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TBR News January 3, 2016

Jan 03 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 3, 2015: “It should be obvious to anyone who knows the history of the Middle East that most of the recent troubles there are caused solely by religious animosities, animosities that extend back far into history. The Saudis are fanatic Sunnis, have engaged the Sunni Turks into their political fold and, for a time at least (because of oil) had the full support of the American govrnment. The ruling house of Saud has been declaring a war on the rival, and smaller in number, Shi’ites and their recent execution of a prominent Shi’ite religious leader is an act that is incredible. As Tallyrand once said to Napoleon, it is worse than a crime; it is a mistake. What to date have been sporadic eruptions now threaten to turn into a bloody awful religious war and finally, the US officials are beginning to realize that he who touches pitch shall indeed be defiled.”

US warns Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent cleric risks inflaming sectarian tensions

US state department says killing of Nimr al-Nimr, one of group of 47 people put to death by Saudi regime, raises concerns about unrest in the region

January 3, 2016

by Tracy McVeigh in London and Martin Chulov in Beirut

The Guardian

Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr risks worsening sectarian tensions, the US has warned, joining a chorus of critics from the west and the Middle East who have condemned the killing.

As protesters in Tehran reacted with fury by setting fire to the Saudi embassy, US state department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the US was “particularly concerned” that al-Nimr’s execution risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.”

He said the US was calling on Saudi Arabia to ensure fair judicial proceedings and permit peaceful expression of dissent while working with all community leaders to defuse tensions after the executions.

The killing of Nimr, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family, caused international outrage and a serious escalation of diplomatic tensions in the region, with unrest predicted in Shia-majority areas.

In Tehran, protesters broke into the Saudi embassy in the early hours of Sunday morning and started fires before being dispersed by the police. Iran’s foreign ministry called on protesters to respect the diplomatic premises, according to the Entekhab news website, and called for calm.

British politicians and the leaders of Iraq and Iran were among others who condemned the killing of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric opposed to the Riyadh regime who was among 47 people executed on Saturday by the Saudi Arabian Sunni authorities.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Sunday politicians in the Sunni kingdom would face “divine retribution” for his death.

The unjustly spilled blood of this oppressed martyr will no doubt soon show its effect and divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians,” state TV reported Khamenei as saying. It said he described the execution as a “political error”.

No information was released about the execution method used, but the country’s normal policy is to behead condemned prisoners with a sword.

The UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon also voiced his dismay over the execution of Nimr and called for calm and restraint.

Nimr, 56, promoted peaceful protest among his followers. He had been held since 2012, prompting a high-profile campaign for his release backed by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Amnesty International.

Yemen called the execution a flagrant violation of human rights and there was further criticism from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shia Council condemned Riyadh’s action as a grave mistake.

Protest rallies were held in Bahrain – where police used teargas on the crowds – as well as in India, in Saudi’s Eastern Province and outside the Saudi embassy in London. Further demonstrations were planned for Sunday in Lebanon and Tehran, where the majority of outrage is expected to be focused.

The cleric’s brother, Muhammad al-Nimr, whose son Ali is also a political prisoner, appealed for calm, saying the late ayatollah would have wanted only peaceful protests.

Iran had made frequent requests to the Saudis to pardon Nimr.

On Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaber Ansari, strongly attacked Saudi Arabia for ramping up sectarian tensions in the region.

The Saudi government supports terrorist movements and takfiri [radical Sunni extremism], but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution … the Saudi government will pay a high price for following these policies,” he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The execution of a figure like Sheikh al-Nimr, who had no means to follow his political and religious goals but through speaking out, merely shows the extent of irresponsibility and imprudence.”

Iran’s parliamentary chair, Ali Larijani, warned: “Nimr’s martyrdom will put Saudi Arabia in a malestrom. Saudi will not pass through this maelstrom.”

In Shia majority Iraq, Haidar al-Abadi, the prime minister, expressed “intense shock” at the execution, which he said would “lead to nothing but more destruction”.

The former prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, said he believed the execution would herald the downfall of the Gulf kingdom’s government.

Maliki, referencing the killing of a prominent cleric in Iraq in 1980, said Iraqis “strongly condemn these detestable sectarian practices and affirm that the crime of executing Sheikh al-Nimr will topple the Saudi regime as the crime of executing the martyr al-Sadr did to Saddam Hussein”.

Hundreds of armoured vehicles were deployed in the eastern Saudi town where the execution took place and the surrounding province of Qatif on Saturday morning ahead of the announcement of the deaths. Local police were evacuated.

Hilary Benn, the British shadow foreign secretary, said Saudi Arabia was profoundly wrong to have carried out the execution. “We are opposed to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances,” he said.

Amnesty International on Saturday said that Nimr has been “executed to settle political scores”. Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director, Philip Luther, told AFP that Nimr’s trial was both both politicised and “grossly unfair, because the international standards for fair trial were grossly flouted”.

He added: “What is going on is an attempt to silence criticism of Saudi Arabia, particularly among the Shiite activist community.”

Nimr had been a forthright voice in the anti-regime protests that erupted in Bahrain in early 2011, as a series of popular uprisings reverberated through autocracies from Libya to Yemen.

His support for Bahrain’s Shia majority and open dissent towards Riyadh was seen as a subversive threat by Saudi leaders, who feared his potential to stir revolt in Saudi’s Shia-dominated eastern province of al-Qatif.

Two of the largest rallies ever seen in the province were held in the past few months demonstrating support for Nimr and for a group of seven youth activists who were also imprisoned for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday, it was revealed that three of them, arrested as teenagers, were among the 47 executed.

Like the family of Nimr, the relatives of Mohamed al-Sheuikh, Muhammad al-Suwamil and Ali Saeed al-Rebh were given no notice of the impending executions but had become increasingly concerned over the past month as phone calls and letters from the prisoners had been sharply curtailed.

However the name of Nimr’s nephew Ali al-Nimr, who has been sentenced, against international law, to crucifixion for taking part in anti-government protests aged 17 – and whose case was pushed by the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in his first conference speech – was not on the list released by the authorities of those executed.

Ali’s father urged the reaction to Nimr’s death to remain peaceful even though he understood the escalation in outrage it provoked.

We urge again to prevent any reaction outside the peaceful framework,” said Muhammad. “We took this stance from the very beginning, saying that we would not resort to violence even if Sheikh al-Nimr were executed. Sheikh Nimr enjoyed high esteem in his community and within Muslim society in general and no doubt there will be reaction. We hope that any reactions would be confined to a peaceful framework … Enough bloodshed.”

Hassan Hassan, an author and Middle East analyst, said Saudi Arabia’s willingness to execute such a high-profile figure showed it was threatened by his popularity and not prepared to bow to pressure.

Al-Nimr was a key mobiliser of young Shia in the kingdom and beyond. He publicly called for wilayat al-faqih [the rule of cleric, the model in place in Iran] in Saudi and Bahrain, though he also called for standing against tyrants regardless of their sect and he named Bashar al-Assad as a tyrant alongside Bahrain’s rulers,” said Hassan.

By executing him, Saudi Arabia is sending a message to outsiders and locals alike, that no matter what the world says, authorities will condemn and execute those who cross the red lines.”

He said the timing was significant, at a time when Riyadh was trying to consolidate its alliances in the wider region and to focus on who its enemies are. “It is important for Saudi Arabia to appease the population, show balance and demonstrate strength in a volatile regional landscape,” he added.

Human rights organisations have lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address abuses and implementing repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The executions come a day after reports by Amnesty International showed that Saudi Arabia had carried out 157 executions in 2015 – the most capital punishments conducted in a single year since 1995.

The 47 were convicted of adopting takfiri ideology, joining “terrorist organisations” and implementing various “criminal plots”, the Saudi statement said.

They were executed in 12 different cities but the official SPA news agency gave no details on the method used, though it is normally beheading with a sword.

The list included Sunnis convicted of involvement in al-Qaida attacks in the kingdom in 2003 and 2004, including Fares al-Shuwail, said to be a top religious leader of of the terrorist group, who was arrested in August 2004. Two foreigners, an Egyptian and a Chadian, were on the list.

Executions have increased dramatically in the kingdom since King Salman came to the throne last year, after the death of King Abdullah. The number executed on 2 January is more than half the figure under Abdullah for the whole of 2014, when 87 were put to death.

 

Saudi execution aimed at provoking regional bloodbath

January 3, 2016

by Finian Cunningham

RT

The furious reaction across the Middle East to the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric strongly suggests that the killing is a deliberate provocation by the ruling House of Saud.

That provocation would appear to be aimed at inflaming sectarian tensions and fomenting conflict in various regional countries – already near flashpoint – in order to further Saudi geopolitical interests. Central to those interests is, as always, the bitter rivalry with the region’s Shiite powerhouse, Iran.

Following the announcement at the weekend by the Saudi Interior Ministry that Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr had been executed, along with 46 other prisoners, there was predictable outrage from across the region, especially among countries where there is a large Shiite following, such as Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain. Iran denounced the radical Sunni Saudi rulers as “criminal” and accused them of carrying out an act that is “the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, compared the House of Saud with Daesh, the extremist terror group (also known as Islamic State, and previously ISIS/ISIL). Of note is the way that the kingdom executes opponents by beheading according to a similar stringent interpretation of Islamic Sharia law known as Wahhabism – shared by both the Saudi regime and the cadres of Daesh.

Former Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki said that the imposition of capital punishment would lead to the downfall of the Saudi rulers, with other Iraqi politicians saying that it would “open the gates of hell” across the volatile and religiously fraught region.

The United States and European Union also responded with alarm at the execution of al-Nimr, both warning of deepening sectarian tensions being exacerbated by the Saudi death penalty.

Sheikh al-Nimr was executed on Saturday, along with 46 other prisoners in what is believed to have been the biggest mass execution in Saudi Arabia for over three decades. The death sentences were carried out in 12 prison locations by decapitation or firing squad, according to reports. Most of those sentenced were alleged members of the Al-Qaeda terror group, who had been accused of carrying out deadly attacks against Western interests in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006.

Nimr al-Nimr was among four Shiite activists who were executed at the weekend. They were convicted on several charges of subversion and terrorism in trials that were dismissed by international rights groups as a travesty of judicial process. Sheikh al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 and accused of inciting violent protests, but supporters point out that the respected cleric always publicly endorsed peaceful protest. One of his best-known statements was: “The power of the word is mightier than the roar of bullets.”

In October, al-Nimr lost a judicial appeal against his death sentence. There then followed several international appeals for clemency. The Iranian government in particular issued several statements calling for the cleric’s life to be spared.

The widely seen miscarriage of justice against al-Nimr and the chilling determination to carry out his execution in spite of appeals for clemency is what makes the case so incendiary.

Lebanese Shiite resistance movement Hezbollah condemned Saudi Arabia’s conduct as “an assassination,” while Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed that the Saudi rulers would meet with “harsh vengeance.”

In Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and a coalition of other Sunni Arab states have been carrying out airstrikes for the past nine months, the mainly Shiite Houthi rebels also condemned the execution of al-Nimr and promised retribution for his death. At the weekend, it was reported that 24 Saudi troops were killed in a Houthi rocket attack on the Saudi border province of Jizan. It is not clear if the attack preceded the announced execution of al-Nimr.

The Saudi regime has previously accused Iran and Hezbollah of fueling the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. Tehran has rejected claims of militarily supporting the insurgents. But it would be a fair assumption that Iran and Hezbollah will henceforth step up military intervention in Yemen as a way of striking back at the Saudis.

The same response is envisaged for Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in Syria, where the Saudis have bankrolled and armed various anti-government militia, primarily so-called radical Islamist groups with a shared Wahhabi fundamentalist ideology. These groups include Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam), whose leader Zahran Alloush was killed in a Syrian airstrike near Damascus on December 25. The Saudi regime publicly rebuked the killing of Alloush, saying that it jeopardized the forthcoming UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva on Syria.

The House of Saud, led by King Salman, is known to be not in favor of the Geneva talks, which Washington and Moscow have both endorsed. The Saudis are dismayed by the seeming compromise made by Washington towards the Russian position, which is that the political future of Syria must be decided by the Syrian people through elections. The erstwhile demand by Washington that Syria’s President Bashar Assad must stand down as a precondition for peace talks has been abandoned – leaving the Saudis, Turkey and the extremist militia groups in Syria as the only parties persisting with the call for Assad to go.

It is perhaps significant that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a “strategic summit” with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh only days before the execution of Nimr al-Nimr.

Russia’s military intervention in Syria, from the end of September, has been a resounding success in terms of stabilizing the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. Even the Obama administration has recently acknowledged the strategic success for Russian President Vladimir Putin in Syria.

That military success can also be attributed to Iran and Hezbollah, as well as to Iraq, which have all contributed to the gains made by the Syrian Arab Army on the ground.

The biggest loser is the axis for covert regime change in Syria, led by Washington, London and Paris, together with their regional allies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. While Washington and the other Western powers have the nous to switch tactics from backing a covert insurgency to belatedly trying a political process for eventual regime change in Syria, it would appear that the Saudis and Turks are still committed to the covert war agenda.

In that way, the Russian-backed military alliance in Syria is a particularly damaging broadside to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

From the Saudi point of view, one way of trying to salvage their losses in Syria and ongoing setbacks in Yemen would be to blow up the region with an explosion in sectarian conflicts. For many people, of course, such a gambit is insane. But if the House of Saud can provoke a firestorm between Sunnis and Shiites, that would in turn polarize relations between Washington and Moscow, leading to a wider war across the region.

Having lost in their Machiavellian schemes for regime change in Syria, the House of Saud seems to want to inflict a plague of chaos and bloodshed on everyone else’s house.

The execution of renowned Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr is such a gratuitous barbaric killing, one is left with the conclusion: the unadulterated madness of the slaying betrays an altogether pathological calculation aimed at inciting mayhem in the region.

Saudi Arabia is on such a losing streak over Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere that its autocratic rulers probably figure that they don’t have much else to lose by going for broke – and thus provoking a regional bloodbath.

Homosexuality and Islam

by Harry von Johnston

For centuries, Muslim men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Muslim Afghanistani Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern Afghanistan towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means “boy player.” The men like to boast about it.

The Pashtun are Afghanistan’s most important tribe. For centuries, the nation’s leaders have been Pashtun.

As for Karzai, an American who worked in and around his palace in an official capacity for many months told me that homosexual behavior “was rampant” among “soldiers and guys on the security detail. They talked about boys all the time.”

In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called “dancing boys” a “widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape.”

A Department of State analysis, heavily classified, not only discusses rampant homosexual pedophilia among Muslims, not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq, Iran and, especially, in Saudi Arabia. The thesis that American and NATO forces fighting and dying to defend tens of thousands of proud, aggressive pedophiles, is a subject that has been forbidden of discussion by orders from the White House itself. Fear of “energizine’ the Muslim world and creating more active terrorists is the maini motive for this concern.

Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from interpretation of Islamic law. Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Muslim expression goes: “Women are for children, boys are for pleasure.”

Fundamentalist Muslim imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are “unclean” and therefore distasteful. That helps explain why women are hidden away – and stoned to death if they are perceived to have misbehaved. Islamic law also forbids homosexuality. But the pedophiles explain that away. It’s not homosexuality, they aver, because they aren’t in love with their boys.

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Conversations-Crow-Gregory-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00GHMAQ5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450147193&sr=8-1&keywords=conversations+with+the+crow

 

Conversation No. 111

Date: Saturday, November 22, 1997

Commenced: 1:55 PM CST

Concluded: 2:38 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. A fateful date today, isn’t it?

RTC: What date? One tends to lost time when one gets old.

GD: You aren’t talking to dead relatives, are you? RTC: Not yet but maybe next week. Oh my, yes, the Kennedy business. Why who could forget that date?

GD: Not in our lifetime, Robert. What a classic example of control of public opinion and such a commentary on the secret government.

RTC: There has always been a secret government, Gregory, even in the reign of George Washington.

GD: Well, you seem to have convinced the masses that Kennedy was offed by a lone lunatic or the Mafia. The masses are made up of twits who either are too stupid to grasp anything or who are obsessed with their own self-important observations. Yes, the lone nut did it or the Mafia…don’t forget the Jew Meyer Lansky either…let’s hear it for the anti-Semites while we’re at it. And all along, Robert, I have been talking to the CIA’s main man.

RTC: There were others, Gregory, a number of others. Well, there was the DSI for one. And Lyndon Johnson, for another, although he only knew what he needed to know. And Hoover and some his sweethearts. Who else? Well, the Pentagon people, or at least some of them. And Naval Intelligence, the NSG people, Colonel Cass, a few of our inner circle. All of these to be certain and many, many more in the game guessed but didn’t actually know.

GD: But if so many knew, why haven’t any of them blabbed? Maybe to a wife, a friend, a shrink, a priest or someone else? RTC: If they did, they would join the long list of those who died as a result of either knowing too much and possibly talking or making the wrong guesses. It goes back to the invasion of Cuba we planned back just before Kennedy got into office. Eisenhower approved this and a few other nasty pieces of business. You see, the Army was planning to do an operation in which their people mocked attacks on the United States, allegedly from Cuban sources, thus giving Ike a casus belli. But this never came to pass and we all thought Kennedy was the sex-obsessed son of a rich bootlegger who was put into office with his father’s money and mob connections.

GD: You mean the Bay of Pigs? I always thought that was when a congregation of fat women went swimming off Monterey. Raised the sea levels in the neighborhood and got a pod of male whales sexually aroused.

RTC: (Laughter) Unkind. Yes, that plan. A handful of our Cuban refugee trainees invaded, established a beach head and then called for eagerly waiting U.S. airstrikes and a naval blockade in aid of the heroic rebels. It would have worked but Kennedy deliberately wrecked it. He was told and we did not know he did not approve. The usual practice was just to slip these actions into the PDBs and slide right over them. Other Presidents just nodded and paid no attention to any of it. There is an art to such presentations, believe me. Fast talk, papers shown, charts displayed, more smooth talk and the befuddled President nods and tries to look serious. You see, we have wonderful connections with the mob, who wanted Castro out because he had tossed them out, away from the huge money they made in the crooked casinos in Havana. That was their main gripe. And they got Kennedy elected, don’t forget, and they expected pay back for giving him Chicago where the dead voted early and often as my father used to say. That was the Mafia. And when Ike talked about the military/industrial complex, we can think about Alcoa whose Cuban plant was shut down by Castro and the military, mostly the Army I must say, who was on a growth program and loved the thought of a close and safe little war. More troops, more bases, more money from Congress, more power. Yes, the military, business interests and the mob. Our people knew them all and we were all friendly with them. We all had common interests.

GD: The FBI?

RTC: Hoover was a self-important little dictator, given his proclivities, a real bitch in men’s clothes. He was also over the line…

GD: Pardon? RTC: The color line. Hoover was part black. Onward here. Many very powerful groups were not happy with Kennedy. We felt he could be manipulated by shoving a few pretty cunts in his face and leave the governing to us. After all, we had been running the country since Franklin the First bought the farm. But Kennedy turned out to be a lot tougher than we reckoned on. He backed off on the Pigs plan and they were either killed by Castro or put in nasty jails. Very angry people. And the Cubans in this country were the worst of all so we took note of their fury and used them.

GD: And the military?

RTC: Well, in ’61, they wanted to send troops to Laos and eventually to French Indo China. The frogs wanted us to protect their interest there, mostly the rubber plantations and the possibility of rich offshore oil deposits. We agreed to assist and then they became great friends with us in Europe. No, Kennedy refused to go along with this, at least in the beginning, and nixed sending troops to Laos. He was convinced to send some token forces to Viet Nam but later balked at increasing their number as the locals rebelled. We stood to lose a good deal in that country. Both money and face. We put the Diems into power and they were making trouble at one end and Kennedy, by his stupid idealism, was making trouble on the other. I was in charge of most of the ‘Nam business at work and I came to the unspoken conclusion that we could not win a guerrilla war there, especially when the Russians were arming the Cong. It was obvious that even ten million troops could not keep the lid on there for long but who was going to bell that cat? Not Johnson who might have been a great power broker with Congress but who was useless as tits on a boar pig when it came to military ventures. Those of us who could see into the future, based on the present, knew it was an unwinnable situation but no one dared to make a move towards disengagement.

GD: Not to change the subject but your people put Castro in, didn’t you? RTC: How clever, Gregory. Of course this happened. You see, the Company is so heavily compartmentized that the right hand never knows what the left hand doeth. Yes, one of our sub-groups put him in, thinking he would clean up the really bad corruption…drugs and so on…and we could control that situation. Bad judgment there, Gregory but we close ranks and silence is golden. But the unforgivable  sin as far as Kennedy was concerned was his going around us and establishing a personal contact with Nikita Khrushchev. Not done. All Presidents had to use us as firewalls or contacts. Presidents had to rely on us for their information and what would come of it if they dealt directly with some hostile head of state? This would erode our power and essentially relegate the CIA to being mere messengers. The power? As keepers of the flame, others had to bow to our power but if we lost that power, all of us would be back on the chicken farm. That was the final straw, believe me. And before that, don’t forget, Kennedy was not going to do the Army’s bidding and escalate the local anti-guerrilla campaign in Vietnam. The Army was planning on a massive expansion. There would be contracts with the private sectors that would enrich the men with stars on their shoulders and more jobs for their friends and more bases and so on. No, they wanted a controlled war there, way away from the continental United States. They, through us, could control the incoming news and so on but by not performing as he was expected, Kennedy drew the black spot. Either death or some other kind of removal. And I can recall that when Hoover learned of our house cleaning project, he jumped on board with the caveat that we also get rid of Bobby. John hated Bobby…

GD: John? RTC: Yes, Colonel John Edgar. Franklin made him a Colonel but Hoover was pissed off that he wasn’t made a general at least so he never used the title but it was there. Anyway, we had no problem with Hoover because Bobby was telling his staff that Hoover was a fairy and John Edgar didn’t like that and when Bobby dig into Hoover’s past and discovered relatives as black as the ace of spades, he got livid with rage. The Kennedy family were living in a dream world their father had convinced them was real. Power can come from money, Gregory, but power has to include working with others who also have power. Dictators cannot function with powerful barons too close. Either kill them or replace them with ciphers. No other choice. So in a sense, Kennedy was going from bad to worse and plots were being hatched all over the place during the last year of his reign. We were certainly determined to stop him from breaking the CIA up and the Army was determined to have its profitable war and then there were the business people and the Mafia in the wings. Killing a sitting President is never easy and one has to move with great care in such matters. Too much talking at the wrong time and in the wrong place can wreck even the most ambitious plans. We knew what had to be done and the opening gambits were to secure the agreement of other power brokers. We got Johnson on board through the good offices of Abe Fortis who would have sold the rotting corpse of his dead mother to the dog food people if they paid him enough. LBJ was a pill in the box in that he had some knowledge and lusted for the Oval Office. And again, Bobby was an irritant by calling him ‘Uncle Cornpone’ all over the Beltway. Johnson was used to power and did not like being ignored and marginalized so he smiled and kept quiet. And we certainly had Hoover and some of the top people in the Pentagon, the full support of the mob and a few other necessary organizations. The Mafia could get their gambling hells back again and a promise of a dead Bobby who was having his fun persecuting the very people who put his brother in the Oval Office.

GD: Ungrateful.

RTC: Yes, indeed, very. We all need friends, Gregory, and deliberately harassing the Mafia in Chicago was very, very unwise. I point out that Jack Ruby was one of their enforcers there. Dare I say more? GD: No, I don’t think so at this point.

RTC: Not at any point. And then having such wonderful people as the goat-loving Dr. Gottleib on the staff made it easy to give Ruby fatal cancer. Injecting active cancer cells during a routine jailhouse medical examination is the best way. A natural and unsuspicious death. Of course we could have easily given Jack a heart attack but cancer is more believable, especially in the hothouse atmosphere of post-assassination madness.

GD: How many of the loonies were yours? RTC: God, without number. The Farrell woman is our best. She controls the library and she belongs totally to us. Oh yes, we started all kinds of confusing and idiotic stories and kept most people away. You read ‘Case Closed’ didn’t you. My, Herr  Posner just loved and really believed the Warren Report, didn’t he? And the New York Times couldn’t wait to praise the hell out of that piece of crap and make Gerald rich. That’s how it’s done in a nutshell, Gregory, in a nutshell. I talked with the Times people myself and they were panting and eager to praise this to the skies. Just an example of how we work but we have gone over most of this before.

GD: If I felt pity for anyone in all of this, it was for Oswald.

RTC: In a larger sense, yes. A loyal intelligence operator set up as patsy and then iced before he could tell what he knew. And then we got rid of Ruby and that was that. Howard Hunt was involved in some of this and we had to kill his wife to keep him from shooting off his mouth when he got in trouble. An endless circle of betrayal and death, Gregory, but that’s how the game goes.

 

(Concluded at 2:38 PM CST)***

 

Armed militia, incl. Bundy bros, occupy forest reserve HQ in Oregon, call ‘US patriots’ to arms

January 3,2016

RT

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s three sons and “about 150” militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge HQ to protest the pending imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers accused of arson, arguing the federal government has no authority in local cases.

We’re going to be freeing these lands up, and getting ranchers back to ranching, getting the loggers back to logging, getting the miners back to mining where they could do it under the protection of the people and not be afraid of this tyranny that’s been set upon them,” Ammon Bundy, who appears to be the leader of the group, said in a Facebook video posted by Sarah Dee Spurlock on Saturday. Bundy appears to be standing at the scene of the takeover, surrounded by several men in military-style uniforms with rifles and hand-held radios.

The rancher points out that Harney County used to be the richest in state, and is now the poorest. His radical proposal to solve the situation is to have armed “patriots” come and live in a de-facto self-rule zone independent of the federal authorities.

The second speaker in the video, identified as Blane Cooper, equates the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to bullies at school that used to beat one up and who eventually had to be put in their place.

Until that line is drawn and say ‘we’ve had enough of this tyranny, you are going to leave us alone’ it will not change,” the military-clad man says.

According to Cooper, they hope their occupation will spell the beginning of a US-wide movement.

It doesn’t have to stop here. This could be a hope that spreads through the whole country, the whole United States. Everybody’s looking for this hope because the government has beat us, and oppressed us, and took everything from us; they will not stop until we tell them no,” he claims.

The Bundys and their armed supporters occupied the federal property after splitting from a peaceful Saturday morning protest in Burns, Oregon. Some 300 people marched through the town to protest against the prosecution of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who are scheduled to report to prison on Monday.

Both ranchers were convicted on charges of setting fire to federal land. The case has attracted interest from local militia and intensified debate around the federal government’s authority.

Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, both residents of Diamond, Oregon in Harney County, were sentenced to five years in prison by Chief US District Judge Ann Aiken for arsons they committed on federal lands,” the US Attorney Office said.

The occupation resembles the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2014, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) attempted to enforce grazing laws. Bundy got the help of armed militia and triggered a standoff with federal authorities.

The family said heavily-armed federal agents had surrounded their ranch as “trespass cattle” were removed from the disputed land.

Since 1993, Cliven Bundy – the “last rancher in Clark County, Nevada” – has refused to pay fees to the federal government for the right to raise cattle on land that his family has ranched since the 1870s, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The dispute began in 1998 when the BLM designated 186,909 acres of the Gold Butte area, where the ranch is located, as “critical” for the survival of the desert tortoise population. Bundy had lost his grazing permit in 1993, despite his family’s long-time presence on the land.

According to the BLM, Bundy owes around $1 million in fees, while the family contends the sum is more like $300,000.

Hammonds case

The Pendleton, Oregon jury found the Hammonds guilty of the arsons in June 2012. Both were charged with igniting a series of fires on lands managed by the BLM.

Hammond Ranches has about 12,000 acres in the Diamond-Frenchglen area. Their livelihood is running cattle during the winter. Two years ago, the ranch used 26,420 acres of land belonging to the BLM for summer grazing.

Supporters of the Hammonds believe they were treated unconstitutionally because the two were convicted of arson under a provision of an expansive federal law punishing terrorism. They both served their prison terms for 2001 and 2006 fires, but were then told by appellate judges they had to go back to prison to serve more.

Ranchers use fire in eastern Oregon to burn invasive species. However, it is a dangerous practice, as several wildfires in the area have gotten out of hand, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres.

The controversial case demonstrates a problem with a 1996 law, which was introduced to punish domestic terrorists, according to Barry Bushue, the longtime president of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

“I find it incredible that the government would want to try these ranchers as terrorists,” Bushue told The Pete Santilli Show. “Now is where the rubber meets the road. Right now is when the public should absolutely be incensed. And the public, I think, should be fearful.”

 

 

New Swedish border controls: a blow to Schengen?

Sweden will instate new controls on the border to Denmark at midnight on Sunday as it tries to cope with a big migrant influx: another nail in the coffin of the Schengen zone?

January 3, 2016

by Malcom Brabant

DW

Michael Randropp stands on the edge of platform one at the railway station of Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport and grimaces as he points toward the chest-high metal fence separating the tracks carrying trains between the Danish capital and Sweden.

“Commuters are calling this the new Iron Curtain, or Berlin Wall,” he said.

The fence is designed to stop undocumented migrants from slipping across the rail tracks to avoid detection at this, the last station before Sweden.

Randropp, as chairman of the Commuters Association, represents the 15,000 people who shuttle daily between Copenhagen and Skane, the southern Swedish county encompassing Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, and Lund, home to one of the region’s most prominent universities. He believes the new measures insisted upon by the social democrat-led Swedish government will have a deleterious impact on the Oresund region, which has been evolving into a Scandinavian Silicon Valley.

New time-consuming identity checks at Kastrup station will add an estimated 45 minutes to the traveling time of commuters heading back home to Malmo from work in Copenhagen. All train passengers heading to Sweden from Denmark will be required to disembark at the airport stop and have their papers examined by security guards, before being allowed to catch another train northwards.

Bridge too far?

The measures are designed to prevent undocumented migrants from slipping across the Oresund Bridge, which carries both vehicles and rail traffic between the two countries. Sweden has warned travel companies, such as the Danish train operator DSB, that they will be subjected to heavy fines if they allow “irregular” passengers to venture past the border.

The imposition of the new rules represents a substantial U-turn in policy from a country that for much of 2015 had trumpeted its open-door policy towards the stream of refugees and migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands and heading northwards.

Sweden had expected to accept about 100, 000 newcomers in 2015, but by year’s end the figure was almost twice that, and the country was struggling to provide shelter, education and other essential services for would-be asylum seekers.

After failing to convince many other European nations – especially its neighbor Denmark – to shoulder some of Sweden’s migrant burden – Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in November that the country’s generosity had been “naive.”

Thousands of people allowed into the country disappeared after registration, causing the police and intelligence services to warn the government of a potential risk to state security.

“Perhaps it has been hard for us to accept that in our midst there are people sympathizing with the ISIS killers,” said Lofven, using an alternative acronym to refer to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” extremist group that has seized territory across Syria and Iraq and committed widespread atrocities, including terror attacks much farther afield.

According to Sweden’s migration board, 80 percent of people seeking asylum in 2015 did not have a passport and 60 percent have still not managed to show any official identification papers to the authorities.

Snowball effect

Denmark’s center-right Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who has presided over stringent new measures designed to make his country less attractive to migrants, is angry with Sweden’s move, as he fears it will lead to more refugees seeking asylum in Denmark.

He also worries it will imperil years of investment in the Oresund region.

“It is a very unfortunate situation,” said Rasmussen. “We have spent billions on building infrastructure up in the Oresund region. We have spent millions branding Copenhagen and Malmo as a single metropolitan area.”

Rasmussen is under severe pressure from the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (DPP), which provides essential parliamentary support. The DPP wants Denmark to have border controls and believes that the Schengen agreement, which is supposed to ensure free movement of people and goods throughout most of the European Union plus a handful of non-EU states, is effectively dead.

Rasmussen resisted this pressure when Sweden started doing passport checks on its side of the Oresund Strait in November, but is ready to reciprocate if the number of asylum seekers swells. This would mean reconstituting barriers between Germany and Denmark, as well as with Sweden.

Speaking to the Danish newspaper “Kristeligt Dagblad,” migration researcher Joakim Ruist of Gothenburg University in western Sweden said, “I think the Swedish control will set a snowball effect in time, where countries quickly follow.”

“Although it becomes uncomfortable and maybe just feels wrong, it can become the decisive step for a new political model of asylum in Europe and ultimately create a more humane treatment of refugees.”

Ruist says the new measures will “provide a safer escape route,” provide better treatment by closing borders and “instead distributes the people from camps in neighboring regions.”

Incarceration for Syrians?

But another researcher, Lisa Pelling from the left-wing Swedish think tank Arena Idea, told “Kristeligt Dagblad” that Sweden’s ID checks could trap Syrian refugees inside the war zone.

“The implication in the short term is that the EU’s borders will shut as dominoes. Germany and Denmark will close. It will continue all the way to Greece, and finally, I am convinced that Turkey will also shut. It will end up keeping people incarcerated in Syria and will aggravate the carnage, because people can not get away,” she said.

As Europe struggles to cope with the biggest movement of people since the Second World War, some Scandinavians are irritated that, for the first time in 53 years, since the signing of the Helsinki Treaty that was designed to boost travel and economic growth amongst the Nordic countries, they need to show passports to travel between Denmark and Sweden.

Crossing the Oresund Bridge on one of the last trains to Malmo before the new measures came into force was Ture Ertmann, a Dane who has lived in Sweden for twenty years. Ertmann, chief of staff for a Denmark-based shoe company, is concerned about the impact on business as commuters consider their options.

He told DW: “At the moment we’re wondering whether we should continue to stay living in Malmo in Sweden or move to Denmark. We have to kids to pick up after school and shopping to do. How’s that going to work, if it all takes an hour extra? There’s no doubt this is a great challenge to the Schengen cooperation in Europe. The whole idea is that we’re supposed to have external borders and now that whole system is breaking down. And every country is raising its inner borders. The whole cooperation across borders is challenged and I think that’s worrisome.”

 

Bermuda Triangle: Where the wealthiest make their money mysteriously disappear

January 3, 2016

RT

America’s wealthiest are saving billions in taxes by routing their money through Bermuda, according to a New York Times (NYT) investigation.

Hedge fund magnates Daniel S Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A Cohen are among those exploiting a financial loophole to save a fortune through a private tax system, write Noam Scheiber and Patricia Cohen in a good old-fashioned piece of American journalism.

The billionaires have invested large sums in art and millions more in political candidates.

Allianz’s Global Wealth Report 2015 rated the US as the wealthiest – and most unequal – country in the world. The growing divide between rich and poor is driven by this sophisticated method for shielding their fortunes.

The NYT report says the so-called “income defense industry” consists of top-shelf lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists, and anti-tax activists exploiting (and creating) loopholes unavailable to middle or working class taxpayers.

Operating in the shadows of Washington and Wall Street, mostly in tax courts and private Internal Revenue Service (IRS) negotiations, NYT says the effect has been to create a kind of private tax system open to less than one percent of Americans.

The result is a significant drop in the level of tax paid by the highest earners, money that could be used to address the country’s growing hunger and homeless problem.

When Bill Clinton was elected US President in 1993, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to IRS data.

By the time Obama was re-elected in 2012, this had fallen to below 17 percent.

At its peak, the top US tax rate was 94% in 1944 and 1945, but it’s been on a steady decline since then.

NYT found that if the top 400 earners were taxed like an average American in 2012, their tax obligations would have doubled, not counting the income hidden through “convoluted partnerships, high-end investment funds, opaque family trusts, and foreign shell corporations”.

The techniques applied are designed to be too complicated for regulators, the media, and the general public to understand, but NYT explains their principle is quite simple – convert one type of income into another type that’s taxed at a lower rate.

Loeb loves this technique and through a Bermuda-based reinsurance company he set up in 2013, he transforms “his profits from short-term bets in the market”, taxed at roughly 40 percent, into capital gains, a nearly 50% drop in tax rate.

NYT adds this company is “active in the insurance business, not merely a tax dodge”.

Charitable trusts purchasing a “private placement life insurance policy” is another way top earners reduce their tax, according to NYT.

Lawmakers in Congress managed to slip a provision past lobbyists in the October budget deal which gives the IRS more power to collect “underpaid taxes”, but since the rules don’t take effect until 2018, it gives “the wealthy plenty of time to weaken them further”.

The IRS faced budget cuts and political pressure in recent years, losing 5,000 enforcement officers after funding was reduced by 15 percent between 2010 and 2014.

“Astroturf” groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform, backed by super-rich donors, called for impeaching the IRS commissioner.

This year, the tax crusaders have most of the presidential candidates on their side, pushing the low-tax agenda in the media and on the campaign trail.

Republicans count hedge fund investor Robert Mercer and options trader Jeffrey Yass as financial backers, while Democrats get millions from hedge fund investor James Simons.

Mercer and Yass also back the Club for Growth, which has aided primary challenges against Republicans who have voted in favor of higher taxes.

In 2014, the Club for Growth Action fund raised more than $9 million and spent much of it helping candidates critical of the IRS.

 

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