TBR News December 11, 2018

Dec 11 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. December 11, 2018: “’They watch us; we watch them’ is the motto of several very private computer code writers and other aficionados and they do exactly that.

There are no computer systems of the governmental watchdogs that cannot be penetrated, contrary to the beliefs of the users.

The CIA, the FBI, the DHS, the NSA and other attached entities think they convey messages in secrecy but in fact, their messages are being read as soon as they are sent. The Russians are known to be doing the same thing and God knows who else watches the watchbirds.

Via the so-called ‘Dark Internet’ much of the non-secrets gleaned by the snoopers become public property and are sent around to interested parties.

Some of Donald Trump’s messages, the non-Twitter ones- are hysterically funny and if he knew they were compromised, he might sanction Malta in his fury.

On the one hand, the US has a leader who is one step, or crawl, from the back wards and on the other, government spies who like to know what your nine year old daughter is reading at the local library.

In the fact of growing anger in France by the bulk of the population, manifested in the recent riots, French President Macron has started to back down. This is an error of judgement because the instant he is seen as compromising, the greater will be the demands on him.

If this scenario were to take place in the United States, the business community would demand the President call out troops and shoot down anyone who even looked like they were of the colored persuasion.

That would lead to sectional eruptions and more repressive violence. In the end, the trees of America would bear strange fruit indeed and the oligarchs and their governmental supporters that did not dangle would flee to Canada. ”



The Table of Contents 

  • Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say
  • Brexit chaos and confusion leaves business leaders across Europe dismayed
  • The Arctic is in even worse shape than you realize
  • Scientists identify vast underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms
  • Is sea level rising?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The American Gestapo

 Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say

After Democrats won governor’s races in Wisconsin and Michigan, GOP-controlled legislatures have tried to limit executive power

December 11, 2018

by Tom Perkins in Detroit, Michigan


Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina suffered stinging losses in November, but the parties aren’t transferring power quietly, or at all in some cases. On the way out the door, “lame-duck” state legislatures are bringing in last-minute laws that will strip power from incoming Democrats, gut voter-approved ballot initiatives, or otherwise undermine the election results.

But some legal experts say the most alarming legislation the Republicans have passed is unconstitutional and unlikely to survive outraged Democrats’ legal challenges.

Among other issues, they contend many of the Republican laws blur the constitutionally mandated separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

“One of the fundamental principles of the American constitutional system is that the legislature is not the whole government,” said Richard Primus, a professor of law at the University of Michigan. “The point of the constitutional system is that no decision-making system gets to act for the whole political community – the powers are separated.”

Still, Michigan Republicans are pushing through a bill that would strip authority over campaign finance from the Democratic secretary of state-elect. (The state previously hit the bill’s Republican author with multiple campaign finance violations.) The Michigan and Wisconsin legislatures are also granting themselves power to intervene in lawsuits over their unpopular laws, weakening incoming Democratic attorneys general. And last week the Wisconsin legislature passed laws that take power from the incoming Democratic governor, Tony Evers.

In response, Michigan Democrats are pointing to the state’s separation-of-powers clause, which reads in part: “No person exercising powers of one branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another branch, except as expressly provided in this constitution.”

Primus, who is part of the left-leaning American Constitution Society, noted that the Michigan legislature wants authority to litigate, “but that’s not a legislative function – that’s enforcement of the law”.

In short, some experts see the moves as a dramatic overreach by one branch of government to grab powers in the domain of others: one probably doomed to fail when it is legally challenged.

In Wisconsin, the Madison-based attorney Lester Pines said the state’s constitution clearly spells out each branch’s duties, and the legislature “does not have the power to supervise the governor and attorney general in the manner in which they’re trying to do it”.

“They’re [power] grabs because the legislature should have known better than to become the supervisors of the governor and attorney general,” Pines said. “The legislators are not supervisors. They do not have executive authority.”

This has happened before. The Michigan and Wisconsin cases have a precedent in North Carolina, where the state supreme court ruled that most of the Republican lame-duck power grabs in 2016 were unconstitutional, pointing to that state’s separation-of-powers clause.

Billy Corriher, a senior researcher at the Institute for Southern Studies, a North Carolina-based progressive research and media group, noted that the clause was written into the state’s 1776 constitution.

Beyond the power grabs, Michigan Republicans are also in constitutionally questionable territory in their attempt to gut or dilute five popular citizen-led ballot initiatives or laws.

A Michigan attorney, Mark Brewer, is representing two citizen-led groups that each collected nearly 400,000 signatures to put on the November ballot proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage and mandate paid sick time. The GOP made the proposals law, then gutted them before the Democratic governor-elect, Gretchen Whitmer, takes office in January.

Brewer said there were “very strong arguments that the Republican changes are unconstitutional” because the state constitution prohibits changes to citizen-initiated laws in the same legislative session. The GOP contends its changes do not affect “the spirit of the law”, but Brewer said that’s “plainly false”.

Voters approved three other initiatives – marijuana decriminalization, voting access expansion and the establishment of an independent redistricting commission to address gerrymandering – by wide margins in November. Brewer notes that proposed alterations could end up “in court through various routes” and there was a strong case to be made that they are unconstitutional.

Courts have also overturned Wisconsin and North Carolina’s attempts at voter suppression that many experts believe are aimed at discouraging minorities from voting. Still, in North Carolina, the legislature is currently rushing to enact a law that voters approved that would require official photo identification at the polling place. It’s similar to a law that federal courts twice shot down, but with a minor tweak – college identification cards and a new identification card that counties will issue can be used to vote.

Similarly, a 2011 lawsuit filed by the liberal issue advocacy group One Wisconsin Now resulted in a federal judge striking down Wisconsin Republicans’ attempts to suppress the vote by severely limiting early voting, among other measures. The lawsuit remains ongoing, but Republicans are again attempting to cut down on early voting. The new set of restrictions could represent a contempt of court, or be grounds for a new lawsuit, said Mike Browne, One Wisconsin’s deputy director.

Democrats’ chances in the state supreme courts are usually much better when they have a favorable partisan makeup. In North Carolina, liberals hold a 4-3 advantage, but in Michigan and Wisconsin conservatives hold 4-3 majorities. However, conservative judges have ruled against the party’s wishes in Michigan, and in Wisconsin Pines said Republicans were “sorely mistaken” if they believe “the supreme court is in its back pocket”.

“The court will be very cautious on separation of powers issues,” he added.

Regardless of the likely failure of their moves, some see the Republican tactics as having other political consequences.

Dan Weiner, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, said the North Carolina party’s moves in 2016 “in some sense energized the opposition”, which he said was partly why Republicans in 2018 lost supermajorities in both chambers despite the way the state had been gerrymandered.

“On the level of pure politics, I sometimes scratch my head over what they’re doing,” Weiner said. “In some ways, it’s very shortsighted.”


Brexit chaos and confusion leaves business leaders across Europe dismayed

Another day, another deeply uncertain development in the Brexit saga. Chaos and uncertainty have become watchwords of the process, and business leaders are tired of the confusion.

November 11, 2018

by Arthur Sullivan


The Oxford English Dictionary, celebrated as a principal custodian of the English language, defines “uncertain” as follows: ‘not able to be relied on; not known or definite.’

Those words are as good a summation of the current state of the Brexit process as any. Monday’s shocking/not shocking move by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to postpone the British Parliament’s vote on the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement in the face of certain defeat continues a long established cycle of uncertainty, confusion and ultimately, chaos.

Such words are the stuff of nightmares for business leaders and market watchers, who thrive on things they can rely on. The deeply dismayed reaction of British business to the latest about-turn was best encapsulated by Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the influential Confederation of British Industry (CBI) lobby.

“This is yet another blow for companies desperate for clarity,” she said in reaction to the canceled vote. “Investment plans have been paused for two and a half years. Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis.”

The price of uncertainty

The markets quickly reflected that lack of clarity. The British pound hit its lowest level since April 2017, and is now valued at €1.10 and $1.26. At the end of London trading on Monday, it had fallen 1.4 percent against the US dollar.

The FTSE 100 index also took a hit, with a sharp sell-off in the brief trading period that followed May’s announcement to parliament. It had fallen by almost 1 percent by the end of the day.

The effects of the deepening uncertainty are being felt far from English and European shores. “The market is concerned that the postponement uses up valuable time before the March 29 exit date, and the risk of a no-deal scenario is growing,” National Australia Bank economist David de Garis said of the effect on global markets.

The specter of a no-deal

The EU-UK deal currently has nowhere near enough support among British MPs to pass a House of Commons vote, but even more important is the fact that the EU have made it abundantly clear that the deal is not up for renegotiation.

Therefore, barring a dramatic change of opinion in London, that suggests only two realistic Brexit scenarios remain on the table: a no-deal Brexit or simply, no Brexit at all.

Business leaders in multiple sectors and industries across the UK and Europe have consistently said that the best-case scenario would be for Brexit not to take place at all. However, Monday’s events have increased the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit happening — by far the worst scenario, according to those same business leaders.

German business and industry representatives, in classic Teutonic style, have been consistently blunt and direct in their opposition to Brexit. A statement from Holger Bingmann, President of the BGA — a trade association which represents the German wholesale, foreign trade and services sectors — did not even attempt to play down his frustration and fear with the whole process.

“What a mess!,” he said in a statement. “Just three months before the deadline, companies still do not know what to expect and how to proceed. The next tremor of the Brexit quake will be felt on both sides of the English Channel. This is an unprecedented disaster.

“For the British side again to try and play with time and to renegotiate is unbelievable and irresponsible, not least for their own population.”

Back to the border

The implications for business of a no-deal Brexit are profound. From the imposition of tariffs, customs, safety and other checks on future UK-EU trade, to possibly diverging regulatory standards on manufactured products, to chaos at borders and ports, the checklist of consequences is pretty scary for any business owner whose business has depended on UK membership of the EU.

Yet there is arguably nowhere in Europe with a higher stakes bet riding on the outcome of the Brexit process than the island of Ireland, especially Northern Ireland.

The region, part of the UK but whose citizens have the right to Irish citizenship under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, has been recognized by the EU-UK agreement as being worthy of special status in the Brexit process. The agreement allows for it to effectively remain part of both the EU’s customs union and the UK’s internal market, regardless of how the Brexit process turns out.

That ‘best of both worlds’ scenario has been almost universally welcomed by business groups in the region, including those with long-standing affiliations to the hardline Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), on whose support May has relied for several key parliament votes and who oppose the deal on political grounds, regardless of its potential economic benefits for Northern Ireland.

Therefore, it is little surprise that business leaders in the region have reacted with the same concern and fear as those in the rest of the EU and across the Irish Sea to the latest convulsion in Westminster.

“Any delay to a future agreement is extremely concerning, particularly with just three months to go until the UK leaves the EU,” said Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.

“A no-deal outcome would result in higher costs, harming consumers in NI who already suffer from having half the discretionary spending power of those in the rest of the UK. Parliament must urgently find a workable proposal to avoid a cliff-edge no-deal scenario. The Brexit clock is ticking loudly.”

Yet what happens when the hour finally strikes remains anyone’s guess.


The Arctic is in even worse shape than you realize

The Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest, thickest ice. If this thinning trend continues, scientists fear an added boost to global warming.

December 11, 2018

by  Chris Mooney

The Washington Post

Over the past three decades of global warming, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95 percent, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card.

The finding suggests that the sea at the top of the world has already morphed into a new and very different state, with major implications not only for creatures such as walruses and polar bears, but in the long term, perhaps, for the pace of global warming itself.

The oldest ice can be thought of as a kind of glue that holds the Arctic together and, through its relative permanence, helps keep the Arctic cold even in long summers.

“The younger the ice, the thinner the ice, the easier it is to go away,” said Don Perovich, a scientist at Dartmouth who coordinated the sea ice section of the yearly report.

If the Arctic begins to experience entirely ice-free summers, scientists say, the planet will warm even more, as the dark ocean water absorbs large amounts of solar heating that used to be deflected by the cover of ice. The new findings were published as climate negotiators in Poland are trying to reach a global consensus on how to address climate change.

In March, NASA scientists with the Operation IceBridge mission, which surveys the polar regions using research aircraft, witnessed a dramatic instance of the ongoing changes. Flying over the seas north of Greenland, in a region that usually features some of the oldest, thickest ice in the Arctic, they instead saw smooth, thin strips binding together the thicker, ridged pieces.

“I was just shocked by how different it was,” said NASA’s Nathan Kurtz, who has flown over the area multiple times. The floating sea ice had broken up entirely the previous month — very unusual for this location — and now was feebly freezing back together again.

Scientists think a strange wind event caused the breakup in this region just a few hundred miles south of the North Pole — so it’s unclear whether it is directly linked to climate change. Still, the breakup could be just one more sign of the growing fragility of the oldest ice.

What matters is volume — not just ice area

The new findings about the decreasing age of ice in the Arctic point to a less noticed aspect of the dramatic changes occurring there. When it comes to the icy cap atop the Arctic ocean, we tend to talk most often about its surface area — how much total ocean is covered by ice, rather than by open water. That’s easily visible — it can be glimpsed directly by satellite — and the area is, indeed, in clear decline.

But the loss of old and thick ice, and the simultaneous decline in the total ice volume, is even larger — and arguably a much bigger deal. Young and thin ice can regrow relatively quickly once the dark and cold winter sets in. But it may not add much stability or permanence to the Arctic sea ice system if it just melts out again the next summer.

The total volume of ice in September, the lowest ice month, declined by 78 percent between 1979 and 2012, the record low year. That’s according to an analysis by scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle called PIOMAS, or the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System — a top source for tracking ice volume.

In fairness, the ice volume has rebounded somewhat since 2012. And PIOMAS is only a model, cautioned the University of Washington’s Axel Schweiger, who runs the analysis. (The model draws upon direct measurements of ice thickness taken from submarines, satellites, and other sources.) Still, Schweiger agreed that when you think about the total volume of the ice, rather than its mere surface extent, you realize that far more has been lost.

“We’ve lost about half of the extent, we’ve lost half of the thickness, and if you multiply these two things, we’ve lost 75 percent of the September sea ice,” he said.

Going by PIOMAS’s numbers, the losses represent more than 10 trillion tons of ice. While the Arctic ocean contained over 15 trillion tons of floating ice in 1979 during the month of September, in the same month in 2012, it averaged just under 3.5 trillion tons. This year, it averaged just 4.66 trillion tons in September.

“The Arctic is an indication of what’s coming to the rest of the globe,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “In the Arctic ocean, a difference of 2 degrees can be huge. If it goes from 31 Fahrenheit to 33 Fahrenheit, you’re going from ice skating to swimming….the Arctic is an early warning system for the climate.”

The Arctic’s new youth

And the transition isn’t just about ice volume — it’s the Arctic’s version of the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The ice is literally getting younger.

The oldest Arctic ice, having survived four summers or more and called “multiyear ice,” is the thickest. It has built up its mass over time, and can be well over 10 feet thick. It can grow even thicker in places where it develops tall ridges from slamming into other pieces of ice, or from sustained pressure from the rest of the pack.

But this ice is either melting due to warming air and seas, or getting expelled southward through the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard — and then melting in warmer subarctic waters.

Increasingly, what remains is ice that only forms after the peak warmth of the summer, usually in September, and which may not survive the following summer. This “first year ice” is more brittle, more easily tossed around by winds and waves, rendering the Arctic ice pack more mobile and prone to breaking apart.

In 1985, the new NOAA report found, 16 percent of the Arctic was covered by the very oldest ice, more than four years old, at the height of winter. But by March, that number had shrunken to under 1 percent. That’s a 95 percent decline.

At the same time, the youngest, first-year ice has gone from 55 percent of the pack in the 1980s to 77 percent, the report finds. (The remainder is ice that is 2 to 3 years old.)

“A decade ago, there were vast regions of the Arctic that had ice that was several years old,” said Alek Petty, a NASA researcher who works with the Operation IceBridge project. “But now, that’s a rare phenomenon….if you get rid of that ice that’s 5 or 10 years old, obviously it will take that long to replenish it.”

“And it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” Petty said.

The deep danger of a dark Arctic ocean

This process of reverse-aging, scientists say, is all headed to a crucial moment — when all of the ice in the Arctic will be thin and a year old or less. When that happens — the day of maximum youth — we will be on the verge of a much feared milestone: an entirely ice-free Arctic ocean in summer.

“Looking down from the North Pole from above, for all intents and purposes, you’re going to see a blue Arctic ocean,” said Meier.

It’s not clear how soon such an event could arrive. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for instance, suggested it would occur once every 10 years if the globe’s total warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius, but only once every 100 years at 1.5 degrees Celsius. (Warming is at 1 degree Celsius now.)

So by the time we cross 1.5 degrees, potentially within the next few decades if warming continues, the odds of a first ice-free summer will start rising.

The reason Arctic ice is shrinking so fast, and why scientists are worried about it continuing, is one and the same.

There is a well known feedback loop in the Arctic, caused by the reflectivity of ice and the darkness of the ocean. When the Arctic ocean is covered by lighter, white ice, it reflects more sunlight back to space. But when there is less ice, more heat gets absorbed by the darker ocean — warming the planet further. That warmer ocean then inhibits the growth of future ice, which is why the process feeds upon itself.

The open ocean absorbs about twice as much sunlight as floating sea ice, explained Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate expert at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who was the discoverer of the role of chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) in not only destroying the ozone layer but also amplifying global warming.

Because of this, Arctic sea ice loss has already increased the warming of the planet as a whole. Ramanathan said the impact is equivalent to the warming effect of 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or about six years of global emissions.

Ramanathan fears that entirely ice-free summers, if they began to occur regularly, could add another half a degree Celsius (.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming on top of whatever else the planet has experienced by that time.

“If that were to happen, I would think of it as an unmitigated disaster,” said Ramanathan of consistently ice-free Arctic summers. “It will quickly pump in this half a degree warming.”

That extra warming, he said, in turn could trigger a world with multiple other cascading effects, such as increasing losses of carbon from northern permafrost soil, or major damage to the Amazon rain forest. The additional heat would also melt snow cover over land in the Arctic, further driving up global temperatures as the darker land surface absorbs more incoming radiation.

Some consider the Arctic situation so dire that it calls for an emergency intervention. A group called Ice911, founded by inventor and Stanford lecturer Leslie Fields, is proposing a strategic “geoengineering” project that would involve spreading reflective silica particles across young sea ice in key areas, to bounce back more sunlight and help the fledgling ice get through its first summer.

“If and when there is a decision to pursue an intervention in the Arctic, or somewhere else, we want to be out there with all of our field testing, climate modeling, and testing complete to say, here is a viable, safe solution for restoring ice that can mitigate some of these extreme impacts,” said Roman Decca, a strategist with the group.

We’re still far from a world in which such a radical step is under serious consideration. But the concern of Arctic researchers is hard to ignore.

“I would think of the summer ice disappearing as the true tipping point we’ve all been afraid of with climate change,” said Ramanathan.


Scientists identify vast underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms

Global team of scientists find ecosystem below earth that is twice the size of world’s oceans

December 10, 2018

by Jonathan Watts

The Guardian

The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to “deep life” studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of that found in all the world’s oceans.

Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with between 15bn and 23bn tonnes of micro-organisms, hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet.

Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory say the diversity of underworld species bears comparison to the Amazon or the Galápagos Islands, but unlike those places the environment is still largely pristine because people have yet to probe most of the subsurface.

“It’s like finding a whole new reservoir of life on Earth,” said Karen Lloyd, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “We are discovering new types of life all the time. So much of life is within the Earth rather than on top of it.”

The team combines 1,200 scientists from 52 countries in disciplines ranging from geology and microbiology to chemistry and physics. A year before the conclusion of their 10-year study, they will present an amalgamation of findings to date before the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting opens this week.

Samples were taken from boreholes more than 5km deep and undersea drilling sites to construct models of the ecosystem and estimate how much living carbon it might contain.

The results suggest 70% of Earth’s bacteria and archaea exist in the subsurface, including barbed Altiarchaeales that live in sulphuric springs and Geogemma barossii, a single-celled organism found at 121C hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea.

One organism found 2.5km below the surface has been buried for millions of years and may not rely at all on energy from the sun. Instead, the methanogen has found a way to create methane in this low energy environment, which it may not use to reproduce or divide, but to replace or repair broken par

Lloyd said: “The strangest thing for me is that some organisms can exist for millennia. They are metabolically active but in stasis, with less energy than we thought possible of supporting life.”

Rick Colwell, a microbial ecologist at Oregon State University, said the timescales of subterranean life were completely different. Some microorganisms have been alive for thousands of years, barely moving except with shifts in the tectonic plates, earthquakes or eruptions.

“We humans orientate towards relatively rapid processes – diurnal cycles based on the sun, or lunar cycles based on the moon – but these organisms are part of slow, persistent cycles on geological timescales.”

Underworld biospheres vary depending on geology and geography. Their combined size is estimated to be more than 2bn cubic kilometres, but this could be expanded further in the future.

The researchers said their discoveries were made possible by two technical advances: drills that can penetrate far deeper below the Earth’s crust, and improvements in microscopes that allow life to be detected at increasingly minute levels.

The scientists have been trying to find a lower limit beyond which life cannot exist, but the deeper they dig the more life they find. There is a temperature maximum – currently 122C – but the researchers believe this record will be broken if they keep exploring and developing more sophisticated instruments.

Mysteries remain, including whether life colonises up from the depths or down from the surface, how the microbes interact with chemical processes, and what this might reveal about how life and the Earth co-evolved.

The scientists say some findings enter the realm of philosophy and exobiology – the study of extraterrestrial life.

Robert Hazen, a mineralogist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, said: “We must ask ourselves: if life on Earth can be this different from what experience has led us to expect, then what strangeness might await as we probe for life on other worlds?”


Is sea level rising?

NOAA’s National Ocean Service

Yes, sea level is rising at an increasing rate.

With continued ocean and atmospheric warming, sea levels will likely rise for many centuries at rates higher than that of the current century. In the United States, almost 40 percent of the population lives in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. Globally, eight of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, according to the U.N. Atlas of the Oceans.

Global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has increased in recent decades. In 2014, global sea level was 2.6 inches above the 1993 average—the highest annual average in the satellite record (1993-present). Sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.

Higher sea levels mean that deadly and destructive storm surges push farther inland than they once did, which also means more frequent nuisance flooding. Disruptive and expensive, nuisance flooding is estimated to be from 300 percent to 900 percent more frequent within U.S. coastal communities than it was just 50 years ago.

The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by warming of the ocean (since water expands as it warms) and increased melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets. The oceans are absorbing more than 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat associated with emissions from human activity.

With continued ocean and atmospheric warming, sea levels will likely rise for many centuries at rates higher than that of the current century.  In the United States, almost 40 percent of the population lives in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. Globally, eight of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, according to the U.N. Atlas of the Oceans.

Sea level rise at specific locations may be more or less than the global average due to local factors such as land subsidence from natural processes and withdrawal of groundwater and fossil fuels, changes in regional ocean currents, and whether the land is still rebounding from the compressive weight of Ice Age glaciers. In urban settings, rising seas threaten infrastructure necessary for local jobs and regional industries. Roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, landfills—virtually all human infrastructure—is at risk from sea level rise.

What’s the difference between global and local sea level?

Global sea level trends and relative sea level trends are different measurements. Just as the surface of the Earth is not flat, the surface of the ocean is also not flat—in other words, the sea surface is not changing at the same rate globally. Sea level rise at specific locations may be more or less than the global average due to many local factors: subsidence, upstream flood control, erosion, regional ocean currents, variations in land height, and whether the land is still rebounding from the compressive weight of Ice Age glaciers.

Sea level is primarily measured using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters. Tide stations around the globe tell us what is happening at a local level—the height of the water as measured along the coast relative to a specific point on land. Satellite measurements provide us with the average height of the entire ocean. Taken together, these tools tell us how our ocean sea levels are changing over time


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

December 11, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

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, on 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 the well-known Washington fix-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.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

Conversation No. 33

Date: Friday, August 23, 1996

Commenced: 2:25 PM CST

Concluded: 2:38 PM CST

RTC: Did you see your old friend Irving’s latest attack on you, Gregory?

GD: Jesus, what now? I killed Abraham Lincoln?

RTC: (Laughter) Not quite but bizarre. He claims you never knew Mueller and that Mueller died in Berlin in ’45 and they found his body. Of course that’s not true but I am astounded at the depth of this shallow man’s hatred for you.

GD: I know. I have had to deal with this idiot for years. Charles Burdick put me in touch with Irving once.

RTC: Our Charles Burdick?
GD: Yes, the same one. I knew Charlie since…oh it was 1952 when he was doing graduate work at Stanford. I knew all about his work for you in ‘Nam but we seldom talked about it. Charlie spoke as a real expert on the Third Reich and, modestly, I knew more about it than he did. He was mostly into the military structure and I am into both the military and political. Besides, I was there at the time and he wasn’t. So Irving writes this book on the destruction of Dresden. Not a bad book at all but Irving kept pulling his punches.

RTC: How so?
GD: Well, he would make a strong point against the Allied policy, a nice strong point, and then stumble around and start qualifying his information. He would say, ‘could this be?’ and ‘well, maybe not…’ like that. No, after I met him the one time, I pegged him as a phony and tried to keep as far away from him as I could. Boorish person with a penchant for teen aged tarts. He was known as ‘Mr. Spanky’ in the historical world. Second book on PQ 17 was also a good book but David went down hill from there. There was the hilarious fake ‘Himmler letter’ I sent him about Hitler once. Charlie saw it and laughed so loud that his secretary thought he was having some kind of a fit. It was in the worst possible, ungrammatical and misspelled German you could imagine but Irving decided it was original because it suited his purpose. He bleated about it in print for some time, praising me as a wonderful expert and so on. Then when he found out the letter was a spoof, he went bananas and started in screeching at me like a whore who finds out her trick gave her a fake twenty.

RTC: (Laughter) Such a wonderful way of putting things, Gregory.

GD: A friend of mine ran three whorehouses in ‘Frisco so I have some knowledge of the patterns of behavior there. Anyway, when Irving found out about the Mueller books, he wrote to Sudholt, my German publisher. It was the work of a real nut, believe me. He wailed that Sudholt should not publish anything I wrote because I was pure evil and a terrible fraud. Sudholt told me that Irving was a nut and on top of that, made a living selling manuscripts to German publishers, keeping the advance money and never producing. And also, it seems, Dirty Dave sued anyone and everyone who dared to say a word against him. He would take the modest settlements and stick them into his bank account.

RTC: He has been quite successful, as I gather.

GD: Yes, but as Browning said, the kissing has to stop and for David, it stopped some time ago and he’s running on empty. Sudholt sent me Irving’s lunatic letter with a copy of his own response. My God, did he kick Irving in his flabby ass. He talked about Irving’s rip-offs of publishers and really smacked him down. After Irving failed to shut me up, he started in on his pathetic website. He once listed about twenty names he claimed I used. I never heard of any of them. Then I found out his mother was Jewish…

RTC: No! After all the attacks he makes on the holocaust and the Jews…are you sure?

GD: Have I ever been wrong?
RTC: Gregory, your hubris is showing.

GD: Well, Robert, I thought I was wrong about a year ago but I found out later I was mistaken. Yes, by Jewish law, Dave is a Jew. Jewish self-hatred is well-known. I think your Angleton must have had some Jewish blood in him. In profile…

RTC: Now, now, Jim was a good friend. True, he had his head up their ass and we could never keep him from babbling secrets to the Mossad. I did truly like Jim but he had his strange sides.

GD: Young college boys, interested in poetry? Whispering Mossad agents? The odd Mafia friend here and there? Frantic obsessions with paranoia? Yes, I would say strange sides are indicated here.

RTC: But very competent when he focused, Gregory. Poor Jim had too much on his plate. The Mafia business is best forgotten, I suggest.

GD: What about the nubile college students? Mueller told me about an incident at the Park Plaza hotel in New York once.

RTC: Jim strayed from the path from time to time, I admit, but I know from experience he was a dedicated worker.

GD: You could say the same of Sweeny Todd or Sawney Bean.

RTC: I know about Todd but Bean?

GD: A Scots cannibal. Whole family of inbreds lived in caves and made sorties to waylay travelers and eat them. The King finally got enough troops together to wipe them out.

RTC: You have the damndest mind for such things, Gregory.

GD: I try so hard, Robert. Anyway, there is Irving, sliding slowly down into literary oblivion (that’s just outside of New Orleans by the way) and clawing and scratching at me. My books are much better written, far more factual and, even better, far more successful in his little world than his own recent failures.

RTC: Do I detect professional jealousy, here?
GD: No, a reporting of facts. If you doubt me, Robert, read his latest literary efforts and compare him with the manuscript I sent you. Make up your own mind. Of course, the ironic part of all this purse-swinging is that as far as the holocaust is concerned, Irving is absolutely correct. There was never any plan, implemented or theoretical, on the part of Hitler to gather up the Jews of Europe, ship them off to so-called death camps and gas them in huge chambers. No, none of that. Yes, Hitler used the Jews as a unifying factor in his rise to power. But he was dealing with a huge flood of horrible Polish Jews that Pilsudski had chased out of Poland in the early ’20 and who refused to assimilate into the German communities and who were, in general, rather filthy and sub-human. The respectable German Jews hated them. No, Mueller has told me very often and I have boxes of documents on this; all Hitler was doing, and he used to make public speeches on this so it was never a secret, was to boot all the Jews out of Germany and later, out of German held territories. Yes, Jews were rooted out from France and the Balkans, often at the requests of their governments, and shipped off to Auschwitz. But this was not a death camp but a huge work complex the SS had set up outside the nominal range of Allied bombers. Many died of typhus and, of course, shipping these people off was a nasty business and I have no sympathy with any of it but the huge gas chambers are figments of the imagination, used to raise money for the Jews. And when Irving points this out, they all gang up on him. He may be a fraud and a gasbag but his comments on this subject are basically accurate. I hate to say that, naturally, but Irving is correct. And by his persisting in this, the Jews will gang up on him and put him out of business.

RTC: Too much influence here, Gregory. Small numbers but very powerful inside the Beltway. They own the press and politicians kiss their butts on a regular basis.

GD: Well, they don’t own me and I do love a good fight. Eventually, they will think themselves immune and all-powerful and, like Irving, their own…what was your cultivated word? Hubris, yes, hubris. That will bring both of them down. Irving’s fall will be soon forgotten but when the Jews go too far in this country and the public turns against them, which it will, because the Jews never know when to stop, it will be a great fall. It will fall and, as the Bible says in Proverbs, and great will be the fall thereof.

RTC: Not in the near future.

GD: Only God knows that one, Robert, but the end will come there. It always has in the past, always. Look at history and be enlightened.

RTC: I’ll take your word for it.

GD: Why thank you for your confidence, Robert. I hope that when the quicksands close over Irving’s straining face, the last name he mentions as the sand fills his mouth is mine. The Germans call this ‘schadenfreude’ or the joy in the suffering of others but I say that, in German, schadenfreude ist  immer die beste Freude. The joy in the suffering of other is always the best.

RTC: Very Teutonic.

GD: No, very realistic. Unpleasant to contemplate but true. One must strive to attain absolute objectivity, Robert. To let yourself be mired in convention and platitudes is to know nothing. Now you can see why some elements of my co workers in the CIC hated me. I was interested in results and they were interested in cheap booze and third rate pussy.

RTC: And you never drank or womanized?

GD:I did drink sometimes and I have had more than my share of conniving girl friends but never to distraction, Robert, never. Sex, good food, a good bit of classic music, a trip to Euopean museums like the Uffizi are all pleasures but never distractions.

RTC: Yes, I can see why they hate you.

GD: How many times have I quoted Bismarck? Many. Oh yes, many enemies, much honor. I judge a man by the enemies he has. The more and the louder they are, the more I can respect him.  Never them, of course, never. Bleating, whining, snapping mass of vermin-infested sewer rats. By God, Robert, your fellow countryman was right. Dean Swift. Oh yes, Swift was dead on when he came to his literary assaults on the boobery and bipedal rodents. He’s gone, unfortunately, and they still survive, crawling around in the dung and shrieking their hatred of whatever they can not be.

RTC: No, I once said you would be a good agent but I think, on reflection, you would produce wonderful analysis and a legion of enemies.

GD: Fuck them all Robert. In the end, we all are maggot bait but I love to watch them fall off one by one before I do.

(Concluded at 2:38 PM CST)


The American Gestapo

December 11, 2018

by Christian Jürs

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the few surviving members of Hitler’s Gestapo, or Secret State Police, should be gratified that their counterpart, the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, has copied, in detail, the so-called Vertrauns-Leute or V-Leute, program and is now developing it into a very powerful, and relatively unknown, internal surveillance force in the United States. Unlike the Gestapo, who had Communists as their chief enemy to observe, infiltrate and destroy, the FBI program is aimed solely at American citizens who are considered as present, and future, threats to the state.

Before we analyze the FBI program with its nearly sixty thousand reporting members, let us briefly look at its father, the Gestapo’s V program, because in comparing Hitler’s secret internal surveillance program with its huge network of volunteer informers with the FBI program, the parallels will at once become painfully obvious.

The Gestapo, or Geheime-Staats Polizei (Secret State Police) was initially constructed from the political section of Berlin’s civil police force in April of 1933. Given the intensive Communist espionage in the lax Weimar Republic, a number of German law enforcement agencies, such as the Berlin and Bavarian police, had set up sections to deal with this menace.

In Berlin, under the government of Prussia, Hermann Goering, its Prime Minister, set up the Gestapo by enlarging the previous Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt. In 1934, the SS, under Heinrich Himmler and his top intelligence chief, Reinhard Heydrich (Head of the Sicherheitsdienst or SD) assumed control over the Prussian, and later, Bavarian, police. The small Gestapo was put under the control of one Heinrich Müller, a top operative in the political police of Munich. Although Müller had been a devoted enemy of the National Socialists, he was considered by Heydrich as an extremely competent expert in detecting and dealing with the Commniists and other dissident groups. Müller, a member of the Catholic right-wing BVP, organized the small Berlin intelligence agency into a highly competent and efficient arm of detection and repression. With the outbreak of the war in September, 1939, all German police and political police agencies were put under the umbrella of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt…State security main office) and the Gestapo, still under Müller, constituted Amt IV (Bureau IV) of that agency. Although nominally under the control of both Himmler and Heydrich, Müller, a decorated WWI military pilot, was essentially independent and was in complete control of his organization.

At its height, the Gestapo had offices in all the major, and some of the minor, German cities but never had more than thirty-two thousand personnel, to include office workers and field agents, but the effectiveness of the Gestapo lay not only in Müller’s institution of an in-depth national card file on most German citizens but in an enormous network of volunteer informers called ‘V-Leute’ or Vertrauens-Männer (Leute) or trustworthy sources. Politically trustworthy supporters of the Nazi movement were recruited as voluntary, unpaid, reporting sources and could be found in all walks of German civilian and, to a lesser degree, government and military, sectors. These ‘V-Leute’ were given special identity cards, assisted if possible by the Gestapo in the event of civil or criminal legal problems and made privy to various impressive but unimportant Gestapo information. The value of this army of over 75,000 known domestic informers was, without doubt, one of the reasons for the Gestapo’s successes against internal dissident groups. Setting aside malicious denunciations, the V-Leute kept the Gestapo field offices and from them, the central headquarters on the Prinz Albrecht Strasse in Berlin, with an enormous input of often very valuable information.. One of the positive aspects of the activities of this army of domestic voluntary informers was the feeling among the German public that the Gestapo was everywhere, even present, ever observant and this fright quotient was often more than sufficient to quell any anti government sentiments in most of the German population and created  a `self-policing’ society operating within a `consensus dictatorship’

Here is a very brief outline of the structure of the Gestapo that dealt with the input of information from the unpaid but very effective ‘V-Leute’:

Amt IV

Gegnerforschung und                              (Also known as the Geheime Staatspolizei)

Gegnerbekämpfung                                 Under SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller

(Investigation and combatting

of Opposition)

IV A 3

Gesellschaftsspionage                              Combating of espionage in society.

Fahrlässiger Landesverrat                                   Treason through negligence,careless talk,etc.

Spionage                                      Combating of political espionage.

IV A 6

Karteien und Fahndung                            (Card Indexes & Wanted Persons)

IV A 6 a

Kartei und Personalakten                         Card Index, Personal Files


Heinrich Müller, the father of the informant program and the head of the Gestapo almost since its inception, escaped from Germany in 1945 and ended up in Switzerland where he worked as an expert on Communist espionage until 1948 when he was recruited by the CIA’s James Critchfield to work for the CIA, also as an expert in Communist espionage.  In studying the current FBI program, it is very obvious that Müller brought more to Washington than his hat and if the old adage that it is lawful to be taught by an enemy is correct, our own form of the Gestapo, the FBI, certainly and clearly benefited from Müller’s organizational skills.

In 1996, the FBI set up an organization they called the Infragard, which very closely followed the ‘V-Leute’ program:

, ….” the protection of our nation’s infrastructure cannot be accomplished by the federal government alone. It requires coordinated action from numerous stakeholders – including government, the private sector, law enforcement and concerned citizens.” And that: “Each InfraGard chapter is geographically linked with an FBI Field Office, providing all stakeholders immediate access to experts from law enforcement, industry, academic institutions and other federal, state and local government agencies”.

One of the publicly stated aims of this project is that:  “(b)y utilizing the talents and expertise of the InfraGard network, information is shared to mitigate threats to our nation’s critical infrastructures.” This is nearly identical in wording to Müller’s own description of his national informers program and what follows here was lifted, almost verbatim, from his own period analysis: “An InfraGard member is a private-sector volunteer with an inherent concern for national security. Driven to protect their own industry and further motivated to share their professional and personal knowledge to safeguard the country, InfraGard members connect to a national network of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) communicate with federal law enforcement and government agencies through their local InfraGard chapters, and contribute to the security and protection of our national infrastructure from threats and attacks.”

“Critical infrastructures are physical and cyber-based systems that are essential to the minimum operations of the economy and the government (as defined in Presidential Decision Directive/NSC 63, May 1998) Key resources are individual targets whose destruction would not endanger security on a national scales, but would create local disaster or profoundly damage national morale (as defined in Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, December 2003) Together, critical infrastructures and key resources are so vital that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on the defense, economic security, public health or national confidence of the United States.

“InfraGard has SMEs around the country in each of the following 17 categories of critical infrastructures and key resources, as recognized by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan:”

“Critical Infrastructures:

  • Agriculture and Food
  • Banking and Finance
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • Emergency Services
  • Energy
  • Information Technology
  • National Monuments and Icons
  • Postal and Shipping
  • Public Health and Healthcare
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation Systems”

In additional similarity to the earlier Gestapo program of unpaid informers, we learn that the current FBI imitation provides its informers the following benefits:

“The benefits of joining InfraGard include:

> Network with other companies that help maintain our national infrastructure.

> Quick Fact: 350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.

> Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards and much more.

> Learn time-sensitive, infrastructure related security information from government sources such as DHS and the FBI.

> Get invitations and discounts to important training seminars and conferences.

> Best of all, there is no cost to join InfraGard

Our 45000+ membership is voluntary yet exclusive and is comprised of individuals from both the public and private sector. The main goal of the Washington, DC Nations Capital Chapter of InfraGard is to promote ongoing dialogue, education, community outreach and timely communication between public and private members. Furthermore, to achieve and sustain risk-based target levels of capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from all hazards or events, and to minimize their impact on lives, property, and the economy.

InfraGard members gain access to vital information and education that enables them to in turn provide assistance to prevent and address terrorism and other transnational crimes. InfraGard members are provided threat advisories, alerts and warnings and access to a robust secure web-VPN site and e-mail. InfraGard also helps promote an effective liaison with local, state and federal agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security.

The FBI retained InfraGard as an FBI sponsored program, and will work closely with DHS in support of the CIP mission. The FBI will further facilitate InfraGard’s continuing role in CIP activities and further develop InfraGard’s ability to support the FBI’s investigative mission, especially as it pertains to counterterrorism and cyber crimes. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection are currently executing an InfraGard Partnership Program Plan under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2007.

Current Washington Field Office (WFO) cleared InfraGard members are encouraged to register on the Cybercop ExtraNet Portal to validate your affiliation with this chapter.”

There are, of course, suggestions and support concepts available to the informant organization as per this statement: “The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members. Independent of the type of presentation, (interview, brief, or published documentation) the InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should be made aware of the upcoming presentation. The InfraGard member and the FBI representative should agree on the theme of the presentation. The identity of InfraGard members should be protected at all times.”

As of January 1, 2018, there are over 65,000 InfraGard informants organized in 86 chapters in each of the 50 states, operating under the supervision and control of local FBI agents Secretly, and not reported, are branches in foreign countries, to include Britain, France, Italy and Switzerland..

Given the proliferation of anti-government internet sites and the even larger proliferation of conspiracy stories (many the result of government disinfomation) a reader of the above material might well be expected to dismissed most of it as mere self-serving  bombast on the part of persons with a desperate need to be recognized. In response to these entirely legitimate observations, perhaps it should be noted that the italicized quotations above were taken directly from official sources and can be easily seen at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfraGard. This lengthy article, an official overview on a site well-known to be very friendly to governmental needs, is confirmation, not only of the existence of this informant organization but, to a historian, a terrifying parallel with the earlier, and very effective, Gestapo program.

Who are the volunteer informers spying on their co-workers, friends and neighbors? If a volunteer is approved by the FBI, they can join InfraGard but the FBI has put special emphasis on persons connected with the communications sector (to include computers and manufacturers and developers of computer-oriented software and equipment) which contains the major, and often minor, telecommunications firms, national, and international, credit reporting bureaus, the major American members of the national, and international, banking systems, the American credit card companies, American automobile manufacturers (who install GPS, or on-board vehicle tracking systems, in their products) Internet providers, (Internet II is owned and operated by the FBI) a significant number of American Evangelical religious organizations who are often over-eager in their efforts to inform on Unbelieving neighbors, friends and co-workers, the hotel and motel industry, the airlines (whose information base of Americans traveling is considered highly important) and even companies who sell boats and private aircraft. Also, and far more alarming, are a number of teachers, recruited into the service because of the often unsophisticated parental remarks small children can be provoked into repeating to the informant. But not all of these sources of information are the sole purview of the FBI. The question arises as to whether the FBI is alone in its intensive spying on the American public and the response unfortunately is that they are only part of the picture of growing, invasive domestic spying.  There has grown up in the United States, an enormous infrastructure of agencies designed solely to spy on the American public and a discussion of some of these might now be in order.

First, and foremost, there is the National Security Agency (NSA) Created by President Truman in 1952, during the Korean War, the NSA is charged with protecting the United States from foreign security threats. The agency was considered so secret that for years the government refused to even confirm its existence. Government insiders used to joke that NSA stood for “No Such Agency

Since early 1996, the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data voluntarily provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth,. The NSA also down-loads any and all information gleaned from its control, or penetration, of global communications satellites. In a word, the NSA can, and does, automatically record all overseas telephone conversations for all sources. It is the goal of the NSA to “create a database of every call ever made” by or to any American resident. To achieve this end, and it should be noted that Müller’s Gestapo had identical systems in place during the life of the Third Reich. This also includes bank transfer data, diplomatic traffic and other interesting information. The Bush administration used the NSA to spy on U.N. diplomats in New York before the invasion of Iraq..President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitor private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003. As well as the diplomatically-secure UN, the National Security Agency (NSA), on the orders of the Bush administration, eavesdropped on the private conversations and e-mail of its own employees, employees of other U.S. intelligence agencies — including the CIA and DIA — and their contacts in the media, Congress, and oversight agencies and offices.

AT&T , once the sole national provider of telephone service, merged with SBC and kept the AT&T name. Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T are the nation’s three biggest telecommunications companies; between them they provide local and wireless phone service to more than 200 million customers.

The three carriers control vast networks with the latest communications technologies. They provide an array of services: local and long-distance calling, wireless and high-speed broadband, including video. Their direct access to millions of homes and businesses has them uniquely positioned to help the government keep tabs on the calling habits of Americans.

Although under Section 222 of the Communications Act, first passed in 1934, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers’ calling habits: violations of Federal law are quite acceptable, if carried out by official stool pigeons and with grateful acceptance. Also, all incoming calls, as well as wireless calls, are subject to being covered.

The financial penalties for violating Section 222, one of many privacy reinforcements that have been added to the law over the years, can be stiff. The Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s top telecommunications regulatory agency, can levy fines of up to $130,000 per day per violation, with a cap of $1.325 million per violation. The FCC has no hard definition of “violation.” In practice, that means a single “violation” could cover one customer or 1 million and the NSA has made clear that it was willing to pay for the cooperation. AT&T, which at the time was headed by C. Michael Armstrong, agreed to help the NSA. So did BellSouth, headed by F. Duane Ackerman; SBC, headed by Ed Whitacre; and Verizon, headed by Ivan Seidenberg.have proven to be gold mines of intimate secrets for the FBI. Although several lawsuits have been filed against these cooperating communication giants, they have all been quickly dismissed by cooperative Federal judged before they could get to the potentially dangerous discovery process whereby unwelcome information could become public

The Office of Terrorism Analysis[ supports the National Counterterrorism Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.. Previously, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) oversaw the Intelligence Community, serving as the president’s principal intelligence advisor, additionally serving as head of the CIA. The DCI’s title now is “Director of the Central Intelligence Agency” (DCIA), serving as head of the CIA.

At the present time, the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to the establishment of the DNI, the CIA reported to the President, with informational briefings to congressional committees. The National Security Advisor is a permanent member of the National Security Council, responsible for briefing the President with pertinent information collected by all US intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, etc. All sixteen acknowledged Intelligence Community agencies (and five more whose names and activities are considered to be too secret to divulge) are under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence.The National Clandestine Service (NCS) (formerly known as the Directorate of Operations) is the main United States intelligence agency for coordinating human intelligence (HUMINT) services. The organization absorbed the entirety of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s Directorate of Operations, and also coordinates HUMINT between the CIA and other agencies, including, but not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Diplomatic Security Service, Defense Intelligence Agency, Air Intelligence Agency, Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, and Office of Naval Intelligence. The current Director of the NCS is Michael Sulick. The Director of the NCS reports to the CIA Director.

The creation of the NCS was officially announced in a press release on 13 October 2005. The NCS was created by a bill from US Senator Pat Roberts in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The investigation by the 9/11 Commission reported that HUMINT had been severely degraded in the past two decades, principally because of the end of the Cold War and because of startling revelations about CIA operations uncovered by the investigations of the Church Committee of the US Senate.

The NCS has analogues in the National Security Agency (signals intelligence), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The National Security Service (NSS) within the Federal Bureau of Investigation was created June 29, 2005, by President George W. Bush through the Executive Order (EO) entitled “Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters.”

Gary M. Bald, Director

Philip Mudd, Deputy Director

The basis for the creation of a National Security Service is documented in the FBI paper “National Security: FBI or MI-5?” from the “Report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, Chapter 10: Intelligence at Home: The FBI, Justice, and Homeland Security, pp. 466-67, March 31, 2005.”

The National Security Service “pulls together the Counterintelligence Division, the Counterterrorism Division, and the Directorate of Intelligence, enabling it to act together to develop intelligence and then to act on that intelligence, in consultation with not only Department of Justice but also the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).” June 29, 2005, DoJ Briefing Paper.

Also see: Memorandum: “Strengthening the Ability of the Department of Justice to Meet Challenges to the Security of the Nation,” White House, June 29, 2005.

TALON is the acronym for Threat and Local Observation Notice. “To track alleged ‘domestic terrorist threats against the military,’ the Pentagon is created a new database that contained raw, non-validated’ reports of anomalous activities within the United States Talon was intended to provide a means to gather and disseminate reports from volunteer ‘concerned citizens’

In 2002, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “designated it as the DoD “standard for reporting suspicious activity.” The Department of Homeland Security, ever eager to enlarge it own domestic citizenry files, declared that; “ TALON as a template within the emerging Protect America homeland defense information sharing system.”

“Talon reports grew out of a program called Eagle Eyes, an anti-terrorist program established by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations that ‘enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and citizens in the war on terror,’ according to the program’s Web site. A Pentagon spokesman recently described Eagle Eyes as a ‘neighborhood watch’ program for military bases. The Air Force inspector general newsletter in 2003 said program informants include ‘Air Force family members, contractors, off-base merchants, community organizations and neighborhoods’,” Walter Pincus reported in the December 11, 2005, Washington Post.

In April 2007, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence requested that the Secretary of Defense terminate the TALON program because the results of the last year do not merit continuing the program as currently constituted, particularly in light of its image in the Congress and the media.

Operation TIPS, Terrorism Information and Prevention System, was a program designed at the specific order of  President George W. Bush to have United States citizens report suspicious activity on the part of their co-workers, neighbors and family members. US workers who had access to private citizens’ homes, such as cable installers and telephone repair workers, would be reporting on what was in people’s homes if it were deemed suspicious to them. A packet of what was deemed suspicious was to be supplied to each informer. (A copy of this is in the author’s possession and borders on the idiotic) The United States Postal Service, after at first supportive of the program, later resisted its personnel being included in this program, reasoning that if mail carriers became perceived as law enforcement personnel that they would be placed in danger at a level for which they could not reasonably be expected to be prepared, and that the downside of the program hence vastly outweighed any good that it could accomplish. The National Association of Letter Carriers, a postal labor union, was especially outspoken in its opposition. Although the TIPS program was officially cancelled in 2002, on June 30, 2008, the Denver Post reported that 181 individuals, including police officers, paramedics, firefighters, utility workers, and railroad employees had been trained as Terrorism Liaison Officers to report suspicious information which could be signs of terrorist activity and that while Congress had specifically forbidden its implementation, it was still very much active. The article also stated that TLOs were already active in six other states and the District of Columbia.

The final version of the anti-terrorism legislation, the ‘Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism’ (H.R. 3162, the “USA PATRIOT Act”) puts the Central Intelligence Agency back in the business of spying on Americans. It permits a vast array of information gathering on U.S. citizens from school records, financial transactions, Internet activity, telephone conversations, information gleaned from grand jury proceedings and criminal investigations to be shared with the CIA (and other non-law enforcement officials) even if it pertains to Americans. The information would be shared without a court order. The bill also gives the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, acting in his capacity as head of the Intelligence Community, enormous power to manage the collection and dissemination of intelligence information gathered in the U.S. This new authority supercedes existing guidelines issued to protect Americans from unwarranted surveillance by U.S. agencies such as the FBI.







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