TBR News March 15, 2016

Mar 15 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2016: “I was visiting a relative who has been planning to retire and wanted to live in Florida, near the ocean. He asked me to look at the property he was interested in buying. It indeed was a beautiful piece of land and the house was excellent but it was not that much above high tide level and the beach that once extended almost a half a mile to the water’s edge was now only a hundred feet wide. The real estate agent was rubbing their hands and telling both of us what a real bargain the house was. Of course it was a bargain. If there were a high tide coupled with a strong off-shore storm surge, the house would be destroyed. When I asked the agent about this, they said that stories about sea level rises were “just nonsense” and gave me dirty looks. My relative did not buy. I suggested that if he wanted to look at the ocean and be safe, to buy property in Maine up on a cliff. And he should keep away from California which is falling apart. I told him, when he asked my opinion, that the best thing that ever came out of California was an empty bus.”


Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast

It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?

March 14, 2016

by Orrin H Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis and Keith C Pilkey

The Guardian

Sea-level rise may be the most predictable outcome of climate change. Expanding warmer waters and melting land ice both contribute to flooding – and scientists agree that we are locked into sea-level rise for centuries to come. The question is not if we will retreat from the coast, but when. Still, the rush to develop the coast occurs at a maddening pace.

We now know that 13.1 million people are at risk of flooding along the US coast by the end of this century. A new study published in Nature Climate Change further suggests that massive migration will occur unless protective measures are taken. Since sea-level rise will speed up after the end of the century due to increased glacier and ice sheet melting, the flooding we face in this century is just the tip of the iceberg.

The problem is particularly severe along our 3,000-mile low-lying sandy barrier island coast extending, with a few breaks, all the way from the South Shore of Long Island to the Mexican border. Along this long barrier island coast, Florida has the longest and most heavily developed shoreline.

In Miami, a city perilously perched atop a very porous limestone, two multibillion-dollar construction projects are under way, despite the fact that parts of the city routinely flood during high tides and that widespread flooding by the rising sea in a few decades is a virtual certainty. No sea walls, levees or dikes can stop the rising waters from flowing through the underlying spongy limestone and into the city. Miami is ultimately doomed.

A few miles to the north, Fort Lauderdale is undergoing equally intense development and population growth. This city has more beachfront high-rise buildings per mile than any other American beach. According to Katherine Bagley of Inside Climate news “nearly 5,000 apartments or condos are or soon will be under construction” in the city, which already faces routine nuisance flooding. The city’s many canals make Fort Lauderdale all the more vulnerable to rising seas. In light of the wet future in store for the city, increased density is insane.

On the other side of the Florida peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico, a Fort Myers Beach developer proposes to build a massive project to include four beachfront hotels, nine restaurants and a 1,500-car parking structure; all to be protected with a soon-to-be-constructed half-mile-long seawall. If you need to build a seawall to protect your construction project, you should not be building at that site. Remember – seawalls destroy beaches.

Two barrier island communities deserve attention as the nation’s most vulnerable to sea level. On the east coast, North Topsail Beach in North Carolina is a narrow, low, rapidly-eroding island segment. In spite of the obvious natural dangers, the town has several immovable high-rises, at least one of which may soon fall in. On the Gulf coast, Dauphin Island, Alabama is an extremely low island that is frequently overwashed by storms, and repeated beach nourishment has done almost nothing to stop erosion.

Storms have severely damaged the west end of Dauphin Island five times since 1973. While the west end has no high-rises, storms, including hurricanes Katrina and Ike have repeatedly destroyed houses.

And, just a few years after Hurricane Sandy flooded much of the area, New Jersey’s Gold Coast (the Hudson waterfront) is experiencing a construction boom. Developers are building numerous high-rise structures, hoping to attract commuters seeking cheaper quarters than those available in nearby New York City.

They have taken measures to make these structures more resilient, but in this age of certain sea-level rise, it is preposterous to continue to build in areas that were previously inundated by floodwaters and will certainly be inundated in the future.

The time has passed for such foolish projects. The frequency of super costly “natural” disasters on the coast will only increase if we continue to cram buildings up against the beach and treat storms as urban renewal projects. It is time for a profound new outlook – where we construct smaller, less expensive and perhaps mobile structures and do not replace buildings destroyed and damaged in storms. It is time we prepare to retreat from the rising sea.



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 conversations 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. 59

Conversation No. 5

Date:  Friday, March 22, 1996

Commenced:  8:15 AM CST

Concluded: 8:45 AM CST

RTC: Up early, aren’t you, Gregory?

GD: Actually, I haven’t been to bed yet, Robert. Been reading a really interesting paper someone sent me about the Clintons. Such lovely people. Of course, I can’t do anything with it but I will make Xerox copies and send them off. Costs money and no paper would dare to even ask questions. Such sleazy crooks, Robert. Roosevelt stole but he had some class after all.

RTC: Do you think they shot that Foster man?

GD: I have no idea. It was the convenient death of a man who knew far too much, Robert. Have you any comments?

RTC: Bill is utterly ruthless and his shrew of a wife is one step behind him. They would have ordered it, for certain, but one does not know.

GD: I saw the in situ pictures from the Virginia park police of the body. Poor Vince. His last act was to defy the law of gravity. He was lying in the park with his head pointing down a hillside but the dried blood all ran up. Isn’t that wonderful?

RTC: Some of those people are mindless, Gregory. But that doesn’t mean he was murdered. Someone might have dumped the stiff there to get him out of the White House.

GD: Well, false in one thing, false in all, as they used to say. Frau Clinton looks like a bimbo who could put kittens into a microwave and have a real laugh. She was tied up with the Black Panthers in Oakland some years ago. I have a California police report about that. A friend in Sacramento sent me a copy about a day before the FBI came and removed the original. Caught in the sack with a nice black lassie, she was. They went to Sacramento, the Panthers and the gun moll, and they sported guns there and terrified people. The late night motel raid was the result. Well, I could send that around too but we would never hear a word about it.

RTC: Our people had connections with Bill when he was the governor there. Used to bring drugs in from Mexico and land them downstate. Arkansas is about as backwards as Kenya these days and Bill had no problem sticking a bag full of cash in his sock drawer. Oh, well, if it weren’t for the crooked pol, none of us could make an honest buck.

GD: Ah, Robert, that’s just what the Indian hooker said when the bank teller told her one of her twenties was counterfeit.

RTC: Now that’s a good one, Gregory.

GD: I thought so, Robert. Oh how about the whore who, when told by another teller in another bank, that a hundred was fake, ‘My God, I’ve been raped!’

RTC: Fun and games so early in the day.

GD: Yes, I suppose so. When I’m working…doing research…I’m very quiet and very focused on my work but all of the nasty comments and so on are just a form of relief. I have known a few CIA people in my life but you are the first one with whom I can have a nice talk. The others like to think that their feces smell like lilacs in bloom. They ask much and give little.

RTC: I see your point but you don’t fully grasp the techniques. No one wants to talk with you, Gregory, because while they are interrogating you, you are interrogating them and, let me be very clear on this as Nixon would have said, you are way and above any of them and certainly their superior  in the interrogation business. If one of them makes the slightest slip, you pounce on the knowledge and he loses control. You have a phenomenal memory and the ability to use it in a very abstract and very deadly manner. You know this, naturally, but always complain that people behave like swine around you. I agree they do. Kimmel is an example of this. Actually, they are afraid of you, Gregory, really afraid. I don’t mean that you’ll pull a knife or gun and do them but they cannot control you and when they cannot control a person or a situation, they panic. They live by rule books and you do not. May I ask you a question here?

GD: Surely.

RTC: Do you work for anyone?

GD: Like the Germans or the Russians? Or the Chinese? No, I work for myself. I hate working for other people who only want you to support the views of their superiors. If they want this or that to be a certain way and I see very clearly that they are wrong, I have to be silent or become a toady. For example, Gehlen told me that in ’48, the Army…he worked for them just before your people took him over…Critchfield that is…Gehlen told me that the Army wanted him to prepare a paper showing that the Russians were going to attack Western Europe. Gehlen said this was impossible. He said the Russians had torn up all the railroad lines in their Zone and sent the rails back to Russia. Obviously, they could not rush troops to the border except on bicycles or mules. And of the 135 Russian armored units technically…note that I said technically…stationed in their Zone, almost all of them were just cadre with perhaps ten officers and men and no armored units. No, our people needed a dangerous enemy against whom to arm. Revisiting the business heyday of the war was the right idea but, of course, without real dangers. We knew the Russians were not going to attack but the report, lies that it contained, was deliberately leaked by the Army to Congress and others. Hey presto! A Cold War starts. We had to rearm and stop the reduction of our Army. Oh yes, the Generals did not want to lose their cushy jobs and the American industrial people were cooing with delight over all the contracts for aircraft, bombs, rifles, tanks and battleships that they all knew would never be used. No, that was all a deliberate sham and designed to make the elite people richer. Of course the film industry and the media cranked out horror stories about the evil Stalin’s plans to attack us. Christ, they were terrified we would nuke Moscow like we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I can see the first attack but the second was not needed. The Japanese immediately indicated they would surrender but the military wanted to try out another bomb with a different approach. Just for fun as it were.

RTC: Well, and here we are, Gregory. Reagan played high stakes poker with the Russians and made them fold their hand. We beat them. No war, no destruction, was there?

GD: No there was not but what do we do now? Our greedy businessmen now try to loot Russia and strip her of her natural resources. We could try to make an ally of her, why not? No one needs an enemy.

RTC: Too many people in power remember the propaganda of the Cold War, Gregory and their mind sets are so strong that logic would scarcely move them.

GD: It’s too bad I am not in control. Can you see that, Robert?

RTC: You would be dead in a week, Gregory.

GD: Not if I got to them first.

RTC: Well, what would you do?

GD: Divide and conquer and the ones who wanted a turf war, would quickly end up under it. My main crime is a faint conscience. You can’t be moral when dealing with dung-munchers.


(Concluded at 8:45AM CST)



From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 24

March 15, 2016


The Department of Defense last week asked Congress to enact a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for military tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as rules of engagement, that are unclassified but considered sensitive. A similar request by DoD last year was not acted upon by Congress.

DoD justified its current proposal as a military necessity, and as a matter of common sense:

“The effectiveness of United States military operations is dependent upon adversaries, or potential adversaries, not having advance knowledge of the tactics, techniques, and procedures that will be employed in such operations. If an adversary or potential adversary has knowledge of such information, the adversary will be better able to identify and exploit any weaknesses, and the defense of the homeland, success of the operation, and the lives of U.S. military forces will be seriously jeopardized.”

This year’s proposal was drafted as an amendment to the existing FOIA exemption for DoD critical infrastructure. So it has some noteworthy features that were not included in last year’s proposal: The use of the exemption would require a written determination by the Secretary of Defense that the public interest does not outweigh the need to protect the information. The Secretary would also have to prepare a written statement of the basis for the use of the exemption. “All such determinations and statements of basis shall be available to the public, upon request….”

The large majority of military doctrinal publications are unclassified and publicly available. A relatively small number are classified and unavailable. But there is a middle category of unclassified publications whose distribution is restricted, which the proposed amendment aims to preserve.

Some recent Army titles that fall in that middle category include, for example: Special Forces Air Operations (ATP 3-18.10), Special Operations Communications System (ATP 3-05.60), and Countering Explosive Hazards (ATP 3-34.20). The Department of Defense does not readily release such titles today, even in the absence of the proposed amendment. But in order to withhold them under FOIA, it must engage in some dubious legal acrobatics, or else practice delay and defiance.

The proposed new FOIA amendment was included in a package of legislative proposals that DoD transmitted to Congress on March 10, 2016.*

The FOIA Improvement Act (S. 337 and HR 653), which includes several provisions that are intended to promote increased disclosure through FOIA, currently awaits consideration in the Senate. It has already been passed by the House. “It is my hope that Democrats and Republicans can come together and pass this commonsense legislation this week,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy yesterday in a Sunshine Week address at the National Archives.

But the FOIA Improvement Act does not confront the structural flaws in the law that have yielded the current logjam in FOIA processing. Nor does it acknowledge the radical mismatch between the amount of money and personnel that would be required to implement the FOIA as written and the funds that Congress has actually appropriated for that purpose.

To the contrary, “No additional funds are authorized to carry out the requirements of this Act,” the FOIA Improvement Act states.


A campaign by citizens’ groups in Germany last month persuaded the Bundestag (the German parliament) to authorize the release of thousands of research reports prepared by the Wissenschaftlicher Dienst, the German equivalent of the Congressional Research Service.

“But not only that: The Parliament also changed its publication policy regarding all new reports. In the future, they will be released by the Parliament after a protective period of four weeks,” according to a blog post on the campaign from FragDenStaat.

Our own Congress is still not quite ready to follow suit.

For now, the latest products of the Congressional Research Service must be obtained through alternate channels:

Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, March 11, 2016

Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program: Frequently Asked Questions, March 11, 2016

Legal Issues with Federal Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food: In Brief, updated March 11, 2016

Veterans’ Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries, updated March 11, 2016

FY2017 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability, updated March 10, 2016

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, updated March 10, 2016

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, updated March 10, 2016


Trump’s appeal divides Tea Party loyalties in crucial states

March 15, 2016

by Nick Carey


Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has effectively split the conservative Tea Party movement, as his fiery campaign draws in followers of the group who had been expected to line up behind Ted Cruz, a more consistent champion of small government.

As the Republican race moves to the crucial battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida among three other states on Tuesday, Tea Party support promises to help Trump’s campaign offset its relative lack of on-the-ground organization compared to Texas Senator Cruz, his closest rival nationally.

Having loyal Tea Party supporters could also help him fend off moves to block his nomination at the Republican National Convention in July if he falls short of the threshold of 1,237 delegates that would guarantee him the party’s candidacy.

A Reuters review of Trump’s list of 66 Ohio delegates — who would represent him at the nominating convention if he wins the primary and provide crucial support in the event of a contested convention — found that 28 are Tea Party leaders, members or are otherwise linked to the movement, including officials who have been featured speakers at Tea Party events.

Using the same benchmark, 27 of Cruz’s delegates have links with the grassroots group, which sprang to national prominence in 2009 on anger over government bailouts, and demands for tax cuts and less “intrusive” government.

Despite Trump’s mixed record as a conservative, the real estate mogul’s promises to shake up Washington, throw out illegal immigrants and tear up “unfair” trade deals have won over many influential Tea Party followers, according to interviews with activists across more than a dozen states.

“Trump has never asked me for a dime and being self funded he’s the only one that can blow up the Republican Party establishment,” said Ralph King, a Trump delegate and member of the Cleveland Tea Party.

“If the primaries result in a contested convention, I’m in his corner all the way.”


Recent polls have shown Trump performing well among voters who identified as Tea Party supporters.

A Feb. 29 CNN poll had 56 percent of Tea Partiers favoring Trump compared to 16 percent for Cruz. A March 9 Quinnipiac University poll had Trump leading Cruz 48 percent to 40 percent among Tea Party voters in Florida, while Cruz led Trump with 38 percent to Trump’s 33 percent in Ohio.

“Trump has tapped into Tea Party emotions, gaining the support of many of the most hacked off and motivated voters out there,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It was a brilliant move.”

The influence of the amorphous Tea Party has waned nationally, but it remains a potent force in many states through its thousands of committed grassroots activists.

For conservative purists, Cruz checks all the right ideological boxes of limited government and lower taxes.

Trump, on the other hand, says he would maintain government programs such as Social Security and has called for higher taxes on the most wealthy Americans. In 2008, he voiced support for the government’s rescue package for major banks.

After Trump’s strong showing in a string of states on “Super Tuesday” last month, Jenny Beth Martin — co-founder of a national umbrella group called Tea Party Patriots – lambasted him as a conservative of convenience.

“Trump is about love of himself. But the Tea Party is about love of country and the love of our Constitution,” she said at this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Ned Ryun, founder of American Majority, a group that trains conservative grassroots activists, said Trump’s outsider persona is key to his appeal to Tea Party activists.

“Cruz people feel they can work within the status quo,” said Ryun. “Trump people say screw the status quo, we’re sick of it.”


The billionaire has quietly maintained contacts with the movement since at least 2011, when he was flirting with a presidential run in the 2012 election.

More recently he has courted activists, focusing on prospective delegates. Trump broadened his appeal among Tea Party members in January when he secured the endorsement of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who commands strong loyalty among many in the movement.

At the South Carolina Tea Party convention in January 2015 in Myrtle Beach, Trump spent 45 minutes with eight Tea Party activists, test-marketing themes like immigration, according to attendees.

The effort brought converts. One of those present, Gerri McDaniel, ran Trump’s grassroots efforts in South Carolina. Another, Jeanne Seaver, did the same in Georgia. He won both states’ primaries.

Atlanta Tea Party co-founder Debbie Dooley also attended that meeting and aims to be a Trump delegate.

On the first ballot of the Republican convention in July she would be obliged to back him, but says she would continue to back him if voting goes to a second round when delegates become free to vote for whichever candidate they choose.

“I’ll back Trump to hell and back,” Dooley said.

In Michigan, New Hampshire and Nevada, Trump’s successful efforts were helped by state directors formerly employed by Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers that has courted Tea Party groups for years.

His Florida field director Ken Mayo held the same post at Americans for Prosperity.

Trump tapped a local Tea Party leader — Rob Scott — to run his campaign in Ohio. Of Trump’s 21 delegates from New Hampshire — the first primary he won — 13 have Tea Party links or affiliations.

Delegate lists for Florida and Michigan — another state that votes on Tuesday — are not yet available because those states pick delegates at conventions after their primaries. In Ohio, candidates submit delegate lists in advance.

Trump still trails Cruz on get-out-the-vote efforts, strategists and activists say.

June Pitts, a Tea Party activist in Illinois, said in previous elections she has worked at campaign offices. But Trump doesn’t have one in Chicago, so Pitts is making calls herself ahead of the state’s March 15 vote.

In Tiffin, Ohio, Trump delegate Jim Green said he spent $700 of his own money on yard signs before the campaign began sending him paraphernalia for free.

Glenn Newman, a Trump delegate and activist in southeastern Ohio, has also been left to his own devices.

Trump’s campaign “is being put together like a puppy chasing a pickup truck,” Newman said. “They’re just playing catch-up.”

(Additional reporting by Justin Madden and Amy Tennery; editing by Stuart Grudgings)


First group of Russian planes leaves Syria

Russia has started pulling its forces out of Syria, with first warplanes heading home from the air base in Hemeimeem. The withdrawal started less than a day after it was announced by the Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

March 15, 2016

by Darko Janjevic


Russian media showed pictures of soldiers in Syria loading military equipment into transport planes on Tuesday.

Several military jets, including a Tu-154 transporter and Su-34 bombers, has already left the Middle Eastern country and headed to “their permanent bases on the territory of the Russian federation,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Other groups are expected to follow, embarking on a 5.000 kilometers (3.100 miles) journey between Hemeimeem and bases in Russia.

“Every group would have a ‘leader,’ a military transport plane (…) carrying engineers, technical personal and technical material, which would be followed by warplanes of different types,” the ministry said in a press release.

The pullout was first announced on Monday, in a surprise move by Russian President Putin.

In televised comments, Putin said that the Russian military’s task in Syria has been completed “as a whole” and that “the main part” of Kremlin’s forces is set to return home.

Nobody has ruled out’ military action

On Tuesday, a high-ranking lawmaker of Putin’s United Russia Party said that Moscow would continue its involvement into Syrian political process.

It would be “conducted by Russian diplomats in active cooperation with partners in Syria and abroad, an we will also participate in ceasefire monitoring and distribution of aid to the population,” said deputy-speaker of the Russian parliament Sergey Zheleznyak.

He added that Russia would maintain its naval and areal base in Syria and that “nobody has ruled out the possibility of our action, if necessary.”

The Kremlin has yet to announce how many soldiers it intends to keep on Syrian territory. Head of the defense committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, Viktor Ozerov, said Tuesday that he estimated about 1,000 troops would stay behind, including military trainers. Russia may also keep their advanced anti-aircraft S-400 missile system “for a certain amount of time,” he said.

Russia started its bombing campaign in September last year, helping the Syrian regime to turn the tide against the rebels.


Job done: Russia saved Syria from US regime change… now it’s over to diplomacy

March 15, 2016

by Finian Cunningham


Five years of war, five months of Russian military intervention, and now peace talks are underway. It’s as simple as that.

However, rather than acknowledging a successful Russian mission, Western media outlets immediately began speculating that President Putin’s surprise announcement to withdraw Russian forces from Syria indicates a “rift” between Moscow and Damascus.

This is just more of the same Western media weapon of mass distraction that has obscured the real nature of the five-year war.

The sovereignty of Syria is the central principle officially underpinning peace talks that resumed in Geneva this week. Without Russia’s military intervention, Syria would not have the chance to pursue a political settlement on a such solid footing.

By contrast, after nearly two years of US-led military intervention allegedly to “defeat terrorism”, the Syrian state was on the brink of collapse from a largely foreign-backed terrorist assault. Until, that is, Russia intervened at the end of September last year.

The touchstone is that Russia from the outset was motivated by supporting the Syrian nation and supplanting the terror threat. While the US and its allies were ultimately the source of the threat.

Western media in hock to their governments’ political line still strain the implausible narrative of a “popular uprising” in Syria that somehow descended into a “global proxy war”.

But to the rest of the world, US-led illegal regime-change is the obvious, and damning, story. This should be the focus, not speculation about Putin’s alleged ulterior motives to withdraw militarily now from Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking in Paris last weekend alongside European counterparts appeared to highlight Syria as a priority for peace efforts.

It is rather galling that Kerry should lecture Russia about making “clear choices” in Syria or elsewhere, when the only plausible explanation for the violence in the Arab country can be traced to the criminal interference of Washington and its partners, in flagrant violation of international law and thereby unleashing mayhem that destroyed millions of lives.

As opposition parties gather for tentative talks in Geneva, the New York Times informed its readers that it coincides with the “fifth anniversary of the beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which morphed into civil war and then a regional and global proxy war.”

This is a typical sample of Western distortion on Syria that persists in contradiction to the abundant evidence. That Western narrative is based on the dubious premise that the violence was instigated after the Syrian state crushed a genuine pro-democracy uprising. Secondly, the narrative blandly portrays that the conflict then escalated into a proxy war between foreign governments, as if the latter scenario is unrelated to the initial “uprising”.

However, thanks to alternative news media in the West and also internationally, such as channels like RT and Press TV, there is a substantial body of information that challenges the Western mainstream narrative. Not only challenges, but exposes it as willful deception.

For a start, substantive reports in the alternative media convincingly show that the initial, small-scale protests in Syria during March 2011 were infiltrated by armed provocateurs who fired on civilians and state security forces alike in order to incite large-scale violence. One of the best investigations on these crucial events was carried out by Sharmine Narwani for RT.

Secondly, we must bear in mind the well-documented long-term objective of regime change against the government of Syria authored by Washington, London and Paris. We know, for instance, from the disclosure in 2007 by US General Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme commander, that Syria was in the Pentagon’s crosshairs for regime change as far back as 2001, along with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, among others.

Another important reference to this criminal agenda is the testimony of former French foreign minister Roland Dumas who revealed in 2013 that he was approached by British officials two years before the Syrian conflict erupted with a covert plan to topple the Assad government.

We also know from the revelations of former US intelligence chief Lt General Michael Flynn that the administration of President Barack Obama deliberately fomented the infiltration of “jihadist” terror groups as far back as 2012 with the calculation that these mercenaries would destabilize the Damascus government.

That’s why it is stomach-turning when John Kerry tells media in Paris at the weekend about how the “evil of Daesh [ISIS]” must be defeated.

Tellingly, from the outset of the conflict, Washington and its Western allies lost no time to make strident demands that President Assad “had to go”. These demands have become toned down of late as Washington endeavors to supposedly participate in the Geneva peace process. Nevertheless, the blatant objective of the Western governments remains, for the Damascus authorities to eventually step down after a “political process” – or, in other words, for “regime change”.

The other telling factor is the involvement of various regional despotic states in the Western chorus calling for Assad to stand down. Seriously: the regimes of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the autocratic head-choppers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the side of a “pro-democracy uprising”?

The fact that these Western-backed regimes have poured billions of dollars into recruiting, training and weaponizing mercenaries from dozens of countries – including supplying chemical weapons – speaks of the reality of foreign-orchestrated regime change as the key determinant in the Syrian war.

Damningly, former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi revealed in an interview at the weekend that the conflict in Syria could have been halted in 2012 – just over a year from its inception. Brahimi praised Russia for having “a much more realistic analysis of the situation” and that “everyone should have listened to the Russians a little bit more.” Moscow has consistently said that the political future of Syria must be decided by the people of Syria and that no external preconditions, such as Assad standing down, can be imposed by Western powers or their regional proxies. The current Geneva talks underscore this principle.

Last Friday, John Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia seemingly to urge an end to conflict in Syria. Notably, the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition, the High Negotiations Committee, suddenly reversed its rejection of the Geneva dialogue and said that it would be attending talks this week after all. The HNC comprises Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, Jaish al-Islam and Arhrar al-Shams. However, the HNC stipulated that any negotiations must be predicated on Assad’s removal.

Syria’s war, death toll and destruction are patently a result of a US-led bid for regime change in that country. The background intrigue, the explosive escalation of violence over the past five years and the belated political attempts to prosecute regime change by alternative means are all clear evidence of a criminal foreign assault on Syria.

Russia’s military intervention on behalf of the Syrian authorities, as designated by international law, has exposed the true nature of the conflict. The danger of US-backed covert war on Syria has been removed, and now it is over to diplomacy to resolve the peace. That is a stunning achievement.


PJ Crowley: Putin’s payoff in Syria

March 15, 2016


Vladimir Putin’s surprise announcement of a Russian military pullback from Syria underscores how his country has played a decisive role in the conflict, frequently outmanoeuvring the US, writes PJ Crowley.

There are no winning hands in the great game being played in Syria, but Vladimir Putin has reaped a positive return from his military intervention to shore up the position of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

His gamble could still be a loser over the long term, but he currently has command of the table and over what happens next.

Mr Putin’s combination of aggression and finesse is in sharp contrast to his American counterpart. Barack Obama has carefully guarded his chips, seeing little to be gained with the lousy cards in Syria.

While the United States is leading a limited military campaign against the Islamic State, Mr Obama has offered little more than the status quo ante when it comes to Mr Assad.

Mr Obama has called for Mr Assad to step down, but there has never been a real strategy behind that rhetoric. Mr Putin and Mr Obama are actually playing two interrelated but different games. Success in each game is the same – a functioning Syrian state that is not a safe haven for extremists.

Their paths are vastly different. One envisages the survival of the existing Syrian regime, with some symbolic accommodation with its political opposition. The other one involves an inclusive political process that results in genuine power-sharing.

Given the events of the past six months, Mr Putin is far closer to his goal than Mr Obama. Mr Obama insists that Syria does not represent a competition between the two leaders, but it is becoming increasingly hard to view it any other way.

While Mr Obama is fond of calling the United States the indispensable nation, it is President Putin who has repeatedly made himself indispensable in Syria.

First, after what he viewed as a fiasco in Libya, he made sure that the United Nations would not sanction a comparable intervention in Syria. There has been no international responsibility to protect the Syrian people from their dictator as there was in Libya.

Second, after Mr Obama threatened military action in response to Syria’s crossing of his red line over the use of chemical weapons, Mr Putin imposed on Mr Assad to yield his chemical weapons stocks. However, this provided a de facto green light to attack the opposition through conventional means.

Finally, while Mr Obama hesitated at the use of military force, requesting congressional approval that would likely not have materialised, Mr Putin intervened decisively.

Where Mr Obama’s contemplated use of military force would not have affected the military balance in the Syrian civil war, Mr Putin fundamentally changed at least one crucial fact on the ground.

Mr Obama’s policy has been based until now on the presumption that Mr Assad’s days are numbered. That may still be true but, thanks to Putin, the number is getting larger not smaller.

Mr Obama is right when he said that Syria cannot return to where it was before the civil war. He is also right when he says that the conflict will not end as long as Mr Assad remains in power.

But given that Mr Assad for the moment is not going anywhere, it is very likely that the political process that resumes this week in Syria is not going anywhere either.

As Mr Obama suggested in a recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, he does not see Mr Putin’s intervention as a success, but rather as an over-extension.

Washington was content to play Huck Finn and let Moscow be Tom Sawyer and paint the fence.

The problem with the White House analogy is that in regional geo-politics, who actually paints the fence matters. Mr Obama over the past three years has been far too dismissive of the importance of the perceived decline in the credibility of American power.

Mr Obama suggests he wants to leave a “clean barn” for his successor. In fact, his successor will need to rebuild international trust and confidence in American leadership just as he did – albeit from a very different place.

In 2009, the United States was accused of doing too much, with dire consequences in Iraq. Today, the United States is accused of not doing enough, with dire consequences in Syria.

While Mr Obama has never believed that he needed to solve the tragedy in Syria – he has consistently viewed it as someone else’s civil war – in all likelihood his successor will have to do more.

US efforts to date have degraded the Islamic State, but it is questionable whether it can be defeated through the existing limited levels of air power and special operations forces.

Mr Obama has been reluctant to do more, understandably fearing that greater involvement might exacerbate the extremist threat to the US and its allies.

While the current operational pause has had a greater effect on the ground than anticipated, the next president will likely inherit the Syrian civil war and find a solution to end it.

Its dangerous ripple effects cannot be ignored, even if the conflict itself does not represent an existential threat.

What is unclear is whether Mr Putin’s gamble has made a solution to the Syrian conflict harder or easier to achieve. It could be either one.

PJ Crowley is a former US Assistant Secretary of State, now a professor of practice and fellow at the George Washington University Institute of Public Diplomacy & Global Communication.


This Is The Anti-Refugee Party That Won A Big Victory In Germany

The Alternative for Germany party has surged in popularity amid Europe’s refugee crisis.

March 14, 2016

by Nick Robins-Early

The World Post

An anti-refugee, ultra-conservative populist party made huge gains in Germany’s regional elections on Sunday and further cemented its recent surge to the forefront of the nation’s politics.

The controversial Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, secured seats in all three regions that voted and was the second-most-popular party in one of them.

The vote is a big victory for the once-fringe party, reflecting national divisions over how Chancellor Angela Merkel has handled the refugee crisis in the first major elections since she implemented Germany’s open-border policy last year. Alternative for Germany has been steadily rising in polls since then, amid a current of anti-immigration sentiment.

Until recently, Germany had largely escaped the rise of ultra-conservative political parties that have gained support in countries across Europe thanks to anti-European Union and anti-immigration platforms. Now that may no longer be the case, suggesting that the populist rhetoric lifting other nations’ reactionary political movements is also finding a receptive audience in Germany.

This could pose a challenge not only to Germany’s political establishment, but to its status as the European country that has arguably done the most to relieve the immense and ongoing refugee crisis.

What Is The Alternative For Germany Party?

The AfD was founded in 2013 by German economists who opposed their country’s heavy involvement in economic bailouts for smaller European nations like Greece. But while the party originated from economic concerns, its platform has subsequently shifted to such a degree that some of its founders have left and withdrawn their support.

Last year, founder Bernd Lucke quit the AfD in protest after losing a leadership election and condemned the party’s turn to xenophobia and populism. Other once-prominent figures in the party have done the same. One former party chairman, Franz Niggemann, specifically decried what he called the AfD’s illiberalism and hostility toward minority groups.

After the AfD ousted Lucke, it began to focus on immigration and appeal to voters who opposed Germany’s admittance of more than 1 million refugees and migrants last year. With a different direction and a charismatic new leader in 40-year-old Frauke Petry, the party has gained prominence and increasing support at the polls. It has also been heavily criticized by German media and politicians who allege that the party is using racist rhetoric and fear mongering to rile up voters.

Who Is Frauke Petry?

Frauke Petry is a former scientist from Dresden, Germany, whose political rise has coincided with the AfD’s move toward an anti-immigration stance. Now the face of the party, she has attacked members of Germany’s political establishment and Merkel for their handling of the refugee crisis. Last year, she publicly called for the chancellor to step down.

While Petry’s call to secure borders and reduce immigration has appealed to a number of Germans, she has also received heavy criticism. Earlier this year, her suggestion that police could use firearms to shoot migrants illegally entering the country drew widespread condemnation.

Petry has frequently sparred with German media, referring to members of the press as liars. Meanwhile, many outlets have accused Petry of being a pleasant cover for extreme, racist elements within her party. The news magazine Der Spiegel featured Petry on the cover of its Feb. 6 issue, which was titled “The Hate Preachers.”

How Did They Get So Popular?

For the growing number of refugees and migrants fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in the last year, Germany has become a desirable destination due to its acceptance of people seeking asylum.

While Merkel’s humane response won her applause, the lack of a cohesive European response to the crisis and the continuous influx of people has also led to backlash and falling popularity ratings.

Opposition to admitting refugees has sometimes taken on violent and grotesque dimensions. Last year, over 1,000 refugee homes in Germany were attacked.

Petry and the AfD have seized on this division and dissatisfaction, using campaign slogans like “stop the asylum chaos.” The party, whose supporters are around 71 percent male, according to The Guardian, has also been linked to the notorious anti-Islam protest movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, or PEGIDA.

A large percentage of AfD supporters have also never voted before, and credit the refugee crisis for spurring them to cast their ballots. Some supporters have said the party has allowed for an expression of right-wing nationalism, something that is often suppressed in Germany due to its Nazi history.

How Bad Is This For Merkel?

While Merkel acknowledged on Monday that the elections were “a terrible day” for her party, analysts say it’s unlikely this will provoke any major change in her leadership. Others have pointed out that the majority of voters in the regional elections still opted for parties that support the current refugee policies.

Merkel has previously characterized the AfD as a “temporary phenomenon,” and her spokesman vowed that she would continue the country’s refugee policies. But the chancellor is now backing a provisional deal between the EU and Turkey that’s meant to deter refugees from crossing the sea to Greece and to reduce the number of people being resettled in Europe.

Human rights groups and observers have condemned the plan as inhumane and say it violates international law, pointing out that it would only cover Syrians and would force migrants or refugees who reach Greece back to Turkey. But Merkel and other EU leaders hope it will deter further migration.

Germany is also eyeing a federal election in 2017. Observers believe Merkel is seeking a fourth term, and analysts say the rise of anti-establishment political powers will be a concern for the current government.

The AfD, meanwhile, now has seats in half of Germany’s regional governments and will be looking to gain even more.


Windows 10 automatically installs without permission, complain users

Microsoft denies claims on Reddit, forums, gaming sites and Twitter that Windows 10 is being forced on Windows 7 PCs without asking users

March 15, 2016

by Samuel Gibbs

The Guardian

Windows 7 users are reporting that Windows 10 is automatically installing on their PCs without permission.

Scores of users have posted on Twitter, forums, Reddit and gaming sites to complain about Windows 10 automatically installing, seemingly without asking, and often in the middle of doing something important.

Reddit user LHoT10820 posted a warning, which has attracted over 2,800 comments, about the forced Windows 10 upgrade after it “bricked” his father’s computer.

Geekygirlhere said: “Yep this happened to me this morning. Working and all of a sudden Windows closed all my programs, logged me out and started the upgrade. I quickly shut down my computer and was able to stop it but my son wasn’t so lucky. Same thing happened to him today.”

8165128200 said: “We’ve been getting calls trickling in all week from doctor’s offices, dental practices, B&Bs and roofing companies – among others – that have been hit by this and it’s a fucking mess.

“In some cases the upgrade went OK and the user is just really confused. In others, Windows 10 is asking for a login password the user set years ago and hasn’t used since, that was fun. In still another it’s screwed up access to their shared folders.”

Even senior reporter Patrick Klepek for gaming site Kotaku was seemingly forced into an upgrade to Windows 10.

‘Recommended update’

Microsoft recently changed the Windows 10 upgrade from “optional” to “recommended”, making it one level below the highest “critical” designation within Windows Update, the software update system built into Windows. The change means that if users have Windows update on Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 set to ‘install all recommended updates’, which many will do, the Windows 10 upgrade will automatically download to a user’s computer.

But Microsoft insists that Windows 10 will not automatically install without asking for explicit permission.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. As stated in that post, we have updated the upgrade experience to make it easier for customers to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place. Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update by changing the Windows Update settings.”

Microsoft also states that reports that Windows 10 being forced on users are “not accurate” and suggests that users who seeing Windows 10 installed unexpectedly might have pre-selected to upgrade to the new operating system.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a Q&A: “We have updated the upgrade experience for some of our customers, who had previously reserved their upgrade, to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place.”

Users may have also have unwittingly clicked or tapped on the ‘accept’ or ‘OK’ button, which user interface elements such as Windows Access Control and the modern trend of extensive permissions and password requests bombarding users with pop-ups demanding action, has trained users to do.

Either way, it is catching users unaware, without an obvious warning that significant changes will be made to their computers, and often in the middle of work, leading users to Twitter to vent their frustration.


Detecting Online Deception and Responding to It

by Neil C. Rowe

U.S. Naval Postgraduate School


Since many forms of online deception are harmful, it is helpful to enumerate possible detection methods.  We discuss low-levels clues such as pauses and overgenerality as well as “cognitive” clues such as noticing of factual discrepancies.  While people are generally poor at detecting deception using their intuitions, the online environment provides the ability to automate the analysis of clues and improve the likelihood of detection by doing “data fusion”.   Appropriate responses to deception must differ with the type, as some deceptions like deliberate provocation are best handled by ignoring them while other deceptions like fraud are best handled by exposure.

This article appeared in the Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Technologies, Hershey, PA: Idea Group, 2005.


An important problem in online communities is detection of deception by their members.  Deception is a form of manipulation, and can have many varied negative consequences in a virtual community, especially once discovered (Joinson & Dietz-Uhler, 2002) but even if undiscovered.  Virtual communities need to be aware of the problems and need to agree on policies for detecting deception and responding to it.


Online deception is encouraged by the special circumstances of online communities (George and Carlson, 1999).  Studies have shown that deception occurrence is inversely related to communications bandwidth, or the rate at which data can be transmitted between people (Burgoon et al, 2003).  In other words, people feel more inclined to deceive the more remote and less familiar they are to the deceivees, and both factors usually apply online.  Unfortunately, people are less effective at detecting deception than they think they are (Eckman 2001).  Online deception is especially difficult to detect; in many cases it is never discovered or is discovered much later, due to the lack of authority in cyberspace and the temporary nature of much cyberspace data.

Deception Detection Methods

There is a large literature on the detection of deception in conventional face-to-face social interaction.  Although people are often poor at detecting deception, they can improve some with training (Ford, 1996).  People doing detection can use both low-level and high-level clues.  Low-level clues can be both nonverbal and verbal (see Table 1).  Nonverbal clues (“cues”) are generally more telling since they are often harder to suppress by the deceiver (Miller & Stiff, 1993).  One must be cautious because not all popularly ascribed clues are effective: Polygraphs or electronic “lie detectors” have not been shown to do better than chance.  Note some nonverbal clues appear even without audio and video connections; for example, (Zhou & Zhang, 2004) showed four nonverbal factors they called “participation” were correlated in experiments with deception in text messaging, such as the pause between messages.

High-level clues (or “cognitive” ones) involve discrepancies in information presented (Bell and Whaley, 1991; Heuer, 1982), and they can occur in all forms of online interaction.  For instance, if a person A says they talked to person B but B denies it, either A or B is deceiving.  Logical fallacies often reveal deception, as in advertising (Hausman, 1999); for instance, a diet supplement may claim you can lose ten pounds a week without changing your diet.  In deception about matters of fact like news reports, checks of authoritative references can reveal the deception.  Inconsistency in tone is also a clue to deception, as when someone treats certain people online very differently than others.

Suspiciousness of clues is enhanced by secondary factors: the less clever the deceiver, the more emotional the deceiver, the less time they have to plan the deception, the less chance they will be caught, the higher the stakes, the less familiarity of the deceiver and deceivee, and the more pleasure the deceiver attains from a successful deception (Eckman & Frank, 1993).  The perceived likelihood of deception can be estimated as the opposite of the likelihood that a sequence of events could have occurred normally.

Specialized statistical methods can also be developed for recognizing common online deceptions like fraud in online commercial transactions (MacVittie, 2002), criminal aliases (Wang, Chen, & Akabashch, 2004) and the doctoring of Web pages to get better placement in search engines (Kaza, Murthy, & Hu, 2003).  For instance, clues that online transactions involve stolen credit-card numbers are an email address at a free email service, a difference between the shipping and billing addresses, and an IP address (computer identity code) for the originating computer that is geographically inconsistent with the billing address (MacVittie, 2002).

Data Fusion for Better Detection of Deception

It is important for detection to consider all available clues for deception, since clues can be created inadvertently by nondeceptive people.  Thus we have a problem of “data fusion” or of combining evidence.  Besides observed clues from the suspected deceiver themselves, we can include the reputation of a person within a virtual community as in EBay-style reputation-management systems (Barber & Kim, 2001; Yu & Singh, 2003).

Several researchers have proposed mathematical formulations of the fusion problem.  If clues are independent, then the probability of deception is the inverse of the product of the inverses of the probabilities of deception given each clue, where the inverse is one minus the probability.  A generalization of this is the Bayesian network where related non-independent probabilities are grouped together (Rowe, 2004).  Other approaches also appear successful (Carofiglio, de Rosis, & Castelfranchi, 2001).  Distrust is psychologically different from trust, and tends to increase more easily than decrease (Josang, 2001), so the mathematics must reflect that.

Fusion can be automated although that is difficult for many of the clues.  Automation has been achieved in some specialized applications, notably programs that detect possible credit-card fraud, and “intrusion-detection systems” for protecting computers and networks by noticing when suspicious behavior is present (Proctor, 2002).

Responding to Deception

Serious online crimes like fraud can be prosecuted in courts.  For less serious matters, virtual communities are societies, and societies can establish their own rules and laws for behavior of their members.  Members who engage in disruptive or damaging forms of deception can have privileges revoked, including automatically as by “killfiles” for ignoring messages of certain people. Less serious forms of deception can often be effectively punished by ignoring it or ostracizing the perpetrator just as with real-world communities; this is effective against “trolls”, people deceiving to be provocative (Ravia, 2004).  In moderated newsgroups, the moderator can delete postings they consider to be deceptive and/or disruptive.  On the other hand, deception involving unfair exploitation is often best handled by exposure and publicity, like that of “shills” or people deceptively advancing their personal financial interests.

In all these cases, some investigation is required to justify punishment.  Computer forensics techniques (Prosise & Mandia, 2000) may help determine the employment of a newsgroup shill, who started a libelous rumor, or how and by whom a file was damaged.  Private-investigator techniques help to determine the identity of a disruptive or masquerading member in a newsgroup like comparing aliases against directories, Web sites, and other newsgroups; and false identities can be detected by linguistic quirks of the masquerader (Ravia, 2004).

Future Trends

Technology is making deception easier in virtual communities, and cyberspace is becoming more representative of traditional societies in its degree of deception.  While detection methods are not systematically used today, the increasing problems will force more extensive use of them.  To counteract identity deception and other forms of fakery, we will see more use of online “signatures” or “certificates” for identifying people, either formal (as with cryptography), or informal (as by code phrases (Donath, 1998)).  We will also see more methods from computer forensics investigations like those that collect records of the same person from different communities or network resources to see patterns of misuse or criminal activity.


Many clues are available to detect online deception.  So although it is more difficult than detecting deception in face-to-face interactions, tools are available, some of which are automated.  If honesty is important in an online setting, they are many ways to improve its likelihood.


How to hack a sex toy: tech firms warn public on growing cyber-risks

March 15, 2016

by Carloine Copley


It’s not just computers and mobile phones that are vulnerable to cyber attack, according to software firm Trend Micro. As more devices are hooked up to the Internet, it could be anything from medical equipment to industrial machinery – and even sex toys.

To illustrate the point, Trend Micro spokesman Udo Schneider surprised journalists at a news conference this week by placing a large, neon-pink vibrator on the desk in front of him and then bringing it to life by typing out a few lines of code on his laptop.

While the stunt provoked sheepish giggles, the message was sobering. As the number of smart, interactive devices connected to the Internet explodes, concern is mounting about insufficient safeguards and a lack of consumer and employee awareness.

“If I hack a vibrator it’s just fun,” Raimund Genes, Chief Technology Officer at Tokyo-listed Trend Micro, told reporters at the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover.

“But if I can get to the back-end, I can blackmail the manufacturer,” he added, referring to the programming system behind a device’s interface.

Germany, host of CeBIT and home to world champion manufacturers, offers rich pickings for hackers, and attacks on industrial production sites are rising, according to the government’s latest IT Security Report.


In 2014, a German steel mill suffered “massive damage” following a cyber attack on the plant’s network. In recent weeks, several German hospitals have come under attack from Ransomware, a virus that encrypts data on infected machines and demands that users pay to get an electronic key to unlock it.

The German government got its own wake-up call last year, when hackers attacked the lower house of parliament’s computer network, forcing it to shut down the system for several days and compromising large amounts of data.

“If someone decided to start shooting with a pistol from the roof of the Reichstag (parliament), security guards would be all over them. But when data are siphoned off for months, no one bats an eyelid,” said Dirk Arendt, director of public affairs at Israeli cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP.O).

“There is a lack of awareness.”

Responding to the growing cyber threat, Germany approved an IT security law last July that orders 2,000 providers of critical infrastructure to implement minimum security standards and report serious breaches or face penalties.

Fifty-one percent of companies have been victims of digital espionage, data theft or sabotage in the past two years, according to IT lobby group Bitkom.

The threat is more acute among Germany’s small-to-medium-sized manufacturers, known as the Mittelstand, where two-thirds of firms registered attacks. As companies move to connect machinery to the Internet to enable it to collect and exchange data and make it easier to control remotely, 84 percent of managers expect the risks to rise, according to Deutsche Telekom’s Cyber Security Report.

While Germans are vigilant about data protection because of their experience of state surveillance by the Stasi secret police in East Germany and the Gestapo under the Nazis, Arendt said more attention needed to be paid to data security.

Employees need to be made aware of the dangers of opening suspicious-looking PDFs in the same way that motorists are warned by giant roadside signs not to speed, he added.

“We only wake up when the damage is done,” he said. “There are enough examples of successful hacking cases. Now the next steps need to be taken to get back into a secure area.”

($1 = 0.9002 euros)

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


Future Plans

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

There is information, from a source whose son works in the Justice Department, that there are on the drawing board, plans to implement a so-called “National Security State.”

This bit of fascistic nonsense is not new but has been updated and is now waiting for the “right moment.” This moment is stated to be a response to the next serious terrorist incident within the US.A protocol of this report is available but all I have is a listing at this point in time.

This plan calls for:

1.Federal control of all domestic media, the internet, all computerized records, through overview of all domestic fax, mail and telephone conversations,

2. A national ID card, universal SS cards being mandatory,

3. Seizure and forced deportation of all illegal aliens, including millions of Mexicans and Central Americans, intensive observation and penetration of Asian groups, especially Indonesian and Chinese,

4. A reinstitution of a universal draft (mandatory service at 18 years for all male American youths…based on the German Arbeitsdienst)

5. Closer coordination of administration views and domestic policies with various approved religious groups,

6. An enlargement of the current “no travel” lists drawn up in the Justice Department that prevents “subversive” element from flying, (this list will include “peaceniks” and most categories of Muslims)

7. The automatic death penalty for any proven acts of sedition,

8. The forbidding of abortion, any use of medical marijuana,

9. Any public approval of homosexual or lesbian behavior to include magazines, websites, political action groups and so

There are about a hundred other categories and I am stressing that these plans are not going to be implemented unless, and until, there is an overriding excuse for them at which time the public will see the need to be protected. Once the lid goes on, it will not come off voluntarily.


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