TBR News July 26, 2010

Jul 26 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 26, 2010: “Ah, the media, the bureaucracy and the constant manipulations of the public are so entertaining, and predictable.

For years, we have been subjected to the bleatings of the liberal left that the planet is undergoing Global Warming because of mankind’s cruelty and stupidity and that a return to the fictitious but luring McGuffy Reader Days is strongly advocated.

What we are now experiencing is global weather change, not global warming.

Legitimate scientists, not the fake ones used by bloggers, are aware of the changes but no one knows just why these changes are occurring. Neither do any of the real experts know the duration of these changes.

What is known is that glaciers all across the world, i.e. France, Switzerland, the Himalayas, the immense ice sheets covering Greenland and the Antarctic, the Andes glaciers and on and on, are all melting very rapidly.

The resulting melt water has to go somewhere and the somewhere is the ocean.

The levels of the ocean do not all rise at the same time and what one hears is that “There was a pretty high tide over on the coast last night…freak weather…” and then the tide goes out and all appears to be normal again…for a time.

There is no mystery here about the coming inundated areas…a simple look at a topographic map will show what a sea level rise would cover…but the question is not what but when.

What now passes for “freak high tides” and “unexpected storm damage” to coastal areas will soon enough be discussed in a very reluctant press as ’sea level rises.”

Why ‘reluctant?”

Because of the catastrophic dislocation to plant and population on our east coast, no one wants to be ‘alarmist” so by the time it becomes apparent to everyone that there is a serious problem, real estate along the coast will be totally unsalable and uninsurable.

“Not on my shift!” is the cry here and like the looming mortgage disaster, let it happen later when we are out of office and living elsewhere.

The conspiracy idiots will for a certainly begin a series of their usual loony rants about “Tesla rays melting the ice!!!” and other silly crap but I note that it is the deplorable tendency for our intelligence agencies and the public to study what was rather than what will be.

They all belong to the Order of St. Precedent whose watchword is “Look Backwards” and whose oft expressed hope is “That Which Has Not Been, Cannot Be!”


One of the reasons why my talents are often in demand outside the country is that in this country, St. Precedent rules.

For example, the Russians are going to reoccupy the Ukraine. Bank on it. The great Sebastopol naval base that the Bush people so coveted is slipping away from them, the CIA’s failed ‘Orange Revolution” aside.

No one in our terribly overrated intelligence agencies is interested in hearing this because they are far too busy crawling around on all fours, examining ant dung.

And as a current example of lies and mendacity, we see in the news that “shocking” and “terrible” highly classified documents about Afghanistan have been “revealed” to the public. What we really have here is a strong desire on the part of the Obama administration to exit from a very unwinnable war, a war started by the evil George Bush.

If Obama unilaterally announced a withdrawal, the hyenas of the far right would jump up and down, yapping and snapping and demanding his lynching  so the bank shot they are developing is to let a front agency “reveal” material that will justify a withdrawal on the one hand and a real crackdown on anyone daring to pilfer and release any classified information on the other.

I gave up long ago giving advice to the deaf and, especially, the dumb.

The MERS Propagandists Are On The Loose
July 23, 2010

The following was posted on Mortgage News Daily’s Voice of Housing Blog by former Ginnie Mae CEO Joe Murin.

The housing crisis has revealed many things about our finance system. It lacked proper oversight, auditability, transparency, and incentives to do the right thing by borrowers and investors. My partners and I often refer to these calamitous times simply as the battle between – “victims and villains” – those who took advantage of the system and those who were taken advantage of by it.

MERS is emerging as a convenient and misunderstood target for pundits and politicos that appear to view this organization as fitting the profile of a “villain”.

First, let me answer the question: What is MERS?

The mortgage industry (the MBA, GSEs, and largest originators and loan servicers) created MERSCORP, Inc. to more easily identify and track individual mortgage loans and the information related to those loans, including the servicer and investor.

The MERS® System is a national electronic registry that tracks the changes in servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in mortgage loans. The MERS® System tracks mortgage loan information by use of a unique 18-digit Mortgage Identification Number—or “MIN” as it is called—which is registered on the MERS® System. MERSCORP, Inc. is  the parent company of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., a corporation whose sole purpose is to be the mortgagee of record and nominee for the beneficial owner of the mortgage loan.

Because the MERS® System was developed using open, non-propriety standards and technology, it has been incorporated into virtually all of the mortgage industry’s loan origination, servicing, and loan delivery software. Nearly every major originator, servicer and investor in residential mortgage finance is a member of MERS and is electronically connected to this unique system. Since 1997, more than 63 million home loans have been assigned a MIN and have been registered on MERS®.  Today, more than 60 percent of all newly originated mortgage loans, including those from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, all major conduits and state housing authorities, have a MIN.

In summary, MERS is a nearly universally adopted industry utility that keeps track of who owns and services your mortgage. By making MERS the “mortgagee of record” loans can be bought and sold more easily which creates a more liquid and tradeable market for mortgage assets, which should reduce costs to borrowers. Lenders pay a one time “registration fee” to MERS for this service…

Why does “MERS” appear on many mortgages?

Residential mortgage loans typically consist of two elements: 1) a note between the lender and the borrower that sets forth the terms of the loan and establishes the obligation to repay the loan to purchase a property; and 2) a security instrument which depending on the state may be called a “mortgage” or “deed of trust.”

The security instrument is recorded in the county land records telling the world that there is a lien on the borrower’s property. This lien allows the property to be foreclosed upon and sold if the borrower defaults on their obligation to repay the promissory note.

The homebuyer at the closing table signs the security instrument (“mortgage” or “deed of trust”). By signing this document, the lender and the borrower agree to appoint Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as nominee for the lender and the lender’s successors. By doing so, the borrower grants the mortgage lien on the property to MERS, and the security instrument is recorded in the county land records. As long as the sale of Note involves a member of MERS, MERS remains the mortgagee of record, and continues to act as a nominee for the new Note-holder.

Myth#1: MERS is paid by servicers to foreclose on homeowners that can’t make their payments.

Reality: Anything that MERS does beyond its core business of registering and tracking mortgage loans is a net cost to them. As the mortgagee of record, they have traditionally been responsible (though not financially incented) to carry out foreclosure actions on behalf of the lender when the music stopped playing or paying.

Certified Lies: Big Brother In Your Browser

Government capable of wiretapping millions of encrypted sessions, including those secured by IE, Microsoft’s SSL, others.
July 23, 2010–
by Ms. Smith

You probably feel safe when you see the padlock on your browser window indicating secure communication with your bank or e-mail account. You probably think your users are safe if they are accessing your network over your SSL VPN. What if instead of worrying about man-in-the-middle attacks, it became government-spy-in-the-middle eavesdropping? Is Big Brother spying on you? Before I’m done showing you these surveillance products, you will probably be ticked for both security and privacy reasons. *Note and hint that the country information (“US”) shown by the browsers refers to the corporation that obtained the certificate (Bank of America), not the location of the Certificate Authority (CA).

The Extended Validation Certificates (EV) produces the green bar in most modern browsers. In a purely hypothetical example, the U.S. government can force a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to give them a publicly trusted certification for www.amazon.com. They then poison your DNS and route your traffic for www.amazon.com to a site they own that has the fake certification installed. Your browser then gives you that pretty green bar or little lock and you think everything is cool, safe and secure. Or… they can put a device between you and your target and then perform SSL interception.

Two researchers, Chris Soghoian and Sid Stamm reported on an industry claim that governments could get “court orders” giving them access to falsified cryptographic credentials (spy certs). If National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is implemented, the threat seems to intensify if the government itself is running the PKI.

What this means is that an eavesdropper who can obtain fake certificates from any CA can successfully impersonate every encrypted website you might visit. And you have no way of knowing that you haven’t landed on the authentic, actual site. Most browsers silently accept new certificates from any valid authority, even sites for which certificates have already been obtained. An eavesdropper with fake certificates and access to a target’s net connection can quietly negotiate a “man-in-the-middle” (MITM) attack, observing and recording all encrypted web traffic while the user is clueless that it’s happening.

Are there really eavesdroppers out there — spies or law enforcement agencies using spy certificates to intercept encrypted web traffic? Are there really wiretapping conventions for eavesdroppers? Oh yes, the next is in October 2010, but IIS World Americas is open only to “law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security analysts and telecom operators responsible for lawful interception, electronic investigations and network intelligence.” There are many vendors of products that assist the government in spying, but the HACKING TEAM and Packet Forensics are two that should send an eerie eavesdropping chill up your spine.

Here’s an FYI about the HACKING TEAM:

Remote Control System V6 (RCS) is a premier, integrated, multi-OS platform for remotely attacking, infecting and controlling target computers and mobile phones. RCS FULLY SUPPORTS XP, Vista, 7, MacOS, iPhone and Symbian – It is INVISIBLE to most protection systems available in the market – It is a PROVEN technology: it is being used by Agencies worldwide since 2003 – Target monitoring includes Skype, chat, mail, web, removable media, encrypted communications, PGP, GSM-cell GEO-tracking, GPS GEO-tracking, voice calls, etc.

Let’s focus on Packet Forensics for now. Packet Forensics offers a 5-series device that is a 4 square inch “turnkey intercept solution” surveillance product, “using `man-in-the-middle’ to intercept TLS or SSL.” It’s marketed and sold to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the US and foreign countries, designed to collect encrypted SSL traffic based on forged “look-alike” certificates obtained from cooperative CA. In the image, please note the parenthesis around (potentially by court order) as if it is not entirely important…

According to the Packet Forensics flyer: “Packet Forensics’ devices are designed to be inserted-into and removed-from busy networks without causing any noticeable interruption [. . . ] This allows you to conditionally intercept web, e-mail, VoIP and other traffic at-will, even while it remains protected inside an encrypted tunnel on the wire [. . . ] To use our product in this scenario, [government] users have the ability to import a copy of any legitimate key they obtain (potentially by court order) or they can generate `look-alike’ keys designed to give the subject a false sense of confidence in its authenticity [. . . ] Your investigative staff will collect its best evidence while users are lulled into a false sense of security afforded by web, e-mail or VOIP encryption [. . . ] In under five minutes, they can be configured and installed [. . . ] they’re disposable — that means less risk to [government] personnel.”

Microsoft’s documentation shows that it has adopted a more cautious approach in trusting CAs than its competitors; a fresh installation of Windows 7 will list 15 CAs in the operating system’s Trusted Root Store. Sadly, however, this interface is terribly misleading as it doesn’t reveal the fact that Microsoft has opted to trust 264 different CAs. This means any web browser that depends upon Microsoft’s Trusted Root Store (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari for Windows) ultimately trusts 264 different CAs to issue certificates without warning. Firefox is the only major browser to maintain its own database of trusted CAs. Each of the 264 root CAs trusted by Microsoft, the 166 root CAs trusted by Apple, and the 144 root CAs trusted by Firefox are capable of issuing certificates for any website, in any country or top level domain. You don’t think the government will use their own CA which could be tracked back to them if discovered, do you?

To be fair, however, all encrypted streams that travel over the Internet are susceptible to government spying, not just those that use Microsoft technology.

How does this affect you? Many information-hungry governments routinely compel companies to assist them with surveillance. ISPs and telecommunications carriers are frequently required to violate their customers’ privacy by providing the government with email communications, telephone calls, search engine records, financial transactions and geo-location information. A few examples of this electronic surveillance by law enforcement include: a consumer electronics company that was forced to remotely enable the microphones in a suspect’s car dashboard GPS navigation unit in order to covertly record their conversations, as well as a secure email provider that was required to place a covert back door in its product in order to steal users’ encryption keys. And who can forget the NSA’s wiretapping?

In regard to Packet Forensics and Big Brother in your browser, EFF’s Senior Staff Technologist Seth Schoen advises, “HTTPS Everywhere does not address this threat. We have been doing other research to try to investigate this concern. There are several Firefox plugins that try to use information other than CA-issued certificates to validate web sites’ keys — for instance, Perspectives, Monkeysphere, CertPatrol, and Petnames. The general problem is that right now these approaches sometimes call for considerably more effort on the part of the user. Under certain assumptions, this might be unavoidable.”

Schoen has written more about these issues, including, Behind the Padlock Icon: Certificate Authorities’ Mysterious Role in Internet Security.

Researchers, Chris Soghoian and Sid Stamm, are working on a Firefox plugin. Until then, I’m using Certificate Patrol to help detect a MITM attack.

Electronic surveillance is happening all around you, all the time, and perhaps to you. If surveillance devices like Packet Forensics is around for law enforcement and national intelligence agencies, then you can be sure that cyber-criminals are using them too. I would have said these devices are used by bad guys and good guys, but if The Law is spying on you then it’s hard for me to call them “the good guys.”

According to Cisco, there are 35 billion devices connected to the Internet. How many of those are being eavesdropped upon? Next time you see the padlock on your browser, will you still feel like your important communications are secure? Do you feel like your privacy is truly private?

Hacker arrested for spying on schoolgirls via their own webcams

July 17, 2010
The Local

A man has been arrested for spying on more than 150 girls in their bedrooms by hacking into their computers and using their webcams to watch them, provoking warnings that others will be doing the same thing. The hacker, from the Rhineland area, is suspected of having infected computers with a program enabling him to manipulate webcams, a spokesman for the Aachen state prosecutor confirmed on Friday.

Thomas Floß from the association of data protection advisors, discovered the case, according to a report in the Westfalenblatt newspaper. He often visits schools to talk with children about data protection and sensible behaviour on the internet.

His presentation includes a video showing how children can be spied on via their webcam.

“I want to show how dangerous webcams are,” he said. “I became suspicious when from February, increasing numbers of girls expressed the suspicion this was happening to them.”

Two girls told him the little lights on their webcams were not going out when they had finished using them. On examining one of the computers Floß discovered a so-called Trojan computer program which was being used to control the equipment, and which had been spread via the chat service ICQ.

The hacker had allegedly broken into the chat service account of one schoolgirl, and used it to choose which others he wanted to spy upon, and send the Trojan to their computers.

He was traced to the Aachen region and arrested – when police officers arrived at his home they found several live feeds to bedroom cameras running on his computer, the Westfalenblatt reported.

Floß said he believed many more people were doing the same thing. “I have visited 50 to 60 schools, and every time at least one schoolgirl tells me they have such a problem [with webcams not switching off],” he said.

He told the paper one should be careful to note whether a computer continues to run when it is no longer being used.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Pentagon workers tied to child porn
Security agencies were left at risk, investigators say

July 23, 2010
by Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators have identified several dozen Pentagon officials and contractors with high-level security clearances who allegedly purchased and downloaded child pornography, including an undisclosed number who used their government computers to obtain the illegal material, according to investigative reports.

The investigations have included employees of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — which deal with some of the most sensitive work in intelligence and defense — among other organizations within the Defense Department.

The number of offenders is a small percentage of the thousands of people working for sensitive Pentagon-related agencies. But the fact that offenders include people with access to government secrets puts national security agencies “at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations,’’ according to one report by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service from late 2009.

Some of the individuals have been prosecuted and other cases have been dropped, while more have languished several years without resolution, according to the previously undisclosed documents about the investigations.

The more than 50 pages, compiled by the investigative service, part of the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s Office, contain summaries of investigations initiated since 2002, including some cases that remain open.

The uneven discipline reflects difficulties in bringing prosecutions, according to specialists. The evidentiary standards are high for prosecution in child pornography cases, according to child welfare specialists, including positively identifying victims as underage or known victims of abuse. In others, evidence was lost or misplaced and investigators said they lacked sufficient resources to complete all of them.

Gary Comerford, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Inspector General, said the agency takes such cases very seriously but said he could not comment on individual investigations.

Many of those apprehended were swept up in a much broader probe initiated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in 2006. Operation Flicker identified an estimated 5,000 people who had paid money over the Internet to access websites operated overseas. But until now, it has not been disclosed that a sizable number of cases were referred to the Defense Department for investigation because they involved military personnel, intelligence officials, or defense contractors.

The investigative documents were provided to the Globe by a government official after they were approved for public release.

The exact numbers of cases involving Defense Department personnel were not contained in the reports and officials at DCIS could not immediately provide statistics. But the official reports indicate that more than 30 government employees were investigated.

Purchasing child pornography is a crime; accessing it on a government computer is also a violation of laws governing the misuse of government property.

At least two of the cases were contractors with top secret clearances at the National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on foreign communications, according to the documents. When one of the contractors was indicted two years ago, he fled the country and is believed to be hiding in Libya, according to a summary of the investigation from last year. The other was sentenced in 2008 to more than five years in prison and lifetime probation.

A separate case involves a contractor working at the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites. The individual admitted in 2008 when he was being interviewed to renew his security clearance that he viewed child pornography at least twice a week on his home computer.

As of December, the individual had been transferred to an agency field office in New Mexico and had not been charged. A National Reconnaissance Office spokesman, Rick Oborn, said he was aware of a few cases of agency employees accessing such images but could not immediately say whether the particular contractor was still working for the organization.

Specialists in child protection expressed alarm at the revelations, but said it was not that surprising to find even officials in sensitive government positions engaging in such activity.

“Some are in high-ranking positions, in positions of trust,’’ said John Sheehan, executive director of the exploited child division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which has been consulted on many of these cases and has reviewed 36 million images of alleged child pornography since 2002 at the request of law enforcement agencies. “There isn’t a profile or stereotype, which makes it even more challenging for law enforcement.’’

The Pentagon’s investigation reports show that personnel found frequenting the illegal websites worked at a variety of Pentagon installations.

Thirteen suspects were identified in California, including individuals who worked at some of the most sensitive military installations on the West Coast. One was a contractor at Edwards Air Force Base, where weapons testing is conducted, while another worked at the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake.

Their positions gave the cases priority at the immigration and customs agency that first uncovered them, according to the reports, “because the subjects are DoD employees who possess security clearances.’’

A large amount of pornography was found on the office computer of a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, (DARPA) including images that appeared to be of children. DARPA is responsible for developing some of the military’s most secret weapons and technologies. Charges were not pursued because there were no images of known victims of abuse, something that is routinely needed to bring charges, the case summary said.

A DARPA spokesman, Eric Mazzacone, declined to comment.

Other agencies where personnel were investigated are blacked out in the documents because their jobs were so highly sensitive, including a case from 2007 in which a national security official had 93 documents, 8,400 pictures, and 200 movies “that were evidence of receipt of child pornography.’’ The individual was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of supervised release.

Others have not led to criminal prosecutions, such as the 2007 case involving an employee at the Defense Contract Management Agency in Hartford who had about 40 images believed to constitute child pornography on a government-issued computer. The individual was not prosecuted because the ages of the individuals depicted in the images could not be determined or positively identified as known child victims, according to the reports.

Another case opened in August 2007 involving a Defense Department contractor was closed “due to a lack of resources,’’ a November 2009 report from Pentagon criminal investigators said.

The case was referred back to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com.

Slaying the US intelligence behemoth

July 24, 2010
by Philip Smucker
Asia Times

WASHINGTON – Most of the United States is still suffering through the final stages of a cataclysmic economic decline, but not so my home town of Alexandria, Virginia, nestled along the banks of the Potomac River, a silver dollar’s toss away from the white marble statues of our founding fathers.

Recession – what recession? The military intelligence complex is thriving like never before as has been well described through the dog-days of July in the pages of the Washington Post.

A series of investigative reports in the Post have exposed the bloated beast of United States intelligence as is rarely done in the home of “Beltway bandits” and revolving door contracts.

It was the former US speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, who said that “all politics is local”. You would think that – a decade into this “war on terror” – that the US would have learned by now that all war and peace are also local. Al-Qaeda and other global jihadis are tapping into a broad audience of 1.2 billion Muslims, always looking to turn a few more in their favor.

Meanwhile, Washington concentrates its dollars on feeding a voracious beast with no brains.

There is an essential disconnect at work: Islamic perceptions are not understood to be “hard intelligence”. The US is still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – or to apply conventional intelligence to an asymmetrical world.

So the beat goes on. This city relies on its big brains and intelligence re-spun from high-tech devices and analyzed, sliced and diced by “experts” in blue suits and pink ties. The mountain of dubious intelligence that this behemoth produces in one day buries the good work of even the best and brightest Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) linguists secretly ensconced in foreign cultures abroad.

Apart from its lack of focus, there are other troubles with the convoluted system. The Post points out that it includes “too many people obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest”. The paper calculated that 854,000 persons are keepers of “top-secret” clearances and that 265,000 of these are contractors.

If there is a single profession that requires dedication and loyalty above all others, it is the work of intelligence gathering. But it has been outsourced.

In Washington, Maryland and Virginia, “loyalty” is bought in cash or in kind. As the Post also points out, “Because competition among firms for people with security clearances is so great, corporations offer such perks as BMWs and $15,000 signing bonuses.”

An existing “TS” or “top secret” security clearance can bring a $50,000 bonus to a so-called “body shop” that provides the US government with a flesh and blood human who has passed the test. (Of course, it was Uncle Sam who paid for the clearance in the first place.)

Washington’s intelligence-gatherers do important work. They spy on the bad guys and think of better ways to kill them. They also advise America’s top brass and plan for futuristic wars in different galaxies.

In many cases, these intelligence-gatherers will have come from the same offices a year earlier and will then work at double the pay to sport a fresh blue suit rather than a grungy green one.

Even as the Post’s investigative stories get digested over fillet mignon and washed down with sparkling water and French Champagne this summer, there are the standard calls to kill the bottomless gusher of money spewing forth across the land.

But the Washington establishment can rest assured that any effort to put the bloated intelligence genie back in the bottle won’t ever come to much – at least not in anyone’s lifetime.

Ever since George Washington warned that, “Over-grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty,” vows to curtail military excess have gone largely unheeded in the city of his namesake. (Certainly, it won’t be former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s “tea party” that changes the course of recent history.)

One source studying al-Qaeda’s leadership explained to the Post how a new Washington intelligence “study” gets started.

She said, “It’s about how many studies you can orchestrate, how many people you can fly all over the place. Everybody’s just on a spending spree. We don’t need all these people doing all this stuff.”

Of course not! But if Washington stopped paying these “experts” to defend America, maybe it would have to deploy an army of gumshoe detectives across the globe to discover how to better defend the woeful public. The “intelligence” that they returned with might mean that Washington would have to suffer through the economic hard times along with everyone else in the nation.

And while American’s defense requires peace – to achieve that peace the US actually would need to persuade Muslims the world over that it has their best interests in mind.

That is, unfortunately, largely a matter of foreign policy, not “intelligence”. While travelling in the Islamic realm for my book, My Brother, My Enemy, the key issues that tend to radicalize young Muslims to take up arms against my own country became rather obvious.

These views spring from a series of key questions that linger like the smoke in a cafe full of Egyptian hookahs (water pipes): Why are American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why is there no peace deal in Israel and Palestine? Does President Barack Obama really want to use his brains and muscle (spelled “leverage”) to stamp out a lasting two-state peace deal? And why in the world is Osama bin Laden still running around the mountains of Pakistan?

These questions burn for answers, but young Muslims do not have them. In fact, they don’t even have many clues. As long as they remain open quandaries, al-Qaeda will fill the air with conspiracy theories. Its goal is to convince as many new recruits as possible that the US would like nothing better than to permanently “occupy” the Islamic world with its own troops and with its “proxies”.

At this stage, some readers will blame Muslims for being suckers for conspiracy theories. It is worth remembering, however, that here in the United States there are at least as many bizarre theories about how the World Trade Center crashed to the ground in September 2001 and why Bin Laden is still at large as there are across the Islamic world.

In any case, let us consider the logic of how a young Muslim male or female might conclude from the facts on the ground that America is out to get them. The two “occupations” that concern them the most are America’s in South Asia and Israel’s in the West Bank.

These occupations were motivated by apparently unrelated events that unfolded at different times in history.

Seen through the rose-tinted lenses of Washington, these are not occupations at all. We still think that president Woodrow Wilson set the course of modern American foreign policy by opposing – at least in words – colonial designs. And unless anything has changed – which it clearly has not – Washington still stands for freedom, democracy and an end to all oppression.

To his credit, Obama is trying to pick up where his predecessor George W Bush dropped the ball. He has expressed abhorrence for pre-emptive war. He also wants to finish the job in Afghanistan – clean out the rat’s nest as it were – and pressure Israel – at least a little bit – to end its occupation of the West Bank.

To this end, an army of “intelligence” experts is backing General David Petraeus as he pushes ahead with a counter-insurgency strategy that includes the implicit promise not to occupy Afghanistan. (Ironically, good counter-insurgency requires far less “American intelligence” and far more “Afghan intelligence” in the form of tip-offs from villagers and locals.)

It should not be hard to understand, however, that the Afghan population, which is the key to success, remains skeptical of American intentions. The war on their own soil is now the longest in America’s history. This is thanks in good part to the “intelligence” errors that led to a bungled invasion of Mesopotamia.

Yet it is the other key occupation in the Islamic world that forever mires America’s effort to be seen for what most of its citizen’s would rather be: a peacemaker and an advocate of democracy.

Since 1967, there has been talk about ending Israel’s occupation in the West Bank. Yet few Muslims I spoke to in my travels believe anymore that a peace deal is likely or even possible. They don’t need to read or listen to Jewish author Akiva Eldar’s excellent explanation in Lords of the Land about the Israel Defense Forces’ intimate ties with the Israeli settlement movement to be convinced of this.

They already have their own sources of information. Unfortunately, these include radical Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who told me in an interview for my book that “without resisting the occupiers, the occupation, the occupier himself will never be convinced that he has to leave”.

While Washington has convinced itself that it is facing an “offensive” jihad from across the Islamic world, that same “jihad” is usually viewed as a defensive one by the young Muslims susceptible to Hamas’ manipulations. There is an even worse bit of loose intelligence just hanging out there waiting to be seized upon, however.

Israel’s “occupation” in the Holy Land is conflated in the minds of Muslims with the idea of American military “occupation” in South Asia and beyond. Al-Qaeda’s propaganda geniuses – as opposed to “intelligence experts” – have crafted their own stealthy recruitment campaigns to incorporate these views. Their simple and direct message: “America and Israel want you under their boot.”

A handful of leaders at the Pentagon and within Obama’s national-security apparatus already know this. Petraeus testified before the US Senate in March after his Central Command submitted a detailed 56-page “Posture Statement”, that said, “The [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel.” The statement further added, “Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

It is hard to argue with perceptions, though, particularly when you are so busy lavishing billions on brain power inside the Beltway. As sure as George Washington never tossed a silver dollar across the Potomac, that won’t change anytime soon.

Philip Smucker is the author of the just-released My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas across the Islamic World. (Prometheus, July, 2010.) His previous book was Al-Qaeda’s Great Escape. (Potomac, 2004.) His short HD videos that accompany the book are available on www.philipsmucker.com.

Judge Rules Procedures at Tamms Supermax Violate Constitution

July 21, 2010
by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway
Solitary Watch

A federal judge yesterday ruled that current procedures for sending prisoners to the Tamms Correctional Center in southern Illinois–and keeping them there indefinitely–is in violation of the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution, which guarantees due process of law. The judge ordered that significant changes be made at the notorious state supermax.

George Pawlaczyk, whose award-winning coverage last year exposed abuses at Tamms, reports in the Belleville News-Democrat:

A federal judge has ruled that even inmates termed the “worst of the worst” by state prison system officials have a constitutional right to a hearing before they are sent to what many consider the harshest prison in Illinois — the solitary-only Tamms Correctional Center.

U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy, sitting in federal court in East St. Louis, has ruled that all inmates transferred to Tamms, the state’s only supermax prison, must be given a swift hearing and told why they are being sent to the lockup, where most prisoners spend 23 hours a day in their cells and are let out only to walk alone in a steel cage.

And all inmates currently at the prison must be given the same type of hearing, which must allow them an opportunity to challenge their transfer. Tamms inmates also must be given 48 hours notice of the hearing after being sent to Tamms, so that they can have an opportunity to prepare to challenge their transfer.

The decision follows a ten-year legal effort by the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago, which brought suit on behalf of several dozen Tamms prisoners, and a trial in federal court that ended last December. Pawlaczyk quotes Uptown’s Legal Director Alan S. Mills, who called the judge’s ruling a “significant victory”:

“Everybody who has been sent there (Tamms) up until now, have had their constitutional rights violated and has a right to a hearing, a new hearing, to see whether or not they should have ever been sent there in the first place,” said Mills…

Mills said that inmates can now challenge prison system claims that they violated disciplinary rules at other prisons or any administration claim that warrants being sent to Tamms. And they can require prison officials to state a reason for transfer. They also may challenge department claims that they are members of a gang and that is why they were sent to the lockup.

“Many of these inmates have never been told why they were sent to Tamms,” Mills said. He said these inmates include one plaintiff in the lawsuit who had been at Tamms since it opened more than 12 years ago but was never told why.

Murphy also ordered that inmates who have been at Tamms the longest, and many have been there for more than 10 years, will be placed at the head of the list for the hearings. The judge’s order noted that some inmates were not told why they were sent to Tamms until years later…

Judge Murphy made clear that his ruling “is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the 14th Amendment due process rights of IDOC [Illinois Department of Corrections] inmates placed at Tamms, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the federal rights of such inmates.” He stated that “the supermax prison at Tamms is clean, excellently administered, and well staffed.” This despite the fact that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have challenged conditions at Tamms, as has a local activist group, Tamms Year Ten.

New attention was focused on the prison last year, after reporting by George Pawlaczyk and Beth Hundsdorfer found nightmarish conditions at Tamms, which is in many cases used as a de facto asylum for prisoners suffering from serious mental illness. [You can read the original series here.] As Pawlaczyk wrote yesterday:

The treatment of Tamms inmates, especially those who were mentally ill, was the subject of a News-Democrat investigative series in August titled “Trapped in Tamms,” which was followed by more than a dozen follow-up stories. The articles challenged the prison system’s claims that Tamms inmates were the worst of the worst, and reported that more than half of the inmate population had not committed any new crimes since entering prison.

The newspaper reported that many mentally ill inmates were sent to Tamms after throwing urine and feces at guards, assaults that are often handled administratively at other prisons. This behavior, according to mental health experts who study incarceration, can often be a sign of mental illness made worse by solitary confinement.

It remains to be seen how much the new ruling will help such inmates. The court stated that during the newly mandated hearings, prison officials can consider ”the safety and security of the facility, the public, or any person, [and] an inmate’s disciplinary and behavioral history,” in deciding whether an inmate needs to be held at Tamms. Clearly, an inmate’s “behavioral history” can be affected by untreated mental illness.

However, the prisoners in Tamms have more going for them that many of the of other 25,000-odd inmates held in U.S. supermax prisons: They have local muckraking journalists to expose their living conditions; local and international human rights groups taking up their cause; and excellent pro bono legal representation from the Uptown People’s Law Center. All of these watchdogs will, no doubt, be waiting to see what happens at Tamms when the judge’s order goes into effect.

The COIN Myth: Searching for Human Intelligence
by Jeff Huber
AT Largely

It is noted that two key requirements of our counterinsurgency doctrine – a legitimate host-nation government and a competent, trustworthy host-nation security force – will never be accomplished in Iraq or Afghanistan. Part II will illustrate the lack of reliable intelligence in our woebegone wars.

The counterintelligence field manual that Gen. David Petraeus supposedly wrote but really didn’t says, “Counterinsurgency (COIN) is an intelligence-driven endeavor.” That’s bad news for us, because our intelligence systems in both Iraq and Afghanistan can best be described as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. meets Inspector Clouseau.

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) recently published a report titled Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan. The authors, who include Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan, tell us that the intelligence apparatus in Afghanistan “is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate in.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, says, “Our senior leaders – the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of defense, Congress, the president of the United States – are not getting the right information to make decisions with.”

As tragic as the incident was, one can’t help but view the suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA agents and wounded six others on Dec. 30 as a prime example of what Flynn and McChrystal are talking about. It’s been amusing listening to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough echo the latest spin from his “inside sources” at the CIA’s excuse division, inside sources who have been telling the open media the same fables they’ve been telling Joe.

It’s what they always feared, Joe says, a double agent gaining their trust and turning on them, but the narrative of the bombing changes as fast as the reasons we invaded Iraq changed during the Bush administration.

It’s not entirely clear who the bomber, a Jordanian named Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, was actually working for, or if he was a double agent or a triple agent or a quadruple agent or just somebody who got mad at the Americans.

When the story broke, al-Balawi was an Afghan National Army soldier who walked into a gym facility and triggered his bomb, and the Taliban were the culprits behind the plot (the Taliban took credit for the bombing).

By Jan. 4, unnamed “Western intelligence officials” had told NBC that al-Balawi was a Jordanian doctor who had been a double agent for al-Qaeda. On Jan. 5, the Associated Press reported that unnamed “terrorism officials” said al-Balawi was a “suspected Jordanian double agent.”

Al-Balawi was a known al-Qaeda sympathizer who had posted numerous posts on the Web that supported the terror group, the terrorism officials said. So the Jordanians slapped the cuffs on the good doctor and locked him up, then coerced him into helping them and their CIA buddies to capture or kill Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man. Jordan had gotten thick with the CIA by torturing prisoners the agency had rendered into their country illegally. Now Jordanian intelligence is trying to wash its hands of the whole affair, mainly, one imagines, because al-Balawi also managed to kill his Jordanian handler Ali bin Zaid, a member of Jordan’s royal family who Jordanian intelligence claimed was involved in “humanitarian work.”

One of the CIA agents killed was said to be one of the agency’s most knowledgeable experts on al-Qaeda. You’d think an al-Qaeda expert would have known al-Balawi was an open al-Qaeda sympathizer and would have insisted that he be searched upon entering the compound regardless of what a super guy the Jordanians said he was. But no.

The Keystone Kops factor in the narrative continued to snowball. On Jan. 7, Rupert Murdoch’s Times of London reported that unnamed “U.S. intelligence officials” believed the bombing was planned by Osama bin Laden’s “inner circle.”

Then, lo and behold, a posthumous video showed up on Jan. 9 in which al-Balawi said the bombing was revenge for the Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in August in a CIA drone attack. In the video, al-Balawi is sitting with Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, Mehsud’s successor.

CIA director Leon Panetta has rejected charges that the bombing deaths were the result of poor tradecraft, but CIA veterans disagree. One former field officer said of the incident, “Is it bad tradecraft? Of course.”

“The tradecraft that was developed over many years is passé,” says another veteran CIA field officer. “Now it’s a military tempo where you don’t have time for validating and vetting sources. … The espionage part has become almost quaint.”

We hear from various voices in the warmongery that the bombing proves how much the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda are in cahoots, but all it proves is that we don’t have a clue what’s going on in that region and that we probably never will find truly reliable human intelligence (HUMINT) sources in that part of the world. You can count the number of people who both speak the local languages and can pass a background security check on the fingers and toes of a rattlesnake.

Lack of good HUMINT isn’t the only thing that has our intelligence agencies stymied. Spy drones flying over Afghanistan are providing more raw video information than we can keep up with. According to the New York Times, a group of “young analysts” stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and elsewhere watch every second of the live footage, but only a small fraction of the archived video has been retrieved for further analysis. The Air Force plans to add 2,500 new analysts to help handle the volume of data. One has to wonder where the Air Force plans to find 2,500 trained imagery analysts and how young they will be.

I’m willing to concede that the CIA and the rest of our intelligence apparatus in Af-Pak seem like bumblers only because their task is an impossible one. But that only serves to point out that the overall mission – counterinsurgency – is being doctrinally driven by something that’s impossible to achieve, thereby making the counterinsurgency itself a mission impossible.

Newspaper Chain’s New Business Plan: Copyright Suits

July 22, 2010
by David Kravets

Steve Gibson has a plan to save the media world’s financial crisis — and it’s not the iPad.

Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission. And he says he’s making money.

“We believe it’s the best solution out there,” Gibson says. “Media companies’ assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues.”

Gibson’s vision is to monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client’s articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act — up to $150,000 for a single infringement — to compel quick settlements. Since Righthaven’s formation in March, the company has filed at least 80 federal lawsuits against website operators and individual bloggers who’ve re-posted articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, his first client.

Now he’s talking expansion. The Review-Journal’s publisher, Stephens Media in Las Vegas, runs over 70 other newspapers in nine states, and Gibson says he already has an agreement to expand his practice to cover those properties. (Stephens Media declined comment, and referred inquiries to Gibson.) Hundreds of lawsuits, he says, are already in the works by year’s end. “We perceive there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there,” he says.

Righthaven’s lawsuits come on the heels of similar campaigns targeting music and movie infringers. The Recording Industry Association of America sued about 20,000 thousand file sharers over five years, before recently winding down its campaign. And a coalition of independent film producers called the U.S. Copyright Group was formed this year, already unleashing as many as 20,000 federal lawsuits against BitTorrent users accused of unlawfully sharing movies.

The RIAA’s lawsuits weren’t a money maker, though — the record labels spent $64 million in legal costs, and recovered only $1.3 million in damages and settlements. The independent film producers say they nonetheless expect to turn a profit from their lawsuits.

“People are settling with us,” says Thomas Dunlap, the head lawyer of the Copyright Group’s litigation. The out-of-court settlements, the number of which he declined to divulge, are ranging in value from $1,500 to $3,500 — about the price it would cost defendants to retain a lawyer. The RIAA’s settlements, which it collected in nearly every case, were for roughly the same amounts.

But experts say that settling the Righthaven cases, many of which target bloggers or aggregation sites, might not be as easy. The RIAA lawsuits often accused peer-to-peer users of sharing dozens of music files, meaning the risk of going to trial was financially huge for the defendants.

The same is true of the BitTorrent lawsuits. The movie file sharers are accused of leeching and seeding bits of movie files, contributing to the widespread and unauthorized distribution of independent movies such as Hurt Locker, Cry of the Wolf and others.

But each of the Righthaven suits charge one, or a handful, of infringements. Defendants might be less willing to settle a lawsuit stemming from their posting of a single news article, despite the Copyright Act’s whopping damages. “You’d have to go after a lot of people for a relatively small amount of money,” says Jonathan Band, a Washington, D.C. copyright lawyer. “That is a riskier proposition.”

Gibson claims Righthaven has already settled several lawsuits, the bulk of which are being chronicled by the Las Vegas Sun, for undisclosed sums.

One defendant who is ready to settle is Fred Bouzek, a Virginia man who runs bikernews.net, a user-generated site about hardcore biker news. He was sued last week on allegations the site ran a Las Vegas Review-Journal story about police going under cover with the Hell’s Angels.

Even if he had grounds to fight the case, he says it would be cheaper to settle. “The only choice I have is to try to raise money and offer a settlement,” he says.

Irvine of Phoenix says he is fighting infringement allegations targeting AboveTopSecret.com, the site he controls under The Above Network. The site is accused of infringing a Review-Journal article on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The site is a user-generated discussion on “conspiracies, UFO’s, paranormal, secret societies, political scandals, new world order, terrorism, and dozens of related topics” and gets about 5 million hits monthly, Irvine says.

Righthaven, he says, should have sent him a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, because the article was posted by a user, not the site itself.

“In this case, we feel this suit does not have merit,” he says. “We are confident we will have success challenging it.”

Gibson says he’s just getting started. Righthaven has other media clients that he won’t name until the lawsuits start rolling out, he says.

“Frankly, I think we’re having tremendous success at a number of levels,” Gibson says. “We file new complaints every day.”

Comment: I think most of us know that the American print media is dying. Most people now get their news from the Internet. Besides, with a growing awareness that the media is controlled and that they only print the news they are told to, it will be surprising if anything but local rags will be wasting newsprint in the next six years or so.

Those who compile stories from various news sources ought to realize that in the very remote chance they are threatened with lawsuits that there is a way to publish anything you like, regardless of whatever any newspaper, magazine or quondam pervert dislikes.

It is a rather simple act to rewrite articles and credit them to yourself. I mean, if you snag an article from the East St. Louis Crackhouse Gazett e and reprint it, you advertise the rag to the public so why not just rewrite? Also, one is permitted to make brief  quotes from articles without violating any copyright law.

Then, if some chubby neuter sues you in court, you will have the clear-cut grounds to countersue it for malicious prosecution. And you can add all of his co-workers, friends and relatives as co-defendantsto your suit  as well. Imagine the huge fees they will have to pay to attorneys and the rage they will feel towards someone who dragged them into a never-ending cycle of discovery issues, depositions and so on.

Lawsuite can be so much fun, especially if you are judgment-proof and the other side is not.

The copyright laws are regularly being violated in the music industry, on pirated movies and so on and certainly all the blogs are reprinting what they want but who ever reads the “Las Vegas Review-Journal”? That’s a bit like saying the “Dallas Chicken Plucker’s Compendium” contains really interesting information.

Or, if one were malicious, one could write a story that sounded like it came from the Weekly Reader, about the weird 9/11 myths and legends and then publicaly credit it to some obscure but hyper-sensitive rag.

Just imagine how the editorial staff at the ‘CessPit News’ from Bad Seepage, Ohio would feel to see their expiring rag credited with a story about a man who invented a douche powder and gargle formula or a ranbling, illiterate  story claiming that the Loch Ness monster had surfaced in Lake Erie and eaten an excursion boat filled with a Special Olympics volleyball team.

Here, the permutations are endless. As Pascal said, if you wish to destroy a man, make a fool out of him. On the other hand, how can you do this if God has beaten you to it?

Yes, various firms now  sue anyone and everyone in sight and there are also similar types of individuals who break into nursing homes and rape old ladies.

There is a certain similarity here after all.

In the trade, they are called “bottom feeders” and “ambulance chasers” but we like “violators of deceased prostitutes” much better. Far more accurate and to the point!.

And why not publish the home addresses and other interesting., but legal, information on such types? Unless someone lives in a cave, his home address is not difficult to obtain, unlisted phone numbers or drop addresses included.

And if this brings howls of rage, always be polite and tell them that if they will be good enough to  bend over, you will be more than happy to drive them home!

Those who sup with the Devil need very long spoons. Germar Rudolf

North Korea threatens “sacred war” on US and South Korea
July 24, 2010

SEOUL, July 24 – North Korea said on Saturday it would begin a “sacred war” against the United States and South Korea at “any time necessary” based on its nuclear deterrent, in response to “reckless” military exercises by the allies.

North Korea has driven tensions on the Korean peninsula to new heights after the South accused the North of sinking one of its warships in March, killing 46, and took steps to boost its defence including military drills with the US.

Pyongyang customarily voiced shrill anger in the past when the allies conducted exercises, but US officials said further provocations were possible, especially as the North tried to build political momentum for succession of power to Kim Jong-il’s son.

US and South Korean militaries begin large-scale naval and aerial drills on Sunday with a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier taking part. They have additional exercises planned in August.

“The army and people of the DPRK will start a retaliatory sacred war of their own style based on nuclear deterrent any time necessary in order to counter the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war,” the North’s National Defence Commission said.

DPRK is short for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“All these war manoeuvres are nothing but outright provocations aimed to stifle the DPRK by force of arms to all intents and purposes,” the commission said in a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency.

It again denied that the country was behind the sinking of South Korea’s corvette Cheonan, and said the planned military drills were “as reckless an act as waking up a sleeping tiger”.

Washington brushed off the latest threat and said it had no interest in getting into a war of words. “What we need from North Korea is fewer provocative words and more constructive action,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

The North escaped rebuke by the UN Security Council, which condemned the attack in a statement early in July without directly blaming the Pyongyang government.

An official speaking on the sidelines of a multilateral Asian forum in Vietnam last week said the US-South Korean drills also violated the spirit of the UN statement, which called for dialogue to ease tensions.

North Korea has called for the resumption of six-party nuclear disarmament talks that it had boycotted since late 2008, a move analysts said was an attempt to put the Cheonan incident behind and win lucrative aid through a deal with the South, the United States, Japan, Russia and China.

North Korea again on Saturday said that it was prepared to engage in talks with regional powers and take strong physical actions against any sanctions.

“If the US puts sword to us, we will put sword to them, which is how we counteract. We are ready for both talks and wars. We are not the one who would be surprised by military threats or sanctions,” North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The United States and South Korea have rejected the call and said Pyongyang must first prove that it is genuinely interested in change by first apologising for sinking the Cheonan.

Following talks in Seoul on Wednesday, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced fresh sanctions on North Korea aimed at freezing its assets earned from illicit activities including arms trade and cut off the flow of cash to its leaders.
© Reuters

The Conversations with the Crow

When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

Crowley did not listen to them and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:


Here is the seventeenth chapter:

Conversation No. 17
Date: Monday, June 24, 1996
Commenced: 11:24 AM CST
Concluded: 12: 05 PM CST

GD: Good morning, Robert. I just got back from a business trip. What’s new inside the Beltway?

RTC: I missed your daily chats, Gregory. How was your trip?

GD: St. Petersburg was great. Moscow is improving from the old days but expensive as hell and getting to be a Western-style mess. Still, I got to tour the older parts of the Kremlin and look at some of the stock in the military museum there.  Money is necessary to live but collectables are far more interesting. Great art collections in St. Petersburg. Our St. Petersburg is full of ancient retired Jews, hoping the hot sun will extend their petty lives instead of giving them skin cancer.

RTC: Back to your cheerful self, I see. Did you have any trouble going through Immigration? You are on the watch list, you know.

GD: I know. No, I flew with a friend who has a private plane. I never go through the lines getting back. I sent Tom Kimmel a nice postcard from Moscow and put my prints all over the thing. I hope it distracts him.

RTC: What a terrible thing to do, Gregory. They will spend a week testing the card and once they decide it was authentic, they will get our Moscow…I assume you sent it from Moscow…people to check hotel rosters. If they find you, then they’ll check the Immigration records to see when you arrived back here. If they don’t find you and they know you’re back…

GD: Oh, I called Kimmel to cinch this up. He hadn’t gotten my card yet so I told him all about the joys of Moscow. Of course, he probably didn’t believe me but when he gets that card, my I will have so much fun.

RTC: And expect a smarmy call from him asking you about your plane trip. Oh, and what airline did you take? Oh, and where did you land, coming back? My, they have so little imagination, don’t they?

GD: No brains, either. That’s what comes from marrying your sister.

RTC: Gregory, how rude. Can’t you show some class? You know they’re trying to quit all that.

GD: (Laughter) Yes.

RTC: Did you know old Hoover was part black?

GD: Besides being queer?

RTC: In addition to that. But I think Hoover was more asexual that homosexual. A really vicious old man. Do you know how he kept from being kicked out by succeeding Presidents? He kept files on everyone of consequence, both in business, the media and, especially, government. The real dirt as it were. And no one, not the President, the Attorney General or Congress to whom he had to go every year to get the yearly appropriations would every dare to cross J. Edgar. Bobby Kennedy crossed him and Bobby was killed for his trouble. No, Hoover was a vicious man. We, on the other hand, use the same methodology but we are far smoother in applying it. We have a strong influence, for want of a better term, with the banking industry. We have the strongest and most effective influence with the print and television media. We have a much stronger hold on the Hill than Hoover ever had. At times, we’ve had iron control over the Oval Office. Hell, the NSA snoops domestically and we get it all. We have a strong in with the telephone people and we don’t need warrants to listen to anybody, domestically, we want, when we want. Now that the internet is in full bloom, trust it, Gregory, that we will establish our own form of control over that. It’s an invisible control and we never, ever talk about it and anyone who gets really close to the truth gets one in the back of the head from a doped-up burglar. And if something gets loose, who will publish it? Surely not our boys in the media.  A book publisher?  A joke, Gregory. Never. Rather than off some snoop, it’s much more subtle to marginalize them in print, imply they are either liars or nuts and make fun of them. Discredit them so no one will listen to them and then later, the car runs over them in the crosswalk. Oh, sorry about that, officer,  but my foot slipped off the brake. I am desolated by that. And we pay for fixing the front end of his car.

GD: Such an insight. Too much coffee, today, Robert?

RTC: No, just an old man and his memories.

GD: How come you never nailed Hoover about the homosexual business?

RTC: We had a working relationship with him, observed, I might add, in the breach more than not. The old faggot put his men in foreign embassies as legates while our men were the USIA.  [1]We tried to take them over but it never worked out. We just made their lives miserable instead..

GD: Question here. Now that Communism is effectively dead in Russia and they are imploding, why go after them? Once the Second World War was over, we made friends with the evil Germans and Japanese and built them up again. Why not work with the non-Communist Russians?

RTC: Oh, that drunk Yeltsin was in our pocket but in the case of the former, we did build up their industries but we also owned them, lock, stock and barrel. Germany and Japan were our puppets but the Russians could never be brought to heel because they were too large and too diverse. Also, take into account that our main thesis at the Company was that the evil Russian Communists had to be stopped lest they take over Nova Scotia and bombard New York. With a decades-long mindset like that, you can’t expect our people to change overnight into actually accepting the Russians. Not likely. And besides, we tried to nail down all their oil and gas but we lost hundreds of millions in the process when they got wise and stopped it. We have to find a new international enemy to scare the shit out of American with; an enemy that only the CIA can save us from. The Jews are screaming about the Arabs, who are natural enemies of the Christians. We could dig up historians who will write about the Crusades and Hollywood people who will make movies about the triumph of Christianity over the Crescent. The Jews are getting too much power these days but remember that the Arabs have all the big oil and we need it. Yes, no doubt a resurrection of the Crusades will be next. Without enemies to protect from, we are of no use. Besides, Arabs are highly emotional and we can easily push them into attacking us, hopefully outside the country. Then, the well-oiled machinery that we have perfected over the years can start up and off we go on another adventure.

GD: My, how Heini Müller would have loved to listen in on this conversation. A thoroughgoing pragmatist and you two would have a wonderful time.

RTC: Remember that he and I had occasion to talk while he was here in Washington. I liked him as a matter of fact.

GD: In spite of the propaganda about the Gestapo in overcoats with dogs dragging screaming Jews into the streets, beating them with whips and driving them, in long parades, into the gas chambers? Of course that was wartime fiction but it got the Jews sympathy.

RTC: :And don’t forget, Gregory, it also got them political power and money. And they love both. I worked with them on a number of occasions and while they are all smart people, I wouldn’t trust one of them to the corner for a pound of soft soap. During the Stalin era, they spied on us for Josef by the carload, stealing everything, worming their way into Roosevelt’s New Deal and high government office and everything they could lay their hands on, went straight to Moscow. Now, it’s the identical situation but the information goes to Tel Aviv.

GD: Stalin hated them. He didn’t trust them.

RTC: Ah, but he did use them to kill people off, didn’t he?

GD: Yes, but when he was done with them, he planned to make the fictive Hitler’s death programs look like a fairy tale. Going to round up all the Jews and dump them into the wilds of a Siberian winter and let God freeze them all.

RTC: Oh, they won’t ever face up to that one, Gregory. No, Communism was wonderful because they used it as a ladder to climb up to where the white man held sway. Truman initially supported their cause until he found out how they were murdering Palestinians to steal their farms so he stopped US support of Israel. And then Israel tried to kill him.

GD: Müller mentioned that.

RTC: But Harry got cold feet after that.

GD: And now they have a place at the white man’s table, don’t they?

RTC: Hell, now they own the table and the restaurant and ten blocks around it. Roosevelt hated them, you know and he and Long kept them out of the country. Roosevelt said they were a pest and we did not want them here. Funny, because long ago, the Roosevelt family was Jewish.

GD: I know. German Jews from the Rhineland. Name was Rosenfeld. Went to Holland after they were run out of Germany and changed the name to a Dutch spelling.

RTC: Yes. I know that. Old Franklin’s second cousin was an Orthodox rabbi as late as 1938. Of course no one ever mentions that just like no one ever talks about Eleanor’s rampant lesbianism. God, what s sewer the White House was then. A veritable racial and ethical trash bin.

GD: Now they’re all dead.

RTC: There should be a way to prevent that sort of thing but of course we were not in existence when Franklin was king. Wouldn’t happen now. I’m afraid that the Jews will dig into the Company the same way they dug into Roosevelt’s bureaucracy and the second time around, we will have a terrible time rooting them all out.

GD: I can see pogroms in Skokie and Miami even as we speak.

RTC: Dream on, my boy, dream on. At any rate, I shall await the demonization of the Arab world. We can send the military into Saudi Arabia on some flimsy pretest, like the demolition of some US Embassy in a very minor state, like Portugal, by positively identified Saudi Arabs and then a new Crusade! Oh, and the precious oil!

GD: And the oil. Remember the Maine, Robert.

RTC: Yes and remember what old Hearst said? ‘ You supply the pictures and I’ll supply the war?” Oh yes and we got Cuba and the Philippines, although why we wanted the latter escapes me. The problem with that country is that it’s full of Filipinos  and monkeys. Of course it’s often hard to differentiate between them but life is never easy. The Navy calls them the niggers of the Orient. I was at Pubic Bay once…

GD: (Laughter) what? You mean Subic Bay, don’t you?

RTC: A service joke. My God, Gregory, every square foot of land for miles around that base was filled with bars and tens of thousands of local prostitutes. ‘Oh you nice American! I love to fuck you! Take me back to America!’ And many of our corn-fed sailors went for the okeydoke and found out what Hell was like once they got Esmiralda back to Iowa. Ah well, thank God I never listened to their whining siren songs.

GD: I would imagine they had more claps than a football crowd….

RTC: (Laughter) My, isn’t it fun being bigots?

GD: I would prefer ‘realistic observers.’ Robert.

RTC: Call it what you will, Gregory, underneath the nice, polished veneer, we are all really cheap plywood.

GD: Hypocrisy is, after all, the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

RTC: Did you go to Harvard, Gregory? Such polished wit.

GD: I know. No, not Harvard. The University of Unfortunate Experiences. I read a good deal, Robert, and I have moved in elegant circles and know just what to say and do at the appropriate time. Good manners are just the polish on the knife blade.

RTC: The University has embittered you, hasn’t it?

GD: Of course. Remember the Canadian counterfeit caper? A good case of embitterment. They stole from me so I returned the favor…in spades if you’ll pardon a rampant, bigoted remark. They stole four dollars and ten cents from me and I responded by stealing over two million dollars from them. In cash and their expenses. Loved every minute of it, too. I don’t think the Canadians expected me to come back and certainly not the way I did.

RTC: I read all about it. You made the press and we took note.

GD: I’m sure you did. Always strike at the weakest spot, unexpectedly and with force. Take them by surprise and then withdraw. They will rush their troops to the point of attack and then you circle around and hit them somewhere else.

RTC: How much did you get away with?

GD: Oh, Robert, such a pointed question. I got my four dollars and ten cents back and it cost them millions in a frantic attempt to stop what they called the efforts of the largest ring in their history. And if I made a profit out of it, why consider Delilah. Didn’t she make a prophet?

RTC: Oh, Gregory, a pun is the lowest form of humor. I should expect better from you.

GD: It would not be a good idea for me to go back to Canada, Robert. They will still be waiting for me. After all, I never used a lubricant. Sometimes, rarely but sometimes, I can sit back and enjoy a good laugh. I have two Canadian two dollar bills and a dime in a nice shadow box along with a newspaper clipping from the Vancouver Sun, next to my desk, It warms me on a cold night.

(Concluded at 12:02 PM CST)

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