TBR News February 24, 2016

Feb 23 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 24, 2016:”There is an old saying, often attributed to the Mafia, that says, “Keep your friends close but  keep your enemies closer.” The history of Israeli-American relations is replete with examples of this sentence. When President Harry Trumen, initially a supporter of Isreali independence, was told how Zionist gangs were commiting atrocities against the Arab population of Palestine, he blocked the shipment of arms and explosives from the United States. Following this, the Zionist Stern Gang tried to kill Truman by sending him anthrax germs in a letter. When this was discovered, the Stern Gang members responsible were tracked down, in Canada and Cuba and killed by American agents. This pattern of behavior did not cease with the dumping of Stern Gang members into a Canadia hog farm but has continued to this day.”

Israeli Spying against the US

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Between 1998 and early 2001, more than 200 Israeli nationals were arrested or detained inside the United States, on a variety of visa violations and other nominally petty violations, including low-level drug trafficking. The majority of these detainees claimed they were Israeli art students, peddling art work to cover their college tuitions; or were toy vendors, employed by an Israeli-owned Miami Beach company, Quality Sales Corporation, which investigations link to Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency.

The emerging pattern of surveillance of American government facilities, and established links to suspected Arab and Islamic terrorist cells prior to Sept. 11, by these Israeli nationals, set off alarm bells, following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Prior to Sept. 11, a series of highly-classified government memos had been circulated by the CIA and the NSA, pronouncing this Israeli espionage operation a major national security problem.

Israel is not a friend to the United States. This is because Israel runs one of the most aggressive and damaging espionage networks targeting the US. The fact of Israeli penetration into the country is not a subject that is ever discussed in the media or in the circles of governance, due to the extreme sensitivity of the US-Israel relationship coupled with the burden of the Israel lobby, which punishes legislators who dare to criticize the Jewish state. . .

In 2005 the FBI noted that Israel maintains “an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States.” A key Israeli method, said the FBI report, is computer intrusion. In 1996, the Defense Intelligence Service, a branch of the Pentagon, issued a warning that “the collection of scientific intelligence in the United States [is] the third highest priority of Israeli Intelligence after information on its Arab neighbors and information on secret US policies or decisions relating to Israel.” In 1979, the Central Intelligence Agency produced a scathing survey of Israeli intelligence activities that targeted the US government. Like any worthy spy service, Israeli intelligence early on employed wiretaps as an effective tool, according to the CIA report. In 1954, the US Ambassador in Tel Aviv discovered in his office a hidden microphone “planted by the Israelis,” and two years later telephone taps were found in the residence of the US military attaché In a telegram to Washington, the ambassador at the time cabled a warning: “Department must assume that all conversations [in] my office are known to the Israelis.” The former ambassador to Qatar, Andrew Killgore, who also served as a foreign officer in Jerusalem and Beirut, told me Israeli taps of US missions and embassies in the Middle East were part of a “standard operating procedure.”

According to the 1979 CIA report, the Israelis, while targeting political secrets, also devote “a considerable portion of their covert operations to obtaining scientific and technical intelligence.” These operations involved, among other machinations, “attempts to penetrate certain classified defense projects in the United States.” The penetrations, according to the CIA report, were effected using “deep cover enterprises,” which the report described as “firms and organizations, some specifically created for, or adaptable to, a specific objective.” . . .

The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and operated under the patronage of hard-line conservatives in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick Cheney.

As the most powerful man in the White House, Cheney was deeply involved in the intelligence field and made three trips to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to demand a more ‘forward-leaning interpretation’ of information relating to the possibility that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. That there were no such weapons and that the CIA so advised the Vice President, was categorically rejected by him and he refused to accept their analysis and continued to insist that they produce documents supporting his thesis. In this he was aided by his chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, The latter was later convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison. Libby, or Liebowitz, later had his sentence commuted by President Bush because Libby threatened exposures of both Cheney and Bush to the press.

The OSP had access to an enormous amount of “raw” intelligence which came, in part, from the CIA’s directorate of operations whose job it is to receive and evaluate incoming reports from their agents around the world. At Cheney’s insistence, a number of Israeli intelligence agents were given free run of the OSP offices “None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal channels,” said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were waved in on Mr Douglas Feith’s authority without having to fill in the usual forms.

Incidents of Israeli Spying on the United States  1947-2010

1947. Information obtained by the Jewish-owned Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in its spy operations on US citizens is used by the House Select Committee on Unamerican Activities. Subcommittee Chair Clare Hoffman dismisses the ADL’s reports on suspected communists as hearsay.

1950 John Davitt, former chief of the Justice Department’s internal security section notes that the Israeli intelligence service is the second most active in the United States after the Soviets.

1954 A hidden microphone planted by the Israelis is discovered in the Office of the US Ambassador in Tel Aviv.

1956 Telephone taps are found connected to two telephones in the residence of the US military attach in Tel Aviv.

1954 “The Lavon Affair”. Israeli agents recruited Egyptian citizens of Jewish descent to bomb Western targets in Egypt, and plant evidence to frame Arabs, in an apparent attempt to upset US-Egyptian relations. Israeli defense minister Pinchas Lavon is eventually removed from office, though many think real responsibility lay with David Ben-Gurion.

1965 Israel  illegally obtained enriched uranium from NUMEC Corporation. ( Washington Post, 6/5/86, Charles R. Babcock, “US an Intelligence Target of the Israelis, Officials Say.”)

1967 Israel attacks the USS Liberty, a CIA intelligence- gathering vessel flying a US flag, operating at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, killing 34 crew members.. In 2004, Captain Ward Boston, Senior Legal Counsel for the Navy’s Court of Inquiry into the attack swears under oath that President Lyndon Johnson ordered the investigation to conclude that the deliberate assault was an “unfortunate accident,” even though the evidence indicated the attack was deliberate. Given the use by Israel of unmarked boats and planes, and the machine-gunning of USS Liberty‘s lifeboats, the most likely explanation is that USS Liberty was to be sunk with all hands, with evidence left to frame Egypt for the sinking. This would have dragged the US into the war on Israel’s side.

1970 While working for Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Richard Perle is caught by the FBI giving classified information to Israel. Nothing is done.

1978, Stephen Bryen, then a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, is overheard in a DC hotel offering confidential documents to top Israeli military officials. Bryen obtains a lawyer, Nathan Lewin, and the case heads for the grand jury, but is mysteriously dropped. Bryen later goes to work for Richard Perle.

1979 Shin Beth [the Israeli internal security agency] tries to penetrate the US Consulate General in Jerusalem through a “Honey Trap”, using a clerical employee who was having an affair with a Jerusalem girl.

Jonathan Jay Pollard, a graduate of Stanford University and an employee of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) surface ships division  was accused and convicted of stealing over a million highly sensitive documents and selling them to the Israeli government. As an example, Pollard stole and copied  the latest version of Radio-Signal Notations (RASIN), a 10-volume manual comprehensively detailing America’s global electronic surveillance network. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on one count of espionage on March 4, 1987. Pollard is federal prisoner #09185-016 and is incarcerated at the Butner Federal Correction Complex in Butner, North Carolina.

1985 The New York Times reports the FBI is aware of at least a dozen incidents in which American officials transferred classified information to the Israelis, quoting [former Assistant Director of the F.B.I.] Mr. [Raymond] Wannal. The Justice Department does not prosecute.

1985 Richard Smyth, the owner of MILCO, was indicted on charges of smuggling nuclear timing devices to Israel ( Washington Post, 10/31/86).

1987 April 24 Wall Street Journal headline: “Role of Israel in Iran-Contra Scandal Won’t be Explored in Detail by Panels”

1992 The Wall Street Journal reports that Israeli agents apparently tried to steal Recon Optical Inc’s top-secret airborne spy-camera system.

1992 Stephen Bryen, caught offering confidential documents to Israel in 1978, is serving on board of the pro-Israeli Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs while continuing as a paid consultant — with security clearance — on exports of sensitive US technology.

1992 “The Samson Option,” by Seymour M. Hersh reports, illicitly obtained intelligence was flying so voluminously from LAKAM into Israeli intelligence that a special code name, JUMBO, was added to the security markings already on the documents. There were strict orders, Ari Ben-Menashe recalled: “Anything marked JUMBO was not supposed to be discussed with your American counterparts.”

1993. The ADL is caught operating a massive spying operation on critics of Israel, Arab-Americans, the San Francisco Labor Council, ILWU Local 10, Oakland Educational Association, NAACP, Irish Northern Aid, International Indian Treaty Council, the Asian Law Caucus and the San Francisco police. Data collected was sent directly to Israel via their Embassy and in some cases to South Africa. Pressure from Jewish organizations forced San Francisco authorities to drop the criminal case, but the ADL settles a civil lawsuit for an undisclosed sum of cash.

1995 The Defense Investigative Service circulated a memo warning US military contractors that ” Israel aggressively collects [ US] military and industrial technology.” The report stated that Israel obtains information using “ethnic targeting, financial aggrandizement, and identification and exploitation of individual frailties” of US citizens.

1996 A General Accounting Office report “Defense Industrial Security: Weaknesses in US Security Arrangements With Foreign-Owned Defense Contractors” found that according to intelligence sources “Country A” (identified by intelligence sources as Israel, Washington Times, 2/22/96) “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.” The Jerusalem Post (8/30/96) quoted the report, “Classified military information and sensitive military technologies are high-priority targets for the intelligence agencies of this country.” The report described “An espionage operation run by the intelligence organization responsible for collecting scientific and technologic information for [ Israel] paid a US government employee to obtain US classified military intelligence documents.” The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Shawn L. Twing, April 1996) noted that this was “a reference to the 1985 arrest of Jonathan Pollard, a civilian US naval intelligence analyst who provided Israel’s LAKAM [Office of Special Tasks] espionage agency an estimated 800,000 pages of classified US intelligence information.”

The GAO report also noted that “Several citizens of [ Israel] were caught in the United States stealing sensitive technology used in manufacturing artillery gun tubes.”

1996 An Office of Naval Intelligence document, “Worldwide Challenges to Naval Strike Warfare” reported that ” US technology has been acquired [by China] through Israel in the form of the Lavi fighter and possibly SAM [surface-to-air] missile technology.” Jane’s Defense Weekly (2/28/96) noted that “until now, the intelligence community has not openly confirmed the transfer of US technology [via Israel] to China.” The report noted that this “represents a dramatic step forward for Chinese military aviation.” (Flight International, 3/13/96)

1997 An Army mechanical engineer, David A. Tenenbaum, “inadvertently” gives classified military information on missile systems and armored vehicles to Israeli officials (New York Times, 2/20/97).

1997 The Washington Post reports US intelligence has intercepted a conversation in which two Israeli officials had discussed the possibility of getting a confidential letter that then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher had written to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. One of the Israelis, identified only as Dov, had commented that they may get the letter from Mega, the code name for Israel’s top agent inside the United States.

1997 US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, complains privately to the Israeli government about heavy-handed surveillance by Israeli intelligence agents.

1997 Israeli agents place a tap on Monica Lewinsky’s phone at the Watergate and record phone sex sessions between her and President Bill Clinton. The Ken Starr report confirms that Clinton warned Lewinsky their conversations were being taped and ended the affair. At the same time, the FBI’s hunt for Mega is called off. Mega is later revealed to be Reuven Azar – Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Israel

2001 It is discovered that US drug agent’s communications have been penetrated. Suspicion falls on two companies, AMDOCS and Comverse Infosys, both owned by Israelis. AMDOCS generates billing data for most US phone companies and is able to provide detailed logs of who is talking to whom. Comverse Infosys builds the tapping equipment used by law enforcement to eavesdrop on all American telephone calls, but suspicion forms that Comverse, which gets half of its research and development budget from the Israeli government, has built a back door into the system that is being exploited by Israeli intelligence and that the information gleaned on US drug interdiction efforts is finding its way to drug smugglers. The investigation by the FBI leads to the exposure of the largest foreign spy ring ever uncovered inside the United States, operated by Israel. Half of the suspected spies have been arrested when 9-11 happens. On 9-11, 5 Israelis are arrested for dancing and cheering while the World Trade Towers collapse. Supposedly employed by Urban Moving Systems, the Israelis are caught with multiple passports and a lot of cash. Two of them are later revealed to be Mossad. As witness reports track the activity of the Israelis, it emerges that they were seen at Liberty Park at the time of the first impact, suggesting a foreknowledge of what was to come. The Israelis are interrogated, and then eventually sent back to Israel. The owner of the moving company used as a cover by the Mossad agents abandons his business and flees to Israel. The United States Government then classifies all of the evidence related to the Israeli agents and their connections to 9-11. All of this is reported to the public via a four part story on Fox News by Carl Cameron. Pressure from Jewish groups, primarily AIPAC, forces Fox News to remove the story from their website. Two hours prior to the 9-11 attacks, Odigo, an Israeli company with offices just a few blocks from the World Trade Towers, received an advance warning via the internet. The manager of the New York Office provided the FBI with the IP address of the sender of the message, which turned out to be located in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, hence could not be further investigated.

2001 The FBI  investigated 5 Israeli moving companies as possible fronts for Israeli intelligence.

2001 The Jewish Defense League’s Irv Rubin arrested for planning to bomb a US Congressman. He was murdered in the LA County Jail and dies before he could be brought to trial.

2001 The Isreali Mossad, in conjunction with senior members of the Bush administration, penetrated a Saudi terrorist group located at Hollywood, Florida, and materially assisted them in preparing for an aerial assault on various significant American targets. The White House was kept fully courant of the Mossad’s actions by the Israeli Embassy personnel in Washington.

2002 The DEA issues a report that Israeli spies, posing as art students, had aggressively been trying to penetrate US Government offices.

2002 Police near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in southern Washington State stop a suspicious truck and detain two Israelis, one of whom is illegally in the United States. The two men were driving at high speed in a Ryder rental truck, which they claimed had been used to “deliver furniture.” The next day, police discovered traces of TNT and RDX military-grade plastic explosives inside the passenger cabin and on the steering wheel of the vehicle. The FBI then announces that the tests that showed explosives were false positives by cigarette smoke, a claim test experts say is ridiculous. Based on an alibi provided by a woman, the case is closed and the Israelis are handed over to INS to be sent back to Israel. One week later, the woman who provided the alibi vanishes.

2003 The Police Chief of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, stops a truck speeding through a school zone. The drivers turn out to be Israelis with expired passports. Claiming to be movers, the truck contains junk furniture and several boxes. The Israelis are handed over to immigration. The contents of the boxers are not revealed to the public. It is later revealed that they contain “extensive documentation” concerning earlier atomic weapon’s testings at nearby Alamagordo, NM

2003 Israel deployed assassination squads into other countries, including the United States. The US Government does not officially protest when they were informed by the Israeli Embassy that these squads were intended to kill known Muslim terrorists known from internal FBI reports to be operating inside the United States.

2004 Police near the Nuclear Fuel Services plant in Tennessee stop a truck after a three mile chase, during which the driver throws a bottle containing a strange liquid from the cab. The drivers turn out to be Israelis using fake Ids. The FBI refuses to investigate and, on orders from the Department of Justice in Washington, the Israelis are released.

2004 Two Israelis try to enter Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, home to eight Trident submarines. Their truck tests positive for explosives.

2004, The authoritative Jane’s Intelligence Group noted that Israel’s intelligence organizations “have been spying on the US and running clandestine operations since Israel was established.” The former deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI, Harry B. Brandon, told Congressional Quarterly magazine that “the Israelis are interested in commercial as much as military secrets.”

2005 August 4,2005 a federal grand jury indiocted Lawrence Franklin a former United States Department of Defense employee, on five charges of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 in that Franklin passed secret information regarding United States policy towards Iran to staff members of  the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Franklin, pled guilty to several espionage-related charges and was sentenced in January 2006 to nearly 13 years of prison but was later released due to pressure from the Israeli government.  As soon as public interest died away, a Federal judge immediately reduced Franklin’s sentence to time served and a supervised home probation.

2009: October 20, 2009  Stewart Nozette, a scientist who worked for NASA and had a top-level government security clearance, is charged with trying to sell US secrets to Israel after an FBI sting operation. The FBI pretended to be Mossad agents.

2010: A classified FBI report under date of March 9, 2020 indicates that the high-tech Israeli wiretapping firms who service U.S. telecommunications companies, primarily AT&T and Verizon, have been “regularly reading and forwarding” in-depth information concerning both domestic and foreign NSA surveillance. Also, both the FBI and the DEA have uncovered, and reported on, a.massive ecstasy trafficking operation, delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal drugs, manufactured in the Netherlands, to cities across the United States. The drug trafficking operation is also engaged in black market diamond smuggling, using Brooklyn-based Hassidic Jews as couriers.

Portions of the funds garnered from these illegal operations, according to the official reports, were funneled to offshore bank accounts of the Mossad, accounts in Switzerland and Lichtenstein,. This Israeli drug and diamond smuggling operation receives technical support (and timely warning of surveillance) via a number of Israeli communications firms, that subcontract with major American telephone companies and government law enforcement agencies.

2011: Units of the DoD set up an intensive surveillance system aimed at the Isreali Embassy in Washington and have maintained an inclusive observation of all incoming and outgoing messages, coded or en clair.

Spy operations, targeted at mosques and other centers of the Islamic-American communities. According to sources, the goal is to foment nominally “Arab” or “Islamic” labeled violence and terrorism inside the United States, to win Bush Administration support for an Israeli war against the Palestinians and Arabs. These sources believe further, Israeli-abetted terror attacks are to be expected.

Surveillance of U.S. government law enforcement, military and intelligence facilities, to gather profile information for such terrorist attacks, as well as espionage penetration. Organized teams of young, “recently retired” Israeli Defense Force soldiers, often associated with specialty units engaged in electronic signal intercepts and explosive ordinance, have targeted at least 36 domestic U.S. military bases, and many federal law enforcement and intelligence installations. A second feature of this targeting of USG facilities is the recruitment of “a new generation of Jonathan Pollards” (Israeli spies).

In the history of Israeli espionage in and against the United States, the case of Jonathan Pollard was certainly the most heinous. Stanford graduate Pollard, a civilian U.S. naval intelligence analyst, provided Israeli intelligence with an estimated 800,000 pages of highly classified U.S. intelligence information. The Israelis in turn immediately passed this stolen information to the Soviets, thereby compromising American intelligence (CIA and military) agents in the field – a significant number of whom were captured and killed as a result.

Israel at first denied, and then, faced with overwhelming evidence, admitted after he was arrested in 1985, convicted and sentenced to life in prison, that they were well aware of Pollard’s connections to the Mossad and an Israeli Air Force intelligence unit working out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

The case created severe strains in American-Israeli relations, and is a source of ongoing rage in many American Jews, who believe that since Pollard was spying for Israel, he had an obligation to do this and that his life sentence was unduly harsh.

Many Jewish groups in the United States, acting in concert with high level Israeli officials have constantly importuned American Presidents to pardon Pollard and permit him to emigrate to Israel where he has been promised a large sum of cash and a seat in the Israeli Knesset.

Any attempt to understand the official U.S. response to any accusations of Israeli espionage in the United States as well as to comprehend the media response must take into account both the smoke screen that states blow over incidents that could jeopardize their strategic alliances, and America’s unique and complex relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is a close if problematic ally with whom the United States enjoys a “special relationship” unlike that maintained with any other nation in the world. But U.S. and Israeli interests do not always coincide, and spying has always been deemed to cross a line, to represent a fundamental violation of trust. According to intelligence sources, the United States might perhaps secretly tolerate some Israeli spying on U.S. soil if the government decided that it was in our interest, such as observation and infiltration of pro-Palestine Arab groups legally resident in the United States (although it could never be acknowledged), but certain types of spying will simply not be accepted by the United States, whether the spying is carried out by Israel or anyone else.

If England or France spied on the United States, and this was discovered, American officials would likely conceal it. In the case of Israel, there are far stronger reasons to hide any unseemly violations of the “special” relationship. The powerful pro-Israel political constituencies in Congress; pro-Israel lobbies; the Bush administration’s strong support for Israel, and its strategic and political interest in maintaining close ties with the Jewish state as a partner in the “war against terror”; the devastating consequences for U.S.-Israeli relations if it was suspected that Israeli agents might have known about the Sept. 11 attack — all these factors explain why the U.S. government might publicly downplay any public accusation of Israeli espionage against the United States and forcefully conceal any investigation that might be expected to produce results unacceptable to the Israel lobby and the American Jewish community that firmly supports it.

The pro-Israel lobby is an enormous and very powerful force in American politics; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is the No. 1 foreign-policy lobby in Washington and the fourth most powerful lobby in Washington, according to Fortune Magazine. Other powerful and influential pro-Israel groups include the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

Michael Lind, a senior fellow of the New America Foundation and a former executive editor of the National Interest, calls the Israel lobby “an ethnic donor machine” that “distorts U.S. foreign policy” in the Middle East. Among foreign service officers, law enforcement and the military, there is an impression, says Lind, that you can’t mess with Israel without suffering direct and indirect smears, such as being labeled an Arabist. Lind, who himself has been virulently attacked as an anti-Semite for his forthrightness on the subject, acknowledges that the Israel lobby is no different from any other — just more effective. “This is what all lobbies do,” Lind observes. “If you criticize the AARP, you hate old people and you want them to starve to death. The Israel lobby is just one part of the lobby problem.”

Nationalism and Populism Propel Trump

February 23, 2016

by Patrick Buchanan


As the returns came in from South Carolina Saturday night, showing Donald Trump winning a decisive victory, a note of nervous desperation crept into the commentary.

Political analysts pointed out repeatedly that if all of the votes for Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson were added up, they far exceeded the Trump vote.

Why this sudden interest in arithmetic?

If the field can be winnowed, we were told, if Carson and Kasich can be persuaded to follow Bush and get out, if Cruz can be sidelined, if we can get a one-on-one Rubio-Trump race, Trump can be stopped.

Behind the thought is the wish. Behind the wish is the hope, the prayer that all the  non-Trump  voters are  anti-Trump  voters.

But is this true? Or are the media deluding themselves?

Watching these anchors, commentators, consultants and pundits called to mind the Cleveland Governors Conference of 1964.

Sen. Goldwater had just won the winner-take-all California primary, defeating Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, assuring himself of enough delegates to go over the top on the first ballot at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

But with polls showing Barry losing massively to LBJ, the panicked governors at Cleveland conspired to block his nomination.

Michigan Gov. George Romney and Pennsylvania Gov. Bill Scranton were prodded to enter the race. Scranton would declare his availability in San Francisco with a letter accusing Goldwater of hostility toward civil rights — Barry had voted against the 1964 bill — and of excessive tolerance toward right-wing extremists such as the John Birch Society.

And what became of them all?

Goldwater won his nomination and went down in a historic defeat, but became a beloved figure and the father of modern conservatism.

Of those who turned their backs on Goldwater that fall, none ever won a presidential nomination. Of those who stood by Barry that fall, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both would win the GOP nomination twice, and the presidency twice.

And the conservative movement would hold veto power over party nominees and become the dominant philosophy of the GOP.

Folks forget. Not only were there “liberal Republicans” and “moderate Republicans” back then, they dominated the landscape. Yet rare is the Republican today who would describe himself in such terms.

Which brings us back to the anti-Trump cabal.

While their immediate goal is to deny him the nomination, do they really think that if the party nominates Rubio, things can be again as they were before Trump? Do they not see that America and the West are undergoing a series of crises that will change our world forever?

Bernie Sanders is not all wrong. There is a revolution going on.

Late in the last century, when Robert Bartley was editorial editor, The Wall Street Journal championed a constitutional amendment of five words — “There shall be open borders.”

Bartley, who told colleague Peter Brimelow, “I think the nation-state is finished,” wanted U.S. borders thrown open to people and goods from all over the world. To Bartley and his acolytes, what made America one nation and one people was simply an ideology.

But what was silly then is suicidal today.

Whatever one may think of Trump’s talk of building a wall, does anyone think the United States is not going to have to build a security fence to defend our bleeding 2,000-mile border?

Given the huge trade deficits with China, Japan, Mexico and the EU, the hemorrhaging of manufacturing, the stagnation of wages and the decline of the middle class, does anyone think that if Trump is turned back, the GOP can continue on being a free-trade party financed by the Beltway agents of transnational corporations?

Absent some major attack on the homeland, do our foreign policy elites believe the American people would support new U.S. interventions to defeat, occupy and tutor Third World nations in liberal democracy?

Trump is winning because, on immigration, amnesty, securing our border and staying out of any new crusades for democracy, he has tapped into the most powerful currents in politics: economic populism and “America First” nationalism.

Look at the crowds Trump draws. Look at the record turnouts in Republican caucuses and primaries.

If Beltway Republicans think they can stop Trump and turn back the movement behind him, and continue on with today’s policies on trade, immigration and intervention, they will be swept into the same dustbin of history as the Rockefeller Republicans. America is saying, “Goodbye to all that.”

For Trump is not only a candidate. He is a messenger from Middle America. And the message he is delivering to the establishment is: We want an end to your policies and we want an end to you.

If the elites think they can not only deny Trump the nomination, but turn back this revolution and re-establish themselves in the esteem of the people, they delude themselves.

This is hubris of a high order.

Conversations with the Crow

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

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

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

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

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



Conversation No. 32

Date: Monday, August 19, 1996

Commenced: 9:37 AM CST

Concluded: 10:15 AM CST

GD: I hear conversations there, Robert. Am I calling at a wrong time for you?

RTC: No, nothing at all. They’ll leave in a minute or so.

GD: Thank you for the material on ZIPPER, Robert. Very, very interesting but not unexpected.

RTC: But we do not speak of specifics, do we?

GD: No, not necessary. Is there an original of the Driscoll 1report? RTC: Somewhere, no doubt, but I never had one.

GD: Did you know him?

RTC: Met professionally. I understand he died some time ago.

GD: I could check with a Russian friend about the original of their report unless you objected.

RTC: Why not just wait? Unless your connection might retire.

GD: I’ll think about it.

RTC: You mentioned one James Atwood a while ago as I recall.

GD: I know I did.

RTC: Mr. Atwood is very unhappy with you, Gregory. He accuses you of stealing money meant for us and in removing two loyal subjects of the Queen.

GD: The money was never intended for your people, in spite of what Atwood says and as far as the SAS types are concerned, I was as shocked as anyone when they vanished.

RTC: Vanished off of your boat in the middle of the Caribbean one dark night, as I was told.

GD: That’s as may be, Robert. Perhaps they decided to swim in the warm water. Who knows? You can’t believe anything Atwood says. Did you know that he worked for your people, the STASI and the KGB all at the same time while he was in Berlin?

RTC: Atwood is not an honest person, Gregory. But as to his accusations, they are private comments. I wouldn’t worry about them getting out.

GD: If it weren’t for Mueller’s tips, I would never have found the money and Atwood would still be contemplating another facelift. And I wouldn’t believe that your people would see a penny of it. When my Russian friend tipped me that Jimmy was going to detour to New Orleans and off-load our cargo, I was very upset as you can imagine. On the other hand, the next day, he was very upset when his two friends turned up missing. I never believed they were broke British tourists, stranded in Italy and willing to work their way back. Military types with shined shoes and sidewall haircuts. Atwood was about as subtle as a fart in a space suit.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: Well, it’s true. He made such a fuss in the morning when he found we were still headed for the Panama Canal that I had to convince him he would be much more relaxed spending his time locked in his cabin. There was some expressed unhappiness there but he saw my point. We let him out off Mexico because there was nothing he could do at that point. Besides, I had tossed his piece over the side along with a few other things I found in his cabin. He was very fortunate he didn’t join the gun.

RTC: But the gold? There was trouble about that as you might have guessed.

GD: Well, probably when we docked in California and he called his chums to get his trunk full of gold, he lied to them. Imagine their chagrin when they looked inside and found what they thought were bars of gold but were really paving stones from the hotel’s parking lot. A spray can full of gold paint covers many sins, including paving bricks, Robert. Did it ever occur to the men with the pointed heads that Jimmy might have been ripping them off? I always get blamed for the dirty work of others. They weren’t too mad because he’s still alive and up to his old tricks in Savannah, at least the last I heard.

RTC: ‘In the midst of life…’ Gregory.

GD: In the midst of life, we’re in peanut butter, Robert, or something else that looks like it. Memories, Robert, memories. I would assume you have a few of your own, don’t you?

RTC: And your gold?

GD: I know nothing about Nazi gold, Robert. A dream, nothing more. If I had any, it wouldn’t be in the Bank of America. They would have run, panting with news of it, to the government years ago, eager for that thrilling pat on the head. I had quite a problem with them once, when I lived in Santa Monica. They put my paycheck into someone else’s account and it took two weeks to get the dim bulbs to put it back. And to add injury to insult, they bounced my rent check, and others, and had the testicles to charge me for each and every check.

RTC: Banks do things like that.

GD: Not to me, they don’t. I simply went down and drew out all my money, including the overdraft charges, by going to a teller I knew that was a heavy pot smoker and confused sometimes. And then I did something very entertaining. I went to the fish market and bought two very large, cooked Dungeness crabs, froze them in my freezer and put them into my briefcase along with some really gross animal pornography. I had a safe deposit box at the local branch and I opened the box, took out various objects of value and replaced them with the crabs. Oh, and of course the lovely, instructional pictures. Robert, have you ever smelt shellfish when it goes off?

RTC: I can’t say as I have.

GD: It smells worse than someone pissing on a hot stove. Believe me, that’s a smell that really stands out. And in time, the crabs thawed and began the process of filling the bank with lovely odors. Of course no one could go into the vault without vomiting so they had to find out which box had the treasures. Most local box holders were on vacation, it being July and very hot down there, so they had to drill open about ten boxes to find the prize in mine. I was moving anyway and I heard later from my old landlord that the bank was greatly upset and wanted to charge me thousands of dollars for expenses. Not that they ever got any of it.

RTC: If you could only channel your creative energy, Gregory, you could be a formidable operator.

GD: I’m aware of that but I do enjoy having fun and listening to all the methane leaking out of the bloated idiots that the people in this country think are actually protecting them. Who will protect us from the agencies? God? I have my fun and sometimes I make my point. And gathering intelligence material, and I have had my own experiences with this, is sometimes such a waste of time, Robert. No matter how true or valuable it is, it always has to be passed up the ladder where it ends up in the hands of those who rule us. And if your information, accurate or not, doesn’t please them or reflect their idiot views, then into the trash basket with it. Are you with me, Robert? Does this ring a bell with you?

RTC: Oh yes, many bells. I recall, for example, a report by Joe Hovey, our station chief in Saigon, very accurately pinpointing the coming VC Tet offensive as early as November in 1967. This was about two months before the actual attack. I mean, Gregory, Joe was spot on. And, you would say, if we knew, why did we let it happen? Why because the leadership both at the Company and in the White House and the Pentagon didn’t want to believe it. Oh, Joe’s accurate report wasn’t the only one, believe me, but it was all ignored. Johnson may have been a great politician but he was worthless as a military leader and Westmoreland was only a sycophant who always did what his bosses wanted.

GD: I’ve noticed that weak leaders want weaker men around them because subconsciously they are aware that they are poor specimens of humanity and they want no one around who might show them up. A strong leader, on the other hand, will have strong and competent men around him. This is an entirely predictable happening. And Vietnam was a mess. From both a political and a military point of view, we walked right into a bog, got stuck and lost whatever it was we started out to do. And no one ever thinks about the dead their stupidity caused. A dead soldier is a piece off the board and a wounded one can’t fight so they forget them.

RTC: Well, I have quit a bit of background on Vietnam, Gregory and in one sense, you’re right but this is hindsight and hindsight is always right. We got into Vietnam a little bit at a time and for reasons that seemed to be correct at the time. The French ran their Indo-China for years and had a lucrative trade, especially in rubber. The war came, France was beaten by the Germans and the Vichy French government was controlled by the Germans. When the Japanese, who were allied with Germany, wanted to get into Indo-China, they asked the Germans who told the French to let them in. It was the rubber they were all after. It couldn’t do Germany any good so they forced Vichy to help the Japs for political reasons. During the war over there, a local resistance group started up, anti-Japanese of course. The problem was that it was run by local Communists but as FDR loved to cooperate with Communists, it was partially supplied by us. War was over, Japan defeated and the country reoccupied by the French. Political dissent and the French began to lose effective control over the rubber. We wanted DeGaulle to join NATO and his price was for us to assist France in their colony. Little by little, we did. And there was another element. JFK was Catholic and South Vietnam was filled with Catholics who wanted to be protected from the Communists and Buddhists. Cushing 2put on the heat and Kennedy then began to send some support units over there. The French had suffered a major propaganda defeat at Dien Bien Phu and French popular opinion demanded a withdrawal. The French got us to substitute our people for theirs with an agreement to share the rubber revenues with us. And it went on from there. Ho had little to work with but he conducted guerrilla warfare that was very effective. To counter it, we had to pour huge numbers of troops and equipment into the country. We did terrible damage to their infrastructure but they kept coming back. We set Colby up with ‘Phoenix’ to neutralize VC supporters in the south and of course they launched a program of terror, as the press called it, against practically all the civilian population outside of Saigon.

GD: That sort of thing never works, Robert. The Communists are real experts at that game. The more innocent civilians that are tortured or killed, the more recruits the movement gets. They win always, you know, in the end, they win.

RTC: The Tet offensive was a huge political victory for the VC but from a military sense, they lost. Their real victory was to focus domestic anger and force a demarche. McNamara was booted out, Johnson just gave up and eventually, we got out. I mean, Gregory, it was not a military defeat but a political one.

GD: When the French pulled out, they were not defeated in the field, except for one very public battle, but as you said, it was a political victory. Once the public gets its wind up, the politicians are forced to heed the noise or they will be torn to pieces.

RTC: You do understand that we were not defeated in Vietnam, don’t you? It was the intrusive and self-serving press coupled with the perception of a useless and very destructive war from the civilians that forced us our. Not a military defeat.

GD: Call it what you wish, it was a defeat. You can parse it until the cows come home, Robert, but it was a defeat. I read that there are large untapped oil fields offshore there. Give it a few years and we will be back, cultivating the former enemy, hat in hand and money in bags for their leaders. Oh yes, and contracts for the development of the oil. Unless, of course, the Chinese beat us to it. Marx was right when he said the basis of wars was economic and Clausewitz said that war was just an extension of politics. Of course, that doesn’t do much for destroyed cities and huge civilian casualties, does it? I don’t suppose something like that matters in the long run. The victor always writes the history and it takes hundreds of years and the death of everyone connected with it before the objective truth ever comes out. And concerning the policy of torture, it is totally unnecessary and to me, the hallmark of a stupid sadistic type. Mueller, who was one of the best, used to discuss techniques with me. I’ve done my own work in this area at times and never, ever had to torture anyone. Besides, if you torture someone, they will tell you anything you want to hear just to make you stop. I recall hearing about a certain Dr. Black and Decker. Am I ringing any bells there?

RTC: Go on.

GD: One of your people, sent down from the cultural office in our embassy in Tokyo. Used to interrogate suspected VC by running an electric drill into one eye. If they wouldn’t talk then, in went the drill, right into the brain. Of course, then the victims couldn’t tell them anything because they were dead. I was told by my source, who got violently sick once viewing the messes he created, that the good man kept putting in slips for new shoes. He kept ruining them with a slurry of blood and brains. I understand after we pulled out, he left your employ and is now working at a very respectable establishment university on the East Coast, teaching comparative religion to the daughters of the wealthy.

RTC: These things happen in war, Gregory.

GD: He’s fortunate I wasn’t running his operation. I would have hanged him from the nearest tree, Robert. When he prates about the perfect love of Jesus, does he think about his ruined shoes?

RTC: I knew the man you’re talking about and I can assure you, he feels great remorse for some of his actions…

GD: He should feel the rope around his neck, Robert. Things like that always come out. Talleyrand said to Napoleon once, over the shooting of the Duc d’Enghein, ‘Sire, it is worse than a crime: it is a mistake.’ And not necessary. And all of us pay for such things. I know Colby authorized and encouraged this filthiness and, Robert, I’m glad your people put him into the river.

RTC: These things must be taken in context, Gregory. I spoke about hindsight, didn’t I?

GD: If these things never happened, we wouldn’t need hindsight at all. I recall reading a comment Bismarck once said to a German politician bent on some mischief. He said, in essence, are you prepared to carry your ideas through with cannon? If not, forget them. You know, Bismarck was the greatest and most pragmatic political leader of his time and a very great man. Can you imagine Johnson even thinking that way? Or Reagan? What did the grunts say in Vietnam? Kill them all and let God sort it out? Isn’t that a wonderful monument on the road to perfection? Oh well, read Malthus and pray.

RTC: You’re far too liberal in your views, Gregory. If you want to be successful, you have to be more realistic.

GD: I am realistic in practice but not in theory.

(Concluded 10:15 AM CST)


From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 17

February 23, 2016


Does the U.S. military have too many senior officers in its ranks?

A new report from the Congressional Research Service does not answer that question, but it explains why the question could arise, and provides relevant background for addressing it.

“While always very small in comparison to the total force, the general and flag officer (GFO) corps has increased as a percentage of the total force over the past five decades.”

“GFOs made up about one-twentieth of one percent (0.048%) of the total force in 1965, while they made up about one-fifteenth of one percent (0.069%) of the total force in 2015, indicating that the share of the total force made up of GFOs increased by 43%.”

“Some argue that this increased proportion of GFOs is wasteful and contributes to more bureaucratic decisionmaking processes. Others counter that the increased proportion is linked to the military’s greater emphasis on joint and coalition operations, core organizational requirements, and the increasing use of advanced technologies.”

“This report provides an overview of active duty GFOs in the United States Armed Forces–including authorizations, duties, and compensation–historical trends in the proportion of GFOs relative to the total force, criticisms and justifications of GFO to total force proportions, and statutory controls.”

See General and Flag Officers in the U.S. Armed Forces: Background and Considerations for Congress, February 18, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from public release include the following.

Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations, updated February 18, 2016

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated February 19, 2016

Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure, updated February 18, 2016

Recovery Act Funding for DOE Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Projects, February 18, 2016

The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy, February 18, 2016

The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief, February 18, 2016

Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues, updated February 18, 2016

Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 19, 2016

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress, updated February 18, 2016

FY2017 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Budget Request: In Brief, February 19, 2016

Big penalties, jail time for not registering drones – FAA

February 23, 2016


The Federal Aviation Administration say unregistered drone users could now face fines as high as $250,000 for flying their UAVs or the possibility of up to three years in jail.

On Monday, the FAA announced that a total of 368,472 drones had been registered with agency, surpassing the number of airplanes on record with the federal government.

The FAA announced the registration rules last December with a February 19 deadline. With the deadline now passed, the agency said: “Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions.”

“The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500,” the FAA said in a frequently asked questions post on its website. “Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.”

According to The Hill, FAA administrator Michael Huerta was encouraged by the response to the drone rules after an increase in reports of sighting by commercial airline pilots.

The speed with which we were able to roll this out is a testament to the invaluable input we received from the diverse task force of stakeholders we brought together to work on this issue,” Huerta said in a recent speech at a drone policy summit in Washington, the Hill reported.

There had also been a step up in complaints from law enforcement and firefighters encountering the drones while trying to put out fires, especially during last summer’s spate of forest fires in California.

“It’s proof that when government and industry partner, we can innovate, cut through red tape, and use technology to tackle emerging risks,” Huerta said.

The FAA imposed a $5 registration fee which was met with objection from drone advocates calling it a “drone tax.” In response the FAA granted applicants a refund for signing up within the first 30 days. The registration fee is valid for three years. As of Monday evening, a drone user could still register on the website.

Where is Republican billionaire ‘kingmaker’ Sheldon Adelson?

Beset with legal troubles, the casino magnate and Republican powerbroker seems to be holding back, despite acquiring Nevada’s most influential newspaper

February 22, 2016

by Chris McGreal

The Guardian

Where is Sheldon Adelson? The conservative billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who threw $100m into a futile effort to unseat Barack Obama in 2012 has so far proved virtually invisible in this year’s presidential race even ahead of this week’s Republican caucuses in his home state of Nevada.

Adelson’s decision to wait out the contest, at least for now, has only added to the mystery around his secretive purchase late last year of Nevada’s most influential newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At the time, there was widespread speculation he would put the paper to work on behalf of his anointed candidate, much as an Israeli daily he owns is a strident backer of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

That may yet come to pass, particularly as Nevada will be hotly contested in the general election late this year. But for now, as Republican presidential candidates begin tour the desert state in search of votes ahead of Tuesday’s contest, Adelson is holding back. The 82-year-old casino billionaire has made relatively few political donations this year. In 2012 he threw $20m behind Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries, keeping him in the race long after it was clear he had no chance of winning, and then spent another $100m-plus to try to get Mitt Romney into the White House.

His lack of intervention, so far, this time around is despite having held what has been called the “Adelson primary” last year in which several Republican contenders desperate for his considerable financial backing tramped to Las Vegas to be judged on whether they measured up to his political demands.

Primary among them is unflinching support for Israel, a test Jeb Bush failed when his foreign policy adviser addressed a liberal pro-Israel group, J-Street, which is pressing Netanyahu to negotiate with the Palestinians and to give up territory.

However, the billionaire looks favourably on Florida senator Marco Rubio not only for his support of Netanyahu’s hard line policies, particularly on Iran, but for pushing a bill in the Senate to ban online gambling, a pet political project of Adelson’s. Rubio came second in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, his best showing so far, and has deep connections with Nevada that have led some to conclude he is well-placed to perform well in the state.

He and Adelson met frequently last year including dining in Washington ahead of Netanyahu’s highly controversial address to Congress which he used to attack Obama’s negotiations with Iran.

Ted Cruz, the deeply conservative Texas senator, is also in the frame for Adelson’s backing, in part because he was at the forefront of Senate opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. Donald Trump, the only candidate who doesn’t need his money, who won in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and is ahead in the polls in Nevada, has tried to woo Adelson by promising that no other candidate “will be a bigger friend to Israel”. It is considered unlikely Trump will win the fellow billionaire’s backing, at least until the primaries are settled.

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential contender, attacked Adelson’s political influence in a campaign speech in Las Vegas last week. “The first caucus was held many, many, many months ago here in Las Vegas. It was the Sheldon Adelson caucus,” said Sanders. “This is the corruption of American democracy, that some guy, just because he’s worth whatever – 10, 20, 40 billion dollars – summons Republican candidates to his office and he says, all right, tell me what you going to do for me in order to get the tens of millions of dollars I’m going to give you. My friends, this is not democracy. This is oligarchy.”

But the candidates have yet to see those tens of millions of dollars. A report in the Hill in January said that Adelson’s restraint is in part the result of differences with his wife, Miriam, over who to back. The Hill said Adelson, who is liberal on a number of social policies, favours Rubio while his wife backs Cruz.

Jon Ralston, an analyst and the host of a political television show in Las Vegas, said Adelson is taking a more considered approach to this election. “His support for Gingrich was personal. They go back to the 90s. This year he wants to be with someone who can win a general. He likes Rubio, but he wants to see if Rubio can win,” he said.

Adelson also has far more on his plate than four years ago. He is facing a bruising legal case which is threatening to throw unwelcome light on the business practices of his company, Las Vegas Sands, which has raised allegations of bribery and other corruption at the billionaire’s casinos in Macau. The case, which is scheduled to be heard in June, a month before the Republican convention that will appoint the party’s nominee, potentially threatens the gambling licences of his Las Vegas casinos.

If it goes all the way to full trial and the allegations are found to have merit, that would open the door to accusations that Adelson’s political donations have been made with tainted money. The billionaire was last week ordered to give 49 hours of pre-trial depositions beginning this week. That order came the day after Adelson failed in his attempt to have the judge in the case, Elizabeth Gonzalez, removed for alleged bias. That in turn is linked to the billionaire’s purchase of the Review-Journal.

Adelson spent $140m on the paper, somewhere around $60m more than it is considered to have been worth. That has mystified many in Nevada politics. It is possible that Adelson purchased the Review-Journal to influence Las Vegas and state politics. He has campaigned against a publicly funded conference centre to rival one he owns and, in something of a contradiction, is attempting to win public financing to bring an NFL franchise to Las Vegas.

But Ralston said the casino magnate’s money has not had a major impact on state politics. “Adelson influences Nevada politics with his money but he hasn’t had much success. He helped elect one governor – Jim Gibbons – who was a disaster. And he has helped various Republicans win office, including last year, a big GOP year, when he especially helped Adam Laxalt, the new attorney general,” he said.

Michael Hengel, the Review-Journal’s former editor, said Adelson does not need to involve himself in local political campaigns to wield influence. He has that by running a casino empire. “If he wants to talk to somebody at state or regional or county politics, on any issue that really matters to him, internet gaming, that kind of thing, he can pick up the phone and get anybody,” he said. “You get a phone call from him, it’s going to get returned right away. People know what he stands for. He’s very outspoken on the issues that are important to him.”

The Review-Journal could still play a role on the national stage, where Adelson prefers to be. It has endorsed Rubio ahead of the Republican caucuses. The editor has insisted the decision was made independently of Adelson although it does appear to dovetail with the billionaire’s political sensibilities.

And Ralston sees the casino magnate’s hand at work in the paper’s political coverage. “Adelson bought the RJ to use it for his political agenda, in my opinion,” he said. “His organisation’s hand has already been seen. He claims to have stayed out of the Rubio endorsement, but the paper has now done it twice. Plenty of stories and columns written about how he has tried top influence coverage, either directly or indirectly.”

But the most significant intervention is in coverage that strikes closer to home. The sale of the Review-Journal was shrouded in mystery until journalists on the paper revealed that Adelson had bought it through an ownership structure using his relatives, as he did with his Israeli newspaper. As the revelations came, Hengel, the then editor, found himself in a struggle with the new owners to lay bare the casino magnate’s dealings to buy the paper.

James DeHaven, a former reporter on the Review-Journal, was one of the authors of a series of articles which revealed that Adelson had bought the paper. “My last few weeks there, it was routine having stories killed, altered, pared way, way down. That was routine,” he said. “Stories about Adelson, any stories about the change of ownership, were being very heavily edited and not by our editors. That was the problem.”

On one occasion, the management ordered changes to a story even as the paper was being printed. “The first story about the ownership change, they stopped the presses to make changes. Apparently the publishers called. It was done at the corporate level,” said DeHaven, who left the Review-Journal at Christmas to take up a job in Montana that he accepted before Adelson bought the Las Vegas paper.

That set a pretty ominous tone for what would become a fairly common occurrence over the next several weeks. We knew that there would be a tightening of Sheldon’s grip at some point so that wasn’t out of the blue.”

Among the changes made was the removal of a quote in the article from Hengel which questioned who was behind the purchase and “what are their expectations?”. Hengel was not consulted or notified about the change. He abruptly resigned from the Review-Journal in December. He is blocked by the terms of his severance agreement from discussing the circumstances. It is widely believed by Review-Journal staff to have resulted from his determination to publish another series of stories which touched on Adelson.

When the billionaire was in secret negotiations to buy the paper, an order came down from the then owners, Gatehouse Media, for reporters to monitor the courtroom conduct of three judges, one of whom was Elizabeth Gonzalez who was hearing the lawsuit against Adelson and his casino empire, Las Vegas Sands. She had repeatedly ruled against the billionaire and his company in hearings, including determining that a full trial could go ahead in Nevada.

DeHaven was one of the reporters assigned to carry out the investigation which he found odd but not sinister. “I did think stuff like the court watching initiative was odd. At the time I thought it was completely innocent if a little bit goofy. I thought it was one of those corporate type things that was passed down and we all just have to swallow it,” he said. The reporting team turned in 15,000 words which concluded there was nothing untoward in the conduct of Gonzalez or the other judges. None of it was printed. One Review-Journal reporter described the story as a “big yawn”.

But the revelation that Adelson was in negotiations to buy the newspaper at the time put a different complexion on things. It is not known if the billionaire played any direct part in ordering the investigation of Gonzalez, or was even aware of it. Hengel said that even now he doesn’t know the origins of the investigation. “Nobody knows exactly where it came from,” he said.

But DeHaven said reporters could not ignore the fact that the judge who had clashed with Adelson and his lawyers in court was the target. “It was not hard to reach certain conclusions from that. It was not a difficult calculus to figure out those two things might be related,” he said.

Although the Review-Journal did not publish the investigation, a small Connecticut newspaper linked to Gatehouse subsequently printed a story criticising Gonzalez for “inconsistent” and “contradictory” rulings before retracting it and acknowledging errors. Weeks after Adelson bought the paper, the new publisher, Craig Moon, removed a statement of editorial independence which had appeared daily on page three of the Review-Journal in an attempt to reassure readers. He told the Los Angeles Times that no other paper published a similar statement. Moon has also denied stories have been changed to suit Adelson or Las Vegas Sands.

He has acknowledged that reports about the billionaire or his business have been “reviewed” by the publisher but denied they were edited. Some staff on the paper think coverage of the looming court case – in which the former chief executive of his Macau casinos, Steve Jacobs, is suing for wrongful dismissal, claiming he was sacked for his refusal to go along with corrupt practices – will be a litmus test of editorial independence.

The staff remain what one journalist described as “cautiously pessimistic”. The new owners have recruited additional reporters and are putting fresh financial resources into the Review-Journal. But evidence at earlier court hearings of Adelson’s involvement in the minutiae of the running of his casinos, and his combative nature in court in which he got into arguments with Judge Gonzalez – she once told him “You don’t get to argue with me” – has led some reporters to conclude that he is unlikely to remain hands off at a newspaper that cost him $140m.

Wikileaks: NSA spied on UN Secretary General, Merkel

Wikileaks has released new documents alleging the NSA intercepted communications between Ban-Ki Moon and Merkel. The secret releases also include allegations of spying on Israeli, Italian and French leaders.

February 22, 2016


The whistleblower website Wikileaks on Tuesday dumped a new trove of classified documents revealing that the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted communications between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The documents also cover intercepts of conversations between EU leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the UN refugee agency and Japan on a range of issues — from climate change and banking to sensitive trade issues.

Among the intercepted communications were meetings in 2008 between UN Secretary General and Merkel discussing climate change talks and views on President Barack Obama.

The revelations are not the first highlighting the extent of US spying on the UN and world leaders, as well as the bulk collection of intelligence. Previously released documents created a diplomatic row between the US and its allies.

The documents reveal that the US listened in on UN climate talks in order to protect its oil interests, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said.

“Today we showed that UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon’s private meetings over how to save the planet from climate change were bugged by a country intent on protecting its largest oil companies,” Assange said in a statement accompanying the document release.

He added: “The US government has signed agreements with the UN that it will not engage in such conduct against the UN–let alone its Secretary General. It will be interesting to see the UN’s reaction, because if the Secretary General can be targeted without consequence, then everyone from world leader to street sweeper is at risk.”

Netanyahu asked Berlusconi for help dealing with US

The new data dump also includes allegations that Netanyahu reached out to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2010 to help mend fences with the United States.

According to the documents, Netanyahu was concerned by the lack of direct contact with Obama in response to Israel’s illegal settlement building on Palestinian lands.

The Israeli leader was allegedly concerned the Palestinians would use to settlement issue to block peace talks or “advance unrealistic claims.”

Another intercept detailed a conversation between Berlusconi and former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, in which the French leader warned his Italian counterpart that the Italian banking system was about to “pop like a cork.”

The NSA also spied on Japanese and EU trade ministers discussing sensitive World Trade Organization issues, as well as the UN refugee agency, Wikileaks documents revealed.

Obama’s Russian Rationale for $1 Trillion Nuke Plan Signals New Arms Race

February 23, 2016

by Alex Emmjons

The Intercept

The Obama administration has historically insisted that its massive $1 trillion nuclear-weapons modernization program does not represent a return to Cold-War era nuclear rivalry between Russia and the United States.

The hugely expensive undertaking, which calls for a slew of new cruise missiles, ICBMs, nuclear submarines, and long-range bombers over the next three decades has been widely panned by critics as “wasteful,” “unsustainable,” “unaffordable,” and “a fantasy.”

The administration has pointed to ageing missile silos, 1950s-era bombers and other outdated technology to justify the spending, describing the steps as intended to maintain present capabilities going forward – not bulking up to prepare for a future confrontation.

Last year, speaking to NATO allies, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter insisted that “the Cold War playbook… is not suitable for the 21st century.”

But President Obama’s defense budget request for 2017 includes language that makes it clear that nuclear “modernization” really is about Russia after all.

The budget request explicitly cites Russian aggression, saying “We are countering Russia’s aggressive policies through investments in a broad range of capabilities… [including] our nuclear arsenal.”

In December, Brian McKeon, principle deputy under secretary of defense for policy, testified before Congress: “We are investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia’s provocations… to both deter nuclear attacks and reassure our allies.”

The public acknowledgement that Russia is the impetus for U.S. modernization has critics concerned the Cold-War era superpowers are now engaged in a “modernization” arms race.

Both Russia and the United States are now officially and publicly using the other side as a justification for nuclear weapons modernization programs,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, in a statement emailed to The Intercept.

Early in his presidency, Obama was an outspoken advocate of nuclear disarmament. In April 2009, he pledged his commitment “to achieving a nuclear free world,” together with former Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Later that month, Obama delivered a celebrated speech in Prague, saying he sought “the security of a world without nuclear weapons.” And he negotiated a 2011 nuclear treaty with Russia, which required both countries to reduce their arsenals to 1,550 operational warheads each.

But according to his advisers, Russia’s invasion of Crimea halted Obama’s disarmament efforts. In a 2014 interview with the New York Times, Gary Samore, one of Obama’s top first-term nuclear advisers, said “the most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible.”

Former officials have proposed ways of trimming the trillion-dollar budget. In December, former Defense Secretary William Perry called for the Pentagon not to replace its ageing ICBMS, arguing that submarines and bombers were enough to deter nuclear threats.

Retired General Eugene Habiger, the former head of U.S. Strategic Command, which overseas the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons, has argued that U.S. nuclear forces have little to no deterrent effect on Russia and China, and that the U.S. can safely reduce its active arsenal to 200-300 weapons.

Last year, in an effort to cut the costs of nuclear modernization, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced a bill that would reduce the number of planned missile-bearing submarines from 14 to eight. The bill, which would save an estimated $4 billion per submarine, was cosponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Democrat who is now running for President.

When asked about nuclear modernization at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, Hillary Clinton responded “Yeah, I’ve heard about that, I’m going to look into that, it doesn’t make sense to me.” Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, on the other hand, supported the expense, saying “deterrence is a friend to peace.”

Religious groups have also voiced opposition to nuclear modernization. “We were pleased with the President’s statement calling for a world without nuclear weapons,” said Mark Harrison, director of the Peace with Justice program at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.

David Culp, a legislative representative at the Quaker-affiliated Friends Committee on National Legislation, said “The increased spending on U.S. nuclear weapons is already provoking similar responses from Russia and China. We are slowly slipping back into another Cold War, but this time on two fronts.

Contracts are already being signed. In October, the Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman the contract for the new long-range bomber. The total cost is secret, but expected to exceed $100 billion.


OK, big brother’: Turkish military cooperate with ISIS on border, telephone calls reveal

February 23, 2016


Ties between Turkish military and Islamic State fighters operating on the Syrian-Turkish border have received further proof in Cumhuriyet newspaper, who published more transcripts of telephone calls between the jihadists and officers.

The documents are said to come from an ongoing court case on Islamic State at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court. The investigation was reportedly prompted after six Turkish citizens reported their relatives joining terrorists to police.At least 19 people came under monitoring as a result and prosecutors then charged 27 individuals. The daily published the first batch in December.

The new transcripts published by the daily Monday are said to be conversations between Turkish officers and Mustafa Demir, a member of Islamic State who is a leading figure on the Syrian-Turkish border.

The transcripts and the documents in the investigation revealed that Demir received money… from smugglers at the border and cooperated with the officers as far as [border] crossings are concerned,” Cumhuriyet said.

In the first transcript, translated into English by Today’s Zaman, Demir is talking to a Turkish military officer.

– […] where are you, big brother? At the place where I told you to be?

– Yeah. We also saw you, your men…

– Is it possible for you to arrange that I talk with the commander here, regarding the business here? What if we could establish a contact here as we helped you…

– Okay […] I’ll pass this now. I have two military posts there. If the worst comes to the worst, I’ll tell that to the commander of the station and have him take a look…

In another transcript, Demir allegedly talks with another Turkish officer, who says that he and his comrades are “in the minefield” and calls Demir to come to him immediately.

We have stuff; come here from that side, the men are here…,” the transcript says.

Okay, big brother, [I’m] coming…Is it [the mine field] the place where I gave First Lieutenant Burak a car?” Demir reportedly answers.

Demir Mustafa is reported to have close ties with an ISIS leader, İlhami Balı, believed to be responsible for suicide bombings in Ankara, which rocked the capital in October, killing over 100 people.

This is not the only case of cooperation between Turkish military and Islamic State militants Cumhuriyet newspaper has revealed. In May, it reported that a Turkish convoy that was presumably hit by an airstrike in northwestern Syria was transporting weapons to terrorist organizations.

In November the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, and its Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, were arrested and are currently at the Silivri prison awaiting trial. No date has been set yet. Turkish prosecutors are demanding life sentences for both jounalists.

Dundar and Gul are charged each with one count of “gathering secret state documents for the purposes of political and military espionage,” as well as “attempting to topple the government of the Republic of Turkey.”


Netanyahu asks for ‘Israel apartheid’ tube posters to be removed

Flyposters put up on London Underground by pro-Palestinian campaigners anger politicians in Israel as well as British Jews

February 23, 2016

by Harriet Sherwood

The Guardian

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has asked the UK government to remove hundreds of flyposters on London Underground trains put up by pro-Palestinian activists which claim that his country’s policies amount to apartheid.

The posters, designed to look like genuine adverts, were pasted on tube trains by London Palestine Action as part of this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week. Political leaders in Jerusalem and Jewish organisations in the UK condemned the posters.

Netanyahu asked Israel’s foreign ministry director, Dore Gold, to raise the matter with British government officials while on a trip to London. “I asked him to demand from the British government that the posters be removed,” he told parliamentary colleagues, according to reports in the Israeli media.

Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party and a former finance minister, said London residents had “entered the underground and found a series of antisemitic, anti-Israel signs calling us an apartheid state, accusing us of torturing children, or murder, of terrible things”.

Lapid said he had telephoned the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to complain and tell him that “the state of Israel will not tolerate such things”.

Four poster designs have been displayed on trains: one accuses the British government of complicity in Israeli violations of international and humanitarian law through arms sales. Another says that more than 500 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted by Israel every year with the assistance of the UK security firm G4S. A third highlights the demolition of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem by Israeli security forces, and a fourth accuses the BBC of bias in favour of Israel in its reporting.

A spokesperson for London Palestine Action said: “Israel and its supporters are used to having biased mainstream media uncritically repeat its point of view. Our actions aim to shine a spotlight on the support that Israel receives from the UK government and arms industry, and UK companies like G4S.

At a time when the government is undermining local democracy in order to protect Israel and attack the idea of support for Palestinians, it was important to show that we’ll continue to take action in solidarity with Palestinian popular resistance.”

The London-based Zionist Federation wrote to Transport for London on Monday to complain about the posters and request their removal. It said that TfL was responsible for maintaining a safe environment for its passengers and the posters’ message could increase tensions.

The materials in question promoted a one-sided approach to the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recognised as one of the most contentious political disputes in the world. Their grotesque, reductionist, and inaccurate portrayals of the issue – arguing, for example, that Israel is not only involved in massacres but also in effect controls the subsequent media coverage – would undoubtedly have resulted in an increase in community tensions,” said the letter signed by Paul Charney, ZF’s chairman.

The London Jewish Forum said the posters were an act of vandalism and “awful smears that do nothing to contribute to peace and dialogue, placing significant strains on inter-community relations across London”.

TfL said it was removing the posters. “These are not authorised adverts,” a spokesperson said. “It is flyposting, and therefore an act of vandalism, which we take extremely seriously.”



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