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TBR News January 15, 2018

Jan 15 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 15, 2018:” I’m a little late this week because of what I just found out.

It seems that a person, or persons, currently unknown, poured molasses into the oil system of several of the Presidential helicopters!

It was discovered when a guard noticed traces of the molasses dripping on side of the craft and a through check disclosed that not one but two helicopters had been sabotaged.

The molasses would have heated up inside and gummed up the moving parts, causing a crash.

Very few staffers are aware of this which, according to the Marine source, must have happened within the past week.

I asked several mechanics I know (my car is always having engine trouble) about this and both told me that this is an old trick and guaranteed to freeze up the machinery.

Add to this the discovery of a bullet impact on one of the heavily bullet-proof windows of the Oval Office. Nothing was noticed for several days and then a man tending the grounds noticed it.

No one knows when it happened but a week is about the closest anyone can some. They were trying to figure out where the shooter was located but apparently since only one surface was damaged, there was no way to figure this out.

If the bullet had penetrated and hit the President or some object like a desk, figuring the trajectory would be relatively easy.

A Secret Service man told me that Trump has had more serious death threats than any other President since Abraham Lincoln but there is a total blackout on such comments.  Obviously, new security measures have to be taken but I have no idea what they are. I do note that there are more anti-aircraft weapons on the White House roof than on the battleship Iowa!”


Table of Contents

  • America’s Civil War
  • So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t
  • China to block cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralized trading: Bloomberg
  • Any rule on Bitcoin must be global, Germany’s central bank says
  • One year under Trump: A shrinking space for protest
  • Centrist Dems Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Trans Woman, All to Keep an Old Straight White Man in Power
  • America Last? EU says Trump is losing on trade
  • Drones keep entering no-fly zones over Washington, raising security concerns
  • US Launches New Spy Satellite on Secret Mission
  • Syria war: Turkey denounces US ‘terror army’ plan for border
  • Erdogan: we will ‘strangle’ U.S.-backed force in Syria “before it’s even born”
  • The Family: The Octopus of God



America’s Civil War

It’s here, it’s real, it’s now – and I know what side I’m on

January 15, 2018

by Justin Raimondo


For nearly twenty-five years I have been writing in this space about war: that is, the wars we have waged against other countries. I’ve heard every possible rationalization for these conflicts, from “weapons of mass destruction” to “he’s killing his own people” to babies being bayoneted in their incubators and on down the line.

Now that I’ve reached a milestone in my career as a chronicler of this kind of folly, and thought I’d seen it all, I’ve come upon something entirely new and that totally outdid my experience and expectations: civil war in America.

Oh, and you should hear the rationales! They make George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Richard Perle come off like paragons of honesty and rectitude.

According to a coalition of forces including the Democratic party, the FBI, the CIA, and most of the “news” media, the country has been taken over by Vladimir Putin and the Russian State: President Donald J. Trump is an instrument in their hands, and the independence of the United States has been fatally compromised: the President and his top aides are taking their orders from the Kremlin.

This wouldn’t even pass an elementary course in formulaic script-writing, not to mention that gigantic plagiarism problem such a project would pose: it’s been done to death. But a lack of originality isn’t something that would stop our spooks, as dogged as they are.

Our intelligence agencies are at war with the executive branch of government, and they have been ever since Trump triumphed in the Electoral College and decisively defeated Hillary Clinton. The FBI/CIA/Deep State have been trying mightily to reverse the election results since that moment, to no avail.

Not that they haven’t had an effect on how the government functions – or fails to do so: the essential defensive role played by the intelligence community in identifying and isolating potential terrorist cells is undoubtedly compromised. Their attention is elsewhere. And let’s get real here: why would the CIA identify an imminent terror threat if their main goal is to discredit a sitting president? Wouldn’t they just let it slide and then heap the blame on Trump? Of course they would. Forget the “war on terrorism” – our spooks are fighting a war on Trump and they mean to win it by hook or by crook.

This didn’t just happen overnight. The two antagonists in the Second American Civil War have been evolving into rival armies with antithetical interests since the 1990s.

Where are the richest counties in these here United States? The answer is those counties around the capital city of Washington, D.C., where practically all the nation’s wealth is squirreled away. The huge McMansions, the private schools, the expensive autos, the overeducated children, the impressive properties, the elite professionals in every field – it’s all inside a very few Northeastern counties centered around the Imperial City. While the rest of the nation suffers from the worst drug scourge in many years, crime invades areas (Califonia, Illinois) that had showed some signs of improvement, and peoples’ incomes cannot keep up with the cost of living.

You can tell the American empire is on its last legs because its ruling classes have already declared open warfare on their less fortunate subjects. The puffed-up arrogance and exhibitionistic wealth and behavior of these worthies is something that even a Bourbon would know enough to refrain from flaunting. But our elites are on a suicide mission.

For decades, the corporate and ideological tribes that have ruled this country have looted it within an inch of its life. The tremendous wealth created by what used to be the freest economy in the world has been monopolized by a tiny minority of crony capitalists at the top of the pyramid. Hi-tech oligarchs who look like tenth graders and have the mentality of high school hall monitors have seized control of the commanding heights of the culture and turned it into a nightmarish mix of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Nineteen Eight-Four. Instead of adapting themselves to the views of the American people, our two political parties have adopted ideologies that have very little to do with the concerns of ordinary citizens. Instead, we are subjected to tirades from the Democrats about how the Russian government is in de facto everyday control of the White House and that the best thing we can hope for is a coup d’etat.

How do you conduct a foreign policy in the midst of a civil war? That’s just one of the fascinating questions we’ll be facing if not answering over the next three years. The coup plotters mean to paralyze the country: Trump’s idea that he could institute a foreign policy that puts America first is running into roadbloacks from the bureaucracy, and his own appointees, who are all too often in league with his worst enemies.

The ultimate goal of the NeverTrumpers is to get DJT out of office, somehow, anyhow, by legal means or extralegal shenanigans. If you think they’re ruled out assassination you’re being naïve.

But why? Why the extreme reaction?

Trump threatened to dismantle their precious “international order,” which had protected so many tyrants and subsidized so many oligarchs. The world according to the Davos crowd – a world of unearned privilege, ruthless arrogance, endless wars, and self-consciously extravagant wealth  – was about to give way to the world of Donald Trump: a world of nations, not of “interests,” of sovereign peoples not migratory predators, of wealth earned honestly rather than extorted from hapless passive “consumers.”

In short, the globalist gig was up. And the war goes on to this day. It is the same old eternal conflict, the war of Liberty against Power, the Little Guy against the Oligarchs, the peace party versus the war party – and, yes, God against the Devil Himself.


So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t

A collective insanity has sprouted around the new field of ‘cryptocurrencies’, causing an irrational gold rush. I know you’re tempted, but don’t be a fool

January 15m 2018

by Mr Money Mustache

The Guardian

I’ve been watching this bitcoin situation for a few years, assuming it would just blow over.

But a collective insanity has sprouted around the new field of “cryptocurrencies”, causing an irrational gold rush worldwide. It has gotten to the point where a large number of financial stories – and questions in my inbox – ask whether or not to “invest” in BitCoin.

Let’s start with the answer: No. You should not invest in Bitcoin.

The reason why is that it’s not an investment; just as gold, tulip bulbs, Beanie Babies, and rare baseball cards are also not investments.

These are all things that people have bought in the past, driving them to absurd prices, not because they did anything useful or produced money or had social value, but solely because people thought they could sell them on to someone else for more money in the future.

When you make this kind of purchase – which you should never do – you are speculating. This is not a useful activity. You’re playing a psychological, win-lose battle against other humans with money as the sole objective. Even if you win money through dumb luck, you have lost time and energy, which means you have lost.

Investing means buying an asset that actually creates products, services or cashflow, such as a profitable business or a rentable piece of real estate, for an extended period of time. An investment is something that has intrinsic value – that is, it would be worth owning from a financial perspective, even if you could never sell it.

To answer why bitcoin has become so big, we need to separate the usefulness of the underlying technology called “blockchain” from the mania of people turning bitcoin into a big dumb lottery. Blockchain is simply a nifty software invention (which is open-source and free for anyone to use), whereas bitcoin is just one well-known way to use it.

Blockchain is a computer protocol that allows two people (or machines) to do transactions (sometimes anonymously) even if they don’t trust each other or the network between them. It can have monetary applications or in sharing files, but it’s not some instant trillionaire magic.

As a real-world comparison for blockchain and bitcoin, take this example from the blogger The Unassuming Banker:

Imagine that someone had found a cure for cancer and posted the step-by-step instructions on how to make it online, freely available for anyone to use.

Now imagine that the same person also created a product called Cancer-Pill using their own instructions, trade marked it, and started selling it to the highest bidders.

I think we can all agree a cure for cancer is immensely valuable to society (blockchain may or may not be, we still have to see), however, how much is a Cancer-Pill worth?

Our banker goes on to explain that the first Cancer-Pill (bitcoin) might initially see some great sales. Prices would rise, especially if supply was limited (just as an artificial supply limit is built into the bitcoin algorithm).

But since the formula is open and free, other companies quickly come out with their own cancer pills. Cancer-Away, CancerBgone, CancEthereum, and any other number of competitors would spring up. Anybody can make a pill, and it costs only a few cents per dose.

Yet imagine everybody starts bidding up Cancer-Pills to the point that they cost $17,000 each and fluctuate widely in price, seemingly for no reason. Newspapers start reporting on prices daily, triggering so many tales of instant riches that even your barber and your massage therapist are offering tips on how to invest in this new “asset class”.

Instead of seeing how ridiculous this is, more people start bidding up every new variety of pill (cryptocurrencies), until they are some of the most “valuable” things on the planet.

That is what’s happening with bitcoin.

“Holy shit!” is the only reasonable reaction.

You’ve got bitcoin with a market value of $238bn, then Ethereum at $124bn, and so on.

The imaginary value of these valueless bits of computer data represents enough money to change the course of the human race, for example, eliminating poverty or replacing the world’s 800 gigawatts of coal power plants with solar generation.

Bitcoin (aka Cancer-Pills) has become an investment bubble, with the complementary forces of human herd behavior, greed, fear of missing out, and a lack of understanding of past financial bubbles amplifying it.

To better understand this mania, we need to look at why bitcoin was invented in the first place.

As the legend goes, in 2008 an anonymous developer published a white paper under the fake name Satoshi Nakamoto. The author was evidently a software and math person. But the paper also has some in-built ideology: the assumption that giving national governments the ability to monitor flows of money in the financial system and use it as a form of law enforcement is wrong.

This financial libertarian streak is at the core of bitcoin. You’ll hear echoes of that sentiment in all the pro-crypto blogs and podcasts. The sensible-sounding ones will say: “Sure the G20 nations all have stable financial systems, but bitcoin is a lifesaver in places like Venezuela where the government can vaporize your wealth when you sleep.”

The harder-core pundits say: “Even the US Federal Reserve is a bunch ‘a’ crooks, stealing your money via inflation, and that nasty fiat currency they issue is nothing but toilet paper!”

It’s all the same stuff that people say about gold – another waste of human investment energy.

Government-issued currencies have value because they represent human trust and cooperation. There is no wealth and no trade without these two things, so you might as well go all in and trust people.

The other argument for bitcoin’s “value” is that there will only ever be 21m of them, and they will eventually replace all other world currencies, or at least become the “new gold”, so the fundamental value is either the entire world’s GDP or at least the total value of all gold, divided by 21m.

People who think that there’s even a tiny chance bitcoin could become a world currency say it is severely undervalued.

You could make the same argument about my fingernail clippings: they may have no intrinsic value, but they’re in limited supply so let’s use them as the new world currency.

Let’s get this straight: in order for bitcoin to be a real currency, it needs several things:

Easy and frictionless trading between people.

To be widely accepted as legal tender for all debts, public and private.

A stable value that does not fluctuate (otherwise it’s impossible to set prices).

Bitcoin has none of these things, and even safely storing it is difficult. Bitcoin exchanges such as Mt Gox in Japan, Bitfinex and various other wallets and exchanges have been hacked.

The second point is crucial. Bitcoin is only valuable if it truly becomes a critical world currency. In other words, if you truly need it to buy stuff, and thus you need to buy coins from some other person in order to conduct important bits of world commerce that you can’t do any other way. Right now, speculators are the only people driving up the price.

A speculative cult currency like bitcoin is only valuable when you cash it out to a real currency, like the US dollar, and use it to buy something useful like a nice house or a business. When the supply of foolish speculators dries up the value evaporates – often very quickly.

A currency should also not be artificially sparse. It needs to expand with the supply of goods and services in the world, otherwise we end up with deflation and hoarding. It helps to have the Federal Reserve system and other central banks guiding the system.

Finally, nothing becomes a good investment just because “it’s been going up in price lately”.

The world’s governments are not going to let everyone start trading money anonymously and evading taxes using bitcoin. If cryptocurrency does take off, it will be in a government-backed form, like a new “Fedcoin”. Full anonymity and government evasion will not be one of its features.

The cryptocurrency bubble is really a repetition of the past. This is a known bug in our operating system, and we have designed some parts of our society to protect us against it.

These days, stocks in the US are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, precisely, because in the olden days, there were many stocks issued that were much like bitcoin, marketed to unsophisticated investors as a get-rich-quick scheme. The very definition of this investor is: “Being more willing to buy something the more its price goes up.”

Don’t be one of these fools.


China to block cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralized trading: Bloomberg

January 15, 2018


BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese authorities plan to block domestic access to Chinese and offshore cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralized trading, Bloomberg reported Monday citing sources.

Chinese authorities will also target individuals and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for centralized trading, Bloomberg reported.

Last year, Chinese regulators banned initial coin offerings, shut down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges and limited bitcoin mining – but activity in the cryptocurrency and bitcoin space has continued through alternative channels in China despite the crackdown.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Nick Macfie


Any rule on Bitcoin must be global, Germany’s central bank says

January 15, 2018


FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin must be on a global scale as national or regional rules would be hard to enforce on a virtual, borderless community, a director at Germany’s central bank said on Monday.

National authorities across the globe, and particularly in Asia, have attempted to put the brakes on a global boom in the trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – a form of digital money created and maintained by its users.

But Joachim Wuermeling, a member of the board of Germany’s Bundesbank, said national rules may struggle to contain a global phenomenon.

“Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation, because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited,” Wuermeling told an event in Frankfurt.

Chinese regulators have banned initial coin offerings, shut down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges and limited bitcoin mining – but activity has continued through alternative channels in China despite the crackdown.

South Korea, where speculation on cryptocurrencies is also rife, is working on plans to ban virtual coin exchanges.

European Union states and legislators agreed last month on stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on exchange platforms for bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Reporting By Francesco Canepa Editing by Jeremy Gaunt



One year under Trump: A shrinking space for protest

January 15, 2018

by Patrick Strickland


For 11 months, Oliver Harris’ life came to a near standstill as he waited to find out if he would be sent to prison for years over his alleged participation in a rally against US President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Harris, 28, was among more than 230 people rounded up and arrested by police on January 20, Inauguration Day, after confrontations with heavily armed riot police officers. A small group of people engaged in property damage during the rally.

The following day, most of those who were arrested – demonstrators, medics, journalists and bystanders – were charged with felony rioting, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

In April, things grew worse for 212 of the defendants when the District of Columbia Superior Court returned a superseding indictment that added a slew of additional charges, including several felonies.

The accused, who are known collectively as the “J20 defendants”, were all of a sudden facing nearly eight decades – effectively a life sentence – behind bars.

Several defendants subsequently reached plea deals for significantly lighter sentences, while others had their charges dropped.

At least seven defendants had their charges reduced to misdemeanours.

By the time the first batch of defendants, which included Harris, went to trial, the charges had been reduced, but they were still facing the prospect of more than 50 years of jail time.

On December 21, however, a jury found Harris, a Pennsylvania resident, and his five codefendants not-guilty on all counts.

“It was really overwhelming to hear 42 not guilty [decisions],” Harris told Al Jazeera by phone.

The DC US Attorney’s Office subsequently said in a statement it would pursue charges against the remaining defendants.

With 188 Inauguration Day defendants still at risk of harsh punishment, and other activists across the country facing potential jail time for alleged infractions during protests, critics say Trump has overseen a crackdown on dissent during his first year in office.

Across the US, from Washington, DC, to Sacramento, California, anti-racists, anti-fascists, leftists and other demonstrators have been charged with felonies and misdemeanours.

‘Weak, vicious and brittle’

Referring to the shrinking space for protest symbolised by the Inauguration Day defendants’ case, Harris said: “It goes hand-in-hand with the way folks across the US have been repressed, from Standing Rock to other pipeline projects … It’s the state legal apparatus taking aim at street protests and pipeline blockades.”

Among those targeted by authorities in 2017 was Yvette Felarca, an anti-fascist activist with By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a left-wing civil rights group.

She was charged with felony assault and a pair of misdemeanours in July, which could result in years of jail time and hefty fines, according to court documents.

Felarca, a middle school teacher whose legal name is Yvonne, was charged over her alleged involvement in violence during a counterprotest on June 26, 2016, when anti-fascists and anti-racists confronted a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento, California.

During that incident, white supremacists armed with knives attacked counterdemonstrators, stabbing several, including Felarca.

“We are continuing to build the movement to fight fascism and get the false charges against myself and other anti-fascist protesters in Sacramento dropped,” Felarca told Al Jazeera by email.

While three others were dealt charges over the Sacramento violence, only one of them was from the white supremacist contingent.

Felarca echoed accusations that Trump’s administration has emboldened authorities across the country to suppress anti-fascists, anti-racists and other anti-Trump activists across the US.

“He hates and fears criticism because he hates and fears the strength of the mass movement that is committed to defeating him,” she added, arguing that the ostensible crackdown is evidence that Trump’s administration is “weak, vicious and brittle”.

“His attempt to crack down on anti-racists and anti-fascists is exposing and isolating him to the majority of people in the US and across the world as the enemy of democratic rights.”

For his part, Trump has time and again defended his administration and claimed to support the right of protesters to voice their opposition to his policies as well as racism and sexism.

In August, when tens of thousands staged a counterdemonstration against a far-right rally, Trump took to Twitter to describe anti-fascists and anti-racists as “anti-police agitators”.

He later appeared to express support for the right to protest, saying: “I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!”

On January 22, following nationwide marches for women’s rights, immigration reform and other issues, Trump said on Twitter: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views.”

‘Hostility towards First Amendment’

In other instances, Trump has lashed out at demonstrators.

In February, after a rally against a speech by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at University of California, Berkeley, the president lambasted “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters” on Twitter.

On September 15, protests erupted in St Louis, Missouri over the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white former police officer who shot dead 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, an unarmed African American man, nearly six years earlier.

Protests spanned weeks, with demonstrators and community members engaging in civil disobedience and non-violent tactics aimed at disrupting the local economy. During the first 18 days, police arrested at least 307 people, the St Louis Police Department (SLMPD) told Al Jazeera at the time.

The SLMPD’s mass arrests and forceful response to the demonstrations elicited criticism from activists and rights groups, including the local state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

With outcry mounting, Trump remained silent on the protests in St Louis, commenting neither on the demonstrations nor the police response.

Scott Michelman, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s DC chapter, argued that “there has been an astonishing level of hostility toward the First Amendment in 2017”, referring to the constitutional protection that affords those in the US the right to free speech and to assemble, among other freedoms.

“The president sets a tone for the country in lots of ways, and Trump has signalled to his supporters that free speech isn’t a value of his and it shouldn’t be a value of ours,” Michelman told Al Jazeera.

“That’s given permission and encouragement to anti-free speech forces across the country, whether they be law enforcement or policymakers.”

Anti-protest bills

Throughout Trump’s first year in office, right-wing state legislators introduced dozens of bills designed to curb the activities of demonstrators in nearly 20 states, according to the ACLU.

Several states – among them North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee – have passed such bills into law.

North Dakota passed into law bills that criminalised protests on private property, increased penalties for riot offences and barred demonstrators from wearing masks to conceal their identities, among others.

In Oklahoma, new laws ostensibly made it possible for authorities to hold anyone arrested for trespassing financially accountable for any damages to property and punished protesters who knowingly trespass on “critical infrastructure”.

In Tennessee, a new law known as SB 902 introduced a $200 fine for protesters who obstruct the access of emergency vehicles, while South Dakota’s SB 176 expanded the abilities of authorities to limit or block protests on public land and highways.This month, Durham County, North Carolina introduced a new proposal that would require protesters to give 48-hour notice before holding any demonstration on publicly owned land.

“The wave of anti-speech fury on the part of prosecutors, law enforcement and political forces will pass; but that’s not to say that we should be complacent with it and think it will pass without hard work,” Michelman concluded.

“Free speech is deeply ingrained in our political and social fabric, and people are going to continue to raise their voices for it.”

This article is the first in a multi-part series examining the State of America Under Trump.


Centrist Dems Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Trans Woman, All to Keep an Old Straight White Man in Power

January 15 2018

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

Over the weekend, Chelsea Manning announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate by posting a video outlining the broad themes of her campaign. Manning, a whistleblower who served seven years in a U.S. military brig for exposing systemic U.S. war crimes, was held under prison conditions so brutal that the U.N. formally denounced them as “inhumane.”

While her whistleblowing made her a hero around the world, Manning has also now become an icon of LGBT equality and trans rights with an act of profound bravery that at least matches, if not surpasses, her whistleblowing. She announced her transition, and demanded the dignity and treatment to which she was entitled, while she was imprisoned in the middle of a sprawling U.S. military base, in a brig at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Since her release from prison, she has become a visible and outspoken advocate for the rights of trans people. She has used her position as a Guardian columnist to stake out a wide range of positions, including drafting a proposed law to provide protections for whistleblowers. She certainly has more political experience and activism than many other Senate candidates previously supported by the Democratic establishment (Al Franken comes to mind as one example). If elected, Manning would become the first trans woman ever, and the youngest woman ever, to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Manning’s opponent in the Democratic Party primary is one of the most standard, banal, typical, privileged and mediocre politicians in the U.S. Congress: Benjamin Cardin, a 74-year-old white, straight man who is seeking his third six-year Senate term. Cardin’s decades-long career as a politician from the start has been steeped in unearned privilege: he first won elective office back in 1966, when his uncle, Maurice Cardin, gave up his seat in order to bequeath it to his nephew Benjamin. With this dynastic privilege as his base, he has spent the last 50 years climbing the political ladder in Maryland.

Cardin has remarkably few achievements for being in Congress for so many years. One of his few distinctions is that he has become one of the Senate’s most reliable and loyal supporters of AIPAC’s agenda and the Israeli government, if not the single most loyal. In 2015, he joined with Lindsey Graham in kicking off the annual AIPAC conference, causing neocon columnist Jennifer Rubin to gush about how identical they sounded.But Cardin’s crowning achievement came last year when he authored a bill that would have made it a felony to support a boycott of Israel – a bill that was such a profound assault on basic First Amendment freedoms that the ACLU instantly denounced it and multiple Senators who had co-sponsored Cardin’s bill (such as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand) announced that they were withdrawing their support.

Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, establishment Democrats wasted no time in mocking and denouncing Manning’s bid to become the first ever trans woman in the Senate, instead quickly lining up in support behind the straight white male who has wielded power for decades. To demean Manning, many of these establishment Democrats invoked the primary tactic they now reflexively use against anyone they view as a political adversary: they depicted her as a tool of the Kremlin, whose candidacy is really just a disguised plot engineered by Moscow.

Leading the way in spreading this obviously deranged but acceptable-in-DC conspiracy theory was Neera Tanden, the president of the largest Democratic Party think tank in Washington. Last night, Tanden spread a viral tweet that strongly implied – without even pretending to have a shred of evidence – that the Kremlin had engineered Manning’s candidacy as punishment for Cardin’s hard-line position on Russia

This conspiracy theory mocks itself. The idea that Vladimir Putin sat in the Kremlin, steaming over Benjamin Cardin’s report on Russia, and thus developed a dastardly plot to rid himself of his daunting Maryland nemesis – “I know how to get rid of Cardin: I’ll have a trans woman who was convicted of felony leaking run against him!” – is too inane to merit any additional ridicule. But this is the climate in Washington: no conspiracy theory is too moronic, too demented, too self-evidently laughable to disqualify its advocates from being taken seriously – as long as it involves accusations that someone is a covert tool of the Kremlin. That’s why the president of the leading Democratic think tank feels free to spread this slanderous trash.

(As a side note: Tanden’s ongoing attempt to smear all of her critics as agents of a foreign power is particularly ironic given that the think tank she runs, the Center for American Progress, conceals the identity of many of its largest donors, but admits that one of its largest contributors is one of the world’s most repressive regimes. If there’s any entity worthy of the type of disloyalty innuendo that Tanden loves to spread, it’s the one she runs

Why have so many establishment Democrats so quickly decided to back a white, straight male politician steeped in privilege, while devoting themselves to opposing a candidate who would make history by becoming the first trans woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, in the process inspiring trans youth around the world and helping to erode the stigma that has made them so vulnerable to discrimination and violence?

They’ve decided to this presumably because they find Cardin’s centrist ideology and politics more appealing than Manning’s more radical politics, and believe that this trumps what could be the historic value of Manning’s candidacy. They’ve apparently decided to prioritize their own centrist ideology over the important gender, sexual orientation and trans equality progress that Manning’s victory would ensure.

One can certainly make an argument that the license they’ve granted themselves here – to prioritize ideology and politics over identity – is a reasonable one. But one wonders whether they intend to maintain a monopoly on this license or extend it to others.


America Last? EU says Trump is losing on trade

January 15, 2018

by Philip Blenkinsop and Noah Barkin


America is shooting itself in the foot by withdrawing from global leadership on trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, the 49-year-old Swede who has served as Europe’s trade commissioner for the past three years, told Reuters.

Under Malmstrom’s direction, the EU has juggled a dizzying array of trade talks over the past year. In July it clinched a preliminary deal with Japan. And early this year it hopes to seal agreements with Mexico and the Latin American Mercosur bloc.

The retreat of the United States under Trump has played a big role in this push, Malmstrom says. Countries around the world are desperate for new trading partners, and the EU, confident again after years of economic crisis and Britain’s vote in 2016 to leave the bloc, has eagerly filled the gap.

“We have shown that we have overcome that acute crisis, so many countries are turning to Europe for leadership and for partnership,” said Malmstrom, who will also be in Davos.

“With other countries we are now setting the standards and that is also why it is bad for the U.S. to withdraw because there are standards set now and they will be global.”

Since coming into office one year ago on a promise to put America first, Trump has pulled Washington out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), threatened to scrap the 90s-era North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to introduce steel tariffs that could hit European allies as well as China.

But Malmstrom singled out Washington’s confrontational stance towards the World Trade Organization (WTO) as particularly worrying.

The Trump administration has blocked the appointment of judges to a WTO body that rules on trade disputes. If the United States does not shift its stance, that body could cease to function altogether, Malmstrom said.

She described a WTO ministerial meeting in December as a “disgrace”. The meeting in Buenos Aires failed to reach any agreements, such as on ending fishing subsidies, and descended into acrimony, in the face of stinging criticism from the United States.

“We want American leadership in the world. They shouldn’t disengage,” Malmstrom said.

Trump will be the headliner in Davos one year after Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to the ski resort in the Swiss Alps and signaled a readiness to assume a leadership role in free trade created by an inward-looking Washington.

Malmstrom described the Xi speech as “brilliant” in terms of content and timing – just three days before Trump’s inauguration.

But she said there had been no change in China’s behavior towards Europe since then. If anything, the hurdles to European investment in China have grown.

The EU seemed to have gained a free trade ally in the world’s second largest economy, but Malmstrom said Beijing had not backed up Xi’s speech with action.

“Maybe he really believes in these things, but we haven’t seen it yet in China,” she said.

“We want to work in China and we want China to invest here, but the level playing field is not there. We haven’t seen anything concrete in our trade relationship.”

Editing by Peter Graff


Drones keep entering no-fly zones over Washington, raising security concerns

January 13, 2018

by Michael Laris

Washington Post

Over a career that has taken him to Afghanistan and Iraq, Col. Patrick Duggan has seen the lethal power of drones. Now, as a base commander in the nation’s capital, he is worried that frequent illegal flights buzzing over Washington could pose a threat.

In the middle of a federal no-fly zone for drones, in some of the most sensitive and restricted airspace in the United States, technicians working with Duggan recorded nearly 100 drone sightings over two months last summer. And that was just around two Army posts he oversees.

Many of the operators were probably oblivious to the flight ban or just ignoring it as they flew for fun, he said. But he’s not sure.

“Are they bad guys? Well, we don’t know,” Duggan said. “It’s a technology that can be used to attack us at home. Why? Because we are not as prepared as we need to be.”

In an acknowledgment of the threat, Congress in November voted to broadly expand the Defense Department’s anti-drone powers within the United States. President Trump signed the measure, included in a major defense bill, last month .

Millions of agile and easy-to-fly quadcopters and other drones are sold in the United States each year, with Christmas providing the latest boost. Yet many of the quandaries that come with the devices have not been addressed. Although any tool or technology, from a rifle to a rental truck, can be misused, security experts say drones have introduced broad new dangers and have outpaced efforts to regulate them.

Whether controlled by remote or set to fly autonomously, many drones can carry surveillance cameras, hacking devices or explosives long distances, easily evading ground defenses, experts say. And, they add, the threat from what officials call “unmanned aircraft systems” (UAS) is not theoretical.

An analysis prepared by members of a team at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida specializing in counter-drone operations reported in 2016 that “critical assets within the continental United States have already been ‘attacked’ by nefarious UAS operators.”

Members declined to specify the targets or provide details, given security and other concerns

While no deaths have been attributed to these UASs, it is only a matter of time before these systems are directly or indirectly responsible for loss of life or interference with critical infrastructure in the homeland,” the analysis said.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in March, a top military leader voiced concern about recent unauthorized drone flights over Navy and Air Force installations.

“These intrusions represent a growing threat to the safety and security of nuclear weapons and personnel,” said John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.

Expanded powers

In the almost three years since a recreational drone user crashed his two-foot-wide quadcopter on the White House grounds early one January morning — and called to “self-report” the incident to the Secret Service six hours later — federal authorities have been trying to figure out how best to protect the capital.

A few months after that incident, in Tokyo, a protester was arrested for landing a drone carrying a harmless amount of radioactive cesium on the prime minister’s office.

It’s tough to tease out the potential attackers from the “knuckleheads,” and officials say the U.S. government has been hamstrung as it works to upgrade security.

Drones inhabit a curious space in U.S. law, making them particularly difficult to regulate. They have been deemed “aircraft,” just like a Boeing 787, so they can’t simply be knocked from the sky. Sometimes dubbed “flying laptops,” they also are covered by laws against wiretapping and computer hacking. And most drones are categorized as “model aircraft,” but Congress has said the Federal Aviation Administration generally can’t issue regulations covering those.

That all complicates security efforts and strictly limits what data can be pried from them to track their users or seize their controls. At the same time, opening up laws protecting electronic communications could have significant civil liberties implications.

In 2016, Congress granted the Defense Department power to trace, take control of or destroy drones within the United States, but the law limited that authority to three critical areas: protecting facilities involved with nuclear deterrence, space and missile defense.

Last year , the Trump administration sought broad counter-drone powers for federal agencies. That request foundered on bipartisan concerns in Congress that it was too expansive.

Under the legislation Trump signed last month, the Defense Department’s powers were expanded significantly. There are six new areas where it can track or take down drones, including working to protect the president, vice president “or other officer immediately next in order of succession.”

Air defenses, including in Washington, Special Operations forces activities, and certain combat support, testing and explosives facilities also were included.

The military’s sense of urgency is due, in part, to its experiences using drones to deadly effect overseas and facing off-the-shelf drones on the battlefield. But its growing role in domestic drone defense is an important and little-debated shift.

The Department of Homeland Security says that “without statutory relief we remain constrained in responding” to the threat of drones and must rely on “conventional means.” Without legal changes, the agency is “limited in its ability to fully develop counter UAS technologies — further delaying our security response,” spokeswoman Anna Franko said.

Some detection systems are deployed in the Washington region, although coverage is limited. Homeland Security officials say they cannot discuss all that is being done.

Security concerns, including from the FBI, have held up regulations that would allow much broader use of drones for business.

A Trump administration pilot program on expanding drone use is meant, in part, to provide the data and experience to help assuage such concerns, backers said.

Fear of a surgical strike

In the Washington region, drone policing can be an absurd and disturbing affair, as efforts to deal with brazen and sometimes comical behavior are colored by a post-9/11 sense that potent attacks could come at any moment.

One man was detained in 2015 for flying his drone inside the chamber of the Jefferson Memorial. After allowing authorities to search his iPad controller and car, he was deemed “negative for any suspicious indicators” and given a ticket, according to an FAA incident database. In general, flying drones in a national park, without a special permit, is illegal.

In another instance, two Ukrainians were questioned by the Secret Service and had their drone confiscated after flying it near the Washington Monument, according to the database. Someone else was cited for filming a fitness video there.

But many operators remain out of law enforcement’s reach, their identities and motives obscured.

On a late night in June, four drones were captured on security cameras flying across from the Pentagon, according to an incident report.

“One of the drones possibly crashed or burned in the sky and that was the last sighting,” the report said. An Arlington County police spokeswoman said its officers responded but found nothing.

Duggan’s effort to quantify the threat was unusual. Rather than relying on anecdotal information or random sightings, the commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall wanted data.

Duggan worked with a San Francisco-based detection company, Dedrone, run by a former German drone maker. Joerg Lamprecht, the company’s chief executive, saw a business opportunity in late 2013, when a protester crashed a drone a few feet from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“You have a lock in your home. It’s not for your mailman or your neighbors. It’s for the one bad guy who might sneak in,” Lamprecht said. “It’s the same for the airspace.”

The company’s radio-frequency sensor on the roof of the National Defense University at Fort McNair, along Washington’s riverfront, documented 52 drone sightings in 26 days. Technicians then moved the equipment across the Potomac to the fitness center at Fort Myer, near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. They tallied another 43 sightings in a month. Some drones appeared multiple times.

The sensors generally pick up signals within a kilometer or two, sometimes farther, the company said.

The areas covered reach far beyond the posts themselves but represent just a fraction of the federal no-fly area for drones. Washington’s Flight Restricted Zone stretches about 15 miles from Reagan National Airport and bans drone flights not specifically authorized by the FAA. Such permissions are exceedingly rare, and none were given near the Army posts at the time, the agency said.

Given the technology used, the company couldn’t provide precise locations for the drones or operators, although that can be done with other equipment.

The detection effort could also have picked up signals from the federal government’s own drone research.

As a career Special Forces officer with experience tracking cyber- and other “asymmetrical” attacks, Duggan has for years studied the mind-set of adversaries seeking ways to inflict the greatest harm on the United States at the lowest cost. A drone attack is one of many, he said.

Given that Russia-aligned forces are believed to have used a drone to drop a grenade on a large ammunition depot in Ukraine last year , disrupting supply lines, and that the Islamic State arms cheap commercial drones in Syria and elsewhere, the risks weigh on him. Surrounded by the history of Fort Myer, along the path taken by the mounted platoon that carries flag-draped coffins to Arlington, Duggan considered a Parrot Bebop drone that has been used in Syria and popped up repeatedly in the detection data. On Sept. 3, the aircraft was detected multiple times after 1 a.m. Then it returned for 21 minutes the next evening.

“It was just odd. It was atypical,” Duggan said.

It probably wasn’t probing his defenses or doing surveillance, he said. But a determined foe could do that — or worse, perhaps, with a “specific surgical strike or just to paralyze or cause fear,” undermining readiness.

“Bases are not sanctuaries,” Duggan said. “If I’m an adversary, this is where I’m going to take you out. Why? Because we have this mentality that we’re all safe, everything’s good.”

Comment: By altering a common domestic device, the methodology to interfere with online controls systems of missiles or drones has been developed. This is the reason why when Trump illegally ordered a ship-borne missile attack against a Syrian airfield, so many of the missiles aborted. Altering this domestic device is relataively simple and very inexpensive. Ed


US Launches New Spy Satellite on Secret Mission

January 12, 2018

by Mike Wall


The fleet of U.S. spy satellites has just welcomed a new member.

The NROL-47 spacecraft soared into Earth orbit today (Jan. 12), riding atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Medium rocket that lifted off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:11 p.m. EST (2211 GMT, 2:11 p.m. local California time).

NROL-47 will be operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and manages the United States’ spy satellites. NRO missions tend to be hush-hush, and NROL-47 is no exception; no details have been released about the satellite’s planned activities

However, we can make a few inferences. Today’s launch employed the “5,2” variant of the Delta IV — meaning the rocket featured a 5-meter-wide (16.5 feet) payload fairing and two solid rocket boosters strapped to the core stage.

“That version of the Delta IV has flown only twice before, and analysts who track space activities believe both launches — in 2012 and 2016 — hauled so-called Topaz radar reconnaissance satellites into orbit,” Spaceflight Now’s Stephen Clark wrote in late December.

Today’s launch was the first of the year for ULA, which is a partnership between aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin. ULA has now launched 27 satellites for the NRO, including three last year, all of which lifted off atop Atlas V rockets.

The two-stage, 217-foot-tall (66 m) Delta IV now has a total of 36 space missions under its belt, ULA representatives said. The rocket has been flying since 2002, when it was solely a Boeing vehicle. (ULA formed in December 2006.)

This afternoon’s liftoff was delayed two days, first by strong winds and then by an issue with a ground-system valve. NROL-47 ended up taking to the skies five days after another national-security launch, that of the mysterious Zuma payload by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Zuma mission appears to be a failure, though what exactly happened is unclear at the moment. SpaceX representatives have said the Falcon 9’s performance met expectations; speculation is currently centering on a possible problem with the satellite’s separation from the rocket’s upper stage.


Syria war: Turkey denounces US ‘terror army’ plan for border

January 15, 2018

BBC News

Key powers involved in Syria’s civil war have criticised US plans to help an allied Kurdish-led militia set up a 30,000-strong “border security force”.

Turkey’s president vowed to “suffocate” efforts to begin training members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and create what he called a “terror army”.

Ankara considers Kurds fighting for the SDF to be part of a terrorist group.

Syria’s government decried the “blatant attack” on its sovereignty, and Russia warned it could lead to partition.

With the help of air strikes from a US-led coalition, the SDF has captured tens of thousands of square kilometres of territory from Islamic State (IS) militants.

In October, the alliance took full control of the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the “caliphate” declared by the jihadist group in 2014. Since then, SDF fighters have been advancing south-eastwards along the Euphrates river valley.

Why is the US creating the border force?

News of the coalition’s plan to work with the SDF to train a new Syrian Border Security Force (BSF) was first reported on Saturday by The Defense Post, which quoted a spokesman as saying that 230 individuals were currently participating in the “inaugural class”.

The coalition said on Monday that its goal was to create a force with about 30,000 personnel “over the next several years”. About half will be Kurdish and Arab SDF fighters and the other half new recruits.

The BSF will be tasked with securing the long sections of Syria’s northern border with Turkey and eastern border with Iraq that are under SDF control, as well as parts of the Euphrates river valley, which effectively serves as the dividing line between the SDF and Syrian pro-government forces.

“A strong border security force will prohibit Daesh’s freedom of movement and deny the transportation of illicit materials,” the coalition said, using a different term for IS. “This will enable the Syrian people to establish effective local, representative governance and reclaim their land.”

Why is Turkey concerned?

Turkey has consistently opposed the coalition’s support for the SDF because the force is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Ankara considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades. Washington disagrees and insists the YPG has been vital to the battle against IS.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US had acknowledged it was “in the process of creating a terror army on our border”.

“It is for us to suffocate this terror army before it is born,” he said.

Mr Erdogan added that preparations were complete for a Turkish military operation against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in north-western Syria, and that it might start “at any moment”. Troops deployed at the border were already hitting YPG positions inside Afrin with heavy artillery, he noted.

What do other countries say?

The Syrian government called the creation of the SDF border force “a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and a flagrant violation of international law”.

“What the American administration has done comes in the context of its destructive policy in the region to fragment countries… and impedes any solutions to the crises,” an official at the foreign ministry was cited as saying by the Sana news agency.

The source warned that Damascus considered any Syrian fighting for militias sponsored by the US to be “a traitor to their people and nation”.

Russia, which backs the Syrian government, said the US move might lead to the “break-up of a large territory along the border with Turkey and Iraq”. “This is a very serious issue that raises concerns that a path towards the partition of Syria has been taken,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.


Erdogan: we will ‘strangle’ U.S.-backed force in Syria “before it’s even born

January 15, 2018

by Ellen Francis and Ezgi Erkoyun


BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Monday to “strangle” a planned 30,000-strong U.S.-backed force in Syria “before it’s even born,” as Washington’s backing for Kurdish fighters drove a wedge into relations with one of its main Middle East allies.

The United States announced its support on Sunday for plans for a “border force” to defend territory held by U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led fighters in northern Syria.

The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad responded on Monday by vowing to crush the new force and drive U.S. troops from the country. Assad’s ally Russia called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under U.S. control.

But the strongest denunciation came from Erdogan, who has presided as relations between the United States and its biggest Muslim ally within NATO have stretched to the breaking point.

“A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders,” Erdogan said of the United States in a speech in Ankara. “What can that terror army target but Turkey?”

“Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.”

Erdogan said Turkey had completed preparations for an operation in Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.

The Kurdish-led regions in Syria say they need the border force to protect them against threats from Ankara and Damascus.

“To prevent any attack… there must be a deterrent force that protects the border between our areas and the others,” Fawza Youssef, a senior Kurdish politician, told Reuters.

“Until a political settlement is reached in Syria, these areas need protection. Now, there aren’t any guarantees,” she said.

The United States has led an international coalition using air strikes and special forces troops to aid fighters on the ground battling Islamic State militants in Syria since 2014. It has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria.

The U.S. intervention has taken place on the periphery of a near seven-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven more than 11 million from their homes.

Islamic State was effectively defeated last year, but Washington says its troops are prepared to stay to make sure the Islamist militant group cannot return.

For much of the war, the United States and Turkey worked together, jointly supporting forces fighting against Assad’s government. But a U.S. decision to back Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in recent years has enraged Ankara.

Meanwhile, the Assad government, backed by Russia and Iran, has made great strides over the past two years in defeating a range of opponents, restoring control over nearly all of Syria’s main cities. It considers the continued U.S. presence a threat to its ambition to restore full control over the entire country.

On Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said it was working with its militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up the new force to patrol the Turkish and Iraqi borders, as well as within Syria along the Euphrates River which separates SDF territory from that held by the government.


Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish forces supported by the United States as allies of the PKK, a banned Kurdish group waging an insurgency in southern Turkey.

“This is what we have to say to all our allies: don’t get in between us and terrorist organizations, or we will not be responsible for the unwanted consequences,” Erdogan said.

“Don’t force us to bury in the ground those who are with terrorists,” he said. “Our operations will continue until not a single terrorist remains along our borders, let alone 30,000.”

Syria’s main Kurdish groups have emerged so far as one of the few winners in the Syrian war, working to entrench their autonomy over large parts of northern Syria. Washington opposes those autonomy plans even as it has backed the SDF.

The Syrian government and the main Kurdish parties have mostly avoided conflict during the civil war, as both sides focused on fighting other groups. But Assad’s rhetoric toward the Kurds has turned increasingly hostile.

Damascus denounced the new border force as a “blatant assault” on its sovereignty, Syrian state media said. It said any Syrian who joined the force would be deemed “a traitor”.

“What the American administration has done comes in the context of its destructive policy in the region to fragment countries … and impede any solutions to the crises,” state news agency SANA cited a foreign ministry source as saying.

Assad’s allies have also chimed in. In an apparent reference to the force, senior Iranian official Ali Shamkhani said it was “doomed to failure”, Fars news agency reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “The actions that we see now show that the United States does not want to maintain the territorial integrity of Syria.”

“Fundamentally, this means the breakup of a large territory along the border with Turkey and Iraq,” Lavrov said.

Additional reporting by Rodi Said in Qamishli, Syria, Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay in Turkey, Jack Stubbs and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow, and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Writing by Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Peter Graff

 The Family: The Octopus of God

January 15, 2018

by Christian Jürs

In an age when dissatisfaction with systems of governance is becoming a daily norm, the public has become more and more interested in conspiracy theories that purport to expose various misdeeds of governance and its various organs and purported accomplices.

We have seen an enormous body of revisionist literature arise, dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, and as that topic slid down and away from public interest, another issue rose to prominence speculation and fictive writing. This was the September 11, 2001 attack by Saudi terrorists on various targets in the United State.

Invented stories about “robot aircraft,”  “’Nano thermite’ controlled explosions,” and other theories, many verging on the lunatic, sprang up and proliferated. While most of these entertainments were the product of inventive minds and eagerly accepted by a public that felt betrayed by their government and the upper levels of the national economic structure, a number of stories were very obviously clever insertions of deliberate disinformation from the very same power elite.

One of the recurring themes of the conspiracy claques is that of the existence of a secret society, or organization, that is somehow able to exert powerful but behind-the-scenes control over all aspects of governance. One of the favorites has been the Illuminati. This was originally a German association, formed in 1776 by one Adam Weishaupt, a Freemason and law professor at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria.

The original Illuminati, then called the Order of Perfectibilists, and later became a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of both established governments and religions, specifically the Catholics. Eventually, Weishaubt made enough noise that the Bavarian Elector, Karl Theodor, outlawed them and forced Weishaupt to move to Gotha where he finished his life by writing books and abstaining from anti-establishment activitiesWeishaupt’s disbanded organization has become the inspiration for several generations of conspiracy inventors and because Weishaupt spoke of a single world government, ruled by men of honor and intellect (obviously impossible in any age), the conspiracy people have talked about a New World Order which might be satisfying and even desired but would be impossible of execution. To this mythic entity is ascribed all manner of manipulations and plottings

In addition to the Illuminati, fiction theorists have also targeted the Rothschild banking house and the Bilderburger banker’s association as being the controlling forces behind all the governments of the world. In the United States, one can add the Council on Foreign Relations, the fraternal Skull and Bones society, the Federal Reserve and a legion of quite harmless associations to the conspiracy mix.

In the background, however, only dimly seen and then only by established intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, exists a very genuine, and very dangerous, secret organization that wields far more actual power than any of the imaginary creations of the Internet..

This is a power group, posing as a religious organization, and who, with its various associated sub-groups, pose a critical threat to the American democratic system., It is a Washington-based organization known as both ‘The Fellowship’, and ‘The Family’. This group, and its allies, the Dominionists and the Neo-Templars, basically control the American Congress, the Department of State, and have “very important” connections at the top levels of the Central Intelligence Agency.and the American military. The Family’s goal, according to one secret internal document, is to create a “hidden structure” of “national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.” The first hallmark of this theocratic clandestine organisation is their unquestioning reliance on the Bible in all matters, to the complete exclusion of any other authority, secular or otherwise  The second is their insistence on a faith in Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior, again, to the exclusion of any other entity.

The Fellowship’s known participants include ranking United States government officials, both elected and appointed, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations,  ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world. Many United States Senators and Congressmen have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so and work together to pass or influence legislation.

This organization fetishizes power by comparing Jesus to “Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden” as examples of leaders who change the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their “brothers.”The agenda of the Fellowship becomes much clearer when it is realized that Fellowship leader Douglas Coe preaches a personal commitment to Jesus Christ very and specifically comparable to the blind devotion that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot demanded from their followers. In one videotaped lecture series in 1989, Coe said:

“Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had…But they bound themselves together in an agreement…Two years before they moved into Poland, these three men had…systematically a plan drawn out…to annihilate the entire Polish population and destroy by numbers every single house…every single building in Warsaw and then to start on the rest of Poland.” Coe added that it worked; they killed six and a half million “Polish people.”

Though he calls Nazis “these enemies of ours,” he compares their commitment to Jesus’ demands: “Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.’ Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.”

Coe also compared Jesus’s teachings to the Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution

. Fellowship members are taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao and that their genocide allegations  wasn’t an issue for them, it was the strength that they emulated that was of vitasl importance.

The Fellowship is associated with an organization called ‘C Street’, which has drawn national attention for its connections to the extra-marital affairs of Senator John Ensign and Governor Mark Sanford.

Prominent evangelical Christians have described the organization as one of the most, or the most, politically well-connected ministries in the world.

American lawmakers have mentioned The Fellowship more than any other organization when asked to name a ministry with the most influence on their faith.

In 1977, four years after he had converted to Christianity, Fellowship member and convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson described the group as a “veritable underground of Christ’s men all through the U.S. government.”



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