TBR News July 9, 2018

Jul 09 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8

Washington, D.C. July 9, 2018: “Pseudo-scientists are in transports of delight with the prolonged high temperatures, crying like John the Baptist in the wilderness that the living proof of Global Warming is upon them and that the planet will melt unless all factories are immediately shut down and all internal combustion engines forbidden operation.

It is a time when elitists band together in groups called “Concerned Scientists for Abolition of Progress” or “Concerned Scientists Against Cloning, Acne, Rocket Testing and Fast Food Hamburgers.” A Scientist is not necessarily one engaged in scientific activity but can, and does, include such occupations as homeopathic medicine, faith healing,  hair removal experts , chiropractors, nursing assistants, bird watchers, retired proctologists, psychic healers, devotees of crystals and pyramids, cat gelders and observers of passing whales.

The bulk of the membership of these pseudo-scientific associations are befuddled individuals who wish, like Luddites, to ban all forms of industry saving those that could be practiced at home.

Under this blanket can be found pottery manufactures, home weaving-loom users and those who often dream about stripping entirely naked and dancing with the deer, and each other, in the beauty, and security, of the woodlands far from the prying eyes of the raucous multitude that would only mock their flabby and often deformed bodies.

Their cries are most often heard about the time that their anti-depressants run out.”


The Table of Contents

  • Did Researchers Find a Mummified, Three-Fingered Alien in Nazca, Peru?
  • Corporate Media’s About-Face on Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis
  • Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine
  • The Trump-Kushner Delusion on Palestine
  • Donald Trump to face ‘carnival of resistance’
  • Kremlin says linking Russia with new Novichok poisoning is ‘absurd’
  • A Snowden retrospective
  • Suitcase bombs and the CIA

 Did Researchers Find a Mummified, Three-Fingered Alien in Nazca, Peru?

The purported discovery is backed by individuals with a history of making false, pseudoscientific claims.

Fact Checker: Dan MacGuill

June 21, 2017


CLAIM: A corpse found in Nazca, Peru, is that of an alien.


ORIGIN: On 20 June 2017, the web site Gaia.com published a video purporting to show the excavation and examination of a mummified body in Nazca, Peru:

In the spring of 2017, Gaia filmmakers joined researchers and scientists just outside of Nazca, Peru to investigate an unearthed mummified body. Independent scientists and universities are currently analyzing findings, with initial examinations suggesting the possibility of material that is unlike anything found in the fossil record.

Could this be a primitive human with an intentional or developmental deformity, or undeniable evidence that a non-human species exists?

Although Gaia.com at least posed the idea that the mummy was an alien as a question, the Disclose.tv web site definitively reported the headline “New Alien Mummy Discovered in Peru Near Nazca Lines.”

The Nazca Lines are a set of geoglyphs (lines drawn by removing rocks and digging up earth) near Nazca, Peru. Some are drawn in the shape of animals (biomorphs) and are between 50 and 1,200 feet long, according to National Geographic. The absence of a single definitive explanation for their origins has prompted speculation that aliens were somehow involved in their creation.

However, no evidence has ever definitively proved the existence of alien life, and countless “alien” discoveries have later been shown to be hoaxes or to have far more mundane explanations.

In 2015, Mexican journalist Jaime Maussan, who reported the existence of the Nazca mummy to Gaia and is featured in the video, led an event called Be Witness, at which a mummified body — purportedly that of an alien — was unveiled. Later, though, that “alien” discovery was debunked, and the mummified corpse was shown to be that of a human child.

Forensic scientist José de Jésus Zalce Benitez was one of the lead researchers behind the (debunked) 2015 discovery, presenting his findings at the Be Witness event. Benitez also took part in Gaia’s Nazca project and can be seen in the video claiming that the three fingers of the mummy “makes us think that this does not belong to a human species.”

The previous discovery of mummies with elongated skulls in Peru, like that shown in the Gaia video, has prompted similar wild speculation about alien species. But anthropologists have explained that elongated skulls are the result of an ancient practice of artificial cranial deformation, in which young children had their heads bound in cloth, rope, or even wooden boards, possibly as part of a religious ritual.

Dr Konstantin Korotkov, who says with certainty in the Gaia video that the Nazca mummy “belongs to another creature,” also claims to have invented a camera that can photograph the soul and has previously made a host of pseudo-scientific pronouncements about the measurement of “auras,” such as this one:

If we send positive emotions, if we send love to each other, then we increase not  only the other person’s energy field, but our own energy field.

Finally, Gaia.com (formerly known as Gaiam TV) web site has a long history of providing a platform for false and spurious pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, and paranormal claims. The company charges $95.40 per year for unlimited access to videos about remote viewing, contact with angels, alien abduction, crop circles, and the like.

It remains to be established whether the Nazca “mummy” is actually an excavated corpse or simply a hoax, what its origins are, and how its apparent deformities came about. But we are willing to say with certainty that it will not succeed where thousands of previous “discoveries” have failed, and present definitive, scientifically verifiable proof of alien life.


Corporate Media’s About-Face on Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis

U.S. corporate media spent years dismissing the role of neo-Nazis in Ukraine’s 2014 coup but it is suddenly going through a conversion

July 5, 2018

by Daniel Lazare

Consortium News

Last month a freelance journalist named Joshua Cohen published an article in The Washington Post about the Ukraine’s growing neo-Nazi threat.  Despite a gratuitous swipe at Russia for allegedly exaggerating the problem (which it hasn’t), the piece was fairly accurate.

Entitled “Ukraine’s ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown,” it said that fascists have gone on a rampage while the ruling clique in Kiev closes its eyes for the most part and prays that the problem somehow goes away on its own.

Thus, a group calling itself C14 (for the fourteen-word ultra-right motto, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) not only beat up a socialist politician and celebrated Hitler’s birthday by stabbing an antiwar activist, but bragged about it on its website.  Other ultra-nationalists, Cohen says, have stormed the Lvov and Kiev city councils and “assaulted or disrupted” art exhibits, anti-fascist demos, peace and gay-rights events, and a Victory Day parade commemorating the victory over Hitler in 1945.

Yet nothing has happened to stop this.  President Petro Poroshenko could order a crackdown, but hasn’t for reasons that should be obvious.  The U.S.-backed “Euromaidan” uprising not only drove out former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, who had won an OSCE-certified election, but tore the country in two, precisely because ultra-rightists like C14 were in the lead.

When resistance to the U.S.-backed coup broke out in Crimea and parts of the country’s largely Russian-speaking east, the base of Yanukovych voters, civil war ensued.  But because the Ukrainian army had all but collapsed, the new, coup government had no one to rely on other than the neo-fascists who had helped propel it to power.

So an alliance was hatched between pro-western oligarchs at the top – Forbes puts Poroshenko’s net worth at a cool $1 billion – and neo-Nazi enforcers at the bottom.  Fascists may not be popular.  Indeed, Dmytro Yarosh, the fire-breathing leader of a white-power coalition known as Right Sector, received less than one percent of the vote when he ran for president in May 2014.

But the state is so weak and riddled with so many ultra-rightists in key positions – Andriy Parubiy, founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine, is speaker of the parliament, while ultra-rightist Arsen Avakov is minister of the interior – that the path before them is clear and unobstructed.  As Cohen points out, the result is government passivity on one hand and a rising tide of ultra-right violence on the other.  In the earlier stages of the civil war, for instance, the rightwing extremists burned more than 40 people alive in a labor union building in Odessa, a horrific incident downplayed by Western media.

Confusing its Readers

Cohen’s article may have Washington Post readers scratching their heads for the simple reason that the paper has long said the opposite.  Since Euromaidan, the Post has toed the official Washington line that Vladimir Putin has exaggerated the role of the radical right in order to discredit the anti-Yanukovych revolt and legitimize his own alleged interference.

Sure, anti-Yanukovych forces had festooned the Kiev town hall with a white supremacist banner, a Confederate flag, and a giant image of Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator whose forces killed thousands of Jews during the German occupation and as many as 100,000 Poles.  And yes, they staged a 15,000-strong torchlight parade in Bandera’s honor and scrawled an SS symbol on a toppled statue of Lenin. They also destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who had fought on what Bandera supporters regard as the wrong side of World War II, that is, with the Soviets and against the Axis.

But so-called responsible, mainstream journalists are supposed to avert their eyes to avoid being tarred as a “useful idiot” whom Putin supposedly employs to advance his “anti-American agenda.”  Ten days after Yanukovych’s departure, the Post dutifully assured its readers that Russian reports of “hooligans and fascists” had “no basis in reality.”

A week or so later, it said “the new government, though peppered with right-wing politicians, is led primarily by moderate, pro-European politicians.”  A few weeks after that, it described Bandera as no more than “controversial” and quoted a Kiev businessman as saying: “The Russians want to call him a fascist, but I feel he was a hero for our country.  Putin is using him to try to divide us.”

Thus, the Post and other corporate media continued to do its duty by attacking Putin for plainly saying “the forces backing Ukraine’s government in Kiev are fascists and neo-Nazis.”  But who was wrong?

The New York Times was no better. It assailed Russia for hurling “harsh epithets” like “neo-Nazi,” and blamed the Russian leader for “scaremongering” by attributing Yanukovych’s ouster to “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes, and anti-Semites.”  The Guardian’s Luke Harding –  a leading Putin basher – said of the far-right Svoboda Party:

“Over the past decade the party appears to have mellowed, eschewing xenophobia, academic commentators suggest.  On Monday, the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, said he had been ‘positively impressed’ by Svoboda’s evolution in opposition and by its behavior in the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.  ‘They have demonstrated their democratic bona fides,’ the ambassador asserted.”

This is the party whose founder, Oleh Tyahnybok, said in a 2004 speech that “a Moscow-Jewish mafia” was running the Ukraine and that Bandera’s followers “fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other enemies who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”  Had the leopard really changed its spots, according to Pyatt?  Or was it simply a matter of America not giving a damn as long as Svoboda joined the fight to encircle Russia and advance NATO’s drive to the east?

As someone named Marx once observed, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own two eyes?”  As far as Ukraine was concerned, the answer for the corporate press came from the U.S. State Department.  If Foggy Bottom said that Ukrainian neo-Nazism was a figment of Russia’s imagination, then that’s what it was, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

Someday, historians will look back on Euromaidan Ukraine as one of the looniest periods in western journalism – except, of course, for all the ones that have followed. But if one had to choose the looniest story of all, one that best reflects the abject toadyism of the reporting classes, it would have to be “Why Jews and Ukrainians Have Become Unlikely Allies,” a 1,400-word article that ran on the Post-owned Foreign Policy website in May 2014.  Four years later, it stands as a model of how not to write about an all-important political crisis.

Cohen’s Conversion

The piece begins with the usual hand-wringing about Svoboda and Right Sector and expresses remorse that the latter still venerates the “controversial” Bandera, whose followers “fought on the side of the Nazis from 1944 until the end of World War II.”  (Actually, they welcomed the Germans from the start and, despite rocky relations with the Slav-hating Nazis, continued to work with them throughout the occupation.)

But then it gets down to business by asserting that as bad as Ukrainian nationalists may be, Russia is doubly worse.  “Despite the substantial presence of right wing nationalists on the Maidan during the revolution,” it says, “many in Ukraine’s Jewish community resent being used by Putin in his propaganda war.”  The proof is an open letter signed by 21 Ukrainian Jewish leaders asserting that the real danger was Moscow.

“We know that the political opposition consists of various groups, including some that are nationalistic,” the letter declared.  “But even the most marginal of them do not demonstrate anti-Semitism or other forms of xenophobia.  And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government – which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services.”

This was music to Washington’s ears.  But if neo-Nazis are free of “anti-Semitism or other forms of xenophobia,” how does one explain the white-power symbols in the Kiev town hall?  If nationalists were “very few” in number, why did  journalists need to explain them away?  If Russian security forces really encouraged neo-Nazis, where were the torchlight parades and portraits of Bandera-like collaborators hanging from public buildings in Moscow?

The article might have noted that Josef Zissels, the Jewish community leader who organized the letter, is a provocative figure who has long maintained close relations with Ukraine’s far right.  A self-styled Zhydobanderivets – a word that roughly translates as “Kike follower of Bandera” – he has since infuriated other Jewish leaders by criticizing California Congressman Ro Khanna for sending a letter to the State Department asking that pressure be brought on the governments of Poland and Ukraine to combat Holocaust revisionism in their countries.

Forty-one Jewish leaders were so angry, in fact, that they sent out a letter of their own thanking Khannna for his efforts, expressing “deep concern at the rise of anti-Semitic incidents and expressions of xenophobia and intolerance, including attacks on Roma communities,” and “strongly proclaim[ing] that Mr. Iosif Zissels and the organization VAAD do not represent the Jews of Ukraine.”  A Jewish community leader in Russia was so outraged by the pro-Bandera apologetics of Zissels and a Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch named Igor Kolomoisky that he said he wanted to hang both men “in Dnepropetrovsk in front of the Golden Rose Synagogue until they stop breathing.”

So Foreign Policy used a highly dubious source to whitewash Ukraine’s growing neo-Nazi presence and absolve it of anti-Semitism.  As crimes against the truth go, this is surely one of the worst. But now that the problem has gotten too big for even the corporate media to ignore, overnight muckrakers like Joshua Cohen are seeing to it that getting away with such offenses will no longer be so easy. Before his abrupt about-face, the author of that misleading Foreign Policy piece was Joshua Cohen.


Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

July 4, 2018

by Asa Winstanley

The Electronic Intifada

Israeli arms are being sent to a heavily armed neo-Nazi militia in Ukraine, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

Azov Battalion online propaganda shows Israeli-licensed Tavor rifles in the fascist group’s hands, while Israeli human rights activists have protested arms sales to Ukraine on the basis that weapons might end up with anti-Semitic militias.

In a letter “about licenses for Ukraine” obtained by The Electronic Intifada, the Israeli defense ministry’s arms export agency says they are “careful to grant licenses” to arms exporters “in full coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government entities.”

The 26 June letter was sent in reply to Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack who had written a detailed request demanding Israel end all military aid to the country.

Azov’s official status in the Ukrainian armed forces means it cannot be verified that “Israeli weapons and training” are not being used “by anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi soldiers,” Mack and 35 other human rights activists wrote.

They had written that Ukrainian armed forces use rifles made in Israel “and are trained by Israelis,” according to reports in the country.

The head of the Israeli arms export agency declined to deny the reports, or to even discuss cancellation of the weapons licenses, citing “security” concerns.

But Racheli Chen, the head of the agency, confirmed to Mack she had “carefully read your letter,” which detailed the fascist nature of Azov and the reports of Israeli arms and training.

Israeli rifles in Ukraine

The fact that Israeli arms are going to Ukrainian neo-Nazis is supported by Azov’s own online propaganda.

On its YouTube channel, Azov posted a video “review” of locally produced copies of two Israeli Tavor rifles

The rifles are produced under licence from Israel Weapon Industries, and as such would have been authorized by the Israeli government.

IWI markets the Tavor as the “primary weapon” of the Israeli special forces.

It has been used in recent massacres of unarmed Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return protests in Gaza.

Fort, the Ukrainian state-owned arms company that produces the rifles under license, has a page about the Tavor on its website.

The Israel Weapon Industries logo also appears on its website, including on the “Our Partners” page.

Starting as a gang of fascist street thugs, the Azov Battalion is one of several far-right militias that have now been integrated as units of Ukraine’s National Guard.

Staunchly anti-Russian, Azov fought riot police during the 2013 US and EU-supported “Euromaidan” protests in the capital Kiev.

The protests and riots laid the ground for the 2014 coup which removed the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych

When the civil war began in eastern Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists, the new western-backed government began to arm Azov. The militia soon fell under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian interior ministry, and saw some of the most intense frontline combat against the separatists.

The group stands accused in United Nations and Human Rights Watch reports of committing war crimes against pro-Russian separatists during the ongoing civil war in the eastern Donbass region, including torture, sexual violence and targeting of civilian homes.

Today, Azov is run by Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister. According to the BBC, he pays its fighters, and has appointed one of its military commanders, Vadym Troyan, as his deputy – with control over the police.

Avakov last year met with the Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri to discuss “fruitful cooperation.”

Azov’s young founder and first military commander Andriy Biletsky is today a lawmaker in the Ukrainian parliament.

As journalist Max Blumenthal explained on The Real News in February, Biletsky has “pledged to restore the honor of the white race” and has advanced laws forbidding “race mixing.”

According to The Telegraph, Biletsky in 2014 wrote that “the historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led untermenschen.”

At a military training camp for children last year, The Guardian noticed that several Azov instructors had Nazi and other racist tattoos, including a swastika, the SS skull symbol and one that read “White Pride.”

One Azov soldier explained to The Guardian that he fights Russia because “Putin’s a Jew.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, another praised Adolf Hitler, said homosexuality is a “mental illness” and that the scale of the Holocaust “is a big question.”

An Azov drill sergeant once told USA Today “with a laugh” that “no more than half his comrades are fellow Nazis.”

An Azov spokesperson played that down, claiming that “only 10-20 percent” of the group’s members were Nazis.

Nonetheless, the sergeant “vowed that when the war ends, his comrades will march on the capital, Kiev, to oust a government they consider corrupt.”

After Azov’s founder Andriy Biletsky entered parliament, he threatened to dissolve it. “Take my word for it,” he said, “we have gathered here to begin the fight for power.”

Those promises were made in 2014, but there are early signs of them being fulfilled today.

This year the battalion has founded a new “National Militia” to bring the war home.

This well-organized gang is at the forefront of a growing wave of racist and anti-Semitic violence in Ukraine.

Led by its military veterans, it specializes in pogroms and thuggish enforcement of its political agenda.

Earlier this month, clad in balaclavas and wielding axes and baseball bats, members of the group destroyed a Romany camp in Kiev. In a YouTube video, apparently shot by the Azov thugs themselves, police turn up towards the end of the camp’s destruction.

They look on doing nothing, while the thugs cry, “Glory to the nation! Death to enemies!”

Israel’s military aid to Ukraine and its neo-Nazis emulates similar programs by the United States and other NATO countries including the UK and Canada.

So obsessed are they with defeating a perceived threat from Russia that they seem happy to aid even openly Nazi militias – as long as they fight on their side.

This is also a throwback to the early Cold War, when the CIA supported fascists and Hitlerites to infiltrate from Austria into Hungary in 1956, where they began slaughtering Hungarian communist Jews and Hungarian Jews as “communists.”

Recent postings on Azov websites document a June meeting with the Canadian military attaché, Colonel Brian Irwin.

According to Azov, the Canadians concluded the briefing by expressing “their hopes for further fruitful cooperation.”

Irwin acknowledged receipt of an email from The Electronic Intifada, but did not answer questions about his meeting with the fascist militia.

A spokesperson for the Canadian defense department later sent a statement claiming that their “training of Ukrainian Armed Forces through Operation Unifier incorporates strong human rights elements.”

They said Canada is “strongly opposed to the glorification of Nazism and all forms of racism” but that “every country must come to grips with difficult periods in its past.”

The spokesperson, who did not provide a name, wrote that Canadian training “includes ongoing dialogue on the development of a diverse, and inclusive Ukraine.”

The statement said nothing about how alleged Canadian diversity training goes down with the Azov Battalion.

Also part of Colonel Irwin’s meeting was the head of Azov’s officer training academy, an institution named after right-wing Ukrainian nationalist Yevhen Konovalets.

Konovalets is one of the group’s idols, whose portrait frequently adorns its military iconography.

Konovalets was the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which later allied itself to Nazi Germany during its invasion of the Soviet Union.

The OUN took part in the notorious 1941 Lviv massacre, when the Nazis invaded Soviet territory.

During the pogrom, thousands of Jews were massacred in the now-Ukrainian city.

US aid to Nazis

Canada is of course not the only NATO “ally” to be sending arms to Ukraine.

As Max Blumenthal has extensively reported, US weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, and training have been provided to Azov.

Under pressure from the Pentagon, a clause in the annually renewed defense bill banning US aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion was repeatedly stripped out.

This went on for three straight years before Democratic lawmaker Ro Khanna and others pushed it through earlier this year.

For his trouble Khanna was smeared in Washington as a “K Street sellout” who was “holding Putin’s dirty laundry.”

Despite the ban finally passing, Azov’s status as an official unit of the Ukrainian armed forces leaves it unclear how US aid can be separated out.

In 2014, the Israel lobby groups ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help a previous attempt to bar US aid to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine.

Attempts by some in Congress to bar US military aid to Nazis in Ukraine may explain military aid from Israel.

Israel’s “deepening military-technical cooperation” with Ukraine and its fascist militias is likely a way to help its partner in the White House, and is another facet of the growing Zionist-White Supremacist alliance.

Israel has historically acted as a useful route through which US presidents and the CIA can circumvent congressional restrictions on aid to various unsavory groups and governments around the world.

In 1980s Latin America, these included the Contras, who were fighting a war against the left-wing revolutionary government of Nicaragua, as well as a host of other Latin American fascist death squads and military dictatorships.

It also included the South African apartheid regime, which Israeli governments of both the “Zionist left” and Likudnik right armed for decades.

As quoted in Andrew and Leslie Cockburn’s book Dangerous Liaison, one former member of the Israeli parliament, General Mattityahu Peled, put it succinctly: “In Central America, Israel is the ‘dirty work’ contractor for the US administration. Israel is acting as an accomplice and an arm of the United States.”

Amid an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, Israel now appears to be reprising this role in eastern Europe.


The Trump-Kushner Delusion on Palestine

July 9, 2018

by Sheldon Richman


Here’s a shocker: Donald Trump and his Palestine-Israel fixers think they can buy a peaceful and permanent settlement of the 70-year conflict by getting Arab governments to pressure the Palestinians into forgetting the “politicians’ talking points” – you know, superficial things like independence from the routine abuses and indignities of colonial oppression (that’s right; the same trifles Americans celebrated on July 4) – and focusing instead on what really matters: roads, jobs, and money.

In Trumpworld, everyone and everything – including the longing for justice – has a price.

According to many indications and chief envoy/Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s own interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, the Trump plan is to have Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt gang up on the Palestinians in order to compel them to accept money for economic development in return for dropping their demands for a sovereign and independent state free of Israeli domination, that is, a state consisting of (most of) the West Bank and Gaza Strip with its capital in East Jerusalem. Instead of insisting that Israel withdraw from the lands conquered in and occupied since the 1967 war, dismantle its illegal settlements, and tear down its wall (which runs not along the 1967 border but through the West Bank), the Palestinians are expected to accept promises of outside investment in infrastructure and jobs. Their “state” would consist of a few disconnected villages, presumably isolated Gaza, and a capital in a Jerusalem suburb.

How bad can one (or in this case four) misjudge a situation?

One might reasonably suspect the plan is being designed precisely to be rejected by the Palestinians in order to brand them, yet again, as anti-peace and to justify continued Israeli atrocities. Further, we have every reason to expect that Israel itself would not accept the plan because even this paper Palestinian state would be unacceptable to nearly every Israeli. As the song says, “This land is mine. God gave this land to me.” Not that Israel’s government would reject the plan outright; rather, it will equivocate, letting the Palestinians bear the “rejectionist” label alone.

The plan is being formulated by – SARCASM ALERT – three accomplished diplomats with long records of thoughtful, objective consideration of the events that have brought Palestine and Israel to where they are today: Kushner, a debt-ridden real estate developer with a history of connections to the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank; Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s former lawyer who once was a guard at one of those illegal West Bank settlements and who seems proud to be able to say, “Mr. Trump does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace”; and David Friedman, former Trump bankruptcy lawyer and ambassador to Israel, who supports Israeli annexation of some of the West Bank and who ran an organization that raised millions of dollars for the illegal settlements. We might add that Kushner, 37, has known Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he was a teenager; they appear to have a godfather-godson relationship.

It would be an understatement to say that this trio, like its boss, is entirely in Israel’s corner and have no time whatever for the pesky Palestinians. This is nothing new for the US, but Trump has gone to great lengths not to obscure that fact.

The Kushner mission – which seems dedicated in part to enabling Trump to brag that he pulled off the “deal of the century” – got off to a rousing start with the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his moving of the US embassy there from Tel Aviv – on one of the days that Israel was gunning down peaceful protesters in the Gaza open-air prison. The status of Jerusalem has long been regarded as one of those thorny issues to be resolved by the Israelis and Palestinians at the end of the negotiation process, but nevertheless the Israeli position is that Jerusalem is Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital.” Trump agrees.

So much for Trump’s short-lived talking point during a presidential debate that he had to appear fair (not actually be fair, mind you) if he was to bring peace to the troubled region.

Before looking at what we know about the emerging Kushner plan, a little context would help. Americans who rely on the establishment news media for information would not know that the Palestine-Israel story has been carefully crafted to make the Israelis look good and the Palestinians bad. In tone and particulars, Israel is portrayed as the unambiguously righteous and wronged party, while the Palestinians are portrayed as everything but righteous and wronged. Virtually every commentary assumes it is the Palestinians who must prove they are worthy of peace, security, (and some highly limited measure of) self-governance. The burden of proof is entirely theirs. The Israeli have nothing to prove.

This is surreal, considering that it the pre-Israel Zionists who, in first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s words, “have come here and stolen [the Palestinians’] country.” In 1948, what would become the Israeli army massacred hundreds and drove three-quarters of a million Palestinians out of their homeland and internally displaced many more, creating the refugee problem that exists to this day. This was the Nakba, the catastrophe, which Israeli historians call “ethnic cleansing.” Then in 1967 Israel conquered what it didn’t take in 1948, creating hundreds of thousands more internal refugees.

So why must the Palestinians prove themselves worthy of civil treatment? Because they resisted dispossession and occupation? Because they are inconsequential Arabs, while the ruling Israelis are mostly white European Jews?

According to the conventional thinking, it is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who must make concessions. Every apparent concession by Israel is hailed as amazingly generous; every Palestinian objection is condemned as proof of their unworthiness; and every actual concession by them is shoved down the memory hole. In fact, Israeli “concessions” are mere modifications of Israel’s bottom-line demands; it has made no concessions regarding its obligations under international law.

How many people realize that the Palestinians have moved from their initial call for one liberal secular state for Muslims, Christians, and Jews (Yasser Arafat UN speech, 1974); to acceptance of two states along the pre-1967 borders, with the Palestinians thereby conceding 78 percent of Palestine to Israel; to acceptance of 60 percent of the illegal Israeli settlements in 2 percent of the West Bank, with an equivalent land swap nearby? When have those advances toward a resolution ever been called generous by America’s political and pundit classes?

What the Palestinians won’t accept – the object of their so-called “rejectionism” – is a “state” that is little more than a few uncontiguous villages separated by a wall, a “state” over which Israel asserts ultimate control in the name of security. But even that is too much for most Israelis. They have no objection to the Palestinian Authority exerting authoritarian control over the Palestinians – that’s all the Oslo Accords accomplished, relieving Israelis of the bad-PR dirty work – but they will not accept Palestinians in charge of their own security against Israel, which means not only the Israeli military but also the fanatical settlers, many of them Americans, who think nothing of killing, bashing, and humiliating the goyische Palestinians with impunity. (See army vets’ testimony about gratuitous violence at Breaking the Silence. Also, see this video.) A pacification program similar to Oslo seems planned for Gaza.

That’s the historical context. The present context bodes equally ill for Trump’s Deal of the Century.

Kusher says PA President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted the American delegation’s recent visit because he fears the plan being formulated will be acceptable to the Palestinians. Abbas boycotted because of the Jerusalem move, and he is indeed out of sync with the Palestinians, so unpopular he would lose an election today. He’s disliked because his security forces imprison, torture, and harass Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation, which moral intuition and the International Court of Justice condemn as illegal, and he has added to the hardship of the Gazans. Moreover, Abbas’s presidential term expired in 2009, but he has yet to hold an election.

Even so, the Trump administration deludes itself if it thinks the Palestinians dislike Abbas because he has been unwilling to compromise. On the contrary, they think their side has made all the concessions and has received nothing in return. For example, since Oslo 20 years ago, the number of Israeli settlers has more than doubled and Israel has taken more and more Palestinian land. Peaceful protesters in the Occupied Territories are detained indefinitely without charge and tortured when they are not shot. Homes are demolished as a form of collective punishment and deterrence.

So Kushner’s alleged good intentions notwithstanding, the Palestinians won’t care what his friend Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman wants. They will be unimpressed that Arab rulers are willing to sacrifice them for an alliance with America and Israel against Iran. They will therefore refuse to be “delivered.”

Israel’s position on what the ICJ calls the Occupied Palestinian Terrorities has been accurately likened to a guy who eats a pizza while claiming he’s ready to discuss how to divide it with his dinner companion. And that’s okay with Trump and Kushner.

As I write, more pizza is being consumed in Khan al-Ahmar and Abu Nuwar, two Bedouin villages east of Jerusalem. The Jahalin tribe used to live in the Negev desert in what became southern Israel in 1948. In 1952 the Israeli government expelled them so a Jewish town could be built and deposited them in the West Bank, which until 1967 was held by Jordan (having colluded with Israel in 1948 to deprive the Palestinians of their own state). The Jahalin “found a niche in the Judean Desert between Jerusalem and Jericho where they could continue their lives as nomadic herders,” writes Jeff Halper, co-founder of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. As Israel executed its plan to make the illegally acquired West Bank a permanent part of Israel, it “steadily pushed [the Bedouin] into ever more remote and constricted areas.” Halper continues:

In 1976 Israel established Ma’aleh Adumim, today the third largest settlement in the Occupied Territory with more than 40,000 (Jewish) inhabitants, in the center of Jahalin life. Since 1997 the Civil Administration has been forcing the Jahalin off their land entirely, relocating them by force onto a barren hilltop literally on the Jerusalem municipal garbage dump. Trucks full of garbage pass through their crowded shanty town on the way to dumping the garbage below, and the stench is overpowering….

The declared intent of the Civil Administration is to remove all the Bedouin from Area C, part of a process of removal that affects the Palestinian population as a whole. Area C represents 62% of the West Bank, and it is where the Israeli settlements are located. Two and a half million Palestinians of the West Bank – 84% of the population – are locked into some 70 tiny, isolated and impoverished enclaves called Areas A and B on the other 38%….

Khan al–Ahmar, situated ironically at the biblical site of the Inn of the Good Samaritan, is home to 173 people, 92 of them children. The school, built by Italian volunteers in 2009, the first school the Jahalin ever had, serves 150 kids.

In June the Israeli Supreme Court gave its blessing to the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar. The court said the homes were built illegally, which in a way is true because Israel won’t let Palestinians build homes legally – but, then, the Israeli occupation itself is illegal by any civilized moral and legal standard.

Allison Deger updates the story at Mondoweiss:

Israel forces arrived this morning [July 4] to two Palestinian-Bedouin villages and began razing buildings in preparation for taking over the land, alarming human rights groups who say such a move would effectively cut the West Bank into two.

The villages Khan al-Ahmar, and Abu Nuwar are home to just around 2,000 Bedouins, but the impact of their removal would be lasting, making a Palestinian state no longer possible, advocates of the two-state solution warned.

Much could be said about this horrible event: imagine being kicked out of the home you built and seeing it bulldozed. (for a late development, a temporary stay, see this.) But what occurs to me most forcefully is how much the scene resembles what the Russian czar used to do when he expelled the Jews from their shtetls. The big difference is that now it is Jews working through the Jewish State who are doing the evicting.

And all of this is just fine with the virtuous Trump, Kushner, Greenblatt, and Friedman.


Donald Trump to face ‘carnival of resistance’

Dozens of groups and thousands of individuals will try to make US president’s visit uncomfortable

July 9, 2018

by Alexandra Topping

The Guardian

The organisers of anti-Donald Trump protests have promised a “carnival of resistance” that will begin as soon as the US president lands in the UK on Thursday.

While major protests have been prepared for London, the organisers said preparations had taken on “a life of their own” and would be carried out by dozens of groups and thousands of individuals across the country.

Protests will start as Trump arrives from Brussels with pockets of protesters co-ordinating around the country to ensure that while the president may avoid the largest gatherings in the capital, they will not escape his notice.

Trump is expected to be at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London, overnight and at 5.30pm on Thursday protesters plan to greet him with a “wall of sound”. More demonstrations are planned for Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, later in the evening, when Trump and his wife, Melania, will be guests of honour at a dinner for 100 guests.

A website, Top Trump Targets, has been set up, encouraging people to donate to groups “he has sought to exclude or marginalise”.

The Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who set up the site with Sophie Livingstone, said it was an attempt to bring something positive from a highly divisive event. “There will be a lot of people on Friday who just want to be angry, but imagine if the legacy of this Trump visit was a massive funding boost to all the organisations he hates,” she said. “Standing with these organisations is probably the best thing we can do.”

On Friday morning, a six-metre “angry Trump baby” balloon will fly over Westminster from Parliament Square after the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave permission for it, before mass marches begin at midday.

Women’s March London – which brought 100,000 people to the streets of the capital in 2017 – will assemble at 11am outside the BBC offices in Portland Place before leaving at 12.30pm to move along Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall, culminating in a rally at Parliament Square.

For the Bring the Noise rally, organisers are encouraging marchers to take “pots and pans out of the kitchen … and on to the streets, banging to show our disapproval and claiming our political voice in public space”.

“The Women’s March is led by women but it is not just about women, we will have every voice in society represented,” said Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, its London co-organiser. “The Trump-Pence administration has overseen a massive regression in women’s rights, and it is not enough to say this is happening somewhere else, this is not our business. We have to stand up.”

The march’s youngest protester is likely to be the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson’s two-week-old baby, Gabriel, while the eldest may be an 86-year-old member of the Moving Memory Theat-re Company, who will teach protesters how to do a haka, while marchers will be entertained by opera singers from Opera Resistance.

A second London demonstration led by Stop Trump – which includes members of the TUC, Stop the War and Friends of the Earth – will also start outside the BBC’s headquarters at 2pm, ending at 5pm in Trafalgar Square, where organisers hope “very large numbers” – in the tens of thousands – will attend.

Shaista Aziz, one of the organisers of the London march, denied there was any division between the different protesting groups, despite calls from some that the marches be united. Aziz said the Women’s March would start the day and the protest would continue.

“I think protesters have learnt from the past that people have to be able to protest and mobilise however they wish – whatever people are doing it is still part of the same mass movement.”

Aziz said that while the march was incited by Trump’s visit, its message was wider. “We are protesting against Trump, but we are also protesting against the politics of discrimination, bigotry and hate. People are making the connection – this is not just happening in the States, but across the EU and the UK.”

There will also be demonstrations on Friday evening in Glasgow and on Saturday in Edinburgh at noon.


Kremlin says linking Russia with new Novichok poisoning is ‘absurd’

Moscow was sorry to hear a nerve agent had killed a woman, and was “deeply concerned” about such toxins’ presence in the UK, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. But he described the case as a “British problem.”

July 9, 2108


Russian officials dismissed any claims that the Kremlin was responsible for the death of a British woman near Salisbury, in an incident that UK officials described as another case of the Novichok poisoning.

Addressing reporters on Monday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “we of course very much regret the death of the British citizen.”

“Just like before, we are deeply concerned that toxic substances continue to surface on  British soil,” Peskov said. “We believe it is not only dangerous for the British, but also all other Europeans.”

However, Peskov also said he was unaware of anybody linking Moscow with this month’s poisoning of a couple in Amesbury, which comes four months after Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with the same substance in nearby Salisbury. Both towns are in the southeast of Wiltshire, not far from the UK’s highly secretive Porton Down military science and technology laboratory.

“At any case, we believe it would be quite absurd,” said the Kremlin spokesman.

Russia’s envoy voices doubts

Peskov went on to comment on a separate statement by Russia’s representative at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Vasilievich Shulgin. Previously, Shulgin expanded on Russia’s long-held thesis thatthe Novichok poisoning was an anti-Russian conspiracy.

“Such stories are lately popping up just ahead of important events,” Shulgin told the Izvestiya newspaper. “Right now we have the final stages of the 2018 World Cup and the Russia-US summit in Helsinki coming up. It’s hard to escape the thought that everything was pre-planned and deliberately brought about to escalate the international situation and undermine Russia’s authority and its ties with other parties.”

Time for Moscow to explain ‘what has gone on’

On Monday, however, Peskov said the Wiltshire poisoning had “nothing to do with the summit” between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Finland.

“This is, let’s put it this way, more of a British problem,” Peskov said.

Last week, UK officials said the nerve agent used against the couple in Amesbury was of the same variety as the toxin used against the Skripals, but it was not clear if the substance came from the same batch.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it was time “that the Russian state comes forward and explains what has gone on.”

The nominally retired double agent Sergei Skripal spent several weeks in a coma after being discovered on a bench in Salisbury in March; he eventually recovered enough to be released from the hospital. He and Julia Skripal are now living in a secret location.


A Snowden retrospective

July 9, 2018

by Christian Jürs

By his actions in revealing top secret data about personal information of American, and foreign, citizens, , young Mr. Snowden has done irreparable damage to America’s national defense and protection programs.

Until he violated his oath of secrecy, we were able to watch, and track not only the all-pervasive and deadly Muslim terrorists world-wide but also keep a close watch on domestic American trouble-makers such as infested this country during the Vietnam war. Now, his actions have severely compromised various American computer companies who, until this week, were able and willing to assist our protective measures.

These companies are now being attacked by their millions of users and I am assured that many of them are losing customers at an alarming rate.

One of our most important resources for compiling files on any person expressing negative or anti-government views, Facebook, is having serious troubles.

When the FBI became involved in that project, they could clearly see how valuable an intelligence asset it could be. Their control of Internet II and their strong, on-going relationship with search engine Google paled into insignificance beside the trove of valuable data that Facebook was able to provide them.

Now, all of this valuable sourcing is destroyed, due solely to the misguided youth who, quite literally, stabbed all of us in the intelligence community in the back.

But we also suffered even worse damage when it was revealed that many other countries eagerly assisted our NSA (and the CIA, the FBI and the DHS) in allowing us to also keep records, and conduct discreet surveillance, on citizens of other countries, such at the UK, France, Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland, China and Russia.

Just recently, Snowden surfaced documents to the effect that the United States had hacked many hundreds of targets in outwardly neutral Hong Kong, to include state officials, many businesses and schools and students both in that city as well as identical targets on the PRC mainland. He made the claim that these were only part of the annual 60,000 NSA interdiction operations.

One of the worst hit countries was our long-time ally, Great Britain.

The British face domestic problems even more accentuated than those of the United States. They have a large and very restive black population as well as a larger Muslim one (approximately 1.6 million) and many of these are the young, dissatisfied types so easily recruited by the imams bent on furthering religious attacks on Christian communities that are perceived as “oppressing” Muslim countries. And in the black population, many of the younger members are also targets for Muslim fanaticism.  The Muslim population percentages in larger UK cities, for example are: Greater London – 17% (1.3 million of 7.5 million) and the industrial city of Birmingham 14.3% (139,771)

Their authorities are absolutely in full cooperation with American identification projects and we have had the total support of the following UK internet providers:

BT Group: operates the BT Total Broadband brand and has 4.6 million customers.The company has broadband to other ISPs through the Openreach brand. It also operates under the Plusnet brand. Plusnet was founded in 1997..

Sky Broadband: a digital TV provider that also provides broadband and home phone services. Launched in 2006, it has its headquarters in London, UK. It offers bundle services with TV, home phone and broadband services. It has operated the Be Unlimited brand since February 2013. In 2013 it acquired O2’s home broadband business

Virgin Media: offers consumers a quadruple play bundle of TV, broadband, home phone and mobile. The UK ISP has approximately 10 million customers.The company also provides fibre optic broadband of up to 100Mb, with 120Mb

TalkTalk: TalkTalk offers broadband service to consumers in the UK. Launched in 2004, the ISP has a customer base of 4.12 million. The ISP offers broadband and landline phone services, primarily through LLU. TalkTalk also operates the AOL Broadband brand.

Updata : – Updata Infrastructure UK is a broadband provider focusing on public sector markets with a customer base covering schools, local authorities and primary care trusts.

EE: Operates home broadband under the EE brand, previously operated as Orange Broadband.

Also working closely with U.S. identification/interdiction programs are several top UK domestic intelligence agencies. These are: The British government’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ. GCHQ, has had access to the system since June, 2010. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), which  is the agency which supplies Her Majesty’s Government with foreign intelligence.

Prism programme allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to obtain personal material, such as emails, photographs and videos, from internet companies based outside the UK.

The JTLS (Joint Technical Language Service) is a small department and cross-government resource responsible for mainly technical language support and translation and interpreting services across government departments. It is co-located with GCHQ for administrative purposes.

GCHQ has contacted the PRISM program of the National Security Agency (NSA) more than 19,785 times with requests for information on the citizens of the UK since 2007 and cross-government resource responsible for mainly technical language support and translation and interpreting services across government departments. It is co-located with GCHQ for administrative purposes.

The FBI and the NSA can tap directly into the central servers of nine leading internet companies.

The Director of US National Intelligence has officially stated that American law ensures that only ‘non-US persons outside the US are targeted’

Mr. Snowden’s untimely revelations have caused political upheaval in the upper governmental levels of the UK and these agencies are now making extraodinary efforts to distance themselves from American intelligence gathering efforts.

Mr. Snowden has, in fact, done terrible damage, not only to UK relations but threatened additional revelations stand well to create even more serious problems with the governments of both Germany and France.

While the intelligence agencies of these countries are both involved, heavily, in mutually satisfactory exchanges of information, like the political figures in the UK, they fear the Snowden revelations would cause serious problems with their electorates and are making efforts to terminate their hitherto very successful, complete assistance in the matter of observing all of their populations.

While many countries are eager to identify potential, and actual, Muslim terrorists in their own country, political constraints will prevent them from either acknowledging or participating in further such interdictions of their own people.

For this reason, bringing Mr. Snowden to public trial, with a conviction and a subsequently long prison sentence would certainly be in order, and one must weigh the deterrent factor with the probable adverse publicity attendant upon such a trial. And, as has been discussed, simply terminating him with extreme prejudice might prove to be the most effective course, but again, public perceptions must be taken into consideration.

Further, we have reason to believe that Mr. Snowden in all probability has taken out an “insurance policy” against termination by removing many sensitive and potentially highly damaging documents and again, this must be taken into consideration.

It is to be regretted that many of our most secret computer programs are staffed by young techinical experts who do not have the world-outlook that our older agents possess and often involve themselves in so-called ethical problems that, in point of fact, are none of their business.

There’s widespread anger in Europe about the reports that the US accessed personal data from leading internet companies, if the fiery debate at the European Parliament is anything to go by. Commissioner Tonio Borg said the EU wants a “clear commitment” from the US to respect the rights of European citizens when it comes to data protection.

He said the commission would raise the issue with the US at a meeting in Dublin on Friday. The German MEP, Manfred Weber, said it was “completely unacceptable” that the US has different rules for its own citizens and those of other countries. A Dutch MEP, Sophie In’t Veld, criticised the commission for failing to protect EU citizens.

She said the reports of surveillance cast doubt on the special relationship between Europe and the US. But the British MEP Timothy Kirkhope warned against knee-jerk anti-Americanism, saying “friends listen most when you talk and not when you shout.”

US officials say the snooping programme known as Prism, revealed in last week’s leaks, is authorised under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa).

It gives the US National Security Agency (NSA) the power to obtain emails and phone records relating to non-US nationals.

But details about the individuals targeted under the act remain secret, and there are concerns the NSA is overstepping its powers.

Documents leaked to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers claimed the US authorities had direct access to the servers of nine major US technology firms, including Apple, Facebook and Google.

Mr Snowden told the Guardian that individual operatives had the power to tap into anyone’s emails at any time.

Although the firms have denied granting such access, saying they agreed only to legal requests, US officials have admitted Prism exists.

In the US, the controversy has focused on the possibility that conversations of US citizens may inadvertently be captured.

But overseas, governments and activists point out that US law provides foreigners with no protection.

And it is interesting to note that Edward Snowden actually worked for the CIA in Switzerland and quit in disgust at the revelations he found in top secret communications.

Snowden contacted WikiLeaks but was unaware, when he did so, that the organization was under the control of Russian intelligence.

The Russians subsequently hired Snowden and when he moved to Hawaii and worked for Booz-Hamilton, he was a paid employee of Russian intelligence.

Suitcase bombs and the CIA

July 9, 2018

by Christian Jürs

In 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was considerable concern expressed in US intelligence circles about the whereabouts, and also the security of, certain ex-Soviet military tactical atomic warheads. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union launched R&D to miniaturize and improve reliability of nuclear weapons. Development activities included strategic systems for the Navy; cruise missiles, aviation bombs and artillery projectiles [the smallest nuclear charge was developed for a 152mm artillery projectile].The model is based on unclassified data on the components in an atomic artillery shell, to see if such a system could be reassembled in a suitcase. Indeed, as it turns out, the physics package, neutron generators, batteries, arming mechanism and other essentials of a small atomic weapon can fit, just barely, in an attaché case. The result is a plutonium-fueled gun-type atomic weapon having a yield of one-to-ten kilotons, the same yield range attributed in a 1998 US media interview by General Lebed to the Russian “nuclear suitcase” weapon.”

The smallest possible bomb-like object would be a single critical mass of plutonium (or U-233) at maximum density under normal conditions. An unreflected spherical alpha-phase critical mass of Pu-239 weighs 10.5 kg and is 10.1 cm across.

In 1992, following a successful treasure hunt in Austria, where he located and dug up a small fortune in gold and silver coins buried in the last weeks of the war by SS General Odilo Globocnik, James Atwood, the former Interarmco people and an Israeli Russian named  Yurenko (actually Schemiel  Gofshstein) formed a consortium in conjunction with James Critchfield, retired senior CIA specialist on oil matters in the Mideast  to obtain a number of these obsolete but still viable weapons. Both Critchfield and the Interarmco people had, at the behest of the CIA, supplied weapons to the rebels in Afghanistan during their protracted struggle with the Soviet Union. Critchfield worked with the Dalai Lama of Tibet in a guerrilla war against Communist China and headed a CIA task force during the Cuban missile crisis. He also ran regional agency operations when the two superpowers raced to secure satellites first in Eastern Europe, then in the Middle East.

In the early 1960s, Critchfield recommended to the CIA that the United States support the Baath Party, which staged a 1963 coup against the Iraqi government that the CIA believed was falling under Soviet influence. Critchfield later boasted, during the Iran-Iraq war that he and the CIA “had created Saddam Hussein.” With the growing political importance of Middle East oil, he became the CIA’s national intelligence officer for energy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, then an energy policy planner at the White House. He also fronted a dummy CIA corporation in the Middle East known as Basic Resources, which was used to gather OPEC-related intelligence for the Nixon administration. .

Critchfield was the chief of the CIA’s Near East and South Asia division in the 1960s and a national intelligence officer for energy as the oil shortage crisis began in the early 1970s.  Officially retiring from the CIA in 1974, Critchfield became a consultant, corporate president of Tetra Tech International, a Honeywell Inc. subsidiary and which managed oil, gas, and water projects in the strategic Masandam Peninsula. It sits on the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the West’s oil is transported. At the same time, Critchfield was a primary adviser to the Sultan of Oman, focusing on Middle East energy resources, especially those in Oman.


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