TBR News February 23, 2012

Feb 23 2012

The Voice of the White House


            Washington, D.C. February 23, 2012: “I got an interesting bit of input on the subject of the Koran burnings in Afghanistan.

            My source has been  very reliable, works officially with such matters in SEA and said that the burning was not accidental but deliberate and done to cause violent responses in Afghanistan.

            Who did this and why did they do it?

            His contention, and he is in a position to know, is that the man and woman who burned these books (a large box full, not the “two used books” the media is now talking about,) were a man and a woman wearing American military uniforms.

            There were a number of Afghans working in the immediate vicinity and they stated that neither of the burners were wearing any kind of insignia. The only Americans in Afghanistan who are permitted to wear American military uniforms sans insignia are the CIA. These are the same people who launch so-called “killer drones” from Army bases against civilian targets in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

            My informant said, very clearly, that the CIA is trying to prevent an American withdrawal from Afghanistan because they are heavily involved in the exportation of a portion of the huge national opium market and if American troops were withdrawn, it would only be a matter of time before the Taliban regained control. As the Taliban are opposed to the growing and export of opium and its products, the conclusions are certainly very reasonable.”


Moscow stirs itself on Syria

February 24, 2012

by M K Bhadrakumar

Asia Times

            With the “Friends of Syria” (FOS) grouping sponsored by the Western powers and their Arab allies scheduled to hold its first meeting in Tunis on Friday, Russian diplomacy has shifted gear into a proactive mode. The Kremlin was a beehive of diplomatic activity on Wednesday.
            The venue of the birthplace of the “Arab Spring” for the FOS to gather might, prima facie, give an impression that the name of the game is high-flown rhetoric and nothing more.
            But that is not how Moscow views the developing paradigm. It estimates that Tunis with its Mediterranean climate and languidlook has been carefully chosen as a deceptive location for the West to launch a concerted assault on the citadel of President Bashar al-Assad and to legitimize it in the world opinion. Moscow senses that the final assault on Syria by the United States may not far off, although the US propaganda makes it out to be that the Barack Obama administration is on the horns of a dilemma, torn apart by an existential angst.
            Moscow has point-blank turned down the “invitation” to be part of the FOS. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday:

Officially we were not informed who will take part in the [FOS] conference or what the agenda will be. Most importantly, it is unclear what the actual goal of this initiative is … Serious questions arise about the final document of the meeting. According to some information, a small group of countries, without knowledge of others, will be asked to simply stamp a document that is already in the process of being written … it seems that we are talking about slapping together some kind of international coalition as was the case in organizing the Libya Contact Group in order to support one side against the other in an internal conflict. Russia is for all members of the world community to act as friends of all Syrian people and not only part of it.

            That statement may leave the impression that Moscow retains the option to review its association with FOS at some future stage. But its most important salient is the analogy drawn with the West’s Libyan intervention and the uncanny resemblance between the Libya Contact Group and the FOS in the making.
            Against the backdrop of the Libyan analogy, the Kremlin swiftly moved into the diplomatic arena on Wednesday. President Dmitry Medvedev phoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Saudi monarch King Abdullah and the Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
            The conversation with Abdullah apparently didn’t go far as the terse Kremlin announcement suggests. The state-owned Saudi Press Agency’s account claims that Abdullah rebuffed Medvedev virtually by insisting that any dialogue about the Syrian situation is “futile”. He said Moscow should have “coordinated with Arabs … before using its veto [in the UN Security Council].” Abdullah was quoted as saying, “But now, dialogue about what is happening [in Syria] is futile.”
            Abdullah made it clear that Riyadh has a closed mind on Syria and nothing short of a regime change in Damascus will satisfy the House of Saud.
            Medvedev, however, held productive discussions with Maliki and Ahmadinejad. Interestingly, Moscow has sized up Baghdad as a meaningful interlocutor in the Syrian crisis in so short a time after the pullout of the United States’ troops from that country.
            The Russian initiative to Baghdad is tantamount to an acknowledgement both of Iraq having got back its sovereignty after eight years of foreign occupation and its relevance and its capacity to play a role in the Syrian crisis, as well as a reminder to those who forgot that Iraq along with Syria were two staunch allies of the former Soviet Union in the Middle East.
            The Kremlin account of the conversation between Medvedev and Maliki said:

The main subject of discussion was the situation in the Middle East, in particular in Syria, with the emphasis on not allowing outside intervention in Syria’s affairs and the need to end the bloodshed as soon as possible and launch a comprehensive dialogue in the country itself between all sides in the conflict. Both leaders stressed that political and diplomatic efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria are the only option and noted the counterproductive impact of economic sanctions against Syria, which only aggravate the Syrian people’s social and economic problems. [Emphasis added.]

            Medvedev and al-Maliki “stressed the importance of continued coordination through bilateral and multilateral contacts in order to guarantee regional peace and security”. Interestingly, the two leaders have agreed to expand and deepen the bilateral ties, which, incidentally, had a big security content in the Soviet era.
            The stunning development, however, was Medvedev’s phone call to Ahmadinejad on Wednesday. Interestingly, it was made on the day after International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors concluded in Tehran what appears to have been an inconclusive mission.
            Moscow has been chary of openly displaying a strategic understanding with Tehran on major regional problems lest it got unwittingly entangled in the US-Iran standoff. This political reserve conditioned Moscow’s lukewarm attitude to Iran’s persistent requests for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
            Thus, whichever way one looks at it, Moscow crossed the Rubicon on Wednesday to touch base with Ahmadinejad on the Syrian crisis, which Russian commentators increasingly flag as the most critical international issue today, which is reaching “boiling point”.
            The Russian media account of the Medvedev-Ahmadinejad conversation claimed the two leaders “spoke out” against foreign interference in Syria, while the Kremlin statement said they “urged the resolution of the current crisis by Syrian people using only peaceful means and without any foreign interference. The sides agreed that the main goal today … is to prevent a civil war in the country, which may destabilize the situation in the whole region.”
            The Iranian account was more forthcoming.

“Given their common views and positions, Iran and Russia must make more effort to help establish peace in the region and prevent foreign intervention,” Ahmadinejad said.
Medvedev, for his part, said certain trans-regional powers seek Syria’s disintegration, which is a threat to Middle East security. The Russian president added that Iran and Russia can cooperate to peacefully resolve the crisis in Syria.

            Significantly, Moscow wrapped up its diplomatic initiatives on Wednesday with the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov also making a demarche with the US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul at a meeting in the foreign ministry in Moscow over the Iran situation.
            Rybakov voiced Moscow’s “strong objection” to the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and pointed out that such political pressure only impeded a “negotiated solution to the West’s standoff with Iran” and complicated Iran’s talks with the P5+1 – “Iran Six” – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany.
            The demarche comes at a point when Russian commentators – like their Chinese counterparts – are increasingly placing the Syrian crisis and the situation around Iran as two vectors of the same matrix. It will bear watch how the Russian-Iranian strategic understanding over Syria develops.
            A Russian commentary on Wednesday analyzed that the co-relation of forces in the heart of the Middle Eastern region is changing dramatically:

Syria is developing a special relationship with Iraq, which sympathizes with Syria’s efforts to stabilize the domestic situation. It is quite probable that with the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Iran, Iraq and Syria will at some point naturally form a loose, tripartite alliance in the Middle East. Given that the majority of the Iraqis are Shiite and Iran’s growing influence in Iraq in the last few years, such a scenario is by no means improbable.

            The Kremlin diplomatic initiatives on Wednesday seems to have factored in the emergent regional scenario.

            Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


Obama Lawyer: No Court Can Challenge Extrajudicial Execution at President’s Whim

Obama’s top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson argued authority to kill and detain without charge or trial spans the globe

February 23, 2012

by John Glaser,



The Obama administration’s top Pentagon lawyer on Wednesday said that courts have no business questioning executive branch decisions about whom to target for extra-judicial execution in the war on terror, even if that target is an American cit


“Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives,” said Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, in a speech at Yale Law School.

While the Obama administration’s policy here is not new – they’ve been conducting a drone war and assassinating U.S. citizens and non-citizens without ever providing the public evidence of those targets’ guilt – it was rare for an administration official to so publicly declare it like Johnson did.

Johnson would not speak to specific cases, but he did bring up the administration’s killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last year. He mentioned that a district judge’s decision to dismiss a case brought by Awlaki’s father to prevent his son’s due-process-free assassination was the right decision because targeting decisions are none of the court’s business.

If the administration concludes someone is a part of al-Qaeda or an “associated force,” Johnson explained, they can be executed or detained without trial or judicial review. Johnson argued the authority for this comes from the authorization for the use of military force against the perpetrators of 9/11, passed by Congress one week after the attacks.

Johnson said nothing in that statute limited the war against al-Qaeda and its allies to the so-called “hot” battlefield zone of Afghanistan. So, the Obama administration has claimed the authority to kill or capture without charge or trial any individual it alone deems a terrorist, anywhere in the world, without any judicial review.



Syrian regime accused of crimes against humanity by UN

A UN list of senior Syrian officials who should face investigation is reported to include the president, Bashar al-Assad


The UN has accused the Syrian regime of “crimes against humanity” – including the use of snipers against small children – and has drawn up a list of senior officials who should face investigation, reportedly including President Bashar al-Assad.

The UN report was delivered as two journalists injured in the attack that killed Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik issued dramatic appeals to be evacuated from the besieged city of Homs, where they are trapped.

A video of Edith Bouvier, a reporter for Le Figaro who suffered serious leg injuries, was released by activists in the city who say she is too badly wounded to be moved without an ambulance and guarantee of safe passage. In a second video released shortly after, Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy, who was also injured in the attack, made a similar appeal for evacuation.

Western officials urged Damascus to give immediate humanitarian access to trapped civilian populations in Homs and elsewhere, including the evacuation of the western journalists, but said the lack of a security council mandate meant they were powerless to provide assistance without the regime’s permission.

The UN report found evidence that “army snipers and Shabbiha gunmen [from pro-Assad militias] posted at strategic points terrorised the population, targeting and killing small children, women and other unarmed civilians. Fragmentation mortar bombs were also fired into densely populated neighbourhoods.”

It said: “Security agencies continued to systematically arrest wounded patients in state hospitals and to interrogate them, often using torture, about their supposed participation in opposition demonstrations or armed activities.”

The list of Syrian regime officials claimed to be involved in the crackdown will remain sealed until the alleged crimes can be investigated by an international human rights court. Such an investigation has so far been blocked by Russian and Chinese UN security council vetoes of concerted international action against the Damascus regime.

One commissioner who helped draw up the UN report, Yakin Ertürk, said: “All the crimes we listed came from several consistent witness accounts and showed systematic abuses.”

She said the list of the named top officials believed to be involved had been kept sealed because “we are not a court. We could not investigate and sentence like a court.

“So it has been deposited with the UN high commissioner for human rights. When and if these incidents are investigated by a court, it will be made available and provide an input into the investigation.”

The UN inquiry said it found “a reliable body of evidence” implicating “commanding officers and officials at the highest levels of government” in the commission of “crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations”. Although no names were released, Assad was reported to be top of the list.

The report also says rebel groups, known collectively as the Free Syrian Army, have committed torture and extra-judicial executions, but argues those violations are in no way “comparable in scale and organisation” to the abuses being carried out by the Assad regime, which have led to thousands of deaths.

“I am appalled by the evidence that young children are being targeted by snipers, and that security forces continue to arrest and torture wounded patients in state hospitals,” said Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East.

“I am also very concerned at evidence of abuses by the Free Syrian Army, though the report makes clear these are on a far smaller scale than the widespread and systematic violations by the Syrian authorities. I call on all Syrians to respect human rights standards, end the violence immediately and ensure neutral and impartial access for humanitarian organisations to deliver desperately needed supplies and medical care. ”

Speaking in London, on the sidelines of a conference on Somalia, the French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, warned that the Assad regime would be held accountable for its crimes “one day or another”. He said: “With every passing day it gets more revolting, scandalous and shameful. The regime is massacring its people.”

The minister said he had received reports that the Syrian government had ordered the governor of Homs to lift the siege on the rebel-held parts of the city, but said he could not confirm the news. He said a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Tunis would demand a ceasefire and for humanitarian access to be allowed to besieged civilians, but he warned the international community could not force its way in.

“There is no military option at the moment on the table,” said Juppé. “We are hugely frustrated. I can understand the sense of impotence. The dead are piling up. I can’t say it’s anything but a very deep source of anguish for me. We are doing everything we can, but we can’t break the rules and act without the approval of the UN security council.”

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby on Thursday yesterday appointed Ban’s predecessor Kofi Annan as joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis.

Annan “will provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis,” a UN statement said.

Annan will also “facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.”

Syrian forces continued their onslaught against opposition strongholds across the country, with heavy artillery barrages against Baba Amr, the district of Homs where Colvin and Ochlik were killed.

Opposition activist Omar Shaker told the Associated Press that food, water and medical supplies were running dangerously low. “Every minute counts. People will soon start to collapse from lack of sleep and shortages in food,” he said.

In a separate incident, opposition activists reported that government forces had lined up and shot dead 13 men and boys from one extended family in the village of Kfartoun in Hama province.

Chinese and Russian vetoes have complicated the international response to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Homs and other Syrian cities in the line of fire as Assad’s forces seek to destroy rebel enclaves.

Western and Arab leaders will meet in Tunis on Friday, without Russian or Chinese participation, in an attempt to unify the opposition to the regime, increase pressure for a ceasefire and prepare humanitarian relief.

The latest developments come amid strong indications that UK and US officials are working behind the scenes to attempt to unify Syria’s fractured opposition.

Earlier this week the International Committee of the Red Cross called for temporary ceasefires so it could reach those trapped and wounded in the worst-affected areas.

The UN panel was denied entry to Syria by the government, which accused it of ignoring official information and exceeding its mandate.

The panel instead gathered much of its information from sources outside the country, including human rights activists and Syrian army defectors.

The report claims the ruling Ba’ath party’s national security bureau was responsible for translating government policies into military operations that led to the systematic arrest or killing of civilians.

It says the four main intelligence and security agencies reporting directly to Assad – military intelligence, air force intelligence, the general intelligence directorate and the political security directorate – “were at the heart of almost all operations”.

The report details how businessmen helped hire and arm informal pro-government militias known as the Shabbiha.

“In a number of operations, the commission documented how Shabbiha members were strategically employed to commit crimes against humanity and other gross violations,” it said.

The report also identifies 38 detention centres “for which the commission documented cases of torture and ill-treatment since March 2011”.

UN list

A panel of United Nations investigators has accused regime officials “at the highest level” of human rights violations which could subject them to prosecution.

The UN report accuses the regime of systemic attacks on the political opposition, human rights defenders and the media. It also alleges there have been widespread patterns of arbitrary arrests, disappearances and abductions.

The names on the UN list are as yet confidential but they are likely to include the following leading members of Syria’s formidable security apparatus, who are alleged to have played prominent roles in the crackdown.

Major General Jumah Al-Ahmad

The commander of Syria’s special forces and one of the most influential figures in the country’s military. His unit is alleged to have played a key role disrupting rights protests with lethal force across the country.

Colonel Lu’ai Al-Ali

Head of Syrian military intelligence in Dera’a. The south-western city near the border with Jordan was the birthplace of the Syrian uprising last March. Violence started when troops opened fire on demonstrators who had gathered to protest against the detention of children who had been accused of writing graffiti on town walls. Dera’a remained a hub of dissent and regime-led violence throughout last summer.

Lt General Ali Abdullah Ayyub

The deputy chief of general staff (personnel and manpower), who is the officer primarily responsible for moving military forces around Syria. He is seen as a logistical key to the crackdown.

Lt General Jasim Al-Furay

The chief of general staff and one of the most trusted advisers to President Bashar al-Assad. He has supervisory oversight across all of Syria’s military operations and is a key strategist and tactician.

General Aous Aslan

The head of a battalion in the Republican Guard. He is also a key adviser to Assad and to his brother, Maher al-Assad, who directs the fourth division of the Syrian Army, the unit that has been at the frontline of most of the country’s flashpoint areas, particularly Dera’a, Homs and Hama.


Male pride restored as Y chromosome wins a reprieve

Rumours of the imminent demise of the human Y chromosome may have been exaggerated, claim scientists

February 22, 2012

by Ian Sample, science correspondent


            Nature deals some unkind blows, but none is more hurtful to the pride of man than the looming demise of the Y chromosome.

When it comes to sex chromosomes, women are XX and men are XY. But the modern male chromosome is not what it used to be. Over millions of years of evolution, the biological keeper of all things male has withered and shrunk. So dramatic has the decline been, that one day the Y might vanish completely.

This prospect is seriously debated among biologists. At a genetics conference in Manchester last year, half of those attending thought the Y chromosome was bound for oblivion. Humans would have to evolve a fresh way to balance the sexes.

Hope may be at hand, though. Writing in the latest issue of Nature, Jennifer Hughes and her colleagues at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT come out in support of the Y chromosome’s chances of survival. “We can confidently say that the decay of the Y chromosome has come to a halt, and that would portend very well for its future,” Hughes told the Guardian. “There are far more things to worry about than this.”

The researchers studied the genes on the human Y chromosome and compared them with those on the Y chromosomes of chimpanzees and rhesus macaques. The latter split from the human lineage 25m years ago.

Hughes found that only one gene had been lost from the human Y chromosome in the 25 million years since humans and old world monkeys took separate evolutionary paths. The rapid decline of the Y chromosome seems to have ground to a halt at least tens of millions of years ago.

“We are hoping this evidence will put the extinction of the Y to rest once and for all,” Hughes said.

That may be wishful thinking, however. A few hundred million years ago, the X and Y chromsomes were the same size. Today, the Y chromosome holds fewer than 30 genes, against the X chromosome’s 800 or so. “If you draw a straight line, the Y chromosome’s demise would come four or five million years from now,” said Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at the University of Kent in Canterbury, who nevertheless remains undecided on the issue.

Aficionados of the “rotting Y” theory point to other species that are known to have lost their Y chromosomes. Some species of Japanese spiny rat thrive without a male chromosome. Were the same to happen in humans, the genes for maleness would have to hitch a ride on another chromosome.

“In the end, males are uncertain little creatures and the way they are made is very different in mammals, birds, insects and worms,” said Steve Jones, author of the book Y: The Descent of Man and professor of genetics at University College London.

“In the long term we are all dead, and that is certainly going to be true for the Y chromosome, which is rather an arriviste on the evolutionary scene. It may take a long time, but I am pretty confident that the Y machine will, one day, be replaced by something else. Quite what that will be, you will have to ask me in a hundred million years.”

“The question is, is the human Y chromosome hanging off a cliff edge and about to fall, or stood on a ledge and happy to stay there forever? Realistically, we won’t nail it without a crystal ball,” said Griffin.

“Everyone agrees that the demise of the Y chromosome, if it happens, does not mean the demise of the human male. All that will happen is that the process of sex chromosome evolution will start again.”

Griffin, who posed the question of the Y chromosome’s future to the conference in Manchester, later asked men and women to vote on the issue separately. When asked for a show of hands on the Y chromosome going extinct, women outvoted men two to one. When asked who thought the Y chromosome would survive, men outvoted women by the same margin.



The Ghetto Test

by Dr. Phillip L. Kushner

If the statement is true, add the points in parenthesis to your score.
Scoring is given at the bottom of the test.

1. You’ve ever used an album cover or old envelope for a dustpan. (5 points)
2. You’ve ever put foil on your TV antennas to get better reception. (8 points)
3. You’ve ever had to use pliers to turn your TV on. (7points)
4. You had to come in the house when the street lights came on. (6 points)
5. You had a candy lady in your neighborhood. (5 + 5 extra points if your house was the candy lady)
6. If you can count more than five police cars in your neighborhood on a daily basis. (3 points)
7. If you ever had to pick your own switch or belt. (3 points for each)
8. If you’ve ever been beaten with an extension cord. (15 points)
9. If you have ever had to walk to or home from school. (2 points)
10. If you’ve ever passed someone a note asking “Do you like me?” or “Can I have a chance?” check _yes, _no or _maybe. (7 points)
11. If you have ever used dishwashing liquid for bubble bath. (9points)
12. If you have ever mixed up some Kool-Aid and the found that you didn’t have any sugar. (4 points & add 4 if you put the pitcher in the refrigerator until you got some sugar)
13. If you have ever played any of the following games. (2 points each): (hide and go seek, freeze tag, captain or momma may I?, or red light..yellow light..green light 123!)
14. If your neighborhood had an ice cream man. (2 points + 2 if he rang a bell + 5 if he played R&B)
15. If you remember any of the following candies. (1 point each): cherry clans, lemon heads, Alexander the grape, ring pops, Chico sticks, baked beans, candy cigarettes, powder packs with the white dip stick, big league chew, “Wine” Candy (jolly ranchers), jaw breakers, and candy necklaces.
16. If you refer to Now and Laters candies as “Nighladers”. (6 points)
17. If you’ve ever ran from the police on foot. (5 points + 5 if you got away)
18. If you remember underoos or the Wonder Woman bra and panty set. (6 points + 4 if you owned some)
19. If you’ve ever had reusable grease in a container on your stove. (5 points)
20. The batteries in your remote control are held in by a piece of tape. (5 points)
21. If you’ve ever used any of the following for drinking glasses. (3 points each): jelly jars, mayonnaise jars, mason jars, or peanut butter jars.
22. You’ve ever covered your furniture in plastic. (2 points)
23. The heels of your feet have ever looked like you had been kicking flour. (1point)
24. If you have ever worn any of the following fragrances. (1 point each): Brute, Hai Karate, Jean Nate, Old Spice, Chloe, English Leather, Stetson, Charlie, or Faberge’.
25. You’ve ever used Tussy. (9 points)
26. You’ve never been to the dentist. (10 points + 10 if you’ve never been to the doctor.)
27. You’ve ever wore clothes with the tag still on them. (4 points)
28. If you’re acquainted with someone with a name as follows. (3 points): Kay-Kay, Lee-Lee, Ree-Ree, Ray-Ray, etc.
29. You have ever paged yourself for any reason. (3 points)
30. You’ve ever worn house shoes outside of the house. (2 points)
31. You add “ED” or “T” to the end of words already in the past tense (for example, Tooked, Light-Skinneded, kilt, ruint, etc). (3 points)
32. You pronounce words like this (1 point for each example you can think of skrimps or strimps, skreet, axe (ask), member (remember), frigerator, etc.
33. You use nem’ to describe a certain group of people (for example Craig and nem’ or momma and nem’). (6 points)
34. You’ve ever had a crack across your windshield and never bothered to get it fixed. (3 points)
35. You’ve ever driven on a donut more than 2 weeks after your flat. (4 points)
36. You’ve ever asked a perfect stranger to take a picture with you and told your friends it was someone you dated. (3 points)
37. Your child drops his/her pacifier and you sanitize it by sucking it. (7 points)
38. If you’ve ever ran a race barefoot in the middle of the street at approximately 11 at night. (10 points)
39. You’ve ever left a social gathering with a plate. (1 point)
40. You leave a restaurant with silverware, sugar, and/or jelly. (8 points)
41. You think “red” is a flavor of Kool-Aid. (4 points)
42. You can’t hold a glass because of the length of your nails. (3 points)
43. The gold teeth in your mouth spell words. (8 points)
44. You don’t have your own place but your child has a leather coat and a pair of Jordan’s. (5 points)
45. If you’ve ever had to get to the driver’s side of the car through the passenger side door. (8 points)
46. You have ever slept in a chair to avoid messing up your hair. (7 points)
47. You constantly hit *69 and ask, “Did you just call here?” (10 points)
48. You won’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number on the caller id box. (7 points)
49. You know a child who can’t speak, but can do the “bank-head bounce.” (15 points)
50. You think Tupac is still alive. (20 points)

0 – 30 – You have enjoyed a nice sheltered life in the suburbs.
31 – 60 – Hood movies have given you a little exposure.
61 – 100 – You may have visited the hood a few times or on weekends.
101 – 130 – You probably spent a few years in the hood, and moved to the suburbs.
131 – 160 – You’re the genuine article. You are no stranger to hood life.
161 – 200 – You are definitely, without a doubt an expert on life in the hood.
201+ – Congratulations! You are Ghetto Fabulous!

Germany’s far right marches out of the shadows

Neo-Nazis in the country are if anything more brazen after the discovery of a cell of racist killers

February 23,  2012

by Helen Pidd in Dresden and Berlin


            Officially, at least, the 1,600 people who gathered in the snow on Dresden’s Ammonstrasse were not attending a neo-Nazi demonstration. It was a March of Mourning, held, according to the paperwork submitted to Dresden council, to commemorate the Germans killed by allied bombs 67 years previously.

You do not have to be a rightwing extremist to question the carpet bombing that flattened Dresden during two days in February 1945. Or, many would argue, to pay respects to the many thousands who died in 1,600C heat as the city burned.

But the rally was not without undertones: the burning torches evocative of the scenes portrayed by Leni Riefenstahl in Triumph of the Will, her 1934 propaganda documentary about the Nuremberg rallies; the hooded tops with slogans such as Weisse Willen (the will of whites); the banners referring to the “bombing holocaust”; or indeed the red, white and black flags waved during the Third Reich.

It all seemed to justify the several thousand antifascist campaigners who were noisily blockading streets around the corner, or the 13,000 locals who had formed a human chain around the rebuilt Frauenkirche in the town centre.

The marchers have been clashing with counter-demonstrators in Dresden for years. But this year, tensions were particularly high following the discovery in November of a neo-Nazi terror cell calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU) whose members, with apparent impunity, killed nine immigrants and one police officer during 11 years on the run.

On Thursday, Angela Merkel attended a memorial service for the victims in Berlin, calling the murders a “disgrace for our country”.

In the three months since the news broke, there has been ample evidence to suggest Germany‘s far right has been celebrating rather than condemning the NSU’s killing spree.

At a fascist march in Munich in January, demonstrators blasted the Pink Panther theme tune from loudspeakers, a reference to bizarre videos featuring the cartoon characters which the terrorist cell produced.

Just a few weeks after two core members of the group were found dead in a camper van after an apparent double suicide, football supporters in Zwickau, the eastern town where the NSU members had been living under false identities, chanted “Terrorzelle Zwickau – ole, ole, ole”. A footballer from FSV Zwickau was fined after responding to shouts of “Sieg!” from the crowd during the same match with “Heil!”.

By the German government’s latest estimate, from 2010, there are 9,500 rightwing extremists in Germany who are “ready to commit violence”. That year, 16,375 “rightwing-motivated” crimes were recorded.

The perpetrators are not as easy to spot as they were in the late 1990s, when Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, two of the key NSU trio, were photographed at neo-Nazi marches with shaved heads, wearing bomber jackets and boots with white shoelaces, their trousers held up with red, black and white braces.

These days, the easiest way to spot someone with far-right leanings is if they are wearing something from Thor Steinar, a Nordic-inspired German brand whose shops are constantly picketed by anti-Nazi campaigners.

Previously, German neo-Nazis favoured the British boxing make Lonsdale, largely because if the logo was partly obscured beneath a bomber jacket, only the initials NSDA were visible – one letter short of Hitler’s Nazi party, the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei.

Lonsdale has long gone out of fashion among rightwingers after the brand produced an advertising campaign featuring black footballers saying “Lonsdale loves all colours” in an explicit attempt to put off its most loyal customers.

At the march earlier this month, everyone the Guardian spoke to said they were not a neo-Nazi and would not be named for fear of being labelled as such. “I’m a patriot,” said one 29-year-old who had his hood up and had covered his face with a scarf.

But German neo-Nazis are not always so circumspect. Well-publicised internet “hitlists” target leftwing politicians, pubs and social projects. There have been at least 182 murders motivated by rightwing extremism since German reunification in 1990, according to the Antonio Amadeu foundation pressure group. The government put the figure at just 47 in December, though some states are now increasing their own numbers after going back through their files.

Among the general population, intolerance is on the increase. A long-term study by the sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer in 2011 showed that every second German believes too many foreigners live in Germany, and 53% would have a problem moving into an area where lots of Muslims lived, an increase of 6% from 2004.

Against this backdrop of tacit racism it is no wonder that detectives did not bother to investigate rightwing extremism as a possible motive for the NSU’s 10 killings, according to Katina Schubert, an expert in race relations from the leftwing Die Linke party.

“It’s clear the police and intelligence agencies were racist to the core,” she said. “They assumed right from the start that the eight Turks and one Greek man were killed by members of their own immigrant communities. The police briefed that these men were embroiled in drug smuggling plots or other crimes, when really they were systematically killed by rightwing extremists.”

Until the cell was uncovered in November, the killings were known in Germany as the “doner murders”, which incorrectly gave the impression all the dead men were kebab sellers, reinforcing the stereotype that that’s what Turks in Germany do.

In Berlin on Thursday, Merkel apologised to the families of those killed by the NSU. “For years, some relatives themselves unfairly faced suspicion that is particularly oppressive,” said the chancellor. “I ask for forgiveness for that.”

The police in Germany are “blind in the right eye”, say critics. “A 17-year-old in Nuremberg, where I live, was almost beaten to death by a neo-Nazi and the police didn’t take it at all seriously,” said Idil, a 19-year-old student, attending an anti-Nazi counter-march in Dresden earlier this month. The boy, a Kurdish friend of hers, was left for dead in April 2010 after remarking on a Thor Steinar accessory carried by his attacker’s girlfriend.

Extreme rightwingers are not only operating in the shadows – some of them sit in state parliaments as representatives of the National Democratic party (NPD). Interior ministers at local and national levels are looking at the logistics and possible consequences of banning the party after two former members were arrested on suspicion of helping the NSU during their 11 years on the run.

The NPD’s top brass deny all links with terrorism. But they do not try hard to hide their Nazi sympathies: a recent report in Der Spiegel noted that the Germanic Elhaz rune, the symbol of the Third Reich’s “Lebensborn” programme, which supported the production of racially pure Aryan children, hangs above the entrance of their office.

It is not hard to find brazen neo-Nazis in Germany if you know where to look.

It was just gone seven on a recent night in Berlin when half a dozen drinkers summoned an American man over to their table in a Berlin pub. It had been happy hour since 5pm: €1.50 (£1.25) for half a litre of pilsner. “Hey New York, komm her!” said one black-clad customer in Zum Henker (To the Executioner), a windowless pub in the eastern district of Schöneweide.

After a bit of chit-chat, glasses were raised. “Prost!” said the American. He clinked his stein against his neighbour’s, expecting the German man to respond in kind. Instead, his new acquaintance raised his right arm and bellowed “Sieg Heil!” to much amusement from the crowd of men, all in their late teens or 20s.

Zum Henker is often described as a key meeting place for rightwing extremists in Berlin. Its British owner, Paul Barrington, a well-spoken, portly skinhead, welcomed the Guardian to his establishment in a T-shirt advertising Combat 18, the British neo-Nazi terror organisation. There is no suggestion any of the NSU terrorists ever visited Zum Henker or had connections to it, or that Barrington, who grew up around Plumstead in south-east London before moving to the German capital 20 years ago, was linked in any way to the terror cell.

But the confidence with which Barrington and his customers display their Nazi sympathies is evidence, say campaigners, that Germany’s far right no longer hides in the shadows but is swaggering into clearer view.

Take the landlord himself. Eight years ago, Barrington was prosecuted after posting a picture on his website of an undercover policeman and captioning it with “this bullet is for you”. Barrington now says the caption was simply a quote from a “well-known song”.

Today he still likes playing with words and numbers. A popular cocktail on sale at his pub is the Himla, made with raspberry rum, and paying homage to Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi police chief. The numbers on his T-shirt translate as Adolf Hitler (A=1, H=8). On 25 February Barrington will host one of his most popular parties, where drinks cost just 88 cents. It’s just a “promotion for people with not so much money at the end of the month”, he said.

Yes, he conceded in an email later, the Himla “could be seen as a provocation, but people remember it and it has turned out to be one of the most talked about drinks in Berlin. Do not forget we are a pub and not a party political headquarters. We do not have to be politically correct.” As for the Sieg Heil-ing, perhaps we had misheard. Could they not have said “schmeckt geil!” (tastes great!)?

In an email, we asked Barrington if he condemned the murders carried out by the NSU. His answer: “No comment.”

Illegal under German law

• Saying/shouting/writing any of the following slogans: “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” (Nazi slogan meaning one people, one empire, one leader); “Blut und Ehre” (Hitler Youth slogan meaning blood and honour); “Meine Ehre heisst Treue” (motto of the SS)

• Displaying a bust or picture of Hitler, unless used for the purposes of education, in a history book or museum

• Swastika tattoos or graffiti

• So-called Doppelsigrune, the symbol of the SS

• Waving the Reichskriegsflagge, the red, white and black flag with a swastika used during the war

• Giving the so-called Hitlergruss of an outstretched arm, saying “Sieg Heil!”, or “Heil Hitler!”

• Singing Nazi songs or having them as your mobile phone ringtone

• Owning copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf


• All the illegal symbols, greetings and slogans can be used legitimately if for “creditable purposes”. For example, an anti-Nazi T-shirt showing a swastika being crossed out or put in the bin, or if used in the context of a museum exhibition, history book, art or satire

• The following neo-Nazi symbols or shorthand: FG – Fuhrer’s Geburtstag (The leader’s birthday); 18 – Adolf Hitler (A=1, H=8); 88 – Heil Hitler; 192 – Adolf is back (the 1st, 9th and 2nd letters of the alphabet).

• Having pictures, busts or sculptures of other Nazi figures, for example Rudolf Hess or Heinrich Himmler

• Goose-stepping without the outstretched arm

      • Singing the Nazi national anthem, Das Deutschlandlied – it is still the German national anthem today, but now only the third verse is used, omitting the most famous “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” stanza



Regicide: The CIA and the Kennedy Assassination

by Gregory Douglas



It is generally the custom for beginning writers to thank anyone and everyone even remotely connected with his book. Book editors, typists, library personnel, former teachers, family members, and pets are all given their five seconds of fame (or far less depending upon the sales of the book).

However, that having been said, the author would like to offer the most sincere and grateful, albeit posthumous, thanks to the late Colonel Robert T. Crowley of Washington, D.C., and his co-worker, Colonel William Corson, USMC (United States Marine Corps), of Potomac, Maryland, for all of the very important advice and assistance they have rendered to the grateful author. Also their friend and co-worker, Joe Trento of Front Royal, Virginia, for his valuable commentary and excellent advice, especially concerning the activities of James Jesus Angleton.

As opposed to acknowledging others who aided in the actual preparation of this study, recognition ought to be given on the author’s part for research into American intelligence matters.

David Lifton’s work, Best Evidence,[1] is a brilliant analysis of the Kennedy autopsy; Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character[2] is one of the best revisionist views of the life and political career of John F. Kennedy; Thomas Dale Scott’s work, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK[3] is a sensible and studied work on the backgrounds of Kennedy adversaries; and Seymour Hersh’s work The Dark Side of Camelot[4] gives a far more detailed revisionist look into JFK and provides considerable background on his Soviet connection. Almost every book on the subject, regardless of how bizarre it might appear to the average reader, contains small nuggets of value to be mined by the thorough researcher.

Former CBS news director and documentary producer, Los Angeles-based Ted Landreth has done prodigies investigating certain highly sensitive CIA operations inside the United States.

Also, an important work is Gerald Posner’s Case Closed.[5] This work is an excellent overview and defense of the official establishment point of view. That the American media lavishly praised it when it appeared in 1993 is a commentary on the objectivity of the media



Tuesday, October 10, 2000: Page B06, Washington Post:

“Robert Trumbull Crowley

Senior CIA Officer

Robert Trumbull Crowley, 76, a senior CIA officer whose career spanned from the agency’s inception in 1947 until his retirement in the mid-1980s, died Oct. 8 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had congestive heart failure and dementia.

Mr. Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second in command in the clandestine directorate of operations. After retiring, he co-wrote a book with former CIA intelligence officer and Marine Corps officer William R. Corson, “The New KGB: Engine of Soviet Power,” published by William Morrow in 1985.

Mr. Crowley, a Washington resident, was a Chicago native and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II and retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel.

Survivors include his wife since 1948, Emily Upton Crowley of Washington; a son, Greg Upton Crowley of Washington; and two granddaughters.”[6]

In 1996, Robert Crowley entered a Washington hospital for major surgery. It was believed that he might have cancer of the lungs. The operation was successful but Crowley, who had been suffering from short-term memory problems, slipped into a state of chronic dementia from which he never recovered.

Before entering the hospital, Crowley, known in the CIA as the “Crow,” sent off two packets of documents from his extensive files to the author of this book with instructions to return the papers if he survived the operation. After the operation, it was evident to Crowley’s family that he would do no more writing and I was told to keep the papers and not to return them.

As one of the most powerful men in the Central Intelligence Agency and one of the least known outside of the Agency, Crowley was involved in most of the important CIA operations during his tenure. His personal files are of great value to researchers and cover both foreign and domestic intelligence operations.

Among these papers was the above mentioned DIA Report, a 1978 in-depth analysis of a Soviet intelligence report on the assassination of President John Kennedy. At one time, the Russians were held suspect in this act, and in the intervening years, their intelligence organs had been compiling data in refutation of this thesis. It should be noted that Lee Oswald, the purported assassin, had defected to the Soviet Union and, while resident in that country, married the niece of an MVD[7] intelligence officer.

Although the DIA Report makes it very clear that Oswald was a source for the Office of Naval Intelligence and that his defection was spurious, his openly avowed Marxism, public support of the Communist government of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and his repeated pro-Communist utterances made him a very handy weapon with which to attack the Russians.

The DIA Report, signed by Army Colonel Vedder B. Driscoll, chief of the Soviet Intelligence division of the DIA, appears to be the first official analysis of the Kennedy assassination that does not follow the official line, and which survived the post-assassination shredding frenzy that seized the American intelligence community.[8]

Theories, opinions and arguments abound concerning the Kennedy assassination and while many authors will applaud Driscoll’s DIA Report, others will reject it. Rejection or acceptance depends entirely on what an author may have previously published on the subject.

The other surviving official paper, the already mentioned “Operation ZIPPER” document, will most likely cause an even more heated controversy, since it does not have a cover document and consists merely of a brief listing of persons and agencies involved, decisions made, and events that took place during and after the preparation of Kennedy’s assassination.

Over 2,500 works on the assassination have appeared in print to date but nothing approaches what can best be termed the “Driscoll Report” and the “ZIPPER Document” for brevity and accuracy. The reader is given a unique view of the events in Dallas and Washington post-November 22, 1963.

The facts behind the Kennedy assassination are found in the Driscoll Report and the ZIPPER Document. For the first time, the actual motives of those who organized and instigated the act are clearly and decisively exposed, as are the techniques of the actual shooting, the nature of the weapons used, and the means by which the shooters escaped.

These documents do not challenge the famous Warren Report that has been ridiculed by many and supported by few; they merely supersede it.

The ZIPPER Document reveals, most importantly, the names and official positions of those who directed the killers. For example, the man who instigated the attack was one of the highest level American intelligence officials, and the man to whom he entrusted the supervision of the assassins was someone who had been involved in one of the most important American intelligence-gathering actions against the Soviet Union, an operation that the Driscoll Report now reveals had been known to the Soviets even before it was launched! The fate of the shooters is also revealed; only one of them lived more than a month after Kennedy died.

In this work, rather than present the endlessly chewed arguments of others to dazzle or bore the reader, the reports are presented in excerpt (Driscoll) or in full (ZIPPER) with appropriate commentary.

This study is organized into a number of chapters. The assassination itself is covered by a translation of the Soviet intelligence report, followed by pertinent and parallel excerpts from the official Warren Commission Report and the Defense Intelligence Agency analysis. The observations of the author conclude each section.

The next chapters will cover the more important players. Again, first a Soviet report, followed by the pertinent sections of the Warren Report, the DIA analysis, and concluding with the author’s comments. The Warren Commission Report basically covered the actual assassination and the subsequent murder of the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Both the Soviet and Driscoll Reports contain additional material not covered in the Warren Commission Report.

Subsequent chapters addressing the real history of the Kennedy assassination are based mainly on the ZIPPER Document with some use of the Driscoll Report, and are backed by information the author received during his many conversations with R. T. Crowley.

Long years of suspicion, investigation and revisionist commentary have ended with the discovery and publication of the Driscoll Report and the ZIPPER Document from the papers of top CIA official, Robert Crowley.

The deadly international plots, assassinations of unpopular foreign politicians, active involvement in the world-wide drug market, ruthless manipulation of the United States government to include the office of the President, counterfeitings, the fomenting of revolts and bloody uprisings in nations friendly to the United States, the infiltration and control of the American and foreign print and film media, and the general belief that their opinions should dictate America’s domestic and foreign policy have led directly to such anti-American incidents as the murder of American citizens and such explosive outrages as the recent attack on the World Trade Center.

The Central Intelligence Agency, which likes to picture itself as the protective shield of the American people, has proven itself to be consistently wrong in its analysis of almost every problem presented to it, and has alienated by its actions a good part of the world which at one time had been neutral in its opinion of America if not sympathetic. It is beyond belief that a complicated, yearlong international plot against America, which culminated in the WTC attack and which involved hundreds of people, could not have been observed by the CIA. This is either an example of gross incompetence at best or connivance at worst.

The Crowley Papers give all of us a true understanding of the meaning of Lord Acton’s dictum, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

[1]    David S. Lifton, Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, New York: Carroll & Graf, 1980.

[2]    Thomas C. Reeves, A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy, New York: Macmillan, 1991.

[3]    Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

[4]    Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot, New York: Brown, 1998 (pb. edition).

[5]      Gerald Posner, Case Closed, New York: Doubleday, 1993.

[6]    Washington Post, October 10, 2000, p. B6; see the WP online archive at www.washingtonpost.com; doc-ref: http://nl11.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=0EB2C4671708A4E7&p_docnum=1.

[7]    Soviet Secret Police under the State Security Committee, successor to the NKVD and predecessor to the KGB; Otto Heilbrunn, The Soviet Secret Services, New York: Praeger, 1956, pp. 127, 134.

[8]    See Appendix.

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