TBR News April 30, 2016

Apr 30 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 30, 2016: “For every action there is a reaction. Government snoopers can, and do, pry into every aspect of American’s private lives. The FBI scans all domestic first class mail, every computer is vulnerable, every telephone conversation laid bare, all medical records can be read and on and on. But for this action, or series of actions, there are reactions. A new program has been designed to deal with anyone breaking into a private computer. The program puts a virus into the computer, a virus that is harmless in normal use but let another system break into it and the virus obliterates the intruder’s computer, wiping out files and rendering the computer utterly useless. And even more satisfying, if the intruder’s system is interfacing at the time, other computers are fried immediately. This system is easily available through the so-called “Dark Internet” and has been selling very well, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. Action and reaction.”


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. 12   

Date: Thursday, May 2, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:22 AM CST

GD: Good day to you, Robert. How goes the battle with you?

RTC: I think I’m slowly losing ground, Gregory, but I’m still fighting.

GD: I’ve been fighting for years so I understand the concept.

RTC: I hear the Germans are not happy over some of your writings. You are disturbing the Jewish community with your allegations that we hired the head of the Gestapo.

GD: Who cares?

RTC: You heard the old saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Well, the Beltway has no fury like a Jew ignored. How dare we hire the head of the Gestapo? How could we do such a thing to them? They are the Chosen of God, after all.

GD: What did God choose them for? To stand in the shower lines in some Polish camp?

RTC: Oh, now, Gregory, show some compassion.

GD: My God, why should any of us care about all of those nonsense stories? Lampshades and cakes of soap, my ass.

RTC: We are all supposed to care about that, Gregory. And if they use it right, they can get discount airline tickets and something off on that new sofa.

GD: Stunning revelations indeed, Robert. Another group of obnoxious nuts.

RTC: Believe me, Gregory, there are far worse.

GD: Who? The Pedophile’s Protective League? The Bellowing Jesus Freaks of Bad Seepage, Ohio?

RTC: There are worse things in this world than the Society of Professional Hebrew Moaners.

GD: The Sackcloth and Ashes League? The Humpback’s Tuesday Afternoon Bridge Club?

RTC: Why don’t you try the Scientologists? Now that group is really something to contemplate.

GD: I’ve read a little about them but not much. Started by some old faker named Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard. I used to be a science fiction nut and I remember reading one of his stories years ago. Awful writing. Sounded like it was written by a ten year old.

RTC: That’s the one. He may have been an awful writer but he was a class A conman. Those people made more Goddam trouble for us. They were running all over the Med in the ‘60s in some rusty tub called the Royal Scotsman. My God, what a ship of fools that was. We were getting requests from DoS and other people to look into them. All over the place, docking here and there, chasing frantic deserters into towns, screaming at people…my God what a circus that one was. And old Hubbard waddling around in some naval uniform, shouting at people one minute and trying to bribe some public official on shore the next.

GD: That I knew nothing about.

RTC: We did, believe me. Hubbard was as crazy as a loon and Washington was afraid he would start a war. You ever read about them?

GD: Just something here and there. Hubbard died, didn’t he?

RTC: Yes, about ten years ago. His people got rid of him because he was getting to be a flaming nut and threatened to fire all of his top people. Since their scam brought in about a million dollars a day, those at the top had no intention of allowing a fat, old psychotic liar push them out.

GD: Was that in the press?

RTC: No. Hubbard was a raging paranoid, among other failings, and was convinced that everyone was out to get him so he went into hiding. That was where he was, out in California, when they gave him the needle. Of course they got the old idiot to sign a will leaving them everything and in with the drugs. As I recall, they cremated him as fast as possible and dumped his ashes into the Pacific off the stern of a sardine boat.

GD: Sic transit Gloria mundi, Robert

RTC: Isn’t that always the truth?

GD: How did they make a million a day? Print it?

RTC: No, Barnum was right, Gregory. There is a sucker born every minute. When I took Jim’s files out of there, I got the Scientology file, too. Three large boxes of files. My son read through some of them and said it sounded like a group therapy session over at St. Elizabeth’s. The money? It came from legions and more legions of suckers who flocked to the tin can boys and paid until they were broke.

GD: Tin cans?

RTC: Yes. Hubbard had a very simple device that registered electrical skin responses. Works like the polygraph but has no value. We all have these electrical impulse things and of course the little needle jumps around. They have so called experts called auditors who tell the mark that this is helping to clear up their psyche so they can go out into the real world without a bag over their head. We know, and I am sure you do too, that the world is full of failures and worse. Now, instead of hanging themselves or jumping in front of Amtrak trains, they can grab the tin cans and let someone tell them that being ugly, stupid or a failure is really not their fault. Others are to blame. Of course they will never be free of their loads of guilt until the auditor tells them they are OK and that day never comes. As long as the marks have money, the tin cans are grasped and the wallets slowly empty. When it does, the sucker is tossed out on the street and then, broke, they jump off of railroad bridges and make messes on the tracks.

GD: A million a day?

RTC: Oh yes, at least. Hubbard once said that if a man wanted to be really rich, he should found a religion.

GD: Faking it with tin cans and some worthless meter is not a religion.

RTC: Oh, they turned it into one. They have a lock on a number of frustrated fanatics, fueled by vast sums of money pouring in from the army of suckers.

GD: You mentioned a boat?

RTC: Oh yes, in the 80’s, old Hubbard got it into his head that powerful forces were after him so he bought an old boat, filled it up with nuts and off they went, cruising all over the place and creating diplomatic havoc. Later, he got tired of his admiral’s uniform so he took over some town in Florida and terrorized the normal people before moving on to California, the true home of fruits and nuts. And in the meantime, before Hebe the Yench and the Dwarf, Miscarriage, terminated him, old Hubbard had his crazy followers break into government building and steal sensitive files. Of course they got caught but Hubbard claimed ignorance. He wasn’t stupid by any means but he had Borderline Personality disorder and couldn’t tell the truth when a lie would suffice.

GD: Who are the Hebe and the Dwarf?

RTC: In house for Heber Jentsch and David Miscavage. The first one is a front and the dwarf is the one who runs the show now that his founder is floating on the surf. Oh, you should read the nonsense….Gregory, do you know what a DC 3 is?

GD: Certainly. It’s an older commercial jet.

RTC: Hubbard said, and the ninnies still believe, that certain superior aliens, the father of all of the more enlightened of us, were brought to Earth from Venus millions of years ago on DC 3s.

GD: Robert…

RTC(Laughter) No, I’m serious. We don’t need to even discuss this moronic crap but thousands of panting believers accept it as the truth. The problem is, while they have stopped running around in the boat, they now try to take over small towns and are heavy in the electronics business. And of course swindling fools out of Daddy’s trust fund.

GD: You have material on them?

RTC: Yes, I do, Gregory.

GD: Any chance I could see it?

RTC: Of course, I can dig it out and ship it to you. But a word of caution here, Gregory, never try to use it.

GD: Why not?

RTC: My God, these twits sue everyone in sight for no reason. If you wrote that all up, they would sue you, your dog, your neighbors, your dead grandmother, your school and probably the mailman. The word ‘crazy’ is too mild to use in conjunction here. But, I will send this off to you with my caveat.

GD: You know, my sister’s cat keeps crapping on her bed. Maybe I could stuff it into a tin can and read the meter.

RTC: (Laughter) Be my guest. Why not audit a cat?

GD: I used to think it was books that were audited.

RTC: Gregory, these people can’t read books.

GD: Speaking of books, Bender is going ahead with the Mueller series so I guess Wolfe will hiss at you in the Archives like Loki.

RTC: Bill and I will look forward to the new books, Gregory. And we do need to get together in person sometime, right here. It’s safe enough here.

GD: Should we invite Kimmel?

RTC: Gregory, I have enough problems from the Justice people over you without fanning the flames. I think you love to fan the flames. Have you ever considered a gracious retirement?

GD: That takes money, Robert.

RTC: Yes, that it does. Sell more books.

GD: That’s not my bailiwick. Maybe I could start a religion, Robert. Tell people I came from Venus and if they are good, and give me lots of money, I can elevate them to a huge and invisible flying saucer and take them to Pluto where the men will have huge peckers and the women get to eat a ton of chocolates a day and not gain a pound. And they will all live forever and never worry about falling hair or sagging breasts. Why? Because I will turn them all into little green toads and eventually feed them to the Great God Dagon.

RTC: Well, that way we would get rid of everyone in Los Angeles and Washington.

GD: And our magic spaceship will be a 707 and we can call it the Ship of Fools.

RTC: I will look up those files for you Gregory.

GD: Thanks. It will beat reading the obits in the paper, looking for dead enemies.


(Concluded at 9:22 AM CST)




Jews Tried to Kill Truman in 1947

by Harry von Johnston PhD

The date is December 3, 1972, and it’s right there in a headline of the Tri-City Herald, the newspaper that serves Pasco-Kennewick-Richland in the state of Washington: “Jews sent President Truman letter bombs, book tells.” The newspaper picked up the article, we see, from the Associated Press (AP).

Not only does the article carry the authority of the AP, but the book in question bears the authority of none other than President Harry Truman’s own daughter, Margaret. It is her biography of her father, entitled simply Harry S. Truman, and at the time the article was written, the book had just been published. The passage in question—a long paragraph that begins on page 489 and ends on page 490 (pp. 533-534 of the paperback edition)—is in a section on threats and attempts on President Truman’s life. Note that she misidentifies Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary, which he had not been since 1938. Later, of course, he would become Prime Minister. Ernest Bevin was Foreign Secretary in 1947, and he was the primary target to the assassination attempts:

In the summer of 1947, the so-called Stern Gang of Palestine terrorists tried to assassinate Dad by mail. A number of cream-colored envelopes about eight by six inches, arrived in the White House, addressed to the President and various members of the staff. Inside them was a smaller envelope marked “Private and Confidential.” Inside that second envelope was powdered gelignite, a pencil battery and a detonator rigged to explode the gelignite when the envelope was opened. Fortunately, the White House mail room was alert to the possibility that such letters might arrive. The previous June at least eight were sent to British government officials, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. The British police exploded one of these experimentally and said it could kill, or at the very least maim, anyone unlucky enough to open it. The mail room turned the letters over to the Secret Service and they were defused by their bomb experts. The Secret Service still screens all our mail.

The AP article also reminds us that the news of the aborted attack on Truman did not originate with Margaret Truman, some quarter century after the fact. It had been reported in far greater and more accurate detail by White House staff mail reader Ira R. T. Smith (with Joe Alex Morris) in his 1949 book, Dear Mr. President … The Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. Fortunately, that entire book is now online here. This is from pp. 229-230:

On another occasion, in the summer of 1947 I was summoned back to Washington from my vacation because controversy over important issues, including the Palestine question, had greatly increased the volume of mail to the President. I was rather surprised that the volume should be more than could be handled routinely by the office but when I got back I found that not all the difficulty was due to volume. Some of the letters received had obviously been intended to kill.

There had been a flurry in England in June of that summer because eight or more government officials and political personages had received terrorist letters in which explosives were cleverly concealed. Among those who got such letters were Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones, President of the Board of Trade Sir Stafford Cripps, and former Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. Cripps’s secretary noticed that the letter he received was hot (police said later it was apparently about ready to explode) and he stuck it in water. Eden carried his letter unopened in his briefcase for twenty-four hours before a secretary, tipped off by police, found it. There were two envelopes, the outer one about eight by six inches and cream-colored. The inner envelope was marked “Private and Confidential,” presumably in an effort to see that it was opened by the man to whom it was addressed. Inside the second envelope was powdered gelignite, a pencil battery, and a detonator arranged to explode when the envelope was opened. Police exploded one experimentally and said that it was powerful enough to kill a man. The so-called Stern gang of Palestine terrorists later claimed responsibility for having sent the letters from its “branch in Europe.” The letters were postmarked from Italy.

The same kind of terrorist letters had been found in the White House mail, and as a result the staff had been handling all letters with great care, thus slowing up the routine. So far as I know none of those received in this country resulted in an explosion, which may have been due to the excellent system introduced for handling the White House mail during the war.

Upon reading these two accounts, two questions come immediately to mind: Why is this attempted assassination of the president of the United States not common knowledge and what is the larger political context? That is to say, why would the Stern Gang want to kill President Truman?

Why Kill Truman?

Addressing the second question first, the reader can’t help but note that the books use the identical vague term “Stern Gang of Palestine terrorists” to refer to the perpetrators. One might get the impression that they were Palestinian terrorists, except for the fact that the Stern Gang is well known as a Jewish extremist group with a long string of murderous outrages to its credit (or discredit, if you prefer). Both accounts at least tell us that the White House bombs were part of a pattern,that similar attempts had previously been made by the Stern Gang upon various British officials. But their common purpose in telling us this is to explain why the White House was on alert for such bombs and was successful in interdicting them. They don’t give us the slightest clue as to why the bombs might have been sent in the first place.

In 1946 the British were still in political control of Palestine, formerly ruled by the Ottomons, under an arrangement created in the wake of World War I and approved by the League of Nations in 1923. Prior to WW I, it should be pointed out, Palestine had been part of the Muslim Ottoman Syria since 1516, more than a century before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, and before that it had been part of the Muslim Mamluk Empire centered in Egypt. The Zionist movement, led primarily by Jews from Eastern Europe, was determined to drive the British out and terrorism of all sorts—assassinations, kidnappings, bombings, extortion, etc.—was at the very core of the effort.

The problem with the British was that they were carrying out their commitment under the Balfour Declaration far too conscientiously. As a means of gaining support from world Jewry, especially in the United States and Russia, against their enemies in World War I, which included the Ottomon Empire, the Balfour Declaration endorsed the idea of a Jewish home (not the Zionist objective of a “homeland” or “state”) in Palestine (still at that time under Ottomon control), “it being clearly understood that nothing would be done which would prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….”

The Zionists wanted massive Jewish immigration from Europe and total political control of Palestine, with the apparent eventual goal of supplanting the entire non-Jewish population from the area. Such policies would certainly have been—and have been—prejudicial in the extreme toward the rights of the locals, and the British refused to institute them, incurring the murderous wrath of the terrorist Stern Gang, which counted future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (born Icchak Jeziernicky) among its leaders and its brother in terror, Irgun, one of whose leaders was future Prime Minister Menachem Begin (born Mieczysław Biegun). Why British government officials, and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin in particular, would have been targeted for killing by the Zionist terrorists can be well appreciated by reference to Bevin’s Wikipedia page.

Although the attempted assassinations in Britain were unsuccessful, the terror campaign against the British worked. The British gave up their mandate and turned the whole question of Palestine’s future over to the United Nations to decide. Under heavy pressure from the United States, the majority of the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and non-Jewish sectors. This final arrangement, according to Bevin, was “…so manifestly unjust to the Arabs that it is difficult to see how we could reconcile it with our conscience.”

Terror had worked on the British, but why would anyone have thought it necessary against President Truman, of all people? With a village and an institute named for him there, he is regarded today as a hero in Israel for defying almost all his foreign policy advisers and recognizing the new Jewish state of Israel as soon as David Ben Gurion declared its existence in May of 1948. But in the summer of 1947 it was far from a foregone conclusion that Truman would come through for the Zionists. Some idea of his thinking on Palestine at the time can be gleaned from a letter he wrote to a friend, Edward W. Pauley, on October 22, 1946:

That situation is insoluble in my opinion. I have spent a year and a month trying to get some concrete action on it. Not only are the British highly successful in muddling the situation as completely as it could possibly be muddled, but the Jews themselves are making it almost impossible to do anything for them. They seem to have the same attitude toward the “underdog” when they are on top as they have been treated as “underdogs” themselves. I suppose that is human frailty. –Robert H. Ferrell, Harry S. Truman, A Life (1994), p. 307.

Some more evidence of his thinking in 1946 can be had from Truman’s memoirs:

My efforts to persuade the British to relax immigration restrictions in Palestine might have fallen on more receptive ears if it had not been for the increasing acts of terrorism that were being committed in Palestine. There were armed groups of extremists who were guilty of numerous outrages. On June 16 eight bridges were blown up near the Trans-Jordan border, and two other explosions were set off in Haifa. The following day there was a pitched battle between Jews and British troops in Haifa, other explosions had started a fire and caused great damage in the rail yards there. British officers were kidnapped. Others were shot at from passing automobiles. Explosions took place in ever-increasing numbers, and the British uncovered a plot by one extremist group to kidnap the British commander in chief in Palestine. –Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, Vol. 2, Years of Hope (1956). pp. 150-151

Many of the signals being picked up by the Jewish leadership in the United States, as Truman expressed his exasperation over their heavy pressure campaign, could easily have made their way to the Stern Gang, persuading them that in this Missouri Baptist from a relatively humble background they had an American Bevin on their hands:

In June of 1946 he at first refused to see a delegation of all the New York Congressmen, and finally received them only with obvious impatience. He was no better when the two Senators from the state, Robert Wagner and James Mead, brought a former member of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry (into Palestine) to see him. “I am not a New Yorker,” Truman is alleged to have told them. “All these people are pleading for a special interest. I am an American.” – Roy Jenkins, Truman (1986), p. 117

Particularly offensive to Truman was the attitude of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, who, with Stephen Wise, was co-chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council. A Republican and close ally of Senator Taft, Rabbi Silver had helped write a pro-Zionist plank in the 1944 Republican platform. At one point during a meeting in Truman’s office, Silver had hammered on Truman’s desk and shouted at him. “Terror and Silver are the causes of some, if not all, of our troubles,” Truman later said, and at one Cabinet meeting he reportedly grew so furious over the subject of the Jews that he snapped, “Jesus Christ couldn’t please them when he was on earth, so how could anyone expect that I would have any luck.” –David McCullough, Truman (1992), p. 599

Why Don’t We Know?

In 2006 The Times of London had what appeared to be a blockbuster revelation: “Jewish terrorists plotted to assassinate Ernest Bevin, the foreign secretary, in 1946, as part of their campaign to establish the state of Israel, newly declassified intelligence files have shown.” Five terrorist cells from the Stern Gang and Irgun were planning to descend upon London with bombings and assassinations, the MI5 files are said to have shown, but, in the end, only some 20 letter bombs were sent, with Bevin his Tory predecessor Anthony Eden mentioned as among the recipients.

The interesting thing here is that these are treated as brand new revelations, available only because some secret files have finally been declassified. But as we have seen, the essential facts about the letter bombs in Britain had been published—with even more detail given—in a book in the United States in 1949 and then repeated in outline form in a book by none other than the daughter of the American president. Another interesting fact is that the 2006 story in The Times was not picked up by a single mainstream news organ in the United States and was even taken down from The Times’ web site within a couple of weeks. The only reason we still have the full story up on the Internet is that it was picked up by the alternative news organ Information Clearing House (“news you won’t find on CNN,” indeed).

The Wikipedia page on the letter bomb is doubly revealing. First, for anyone entertaining the fantasy that a mere bomb small enough to be contained in a mail envelope is too trivial a thing to be treated as an assassination attempt, the list of historical examples given is instructive. The Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, killed three people and wounded 27 others with his mailed bombs, and the list is full of other instances of people killed or seriously maimed by them.

Perhaps even more interesting is that as of the date of the publication of this article, eighteen examples of the use of letter bombs are given, but the attacks on such important figures as Truman, Bevin and Eden are not mentioned. The list even includes an attack on a U.S. vice president in 1915. Since anyone can put information on Wikipedia as long as it meets that page’s requirements for credibility—which the foregoing revelations certainly do—what we must conclude is that even with the 2006 report by The Times and the 1972 book by Margaret Truman, the fact of Zionist terrorist letter-bomb attacks on major political leaders in Great Britain and the United States is still hardly known by anyone.

We have noted how the U.S. press suppressed the relatively recent news of the attempts on Bevin and Eden. Writers of history (or is it their publishers?), at least in the United States, are at least as guilty of withholding this information. Perhaps I did not search diligently enough, but the only Truman biography that I could find that mentioned the letter bomb attack on Truman was that of his daughter. All those biographies that I consulted were written after hers, and, for some reason, they apparently found this attempted assassination unworthy of mention.*

Even someone as generally well informed about high level skulduggery as this writer had his scholarship diminished by his ignorance of the revelations in the Margaret Truman and Ira R. T. Smith books. When I learned of the Zionist attacks on Bevin et al., I wrote Part 4 of “Who Killed James Forrestal?” subtitled “Britain’s Forrestal,” and included a section that reflected my ignorance entitled “Who Knew?” It is worth repeating in its entirety here:

Although it is apparent that those signers of the warning letter to The New York Times had no knowledge of the previous attempt on the life of Ernest Bevin, one must wonder who, outside the ranks of British intelligence, did know about it. In particular, we have to wonder if one so connected to the higher reaches of power in the world as Bernard Baruch, when he warned his friend Forrestal in February of 1949 that he had already become too identified with opposition to Israel for his own good, knew more than he was telling about the danger that Forrestal faced. And when Forrestal complained about being followed and bugged, did he know that the Irgun crowd had come pretty close to snuffing out the life of his British counterpart? Could such knowledge have been behind his resistance to commitment to Bethesda Naval Hospital and his reported claim that he would never leave the hospital alive when he attempted to get out of the car taking him there? Might that have been the revelation from Secretary of the Air Force Symington on the day of Forrestal’s departure from office that drove him into his sudden funk?

And after Forrestal’s death, could there have been any doubt in the minds of those aware of the attempt on Bevin who had ultimately been behind the later crime? Might these have included those powerful friends such as Ferdinand Eberstadt and Robert Lovett, who had failed to visit him in the hospital and then, when the results of the investigation of his death were never made public, failed to register any public complaint? At the very least, those in the know included the contemporary and future leaders of Great Britain, and the knowledge that the leaders of the United States government had conspired with Zionist thugs in the assassination of the one courageous voice of reason in their midst would very likely have animated their own future Middle East policy.

Now we can see that those questions almost certainly answer themselves. Not only would such connected, well-informed people as Baruch, Forrestal, Eberstadt, and Lovett, have known about the Zionists’ attempts to kill Bevin, they would in all likelihood have known about the attempts on Eden and Truman as well. But thanks to the controllers of information and molders of opinion in our society, most of the rest of us did not know.

Not only was my scholarship undermined by the general blackout of the news of the attempted Truman hit, but so, too, was that of Alison Weir, as reflected in her January article, “Bush & Obama? Assassination and U.S. Presidents.” Her article is about the public suggestion of a Jewish leader in Atlanta that Israel might consider assassinating a U.S. president deemed “unfriendly to Israel.” She observes that such a thing might not be all that farfetched by citing a 1992 article by former Representative Paul Findley of Illinois in which he alleges that Israel, in fact, had pretty advanced plans in 1991 to assassinate President George H.W. Bush and blame it on Saddam Hussein. She notes, as well, that former Stern Gang leader Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister of Israel at the time. How much stronger would her case have been had she known about the attempt on Truman!

Even David Duke, in his video, “Israeli Deception against America,” as he details Israel’s terrorist attacks against the United States, seems to be unaware of the attempt on the life of our president, unless his failure to mention it rests on the technicality that in 1947 the state of Israel was still a year away from its creation.

Reflecting on these matters, we are more and more convinced of the truth of the quote by Abraham Lincoln, with which we lead off “America’s Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster,” “In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” And molding public sentiment begins with controlling public information. On no subject is information more controlled and public sentiment more manipulated than the subject of Israel and Palestine. Why don’t we know about the attempt by the Stern Gang on the life of Harry Truman? That’s why.

Coercion and Bribery

Information control might take care of the general public, but that is hardly sufficient for our elected representatives. On Palestine, as we learn from his memoirs, Truman was amply informed by his foreign policy advisers and by Arab leaders. For our politicians, Anthony Lawson has charged, the Zionists mainly use coercion and bribery. Few things are more coercive than assassination, or even an assassination attempt, and if Gore Vidal and John F. Kennedy are to be believed, Truman was strongly influenced by that other measure as well.

  • The situation is just as bad when it comes to Bevin. The most balanced book we were able to find at our local library on the Israel-Palestine question has this slanderous speculation about Bevin’s motives, “…he may have shared many of the vulgar anti-Jewish prejudices of his working-class background, a background he had not forgotten.” — Ian J. Bickerton and Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 4th ed. (2002), p. 79. But on the subject of attempts on his life, which are not matters of speculation, the book is silent.



The Trump Test

Anti-interventionism in the age of revolt

April 29, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


The reaction to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s much-awaited foreign policy speech from the Washington elites was all-too-predictable: they sneered and snickered that he had mispronounced “Tanzania.” The more substantive criticisms weren’t much better: perpetual warmonger Lindsey Graham, whose presidential bid garnered zero percent in the polls, tweeted “Trump’s FP speech not conservative. It’s isolationism surrounded by disconnected thought, demonstrates lack of understanding threats we face.” For Graham, anything less than starting World War III is “isolationism” – a view that gives us some insight into why his presidential campaign was the biggest flop since the “new” Coke. This is the party line of neoconservatives who have long dominated Republican foreign policy orthodoxy, to the GOP’s detriment. Neocon character assassin Jamie Kirchick, writing in the European edition of Politico, put a new gloss on it by claiming to detect a Vast Kremlin Conspiracy as the animating spirit behind the Trump campaign.

Which just goes to show that having Roy Cohn as your role model can lead one down some pretty slimy rabbit holes. I guess that’s why the editors of Politico put Kirchick’s smear piece in the European edition, where hardly anyone will read it, saving a more reasonable analysis by Jacob Heilbrunn for the US version. (Although, to be sure, a piece by neocon-friendly Michael Crowley limns the same McCarthyite theme in Politico’s magazine.)

Heilbrunn is the editor of The National Interest, publication of the Nixon Center, which has been a sanctuary for the outnumbered – but now rising – “realist” school of foreign policy analysts. The Trump speech was sponsored by TNI, and Heilbrunn gave a very interesting if somewhat defensive explanation for the motives behind their invitation to Trump, succinctly summarizing its significance:

“His speech did not deviate from the themes he has already enunciated and it showed that he is willing to go very far indeed. Nothing like this has been heard from a Republican foreign policy candidate in decades. Trump doesn’t want to modify the party’s foreign policy stands. He’s out to destroy them.”

This is why the Republican Establishment hates Trump: it’s no accident that the same neocons who lied us into the Iraq war and profited personally and professionally from that disastrous adventure are now in the vanguard of the “Never Trump” brigade. As Heilbrunn points out:

“This is why perhaps his most significant statement was: ‘I will also look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.’ What Trump is talking about is dispensing with an entire wing of the GOP that has controlled the commanding heights of foreign policy over recent decades.”

This is my favorite part of Trump’s peroration. Here he is openly telling the neocons, who have inveigled themselves into every administration since the days of Ronald Reagan, that they will be kicked to the curb if and when he takes the White House. Which is why they are even now returning to the Democratic party, channeling the long departed spirit of “Scoop” Jackson – and good riddance to them. If ever a group of failed ideologues deserved their comeuppance it is this gang, which led the nation into the Middle East quagmire and steered the GOP to a series of humiliating defeats.

Pledging to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy,” Trump started out by saying he would “invite new voices and new visions into the fold.” And while I think Heilbrunn’s somewhat overstates the case, it is certainly true that what follows is something we haven’t heard from a Republican frontrunner is quite a long time. Adopting a campaign slogan that has the neocons and their left-wing internationalist enablers in a lather, Trump reiterated his theme of “America First” – a phrase with a long and largely misunderstood history in the annals of American conservatism, and one which he gives new life and new meaning.

Trump gives us a capsule history of US foreign policy, from World War II to the end of the cold war, that is light on nuance but true in essence: we “saved the world” twice, and then crashed on the rocks of hubris and miscalculation:

“Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another.

“They just kept coming and coming. We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.

“We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.”

A more perceptive summary of the post-Soviet post-9/11 policies that have led us to disaster would be hard to imagine: indeed, Trump’s critique parallels what we have been saying on this web site ever since its founding in 1995. To hear it coming from a Republican candidate for President who is not Ron Paul is astonishing: and that it is being said by the GOP frontrunner, who spoke these words after winning every county in five Northeastern states, is simply breathtaking.

I’ve covered Trump’s views on NATO in this space, but in this speech he gives us a new perspective. He is constantly bewailing the fact that Obama’s America projects weakness – a standard Republican line – but here he makes clear that he’s not just talking about how our enemies perceive us, but also how our alleged friends see us

“Our allies are not paying their fair share, and I’ve been talking about this recently a lot. Our allies must contribute toward their financial, political, and human costs, have to do it, of our tremendous security burden. But many of them are simply not doing so.

“They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, for instance, only 4 of 28 other member countries besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time on planes, missiles, ships, equipment, building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia.

“The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”

Billions of dollars in “defense” spending are tied up in NATO contracts: the power and prestige of Washington’s foreign policy “experts” are inextricably linked to maintaining the Atlanticist bridge that binds us to our free-riding European client states. And now the candidate most likely to win the GOP presidential nomination is threatening to take it all away from them. No wonder they hate his guts and will do anything to stop him.

A major push by the neoconservatives and their left-internationalist allies in the Clinton camp has been a campaign to demonize the Russians and restart the cold war. Trump made it clear he is having none of that:

“We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. We have serious differences with these two nations, and must regard them with open eyes, but we are not bound to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests.

“Russia, for instance, has also seen the horror of Islamic terrorism. I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.

“Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great – not good, great – for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.”

While much attention is paid to the Middle East, the real threat to peace is the possibility of a stand off between Washington and Moscow. A new arms race is in the works, and the threat of nuclear conflict – which Trump correctly says is the biggest threat of all – looms larger by the day. That Trump seeks a rapprochement with Russia is a very big plus – and a major reason why the War Party has mobilized against him.

When it comes to the Middle East, Trump is proposing a new turn:

“Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength. Although not in government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq, very proudly, saying for many years that it would destabilize the Middle East. Sadly, I was correct, and the biggest beneficiary has been has been Iran, who is systematically taking over Iraq and gaining access to their very rich oil reserves, something it has wanted to do for decades.

“And now, to top it off, we have ISIS. My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war. We have to look to new people.”

Out with the neocons – and in with a new foreign policy that promotes peace, prosperity, and the radical idea that we have to put American interests first. Trump was explicitly making an appeal to anti-interventionists when he said:

“The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends and when old friends become allies, that’s what we want. We want them to be our allies.

“We want the world to be – we want to bring peace to the world. Too much destruction out there, too many destructive weapons. The power of weaponry is the single biggest problem that we have today in the world.

“To achieve these goals, Americans must have confidence in their country and its leadership. Again, many Americans must wonder why we our politicians seem more interested in defending the borders of foreign countries than in defending their own.”

And then there’s this:

“No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down and will never enter.”

Now I can imagine some libertarians will cringe at the idea that the nation-state is a foundation for any kind of happiness, but they fail to put this in context: we’re talking here about a nation-state founded as a result of a victorious American Revolution – the only successful libertarian revolution in history.

Which brings us to the darker side of Trumpian nationalism, with its all its contradictions – some of them potentially fatal.

Like all nationalism, Trump’s is ambidextrous: the American variety is usually inward-looking, with its European cousin mostly expansionist-minded. And yet it can be bellicose when it perceives a threat, a characteristic that fits neatly with Trump’s public persona. There are certain advantages to this: as one of my Twitter followers put it, “For better or for worse, Trump’s anti-interventionism works because he doesn’t project sympathy for the enemy.” Opponents of America’s wars have been regularly subjected to the argument – a smear, really – that they’re working on behalf of America’s enemies. About Trump the War Party can make no such accusation.

Yet this immunity also confers contradictions, and Trump’s speech is rife with them. He has said he opposes sending ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS, and yet he insists ISIS will be defeated during his presidency – although he’s unwilling to say just how. We’re too “predictable,” he avers, but don’t the American people have the right to know what his plan is?

He wants to “rebuild” the military – as if a country that spends 40 percent of all the money spent on “defense” worldwide requires it. Yes, he says he wants to ensure US military “dominance” so that no one will ever dare to attack us – and therefore we’ll never have to actually use our military – and yet if one is constantly preparing for war, then war will surely come. Trump, like Ron Paul, is constantly talking about our huge national debt: unlike Paul, however, he wants to “invest” in the military because it’s the “best” investment and he’s vowed to spare no expense. Suddenly the debt is conveniently forgotten.

Trump rightly points to the power of modern weaponry – specifically, nuclear weapons – as the biggest threat to our security, and yet in his speech he called for ramping up and “modernizing” our nuclear deterrent. This project, already undertaken by the Obama administration, involves miniaturizing nukes and therefore making them more “usable” – a dangerous development indeed.

Trump rails against the Iran deal: it’s a “bad deal,” the “absolute worst,” he insists. And yet Iran has abided by it, to the letter. War has been avoided: and he himself has said he wouldn’t rip it up, as his rival Ted Cruz has vowed. While saying we shouldn’t go abroad seeking enemies, his fearmongering over the alleged threat from Iran tells a different story. The reality is that there’s no evidence Iran is seeking to build a nuclear arsenal: our own intelligence community has confirmed this. Yet to listen to Trump, you’d think they’re about to nuke the Trump Tower. So there’s another contradiction – and they’re adding up.

His fearmongering over Iran is tied to his pandering to Israel, which he glorifies as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” In Trump’s world, Israel is blameless: its occupation of the West Bank, its merciless attacks on defenseless Gaza, its apartheid-like domestic regime – all this ignored. While it’s true that he says he would be “evenhanded” in trying to negotiate a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how seriously can we take this pledge when his pro-Israel rhetoric is so over-the-top? Indeed, he attacks the Obama administration for its supposedly ill treatment of Israel, and yet they are just trying to be as evenhanded as he says he wants to be.

American nationalism is a schizophrenic creature: on the one hand, it is pacific, inward-looking, and benign. On the other hand, it can be vengeful, aggressive, and malevolent. Like Trump himself, it is often unpredictable. And therein lies the danger – and the opportunity.

Nationalists of the Trumpian sort see America as an exceptional nation, but unlike the aggressive nationalists of the neoconservative variety they don’t believe the American system can be exported, and certainly not by force of arms.  As Trump put it in his speech:

“Finally, I will work with our allies to reinvigorate Western values and institutions. Instead of trying to spread universal values that not everybody shares or wants, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.”

This rejection of catholicity is the core of the nationalist insight: it accounts for their views on immigration as well as their noninterventionist foreign policy. Trump weaves these strands into a pattern of thought that is challenging – and displacing – the militant universalism that unites both neoconservatism and modern liberalism.

For all his faults as a candidate, Trump is forcing a sea change in the American political discourse. His campaign for the presidency has certainly shifted the terms of the debate over foreign policy, not only in the GOP but generally. Senator Rand Paul’s candidacy was dogged by questions about his lack of “orthodoxy” on foreign policy issues. That orthodoxy has now been smashed to smithereens, and future Rand Pauls will face no such suspicious inquiries. Candidates will no longer be required to sing, in unison, “the false song of globalism” – and we have Donald Trump to thank for that.

The task of anti-interventionists is not – as some would have it – to sit on the sidelines, or to join the “Never Trump” neocons and Clintonistas in attacking the Trump phenomenon as somehow beyond the pale. It is, instead, to push the discourse even further. We must take advantage of the opening provided by Trump’s campaign to point out the contradictions, recruit Trump’s supporters into a broader movement to change American foreign policy, and break the bipartisan interventionist consensus once and for all.

That is what I have been trying to do, in my own small way, for the past few months – much to the consternation of a rather sectarian and demoralized section of the libertarian movement, which cannot adapt to new conditions and doesn’t want to see the opportunity that is right in front of their eyes. They would much rather retreat into their little circles, uncontaminated by contact with the unwashed masses and safe from the need to examine their tactical and strategic acuity.

That is not an option open to me, or to Antiwar.com. This site was founded on the idea that it is necessary to build a single-issue anti-interventionist movement – and that ridding ourselves of the albatross of empire is the first and most important step along the road to a free society.

For the past twenty years, movements have arisen to challenge American imperialism: the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, the antiwar left that arose during the Bush years, the Ron Paul campaigns that energized many thousands of young people and put some meat on the bones of the libertarian movement. You’ll note the pattern: the Buchanan movement was small yet vociferous, the antiwar left was much bigger and yet more diffuse, the Ron Paulians were (and are) substantial in size and highly focused and well-organized – yet all crested without achieving a mass character, falling short of their goals.

The Trump movement is different: it is massive, and it is capable of winning. That’s what has the Establishment in such a panic that they are considering denying Trump the nomination and bringing in a candidate on a “white horse” to steal the GOP from the Trumpians. If that happens, the system will be shaken to its very foundations, its very legitimacy in doubt – a perfect storm as far as libertarians are concerned.

But there is more to it than that. If we step back from the daily news cycle, and consider the larger significance of the Trump phenomenon, the meaning of it all is unmistakable: we haven’t seen anything like this in American politics – not ever. Revolution is in the air. The oligarchy is tottering. The American people are waking up, and rising up – and those who try to ignore it or disdain it as mere “populism” will be left behind.

Yes, the road ahead is going to be rough, largely unpaved, and strewn with pitfalls. It would be easy to fall prey to the errors of pandering, of over-adaptation, or their opposite: sectarianism, and strategic inflexibility. Ideological entrepreneurship is an art, not a science, and it takes a skillful player to distinguish between opportunism and taking advantage of legitimate opportunities.

Yet there is no alternative, because abstention means extinction. Libertarians – and anti-interventionists of every political stripe – must intervene, or die out. Natural selection will take care of those who cannot or will not adapt to the new reality.

And this kind of sectarianism is absolutely unforgivable, because the new reality is far from a hostile environment. It is, in many ways, far more conducive than the old left-right paradigm, which is seeing the last of its iron grip on political consciousness loosened and dispelled.

We are living in revolutionary times. Every political movement and tendency will be put to the test. Some will be found wanting, and they will fall by the wayside. Others will adapt and prosper. Whether we have the courage to face the future is an issue that will soon be decided, and it is we who will do the deciding – because our fate is in our hands.


FBI could soon legally hack any computer in the US – and possibly beyond

April 29, 2016


The Supreme Court approved new rules on Thursday that would potentially give the FBI the authority to hack any computer in the United States, and potentially computers located overseas as well. Those hidden by Tor technology will also be vulnerable.

Now the Congress have until December 1 to either approve the rule, reject or make changes to it – then any magistrate judge in the country could grant the FBI warrants authorizing hacks into computers whose whereabouts are unknown.

In its letter to Congress, the Supreme Court approved the following change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure:

“A magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if: (A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or (B) in an investigation of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts.”

Under the phrase “concealed through technological means,” the court is referring to computers whose location is hidden via the use of anonymity software such as the Tor web browser.

Currently, magistrate judges cannot issue warrants for “remote searches” to the FBI if law enforcement doesn’t know where a computer in question is physically located, since its location could potentially be outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

Not only does the new rule change that, it also could allow the FBI to gain access to computers that have been already hacked by malicious software, meaning that victims of cyberattacks could see their computers searched by the government. If a computer is suspected to be part of compromised network, that network could also be searched. If a computer is ultimately located overseas but hidden via Tor, then authorities may potentially be able to hack into it as well.

For its part, the Justice Department believes that the modified rule is necessary to keep up with criminals using the latest technology to avoid detection. If an individual is trying to hide his location, the argument goes, then search warrants should be able to bypass jurisdiction limitations.

“Criminals now have ready access to sophisticated anonymizing technologies to conceal their identity while they engage in crime over the Internet, and the use of remote searches is often the only mechanism available to law enforcement to identify and apprehend them,” DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr said in a statement to Motherboard.

“This amendment ensures that courts can be asked to review warrant applications in situations where is it currently unclear what judge has that authority. The amendment makes explicit that it does not change the traditional rules governing probable cause and notice.”

The Supreme Court’s approval comes as courts in Massachusetts and Oklahoma have recently opted to toss out evidence collected by the government in relation to child pornography investigations, since the original search warrant obtained by the FBI came from a judge in Virginia. If the new rules approved by the Supreme Court go into effect, the evidence would have been allowed.

However, not everyone is buying the Justice Department’s argument. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) questioned the wisdom of the changes to Rule 41, adding that he will ask the government to detail its hacking process. He also said he will propose legislation to reverse the amendments.

“These amendments will have significant consequences for Americans’ privacy and the scope of the government’s powers to conduct remote surveillance and searches of electronic devices,” he said Thursday in a statement. “Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime.”

Some major technology companies have also criticized the proposed changes, arguing they threaten to “undermine the privacy rights and computer security of Internet users.” Google has stated that US officials would “likely” use the altered rules to search computers overseas. “Even if the intent of the proposed change is to permit U.S. authorities to obtain a warrant to directly access and retrieve data only from computers and devices within the US, there is nothing in the proposed change to Rule 41 that would prevent access to computers and devices worldwide,” the company stated back in February.

Meanwhile, privacy activists and tech organizations have also raised concerns, including Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute.

“Whatever euphemism the FBI uses to describe it – whether they call it a ‘remote access search’ or a ‘network investigative technique’ – what we’re talking about is government hacking,” he said to the Intercept, “and this obscure rule change would authorize a whole lot more of it.”


Key Dem wants watchdog to probe little-known FBI program

April 29, 2016

by Julian Hattem

The Hill

The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee is asking a federal privacy watchdog to look into mysterious FBI committees designed to prevent people from turning into radical extremists.

The groups — which are meant to be a voluntary collaborations between law enforcement and community leaders — appear to exist without clear limitations and could violate people’s privacy, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) worries.

“Little information is known about the protections, if any, allotted for the voluntary intervention leaders,” Thompson told the head of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board in a letter on Friday.

“Referrals to the committee do not end or preclude FBI from conducting concurrent criminal investigations,” he added. “Moreover, intervention leaders are not protected from becoming a part of ongoing investigations and future criminal and judicial proceedings.”

Thompson asked David Medine, the head of the privacy watchdog, to investigate whether the committees are conducted within the bounds of the law and if any privacy or civil liberties are violated.

Little is known about how the “Shared Responsibility Committees” operate, but they have raised alarm among some rights groups for what critics believe is unfair targeting of Muslims. The committees are designed to bring together law enforcement officers, religious leaders, mental health experts and others to pinpoint vulnerable people before they turn violent.

Last year, Thompson expressed concern about the committees to the Justice Department, shortly after a similar but unrelated website, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” ruffled some feathers.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik told him that the committees “would not be tasked with identifying youth prone to violent extremism.”


US puts Germany on watch list for large trade surpluses

The US Treasury Department has placed five countries, including Germany, on a new monitoring list. The measure aims to pressure foreign governments to tackle large trade imbalances with the US.

Aprill 29, 2016


The action, which was disclosed in a report to Congress on Friday, will see the Treasury increase its monitoring of trade partners with excessive budget and trade surpluses, which Washington suspects are behaving unfairly to support their economies.

While Germany is the only European country to appear on the list, East Asia accounts for the other four, including China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

According to the Treasury, all five countries each met two of three criteria for assessing unfair play in international trade. None of them, however, met all three of the criteria, which include: maintaining a significant trade surplus with the United States, maintaining a current account surplus larger than 3.0 percent of the country’s GDP, and repeated intervention in the foreign exchange market to keep its currency from appreciating.

‘Consultations’ for watch list members

China, Japan, Germany and South Korea were seen as guilty of the first two criteria but not the third. Taiwan was placed on the list due to its large current account surplus and persistent purchases of foreign exchange in 2015, keeping the New Taiwan dollar low against the US dollar.

Under the US’ previous biannual “currency manipulator” review, any country found guilty of artificially holding down their currencies to boost their exports faced the threat of punishment.

In contrast, the new monitoring list will lead to consultations, but no economic penalties. If the consultations fail, however, the countries could face a greater threat of sanctions in the future.

Germany shows large budget surplus

Although Germany is unable to easily manipulate its shared currency in the eurozone, the US Treasury said the country’s big trade surplus with the United States and Germany’s large budget surplus “represent substantial excess saving.”

That surplus, the Treasury reported, could be used to support German demand, and in turn reduce “the current account surplus and [contribute] markedly to the euro-area and global rebalancing.”

China, on the other hand, has been on the Treasury’s watch list for years for allegedly holding down its currency to gain trade advantage. The new report found, however, that since China’s since its surprise devaluation last August, Beijing has intervened heavily in foreign exchange markets in recent months to support its yuan currency, instead of pushing it down.

Had the yuan continued to depreciate, it “would have had negative consequences for the Chinese and global economies,” the Treasury said.


Anti-corruption protesters storm Baghdad’s Green Zone, enter parliament

April 30, 2016


Hundreds of supporters of influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who have been protesting corruption, have stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone. Some have entered the parliament buildings, according to Reuters.

The demonstrators decided to break into a heavily fortified area, which holds government buildings and numerous foreign embassies after lawmakers failed to pass a vote on making changes to the current Iraqi government.

Shouting “the cowards ran away,” in reference to the MPs who were leaving the parliament building, they managed to make their way into the Green Zone and subsequently into the parliament building. The demonstrators smashed glass and furniture, while another group set a vehicle on fire.

A spokesman for the United Nations and four Western diplomats who were inside the Green Zone said their compounds were in lockdown. They denied reports that staff at the missions had been evacuated.

There were no reports of any clashes between the security forces and the protesters, while no curfew has been imposed, according to two security officials who spoke to Reuters.

A Kurdish MP is currently trapped inside the parliament building, the Rudaw news network reported.

A guard at one of the checkpoints said the demonstrators had not been searched before entering the area, Reuters reports. The breach will come as an embarrassment to the Iraqi government: the protesters were able to get through what should have been a heavily secured area.

The protesters were waving Iraqi flags and were chanting “peaceful, peaceful,” while others were standing on the outer wall of the Green Zone. There were thousands more demonstrators waiting outside the gates of the fortified area.

Some of the protesters subsequently left the parliament building having been instructed to do so by al-Sadr. Meanwhile, al-Sadr himself said that he could “destroy” Iraq’s government.

“I am promising you that I will not make any agreements with other politicians. I work for the benefit of the nation,” Sadr said in a speech in the holy city of Najaf, as cited by Rudaw.

“If the nation lets me I can end the current government and form a new one without any corruption,” he added.

There are reports on social media that some of the protesters are heading towards Baghdad Airport in order to try and prevent the MPs from leaving the capital.

Protesters supporting al-Sadr have been gathering outside the Green Zone since March 18, taking part in sit-ins. Al-Sadr wants Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to replace his cabinet with people from outside the party in order to tackle rampant corruption.

Abadi was expected to announce five new members on Saturday, but the session was eventually postponed, which was the catalyst for the subsequent violence.

The influential cleric believes “all the ministers should be changed” and he would like to see “a revolution against corruption.”

Despite his tough line against the government, al-Sadr had implored his followers not to resort to violence. The cleric also praised the police for “their cooperation and devotion to their people.”


Islamic State-linked hackers post target list of New Yorkers

April 29, 2016

by Joseph Ax


NEW YORK-A group of hackers linked to Islamic State has posted online a list of thousands of New York residents and urged followers of the militant group to target them, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Federal agents and New York City police officers have been contacting the individuals on the list to inform them of the posting, but the source said law enforcement does not believe there is any credible threat.

In a statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, “While our standard practice is to decline comment on specific operational and investigative matters, the FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of information collected during the course of an investigation that may be perceived as potentially threatening in nature.”

The list includes names, home addresses and email addresses. Some of the information appears to be outdated, according to the source, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Last year, an Islamic State-related group posted what it claimed were names, addresses and photos of 100 U.S. military service members and called upon followers to kill them.

The militant group controls swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq and has claimed responsibility for several major attacks in various countries, including coordinated attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.

U.S. authorities have arrested more than 70 individuals for attempting to support Islamic State since 2013.


Extreme heat wave kills 300 across South Asia with hottest month still ahead

April 30, 2016


South Asia has been setting temperature records: A roasting heat wave has been ripping through much of the region since early April. Hundreds of people suffered severe heat strokes in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, while the death toll in India exceeded 300.

Scorching temperatures have allowed at least three countries to set new all-time national heat records with Thailand, which has kept records since 1950, leading the way.

After Sukhothai, Thailand set the first record of 111.7 degrees Fahrenheit (44.3 degrees Celsius), on April 12, on Friday a remote, mountainous province in northern Thailand, Mae Hong Son banked in a record in with 112.3 degrees Fahrenheit (44.6 degrees Celcius), according to Christopher Burt, a weather historian with wunderground.com. He added that since April 19, more than 50 urban areas have recorded heat records.

“As of now we can say we’ve broken the record for the highest temperatures over the longest duration in 65 years – and the season isn’t over yet,” said Surapong Sarapa, head of the Thai Meteorological Department’s weather forecast division.

Starting from March, the extreme heat has claimed the lives of as many as 21 people, Thai Department of Communicable Disease Control said Thursday. Thirteen of the victims succumbed to heat outside their homes, two in vehicles, one in a temple, and five in houses. Authorities called for the population to stay indoors and drink lots of water to avoid heatstroke.

All-time national heat records have also been seen in Cambodia and Laos. The new all-time record high for Cambodia was set on April 15 at 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celcius) in Preah Vihea. Laos set its own national all-time high temperature of 108.14 Fahrenheit (42.3 Celcius ) in Seno.

Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are also feeling the heat. But it seems that India has been hit the worst, where hundreds of people have died.

At least 300 people died of heat-related illness this month, AP reported, as temperatures this month break the 111 Fahrenheit ( 44 degrees Celsius) mark.

India’s Centre for Holistic Development (CHD), a non-governmental organization, is reporting that 244 unidentified bodies have been found on the streets this month, mainly homeless, with up to 50 percent having died from the heat.

“Of this, 80 per cent are of homeless people. Out of that figure, 40 to 50 per cent are heat-related deaths, which could have been prevented had proper facilities been put in place. A homeless person is already undermined by malnourishment, drug addiction, lack of access to timely medical intervention, tuberculosis and other immunity compromising diseases; dehydration and extreme exposure (to heat or cold) then is a fatal blow,” CHD’s Sunil Kumar Aledia told the Hindu Times.

The temperature has forced Indian officials in the eastern state of Bihar to ban daytime cooking in some parts of the country to try to prevent accidental fires, after a fire in the village killed 79 people.

The heat wave is also causing severe drought in the much of India effecting crops and livestock. groundwater reservoirs are at just 22 percent capacity in parts of the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat after rivers, lakes and dams have dried up.

India’s meteorological department said Thursday that the heat wave would continue over the weekend and might only get worse during May, which is traditionally the hottest month in India.


The Joke of U.S. Justice and “Accountability” When They Bomb a Hospital

April 29, 2016

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

Ever since the U.S. last October bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the U.S. vehemently denied guilt while acting exactly like a guilty party would. First, it changed its story repeatedly. Then, it blocked every effort – including repeated demands from MSF – to have an independent investigation determine what really happened. As May Jeong documented in a richly reported story for The Intercept yesterday, the Afghan government – rather than denying that the hospital was targeted – instead repeatedly claimed that doing so was justified; moreover, they were sympathetic to calls for an independent investigation, which the U.S. blocked. What is beyond dispute, as Jeong wrote, is that the “211 shells that were fired . . . were felt by the 42 men, women, and children who were killed.” MSF insisted the bombing was “deliberate,” and ample evidence supports that charge.

Despite all this, the U.S. military is about to release a report that, so predictably, exonerates itself from all guilt; it was, of course, all just a terribly tragic mistake. Worse, reports The Los Angeles Times‘ W.J. Hennigan, “no one will face criminal charges.” Instead, this is the “justice” being meted out to those responsible:

One officer was suspended from command and ordered out of Afghanistan. The others were given lesser punishments: Six were sent to counseling, seven were issued letters of reprimand, and two were ordered to retraining courses.

MSF continues to insist that the attack was a “war crime” and must be investigated by an independent tribunal under the Geneva Conventions. In a statement this week, Amnesty International said that it has “serious concerns about the Department of Defense’s questionable track record of policing itself.” The LA Times story notes that Physicians for Human Rights said in a letter to the White House that “the gravity of harm caused by the reported failures to follow protocol in Kunduz appears to constitute gross negligence that warrants active pursuit of criminal liability.”

But none of that matters. The only law to which the U.S. government is subject is its own interests. U.S. officials scoffed at global demands for a real investigation into what took place here, and then doled out “punishments” of counseling, training classes, and letters of reprimand for those responsible for this carnage. That’s almost a worse insult, a more extreme expression of self-exoneration and indifference, than no sanctions at all. But that’s par for the course in a country that has granted full-scale legal immunity for those who perpetrated the most egregious crimes: from the systemic fraud that caused the 2008 financial crisis to the worldwide regime of torture the U.S. government officially implemented.

Yesterday in Syria, an MSF-run hospital was targeted with an airstrike, almost certainly deliberately, by what was very likely the Syrian government or the Russians, killing at least 50 patients and doctors, including one of the last pediatricians in Aleppo. On behalf of the U.S. government, Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced: “We are outraged by yesterday’s airstrikes in Aleppo on the al Quds hospital supported by both Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which killed dozens of people, including children, patients and medical personnel.” On the list of those with even minimal credibility to denounce that horrific airstrike, Kerry and his fellow American officials do not appear’


Poland could face legal chaos as authorities defy government

April 29,2016

by Wiktor Szary

WARSAW-The Polish government faces a growing rebellion among judges and local authorities over its reform of the constitutional court, in a row that could lead to different state bodies following conflicting legal standards.

In recent days, several municipalities, including the city of Warsaw, and the Supreme Court have said they will recognize the rulings of the constitutional court even if the government refuses to do so.

The ruling conservatives, meanwhile, insist the constitutional court’s verdicts are illegal until it complies with the reform, which includes new regulations increasing the majority required for the court to pass a ruling.

Critics say the changes are part of an authoritarian push by the conservatives to bring key institutions to heel.

The new rules have drawn international criticism, including from the European Union and some rating agencies, which say they undermine the state’s credibility. The constitutional judges have themselves struck the proposed reforms down as illegal.

The latest body to throw its weight behind the constitutional court is the top administrative court, which said on Wednesday it was the government’s duty to recognize rulings “without undue delay”.

“Such statements reflect the disapproval (of the government) and its failure to uphold the constitution,” said Jan Wawrzyniak, a constitutional law professor at a Warsaw university.

“What they can lead to is our legal system being split into two competing realities.”

The Law and Justice party (PiS) argues its reform of the constitutional court is necessary to reflect a new balance of power in Poland after it won an October election. It is dismissive of talk of pending legal trouble.

“In reality, it’s a team of cronies who got together to defend the previous government’s status quo,” PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek told reporters, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to defy the government.


Municipalities such as Warsaw city council have said they will heed the constitutional court’s rulings, in defiance of the government. Their critics say they are motivated by politics rather than concern for the rule of law.The Warsaw council is dominated by officials linked to the centrist Civic Platform (PO) party which lost power in October after eight years in government.

Legal experts say the row could lead to legal tangles over taxes, land ownership, privacy and even driving licenses, all of which are subject to pending cases on which the constitutional court could rule in coming months.

Land ownership, for example, could come into question if the court rules on a bill limiting the ability of individuals to buy farmland. PO officials have said they will challenge the bill in the constitutional court.

“If there is a verdict on this issue, we could have a situation where a person doesn’t know if they have bought a piece of land or not,” said Wawrzyniak.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said such concerns were driven by a “lack of knowledge”.

“It’s fiction,” he told the wSieci weekly.

A new law which allows police to confiscate driving licenses for speeding offences is due to be reviewed by the constitutional court. If judges strike the law down, the government is likely to refuse to recognize their ruling.

This could result in police obeying the regulation, and taking licenses away, and a local authority following the court ruling and returning them.

“People who are not given their licenses back could sue the state,” said Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar, referring to people living in areas where conservative-leaning authorities would toe the government line.

“I am not sure the government understands the potential consequences of its behavior.”

Financial markets are becoming increasingly wary of the constitutional row, traders say.

A senior financial market source who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said that at a recent meeting with investors in London, Economy Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was faced with a barrage of questions on the constitutional crisis.

“Investors are worried that if the constitutional court stops working, (other) courts will stop working and they will not be able to get their money back,” said the source.

(Additional reporting by Marcin Goclowski and Anna Koper; Editing by Justyna Pawlak and Andrew Roche)

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