TBR News February 18, 2012

Feb 18 2012

The Voice of the White House


          Washington, D.C.  February 18, 2012: “The situation with Iran is very hard to clearly define, what with an immense flood of American and Israeli media propaganda erupting on a daily basis. Obviously planted stories by both entities in various magazines and newspapers indicate that attacks on the Tehran nuclear program are “just about to happen!!! Of course those boys have been squealing ‘Wolf” Wolf!’ for a number of years now and most people have long ago turned that soap opera off. Still, Iran is working on developing the capacity to built atomic weaponry and has, even from neutral (and far more believable) sources, been threatening first Israel and then the United States with attack. Iran is run by a pack of religious nuts who are capable of almost anything irrational so the real danger is that Iran actually has, or is about to get, the capacity to manufacture atomic weaponry. It is also a fact, again from reputable non- US governmental or Israeli sources, that Iran has built, or bought from Russia, various missiles easily capable of reaching Israel (though not the United States) and had bought, from the ever-friendly Chinese, missile guidance systems based on the GPS that could pin-point targets in Israel. Between legitimate Israeli fears and Iranian bombast must lie some truth but finding truth in the American media is like finding a Republican presidential candidate with in IQ bigger than his hat size. Bombast and warlike posing led directly to the First World War and might well lead everyone into some kind of a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East. China would squeal with rage because she would be cut off from desperately needed oil and might even retaliate by flooding even more counterfeit goods and coins into this country than they already are.”


Britain fears new Cold War over Iran


February 18, 2012


Iran’s nuclear ambitions could trigger “a new Cold War” more perilous than that between the West and the Soviet Union, British Foreign Secretary warned.

William Hague said Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb would spark an atomic arms race between rival Middle Eastern nations that could be more dangerous than the original Cold War because the old “safety mechanisms” are missing.

“If (the Iranians) obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“The most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented would have begun with all the destabilising effects in the Middle East,” he continued.

“And the threat of a new Cold War in the Middle East without necessarily all the safety mechanisms… would be a disaster in world affairs.”

Iran faces four sets of UN sanctions and a raft of unilateral US and EU sanctions designed to halt a programme the West fears conceals a drive for nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies this charge, saying its nuclear project is for purely peaceful purposes.

In response to feverish speculation in recent weeks that Israel is preparing to mount a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear programme, Hague said Iran being “attacked militarily” would have “enormous downsides”.

“We are very clear to all concerned that we are not advocating military action,” he told the Telegraph.

“We support a twin-track strategy of sanctions and pressure and negotiations on the other hand.”

“We are not favouring the idea of anybody attacking Iran at the moment,” he added.”

Earlier Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton voiced cautious optimism about the prospect for Iran to return to stalled nuclear talks with six world powers.

In a February 14 letter to Ashton, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Tehran is ready to resume talks at the “earliest” opportunity as long as the six powers respect its right to peaceful atomic energy.


The Pentagon’s Lie Machine

 February 15, 2012

by Justin Raimondo,

            The publication of Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis’s piece in the Armed Forces Journal, followed up by an interview in the New York Times and the posting of a longer piece .pdf by Rolling Stone, is a remarkable event in the sense that rarely has a more comprehensive debunking of official lies been written by an insider. Col. Davis has served in both the Iraq and Afghan campaigns, and recently was on a tour that took him to a number of Afghan outposts. His reports relate, in numbing detail, the complete disparity between the official pronouncements of our military spokespersons and the grim truth of what he saw on the ground in Afghanistan.
            As our generals testify before Congress .pdf that our efforts in Afghanistan are bearing fruit, that the “surge” worked both in Iraq and Afghanistan, that our training the Afghan security forces is succeeding, and that we are on the road to “victory,” Col. Davis turns this Panglossian scenario on its head. The reality, he says, is that the “surge,” in both cases, failed – in Iraq, because the additional troops had nothing to do with the internal split in the insurgency that caused it to temporarily abate, and in Afghanistan because casualties went up in direct proportion to the increase in troops – without any corresponding gain on the battlefield. As for the vaunted Afghan security forces, which are being hailed as reliable guarantors and legatees of a hard-won US “victory,” Col. Davis draws a portrait of them as invariably having their backs to the enemy – that is, when they aren’t collaborating with them, calling “mini-truces” via radio while US soldiers take the brunt of the fighting.
            Davis’s charge: that the military high command, in conjunction with our political leaders, engaged in a campaign of systematic deception designed to depict our failed attempts to conquer and colonize Iraq and Afghanistan as glorious victories, when, in reality, the exact opposite is the case. He gives a series of stunning examples, debunking lie after lie, finally asking:
            “One of the key questions most readers must be asking about this point in the report, is how could such an extensive, pervasive, and long-running series of deceptive statements have gone unnoticed by virtually the entire country?”
            Glad you asked. The reason is simple: the media has become an adjunct to the military’s “information operations,” i.e. psychological and propaganda operations, which are not just directed at the foreign “enemy,” but also at the enemy on the home front, i.e. the American people, who, if they knew the truth, would pull the plug on the whole operation. Col. Davis puts it more politely:
            “There are a number of reasons, but perhaps none bigger than the role played by the major media in this country. This is not an issue where “the liberal media” of the major networks failed, or ‘the right-wing conservatives’ of Fox News, nor any other specific network. Rather, it was a cumulative failure of our nation’s major media in every category: network news, cable news, magazines and major newspapers.”
            Davis reports that journalists who fail to follow the Pentagon line are simply excluded from having any access. In order to report what is actually occurring on the battlefield – and compete in the news business – reporters must interact with military leaders, but that interaction, relates Col. Davis, comes at a price – the integration of the media into the Pentagon’s lie machine. He illustrates his point with the report issued by the Department of Defense Inspector General on Donald Rumsfeld’s clearly illegal project to use retired officers as propagandists to build support for the Iraq war. The Pentagon coordinated the effort with the “mainstream” news media, planting their agents on all the major news outlets. The media portrayed these infiltrators as “experts,” treated them like real journalists, and gave them a platform from which to pontificate as if they were objective observers. As Davis puts it:
            “A Pentagon media outreach program – ostensibly to ‘educate’ the public – only uses spokesmen who are willing to speak the bullet points provided by the Secretary of Defense, and if those spokesmen don’t act as ‘team players’ and say what the Pentagon wants, they are dropped. For their part, the networks only want men and women to speak as experts if they have that top-level access. All of this begs the question: what sort of objectivity and honest analysis did the American public get from watching the major media outlets during this period?”
            The answer is that the American public got what they will continue to get: a completely false picture of our various wars of conquest .pdf. In spite of the Inspector General’s detailed narrative of a consistent attempt by the Pentagon to commandeer the American media and wield it as a weapon of war, the Inspector General nonetheless concluded these activities “complied with regulations and directives” and were therefore okay. Move along, nothing to see here….
            How could our media have missed what is arguably the most important story of the decade – the utter failure of our best efforts to subjugate the Iraqi and Afghan peoples? Col. Davis indicts the American news media for its passive complicity in a campaign of systematic deception:
            “So long as our country’s top TV and print media continue to avoid challenging power for fear of losing access, there is every reason to expect many senior Defense Department leaders will continue to play this game of denial of access in order to effect compliant reports. As I’ve shown throughout this report, there is ample open source information and reports all over the internet that would allow any individual – or reporter – to find the truth and report it. But heretofore few have.”
            It’s significant that he counterposes the internet to the “mainstream” media: there can be little doubt we’ve been doing a far better job of reporting the Iraq and Afghan wars than our corporate competitors in the world of Dead Tree Journalism and televised talking bobble-heads. That aside, however, the question arises: is the military deliberately lying to us, or are the generals just so close to the battlefield – and so self-interested – that they can’t be objective and somehow saw a glorious victory where there was only historic defeat?
            As a libertarian, I assume the former, but I can see why the rest of you might need a bit more empirical evidence, which Col. Davis helpfully provides.
            In the modern parlance of war, “information operations” are on the same level as strictly military operations, and this brings into focus the ominous implications of the precedent set by Rumsfeld’s media blitz. Davis cites an Army manual .pdf on information operations (IO):
            “’IO becomes a core competency. The importance of dominating the information spectrum explains the objective of transforming IO into a core military competency on a par with air, ground, maritime and special operations.’ It is a remarkable development to suggest that using information in combat is on par with ground and air forces. Three years later the Department of Defense published an unclassified doctrinal manual that provided further clarity on Secretary Rumsfeld’s information focus.”
            That unclassified document emphasizes the “integrated employment of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”
            The new counterinsurgency doctrine of the Pentagon dictates that “Information Operations” must be a part of every military campaign, as essential as having a supply of ammunition. They aim to win “hearts and minds” – but whose hearts and whose minds?
            “Since it is so crucial for the Joint Force to ‘fully integrate” IO into every aspect of military operations,” Davis continues, “it is important to understand what some of these inputs specifically require. Two are of particular import: military deception and psychological operations:
            “Military Deception is defined as ‘(JP 3-14.3) being those actions executed to deliberately mislead adversary decision makers as to friendly military capabilities, intentions, and operations, thereby causing the adversary to take specific actions (or inactions) that will contribute to the accomplishment of the friendly mission’ and PSYOP as ‘(JP3-53) planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.”
            The clear implication of Rumsfeld’s media infiltration program is that these “adversary decision makers” aren’t necessarily foreign enemy combatants, either Iraqi insurgents or Taliban fighters. Davis quotes from an article .pdf by Col. Richard B. Leap in a compendium of essays by Public Affairs (PA) officers that points to the real identity of these unnamed “adversaries”:
            “Many PA practitioners believe their only role is to inform the domestic and international publics with accurate, truthful information and provide access to government and military officials and operations to confirm what is reported. All should agree that PA must always present truthful, credible information, however, if Public Diplomacy and open PSYOP only target foreign audiences, then who besides PA can counter the enemy’s or the media’s shaping of US domestic opinion?”
            It is strictly illegal for the US military to aim its propaganda arm at the American public, but in this age of a truly globalized media the line between foreign and domestic is easily blurred. Technology has rendered that prohibition irrelevant and entirely nonfunctional. The Smith-Mundt Act is apparently just as much a dead letter as our Constitution.
            Col. Leap bemoans the dramatic drop in US support for the Iraq war, noting that Pew polled support at 61 percent in 2003 “compared with only 13 percent” three years later. His solution:
            “Public Affairs organizations must devise new means and methods to better ‘frame’ issues for domestic and international audiences on policy successes while countering enemy disinformation in order to reverse these trends.
            “Further, the US Government must clarify the roles, responsibilities, authorities and relationships between Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy and Information Operations to not only influence foreign target audiences, but to safeguard US national will. A failure to do so may result in strategic defeats in the future.”
            In Col. Leap’s opinion, the goal of the Public Affairs officer in the service of the US military is not to defend the country – it’s to safeguard the National Will. The will to do what? Why, whatever the Pentagon and the political leadership desires. These are the movers and shapers of the National Will: the rest of us, including the media, are mere instruments in their capable hands.
            As for those of us who are not, we’re presumably disseminators of “enemy disinformation,” different from the Taliban only in that we operate on the domestic scene and not in the mountains of Afghanistan. No wonder Antiwar.com has the FBI breathing down our necks.
            Reading Col. Davis’s paper, I was struck with the enormity of what we here at Antiwar.com are up against: a US government-financed and coordinated propaganda campaign with effectively limitless resources. I knew this in theory, but seeing it right there on the printed page, especially Col. Leap’s definition of his job description, is sobering. How can we possibly succeed, I thought, when we have to fight this?
            The answer was apparent as soon as I had formulated the question: they need all their resources just to keep the truth from the American people. We, on the other hand, only need our voice – and the means to make it heard.
            There’s just one way to make sure that voice is never stilled, and that’s by becoming a financial contributor: the War Party has the US Treasury at its disposal, but we only have you. They have your tax dollars, but we only have our readers and supporters who voluntarily donate to make sure there’s a counterpoint to the war propaganda spouted by government officials and their media shills. Sure, we’re outgunned and out-manned, but we don’t need to equal or even approach their level of expenditure. We just need a bare-bones operation that “lives off the land,” so to speak, like a classic guerrilla operation – because we have the truth on our side.
            This is the biggest weapon in our arsenal, but we need some kind of platform on which to launch it: and that’s what Antiwar.com is all about. For sixteen years, we’ve presented a vital counterpoint to the Pentagon’s media sock-puppets on a daily basis, debunking the lies of the War Party as soon as they’re uttered. We can’t continue to do it, however, unless we start seeing some better results from our current fundraising campaign. We don’t need a lot: we have a very small staff, and they do the work of twice their number. Yet we do need a bare minimum in order to survive as a viable, frequently-updated (at least daily) alternative to the badly-compromised “mainstream” media in the increasingly important realm of international affairs.
            So please, I’m asking my regular readers – and those who may have dropped in just now – to contribute to the fundraiser. As the US gets ready to do to Iran what it did to Iraq, and the Col. Leaps of this world ramp up the Pentagon’s propaganda machine, we need your support more than ever.



Italian police seize $6tn of Chinese fake US Treasury bonds

Swiss authorities find bonds in safe deposit boxes in Zurich in ‘largest ever’ seizure of fake securities

February 17, 2012

by Dominic Rushe in New York


Italian police have seized $6tn of fake US Treasury bonds, an amount equal to more than a third of the US’s public debt.

The bonds were found by Swiss authorities in safe deposit boxes in Zurich. Arrest warrants have been issued for eight people as a result of the operation, dubbed “Operation Vulcanica”.

The alleged fraudsters are accused of counterfeiting bonds and credit card forgery.

The securities, dated 1934, were held in three large trunks stored at a Zurich trust company. It is believed to be the largest ever seizure of fake Treasury bonds. US officials in Italy confirmed that the bonds were counterfeit but declined to comment further.

According to the Italian authorities the bonds had been transported from Hong Kong to Zurich in 2007. The police said the plan was to sell the bonds to a developing country, either directly or through an intermediary.

The investigators, based in Potenza southern Italy, said the fraud posed “severe threats” to international financial security.

Italian and Swiss prosecutors said they had been working on the case for a year.

The US has been issuing Treasury bonds electronically since the 1980s – although they still issue savings bonds in paper format.

Fake Treasury bonds are a popular mafia scam. They can be used as security to open lines of credit before the fraudsters take the money and disappear.

Last year Italian police found $20bn worth of fake bonds during a routine search of the vehicles at a rest stop.

In 2009 two men carrying Japanese passports were arrested while trying to leave Italy for Switzerland carrying $134bn in fake bonds. In the same year to Phillippine nationals were arrested at Malpensa airport, Milan, as they attempting to leave the country carrying $180bn of Treasury bonds.


Mass Chinese Counterfeiting of American and Foreign coins and Gold Bars

February 16, 2012

by Christine Panagopulos

             With the collapsing American economy, many Americans are rushing to invest in gold; either coins or bar, and also silver. One of the most popular forms of this investment are American coins.  Where there is a need, there is always someone to fill it and in this case, the filling consists of  the massive counterfeiting of gold coins, silver coins, and even Swiss gold bars in China. Initially, it appeared they were only faking Morgan dollars, but then it turned out they were also making $20 Liberty, and Indian Head gold $2.50, $5, and $10 coins, of all dates. Evidently, this is extremely easy with today’s computer-and-laser-die-cutting technology, and the fakes are being die-struck in vast quantities, not cast, and visually at least, are superb copies.

            The good news is that these fakes are readily detectable with a 0.01 – gram scale, as the Chinese in their greed are using lower carats of gold and lower grades of silver than the genuine coins, to maximize profit, and thus, in most cases, the fake coins and bars are lighter than the real ones. In a few cases, the silver coins of high numismatic interest are actually OVER weight – it appears that the supply of accurate planchet stock is a major difficulty for the forgers.

            Here are links to a two-part article about this in Coin World Magazine:



            Note: They are even faking PCGS and ANACS slabs!!:

            A friend who has an extremely wealthy friend in Europe (on the order of several hundreds of millions) asked this person to make enquiries at his bank. The bank told him candidly that indeed, the Chinese are also faking sovereigns, half sovereigns, French 20 Franc gold, and various denominations of Nicholas II Russian Rubles, of all dates, as well as Swiss gold bars. They said any gold bars they are offered for purchase are both weighed and the serial numbers checked with the manufacturers. The Chinese do not know the serial and manufacture date numbering systems on the gold bars, and so that error is quickly detectable.

            The US Secret Service has just this week been made aware of this problem, which was new to them, and if they decide to launch an investigation, they have indicated that while they cannot do anything about the operations in China, they can, and will, seize any counterfeit US coins they come across. Dealers in these fakes would also be liable to fines and jail time. Foreign fakes are not under their purview, but if that business turns out to be substantial, there could conceivably be an FBI investigation of fraud in interstate commerce, targeting companies who are mail-ordering fake foreign coins. Individuals who have been cheated might also sue their suppliers – in short, this could turn into a huge mess.

            General appearance aside, it is very easy it is to spot fakes – just with a scale reading to 1/00th of a gram, and a table of the correct weights and sizes of the coins or bars they are buying. (In the case of large-size bargold, unless buying from the manufacturer or a reputable bank, the serial numbers need to be verified, so that one does not buy a Chinese bar with a tungsten, lead or mercury core)

            Herewith a listing of what I have uncovered so far:

            1; The U.S .Morgan silver dollar. All dates and all mint marks;

            2: The U.S. gold coins viz the $2.50, $5.00 and $10.00 Indian head issues

            3. The U.S. copper penny viz 1909 S  vdb

            4. Three gold Imperial Russian roubles from the reign of Nicholas II

5. Three silver Imperial Rusian roubles from the reign of Nicholas II

            6. A gold 20 franc coin with the head of Napoleon I on the obverse

            7. The South African Krugerrand

            8. British sovereigns and half sovereigns of different monarchs and dates

            9.Pre-Civil War half eagles and quarter eagles in the world. Recovered from an invented 1846 shipwreck were coins struck during America’s first gold rush starting in 1803 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and during the next gold rush in the Cherokee hills of Georgia in 1828.

            The invented “treasure trove” included $10 Gold Eagles, as well as the $2.50 and $5.00 pieces issued by the Southern Mints of New Orleans, Charlotte, NC and Dahlonega, GA. These coins had the mint marks of O, C, and D respectively. Some the counterfeit Chinese $10 Eagles were marked as having been minted in New Orleans and others in Philadelphia.

            And in addition, they are also making fake gold bars from the Credit Suisse people. And a massive issue of fake tungsten (heavily gold-plated) U.S. treasury gold bars but with incorrect bar numbers and are also faking Third Reich 1 kilo gold bars with the marks of the Deutsche Reichsbank.

            As for Krugerands and similar gold pieces that are traded for bullion prices, it is obvious that the Chinese have lowered the purity and thus debase the value; otherwise, a fake Krug would have as much gold as a real one. The 1804 silver dollaris one of the rarest and most famous coins in the world. Its creation was the result of a simple bookkeeping error, but its status as the king of coins has been established for nearly a century and a half. The silver dollars reported by the mint as being struck in 1804 were actually dated 1803 (die steel being very expensive in the early 1800s, dies were used until they were no longer in working condition. This is why many early US coins exhibit all kinds of die cracks, occlusions, cuds, clash marks, and other late state die wear. Dies were used until they literally fell apart. Nearly every coin the US struck from 1793 to 1825 has an example that was struck in a year other than that which it bears.) No dollars bearing the date 1804 were ever struck in 1804, though this was unknown to mint officials at the time the 1804 dollar came to be.The 1804 silver dollar was actually produced in 1834, when the U.S. Department of State decided to produce a set of U.S. coins to be used as gifts to rulers in Asia in exchange for trade advantages.

Mobile Apps Take Data Without Permission

February 15, 2012
by Nicole Perlroth and Nick Bilton

New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The address book in smartphones — where some of the user’s most personal data is carried — is free for app developers to take at will, often without the phone owner’s knowledge.

Companies that make many of the most popular smartphone apps for Apple and Android devices — Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram among them — routinely gather the information in personal address books on the phone and in some cases store it on their own computers. The practice came under scrutiny Wednesday by members of Congress who saw news reports that taking such data was an “industry best practice.”

Apple, which approves all apps that appear in its iTunes store, addressed the controversy on Wednesday after lawmakers sent the company a letter asking how approved apps were allowed to take address book data without users’ permission. Apple’s published rules on apps expressly prohibit that practice.

But in its statement about the issue, Apple did not address why those apps that collect address book data had been approved.

In that statement, Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, said: “Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

The Federal Trade Commission regulates the use of consumers’ data on the Internet, and in the past it has sanctioned big companies like Facebook and Google over privacy issues. It said Wednesday that it would make no comment about the app makers’ practices.

While Apple says it prohibits and rejects any app that collects or transmits users’ personal data without their permission, that has not stopped some of the most popular applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod — like Yelp, Gowalla, Hipster and Foodspotting — from taking users’ contacts and transmitting it without their knowledge.

Google, which makes the Android operating system software, forces developers to ask users for permission to access any personal data up front.

The app makers collect the data to help quickly expand the network of people using their program. The practice of taking address book information without permission first came to light last week, when a developer noticed that Path, a mobile social network, was uploading entire address books to its servers without users’ knowledge. The company has since said it will stop the practice and destroy the data it has collected.

But Path is hardly the only mobile application that collects address books. Last February, Lookout, a mobile security company, found that 11 percent of free applications in Apple’s iTunes Store had the ability to access users’ contacts. And on Tuesday, VentureBeat, a technology blog, reported that dozens of applications for Apple devices were taking users’ address books without permission.

The findings shed more light on how technology companies sift through people’s personal and private information without their knowledge. Last year, users were shocked to find out that Color, a mobile application, could activate users’ microphones on their phones without their permission. And in December, Carrier IQ, a mobile intelligence company, was accused of privacy violations when a programmer discovered that its tracking software was recording keystrokes made, phone numbers dialed, text messages sent and even encrypted Internet searches, on some 140 million smartphones.

“It’s time for app developers to take responsibility for ensuring that users know what they’re doing, rather than leaving it to the platforms to play a game of Whac-A-Mole,” said Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, in an interview Wednesday.

Some developers are following that advice and changing their apps before Apple and Congress step in. Path and Hipster updated their apps late last week so that they warn users about the information collected. The updates also give users the ability to stop sharing address book information. After Path and Hipster drew scrutiny, Instagram, another popular photo-sharing app that gathers users’ contacts, added a prompt asking users for permission to do so.

Within the Twitter app, when users choose to “Find Friends,” the company can store their address books for as long as 18 months. The company said Tuesday that it planned to update its app to change how it tells users what it collects. “In our next app updates, which are coming soon, we are making the language associated with Find Friends more explicit,” Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, said in an e-mail. “We send and store data securely. Address book information is encrypted when we send it from the mobile phones to our servers. The data is secured within Twitter in the same way that we secure other account information.”

On Tuesday, a developer discovered that when a user signs up for a Foursquare account, the company transmits their address book without warning. In response, Foursquare said it was adding an update to its app that warned users that it accessed their contacts. In an e-mail, Erin Gleason, the company’s director of communications, said that the company did not store users’ contact information. “When a person searches for friends on Foursquare, we transmit the address book information over a secure connection and do not store it beyond that point,” she wrote.

VentureBeat reported that the worst offenders seemed to take shortcuts and did not properly protect the data they were collecting from smartphones. It reported that Foodspotting, a mobile app that allows users to share photos of their meals, transmitted users’ address books over an unencrypted connection where it could be easily intercepted. In an e-mail, Alexa Andrzejewski, the chief executive of Foodspotting, said the risk of not encrypting users’ contact information “has always seemed relatively low, especially for a site that doesn’t deal with credit card or other sensitive information.” Ms. Andrzejewski also said Foodspotting would be updating its app to include additional security features.

Google has tools built into the Android platform that forces developers to notify people what data, if any, they plan to access. Once they have users’ permission, Android developers can access everything from a phone owner’s call logs to their text messages. But users of many apps — including Hipster, Locale, Uber, Yelp, Taxi Magic, Picplz, Scrabble and Waze — are often not told how the information will be used or how the company plans to store it.

“What separates malicious use from legitimate use is the element of surprise. If a user is surprised, that’s a problem,” said Kevin Mahaffey, Lookout’s chief technology officer, who said that in many ways, standards and rules for data on smartphones were still being debated. “It’s a new industry and it’s still in many ways the Wild West out there. The iron is still hot.”



Prospects of war with Iran clouded

February 17, 2012

by Brian Downing

Asia Times

            The escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf and attendant positioning of military assets in the region gives the impression that war is all but inevitable. Machinery is in gear and turning faster and faster by the day, as it was in the lead-up to the Gulf wars of 1991 and 2003.
            The decision to go to war, though ultimately resting with President Barack Obama, is a complex and arcane process involving the US public, congress, the military, allied governments, and the president’s advisers. Some of those groups are active participants, others virtually inert.
            Combining the apparent positions of these various groups does not show a strong consensus either for going to war or remaining with sanctions. And so a war between the US and Iran is not the forgone conclusion it is often assumed to be.

The public

            The American people have been a vast reservoir of support for war since the shining victory of World War II ended long-standing isolationist traditions and enduringly alloyed military action with the ideals of American might and virtue. Paradoxically, in 1945, just as Europe had wearied of armed conflict and foreign involvement, the US was romanticizing them and making them integral parts of the national identity and economy.
            This reservoir of war romanticism has known shortage, as in the years after Vietnam and at the height of the Iraq insurgency. Today, the military budget is beginning to be seen as burdensome and the war in Afghanistan drags on without signs of progress. The appeal of war is weaker than in the heady days after the 9/11 attacks, but it remains at abundant, exploitable levels.
            Several parts of the American media and political system have been making the case for war over the last several years – quite insistently in the last few months. Large parts of American radio and television are devoted to hawkish, populist messages disparaging liberalism in general, Obama’s inattention to foreign dangers, and warnings of the danger in Iran’s nuclear program. Some sources all but demand air strikes on Iran.
            In the conservative GOP presidential primaries, most candidates endorse a tough stance against Iran, though naturally enough they are reluctant to specify precisely what that stance would be and what it would lead to. They are not disposed to clarity on even so grave an issue.
            Ron Paul, a maverick libertarian, vehemently opposes any hostile action against Iran. Indeed, he is opposed to America’s global presence in general. His respectable showing in the primaries, however, is based more on his demonstrated opposition to government spending than to his neo-isolationism, which at present resonates only faintly among conservatives and only somewhat more so in the general public.
            Audiences are not apprised of likely consequences of such air strikes – or of ongoing assassinations and bombings inside Iran, for that matter. Nor is there mention of less inflammatory evaluations by members of the Israeli military and intelligence service who question Iran’s threat as a nuclear power.
            Popular support for war with Iran, nonetheless, is at present not robust. Lingering animosity over the long embassy crisis of 1979-80 is not strong and the argument of an endangered Israel draws strong support only in predictable places.
            Polling questions and responses vary with the skill and agenda of pollsters. When given a choice between taking action or not, respondents favor military action by 54% to 38% – a narrow majority. However, when respondents are graciously given continued sanctions and diplomacy as an option, it is favored by 65% of respondents and the military option falls to 16%.
            Lack of enthusiasm does not imply significant opposition. After all, even at the height of the Iraq insurgency opposition was limited to occasional speeches in congress and several gatherings devoted to a number of causes of little relation to the war. Americans today are preoccupied with personal and familial matters amid hard times and are unlikely to mount serious opposition to an impending or actual war.
            Inasmuch as any attack on Iran is thought to take the form of air strikes and not involve ground troops, war would be seen by many Americans, at least at its outset, as a quick and almost costless effort from which Iran will emerge chastened and the US strengthened.

The congress

            The political system has not yet come to any full discussion of the Iran situation. With the exception of occasional stern comments from committee chairpersons, congress has only looked on as stances harden and troops move into place.
            The absence of debate as war clouds build is hardly surprising. Congress, though empowered by the Constitution with control over going to war, largely ceded that power to the White House long ago.
            Congress is not getting any strong signal either way from the public. This leaves the matter of influence in the hands of think tanks, which shape opinion and are typically supportive of interventionism, and lobbying organizations, which are typically supportive of Israeli and Saudi interests. The Iranian nuclear issue has brought Israel and Saudi Arabia, historical adversaries, into a strange but redoubtable partnership whose influence in congress will be felt as the crisis builds.
            Signs are already evident. Over the last three years, congress has doggedly pressed Obama for tougher sanctions and shorter deadlines for talks. These were more than simply bluster; they aimed to force the president into a sterner approach to Tehran. A recent vote on firmer sanctions on the Iranian oil and financial sectors passed the House by a vote of 410 to 11 – an astounding margin rarely seen since Pearl Harbor.
            Handling of the Iran matter will likely build as the November elections near and campaigns become more contested and costly. Should there be a vote on military action against Iran, it will take place amid anxious electoral competitions not given to thoughtful consideration of foreign policy.

The military

            While priding itself on being apolitical, the military has over the years been supportive of foreign policies that allow it to practice its craft and justify its budgets. As spending cuts loom for years to come, the military will wish to demonstrate its importance to national security and world affairs.
            A recent Centcom commander, Admiral William Fallon, famously voiced his opposition to attacking Iran. However, that was in 2007 as the Iraq insurgency was at its deadliest and institutional mistrust of neo-conservative foreign policy was strongest. Iran, Fallon knew, could direct Shi’ite militias to strike back hard against US troops in Iraq and increase casualties sharply.
            Iran can still retaliate against US troops in Afghanistan, but US troops are out of Iraq and the neo-cons are out of office. No flag officer has opted to repeat Fallon’s public stand against attacking Iran, and US assets continue to move into the Gulf region.
            Institutional support for war will be strongest in the navy and air force. Thus far in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they have played only minor, subordinate roles. Providing air support for an infantry company is most welcome to the guys on the ground and constitutes a vital part of war. To the navy and air force, however, it reduces them to auxiliaries of the army and marines.
            Better there be a strategic bombing campaign against air defense systems and communication centers. Better there be neutralization of enemy fighter aircraft, stealth bombers hitting hardened targets, then on to crippling the enemy’s economic infrastructure and supporting uprisings among oppressed peoples such as the Kurds and Balochs.
            The Pentagon is not incautious here. They know that two or three aircraft carriers are close to Iranian shores. One or two will be in the relatively closed waters of the Persian Gulf where they have less room to maneuver and are especially vulnerable to Iranian missiles, ships, and aircraft.
            Pentagon modelling of war with Iran has been sobering. In addition to a wave of bombings and assassinations throughout the region and perhaps inside the US as well, an aircraft carrier could be lost to “swarming” tactics by Iranian ships, planes, and missiles. The US hasn’t lost a carrier since World War II and flag officers and statesmen alike must know that the public reaction would be immediate, unreasoning, and vengeful.

The allies

            The American leadership will makes its decision after careful discussions with key allies in and out of the Gulf region. Many allies are adamant in advocating war – or at least seem to be. Others are more circumspect. Owing to new fiscal and geopolitical realities facing the US, the administration’s deliberations will be more mindful of allies’ viewpoints and capabilities than in previous years.
            Several EU states, especially Britain and France, oppose Iran’s nuclear program. They do not want to see another nuclear power and are concerned that a nuclear Iran could endanger the flow of Gulf oil upon many EU states depend. Britain and France have been prominent in the many rounds of diplomacy over the years and have voted to boycott Iran’s oil beginning in July, but participation in a war is quite another matter. British and French security bureaus are unlikely to form scenarios of quick strikes and satisfactory results. The costs of the world wars were far higher there than in the US and are deeply rooted in the political culture – elite and popular alike. War with Iran, with or without British or French participation, would present serious concerns.
            Oil prices would rise sharply, and European countries that rely on oil from the Gulf will anxiously wonder for how long. Iran could protract the dangers to tanker traffic by intermittent use of mines, aircraft, and ships and by sporadic strikes on Saudi oil facilities. Coming along with the still-emerging euro crisis, Europe could be severely hurt, as would much of the world.
            Iranian retaliation could also take the form of assassinations and bombings in many parts of the world, including Europe. This would be an unwelcome reprise of the assassinations of dissidents and former officials in the shah’s government that took place in Europe back in the 80s. Sympathetic attacks may come from small numbers in disaffected Muslim populations across the continent, who though chiefly Sunni, will act in the name of anti-interventionism and Islamic fraternity.
            Most European allies are unlikely to take part in attacks on Iran and will likely counsel against it, preferring continued sanctions and diplomacy. Sanctions may not be successful this year, they will note, but sanctions constitute a long-term cost to Iran for any violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and may lead to welcome change in the Iranian elections scheduled for 2013.
            The US is more needful of allies now than at any time since World War II. Budgets will be tight in the foreseeable future; reductions in ground troops are already underway. US Strategy now calls for greater cooperation with other countries, especially in East and South Asia where China is becoming the primary concern.
            South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and India – key partners in the neo-containment alliance – share Europe’s dependence on Gulf oil and its attendant concern with price rises and disruptions of tanker traffic. They do not share the US’s concern with Iran’s nuclear program and most of them, despite US and Saudi urging, have declined to boycott Iranian oil. They, like the European powers, are almost certainly pressing Washington to refrain from military action and to stick to sanctions and diplomacy.
            Further, East Asian allies will be concerned with the strategic judiciousness of the US should it initiate a conflagration in the Gulf. They will also be concerned if the US were to keep a large number of its naval and air assets away from the Chinese periphery for an expended period, much as the US’s NATO partners were dismayed by so many US assets devoted for so long to the war in Southeast Asia back in the 1960s.
            Saudi Arabia has been one of the driving forces in the effort to counter Iran and, along with Israel, foremost in public calls for war. The Saudis were most helpful to the US in opposing the Soviets in Afghanistan by funding the mujahadeen and driving down oil prices and devastating the Soviet Union’s export revenue.
            But that was no favor which put the US in the Saudis’ debt. They were angered by an officially atheistic power’s invasion of a Muslim country. Furthermore, the US defended the kingdom in 1991 when Saddam Hussein’s army overran Kuwait and seemed poised to drive farther south. The House of Saud cannot call in any markers in Washington.
            Saudi Arabia is pressing for war but is unable to field a meaningful part of any military effort and must rely on the US. This of course weakens their position in the matter.
            The Saudi military is replete with pomp and elegance but under no circumstance can it match up with Iran. Further, its Asian trade partners, especially China, are urging Riyadh to put aside sectarian-based anxieties and, in the interest of world trade, find a diplomatic solution.
            The influence of Israel’s hawkish voices will become more apparent in the US congress as the crisis builds over the next few months. The Obama administration, however, may be more attentive to the several Israeli national security authorities who are both more thoughtful and more cautious. Their nuanced analyses get no purchase in the US public but they might have a welcome audience in the war councils on the Potomac.
            The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran striking Israel is the basis of the case for stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Politicians and talk radio hosts state as a veritable certainty that irrational mullahs in Tehran will seek to annihilate Israel even if it means their own annihilation in a counterstrike.
            Many Israeli intelligence and defense experts, however, see the Iranian leadership as rational, even cautious, and well aware that a nuclear war would bring them nothing but swift and massive retaliation. Nor are these experts unmindful of disastrous consequences for Israel should a strike on Iran lead to a regional war.
            In that these arguments are often leaked, it appears that these Israeli experts are seeking the attention of calmer minds in the publics and war councils of Israel and the US alike.

The administration

            Few in Barack Obama’s foreign policy team and trusted advisers are disposed to using military force. This is all the more so after the departure of Dennis Ross, James L Jones, and Rahm Emanuel in the last year or so.
            There is a notable absence of military experience in the president and the people around him, but as the previous administration ably demonstrated, this is no obstacle to favoring war. Obama and his staff, however, are liberal democrats who prefer social spending to military spending and see the latter eating into the former too much already. It is in their upbringings, educations, and political careers.
            Some of them applauded the Afghan campaign in 2001 and voted for the Iraq invasion the following year, but the rise of bloody insurgencies in both countries have impressed greater sobriety. The hawks’ preference for armed force and optimistic war scenarios no longer receive the almost reflexive assent they enjoyed in the heady aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
            Outside the wars it inherited, the administration has demonstrated a preference for highly limited military actions as evidenced by the cases of Libya and Somalia. Those cases saw only sparing use of US might, usually fighter aircraft and drones, and substantial indigenous and allied help, often in the form of ground troops.
            The Iran case would be quite different. There would be weeks of heavy bombing and cruise missile strikes on the air defense system, fighter aircraft, and naval vessels before concentrating on the nuclear facilities at Natanz, Qom, Isfahan, and Fordu. The nuclear sites are hardened targets buried under over a hundred feet of bedrock or burrowed well into mountains, making difficult damage assessments and repeated strikes a likelihood.
            The burden would fall mainly on the US. Help from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni states would be slight in the overall effort as Israeli pilots would have long flights requiring refueling and Saudi pilots are inexperienced and of uncertain determination under fire. No ground troops from any power are likely – save perhaps for the Kurdish, Baloch, and Mujahadeen-e-Khalq guerrillas who will be encouraged to conduct attacks.
            Iranian responses are of course not known, but they would likely include guerrilla attacks throughout the Gulf and assassinations and bombings wherever US, Saudi, and Israeli targets may be. Tehran may seek to make their response a series of intermittent attacks, lasting months or even years. Such a conflict, then, would be open-ended and costly – a lengthy burden on the purses of belligerents.
            If Iran were to strike inside the US or seem poised to, consumer spending and business investment would freeze and the already frail economy would slump. Civil liberties would suffer and the reach of domestic surveillance would become even more Orwellian.
            The president’s personal make-up may be critical the decision to go to war. Obama envisions himself as an exceptional figure, above the crush of ordinary politicians and tired circumstance, who went from the Illinois legislature to the White House in just a few years. He is one who effects change through charisma, elocution, and consensus-building, not through the coarse method of dropping bombs.
            Barack Obama has great expectations. He does not want to go down in history as a war president – one who failed to devote himself fully to bettering the lives of Americans and who carried on with his predecessors’ plan for the Middle East.

            Brian M Downing is a political/military analyst and author of The Military Revolution and Political Change and The Paths of Glory: War and Social Change in America from the Great War to Vietnam. He can be reached at brianmdowning@gmail.com.



by Gregory Douglas

Part 1


The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, continues to generate an enormous amount of popular controversy, more so than any other historical happening in recorded memory. The killing took place in a major American city in full view of hundreds of people and in broad daylight, yet years after the event, a dispassionate overview of the incident is impossible to achieve. The act and its consequences are as cluttered as the dense Indian jungle that so thoroughly hides the gaudy tiger from the sight of its prey.

The initial stunned confusion in Dallas has continued, with much official connivance, into succeeding decades, with an immense proliferation of books, magazine articles, motion picture productions, and television dramas, which are equally divided between assaults on previous productions and the presentation of even more confusion, theory, and supposition.

One camp consists entirely of what can best be termed the “official version” and in the other camp are the “revisionist versions.” There is only one of the former and a multitude of the others.

There is no question in the minds of anyone that John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, in November of 1963. The real issue is who shot him and why.

Is the report of the official Warren Commission correct?[1] Was the President killed by a disaffected man who acted entirely alone? Was his subsequent murder perpetrated by another disaffected man who also acted entirely alone?

Are the legions of revisionists correct? Was the Kennedy assassination the result of a plot? And if there was a plot, who were the plotters and what were their motives?

The overwhelming majority of the public, who are the final arbiters of whatever may pass for historical truth, has, in the intervening years, come to believe less in the determined certainty of officialdom and more in the questions raised by those who cannot accept official dictums.

In a very strong sense, the Kennedy assassination marked an important watershed in the relationship between the American public and its elected and appointed officials. Before that event, what the government said was almost universally accepted as the truth. There was unquestioning and simplistic belief, and more, there was trust in the pronouncements from the Beltway and its numerous and often very slavish servants in academia and the American media. It is true, people would say, because it is printed in my newspaper and supported by important and knowledgeable savants.

That the media and academia might be influenced by, if not actually commanded by, the government rarely occurred to anyone outside of a small handful of chronic malcontents.

The questions that were raised by the Warren Commission’s lengthy and thoroughly disorganized report were certainly in many cases very important. That there were many errors in this hasty attempt to allay national anxieties is clearly evident, but in retrospect, and in view of recently disclosed evidence, these are more errors of commission than omission.

The Warren Report was prepared and released to the public not to encourage questioning but to silence it as quickly as possible. There are many cogent reasons for this desire for silence and acceptance, not the least of which was the urgent desire for self-preservation and the maintenance of the integrity of the governmental system.

In actuality, the American currency is not backed by gold or silver holdings but by the blind faith of the public. If the concept of unquestioning belief in governmental currency stability is questioned, economic chaos can be the result and this applies equally to government probity.

To quote from the title of the first and very important revisionist work on the Kennedy assassination, there was a great “rush to judgment” and a frantic desire on the part of the official establishment to completely bury not only the murdered President, but also any questions his killing might have engendered with him.

Was the primary reason for this desire for closure merely a desire to placate public opinion or were there other, and far more sinister, reasons for this rush to judgment?

Those who question the official chronicle have been severely hampered by the fact that all the records, documents, interviews, and other evidentiary material are securely under governmental custody and control. It is beyond the belief of any reasonable person to think that an official agency would release to the public any material that would bring the official judgment into question. This is not only institutional maintenance but also, all things in evidence now considered, a frantic effort at self-preservation.

Not all documents, however, lie under government control, and there exist reports that do not only question the Warren Report’s findings but are also of such a nature as to both thoroughly discredit it and, in the final analysis, bring it to ruin.

Such a historical land mine lay for years in the personal files of Robert Trumbull Crowley, once Deputy Director for Operations for the Central Intelligence Agency. Crowley, who had authored books on Soviet intelligence, died in October of 2000 after a long illness.

When Crowley retired from the CIA in the 1980s, he took a significant quantity of important historical documents with him and, prior to his death, gave a number of these to various historians with whom he occasionally cooperated.

Among these documents was a lengthy paper prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1978 as a commentary on Soviet intelligence evaluations of the Kennedy assassination.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, a branch of the Department of Defense, specializes in the analysis of foreign military technical intelligence.

This document was considered highly sensitive, for reasons that shall shortly become very evident, and its distribution was limited to a handful of copies with severely restricted circulation.

Crowley had a copy of this explosive document because he had personal knowledge of the factors and personalities behind the assassination and had, in fact, prior professional knowledge of the information contained in the DIA secret paper.

The second and certainly even more important document is a 98 pages long paper entitled “OPERATION ZIPPER Conference Record.” This document is a long list of decisions and activities of various U.S. authorities in a project with the code name “Operation ZIPPER.”

The distribution of this document was restricted to five persons, one of them being R. T. Crowley, in whose papers a copy of it was found.

This book uses the official DIA Report and the “Operation ZIPPER” document as its framework. In addition to that, the author uses the notes he made during endless hours of conversation he had with R. T. Crowley in the years between 1993 and 1996, and has dug deeply into the great body of literature on the assassination of J. F. Kennedy to flesh out what has proven to be a very ugly skeleton. In sum, it puts sinews and flesh on the bones of a monster.

The loss of faith is a terrible matter and one can say after reading these papers and with bitter truth: “Who then will guard the guardians?”

Torture, Assassination, and the American Way of Life
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As most everyone knows, the CIA has been assassinating people practically since the time it was formed in 1947. By and large, however, the CIA kept its assassinations secret. Americans, for their part, had a feeling that such things were being done but didn’t ask any questions.

The system was almost in the nature of a secret, unannounced pact between the government and the people. As part of its job to protect “national security,” the government would have the omnipotent authority to assassinate people, but it would keep its assassinations secret from the citizenry. In that way, the citizenry would be shielded from the unsavory things that government would be doing in the name of “national security,” and citizens wouldn’t have to concern themselves with things like conscience.

The principle, of course, has been the same with respect to torture. For decades, the Pentagon was secretly teaching soldiers the principles of torture, including at its infamous School of the Americas.

Every once in a while, there would be some public disclosure regarding the assassination program or the torture program. For example, there was the infamous Phoenix program during the Vietnam War, where tens of thousands of Vietnamese people were tortured or killed. There were the CIA’s repeated assassination attempts against Cuba’s president Fidel Castro. There was the discovery of the Pentagon’s torture manuals that were being used at the School of the Americas.

When such things would become public, there would be tremendous shock within the citizenry, especially the mainstream media. Investigations would be called. Committees would be impaneled. Confessions and apologies and promises not do it again would issue. The citizenry would be satisfied. Everything would return to “normal.”

No one seemed to notice that through it all — from 1947 through the present date — the U.S. national security state was supporting and training the intelligence and military forces of foreign dictatorships that were brutalizing their own citizenry with things like arbitrary arrest, torture, and assassination. Look at Latin America, for example, where in the name of “anti-communism” and “national security,” both the CIA and the Pentagon were partnering with and training brutal dictatorships, especially military ones. Or look at the Middle East, where much of the same thing has been going on.

Why were the Pentagon and the CIA supporting, training, and partnering with such dictatorships? Because they believed in them! They honestly believed that such dictatorships were necessary to hold back the “communist threat” and to protect the “national security” of the United States. In fact, one of their models was the Pinochet military dictatorship in Chile, which they helped bring into existence, because it favored “capitalism” while, at the same time, arresting, torturing, and killing “communists” without having to deal with such judicial niceties as trials, due process, and the like.

Throughout the Cold War, the CIA and the Pentagon must have been envious of those foreign dictatorial regimes. After all, such regimes could exercise their powers openly and above board. They didn’t need to hide them. In Latin America, for example, death squads consisting of U.S.-trained soldiers and intelligence personnel were arresting people, raping them, torturing them, and killing them or simply assassinating them. And they were doing so openly to protect their “national security” from the “communists.”

Or consider the rendition/torture partnerships between the U.S. government and the dictatorships in such countries as Egypt, Syria, and Libya. There is a reason that the Pentagon and the CIA chose those countries to torture its victims — they’re good at it, and U.S. officials knew that there were good at it. This is especially true in the case of Egypt, whose military and intelligence forces have long worked closely with the U.S. national security state. Moreover, for decades the U.S. government has helped support Egypt’s military dictatorship with billions of dollars in money and armaments.

Of course, 9/11 changed all that. No longer would the Pentagon and the CIA have to keep secret their torture and assassination programs. Like their counterparts in Latin America and the Middle East, they could now be open and above board, at least with respect to wielding such powers, if not also the exercise of them.

The Constitution, of course, does not delegate to the federal government the powers to take people into custody, torture and abuse them, and kill them. There is also no power to assassinate people. In fact, the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits the government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, trial by jury, right to counsel, and other such procedures. It also protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures, especially without judicially issued warrants. It guarantees speedy trials and prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.

So, how did the CIA and the Pentagon acquire such powers? No, there was no constitutional amendment. They simply assumed the powers, without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment. That was the secret pact between them and the American people during the Cold War. “We now wield these powers that the Constitution prohibits us from exercising,” U.S. officials effectively said, “but we must exercise them to keep you safe from the communists. Don’t worry: we will exercise them secretly and surreptitiously so that it will appear that nothing has changed in a fundamental way.”

Thus, throughout the Cold War Americans continued innocently believing that they were living in a free country, one in which the government’s powers were limited by the Constitution, even though deep down everyone knew that the government was now secretly wielding powers that were inherent to brutal dictatorships.

Then came 9/11, the critical event that enabled the secret arrangement to now be made public. The Pentagon and the CIA were now on the same level as the dictatorships that they had long supported and trained. Like their counterparts in those regimes, they could now be as open about their powers as their foreign dictatorships had been. 9/11 enabled the Pentagon and the CIA to not only openly disclose that they wielded such powers, it also enabled them to openly exercise them without any fear or concern that they might ultimately be held criminally liable.

For decades, Americans lived under the quaint notion that the national-security state would exercise such powers only against foreigners. With the arrest, torture, and assassination of Americans in the post-9/11 era, it’s finally starting to dawn on many Americans that they stand in no different position, in principle, from the citizenry in those U.S.-supported dictatorships in Latin America and the Middle East.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

[1]    The Warren Commission Report, pb. edition, New York: St. Martin’s Press [no year, ISBN 0-312-08257-6]; hereinafter WCR.

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