TBR News April 21, 2016

Apr 21 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 21, 2016:” See how quickly our once-friendly ally, Saudi Arabia is turning against us. Why for years, we have been spending huge money with them, buying their oil but now that the Saudis have funded ISIS, made guerrilla war in the Mid-East, and worse, are running out of oil, the US is looking elsewhere for oil. They would not approach oil-rich Russia because the neo-cons would not approve of this. Since most of the neo-cons are Jewish and since most Jews detest Russia (where they had been viciously persecuted by the Tsars for centuries) the administration admonishes and sanctions Russia over the Crimea. Why when Russia regained its former province, the US lost a naval base and even more important, the rich pickings of the Crimean off-shore oil fields.”  

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.           After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversations with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.


Conversation No. 25

Date:  Monday, July 22, 1996

Commenced: 9:40 AM CST

Concluded:  10:10 AM CST

GD: Good morning, Robert. Been out and about today?

RTC: Gregory, I rarely get out and about these days. My hip problems you know. And there is nothing on television but trash and the continuing entertainment of the ignorant masses.

GD: Oh God, tell me about it. And the news is so controlled that the only way you can figure out what is happening is to read the foreign press. Not ours.

RTC: Well, if it doesn’t impact on Israel in a negative sense, we do get some news but God help the TV managers if anything negative in that area ever gets out. Israel and her boys inside the Beltway are sacred cows, believe me.

GD: I have no doubt of that, Robert. It’s interesting to consider than in the two thousand years since the mythic Jesus got nailed up, the poor Jews have been kicked out of every country they have colonized. No one wants them around after they get to  know them. They were kicked out of England, France, Russia, Poland, Spain, and on and on. Why? Infectious bigotry? No, the locals get wind of what they are like and out they go. Get their hands on all the money and squeeze the public dry. None of them ever did manual labor in their lives but they live off the labor of everyone else. And then they get too greedy and too careless and out they go or, in some countries, into the bonfires.

RTC: The Germans?

GD: No, I had the Spanish in mind. Now I ask you, Robert, why would there be such universal hatred against Jews? There must be a reason. Jews have told me that it’s because they are so smart that people are jealous of them and perhaps this might have some validity but I personally think that it’s their utterly predatory nature. Jews are taught in their religion that non-Jews, and especially the hated Christians, are legitimate targets to attack. I mean, this sounds like some  kind of redneck propaganda but an objective reading of history will more than bear me out. Besides, most of the really evil Jews are not Semitic Jews at all but actually Mongolian Turks. The Khazars. Before they were converted to Judaism by their Khan in 900 AD, they were a particularly vicious and depraved Caspian Sea army of marauding, raping and killing Turks, intermixed with Mongolian blood. The other Jews, the real ones, hate them with a passion.

RTC: And why so?

GD: Because they make them look bad. My God, they hate them. But these internecine fights are of no lasting consequence.

RTC: Jim loved the Jews and I warned him many times to be careful. But he never listened and got that Mossad right into our organization. What I’m truly afraid of is that these shits suck up all kinds of secret information and off it goes to Israel, mostly through their Embassy here. A real spy center.

GD: Well, under Roosevelt, who opened the gates for them, they stole everything and sent it to Stalin under the mistaken apprehension that he loved Jews. He did not, of course, but that’s another story. So, now they steal everything, like Pollard, and ship it off to Tel Aviv instead of Moscow.

RTC: Sometimes, I can sympathize with Hitler.

GD: Well, when it happens here, and it will soon enough, Hitler will be seen in a different light. But I must comment on something else. Johnson passed the Civil Rights laws and gave the blacks a good crack at a decent middle-class life. Of course he did it to get votes and not out of any decency, but they do have entrée now and many of them are coming up. Which, considering that we brought them all here as slaves, is not a bad nor improper concept. However, there are many people here who despise blacks and, in fact, hate them. We don’t hear from them because of the political correctness crap being shoved on kids in the schools but they are still there. I say this because I know some of them. Anyway, they are quiet now but if the time ever comes when the lower middle class loses its position, look for the racial issue to erupt here. Oh yes, civilization is only a very thin veneer on very cheap plywood, Robert. And the clever Jews have managed to promote the blacks not to help them but to use them as potential victims. If they get too gross, the Jews that is, and the economy takes a dump, then the public will want scapegoats and guess what? The Jews will point to the blacks and we can count on their papers, writers, think tanks and so on to play the race card in the domestic economic poker game. A nasty business but totally predictable.

RTC: Yes, I’ve seen this coming and so have some of my friends. But there is nothing to do with it. I suppose it’s better to see the black district of New Orleans going up in flames rather than synagogues in Skokie.

GD: But the economy is pretty sound now, Robert, so that hypothesis is not valid. I am speaking theoretically here.

RTC: My God, Gregory, I do hope the FBI isn’t tapping your phone.

GD: Or yours, Robert. Don’t forget, they hate you.

RTC: Well, there is freedom of speech.

GD: Yes, there is, but don’t scream fire in a crowded theater, Robert.

RTC: (Laughter) No correct on that one.

GD: My late grandfather once told me that. Do you know what else he said? I think I might have told you this before because it’s so funny but he said that you should not tell bald-headed jokes to Custer’s widow.

RTC: You may have said that but these days, I wouldn’t bother to tell anyone that.

GD: Bad taste?

RTC: No, no one remembers Custer anymore.

GD: How soon they forget. They’ve forgotten Pollard but I will bet you that he will never get out of prison alive.

RTC: I wouldn’t take that bet. They are supposed to be our wonderful allies yet they encourage one of theirs to steal our most valuable secrets, all of which ended up in Russia, and then, after he got caught, toss him out of the safety of the Israeli Embassy here right into the waiting arms of the FBI and life in prison. On the other hand, they set up a trust fund for him and made him a honorary member of their Knesset. That sends someone a message, doesn’t it?

GD: Yes, it does. I’m not quite sure what message, but it does send a message.

RTC: Can you imagine the New York Times or the Post running one of your comments?

GD: That would be like someone in Dublin endorsing an Orange candidate for the Dial.

RTC: (Laughter)

(Concluded at 10:10 AM CST)




Obama’s chilly reception in Saudi Arabia hints at mutual distrust

US president’s low-key arrival and meeting with King Salman underscores tension that has deepened over US policy towards Iran and the war in Syria

April 20, 2016

by Ian Black

The Guardian

Barack Obama arrived to a noticeably low-key reception in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday against a background of mutual irritation in a relationship tested by a turbulent Middle East, plummeting oil prices and economic and political uncertainty.

The US president was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, and the event was not broadcast live on Saudi TV, as is routine with visiting heads of state – quickly generating talk of a snub.

Underlining the coolness, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, accompanied by other senior figures, was shown earlier on state television greeting the leaders of neighbouring states on the tarmac – ahead of Thursday’s summit of the six-member, Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation council, which Obama is to address.

Shortly afterwards King Salman greeted Obama in the opulent surroundings of the capital’s al-Auja palace, where they posed for a photo opportunity and exchanged stilted formal remarks before a two hour meeting .

“The American people send their greetings and we are very grateful for your hospitality, not just for this meeting but for hosting the GCC-US summit that’s taking place tomorrow, Obama said. Salman responded: “I and the Saudi people are very pleased that you, Mr President, are visiting us.”

Official pictures also showed Obama shaking hands with the king’s son and deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the embodiment of newly assertive Saudi policies in Yemen and the architect of far-reaching economic reforms necessitated by diminishing oil revenues.

Looking on was the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the favourite of western governments who see him as an invaluable partner in counter-terrorism and intelligence, key strands in the kingdom’s relationship with its western allies.

Heavy security measures were in force in Riyadh with helicopters circling overhead and police vehicles stationed at intersections leading to the Ritz Carlton hotel, where the president’s delegation is staying. Restaurants and shops on roads where the motorcades of the leaders had to pass were closed.

Obama is paying his fourth and almost certainly final trip to Saudi Arabia since becoming president amid widespread comment about trouble in a relationship dating back to the 1940s and based on Saudi oil and US strategic backing. Disagreements have multiplied especially over US policy towards Iran and the war in Syria.

The president’s recent comment that the Saudis and Iranians should “share the neighbourhood” angered officials in Riyadh, leading to sharp public criticism of an American “pivot” towards the Islamic Republic in the run up to last summer’s landmark nuclear agreement. Mustafa Alani, a Gulf security analyst who is close to the Saudi establishment, said Obama would find a leadership “that’s not ready to believe him”. The decision not to send a high-level delegation to the airport was intended to signal that they have little faith in him. “The Saudis had disagreements with previous presidents,” Alani told the Associated Press. “Here you have deep distrust that the president won’t deliver anything.”

US defence secretary Ash Carter and CIA director John Brennan are among the officials accompanying Obama. Carter, meeting GCC defence ministers on Wednesday, pressed them to provide more economic and political support to Iraq. Cooperation against the jihadis of Isis is another big theme.

Human rights is the most sensitive issue, with Obama urged by politicians and pressure groups to address the cases of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi and the lawyer who defended him, the activist Waleed Abu al-Khair.

Later on Wednesday, Obama was set to meet privately with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan to discuss regional issues and ways to deepen cooperation in the fight against Isis, the White House said.

It was not known if the king and president had discussed a report that Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell its multibillion dollar US assets if Congress passes a bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the 9/11 attacks. Obama opposes the bill because it could expose the US to lawsuits from citizens of other countries.


Washington’s Dangerous Addiction to Military Power

April 18, 2016

by Daniel L. Davis

The National Interest

In the latest usage of the US military, CNN recently reported that the White House was set to send another 250 special-operations troops to Syria to aid rebels. There is no indication that anyone in the House or Senate demanded answers of the president as to why he was deploying the troops, how much it would cost, or how long they would stay. There was no protest among the American people against sending U.S. troops to aid one side of a civil war. The major media outlets reported the fact but few, if any, challenged the purpose. In short, this deployment of lethal military force was merely the latest in an apparently never-ending line.

The purpose, cost, and likely outcomes aren’t part of the conversation because they don’t matter. The act of deploying troops has become an end unto itself.

n this political world of near-unprecedented polarization, applying lethal force to solve international problems has become one of the few areas on Capitol Hill where there is strong bipartisan agreement. In the White House, it appears there are only two camps in the formation of foreign policy: hawks and uber-hawks. For most of the past two administrations there appears to be no credible bloc of advisors counseling against the routine use of lethal military power.

Curiously, even among the otherwise “liberal” and “conservative” television, radio, and print media, there is precious little in the way of challenging the administration or DoD on matters of national defense. Rarely do they pressure senior officials or generals to explain what the deployment is expected to accomplish, nor do they follow-up on those occasions when objectives aren’t met to demand they explain why the effort failed.

Because neither elected leaders nor the media question the use of force, it’s not surprising the general population isn’t demanding accountability. That is unfortunate, as this lack of scrutiny has allowed the president and other appointed leaders a free hand to use force on a routine basis. The consequences for American interests worldwide have been severe. In a presentation at the Cato Institute in Washington last Wednesday, retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich provided stinging—and quantifiable—evidence of just how bad the results have been for the US.

Beginning with Desert Storm in 1991 and continuing through the wars and other military actions of today, he described the nonstop employment of the US military for the past few decades and underlined how unsuccessful these operations have been. He said:

Along the way, we tried overwhelming force and shock-and awe. We invaded, occupied, and took a stab at nation building. We experimented with counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, regime change and decapitation, peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention, retaliatory strikes and preventive attack… Today the problems besetting the Greater Middle East are substantially greater than they were when [significant] numbers of U.S. forces first began venturing into the region. ISIS offers but one example of the results. We may argue over the underlying sources of those problems, but there is no arguing that U.S. efforts to alleviate the dysfunction so much in evidence have failed.

With such a stark and extensive list of failures and with the cost to America being so high, it would seem that Congress, the media and the American people would now closely examine any decision to use force with a very critical eye. Yet such is rarely the case. Other than a 2013 exception—when the American people stood against direct action in Syria—new deployments have been met with silent acquiescence. This absence of accountability enables elected and appointed leaders to continue their overreliance on the use of force.

Advocates of sending the military on missions abroad always cite some pressing threat to American national security as justification. As a result, no longer is lethal military power a means of last resort, but an oft-selected policy option of first choice. In a sense, like a drug addict, it appears Washington feels an irresistible necessity to send ground troops, special forces, or use air power somewhere, against someone, at all times. They need the fix.

If neither the Congress, White House, nor the media will fulfill their responsibilities by scrutinizing every request to employ lethal force, the negative consequences will continue to pile up. Our vital national interests will continue to remain at elevated risk, the federal budget will continue to be pressured, and the military instrument itself will continue in its degraded state owing to overuse. It is time to check the wanton deployment of the US military.


German state seeks to scrap lese majeste law even faster

Politicians in Germany are preparing a motion which might protect German satirist Böhmermann, after Ankara filed a defamation suit against him. Meanwhile, fellow satirist Dieter Nuhr defended Erdogan’s right to sue.

April 20, 2016


The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is seeking an initiative to scrap the German lese majeste law faster than currently planned, the state’s justice minister, Thomas Kutschaty, told the German daily “Rheinische Post.”

The law, which forbids defamation of foreign heads of state, is in the center of the widely publicized scandal surrounding comedian Jan Böhmermann and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan’s lawsuit against Böhmermann has sparked a fierce debate on freedom of speech in Germany, and put pressure on the federal government to change the law. According to Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, this would not happen before 2018.

State lawmakers poised to decide

The upper chamber of German parliament might solve the issue much sooner, according to North Rhine-Westphalia’s minister Kutschaty.

“I want to bring forth a motion aimed at immediate scrapping of lese majeste law before the chamber,” he told the Wednesday edtion of “Rheinische Post.”

“Then, they would not be able to convict [Jan] Böhmermann,” he added.

The lawmakers might discuss the initiative as soon as mid-May, according to state officials from North Rhine-Westphalia, where Böhmermann also resides.

In Germany, the upper house of the parliament consists of members from all 16 German states, often with different political parties in charge from region to region. Several other states had indicated their support, according to Kutschaty.

If the law is changed or scrapped before the court decision, the judges would be legally obliged to follow the milder regulation.

Also on Wednesday, the Dutch “Telegraaf” newspaper reported that the cabinet in the Hague was mulling over a legal move to scrap a similar law in the Netherlands.

‘Nothing to whine about’

Violators of the current German law can face a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Also, according to the regulations, the German government needs to approve defamation lawsuits before the investigation starts. Berlin’s decision to give the green light in Böhmerman’s case has prompted accusations against Chancellor Merkel, with government critics claiming she surrendered freedom of speech to Ankara.

German comedian Dieter Nuhr, however, publicly backed the government’s position stating there was “nothing to whine about” when it comes to the investigation against Böhmerman.

“A certain Mr. Böhmermann has insulted the Turkish president in a poem,” he wrote in the article for the German “Tagesspiegel” on Wednesday. “There might be good reasons to insult [Erdogan], but defamation is forbidden by law. And that applies to the Turkish president, because our laws apply to everybody. This, among other things, is the difference between us and Turkey. We have the rule of law.”

According to Nuhr, “everybody can sue everybody” in Germany, even Nazis, terrorists and other people who may not believe in the rule of law themselves.

Thus, Berlin was right to approve the investigation, Nuhr wrote, adding that “not everything is allowed in satire.”

“In addition, the lese majeste law … should be scrapped. This is also a good idea. Until then – it applies. That is how we do it when it comes to laws,” he added.


Repetitive Encryption Tirades Could Be Giving Way to Debate Over “Lawful Hacking”

April 20, 2016

by Jenna McLaughlin

The Intercept

Law enforcement officials, tech executives and privacy advocates have been calling for Congress to set the rules of the road for the increasingly widespread use of unbreakable encryption. But as Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., illustrated just last week by releasing a draft bill to basically ban the technology, that might not be the best idea.

Attempts to regulate math are nonsensical. Encryption is here to stay. Arguing about it is a waste of time.

At a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, a few Members of Congress pivoted away from that tired and ultimately fruitless policy argument to discuss instead what could be considered the next phase of the Crypto Wars.

In that phase, the questions are about how law enforcement can get around encryption rather than break through it.

The answers involve “lawful” hacking—exploiting devices through known and unknown security flaws–rather than trying to created new ones, or “backdoors.”

But what rules should apply to government hackers? Should they disclose the flaws they find to companies so they can be patched, to the benefit of all users? Or should they keep them secret to maybe catch the next criminal with the same trick? Should the government build its own hacking resources, or outsource the job?

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., asked Amy Hess, the FBI’s head of science and technology, if hiring a team of highly skilled hackers might be helpful.

“Like in the San Bernardino case, the FBI hired a third party to help them break the code…why can’t we bring more capabilities in house in the government to be able to do that?” DeGette asked.

Hess described the FBI’s hacking attempts as time consuming, successful on a case-by-case basis, and fragile—solutions that “may not be scalable” if more and more devices have stronger and stronger security.

And to bring those skills completely under the government’s roof? Hess totally ruled it out. “No ma’am, I don’t see that as possible. We need the cooperation of industry, we need the cooperation of academia, and we need the cooperation of the private sector in order to come up with solutions.”

Hess manages the FBI’s controversial high-tech tools, including its hacking capabilities. The FBI has been relatively tight-lipped about its ability to exploit vulnerabilities in digital devices and platforms, but they’ve been doing it for nearly two decades, and in some cases with tools that were developed in-house. Most recently, the Bureau has been in the limelight for hacking over a thousand computers to ensnare consumers of child pornography.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., told the panel of law enforcement experts that he was having trouble coming up with new questions about encryption that might elicit any new information. So instead, he chose to ask what the FBI planned to spend the $38 million it’s asking for this year to fight the “going dark” problem the agency says encryption is posing.

Hess told him that the FBI would try to use that money to “get around the problem.” Some things on her list included training employees to become better “password guessers”, purchasing tools to “exploit some technical ability”, and finding a way to “make better use of metadata.” She didn’t explain any further.

A panel of technology experts included Matt Blaze, associate professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell, Daniel Weitzner, a research scientists at MIT, and Amit Yoran, the president of RSA Security.

They generally agreed that the government could and should beef up in-house hacking—as long as the government is willing to engage in conversations about when it should disclose the tools it uses so companies can repair them. Sewell said the topic “has not been well explored,” and that Apple didn’t have a position on it.

While lawful hacking now on the table, privacy and security advocates called for public discussion on the rules of the game— before the government starts building — or buying — an exploit army in Washington.


700 Million People Just Got Encryption That Congress Can’t Touch

April 20, 2016

by Brian Barrett


Last month,WHATSAPP, the hugely popular messaging service that Facebook owns, made end-to-end encryption the default for its 1 billion users. On Tuesday, Viber said it will do the same for the 700 million people who use it.

Although Viber is smaller than WhatsApp, the repercussions of its decision to encrypt every text message, every photo, and everything else shared on its platform could be far greater. That’s because, unlike WhatsApp, Viber is not a US company. It will not be subject to US laws written by lawmakers desperate to regulate technology they do not understand. More than anything, Viber offers a powerful example of the futility of legislating encryption.

Good Vibers

The company, which launched in 2010, offered some measure of encryption from the start, says COO Michael Shmilov. Fifteen months ago, it began working toward end-to-end encryption for all data passing from person to person and across group chats, be it on a phone, a desktop, or a tablet.

This is a huge step forward for privacy and security. End-to-end encryption is a remarkably powerful tool, because not even the company that administers it can see what’s passing between users once people update their software. Shimlov says the company has already introduced Viber 6.0 in four countries; the idea is to ensure everything works before opening the spigot all the way.

This does not mean 700 million people will suddenly have total encryption. It will take time for Viber’s base to update to 6.0, and not everyone will. “That’s just the way it is,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography expert at Johns Hopkins University. “You always have an upgrade problem.”

The problem with this, of course, is that people with encryption may end up communicating with those who don’t, potentially compromising security. Yet even a 10 percent adoption rate of Viber 6.0 will bring default encryption to a pool of users that exceeds the population of the United Kingdom.

Of far greater concern to Green and others is the fact Viber developed its encryption in-house, rather than getting it from a trusted third party. WhatsApp, for instance, chose an open-source solution from Open Whisper Systems. Effective crypto is hard, and a lot can go wrong. Why risk screwing it up? “Whenever people do go out and try to build their own crypto, they tend to make mistakes,” Green says. “It’s better not to roll your own.”

Still, Green acknowledges, some crypto is better than none at all. And it’s possible Viber didn’t go it entirely alone. “We built [our end-to-end encryption] based on the concept of an established open-source solution with an extra level of security developed in-house,” a Viber spokesperson says, refusing to be more specific.

Whatever the underlying tech, if you use Viber, you’ll know your chat is encrypted if you see a gray padlock icon, and you’ll know it’s going to a trusted contact—thanks to a new Viber authentication process—when that icon is green. If you see either color, rest assured that not even Viber can see what’s passing through.

Tensions Rising

Viber’s move follows Apple’s epic fight over a court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernadino terrorists. It’s tempting to see that row, and the resulting debate over privacy and security in the digital age, a catalyst. Seeing two major messaging platforms make these kinds of announcements so close together doesn’t usually indicate a coincidence. But in this case, it is.

The tech world is embracing encryption on an unprecedented scale, in large part because messaging apps are central to people’s lives. “It’s not necessarily a marketing feature,” says Shimlov. “We did it because it’s a standard we need to meet. Users share a lot of private data between them, and we want to make sure it’s secure.” Shimlov says users’ increasingly frequent requests for end-to-end encryption has less to do with Big Brother than with a carefree user experience. “We want to make Viber fun to use,” he says. “Part of being fun is users not having to worry about privacy and security.”

You can trace a lot of this concern to the massive hack, in 2014, of celebrity nudes from Apple iCloud accounts, says Green. “People constantly send stuff through these messenger devices they should not be,” says Green. “For me, end-to-end encryption is not about fighting the NSA. It’s about making sure that the really private photos that you’re messaging back and forth, if you’re doing that, are actually safe.”

The Short Arm of the Law

What makes Viber’s announcement especially compelling is the fact Viber is an Israeli company owned by a Japanese conglomerate. Any encryption legislation that clears Congress will have zero impact on Viber’s service, or those who use it. It’s not the first non-US messaging service to offer end-to-end encryption, but it’s the largest by orders of magnitude.

A more illustrative example couldn’t have come at a more important time. A deeply flawed encryption bill is wending through Congress. The House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee have created a “working group” to study the issue, and held hearings this week. A separate political faction, headed by Representative Mike McCaul and Senator Mark Warner, has formed a commission of security experts to suss out the issue’s intricacies.

There’s a lot of brainpower and political will being thrown at encryption right now. Any legislation could have potentially crippling implications for companies like Apple (iMessage and FaceTime have supported end-to-end encryption for years) and WhatsApp, but mean absolutely nothing to Viber. Beyond underscoring the futility of trying to undermine, if not ban, encryption, such legislation could actually harm US companies. “If Congress passed a law that undermined security of American-made products, consumers would simply use products and services produced overseas—like Viber,” says Nathan White, digital rights activist with Access Now.

Ultimately, Viber’s embrace of end-to-end encryption is important due to its size, but perhaps more for what it represents. It proves that truly secure encryption is possible on an enormous scale. Legislating it is not. This tension will shape the crypto wars for years to come.


Orwellian Reality: Big Brother Watching You on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

April 20, 2016


The US Central Intelligence Agency has become increasingly focused on monitoring social media, according to a document obtained by The Intercept; the intelligence agency is pouring money in start-ups mining tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts.

Every time you post a message on Facebook or share a photo on Instagram, remember this: Big Brother is watching you. No, it’s not a quotation from the famous “1984” by George Orwell. The truth of the matter is that the US Central Intelligence Agency has set its eye on social media platforms.

In his latest article US investigative journalist Lee Fang sheds some light of the CIA’s investment programs, referring to a new document obtained by The Intercept.

It turns out that In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, is pouring money into companies and start-ups specializing in social media mining and surveillance.

Indeed, social media also offers a wealth of potential intelligence, the journalist notes.

The companies, which receive funding from In-Q-Tel, are developing unique tools to mine data from Twitter,

Facebook and Instagram. The advanced applications help to collect, sort and visualize data, spotting trends in real time.

For instance, “Geofeedia specializes in collecting geotagged social media messages, from platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, to monitor breaking news events in real time. The company, which counts dozens of local law enforcement agencies as clients, markets its ability to track activist protests on behalf of both corporate interests and police departments,” Fang narrates.

The company’s website message reads:

“Hundreds of customer experience, education, public sector and security teams rely on the Geofeedia platform to listen to and engage with social media content from locations across countries, cities, buildings and everything in between from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, VK, Sina Weibo and other social channels.”

Another firm, PATHAR, designed a tool which is used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to analyze data from Twitter, Facebook and other platforms in order to “determine networks of association, centers of influence and potential signs of radicalization.”

Fang reveals that for the last ten years In-Q-Tel has been engaged with companies specializing in scanning large sets of online data.

The investigative journalist cites Bruce Lund, a senior member of In-Q-Tel’s technical staff, who wrote in his 2012 report that keeping an eye on social media is increasingly essential for government agencies.

“Governments are increasingly finding that monitoring social media is an essential component in keeping track of erupting political movements, crises, epidemics, and disasters, not to mention general global trends,” the report states.

The CIA-funded technologies are used not only for collecting intelligence on foreign adversaries and terrorists, but also for keeping track of domestic labor union activists, student groups, minimum wage advocates and political opposition, the journalist notes, adding that privacy advocates are increasingly upset over the methods being used to mine public data.

Remarkably, American high-tech companies and even Silicon Valley giants have a long record of cooperation with US government agencies.

In his March Op-Ed for Russia Today Neil Clark, a journalist, writer and broadcaster, called attention to the fact that Google experts had a role in managing the Syrian “regime change” project back in 2011-2012. He quoted a series of emails by then president of ‘Google Ideas’ (now called ‘Jigsaw’) Jared Cohen to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, recently exposed by WikiLeaks.

“Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from,” Cohen wrote on July 25, 2012.

“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition,” the president of ‘Google Ideas’ emphasized.

Information technologies play a crucial role in today’s world. However, the question then arises to what extent these technologies, tools and applications can be used. What is at stake are fundamental values — privacy, freedom of speech, nations’ sovereignty and independence.


Good chance spies are hoovering up your personal data in bulk, documents show

April 21, 2016


British security services “routinely” collect personal data on bulk from thousands of public and private organizations, including confidential medical and financial records, newly-disclosed documents show.

The previously-confidential files, obtained by campaign group Privacy International (PI) as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the collection of bulk personal datasets (BPDs), have revealed “the staggering extent to which the intelligence agencies hoover up our data.”

In March 2015, the government first owned up to the use of BPDs by its intelligence agencies, including by MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. BPDs include call logs, internet traffic, and medical, financial and travel records of British citizens.

“It goes far beyond monitoring our text messages, email messages, and social media posts. The intelligence agencies have secretly given themselves access to potentially any and all recorded information about us,” PI explains.

“The agencies themselves admit that the majority of data collected relates to individuals who are not a threat to national security or suspected of a crime. This highly sensitive information about us is vulnerable to attack from hackers, foreign governments, and criminals,” PI’s legal officer Millie Graham Wood said in a statement.

BPDs currently account for 5 percent of all data stored by GCHQ, the files reveal.

An oversight committee reviews the storage of BPDs every six months. Since 2005, home secretaries have had to reauthorize the collection of these data sets twice a year.

Wood warned the government’s controversial Investigatory Powers Bill would codify and legitimize these practices.

“The agencies have been doing this for 15 years in secret and are now quietly trying to put these powers on the statute book for the first time, in the Investigatory Powers Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament. These documents reveal a lack of openness and transparency with the public about these staggering powers and a failure to subject them to effective Parliamentary scrutiny.”

In a statement, the Home Office defended the use of BPDs, saying their acquisition provides “vital and unique intelligence.”

The document cache also contains guidance for intelligence officers who have access to surveillance systems. One document aimed at MI6 employees warns officers not to scour the surveillance databases “for information about other members of staff, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, family members and public figures unless it is necessary to do so as part of your official duties.”

The revelations come after a survey revealed the majority of Britons remain unconcerned about the potential ramifications of the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Of 1,600 respondents surveyed by Broadband Genie, 75 percent said they had not heard of the IP Bill. Asked if they backed the government’s plans to ramp up mass surveillance in Britain, a third said they didn’t care either way.


Long prison sentences for ‘SpyEye’ hackers

Two computer hackers have been sentenced to years in prison for their roles in developing and distributing malware used for digital larceny. Cybercriminals infected millions of computers and drained bank accounts.

April 21, 2016


A US District Court judge in Atlanta handed down prison sentences of nine and a half years to Aleksandr Panin, 27, of Russia and 15 years to Hamza Bendelladj, 27, of Algeria, the US Justice Department said Wednesday.

“Until dismantled by the FBI, SpyEye was the pre-eminent malware banking Trojan from 2010-2012, used by a global syndicate of cybercriminals to infect over 50 million computers, causing close to $1 billion in financial harm to individuals and financial institutions around the globe,” the department said.

SpyEye was a type of Trojan virus that implanted itself on victims’ computers to steal sensitive information, including bank account credentials, credit card information, passwords and PIN codes.

Once it took over a computer, it allowed hackers to trick victims into surrendering personal information. The information was relayed to the criminals’ server to be used to access the victims’ accounts.

‘Millions of computers affected’

US prosecutor Steven Grimberg said SpyEye was the pre-eminent malware from 2010 to 2012 and was used to infect more than 50 million computers and cause nearly $1 billion in damage to individuals and financial institutions around the world.

Following indictments by a federal grand jury in 2011, SpyEye’s primary developer Panin was arrested at an Atlanta airport in 2013 and pleaded guilty in January 2014 to the 23 charges in the indictment, including wire fraud and bank fraud.

His accomplice Bendelladj was arrested in Thailand in January 2013 and extradited later that year to the United States, where in June 2015 he also pleaded guilty to all 23 counts in the indictment.FBI Special Agent Mark Ray testified that Panin conspired with others to advertise SpyEye in online cybercrime forums and sell versions of the software for up to $10,000 (8,850 euros). Panin is thought to have sold it to more than 150 clients.

The agent said SpyEye was more user-friendly than most and functioned like “a Swiss army knife of hacking,” allowing users to customize it to choose specific methods of gathering personal information.


ISIS wants to launch chemical or nuclear attacks – EU/NATO security chiefs

April 20, 2016


NATO and EU security chiefs say Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) wants to use chemical or nuclear weapons to attack Britain.

During the Security and Counter Terror conference in London on Tuesday and Wednesday, a group of policing and counter terrorism experts delivered a dire warning.

Jorge Berto Silva, the European Commission’s deputy chief of counter-terrorism, told the Telegraph that “with CBRN [chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials], there is a justified concern.”

His view was shared by Dr Jamie Shea, NATO’s deputy head of emerging threats, who told the conference “we know terrorists are trying to acquire these substances.”

Shea also warned the Islamist group may be splitting into two with a Syria and Iraq-based ‘state’ and a network of terror cells in Europe.

Securing Britain

Their comments come as police authorities unveil plans to train a million UK workers to deal with terror attacks over the next 12 months. A group of former security officials have also launched an initiative to examine Britain’s borders.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) wants to see the number of workers trained to respond to terrorist incidents increased from its current rate of 100,000 employees per year.

Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson, police counter-terrorism coordinator, is expected to announce the expansion of Project Griffin in the near future.

He told the BBC “we need everyone to play a part in keeping the public alert, not alarmed.”

In an open letter to the Telegraph, two former Metropolitan Police commanders, MPs and a former head of counter-terrorism command said that regardless of whether Britain leaves the EU or not, intelligence sharing and border control must be taken seriously.

They said recent terror attacks in Europe were a “wake-up call for the British government over the need better to secure this country’s borders.”

Questions have been raised about the UK’s vulnerability to attack, not least to its nuclear arsenal.

In February, RT spoke to a Royal Navy whistleblower who leaked a report on, among other things, the potential ease of access to nuclear facilities.

Nuclear submarine engineer William McNeilly, who was kicked out of the service for his revelations, said: “I didn’t release my report to discredit the Royal Navy. I released my report because safety and security [at the Trident base] is not being taken seriously. Because it’s a risk to the people and a risk to the land.”


Turkey’s EU ambassador: ‘If we don’t have EU membership, so be it’

The message is clear: Freedom of speech and other European values aren’t high on President Erdogan’s list. But how can he justify oppression and violence? Tim Sebastian interviews Selim Yenel, Turkey’s EU ambassador.

April 20. 2016


On paper, Turkey is a parliamentary democracy. In reality, journalists critical of President Erdogan are put in jail and the violent clashes in the country’s southeast have affected more than 400,000 people. Last week, the European Parliament accused Ankara of “backsliding” on democracy and voiced “serious concerns over human rights violations” in a report.

Overlooked and unloved by the EU?

In an exclusive interview with DW’s Tim Sebastian, Selim Yenel, Turkey’s EU ambassador said Turkey does take the criticisms seriously, but he rejected the document, noting that it was approved in “a non-binding resolution.” On Tuesday Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, referring to the report: “Three million people have been looked after in this country so they don’t disturb the Europeans. Is there anything about this in the report?” Erdogan also said the EU needed Turkey more than the other way round.

A factor that further complicates EU-Turkish relations is the deal between Brussels and Ankara that seeks to stop the flow of migrants to Europe. However Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday said unless the EU grants Turkish citizens visa-free travel by June this year, it would not abide to the deal. That was part of the deal, but Turkey needs to fulfill a number of requirements before visa-free access to the EU can be implemented.

“Nobody believes it will happen”

Speaking to Tim Sebastian, Turkey’s EU envoy Selim Yenel revealed a nonchalant attitude about joining the EU: “We are very patient…in the end, if we don’t have membership, so be it.” He added: “Nobody will ask to have Turkey because of our beaches. If it happens (…) it’s because the EU needs us.”

The European Parliament adopted the report in a week of international controversy over President Erdogan’s handling of international criticism. Ever since he assumed office in 2014, Erdogan filed 2,000 legal comlaints against critics. “Ongoing and new criminal cases against journalists, writers or social media users, intimidation of journalists and media outlets as well as the authorities’ actions curtailing freedom of media are of considerable concern. Changes to the internet law are a significant step back from European standards,” the report by MEP Kati Piri said.

No humor left in Ankara?

“Your President seems to feel insulted on a daily basis,” Tim Sebastian said, referring to the latest case of Erdogan’s attempts to curb freedom of speech abroad. Jan Böhmermann, German comedian, read an anti-Erdogan poem in his show “Neo Magazin Royale” on German public broadcaster ZDF. German chancellor Angela Merkel gave approval for a criminal investigation to proceed against Böhmermann, the basis of which is an obscure article of German law designed to shield foreign heads of state from insults. Merkel has been accused of giving in to pressure from Ankara and trading freedom of speech for Turkish help on the refugee issue.

In December 2014, a 16-year-old Turkish schoolboy was arrested for insulting Erdogan during a speech at a student protest in the central Anatolian city of Konya. Attila Kart, a member of opposition party CHP, said the president was creating “an environment of fear, oppression and threat” then. When asked about the boy’s arrest, Yenel told Tim Sebastian there was a lot of “exaggeration” around the case.

Selim Yenel: Well, he probably wasn’t aware that he was 16 years old.

Tim Sebastian: Ah, it would have been different, would it?

Yenel: Yeah, of course. I mean, if he is legitimate.

But there are even more serious human rights violations. Since a ceasefire between Kurdish militants and Ankara collapsed in 2015, southeast Turkey has been shaken by new armed conflict. More than 400,000 people have been affected by the fighting between the Turkish army and militants in and around Cizre, the town that has seen some of the worst violence. Its population has gone down from 120,000 to 20,000 according to Faysal Sariyildiz, a local MP.

Yenel was also asked about why Turkey is attacking the YPG Kurdish militia in Syria. The YPG has been supported by Ankara’s main NATO ally, the United States.

“I know, they have a different view. They are wrong. And the President, when he was in The US said the same things to Obama,” Yenel said when asked about the divergence between the US and Turkey.


President Obama begins Saudi Arabia trip with snub by King Salman, as activists unearth more evidence of Saudi links to 9/11

April 20, 2016

by Adam Edelman

New York Daily News

Bad timing, Obama.

President Obama opened a brief trip to Saudi Arabia Wednesday with a one-on-one meeting with King Salman in Riyadh, as new evidence emerged linking officials within the shadowy kingdom to the 9/11 attacks.

Citing documents posted to 28pages.org, an activist site working to expose links between foreign governments and 9/11, The Times of London reported that a Saudi citizen who later became a bomb-maker for al Qaeda was thought to have taken pilot lessons with some of the 9/11 hijackers.

Ghassan Al-Sharbi — according to the files, known as “Document 17,” attempted to hide his U.S. flight certificate, which was in an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington.

“The envelope points to the fundamental question hanging over us today: to what extent was the 9/11 plot facilitated by individuals at the highest levels of the Saudi government,” 28pages.org activist Brian McGlinchey wrote in a memo obtained by The Times.

Al-Sharbi, who did not participate in the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and remains incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.

The newly unearthed evidence, however, underscores renewed suspicions of Saudi involvement in the horrific terror attacks and growing criticism over Obama’s opposition to legislation that would give victims’ families the right to sue the Saudi government for any role it may have played in the terror attacks.

That stance has long infuriated those families, who have also called on the commander-in-chief to declassify and release a 28-page portion of a congressional report on possible links between the Saudi government and the attack. The report was issued in 2002, but those pages were held back by the George W. Bush administration in the interest of national security.

Saudi leaders, too, have grown increasingly frustrated with the White House, not only over the growing U.S. effort to declassify the report, but also because of opposition to the President’s outreach to Iran and approach to the Syrian conflict.

Those tensions set the mood of the brief state visit immediately. The Saudis appeared to snub Obama from the get-go, sending a small delegation to the tarmac to greet Obama — which did not include King Salman.

The decision not to dispatch a high-level delegation to greet the President was unusual and intended to send a clear message that they have little faith in him, Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Center, told the AP.

In addition, Obama’s arrival was not shown on state television, a perceived action of disrespect.

Nevertheless, Salman later greeted Obama in a grand foyer at Erga Palace, where the two walked slowly to a reception room and offered each other polite smiles.

Just days ago, the Saudi government threatened to sell off $750 billion in U.S. Treasury securities and other assets if the Congress were to pass the bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — a move many of the 9/11 families see as blackmail.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend earlier this year, would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases “arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil.”


The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State

April 1, 2016

by Jacob G. Hornberger


The two most important words in the lives of the American people for the past 60 years have been “national security.” The term has transformed American society for the worse. It has warped the morals and values of the American people. It has stultified conscience. It has altered the constitutional order. It has produced a democratically elected government that wields totalitarian powers.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to round up people, including citizens, and take them to concentration camps, detention centers, or military dungeons where the government can torture them, incarcerate them indefinitely, and even execute them as suspected terrorists.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to send its military and intelligence forces into any country anywhere in the world, kidnap people residing there, and transport them to a prison for the purpose of torture, indefinite detention, and even execution.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to sneak and peek into people’s homes or businesses without warrants; to monitor their emails, telephone calls, and financial transactions; and to spy on the citizenry.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to support, with money and armaments, totalitarian regimes all over the world and to enter into partnerships with them for the purpose of torturing people whom the U.S. government has kidnapped.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to assassinate anyone it wants, including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including here in the United States.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to impose sanctions and embargoes on any other nation and to severely punish the American people and foreign citizens and foreign companies who violate them.

We now live in a country whose government wields the legal authority to invade and occupy any country on earth, without a congressional declaration of war, for any purpose whatever, including regime change and the securing of resources.

And it’s all justified under the rubric of “national security.”

Most people would concede that that’s not the kind of country that America is supposed to be. The nation was founded as a constitutional republic, one whose governmental powers were extremely limited. In fact, the whole idea of using the Constitution to bring the federal government into existence was to make clear that the government’s powers were limited to those enumerated in the Constitution itself. To make certain that everyone got the point, the American people secured the passage of the Bill of Rights, which further clarified the extreme restrictions on government power.

Four separate amendments in the Bill of Rights address the power of the federal government to take people, both Americans and foreigners, into custody and to inflict harm on them: the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. Due process of law, right to counsel, grand-jury indictments, trial by jury, search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishments, bail, speedy trial — they are all expressly addressed, reflecting how important they were to our American ancestors and to their concept of a free society.

In the age of national security, all of those protections have been rendered moot. They have all been trumped by the concept of national security.

Ironically, the term isn’t even found in the Constitution. One searches in vain for some grant of power anywhere in that document relating to “national security.” It isn’t there. Nonetheless, the government now wields omnipotent powers — powers that the greatest totalitarian dictatorships in history have wielded — under the rubric of “national security.”

With the exception of libertarians, hardly anyone questions or challenges it, including those who profess an ardent allegiance to the Constitution. Consider, for example, the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause. For decades, both libertarians and conservatives have complained that the meaning of that clause has been so expanded as to transform it into a general grant of power enabling the federal government to regulate the most minute, localized aspects of economic activity.

Yet here’s a phrase — “national security” — that isn’t even found in the Constitution, which has been interpreted to grant omnipotent, totalitarian-like powers to the federal government, and conservatives have been rendered mute.

It would be one thing if there had been an amendment to the Constitution stating, “The federal government shall have the power to do whatever it deems necessary in the interests of national security.” At least then one could argue that such totalitarian measures were constitutional.

But that’s not the situation we have here. We have the government coming up with a concept known as “national security,” which it has then used to adopt powers that would otherwise violate the Constitution. It’s as if national security has been made the foundation of the nation. Everything else — the Constitution, society, the citizenry, freedom, prosperity — are then based on that foundation.

The goodness of national security

What is “national security”? No one really knows. There is certainly no precise definition of the term. It’s actually whatever the government says it is. National security is one of the most meaningless, nebulous, nonsensical terms in the English language, but, at the same time, the most important term in the lives of the American people.

All the government has to do is say “national security,” and all discussion and debate shuts down. If the government says that national security is at stake, that’s the end of the story. Federal judges will immediately dismiss lawsuits as soon as the government claims, “The case is a threat to national security, your honor.” Congress will immediately suspend investigations when the government claims that national security is at stake. The Justice Department will defer to the national-security establishment when it raises the issue of national security.

National security, a term not even in the Constitution, trumps everything. It trumps the judiciary. It trumps the legislative branch of government. It trumps federal criminal investigations. This nebulous term, whose meaning is whatever the government wants it be at any particular time, has been made the foundation of American society.

What is the national-security establishment? It is composed of several agencies, two of the main ones being the vast military-industrial establishment and the CIA. Those two entities have done more to transform American life than anything else, even more than the welfare state. They are the entities that enforce the sanctions and embargoes and engage in the invasions, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, assassinations, torture, indefinite incarcerations, renditions, partnerships with totalitarian regimes, and executions — all in the name of “national security.”

One of the most fascinating aspects of all this is how successful the government has been in convincing Americans of two things: that all this is necessary to keep them safe and, at the same time, that America has continued to be a free country notwithstanding the fact that the government has acquired and has exercised totalitarian powers in order to preserve national security.

When Americans see the governments of such countries as the Soviet Union or North Korea wield such powers, they can easily recognize them as being totalitarian in nature. When Americans read that the Soviet government rounded up its own people and sent them into the Gulag, they recoil against the exercise of such totalitarian powers. They have the same reaction when they hear that the North Korean government has tortured people within its prison system. It’s the same when Americans hear that the Chinese government has arrested and incarcerated people for years without charges or trial.

But when the U.S. government does such things or even just claims the authority to do them — in the name of national security — the mindset of the average American automatically shifts. It can’t be evil for the U.S. government to wield such powers because the agents who are wielding them are Americans, not communists. They have an American flag on their lapel. They have children in America’s public schools. They’re doing it to keep us safe. They’re on our side. We wouldn’t be free without them. They’re preserving our national security.

In fact, another fascinating aspect to all this is the mindset of those within the national-security establishment itself. Even though they are wielding the same kinds of powers that are wielded by totalitarian regimes, the last thing in their minds is that they’re doing anything evil or immoral. In their mind, they’re fighting evil in order to preserve security and freedom. Sure, they have to do some unsavory things, but those things are necessary to preserve the nation. Americans are safe and free because of things they’re doing, and we’re supposed to be grateful that they’re doing them.

After all, as advocates of the national-security state often remind us, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. If measures have to be taken to preserve the nation — or the security of the nation — that are inconsistent with the Constitution, then so be it. What good would it do to adhere strictly to the Constitution if, by doing so, the nation were to fall to the terrorists or the communists?

Thus, when officials in totalitarian regimes round people up without charges, incarcerate them indefinitely, torture them, and execute them, what they are doing is evil. But when officials within the U.S. national security state do those same things — and more — they look upon themselves as good and the citizenry look upon them in the same way, simply because they are doing it to advance freedom and to preserve the national security of the United States.

And even then, things are not so clear, at least not when it comes to national security. For example, some foreign totalitarian regimes are considered evil while others are considered good. Consider, for example, Iran and North Korea. In the mindset of the U.S. national-security establishment, they are considered to be evil totalitarian regimes. But then consider, say, Egypt, which has been ruled by a brutal military dictatorship for nearly 30 years, a totalitarian regime that wields the same kind of totalitarian powers that the U.S. government now wields. For decades, Egyptian military and intelligence forces have rounded people up, taken them to prison camps for indefinite detention, tortured them, and executed them, without formal charges and trial.

Nonetheless, the U.S. national-security establishment has long looked on the Egyptian military dictatorship as good, because of its close relationship with the U.S. national-security state. In fact, during the past several decades the U.S. government has sent hundreds of millions of dollars in money and armaments to Egypt to help fund its totalitarian military dictatorship, and there has been close cooperation between the national-security apparatuses of both nations. In fact, Egypt’s national-security state even agreed to serve as one of the U.S. empire’s rendition-torture partners, a relationship that enables U.S. officials to send a kidnapped victim to Egypt for the purpose of torture.

Good regime, bad regime

Sometimes, the nether world of national security becomes even more clouded, with some nations shifting back and forth from good to evil. Consider Iran and Iraq, for example. In 1953, Iran was considered a threat to U.S. national security. Thus, the CIA, one of the principal components of the U.S. national-security establishment, engaged in its first regime-change operation, one that succeeded in ousting Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from power and installing the shah of Iran into power.

For the next 25 years, Iran was considered good, notwithstanding the fact that the shah’s regime was totalitarian in nature. In fact, the CIA even helped him and his national-security establishment to oppress the Iranian people. When Iranians finally revolted against the domestic tyranny that the U.S. national-security state had foisted upon them, Iran immediately became an evil regime in the eyes of the U.S. national-security establishment, notwithstanding the fact that the new regime wasn’t doing anything different than the shah’s regime had done. During the 1980s, Iraq had a brutal totalitarian regime headed by Saddam Hussein. Nonetheless, it was considered a good regime because it was friendly to the U.S. national-security state. In fact, during that time the relationship was so solid that the United States even sent Iraq biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction so that Saddam could use them to attack Iran (which was considered evil).

Later, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.S. national-security establishment reclassified Iraq as an evil regime. Today, Iraq is headed by a democratically elected regime that exercises the same totalitarian powers that Saddam exercised, but it’s considered to be a good regime because it’s perceived to be on the side of the U.S. national-security state. If it ultimately formally aligns itself with Iran, as many suspect it will, it will find itself back in the ranks of the evil.

How did it all come to this? How did the United States become transformed from a constitutional republic into a national-security state? How did the concept of national security become the guiding star of American life, without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment? How did the national-security establishment — the vast, permanent military-industrial complex and the CIA — come to be the foundation of American society?

More important, is a national-security state truly compatible with the principles of a free society? Did Americans delude themselves into thinking that they could retain a free and safe society with a government that wields totalitarian powers? Did Americans sacrifice their freedom, their security, their values, and their consciences on the altar of national security?

Perhaps most important, has the time come to dismantle the national-security state in order to restore a free, prosperous, peaceful, normal, and harmonious society to our land? Is it time to restore a limited-government, constitutional republic, the type of government that was clearly envisioned by the Founding Fathers?


America as a Terrorist Target

by Harry von Johnston PhD


When Syrian Palmyra was liberated from the fanatic Sunni Moslem ISIS people, a Russian GRU unit searched for, and found, a considerable number of ISIS documents that were most revealing and informative. One set of documents set forth a series of targets in the United States that ISIS is planning to attack. It is a long list so it is my intention to publish various segments of this particular document for the edification of the public.

Other documents cover European targets and will be published in their own good time.

One of the plans would be to release BW material near water reservoirs and another would be to put Claymore mines in suitcases on crowded bus, rail or airport locations. Their remote-controlled explosions would spray deadly shrapnel into the crowds.

Penetration of the United States would not be difficult. Both the Canadian and Mexican borders are very porous and the sea coasts are virtually without any observation or protection from small boats, fishing craft or commercial shipping.

  • In the state of Virginia we have Langley, the headquarters of the widely-diversified CIA. But at the same time there is the mid-state of Charlottesville that contains a number of intelligence agencies and an area slated to be occupied by top level US military personnel with the Washington-based Pentagon moves in toto to that area.
  • And in the state of Arizona we have the southern town of Sierra Vista and the neighboring Ft. Huachuca. The city is home to many American and foreign intelligence personnel and the Army base is the Southwest intelligence and radio interception center.
  • In Utah, a specific target is the Tabernacle Square in Salt Lake City, a Mormon religious center. Here, personnel bombs should, the documents say, be placed and detonated after Sunday services.
  • And in Skokie, Illinois, a target is Bnai Emunah Synagogue because Hillary Clinton’s Jewish family are members.

And also in Illinois, another target would be the main terminal at O’Hare International Airport, preferably during the major holiday seasons of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Again, personnel bombs are recommended for maximum damage.

  • In San Francisco, California, placing two bombs on a BART train headed for Oakland. These should be timed to explode when the train is under the San Francisco Bay, thus destroying the tunnel roof and flooding the system.
  • In Miami, Florida, putting a large quantity of plastic explosive in a trunk, purchasing a ticket on a large Caribbean-bound cruise ship and having the trunk placed below decks in storage. The bomb is timed to explode when the heavily-passengered ship is out to sea and at night so its sinking will drown many sleepers.
  • In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, destroying the iconic Liberty Bell. A second bomb, containing shrapnel, can be placed near by and timed to explode when crowds come to the scene.

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