TBR News March 1, 2016

Mar 01 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., March 1 2016: “The anger and bewilderment over the success of Trump in the hustings is easy to comprehend. For years, politics in America has been controlled by monied interests. Candidates need huge sums of money to run for higher offices and this money comes from those who expect to be repaid if and when the candidate is elected. America is run by power groups, economic and social, and the public has little to do with anything, other than to pay their taxes and be bamboozled into voting for another hand puppet. Eventualy, the shovel gets full and the public revolts. This is what we are seeing now and wail and roar as they do, the hand puppets and their friends in the shrinking mass media are nothing but voices, crying in the wilderness.”

Super Tuesday: crisis for Republican party as Trump heads for victory

Under fire over his immigration policy and slowness to denounce the Ku Klux Klan, Donald Trump still goes into crucial primaries as clear frontrunner

March 1, 2016

by David Smith in Valdosta, Georgia, Ben Jacobs in Houston, Texas and Sabrina Siddiqui in Miami, Florida

The Guardian

Donald Trump appears poised for sweeping victories on “Super Tuesday” that would effectively anoint him the Republicans’ presumptive nominee, leaving the polarised party in the throes of an existential crisis.

Republican primaries or caucuses will take place in 12 states, with the New York billionaire well placed to take all except Texas, where Ted Cruz looks set to win on home turf. On Monday one national CNN opinion poll of Republican voters put him at 49%, more than all his opponents combined.

The dawning reality of Trump – an entrepreneur and reality TV show host who began the campaign viewed by many as something of a joke – becoming the party favourite has left senior Republicans scrambling to either destroy or jump aboard his populist bandwagon.

Although New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions have endorsed him in recent days, many other governors and senators are remaining silent or actively denouncing him as unfit for the presidency or to take on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee defeated in 2012, has launched a series of attacks, while Nebraska senator Ben Sasse has raised the prospect of backing a third-party option.

With Trump having won three of four early primary contests, the panic was evident ahead of Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the year. His rivals sped from state to state in a frantic bid to prevent what many now regard as the inevitable outcome.

Marcio Rubio, the party establishment’s last best hope, attacked the frontrunner on everything from the now-defunct Trump University to the outsourcing of jobs to manufacture Trump’s wide range of namesake products.

If he was interested in bringing back American jobs, he could start this very morning by announcing that every product that says Donald Trump on it will be made in America,” Rubio said at a morning rally in Knoxville, Tennessee. “I challenge him to do that.”

At a subsequent event in Conway, Arkansas, Rubio turned to Trump’s stance on immigration and his infamous promises to build a wall on the Mexican border. Trump, who has made his tough approach to immigration the cornerstone of his campaign, has not always held such firm views on the issue, Rubio said, citing a report that the reality TV star privately expressed a much softer position to the New York Times.

Although the conversation with the Times editorial board was off the record, Rubio called on Trump to grant permission to the paper to release the audio of the interview “so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes”.

Romney also tweeted that Trump should authorize the New York Times to release the transcript, asking: “What is he hiding?”

Interviewed on Fox News, Trump sought to dismiss the issue. “I call it the failing New York Times,” he said. “It is doing so badly, it’s dying. We had a board meeting, it was off the record, all of a sudden they leak it, it’s all over the place.”

On immigration, he went on: “It is negotiable; things are negotiable, I’ll be honest with you, I’ll make the wall two feet shorter or something. Everything’s negotiable. Building it? Not negotiable.”

Rubio reiterated his criticism of Trump for failing to denounce the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and the KKK in an interview the day earlier, and then mocked Trump’s claim that the incident was the result of a faulty earpiece.

You don’t need a good earpiece to hear the words Ku Klux Klan,” Rubio said at an evening rally in Oklahoma City. In what was his biggest applause line of the night, he added: “There is no place for bigotry, for prejudice, for hatred, or for David Duke in the Republican party or conservative movement.”

Rubio’s aggressive posture toward Trump comes as the senator is looking to remain competitive in a race that has so far yielded no victories for his campaign.

With Trump poised for major success on Super Tuesday, Rubio is pinning his hopes on meeting the threshold to secure some delegates in each state, before going into the winner-take-all contests on 15 March – which include his home state of Florida.

Rubio was set to hold a rally in Miami as Tuesday’s results pour in but, in a statement of intent, Trump was also due to spend the evening in Florida, at his Palm Beach resort.

The senator’s new tack has nonetheless invited questions over his willingness to engage in low-brow humour, such as mocking Trump’s face, tan and small hands, while seeking the nation’s highest office. During an interview with Fox News on Monday evening, Rubio defended his campaign as focused primarily on substantive issues – while acknowledging the need to compete with Trump by beating him at his own game.

Donald Trump has spent a year now insulting virtually everyone,” Rubio said. “I mean very few groups or individuals in America that he hasn’t personally insulted. Every now and then someone like that needs a taste of their own medicine.”

Trump dismissed Rubio as a “lightweight” and said: “He’s very nasty and I think he’s very desperate.”

Texas senator Cruz “is not exactly truthful and I think that’s why I’m doing so well with the evangelicals”, Trump added. “They like the truth.”

In a packed auditorium on the campus of Houston Baptist University, Cruz, a conservative firebrand whom many in Washington view as even more distasteful than Trump, attacked the real estate mogul’s hiring of hundreds of foreign workers and saying on CNN that “Americans aren’t qualified and aren’t willing to work as waiters and waitresses”.

The room was filled with audible gasps of disdain as Cruz railed against the frontrunner: “Donald Trump does not get to exploit immigration laws and take advantage of American workers and then pretend he’s going to be a champion for American workers.”

Cruz continued to attack Trump being a closet liberal more than eager “to compromise away religious liberty”, adding: “If you’re arguing about marginal tax rates you can reach a compromise on that, but when it comes to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, we’ve had too many politicians who compromise our rights.”

Texas is the biggest prize on Super Tuesday and allocates 155 delegates. Already a million people have voted absentee, including about 60% of the room that Cruz spoke to on Monday night. Cruz tried to play down expectations, making clear that while “we will do well in the state of Texas, polling doesn’t suggest we are anywhere close to [50% in the state]”.

But Tuesday is also crunch time for the Republican party itself. More delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday than on any other date on the primary calendar and a strong night for Trump could make his nomination almost inevitable.

Several high-profile figures have embraced an anti-Trump social media campaign, using the Twitter hashtag #NeverTrump. An Associated Press survey of Republican senators and governors asked if they would support Trump if he secured the nomination. Just under half of those who responded would not commit to backing him.

On Sunday, Sasse, the first senator to pledge openly not to support Trump in a general election, urged Republicans to consider whether a party led by him would still represent their interests. “If our party is no longer working for the things we believe in, like defending the sanctity of life, stopping Obamacare, protecting the Second Amendment, etc. then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed,” he wrote on Facebook.

Despite the controversies swirling around him, Trump’s momentum appeared unstoppable on Monday. Thousands queued in Valdosta, Georgia, for a glimpse of the candidate, who described himself as “just the messenger” of a social movement.

My whole life has been money,” he declared. “I want money, I want money. Greed. I was greedy, I want more money, more money. Now they come up, ‘Donald, I’d like to give you $10m for your campaign.’ I go, ‘I don’t want it.’

It’s hard, because my whole life, I take money, take money. Now, I’m going to be greedy for the United States. I’m going to take and take and take.”

At that the crowd erupted in prolonged cheers, whistles and chants of “USA! USA!”

Sensing he had struck a chord, Trump went on: “We’re going to take, take, take, take. We’re going to become rich again and then we’re going to be great again … We can’t be great unless we’re going to make ourselves rich again.”

Spectator Terry Bradman, 37, an industrial salesman, said it was the biggest event in Valdosta in his lifetime. “We need to support somebody who is going to support America,” he explained. “Trump says what’s on his mind. He doesn’t do political bullshit. He says what the American people have been thinking for years. Everybody’s tired of the Washington politics.”

John Lee, 47, who runs a small business selling “Christian clothes”, was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the second amendment. “We want to see The Donald,” he says. “He has common sense. He doesn’t put up with wish-wash; he’s not your standard politician. He stands up for principle and takes care of his people.”

Neoconservatives Declare War on Donald Trump

February 29 2016

by Zaid Jilani

The Intercept

Donald Trump’s runaway success in the GOP primaries so far is setting off alarm bells among neoconservatives who are worried he will not pursue the same bellicose foreign policy that has dominated Republican thinking for decades.

Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan — one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq war and an advocate for Syrian intervention —  announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Max Boot, an unrepentant supporter of the Iraq war, wrote in the Weekly Standard that a “Trump presidency would represent the death knell of America as a great power,” citing, among other things, Trump’s objection to a large American troop presence in South Korea.

Trump has done much to trigger the scorn of neocon pundits. He denounced the Iraq war as a mistake based on Bush administration lies, just prior to scoring a sizable victory in the South Carolina GOP primary. In last week’s contentious GOP presidential debate, he defended the concept of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is utterly taboo on the neocon right.

It serves no purpose to say you have a good guy and a bad guy,” he said, pledging to take a neutral position in negotiating peace.

This set off his rival Marco Rubio, who replied, “The position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position…Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith.”

The Jerusalem Post suggested that Rubio’s assault on Trump’s views on the Middle East was designed to win Florida. If that’s the case, it’s apparently not working — in the Real Clear Politics averaging of GOP primary polls in the state, Trump is polling higher than he ever has.

In his quest to take up George W. Bush’s mantle, Rubio has arrayed a fleet of neoconservative funders, ranging from pro-Israel billionaire Paul Singer to Norman Braman, a billionaire auto dealer who funds Israeli settlements in the West Bank. His list of advisers is like a Rolodex of Iraq war backers, ranging from Bush administration alumni Elliot Abrams and Stephen Hadley, to Kagan and serial war propagandist Bill Kristol.

Kristol also sits on the board of the Emergency Committee for Israel — a dark money group that assails candidates it perceives as insufficiently pro-Israel. The group started airing an ad this weekend against Trump portraying him as an ally to despots like Bashar Assad, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi — mostly because he argued that military invasions of Libya and Iraq left those countries worse off:

Even when Trump echoes certain elements of neoconservative orthodoxy – he repeatedly and emphatically calls for strengthening the military – he does so in a unique way. He talks not about spending more money but defying the “special interests” who make the Pentagon order “missiles they don’t want because of politics….Because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor.”

Jacob Heilbrunn, author of “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons,” suggested in July 2014 that neoconservatives might be preparing to ally with  Hillary Clinton.

With Trump’s ascendancy, it’s possible that the parties will re-orient their views on war and peace, with Trump moving the GOP to a more dovish direction and Clinton moving the Democrats towards greater support for war.

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.




Conversation No. 62

Date: Tuesday, February 4, 1997

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:30 AM CST

GD: Feeling a little better, Robert?

RTC: Much, thank you. By the way, Gregory, I dug up the information on this Landreth person you asked me about. He used to work for CBS News and his father ran our offices in Havana. Edward Landreth. Used Sterling Chemical Company as a front. I wouldn’t trust this one, if I were you.

GD: No, I didn’t like him at first sight. And he got some hack named Willwirth at Time Magazine to promise to put me on the cover of their trashy rag if I cooperated.

RTC: What do they want?

GD: Anything and everything relating to Mueller’s CIA employment. Anything with his new name, that is. I have an old Virginia driver’s license, a pilot’s license, an old CIA ID card and things like that.

RTC: Don’t even show them to them and keep the new name to yourself. The first thing they will do, and the Army as well, will be to get out the burn bags and totally obliterate any trace of him. You see, Mueller came in at such a high level and so early that his name is not known. Once your book came out, there were frantic searches of the files but they ran up against the dismal fact that they could not identify his new personality. Beetle Smith knew it, but he’s dead. Critchfield is foaming at the mouth over all of this, but he doesn’t have the name either. Wonderful. But take my advice and don’t give out the name. They would obliterate any trace of it and then piously deny they knew anything about it. Why not try the Army records in Missouri? List five or six names plus the Mueller pseudonym and get a researcher to get the copies of the files. Don’t use your name because you are on the no-no list now. Then, you can take the real Mueller out and toss the rest.

GD: Robert, how brilliant of you. I did this a year ago but I’m glad to see you’re right up on things.

RTC: Well, I know the name, you know the name, but Tom Kimmel and Bill Corson do not know the name. I assume both of them have asked you?

GD: Of course they have.

RTC: Not surprising. I like Bill but he had gone over to the other side, lock, stock and barrel, so use discretion with him. And you can be polite to Kimmel but shut up around him. Anything either one of them get would go straight to Langley.

GD: And the burning would commence.

RTC: Clouds of smoke would blanket the eastern seaboard, Gregory. Help keep America pollution free and keep your mouth closed. No, that’s not what I meant. Your mouth is not a source of pollution. The smoke from the burning CIA records is what I had in mind. What kind of approaches do they use?

GD: Kindergarten level. ‘We are going to make you famous,’ is the main one followed by such stupidity as ‘you can tell me because I’m your friend.’ With friends like that, who needs any enemies? I wouldn’t let any of them into my house. My grandfather would have had them use the tradesman’s entrance. They don’t do that anymore. One great homogenous melting pot of proletariat idiots, ill-educated twits, liars and chronic violators of deceased prostitutes.

RTC: (Laughter) Such an accurate portrayal, Gregory.

GD: It’s been quite an unwanted education, Robert, listening to all the foolishness coming out of these creeps. But, good humored banter aside, I wanted to discuss the Kennedy thing with you.

RTC: Go ahead.

GD: I have been reading through all the major books on the subject, and here and there I find something interesting. Mostly, only personal opinion without facts. But in looking through my notes, I am positive that your collective motives were based on what you thought was good for the country and the CIA, in opposite order.

RTC: Passing secrets to the enemy is very serious, Gregory.

GD: Yes, but Kennedy sacked your top people and was going to break the agency up. Self-preservation is a powerful motive for action.

RTC: Yes, it is. We had a similar problem with Nixon, as I recall.

GD: You weren’t planning to off him, were you?

RTC: No, but we did get him out of the Oval Office.

GD: I met Nixon once and I rather liked him. You? What about Watergate?

RTC: Watergate was our method of getting him out. It wasn’t as final as the Zipper business but he played right into it.

GD: What did Nixon do to you?

RTC: Now, that’s a long and involved story, Gregory.

GD: Well, since you didn’t have him killed, can you tell me?

RTC: I suppose so. Nixon was no specific threat to us, understand. We worked with him rather well. But he was getting squirrelly the second time around. And the China business was no good. China was our enemy and we had the best relations with Taipei….Taiwan. The very best relations, and very profitable. Nixon threw the entire thing out of balance and then the war in Vietnam was another factor. Very complex.

GD: I have plenty of time.

RTC: It was the drug business in the final analysis.

GD: There have been stories around about that.

RTC: Can’t be proven. We get curious reporters fired for even hinting at that. Anyway, it started in ’44-’45 with Jim’s Italian connections in Naples and Palermo.

GD: Angleton?

RTC: Yes, of course. Jim had lived in Italy as a child and spoke the language fluently. He knew the Mafia people in Sicily and the gangs in Naples, not to mention the Union Corse people in Corsica. I mean it was to get their assistance in intelligence matters. First against the Germans and then against the local Communists. Jim was very effective but I don’t think he realized that by asking for favors, he put himself in the position of having to give favors back again. That’s how they are, you know.

GD: I’ve known one or two. Yes, very much that way. Didn’t he realize he was making a bargain with the Devil?

RTC: No, Jim did not. The Italians he grew up with were not that way. I knew a few of those people through my father. He was involved in politics in Chicago in the old days and that means a guaranteed association with the Mob.

GD: And they called in their markers?

RTC: Oh, yes, they did. And that’s how the drug connections got started. The Italian gangsters helped Angleton when he was there with the OSS and then later, they called their markers in with him. Not much at first but much more later. Opium makes morphine and refined morphine makes heroin. You must know that. Turkey has opium fields and so do a number of places in SEA. Burma, for example. Once you get into that sort of thing, Gregory, you can’t get out again. And we comforted ourselves that the actual movers and shakers were doing the dirty work and, at the same time, assisting us with intelligence matters. Killing off enemies, securing sensitive areas and that sort of thing. Naples and Palermo to begin with and later Corsica. And then in Asia, Burma first. We were big supporters of Chiang and when the Commies forced him out of mainland China, he went to Taiwan and one of his top generals, Li Mi, went south with his military command and got into former French Indochina and then into Burma. He had a large contingent of troops, thousands, and both us and the French supplied him with weapons and he, in turn, set up opium farms and we, but not the French, flew out the raw products to be refined in the Mediterranean. The weapons were often surplus World War Two pieces out of Sea Supply in Florida. As a note for your interest, we shipped tons of former Nazi weapons from Poland to Guatemala when we kicked out Guzman there. You have to understand that the Company was huge and compartmented, so most of the people knew nothing about the drugs. Of course the various DCIs did and Colby, who later was DCI, ran the drug business out of Cambodia.

GD: The Air American thing?

RTC: Among others. We actually used official military aircraft to ship when we couldn’t use our own proprietary people. Angleton had mob connections and they used him far more than he used them, but he did not dare try to back out. It got way out of hand but none of us wanted to bell that cat, believe me. And we finally flew out Li Mi with thirteen millions in gold bars. Flew him to safety in Switzerland.

GD: That stopped the drugs?

RTC: No, it all came under new management. Colby was very efficient.

GD: As a point of interest here, Robert, is that why they snuffed him?

RTC: Partially. He knew too much and no one dared to gig him too hard over the civilian killings he ran in Vietnam. There was always the danger he would break down. He was getting along in years and that’s when we have to watch these boys carefully. A heart attack here, an accidental drowning there. After we drowned Colby, we tore his summer place to bits and then ransacked his Dent Place address. Not to mention getting our friendly bankers to let us go through his safe deposit boxes. After hours, of course.

GD: Of course. You weren’t involved, were you?

RTC: In what? Removing these dangerous people? In some cases. I had nothing directly to do with the drugs. That was mostly Angleton.

GD: He muse have gotten rich.

RTC: Not really.

GD: But Nixon….was he in the drug business too?

RTC: No. Nixon was a nut, Gregory. A poor boy elevated on high and couldn’t handle the upper levels. Very smart but got to believe his own power. The second election, a landslide, convinced him that he was invulnerable. He wasn’t and he began to play games with China. By playing nice with them, he outraged Taiwan and we all do much business with those people. Drugs and other things. Never mind all that, because it’s still going on. Anyway, they bitched to us, louder and louder, that Nixon would listen to Mao and dump them. If they got dumped, they would tell all and none of us could stand that, so we decided to get Nixon removed. No point of doing a Kennedy on him, but he had to go. After Spiro got the boot, Jerry Ford took over and we knew we would never have any problem with good old Jerry. Hell, during the Warren Commission, good old Jerry ran to Hoover every night with the latest information, so we knew he was a loyal player.

GD: And now did you do it?

RTC: Get rid of Tricky Dick? He did it to himself. We supplied him with a team of our men after we convinced him that everyone was plotting against him. I told you he was getting strange. I think paranoid is a better word. Anyway, we convinced him that McGovern was getting money from Castro and he sent our people to break into the Democrat offices in the Watergate. To get the proof that didn’t exist. They went there to get caught. They taped open the door and one of our people called local security. You know the rest, I am sure. Nixon did it to himself in the end. We just supplied the push. And Ford did what he was told and everyone was happy again.

GD: No wonder they call the stuff powdered happiness.

RTC: (Laughter) I haven’t heard that but it’s fitting. I remember we were afraid Nixon might call out the military, so we stuck Alex Haig in there to keep him isolated. Haig was a real nut but he did his job very well. And another government change, but this time there were no inconvenient questions about Oswald and Ruby types for the nut fringe to babble about. No, Nixon did it to himself.

GD: It didn’t do the country any good, this drawn-out death agony.

RTC: It would not have been a good idea to shoot him, not after the fuss after Kennedy. And Formosa is happy and we are happy and the drugs are still moving around, making everyone money. Just think what we were able to do with our share of mystery cash. No Congress to badger us about our budgets at all. We got billions from them and more billions in cash from the other stuff, so we were all sitting in the catbird seat. Nixon was one man and he had served his usefulness. Notice he’s had a nice retirement.

GD: And so has Ford.

RTC: Ford was a classic pawn. Washington is full of them, Gregory. And I strongly urge you to keep away from this subject if and when you decide to write about things. The Company is not as keen on killing everyone like it used to be, but I don’t think you want to run up against the Mob.

GD: No, of course not.

RTC: That’s a smart fellow, Gregory. Go after dead CIA people but keep away from the Mob. Got it?

GD: Got it loud and clear.

`(Concluded at 9:30 AM CST)

Almost a century on, Merkel ends Ireland’s Civil War

February 29, 2016

by Brian MacDonald


Surely inadvertently, Angela Merkel has achieved what generations of Irish radicals couldn’t. The German Chancellor has managed to bury the legacy of the country’s civil war.

Ireland, the poster child of Eurozone austerity, is now unable to form a government. Despite, relative, fiscal buoyancy, last weekend’s election has delivered an inconclusive outcome. As a result, it follows Spain and Portugal into political crisis. Even the EU’s fastest economic growth rates couldn’t compensate for the post-bailout pain which helped generate them.

Enda Kenny’s electoral failure will seem curious to Eurocrats. He’s a decent and likeable person. His government, whether by accident or design, oversaw a recovery which outpaced its European peers. Unemployment close to halved on his watch and the tide of emigration, which engulfed Ireland from 2009-2012, has been almost reversed. Recent talk has been about attracting people home, rather than forcing them out.

Furthermore, the Fine Gael administration, in conjunction with its nominally-left Labour partners, preserved social welfare rates during the worst crisis years. It also kept a promise not to increase income taxes. Two areas where it performed poorly, healthcare and housing, were largely the fault of the previous Fianna Fail regime, which governed from 1997-2011. That party led Ireland from the Celtic Tiger to financial apocalypse and the bailout.

Kenny’s failure appears to have been his own myopia after hitting the big stage. Like a village drama society actor suddenly invited to the Oscars, he lost the plot when introduced to the real stars. His conversation became peppered with “Angela this” and “Barack that.” It was transparently obvious that Kenny valued the warmth of the international elite far more than the affection of the Irish people.

Thus, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was centre-stage in Brussels but hardly visible at home. He rarely gave interviews to Irish media, afraid of hard questions. Instead, he sunk further into the embrace of a collection of advisers, who looked like rejects from a casting call for “The West Wing.” The kind of people who refer to Obama as “Potus” and Merkel as “Angie.”Even better than the real thing

Badly advised by these goons, Kenny spent too much time listening to his new friends at Bilderberg and the EU Commission. The Kenny roadshow, where he luxuriated in tales of Ireland’s recovery, was lapped up by Eurocrats keen for a positive austerity story. Meanwhile, back home, the general populace, crippled by extortionate living costs and stagnant wages looked on aghast.

Along the way, the Taoiseach made no attempt to reform the extraordinary cronyism that has infected Irish politics for decades. He appointed ministers based on geography rather than ability and, cheered on by the press, promoted neoliberal policies which were not popular with the general public. The mainstream Irish media is controlled by either the state (RTE), billionaire pro-Fine Gael oligarch Denis O’Brien (Independent Newspapers and News Corp radio) or an, outwardly kaleidoscopic, pro-establishment clique (The Irish Times).

Kenny surrendered to his advisors. Inspired by the success of the UK Conservative Party in last year’s British elections, they attempted to keep him on message. Hence, a politician of considerable ability was reduced to parroting sound bites about a recovery that very few people, outside of South Dublin, are experiencing. The spectacle became so bizarre that it reminded one of Peter Seller’s turn as Chauncey Gardner in Jerzy Kosinski’s “Being There.” Instead of “I like to watch,” it was “keep the recovery going.”

The problem is that Irish people don’t want neoliberalism. They desire strong public services. In a perfect example of the continent wide disconnect between leaders and the led, the government, determined to be Brussels’ star pupil, lost sight of that. The electorate also doesn’t believe Kenny’s team is responsible for saving the country from oblivion. A highly educated nation understands that strong demand in Britain and America, the principle export markets, allied to a weak Euro and low interest rates has generated the upswing. Of course, this improvement is barely felt in the regions.

Civil War blues

Yet, by forcing austerity on Ireland, in the long term, Brussels might have done the country a favor. Across Europe, politics is pretty uniform. The two main parties are competing right and left factions, who usually win elections by moving to the centre. Think Britain’s Conservatives and Labour or Germany’s CDU and SPD. This scenario has worked reasonably well. The competing forces usually keep their opponent’s worst hubris in check.

Ireland has always been the outlier. Since the conclusion of the Civil War in 1923, Dublin politics has been largely bereft of contemporaneous ideology. Instead, people have, to a greater extent, voted against whichever side was trying to kill their granddad during the conflict. Though very bloody, the fighting only lasted eleven months. More significantly, it’s bequest to Irish society was humungous fratricidal divisions.

The Civil War followed the Irish War of Independence. While the British were defeated on the bulk of the island, they retained complete control of the north-east corner, around Belfast. During peace treaty negotiations, London offered self-rule to roughly 5/6ths of Ireland, but not most of the Ulster province. The victorious Sinn Fein faction split in two. One grouping, led by General Michael Collins, agreed to the settlement. The other, spearheaded by Eamon DeValera, opposed it. The former bloc won the war, but Collins himself was killed.

The pro-treaty side ultimately became Fine Gael. A centrist party which tended to favor large farmers and the business elite, Catholic and Protestant, which had survived from United Kingdom-era. DeValera formed Fianna Fail and its support base was, initially, poor rural dwellers and the lower urban classes. However, as a deeply conservative Catholic party, it was by no means socialist. The left was instead catered for by Labour, whose charismatic kingpin James Connolly was executed by the British following the abortive 1916 rebellion. His successors would prove less radical and far from magnetic.

Over time, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael evolved to two sides of the same coin. Both pro-Europe, largely distrustful of NATO, open to Irish unity and pro-business. Their special ability has been rewarding their supporters. As in tin-pot dictatorships, Irish state appointments are made to reward loyalty, not on ability. Sadly, public services are viewed more as a good job for their, ludicrously overpaid, employees than as institutions to serve the citizens. As Ivan Yates, a former Fine Gael Minister said last weekend, “There’s not a cigarette paper between their manifestos and a common thread of nepotism, cronyism & patronage.”

The boys aren’t back in town

Yet, they’ve always resisted cooperation. To coalesce would expose their lack of fundamental differences. Almost certainly, one of the two parties would be wiped out at the following election by voters searching for something different.

What made this possible was the Civil War. My grandfather fought with the anti-treaty side in the Civil War. As a result, my father simply will not countenance voting against Fianna Fail. I once asked him, “If Fianna Fail took away your house and left you on the side of the road, with no pension, would you still vote for them?” The reply was “yes, of course I would.” He wasn’t joking, either. My dad is not unique. In fact, among his generation, he’s the norm.

The economic deprivation from the 1920’s to the 1950’s couldn’t change Irish politics. The 1980’s recession had no effect, either, despite 17 percent unemployment and 16 percent interest rates. In the 1982 election, the two establishment parties secured 85 percent of the vote. During the 2000’s, the country was stunned by political corruption scandals and clerical child abuse revelations. Nevertheless, support for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, combined, stood at 79 percent in the 2007 poll.

After years of austerity, imposed from Brussels, everything has finally changed. With counting set to continue this week, projections indicate that the two parties will share between 49-50 percent of the national vote. Despite their protestations, it seems inevitable that both will be eventually forced into a grand coalition to prevent political chaos that could wreck Ireland’s economy. The alternative could eventually be, after another election, a genuine left government which would dismantle the establishment that has controlled Ireland for almost a century. For the elite, this prospect is terrifying.

If Fianna Fail and Fine Gael coalesce, one of the two parties is finished. Ireland finally has finally grown up. Normal left versus right politics have arrived. Angela Merkel, without meaning to, has ended the Civil War.

Apple lawyer says helping FBI break into iPhone will lead to more crime

Bruce Sewell, the technology giant’s general counsel, will warn the House judiciary committee, that obeying the court order will jeopardise cybersecurity

February 29, 2016

by Sam Thielman and Spencer Ackerman

The Guardian

New York- As Apple prepares to move its encryption battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the courts to the halls of Congress, its chief lawyer is arguing that unlocking the iPhone used by a San Bernardino terrorist will ultimately create more crime than it prevents.

Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, will warn legislators on the House judiciary committee that the 16 February court order on Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone will create a digital vulnerability that jeopardises another US government imperative: cybersecurity.

Hackers and cyber criminals could use this to wreak havoc on our privacy and personal safety,” Sewell will tell the House panel at a hotly anticipated hearing on Tuesday, according to prepared remarks the company has released.

Some of you might have an iPhone in your pocket right now, and if you think about it, there’s probably more information stored on that iPhone than a thief could steal by breaking into your house,” Sewell will testify.

Sewell’s testimony will follow that of James Comey, the director of the FBI who has since 2014 publicly warned that thorough mobile encryption will jeopardise law enforcement.

The technology company is at loggerheads with US law enforcement and some members of Congress over its refusal to cooperate further in weakening the password protection on San Bernardino killer Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c.

Sewell’s testimony calls magistrate judge Sheri Pym’s order to weaken the password Farook’s iPhone “an extraordinary circumstance”.

Apple has been ordered to write a new software tool that would make breaking Farook’s iPhone password a much simpler process for the FBI and would remove the possibility that attempts could destroy the information on the phone. Sewell wrote that the operating system the court order asks for, nicknamed FBiOS by technologists, “does not exist – because it would be too dangerous”.

Reflecting a near-daily messaging war with the FBI that erupted with the initial order, Sewell will testify that encryption ultimately presents a resolution to the twin challenges of cybersecurity and privacy: “Protecting our data with encryption and other methods preserves our privacy and it keeps people safe.”

Sewell will say the company had cooperated as fully as possible with the FBI after the murders, in which Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 and wounded 22 before dying in a shootout with police.

We have a team of dedicated professionals that are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to assist law enforcement,” Sewell will testify. “When the FBI came to us in the immediate aftermath of the San Bernardino attacks, we gave all the information we had related to their investigation. And we went beyond that by making Apple engineers available to advise them on a number of additional investigative options.”

Representative Darrell Issa, a member of the judiciary committee, said he opposed the order in an editorial published on Saturday in Wired. “[T]he FBI cannot mandate that Apple create a backdoor to override the iPhone’s encryption features without creating a dangerous precedent that could cast a long shadow over the future of how we use our phones, laptops and the internet for years to come.”

The tech community has overwhelming sided with Apple in the dispute: an amicus – friend of the court – briefing filed jointly by rivals from Microsoft to Facebook is expected on Thursday.

Sewell also invoked the president in his statement: “The review group on intelligence and communications technology, convened by President Obama, urged the US government to fully support and not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”

Tensions have risen in the relationship between Apple and the White House over the order sought by the Department of Justice. “On the one hand, they don’t want to be seen as opposing the FBI in a major terrorism case,” former White House national security staffer Tim Edgar told the Hill last week. “But on the other hand, they don’t want to go out and give more ammunition to the idea that they’re selling out privacy.”

Ashton Carter, the US defense chief, will this week embark on a feathers-smoothing visit to Silicon Valley, where he told reporters on Monday his focus will be “to continue to reinforce our links to the innovative hi-tech sector in the United States”.

The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the case was a narrow one at a press conference two weeks ago. “[The Department of Justice] are not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to one of their products, they are simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device,” Earnest told reporters.

Apple’s privacy chief wrote in a court filing last week that such a conception fundamentally misunderstood the ways in which the court-ordered software would work.

Even if physically destroyed, said Erik Neuenschwander, the work done to create the digital exploit creates a knowledge base to undermine Apple encryption, but a likely requirement to store the exploit for future legal compliance will create a target for nation-states, hackers and criminals who seek to hoover up iPhone data.

Summoned to Capitol Hill, Apple Comes Armed With Questions for Congress

February 29 2016

by Jenna McLaughlin

The Intercept

Apple, summoned to Capitol Hill to explain why it is refusing to help the government access a terrorist’s phone by developing malware to hack in, says Congress should be the one answering questions.

Bruce Sewell, Apple’s top lawyer and senior vice president, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. In the prepared text of his opening statement, Sewell calls for public debate around three questions in particular.

The American people deserve an honest conversation around the important questions stemming from the FBI’s current demand,” Sewell wrote.

Do we want to put a limit on the technology that protects our data, and therefore our privacy and our safety, in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks?

Should the FBI be allowed to stop Apple, or any company, from offering the American people the safest and most secure product it can make?”

And: “Should the FBI have the right to compel a company to produce a product it doesn’t already make, to the FBI’s exact specifications and for the FBI’s use?”

A California federal magistrate judge ordered Apple to help the government break into an iPhone used by San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook on February 16—but Apple says that demand is onerous and oppressive, like asking them to breed “cancer” to infect their own product, and opposite their mission to protect users’ cybersecurity.

Apple thinks the answer shouldn’t come from the courts. “The decisions should be made by you and your colleagues as representatives of the people, rather than through a warrant request based on a 220 year- old-statute,” Sewell wrote.


Brooklyn judge denies government’s request to unlock iPhone in drug case

February 29, 2016

by Julia Harte and Julia Edwards


A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday rejected a U.S. Justice Department request to order Apple Inc to help law enforcement access data on a locked iPhone, in a ruling that bolsters the company’s arguments in a growing privacy fight with the government.

The government sought access to the phone in October, months before a judge in California ordered Apple to give the government access to the phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, attacks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn ruled that he did not have the legal authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone seized during a drug investigation.

The Justice Department is “disappointed” in Orenstein’s ruling and plans to ask a higher judge within the same federal district to review the matter in coming days, a department representative said.

Though the defendant in the case has already pleaded guilty, the Justice Department still believes the phone may contain evidence that “will assist us in an active criminal investigation,” the official said.

When fighting the government’s order to help extract data from the iPhone, Apple had argued that being forced to do so “could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,” according to court records.

Orenstein said his ruling in Apple’s favor was not a decision on “whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it is instead whether the All Writs Act resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come.”

The implications of the government’s position are “so far-reaching… as to produce impermissibly broad results,” he wrote.

Prosecutors have said that since 2008, Apple has complied with 70 such court orders based on the All Writs Act, a 1789 statute that grants federal courts broad power to issue “necessary or appropriate writs,” without objection.

The case before Brooklyn was, according to prosecutors, the first time Apple had objected to law enforcement efforts to utilize search warrants to get the tech company to provide assistance and unlock iPhones seized during investigations.

But since October, when Apple first asked Orenstein to deny the government’s request, Apple has objected to helping law enforcement access at least 12 devices for which the U.S. Justice Department has sought its help, according to a letter from Apple to Orenstein that was unsealed earlier this month.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Julia Harte in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

Why so many immigrants in Germany are opposed to the refugee influx

February 27, 2016

by Rick Noack

The Washington Post

Thousands of people in cities across Germany marched against the refugee influx last weekend. But what struck observers most were not the slogans but rather the origins of those chanting them.

Many protesters, according to German media reports, were themselves immigrants and former refugees.

That Germany’s newest citizens are also among the country’s most outspoken critics of migrants has flabbergasted experts and politicians alike.

A widely cited survey from several weeks ago showed that about one in four migrants thinks Germany should stop taking in refugees altogether, whereas support for refugees is far higher among all Germans, according to the polling institute infratest dimap. Overall, only 4 percent of all Germans agreed that refugees fleeing war should not be granted asylum.

According to the country’s statistical office, about 10 million immigrants (about 12 percent of the population) lived in Germany in 2014, the year before the country took in more than 1 million refugees.

There are two reasons that could explain why migrants are particularly opposed to the refugee influx.

1. Fear of negative repercussions

Muslim migrants, particularly, fear that the influx of refugees could have negative repercussions for them — both economically as well as on a more subtle level. In an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, German sociologist Friedrich Heckmann recently explained that the aggressive reactions were part of “competition between established migrants and newcomers over the same or similar resources.”

For instance, Heckmann referred to state subsidies, which are limited. However, the New Year’s Eve incidents at Cologne’s main station in which several migrants were alleged to have assaulted women have led to more fears: Some migrants believe that Germans could ultimately turn against all refugees and fail to differentiate between criminals and established and assimilated migrants.

2. Fabricated coverage

A significant number of those migrants opposed to the current refugee influx have Russian origins, according to German newspaper Die Welt. German politicians have recently accused Russian state media of broadcasting a deliberately falsified picture of how the country handles the refugees.

As my colleague Adam Taylor explained, an alleged rape of a young girl recently made headlines — but only in Russia. German authorities later said that the story was fabricated. Many Russians living in Germany still rely on Russian media outlets and consequently organized protests in front of the chancellor’s office in Berlin, for instance.German authorities now accuse Russia of falsifying coverage and inciting tensions within Germany. According to the respected German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the German government launched an investigation into the matter after its intelligence agency BND accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of reportedly sowing “the seeds of discord in Europe by weakening Germany and Angela Merkel.”

In a statement, Christiane Wirtz, Germany’s deputy government spokeswoman, acknowledged that authorities were “closely monitoring the current spike in Russian media activity.”

Clashes as authorities demolish homes in Calais ‘Jungle’ camp

Police fire teargas at migrants throwing stones and setting fire to shelters after dozens of makeshift shacks dismantled

February 29, 2016

by Angelique Chrisafis, Peter Walker and Ben Quinn

The Guardian

Clashes between police and migrants continued into Monday evening after authorities moved in earlier in the day to dismantle parts of the refugee camp known as the Jungle.

The homes of up to 200 people of the approximately 3,500 people living in the camp had been demolished by the middle of the day, according to a British refugee aid group, as smoke went up from blazes engulfing makeshift shelters.

Some homes appeared to have been set alight by the heat of teargas canisters fired at crowds by riot police, said a spokeswoman for the British volunteer group Help Refugees, while some residents seem to have set others on fire in protest.

Video footage from a volunteer inside the camp showed residents running away from clouds of teargas. Reuters said police fired teargas at about 150 people and activists who threw stones, and at least three shelters were on fire.

The clashes continued into the evening near a motorway heading to the port of Calais, where vehicles were blocked by migrants on the stretch of road overlooking a piece of ground which had previously been part of the camp.

Strewn with debris, the port road was eventually taken back by police, who arrested one person and three members of the No Borders activist group.

The work began in the early morning, with orange-vested work crews dismantling several dozen makeshift wood-and-tarpaulin shacks by hand before two diggers loaded the debris into large trucks. Police in riot gear shielded the work, and initially there were no reports of unrest beyond a report of one British activist being arrested.

Volunteer groups said the work began with officials telling residents they had an hour to leave before their home was demolished.

Reacting to the demolitions, Amnesty International said that both the French and UK governments had to live up to responsibilities in relation to those who were evicted, including facilitating access to asylum proceedings in France and visas to the UK for those with family members there.

Although it’s taking place across the Channel, this is not an issue that the UK can wash its hand of,” said Amnesty International’s Europe and central Asia director, John Dalhuisen.

The prefecture of Calais, which late last week won a court battle allowing demolition to begin, wants to clear large parts of the southern part of the site on dune land just west of the town’s busy docks. It adjoins the road leading to the ferry terminal, a draw for those seeking to smuggle themselves on to trucks bound for the UK.

Volunteer groups have warned that moving people from the camp will do little but disperse many elsewhere around Calais. A UK-based group, the Refugee Rights Data Project, said that of the 460 residents asked what they would do if the camp was dismantled, 80% said they would remain in Calais or move to a more basic refugee encampment in nearby Dunkirk.

The study suggested authorities’ plans to evict people “is unlikely to provide a viable solution to the current humanitarian crisis on our doorstep”, said Marta Welander, the founder of the project.

Of those who lost their homes on Monday, some had moved into space elsewhere in the camp, Help Refugees said, while others had been seen carrying sleeping bags into Calais. “We don’t really know yet what people will do, but it seems likely some will just be dispersed to other areas around Calais,” a spokeswoman said.

Clare Moseley, of Care4Calais, another British volunteer group, said prefecture officials arrived at the camp at 7am and gave residents an hour’s notice to leave or face arrest. “The police presence is massive,” she said. “They have the whole area cordoned off.” French media reported that about 40 vans of riot police were in position near the site.

Help Refugees said some of its volunteers had been blocked on Monday morning from entering the camp, home to refugees and migrants from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt.

A spokeswoman said the demolition began in a section of the camp with a mostly Iranian population: “People were being told they had to leave,” she said, “otherwise they would be arrested. A lot of people seemed quite confused.”

A spokesman for the Calais prefecture denied there was a vast new clearing operation under way. He said French officials from asylum agencies and other state agencies would continue to go from tent to tent to talk to talk to migrants about their options, as they had done last week.

He said: “There is a reinforced police presence today to allow those officials to enter and talk to people. But this is a gradual process which will take place over several days and weeks. There will be no bulldozers.”

Fabienne Buccio, the head of the Calais prefecture, said three-quarters of the homes in the southern part of the camp were now empty after officials encouraged residents to leave over recent days.

Police were needed, she said, in case what she described as “extremists” tried to stop migrants accepting offers of new accommodation or buses to centres elsewhere in France.

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is now a best-seller in Germany

February 23, 2016

by Rick Noack

Washington Post

Reprinting Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) was long prohibited in Germany — a country that considered the book too dangerous to be read.

Now, it’s a German best-seller.

An annotated version currently ranks second in nonfiction on the German weekly Der Spiegel’s bestseller list, which is considered an authority in German literature circles.

It’s almost certainly not because of anything German bookstores are doing: In fact, most had virtually hidden the book from customers, according to a BBC report in January. Some had refrained from advertising it, while others ordered only a single copy. But online sales picked up, and in-store sales soon followed.

The German copyright for “Mein Kampf” was held by the state of Bavaria, which upheld a ban on reprinting the book for 70 years. Bookstores as well as federal regulators and historians were worried that Hitler’s autobiography could be used for right-wing propaganda.

This book is too dangerous for the general public,” library historian Florian Sepp told The Washington Post last year.

German authorities kept official copies of the book like a state secret. Access was granted only to professionals who formally requested it. Critics had claimed that banning the book from being reprinted added to the mystery surrounding it and did more harm than good.

The secrecy ended when the copyright expired in December.

However, the book that is currently topping the German bestseller lists is far different from Hitler’s original version. The new 2,000-page edition is heavily annotated with remarks by experts to help put Hitler’s comments into context.

The publishers think that this solution exposes Hitler’s destructive and violent ideology.

Today’s right-wing movements, which include the Alternative für Deutschland party, whose leadership recently advocated for shooting refugees at the German border to stop them from entering the country, have so far refrained from using Hitler’s brutal ideology to justify their contemporary goals.

From Chapter XI of Mein Kampf

This translation, by James Murphy of the unexpurgated edition of “MEIN KAMPF” was first published on March 21st, 1939 by HURST AND BLACKETT LTD.

This urge for the maintenance of the unmixed breed, which is a phenomenon that prevails throughout the whole of the natural world, results not only in the sharply defined outward distinction between one species and another but also in the internal similarity of

characteristic qualities which are peculiar to each breed or species.

The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed. It would be impossible to find a fox which has a kindly and protective disposition towards geese,

just as no cat exists which has a friendly disposition towards mice.

That is why the struggle between the various species does not arise from a feeling of mutual antipathy but rather from hunger and love. In both cases Nature looks on calmly and is even pleased with what happens. The struggle for the daily livelihood leaves behind in the ruck everything that is weak or diseased or wavering; while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. And this struggle is a means of furthering the health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development towards a higher quality of being.

If the case were different the progressive process would cease, and even

retrogression might set in. Since the inferior always outnumber the superior, the former would always increase more rapidly if they possessed the same capacities for survival and for the procreation of their kind; and the final consequence would be that the best in quality would be forced to recede into the background. Therefore a corrective measure in favour of the better quality must intervene. Nature supplies this by establishing rigorous conditions of life to which the weaker will have to submit and will thereby be numerically restricted; but even that portion which survives cannot indiscriminately multiply, for here a new and rigorous selection takes place, according to strength and health.

If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

History furnishes us with innumerable instances that prove this law. It shows, with a startling clarity, that whenever Aryans have mingled their blood with that of an inferior race the result has been the downfall of the people who were the standard-bearers of a higher culture. In North America, where the population is prevalently Teutonic, and where those elements intermingled with the inferior race only to a very small degree, we have a quality of mankind and a civilization which are different from those of Central and South America. In these latter countries the immigrants–who mainly belonged to the Latin races—mated with the aborigines, sometimes to a very large extent indeed. In this

case we have a clear and decisive example of the effect produced by the mixture of races. But in North America the Teutonic element, which has kept its racial stock pure and did not mix it with any other racial stock, has come to dominate the American Continent and will remain master of it as long as that element does not fall a victim to the habit of adulterating its blood.

In short, the results of miscegenation are always the following:

(a) The level of the superior race becomes lowered;

(b) physical and mental degeneration sets in, thus leading slowly but steadily towards a progressive drying up of the vital sap.

The act which brings about such a development is a sin against the will

of the Eternal Creator. And as a sin this act will be avenged. Man’s effort to build up something that contradicts the iron logic of Nature brings him into conflict with those principles to which he himself exclusively owes his own existence. By acting against the laws of Nature he prepares the way that leads to his ruin.

Privacy shield’ – the new deal governing how Europe’s user data is sent to the US

It has taken two years, but there is finally an agreement over how US companies, including Google and Facebook, will transfer their users’ data out of Europe

February 29, 2016


Europe sought to plug a gap in a new transatlantic data pact on Monday by urging US firms to allow European Union privacy regulators to police compliance with the new rules.

Brussels and Washington clinched a deal earlier this month on a new data transfer framework, aimed at helping firms from both blocs seamlessly shuffle data between continents.

The deal was two years in the making and replaces a previous agreement struck down for failing to adequately protect Europeans’ data, which underpins $260bn in digital services trade across the Atlantic.

Companies shuffle data from Europe to the US to complete routine activities such as credit card transactions and hotel bookings. Data transfers also underpin the business models of technology companies such as Google and Facebook, which collect users’ data to deliver targeted ads.

While companies transferring human resources data will be forced to comply with EU privacy watchdogs’ decisions in disputes, for other companies it is voluntary.

However, the new “Pprivacy Sshield” will be subject to an annual review to ensure companies moving data to the US are abiding by EU data protection standards and the US government is not conducting mass indiscriminate surveillance.

The previous framework, safe harbour, was quashed by a top EU court last year after revelations about US government surveillance caused political backlash in Europe.

To help substantiate that US government access to data is usually targeted and avoid a suspension by the EU of the new framework, the European Commission urged US companies to release aggregate figures of government access requests and submit to oversight by EU data protection authorities.

Transparency reports … will contribute to maintaining confidence that such access is limited to what is necessary and proportionate,” it said, as details were published and sent to member states for approval.

The main enforcers of the framework will be the US Department of Commerce and the US Federal Trade Commission after Washington resisted EU pressure for a greater role for European data protection authorities in enforcing the pact, which has been criticised by privacy advocates.

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