken bears other fruit that nourishes victory. Instead of depicting their struggles as confined to their own “profession,” for instance, the teachers today are fashioning their movement to echo broader desires. In Oklahoma and West Virginia, for example, they have insisted on improvements not just in their own working lives, but in those of all school staff members. Oklahoma teachers refused to go back to school even after the legislature granted them a raise, insisting that the state adequately fund the education system as well. And everywhere these insurgencies have deliberately made common cause with the whole community that uses the schools — parents and students alike — while repeatedly expressing the desire that children not be sacrificed on the altar of austerity.

Nothing could be more at odds with the emotional logic of austerity and acquiescence, with a society that has learned to salute “winners” and give the back of the hand to “losers,” than the widening social sympathy that has been sweeping through the schoolhouses of red state America.

Class dismissed? It doesn’t look like it.




No responses yet

Leave a Reply