TBR News December 23, 2015

Dec 23 2015

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. December 23, 2015: “The Republican Party is boiling like a pot of stew over the persona of Donald Trump. The liberal and left-wing media, both here and abroad, constantly denigrates him and implies that his percentages are dropping even as they write. In truth, Trump is rapidly gaining support among the working and middle classes, those unemployed due entirely to American industry shipping its production lines to overseas cheap labor. The muddle-headed twits that control the American intelligence activities have made such a mess of the Syrian business that they have not only lost America face but are contributing to the rise of Russia’s Putin as a world-leader. Continuing sanctions against Russia will only drive her into increasing production of needed supplies and the surplus can be sold on the world market. America produces nothing now except for car batteries and decorated cat boxes. This is due to the stupidity and greed of the Beltway inhabitants who ought to have their government pay checks gift wrapped.”

Conversations with the Crow

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

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

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

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

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



Conversation No. 38

Date: Friday, September 27, 1996

Commenced: 11:05 AM CST

Concluded: 11:21 AM CST

RTC: Gregory, I see that the material you got from God knows where about the Clintons is causing real havoc here. Were you aware of that? GD: One has hopes, Robert, hopes. What kind of havoc? RTC: Well, it might be a well-kept secret but it turns out to be perfectly true. It’s gotten all over the place. I had two people call me to give me disjointed reports. People can read a simple sentence and then mix it all up when they try to repeat it.

GD: I know. In the main, camels are smarter and they smell better. I hope the Clinton’s like my little sendings. I did the same thing to Cranston earlier on.

RTC: I recall you discussing this with me. You know, I have gotten so disillusioned with some of these people that I really ought to dig into things and send my more material. By the way, did you get the Angleton papers?

GD: Oh, I did but I didn’t want to discuss them on the phone. My God, Angleton was tapping all the phones there, wasn’t he? RTC: Oh he did. Jim was convinced that everyone was spying on him and in the end, what with tapping the phones of the DCI, the President and God alone know how many bankers, stock brokers, poor Ollie North and so on he had so much data he got a bit out of his head.

GD: Such criminals they are. Thieving, lying, corrupt assholes, all of them. We trust these bank CEOs and heads of major companies, not to mention our top leadership, that I am certain if I released all of Angleton’s material, there would be great trouble. We would see the heads of the Federal Reserve running for Rio before the storm of public opinion. The public, myself included, thinks the Fed is a government operation while it is not.  Private operation all the way

RTC: Yes, and run by the Jews for the Jews. The famous Bank of New York is a Jewish operation who works with the Russian Mafia to launder money. The FBI knows all about this but Clinton says hands off.

GD: No doubt his wife is behind that. I think her background needs to be exposed.

RTC: And how could you do that? The press would never handle it so you would have to send out thousands of letters. That takes time and costs money. No one really cares here, at least in public. But, as I say, your little surprises have stirred up real comment. Of course, it will never go any further than the cocktail circuit.

GD: No, but in your city, that rules, doesn’t it?

RTC: Oh, it does, it truly does. Given your particular talents, Gregory, I don’t doubt that you could start a war if you got loose on the cocktail circuit. Inside the Beltway, everyone wants to be in the know so if they hear some malicious gossip, they will tell their friends that a certain top government official casually told them this. This place is a pressure cooker, filled with liars, babblers and deadbeats. When I say you could raise hell here, of course, I do not include you in any of the above categories.

GD: No, no offense. Are the Kimmel types still calling you about how evil I am? RTC: I think once they discovered that I passed their names and telephone numbers on to you, it all stopped. Kimmel himself is horrified that I talk to you and he told Bill that he was afraid I might say or do something you could run with. If they only knew. I know Trento has made a deal with Langley that when I am dead and gone, he will get all my papers…and of course give them what they don’t want out. Joe will be satisfied with some useless cruimbe. But when he finds out all the important material is gone with the wind, I imagine he will get on the horn down there and there will by attempts to find out what you have. They know what you will do with it.

GD: What did General Sherman say? Publish and be damned? Something like that. I kept some of this material in footlockers in my bedroom until common sense dictated that I ought to find a safer place for it.

RTC: And what if someone breaks in? Unofficially, that is.

GD: Why I would kill them very dead, Robert. And after I took a sharp axe to their head, I would put a knife in their lifeless hands, call the police and tell them I caught a burglar who tried to kill me. I suppose his friends down the street would find it expedient to drive off. If I did that, I would frisk the stiff and remove any identification. Maybe that way he’d find himself in a cheap wooden box out in potter’s field.

RTC: Think of the family. Whatever happened to the breadwinner?

GD: Well, they can comfort themselves with the thought that he is feeding the environment. Helping the worms feed and the grass grow. One time when I became aware that someone was getting into my place and drinking my really good brandy, I poured some old Mr. Boston swill into a good bottle and added some rat poison. Came back from a trip and found vomit and shit all over the entrance hall but no perp. Probably died outside.

RTC: Old Rough on Rats! Terrible, Gregory. I remember that. ‘They Die Outside’ was the motto.

GD: In this case, he probably did but I never heard a word.

RTC: One would think that he didn’t get far.

GD: Agreed. Maybe his friends came and got him. Must have stunk up the car something terrible. Anyway, my brandy was safe. Croton oil is even better. They usually don’t die but there is nothing like a prolapsed rectum to keep a man on his toes.

RTC: (Laughter) No, I suppose not.

GD: I remember once my idiot sister was dating a policeman and I did not like him in our house. Used to give me a hard time and ate up all the candy from the coffee table. I bought a box of Awful Fresh MacFarlane’s soft mints, injected a mixture of croton oil and peppermint extract into all of them and left them in the dish. Bugger gobbled all of them down and then rushed to the back bathroom where it sounded like a drunken hippo thrashing around in a mud flat. After the ambulance came, I replaced the loaded mints with real ones and the next day when his friends came over, they found wonderful, fresh and harmless candy. Of course he never came over to the house again.

RTC: I would think that was wise of him.

GD: My idiot sister told me that he carried one of those tiny life rings around for months. I imagine his anus looked like the sun setting over some tropical island. Flaming red.

RTC: I hope your sister didn’t eat any.

GD: No, that was safe. Booze, yes, but not candy. They probably figured he had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Say, I just remembered a lovely joke I played on my favorite Chop Suey emporium. I got a friend of mine, dressed him up in a coverall and had him walk in the front door of a local Chinese eatery with a live cat in a cage. Through the dining room and right into the kitchen. Of course out the back door before the kitchen staff could grab the cat for the Sunday special. I am told a number of people left at once and never came back. The place closed down about a month later.

RTC: (Laughter)  A man of creative action.

GD: Sometimes. If I couldn’t laugh at the cesspit, I might go mad. Or I could go to the Jockey Club and stuff a wiggling cockroach into the Caesar salad. Well, back to reading the Bible to the cats, Robert.


(Concluded 11:21 AM CST)


Kids’ Questions on a Lockdown Planet: Thinking the Parentally Unthinkable

by Frida Berrigan


“What did you do at school today, Seamus?” It’s a question I ask him everyday.

“Well,” my proud preschooler begins, “we did not have a lockdown drill today.” And that’s about as far as he gets in the art of storytelling. Sometimes I’ll get something about “bim” (gym) or how “Bambi” (Jeremy) pinched him during free play. But the thing that preoccupies my precocious three year old every single day he goes to school is the lockdown drill he and his classmates had in their first month of school.

At a parent-teacher conference in November, my husband Patrick and I got a fuller picture of this episode from his teacher. When the lockdown began, she says, Seamus and his classmates were in the hall on their way to the library. Amid the clangs, they sought refuge in the gymnasium closet. Eighteen kids and two teachers sitting crisscross applesauce on its floor amid racks of balls and hula hoops. Seamus, she tells us, sat on her lap with his fingers in his mouth and cried the entire time.

“Does he talk about it at home?” she asks.

“It’s as though nothing else happens at school,” my husband replies. “He talks about lockdown drills all the time.”

She informs us that the drills happen about once a month, and that Seamus remains easily startled long after they’re over, running for shelter between an adult’s legs whenever he hears loud noises in the classroom.

At that moment — not exactly one of my proudest — I burst into tears. I just couldn’t square my son’s loving exuberance and confidence in the people around him with the sheer, teeth-hurting terror of children being stalked by an armed killer through the halls of The Friendship School. How, after all, do you practice for the unthinkable? This is a subject that’s been on my mind since I was hardly older than he is now.  I look over at him playing contently with his sisters, Madeline, almost two, and Rosena, almost nine, so proud to share his classroom with them.

“At home,” I tell the teacher through my tears, “we chant ‘Gun Control, Not Lockdown Drills!’ whenever he talks about them.” And then I add, “It makes me so angry that he and his friends have to go through this trauma and the big men get to keep their right to bear assault weapons. He should be scared of lockdown drills. They sound terrible. He shouldn’t have to practice surviving a mass killing episode at one of his favorite places in the whole wide world.” I wipe my tears away, but they just keep coming.

Our kids ask us all sorts of questions. Why? Why? Why? They are tiny existentialists. Why is the sky blue? Why do people die? Why does grass grow? They regularly demand that we explain the world to them. Good luck!

His teacher is so earnest and so young and I feel so brittle and so extreme as I cry, folded into one of the small seats at a quarter-sized table in her cheerful classroom. “I am sorry,” I finally say.

“No, no, its okay,” she replies with all the kind politeness a teacher learns. “It is hard,” she continues, “but this is real. We have to practice for this kind of thing.”

Thinking the Unthinkable

I wonder, of course. I know that so much of this is based on fears — not quite irrational but blown out of all proportion — that have been woven into our American world. My husband reminds me of how his parents’ generation had to practice surviving a nuclear attack by doing “duck and cover” drills under their desks. I was too young to duck and cover, but my parents were ardent anti-nuclear activists with no inhibitions about describing to a child just what such a war would mean so I learned to be terrified of nuclear war at a very young age.

I came to believe that the only thing keeping Soviet and American intercontinental ballistic missiles from decimating our cities was the activism, organizing, and witness of my parents and their small band of friends and fellow travelers. We would stand in front of the Pentagon — this was in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s — holding up signs with slogans like “You can’t hide from a nuclear bomb” and the old symbol for a fallout shelter printed below it. I was taught that there could be no security, no safety in a world full of nuclear weapons, that the only way to be safe was to get rid of them.

Imagine how I feel all these years later in a world still chock-a-block full of sucweapons. These days, I wonder why the fear of them has disappeared, while the weaponry remains. Is that better or worse for Seamus’s generation? And what about our present set of fears? What about our twenty-first-century whys?

Assuming there are more Adam Lanzas out there (and there obviously are), that more gun shops will sell ever more implements of rapid-fire death and destruction, and that more gun lobbyists and promoters will continue to cling to this “God-given, constitutionally enshrined right,” my son does need to endure more lockdown drills.

The consensus of school security experts is certainly that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (only 80 miles from our house), would have been much worse if the students and teachers hadn’t been practicing for exactly the nightmare scenario that struck on December 14, 2012.

But how can I explain any of this to my little boy when it makes no sense to me? When it makes no sense, period?

Why? Why? Why? As a kid, I got an earful every time I asked that question. My parents were comfortable exposing my brother, sister, and me to the horrors of our world. In first or second grade, my activist parents involved me in a UNICEF slide show about world hunger. We would go to churches and schools where I would recite the script, full of sad (and still, sadly, largely on the mark) statistics about how children throughout the world suffer from malnutrition. I could tell you why kids were hungry all over the world, since my mom had tacked on a conclusion to the slide show that lay the blame squarely on the U.S. military-industrial complex.

My parents did, however, try to protect me from what they found most fearsomely destructive in American life.  We were not allowed to watch television, except for the evening news (somewhat less hysterical than today but no less bleak). Like any self-respecting American kid, I would always ask, “Why no TV?” and always get the same answer. “Because it teaches racism, sexism, and consumerism, because it fills your head with wants, because it gets in the way of your own imagination and creativity.”

So instead of Knight Rider or The Cosby Show, we watched black and white documentaries about Hiroshima and Nagasaki projected onto our living room wall. I couldn’t tell you about the latest plot twists on Full House, but I could tell you why nuclear weapons were wrong. Those grainy images of destroyed cities, burnt skin, and scarred faces were etched into my young brain by the age of five. My heroines were two young anti-nuclear activists. Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who contracted leukemia after the atomic bombing. She folded hundreds of paper cranes as a prayer for healing and peace before dying at the age of 12. Samantha Smith, a young girl from Maine, wrote to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov with a plea for peace. He, in turn, invited her to tour the Soviet Union where she connected deeply with young Russians. She died in a plane crash at the age of 13.

I wonder now about my childhood fears. They helped me support and believe in the anti-nuclear work of my parents. But nightmares, morbid fascinations with young martyrs, a fixation on the tick-tockings of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock — these are not things that I want to pass on to the next generation. I guess I’m happy that they don’t know what nuclear weapons are (yet) and it’s one more thing I’m not looking forward to explaining to them.

The questions are already coming fast and furious these days and they are only going to multiply. We have to try — I have to try — to answer them as best we — I — can. It’s a precious facet of parenting, the opportunity to explain, educate about, and even expound upon the wonders and horrors of this world of ours, and it’s a heavy responsibility. Who wants to explain the hard stuff? But if we don’t, others surely will. In these early years, our kids turn to us first, but if we can’t or won’t answer their questions, how long will they keep asking them?

Why do we practice lockdown drills? Why do people kill kids? Why is there war? Why are all those weapons, the nuclear ones and the assault rifles alike, still here?

Why Do the Police Kill People?”

At some preschools, it’s protocol to explain lockdown drills in terms of preparing in case a stinky skunk gets into the building. No one wants to get sprayed by a stinky skunk, do they?

Somehow, and I can’t tell you quite why, this seems to me almost worse than the truth. At Seamus’ school, they don’t talk explicitly about an armed intruder, but they do make a distinction between fire drills where they evacuate the building and “keeping safe from a threat” by “hiding” in it.

In the month since our parent-teacher meeting, Seamus has endured another lockdown drill and our country has continued to experience mass shooting events — San Bernardino and Colorado Springs being just the most horrific. While at breakfast, Patrick and I read the news about healthcare offices and social service agencies turned into abattoirs, and yet we speak about such things only in code over granola and yogurt. It’s as if we have an unspoken agreement not to delve into this epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings with our kids.

Still, it’s strange not to talk about this one subject when we talk openly in front of our children about so much else: Iraq and Afghanistan, the Syrian refugee crisis, hunger and homelessness, Guantánamo and climate change. We usually welcome their whys and jump over each other to explain. Patrick is much better at talking in a way that they can all take in. I forget myself easily and slip into lecture mode (next slide, please).

After the police killings of Lashano Gilbert (tased to death in our town of New London, Connecticut), Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray, we took the kids to candlelight vigils and demonstrations, doing our best to answer all Seamus’s questions. “Why do the police kill people?” followed, of course, by “Are they going to kill me?” Then we somehow had to explain white privilege to a three year old and how the very things that we encouraged in him — curiosity, openness, questioning authority — were the things black parents were forced to discourage in their sons to keep them from getting killed by police.

And then, of course, came the next inevitable “Why?” (the same one I’m sure we’ll hear for years to come).  And soon enough, we were trying desperately to untangle ourselves from the essentially unintelligible — for such a young child certainly, but possibly the rest of us as well — when it came to the legacy of slavery and racism and state violence in explaining to our little white boy why he doesn’t need to cry every time he sees a police officer.

And then came the next “Why?” and who wouldn’t think sooner or later that the real answer to all of his whys (and our own) is simply, “Because it’s nuts!  And we’re nuts!” I mean, really, where have we ended up when our answer to him is, in essence: “Don’t worry, you’re white!”

And then, of course, there’s the anxiety I have about how he’ll take in any of this and how he might talk about it in his racially diverse classroom — the ridiculous game of “telephone” that he could play with all the new words and fragments of concepts rattling around in his brain.

My stepdaughter Rosena was a kindergartner when Adam Lanza killed those 20 little kids and six adults in their school just 80 miles west of us. Her school upped its security protocols, instituted regular drills, and provided parents and caregivers with resources on how to talk to their children about what happened. For five and six year olds, they advised not initiating such a conversation, nor allowing them to watch TV or listen to the radio news about the massacre. (Not exactly the easiest thing in our 24/7 media moment.)  They also suggested responding to questions only in the most general terms. Basically, we were to sit tight and hope our kids didn’t get enough information to formulate a why.

Good luck on that these days, but sometimes I do wish the same for myself. No news, sit tight, and pretend nothing’s going on. After all, like so many of our present American fears, the fear that my kids are going to be gunned down in their classrooms is pretty irrational, right? Such school shootings don’t exactly happen often. Just because one did occur relatively near here three years ago doesn’t mean pre-schools and elementary schools are systematically under attack, yes?

Unlike so many people on this planet, we don’t live in a war zone (if you put aside the global destructiveness of nuclear weapons). And given the yearly figures on death-by-vehicle in this country, my kids are unbelievably safer in school, any school, than they are in the back seat of my own car any day of the week, right?

Of course, there’s another problem lurking here and it’s mine. I’m not there. My three-year-old son is having scary experiences and I’m not there to walk him through them. And then there are those lockdown drills and what they are preparing him for. They couldn’t be creepier. They’re a reminder not just to our children but to their parents that, after a fashion, we may indeed be living in a kind of war zone. In 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 33,636 people were killed by guns in this country; in that same year, 127 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

Some Questions Are Easier Than Others

Why is the sky blue? I have no idea, but it takes only a minute of Googling to find out that it has something to do with the way air molecules scatter more blue light than red light. Why do people die? Because no one can live forever, because they get sick and their bodies get old and their organs don’t work any more and then we cry because we miss them and love them, but they live on, at least until our own memories go. Why does grass grow? Well, Google it yourself.

The problem, however, is with the most human of questions, the ones that defy Googling and good sense — or any sense we may have of the goodness of humanity. And maybe, kids, we just have to wrestle together with those as best we can in this truly confusing world. 

And keep one thing in mind: the very same litany of questions our kids never stop asking and that we struggle to answer, or wonder whether to answer at all, is always running like some strange song through our own adult heads as well, largely unanswered.

Why this particular world? Why this particular way? Why now?

Why? Why? Why?



Turkey ‘officially acknowledges’ attack on Su-24 was a planned step – Russian MoD

December 23. 2015


A recent statement by a Turkish official revealing detailed awareness of Russian Air Force sorties in Syria can be regarded as “official acknowledgment” that the operation to down the Su-24 was a planned step, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said.

When on November 24 the Turkish fighter jet treacherously fired a rocket at our Su-24, the Turkish General Staff was perfectly aware about when and where our two bombers would be carrying out their mission,” ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists on Wednesday.

The statement recently made by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus in which he provides information on Russian sorties in Syria, “can be regarded as official acknowledgment by Turkey that the operation to destroy the Russian jet in Syria and kill Russian soldiers was a planned step,” he said.

Ankara’s awareness of Russian military operations in Syria confirms that all intelligence given to the US under the memorandum signed between the two countries and regulating the operations of their air forces in Syria was passed to the Turkish General Staff, he added.

Russia strikes 1,000+ terror targets in Syria over 6 days

Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force has conducted 302 sorties targeting 1,093 terrorist targets from December 18-23, the ministry spokesman said. The strikes were carried out in Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, Homs and Deir ez-Zor provinces.

Russian Su-34 jets destroyed two oil storage facilities and three installations for oil extraction located in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor region, he said. The jets also targeted a command post discovered by Russian drones in Aleppo province.

In Idlib province, a terrorist training camp was destroyed by Russian strikes, Konashenkov said.

According to the intelligence obtained on the camp, the terrorists who arrived there via Turkey also included CIS citizens. The information was provided by the Syrian opposition.

Amnesty’s report full of ‘cliches,’ includes no evidence

Speaking about the report published on Wednesday by Amnesty International, Konashenkov said it includes no facts, only “clichés” and groundless accusations.

The NGO’s report accused Russia of failing to acknowledge it carried out strikes that “killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas.” The report was based on eyewitness testimonies and videos “showing the aftermath of the attacks,” the human rights group said.

Amnesty concluded the attacks were “identified as suspected Russian air strikes” after analyzing the material. It also suggested the attacks “may have violated international humanitarian law and may, in some circumstances, constitute war crimes.”

Konashenkov said there is nothing new in the report and the most striking thing are the words “seem” and “appear,” which are used to describe the reports of the so-called “Russian attacks.”

The report consists of “continuous assumptions, without any evidence,” he said. Some of the Western media which published the report did so without specifying it included assumptions and instead presented them as “hard facts,” Konashenkov added.

His report “confidently states that there were no military targets or militants in areas targeted by alleged Russian air strikes,” he said.

He refuted claims made by Amnesty that the Russian Air Force is using cluster bombs.

He noted that dozens of journalists who visited Russia’s Kheimim base in Latakia and filmed the jets preparing for sorties “have never presented footage or asked questions about them because there are no such weapons at our base.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that the organization “cannot independently confirm the cases presented” in the Amnesty report, according to his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.


Shenzhen Landslide Casts Shadow Over China’s Success Story

December 23, 2015

by Neil Gough

New York Times

SHENZHEN, China — With little more than an architect’s drawing and a sales pitch to go by, Tim Chen paid around $500,000 last month for a small apartment being built above a shopping mall on the outskirts of this southern Chinese metropolis.

I wanted to grab a larger unit in the first batch that went on sale, but I didn’t grab fast enough,” he said in the lobby of the development’s salesroom, echoing an urgency that has gripped many buyers in recent months.

Even as the broader Chinese economy has slowed and as housing values have slumped across much of China, the Shenzhen juggernaut has continued to barrel ahead. High-tech start-ups replaced the factories that had made the city a pioneering showcase of Chinese-style capitalism. Millions of young people moved here from across the country. Construction is everywhere, with prices of new homes surging.

But Sunday’s deadly landslide in Shenzhen, in which a man-made mountain of dirt and construction debris collapsed, is exposing the weaknesses in China’s rapid growth. Disregard for safety standards and environmental regulations remains common despite growing risks, as demonstrated in the Shenzhen disaster, which buried or toppled dozens of buildings and left scores of people missing.

In Jiazitang village, on the outskirts of Shenzhen, Li Xiuhua, a 21-year-old migrant worker, complained on Wednesday about a deserted construction project next door.

No one seems to care about this construction site anymore,” Ms. Li said, pointing to the heaps of rubble and construction waste alongside the road. “Since I moved here two years ago, the construction has been stopped and no one has come to clear away this waste.”

The landslide in Shenzhen casts a dark shadow over what had come to epitomize the China story, a gleaming metropolis of 11 million people, where only 3.3 million are registered as locals. The migrant city, which did not exist a few decades ago, even seemed to defy the country’s current economic problems.

In November, prices of new homes contracted in 49 of the 70 cities included in the main official survey of the market, data released on Friday showed. Prices in metropolises like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai fared better than in most places, rising 8 percent to 13 percent from a year earlier.

But Shenzhen is in a category of its own. Home prices soared 44 percent last month, the fastest rise in any Chinese city since the official survey began in its current form, in 2011.

The property market has become a vexing political issue at the highest levels. This month, the Politburo of the governing Communist Party announced plans to address an enormous housing overstock nationally, including relaxing restrictions on internal migration to help create demand for homes in outlying cities.

But the frenzy in Shenzhen highlights the difficulties that China faces as it tries to manage a crucial engine of the economy.

The runaway expansion in real estate and construction in recent years — and their slowdown more recently — has led to serious problems with industrial overcapacity and rising debt. In the Shenzhen disaster, the deadly mound of debris was created to fix another problem, the haphazard and sometimes dangerous dumping of dirt and construction waste.

Compared with the rest of China, “Shenzhen has a much higher reputation for dotting its i’s and crossing its t’s, and being much more business-friendly,” said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University HSBC Business School who has been based in Shenzhen for nearly seven years. “At the same time, I’m not surprised something like this happened, because even in Shenzhen buildings are just flying up.”

Shenzhen is the ultimate symbol of modern China’s economic transformation.

The city, which was only a coastal fishing village when the country started reopening to the world in the late 1970s, leapfrogged ahead of China’s other metropolises on the path of capitalism thanks to its status as a special economic zone, separated from the rest of the country by an internal border. Tax breaks, cheap land and proximity to Hong Kong lured foreign investment. Many millions of migrants from other parts of China provided an able supply of low-cost labor.

In recent years, the area has also transitioned more smoothly than others to the latest phase in China’s development, a growth model that revolves around services and consumer spending. The factories churning out lower-value products like garments and shoes are closing down, relocating inland or heading to cheaper destinations like Southeast Asia and Bangladesh.

In their place, dynamic companies have arisen to cater to China’s rising consumer classes. Tencent, the social messaging and online gaming behemoth, counts Shenzhen as its home base. So do DJI, the world’s biggest consumer drone maker; Citic Securities, heralded as China’s answer to Goldman Sachs despite falling under scrutiny recently; the Ping An Group, an insurance and financial conglomerate; and China Vanke, one of the country’s biggest homebuilders.

The transformation is evident in places like Longhua, where the housing development Unitown is under construction. For decades, the district was part of greater Shenzhen. But it sat on the less-developed side of the internal border that separated the core economic zone downtown from the rest of the city, a barrier that migrant workers from outside Shenzhen were restricted from crossing.

But in the five years since Shenzhen’s internal border controls were abandoned, Longhua evolved into a thriving residential suburb.

An office worker who would provide only her given name, Xia, recently bought a large three-bedroom apartment at Unitown. She and her husband are upgrading from a smaller unit in the same district, where she has lived for about a decade. Their son will be able to walk to school in a few minutes.

We only looked for apartments in Longhua, because it’s so convenient,” she said. Because of rapidly rising prices, she had to take out a larger mortgage. “That puts a lot of pressure on me,” Xia said.

Shenzhen’s housing market has always been considerably more volatile than that of most of the rest of the country.

Shenzhen has the least amount of state-owned land of any major Chinese city, and that makes it hard for the government to direct market prices by controlling the supply of land available for development,” said Michael Cole, an expert on the Chinese property market who operates the industry website Mingtiandi. “The government in Shenzhen also appears less strict in the way that they interpret and enforce home purchase restrictions.”

China’s central bank moved in March to ease restrictions in most cities that require buyers of second homes to make a down payment of up to 70 percent of the value of the home, lowering the threshold to 40 percent. But in first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen, where housing demand remains high, those restrictions are supposed to remain largely in place.

However, in interviews, many realtors and home buyers in Shenzhen said those restrictions had generally been relaxed for people who are buying a second home because they intended to upgrade.

Shenzhen’s is the freest market in China,” said Zhang Jianwei, a sales agent at Colorful Garden, a new development of more than 500 apartments in the city center.

Prices rise the fastest, but also fall the fastest,” he added. “It’s capitalism first.”

Adam Wu contributed research from Shenzhen.


Turkish tanks pound Kurdish militants in week-long military campaign

December 22, 2015

by Seyhmus Cakan


DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkish tanks on Tuesday pounded Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in Cizre, a southeastern town at the heart of a large-scale military operation that the army said has killed 127 Kurdish militants in a week.

Black smoke rose from buildings in the town after shelling from hilltops, Reuters TV footage showed, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said at least 23 civilians had been killed in the violence.

A prosecutor opened an investigation against HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, two other HDP lawmakers and two senior Kurdish politicians. They are accused of violating anti-terrorism laws and encouraging criminal activity at a press conference last week where Demirtas urged Kurdish citizens to “resist” the operations.

Turkish lawmakers cannot be prosecuted unless parliament first strips them of their immunity.

Clashes have forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in Sur, a historic district of the region’s largest city Diyarbakir, which has been under curfew for three weeks, CNN Turk said, citing a report prepared by the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP).

Turkish security forces launched a new offensive in the mainly Kurdish region last week, backed by tanks and thousands of troops, after President Tayyip Erdogan pledged to root out militants.

The towns of Cizre and Silopi, bordering Iraq and Syria, have been the focus of the campaign. Images on state media from Sur have shown Turkish troops patrolling rubble-strewn streets among buildings riddled with bullet holes.

A two-year ceasefire between the PKK and Ankara fell apart in July, shattering peace talks and reviving a conflict that has afflicted Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast for three decades, killing more than 40,000 people.

The PKK, which launched its insurgency in 1984, is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Traditionally focused on the countryside, the PKK has shifted to southeastern towns, setting up barricades and digging trenches to keep security forces away.

Demirtas said the campaign was targeting locals who were presented as “terrorists”.

“We stand by our people who resist the tanks and shelling,” he said before leaving for Moscow on a visit criticised by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey and Russia have been at odds since Ankara downed a Russian jet involved in operations against rebels in Syria last month, saying it had violated Turkish air space.


Many towns are under curfew and electricity has been cut in many Silopi districts as transformers have been damaged. Food and water was running scarce in some Diyarbakir districts, while shopkeepers kept shutters closed in protest at the security operations, residents said.

Ferhat Encu, an HDP lawmaker for Sirnak, said on Twitter that the bodies of those killed in clashes in Silopi were being kept in houses due to the curfew.

The Kurdish Islamist party Huda-Par, usually sympathetic to the ruling AK Party, said security forces were taking positions inside civilian houses, including those of two party members, against the residents’ will, therefore making them a target.

“Due to the curfew, our members and their families cannot leave their house and move to a safer place and therefore have become targets for bullets,” a party statement said. It added that entering people’s homes by force, whether by the state or the PKK, was trespassing and “unacceptable”.

On Tuesday, a Turkish soldier was killed in Bitlis, the army said, during an operation that killed two PKK militants.

(Additional reporting by Melih Aslan; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk and Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Mark Heinrich)


Poland’s former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa has criticized the new right wing government and called for early elections.

Support for the government has declined during its first two months in office.

December 23, 2015


Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity trade union movement that ended communism in Poland, said on Wednesday that democracy was at risk. He called for a referendum to force the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to hold an early election.

Although Walesa has no say in government decisions , he does have influence on public opinion in Poland. His remarks have coincided with a growing anger among Poles who are unhappy with PiS policies, which critics say are undermining democracy.

Poland’s lower chamber of parliament passed a constitutional court amendment on Tuesday. Both the supreme court and activists have said the change in law would undermine the separation of powers and paralyze the constitutional court.

“One should think about organizing (ourselves), press for a referendum, show in a referendum that two thirds are against such rule and shorten (parliament’s) term,” Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, told private Radio Zet.

New government

The ruling conservatives won the October general election securing an outright majority in both chambers of parliament. They pledged to offer more social benefits for Poles who felt the country’s economic success was not equally distributed.

“This government acts against Poland, against our achievements, freedom, democracy, not to mention the fact that it ridicules us in the world,” Walesa said. “I’m ashamed to travel abroad.”

Walesa’s latest criticism of the government comes just days after 10,000 anti-government protesters took to the streets in Warsaw , while thousands more rallied in at least three other Polish cities.

The PiS party, using nationalist rhetoric, has dismissed criticism that it undermines Poland’s young democracy. It claims a broad mandate to redesign the country to reflect its Catholic values and independence from Brussels.

New President Andrzej Duda, a close PiS ally, has refused to swear in Constitutional Tribunal judges chosen by the former parliament. However, he has sworn in new judges chosen by the new PiS-controlled parliament.

Approval ratings

Poland, which overthrew a communist government in 1989 and joined the EU in 2004, has long been considered one of the strongest supporters of the European Union among the former Soviet bloc states.

According to a TNS Institute poll published last week in Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the country’s leading newspapers, approval ratings for the PiS have slipped to 27 percent from 42 percent at the start of December. However, the party remains the most popular one in Poland.

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz on Monday compared the political situation in Poland to a “coup”, drawing the anger of the Polish government.

bik/jm (Reuters, AFP)


‘Argus’ The New Federal Highway Surveillance Program


A Pentagon/Department of Transportation program is now conducting a permanent surveillance of all motor vehicles using the Federal Highway System.

This is code named ARGUS.

It was initially a part of an overall public surveillance program instituted and organized by Admiral Poindexter, convicted of various criminal acts as the result of the Iran-Contra affair and then brought back to government service by the Bush Administration.

Following public disclosure of Poindexter’s manic attempts to pry into all aspects of American life and his subsequent public departure from government service (he is still so employed but as a “private consultant” and not subject to public scrutiny) many of his plans were officially scrapped. ARGUS, however, is still valid and now in place.

This Orwellian nonsense consists of having unmanned video cameras installed over all Federal highways and toll roads. These cameras work 24/7 to video all passing vehicles, trucks, private cars and busses.

The information gathered then is passed to a central data bank and entered therein. This data is supplied, on request, to any authorized law enforcement agency to include private investigative and credit agencies licensed to work with Federal law enforcement information, on any user of the road systems under surveillance.

Provision is made, according to the operating plans, to notify local law enforcement immediately if any driver attempts to obscure their license plate number and instructs them to at once to “apprehend and identify” the vehicle or vehicles involved.

It is at present, a Federal crime to attempt to damage or in any way interfere with these surveillance devices.


Intercepted telephone conversatins between Roosevelt and Churchill

Roosevelt-Churchill Conversation of November 26, 1941 


This conversation is taken directly from a German transcript of a trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation initiated by British Prime Minister Winston Spencer-Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt. The original was taken down in English and a German translation is in the German State Archives. 

The original carbon copy of this, and other historically important German intercepts, came from the private files of Robert T. Crowley, formerly Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Conversation Participants

A=Franklin Roosevelt, Washington

B= Winston Churchill, London 

B: I am frightfully sorry to disturb you at this hour, Franklin, but matters of a most vital import have transpired and I felt that I must convey them to you immediately. 

A: That’s perfectly all right, Winston. I’m sure you wouldn’t trouble me at this hour for trivial concerns. 

B: Let me preface my information with an explanation addressing the reason I have not alluded to these facts earlier. In the first place, until today, the information was not firm. On matters of such gravity, I do not like to indulge in idle chatter. Now, I have in my hands, reports from our agents in Japan as well as the most specific intelligence in the form of the highest level Japanese naval coded messages (conversation broken) for some time now. 

A: I felt this is what you were about. How serious is it? 

B: It could not be worse, A powerful Japanese task force comprising (composed of) six of their carriers, two battleships and a number of other units to include (including) tankers and cruisers, has sailed yesterday from a secret base in the northern Japanese islands. 

A: We both knew this was coming. There are also reports in my hands about a force of some size making up in China and obviously intended to go (move) South. 

B: Yes, we have all of that. (Interruption) ..are far more advanced than you in our reading of the Jap naval operations codes. But even without that, their moves are evident. And they will indeed move South but the force I spoke of is not headed South, Franklin, it is headed East..

A: Surely you must be…will you repeat that please? 

B: I said to the East. This force is sailing to the East…towards you. 

A: Perhaps they set an easterly course to fool any observers and then plan to swing South to support the landings in the southern areas. I have… 

B: No, at this moment, their forces are moving across the northern Pacific and I can assure you that their goal is the (conversation broken) fleet in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor. 

A: This is monstrous. Can you tell me…indicate…the nature of your intelligence? (conversation broken) reliable? Without compromising your sources… 

B: Yes, I will have to be careful. Our agents in Japan have been reporting on the gradual (conversation broken) units. And these have disappeared from Japanese home waters. We also have highly reliable sources in the Japanese Foreign Service and even the military… 

A: How reliable? 

B: One of the sources is the individual who supplied us the material on the diplomatic codes that (conversation broken) and a Naval officer whom our service has compromised. You must trust me, Franklin and I cannot be more specific. 

A: I accept this. 

B: We cannot compromise our code breaking. You understand this. Only myself and a few (conversation broken) not even Hopkins. It will go straight to Moscow and I am not sure we want that. 

A: I am still attempting to…the obvious implication is that the Japs are going to do a Port Arthur on us at Pearl Harbor. Do you concur? 

B: I do indeed. Unless they add an attack on the Panama Canal to this vile business. I can hardly envision the canal as a primary goal, especially with your fleet lying athwart their lines of communications with Japan. No, if they do strike the canal, they will have to first neutralize (destroy) your fleet (conversation broken).

A: The worse form of treachery. We can prepare our defenses on the islands and give them a warm welcome when they come. It would certainly put some iron up Congress’ ass (asshole).

B: On the other hand, if they did launch a bombing raid, given that the aircraft would only be of the carrier-borne types, how much actual damage could they inflict? And on what target?

A: I think torpedoes would be ruled out at the outset. Pearl is far too shallow to permit a successful torpedo attack. Probably they would drop medium bombs on the ships and then shoot (conversation broken) damage a number of ships and no doubt the Japs would attack our airfields. I could see some damage there but I don’t think either an airfield or a battleship could sink very far. What do your people give you as the actual date of the attack? 

B: The actual date given is the eighth of December. That’s a Monday.

A: The fleet is in harbor over the weekend. They often sortie during the week…

B: The Japs are asking (conversation broken) exact dispositions of your ships on a regular basis.

A: But Monday seems odd. Are you certain?

B: It is in the calendar. Monday is the eighth. (conversation broken).

A:…then I will have to reconsider the entire problem. A Japanese attack on us, which would result in war between us…and certainly you as well…would certainly fulfill two of the most important requirements of our policy. Harry has told me repeatedly…and I have more faith in him than I do in the Soviet ambassador…that Stalin is desperate at this point. The Nazis are at the gates of Moscow, his armies are melting away…the government has evacuated and although Harry and Marshall feel that Stalin can hang on and eventually defeat Hitler, their is no saying what could transpire (happen) if the Japs suddenly fell on Stalin’s rear. In spite of all the agreements between them and the Japs dropping Matsuoka, there is still strong anti-Russian sentiment in high Japanese military circles. I think that we have to decide what is more important…keeping Russia in the war to bleed the Nazis dry to their own eventual destruction (conversation broken) supply Stalin with weapons but do not forget, in fact he is your ally, not mine. There are strong isolationist feelings here and there are quite a number of anti-Communists…

B: Fascists…

A: Certainly, but they would do all they could to block any attempt on my part to do more than give some monetary assistance to Stalin.

B: But we too have our major desperations, Franklin. Our shipping upon which our nation depends, is being sunk by the huns faster than we could ever replace (conversation broken) the Japs attack both of us in the Pacific? We could lose Malaya which is our primary source of rubber and tin. And if the Japs get Java and the oil, they could press South to Australia and I have told you repeatedly, we cannot hold (conversation broken) them much but in truth I cannot deliver. We need every man and every ship to fight Hitler in Europe…India too. If the Japs get into Malaya, they can press on virtually unopposed into Burma and then India. Need I tell you of the resultant destruction of our Empire? We cannot survive on this small island, Franklin, (conversation broken) allow the nips (knips?) to attack, you can get your war declaration through your Congress after all. (conversation broken)

A: Not as capable as you are at translating there messages and the army and navy are very jealous of each other. There is so much coming in that everyone is confused. We have no agents in place in Japan and every day dozens of messages are (conversation broken) that contradict each other or are not well translated. I have seen three translations of the same message with three entirely different meanings (conversation broken) address your concern about British holdings in the Pacific…if the Japanese do attack both of us, eventually we will be able to crush them and regain all of the lost territories. As for myself, I will be damned glad to be rid of the Phillipines.(sic)

B: I see this as a gamble (conversation broken) what would your decision be? We cannot procrastinate over this for too long. Eleven or twelve days are all we have. Can we not agree in principle now? I should mention that several advisors have counseled (advised) against informing you of this and allowing it to happen. You see by notifying you where my loyalty lies. Certainly to one who is heart and soul with us against Hitler.

A: I do appreciate your loyalty, Winston. What on the other hand, will happen here if one of our intelligence people is able to intercept, decipher and deliver to me the same information you just gave me? I cannot just ignore it…all of my intelligence people will know about it then. I could not ignore this.

B: But if it were just a vague message then?

A: No, a specific message. I could not just sweep it under the rug like that (conversation broken).

B: Of course not. I think we should matters develop as they will.

A: I think that perhaps I can find a reason to absent (leave) myself from Washington while this crisis develops. What I don’t know can’t hurt me and I too can misunderstand messages, especially at a distance (conversation broken)

B: Completely. My best to you all there.

A: Thank you for your call.



No. 324 July 25.1943

By coincidence I was again at Shangri-la this afternoon when the news from Rome came, but this time it seems to be true? If any overtures come we must he certain of the use of all Italian territory and transportation against the Germans in the north and against the whole Balkan peninsula, as well as use of airfields of all kinds. It is my thought that we should come as close as possible to unconditional surrender followed by good treatment of the Italian populace. But I think also that the “head devil” (Mussolini. Ed) should be surrendered together with his chief partners in crime. In no event should our officers in the field fix on any general terms without your approval and mine. Let me have your thoughts.



No. 382 July 25, 1943

Changes announced in Italy probably portend peace proposals. Let us consult together so as to take joint action. The present stage may only be transition. But anyhow, Hitler will feel very lonely when Mussolini is down and out. No one can be quite sure this may not go farther.



July 29, 1943


(Note: There were two such intercepts retrieved from captured German records. This one has not been officially published and came from the personal files of Robert T. Crowley, once Deputy Director of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division)


In this conversation ‘A’ stands for America (Roosevelt) and ‘B’ for Britain, (Churchill.)

A: I have some additional thoughts on the Italian situation I wanted to discuss with you. I have thought about our actions concerning Mussolini and his eventual fate. After he has been surrendered to us.

B: You have to catch the fish before you can cook it. I have no doubts he will end up our prisoner unless, of course, they kill him first or he escapes his just rewards by killing himself.

A: And there is also the possibility the Nazis might get to him as well. Where is he now?

B: The Italians have advised us he is currently under arrest at the Police Headquarters in Rome. They want to move him out directly because it appears that the Germans might suddenly decide to reinforce their numbers in Italy and Rome would be the logical target. They will move him.

A: But they will not release him, say to the Germans? As some kind of quid pro quo.?

B: I think not. The Italians hate the Germans and the court circle is very firmly in our pocket. We can be reasonably certain that Mussolini will end up our captive.

A: Would that be a wise move, Winston? We would be compelled to have a kind of major trial that could drag on for months and even though we control it, lead to problems with the general populace. And I should also note that many Italians here are at least the secret admirers of the creature. That might lead to problems here if we tried him. Of course the outcome would never be in doubt and in the end he would die at the end of a rope.

But in the meantime, these trials, and I am assuming we would have a good sized bag of his miserable cronies also available for trial and execution, could drag on endlessly. I can forsee various negative aspects to this business.

B: Of course there are negative aspects to every business, Franklin. Do you then feel he should not be tried? What would our friends in Italy think about our misplaced generosity? I have the finest relations with certain elements in Italy and to a man, they want the public humiliation and death of Mussolini. Surely we are not at a point in time where such largess is possible. His death would have a salutary effect on the Nazis as well.

A: I don’t disagree with that thesis but from my own point of view, a public trial might have negative connotations on the situation in this country. As I said, there is some sympathy with the creature among the Italian community here and the question would be what sort of reaction would such a trial have on them? I am thinking primarily of the upcoming elections here. The trial would certainly not be over in a week and the closer it would come to the nominations and, eventually, to the elections, the more danger there would be of this alienating the Italians who have some, I feel, significant weight in the balance.

B: I cannot accept that releasing Mussolini could further any of our common ends. At this point in history, I feel a watershed has been passed and the momentum lies with us now. I do not feel that the war will be over immediately but the perception is that we are on a via Triumphalis now, not a via Dolorosa as we have been for so long.

A: I didn’t mean we should release the devil. Not at all. I referred to a public trial. If Mussolini died before such a trial could take place, I think we would be better off in many ways.



No. 331 July 30,1943

Your message No. 383 dated 26 July 1943 expresses generally my thoughts of today on prospects and methods of handling the Italian situation with which we are now confronted.

In the following draft 1 have suggested for consideration certain minor changes, the reasons for which if they are not obvious we can discuss at our next meeting.

It seems highly probable that the fall of Mussolini will involve the overthrow of the Fascist regime and that the new government of the King and Badoglio will seek to negotiate a separate arrangement with the Allies for an armistice. Should this prove to be the case it will be necessary for us to make up our minds first of all upon what we want and secondly upon the measures and conditions required to gain it for us.

At this moment above all others our thoughts must be concentrated upon the supreme aim, namely the destruction of Hitler and Hitlerism. Every military advantage arising out of the surrender of Italy (should that occur) must be sought for this purpose.

The first of these is the control of all Italian territory and transportation against the Germans in the north and against the whole Balkan peninsula as well as the use of airfields of all kinds. This must include the surrender to our garrisons of Sardinia, the Dodecanese, and Corfu as well as of all the naval and air bases in the Italian mainland as soon as they can be taken over.

Secondly and of equal importance the immediate surrender to the Allies of the Italian fleet, or at least its effective demobilization and the disarmament of the Italian air and ground forces to whatever extent we find needful and useful. The surrender of the fleet will liberate powerful British naval forces for service in the Indian Ocean against Japan and will he most agreeable to the United States. Also of equal consequence the immediate surrender or withdrawal to Italy of all Italian forces wherever they may be outside of Italy proper.

Another objective of the highest importance about which there will be passionate feeling in this country and Britain is the immediate liberation of all United Nations’ prisoners of war in Italian hands and the prevention which can in the first instance only be by the Italians of their being transported northwards to Germany. We regard it as a matter of honor and humanity to get our own flesh and blood back as soon as possible and spare them the measureless horrors of incarceration in Germany during the final stages of the war.

The fate of the German troops in Italy and particularly of those south of Rome will probably lead to fighting between the Germans and the Italian army and popu1ation. When we see how this process goes we can take a further view about action to be taken north of Rome. We should however try to get possession a t the earliest moment of a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany and of points on both the west coast and east coast railways of Italy as far north as we dare. This is a time to dare.

In our struggle with Hitler and the German army we cannot afford to deny ourselves any assistance that will kill Germans. The fury of the Italian population may now be turned against the German intruders who have as they will feel brought these miseries upon Italy and then come so scantily and grudgingly to her aid. We should stimulate this process in order that the new, liberated anti-Fascist Italy shall afford us at the earliest moment a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany.

This air attack is a new advantage of the first order as i t brings the whole of the Mediterranean air forces into action from a direction which turns the entire line of air defenses in the west and which furthermore exposes all those centers of war production which have been increasingly developed to escape air attack from Great Britain. It will become urgent in the highest degree to get agents, commandos. and supplies by sea across the Adriatic into Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia. It must be remembered that there are fifteen German divisions in the Balkan peninsula of which tell are mobile. Nevertheless once we have control of the Italian peninsula and. qf the Adriatic and the Italian armies in the Balkans withdraw or lay down their arms it is by no means unlikely that the Hun will be forced to withdraw northwards to the line of the Sava and Danube, thus liberating Greece and other tortured countries.

We cannot yet measure the effects of Mussolini’s fall and of Italian capitulation upon Bulgaria. Rumania. and Hungary. They may be profound. In connection with this situation the collapse of Italy should fix the moment for putting the strongest pressure on Turkey to act in accordance with the spirit of the alliance and in this Britain and the United States should if possible be joined or at least supported Russia. I believe that in any important negotiations! affecting the Balkans the concurrence of Russia should be obtained if practicable. It is my opinion that an effort to seize the “head devil”, in the early future would prejudice our primary objective which is to get Italy out of the war. We can endeavor to secure the person of the “head devil” and his assistants in due time,” and to then determine their individual degrees of guilt for which “the punishment should fit the crime.”



No. 334 July 30, 1943

There are same contentious people here who are getting ready to make a row if we seem to recognize the House of Savoy or Badoglio. They are the same element which made such a fuss over North Africa I told the press today that we have to treat with any person or persons in Italy who can best give us first disarmament and second assurance against chaos, and I think also that you and I after an armistice comes could say something about self-determination in Italy at the proper time.


Trump rips up rule book of U.S. ‘retail politics

December 23, 2015

by Ginger Gibson


Portsmouth, N.H.-U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump swung into New Hampshire for a few hours one evening earlier this month to pick up an endorsement from a small police union.

I don’t normally do stops like this,” Trump said during his brief remarks, highlights of which featured heavily that night on cable television news. “But for you, I came.”

It was indeed unusual for Trump. While many of his rivals for the 2016 Republican nomination are devoting many hours to shaking hands with voters at diners and corner stores in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump is eschewing such traditional “retail politics” in favor of large, high-profile rallies and television appearances.

The jury is still out on whether the strategy will work. While Trump leads in polls of Republicans nationally, he is lagging behind Ted Cruz in Iowa, which kicks off the Republican nominating contest on Feb. 1 for the November 2016 election.

However, Trump is leading the polls in New Hampshire, which holds its primary election on Feb. 9 and he is proving the state may be winnable without spending too much time there.

Part of Trump’s unorthodox strategy includes making highly controversial statements that keep his name in the headlines, such as his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Trump dominated television coverage after using a vulgarity when speaking of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s election loss to President Barack Obama in 2008.

While many voters regard his comments as offensive, Trump’s supporters find his candor refreshing as he addresses crowds at large venues such as athletic centers after arriving in his private jet.

Trump is an anomaly because of the overwhelming frustration voters have of Washington,” said Michael Dennehy, a New Hampshire Republican strategist who worked previously for Rick Perry’s presidential bid. “He simply is tapping into that and voters are overlooking the heavy retail component that Trump has not been able to engage in – partly because of his strong popularity and large crowds.”

In New Hampshire, Chris Christie is among the candidates who has followed the traditional model of retail politics most closely. While the large number of days he has logged in the state has driven the New Jersey governor higher in the polls in recent weeks, he has yet to catch up to Trump.


In a stark contrast to Trump’s quick stop in Portsmouth to pick up the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Christie spends hours in coffee shops and has held numerous town halls where he fields questions on everything from Syria to healthcare to taxes.

Whereas Christie has spent more than 50 days in the state, Trump has spent fewer than 20, according to schedules and multiple outlets tracking the candidates whereabouts.

And while Trump continues to ride high in the polls despite his controversial statements, Christie, who has long been known for his brash, in-your-face personality, has toned down his style and works to show voters he can listen as well as talk.

You are the most powerful voters in the world,” Christie told a recent town hall in the town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Trump has appeared on the conservative cable outlet Fox News more than any other candidate. Between May and December 15, the liberal group Media Matters has logged 22 hours, 46 minutes and 40 second of airtime for Trump on Fox News. By comparison, Christie had only 9 hours, 51 minutes and 19 seconds.

Many of Trump’s visits to New Hampshire have involved television interviews or multi-candidate forums. The last town hall he held here was in September.

That is a departure from not only Christie’s campaigning strategy but also that of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich who are both working the Granite State’s town hall circuit.

Republican Marco Rubio, however, is starting to draw attention for his lack of time in New Hampshire. Christie, in fact, criticizes the U.S. senator from Florida for what he says is Rubio’s inattention to the state.

Retail politics has long served as the counter to big money in U.S. elections. The strategy has a long track record of success in early-voting states such as New Hampshire.

Republican Rick Santorum, considered a long-shot White House contender in 2012, pulled off an upset victory in Iowa by visiting all of its 99 counties. Santorum later lost the nomination to Mitt Romney.

In 2000 and 2008, John McCain traveled New Hampshire on his “Straight Talk Express” bus and coasted to victory in the state despite being outspent by rivals.

But Trump is betting that the lessons of past campaigns won’t necessarily hold true for his 2016 campaign.

His speech to the police union, for example, lasted less than 15 minutes as the union’s board voted to endorse him.

There will be nothing that is more important to me than this night,” Trump said. “Thank you very much from your board and thank you very much.”

For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the Reuters blog, “Tales from the Trail” (here)

(Editing by Caren Bohan and Alistair Bell)

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