TBR News July 27, 2017

Jul 27 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2017:”From the writings of William Shakespeare, we have a text that clearly mirrors the current flooding of fake stories appearing in     government-influenced media and, of course, the loony blogs;


Open your ears; for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?

I, from the orient to the drooping west,

Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold

The acts commenced on this ball of earth:

Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,

The which in every language I pronounce,

Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.

I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world:

And who but Rumour, who but only I,

Make fearful musters and prepared defence,

Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,

Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,

And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe

Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures

And of so easy and so plain a stop

That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

The still-discordant wavering multitude,

Can play upon it.


Henry IV Part II


Table of Contents

  • Burning Raqqa
  • Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century
  • ‘Counter-sanctions possible, trade war between EU & US would be very bad’ – German economy minister
  • Germany wary of US sanctions against Russia
  • What is the status of the Republican’s Obamacare repeal effort?
  • Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting
  • Trump criticism prompts questions over Attorney General’s future
  • How Is Worldwide Sea Level Rise Driven by Melting Arctic Ice?
  • Flying Saucers of the Third Reich


Burning Raqqa

The U.S. War Against Civilians in Syria

July 27, 2017

by Laura Gottesdiener


It was midday on Sunday, May 7th, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family.

They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known as Daesh), Tabqa was also under siege by U.S.-backed troops and being hit by daily artillery fire from U.S. Marines, as well as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. The city, the second largest in Raqqa Province, was home to an airfield and the coveted Tabqa Dam. It was also the last place in the region the U.S.-backed forces needed to take before launching their much-anticipated offensive against the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.

His parents, Muhammed and Salam, had already fled their home once when the building adjacent to their house was bombed, Wassim Abdo told me in a recent interview. ISIS had been arresting civilians from their neighborhood for trying to flee the city. So on that Sunday, the couple was taking shelter on the second floor of a four-story flat along with other family members when a U.S.-led airstrike reportedly struck the front half of the building. Abdo’s sister-in-law Lama fled the structure with her two children and survived. But his parents and 12-year-old cousin were killed, along with dozens of their neighbors, as the concrete collapsed on them.

As an exiled human rights activist, Wassim Abdo only learned of his parents’ death three days later, after Lama called him from the Syrian border town of Kobane, where she and her two children had been transported for medical treatment. Her daughter had been wounded in the bombing and although the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led troops had by then seized control of Tabqa, it was impossible for her daughter to be treated in their hometown, because weeks of U.S.-led coalition bombing had destroyed all the hospitals in the city.

A War Against Civilians

Islamic State fighters have now essentially been defeated in Mosul after a nine-month, U.S.-backed campaign that destroyed significant parts of Iraq’s second largest city, killing up to 40,000 civilians and forcing as many as one million more people from their homes. Now, the United States is focusing its energies — and warplanes — on ISIS-occupied areas of eastern Syria in an offensive dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates.”

The Islamic State’s brutal treatment of civilians in Syria has been well reported and publicized. And according to Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the U.S.-led war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the battle to “liberate” these regions from ISIS is the “most precise campaign in the history of warfare.”

But reports and photographs from Syrian journalists and activists, as well as first-person accounts from those with family members living in areas under U.S. bombardment, detail a strikingly different tale of the American offensive — one that looks a lot less like a battle against the Islamic State and a lot more like a war on civilians.

These human rights groups and local reporters say that, across Syria in recent months, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines have bombed or shelled at least 12 schools, including primary schools and a girls’ high school; a health clinic and an obstetrics hospital; Raqqa’s Science College; residential neighborhoods; bakeries; post offices; a car wash; at least 15 mosques; a cultural center; a gas station; cars carrying civilians to the hospital; a funeral; water tanks; at least 15 bridges; a makeshift refugee camp; the ancient Rafiqah Wall that dates back to the eighth century; and an Internet café in Raqqa, where a Syrian media activist was killed as he was trying to smuggle news out of the besieged city.

The United States is now one of the deadliest warring parties in Syria. In May and June combined, the U.S.-led coalition killed more civilians than the Assad regime, the Russians, or ISIS, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization that has been monitoring the death toll and human rights violations in Syria since 2011.

“This administration wants to achieve a quick victory,” Dr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights recently told me, referring to the Trump White House. “What we are noticing is that the U.S. is targeting and killing without taking into consideration the benefits for the military and the collateral damage for the civilians. This, of course, amounts to war crimes.”

And nowhere is this war against civilians more acute than in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, where trapped families are living under dozens of airstrikes every day.

Hotel of the Revolution

Located at the confluence of the Euphrates and Balikh rivers in northern Syria, Raqqa was first settled more than 5,000 years ago. By the late eighth century, it had grown into an imperial city, filled with orchards, palaces, canals, reception halls, and a hippodrome for horse racing. Its industrial quarters were then known as “the burning Raqqa,” thanks to the flames and thick smoke produced by its glass and ceramic furnaces. The city even served briefly as the capital of the vast Abbasid Empire stretching from North Africa to Central Asia.

Toward the end of the thirteenth century, wars between the Mongol and Mamluk empires annihilated Raqqa and its surrounding countryside. Every single resident of the city was either killed or expelled. According to Hamburg University professor Stefan Heidemann, who has worked on a number of excavations in and around Raqqa, the scorched-earth warfare was so extreme that not a single tree was left standing in the region.

Only in the middle of the twentieth century when irrigation from the Euphrates River allowed Raqqa’s countryside to flourish amid a global cotton boom did the city fully reemerge. In the 1970s, the region’s population again began to swell after then-President Hafez al-Assad — the father of the present Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad — ordered the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates about 30 miles upstream of Raqqa. Wassim Abdo’s father, Muhammed, was an employee at this dam. Like many of these workers and their families, he and Salam lived in Tabqa’s third neighborhood, which was filled with four-story apartment flats built in the 1970s not far from the dam and its power station.

Despite these agricultural and industrial developments, Raqqa remained a small provincial capital. Abdalaziz Alhamza, a cofounder of the watchdog group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which is made up of media activists from Raqqa living in the city as well as in exile, writes that the local news normally didn’t even mention the city in its weather forecasts.

In the mid-2000s, a drought began to wither the local cash crops: cotton, potatoes, rice, and tomatoes. As in other regions of Syria, farmers migrated from the countryside into the city, where overstretched and ill-functioning public services only exacerbated long-simmering dissatisfactions with the Assad regime.

As the 2011 rebellion broke out across Syria, Wassim Abdo and thousands of others in Raqqa, Tabqa, and nearby villages began agitating against the Syrian government, flooding the streets in protest and forming local coordinating councils. The regime slowly lost control of territory across the province. In March 2013, after only a few days of battle, anti-government rebels ousted government troops from the city and declared Raqqa the ​first ​liberated provincial capital​ in all of Syria. The city, then the sixth largest in Syria, became “the hotel of the revolution.”

Within less than a year, however, despite fierce protests and opposition from its residents, ISIS fighters had fully occupied the city and the surrounding countryside. They declared Raqqa the capital of the Islamic State.

Despite the occupation, Wassim’s parents never tried to flee Tabqa because they hoped to reunite with one of their sons, Azad, who had been kidnapped by ISIS fighters in September 2013. In retirement, Muhammed Abdo opened a small electronics store. Salam was a housewife. Like tens of thousands of other civilians, they were living under ISIS occupation in Tabqa when, in the spring of 2017, U.S. Apache helicopters and warplanes first began appearing in the skies above the city. U.S. Marines armed with howitzers were deployed to the region. In late March, American helicopters airlifted hundreds of U.S.-backed troops from the Kurdish-led militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces​ to the banks of the dammed river near the city. Additional forces approached from the east, transported on American speedboats.

By the beginning of May, the Abdos’ neighborhood was under almost daily bombardment by the U.S.-led coalition forces. On May 3rd, coalition warplanes reportedly launched up to 30 airstrikes across Tabqa’s first, second, and third neighborhoods, striking homes and a fruit market and reportedly killing at least six civilians. The following night, another round of coalition airstrikes battered the first and third neighborhoods, reportedly killing at least seven civilians, including women and children. Separate airstrikes that same night near the city’s center reportedly killed another six to 12 civilians.

On May 7th, multiple bombs reportedly dropped by the U.S.-led coalition struck the building where Muhammed and Salam had taken shelter, killing them and their 12-year-old grandson. Three days later, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they had fully seized control of Tabqa and the dam. The militia and its U.S. advisers quickly set their sights east to the upcoming offensive in Raqqa.

But for the Abdo family, the tragedy continued. Muhammed and Salam’s bodies were buried beneath the collapsed apartment building. It took 15 days before Wassim’s brother Rashid could secure the heavy machinery required to extract them.

“Nobody could approach the corpses because of the disfigurement that had occurred and the smell emanating from them as a result of being left under the rubble for such a long period of time in the hot weather,” Wassim told me in a recent interview.

That same day their bodies were finally recovered.  On May 23rd, his parents and nephew were buried in the Tabqa cemetery.

“In Raqqa There Are Many Causes of Death”

A few days after the Abdos’ funeral, the U.S.-led coalition began dropping leaflets over Raqqa instructing civilians to flee the city ahead of the upcoming offensive. According to photos of leaflets published by Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, the warnings read, in part, “This is your last chance… Failing to leave might lead to death.”

ISIS fighters, in turn, prohibited civilians from escaping the city and planted landmines in Raqqa’s outskirts. Nevertheless, on June 5th, dozens of civilians heeded the coalition’s warnings and gathered at a boat stand on the northern banks of the Euphrates, where they waited to be ferried out of the city. Before the war, families had picnicked along this riverbank. Teenagers jumped into the water from Raqqa’s Old Bridge, built in 1942 by British troops. A handful of river front cafés opened for the season.

“The river is the main monument of the city, and for many people there’s a romantic meaning to it,” Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, currently co-writing Brothers of the Gun, a book about life in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, told me.

But on June 5th, as the families were waiting to cross the river to escape the impending U.S.-backed offensive, coalition warplanes launched a barrage of airstrikes targeting the boats, reportedly massacring as many as 21 civilians. The coalition acknowledges launching 35 airstrikes that destroyed 68 boats between June 4th and June 6th, according to the journalistic outlet Airwars. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend later boasted about the tactic, telling the New York Times: “We shoot every boat we find.”

The day after the attack on fleeing civilians at the boat stand, the long-awaited U.S.-backed ground offensive officially began.

After three years of ISIS rule, Raqqa had become one of the most isolated cities in the world. The militants banned residents from having home internet, satellite dishes, or Wi-Fi hotspots. They arrested and killed local reporters and banned outside journalists. On the day U.S.-backed troops launched their ground offensive against the city, ISIS further sought to restrict reporting on conditions there by ordering the imminent shutdown of all Internet cafés.

Despite these restrictions, dozens of Syrian journalists and activists have risked and still risk their lives to smuggle information out of besieged Raqqa — and their efforts are the only reason most Western reporters (including myself) have any information about the war our countries are currently waging there.

Every day, these media activists funnel news out of the city to exiled Syrians running media outlets and human rights organizations. The most famous among these groups has become Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which won the 2015 International Press Freedom Award for its reporting on the ISIS occupation and now publishes hourly updates on the U.S.-backed offensive. All this news is then compiled and cross-checked by international monitoring groups like Airwars, whose researchers have now found themselves tracking as many as a half-dozen coalition attacks resulting in civilian casualties every day.

It’s because of this work that we know the Raqqa offensive officially began on June 6th with a barrage of airstrikes and artillery shelling that reportedly hit a school, a train station, the immigration and passport building, a mosque, and multiple residential neighborhoods, killing between six and 13 civilians. Two days later, bombs, artillery shells, and white phosphorus were reportedly unleashed across Raqqa, hitting — among other places — the Al-Hason Net Internet café, killing a media activist and at least a dozen others. (That journalist was one of at least 26 media activists to be killed in Syria this year alone.) Other bombs reportedly hit at least eight shops and a mosque. Photos also showed white phosphorus exploding over two residential neighborhoods.

White phosphorus is capable of burning human flesh to the bone. When exposed to oxygen, the chemical ignites reaching a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s so flammable that its burns can reignite days later if the bandages are removed too soon.

U.S. military officials have not denied using white phosphorus in the city. The Pentagon has, in fact, published photos of U.S. Marines deployed to the Raqqa region transporting U.S.-manufactured white phosphorus munitions. Its spokesmen claim that the U.S. military only uses this incendiary agent to mark targets for air strikes or to create smoke screens and therefore remains in accordance with international law. But in the days after the reported attack, Amnesty International warned: “The US-led coalition’s use of white phosphorus munitions on the outskirts of al-Raqqa, Syria, is unlawful and may amount to a war crime.” (Amnesty similarly accused the U.S. of potentially committing war crimes during its campaign against ISIS in Mosul.)

Following the reported white phosphorus attacks on June 8th and 9th, Raqqa’s main commercial and social avenue — February 23rd Street — reportedly came under three straight days of bombing. Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, who grew up in that city, recalls how that street had once been lined with cafés, entertainment venues, and shops. Its western edge runs into Rashid Park, one of the city’s main public spaces. Its eastern edge stretches to the ancient Abbasid Wall.

Between June 9th and June 11th, as many as 10 civilians were killed in repeated bombings of February 23rd Street and its major intersections, according to reports compiled by Airwars. (These sorts of air strikes, ostensibly aimed at limiting the mobility of ISIS fighters, were also employed in Mosul, parts of which are now in ruins.) On those same days, four adults and four children were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Raqqa’s industrial district, another 21 civilians were killed in the west of the city, and at least 11 more civilians, again including children, when airstrikes reportedly destroyed homes on al-Nour street, which is just around the corner from the al-Rayan Bakery, bombed less than two weeks later.

On that day, June 21st, a Raqqa resident named Abu Ahmad was returning from getting water at a nearby well when, he later told Reuters, he began hearing people screaming as houses crumbled. He said that as many as 30 people had died when the apartment flats around the bakery were leveled. “We couldn’t even do anything,” he added. “The rocket launchers, the warplanes. We left them to die under the rubble.” Only a few days earlier, coalition warplanes had destroyed another source of bread, the al-Nadeer bakery on al-Mansour Street, one of Raqqa’s oldest thoroughfares.

In July, the U.S.-led coalition bombed the ancient Abbasid Wall, and U.S.-backed troops breached Raqqa’s Old City. U.S. advisers began to operate inside Raqqa, calling in more airstrikes from there.

More and more names, photographs, and stories of the coalition’s victims were smuggled out by local journalists. According to these reports, on July 2nd, Jamila Ali al-Abdullah, her three children, and up to 10 of her neighbors were killed in her neighborhood. On July 3rd, at least three families were killed, including Yasser al-Abdullah and his four children, A’ssaf, Zain, Jude, and Rimas. On July 5th, an elderly man named Yasin died in an airstrike on al-Mansour Street. On July 6th, Anwar Hassan al-Hariri was killed along with her son Mohammed, her daughter Shatha, and her toddler Jana. Five members of the al-Sayyed family perished on July 7th. Sisters Hazar and Elhan Abdul Aader Shashan died in their home on July 12th, while seven members of the Ba’anat family were killed on July 13th, as was Marwan al-Salama and at least ten of his family members on July 17th.

Hundreds more were reportedly wounded, including Isma’il Ali al-Thlaji, a child who lost his eyesight and his right hand.  And these are, of course, only some of the reported names of those killed by the U.S.-led coalition.

“In Raqqa, there are many causes of death,” the journalists at Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently wrote. These include “indiscriminate airstrikes by international coalition warplanes, daily artillery shelling by Syrian Democratic Forces, and ISIS mines scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.”

For those who survive, conditions inside the city only continue to worsen. Coalition bombing reportedly destroyed the two main pipes carrying water into the city in the 100-degree July heat, forcing people to venture to the banks of the Euphrates, where at least 27 have been reportedly killed by U.S.-led bombing while filling up jugs of water.

A Coalition in Name Only

The United States has launched nearly 95% of all coalition airstrikes in Syria in recent months, meaning the campaign is, in fact, almost exclusively an American affair. “The French and British are launching about half a dozen strikes a week now,” Chris Woods, director of Airwars, explained to me. “The Belgians maybe one or two a week.” In comparison, in Raqqa province last month the U.S. launched about twenty air or artillery strikes every single day.

In June alone, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines fired or dropped approximately 4,400 munitions on Raqqa and its surrounding villages. According to Mark Hiznay, the associate director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division, these munitions included 250-pound precision-guided small diameter bombs, as well as MK-80 bombs, which weigh between 500 and 2,000 pounds and are equipped with precision-guided kits. The bombs are dropped by B-52 bombers and other warplanes, most taking off from the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, or the USS George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier stationed off Syria’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean.

Hundreds of U.S. Marines, most likely from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are also positioned outside Raqqa and are firing high explosive artillery rounds into the city from M777 Howitzers. In late June, the Marines’ official Twitter feed boasted that they were conducting artillery fire in support of U.S.-backed troops 24 hours a day.

The result of this type of warfare, says Airwars’ Chris Woods, is a staggering increase in civilian casualties. According to an analysis by the group, since President Trump took office six months ago, the U.S.-led campaign has reportedly killed nearly as many civilians in Syria and Iraq as were killed in the previous two and a half years of the Obama administration.

And for surviving civilians, the conditions of war don’t end once the bombing stops, as life today in the city of Tabqa indicates.

As of mid-July, according to Wassim Abdo, Tabqa still has neither running water nor electricity, even though displaced families have begun returning to their homes. There’s a shortage of bread, and still no functioning schools or hospitals. The Tabqa Dam, which once generated up to 20% of Syria’s electricity, remains inoperable. (U.S.-led coalition airstrikes reportedly damaged the structure repeatedly in February and March, when they burned the main control room, causing the United Nations to warn of a threat of catastrophic flooding downstream.) The U.S.-backed troops in Tabqa have, according to Abdo, banned the Internet and U.S. officials admit that children in the area are being infected by diseases carried by flies feeding off corpses still buried in the rubble.

Meanwhile, less than 30 miles to the east, the battle for control of Raqqa continues with tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the besieged city. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend has indicated that the U.S.-led coalition may soon increase the rate of airstrikes there yet again.

From Wassim Abdo’s perspective, that coalition campaign in Syria has so far killed his parents and nephew and ruined his hometown. None of this, understandably, looks anything like a war against ISIS.

“My opinion of the international coalition,” he told me recently, “is that it’s a performance by the international community to target civilians and infrastructure and to destroy the country.” And this type of warfare, he added, “is not part of eliminating Daesh.”

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century

July 27, 2017


MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show.

The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin approved the agreement on Wednesday, after the two chambers of the Russian parliament backed it earlier this month, according to the government’s official information portal.

The document says Russian forces will be deployed at the Hmeymim base for 49 years with the option of extending that arrangement for 25-year periods.

The base has been at the heart of Moscow’s military foray since it intervened in the conflict in September 2015, helping turn the tide in favor of Assad, one of Russia’s closest Middle East allies.


‘Counter-sanctions possible, trade war between EU & US would be very bad’ – German economy minister

July 27, 2017


New sanctions against Russia approved by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday could result in counter-sanctions, warns the German economy minister, adding that a trade war between the EU and the US would be “very bad.”

Speaking to ARD television, Brigitte Zypries warned of a trade war between the European Union and the United States.

“There is a possibility of counter-sanctions because this is envisaged by the WTO (World Trade Organization),” she said, adding that a trade war would be “very bad.”

She also said that new US sanctions may harm German companies and hamper Berlin’s ties with Washington.

“The US has left the common line it had with Europe for sanctions against Russia,” Zypries told ARD on Thursday. She added that the lack of coordination with the EU may affect German companies.

On Wednesday, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) said that new sanctions against Russia may have a negative impact on Europe’s energy security and hurt the German economy, adding that they appear to favor American firms.

DIHK’s chief economist of the German business lobby, Volker Treier, has urged the EU to address the issue.

“The European Commission now must make efforts to shed light on the current situation, as well as resist the exterritorial effect of new US penalties. We get the impression the US pursues their own economiс interests,” he told TASS.

“If German firms are banned from participating in gas pipeline enterprises, very important projects in the energy supply security sector can be halted. In that case, the German economy will be discernibly influenced,” Treier said.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer also told a news conference on Wednesday that the sanctions bill “concerns not only German industry…sanctions against Russia should not become a tool of industrial policy [pursued] in the US interests.”

“In our opinion, it is not in the Americans’ right to judge or stipulate which way European companies may engage in cooperation with any third parties – particularly with Russian energy companies,” Schaefer said.

Speaking at the same briefing, government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer added that Berlin believes “the European industry should not become the target of US sanctions.”

The French foreign ministry echoed the German sentiments, objecting to the law on the grounds that it affected American companies outside the United States, which it says is outside the scope of US law. In a statement the ministry warned that “[t]o protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws.”

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Wednesday called the US measures unacceptable. “I consider the US sanctions against Russia absolutely unacceptable. Political interests should not be mixed up with the economical ones, to the detriment of employment in the European Union,” Kern wrote on his Facebook page.

Italy is also likely to back countermeasures as the country’s largest energy company, Eni, plans to begin drilling in the Russian sections of the Barents Sea and the Black Sea. According to the company website, “Approximately 30% of Eni’s natural gas is supplied by Russia. These supplies are out of the reach of current sanctions.”

The bill was also harshly criticized by the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who said that “’America first’ cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

Germany wary of US sanctions against Russia

Policymakers and economic organizations in Germany are getting increasingly nervous about the latest round of sanctions against Russia that the US administration looks set to implement. Energy sector firms are alarmed.

July 27, 2017


German Economics Minister Brigitte Zypries on Thursday warned of the impact of new US sanctions against Russia on German companies, particularly those in the energy sector and with business ties with Russia.

She told public broadcaster ARD that she thought little of sanctions decided on unilaterally, that is without prior consultation with EU partners.

Zypries warned against a trade war over this latest round of US sanctions against Russia, saying such a situation would be “very bad.”

The minister added she hoped the US administration had not agreed the sanctions with a view to harming Europe. “But the upshot of it all is that our companies’ interests may be harmed,” she argued.

Counter-sanctions considered

Also on Thursday, The German Committee on East European Economic Relations said US plans for tighter sanctions against Russia had the potential of harming EU firms with energy interests in their giant eastern neighbor.

It went as far as to say that the latest US move appeared designed to stimulate US energy exports to Europe.

The business forum added that the “possibility of European counter-sanctions against the US should be kept open as a very last option,” if firms in Europe were affected.

The committee said it expected German exports to Russia to grow by 20 percent this year, up from an earlier forecast of just 10 percent, despite all the EU and US sanctions in place right now over Russia’s perceived role in the Ukraine and Syria conflicts.


What is the status of the Republican’s Obamacare repeal effort?

The Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare is a messy business: two chambers, six bills, daily votes. And just recently a new “skinny” option surfaced. DW breaks down what has happened so far and what could still come.

July 27, 2017

by Christina Burack


A key priority of US President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the landmark legislation known as Obamacare passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The measure provided coverage to some 20 million previously uninsured Americans by mandating insurance, subsidizing plans for lower-income earners, and expanding the pre-existing government healthcare safety net known as “Medicaid,” among other things. However, Obamacare has faced Republican criticism. According to its opponents, Obamacare imposes financial penalties for individuals who fail to purchase insurance or certain businesses who fail to offer employer-sponsored health plans, causes insurance premiums to rise, and fails to keep down government healthcare spending.

Since taking office, Trump has been working with Republican members of Congress to pass a bill that would either repeal and replace, or just repeal, all or key provisions of Obamacare that have faced criticisms, such as the fines for uninsured people or businesses that don’t contribute to their employees’ coverage.

The attempt to repeal Obamacare has spawned six different Congressional bills – three in the House and three in the Senate – and even more voting processes. Repulicans would like a bill passed before the August congressional recess, but the party is internally divided. Where do things currently stand?

What happened in the House of Representatives?

Republicans in the lower house were the first to propose, debate and pass legislation aimed at dismantling Obamacare. Two initial bills were voted down before a final bill, The American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628), was approved in a 217-213 vote on May 4. This bill was then passed to the Senate, where it served as the base for multiple amended versions.

What are the different bills that faced votes in the Senate?

After a period of evaluation and revision, two amended version of the House’s base bill (H.R. 1628) were brought to the Senate floor after an initial vote on Tuesday, July 25 to open the debate: The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act (ORRA).

1.BCRA – This was a repeal and replace bill, what Republican lawmakers initially wanted to pass in order to undo Obamacare. Among other things, the bill would have eliminated insurance mandates, allowed insurance companies to sell cheap, stripped-down coverage plans, and rolled back Medicaid coverage for the poor. It was voted down 43-57 on Tuesday, July 25.

2.ORRA – Considered a “clean” repeal bill, this version’s proposals are modeled on 2015 repeal legislation vetoed by Obama. It would have eliminated the individual mandate and cut back on Medicaid but would have left some ACA reforms in place, such as base coverage requirements. In a crucial difference to the BCRA, the bill did not include any provisions for replacing Obamacare. It failed in a 45-55 vote on Wednesday, July 26.

What is the ‘skinny’ repeal?

As it grew clear that amended versions of the House’s base bill would fail to garner enough support to pass, Senate Republicans began to float a third option: the “skinny” repeal. Unlike the BCRA and the ORRA, the text of this legislation does not yet exist. It would be a greatly-reduced measure to repeal ACA, leaving Medicaid untouched and targeting very select elements of Obamacare reforms. It is considered a last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to bring together the moderate and hard-line conservatives who objected to the BCRA and the ORRA. However, a “skinny” repeal bill would fall short of their major policy goals.

What happens now?

After the failures of the BCRA and the ORRA, Senators will now spend 20 hours on the floor debating the measure. This will be followed by a “vote-a-rama,” in which Democrats and Republicans will propose amendments one-by-one to the base House bill. This will last several days, and each individual amendment will get an up or down vote. At the end of the vote-a-rama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will offer a final bill – likely to be a “skinny” repeal. This will need 51 votes to pass. If a final vote fails, the current effort to repeal Obamacare dies.

Why could the ‘skinny’ repeal pass the Senate?

As long as the “skinny” repeal passes, the current Republican Congressional effort to repeal Obamacare is not dead. Approving it would be a strategic move because it would send the bill back to the House and give Republicans the chance to beef it up later in negotiations between the two chambers, and possibly turn it into a more substantial repeal bill.

What would happen if the ‘skinny’ repeal passes and gets sent to the House?

A Senate-approved “skinny” repeal would face two possibilities in the House. House Representatives could vote on the measure with the Senate’s exact wording – no amendments. If it passes, it would be sent to Trump’s desk where he could sign it into law. If it fails, the repeal effort would be dead.

However, representatives from the House and the Senate could also negotiate their differences over the “skinny” bill in what is called a conference committee. This would result in a revised bill that would face votes in both the House and the Senate. If it failed to get a majority in either, the repeal effort would be dead. If it passed both, it would then go to the president for signing.

How likely is all of this to happen?

We do not know for certain what final legislation Mitch McConnell will present on floor of the Senate. He may not introduce the “skinny” repeal and instead introduce a broader bill along the lines of the failed BCRA and ORRA. However, given that Democrats staunchly oppose any dismantling of Obamacare, Republicans have failed to unite on the broader repeal measures, and the seat breakdown – 52 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 independents – leaves practically no vote cushion. A more watered-down final repeal bill faces a greater chance of passing than a more comprehensive one.


Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting

Officials have cracked the locked phones seized from protesters at the inauguration—and may be planning to use browsing data and texts against them.

July 27, 2017

by Kelly Weill

The Daily Beast

Officials seized Trump protesters’ cell phones, cracked their passwords, and are now attempting to use the contents to convict them of conspiracy to riot at the presidential inauguration.

Prosecutors have indicted over 200 people on felony riot charges for protests in Washington, D.C. on January 20 that broke windows and damaged vehicles. Some defendants face up to 75 years in prison, despite little evidence against them. But a new court filing reveals that investigators have been able to crack into at least eight defendants’ locked cell phones.

Now prosecutors want to use the internet history, communications, and pictures they extracted from the phones as evidence against the defendants in court.

Evidence against the defendants has been scant from the moment of their arrest. As demonstrators, journalists, and observers marched through the city, D.C. police officers channeled hundreds of people into a narrow, blockaded corner, where they carried out mass arrests of everyone in the area. Some of those people, including a journalist and two allegedly peaceful protesters, are now suing for wrongful arrest.

Police also seized more than 100 cell phones from “defendants and other un-indicted arrestees,” prosecutors disclosed in a March filing. “All of the Rioter Cell Phones were locked, which requires more time-sensitive efforts to try to obtain the data,” prosecutors noted in the filing.

But a July 21 court document shows that investigators were successful in opening the locked phones. The July 21 filing moved to enter evidence from eight seized phones, six of which were “encrypted” and two of which were not encrypted. A Department of Justice representative confirmed that “encrypted” meant additional privacy settings beyond a lock screen.

For the six encrypted phones, investigators were able to compile “a short data report which identifies the phone number associated with the cell phone and limited other information about the phone itself,” the filing says. But investigators appear to have bypassed the lock on the two remaining phones to access the entirety of their contents.

Prosecutors moved to use a wealth of information from the phones as evidence, including the phones’ “call detail records,” “SMS or MMS messages,” “contact logs/email logs,” “chats or other messaging applications,” “website search history and website history,” and “images or videos,” so long as the data related to January 20, the protest, or other people suspected to have been involved in the protest.

The owners of the two unencrypted phones were likely using a password, Fred Jennings, a cybercrime and privacy attorney said. But the security measures weren’t enough.

“The two phones where they had a laundry list of data they were able to get, I think it’s a fair assumption that those phones may have had a lock screen enabled, but were not using any sort of full-disk encryptions,” Jennings told The Daily Beast.

If investigators were able to crack the phones’ passwords within their department or through a contract, they would not necessarily have to file any additional court documents, Jennings said.

Police appear to have begun searching at least one phone within a day of its seizure, CityLab reported in January. At 4:15 pm, the day after the arrests, one defendant received a Google alert that their Gmail account had been accessed while the phone was in police possession, that person’s lawyer told CityLab. Jennings said next-day phone access by law enforcement was “unusual to see,” but not entirely out of the pale.

“For best practices for digital discovery, there usually is a delay between time of seizure and searching or attempting to decrypt phones. More as a practical matter,” Jennings said. “To do intake of forensic digital discovery correctly, you need some specialized equipment and some specialized training and knowledge. It usually takes some time to get those individuals on hand. It’s possible it’s a higher priority here, this inauguration being a pretty high-profile event.”

The exact contents of the two unencrypted phones—or whether prosecutors will attempt to introduce evidence from other cracked phones—is unclear. In March, prosecutors said they had collected hundreds of hours of video from seized phones, which would show evidence of defendants’ participation in the riot.

But Mark Goldstone, a lawyer representing six of the accused said the footage is less than damning.

“Here’s your client at the beginning of the march, wearing black clothes and goggles, your client could have left but did not, and here is your client at the end, in the police kettle,” Goldstone said in a March conference call with 15 other defense attorneys, Esquire reported.

One of the more than 200 defendants has pleaded guilty to riot charges after being named extensively in a superseding indictment. But the case against most defendants is less clear; in the superseding indictment, prosecutors accuse hundreds defendants of conspiracy to riot, based on “overt acts” as banal as chanting anti-capitalist slogans or wearing dark clothing.

If prosecutors were ready to stake their case on the color of a defendant’s jacket, the personal information on demonstrators’ phones could be a treasure trove for a case otherwise absent, at least so far, of other evidence.


Trump criticism prompts questions over Attorney General’s future

July 26, 2017

by James Oliphant


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump further stoked speculation about the fate of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Wednesday by assailing him in a fresh round of tweets even as Sessions was attending meetings at the White House.

On Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to call Sessions “very weak,” prompting questions about whether Sessions, one of Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters during his 2016 presidential campaign, would be forced out.

On Wednesday, Sessions entered and left the White House without speaking to the president and with his status unchanged, while conservative lawmakers in Congress rallied around Sessions, a former senator.

A source close to Sessions said he has a “spine of steel” and plans on remaining in office until he is fired or asked to resign. Trump has kept Sessions at a distance, the source said. The two rarely speak and Sessions has been kept out of meetings.

Trump has said he is frustrated that Sessions recused himself from a federal investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia and said he would not have appointed him had he known he would do so.

At a White House press briefing, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders did not address Sessions’ job security, but said that Trump and Sessions had not spoken this week.

How Is Worldwide Sea Level Rise Driven by Melting Arctic Ice?

Experts explain how land ice thaw and the dynamics of warming water are raising ocean levels

June 5, 2017

by Annie Sneed

Scientific American

Climate change is warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. One of the most serious consequences is sea level rise, which threatens nations from Bangladesh to the U.S. But exactly how does melting Arctic ice contribute to sea level rise? Scientific American asked Eric Rignot, professor of earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, and Andrea Dutton, assistant professor of geology at the University of Florida, how changes in this particular northern region are driving the oceans to dangerous heights.

Seas are now rising an average of 3.2 millimeters per year globally, and are predicted to climb a total of 0.2 to 2.0 meters by 2100. Rignot and Dutton say that in the Arctic, the Greenland Ice Sheet poses the greatest risk for ocean levels because melting land ice is the main cause of rising seas—and “most of the Arctic’s land ice is locked up in Greenland,” Rignot explains. That’s 2.96 million cubic kilometers of ice now covering land areas—and it’s melting into the ocean. If the entire Greenland Ice Sheet thawed, Dutton says, it would raise sea levels by an average of seven meters. That would significantly flood coastal megacities such as Mumbai and Hong Kong.

Greenland’s land ice is already thawing fast enough to raise worldwide seas 0.74 millimeter per year. “The melt rate has been increasing,” in large part because the ice sheet’s surface thawing has picked up as global temperatures warm, Dutton says. “This acceleration of surface melt has doubled Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise” compared with the period from 1992 to 2011, Dutton adds.

And the Arctic has other frozen land areas—mountain glaciers and ice caps—in places like Iceland, the Canadian and Russian Arctic, Alaska and Norway’s Svalbard Islands. These hold nowhere near as much water as the Greenland Ice Sheet but are still a significant part of the sea level equation. Together with glaciers and ice caps in the Southern Hemisphere (excluding the Antarctic Ice Sheet), their complete meltdown could potentially raise oceans nearly half a meter, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But the northern areas have many more icy features than southern ones, Rignot notes. “Melting glaciers and ice caps in Patagonia and the other southern places don’t contribute as much as those in the Arctic,” he says.

In addition to simply adding water to the ocean, thawing Arctic land ice can raise sea levels even more via a mechanism called thermal expansion. “In a warmer climate the ocean absorbs a lot of extra heat from the climate system, and as a result it becomes less dense,” Rignot explains. As Arctic land ice melts into the sea, there is more ocean water overall—and thus more water to heat up and expand as the climate warms, which drives up sea levels even more. “The amount it expands is significant, enough that we can measure it,” Dutton says. From 1993 to 2010 thermal expansion added an average of 1.1 millimeters of sea level rise per year, according to the International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (pdf).

The Arctic has a lot of sea ice, too—at least 6.5 million square kilometers—and it is about two meters thick on average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Dutton and Rignot say that although the sea ice is shrinking, it does not add to water levels as it melts because it is already part of the ocean’s mass. “You can freeze and melt the sea ice as much as you want—it’s not going to change the sea level,” Rignot says. “You’re just changing the state of the water.” Dutton provides an analogy: “If you’re sitting in a bar with a drink with ice cubes, and your cup is full and the ice cubes melt, it’s not going to overflow. That ice is already floating in the water, so it has displaced the volume of its own space.”

But thawing sea ice still plays a role in sea level rise. “The sea ice acts as a blanket on top of the ocean,” protecting the water from incoming solar energy and atmospheric heat, Rignot says. As that frozen coating disappears, its white surface is no longer there to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere—so the ocean absorbs much more solar energy. “It’s like going from receiving no heat from the sun to receiving the sun’s full heat,” he explains. “It’s a tremendous difference.” This effect accelerates overall warming, which in turn melts more land ice and drives up sea levels. So even though all that melting sea ice may not seem like a big deal because it is not directly adding to sea levels, Rignot says “it matters greatly—the disappearance of that blanket disturbs the whole Arctic system.”


Flying Saucers of the Third Reich

by Brian Harring

The ‘Bellenzo-Schriever-Miethe Disc’.

The retractable undercarriage legs terminated in inflatable rubber cushions. The craft was designed to carry a crew of three The “Schriever-Habermohl” flying disc developed between 1943 and 1945 consisted of a stable dome-shaped cabin surrounded by a flat, rotating rim. Toward the end of the war, all the models and prototypes were reported destroyed before they could be found by the Soviets. According to postwar U.S. intelligence reports, however, the Russian army succeeded in capturing one prototype. After the war, both Schreiver and  Miethe, another German scientist involved in the design of flying disks, came to work for the US under ‘Operation Paperclip.’. Habermohl was reported, by U.S. Army Military Intelligence, as having been taken to the Soviet Union.

The first non-official report on the development of this craft is to be found in Die Deutschen Waffen und Geheimwaffen  des 2 Weltkriegs und ihre Weiterentwicklung (Germany’s Weapons and Secret Weapons of the Second World War and their Later Development).,  J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, Munich, 1956, pps 81-83.  The author of this detailed and technical work on German wartime weaponry was Major d.R. Rudolf Lusar, an engineer who worked in the German Reichs-Patent Office and had access to many original plans and documents. Lusar devoted a section of the chapter entitled “Special Devices,” to Third Reich saucer designs.

Among other things, Lusar declared: “German scientists and researchers took the first steps toward such flying saucers during the last war, and even built and tested such flying devices, which border on the fantastic. According to information confirmed by experts and collaborators, the first projects involving “flying discs” began in 1941. The blueprints for these projects were furnished by German experts Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe, and the Italian expert Bellonzo.

“Habermohl and Schriever chose a flat hoop which spun around a fixed pilot’s cabin in the shape of a dome. It consisted of steerable disc wings which enabled, according to the direction of their placement, in horizontal takeoff or flight. Miethe developed a kind of disk 42 meters in diameter, to which steerable nozzles had been attached. Schriever and Habermohl, who had worked together in Prague, took off on 14 February 1945 in the first “flying disc.” They attained a height of 12,400 meters in three minutes and a horizontal flight speed of 2000 KMH. It had been expected to reach speeds of up to 4000 KMH.

“Massive initial tests and research work were involved prior to undertaking the manufacture of the project. Due to the high rate of speed and the extraordinary heat demands, it was necessary to find particular materials in order to resist the effects of the high temperatures. Project development,which had run into the millions, was practically concluded by the final days of the war. All existing models were destroyed at the end of the conflict, but the factory at Breslau in which Miethe had worked fell into the hands of the Soviets, who seized all the material and technical personnel and shipped them to Siberia, where successful work on “flying saucers” was conducted.

“Schreiver was able to leave Prague on time, but Habermohl must be in the Soviet Union, since nothing more is known concerning his whereabouts. The aged German builder, Miethe, is in the United States developing, it is said, “flying saucers” for the A.V. Roe Company in the U.S.A. and in Canada…”

The Schriever-Habermohl Project

The project is usually referred to as the Schriever-Habermohl project although it is by no means clear that these were the individuals in charge of the project. Rudolf Schriever was an engineer and test pilot. Less is known about Otto Habermohl but certainly he was an engineer. This project was centered in Prag, at the Prag-Gbell airport Actual construction work began somewhere between 1941 and 1943 This was originally a Luftwaffe project which received technical assistance from the Skoda Works at Prag and at a Skoda division at Letov and perhaps elsewhere. Other firms participating in the project according to Epp were the Junkers firm at Oscheben and Bamburg, the Wilhelm Gustloff firm at Weimar and the Kieler Leichtbau at Neubrandenburg . This project started as a project of the Luftwaffe, sponsored by head of the Luftwaffe’s Technical Section, Generaloberst Ernst Udet. It later came under the control of Albert Speer’s Armament Ministry at which time it was administered by engineer Georg Klein. Finally, probably sometime in 1944, this project came under the control of the SS, specifically under the direct control of SS-Gruppenführer (General) Hans Kammler

Georg Klein stated after the war to American intelligence investigators that he saw this device fly on February 14, 1945. This may have been the first official flight, but it was not the first flight made by this device. According to one witness, a saucer flight occurred as early as August or September of 1943 at the Prag-Gbell facility. The eyewitness was in flight-training at the Prag-Gbell facility when he saw a short test flight of such a device. He states that the saucer was 5 to 6 meters in diameter (about 15 to 18 feet in diameter) and about as tall as a man, with an outer border of 30-40 centimeters. It was “aluminum” in color and rested on four thin, long legs. The flight distance observed was about 300 meters at low level of one meter in altitude.

Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to both the Schriever-Habermohl and the Miethe-Belluzzo projects, states that fifteen prototypes were built in all. The final device associated with Schriever-Habermohl is described by engineer Rudolf Lusar who worked in the German Patent Office, as a central cockpit surrounded by rotating adjustable wing-vanes forming a circle. The vanes were held together by a band at the outer edge of the wheel-like device. The pitch of the vanes could be adjusted so that during take off more lift was generated by increasing their angle from a more horizontal setting. In level flight the angle would be adjusted to a smaller angle. This is similar to the way helicopter rotors operate. The wing-vanes were to be set in rotation by small rockets placed around the rim like a pinwheel. Once rotational speed was sufficient, liftoff was achieved. After the craft had risen to some height, the horizontal jets or rockets were ignited and the small rockets shut off. After this, the wing-blades would be allowed to rotate freely as the saucer moved forward as in an auto-gyrocopter. In all probability, the wing-blades’ speed, and so their lifting value, could also be increased by directing the adjustable horizontal jets slightly upwards to engage the blades, thus spinning them faster at the discretion of the pilot.

Rapid horizontal flight was possible with these jet or rocket engines. Probable candidates were the Junkers Jumo 004 jet engines such as were used on the famous German jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262. A possible substitute would have been the somewhat less powerful BMW 003 engines. The rocket engine would have been the Walter HWK109 which powered the Messerschmitt 163 rocket interceptor .If these had been plentiful, the Junkers Jumo 004 probably would have been the first choice. Epp reports Jumo 211/b engines were used . Klaas reports the Argus pulse jet (Schmidt-duct), used on the V-l, was also considered .All of these types of engines were difficult to obtain at the time because they were needed for high priority fighters and bombers, the V-l and the rocket interceptor aircraft.

Joseph Andreas Epp reports in his book Die Realitaet der Flugscheiben (The Reality of the Flying Discs) that an official test flight occurred in February of 1945. Epp managed to take two still pictures of the saucer in flight which appear in his book. There is some confusion about the date of these pictures. Epp states the official flight had been February 14, 1945 but an earlier lift-off had taken place in August of 1944.

Very high performance flight characteristics are attributed to this design. Georg Klein says it climbed to 12,400 meters (over37,000 feet) in three minutes  and attaining a speed around that of the sound barrier . Epp says that it achieved a speed of Mach 1 (about 1200 kilometers per hour or about 750miles per hour. From his discussion, it appears that Epp is describing the unofficial lift-off in August, 1944 at this point. He goes on to say that on the next night, the sound barrier was broken in manned flight but that the pilot was frightened by the vibrations encountered at that time . On the official test flight, Epp reports a top speed of 2200 kilometers per hour . Lusar reports a top speed of 2000 kilometers per hour . Many other writers cite the same or similar top speed.

There is no doubt of two facts. The first is that these are supersonic speeds which are being discussed.

Second, it is a manned flight which is under discussion.

.Some new information has come to light regarding the propulsion system which supports the original assessment. Although actual construction had not started, wind-tunnel and design studies confirmed the feasibility of building a research aircraft which was designated Projekt 8-346. This aircraft was not a saucer but a modern looking swept-back wing design. According this post-war Allied intelligence report, the Germans designed the 8-346 to flying the range of 2000 kilometers per hour to Mach 2. .Interestingly enough, it was to use two Walther HWK109 rocket engines. This is one of the engine configurations under consideration for the Schriever-Habermohl saucer project.

Schriever continued to work on the project until April 15, 1945. About this time Prag was threatened by the advancing Soviet Army. The saucer prototype(s) at Prag-Gbell were pushed out onto the runway and burnt. Habermohl disappeared and is presumed to have ended up in the hands of the Soviets. Schriever, according to his own statements, packed the saucer plans in the trunk of his BMW and with his family drove into the relative security of Bavaria. After cessation of hostilities Schriever worked his way north to his parents house in Bremerhaven-Lehe. He later worked for the U.S. Army.

Therefore, the history of the Schriever-Habermohl project in Prag can be summarized in a nutshell as follows: Epp’s statement is that it was his design and model which formed the basis for this project. This model was given to General Ernst Udet which was then later forwarded to General Dr. Walter Dornberger at Peenemünde. Dr. Dornberger tested and recommended the design which was confirmed by Dornberger to Epp after the war.  A facility was set up in Prag for further development and the Schriever- Habermohl team was assigned to work on it there. At first this project was under the auspices of Hermann Göring and the Luftwaffe.  Sometime later, the Speer Ministry took over the running of this project with chief engineer Georg Klein in charge. Finally, the project was usurped by the SS in 1944, along with other saucer projects, and fell under the control of Kammler. Schriever altered the length of the wing-vanes from their original design. This alteration caused the instability. Schriever was still trying to work out this problem in his version of the saucer as the Russians overran Prag. Haberrmohl, according to Epp, went back to his original specifications, with two or three successful flights for his version.

Viktor Schauberger [1885-1958], an Austrian inventor who was closely involved with Hitler’s Third Reich, worked on the advancement of a number of flying disc-shaped craft for the Nazis between 1938 and 1945. Based on “liquid vortex propulsion” many of them, according to records, actually flew. One “flying saucer” [fliegende untertassen] reputedly destroyed at Leonstein, had a diameter of 1.5 meters, weighed 135 kilos, and was started by an electric motor of one twentieth horsepower. The vehicle was equipped with a turbine engine to supply the energy required for liftoff.

According to Schauberger, “If water or air is rotated into a twisting form of oscillation known as ‘colloidal’, a build-up of energy results which, with immense power, can cause levitation.” On one attempt one such apparatus “rose upwards, trailing a blue-green, and then a silver-colored glow.”

The Russians blew up Schauberger’s apartment in Leonstein, after taking what remained following an earlier visit by the Americans. Schauberger supposedly was later involved in working on a top secret project in Texas for the U.S. Government and died shortly afterwards of ill health.

In a letter written by Schauberger to a friend it states that he once worked at Matthausen concentration camp directing technically oriented prisoners and other German scientists in the successful construction of a saucer. In this letter written by Schauberger, he gives further information from his direct experience with the German military:

“The ‘flying saucer’ which was flight-tested on the 19th February 1945 near Prague and which attained a height of 15,000 metres in 3 minutes and a horizontal speed of 2,200 km/hour, was constructed according to a Model 1 built at Mauthausen concentration camp in collaboration with the first-class engineers and stress-analysts assigned to me from the prisoners there.

It was only after the end of the war that I came to hear, through one of the workers under my direction, a Czech, that further intensive development was in progress: however, there was no answer to my enquiry.

From what I understand, just before the end of the war, the machine is supposed to have been destroyed on Keitel’s orders. That’s the last I heard of it.

In this affair, several armament specialists were also involved who appeared at the works in Prague, shortly before my return to Vienna, and asked that I demonstrate the fundamental basis of it:

The creation of an atomic low-pressure zone, which develops in seconds when either air or water is caused to radially and axially under conditions of a falling temperature gradient.”

Sources and References

Combined Intelligence Committee Evaluation Reports, Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee, Evaluation Report 149 ,page 8

Lusar, Rudolf, Die Deutschen Waffen und Geheimwaffen des 2. Weltkrieges und ihre Weiterentwicklung, J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, Munich, 1956, pps 81-83

Meier, Hans Justus, 1999, page 24, “Zum Thema “FliegendeUntertassen” Der Habermohlsche Flugkreisel”, reprinted in Fliegerkalender 1999, Internationales Jahrbuch die Luft-und Raumfahrt, Publisher: Hans M. Namislo, ISBN 3-8132-0553-3

Epp, Joseph Andreas, 1994, page 28, Die Realität derFlugscheiben, Efodon e.V., c/o Gernot L. Geise,Zoepfstrasse 8, D-82495

Keller, Werner, Dr., April 25, 1953, Welt am Sonntag, “Erste ‘Flugscheibe’ flog 1945 in Prag enthuellt Speers Beauftrager“, an interview of Georg Klein

Zwicky, Viktor, September 19, 1954, page 4, Tages-Anzeiger52 für Stadt und Kanton Zuerich, “Das Raetsel der Fliegenden Teller Ein Interview mit Oberingenieur Georg Klein, derunseren Lesern Ursprung und Konstruktion dieser Flugkörpererklaert”

Klein, Georg, October 16, 1954, page 5, “Die Fliegenden Teller”, Tages-Anzeiger für Stadt und Kanton Zuerich

Der Spiegel, March 30, 1959, “Untertassen Sie fliegen aberdoch” Article about and interview of Rudolf Schriever




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