TBR News March 22, 2016

Mar 22 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., March 22, 2016: “Now that Donald Trump is becoming decidedly popular with a large number of American voters, the left wing, various special interest groups and the obedient media are venting their collective spleens in burst of outrage. There are always people like Trump in any society but it takes growing unhappiness and anger on the part of that public to give them a voice. America is not run by the American people but by an aggregation of special interest groups, economic oligarchs and various powerful governmental agencies. All the general public is good for, in their eyes, is to vote their picked candidates into office and pay the taxes needed to pay their bills. Eventually, even the least intelligent of the masses become aware of the situation and then the words of a Trump, attacking the system, resonate.”


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. 17

Date: Monday, June 24, 1996

Commenced: 11:24 AM CST

Concluded: 12: 05 PM CST


GD: Good morning, Robert. I just got back from a business trip. What’s new inside the Beltway?

RTC: I missed your daily chats, Gregory. How was your trip?

GD: St. Petersburg was great. Moscow is improving from the old days but expensive as Hell and getting to be a Western-style mess. Still, I got to tour the older parts of the Kremlin and look at some of the stock in the military museum there. Money is necessary to live but collectables are far more interesting. Great art collections in St. Petersburg. Our St. Petersburg is full of ancient retired Jews, hoping the hot sun will extend their petty lives instead of giving them skin cancer.

RTC: Back to your cheerful self, I see. Did you have any trouble going through Immigration? You are on the watch list, you know.

GD: I know. No, I flew with a friend who has a private plane. I never go through the lines getting back. I sent Tom Kimmel a nice postcard from Moscow and put my prints all over the thing. I hope it distracts him.

RTC: What a terrible thing to do, Gregory. They will spend a week testing the card and once they decide it was authentic, they will get our Moscow…I assume you sent it from Moscow…people to check hotel rosters. If they find you, then they’ll check the Immigration records to see when you arrived back here. If they don’t find you and they know you’re back…

GD: Oh, I called Kimmel to cinch this up. He hadn’t gotten my card yet so I told him all about the joys of Moscow. Of course, he probably didn’t believe me but when he gets that card, my I will have so much fun.

RTC: And expect a smarmy call from him asking you about your plane trip. Oh, and what airline did you take? Oh, and where did you land, coming back? My, they have so little imagination, don’t they?

GD: No brains, either. That’s what comes from marrying your sister.

RTC: Gregory, how rude. Can’t you show some class? You know they’re trying to quit all that.

GD: (Laughter) Yes.

RTC: Did you know old Hoover was part black?

GD: Besides being queer?

RTC: In addition to that. But I think Hoover was more asexual that homosexual. A really vicious old man. Do you know how he kept from being kicked out by succeeding Presidents? He kept files on everyone of consequence, both in business, the media and, especially, government. The real dirt as it were. And no one, not the President, the Attorney General or Congress to whom he had to go every year to get the yearly appropriations would every dare to cross J. Edgar. Bobby Kennedy crossed him and Bobby was killed for his trouble. No, Hoover was a vicious man. We, on the other hand, use the same methodology but we are far smoother in applying it. We have a strong influence, for want of a better term, with the banking industry. We have the strongest and most effective influence with the print and television media. We have a much stronger hold on the Hill than Hoover ever had. At times, we’ve had iron control over the Oval Office. Hell, the NSA snoops domestically and we get it all. We have a strong in with the telephone people and we don’t need warrants to listen to anybody, domestically, we want, when we want. Now that the internet is in full bloom, trust it, Gregory, that we will establish our own form of control over that. It’s an invisible control and we never, ever talk about it and anyone who gets really close to the truth gets one in the back of the head from a doped-up burglar. And if something gets loose, who will publish it? Surely not our boys in the media. A book publisher? A joke, Gregory. Never. Rather than off some snoop, it’s much more subtle to marginalize them in print, imply they are either liars or nuts and make fun of them. Discredit them so no one will listen to them and then later, the car runs over them in the crosswalk. Oh, sorry about that, officer, but my foot slipped off the brake. I am desolated by that. And we pay for fixing the front end of his car.

GD: Such an insight. Too much coffee, today, Robert?

RTC: No, just an old man and his memories.

GD: How come you never nailed Hoover about the homosexual business?

RTC: We had a working relationship with him, observed, I might add, in the breach more than not. The old faggot put his men in foreign embassies as legates while our men were the USIA. We tried to take them over but it never worked out. We just made their lives miserable instead..

GD: Question here. Now that Communism is effectively dead in Russia and they are imploding, why go after them? Once the Second World War was over, we made friends with the evil Germans and Japanese and built them up again. Why not work with the non-Communist Russians?

RTC: Oh, that drunk Yeltsin was in our pocket but in the case of the former, we did build up their industries but we also owned them, lock, stock and barrel. Germany and Japan were our puppets but the Russians could never be brought to heel because they were too large and too diverse. Also, take into account that our main thesis at the Company was that the evil Russian Communists had to be stopped lest they take over Nova Scotia and bombard New York. With a decades-long mindset like that, you can’t expect our people to change overnight into actually accepting the Russians. Not likely. And besides, we tried to nail down all their oil and gas but we lost hundreds of millions in the process when they got wise and stopped it. We have to find a new international enemy to scare the shit out of American with; an enemy that only the CIA can save us from. The Jews are screaming about the Arabs, who are natural enemies of the Christians. We could dig up historians who will write about the Crusades and Hollywood people who will make movies about the triumph of Christianity over the Crescent. The Jews are getting too much power these days but remember that the Arabs have all the big oil and we need it. Yes, no doubt a resurrection of the Crusades will be next. Without enemies to protect from, we are of no use. Besides, Arabs are highly emotional and we can easily push them into attacking us, hopefully outside the country. Then, the well-oiled machinery that we have perfected over the years can start up and off we go on another adventure.

GD: My, how Heini Müller would have loved to listen in on this conversation. A thoroughgoing pragmatist and you two would have a wonderful time.

RTC: Remember that he and I had occasion to talk while he was here in Washington. I liked him as a matter of fact.

GD: In spite of the propaganda about the Gestapo in overcoats with dogs dragging screaming Jews into the streets, beating them with whips and driving them, in long parades, into the gas chambers? Of course that was wartime fiction but it got the Jews sympathy.

RTC”: And don’t forget, Gregory, it also got them political power and money. And they love both. I worked with them on a number of occasions and while they are all smart people, I wouldn’t trust one of them to the corner for a pound of soft soap. During the Stalin era, they spied on us for Josef by the carload, stealing everything, worming their way into Roosevelt’s New Deal and high government office and everything they could lay their hands on, went straight to Moscow. Now, it’s the identical situation but the information goes to Tel Aviv.

GD: Stalin hated them. He didn’t trust them.

RTC: Ah, but he did use them to kill people off, didn’t he?

GD: Yes, but when he was done with them, he planned to make the fictive Hitler’s death programs look like a fairy tale. Going to round up all the Jews and dump them into the wilds of a Siberian winter and let God freeze them all.

RTC: Oh, they won’t ever face up to that one, Gregory. No, Communism was wonderful because they used it as a ladder to climb up to where the white man held sway. Truman initially supported their cause until he found out how they were murdering Palestinians to steal their farms so he stopped US support of Israel. And then Israel tried to kill him.

GD: Müller mentioned that.

RTC: But Harry got cold feet after that.

GD: And now they have a place at the white man’s table, don’t they?

RTC: Hell, now they own the table and the restaurant and ten blocks around it. Roosevelt hated them, you know and he and Long kept them out of the country. Roosevelt said they were a pest and we did not want them here. Funny, because long ago, the Roosevelt family was Jewish.

GD: I know. German Jews from the Rhineland. Name was Rosenfeld. Went to Holland after they were run out of Germany and changed the name to a Dutch spelling.

RTC: Yes. I know that. Old Franklin’s second cousin was an Orthodox rabbi as late as 1938. Of course no one ever mentions that just like no one ever talks about Eleanor’s rampant lesbianism. God, what s sewer the White House was then. A veritable racial and ethical trash bin.

GD: Now they’re all dead.

RTC: There should be a way to prevent that sort of thing but of course we were not in existence when Franklin was king. Wouldn’t happen now. I’m afraid that the Jews will dig into the Company the same way they dug into Roosevelt’s bureaucracy and the second time around, we will have a terrible time rooting them all out.

GD: I can see pogroms in Skokie and Miami even as we speak.

RTC: Dream on, my boy, dream on. At any rate, I shall await the demonization of the Arab world. We can send the military into Saudi Arabia on some flimsy pretest, like the demolition of some US Embassy in a very minor state, like Portugal, by positively identified Saudi Arabs and then a new Crusade! Oh, and the precious oil!

GD: And the oil. Remember the Maine, Robert.

RTC: Yes and remember what old Hearst said? ‘You supply the pictures and I’ll supply the war?” Oh yes and we got Cuba and the Philippines, although why we wanted the latter escapes me. The problem with that country is that it’s full of Filipinos and monkeys. Of course it’s often hard to differentiate between them but life is never easy. The Navy calls them the niggers of the Orient. I was at Pubic Bay once…

GD: (Laughter) what? You mean Subic Bay, don’t you?

RTC: A service joke. My God, Gregory, every square foot of land for miles around that base was filled with bars and tens of thousands of local prostitutes. ‘Oh you nice American! I love to fuck you! Take me back to America!’ And many of our corn-fed sailors went for the okeydoke and found out what Hell was like once they got Esmiralda back to Iowa. Ah well, thank God I never listened to their whining siren songs.

GD: I would imagine they had more claps than a football crowd….

RTC: (Laughter) My, isn’t it fun being bigots?

GD: I would prefer ‘realistic observers.’ Robert.

RTC: Call it what you will, Gregory, underneath the nice, polished veneer, we are all really cheap plywood.

GD: Hypocrisy is, after all, the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

RTC: Did you go to Harvard, Gregory? Such polished wit.

GD: I know. No, Not Harvard. The University of Unfortunate Experiences. I read a good deal, Robert, and I have moved in elegant circles and know just what to say and do at the appropriate time. Good manners are just the polish on the knife blade.

RTC: The University has embittered you, hasn’t it?

GD: Of course. Remember the Canadian counterfeit caper? A good case of embitterment. They stole from me so I returned the favor…in spades if you’ll pardon a rampant, bigoted remark. They stole four dollars and ten cents from me and I responded by stealing over two million dollars from them. In cash and their expenses. Loved every minute of it, too. I don’t think the Canadians expected me to come back and certainly not the way I did.

RTC: I read all about it. You made the press and we took note.

GD: I’m sure you did. Always strike at the weakest spot, unexpectedly and with force. Take them by surprise and then withdraw. They will rush their troops to the point of attack and then you circle around and hit them somewhere else.

RTC: How much did you get away with?

GD: Oh, Robert, such a pointed question. I got my four dollars and ten cents back and it cost them millions in a frantic attempt to stop what they called the efforts of the largest ring in their history. And if I made a profit out of it, why consider Delilah. Didn’t she make a prophet?

RTC: Oh, Gregory, a pun is the lowest form of humor. I should expect better from you.

GD: It would not be a good idea for me to go back to Canada, Robert. They will still be waiting for me. After all, I never used a lubricant. Sometimes, rarely but sometimes, I can sit back and enjoy a good laugh. I have two Canadian two dollar bills and a dime in a nice shadow box along with a newspaper clipping from the Vancouver Sun, next to my desk, It warms me on a cold night.


(Concluded at 12:02 PM CST)




Germany wants its gold back

March 21, 2016


The Bundesbank has announced plans to repatriate some of Germany’s gold reserves from abroad. At least half of the country’s gold would be transferred to Frankfurt by 2020, according to Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.

Weidmann says 366 tons of gold worth €11.5 billion have been delivered to Frankfurt so far. “There are now about 1,400 tons or 41.5 percent of our gold reserves here,” the banker said.

In October last year Germany’s gold reserves stood to around 3,384 tonnes, worth about €120 billion, which is the second largest in the world after the US.

Weidmann added the rest of the gold will remain in New York and London, which he says are as safe as Germany. In case of emergency, these reserves would quickly be converted on the markets in these cities, the banker said.

The Bundesbank has been criticized at home for keeping a major part of Germany’s gold reserves abroad. Critics are demanding the complete return of the gold to the country. They regard the gold as insurance if a crisis comes, and the immediate physical availability would be the decisive criterion.

When trying to move gold from New York in 2014, the Bundesbank met obstacles from US authorities when officials tried to inspect the German gold kept in US vaults.

“I’m no conspiracy theorist, but the Bundesbank should be able to audit the gold once a year like it does with reserves in Frankfurt,” Hans Olaf Henkel, a German member of the European Parliament, told RT.

Some even doubted the German gold is still physically there.

“We are still missing … published lists of gold bar number, even though the US Federal reserve publishes this list for their own gold,” said Peter Boehringer, founder of the Repatriate our Gold Campaign.


The Great Gold Robbery

by Harry von Johnston, PhD


The German Bundesbank had 270,316 gold bars stored in vaults around the world on behalf of the German nation.

A 2,300-page official document revealed the detail and location of each of the bars, together containing 3,384,227.7893 kilograms or 108,805,421.213 troy ounces of gold worth just under $126 billion at today’s price.

US still holds $54 billion of Germany’s gold

German gold is at least 99.5 percent pure and comes in bars of roughly 400 troy ounces, or 12.44 kilograms per bar.

The Germans made requests to the holder of their gold to return it to Germany.

This has not happened.

Nobody in the US Treasury or the private Federal Reserve will admit it but the German, and other nations, gold reserves stored in the United States are no longer in American custody. All of the gold, worth billions of dollars, have been sold through several major US banks, to the PRC. The monies received from the sale of the looted gold have been used for financing the United States very expensive military actions, world-wide. Germany had deposited about half of its gold reserves in the United States.

The Federal Reserve officials refused permission to German bank officials to examine their own gold, stating “security” and “no room for visitors” as reasons. When Germany finally was permitted an audit, the auditors were admitted into the vault´s antechamber where several German gold bars were shown to them as “representative of Germany holdings”.

The German auditors returned a second time, when the Federal Reserve granted them permission to look into, but not enter, one of nine rooms allegedly containing German gold holdings. Following this, the official German auditors had to return to Germany without ever having seen any of their massive holdings.

Germany will never see its gold again. The Federal Reserve, where most of the reserves had been deposited, had sent the gold to U.S. banks, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan/Chase, and over half of the German, and almost all of other foreign gold holdings were liquidated by the US by being sold to the PRC.

Germany, and other countries, will never see any of their gold again. Because of the total of the sums involved, the US does not have the funds to cover their thefts.


Attacks on Brussels airport, metro kill 26

March 22, 2016

by Philip Nlenkinsop and Francesco Guarascio


Brussels-At least 26 people were killed in twin attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital on Tuesday, triggering security alerts across western Europe and bringing some cross-border transport to a halt.

A witness said he heard shouts in Arabic shortly before two blasts struck a packed airport departure lounge at Brussels airport. The federal prosecutor said one of the blasts was probably triggered by a suicide bomber.

The Belgian health minister said 11 people were killed in the airport bombing and 81 wounded.

The blasts at the airport and metro station occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Belgian police and combat troops on the streets had been on alert for any reprisal action but the attacks took place in crowded public areas where people and bags are not searched.

Video showed devastation in the hall with ceiling tiles and glass scattered across the floor. Some passengers emerged from the terminal with blood spattered over their clothes. Smoke rose from the building through shattered windows and passengers fled down a slipway, some still hauling their bags.

Many of the dead and wounded were badly injured in the legs, one airport worker told Reuters, suggesting at least one bomb in a bag.

Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands, all wary of spillover from conflict in Syria, were among states announcing extra security measures.

All public transport in Brussels was shut down, as it was in London during 2005 Islamist militant attacks there that killed 52. Authorities appealed to citizens not to use overloaded telephone networks, extra troops were sent into the city and the Belgian Crisis Centre, clearly wary of a further incident, appealed to the population: “Stay where you are”.

British Sky News television’s Alex Rossi, at the airport, said he heard two “very, very loud explosions”.

“I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well…I went toward where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked.”

Alphonse Youla, 40, who works at the airport, told Reuters he heard a man shouting out in Arabic before the first explosion. “Then the glass ceiling of the airport collapsed.”

“I helped carry out five people dead, their legs destroyed,” he said, his hands covered in blood.

A witness said the blasts occurred at a check-in desk.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel spoke of “a black time for our country”.

“What we feared has come to pass. Our country has been struck by attacks which are blind, violent and cowardly.”

The STIB public transport operator said 15 were killed on board the metro train and 55 injured. Belga news agency cited the fire brigade as saying 11 were killed at the airport, but there was still some uncertainty about casualties.

The blast hit the train as it left Maelbeek station, close to European Union institutions, heading to the city center.

The VRT public broadcaster carried a photograph of a metro carriage at a platform with doors and windows completely blown out, its structure deformed and the interior mangled and charred.

A local journalist tweeted a photograph of a person lying covered in blood among smoke outside Maelbeek metro station, on the main Rue de la Loi avenue which connects central Brussels with the EU institutions. Ambulances were ferrying the wounded away and sirens rang out across the area.


“Israel is occupation-addicted”: Israeli journalist Gideon Levy blasts U.S. support for “apartheid” & rise of fascism

The renowned Israeli journalist joined a host of experts at the 2016 Israel’s Influence conference in D.C.

March 21, 2016

by Ben Norton


“Israel is occupation-addicted,” said renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, a columnist for the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“The drug addict who is your friend, if you give him money, he will really care about you. But are you really caring about him?” asked Levy, who called Israel’s almost 50-year-old illegal military occupation of Palestinian land “criminal,” “brutal” and “rotten.”

He was speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the annual Israel’s Influence conference. The event, held on March 18, explored the close relationship between the American and Israeli governments, and the impact it has on the rest of the Middle East.

The U.S. gives more than $3.1 billion in unconditional military aid to the Israeli government every year. Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. aid (Egypt comes in second, with $1.5 billion annually). And yet, in protest of the U.S.’s nuclear deal with Iran, the Israeli government is pushing for even more, up to $4.5 billion in tax dollars per year.

“Every single thing the Israelis do today is with the total approval and total financing of the United States,” Levy explained.

He criticized U.S. politicians, and particularly lawmakers, for their ignorance of basic facts about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Most American legislators know nothing, and what they know is a product of” propaganda, Levy said.

He proposed giving U.S. politicians a tour of the occupied Palestinian territories. Levy suggested that anyone who doubts that Israel oppresses the indigenous Arab population should spend “just a few hours in Hebron,” a Palestinian city (known in Arabic as al-Khalil) in the occupied West Bank.

“I’ve never met an honest human being who went to Hebron and didn’t come back shocked,” he added.

In Hebron, illegal Israeli settlers live in the middle of the city. Palestinians must travel on separate roads, which are patrolled by Israeli soldiers. They often walk under enormous nets that look like cages, and settlers drop objects — and even urinate — on them from their windows above.

Levy described Israel’s occupation simply as a form of apartheid.

“It looks like apartheid, it walks like apartheid, it behaves like apartheid; it’s apartheid,” he said.

He juxtaposed the conditions of Palestinians living under illegal military occupation in Hebron to those of Israelis just one hour away in the large Israeli city Tel Aviv.

“There’s not one single American legislator who can imagine himself what it means to live as a Palestinian under the occupation,” Levy continued. “He cannot imagine one day of the humiliation, of the danger, of the lack of hope.”

“As long as this is the case, the chances for hope are so small.”

Escalating violence

The Israel’s Influence conference is organized by the nonprofit foundation the American Educational Trust and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.

Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of the peace group Code Pink, told Salon that the conference is based on meetings her organization had organized in the past. In early March, Code Pink held a similar event, the 2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia, which explored Saudi influence in U.S. politics and called into question the U.S. relationship with the theocratic absolute monarchy, which funds and exports extremism throughout the world. Salon reported on this summit as well.

Levy lit up the room with his lighthearted yet somber assessment of the situation in Israel-Palestine.

“Life in Palestine now is the cheapest ever,” he explained in the keynote address. “Never was it so cheap, never was it so easy to kill Palestinians.”

For Palestinians in the West Bank, which Israel has illegally occupied since 1967, violence has become a part of everyday life under military occupation. In recent months, however, this violence has greatly accelerated. Since October 2015, approximately 180 Palestinians have be killed, along with around 30 Israelis. Almost every day, there is yet another story of yet another death.

Every few years, Israel wages a war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, upon which Israel has imposed a blockade for almost a decade. The Israeli government controls everything that enters Gaza and controls its waters, airspace, electromagnetic field and even population registry, unofficially occupying the densely populated strip that it officially occupied until its 2005 withdrawal.

Israel meted out the largest yet surge of violence in its summer 2014 war on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge. The Israeli military, which human right groups accused of committing war crimes, killed more than 2,250 Palestinians, roughly two-thirds of whom were civilians, including more than 550 children, according to U.N. figures. On the other side, 66 Israeli soldiers were killed, along with six civilians. 92 percent of the people killed by Palestinian militants were soldiers.

Levy argued that, if the U.S. stopped giving billions in aid and guaranteeing impunity for Israel at the United Nation, the occupation would end within mere months.

If a president were committed to actually using punitive measure to pressure Israel to end the occupation, it would end, he claimed. “Israel would never be able to say no to a decisive president.”

He hence pressured Americans to take action against the occupation. “The key is now in your hands, America,” Levy said. “The key is now in your hands, activists, scholars.”

Rise of “fascism”

“The chances to change society from within Israel are so limited,” Levy lamented.

He is very critical of both the ruling right-wing Likud party and the centrist Israeli Labor Party. He noted that “to be a leftist in Israel is a curse.” Leftists in Israel are frequently called “traitors.”

In some of his columns, Levy has warned Israel is witnessing the rise of fascism — and he does not use the term lightly. Other politicians have not been so cautious. In 2012, right-wing Israeli lawmaker Miri Regev proudly declared on a TV interview that she is “happy to be a fascist.” Regev now serves as the minister of culture in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government.

During Israel’s summer 2014 war in Gaza, Levy received daily death threats for criticizing the Israeli military’s actions, and had to even hire a body guard to protect him. Israeli veterans have admitted that they were ordered to kill Palestinian civilians in the war — and killed Gazans because they were bored.

He said at the time that he saw the “first signs of fascism” in Israel. Since then, Levy argues things have gotten even worse. The year 2015, he wrote in a column, “heralded the start of blatant and unapologetic Israeli fascism.”

Although the violent, overtly racist far-right is on the rise in Israel, with fascistic groups like Lehava chanting “death to Arabs” in the streets and organizing anti-miscegenation squads, Levy argued this extremism masks the violence that is normalized in mainstream politics, which whitewashes the occupation and the Israeli government’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The mainstream “decides to cover its eyes to what is happening in its own backyard,” he said. “And then the right-wingers can do whatever it wants.”

“You have your right-wingers and we have our right-wingers,” Levy told the American audience, referencing the rise of the radical right in the U.S., with presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

“I don’t know who is worse than who,” he joked.

Other speakers

Gideon Levy was perhaps the highlight of the conference. Yet the prominent Haaretz columnist was joined by a slew of distinguished speakers.

Among them was journalist Rula Jebreal, who discussed Islamophobia, racism and sexism in the the media, and how this has helped fuel the rise of far-right demagogues like Donald Trump.

Journalist Jim Lobe, founder of the popular foreign policy website LobeLog, spoke of the history of neoconservatism and the Iraq War, and the centrality of hard-line pro-Israel politics within the American neoconservative movement.

Phil Weiss, the founder and co-editor of progressive news outlet Mondoweiss, also detailed pro-Israel bias in the U.S. media, and particularly in The New York Times.

Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa spoke of an ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department for allowing billions of dollars of tax-deductible so-called “donations” to go from the U.S. to Israel in order to fund illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Maria LaHood, deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, spoke of the many ongoing attempts in the U.S. to silence criticism of the Israeli government, particularly on college campuses.

Col. Larry Wilkerson, the former chief of staff for George W. Bush-era Secretary of State Colin Powell, also addressed the enormous influence of Israel in U.S. foreign policy. In recent years, Wilkerson has become an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy. Salon sat down with Col. Wilkerson for a lengthy interview, which will be published separately.

Both C-SPAN and The Real News filmed the speeches and panel discussion at the Israel’s Influence conference, and have made the videos available online.

Legendary musician Roger Waters, former leader of the band Pink Floyd, also attended the conference. Waters, whom Levy called a great activist and friend, has established himself as a leading voice in the international solidarity movement for Palestinian human rights. In August, Levy published a lengthy profile on Waters in Haaretz, describing the musician-activist’s views.

Waters declined an interview with Salon.

Distinguished activist Ralph Nader was also present. He declined an interview as well, but briefly answered a few questions.

Nader blasted U.S. policy on Israel-Palestine, arguing the American government has “pretty much abandoned the peace process.” As for the Obama administration, he said it appears to have lost interest in the issue; “they’re occupied with Syria, Iraq and all the other battlefields.”

“Three regimes”

The Israel’s Influence conference came just days before the annual policy conference of the most influential pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. All of the presidential candidates excluding Bernie Sanders spoke at the conference. Sanders turned down the invitation.

Levy characterized AIPAC as an enemy to peace in the region. He also harshly criticized U.S. policy in Israel-Palestine and the so-called peace process.

“The chances for the two-state solution are totally gone,” Levy said, referring to the decades-old proposal that Palestinians should have an independent state.

“I believe that neither America or Israel ever wanted a two-state solution,” Levy continued, arguing that “the two-state solution was a trap” from the beginning.

What furthermore unites the U.S. with Israel, he argued, is the widespread anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination in both countries.

“There are very few Israelis who perceive Palestinians as equal human beings. Very, very few,” Levy said. “Most Israelis do not perceive Palestinians as equal human beings.”

He said he reads the Israeli and U.S. media and “you can’t believe how many lies can be spread so easily.” The prominent columnist blasted the media, which he called “the biggest collaborator with the occupation.”

Thanks to this misreporting, Levy argued, “Israeli legislators know nothing; Israeli young people know nothing.”

Journalists “get so much hatred” in Israel and the U.S. for depicting “Palestinian children as human beings,” he explained. “This is a crime in our country.”

The Israeli government, he said, “doesn’t treat them as regular human beings.”

Levy articulated three different forms of government in Israel: a democracy for Jewish citizens; a semi-democracy for Palestinian citizens of Israel, who “are discriminated on any possible basis”; and an “apartheid regime” in the occupied territories.

Israel, Levy noted, “may be the only country in the world not only with no borders, but with three regimes.”

“Justice is very black and white”

Levy argued that Israel’s “addiction” to occupation is not just dangerous to Palestinians; it is even dangerous to Israel’s own future.

“The first victims are obviously the Palestinians, and in many ways the entire Middle East,” he said. “But the occupier, look what happens to the occupier,” Levy continued, pointing to examples of the radicalization of Israeli society.

In December, the Israeli government banned schools from teaching a book depicting an interracial relationship, Levy recalled.

He also drew attention to Netanyahu’s infamous remarks on the day of the March 2015 election, in which the hard-line right-wing prime minister implored Jewish citizens of Israel to got out and vote because the left was supposedly busing Arabs out for the election “in droves.”

Levy argued that frequently rehashed talking points about Israel being the “only democracy in the Middle East” (Turkey and Lebanon are both democracies, albeit very imperfect ones) give Israel “the right to do whatever it wants to do.”

Levy also joked about Israel’s claims that it has the most moral army in the world. “Don’t you dare tell us we are the second-most moral,” he quipped.

The prominent journalist said he can’t quite be hopeful, but you never know what could happen. The Soviet Union unexpectedly collapsed in a matter of months, he pointed out, and the same could happen with the occupation.

In the meantime, Levy stresses that the violence in Israel-Palestine “is not a complicated conflict.” It is Israel that is oppressing the Palestinians.

“Those who portray it as a very complicated situation don’t want to find a solution,” Levy said.

He added, “Justice is very black and white today in Israel-Palestine — very, very black and white.”


The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler

by Grace Halsell

The Washington Report for Middle East Affairs

Since 1948, when Zionists succeeded in carving out a Jewish state from the land of the Palestinians, the question “who is a Jew” has been endlessly debated. Zionists (both Christian and Jewish) often declare that “God gave the land” of Palestine “to the Jews.” They infer that God deeded territories, in perpetuity, to a biblical tribe of Oriental Middle Eastern people. Since millions of American Christians accept a dogma that God has a Chosen Land and a Chosen People (the Jews), then the question “who is a Jew?” takes on political connotations that impinge on national and international decisions.

In his carefully researched book entitled The Thirteenth Tribe, Arthur Koestler refutes the idea of a Jewish “race.” Moreover, he says that most Jews of the contemporary world did not come from Palestine and are not even of Semitic origin. His research shows that most Jews originated in what today is the Soviet Union. And that a group of people there became Jews through conversion, on the orders of their king. “The bulk of modern Jewry is not of Palestinian, but of Caucasian origin,” Koestler writes. “Their ancestors came not from the Jordan but from the Volga, not from Canaan but from the Caucasus.” And he stresses:

“The mainstream of Jewish migrations did not flow from the Mediterranean across France and Germany to the east and then back again. The stream moved in a consistently western direction, from the Caucasus, from the Ukraine into Poland and thence into Central Europe.”

While Jews of different origin also contributed to the existing Jewish world community, “the main bulk originated from the Khazar country” in the USSR. Koestler, a Jew born in 1905 in Budapest, writes that the Khazars, who flourished from the 7th to the 11th century, were a major power. Their empire extended from the Black Sea to the Caspian and from the Caucasus to the Volga. They were located “between two major world powers: the Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium and the triumphant followers of Muhammad.” Since the world was polarized between these two superpowers representing Christianity and Islam, the Khazar Empire, representing a Third Force,

“Could only maintain its independence by accepting neither Christianity nor Islam – for either choice would have automatically subordinated it to the authority of the Roman Emperor or the Caliph of Baghdad.”

Not wishing to be dominated by either of the two, the Khazar king “embraced the Jewish faith” in AD 740 and ordered his subjects to do the same. Judaism thus became the state religion of the Khazars. The king’s motives in adopting Judaism, Koestler stresses, were purely political. At the peak of its power, from the seventh to the tenth centuries AD, the Khazar kingdom controlled or exacted tribute from some 30 different nations and tribes inhabiting the vast territories between the Caucasus , the Aral Sea, the Ural Mountains, the town of Kiev and the Ukrainian steppes. People under Khazar suzerainty included the Bulgars, Burtas, Ghuzz, Magyars (Hungarians), the Gothic and Greek colonies of the Crimea, and the Slavonic tribes in the northwestern woodland.

According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, in the 16th century Jews numbered about one million. Koestler quotes scholars as documenting that “the majority of those who professed the Judaic faith were Khazars.” Koestler, who after the Second World War became a British citizen, and whose most famous book, Darkness at Noon, was translated into 33 languages, has one main thesis: the bulk of Eastern Jewry -and hence of world Jewry is of Khazar-Turkish, rather than Semitic, origin.

As Koestier points out, Jews of our times fall into two main divisions: Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The Sephardi, descendants of the Jews who had lived in Spain until their expulsion, with the Muslims, at the end of the 15th century, and who later settled in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, spoke a Spanish-Hebrew dialect, Ladino. In the 1960s, the Sephardim numbered about 500,000. The Ashkenazim, at the same period, were about 11 million. Thus, “in common parlance, Jew is practically synonymous with Ashkenazi Jew.”

However, Koestler adds, the term Ashkenazim is misleading because it is generally applied to Germany, thus contributing to the legend that modem Jewry originated on the Rhine. There is, however, no other term to refer to the non-Sephardic majority of contemporary Jewry,which came after conversion to Judaism from the Khazar country. After the destruction of their empire (in the 12th or 13th century), the Jewish Khazars migrated into those regions of Eastern Europe, mainly Russia and Poland, where, at the dawn of the modem age, the greatest concentrations of Jews were found. It is “well documented,” Koestler writes, that the numerically and socially dominant element in the Jewish population of Hungary during the Middle Ages was of Khazar origin.

An Israeli scholar, A.N. Poliak, a Tel Aviv University professor of medieval Jewish history, quoted by Koestler, states that the descendants of Khazar Jews,

“those who stayed where they were (in Khazaria), those who emigrated to the United States and to other countries, and those who went to Israel – constitute now the large majority of world Jewry.”

Since Israel’s support among millions of American Christians is founded on a concept that God had bequeathed territory to a biblical “tribe” of Oriental Middle Eastern Jews, it becomes ironic to learn from Koestler’s research that most Jews today are not descended from natives of the “holy land,” or even of the Middle East. Koestler, who originally published The Thirteenth Tribe in 1976, noted that the story of the Khazar empire “begins to look like the most cruel hoax history has ever perpetrated.” The Palestinians, imprisoned and brutalized by Zionism’s “hoax,” would be the first to agree.


FBI might not need Apple to help crack San Bernardino iPhone

US prosecutors say a “third party” has offered a possible method for decrypting a smartphone used by a terrorist. The FBI and Apple were due in court on Tuesday in a row over criminal evidence held on phones.

March 22, 2016


US prosecutors say a “third party” has offered a possible method for decrypting a smartphone used by a terrorist. The FBI and Apple were due in court on Tuesday in a row over criminal evidence held on phones.

The new development may help avert a full-blown showdown between the US government and the world’s most valuable company that could have wide ramifications for digital security and privacy.

Last month, the Justice Department obtained a court order directing Apple to write new software that would disable the password protection on Farook’s phone.

The FBI says the device may contain critical information for its probe into the December 2 shooting that left 14 people dead.

Farook and his Pakistani-born wife Tashfeen Malik died in a firefight with police after the mass shooting. Two other cell phones linked to the couple were found destroyed.

Privacy concerns

But Apple has argued that the order was an overreach by the government and would undermine digital security for the public. Apple has won popular support and seen sales for its iPhones rise, while privacy advocates have hailed the apparent drawback as a win for encryption.

On Monday, Apple unveiled a new line of iPhone and iPads, but took the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to users’ privacy.

“We believe strongly we have an obligation to help protect your data and your privacy. We owe it to our customers. We will not shrink from this responsibility,” CEO Tim Cook said from Apple headquarters.

Wide support

Other tech giants and civil rights advocates have warned that if the case goes beyond just one phone, it would open a “Pandora’s Box” for human rights and digital security.

Later on Monday, a lawyer for Apple said the company had no information about what technique the government may use to access the phone, but hoped officials would share information about any vulnerability of the iPhone


.A Force Unto Itself

A Military Leviathan Has Emerged as America’s 51st and Most Powerful State

March 22, 2016

by William J. Astore


In the decades since the draft ended in 1973, a strange new military has emerged in the United States. Think of it, if you will, as a post-democratic force that prides itself on its warrior ethos rather than the old-fashioned citizen-soldier ideal.   As such, it’s a military increasingly divorced from the people, with a way of life ever more foreign to most Americans (adulatory as they may feel toward its troops). Abroad, it’s now regularly put to purposes foreign to any traditional idea of national defense. In Washington, it has become a force unto itself, following its own priorities, pursuing its own agendas, increasingly unaccountable to either the president or Congress.

Three areas highlight the post-democratic transformation of this military with striking clarity: the blending of military professionals with privatized mercenaries in prosecuting unending “limited” wars; the way senior military commanders are cashing in on retirement; and finally the emergence of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as a quasi-missionary imperial force with a presence in at least 135 countries a year (and counting).

The All-Volunteer Military and Mercenaries: An Undemocratic Amalgam

I’m a product of the all-volunteer military. In 1973, the Nixon administration ended the draft, which also marked the end of a citizen-soldier tradition that had served the nation for two centuries. At the time, neither the top brass nor the president wanted to face a future in which, in the style of the Vietnam era just then winding up, a force of citizen-soldiers could vote with their feet and their mouths in the kinds of protest that had only recently left the Army in significant disarray. The new military was to be all volunteers and a thoroughly professional force. (Think: no dissenters, no protesters, no antiwar sentiments; in short, no repeats of what had just happened.) And so it has remained for more than 40 years.

Most Americans were happy to see the draft abolished. (Although young men still register for selective service at age 18, there are neither popular calls for its return, nor serious plans to revive it.) Yet its end was not celebrated by all. At the time, some military men advised against it, convinced that what, in fact, did happen would happen: that an all-volunteer force would become more prone to military adventurism enabled by civilian leaders who no longer had to consider the sort of opposition draft call-ups might create for undeclared and unpopular wars.

In 1982, historian Joseph Ellis summed up such sentiments in a prophetic passage in an essay titled “Learning Military Lessons from Vietnam” (from the book Men at War):

“[V]irtually all studies of the all-volunteer army have indicated that it is likely to be less representative of and responsive to popular opinion, more expensive, more jealous of its own prerogatives, more xenophobic — in other words, more likely to repeat some of the most grievous mistakes of Vietnam … Perhaps the most worrisome feature of the all-volunteer army is that it encourages soldiers to insulate themselves from civilian society and allows them to cling tenaciously to outmoded visions of the profession of arms. It certainly puts an increased burden of responsibility on civilian officials to impose restraints on military operations, restraints which the soldiers will surely perceive as unjustified.”

Ellis wrote this more than 30 years ago — before Desert Storm, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the launching of the War on Terror. These wars (and other U.S. military interventions of the last decades) have provided vivid evidence that civilian officials have felt emboldened in wielding a military freed from the constraints of the old citizen army. Indeed, it says something of our twenty-first-century moment that military officers have from time to time felt the need to restrain civilian officials rather than vice versa. Consider, for instance, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki’s warning early in 2003 that a post-invasion Iraq would need to be occupied by “several hundred thousand” troops. Shinseki clearly hoped that his (all-too-realistic) estimate would tamp down the heady optimism of top Bush administration officials that any such war would be a “cakewalk,” that the Iraqis would strew “bouquets” of flowers in the path of the invaders, and that the U.S. would be able to garrison an American-style Iraq in the fashion of South Korea until hell froze over. Prophetic Shinseki was, but not successful. His advice was dismissed out of hand, as was he.

Events since Desert Storm in 1991 suggest that the all-volunteer military has been more curse than blessing. Partially to blame: a new dynamic in modern American history, the creation of a massive military force that is not of the people, by the people, or for the people. It is, of course, a dynamic hardly new to history. Writing in the eighteenth century about the decline and fall of Rome, the historian Edward Gibbon noted that:

“In the purer ages of the commonwealth [of Rome], the use of arms was reserved for those ranks of citizens who had a country to love, a property to defend, and some share in enacting those laws, which it was their interest, as well as duty, to maintain. But in proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest, war was gradually improved into an art, and degraded into a trade.”

As the U.S. has become more authoritarian and more expansive, its military has come to serve the needs of others, among them elites driven by dreams of profit and power. Some will argue that this is nothing new. I’ve read my Smedley Butler and I’m well aware that historically the U.S. military was often used in un-democratic ways to protect and advance various business interests. In General Butler’s day, however, that military was a small quasi-professional force with a limited reach. Today’s version is enormous, garrisoning roughly 800 foreign bases across the globe, capable of sending its Hellfire missile-armed drones on killing missions into country after country across the Greater Middle East and Africa, and possessing a vision of what it likes to call “full-spectrum dominance” meant to facilitate “global reach, global power.” In sum, the U.S. military is far more powerful, far less accountable — and far more dangerous.

As a post-democratic military has arisen in this country, so have a set of “warrior corporations” — that is, private, for-profit mercenary outfits that now regularly accompany American forces in essentially equal numbers into any war zone. In the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Blackwater was the most notorious of these, but other mercenary outfits like Triple Canopy and DynCorp were also deeply involved. This rise of privatized militaries and mercenaries naturally contributes to actions that are inherently un-democratic and divorced from the will and wishes of the people. It is also inherently a less accountable form of war, since no one even bothers to count the for-profit dead, nor do their bodies come home in flag-draped coffins for solemn burial in military cemeteries; and Americans don’t approach such mercenaries to thank them for their service. All of which allows for the further development of a significantly under-the-radar form of war making.

The phrase “limited war,” applied to European conflicts from the close of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 to the French Revolution in 1789, and later to conventional wars in the nuclear age, has fresh meaning in twenty-first-century America. These days, the limits of limited war, such as they are, fall less on the warriors and more on the American people who are increasingly cut out of the process. They are, for instance, purposely never mobilized for battle, but encouraged to act as though they were living in a war-less land. American war efforts, which invariably take place in distant lands, are not supposed to interfere with business as usual in the “homeland,” which, of course, means consumerism and consumption. You will find no rationing in today’s America, nor calls for common sacrifice of any sort. If anything, wars have simply become another consumable item on the American menu. They consume fuel and resources, money, and intellect, all in staggering amounts. In a sense, they are themselves a for-profit consumable, often with tie-ins to video games, movies, and other forms of entertainment.

In the rush for money and in the name of patriotism, the horrors of wars, faced squarely by many Americans in the Vietnam War era, are now largely disregarded. One question that this election season has raised: What if our post-democratic military is driven by an autocrat who insists that it must obey his whims in the cause of “making America great again”?

Come 2017, we may find out.

Senior Military Men: Checking Out and Cashing In

There was a time when old soldiers like Douglas MacArthur talked wistfully about fading away in retirement. Not so for today’s senior military officers. Like so many politicians, they regularly go in search of the millionaires’ club on leaving public service, even as they accept six-figure pensions and other retirement benefits from the government. In the post-military years, being John Q. Public isn’t enough. One must be General Johannes Q. Publicus (ret.), a future financial wizard, powerful CEO, or educator supreme. Heck, maybe all three.

Consider General David Petraeus, America’s “surge” general in Iraq and later head of U.S. Central Command. He left the directorship of the CIA in disgrace after an adulterous affair with his biographer-mistress, with whom he illegally shared classified information. Petraeus has since found teaching gigs at the University of Southern California, the City University of New York, and Harvard’s Kennedy School while being appointed chairman of the investment firm KKR Global Institute. Another retired general who cashed in with an investment firm is Ray Odierno, the former Army chief of staff, who became a special adviser to JP Morgan Chase, the financial giant. (Indeed, the oddness of Odierno, an ex-football player known for his total dedication to the Army, being hired by a financial firm inspired this spoof at a military humor site.)

But few men have surpassed retired Air Force General John Jumper. He cashed in by joining many corporate boards, including the board of directors for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a major defense contractor. After five years he became its CEO with a seven-figure salary. Then you have retired general officers who pull down more than $300 an hour (no $7.25 federal minimum wage for them) advising their former subordinates at the Pentagon as “senior mentors.”

No one expects generals to take vows of poverty upon retirement. Indeed, those hefty government pensions and assorted other benefits would preclude such vows. But in the post-democratic military world, duty, honor, country has become duty, honor, cash.

For today’s crop of retiree generals, no Cincinnatus need apply. Of course, there’s long been a revolving door between Pentagon offices and corporate boardrooms, but that door seems to be spinning ever faster in the twenty-first century.

The peril of all this should be obvious: the prospect of cashing-in big time upon retirement can’t help but affect the judgment of generals while they’re still wearing the uniform. When you reach high rank, it’s already one big boys’ club where everyone knows everyone else’s reputation. Get one for being an outspoken critic of a contractor’s performance, or someone who refuses to play ball or think by the usual rules of Washington, and chances are you’re not going to be hired to lucrative positions on various corporate boards in retirement.

Such an insular, even incestuous system of pay-offs naturally reinforces conventional thinking. Generals go along to get along, embracing prevailing thinking on interventionism, adventurism, and dominance. Especially troublesome is the continued push for foreign military sales (arms exports) to some of the world’s most active war zones. In this way, weaponry and wars are increasingly the business of America, a “growth” industry that is only reinforced when retired generals are hired to lead companies, to advise financial institutes, or even to teach young adults in prestigious schools.

For Petraeus is not the only retired general to lecture at such places. General Stanley McChrystal, who infamously was fired by President Obama for allowing a command climate that was disrespectful to the nation’s civilian chain of command, is now a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute at Yale University. Admiral William McRaven, former head of U.S. Special Operations Command during the era of black sites and deaths by torture, is now the chancellor of the entire University of Texas system. McRaven had no prior background in education, just as Odierno had no background in finance before being hired to a top-tier position of authority. Both of them were, however, the military version of “company men” who, on retirement, possessed a wealth of contacts, which helped make them highly marketable commodities.

If you’re wearing three or four stars in the military, you’ve already been carefully vetted as a “company man,” since the promotion process screens out mavericks. Independent thinkers tend to retire or separate from the military long before they reach eligibility for flag rank. The most persistent and often the most political officers rise to the top, not the brightest and the best.

Special Operations: The American Military’s Jesuits

As Nick Turse has documented at TomDispatch, post-9/11 America has seen the rapid growth of U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, a secretive military within the military that now numbers almost 70,000 operatives. The scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson used to refer to that Agency as the president’s private army. Now, the commander-in-chief quite literally has such an army (as, in a sense, he also now has a private robotic air force of drone assassins dispatchable more or less anywhere). The expansion of SOCOM from a modest number of elite military units (like the Green Berets or SEAL Team 6) into a force larger than significant numbers of national armies is an underreported and under-considered development of our post-democratic military moment. It has now become the regular go-to force in the war on terror from Iraq to Afghanistan, Syria to Cameroon, Libya to Somalia.

As Gregory Foster, a Vietnam veteran and professor at the National Defense University noted recently, this now-massive force “provides an almost infinite amount of potential space for meddling and ‘mission creep’ abroad and at home due, in part, to the increasingly blurred lines between military, intelligence, police, and internal security functions… [T]he very nature of [special ops] missions fosters a military culture that is particularly destructive to accountability and proper lines of responsibility… the temptation to employ forces that can circumvent oversight without objection is almost irresistible.”

Like the Jesuit order of priests who, beginning in the sixteenth century, took the fight to heretical Protestants and spread the Catholic faith from Europe and Asia in the Old World to nearly everywhere in the New World, today’s SOCOM operators crusade globally on the part of America. They slay evildoers while advancing U.S. foreign policy and business goals in at least 150 countries. Indeed, the head of SOCOM, General Joseph Votel III, West Point grad and Army Ranger, put it plainly when he said that America is witnessing “a golden age for special operations.”

A military force effectively unaccountable to the people tears at the very fabric of the Constitution, which is at pains to mandate firm and complete control over the military by Congress, acting in the people’s name. Combine such a military with a range of undeclared wars and other conflicts and a Congress for which cheerleading, not control, is the order of the day, and you have a recipe for a force unto itself.

It used to be said of Prussia that it was a military with a state attached to it. America’s post-democratic military, combined with the proliferation of intelligence outfits and the growth of the country’s second defense department, the Department of Homeland Security, could increasingly be considered something like an emerging proto-state. Call it America’s 51st state, except that instead of having two senators and a few representatives based on its size, it has all the senators and all the representatives based on its power, budget, and grip on American culture. It is, in other words, a post-democratic leviathan to be reckoned with. And not a single Democratic or Republican candidate for commander-in-chief has spent a day in uniform. Prediction for November: another overwhelming victory at the polls for America’s 51st state.


Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

March 22, 2016

by Justin Gillis

New York Times

The nations of the world agreed years ago to try to limit global warming to a level they hoped would prove somewhat tolerable. But a group of leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of that magnitude would actually be highly dangerous.

The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets, and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.

“We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control,” said James E. Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist who led the new research. The findings were released Tuesday morning by a European science journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

A draft version of the paper had been released last year, and it provoked a roiling debate among climate scientists. The main conclusions have not changed, however, and a replay of that debate seems likely in the coming weeks.

Virtually all climate scientists agree with Dr. Hansen and his co-authors that society is not moving fast enough to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, posing grave risks. The basic claim of the paper is that by burning fossil fuels at a prodigious pace and pouring heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, humanity is about to provoke an abrupt climate shift.

That claim has intrigued some experts who say the paper may help explain puzzling episodes in the Earth’s past when geological evidence suggests the climate underwent sudden, drastic shifts.

Yet many of the experts remain unconvinced by some of the specific assertions that were made in the draft paper, and they have not all been persuaded by the final version.

“Some of the claims in this paper are indeed extraordinary,” said Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “They conflict with the mainstream understanding of climate change to the point where the standard of proof is quite high.”

Among Dr. Hansen’s colleagues, some of the discomfiture about the new paper stems from his dual roles as a publishing climate scientist and, in recent years, as a political activist. He has been arrested at rallies, and he has joined with a group of young people who sued the federal government over what they said was its failure to limit global warming.

Dr. Hansen argues that society is in such grave peril that he feels morally compelled to go beyond the normal role played by a scientist and to sound a clear warning. That stance has made him a hero to college students fighting climate change, but some fellow scientists say they believe he has opened himself to the charge that he is skewing his scientific research for political purposes.

The nations of the world agreed to try to limit the warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level, though they have yet to agree on any program remotely ambitious enough to achieve that goal. The Earth has already warmed by about half that amount, with the consequence that virtually all land ice on the planet has started to melt and that the oceans are rising at an accelerating pace.

The paper by Dr. Hansen and 18 co-authors dwells on the last time the Earth warmed naturally, about 120,000 years ago, when the temperature reached a level estimated to have been only slightly higher than today. Much of the polar ice disintegrated then, and scientists have established that the sea level rose 20 to 30 feet.

Climate scientists agree that humanity is about to cause an equal or greater rise in sea level, but they have tended to assume that such a large increase would take centuries. The new paper argues that it could happen far more rapidly, with the worst case being several feet of sea-level rise over the next 50 years, followed by increases so precipitous that they would force humanity to beat a hasty retreat from today’s coastlines.

That would mean loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history,” Dr. Hansen said in a comment that accompanied the new paper. The paper identifies a specific mechanism that the scientists say they believe could help cause such an abrupt climate shift.

Their idea is that the initial melting of the great ice sheets will put a cap of relatively fresh water on the ocean surfaces near Antarctica and Greenland. That, they think, will slow or even shut down the system of ocean currents that redistributes heat around the planet and allows some of it to escape into space.

Warmth will then accumulate in the deeper parts of the ocean, the scientists think, speeding the melting of parts of the ice sheets that sit below sea level. In addition, a wider temperature difference between the tropics and the poles will encourage powerful storms. The paper cites evidence, much of it contested, that immense storms happened during the warm period 120,000 years ago.

The idea of a shutdown in the ocean circulation because of global warming was considered more than a decade ago, and it was rejected by most scientists as unlikely. That did not stop a distorted version of the idea from becoming the premise of the disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” released in 2004.

The new paper may reopen that debate, forcing scientists to re-examine the idea with the more sophisticated computer models of the climate that are available today.

Even scientists wary of the conclusions of the new paper point out that Dr. Hansen has a long history of being ahead of the curve in climate science. As Dr. Mann put it, “I think we ignore James Hansen at our peril.”


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