TBR News April 23, 2016

Apr 23 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 23, 2016:” The establishments do not like the Internet because it is very difficult to control the information contained on it. Their main method of control is to confuse and not inform. News stories are planted, their paid commentators comment on the planted stories and real and important information is covered up by these creative writings. For instance, the ‘Panama papers’ were compiled to attack persons and institutions that a certain US government agency disliked and wished to discredit. When the operation, clumsy as usual and unsubtle in the extreme, began to get the wrong kind of reception, the media quickly dropped mention of it. And some reporters, not paid or controlled by outside interests, began to ask the wrong kind of questions, there was a mixture of silence and loud defense evident. Someone once said, with great accuracy, “Once a newspaper man, always a whore.”


Panama Papers: Who in the world leaked them?

April 5, 2016

by Abby Hamblin

San Diego Union Tribune

Everyone’s talking about the Panama Papers, 2.6 terabytes of data from an anonymous source that is exposing what CNN casually calls the secret dealings of the rich and powerful

How high does the secrecy go? The data dump and subsequent investigation by an international group of journalists claimed its first victim Tuesday when the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, resigned amid controversy over ties to an offshore company that he kept secret. Now some of the world’s wealthiest people are scrambling to explain themselves over similar situations involving Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. Are their dealings legal? Illegal? It will all take some time to figure out.

One explanation that may be a longer time coming? Who leaked the information.

Even the initial recipients of the data cannot answer that.

“I’ve never see the source in person. We’ve been talking to each other via an encrypted chat,” said Bastian Obermayer of Suddeutsche Zeitung’s investigative research unit in the video below. “I’ve very openly asked him why he’s doing this. He says he thinks they have to stop what they’re doing. He thinks they’re doing rotten business. He wants to stop it.”

Obermayer told Wired Magazine that the source warned that his or her “life is in danger,” and that he or she refused to meet in person and was only willing to communicate via encrypted channels.

So who’s the deep throat behind the Panama Papers? People around the world, including Vladimir Putin, are trying to figure that out.


Operation Goldfinger

by Will Fitzgibbon and Nicolas Richter

Suddeutsche Zeitung

The files of Mossack Fonseca reveal all kinds of connections to the activities of the world’s intelligence agencies. For instance, there are links to the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal that involved secret arms shipments under President Ronald Reagan. Oliver North, a military advisor, was charged at the time. Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer, also appears in the documents in this context.

On July 4, 1986, a fourengine Boeing 707 landed in Tehran, the Iranian capital. It had taken off in Rijeka, Yugoslavia, fully loaded with valuable goods from the United States. Seven years after the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian regime was suffering from the sanctions the US had imposed. The airplane was thus delivering military equipment that was in short supply, including defense missiles and replacement parts for fighter jets – all of which were subjected to the embargo.

The delivery was a typical undercover operation: officially, Iran and the United States were archenemies. And yet the military supplies aboard the Boeing were American. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the delivery in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Iran was to arrange the release, in addition to paying for the arms. The CIA would then use the funds to finance the uprising of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

The Iran-Contra affair was only exposed later on. Oliver North, who worked for the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, was one of several people who had to testify at a congressional hearing. Initially, the operation was meant to remain secret, which explains why the Reagan administration couldn’t make the military delivery with the US Air Force.

The Reagan administration needed what intelligence agencies often require to carry out their secret transactions: intermediaries, middlemen, companies, and airplanes that don’t look like they’re owned by the US government. In other words, the government needed what intelligence experts refer to as “plausible deniability”, which essentially means the ability to deny things in a credible manner after the fact.

The airplane that landed in Tehran in 1986 was registered in the United States and appeared to be owned by a man named Farhad Azima, who lived in the US state of Missouri. Azima, an Iranian-born American charter airline executive, made a career of renting and leasing airplanes. To this day, he claims he had no idea that the CIA used one his aircrafts to deliver military supplies to Tehran. “I’ve had nothing to do with Iran-Contra,” Azima told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “I was investigated by every known agency in the U.S. and they decided there was absolutely nothing there,” said Azima. “It was a wild goose chase. The law enforcement and regulators fell for it.”

The Panama Papers now provide new insights into the business dealings of Azima and half a dozen other personalities suspected of having links to intelligence agencies for decades. Many are thought to have helped the CIA, even though they have consistently denied it. While no direct CIA payments have been found in the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the documents do show a number of behavioral patterns that are well known in secret agent circles: dubious company structures, business transactions with used airplanes, and partnerships between shady characters.

“You just can’t walk around and say you’re a secret agent“

The Mossack Fonseca files leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, which were analyzed in cooperation with the ICIJ, contain a number of names from the world of espionage: two suspects from the Iran-Contra affair, a suspected CIA helper for arms deliveries to Afghanistan, and high-ranking former officers of the secret services of Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Rwanda.

The documents reveal that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included Saudi Arabia’s first intelligence chief, who was named by a U.S. Senate committee as the CIA’s “principal liaison for the entire Middle East from the mid-1960s through 1979.” Sheikh Kamal Adham controlled offshore companies later involved in a U.S. banking scandal; Colombia’s former chief of air intelligence, ret. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rubianogroot, held shares in an aviation and logistics company; and Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Ndahiro was a doctor turned spy chief to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Adham died in 1999. Ndahiro did not respond to requests for comment. Rubianogroot confirmed to ICIJ partner and Colombian investigative journalism organization, Consejo de Redacción, that he was a small shareholder in West Tech Panama, which was created to buy an American avionics company. The company is in liquidation.

The Greek entrepreneur Sokratis Kokkalis, once known to the Stasi as “Agent Rocco”, is also mentioned. And of course, the German secret agent Werner Mauss also appears. Mauss operated or still operates a dozen shell companies via Mossack Fonseca.

It is striking just how comfortably these professionals use shell companies to carry out covert operations – in some instances, even long after their retirement. Indeed, it seems that old habits die hard. The documents show that Mossack Fonseca’s offshore structures not only served the interests of suspected tax evaders and other criminals, they also supported spies in a business that relies on absolute secrecy.

The phenomenon can easily be explained. “You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy,” says Loch K. Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia, in explaining the cover that offshore firms offer.

Johnson, a former aide to a U.S. Senate committee’s intelligence inquiries, has spent decades studying CIA front companies. Just like everyone else, spies, hostage rescuers, or weapons smugglers need logistics, starting with things as simple as bank accounts and credit cards to pay for their hotel rooms. Sometimes they also need cash, a ship, or even an airplane. It is in these instances that a front company can conceal the true customers or interested parties.

In the James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name

Ian Fleming knew this, too: in his James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name to cover up the British secret agent’s activities. It is very telling that the company has such a nondescript name. Whenever Bond has to make a call to London, he identifies himself as a businessman who is contacting his boss at the export company. He then talks about trivial things, the true meaning of which only British intelligence understands.

Over the years, “Universal Exports” has become the epitome of secret service front companies. In fact, the name is so well-known that Mossack Fonseca’s business partners still mention it today. When a trustee wrote to the Panamanian law firm in 2010 to request that a company be set up for a client, he joked about possible company names: “I’ll suggest a name like “World Insurance Services Limited” or maybe “Universal Exports” after the company used in the early James Bond stories but I don’t know if we’d get away with that!” Many of the company names that appear on Mossack Fonseca’s lists suggest that the parties concerned would at least like to have the feeling that they’re close to the world of espionage. Company names include “Goldfinger”, “Skyfall”, “Moonraker”, “Spectre”, and “Blofeld” – all of them well-known from Bond movies. Evidently, the clients of the offshore business either have a good sense of humor, or are just plain cynical.

The trail to the world of espionage not only leads to secret agent movies, but also to the real world of intelligence agencies. One example is Loftur Johannesson, a wealthy 85-year-old Icelander from Reykjavík. Several articles and books have shown links between Johannesson and the CIA. Among other things, he is thought to have supplied weapons to anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan, an allegation that Johannesson has denied. “Mr. Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation related activities, and he completely rejects your suggestions that he may have worked for any secret intelligence agencies,” a spokesman told ICIJ. From 2002 onward, his name appears in connection with at least four companies that Mossack Fonseca manages, and which are headquartered either in the British Virgin Islands or Panama.

It is not clear why people like Johannesson still need offshore companies after they have retired, or why they may keep a portion of their assets there. It is likely difficult to transfer revenues from secret business activities to a normal account without raising suspicion. The German secret agent Werner Mauss’s shell companies raise similar questions. Does he (or did he) need them to move ransom money, collect commissions, or simply to save taxes? According to information provided to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the state prosecutor’s office in Bochum, Germany, is currently investigating Mauss on suspicion of tax evasion. Mauss, however, has expressly denied the allegations.

Operating fleets of airplanes (or managing global trade activities with them) appears to be one of the business sectors to which intelligence agencies or their suspected helpers are often linked. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian in exile, whose Boeing 707 allegedly flew weapons to Tehran, appears in the Mossack Fonseca files from 2000 onward. At the time, he had a shell company called ALG (Asia & Pacific) registered in the British Virgin Islands. It appeared to be a branch of his Aviation Leasing Group, a US company based in Missouri that operates more than 60 aircraft.

It wasn’t until 13 years later that Mossack Fonseca realized it might be dealing with a man who did business with an intelligence agency. At the time, Mossfon employees came across a report that linked Azima to the CIA. The report described how a company called EATSCO (Egyptian American Transport and Services Corporation) was thought to have helped deliver weapons to Libya in the late 1970s. The company was owned by several former CIA agents. When they found out about this, Mossack Fonseca became nervous, and asked an Azima representative to confirm his identity. When the law firm did not receive an answer, it looks as though it didn’t pursue the matter any further. Perhaps Mossfon determined that it was best not to know the details in some instances. Mossack Fonseca responded to a request for comment by explaining that it does a thorough background check on each of its clients. However, the law firm declined to comment on specific cases, stating that it finds any abuse of its services unfortunate.

Azima is linked to another dubious person: as the Mossack Fonseca documents show, in November 2011 Azima was registered as the co-director of a company named Eurasia Aviation Holdings Limited. Once again, the company appears to deal in airplanes. Houshang Hosseinpour (who is also active in the aviation business) is named as another of the company’s co-directors. Later on, the US government accused Hosseinpour of violating US sanctions imposed on Iran. And in February 2012, Eurasia Aviation suddenly claimed that Hosseinpour had nothing to do with the company, and that his name had appeared as a result of an “administrative error”. Shortly after, the company purchased an airplane.

Azima told ICIJ that the company was only used to buy an aircraft and that Hosseinpour had never been involved in the company. The plane was not going to be used in the U.S., Azima said, so couldn’t be registered in the U.S. and the choice of the BVI was not for tax purposes. “I’ve filed every tax known to mankind,” Azima told ICIJ. Hosseinpour could not be reached for comment. In 2013, before the sanctions came into force, he told the Wall Street Journal that he had no connections to Iran and “nothing to do with evading sanctions.”

In itself, none of this demonstrates any contact to the CIA. However, it does show how comfortably people in intelligence circles move about in the world of shell companies. Adnan Khashoggi is another example of this: the Saudi billionaire is said to have orchestrated arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. According to a US Senate report, he also played a “central role” in helping the CIA make secret arms sales to Iran.

Khashoggi also appears in Mossack Fonseca documents: from 1978 onward, he is listed as head of Isis Overseas S.A., a Panamanian company. The documents also link Khashoggi to four other companies, which he used mainly between the 1980s and the early 2000s. It is unclear what these companies were meant to hide.

Shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havensAt any event, the files confirm suspicions that secret agents, weapons dealers, and hostage rescuers need a secret financial infrastructure in addition to the services of companies like Mossack Fonseca, from which they don’t expect too many questions.

There is no indication that Mossack Fonseca looked into Khashoggi’s past, even though the firm processed payments from the Adnan Khashoggi Group the same year he made global news when the U.S. charged him with helping Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines at the time, loot millions. Khashoggi was later cleared. Mossack Fonseca’s files show the firm ceased business with Khashoggi around 2003.

It goes without saying that the shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havens. Supposed private companies that in fact work for the CIA can also be established in the United States. One recent example is a network of six US companies, among them Aero Contractors Limited, Pegasus Technologies, or Tepper Aviation. While these companies are listed as providers of chartered flights, after 2001 they operated 26 airplanes that in reality belonged to the CIA.

At the time, the Agency used the airplanes for the global war on terror, for instance to move suspected Al-Qaida terrorists between secret prisons and other torture facilities. Just as was the case for arms shipments to Iran, prisoner transport was not something that the government could do openly. The New York Times, which exposed the true activities of Aero Contractors and others, cited a former CIA agent as saying: “When the C.I.A. is given a task, it’s usually because national policy makers don’t want ‘U.S. government’ written all over it”.

By all appearances, shell companies and tax havens have helped people in the underworld lead a double life. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian-born airline executive, is thought to have been involved in several dubious arms deals. However, nothing has ever been proven, and Azima can still present himself as a high-society businessman in his other life. He is also a well-known donor to US politicians. Azima has donated money to both Republicans and Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton invited him to the White House on several occasions, and Azima has also supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In September 1996, ten years after the Iran-Contra affair, Bill Clinton was seen at a hotel in Kansas City during his presidential campaign, where he led the chorus of people singing “Happy Birthday” to their host – none other than Farhad Azima. Azima had pledged to donate USD 250,000 to Clinton’s campaign.


Banking Whistleblower Believes CIA Behind Panama Papers Leak

April 14, 2016

Sputnik News

Many have called the validity of the Panama Papers into question. Now, former banker and financial whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld has added his own doubts, believing that all signs point to a US government involvement.

In 2009 the US Justice Department issued a fine of $780 million against Swiss banking giant UBS. The financial institution was found guilty in a massive fraud investigation after Birkenfeld came forward with insider knowledge of the bank’s role in tax evasion.

Despite his high-profile role in financial whistleblowing, Birkenfeld has strong doubts about the Panama Papers released earlier this month.

The CIA, I’m sure, is behind this, in my opinion,” he said during an interview with CNBC.

“The very fact that we see all these names surface that are the direct quote-unquote enemies of the United States – Russia, China, Pakistan, Argentina – and we don’t see one US name. Why is that?” he added.

The largest leak of its kind in history, the Panama Papers refers to over 11.5 million documents taken from law firm Mossack Fonseca.

“If you’ve got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this,” Birkenfeld said.

“But they selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn’t hurt the US in any shape or form. That’s wrong. And there’s something seriously sinister here behind this.”

While the documents also revealed the financial improprieties of Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Birkenfeld ascribes that to “collateral damage.”

Many question why the Panama Papers seem suspiciously absent of American names and a number of theories have been raised. Some point out that the United States, itself, is a fairly lucrative tax haven, and so Americans have less reason to place money overseas.

Others have pointed the finger at American businessman George Soros.

“WikiLeaks told you the Panama Papers were provided by the United States government, George Soros’ various NGOs, and a host of western journalists,” political analyst Phil Butler wrote for New Eastern Outlook.

“Today the proof is irrefutable. A vast network has been established in the last few decades to not only control news, but to influence even the laws under which society operates.”


Let’s not overreact to Panama Papers, some EU  foreign ministers warn

April 23, 2016

by Francesco Guarascio


Amsterdam-A European Commission plan to publicly reveal tax and financial data of large companies raised concerns among some European Union finance ministers who on Saturday advised caution after the Panama Paper leaks.

Under pressure after the revelations about offshore firms hiding wealth, the EU executive proposed on April 12 a plan to increase tax transparency of multinational companies, including public disclosure of their activities in tax havens.

Companies have warned of reputation risks, as some data may be misinterpreted if made publicly available. Non-EU firms could also acquire valuable information on their EU competitors, damaging their competitiveness, trade associations said.

“We would prefer that as a first step, (corporate tax data) should be available to tax authorities, not to the public,” Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told reporters on Saturday before an EU finance ministers meeting in Amsterdam.

“We should not overreact,” he said, warning against the competitive risks for EU companies if overly strict transparency regulations were adopted.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands, which holds the rotating EU presidency until July, said he favored public disclosure but added: “Some are worried (public disclosure) will damage the competitive advantage of Europe.”

“We have to be careful about privacy rights,” Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt added.

The EU draft rules would require firms with an annual turnover above 750 million euros to publicly disclose their tax data in all EU countries where they operate.

With a last-minute tweak, the Commission extended this new disclosure requirement to corporations’ activities in so-called tax havens, jurisdictions that facilitate companies and individuals to hide their taxable income.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, had initially proposed in January that companies’ detailed tax data should be available to tax administrations in each EU country, but not to the wider public.

Anti-corruption campaigners have urged the EU do to more than what proposed so far, extending public disclosures to all countries and to more companies.

The issue of public country-by-country reporting has not been formally discussed by EU finance ministers yet at the Amsterdam meeting on Friday and Saturday, but the ministers are debating anti-tax avoidance measures and plans to tackle value added tax (VAT) frauds that cost EU states billions of euros a year in lost revenues.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Tom Heneghan)  

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. 102

Date: Saturday, September 6, 1997

Commenced:   8:05 AM CST

Concluded: 8:22 AM CST

RTC: Gregory, I’m glad you called because I mislaid your number. I need to ask you a question about some documents you are supposed to have snatched away from the people at Justice. Do you know what I’m talking about? I have had a visitor here…yesterday afternoon…who told me that their OSI people were hot on the trail of some very important papers for whatever purpose and you somehow got involved and got them instead. Is there anything to this? By the way, I told my visitor I knew nothing about it but would ask you the next time you called. Naturally, having told him this, I got the standard bottled lecture about how truly evil you are and so on. We don’t need to worry about that silly shit but as to the documents…?

GD: Oh yes, the Hudal papers. Bishop Hudal was an Austrian Catholic bishop and a good friend of the Pope. Pius XII. After the war, the Bishop was very active in getting certain Germans out of the country and to safe havens in South America. Of course these were not the Gestapo and SD men your people hired in car load lots. Anyway, yes, the story is true. A military document collector rang me up and said he had some Nazi documents that the government people demanded he give them or face severe penalties. Boiling in oil was not mentioned but hinted at. Anyway, he paid money for these and wanted at the least to get his money back. Oh no, not to happen. He had to give them free of charge  to their people pronto.

RTC: The OSI is…

GD: Office of Special Investigations. Under Justice. A bunch of rabid Jews looking for ninety year old SS men so they can send them back to Germany to be tried for some non-existent crime like throwing fat old Jewesses into raging fires or whatever. Anyway, it’s a sort of make-work project for the viper brigade. I’ve encountered them before. So he was in a state. He can’t read a word of German which is why he collects German language documents. Typical. The long and short of this is that I had him fax me several pages. They were all dated after the war and I could see at once what the OSI was after. That drooling twit Bronfman has been trying to blackmail the Vatican and these papers, showing chapter and verse of their earlier travel service, would do wonders to make him richer. I asked the collector what he wanted for the collection of about fifty pages or so and he said fifteen hundred so I sent him a check and warned him that if he made any copies, I would personally remove him from the face of the earth. He thought I was joking. So off went the check and the papers came right away. Pure dynamite from the OSI’s point of view.

RTC: And might I ask if you still have them? My visitor was on the verge of a stroke.

GD: No, I do not have them. What I did was to read them through and then I took them, put them into an envelope, sealed it, got into my car and drove to the office of the Arch Diocese. You see, I worked for the Church at that time Robert.

RTC: You’re Catholic?

GD: No but I worked for Catholic Charities and I had met the Bishop twice when he was making his occasional inspection tours. I had to put up with his office manager who was very nosy and wanted to see the papers. I couldn’t tell him to fuck off but I made it very clear that what I had was very important and that I could only give them to the Bishop in person. It took about an hour but eventually I got in and that was that. I was pleasant to him and gave him the papers, suggesting he send them to the Nunciate in Washington and let them decide what to do with them. I also suggested, as firmly as I thought polite, that he not read them. It took all of about five minutes, not to mention the hour drive.

RTC: They vanished?

GD: Oh they did. About three months later, I got a very nice letter from the Vatican, from some official, thanking me in very general terms for sending on my interesting historical documents and assuring me that they were now reposing in the security of the Vatican archives. He was most polite and considerate. Of course nothing was specific.

RTC: It never is.

GD: As sort of as an afterthought, when the collector called me about the OSI people again, he was having a lot of worry with them. I told him to tell their agents that he had sold these documents to me. I said he should give them my name and phone number plus my address.

RTC: (Laughter) Futile. I’ll bet you no one ever contacted you.

GD: You’d win the bet.

RTC: Did the Church ever give you back the fifteen hundred?

GD: I never mentioned it and would have never taken it. I had my satisfaction in another way.

RTC: I can see why they really hate you, Gregory.

GD: Well, the Pope doesn’t.

RTC: No, but the rabbis do.

GD: I have all the luck. And that’s where the press hysteria about pedophilic priests got started. The Vatican refused to let the filthy Bronfman creeps paw through their archives so the obedient American press started yapping about the priests. The Baltimore Sun started it and it went from there.

RTC: The Sun is owned by the New York Times.

GD: And who owns the New York Times?

RTC: Yes, Gregory. The same people who own our Washington Post and the Jerusalem Post.

GD: Well at least they offed that fat pig Maxwell.

RTC: Yes. Knocked him in the head and into the ocean off his yacht.

GD: Jimmy Atwood said I knocked two of his Brit friends ditto and tossed them into the Caribbean. But Jimmy was such a liar.

RTC: Look where it got him.

GD: Face down in his soup. Of course it could have been the main course but you get the drift. Another tragic embolism before dessert. Well, does that answer your question about the documents?

RTC: Oh yes. You did the right thing, of course, Gregory. Always pick the winning side.

GD: Edgar makes such putrid booze.

(Concluded at 8:22 AM CST)





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 nearby and timed to explode when crowds come to the scene.
  • In Nevada, putting a quantity of BW material into Lake Mead. Las Vegas, usually packed with tourists, drink the water on a regular basis.
  • In Washington, D.C. an explosive device is place inside a tourist elevator in the Washington monument. Radio controlled, it could explode when a crowded elevator is ascending, killing all the occupants and possibly breaking the tower.
  • An atomic device placed in the hold of a Maryland crab boat can be remotely detonated when the boat docks close to the north shore of the Potomac River by Washington. Radioactive water will cover the area.




The Fifth Estate: Foreign Lobbyists

Their power is enormous

April 22, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


The Constitution provides for three branches of government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary – but there have been a few additions lately. With the rise of mass communications, common parlance has designated the media as the “Fourth Estate,” because – in theory – it is supposed to act as a “watchdog” on the activities of the other three. (Although in practice, as we have seen, it often doesn’t work out that way.) And as America entered the age of empire, stepping out on the world stage and exerting its power, a development the Founders foresaw – and greatly feared – became a reality: the rise of foreign lobbyists, i.e. the Fifth Estate, as a power in our domestic politics.

This was inevitable as we took the road to empire. Our foreign clients, protectorates, and sock puppets have a material interest in maintaining the status quo: their life blood depends on the smooth workings of the political machinery that keeps the gravy train flowing from Washington to every point on the globe. “Foreign aid,” arms deals, overseas bases that boost their economies, the deployment of “soft power,” and the architecture of entangling alliances that have enmeshed us all over the world – all of this is defended and relentlessly extended by foreign lobbyists who work day and night to protect and expand their very profitable turf.

The latest newsworthy example is the Saudi lobby, which is working overtime these days to burnish the Kingdom’s badly tarnished image. The recent agitation for the release of the censored 28 pages of the joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and news reports of their horrific war crimes in Yemen – has them on the defensive.

The American people are waking up to the fact that the 9/11  hijackers – who came to this country with little knowledge of English, and few resources – had some significant assistance from at least one foreign intelligence agency, and the Saudi connection, which is the subject of the redacted 28 pages, is now in the spotlight. In response, the Saudi lobby is manning the barricades, with articles like “Saudi Arabia Is a Great American Ally” in Foreign Policy magazine, which basically argues that we need these head-chopping barbarians because Iran is worse. On the legislative front, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Perpetual War) is blocking a Senate bill that would give the green light to a lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis. Graham and Senator John McCain have long worked hand-in-hand with the Saudis to garner US support for “moderate” Islamist rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. And when the Saudis launched their terror-bombing of Yemen, Graham was right there cheering them on – and lamenting that “they no longer trust us” because they didn’t give us a heads up.

The Saudis have threatened to sell $750 billion in US assets if the Senate bill passes. In the meantime, President Barack Obama is in Riyadh, on a trip to repair frayed relations, where he is receiving a “chilly reception,” according to news accounts.

That’s the problem with being the world’s biggest superpower – you have to do a lot of kowtowing.

The Saudi lobby is a vast public relations machine, well-oiled with money and top-heavy with Washington insiders. Former Senator Norm Coleman, who headed up the American Action Fund – a major “dark money”conduit to GOP campaigns – and is now backing Ted Cruz is on the Saudi payroll.

On the other side of the partisan divide, the Clinton Foundation is the recipient of Saudi money and the Podesta Group, a major Democratic party public relations firm, is on retainer to the Kingdom. Tony Podesta, founder of the firm, is a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton.

The list of public relations firms paid by the Saudis to lobby the US government, and prettify the Kingdom’s image for the general public, includes practically every major player in the PR field.

The nonprofit thinktanks are rolling in Saudi dough, including the influential Atlantic Council, and the powerful Middle East Institute (WINEP) a spin-off of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee..

Speaking of AIPAC, the Saudis are launching their own version, the Saudi American Public Relations Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) hoping to duplicate the Israel lobby’s well-known success.

The Saudis are just the most brazen and newsworthy of the foreign lobbyists who are swarming over Washington like bedbugs in a cheap hotel. Intent on extracting everything they can from Uncle Sam, they pay their public relations hacks well, employing former members of Congress (like Coleman), wining and dining Beltway insiders, and sidling up to gullible journalists (I may be repeating myself there).

They have become so brazen that they don’t bother to hide their efforts to interfere in American politics, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for Mitt Romney in the last presidential election pretty much out in the open. And the current race for the White House hasn’t escaped their attention:  a recent Politico piece is headlined “Trump Terrifies World Leaders,” and features choice quotes from fear-stricken free riders, such as this from a Finnish official: “In Europe, we are concerned about the U.S. possibly turning toward a more isolationist orientation. That would not be good for United States, good for Europe, good for the world.” The Finns are far from alone:

“According to more than two dozen US and foreign-government officials, Trump has become the starting point for what feels like every government-to-government interaction. In meetings, private dinners and phone calls, world leaders are urgently seeking explanations from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Trade Representative Michael Froman on down. American ambassadors are asking for guidance from Washington about what they’re supposed to say.”

Drinkers at the American trough “are worried about what it means for them: for their arms deals, for their trade deals, for international funding and alliances that they depend on.” They are, in short, worried about the possible loss of all that free stuff they’re getting – and so they’re leaking mostly anonymous quotes to reporters.

Given the GOP frontrunner’s railing against all the “bad deals” our leaders are making, not to mention his campaign slogan of “America First,” it’s no wonder the “Never Trump” campaign has a substantial foreign contingent.

This is the price we pay for empire: interventionism is a two-way street. We send the Marines to foreign lands – and they send their lobbyists to Washington. Our overseas client-states have every interest in maintaining the level of financial and military support that flows out to them, and it’s no surprise that they’re fighting to retain it. The question is: are the American people finally beginning to realize that their overseas empire is a burden rather than a boon?

The Fifth Estate is looking out for Number One – but who is looking out for the American people?


Facebook, Google campuses at risk of being flooded due to sea level rise

Forecasts show that Silicon Valley is at risk even under optimistic scenarios where rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions avoid the most severe increases

April 22, 2016

by Oliver Milman

The Guardian

San Francisco-Technology giants including Facebook and Google face the prospect of their prestigious Silicon Valley headquarters becoming swamped by water as rising sea levels threaten to submerge much of the property development boom gripping San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Sea level forecasts by a coalition of scientists show that the Silicon Valley bases for Facebook, Google and Cisco are at risk of being cut off or even flooded, even under optimistic scenarios where rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions avoid the most severe sea level increases.

Without significant adaptation, Facebook’s new campus appears most at risk. The 430,000 sq ft complex – topped with a nine-acre garden rooftop – is an extension of its Menlo Park base and was crafted by architect Frank Gehry. Located near the San Francisco Bay shoreline, the offices are designed to house 2,800 staff.

“Facebook is very vulnerable,” said Lindy Lowe, a senior planner at California’s Bay Conservation and Development Commission. “They built on a very low site – I don’t know why they chose to build there. Facebook thinks they can pay enough to protect themselves

“The temporary flooding within the campus can probably be addressed, but the temporary flooding onto the roadway can’t be addressed by them. I think they realize that is the weakest link for them. We’ll see how dedicated they are to that facility.”

Facebook has elevated its office to spare it from flooding, but even with a 1.6ft rise in sea levels by the end of the century – which is towards the lower end of projections – the area around it will be inundated. Much sooner, within the coming decades, the roads leading into the complex will flood so regularly that major adaptions will be required to keep the site viable. Facebook didn’t respond to repeated requests to comment on the issue.

The situation is a little better for Google, located in Mountain View and also unwilling to discuss sea level rise, and Cisco, headquartered in San Jose. But should the Antarctic ice sheet disintegrate, as outlined in a recent scientific paper, seas will be pushed up beyond 6ft and swamp both businesses.

The situation is similarly stark for Salesforce, which would see its San Francisco base submerged under the worst sea level rise scenario. Meanwhile, Airbnb, located near the vulnerable Mission Bay area, will have its headquarters gain a much closer bayside view simply by staying put.

“Even with a small increase, the sea comes into the 101 highway by the Googleplex – whole areas could be screwed up,” said professor Kristina Hill, an environmental planning and urban design expert at UC Berkeley. “Google and Facebook will have to redo their campuses. I don’t think there’s been much success in getting Google to support adaption, it’s not really on their radar.”

Nearly $100bn in commercial and residential property around the Bay Area is at risk from sea level rises and severe storms without adaption, with an estimated $21bn in new developments planned for areas vulnerable to inundation and storm surges. San Francisco’s airport, the new $1bn stadium for the Golden State Warriors, the Giants’ baseball stadium AT&T Park and sections of the Union Pacific railroad – a vital artery for the region – face significant long-term peril.

“There are projects that are problematic that are being approved,” Lowe said. “We have a lot of infrastructure pushed right up against the shoreline. There are parts of the shoreline in trouble at a 2-3ft (increase). When you get to 4-5ft, things start to go, significantly. Like, everything. It’s a tipping point.”

“The temporary flooding within the campus can probably be addressed, but the temporary flooding onto the roadway can’t be addressed by them. I think they realize that is the weakest link for them. We’ll see how dedicated they are to that facility.”

Facebook has elevated its office to spare it from flooding, but even with a 1.6ft rise in sea levels by the end of the century – which is towards the lower end of projections – the area around it will be inundated. Much sooner, within the coming decades, the roads leading into the complex will flood so regularly that major adaptions will be required to keep the site viable. Facebook didn’t respond to repeated requests to comment on the issue.

The situation is a little better for Google, located in Mountain View and also unwilling to discuss sea level rise, and Cisco, headquartered in San Jose. But should the Antarctic ice sheet disintegrate, as outlined in a recent scientific paper, seas will be pushed up beyond 6ft and swamp both businesses.

The situation is similarly stark for Salesforce, which would see its San Francisco base submerged under the worst sea level rise scenario. Meanwhile, Airbnb, located near the vulnerable Mission Bay area, will have its headquarters gain a much closer bayside view simply by staying put.

“Even with a small increase, the sea comes into the 101 highway by the Googleplex – whole areas could be screwed up,” said professor Kristina Hill, an environmental planning and urban design expert at UC Berkeley. “Google and Facebook will have to redo their campuses. I don’t think there’s been much success in getting Google to support adaption, it’s not really on their radar.”

Nearly $100bn in commercial and residential property around the Bay Area is at risk from sea level rises and severe storms without adaption, with an estimated $21bn in new developments planned for areas vulnerable to inundation and storm surges. San Francisco’s airport, the new $1bn stadium for the Golden State Warriors, the Giants’ baseball stadium AT&T Park and sections of the Union Pacific railroad – a vital artery for the region – face significant long-term peril.

“There are projects that are problematic that are being approved,” Lowe said. “We have a lot of infrastructure pushed right up against the shoreline. There are parts of the shoreline in trouble at a 2-3ft (increase). When you get to 4-5ft, things start to go, significantly. Like, everything. It’s a tipping point.”

“Without adaptation measures, the frequency of temporary flooding will increase with rising seas in low-lying bay shore areas, until permanent inundation is reached,” the document states, warning there could be up to an extra 108 inches of water if dire sea level rises are temporarily exacerbated by an extremely strong storm.

“We know sea level rise isn’t going to stop at 2100 so we are focused on adaptive solutions, such as earth berms, landscape solutions and levees that can be raised in the future,” said Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning for San Francisco.

“Some of the early planning done in the Mission Bay district was done without much attention to sea level rise and they will need some sort of perimeter fence. We are open to protection, adaption or retreat – all three approaches are valid.”

Kelley said new developments have to provide environmental plans that include sea level concerns and insists that areas such as Treasure Island will be safe. But even if buildings are raised, the areas around them remain vulnerable. There is no comprehensive plan to deal with this yet, so later this year San Francisco will hold the Bay Area Resiliency Design Challenge, inspired by New York’s response to Hurricane Sandy in 2013.

“We don’t have the solutions yet, which is why we are trying to learn,” Kelley said. “We can plan for this. We have a big scientific community and can engage them through a global design challenge.”

Ideas already abound, including Hill’s proposal to dump dredged material into the edge of the bay to make it shallower, thereby reducing the impact of waves and storms. More outlandishly, some call for the Golden Gate Bridge to be complemented by an underwater barrier to completely shut off water flowing into the bay. Whatever the solution, it needs to happen soon.

“There are some areas that just won’t be defendable; it will be hard to adapt because the water will come from everywhere,” Lowe said. “The longer we wait to come up with an approach, the more likely we’ll be in retreat mode. Retreat is usually not intentional.”


Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

April 23, 2016

by Charles Glass

The Intercept

The conviction that invasion, bombing, and special forces benefit large swaths of the globe, while remaining consonant with a Platonic ideal of the national interest, runs deep in the American psyche. Like the poet Stevie Smith’s cat, the United States “likes to gallop about doing good.” The cat attacks and misses, sometimes injuring itself, but does not give up. It asks, as the U.S. should,

What’s the good

Of galloping about doing good

When angels stand in the path

And do not do as they should

Nothing undermines the American belief in military force. No matter how often its galloping about results in resentment and mayhem, the U.S. gets up again to do good elsewhere. Failure to improve life in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya stiffens the resolve to get it right next time. This notion prevails among politicized elements of the officer corps; much of the media, whether nominally liberal or conservative; the foreign policy elite recycled quadrennially between corporation-endowed think tanks and government; and most politicians on the national stage. For them and the public they influence, the question is less whether to deploy force than when, where, and how.

Since 1979, when the Iranians overthrew the Shah and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the U.S. has concentrated its firepower in what former U.S. Army colonel Andrew Bacevich calls the “Greater Middle East.” The region comprises most of what America’s imperial predecessors, the British, called the Near and Middle East, a vast zone from Pakistan west to Morocco. In his new book, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, Bacevich writes, “From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in that region. Within a decade, a great shift occurred. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed anywhere except the Greater Middle East.” That observation alone might prompt a less propagandized electorate to rebel against leaders who perpetuate policies that, while killing and maiming American soldiers, devastate the societies they touch.

Bacevich describes a loyal cadre of intellectuals and pundits favoring war after war, laying the moral ground for invasions and excusing them when they go wrong. He notes that in 1975, when American imperium was collapsing in Indochina, the guardians of American exceptionalism renewed their case for preserving the U.S. as the exception to international law. An article by Robert Tucker in Commentary that year set the ball rolling with the proposition that “to insist that before using force one must exhaust all other remedies is little more than the functional equivalent of accepting chaos.” Another evangelist for military action, Miles Ignotus, wrote in Harper’s two months later that the U.S. with Israel’s help must prepare to seize Saudi Arabia’s oilfields. Miles Ignotus, Latin for “unknown soldier,” turned out to be the known civilian and Pentagon consultant Edward Luttwak. Luttwak urged a “revolution” in warfare doctrine toward “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers” with Saudi Arabia a test case. The practical test would come, with results familiar to most of the world, 27 years later in Iraq.

The Pentagon, its pride and reputation wounded in Vietnam as surely as the bodies of 150,000 scarred American soldiers, was slow to take the hint. The end of compulsory military service robbed it of manpower for massive global intervention. Revelations of war crimes and political chicanery from the Senate’s Church Committee and the Pike Committee in the House added to public disenchantment with military adventures and intelligence meddling in other countries’ affairs. It would take years of effort to cure America of its “Vietnam Syndrome,” the preference for diplomatic before military solutions.

In the Middle East, President Gerald Ford saw no reason to rescind his predecessor’s policy, the Nixon Doctrine of reliance on local clients armed by the U.S. to protect Persian Gulf oil for America’s gas-hungry consumers. Nothing much happened, though, until one of the local gendarmes, the Shah of Iran, fell to a popular revolution and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

Change came with the Carter Doctrine, enunciated in the president’s January 1980 State of the Union address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and as such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”Carter’s combative national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote later, “The Carter Doctrine was modeled on the Truman Doctrine.” Bacevich comments that the Truman Doctrine of ostensibly containing the Soviet Union while absorbing the richer portions of the decolonizing French and British Empires “invited misinterpretation and misuse, with the Vietnam War one example of the consequences.” Carter’s doctrine, modified but not rescinded by his successors, led to similar consequences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

George W. Bush took the Carter Doctrine to fresh lengths when he made the case, prepared for him by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, for preventive war in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy on June 1, 2002: “If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.” Bacevich quotes the Nuremberg court’s view of preventive war: “To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” After the failures to impose order in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Barack Obama rather than abandon the policy merely moved its emphasis from Iraq to Afghanistan without achieving any military or political objectives.

Bacevich, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, while conceding his “undistinguished military career,” is more willing than most journalists to question the justice and utility of expanded military operations in the Middle East and to challenge the media-hyped reputations of some of America’s favorite generals, Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, and David Petraeus foremost. One general who comes out well in Bacevich’s assessment is British, Sir Michael Jackson, who resisted Wesley Clark’s order to block a runway at Pristina airport against Russian flights into Kosovo. His answer, worthy of Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s reply of “Nuts” to the German demand for surrender at Bastogne: “Sir, I’m not starting World War III for you.”

This tour de force of a book covers the modern history of American warfare with sharp criticism of political decisions and rigorous analysis of battlefield strategy and tactics. As such, it should be required reading at the author’s alma mater. It would not hurt for those aspiring to succeed Barack Obama as commander-in-chief to dip into it as well. None of them, with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders, is likely to reject the worldview that led to so many deaths around the world. Watch for more military missions. Be prepared for more assassination by drone, of which even former Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal said, “They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.” McChrystal pointed out that drone strikes are great recruiters, not for the U.S. military, but for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS.

Ignoring Bacevich and heeding the call of the intellectual warmongers who guided Bush, Obama’s successor, like Stevie Smith’s cat, is likely “to go on being / A cat that likes to / Gallop about doing good,” expanding rather than limiting the projection of armed might into the Greater Middle East.


Hear someone insult Erdogan? Report it to us, says Turkish consulate in the Netherlands.

April 22, 2016

by Adam Taylor

The Washington Post

What should someone in the Netherlands do if someone says something “derogatory” or “defamatory” about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan? According to an email sent out by Ankara’s consulate in Rotterdam, Turkish organizations in the country should write in to report the insult.

This email, uncovered by Dutch news organizations Thursday, has sparked anger in the Netherlands, with the Dutch prime minister demanding an explanation from Turkish authorities. To Turkey’s critics, the message seems to show that Erdogan, long accused of cracking down on dissent domestically, was now abusing antiquated European laws in a bid to silence his international critics.

“I am surprised,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters in Germany during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It’s not clear what the Turkish government aims to achieve with this action.”

The news of the email comes less than a week after Merkel herself announced that she would allow Jan Boehmermann, a German comedian and writer known for his acerbic style, to be prosecuted for a poem he had read on television about Erdogan. Boehmermann’s poem was designed to crudely mock the Turkish president, accusing him of sex with goats and saying that Erdogan loved to “repress minorities, kick Kurds and beat Christians while watching child porn.”

According to German prosecutors, at least 20 “private individuals” had filed complaints against Boehmermann after his poem aired on state broadcaster ZDF. At the request of the Turkish government, Boehmermann will now be prosecuted under section 103 of the German penal code, a section that decrees “whosoever insults a foreign head of state … shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine.”

Merkel has suggested that while her government will now work to change the law to remove this section, she had to respect the law as it stood. The Netherlands has similar “lèse-majesté” laws against insulting foreign heads of states, which is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, though Dutch lawmakers are now working to remove them. Within Turkey, critics of the government have complained that since becoming president in 2014, Erdogan has abused a law that bars insults to the president, with almost 2,000 cases opened in less than two years.

While these cases have caused controversy, they also enjoy support from many in Turkey: One Turkish man facing charges for allegedly assaulting his fiancee recently suggested that the assault was sparked by his partner’s insult to the Turkish president. According to Hurriyet Daily News, the man’s fiancee was called by police to testify about the alleged insult to Erdogan, which she denied making.

The Turkish Embassy in the Netherlands has attempted to downplay the controversy about the recent email, suggesting that the message was being misunderstood and that they only wanted organizations to email the consulate to report racism or hate speech. According to a translation from the BBC, the letter had read: “We ask urgently for the names and written comments of people who have given derogatory, disparaging, hateful and defamatory statements against the Turkish president, Turkey and Turkish society in general.”

There are about 400,000 people with Turkish origin in the Netherlands, and representatives of Turkish opposition parties say that critics of Erdogan have expressed concern that they could be targeted. On Twitter, Sadet Karabulut, a Dutch politician of Kurdish descent, dubbed the controversy a sign of “Erdogan’s long arm in the Netherlands.”


The Casement Diaries

by Harry Brunser


Sir Roger David Casement was born on September 1, 1864 in Dublin County, Ireland. Although from an Ulster Protestant family, Casement was sympathetic to the cause of the Irish nationalist movement which sought to establish an Irish state free of British political and military control.

As a diplomat in the service of the British government, Casement gained great recognition for exposing the numerous atrocities practiced by the Belgians against the natives in their Congo colony, an endeavor that forced the Belgians to reform their administration. While posted to Brazil, Casement uncovered similar murderous activity by Brazilians in the Putymayo River area. This activity gained him a knighthood in 1912.

At the end of 1913, retired from the Foreign Service for health reasons, Casement became involved with the Irish nationalist movement and formed the Irish National Volunteers. After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Casement went to Germany in November of that year and attempted to secure German aid for an Irish rising against the British. The Germans proved to be unwilling to participate in this venture and Casement went back to Ireland in a German submarine on April 12, 1916. It was his intention to persuade the Irish nationalists to halt their impending Easter rising but he was captured in Ireland by the British a week later, removed to London where he was imprisoned in conditions of considerable barbarity and brutally treated until such time as he was put on trial for treason, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

International attempts to secure a reprieve for Casement because of his previous humanitarian activities were nullified by the sudden release by British intelligence of diaries purporting to have been written by Casement which detailed alleged homosexual activities. Casement was duly hanged on August 3, 1916.

It has been long believed that the diaries were produced on the order of Captain Reginald Hall, Chief of Naval Intelligence. Captain, later Rear Admiral, Reginald Hall, had been appointed Director of British Naval Intelligence in October of 1914. He was a brilliant but completely amoral intelligence officer and as the war progressed, virtually dictated British naval policy.

Unscrupulous to a degree, Hall has long been suspected as being the moving force behind the forgery of the Casement diaries. Hall also is believed to have caused the sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ in 1915 in the hopes of dragging the United States into the European war that Britain had little chance of winning. He did this by planting a fake report from an alleged German agent in the United States to the effect that the Lusitania was shipping Canadian troops to Europe and forwarding this report to Germany.

Hall’s gambit did not work but 1,500 passengers drowned.

However,  the later sinking of the HMS ‘Hampshire’ with the detested Lord Kitchner on board, which Hall ensured by more fake messaging directed to the German naval authorities, did.

The Easter rising was eventually suppressed by the British Army under circumstances of singular atrocity against the participants in particular and the population of Dublin in general. Boys as young as twelve were hanged for curfew violations and unarmed civilians, including women, were shot and bayonetted in the streets by the occupying forces. One of the leaders of the rising, though dying of untreated gangrene, was dragged from his cell and tied to a stretcher before being shot by a firing squad.

This was a strikingly ugly episode in the history of a country with an official policy that resulted in countless historical examples of similar oppressive actions but noteworthy in that it was performed, not in some remote and unobserved area of Africa or India but within the borders of ostensibly civilized England and directed against white Christians.

The question of the authenticity of the diaries immediately arose and has attracted strong partisanship on both sides of the issue. In 1959, the British government released the diaries for inspection by scholars. Predictably, sympathetic British academics proclaimed them original while others held opposite views.

In February of 1965, Casement’s remains were finally returned to Ireland and given a state funeral. The funeral oration was read by Irish President Eamon de Valera.


US prosecutors drop case against Apple after accessing iPhone

The United States Justice Department has dropped its efforts to force Apple to unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case. But the issue of privacy versus security remains ongoing.

April 23, 2016


The US Justice Department said on Friday that it “no longer need[ed] Apple’s assistance” to access the iPhone involved in the drug case after receiving the device’s passcode from a third party, and that it was therefore withdrawing its request for the tech giant’s assistance.

Apple had been fighting efforts by the Justice Department to force it to help in accessing data on the iPhone, arguing in court that it was not clear that all other avenues to access data from the phone had been exhausted by investigators. Prosecutors claimed that the data was “authorized to search by warrant.”

In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) withdrew another request for Apple’s aid to hack an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters after an unidentified third party sold it a method for accessing the device for an undisclosed sum thought to be more than $1 million (about 891,000 euros).

However, FBI director James Comey has said that the method used for the San Bernardino iPhone 5c would not work on other models, such as the iPhone 5s used in the New York drug case.

Privacy concerns

Prosecutors in the New York case had been challenging a ruling handed down on February 29 by Judge James Orenstein in which he said he did not have the authority to order Apple to disable the security of the iPhone, which was seized in a drug probe.

Although the case has been dropped, the more general fight continues between security authorities and technology providers over the privacy afforded by encryption.

Most of the technology industry, including Apple, argues that providing back doors for investigators would make communication more vulnerable to hackers.

The US government, in turn, is mulling a bill drafted by leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee that would force companies to provide unencrypted data when served with a court order.



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