TBR News August 13, 2017

Aug 13 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2017:”The episode of political and racial violence in Charlottesville yesterday is hardly surprising. Whenever the economy of a nation weakens, and this, coupled with overpopulation, leads to polarization and the need of a repressed section of the population to find an entity to blame.,The far right marchers, with a legal permit, were almost all outsiders, bussed to the area for the purpose of confrontation. The far left demonstrators, without a legal permit, were also bussed to the area from other areas. There is no question that the far left protestors attacked the far right and were severely beaten for their pains. Now, the recriminations will begin with predictable lamentations from a left wing press and, naturally, as much blame as possible attributed to Trump. Given the economic problems in the United States, to include massive unemployment, the episode in Virginia is only the beginning, not the end, of civil problems.”


Table of Contents

  • FBI probe underway into Virginia white nationalist rally violence
  • Donald Trump criticized for lackluster reaction to Charlottesville violence
  • The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville
  • White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?
  • Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet
  • Don’t blame addicts for America’s opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits
  • An Example of Successful Economic Warfare

 FBI probe underway into Virginia white nationalist rally violence

August 13, 2017

by Ian Simpson


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Sunday are investigating the outbreak of violence in Virginia following a white nationalist rally that killed one person and injured more than 30, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with a major domestic challenge.

The violence in the Southern college town of Charlottesville on Saturday was widely condemned, with many politicians and activists on both the left and right also criticizing Trump, a Republican, for waiting too long to address it and when he did so, failing to explicitly condemn the white-supremacist marchers who ignited the melee.

Virginia police have not yet provided a motive for a man plowing a car into a crowd of people objecting to the white nationalists, but U.S. attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened a civil rights investigation into the crash, an FBI field office said.

Four people have been arrested, including James Fields, a 20-year-old white man from Ohio who is being held in jail on suspicion of crashing the car. The vehicle killed a 32-year-old woman and injured 19 people, five of them critically.

Federal authorities were also looking into a helicopter crash on Saturday that killed two Virginia state policemen aiding efforts to quell the clashes.

On Sunday morning, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, appealed on Twitter for Americans to “be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville.” She also posted: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who chairs the Republican Party’s Senate election effort, called on the president to condemn “white supremacists” and to use the term.

“Calling out people for their acts of evil – let’s do it today – white nationalist, white supremacist,” Gardner said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday. “We will not stand for their hate.”

An organizer of Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, which was staged to protest the planned removal of Confederate war hero Robert E. Lee’s statue from a park, said supporters of the event would not back down.

“Absolutely we are going to have further demonstrations in Charlottesville because our constitutional rights are being denied,” said Jason Kessler, whom civil rights groups identified as a white nationalist blogger. He did not specify when.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared an emergency and halted Saturday’s planned rally, but that did not stop the violence.

About 15 people were injured after rival groups fought pitched battles using fists, rocks and pepper spray.

“There is no place for you here,” McAuliffe said, addressing white supremacists. “There is no place for you in America.”

The rally stemmed from a long debate in the U.S. South over the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of the rebel side in the Civil War, which was fought over slavery.

Trump said on Saturday that there was more than one side to the Charlottesville incidents. “We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” he told reporters at his New Jersey golf course.

He did not specifically mention or fault the role of white nationalists.

On Sunday, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert defended Trump’s response. “I think declaring racial bigotry unacceptable is a very smart and calming thing for the president to do,” Bossert said on CNN. “It’s not meant not to condemn hate.”

The Charlottesville violence is the latest clash between far-rightists, some of whom have claimed allegiance to Trump, and the president’s opponents. At his January inauguration, black-clad anti-Trump protesters in Washington smashed windows, torched cars and clashed with police, leading to more than 200 arrests.

About two dozen people were arrested in Charlottesville in July when the Ku Klux Klan rallied against the plan to remove the Lee statue. Torch-wielding white nationalists also demonstrated in May against the removal.

Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Lucia Mutikani in Washington, James Oliphant in New Jersey and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Chris Michaud and Grant McCool; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Lisa Von Ahn


Donald Trump criticized for lackluster reaction to Charlottesville violence

US President Donald Trump has failed to blame white nationalists for fanning the violence in Charlottesville, which saw at least one person killed in a car assault. Parts of Virginia remain under an emergency.

August 13, 2017


US President Donald Trump reacted to the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw at least one person killed, saying he was closely monitoring the events at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he was on a working holiday.

Trump spoke to reporters saying he condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides.”

“We have so many incredible things happening in our country,” he said. “So when I watch Charlottesville, to me it’s very, very sad.”

President Trump also said that people should unite, bearing in mind that they “are all Americans first.” However, he then ignored questions from a journalist about how he felt about his widespread support from white nationalist groups.

Reactions to Trump comments

Trump’s blaming of “many sides” drew swift rebuke from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Democrat House of Representatives member Adam Schiff said Trump “needs to speak out against the poisonous resurgence of white supremacy. There are not “many sides” here, just right and wrong.”

Republican member Cory Gardner meanwhile tweeted that the President Trump should “call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”

State of emergency

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe meanwhile condemned the violence and asked protesters to go back home.

“I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today,” he told reporters. “Please go home. And never come back. Take your hatred and take your bigotry. There is no place here for you.” McAuliffe

had earlier declared a state of emergency “to aid state response to violence” at the Charlottesville rally.

“I want to urge my fellow Virginians, who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally, to make alternative plans,” he said in his statement.

Fatal assault

At least one person died and 19 others were injured when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at a violence-ridden right-wing rally in Charlottesville in the US State of Virginia on Saturday. Footage showed the car slowing down before accelerating towards the crowd, sending people flying and seemingly crushing one person between two other stationary cars. The silver sedan then reversed away rapidly.

Police later arrested a 20-year-old man who was allegedly the driver. He was being charged with multiple offenses including second-degree murder.

Several hundred counter-demonstrators were marching through the university town for a second day in opposition to a crowd of some 6,000 people attending a right-wing rally when the car struck.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted images from its local chapter showing people who had sustained various wounds.

The FBI said Saturday that it had opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the car driving into crowd.

“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning,” the FBI’s Richmond Division said in a statement. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence.”

DW correspondent Maya Shwayder reported from the scene saying that the assault was a visibly traumatic experience for those present during the protests.

Two dead in helicopter crash

State police said that two of its officers died in a helicopter crash a few hours after the car incident. Police said the helicopter was helping to monitor the rally in Charlottesville.

A total of 34 people have been injured in clashes between the right-wing protesters and counter-protesters, including the car attack.


The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville

August 13 2017

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

Each time horrific political violence is perpetrated that is deemed to be terrorism, a search is immediately conducted for culprits to blame other than those who actually perpetrated the violence or endorsed the group responsible for it. It’s usually only a matter of hours before the attack is exploited to declare one’s own political views vindicated, and to depict one’s political adversaries as responsible for, if not complicit in, the violence. Often accompanying this search for villains is a list of core civil liberties that we’re told ought to be curtailed in the name of preventing similar acts of violence in the future.

All of this typically happens before much of anything is known about the killer, his actual inspirations, his mental health, or his associations. In the aftermath of the widespread horror such violence naturally produces, the easiest target for these guilt-by-association tactics are those who have advocated for the legal rights of the group of which the individual attacker is a member and/or those who have defended the legal right to express the opinions in the name of which the attack was carried out.

These tactics are most familiar when a Muslim perpetrates violence within a western city, aimed at westerners. Before anything is known about the attacker other than his religious identity, the violence is instantly declared to be terrorism. Then the search is quickly launched to find anyone who can be said to be responsible for the violence by virtue of having “encouraged” or “enabled” Islamic extremism, often by doing nothing more than having defended the legal rights of the group that is being blamed for the attack.

At the top of the blame list one always finds a wide range of imams who preach Islam – even those who never in their lives advocated violence of any kind – as well as activists who defend Muslims from bigotry and persecution. But also prominently featured in this vilification game are legal groups, such as the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR) and the ACLU, that defend the free speech rights and other civil liberties of Muslims to be free of state persecution and suppression. Recently, even social platforms platforms that allow Muslims to express themselves without state censorship are said to be “complicit.”

Linking CAIR to terrorist attacks because of their civil liberties work is commonplace among the Islamophobic right. The ACLU – which has defended accused Al Qaeda terrorists, tried to prevent the Obama administration from killing Anwar al-Awlaki without due process, and opposed the criminal prosecution of Muslim extremists on free speech grounds – is constantly vilified as terrorist enablers by the anti-Muslim right as a result of that civil liberties advocacy. And now, each time there’s a new attack, the UK Government routinely accuses Facebook and other social media companies of “aiding and abetting” ISIS and Al Qaeda because of its refusal to obey UK Government orders about which views should be censored from the site.

That anyone who defends the legal rights of terrorists or gives them a platform is culpable for the violence they commit has been standard neoconservative and far right cant for decades. One of the most odious examples came from 2009 when a new group started by Bill Kristol and Lynne Cheney – calling itself “Keep America Safe” – produced ads strongly implying that Obama DOJ lawyers who defended accused Al Qaeda suspects were supporters of jihadist violence against the U.S.

Demonizing lawyers and civil liberties advocates by depicting them as “complicit” in the heinous acts of their clients is a long-standing scam that is not confined to the U.S. The Belgian lawyer who represented one of the Muslim attackers in Paris, Sven Mary, said “he had suffered physical and verbal attacks and his daughters had even needed a police escort to school.”

Needless to say, none of these legal organizations or individual lawyers condone violence. They all vehemently oppose the ideology and worldview in the name of which this violence is committed. Yet they are all blamed for the violence and accused of complicity in it because they defend the free speech rights and civil liberties of people who express views in the name of which violence is commited.

This same warped mentality – blaming civil liberties advocates for the bad acts of their clients – was on full display yesterday in the wake of the heinous car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia by a white nationalist on a group of anti-fascist protesters. That attack killed one woman, a 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, and injured multiple anti-racist protesters, many of whom were members of groups – such as Democratic Socialists of America and Industrial Workers of the World – now regularly castigated as the “alt-left” (as though they bear any resemblance to the alt-right groups they bravely protest).

The accused attacker, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., is in custody. He seems to have been photographed participating before the attack in the white nationalist march. And Field’s local Ohio paper cited his mother as saying that “her son texted her Friday to say he had dropped his cat off at her Monclova Township apartment so he could go to an ‘alt-right’ rally in Virginia.”

Some of the attempts to assign culpability for this violence on others besides the perpetrator were reasonable and rational. In particular, a legitimate causal connection can be drawn between this violence and the two-year flirtation by Donald Trump and several of his closest advisers with the rhetoric and even the activism of white nationalism, as even many of the white supremacists themselves recognized. As I argued last August, it seemed only a matter of time before Trump’s worldview sparked violence of this kind:

The rhetoric that [Trump has] been embracing over the past 18 months is extraordinarily frightening, because, even if he loses, he is emboldening extremist nationalism, racism, all kinds of bigotry. He’s giving license for its expression. He is serving as a galvanizing force for these very dangerous elements, not just in the American political culture, but in Europe and elsewhere throughout the right.

But other blame attempts were not just baseless but themselves deeply pernicious, a mirror image of the ugly Kristol/Cheney campaign against the Obama Justice Department lawyers who had defended the due process rights of Al Qaeda members.

Last week, the ACLU sparked controversy when it announced that it was defending the free speech rights of alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow ads for his book to be displayed on public transit. Lost in the debate was that other groups the ACLU was defending along with Yiannopoulos were also censored under the same rule: Carafem, which helps women access birth control and medication abortion; the animal rights group PETA; and the ACLU itself.

For representing Yiannopoulos, the civil liberties group was widely accused of defending and enabling fascism. But the ACLU wasn’t “defending Yiannopoulos” as much as it was opposing a rule that allows state censorship of any controversial political messages the state wishes to suppress: a rule that is often applied to groups which are supported by many who attacked the ACLU here.

The same formula was applied yesterday when people learned that the ACLU of Virginia had represented the white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville after city officials tried to ban the group from gathering in Emancipation Park where a confederate flag was to be removed (city officials tried to move the march to an isolated location one mile away). One board member of the ACLU of Virginia, Waldo Jaquith, waited until the violence erupted to announce on Twitter that he was resigning in protest of the ACLU’s representation of the protesters – as though he was unaware when he joined the Board that the ACLU has been representing the free speech rights of neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups (along with Communists, Muslims, war protesters and the full spectrum of marginalized minorities and leftists) for many decades.

Many attacked the ACLU’s decision to represent Yiannopoulos and these Charlottesville protests as though they were allies of the marchers, while others literally accused them of enabling fascism or even blamed them for the violence

(Ironically, just last month, the ACLU was the target of a similar de-funding campaign by the anti-Islam, pro-Israel right for the group’s defense of Muslim-American activist Linda Stosur; such is life as a principled civil liberties proponent).

The flaws and dangers in this anti-free-speech mindset are manifest, but nonetheless always worth highlighting, especially when horrific violence causes people to want to abridge civil liberties in the name of stopping it. In sum, purporting to oppose fascism by allowing the state to ban views it opposes is like purporting to oppose human rights abuses by mandating the torture of all prisoners.

One of the defining attributes of fascism is forcible suppression of views (“For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason,” wrote Umberto Eco); recall that one of Trump’s first proposals after winning the 2016 election was to criminalize flag desecration. You can’t fight that ideology by employing and championing one of its defining traits: viewpoint-based state censorship.

Even if this position could be morally justified, those who favor free speech suppression, or who oppose the ACLU’s universal defense of speech rights, will create results that are the exact opposite of those they claim to want. It’s an indescribably misguided strategy that will inevitably victimize themselves and their own views.

Let’s begin with one critical fact: the ACLU has always defended, and still does defend, the free speech rights of the most marginalized left-wing activists, from Communists and atheists, to hard-core war opponents and pacifists, to Muslim extremists and even NAMBLA. That’s true of any consistent civil liberties advocate: we defend the rights of those with views we hate in order to strengthen our defense of the rights of those who are most marginalized and vulnerable in society.

The ACLU is primarily a legal organization. That means they defend people’s rights in court, under principles of law. One of the governing tools of courts is precedent: the application of prior rulings to current cases. If the ACLU allows the state to suppress the free speech rights of white nationalists or neo-Nazi groups – by refusing to defend such groups when the state tries to censor them or by allowing them to have inadequate representation – then the ACLU’s ability to defend the free speech rights of groups and people that you like will be severely compromised.

It’s easy to be dismissive of this serious aspect of the debate if you’re some white American or non-Muslim American whose free speech is very unlikely to be depicted as “material support for Terrorism” or otherwise criminalized. But if you’re someone who cares about the free speech attacks on radical leftists, Muslims, and other marginalized groups, and tries to defend those rights in court, then you’re going to be genuinely afraid of allowing anti-free-speech precedents to become entrenched that will then be used against you when it’s time to defend free speech rights. The ACLU is not defending white supremacist groups but instead is defending a principle – one that it must defend if it is going to be successful in defending free speech rights for people you support.

Beyond that, the contradiction embedded in this anti-free-speech advocacy is so glaring. For many of those attacking the ACLU here, it is a staple of their worldview that the U.S. is a racist and fascist country and that those who control the government are right-wing authoritarians. There is substantial validity to that view.

Why, then, would people who believe that simultaneously want to vest in these same fascism-supporting authorities the power to ban and outlaw ideas they dislike? Why would you possible think that the List of Prohibited Ideas will end up including the views you hate rather than the views you support? Most levers of state power are now controlled by the Republican Party, while many Democrats have also advocated the criminalization of left-wing views. Why would you trust those officials to suppress free speech in ways that you find just and noble, rather than oppressive?

As I wrote in my comprehensive 2013 defense of free speech at the Guardian, this overflowing naïveté is what I’ve always found most confounding about the left-wing case against universal free speech: this belief that state authorities will exercise this power of censorship magnanimously and responsibly: “At any given point, any speech that subverts state authority can be deemed – legitimately so – to be hateful and even tending to incite violence.”

Then there’s the back-up attack on the ACLU: OK, fine, I’m for free speech, even of Milo and Nazis, but why don’t they spend their resources defending free speech rights for good people rather than White Supremacists? Nobody is forcing them to take these cases. As a recent Vox article on the ACLU debate put it: “some question whether the organization should be using its resources to defend such awful groups of people. It’s one thing in theory to support universal free speech rights, but it’s another to actually spend time and money defending neo-Nazis.” This was one of the arguments made by ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio in objecting to the group’s decision to defend Yiannapoulous.

Notably, this was the same argument made by right-wing neocon activists to attack the Obama DOJ lawyers for defending Al Qaeda members: yes, fine, everyone deserves a defense, but why did they choose to represent Al Qaeda? As National Review’s Andrew McCarthy put it in attacking those lawyers: “The salient issue in the controversy over Justice Department attorneys who formerly represented our terrorist enemies detained at Guantanamo Bay is this: They were volunteers.”

Leave aside the fact that the ACLU does expend vast resources to defend the rights of immigrants, minorities against abusive policing and a racist justice system, and Muslims. Beyond all that, the reason it’s vital to expend resources to defend free speech rights of awful people, even white nationalists, is because that’s where free speech battles are always and by definition fought.

It’s always those whose views are deemed most odious by the mainstream that are the initial targets of censorship efforts; it’s very rare that the state tries to censor the views held by the mainstream. If you allow those initial censorship efforts to succeed because of your distaste for those being targeted, then you lose the ability to defend the rights of those you like because the censorship principle has been enshrined. That’s why the ACLU, for instance, defended the free speech rights of the revolting Fred Phelps, and one of its leading LGBT lawyers justified that position this way

We do it because we believe in the principle, and because we realize that once you chip away at one person’s rights, everyone else’s are at risk. . . . Free speech doesn’t belong only to those we agree with, and the First Amendment doesn’t only protect speech that is tasteful and inoffensive. In fact, it is in the hard cases that our commitment to the First Amendment is most tested and most important. As one federal judge has put it, tolerating hateful speech is “the best protection we have against any Nazi-type regime in this country.”

Then, finally, there’s the argument about efficacy. How can anyone believe that neo-Nazism or white supremacy will disappear in the U.S., or even be weakened, if it’s forcibly suppressed by the state? Is it not glaringly apparent that the exact opposite will happen: by turning them into free speech martyrs, you will do nothing but strengthen them and make them more sympathetic? Literally nothing has helped Yiannopoulos become a national cult figure more than the well-intentioned (but failed) efforts to deny him a platform. Nothing could be better designed to aid their cause than converting a fringe, tiny group of overt neo-Nazis into some sort of poster child for free speech rights.

The need to fight neo-Nazism and white supremacy wherever it appears is compelling. The least effective tactic is to try to empower the state to suppress the expression of their views. That will backfire in all sorts of ways: strengthening that movement and ensuring that those who advocate state censorship today are its defenseless targets tomorrow. And whatever else is true, the impulse to react to terrorist attacks by demanding the curtailment of core civil liberties is always irrational, dangerous, and self-destructive, no matter how tempting that impulse might be.


White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?

August 13, 2017

BBC News

The deadly violence on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, comes at a time of a dramatic rise in prominence of far-right movements in the US.

The election of Donald Trump to the White House has been cited as a factor in the re-energisation of activists and groups in America that reject both left-wing ideology and mainstream conservatism.

Social media is also said to be playing a large part in promoting these ideologies.

A prominent US civil rights group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that it is currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups in the country.

But who are these groups, how popular have they become, and what do they hope to achieve?

Here is a look at the most visible of the white supremacist movements in the US today.

Alternative right (alt-right)

The alternative right (or alt-right) is a disparate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love Mr Trump, although critics say they are bigoted white nationalists.

This movement’s recent rise is said to have been encouraged in part by the rhetoric employed during the 2016 US presidential election campaign, in which Mr Trump was accused of “textbook racism”, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Mr Trump, for his part, denounced the movement in November 2016, saying he disavowed their views.

The phrase “alt-right” started to gain traction in the mainstream media when Mr Trump, as then Republican nominee in July 2016, tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton alongside a six-pointed star resembling the Star of Israel containing the words: “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”.

Alt-right factions, according to a guide written by Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, include “intellectuals”, “natural conservatives” and “the meme team” – mostly young activists with a penchant for internet trolling.

The movement’s ideals focus on “white identity” and the preservation of “traditional western civilisation”, according to Richard Bertrand Spencer, who coined the term “alternative right” in 2008.

Liberty, free speech and the right to offend are its touchstones. Opponents call it racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic.

Number of members As a predominantly online movement, the alt-right does not officially have membership, therefore exact numbers are hard to come by.

Where are they? The presence of this “amorphous” movement is online and its popularity is said to be increasing nationwide.

Are they growing? A relatively new political movement, the group has gained increased prominence over the past year due to its enthusiastic support for Mr Trump. However estimating its strength is difficult.

Who are the ‘alt-right’?

Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

America’s most infamous supremacist group, the initial KKK was formed by ex-Confederate officers in the southern states of the US in the aftermath of the American Civil War in 1865.

The Klan soon flourished in the south before spreading nationwide in the 1900s.

Divisions of the group discriminate against black Americans, Jews and immigrants, and more recently gays and lesbians.

It became a vigilante movement with the aim of preventing these groups from enjoying the same civil liberties and rights as their fellow Americans.

Members historically wore hooded costumes and carried out lynchings and other violent attacks on those challenging white supremacy in the southern states.

Factions of the group describe it as a “White Patriotic Christian organization that bases its roots back to the Ku Klux Klan of the early 20th century”.

Number of members Klan groups are active in most US states and are estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members, according to the SPLC.

Where are they? There are dozens of KKK groups in the US stretching from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Groups include the Confederate White Knights and the Traditionalist American Knights.

Are they growing? In 2016 the Klan said that it was in the midst of a revival with a “surge in membership across the Deep South”.

Neo-Nazi groups

The term neo-Nazi relates to a group of separatist activists who share anti-Semitic ideals and a love for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

The views of neo-Nazi groups in the US are protected by the courts and the nation’s First Amendment.

In one well-known case, the Supreme Court invoked the First Amendment to uphold the right of a neo-Nazi group to march through the predominantly Jewish town of Skokie, Illinois, and display swastikas.

Number of members There are several high-profile neo-Nazi organisations in the US, including the American Nazi Party and the National Socialist Movement (NSM). The most visible of these groups is the National Alliance (NA). A spin-off of the NA, Vanguard America, participated in the “Unite the Right” march on 12 August 2017 that left one woman dead and dozens of protesters and counter-protesters injured following clashes. The most recent membership figures for the NA, for 2012, are estimated to be at least 2,500, while an article published in the New York Times in 2011 said that the NSM consisted of about 400 members.

Where are they? A number of these groups were formed or originally based in Virginia. They have become more widespread in recent years with members of groups such as the NSM active in 32 states.

Are they growing? The manipulation of the mainstream media is attributed to a rise the far-right neo-Nazi movement, according to the Data and Society Research Institute. Links between US and European neo-Nazis are also said to be growing stronger, according to the SPLC.

Other white hate groups

National Socialist Movement: Founded in 1994, it is one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, with chapters in more than 30 states.

Council of Conservative Citizens: Founded 1985, sprung from the pro-segregation movement in the southern states.

American Freedom Party: Founded 2009, with origins in California. Has a racist agenda and is against immigration.


Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change

August 12, 2017′

by Robin McKie

The Guardian

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.

The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest as tall as the Eiger, which stands at almost 4,000 metres in Switzerland.

Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

And the activity of this range could have worrying consequences, they have warned. “If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets,” said glacier expert Robert Bingham, one of the paper’s authors. “Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.

“The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”

The Edinburgh volcano survey, reported in the Geological Society’s special publications series, involved studying the underside of the west Antarctica ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes. Their tips actually lie above the ice and have been spotted by polar explorers over the past century.

But how many lie below the ice? This question was originally asked by the team’s youngest member, Max Van Wyk de Vries, an undergraduate at the university’s school of geosciences and a self-confessed volcano fanatic. He set up the project with the help of Bingham. Their study involved analysing measurements made by previous surveys, which involved the use of ice-penetrating radar, carried either by planes or land vehicles, to survey strips of the west Antarctic ice.

The results were then compared with satellite and database records and geological information from other aerial surveys. “Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice,” Bingham said.

After the team had collated the results, it reported a staggering 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to the 47 others that had been discovered over the previous century of exploring the region.

These newly discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 metres. All are covered in ice, which sometimes lies in layers that are more than 4km thick in the region. These active peaks are concentrated in a region known as the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.

“We were amazed,” Bingham said. “We had not expected to find anything like that number. We have almost trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica. We also suspect there are even more on the bed of the sea that lies under the Ross ice shelf, so that I think it is very likely this region will turn out to be the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.”

The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic ocean could trigger sea level rises. “We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past,” Bingham said.

However, he pointed to one alarming trend: “The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.

“Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.”

And this could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets. If they are reduced significantly, this could release pressure on the volcanoes that lie below and lead to eruptions that could further destabilise the ice sheets and enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans.

“It is something we will have to watch closely,” Bingham said.


Don’t blame addicts for America’s opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits

America’s opioid crisis was caused by rapacious pharma companies, politicians who colluded with them and regulators who approved one opioid pill after another

August 13, 2017

by Chris McGreal

The Guardian

Of all the people Donald Trump could blame for the opioid epidemic, he chose the victims. After his own commission on the opioid crisis issued an interim report this week, Trump said young people should be told drugs are “No good, really bad for you in every way.”

The president’s exhortation to follow Nancy Reagan’s miserably inadequate advice and Just Say No to drugs is far from useful. The then first lady made not a jot of difference to the crack epidemic in the 1980s. But Trump’s characterisation of the source of the opioid crisis was more disturbing. “The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” he said.

That is straight out of the opioid manufacturers’ playbook. Facing a raft of lawsuits and a threat to their profits, pharmaceutical companies are pushing the line that the epidemic stems not from the wholesale prescribing of powerful painkillers – essentially heroin in pill form – but their misuse by some of those who then become addicted.

In court filings, drug companies are smearing the estimated two million people hooked on their products as criminals to blame for their own addiction. Some of those in its grip break the law by buying drugs on the black market or switch to heroin. But too often that addiction began by following the advice of a doctor who, in turn, was following the drug manufacturers instructions.

Trump made no mention of this or reining in the mass prescribing underpinning the epidemic. Instead he played to the abuse narrative when he painted the crisis as a law and order issue, and criticised Barack Obama for scaling back drug prosecutions and lowering sentences.

But as the president’s own commission noted, this is not an epidemic caused by those caught in its grasp. “We have an enormous problem that is often not beginning on street corners; it is starting in doctor’s offices and hospitals in every state in our nation,” it said.

Opioids killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015 and the toll was almost certainly higher last year. About half of deaths involved prescription painkillers. Most of those who overdose on heroin or a synthetic opiate, such as fentanyl, first become hooked on legal pills.

This is an almost uniquely American crisis driven in good part by particular American issues from the influence of drug companies over medical policy to a “pill for every ill” culture. Trump’s commission, which called the opioid epidemic “unparalleled”, said the grim reality is that “the amount of opioids prescribed in the US was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks”.

The US consumes more than 80% of the global opioid pill production even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population. Over the past 20 years, one federal institution after another lined up behind the drug manufacturers’ false claims of an epidemic of untreated pain in the US. They seem not to have asked why no other country was apparently suffering from such an epidemic or plying opioids to its patients at every opportunity.

With the pharmaceutical lobby’s money keeping Congress on its side, regulations were rewritten to permit physicians to prescribe as many pills as they wanted without censure. Indeed, doctors sometimes found themselves hauled before ethics boards for not supplying enough.

Unlike most other countries, the US health system is run as an industry not a service. That gives considerable power to drug manufacturers, medical providers and health insurance companies to influence policy and practices.

Too often, their bottom line is profits not health. Opioid pills are far cheaper and easier than providing other forms of treatment for pain, like physical therapy or psychiatry. As Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia told the Guardian last year: “It’s an epidemic because we have a business model for it. Follow the money. Look at the amount of pills they shipped in to certain parts of our state. It was a business model.”

But the system also gives a lot of power to patients. People coughing up large amounts of money in insurance premiums and co-pays expect results. They are, after all, more customer than patient. Doctors complain of patients who arrive expecting a pill to resolve medical conditions without taking responsibility for their own health by eating better or exercising more.

In particular, the idea has taken hold, pushed by the pharmaceutical industry, that there is a right to be pain free. Other countries pursue strategies to reduce and manage pain, not raise expectations that it can simply be made to disappear. In all of this, regulators became facilitators. The Food and Drug Administration approved one opioid pill after another.

As late as 2013, by which time the scale of the epidemic was clear, the FDA permitted a powerful opiate, Zohydro, onto the market over the near unanimous objection of its own review committee. It was clear from the hearing that doctors understood the dangers, but the agency appeared to have put commercial considerations first.

US states long ago woke up to the crisis as morgues filled, social services struggled to cope with children orphaned or taken into care, and the epidemic took an economic toll. Police chiefs and local politicians said it was a social crisis not a law and order problem.

Some state legislatures began to curb mass prescribing. All the while they looked to Washington for leadership. They did not get much from Obama or Congress, although legislation approving $1bn on addiction treatment did pass last year. Instead, it was up to pockets of sanity to push back.

Last year, the then director of the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden, made his mark with guidelines urging doctors not to prescribe opioids as a first step for chronic or routine pain, although even that got political pushback in Congress where the power of the pharmaceutical lobby is not greatly diminished.

There are also signs of a shift in the FDA after it pressured a manufacturer into withdrawing an opioid drug, Opana, that should never have been on sale in the first place. It was initially withdrawn in the 1970s, but the FDA permitted it back on to the market in 2006 after the rules for testing drugs were changed. At the time, many accused the pharmaceutical companies of paying to have them rewritten.

Trump’s opioid commission offered hope that the epidemic would finally get the attention it needs. It made a series of sensible if limited recommendations: more mental health treatment people with a substance abuse disorder and more effective forms of rehab.

Trump finally got around to saying that the epidemic is a national emergency on Thursday after he was criticised for ignoring his own commission’s recommendation to do so. But he reinforced the idea that the victims are to blame with an offhand reference to LSD.

Real leadership is still absent – and that won’t displease the pharmaceutical companies at all.


An Example of Successful Economic Warfare

August 12, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD


The root cause of all warfare is economics. Whether it is the seizure of a weaker tribe’s grazing land or the destruction of a rival power’s production capacity, war, to elaborate on Clausewitz, is a logical extension of political and economic aims. War launched against an unpopular head of state or a political system is war commenced solely for economic gains; the common rationale of a holy crusade is merely window dressing for popular historians to postulate.

The hatred engendered against Hitler by the American and British official propaganda machinery before the outset of World War II was due more to the success of Hitler’s barter system than to his personal dislike of Jews or threats to putative democracies in Central Europe.

Stripped of her colonies and gold reserves after the First World War, Germany had to incur massive, interest-bearing loans with both the United States and England to pay for needed imports. When Hitler came to power, he paid off the existing loans and instituted a barter system in which, for example, Germany would trade locomotives to Argentina for their beef and wheat. Previously, both countries had borrowed money from international banks at high-interest rates to pay for their respective imports.

The barter system, therefore, represented a serious threat to international banking interests which complained loudly and effectively to their respective governments, demanding intervention and relief. Many economists referred to a boycott of German products, which was instituted in the United States and England as economic warfare, as indeed it was. The British were past-masters in creating economic warfare and experts in ruining the currency of their rivals by flooding the marketplace with counterfeit currency. During the American Revolutionary War, the British dumped so many counterfeit Continental notes into the economy that American currency became virtually worthless, and the phrase, “not worth a Continental” became common. Angered by French support of the American Revolution, the British counterfeited adulterated gold French Louis coins.

As a means of economic retaliation against Napoleon for his support of a French-dominated continental system which excluded England, the British counterfeited French assignats and franc notes. Napoleon retaliated by forging British currency. Later in the same century, the US federal government forged Confederate money in huge quantities.

The Soviet forgery of American currency in the 1930s, on the other hand, was not designed to destroy the US economy. Rather, the counterfeit gold certificates were manufactured to pay their agents. Since many of these agents were highly placed and expensive members of the Roosevelt Administration, Stalin’s experts concentrated on the manufacture of $100 gold certificates. As the duplication of official US banknote paper was a problem, smaller denomination bills were bleached and over-printed.

At the outbreak of World War II, economic advisors to the leaders of England and the United States urged their respective governments to forge German marks and flood the international market which would cause a collapse of confidence in that currency and, therefore, create tremendous inflation in Germany. The British did counterfeit German military scrip but used the blank reverse for propaganda messages. These were scattered by aircraft over Germany where their impact on the population was nil, but the impact on German leadership was considerable.

Exactly who in the Third Reich initiated the program for the counterfeiting of British currency is not known. One man, Alfred Naujocks, an SS-Sturmbannführer (or Major) in the SD, has taken credit for the inception of the plan in 1940. Naujocks was a longtime acquaintance of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SD and it was Heydrich who initially authorized the reproduction of British pound notes. The initial code name for the operation was “Andreas.”

It has been stated that the original purpose of “Andreas” was to falsify pound notes and drop them over England to create economic havoc. However, a  more believable scenario, and one supported by period documents, is that the SS leadership envisioned the possibility of raising funds for their organization.

The SS was an official branch of the NSDAP and its funding came from the Party coffers, although the Waffen-SS  drew on government funding for much of its military requirements. One of Himmler’s best assets in this economic struggle was his complete control of the KZ (or concentration camp system). Based on the institutions introduced by Lord Kitchener in South Africa during the Boer Wars to control the civil population, the KZ system encompassed a wide spectrum of inmates, ranging from professional criminals, communists, and political opponents of the government, including Jews and other ethnic and religious groups.

At the beginning of the war, there were 21,300 concentration camp inmates, housed in six camps. During the course of the war, the total number of inmates rose to over 400,000 lodged in an enormous network of camps scattered throughout Europe and the East. SS General Oswald Pohl and his deputy Richard Glücks organized a huge, free labor pool which would provide a major source of revenue for the SS. It was this system of forced labor that the SD turned to when “Andreas” was superseded by “Bernhard.” The “Andreas” attempts to forge British notes floundered in technical problems and contributed to personality conflicts within the RSHA.

“Bernhard” was named for the new head of the scheme, SS-Hauptsturmführer Bernhard Krüger of the SD. Krüger, born in Reise, Saxony on November 26, 1904, was a specialist in forging documents and was assigned to Section VI F4 of the RSHA where his section assembled a large library of foreign documents of all kinds which were copied for intelligence operations.

The proper paper was nearly impossible to initially produce since, unlike the original, it did not properly fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Also, a proper numbering system proved extremely difficult to develop. In 18 months, “Andreas” had only produced a half-million pounds worth of counterfeit notes, many of which, however, were authenticated by the Bank of England when submitted by unsuspecting Swiss banks. Personal rivalry between Heydrich and Naujocks created so many problems that “Andreas” was eventually terminated.

The second project, “Bernhard,” began only after Heydrich was assassinated by British agents in the summer of 1942. At that time, SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Dörner of the RSHA began to assemble a team of specialists from the ranks of concentration camp inmates. This initial cadre was originally constituted at Oranienburg concentration camp north of Berlin, and on August 23, 1942, it was permanently established at Blocks 18 and 19 at nearby Sachsenhausen camp.

Major Krüger promised his inmate workers good housing, better and regularly served meals, no physical abuse, tobacco, newspapers, good clothing, and packages from outside sources. Most importantly, he assured them of survival. In return, he required full cooperation in the counterfeiting projects and the maintenance of strict security.

By the end of 1942, the 200-pound-pressure Stentz Monopel Type 4 press was moved to Sachsenhausen from its former location in the Berlin forgery center. Aside from the manufacture of the highest quality intaglio plates, the most important factor in the production of undetectable counterfeit pound notes was reproduction paper. British notes were printed on a high rag content paper and manufactured by the Portal, England firm of Laverstoke, which had been producing this paper for the Bank of England since the first quarter of the 18th century.

Paper used in the production of American currency was a 17- pound bond manufactured for the US Treasury by the Crane Company. As the SD turned its attention to the counterfeiting of American currency in 1943, the same German firms which duplicated the Portal paper, Spechthausen and Schlichter, and Schall, successfully duplicated the Crane paper.

The counterfeit paper for pounds had to have not only the correct texture and appearance, but had to be properly and exactly watermarked and fluoresce with the exact shade as the original paper. The Germans solved the latter problem by a careful analysis of water used in the preparation of the original British paper.

The actual manufacturing of the pound note plates was preceded by a thorough study of thousands of original examples of the British pound in German hands. The Bank of England had 156 identifying points on their plates and the forgers were able to duplicate every one of them.

Copying the lettering and numbering of the original currency presented few serious problems to Krüger’s experts, but the vignette of Britannia, common to all denomination pound notes, proved to be extremely difficult to copy—a similar problem which had occurred with the portraits on American currency. On the pound notes, the vignette consisted of a crown-surmounted wreath enclosing a seated Britannia holding a spear in her left hand and a floral spray in her right. However, constant reworking eventually produced an exact copy. The correct numbering system for the pound notes was developed by German mathematicians, and the numbering system for the US bills came from American published sources. As the British used German-made ink for their currency, this aspect of the project presented no problems.

The first run of counterfeit pound notes inspected by senior officials at the RSHA in Berlin was declared a technical success, but lacked the overall visual appearance of original, circulated currency. This was solved by the addition of Soloman Somolianov, a highly competent forger, to the Sachsenhausen crew. Somolianov, a Russian Jew, specialized in the forgery of British pound notes and was successful in adding the proper patina of age to the new pounds and later, US dollars.

After the notes had been printed and aged, they were sent to the RSHA and SS-Oberführer Walter Schellenberg, head of Section VI of the RSHA and SD foreign intelligence, distributed the British pounds to various outlets—many of which are still officially unknown.

For many years the old rhyme, “A Pound’s a Pound the World Around,” recalled the preeminence of British currency throughout the world. The final product of “Bernhard” had been tested by passing it through the Swiss banking system and through them eventually pronounced genuine by the Bank of England. Armed with these bonifides, Schellenberg’s agents glutted the world’s currency markets with over 300 million British pound notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds, in varying degrees of perfection.

First-class quality notes that defied any detection were used to purchase gold, jewels and safe currency through neutral banking systems, while lower quality notes were used for less exacting customers such as Tito’s partisans from whom the SS purchased huge amounts of weaponry supplied to the Yugoslavs by British and American clandestine services.

In early 1943, full-scale production of US currency began at Sachensenhausen. First, the $100 gold certificate was printed, followed by the $50 and $20 dollar silver certificates. Although specific information on the amount of US bills counterfeited by “Bernhard” from 1943 has never been released by the US Treasury Department, a conservative estimate based on German documents and other information puts the overall total at $50 million.

As the Soviet Army approached Berlin in 1945, the unit at Sachsenhausen was moved to Mauthausen in the Ostmark on March 12, 1945 and again on March 21, to Redl-Zipf, north of Salzburg.

Finally, on April 24, Krüger ordered the prisoners transferred to Ebensee where they were liberated by the Americans. Krüger had kept his word to the inmates and at one point, in November of 1943, had secured official permission from Berlin to award twelve War Service Medals and six War Service Crosses, 2nd Class without Swords, to more deserving counterfeiters. They were permitted to wear their decorations inside the camp area and since most of them were Jewish, the attitude of the camp commandant can only be imagined.

The liberated “Bernhard” people were free to follow whatever course they chose. There is reason to believe that a number of them continued their artistic endeavors but under different management.

Soviet and American intelligence agencies were extremely eager to locate Bernhard Krüger. Their interest had to do with American dollars.

As retreating SS units threw huge sums of counterfeit pounds into Austrian lakes and streams, the acres of floating and waterlogged notes put an effective end to the usefulness of the once-mighty British pound. It is interesting to note that not a single American bill has ever been identified as a counterfeit of the Sachsenhausen project.

The Soviets and Americans were eager to locate not only the finished US bills but the plates and paper as well. Since the “Bernhard” people and their baggage fell into American hands, the Soviets ran a poor second in the race. They only managed to locate some of the workers but none of their products. Neither the plates, paper, nor German documentation relating to the counterfeiting of American money ever officially surfaced. It is noted that large sums of dollars suddenly appeared in the Mid-East as funding for various US intelligence operations in Lebanon controlled by Haj Amin-El Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Many of the funds were in $100 dollar gold certificates.

The Germans were not the only country to liberally finance their intelligence agencies and assist their countrymen in building personal fortunes through the use of counterfeit currency. The basic difference is that the Germans did not manufacture their own currency.

This form of economic warfare has certainly not ceased with the downfall of the Third Reich. The Iranian government has, by all serious accounts, been forging nearly perfect US $100 bills which have circulated throughout the world and caused the US Treasury Department to issue newly-formatted bills. The US Treasury Department will eventually recall all outstanding older bills and carefully inspect them before making exchanges.

In 1984, over 2,000 extremely rare, nearly mint condition, ancient Greek silver coins, dating from 465 BC, were unearthed near Elmali in Turkey. The horde of coins, in violation of Turkish law, quickly circulated into the international marketplace, and many coins sold for huge sums of money. Discovering that their national treasures had been looted, the irate Turkish government forced the return of most of the horde through legal and diplomatic means. The British Museum inspected some of the rarer specimens and concluded that the entire collection had been recently manufactured at the Bulgarian State Mint in Sofia by that country’s intelligence agency to raise much-needed Western currency. Following this revelation, the value of rare Greek coins toppled as quickly as the British pound had fallen in 1945.

The irony of the “Bernhard” operation is that their 5 pound counterfeits are now worth more on the collector’s market than they were during the war.






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