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TBR News March 21, 2019

Mar 21 2019

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

Washington, D.C. March 21, 2019: “In an age when a growing dissatisfaction with systems of governance, the public has become more and more interested in conspiracy theories that purport to expose various misdeeds of governance and its various organs and purported accomplices and its various organs and accomplices.

We have seen an enormous body of revisionist literature arise, dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, and as that topic slid down from public interest, another issue rose to prominence speculation and fictive writing. This was the September 11, 2001 attack by Saudi terrorists on various targets in the United State.

Invented stories about “robot aircraft,”  “’Nano thermite’ controlled explosions,” and other theories, many verging on the lunatic, sprang up and proliferated. While most of these entertainments were the product of inventive minds and eagerly accepted by a public that felt betrayed by their government and the upper levels of the national economic structure, a number of stories were very obviously clever insertions of deliberate disinformation from the very same power elite.

One of the recurring themes of the conspiracy claques is that of the existence of a secret society, or organization, that is somehow able to exert powerful but behind-the-scenes control over all aspects of governance. One of the favorites has been the Illuminati. This was originally a German association, formed in 1776 by one Adam Weishaupt, a Freemason and law professor at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria.

The original Illuminati, then called the Order of Perfectibilists, and became a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of both established governments and religions, specifically the Catholics. Eventually, Weishaubt made enough noise that the Bavarian Elector, Karl Theodor, outlawed them and forced Weishaupt to move to Gotha where he finished his life by writing books and abstaining from anti-establishment activities.

Weishaupt’s disbanded organization has become the inspiration for several generations of conspiracy inventors and because Weishaupt spoke of a single world government, ruled by men of honor and intellect (obviously impossible in any age), the conspiracy people have talked about a New World Order which might be satisfying and even desired but would be impossible of execution. To this mythic entity is ascribed all manner of manipulations and plottings.”

 

 

The Table of Contents

  • ‘New bizarre low’: Trump faces backlash after reviving McCain attacks
  • US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling
  • Whose Blood, Whose Treasure?
  • Is Mexico About to Collapse?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • U.S. farmers face devastation following Midwest floods
  • Citizenship in the Age of Trump
  • The Cro-Magnon Man: Not Out of Africa

 

‘New bizarre low’: Trump faces backlash after reviving McCain attacks

Republicans such as Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney defended the late senator after the president said he ‘never liked’ him

March 20, 2019

by Sabrina Siddiqui

The Guardian

Donald Trump renewed attacks on the late senator John McCain, stating he “never liked” the Arizona Republican and “probably never will”.

The president faced widespread backlash for reviving his criticism of McCain, who died of brain cancer last year.

While Trump shared a notoriously contentious relationship with McCain, Republicans balked at Trump’s willingness to engage in posthumous attacks on the decorated war veteran. Some audience members in Ohio were members of the military.

“I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve,” Trump said of McCain while touring a tank manufacturing plant in Lima, Ohio. “I don’t care about this. I didn’t get a thank you, that’s OK.”

Trump returned to broadsides against McCain seven months after his death, amid reports in conservative media outlets that McCain was allegedly responsible for leaking the infamous Russia dossier, compiled by the British ex-spy Christopher Steele. The dossier detailed Trump’s ties to Moscow.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump criticised McCain for his role in the Russia investigation and voiced frustration with his deciding vote against repealing the repeal of Obamacare in 2017.

Trump also raised McCain’s healthcare vote during a joint appearance at the White House with the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, telling reporters he was “very unhappy that [McCain] didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare, as you know”.

“They got to a vote, and he said thumbs down,” Trump said. “I think that’s disgraceful.”

McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, hit back on Wednesday on ABC’s daytime talkshow The View, where she serves as a co-host.

“If I had told my dad: ‘Seven months after you’re dead you’re going to be dominating the news and all over Twitter,’ he would think it’s hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death as well,” she said.

“This is a new bizarre low. I will say attacking someone who isn’t here is a bizarre low,” she added.

Trump’s comments also drew backlash from Republicans in Congress, who defended McCain as a “hero” after initially remaining silent.

“I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better. I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world,” Senator Johnny Isakson, from Georgia, said in an interview.

“Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.” Isakson called the comments “deplorable”.

Senator Martha McSally, the Republican appointed to fill McCain’s seat following his death, tweeted: “John McCain is an American hero and I am thankful for his life of service and legacy to our country and Arizona.

“Everyone should give him and his family the respect, admiration, and peace they deserve,” she added.

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of McCain’s closest friends who has also emerged as a vocal ally of Trump’s, said his comments “hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Senator McCain”.

“I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God,” the Utah senator Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter.

Trump first feuded with McCain during the 2016 campaign, after he mocked the senator for being held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. McCain, who faced re-election in the Senate the same year, declined to endorse Trump even after he became the Republican presidential nominee.

McCain continued to speak out against Trump until his death, delivering a speech in which he decried “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in a thinly veiled reference to the president.

Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral last year, which featured speeches by former presidents, including George W Bush and Barack Obama. Trump was not mentioned by name, but a stark contrast was drawn to his brand of politics.

McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, later explained the family’s decision to not invite Trump as a means of ensuring the ceremony would be conducted “with dignity”.

“Even though it was a very public funeral, we are still a family,” McCain said in an interview with the BBC. “It was important to me that we kept it respectful and calm and not politicize it.”

 

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling

In a rebuke of the Trump administration’s ‘energy-first’ agenda, a judge rules greenhouse gas emissions must be considered

March 20, 2019

by Cassidy Randall in Missoula, Montana

The Guardian

In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account.

Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.

The decision stems from an environmental lawsuit. WildEarth Guardians, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Western Environmental Law Center sued the BLM in 2016 for failing to calculate and limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from future oil and gas projects.

The agency “did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing”, said Rudolph Contreras, a US district judge in Washington DC, in a ruling late on Tuesday. He added that the agency “must consider the cumulative impact of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions” generated by past, present and future BLM leases across the country.

The decision is the first significant check on the climate impact of the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda that has opened up vast swaths of public land for mining and drilling. Environmental advocates are praising the move, with Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program director, calling it a “triumph for our climate”.

“This ruling says that the entire oil & gas drilling program is off the rails, and moving forward illegally,” said Nichols.

Under Trump, the pace of leasing public lands for oil and gas development has surged. A recent study found the administration has made more than 13m onshore acres available for leasing, far more than any similar period under Obama. The vast majority are located in the western states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The administration also plans to make large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and the interior department has been criticized for favoring the energy industry.

The BLM did not reply to a request for comment. The Western Energy Alliance, one of the defendants in the case, also did not respond to a request. Kathleen Sgamma, its president, told the Washington Post: “This judge has ignored decades of legal precedent in this ruling. The judge is basically asking BLM to take a wild guess on how many wells will be developed on leases, prematurely.”

Nichols predicts there will be implications for public lands across the west. His group is now poised to bring litigation to block drilling on hundreds of thousands of acres in other states.

“With the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney and energy and communities program director for the Western Environmental Law Center. “Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate, making this ruling a powerful reality check on the Trump administration and a potent tool for reining in climate pollution.”

 

 

Whose Blood, Whose Treasure?

America’s Senior Generals Find No Exits From Endless War

by William J. Astore

TomDispatch

“Veni, Vidi, Vici,” boasted Julius Caesar, one of history’s great military captains. “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that famed saying when summing up the Obama administration’s military intervention in Libya in 2011 — with a small alteration. “We came, we saw, he died,” she said with a laugh about the killing of Muammar Gaddafi, that country’s autocratic leader. Note what she left out, though: the “vici” or victory part. And how right she was to do so, since Washington’s invasions, occupations, and interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere in this century have never produced anything faintly like a single decisive and lasting victory.

“Failure is not an option” was the stirring 1995 movie catchphrase for the dramatic 1970 rescue of the Apollo 13 moon mission and crew, but were such a movie to be made about America’s wars and their less-than-vici-esque results today, the phrase would have to be corrected in Clintonian fashion to read “We came, we saw, we failed.”

Wars are risky, destructive, unpredictable endeavors, so it would hardly be surprising if America’s military and civilian leaders failed occasionally in their endless martial endeavors, despite the overwhelming superiority in firepower of “the world’s greatest military.” Here’s the question, though: Why have all the American wars of this century gone down in flames and what in the world have those leaders learned from such repetitive failures?

The evidence before our eyes suggests that, when it comes to our senior military leaders at least, the answer would be: nothing at all.

Let’s begin with General David Petraeus, he of “the surge” fame in the Iraq War. Of course, he would briefly fall from grace in 2012, while director of the CIA, thanks to an affair with his biographer with whom he inappropriately shared highly classified information. When riding high in Iraq in 2007, however, “King David” (as he was then dubbed) was widely considered an example of America’s best and brightest. He was a soldier-scholar with a doctorate from Princeton, an “insurgent” general with the perfect way — a revival of Vietnam-era counterinsurgency techniques — to stabilize invaded and occupied Iraq. He was the man to snatch victory from the jaws of looming defeat. (Talk about a fable not worthy of Aesop!)

Though retired from the military since 2011, Petraeus somehow remains a bellwether for conventional thinking about America’s wars at the Pentagon, as well as inside the Washington Beltway. And despite the quagmire in Afghanistan (that he had a significant hand in deepening), despite the widespread destruction in Iraq (for which he would hold some responsibility), despite the failed-state chaos in Libya, he continues to relentlessly plug the idea of pursuing a “sustainable” forever war against global terrorism; in other words, yet more of the same.

Here’s how he typically put it in a recent interview:

“I would contend that the fight against Islamist extremists is not one that we’re going to see the end of in our lifetimes probably. I think this is a generational struggle, which requires you to have a sustained commitment. But of course you can only sustain it if it’s sustainable in terms of the expenditure of blood and treasure.”

His comment brings to mind a World War II quip about General George S. Patton, also known as “old blood and guts.” Some of his troops responded to that nickname this way: yes, his guts, but our blood. When men like Petraeus measure the supposed sustainability of their wars in terms of blood and treasure, the first question should be: Whose blood, whose treasure?

When it comes to Washington’s Afghan War, now in its 18th year and looking ever more like a demoralizing defeat, Petraeus admits that U.S. forces “never had an exit strategy.” What they did have, he claims, “was a strategy to allow us to continue to achieve our objectives… with the reduced expenditure in blood and treasure.”

Think of this formulation as an upside-down version of the notorious “body count” of the Vietnam War. Instead of attempting to maximize enemy dead, as General William Westmoreland sought to do from 1965 to 1968, Petraeus is suggesting that the U.S. seek to keep the American body count to a minimum (translating into minimal attention back home), while minimizing the “treasure” spent. By keeping American bucks and body bags down (Afghans be damned), the war, he insists, can be sustained not just for a few more years but generationally. (He cites 70-year troop commitments to NATO and South Korea as reasonable models.)

Talk about lacking an exit strategy! And he also speaks of a persistent “industrial-strength” Afghan insurgency without noting that U.S. military actions, including drone strikes and an increasing reliance on air power, result in ever more dead civilians, which only feed that same insurgency. For him, Afghanistan is little more than a “platform” for regional counterterror operations and so anything must be done to prevent the greatest horror of all: withdrawing American troops too quickly.

In fact, he suggests that American-trained and supplied Iraqi forces collapsed in 2014, when attacked by relatively small groups of ISIS militants, exactly because U.S. troops had been withdrawn too quickly. The same, he has no doubt, will happen if President Trump repeats this “mistake” in Afghanistan. (Poor showings by U.S.-trained forces are never, of course, evidence of a bankrupt approach in Washington, but of the need to “stay the course.”)

Petraeus’s critique is, in fact, a subtle version of the stab-in-the-back myth. Its underlying premise: that the U.S. military is always on the generational cusp of success, whether in Vietnam in 1971, Iraq in 2011, or Afghanistan in 2019, if only the rug weren’t pulled out from under the U.S. military by irresolute commanders-in-chief.

Of course, this is all nonsense. Commanded by none other than General David Petraeus, the Afghan surge of 2009-2010 proved a dismal failure as, in the end, had his Iraq surge of 2007. U.S. efforts to train reliable indigenous forces (no matter where in the embattled Greater Middle East and Africa) have also consistently failed. Yet Petraeus’s answer is always more of the same: more U.S. troops and advisers, training, bombing, and killing, all to be repeated at “sustainable” levels for generations to come.

The alternative, he suggests, is too awful to contemplate:

“You have to do something about [Islamic extremism] because otherwise they’re going to spew violence, extremism, instability, and a tsunami of refugees not just into neighboring countries but… into our western European allies, undermining their domestic political situations.”

No mention here of how the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq spread destruction and, in the end, a “tsunami of refugees” throughout the region. No mention of how U.S. interventions and bombing in Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere help “spew” violence and generate a series of failed states.

And amazingly enough, despite his lack of “vici” moments, the American media still sees King David as the go-to guy for advice on how to fight and win the wars he’s had such a hand in losing. And just in case you want to start worrying a little, he’s now offering such advice on even more dangerous matters. He’s started to comment on the new “cold war” that now has Washington abuzz, a coming era — as he puts it — of “renewed great power rivalries” with China and Russia, an era, in fact, of “multi-domain warfare” that could prove far more challenging than “the asymmetric abilities of the terrorists and extremists and insurgents that we’ve countered in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan and a variety of other places, particularly since 9/11.”

For Petraeus, even if Islamic terrorism disappeared tomorrow and not generations from now, the U.S. military would still be engaged with the supercharged threat of China and Russia. I can already hear Pentagon cash registers going ka-ching!

And here, in the end, is what’s most striking about Petraeus’s war lessons: no concept of peace even exists in his version of the future. Instead, whether via Islamic terrorism or rival great powers, America faces intractable threats into a distant future. Give him credit for one thing: if adopted, his vision could keep the national security state funded in the staggering fashion it’s come to expect for generations, or at least until the money runs out and the U.S. empire collapses.

Two Senior Generals Draw Lessons from the Iraq War

David Petraeus remains America’s best-known general of this century. His thinking, though, is anything but unique. Take two other senior U.S. Army generals, Mark Milley and Ray Odierno, both of whom recently contributed forewords to the Army’s official history of the Iraq War that tell you what you need to know about Pentagon thinking these days.

Published this January, the Army’s history of Operation Iraqi Freedom is detailed and controversial. Completed in June 2016, its publication was pushed back due to internal disagreements. As the Wall Street Journal put it in October 2018: “Senior [Army] brass fretted over the impact the study’s criticisms might have on prominent officers’ reputations and on congressional support for the service.” With those worries apparently resolved, the study is now available at the Army War College website.

The Iraq War witnessed the overthrow of autocrat (and former U.S. ally) Saddam Hussein, a speedy declaration of “mission accomplished” by President George W. Bush, and that country’s subsequent descent into occupation, insurgency, civil war, and chaos. What should the Army have learned from all this? General Milley, now Army chief of staff and President Trump’s nominee to serve as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is explicit on its lessons:

“OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] is a sober reminder that technological advantages and standoff weapons alone cannot render a decision; that the promise of short wars is often elusive; that the ends, ways, and means must be in balance; that our Army must understand the type of war we are engaged with in order to adapt as necessary; that decisions in war occur on the ground in the mud and dirt; and that timeless factors such as human agency, chance, and an enemy’s conviction, all shape a war’s outcome.”

These aren’t, in fact, lessons. They’re military banalities. The side with the best weapons doesn’t always win. Short wars can turn into long ones. The enemy has a say in how the war is fought. What they lack is any sense of Army responsibility for mismanaging the Iraq War so spectacularly. In other words, mission accomplished for General Milley.

General Odierno, who commissioned the study and served in Iraq for 55 months, spills yet more ink in arguing, like Milley, that the Army has learned from its mistakes and adapted, becoming even more agile and lethal. Here’s my summary of his “lessons”:

* Superior technology doesn’t guarantee victory. Skill and warcraft remain vital.

* To win a war of occupation, soldiers need to know the environment, including “the local political and social consequences of our actions… When conditions on the ground change, we must be willing to reexamine the assumptions that underpin our strategy and plans and change course if necessary, no matter how painful it may be,” while developing better “strategic leaders.”

* The Army needs to be enlarged further because “landpower” is so vital and America’s troops were “overtaxed by the commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the decision to limit our troop levels in both theaters had severe operational consequences.”

* The Iraq War showcased an Army with an “astonishing” capacity “to learn and adapt in the midst of a war that the United States was well on its way to losing.”

The gist of Odierno’s “lessons”: the Army learned, adapted, and overcame. Therefore, it deserves America’s thanks and yet more of everything, including the money and resources to pursue future wars even more successfully. There would, however, be another way to read those lessons of his: that the Army overvalued technology, that combat skills were lacking, that efforts to work with allies and Iraqi forces regularly failed, that Army leadership lacked the skills needed to win, and that it was folly to get into a global war on terror in the first place.

On those failings, neither Milley nor Odierno has anything of value to say, since their focus is purely on how to make the Army prevail in future versions of just such wars. Their limited critique, in short, does little to prevent future disasters. Much like Petraeus’s reflections, they cannot envision an end point to the process — no victory to be celebrated, no return to America being “a normal country in a normal time.” There is only war and more war in their (and so our) future.

The Undiscovered Country

Talk of such future wars — of, that is, more of the same — reminded me of the sixth Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country. In that space opera, which appeared in 1991 just as the Soviet Union was imploding, peace finally breaks out between the quasi-democratic Federation (think: the USA) and the warmongering Klingon Empire (think: the USSR). Even the Federation’s implacable warrior-captain, James T. Kirk, grudgingly learns to bury the phaser with the Klingon “bastards” who murdered his son.

Back then, I was a young captain in the U.S. Air Force and, with the apparent end of the Cold War, my colleagues and I dared talk about, if not eternal peace, at least “peace” as our own — and not just Star Trek’s — undiscovered country. Like many at the time, even we in the military were looking forward to what was then called a “peace dividend.”

But that unknown land, which Americans then glimpsed ever so briefly, remains unexplored to this day. The reason why is simple enough. As Andrew Bacevich put it in his book Breach of Trust, “For the Pentagon [in 1991], peace posed a concrete and imminent threat” — which meant that new threats, “rogue states” of every sort, had to be found. And found they were.

It comes as no surprise, then, that America’s generals have learned so little of real value from their twenty-first-century losses. They continue to see a state of “infinite war” as necessary and are blind to the ways in which endless war and the ever-developing war state in Washington are the enemies of democracy.

The question isn’t why they think the way they do. The question is why so many Americans share their vision. The future is now. Isn’t it time that the U.S. sought to invade and occupy a different “land” entirely: an undiscovered country — a future — defined by peace?

 

Is Mexico About to Collapse?

Oil, drug money, and enablers all impact the economic probability of Mexico’s survival.

by Joel Hilliker and Robert Morley

the Trumpet

“For each one of mine that you kill, I will kill 10 soldiers.”

That was the note that accompanied the severed heads of eight soldiers and a former state police director.

The beheadings were not done by al Qaeda, nor did they occur in some little-known region of Afghanistan. These men were horribly mutilated and murdered by Mexican drug lords.

But the deaths were bought and paid for with American money from American citizens.

Who Will Rule Mexico?

The government of Mexico is locked in a life-and-death struggle for control of the nation. Over the past two years, over 6,000 police officers and other public officials have been assassinated. Drug lords are waging an all-out battle, and civil war threatens. Who will rule Mexico?

The simple economics suggest the government doesn’t stand a chance.

It gets down to this: Mexico is in atrocious financial shape. Unemployment is high and escalating. Mexicans living in the U.S. are sending less money home. Food prices are pinching budgets, and social unrest is escalating. The list goes on: Mexico’s metals and mining industry is getting hammered. Commodity prices have plunged, and exports have constricted due to the global economic slowdown. On top of all that, the government is about to lose much of its single most important and vital source of money—oil revenue.

In contrast, the incredibly violent and ruthless drug cartels, which are trying to overthrow the government, are funded by the biggest, most free-spending, and addicted market in the world: U.S. consumers. Also assisting the cartels are American black-market arms smugglers.

The big money is backing organized crime. Who do you think is going to win?

Mexico’s Budget Drying Up

A whopping 40 percent of Mexico’s budget is derived from oil sales. As the third-largest supplier of oil to America, Mexico sends most of its oil north to gas stations across the United States.

Since last year, however, oil prices have plummeted from near $140 per barrel to less than $40. Earlier, when oil was costlier, the Mexican government locked in contracts to sell its oil for $70 per barrel. If oil prices don’t rebound, the government could easily see 15 percent or more of its total budget disappear.

But the problem is much worse than that. Mexico’s oil production is also plummeting, so the budget deficit could be even greater. Total oil exports to the U.S. plummeted about 17 percent in 2018

Government mismanagement has added to these geological constraints, which means production probably won’t recover anytime soon, if ever. If trends continue, analysts predict that Mexico could cease exporting oil within four years!

This is a huge issue for Mexico. Oil revenue bankrolls the war against the drug cartels. And even at current budget levels, it is still not clear whether the government is winning or losing.

Two years ago, Mexico was forced to employ its army to battle the drug lords since its domestic police forces were deemed too corrupt. However, as the analysts at Stratfor have noted, the longer the war drags on, the more infiltrated and corrupt the army will become. Morale, which is chronically low during the best of times, is being pushed to the breaking point.

It is not just a battle against drugs, guns and crime, but also against time. And time, as well as money, is on the side of the drug runners.

The Money Supply

America is the world’s largest cocaine consumer, and about 90 percent of what is sold in the United States comes from Mexico. In fact, Americans spend $142 billion a year on illegal drugs, which is fully 44 percent of global consumption. And most of the distribution networks into and throughout the U.S. are dominated by Mexican criminal groups, according the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

With so much money in play, these drug cartels are getting stronger, better armed, bolder and more violent. They are spending their cash on cross-border tunnels nine stories underground—on semi-submersible vessels that can evade radar and travel at 20 knots.

“The cartel has become far more brutal,” says the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Alan Poleszak. “Civilians used to be off limits but now it kills wives and children, and tortures in new ways. Beheadings are recent, too. They walked into a disco and dropped three heads in the middle of the floor to prove the cartel still rules”

Yes, thanks to America’s drug addiction, Mexico is in the thralls of a full-scale war that is killing its policemen and public officials at more than triple the rate that the Iraq War is killing U.S. troops. Three towns have seen the entire police force quit out of fear of the gangs.

Alternatively, cartels invest some of those American billions into putting the authorities on their payroll. Using these two tools—lethal violence and filthy riches—they have been extremely successful in harassing and bribing government officials into compliance. “Government officials are human,” writes Stratfor’s George Friedman, “and faced with the carrot of bribes and the stick of death, even the most incorruptible is going to be cautious in executing operations against the cartels. … There comes a moment when … government officials, seeing the futility of resistance, effectively become tools of the cartels”  Already in many Mexican cities, the police and politicians have been bought off; drug lords rule.

When that happens enough, the state ceases to function as a state.

In Mexico, the nation’s rule of law is turning into the law of the jungle.

The U.S. State Department has issued travel alerts, warning that American tourists could face the “equivalent to military small-unit combat” if they cross the border.

Adding a layer of shame to the situation is this fact: The cartels are getting almost all of their weapons—over 90 percent—from the United States. The cartels will pay top dollar for these arms—including high-powered assault weapons and grenades—and unscrupulous American gun smugglers have proven willing to oblige them. “If I don’t do it, someone else will. That’s the bottom line,” one American told the bbc of his wicked business.

Unsurprisingly, the bitter fruits are spilling back over into the U.S. The geographic location of Mexico in relation to the U.S.—and the porous border between the two countries—provides Mexican drug cartels comparatively easy access to the American market, which is the biggest in the world. And the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledged in a December report that Mexican drug traffickers “represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States.”

One-point-one billion in counternarcotics efforts will simply be dwarfed by the nearly half trillion that junked-out Americans will pay to the cartels over those three years!

Unless something changes, the economics suggest that Mexico’s war for survival may be a lost cause.

Things will likely get much worse. Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats said in a January report. The other country is Pakistan.

America’s increasingly unstable southern neighbor is in the middle of a war for its survival, and the situation could melt down quickly. Our Mexican readers would do well to be wary of these conditions.

And at a time when America’s economy is also facing collapse, an unstable neighbor is the last thing America needs.

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

March 21, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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, on 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 the well-known Washington fix-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.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

Conversation No. 76

Date:  Friday, April 11, 1997

Commenced: 7:15 PM CST

Concluded: 7:50 PM CST

 

GD: Good evening, Robert. Too late for you?

RTC: No, finished eating a bit ago and was just about to start a book on the Afghanistan business the Russians had. Not a problem.

GD: Your people armed the natives there.

RTC: Oh, yes, and the Russian helicopters fell from the heavens like leaves from trees in the fall.

GD: You created a Frankenstein’s monster there, Robert. Those tribesmen are deadly guerrilla fighters and when they’re not fighting invaders like Alexander the Great and the British, who knows who they might go after next? Well, history counts for nothing with those who do not understand it. I had some utterly mindless twit talking to me the other day and somehow they got off on out-of-body experiences. They were telling me about this Remote Viewing business and said the CIA had invented it.

RTC: My God, not that crap again, Gregory. Yes, we started it. You see, we got news that the Russians were working on psychic phenomena called psychotronics. The theory, and it was never more than that in my mind, was that an agent who was trained could give information about something hidden from physical observation while the so-called viewer was at a distance from the sought-after object. This was on my watch and was gathering steam about ’69 and into the ‘70’s. Let me see if I can…Gregory, give me a minutes of so and let me get into my files…

GD: Of course

 

(Pause)

 

RTC: Here we are. The first program was named SCANATE which, according to this, means scanning by coordinates and we started funding this utter idiocy in ’70.  We got a hold of SRI….

GD: Stanford Research Institute. It’s in Menlo Park, right up the road from me. It was built on Dibble Hospital of the Army. I remember Dibble from the wartime. We used to call it Dribble because they let the nuts out to walk around Menlo Park and piss on parked cars. Dribble. Charlie Burdick used to live in one of the reclaimed Army barracks when he was going to Stanford back in ’52. Sorry to digress, Robert. Please go on.

RTC: No problem, Gregory. We also used the services of Science Applications International Corporation in the same town. What do you know about SRI? As a local?

GD: I met some of their people when I worked at Stanford in the hospital. A bunch of drooling nuts if you asked me. Two of their top people ended up in the hospital’s psych ward. One kept hiding in the toilet, claiming someone was trying to get into his mind and the other just sat around talking to himself and wetting his pants. I remember the CIA’s taking over the hospital basement with that Filipino sailor with the plague…

RTC: Jesus Christ, Gregory, how did you find out about that? That’s a cosmic situation right there.

GD: Everyone on the pathology staff knew it. When the guy died, they came for the body in a special ambulance and there were armed guards all over the cellar and the loading ramp.

RTC: You ought not to talk about that.

GD: What were they doing? Developing something nasty for the Russians?

RTC: No, in this case, for the Red Chinese.

GD: Lovely. Never mind that. Go on about the nut fringe.

RTC: Gregory, I consider myself to be an intelligence agent with an Army background. I consider myself to be innovative enough but not interested in crazy stories about psychic powers. There are no psychic powers, Gregory, only psychos babbling away to themselves. Jesus, some of our people believed all of this. It started out costing about fifty thousand and went upwards from there. A number of us spent some time trying to persuade people like Dulles and Helms to abandon this nonsense, as well as the completely useless MK-Ultra programs that were draining our available funds and spending valuable time on things that did not work and could not work because they were based either on wishful thinking or downright fraud. They had all kinds of con men running around claiming that they were psychic and could see into KGB headquarters. SRI and the morons in the upper levels actually hired the American Institutes for Research crooks to work on some Stargate project in conjunction with the Army and in spite of a total absense of any kind of proof, they only discontinued their crap as late as ’95. I have boxes of gibberish on this. By God, Gregory, we spent twenty million on this fantasy crap before it stopped. McMahon was fascinated with this. He became Deputy Director before he fouled up and got the sack in’82.

GD: What happened to him?

RTC: Went to work for Lockheed Martin as a lobbyist. Poor John was another strange one. And Drs Gottleib and Cameron were two more crazies we paid millions to for the purpose of creating controlled agents…mind controlled that is…that we could use as assassins.

GD: Like the movie.

RTC: Exactly. They killed people by microwaving them, tossing them out of windows, giving them heart attacks and killing off all kind of failed experiments. Gottleib poisoned them and Cameron lured them out into the Canadian wilds and shot them in the head. My God, what raging idiots and not even the slightest successes. Millions wasted. Joe Trento lusts after these files, which I slipped out when I left, but I really don’t think Joe is capable of doing anything with them. If you want them, I’ll get my son to box them up and ship them to you. Could you use this?

GD: Love it.

RTC: Same address in Freeport?

GD: Absolutely. Many thanks in advance, Robert. I might have some trouble getting a publisher but I can work on it.

RTC: Well, we control most of the major publishers or if we don’t, they would never dare to put out anything that would get us upset. Hell, we have our man right there in the New York Times and they jump through the hoops, believe me. The Times is in our pocket absolutely. Of course for silence, we give them inside stories. Sometimes, Gregory, the stories are actually true. Can you believe that?

GD: Why not? I never believe anything I see in the press anyway. But what if the pin heads at Langley…no offense since you’ve left….if the pin heads get wind of this? Don’t tell Trento.

RTC: No. He’s like the rest of them. If he finds out I gave these to you, he’ll run to Langley and squeal like a pig. And do not, I repeat, do not tell either Kimmel or Bill. Kimmel would run to his bosses and Bill would hire a sound truck. Kimmel doesn’t like you at all but Bill has mixed feelings. No man can serve two masters, let alone nine or ten and poor Bill runs around, filled with self-importance and looking for a pat on the head.

GD:If he tries anything on me, I’ll give him something very hard on the head. Or through it.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, violence is not the solution. If you want to get at either of them, feed them some disinformation and then when they run around chattering about it, in the end, they’ll make fools of themselves. Then, no one will believe them and you will have made your point.

GD: Poor Irving is hysterical about the Mueller book. Such a bad writer and a worse ideologue. That one has about run his course and one of these days, the loud-mouthed Jew will go too far and get nailed.

RTC: Is Irving a Jew?

GD: His mother was so according to Jewish practice, David must be one as well. Well, I know some rabid Nazis, Robert and at least two of them are self-hating Jews. Well, they’re making money with it so God bless them. Yes, I can use anything you send me. That file on Critchfield is pure gold. If I ever published it, he would probably shoot at me but in Washington, people would point at him in the streets and laugh.

RTC: I wouldn’t weep over that but be careful with him. He has friends.

GD: Amazing. I take your point. Maybe he can catch a heart attack or get cancer. Look at what happened to Ruby. Got cancer right in the jail. That can be done, you know, by an injection. The heart attack we both know about. No trace at the post and off to the maggot buffet in a tin box. Better than shooting them at a play or tossing out the window like they did in the ‘40s, right?

RTC: Yes, a little subtlity is not a bad idea at times. Well, it will mean more room here for other things so I’ll see what else I have on these idiot games and see you get it.

GD: Oh, psychics are wonderful, Robert. If you pay them enough, they’ll see all kinds of brilliance in you.  People are such idiots. But still, when I want to really laugh, I read some of the material on the Kennedy business. Umbrellas, men in sewers and everything else. How much of that garbage did your people make up?

RTC: We have people still cranking it out but there are so many nuts out there that we really needn’t bother.

GD: Well, from what I read about the fantasy world of Dallas in ’63, most of the brilliant ones could get their haircuts in a pencil sharpener.

 

(Concluded at 7:50 PM CST)

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

U.S. farmers face devastation following Midwest floods

March 20, 2019

by Humeyra Pamuk, P.J. Huffstutter, Tom Polansek

Reuters

WINSLOW, Neb./CHICAGO (Reuters) – Midwestern farmers have been gambling they could ride out the U.S.-China trade war by storing their corn and soybeans anywhere they could – in bins, plastic tubes, in barns or even outside.

Now, the unthinkable has happened. Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states. Early estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone. With more flooding expected, damages are expected to climb much higher for the region.

As river levels rose, spilling over levees and swallowing up townships, farmers watched helplessly as the waters consumed not only their fields, but their stockpiles of grain, the one thing that can stand between them and financial ruin.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said Tom Geisler, a farmer in Winslow, Nebraska, who said he lost two full storage bins of corn. “We had been depending on the income from our livestock, but now all of our feed is gone, so that is going to be even more difficult. We haven’t been making any money from our grain farming because of trade issues and low prices.”

The pain does not end there. As the waters began to recede in parts of Nebraska, the damage to the rural roads, bridges and rail lines was just beginning to emerge. This infrastructure is critical for the U.S. agricultural sector to move products from farms to processing plants and shipping hubs.

The damage to roads means it will be harder for trucks to deliver seed to farmers for the coming planting season, but in some areas, the flooding on fields will render them all-but-impossible to use.

The deluge is the latest blow for the Farm Belt, which has faced several crises in the last five years, as farm incomes have fallen by more than 50 percent due to a global grain glut. President Donald Trump’s trade policies cut off exports of soybeans and other products, making the situation worse.

Soybeans were the single most valuable U.S. agricultural export crop and until the trade war, China bought $12 billion worth a year from American farmers. But Chinese tariffs have almost halted the trade, leaving farmers with crops they are struggling to sell for a profit.

CORN AND SOYBEANS DESTROYED

As prices plummeted last year amid the ongoing trade fight, growers, faced with selling crops at a loss, stuffed a historic volume of grain into winding plastic tubes and steel bins. Some cash-strapped families piled crops inside their barns or outside on the ground.

Farmers say they are now finding storage bags torn and bins burst open, grain washed away or contaminated. Jeff Jorgenson, a farmer and regional director for the Iowa Soybean Association, said he has seen at least a dozen bins that burst after grains swelled when they became wet.

Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy, flood-soaked grain is considered adulterated and must be destroyed, according to Iowa State University.

Some farmers had been waiting for corn prices to rise just 10 cents a bushel more before making sales, which would earn them a few extra thousand dollars, Jorgenson said.

“That’s the toughest pill to swallow,” Jorgenson said. “This could end their career of farming and the legacy of the family farm.”

As of Dec. 1, producers in states with flooding – including South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Illinois – had 6.75 billion bushels of corn, soybeans and wheat stored on their farms – 38 percent of the total U.S. supplies available at that time, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Iowa suffered at least $150 million in damage to agricultural buildings and machinery, and 100,000 acres of farm land are under water, said Keely Coppess, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Jorgenson surveyed more than two dozen local farmers to assess the damage and tallied about 1.25 million bushels of corn and 390,000 bushels of soybeans lost just in Fremont County, Iowa, worth an estimated $7.3 million.

EXTENT OF DAMAGE UNCLEAR

The record flooding has killed at least four people in the Midwest and left one person missing. The extent of damage is unknown as meteorologists expect more flooding in coming weeks.

Early estimates put flood damage at $400 million in losses for Nebraska’s cow-calf industry and another $440 million in crop losses, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts told a news conference on Wednesday.

“The water came so fast,” said John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. “We know our farmers didn’t have enough time to move all the cattle or empty all their grain bins.”

Multiple washouts and high water on BNSF Railway Co’s main lines have caused major disruption across parts of the Midwest, the company warned on its website. The flooding also has disrupted part of Hormel Foods Corp’s supply chain, the company told Reuters.

The roads are so bad that Nebraska’s National Guard on Wednesday will push hay out of a military helicopter to feed cattle in Colfax County stranded by floodwaters, Major General Daryl Bohac said. It is the first time in at least half a century that such an air drop has been conducted, he said.

Cattle carcasses have been found tangled in debris or rotting in trees, while tractors and other expensive machinery are stuck in mud, unable to be moved. At Geisler’s farm in Winslow, Nebraska, two trucks and a tractor were seen buried in mud in wooden barns where water pooled.

“We should have been getting into planting for next season, but now all of our equipment is flooded and it’s going to take at least three to four weeks to bring back that equipment into shape,” said Geisler.

Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter and Tom Polansek in Chicago and Humeyra Pamuk in Winslow, Nebraska; Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen and Mark Weinraub in Chicago; Editing by David Gaffen and Matthew Lewis

 

Citizenship in the Age of Trump

Death by a Thousand Cuts

by Karen J. Greenberg

Tom Disptch

It turns out that walls can’t always be seen. Donald Trump may never build his “great, great wall,” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t working to wall Americans in. It’s a story that needs to be told.

This past month, for instance, claims of ISIS’s near total defeat in Syria have continued to mount. As a result, numerous foreigners who had traveled there to fight for, or support, the caliphate have appealed to their home countries to take them back, presumably to stand trial for their support of terrorism. Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, and other nations have crafted responses that vary from lukewarm acceptance to outright denial of their citizenship status.

On that score, Donald Trump’s White House hasn’t just led the way, but has used the occasion to put yet more concrete and steel into the great wall his administration has been constructing around the very idea of what it is to be an American. Here in the United States, where the Statue of Liberty has been a welcoming beacon for more than a century, the Trump administration’s response has not just been a fierce aversion to the return of such people, but the use of one of them to help redefine ever more narrowly the very idea of citizenship, of who belongs to this country. In the rejection of the citizenship of a former ISIS bride with child, the president and his advisors have, in an unprecedented way, refused to uphold the rights of U.S.-born citizens, let alone naturalized ones.

Get Out and/or Stay Out

Donald Trump arrived in the Oval Office with an expressed desire to take an axe to the lawful notion of citizenship as either a right or a promise. In the first days of his presidency, he promptly began reducing the number of individuals who might someday be eligible for U.S. citizenship with a Muslim ban against the arrival of anyone from seven largely Muslim countries. During those first days in power, the president also issued an executive order aimed at specifically reducing the number of refugees from Syria who could enter the country, even as he actively advocated for the building of his great wall on our southern border to keep out Mexicans and Central Americans.

But walling Americans in and keeping others out proved only to be a starting point for the most xenophobic president the country had elected in at least a century. On becoming president, Trump made it crystal clear that he meant to reduce the number of non-citizens already living here as well. Yet another of his early executive orders was aimed at rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants who had been in this country, often for decades.

His promise and initial plan, never implemented, was to eliminate the prospect of future citizenship not just for undocumented immigrants already here, but for their children born here who, under the law, were certainly U.S. citizens. And he was true to his word. Over 2017 and 2018, he deported nearly half a million individuals who had come here illegally, many of whom had, until then, lived productive lives in this country for years, if not decades. So, too, he continued to threaten DACA, or “dreamers” program, designed to provide undocumented immigrants who arrived as children with protection against deportation. When it comes to that program, his intent is crystal clear, even if the courts and Congress have slowed him down so far.

Meanwhile, he also turned to naturalized citizens. On them, the Fourteenth Amendment is clear. It grants citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Under U.S. law, denaturalization can occur only in certain situations, such as if an individual lies on his or her application for citizenship or due to bad conduct — such as membership in a terrorist organization or an other-than-honorable discharge from the armed forces — in the first five years of citizenship.

During Trump’s presidency, there has been an all-out effort to find and prosecute such cases. Between 1990 and 2017, according to the National Immigration Forum, the Department of Justice filed an average of 11 cases of this sort a year. In 2017, that number more than doubled, and 2,500 new investigations were reportedly opened. In June 2018, the DHS even announced plans to create a new office in southern California, whose focus would be uncovering cases ripe for denaturalization.

From undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers to refugees, DACA kids, and naturalized citizens, the pattern has been evident and the message the same: “Get out and/or stay out.” Despite a powerful xenophobic period early in the twentieth century, this attitude has hardly been the essence of a country that, for most of its history, has welcomed strangers and given hope to those in search of safety, security, and the rights and liberties of America’s promise.

No longer. In September 2017, using an American foreign fighter designated as John Doe, the administration went after the concept of dual citizenship, too. Doe had been captured by Kurdish militia in Syria and was then handed over to U.S. forces in Iraq. A dual U.S.-Saudi citizen, he was not brought to this country to be investigated and possibly tried, but secretly held in military detention in Iraq, while being denied access to a lawyer. When the news of his detention was leaked to the media, lawyers at the ACLU filed a habeas corpus petition challenging it.  The courts then put limitations on the government’s plan to transfer this citizen to a third country. Finally, he was reportedly released to Bahrain to join his wife and daughter.

The Ultimate Slippery Slope

Recently, a providential ISIS case has allowed the Trump administration to turn more directly to the denial of citizenship for those born in this country.

Two weeks ago, lawyers representing a young U.S.-born woman, Hoda Muthana, filed papers in the District of Columbia on behalf of her father, challenging the administration on her fate. She had traveled to Syria in 2014, had become an ISIS bride, had borne a child, and now is asking to return to the United States with her son. The Trump administration has barred her from doing so, denying that she is even a citizen, despite the fact that she was issued U.S. passports in 2005 and again in 2014 and is the citizen of no other country. The government’s decision is based on the false claim that, though she was born in New Jersey, her father was then still a Yemeni diplomat serving in the U.S. on a diplomatic visa. Muthana, her family, and her lawyers dispute this claim, correctly insisting that she was born after his visa had ended. At that time, her mother, they also point out, was a legal permanent resident.

At the age of 20, Hoda Muthana, brought up in Alabama, was reportedly radicalized by ISIS online. She then took the money her parents had provided for tuition at the University of Alabama and absconded to Syria. Her goal: to become an ISIS bride.  She married an ISIS fighter and bore him a son. When her husband was killed, she married another fighter, and yet another after his death. Online, she promoted violent acts in the U.S. and elsewhere on behalf of ISIS. “Go on drive bys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc. day… Kill them,” she tweeted.

Muthana is now living in a Kurdish displaced-persons camp in Syria where, she claims, she has seen the error of her ways and, on return, is willing to take her chances in a court of law. Thirteen other foreign fighters from the U.S. have already returned home to face trial. In denying her citizenship, however, the Trump administration is obviously using a distinctly unpopular figure, a willing former Islamist terrorist, to strike at the very heart of the idea of citizenship. Depending on how her case is decided in courts that are increasingly filled with judges chosen by President Trump, it could change the way the government handles citizenship for the U.S.-born; and as citizens are at the top of the pyramid, it could strike yet a stronger blow against those with lesser guarantees under the law who are now distinctly in Donald Trump’s sights.

Muthana does not hold dual nationality, which means that any withdrawal of her citizenship would actually violate international law as the Geneva Conventions specify that no person can be rendered stateless by the revocation of his or her citizenship.

In other words, the attempt to block Hoda Muthana’s return represents a potentially giant step by the Trump administration, setting a precedent that could weaken the formerly sacrosanct idea of citizenship in the United States. Consider this the ultimate slippery slope, one that could, over time, transform both the image, and the reality, of what it means to be an American.

Will the Statue of Liberty Be Denied Citizenship?

Halfway through Trump’s presidency, his administration has also moved to use citizenship as an exclusionary factor in other ways, continuing to craft a new, ever more restrictive vision of what it means to be an American. His team has proposed, for example, adding a “citizenship” question to the U.S. Census, taken every 10 years, in hopes of depressing the count of immigrants who are not yet citizens. That, in turn, could change the way political power and federal funding are distributed, reducing voting rights and potentially the number of congressional representatives in a handful of key states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, where the majority of undocumented immigrants reside.

Sued for this proposal on constitutional and procedural grounds, the government lost at the district level in federal court. As U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman stated, the attempt to add the citizenship question was “arbitrary and capricious,” as well as “unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons.” Moreover, Furman said, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his aides “tried to avoid disclosure of, if not conceal, the real timing and the real reasons for the decision to add the citizenship question.” (The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case during its spring 2019 term.)

The United States is hardly alone in reconsidering the nature of citizenship in a world where the populist right is obviously on the rise, at least not when it comes to those foreign fighters for ISIS. The German government recently decided that such fighters with dual citizenship will, in the future, lose their German citizenship. New Zealand has agreed to take back an ISIS fighter, recognizing that rendering a person stateless is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Great Britain has stripped citizenship from several individuals accused of terrorism or ISIS affiliations, something at least theoretically permissible under the law there (as it is not in the U.S.). And Belgium just decided to revoke the citizenship of two women who joined the Islamic State, while accepting the citizenship of their six children.

In several countries, the conversation is not limited to foreign fighters. A report by the Center for Migration Studies, for instance, concludes that recent actions taken by the Australian, Canadian, and British governments illustrate a troubling expansion of a trend in which the revocation of citizenship is a response to transnational terror threats.

In its urge to build walls of every sort, seen and unseen, however, the Trump administration has taken the global lead in creating a world in which citizenship will be ever more narrowly defined. The Statue of Liberty has stood in New York harbor for well over a century. If President Trump succeeds in his assault on citizenship as an inclusive, irremovable right, then Lady Liberty will find herself, like Ellis Island, a mere reminder of another world, of a lost America, a country that once was a beacon of hope for those fleeing oppression. Perhaps it will even be sent back to France.

 

The Cro-Magnon Man: Not Out of Africa

Mitochondria DNA analysis place the early European population as sister group to the Asian (“Mongol”) groups, dating the divergence to some 50 000 years ago. While the skin and hair colour of the Cro-Magnons can at best be guessed at, light skin is known to have evolved independently in both the Asian and European lines, and may have only appeared in the European line as recently as 6000 years ago suggesting Cro-Magnons could have been medium brown to tan-skinned. A small ivory bust of a man found at Dolní Věstonice and dated to 26 000 years indicate the Cro-Magnons had straight hair, though the somewhat later Venus of Brassempouy may show curly hair, or possibly braids.

Markku Niskanen (2002) of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oulu, Finland, claimed the “strong cheekbones” and “flaring zygomatic arches” considered to be evidence that “Finno-Ugrians” are “Mongoloid” are a trait they, in actuality, inherited from “Cro-Magnons”.

In Europe, the first modern humans (Cro-Magnons) would have run into the Neanderthals.

The Grimaldi skeletons from Monaco may have belonged to a different ethnic group

Genetics

A 2003 sequencing on two Cro-Magnons, 23,000 and 24,000 years old Paglicci 52 and Paglicci 12, mitochondrial DNA, published by an Italo-Spanish research team led by David Caramelli, identified the mtDNA as Haplogroup N. Haplogroup N is found among modern populations of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, and represent the northern branch of the out-of-Africa migration of modern humans. Its descendant haplogroups are found among modern North African, Eurasian, Polynesian and Native American populations.

As we have noted, it was formerly thought by paleontologists that Neanderthal morphed into Cro-Magnon, and that Cro-Magnon was the progenitor of human beings as we know them today. However, aside from the problems of the Eve Hypothesis, there are serious problems with the assumptions about when modern human types actually appeared on Earth.

Even if we take the evolving scientific view of the present day, we find that Cro-Magnon man was something altogether different from other anatomically modern humans.

Over and over again we read in scientific studies that Cro-Magnon man was just an “anatomically modern human”.

The experts will say:

“The Cro-Magnons lived in Europe between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago. They are virtually identical to modern man, being tall and muscular and slightly more robust than most modern humans.”

Notice how they slip in that “slightly more robust” bit.

The fact is, the Cro-Magnon man was, compared to the other “anatomically modern humans” around him, practically a superman. They were skilled hunters, toolmakers and artists famous for the cave art at places such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira. They had a high cranium, a broad and upright face, and cranial capacity “about the same as modern humans” (can we say larger?), but less than that of Neanderthals. The males were as tall as 6 feet.

They appeared in Europe in the upper Pleistocene, about 40,000 years ago and “their geographic origin is still unknown”.

Their skeletal remains show a “few small differences from modern humans”. Of course, the “out of Africa” theory advocates suggest that Cro-Magnon came from Sub Saharan Africa and a temperate climate and that, “they would eventually adapt to all extremes of heat and cold”. In this way, the “slight differences” between Cro-Magnon and other forms of anatomically modern humans can be explained away as an adaptation to cold.

But, as we will see, this idea doesn’t hold water.

Cro-Magnon’s tools are described as the Aurignacian technology, characterized by bone and antler tools, such as spear tips (the first) and harpoons. They also used animal traps, and bow and arrow. They invented shafts and handles for their knives, securing their blades with bitumen, a kind of tar, as long as 40 thousand years ago. Other improvements included the invention of the atlatl, a large bone or piece of wood with a hooked groove used for adding distance and speed to spears.

They also invented more sophisticated spear points, such as those that detach after striking and cause greater damage to prey.144 The Cro-Magnon type man was also the “originator” of such abstract concepts as “time”. They marked time by lunar phases, recording them with marks on a piece of bone, antler or stone. Some of these “calendars” contained a record of as many as 24 lunations.

In the relatively recent past, tool industries diversified.

The Gravettian industry (25 to 15 thousand years ago), characterized by ivory tools such as backed blades, is associated with mammoth hunters. One type of brief industry was Solutrean, occurring from 18 to 15 thousand years ago and limited to Southwest France and Spain. It is characterized by unique and finely crafted “laurel leaf” blades, made with a pressure technique requiring a great skill.

The industry is associated with horse hunters. The tool industry of the Clovis Culture in North America (11 to 8 thousand years ago) is notable for its remarkable similarity to Solutrean. Some suggest that the Solutrean culture migrated to North America around 12,000 thousand years ago.

Cro-Magnon people lived in tents and other man-made shelters in groups of several families. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers and had elaborate rituals for hunting, birth and death. Multiple burials are common in the areas where they were found. What is most interesting is that from 35 to 10 thousand years ago, there was no differentiation by sex or age in burials.

They included special grave goods, as opposed to everyday, utilitarian objects, suggesting a very increased ritualization of death and burial..

They were the first confirmed to have domesticated animals, starting by about 15 thousand years ago (though ancient sapiens may have domesticated the dog as much as 200 thousand years ago).

They were the first to leave extensive works of art, such as cave paintings and carved figures of animals and pregnant women. Huge caves lavishly decorated with murals depicting animals of the time were at first rejected as fake for being too sophisticated. Then they were dismissed as being primitive, categorized as hunting, fertility or other types of sympathetic magic.

Re-evaluations have put these great works of art in a more prominent place in art history.

They show evidence of motifs, of following their own stylistic tradition, of “impressionist” like style, perspective, and innovative use of the natural relief in the caves. Also possible, considering the new concepts of time reckoning practiced by Cro-Magnon, are abstract representations of the passage of time, such as spring plants in bloom, or pregnant bison that might represent summer.

Aside from pregnant women and other Goddess worship iconography,149 representations of people, “anthropomorphs,” are very few, and never show the accuracy or detail of the other animals. Humans are represented in simple outlines without features, sometimes with “masks”, often without regard to proportion, being distorted and isolated. At the Grottes des Enfants in France are found four burials with red ocher, and associated with Aurignacian tools.

At Lascaux, France, are the famous caves of upper Paleolithic cave art, dated to 17 thousand years ago, and even older, in some cases, by many thousands of years!

 

 

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