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TBR News July 28, 2020

Jul 28 2020

The Voice of the White House
Comments, July 28, 2020:. Trump is determined to remain in the White House. He actually thnks God put him there! If he loses the election in November, he will not accept it and claim fraud. This is the reason he is so opposed to the mail-in ballot. A voting machine can be tampered with, long distance, but not an actual ballot. He will pull every dirty trick he can think of, and he has been pulling dirty tricks since he was a child, to win. If he loses and fights to stay, it is common knowledge that he will be physically removed. Most of official Washington views Trump as a dangerous nut and the sooner he and his claque of giggling airhead ladies goes, the better for all.

The Table of Contents

  • Protests erupt nationwide in solidity with Portland demonstrations
  • ‘Trump troops’ in US cities: What the law says about their rights—and yours
  • Germany by far most admired country, with US, China and Russia vying for second – global poll
  • Anti-fascists linked to zero murders in the US in 25 years
  • U.S. Republicans to unveil coronavirus aid proposal as time runs out on jobless benefits
  • An overview of assassinations
  • U.S. Republicans to unveil coronavirus aid proposal as time runs out on jobless benefit
  • The Encyclopedia of American Loons

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Protests erupt nationwide in solidarity with Portland demonstrations
July 26, 2020
by  Justine Coleman
The Hill
Officers in Aurora, Colo., responded to incidents of a car that drove into a crowd and another one involving a protester shot during Saturday’s protests. Police had warned that people were subject to arrest if they crossed a fence at the police department entrance before declaring the protesters “no longer peaceful.”
Officers reported demonstrators throwing projectiles, shining lasers and shooting fireworks at them, in addition to breaking windows to a courthouse, where a fire was started. The Aurora department declared the demonstrations in the city an “unlawful assembly” at about 8:50 p.m. local time and requested all protesters “exit in an orderly manner.”
Police in Austin, Texas, reported a man was shot and killed during protests in the city. Preliminary reports indicated the victim was carrying a rifle and approached the suspect’s vehicle before being shot, senior police officer Katrina Ratcliff said during a briefing.
Officers have not identified the man, but Sheila Foster told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Sunday that her son, Garrett Foster, was shot and killed.
The Seattle Police Department reported that officers had made dozens of arrests during demonstrations after an explosion damaged the East Precinct building. Twenty-one officers were injured after being hit by bricks, rocks and explosives.
The police department declared the public gathering a riot shortly before 4:30 p.m. after protesters broke windows, set fires and spray painted the East Precinct. Officers had used blast balls, OC spray and 40-millimeter sponge tip rounds, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters, according to the Seattle Times.
The crowd ended up mostly dispersing after police retreated inside the East Precinct.
Trump had also deployed tactical border officers to stand by for duty in the city, according to the newspaper.
Protests erupted nationwide Saturday night in solidarity with demonstrations in Portland, Ore., after federal authorities were sent to the city to respond to the unrest.
Police departments from Richmond, Va., to Seattle reported smashed windows, fires and other violence, prompting cities to declare the demonstrations as riots or unlawful assemblies.
The demonstrations were held in support of Portland and Black Lives Matter and came after President Trump threatened last week to send federal law enforcement to other U.S.
Richmond police also declared an unlawful assembly for the area outside the police headquarters shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, warning that those who stayed risked being arrested.
A dump truck and a mattress were set ablaze in the area, as well as a Chipotle the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, and protesters continued to move toward the headquarters with firecrackers and while pointing lasers
Police in Oakland, Calif. announced an unlawful assembly after “agitators” had set fire to a courthouse and vandalized a police station by breaking windows and spray painting it.
Protesters in Portland continued to clash with law enforcement in front of a federal courthouse, prompting the city’s police to declare a riot early Sunday.
The Portland protests have continued for 59 consecutive days since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, sparking Trump to send federal authorities to respond. The federal authorities have reportedly used tear gas on and detained demonstrators.
Police departments from Richmond, Va., to Seattle reported smashed windows, fires and other violence, prompting cities to declare the demonstrations as riots or unlawful assemblies.
The demonstrations were held in support of Portland and Black Lives Matter and came after President Trump threatened last week to send federal law enforcement to other U.S.

‘Trump troops’ in U.S. cities: What the law says about their rights—and yours
by Jeff John Roberts
July 22, 2020
Fortune

Federal agents in military uniforms have recently snatched U.S. citizens off the streets of Portland, Ore., and driven them away in unmarked vans. President Trump, who claims such tactics are necessary to restore law and order, has vowed to carry out similar measures in other U.S. cities.

The incidents—including the beating of a Navy veteran who questioned the agents’ authority—have triggered alarm from critics across the political spectrum. They have raised questions about the identity of the “Trump troops,” as some are calling them, and the legal justification for their presence. Here is a plain English overview of this new style of federal law enforcement

Who are the federal “troops” in Portland?

The law enforcement units in question have appeared in Army-style camouflage with no identification other than a simple “Police” label on their outfits. It turns out they are special units of the Customs and Border Patrol, an agency under the control of the Department of Homeland Security.

The 100 or so agents are drawn from three separate paramilitary units of the Border Patrol. One is the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), a SWAT-team-style unit that is normally tasked with fighting drug cartels. The other two units involved are called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue, and a Special Response team.

Why are the Border Patrol units patrolling Portland, Ore.?

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf sent them to protect “monuments, memorials, and statues”—an apparent response to protests in Portland that have occasionally turned violent.

Skeptics, including former FBI Director James Comey, say President Trump’s real purpose in deploying these federal agents is to gin up television images of chaos and conflict—images that can support his claim that Americans need to choose a “law and order” President in November’s election.

Trump critics also note that the recent incidents in Portland are akin to what the President did in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., in early June. On that occasion, Trump used federal agents—including riot control officers from the Bureau of Prisons—to tear-gas peaceful protesters in order to arrange a photo op.

Are the actions of these federal agents even legal?

Hard to say. In the case of the June incident in Washington, legal scholars noted the President had broad powers owing to the capital’s status as a federal district.

In Portland, where the mayor and governor are in charge, Trump’s actions are harder to justify given that there are few federal spaces in the city. Those include U.S. courthouses and a handful of monuments. But many of the actions of the Border Patrol—including pulling people into roving unmarked vans—have taken place miles from such locations.

The Border Patrol, however, enjoys special powers related to its duty to protect the homeland. These include conducting searches and arrests that would otherwise be unconstitutional. The scope of this special power is enhanced because of the so-called 100-mile rule, which gives them jurisdiction within 100 miles of any border—including the Pacific Ocean.

What about the uniforms? Don’t these “troops” have to identify themselves?

No. There is no law saying federal agents have to wear badges with their names or agencies. Meanwhile, those who have defended the events in Portland—including the Wall Street Journal—say that requiring the agents to identify themselves could lead activists to “dox” or otherwise harass them. (This claim is questionable given that ordinary police officers across the country must identify themselves.)

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require federal agents to identify themselves, but given the partisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill, it is unlikely to pass.

It is also possible that pressure from the Pentagon—where Defense Secretary Mark Esper is reportedly concerned that Trump’s law enforcement tactics could damage perceptions of the military—could change how the federal agents are deployed.

Will “Trump troops” turn up in other U.S. cities?

The President vowed on Monday to send federal units to other cities run by “liberal Democrats.” Those potential destinations include Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

His pledge brought furious reactions from mayors and governors, however, who have vowed to resist such moves. Meanwhile, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit over the recent federal actions in Portland, which could present a legal obstacle to Trump’s tactics.

The expanded use of “Trump troops” may also come down to a political calculation by the President over whether the controversial tactic serves to help him in the polls.

He sent what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called his “unidentified storm troopers” togged out

 

Germany by far most admired country, with US, China and Russia vying for second – global poll

Annual Gallup survey casts doubt on Mike Pompeo’s claim that the US is ‘perfectly positioned’ to lead the free world in rivalry with China

July 27, 2020

by Julian Borger

The Guardian

Germany is the most admired country in the world for the third year running, leaving the US in a tight battle for distant second place with China and Russia, according to a new global leadership poll.

The annual poll, conducted by Gallup, casts more doubt on US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s claim on Friday that the US was “perfectly positioned” to lead the free world in a new ideological rivalry with the Chinese Communist Party.

The US had a 33% global approval rating for 2019, just one percentage point ahead of China and 3% ahead of Russia. Germany outshines all three by a long stretch, with a 44% rating.

The survey of a thousand adults in each of 135 countries was carried out around the world in 2019, before coronavirus struck. Washington’s global standing could suffer even further in light of its mismanagement of the pandemic, which has left the US as one of the worst hotspots for the disease.

Donald Trump has frequently claimed that he has made the US respected again in the world, but the poll figures suggest the opposite. The US was the most admired country in the world for every year of the Obama administration except one (when it came a close second to Germany in 2011), but then its popularity plummeted 18 percentage points after Trump’s took office, recovering marginally after that at just over 30%.

“[W]hen you read the latest results in this report on how the world rates the leadership of major global powers, the leaders who presented the case for the most certainty did the best,” said Gallup’s editor-in-chief, Mohamed Younis.

“Longtime German chancellor Angela Merkel, loved or hated, has been one of the most predictable leaders in highly uncertain times in both Europe and the global order.”

Younis added that coronavirus could erode America’s stature even more: “The image of US leadership in particular could seriously suffer as the globe watches US states and the federal government struggle to get infection rates under control.”

US leadership approval is at its lowest among the country’s traditional allies in Europe, where 61% disapprove of its performance and just 24% approve. In the UK, the figures are 65% disapprove – 25% approve, with a similar outcome in France. In Germany, US stature is even worse: 78% disapprove and only 12% admire the leadership coming from Washington.

In Australia too, there was deep scepticism about the US, with 67% disapproving compared with 23% approval.

The only continent where the US has maintained an overall positive image is Africa, where a bare majority of 52% approved its conduct, but that too is way down from the 85% backing Africans gave to the US in 2009, just after Barack Obama’s election.

Anti-fascists linked to zero murders in the US in 25 years

As Trump rails against ‘far-left’ fascism, new database shows leftwing attacks have left far fewer people dead than violence by rightwing extremists

July 27, 2020

by Lois Beckett

The Guardian

Donald Trump has made warnings about the threat of antifa and “far-left fascism” a central part of his re-election campaign. But in reality leftwing attacks have left far fewer people dead than violence by rightwing extremists, new research indicates, and antifa activists have not been linked to a single murder in decades.

A new database of nearly 900 politically motivated attacks and plots in the United States since 1994 includes just one attack staged by an anti-fascist that led to fatalities. In that case, the single person killed was the perpetrator.

Over the same time period, American white supremacists and other rightwing extremists have carried out attacks that left at least 329 victims dead, according to the database.

More broadly, the database lists 21 victims killed in leftwing attacks since 2010 , and 117 victims of rightwing attacks in that same period – nearly six times as much. Attacks inspired by the Islamic State and similar jihadist groups, in contrast, killed 95 people since 2010, slightly fewer than rightwing extremists, according to the data set. More than half of these victims died in a a single attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.

Fact check: left-wing violence in the United StatesA new database by the Center for Strategic and International studies analyzed nearly 900 politically motivated plots and attacks in the US

  • Victims killed in anti-fascist attacks since 1994- 0
  • Victims killed in left-wing violence since 2010 -21
  • Victims killed in jihadist attacks since 2010 -95
  • Victims killed in right-wing violence since 2010- 117
  • Victims killed in right-wing violence since 1994- 329

‘Leftwing violence has not been a major terrorism threat’

The database was assembled by researchers at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a centrist thinktank, and reviewed by the Guardian.

Its launch comes as Trump administration officials have echoed the president’s warnings of a violent “leftwing” revolution. “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent and extremist agenda,” the attorney general, William Barr, said amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. A new justice department taskforce on violent anti-government extremists listed “antifa” as a major threat, while making no mention of white supremacy.

Defining which violent incidents constitute politically motivated acts of terrorism, and trying to sort political violence into leftwing and rightwing categories, is inherently messy and debatable work. This is particularly true in the US, where highly publicized mass shootings are common, and some have no clear political motivation at all.

Stated political motives for violent attacks often overlap with other potential factors, including life crises, anger issues, a history of violent behavior and, in some cases, serious mental health conditions.

While researchers sometimes disagree on how to categorize the ideology of specific attacks, multiple databases that track extremist violence, including data maintained by the Anti-Defamation League, and from journalists at the Center for Investigative Reporting, have found the same trend: It’s violent rightwing attacks, not “far-left” violence, that presents the greater deadly threat to Americans today.

Leftwing violence has not been a major terrorism threat,” said Seth Jones, a counter-terrorism expert who led the creation of CSIS’s dataset. .

Categorizing ‘leftwing’ extremist attacks

Most of the deadly extremist attacks the CSIS researchers categorized as “leftwing” were killings of police officers by black men, many of them US military veterans, who described acting out of anger or retribution for police killings of black Americans.

These shooting attacks include the murder of two police officers in New York City in 2014, after Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s killings; and the murders of five officers in Dallas, Texas, and three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016.

Some of the gunmen who killed police had connections to black nationalist groups, which extremism researchers at CSIS and elsewhere said they typically categorize as leftwing, largely because in the 1960s, influential black nationalist groups like the Black Panther party were anti-capitalist and considered part of the New Left.

Making that categorization is less straightforward today, some researchers acknowledge, since some prominent black nationalist organizations express homophobic, misogynistic and antisemitic views, values that set them in opposition to the current American left.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior fellow at the ADL’s Center on Extremism, noted that Gavin Eugene Long, who staged an attack on police in Baton Rouge, had ties to black nationalism and was also part of an offshoot of the sovereign citizens movement, an anti-government ideology that is typically categorized as rightwing.

In several of the high-profile leftwing attacks included in the CSIS list the only fatality was the perpetrator. A mass shooting attack on a group of congressional Republicans during a baseball practice outside of Washington DC, in 2017 left the Republican congressman Steve Scalise seriously injured, and three other people shot.

The gunman, James Hodgkinson, 66, was the only one killed in the attack. Hodgkinson had deliberately targeted Republicans and had expressed disgust with Trump.

Many of the other leftwing attacks or plots in the CSIS database, including by anarchists, environmental groups and others, resulted in no deaths at all. Often, leftwing plots, particularly by animal rights activists, have targeted businesses or buildings, “and their primary weapons have been incendiaries designed to create fires or destroy infrastructure – not kill people,” said Jones, the researcher who led the creation of the data set.

The one deadly anti-fascist attack listed in the database occurred in July 2019, when Willem von Spronsen, a 69-year-old white man, was shot dead by police outside an Ice detention center in Tacoma, Washington. Authorities said von Spronsen had been throwing molotov cocktails, setting flares, that he set a car on fire and that he had a rifle. Local activists told media outlets they believed he had been trying to destroy buses parked outside the facility that were used to transport people who were being deported.

Von Spronsen, who had previously been arrested at a protest outside the detention center, was involved in a contentious divorce, and both a friend and his ex-wife had described him as suicidal. In a letter he wrote to friends before his death, Von Spronsen called detention centers “concentration camps” and said he wanted to take action against evil, BuzzFeed News reported. “I am antifa,” he reportedly wrote.

No one was harmed in the attack except Von Spronsen, according to media reports.

Researchers who monitor extremist groups at the Anti-Defamation League and the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism said they, too, were not aware of a single murder linked to an American anti-fascist in the last 20 to 25 years.

Heidi Beirich, a co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said some leftwing groups were known for more radical and violent tactics in the 1960s, adding: “It’s just not the case today.”

Mark Pitcavage said he knew of only one killing, 27 years ago, that might potentially be classified as connected to anti-fascist activism: the shooting of a racist skinhead, Eric Banks, by an anti-racist skinhead, John Bair, in Portland, Oregon, in 1993.

‘A false equivalence’

Given the discrepancies between the deadly toll of leftwing and rightwing violence, American law enforcement agencies have long faced criticism for failing to take the threat of white supremacist violence seriously, while at the same time overstating the risks posed by leftwing protesters. After a violent rally in California in 2016, law enforcement officers worked with neo-Nazis to build criminal cases against anti-fascist protesters, while not recommending charges against neo-Nazis for stabbing the anti-fascists.

Antifa activists have been the targets of domestic terror attacks by white supremacists, including in a terror plot early this year, in which law enforcement officials alleged that members of the neo-Nazi group the Base had planned to murder a married couple in Georgia they believed were anti-fascist organizers.

“Antifa is not going around murdering people like rightwing extremists are. It’s a false equivalence,” said Beirich.

“I’ve at times been critical of antifa for getting into fights with Nazis at rallies and that kind of violence, but I can’t think of one case in which an antifa person was accused of murder,” she added.

The new CSIS database only includes attacks through early May 2020, and does not yet list incidents connected with the massive national protests against police violence after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, including the killings of two California law enforcement officers by a man authorities say was linked to the rightwing “boogaloo” movement.

Today, Jones said, “the most significant domestic terrorism threat comes from white supremacists, anti-government militias and a handful of individuals associated with the ‘boogaloo’ movement that are attempting to create a civil war in the United States.”

Daily interpersonal violence and state violence pose a much greater threat to Americans than any kind of extremist terror attack. More than 100,000 people have been killed in gun homicides in the United States in the past decade, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. US police officers shoot nearly 1,000 Americans to death each year. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be shot by the police as white Americans, according to analysis by the Washington Post and the Guardian.

But the president’s rhetoric about “antifa” violence has dangerous consequences, not just for anti-fascists, but for any Americans who decide to protest, some activists said.

Yvette Felarca, a California-based organizer and anti-fascist activist, said she saw Trump’s claims about antifa violence, particularly during the George Floyd protests, as a message to his “hardcore” supporters that it was appropriate to attack people who came out to protest.

“It’s his way of saying to his supporters: ‘Yeah, go after them. Beat them or kill them to the point where they go back home and stay home afraid,’” Felarca said.

U.S. Republicans to unveil coronavirus aid proposal as time runs out on jobless benefits

July 27, 2020

by Susan Cornwell and David Lawder

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday are expected to unveil a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package hammered out with the White House, a starting point for negotiations with Democrats as unemployment benefits that have kept millions Americans afloat are set to expire

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Sunday that the plan just needed a few clarifications before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could unveil it on Monday afternoon.

Meadows and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said their agreement in principle with Senate Republicans would include an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits that aims to replace 70% of laid off workers’ lost wages.

On Friday, an extra $600 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits is due to expire, severing a financial lifeline for laid-off workers and a key support for consumer spending.

But the extra funds – in some cases exceeding a workers’ former wages – was a sticking point for many Republicans, helping to delay agreement during a week of wrangling over the party’s negotiating position.

Some Republicans had complained about the high price tag; the federal government has already spent $3.7 trillion to cushion the economic blow from pandemic-forced shutdowns.

Mnuchin and Meadows earlier on Sunday floated the idea of a piecemeal approach to coronavirus aid, first addressing unemployment and demands by businesses and schools to be shielded from coronavirus-related lawsuits, while tackling other issues later

“We are going to be prepared, on Monday, to provide unemployment insurance extension that would be 70% of wages,” Meadows said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday.

DEMOCRATS’ DEMANDS

Democrats decried the Republican delay as U.S. coronavirus cases passed the 4 million mark, a milestone for a pandemic that has killed more than 146,000 people in the United States and thrown tens of millions out of work.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that if necessary, the House would stay in session until a deal is passed and added that Democrats would not accept a measure urged by Republicans to include liability protections for employers.

“What we will not support is what they’re saying to essential workers: ‘You have to go to work because you’re essential, we place no responsibility on your employer to make that workplace safe and if you get sick you have no recourse because we’ve given your employer protection,’” she said.

Pelosi has said that House Democrats would pursue the $3 trillion coronavirus aid bill that they passed in May, which would extend the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits through the end of 2020.

The Republican plan will include another round of direct payments of $1,200 for individuals, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNN. He said it also would extend a federal moratorium on housing evictions contained in previous relief legislation.

Senate aides said the Republican plan also have more help for small businesses, $105 billion for schools, $16 billion for coronavirus testing, and legal protections for business that are reopening.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Lawder; Editing by Peter Cooney and Gerry Doyle

An overview of assassinations

July 28, 2020

by Christian Jürs

The real story of the Assassins contains several fascinating elements. First, there is the use of political murder, which is what the sect is chiefly remembered for today. Then there is their complex philosophy, which guided their development and culminated in the extraordinary proclamation of the ‘Resurrection’ at Alamut. This in turn was followed by the tragedy of the destruction of Alamut by the Mongols. Yet, amazingly, this was not the end for the Assassins, for they were reborn as the Khojas in India; the Agha Khan is the lineal descendant of the rulers of Alamut

The name `assassin’ is, of course, synonymous with political murder. In 1092 the famous statesman Nizam al-Mulk was on his way to Baghdad when he was approached from a youth from Daylam (the region of Alamut) in the guise of a suppliant. The man suddenly drew a knife from his robe and wounded the minister fatally. This is generally supposed to have been the first assassination carried out by Hasan’s orders. The Ismailis claimed it was done to avenge the death of a carpenter, but doubtless there were more important political reasons. Murder as a political weapon was not, of course, an Ismaili invention, and indeed it appears that a number of groups in Iran were making use of it at the time. The Ismailis, however, undoubtedly took the trend further than most. They may have believed that it was more humane to kill one man selectively than a multitude in a battle. In this respect they were significantly different from modern terrorists. In any case, given the fact that they were so enormously outnumbered by their enemies, terrorism was a logical enough expedient.

It is usually said that a special corps of assassins – the fidais – existed, but this is doubtful, at least until a much later date. Marco Polo, who visited the site of Alamut in the thirteenth century, after its destruction by the Mongols, relates the romantic legend of how the fidais were trained by the Grand Master. The `Old Man’, as Marco Polo calls him, following the Crusader usage, was said to have constructed a fantastic pleasure garden, flowing with wine, honey, milk, and water, and populated by beautiful women.

It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization.     The Hashshashin (also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin or Assassins) had a militant basis as a religious sect (often referred to as a cult) of Ismaili Muslims from the Nizari sub-sect. They were thought to be active in the 8th to 14th centuries. This mystic secret society killed members of the Abbasid elite for political or religious motivations. The word “assassin” is derived from their name. Their own name for the sect was al-da’wa al-jadīda (الدعوةالجديدة) which means “the new doctrine.” They called themselves fedayeen from the Arabic fidā’ī, which means “one who is ready to sacrifice his/her life for a cause.”

During the Cold War, the United States attempted several times to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333, which codified a policy first laid down in 1976 by the Ford administration. It stated, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”

In 1986, the American air strikes against Libya included an attack on the barracks where Muammar Qaddafi was known to be sleeping. The attack resulted in the death of Qaddafi’s infant daughter.[ During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States struck many of Iraq’s most important command bunkers with bunker-busting bombs in hopes of killing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Since the rise of al-Qaeda, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have backed “targeted killings.” In 1998, in retaliation for the al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa, the Clinton administration launched cruise missiles against a training camp in Afghanistan where bin Laden had been hours before. Reportedly, the United States nearly killed the leader of Taliban, Mullah Omar, with a Predator-launched Hellfire missile on the first night of Operation Enduring Freedom. In May 2002, the CIA launched a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in an effort to kill the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

On November 3, 2002, a US Central Intelligence Agency-operated MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired a Hellfire missile that destroyed a car carrying six suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The target of the attack was Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, the top al-Qaeda operative in Yemen. Among those killed in the attack was a US citizen, Yemeni-American Ahmed Hijazi

According to Bush administration, the killing of an American in this fashion was legal. “I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here. There are authorities that the president can give to officials. He’s well within the balance of accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority,” said Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser.

The key technique was infiltration, either physical concealment and stealthy movement or the attempt to gain access to a person’s guard or staff with the aim of replacing or subverting them. The actual assassination would be the same close-contact stabbing, quieter smothering or strangulation, poisons and poisonous creatures were also used, and disembowelment was also relished. The mushroom death cap has been the traditional choice of assassins: it cannot be distinguished as poisonous by taste, and the symptoms of the poisoning show out only after some days or a week

Assassination can also imitate suicide. If the hit is thought out correctly and the assassin is skilled enough to prepare for all possible out comes, he/she can make a murder look like a suicide. For example: If a Handgun was used, it can be deployed correctly by leaving the mark’s hand at the correct angle to complete the suicide illusion. Pushing someone from a great height can also have the same effect, a mark being thrown off a balcony can be posed as a “jumper” situation.

EMPLOYMENT

Assassination is an extreme measure not normally used in clandestine operations. It should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service. This reticence is partly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper. No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Consequently, the decision to employ this technique must nearly always be reached in the field, at the area where the act will take place. Decision and instructions should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. Ideally, only one person will be involved. No report may be made, but usually the act will be properly covered by normal news services, whose output is available to all concerned.

          JUSTIFICATION

Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim has knowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged. Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may be regarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoning career is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be held necessary.

But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.

CLASSIFICATIONS

The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject is unaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also be affected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed “simple”; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase”; those where the victim is guarded will be termed “guarded.”

If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the adjective will be “safe.” It should be noted that no compromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.

A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident or natural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called “secret” ;; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open”; while if the assassination requires publicity to be effective it will be termed “terroristic.”

Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassination at all. [Illeg] o f Thailand and Augustus Caesar may have been the victims of safe, guarded and secret assassination. Chase assassinations usually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations.

THE ASSASSIN

In safe assassinations, the assassin needs the usual qualities of a clandestine agent. He should be determined, courageous, intelligent, resourceful, and physically active. If special equipment is to be used, such as firearms or drugs, it is clear that he must have outstanding skill with such equipment.

Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin be transient in the area. He should have an absolute minimum of contact with the rest of the organization and his instructions should be given orally by one person only. His safe evacuation after the act is absolutely essential, but here again contact should be as limited as possible. It is preferable that the person issuing instructions also conduct any withdrawal or covering action which may be necessary.

In lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care. He must not know the identities of the other members of the organization, for although it is intended that he die in the act, something may go wrong. While the Assassin of Trotsky has never revealed any significant information, it was unsound to depend on this when the act was planned.

PLANNING

When the decision to assassinate has been reached, the tactics of the operation must be planned, based upon an estimate of the situation similar to that used in military operations. The preliminary estimate will reveal gaps in information and possibly indicate a need for special equipment which must be procured or constructed. When all necessary data has been collected, an effective tactical plan can be prepared. All planning must be mental; no papers should ever contain evidence of the operation.

In resistance situations, assassination may be used as a counter-reprisal. Since this requires advertising to be effective, the resistance organization must be in a position to warn high officials publicly that their lives will be the price of reprisal action against innocent people. Such a threat is of no value unless it can be carried out, so it may be necessary to plan the assassination of various responsible officers of the oppressive regime and hold such plans in readiness to be used only if provoked by excessive brutality. Such plans must be modified frequently to meet changes in the tactical situation.

          TECHNIQUES

The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention.

Techniques may be considered as follows:

  1. Manual.

It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well. Even a highly trained Judo expert will hesitate to risk killing by hand unless he has absolutely no alternative. However, the simplest local tools a re often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice. A length of rope or wire or a belt will do if the assassin is strong and agile. All such improvised weapons have the important advantage of availability and apparent innocence. The obviously lethal machine gun failed to kill Trotsky where an item of sporting goods succeeded.

In all safe cases where the assassin may be subject to search, either before or after the act, specialized weapons should not be used. Even in the lost case, the assassin may accidentally be searched before the act and should not carry an incriminating device if any sort of lethal weapon can be improvised at or near the site. If the assassin normally carries weapons because of the nature of his job, it may still be desirable to improvise and implement at the scene to avoid disclosure of his identity.

  1. Accidents.

(‘It is not difficult to arrange a killing but arraigning a suicide is much more difficult’ ..J.V. Stalin)

For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stairwells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location.

The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified wit ness”, no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.

Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject’s death and at the same time establish a workable alibi. (

If the subject’s personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used [2 words excised] to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind.

Falls before trains or subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.

Automobile accidents are a less satisfactory means of assassination. If the subject is deliberately run down, very exact timing is necessary and investigation is likely to be thorough. If the subject’s car is tampered with, reliability is very lo w. The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.

Arson can cause accidental death if the subject is drugged and left in a burning building. Reliability is not satisfactory unless the building is isolated and highly combustible.

  1. Drugs.

In all types of assassination except terroristic, drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and rare method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice.

If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected at the passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism.

Specific poisons, such as arsenic or strychine, are effective but their possession or procurement is incriminating, and accurate dosage is problematical.

Poison was used unsuccessfully in the assassination of Rasputin and Kolohan, though the latter case is more accurately described as a murder.

  1. Edged Weapons

Any locally obtained edged device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability.

Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate.

Abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.

Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet.

Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid blood vessels on both sides of the windpipe.

If the subject has been rendered unconscious by other wounds or drugs, either of the above methods can be used to insure death.

  1. Blunt Weapons

As with edge weapons, blunt weapons require some anatomical knowledge for effective use.     Their main advantage is their universal availability. A hammer may be picked up almost anywhere in the world. Baseball and [illeg] bats are very widely distributed. Even a rock or a heavy stick will do, and nothing resembling a weapon need be procured, carried or subsequently disposed of.

Blows should be directed to the temple, the area just below and behind the ear, and the lower, rear portion of the skull. Of course, if the blow is very heavy, any portion of the upper skull will do. The lower frontal portion of the head, from th e eyes to the throat, can withstand enormous blows without fatal consequences.

  1. Firearms

Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively. The assassin usually has insufficient technical knowledge of the limitations of weapons, and expects more range, accuracy and killing power than can be provided with reliability. Since certainty of death is the major requirement, firearms should be used which can provide destructive power at least 100% in excess of that thought to be necessary, and ranges should be half that considered practical for the weapon.

Firearms have other drawbacks. Their possession is often incriminating. They may be difficult to obtain. They require a degree of experience from the user. They are of secondary importace and their use is consistently over-rated.

However, there are many cases in which firearms are probably more efficient than any other means. These cases usually involve distance between the assassin and the subject, or comparative physical weakness of the assassin, as with a woman.

(a) The precision rifle. In guarded assassination, a good hunting or target rifle should always be considered as a possibility.

(b) Absolute reliability can nearly always be achieved at a distance of one hundred yards. In ideal circumstances, t he range may be extended to 250 yards. The rifle should be a well-made bolt or falling block action type, handling a powerful long-range cartridge. The .300 F.A.B. Magnum is probably the best cartridge readily available. Other excellent calibers are . 375 M.[illeg]. Magnum, .270 Winchester, .30 – 106 p.s., 8 x 60 MM Magnum, 9.3 x 62 kk and others of this type. These are preferable to ordinary military calibers, since ammunition available for them is usually of the expanding bullet type, whereas most ammunition for military rifles is full jacketed and hence not sufficiently lethal. Military ammunition should not be altered by filing or drilling bullets, as this will adversely affect accuracy.

The rifle may be of the “bull gun” variety, with extra heavy barrel and set triggers, but in any case should be capable of maximum precision. Ideally, the weapon should be able to group in one inch at one hundred yards, but 21/2″ groups are adequate. The sight should be telescopic, not only for accuracy, but because such a sight is much better in dim light or near darkness. As long as the bare outline of the target is discernable, a telescope sight will work, even if the rifle and shooter are in total darkness.

An expanding, hunting bullet of such calibers as described above will produce extravagant laceration and shock at short or mid-range. If a man is struck just once in the body cavity, his death is almost entirely certain.

Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.

 


The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Bryan Leonard

Bryan Leonard is one of the alleged martyrs featured in the creationist movements dishonest “academic freedom” campaigns, people having been the victim of what Intelligent Design creationists would describe as oppression by the Darwinist establishment (i.e. actual scientists with actual expertise and a commitment to science). A more comprehensive description of the so-called Bryan Leonard affair can be found here. We’ll just provide a brief recap:

Leonard was (or perhaps is) a high school biology teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School in a suburb of Columbus (yes, he was teaching the controversy and promoting creationism to the high-school kids; surprised?), and – a decade ago – an appointee to the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee, where he authored the creationist-friendly “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education in 2004. Leonard also testified for the pseudoscience side at the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court hearings (excerpts from his testimony here). Leonard himself appears to be a young-earth creationist.

Now, by 2005 Leonard was also a doctoral candidate in science education at Ohio State University, doing dissertation research on the academic merits of an ID-based “critical analysis” approach to teaching evolution in public schools. Scheduled to defend on June 6, the defense was suddenly postponed to the shock and horror of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscientists everywhere. And of course, in real life the postponement was due to the questionable tactics and strategy of the creationists, in particular the composition of Leonard’s committee. You see, the OSU requires that the committee must reflect the expertise needed for the dissertation and must have at least three members: two from the science education program area and one from outside the science education program area. Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements – in particular, it contained no member from the science education program area – and one suspects this was because his advisor, Paul Post, realized that it would not pass if they included, you know, actual experts on biology on the committee. Instead, the committee included, in addition to an assistant professor in French & Italian, Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition, both of whom have track-records as champions of creationism and pseudoscience – both are signatories to the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, for instance, and DiSilvestro, surely coincidentally, also testified for the anti-science side at the Kansas evolution hearings. (He was also at that time contact person for the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement’s 52 Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin’s Theory petition; and Needham was a signatory). Leonard’s advisor Paul Post has no relevant qualifications to comment on evolution either.

So, when members of the faculty of the OSU brought these and other anomalies to the attention of appropriate administrators in the Graduate School, the assistant professor of French & Italian asked to be relieved and was replaced by the Dean of the College of Biological Sciences who was an evolutionary biologist. At that time, the defense was suddenly postponed, apparently at the request of Leonard’s advisor; it was never rescheduled. And note: It was Leonard’s advisor who asked for the postponement, after it became clear that he wouldn’t be allowed to violate the guidelines in his attempt to fix the jury in Leonard’s favor (which rather strongly suggests that the creationists on the committee had little confidence in the actual merits of Leonard’s pro-creationist thesis). The pattern of behavior from the Intelligent Design community is rather striking – even if Leonard’s thesis were perfectly OK, the attempt of the Intelligent Design community to subvert the process is telling, isn’t it? Being caught in the act, the Intelligent Design community responded by claiming “violation of academic freedom”, of course. Indeed, a decade later the case remains one of their go-to examples of howChristians are oppressed in academia.

Diagnosis: We haven’t heard much from Leonard since 2005, but the Bryan Leonard case is occasionally revived by pseudoscientists who aren’t that concerned with what actually happened. Now, one can reasonably argue that Leonard was, indeed, a victim in that particular case – a victim of the shenanigans of established creationists, of course – but his activities on the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee and role in the Kansas Kangaroo court hearings still qualify him for an entry in our Encyclopedia.

Sin Hang Lee

Sin Hang Lee is an MD and formerly pathologist at the Milford Hospital pathology laboratory (where he received the boot in 2010), who has gained a reputation for himself for scaremongering about the Gardasil vaccine . His ideas about HPV DNA are silly and have been widely discredited, but that matters less to the antivaxx crowd than his credentials and that he tells them what they like to hear, and he is currently one of the more sought-after antivaxx voices for various antivaxx events – he appears, together with an impressive array of other conspiracy theorists, for instance in the recent “documentary” The Truth About Vaccines.

Lee has been reasonably well-known in the conspiracy community for a while, but made a bit of a splash in 2011 when the conspiracy website SANE Vax claimed to find “Recombinant HPV DNA” in “multiple samples of Gardasil”. Lee, of course, was the guy (“well-known for using cutting-edge DNA sequencing for molecular diagnoses”) contacted to perform the analyses. Of course, we are not informed about how he got the results – there is no scientific article or report attached to the findings, and neither he nor SANE Vax would tell us because they need to “protect the proprietary processes and information utilized by our laboratory to test the samples.” That is one pretty enormous red flag, insofar as testing for DNA contamination is otherwise a pretty straightforward affair, at least if the amount of contamition is sufficient to be anything to conceivably worry about. Nor do SANE Vax tell us how much was detected, which is rather telling; it turns out that the quantities were so small that Lee had to use nested PCR to detect it, which means that they are close to homeopathic (if Lee really found anything at all). Moreover, one would need some serious pseudoscience to dream up a possible mechanism by which such DNA would be harmful, but at least Lee is perfectly willing to provide that:  “the HPV DNA in Gardasil™ is not ‘natural’ DNA. It is a recombinant HPV DNA (rDNA) – genetically engineered – to be inserted into yeast cells for VLP (virus-like-particle) protein production. rDNA is known to behave differently from natural DNA. It may enter a human cell, especially in an inflammatory lesion caused by the effects of the aluminum adjuvant, via poorly understood mechanisms.” That is utter nonsense (but common nonsense in anti-vaxx groups), but we suspect that most of SANE Vax’s regular audience wouldn’t know, so claims like this probably do their tricks among the target audience.

So, basically Lee is the source of a fear mongering campaign derived from a nonexistent understanding of molecular biology, if not on his part then certainly on the part of his intended audience (what he is pushing is ultimately nothing but a version of the toxins gambit). And Lee has continued in the same vein, claiming that deaths not caused by the HPV vaccine were caused by the HPV vaccine and publishing case reports in what appears to be predatory journals based on laughable methodology (indeed, it becomes clear when looking at the report that Lee deliberately made poor methodological choices; one wonders why.)

His research has, of course, been endorsed by various antivaccine activists and pseudoscience groups, such as the deranged conspiracy theory and anti-science hate group (!) the American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused with the reputable American Academy of Pediatrics, though the ACP certainly revels in the confusion).

SANE Vax claims that Lee is persecuted.

Diagnosis: Pseudoscientist and crackpot, who seems to have a penchant for choosing the methodology for investigation based on what is most likely to create fear and sensation rather than accuracy. Dangerous.

 

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