TBR News January 3, 2018

Jan 03 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 3, 2018: “Terrible, freezing weather is battering parts of the globe and the bloggers are having their usual field day with new theories, strange invented stories complete with charts and graphs and always supported by references to “scientists” whom they have invented.

That we have climae change is beyond a doubt but no one, not even Mr. Jones of Infowars, knows why this is happening.

What is important that it is happening and in this case our belief in hopeful certainty is indeed an illusion.

That the masses worship illusion in manifest in the success of the BitCoin bubble.”


Table of Contents

  • Dirt Boxes: The Newest Government Tool for Warrantless Privacy Invasion
  • Iran deploys Revolutionary Guards to quell ‘sedition’ in protest hotbeds
  • Corruption and Inequality Fuelling Protests in Iran
  • Iran protests: Arab states between trepidation and glee
  • ‘Bomb’ cyclone set to blast US with record-breaking winter storm
  • The East Coast Is Bracing for a Winter ‘Bomb Cyclone.’ What Is That?
  • Storm Eleanor — also known as Burglind — batters Europe
  • Macron Ideas ‘An Excellent Basis for Discussion’
  • Major flaw in millions of Intel chips revealed
  • In the Bones of a Buried Child, Signs of a Massive Human Migration to the Americas
  • A few hundred bitcoin whales can send cryptocurrency market crashing down
  • The Henri Robinson case

 Dirt Boxes: The Newest Government Tool for Warrantless Privacy Invasion

Why these cell phone tower-mimicking devices could become a civil liberties nightmare.

December 28, 2017

by Dan King

The American Conservative

That plane flying overhead could very well be scooping up your most intimate data, especially if you live in Texas. The Texas National Guard has reportedly equipped two of its RC-26 military aircraft with cell phone data-collecting dragnets, known as dirt boxes. The ability of government agencies to add new modifications to their aerial surveillance capabilities without any real oversight should sound an alarm for all Americans, not just those who live in the Lone Star State.

Dirt boxes are one of the top cell site simulators, devices that mimic cell towers and fool phones into sharing data with them. While the Department of Justice (DOJ) has advised agencies not to collect the actual content of phone calls or messages without warrants, the simulators have the ability to do so. Additionally, these tools can record and listen to calls as they occur, block phones from sending and receiving calls, and collect metadata and geolocation data, allowing law enforcement officials to track the exact location of any phone user in the area. Just the metadata alone can paint a very specific picture of the individual sending it.

“They indiscriminately gather information on countless innocent people who have the misfortune of being in the vicinity of a suspect target,” said Stephanie Lacambra, criminal defense staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “They also disproportionately burden minority communities.”

The D.C. Court of Appeals recently ruled that law enforcement use of cell site simulators—which were originally intended for terror and military investigations—without a warrant violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. However, law enforcement agencies around the country have routinely flouted such orders, deploying the devices in a variety of non-terror and non-military cases without warrants. For example, the NYPD has used cell site simulators without a warrant more than a 1,000 times since 2008.

Further complicating matters, the Texas National Guard is not actually a law enforcement agency, but a military entity, so it’s unclear whether privacy protections apply to simulators under their control.

“Because the National Guard is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, they are not necessarily bound by the policies regulating cell site simulator use promulgated by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security,” Lacambra said.

When pressed by the Texas Observer about what measures, if any, were being deployed to protect Americans’ civil liberties, Texas National Guard officials declined to answer.

They also neglected to give specifics as to what the simulators are being used for. However, the contract between the Texas National Guard and Digital Receiver Technology, the producer of the dirt box, shows that planes equipped with the technology are employed in counternarcotics work. Digital Receiver Technology did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Lacambra said she believes the devices are being used for counternarcotics, but added, “I am skeptical that they are being limited to that use. I think it is reasonable to suspect that these cell site simulators are being deployed as tools in general domestic criminal and immigration investigations along the border and throughout the state of Texas monitored by the National Guard.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as many as 26 different states use cell site simulators at either the local or state level, and 13 federal agencies snoop with the fake towers as well. But, as is the case in Texas, the use of the dirt boxes are frequently clouded in secrecy, due to non-disclosure agreements between the devices’ producers and law enforcement agencies. Local police departments have also been vague on the rules and regulations for the use of simulators.

Texas’s airborne version of phone snooping comes just months after a group of Republicans, led by Senator John Cornyn, introduced a bill, the “Building America’s Trust Act,” that would put the area near the border under constant drone surveillance. If passed, it would require unmanned drones to scour the border 24 hours a day, five days a week. That’s in addition to a required 95,000 hours of manned surveillance flights at the border per year, and a host of other overreaching provisions in the bill, including facial recognition software and cell phone data collection at border crossings. Travelers would be required to step aside to kiosks that would scan their faces with cameras when they arrive, and again when they leave the country, to make sure they don’t overstay their visas. However, when tested, the biometric kiosks—which aren’t perfect at detecting identities—have also been used to scan the faces of Americans to confirm their citizenry. Cornyn’s bill has been introduced and placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar for a later vote.

The increased reliance on aerial surveillance, combined with the emergence of more powerful technologies such as cell site simulators, spells trouble for civil liberties, as oversight and regulations often lag far behind technological progress.

As the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney put it in a 2016 policy analysis, “State and federal lawmakers should take it upon themselves to provide more privacy than the Supreme Court’s aerial surveillance rulings and tackle the challenging task of allowing law enforcement to effectively use drones without threatening privacy.”

Lacambra added that current policies regarding cell site simulators “carry no enforcement mechanisms to punish law enforcement for violating the terms of the policy.”

More checks are drastically needed for the use of cell site simulators and aerial surveillance. A non-binding order from the Department of Justice and a Fourth Amendment ruling from the D.C. Court of Appeals does nothing without more localized focuses on transparency and accountability.



Iran deploys Revolutionary Guards to quell ‘sedition’ in protest hotbeds

January 3, 2018

by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin


LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have deployed forces to three provinces to put down an eruption of anti-government unrest, their commander said on Wednesday, after six days of protests that have left 21 people dead.

Thousands of Iranians took part in pro-government rallies in several cities on Wednesday in a state-sponsored show of force aimed at countering unrest posing the most sustained challenge to the Islamic Republic’s clerical elite in almost a decade.

State television broadcast live pictures of rallies in the southwestern cities of Kermanshah and Ilam and in the northern city of Gorgan, where marchers waved Iranian flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But, in a sign of official concern about the resilience of the protests, the Revolutionary Guards commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said he had dispatched forces to Isfahan, Lorestan and Hamadan provinces to tackle “the new sedition”.

Most of the casualties among protesters have occurred in those regions. The Revolutionary Guards, the sword and shield of Iran’s Shi‘ite theocracy, were instrumental in suppressing the 2009 uprising, killing dozens of protesters then.

In the Shi‘ite holy city Qom, pro-government demonstrators chanted “death to American mercenaries”. There were similar rallies in Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city, and Abadan and Khorramshahr in the oil-rich southwest, state TV footage showed.

Marchers chanted, “The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader (Khamenei),” and, “We will not leave our leader alone.” They accused the United States, Israel and Britain of inciting protests, shouting “the seditionist rioters should be executed!”

The protests began last week out of frustration over economic hardship among the youth and working class but have evolved into broader unrest against the hardline clerical establishment dominating since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


Political rallies held in defiance of the pervasive security services have called for the overthrow of all Iranian leaders.

The protests, organized on social media, have largely been held after dusk. They continued into Tuesday night with social media videos showing demonstrators on the streets and riot police in several cities including Ahvaz in the southwest.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought to isolate the Tehran leadership, reversing the conciliatory approach of predecessor Barack Obama, said Washington would throw its support behind the protesters at an “appropriate time”.

“Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!” Trump wrote in the latest of a series of tweets on Iran’s turmoil.

On Tuesday, Khamenei had accused Iran’s adversaries of fomenting the protests, some of which have criticized him by name and called for him to step down.

An Iranian judicial official said on Wednesday a European citizen was arrested in protests in the Borujerd area of western Iran, but did not specify the nationality of the detainee.

“(This) European citizen … had been trained by European intelligence services and was leading the rioters,” Hamidreza Abolhassani, head of Borujerd’s Justice Department, was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.

In Geneva, the U.N. human rights chief urged Iran to rein in security forces to avoid further violence and respect the right of protesters to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said more than 20 had been killed and hundreds arrested across Iran in the past week. He called for “thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence…”

An official in Iran’s hardline judiciary warned that some of those arrested could face the death penalty.

The outburst of dissent is the most serious since 2009, when Iranians took to the streets over accusations of vote-rigging in the re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The protests have heaped pressure on President Hassan Rouhani, who championed a deal struck with world powers in 2015 to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear program in return for the lifting of most international sanctions against Tehran.

Many of the protesters are fuming over what they see as the failure so far of his government to deliver on promises of more jobs and investment as a payoff from the nuclear accord.

Rouhani, who has said Iranians have a right to protest peacefully, told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Wednesday he hoped the unrest would end in a few days.

“We are certain about Iran’s security and stability … People are free in Iran to protest within the framework of law,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.


Trump has said in tweets that Iranians have lost patience with alleged graft and what he called a terrorist regime.

Trump must decide by mid-January whether to continue waiving U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports under the terms of the nuclear deal that he opposed.

But, given that the unrest began over high unemployment and prices, if he reimposes sanctions on oil it could increase the economic pain for Iran’s people, analysts say.

“If the Americans’ sympathy with Iranians were real, they would have not imposed cruel sanctions on the our nation,” Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards commander, said on Wednesday.

Referring to Rouhani’s policy of detente with the West, Jafari told Fars news agency that “friendship with the United States” would never bring prosperity and that the Guards were ready to help the government overcome economic challenges.


Resentment over economic stagnation and reputed graft within the clerical and security hierarchies sparked the protests after Iranians took to social media to vent their discontent.

The anger has been building up since last month. Thousands of Iranians joined a hashtag campaign on Twitter and other sites to express frustration over the slow pace of reforms.



Corruption and Inequality Fuelling Protests in Iran

January 1, 2018

by Patrick Cockburn

The Unz Review

Iran is seeing its most widespread protest demonstrations since 2009. They are still gaining momentum and some 15 people are reported to have been killed, though the circumstances in which they died remains unclear. The motive for the protests is primarily economic, but many slogans are political and some directly attack clerical rule in Iran which was introduced with the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.

The demonstrations began with one against rising prices on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city and the site of its most holy shrine, a place which is traditionally seen as a stronghold for clerical hardliners. It may be that these conservatives initiated or tolerated the protests as a way of undermining President Hassan Rouhani, seen as a political moderate, who was re-elected by a landslide last year. If so, the protests have swiftly spiralled out of the control of the conservatives and are erupting all over Iran, strong evidence of a high level of discontent everywhere in the country and possibly a sign of covert organisation by anti-government groups.

Donald Trump threatened last year to support domestic anti-government resistance in Iran, though this does not necessarily mean that his administration has done anything about this as yet. His latest tweet accuses Iran’s leaders of turning the country “into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos”. The US and Saudi Arabia may also be tempted to fund ethnic groups like the Iranian Kurds who are already alienated from the central government.

Belligerent rhetoric like Mr Trump’s will be used to discredit protesters as the pawns of foreign powers.

Iran has been divided politically since the fall of the Shah, but the most immediate cause of unrest over the past five days is economic and social discontent. In many respects, grievances are similar to those in other oil states where there is long-suppressed anger against corruption and inequality. Youth unemployment was 28.8 per cent last year. The nuclear deal with the US and other major powers in 2015 reduced sanctions, but has not produced the benefits that many expected. A 50 per cent increase in the price of fuel was announced in the budget in December. Egg and poultry prices recently rose by 40 per cent.

It is too early to say how far the protests are a threat to the government and to Iran’s political stability. The size and motivation of demonstrations is murky because of a lack of reliable eyewitness reporting. This is in part because of government restrictions on news coverage by Iranian and foreign news outlets which creates a vacuum of information. In the past, this vacuum has often been filled by exiled opposition groups who become a source of exaggerated or fabricated accounts of protests.

I was in Tehran in early 2011 when there were genuine demonstrations in the north of the city, but they were often of a smaller size than skilfully edited film shown on YouTube. Pictures of protesters tearing down a picture of Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei might indicate a radical anti-regime turn in the protests or might be a one-off that tells one little about the direction of the movement. The same is true of slogans praising the Shah or criticising Iran’s support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

So far President Rouhani and his administration have reacted in a low-key way to the protests, appealing for calm and saying people have the right to demonstrate, but not to destroy property or engage in violence. The government is clearly hoping that the demonstrations will run out of steam, but so far the opposite seems to be happening. The number of arrests is still low – 200 in Tehran by Sunday – but Mr Rouhani must be under pressure to crack down and not to appear weak.

This he may do eventually, but well-publicised suppression of protests might increase public support for them in Iran and would certainly lead to the US and West Europeans jumping to the defence of human rights in Iran with an enthusiasm they have failed to show in countries such as Yemen where a Saudi-led blockade has brought eight million people to the edge of famine.

Bloody suppression of protests might also push the West Europeans towards Mr Trump’s aggressive posture towards Iran and fatally undermine the nuclear deal. This would, in turn, strengthen the hand of the hardliners who can say that Mr Rouhani’s more accommodating posture to the outside world and more liberal policies at home have failed.


Iran protests: Arab states between trepidation and glee

The anti-government protests in Iran and Tehran’s reactions are being watched with great concern in the West. But what do major regional players make of the events there?

January 3, 2018

by Wesley Dockery


The protests over the country’s struggling economy, corruption, increasing food prices and the Iranian government’s involvement in other conflicts in the region like Syria are the largest display of public unrest since the country’s disputed presidential election in 2009.

The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to the unrest by saying that the enemies of Iran “have allied and used the various means they possess including money, weapons, politics and intelligence services to trouble the Islamic Republic.”

Governments taking sides

So how are other governments in the region are reacting to the protests in Iran? Dr. Sanam Vakil, an associate fellow at the UK think tank Chatham House, says that initially most of them “ignored” the coverage. However, as the protests continue to make headlines, she believes that they will have to acknowledge them to possibly discourage people in their countries from also taking to the streets.

Vakil told DW that “Iran very much wants to disassociate these protests from the Arab Spring” —  a series of popular revolts that began in Tunisia in 2011 due to economic discontent and spread to other countries in the region such as Libya, Egypt and Syria. In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, the ruling governments were brought down by the people — a fate the Iranian government is obviously keen to avoid.

All of the Gulf States with the exception of Qatar support the current protests in the hope that they trigger a legitimacy crisis for the Iranian government. Geo-strategically, these countries are competing with Iran for power in the region and are hoping that the protests undermine Iranian influence in the so-called Shiite Crescent — a term used by some scholars to describe Iran’s influence and support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, the Houthi rebel groups in Yemen, the Shiite Hezbollah paramilitary organization in Lebanon and the current government in Iraq.

“These Gulf countries also have to be careful because they are not in a position to really support the demonstrations when they don’t allow them to take place on their own soil,” Vakil said.

Qatar and Turkey do not support these demonstrations and argue that they were orchestrated from the outside. Coverage on Al Jazeera Arabic, which often skews towards the views of the Turkish and Qatari governments, has been supportive of the conspiratorial notion that these protests are the result of an “external plot.”

Reactions on the streets

Mohammad Mohsen Abu al-Noor, a political researcher in Egypt, says that large parts of the Shiite communities in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen “completely support the Iranian government regardless of the fact that Iranian interests might conflict with the national security interests in their own country.” Meanwhile, non-Shiites, says al-Noor, “hope it [the demonstrations] will end the tide of Shiite and Iranian intervention in the surrounding Arab countries.”

However, reactions in many Arab countries should be viewed carefully and critically, according to Ghassan al-Attiyah, the head of the Iraqi Institute for Development and Democracy, given that the regimes in many of these countries control the media output.

So what happens next? That, says Chatham House’s Sanam Vakil, depends on the Iranian government’s response should the protests continue. “If the government crackdown is really repressive, we could see a few years of silence,” she said. Many of the protesters, however, originally supported the Iranian government which, she said, means that “this sort of dissent, even if it is quelled, is never really going to go away.”\


‘Bomb’ cyclone set to blast US with record-breaking winter storm

January 3, 2018


Having already faced two weeks of record smashing cold weather, things are set to get even worse for the east coast of the United States.

New England will be blasted with a so-called ‘bomb’ cyclone on Thursday, which is forecast to bring freezing winds and blinding snow across the north before sweeping frigid air along the entire eastern seaboard.

Meteorologists are saying it could be the most severe winter storm to hit the area in decades. The country is already in the grips of a vicious cold snap that has seen century-old records broken in many areas. The extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of nine people.

Even warmer parts of Florida and Georgia, which are unaccustomed to snow, won’t be safe from the cyclone as the National weather service has issued a series of wind chill and freeze warnings. The warnings say that sub-freezing temperatures are imminent in northern Florida and southern Georgia.

Computer models are projecting a serious intensification of the cyclone as it hits the country with a force seen only with a hurricane.

The strength of the storm will cause it to suck in frigid Arctic air which it will then blast across the east coast. Out at sea it will create enormous waves and, when it makes landfall, the ‘bomb’ will be powerful enough to tear down trees and create dangerous blizzard conditions.

“Our biggest concern is the potential for damaging wind gusts, especially near the southeast New England coast,” the Boston branch of the National Weather Service said on Twitter. “Power outage risk followed by arctic air Fri/Sat a big concern!”

After ‘exploding’ in the north, the cyclone will then sweep south blasting the country with the most intense weather of the recent cold spell. In an almost unprecedented occurrence, weather advisories have been issued all along the coast from Florida to Massachusetts.

The one silver lining from the impending barrage is that temperatures will improve early next week.


The East Coast Is Bracing for a Winter ‘Bomb Cyclone.’ What Is That?

January 3, 2018

by Chris Morris


Weather terminology can be a bit scary at times. Terms like “arctic blast” and “typhoon” create some disturbing mental images. But as East Coast residents in the United States prepare for winter storm Grayson this week—the National Weather Service says the storm will bring strong, damaging winds and snow—they are hearing a new term and it might be the most terrifying of all: “Bomb Cyclone.”

Even in the often-hyperbolic field of weather prediction, that’s an eye-catching name, but what is a bomb cyclone? And how bad will it be if you’re in it’s path?

The answer, as with so many things when it comes to winter weather, is: It depends. A bomb cyclone is, essentially, a powerful low-pressure system that rapidly intensifies. If that sounds a lot like a hurricane, you’re not too far off. The ‘bomb’ part of the name refers to the phenomenon when the pressure inside a storm cell falls so quickly that it gives the storm explosive strength.

Technically, the term bomb cyclone comes from the scientific term “bombogenesis,” which is a storm that drops 24 millibars of pressure over 24 hours. And what forecasters are worried about with this one is the pressure levels could be on the same level as Hurricane Sandy. (Researchers say climate change can be blamed for these sorts of events.)

That means the potential for hurricane or tropical storm force winds is present—though the damage likely won’t be as bad as it was with Sandy. And it’s possible that this could be much ado about nothing, since slight shifts in the system’s placement could make huge differences in snowfall.

One thing’s clear, though. It’s going to be brutally cold no matter what happens with this storm. A new arctic blast is on its way down from Canada, so whether this bomb cyclone results in high winds, heavy snow, or people complaining the weather weenies blew the call again, you’re going to want to stay inside. In addition to hurricane-force winds and snow or sleet, temperatures could also drop 20 to 40 degrees below normal.


Storm Eleanor — also known as Burglind — batters Europe

January 3, 2018


Winter storm Eleanor has caused traffic chaos and at least two fatalities as it slammed western Europe. Hundreds of flights were grounded and gale-force winds blew a train car in Switzerland off its tracks.

A winter storm in Europe on Wednesday left in its wake several dead, untold property damage and traffic chaos as the gale, alternatively dubbed Eleanor and Burglind, barreled across the continent after slamming Ireland the UK.

At least one person was killed in the French Alps and another in the Netherlands from falling debris, while in Switzerland an entire train car was blown off the tracks by the 75 miles per hour (120 kph) winds that swept through the country.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” a spokesman for the Montreux-Bernese Oberland (MOB) regional train service said.

Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at the continent’s three busiest airports – Paris’s Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt International Airport.

Belgium and Spain raised the alert level on their weather warning systems, while ski resorts closed their slopes and hikers were cautioned to stay home due to falling branches.

In Ireland, 27,000 homes and offices remained without power, while the streets in Galway flooded after tides overwhelmed the city’s sea defenses. London closed its Thames Barrier, one of the largest such barricades in the world, to protect the city from the rising water.

Later on Wednesday Eleanor, the fourth major storm to hit Europe since December, descended onto the French island of Corsica, with gusts expected to reach up to 125 mph (200 kph).


Macron Ideas ‘An Excellent Basis for Discussion’

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger, 64, says in an interview with DER SPIEGEL that a United States of Europe is a worthwhile goal. He urges Germany to take French Prime Minister Macron’s proposals seriously — and to form a government as soon as possible

January 3, 2018

by Peter Müller


DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Oettinger, the head of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in Germany, Martin Schulz, has said that he would like to see the European Union transformed into the United States of Europe. Even though you are a member of the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), it is a goal that you, as Germany’s representative on the European Commission, have a great deal of sympathy for, is it not?

Oettinger: The term is certainly not objectionable. Plus, Martin Schulz didn’t invent it himself. Konrad Adenauer also spoke of the United States of Europe as did, much earlier, Victor Hugo. What they meant is more relevant than ever: There are challenges that we Europeans can only meet together — controlling migration, for example, and making research more effective, and our militaries. To put it in the language of business, in the competition with the Pentagon and Silicon Valley on the one hand and China on the other, only Europe in its entirety has the necessary operational size.

DER SPIEGEL: The problem, though, is that the EU is currently far from being able to agree on common goals. On the contrary, divisions seem to be growing. Recently, the Commission even took the step of initiating rule-of-law proceedings against Poland.

Oettinger: The risk of division exists, but it was greater one year ago. As bad as Brexit is, it has brought Europeans together to a certain degree.

DER SPIEGEL: Why is the Commission going after Poland while at the same time Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is fawning over Austria’s new chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, in Brussels even though Kurz has formed a government with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ)?

Oettinger: Austria’s new government has earned a chance. There is nothing in their coalition agreement that is inconsistent with European law and the rule of law. Plus, the Austrian president has a vigilant eye on the new government. And you can be sure that we too will keep close watch on the work done by the FPÖ ministers in Vienna and particularly in Brussels.

DER SPIEGEL: Kurz, though, has already said that he agrees with the Polish government’s rejection of certain EU decisions, such as the quota for the redistribution of refugees. What is your response?

Oettinger: Europe is an extremely attractive continent in an extremely unstable neighborhood. The consequences are born by countries like Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Malta and Cyprus, in particular. As such, solidarity would dictate that we assist them. The quota remains a correct instrument to fairly distribute the challenges we face.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you think it would make sense to force countries like Poland or Hungary to accept refugees and adhere to rule-of-law principles by cutting the funding they receive from the EU?

Oettinger: The question has indeed been raised. In early January, I will discuss the issue with experts and with my Commission counterparts. I don’t want to take a position prior to those discussions, but it seems clear to me that the EU’s Regional Development Fund, for example, works better if recipients adhere to the rule of law.

DER SPIEGEL: The Catalonians have also complained that Brussels is applying double standards. Whereas the Commission is moving decisively when it comes to Poland, it has stayed away from the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona. Shouldn’t the EU position itself as an intermediary in the standoff?

Oettinger: We are counting on the Spanish prime minister being skillful enough to restart talks with Barcelona after the election. From the German perspective, I can only suggest from a position of humility that Spain take a closer look at governing systems in Europe where regions have their own constitutions and a significant degree of autonomy — on issues such as the budget, for example, or the judiciary or education.

DER SPIEGEL: You envision Catalonia becoming something like a state on the German model?

Oettinger: Germany and Austria have had positive experiences with strong states and a cooperative democracy. I am certain that this example could be helpful in a constructive debate on the Catalonian situation.

DER SPIEGEL: Given the problems facing the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambition to modernize the bloc is refreshing. How great are his chances for success when it comes to, for example, reforming the eurozone?

Oettinger: A eurozone budget, one perhaps including several percent of gross social product, is not something I believe is realistic. But that shouldn’t be the extent of our answer to Macron. The completion of the economic and currency union is an urgent task that we should complete before European elections in spring 2019. The proposals made by the Commission and by Macron provide an excellent basis for discussion. My request to Berlin is to avoid tearing each individual proposal to shreds, but to work with them.DER SPIEGEL: The problem, though, is that Germany doesn’t currently possess a government with the authority to participate in such far-reaching reforms. Do you think the CDU should form a minority government in the interest of the European Union?

Oettinger: There are a few minority governments in Europe, but I think the largest member state would be well-advised to establish a government that can rely on a clear parliamentary majority. Think about EU summits. If the chancellor were forced to obtain support from parliament for each and every detail, it would slow the work of the EU.

DER SPIEGEL: Will the decision regarding Germany’s next representative on the European Commission be part of the coalition negotiations?

Oettinger: The mandate of the current Commission extends to the middle of 2019. As such, I don’t believe it is necessary to address the question at this time.

DER SPIEGEL: Are you available for an additional term on the Commission?

Oettinger: I plan to fulfill my mandate to the end and, in particular, to finalize the budget for the coming years. After that, however, I plan to move into the private sector.


Major flaw in millions of Intel chips revealed

January 3, 2018

by Jane Wakefield

BBC News

A serious flaw in the design of Intel’s chips will require Microsoft, Linux and Apple to update operating systems for computers around the world.

Intel has not yet released the details of the vulnerability, but it is believed to affect chips in millions of computers from the last decade.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it was aware of the issue and that patches were being produced.

Some experts said a software fix could slow down computers.

“We are aware of reports about a potential flaw affecting some computer processors. At this stage there is no evidence of any malicious exploitation and patches are being produced for the major platforms,” the NCSC said in a statement.

“The NCSC advises that all organisations and home users continue to protect their systems from threats by installing patches as soon as they become available.”

The bug could allow malicious programs to read the contents of the so-called kernel memory of computers, which can include passwords and login keys.

It is also likely to affect major cloud computing platforms such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google, according to The Register, which broke news of the flaw.

The effects of the updates to Linux and Windows could incur a performance slowdown of between five and 30 percent, experts said. It would involve separating the so-called kernel memory from other processes.

Shares in Intel were down almost 6% in US trading after the issue was revealed.

Experts advised caution on the issue.

“It is significant but whether it will be exploited widely is another matter,” said Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey.

“The actual flaw is being rather tightly kept under wraps but from what researchers have gleaned themselves, it’s all to do with a flaw in the way certain Intel CPUs address certain types of memory.

“If it is really bad then it may allow an exploit to read parts of the computer memory that should never be reached.”

Intel did not respond to requests for comment.

Semi-conductor chips are found in many of the world’s computers. Rival AMD told The Register that its chips were not affected.


In the Bones of a Buried Child, Signs of a Massive Human Migration to the Americas

January 3, 2018

by Carl Zimmer

The New York Times

The girl was just six weeks old when she died. Her body was buried on a bed of antler points and red ocher, and she lay undisturbed for 11,500 years.

Archaeologists discovered her in an ancient burial pit in Alaska in 2010, and on Wednesday an international team of scientists reported they had retrieved the child’s genome from her remains. The second-oldest human genome ever found in North America, it sheds new light on how people — among them the ancestors of living Native Americans — first arrived in the Western Hemisphere.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, shows that the child belonged to a hitherto unknown human lineage, a group that split off from other Native Americans just after — or perhaps just before — they arrived in North America.

“It’s the earliest branch in the Americas that we know of so far,” said Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, a co-author of the new study. As far as he and other scientists can tell, these early settlers endured for thousands of years before disappearing.

The study strongly supports the idea that the Americas were settled by migrants from Siberia, and experts hailed the genetic evidence as a milestone. “There has never been any ancient Native American DNA like it before,” said David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study.

The girl’s remains were unearthed at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in the Tanana River Valley in central Alaska. Ben A. Potter, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska, discovered the site in 2006.

It was apparently home to short-lived settlements that appeared and disappeared over thousands of years. Every now and then, people arrived to build tent-like structures, fish for salmon, and hunt for hare and other small game.

In 2010, Dr. Potter and his colleagues discovered human bones at Upward Sun River. Atop a hearth dating back 11,500 years were the cremated bones of a 3-year-old child. Digging into the hearth itself, archaeologists discovered the remains of two infants.

The two infants were given names: the baby girl is Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay (“sunrise girl-child,” in Middle Tanana, the dialect of the local community), and the remains of the other infant, or perhaps a fetus, is Yełkaanenh T’eede Gaay (“dawn twilight girl-child”).

The Healy Lake Village Council and the Tanana Chiefs Conference agreed to let scientists search the remains for genetic material. Eventually, they discovered mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mother to child, suggesting each had different mothers. Moreover, each infant had a type of mitochondrial DNA found also in living Native Americans.

That finding prompted Dr. Potter and his colleagues begin a more ambitious search. They began collaborating with Dr. Willerslev, whose team of geneticists has built an impressive record of recovering DNA from ancient Native American bones.

Among them are the 12,700-year-old Anzick Child, the oldest genome ever found in the Americas, and the Kennewick Man, a 8,500-year-old skeleton discovered in a river bank in Washington State. Questions over his lineage provoked a decade-long legal dispute between scientists, Native American tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Living Native Americans descend from two major ancestral groups. The northern branch includes a number of communities in Canada, such as the Athabascans, along with some tribes in the United States like the Navajo and Apache.

The southern branch includes the other tribes in the United States, as well as all indigenous people in Central America and South America. Both the Anzick Child and Kennewick Man belonged to the southern branch, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues have found.

So he was eager to see how the people of Upward Sun River might be related. But the remains found there represented a huge scientific challenge.

The search for DNA in the cremated bones ended in failure, and Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues managed to retrieve only fragments from the remains of Yełkaanenh T’eede Gaay, the youngest of the infants.

But the researchers had better luck with Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay. Eventually, they managed to put together an accurate reconstruction of her entire genome. To analyze it, Dr. Willerslev and Dr. Potter collaborated with a number of geneticists and anthropologists.

Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay, they discovered, was more closely related to living Native Americans than to any other living people or to DNA extracted from other extinct lineages. But she belonged to neither the northern or southern branch of Native Americans.

Instead, Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay was part of a previously unknown population that diverged genetically from the ancestors of Native Americans about 20,000 years ago, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues concluded. They now call these people Ancient Beringians.

Beringia refers to Alaska and the eastern tip of Siberia, and to the land bridge that joined them during the last ice age. Appearing and disappearing over the eons, it has long been suspected as the route that humans took from Asia to the Western Hemisphere.

There has been little archaeological evidence, however, perhaps because early coastal settlements were submerged by rising seas. Thanks to her unique position in the Native American family tree, Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay has given scientists a clear idea how this enormous step in human history may have happened.

Her ancestors — and those of all Native Americans — started out in Asia and share a distant ancestry with Chinese people. In the new study, the scientists estimate those two lineages split about 36,000 years ago.

The population that would give rise to Native Americans originated somewhere in northeast Siberia, Dr. Willerslev believes. Archaeological evidence suggests they may have hunted for woolly rhino and other big game that ranged over the grasslands.

“It wasn’t such a bad place as we kind of imagine it or as we see it today,” he said. In fact, Siberia appears to have attracted a lot of genetically distinct peoples, and they interbred widely until about 25,000 years ago, the researchers determined.

About a third of living Native American DNA can be traced to a vanished people known as the ancient north Eurasians, known only from a genome recovered from the 24,000-year-old skeleton of a boy.

But the flow of genes from other Asian populations dried up about 25,000 years ago, and the ancestors of Native Americans became genetically isolated. About 20,000 years ago, the new analysis finds, these people began dividing into genetically distinct groups.

First to split off were the Ancient Beringians, the people from whom Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay descended. About 4,000 years later, the scientists estimate, the northern and southern branches of the Native American tree split.

According to Ripan Malhi, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois and a co-author of the new study, these genetic results support a theory of human migration called the Beringian Standstill model.

Based on previous genetic studies, Dr. Malhi has argued that the ancestors of Native Americans did not rush across Beringia and disperse across the Americas. Instead, they lingered there for thousands of years, their genes acquiring increasingly distinctive variations.

But while the new study concludes early Native Americans were isolated for thousands of years, as Dr. Malhi had predicted, it doesn’t pinpoint where.

“The genetics aren’t giving us locations, with the exception of a few anchor points,” said Dr. Potter.

Indeed, while the co-authors of the new study agree on the genetic findings, they disagree on the events that led to them.

“Most likely, people were in Alaska by 20,000 years ago, at least,” said Dr. Willerslev. He speculated that the northern and southern branches split afterward, about 15,700 years ago as the ancestors of Native Americans expanded out of Alaska, settling on land exposed by retreating glaciers.

Dr. Potter, however, argues that the lineage that led to Native Americans started splitting into three main branches while still in Siberia, long before reaching Alaska.

Pointing to the lack of archaeological sites in Beringia from 20,000 years ago, he believes it was too difficult for people to move there from Asia at that time. “That split took place in Asia somewhere — somewhere not in America,” Dr. Potter said.

If he is right, the mysterious earliest settlers of this hemisphere didn’t arrive in a single migration. Instead, the Ancient Beringians and the ancestors of the tribes we know today took separate journeys. “Even if there was a single founding population, there were two migrations,” he said.

But these scenarios all depend on timing estimated from changes in DNA, which “can be very sensitive to errors in the data,” Dr. Reich cautioned. More tests are required to be confident that the Ancient Beringians actually split from other Native Americans 20,000 years ago, he said.

And while the new study reveals the existence of the Ancient Beringians, it doesn’t tell scientists much about their ultimate fate.

But knives and other tools found at the Upward Sun River site belong to a tradition, called the Denali Complex, that endured until at least 7,000 years ago. The people made those tools elsewhere in central Alaska may have been Ancient Beringians.

If so, they survived for nearly 13,000 years after splitting from the ancestors of other Native Americans. “The archaeology fits with them lasting for quite long,” said Dr. Potter.

The Native Americans who today live around the Upward Sun River site belong to the northern branch of the genetic family. The new study indicates that their ancestors returned north at some point to Alaska, perhaps replacing or absorbing the Ancient Beringians.

If the latter, and if geneticists are able to sequence more DNA from northern branch tribes, then they may stumble across living proof of an ancient North American people that no one knew existed.

“My answer to the question, ‘What happened to the Ancient Beringians?’ is: ‘We don’t know,’” said Dr. Potter. “And I like that answer.”


A few hundred bitcoin whales can send cryptocurrency market crashing down

January 3, 2018


Bitcoin investors definitely have reason to worry, as nearly 40 percent of all bitcoins are in the hands of just 1,000 investors. Together, they can tank or prop up the market with a click of a mouse.

Holders of significant amounts of bitcoin, known as whales, may want to sell about half of their digital funds, according to the former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management Aaron Brown, as quoted by Bloomberg

I think there are a few hundred guys. They all probably can call each other, and they probably have,” managing partner at Multicoin Capital Kyle Samani told the agency.

When it comes to bitcoin, sharing of information is absolutely legal, as the absence of control over digital assets allows participants not to be accused of bid rigging. Until bitcoin gets a status of a security, there are no bans against a trade where groups agree to purchase large amounts to push the price up and then sell out in minutes, according to Gary Ross, a securities lawyer at Ross & Shulga.

Regulators across the world have been too slow to keep up with virtual currencies trading. If bitcoin were correctly regulated, such moves as artificial boosting of the price and going online to spread rumors could count as fraud. A major Las Vegas bitcoin exchange Bittrex has recently warned its users about manipulating prices by making so-called pump groups. The exchange pledged to block the accounts of those banded together to push up prices.

At the same time, different digital currencies might be regulated differently. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), some cryptocurrencies may count as fiat currencies due to their structure and the way investors expect to earn money from them.

“I suspect that is likely true, and people should be able to do whatever they want with their own money. I’ve personally never had time for things like that though,” an early bitcoin investor Roger Ver told Bloomberg when asked about probable group manipulations.

“As in any asset class, large individual holders and large institutional holders can and do collude to manipulate price. In cryptocurrency, such manipulation is extreme because of the youth of these markets and the speculative nature of the assets,” the agency quotes co-founder of BlockTower Capital Ari Paul, as saying.

Samani reportedly tracks trading activities of big holders. Bitcoin transactions are made to be anonymous, but all of them are associated with a coded address, which can be tracked by anyone. The manager says that he calls the likely sellers and gets information on the motives that triggered the sales, as well as their plans on potential trading.

“Investors are generally more forthcoming with other investors,” he said, stressing that big firms could buy holdings from each other directly without going into the open market, which means that those deals don’t have an impact on prices.

However, ordinary investors, who comprise the vast majority of bitcoin users, don’t have any chance to get information of that kind, staying in the complete dark on the whales’ plans and motives.

“There’s no transparency to speak of in this market. In the securities business, everything that’s material has to be disclosed. In the virtual currency world, it’s very difficult to figure out what’s going on,” said Martin Mushkin, a lawyer who focuses on bitcoin.

Ordinary investors buying smaller amounts of virtual tokens are in the worst position, as bitcoin has the least concentrated ownership among cryptocurrencies people invest in, according to Spencer Bogart, managing director and head of research at Blockchain Capital.

According to a co-founder of crypto hedge fund Tetras Capital, Alex Sunnarborg, the top 100 addresses control 17.3 percent of all the issued currency, 40 percent of ethereum supply and over 90 percent of such coins as Gnosis, Qtum, and Storj, with most significant owners working in teams running these projects.

Opinions on whether the whales will sell their holdings and crash the market or will keep them to earn more have split with some analysts saying the situation is completely similar in traditional markets.

“A good comparison is to early-stage equity. Similar to those equity deals, often the founders and a handful of investors will own the majority of the asset,” Bloomberg quotes BlockTower’s Paul as quoted.

Others think the whales will not drop their assets due to the long-term potential of digital currencies. “I believe that it’s common sense that these whales that own so much bitcoin and bitcoin cash, they don’t want to destroy either one,” said cryptocurrency trader Sebastian Kinsman.


Stasi files: scanner struggles to stitch together surveillance state scraps

Machine tasked with digitally reassembling torn-up East German secret police documents runs into trouble

January 3, 2018

by Philip Oltermann in Berlin

The Guardian

The world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle may have to be solved by hand, as technology struggles to piece together millions of Stasi files ripped to shreds in the dying days of the East German regime.

The government-funded Stasi records agency confirmed this week that it had had to halt an €8m (£7m) project to digitally reassemble the contents of 23 bags stuffed with torn-up documents detailing the activity of the secret police, because the scanning hardware it was using was not advanced enough.

Over the 40-year existence of communist East Germany, the state security ministry built one of the most tightly knit surveillance states in recent history. The Stasi, short for the Ministry for State Security, created a vast web of full-time agents and part-time snoops, with some historians calculating that there was one informant per 6.5 citizens.

After German reunification in 1990 an archive was set up to allow the system’s victims to access their records, but not before stacks of paperwork were shredded or ripped up by hand to cover up the regime’s activity.

While there are no official figures on the volume of destroyed records, researchers estimate that 10-40% of the archive’s contents may be lost to history.

Since the early 1990s workers employed by the agency have managed to piece together more than 1.5m pages of destroyed files by hand, shedding light on East Germany’s use of doping in sports, links between the Stasi and West Germany’s Red Army Faction terrorist group, and the persecution of writers critical of the regime.

The reassembled files brought to light the story of a young Austrian theology student who shopped several fellow students to the Stasi after they had confided in him their plan to escape across to the west. As a reward, the informant was handed a professorship at the University of Jena.

Until 2015, the Stasi records agency outsourced some of the manual puzzling work to the federal refugee agency in Bavaria.

But workers have struggled with files that were torn up more than four times. “Once you have nine snippets per A4 sheet of paper, the human brain really can’t keep up,” said Dagmar Hovestädt, the spokesperson for the Stasi records agency.

A so-called ePuzzler, working with an algorithm developed by the Fraunhofer Institute and costing about €8m of federal funds, has managed to digitally reassemble about 91,000 pages since 2013. However, it has recently run into trouble.

For the last two years, the Stasi records agency has been waiting for engineers to develop more advanced hardware that can scan in smaller snippets, some of which are only the size of a fingernail.

The ePuzzler works by matching up types of paper stock, typewriter fonts, or the outline of the torn-up page. It has struggled with handwritten files that were folded before being torn, leaving several snippets with near-identical outlines.

The ePuzzler has also required human assistance to feed in paper snippets and check over the completed jigsaw puzzle, further slowing down the process.

“We currently don’t have a scanner that we can work with,” said Hovestädt, adding that her agency was hopeful that technological progress would allow the archive to resume reassembling destroyed records this year.

The Stasi records agency said its attempt to virtually piece together the history of a surveillance state was without a precedent in the world. “We are dealing with a research project that requires us to develop a technology entirely from scratch.”

In the meantime, a small team of manual puzzlers continue their work of matching up more crudely ripped files by hand.


The Henri Robinson case

January 3, 2018

by Christian Jürs

This study deals primarily with Soviet spies and sources in England, both prior to and during the Second World War. To understand the structure of this system, it is also necessary to study the various individuals involved in it at the British level, as well as their function in the overall spy network. Rather than attempt to impress the reader by an amplitude of trivia, heavily footnoted, so beloved of academic writers, it might be better to begin with the career of Henry Robinson and indicate how he fit into the overall picture.

Although the names of his top sources are known from his files, the precise structure of his nets in England is not. This is because of what is called the “cell system” which consists of many small groups of active agents, none of whom know anything about other cells, and in many cases, do not even know who is in their own cell.

The leaders of these cells were, and are professional agents, but many of the members were, and are generally fuzzy-minded idealists, or greedy bureaucrats who worked for Russia out of political conviction or for money.

Henry Robinson, or Henri Robinsohn, was a Jew born of Russian and Polish parents in Frankfurt, Germany on May 8, 1897. Like all communist agents, Robinson used so many aliases that it has been very difficult, although not impossible, to construct an accurate picture of his activities. He also gave Brussels as a place of birth, used the names of Henri Baumann, Albert Bucher, Otto Wehrli, Harry Leon, Alfred Duyen, Alfred and Harry Merian, and used the code names of Giacomo, Andre, Merian, Lucien and Leo.

He is described as being about 165cm (5 feet 8 inches) in height with a dark complexion, black hair that was gray around the edges, and wore gold-framed glasses on a large nose. He was very quiet and pleasant in his manner and was always well dressed, preferring to appear like a middle-class businessman.

During the First World War, the 20-year-old Robinson went to Switzerland to study and became associated with the German communist, Willi Münzenberg, and later, with the Swiss communist, Jules Humbert-Droz. After the war, Robinson, a member of the International Communist Youth movement, worked in the Ruhr and was in charge of the Soviet Political-Military apparatus in that area. He was a member of the KPD or German Communist Party and traveled to Moscow on a number of occasions. He was also a member of the Comintern. Robinson worked under Osip Piatnisky, head of the Comintern in a department called Otdel Mezhdunaarodnoi Svyazi or OMS, which stood for International Liasion Department. In 1929, Robinson controlled Soviet intelligence in France and in 1930, headed Soviet Army intelligence, Section IV, in France, and worked with other Soviet spy rings in France, Switzerland and England.

In 1936, Robinson, working through the office of the Soviet Military attaché in Paris, ran the main Soviet spy networks in both England and France. In 1940, Robinson became involved with another Soviet spy ring run by Leopold Trepper. Trepper was a Polish Jew, born near Zakopane on February 23, 1904, engaged in communist activity while at the University of Cracow and eventually fled to Palestine in 1926, where he became a Zionist. Disliking the dry, hot desert climate of that country, Trepper joined the Comintern, another name for Soviet Intelligence and was sent to France in 1930.

When the French police broke up his espionage ring in 1932, Trepper escaped to Berlin and from there was sent to Moscow where he underwent a course of extensive training in espionage. Trepper was fluent in Polish, German, French and Russian and in 1940 was made head of Soviet espionage in France, becoming Robinson’s immediate superior.

When the Gestapo broke up the Rote Kapelle Soviet spy ring in 1942, Trepper was captured and immediately gave up his entire network to the Germans. On December 24, 1942, Robinson was arrested in Paris by the Gestapo. After being questioned extensively in France, he was taken to Berlin in early 1943, where he was lodged in a special cell at Gestapo headquarters on Prinz Albrecht Street and questioned again, this time with greater skill, by Gestapo head Heinrich Müller, who told Robinson that unless he cooperated fully with him, he would have Robinson shot. Müller had arrested Klara Schabbel, an old-time Spartacist member, Robinson’s mistress and the mother of their son, Leo.

Using the family connections in conjunction with the depressing information that Trepper had betrayed the entire organization, the Gestapo easily able to persuade Robinson to cooperate with him in exchange for his life. Robinson was duly tried by a military court, sentenced to death and then taken over by the Gestapo as one of its more important turncoats. Klara Schabbel, who had nothing to offer, was executed on August 5, 1943, but their son survived the war according to postwar records.

Robinson revealed that all of his records were hidden in his Paris apartment under the floorboards, and a special team of Gestapo agents tore the room to pieces before discovering the cache. It contained lists of names of Robinson’s agents in France, England and Switzerland, plus many copies of radio messages sent and received. The lists of names were sent directly to Berlin and some of the radio messages ended up in the hands of German Army Abwehr specialists, where they were recovered by Allied intelligence agents after the war.

A very intense search for Robinison’s British agent file, a search that bordered on the frantic, was conducted by British intelligence in Berlin after the war. Aside from the Abwehr papers, nothing was found and it was devoutly hoped that the Soviets had found the files in Gestapo headquarters when they overran Berlin in 1945.

Although British intelligence has delighted in depicting itself in glowing terms in postwar publications, it was generally rather inept when compared with its opposite numbers in Russia. The benefit of self-adulation is that flattery can be laid on as thick as possible and in just the right places.

Soviet, and later Russian Republic, intelligence was and is very effective. Their agents, sub-agents and willing sources had penetrated every walk of military, technical and industrial life in Weimar Germany, and they had equal success in the United States where Franklin Roosevelt, recognizing the effectiveness of the controlled communist voting blocs in his country, permitted known Soviet agents access to every level of his administration and official bureaucracy.

The penetration of England was somewhat more difficult, but it was aided by two factors. From its position as the most powerful empire in the world, England had lost much of her wealth and importance after the First World War. The economic crash of the early 30s, coupled with the growth of Fascism in both Italy and Germany, made many Englishmen, even prominent ones, fearful of another war that could prove even more disastrous than the last one.

Many who aided Robinson, did so out of a fear and dislike of Hitler and Mussolini, and others were blackmailed or bribed into rendering assistance to the Soviet apparatus. Young British intellectuals of the twenties and thirties became enamored with Marxist utopianism and joined the ranks of the New Jerusalem.

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