TBR News May 13, 2016

May 13 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 13, 2016: “ Financial bubbles create an incentive for criminal and shady activity. Just like the stock bubble of the late 1990s created the climate for Enron and dozens of other companies to cook their books, the housing bubble created incentives for predatory lenders to exploit consumers.

The predatory lenders offered low rates, at least at first. Rates would rise later, but the lenders said that – because home prices were rising so fast and would continue to do so – borrowers could always refinance with a new loan.

The biggest of the predatory lenders was Countrywide, a mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America in January 2008. The company and its CEO, Angelo Mozilo, made a bundle, while setting up thousands and thousands of families for financial ruin.

“Over the past few years,” says Martin Eakes of the Center for Responsible Lending, “by steering millions of people into bad loans, Countrywide has been the largest rogue mortgage lender in the country. According to Countrywide’s own data, more than 80 percent of its exotic adjustable-rate loans were made to borrowers that do not meet current banking standards. Countrywide knew that these homeowners would not be able to make their monthly loan payments after dramatic payment increases became effective.”



The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Wednesday, 20 April 1949

I am actually writing this about noon on 21 April because I was in no condition to write anything last night. There was quite a party here, I can say in all truth. The dustbin out in the kitchen is full of bottles and the whole house smells of alcohol and tobacco fumes. It is being aired out now.

Naturally, my American friend got really drunk and went around the table giving everyone the Hitler salute before going to sleep on a couch in the hall. Thank God he didn’t spew on the carpet.

It went very well with three wines, two boxes of Cuban cigars, countless packets of good American cigarettes, eight courses of excellent food and I later ended up playing all kinds of our old patriotic songs on the piano in the music room while everyone sang at the top of their lungs.

It must have sounded like an early Party rally in the Hofbräuhaus!

In Germany today one would be arrested by the Americans for such a display, but here their senior officers join in the singing.

Friday, 22 April 1949

I am running out of time to work on this but I need to keep it up because there is far too much coming in to remember all of it, even though my memory is certainly adequate.

Encountered (Louis A., ed.) Johnson (Secretary of Defense, ed.) while I was at the Pentagon and we had a very long talk about the problem with Israel and the Arabs.

  1. started out by telling me that the President wanted to have a “little talk” with me about this new situation and he then gave me a file on the matter that I took a short time to look over. I find my English is improving day by day.

The business here is that the Israeli authorities have a plan to invade both Syria and Saudi Arabia as soon as they can build up enough strength. Their idea is to neutralize their northern neighbor whom they see as a staging ground for Arab commandos or as a base for Arabs whom they chased out of Jerusalem and the rest of the country before, and after, they became a state.

It is really shocking, even to me, to see how they behaved towards the Arabs who were mostly stupid peasants with no military significance at all.

If they gain control of an oil-producing area, they can then begin to dictate towards both the United States, whom they view as a source of money and support, and England, whom they hate because of the Mandate business.

  1. told me that the President will not permit any such adventures on their part and has asked for contingency plans for military action to be drawn up in the Pentagon. These plans foresee an immediate U.S. military intervention to prevent either invasion, or incursion.

Truman had been one of the early supporters of the new Jewish state, partly because his former business partner, a Jacobson, was Jewish and was acting as an agent for the Zionists with the President.

  1. later told J. that he had no idea about the strictly terroristic nature of the nationalists and had later done everything he could to prevent the sale of arms to them from this country. J. said that if he had it to do over once more, knowing what he does now, Truman would not have been actively supportive. Positive statements, as opposed to active support, sound good to the masses but are not substantive.

I suggested that if these plans were drawn up (which they are now doing), this should not come to the attention of the public. I pointed out that Bernadotte was murdered precisely because he attempted to prevent the savage Zionist pogroms against the Arabs in Jerusalem and that if T. sent American military units against Israel, he would risk the very probable threat of assassination.

The conversation, which lasted for over three hours with a nice lunch in the middle, then turned to my work on the communist trials. I had sent a comprehensive list of all the known spies and traitors to the White House (note: I am to keep strictly away from (Clark, ed.) Clifford, advisor to Truman, who is suspected of being in the pay of Tel Aviv just as Hopkins was in the pay of Stalin) and Truman, according to J. “was stunned” when he noticed that about 90% of these agents were Jewish.

I strongly suggested that this matter not be addressed in public because it would cause far more trouble than it was worth.

I am certain that Wisner would make a good deal of this because of his rampant anti-Semitism but the overall effect would have serious repercussions. I reminded J. of the troubles Germany had because of their own Jewish persecutions and suggested that identified traitors and spies not be identified by their religious affiliations.

Of course one can say that they are trade union leaders, film producers or university professors (which most of the leading ones are) but the government must strictly stay away from public anti-Semitism. That game is certainly not worth the candle.

A nice phrase I read in a book recently.

I hope not to be involved in such businesses again but if an invasion of Arabia does happen, then T. will have little choice.

No one akes numbers into account. The Arabs outnumber the Jews by at least 20 to 1 and the only ones to benefit from wars in that area would be Stalin and his vultures.

As Napoleon said, one must wash one’s dirty linen in strict privacy.

  1. also told me that his predecessor (Forrestal, ed.) was becoming a “terrible burden” to the President with his loud statements. Fortunately, F. is kept away from the public but then the asylum attendants also have to be watched. I carefully mentioned the benefits of the politically convenient heart attack but J. appeared to be genuinely shocked so I merely made a jest out of it and went on to other things.

I believe I can say that the Americans I have met in high military and intelligence positions are far worse anti-Semites than anyone I ever encountered in the comparable German agencies.

Sunday, 24 April 1949

An interesting report from New York about the Soviets trying to instigate rebellion among the Negroes. One (William O., ed.) Nowell gave some testimony about this. He claimed that Russia was planning to make a Negro Republic from Virginia to New Orleans after they had made their revolution here. This was from the 1930s but additional information, not included in the trial because of its sensitivity, backs this up entirely and goes further in proving the communists were playing on the frustrations and second-class status of Negroes up to the edge.

Most of these black people are not very intelligent and willing to listen to any such opium dreams but the real truth is that this group could represent a very great danger for this country at some future point if their numbers increase and they demand more than the whites are prepared to give.

One of the main thrusts of the testimony is Soviet determination to foment a revolution here before the war…and of course now they have had their wings cut so they cannot.

I know from being involved that some of this provocative information has been “developed” by the government lawyers but much of it is based entirely on true matters.

The (Judith, ed.) Coplon trial is to begin tomorrow right here in Washington. I might stop by the courthouse at some point and have a look at the people involved. (Valentin, ed.) Gubitchev was allowed to go free on cash security posted by their embassy.

He will probably escape, something the Americans hope for.

Everyone is accusing his neighbor or co-worker of being a communist during the reign of the Divine Franklin. Unfortunately, these malicious attacks do much to conceal the real depth of the infiltration but we all do so much behind the curtains. Several accidental deaths recently, all assisted. Better to do things that way than to have long, involved trials. The public cannot follow all of this and a dead spy is soon forgotten.

I have managed to convince my overlords that I am entirely caught up on my paperwork and would like to take a small vacation for a week or so. Complaints that someone might recognize me on my trip. Guards would have to be assigned, and so on. I point out that I have my own guards whom I trust and whom I pay (of course with their money).

I do not need permission to travel, naturally, and I do not see that a brief absence from Washington will cost me anything. My position is most secure now, especially since I have established a very good connection with the President.

Truman does not trust either the generals or the CIA and I have been feeding this by seeing to it that he gets a report or two from me every so often.

One must be both very discreet and very accurate. T. keeps his mouth shut because at his level, he is almost as much a stranger as I am. He was, after all, never an insider with the Roosevelt gang and was treated with contempt by them. I, on the other hand, know exactly how to treat the President and he responds as if on a cue. He would be entirely predictable in a chess game, believe me.

Sunday, 1 May 1949

Now this will have to go into the safe for two weeks as I am taking a vacation from this town for that long. By sleeper train to Chicago and a change of trains for Colorado where I at least hope to get some time in the mountains.

It is a little late in the year but perhaps I can find some skiing area I can use. I wish myself a pleasant vacation. In the earlier days, when I was poor, I had to sit up at night in the train and it is hard to sleep sitting up. Now, I have a private room and bath and intend to enjoy myself doing nothing.

Two boxes of Upmanns and two bottles of Cognac plus a dozen books should keep the journey light. Besides, I have never seen this country except for a few trips to New York and I look forward to that. I will perhaps get to see a cowboy or two along the way.





Saudi officials were ‘supporting’ 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

First serious public split revealed among commissioners over the release of the secret ‘28 pages’ that detail Saudi ties to 2001 terrorist attacks

May 12, 2016

by Philip Shenon

The Guardian

A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

The 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, praised Saudi Arabia as, overall, “an ally of the United States in combatting terrorism” and said the commission’s investigation, which came after the congressional report was written, had identified only one Saudi government official – a former diplomat in the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles – as being “implicated in the 9/11 plot investigation”.

The diplomat, Fahad al-Thumairy, who was deported from the US but was never charged with a crime, was suspected of involvement in a support network for two Saudi hijackers who had lived in San Diego the year before the attacks.

In the interview Wednesday, Lehman said Kean and Hamilton’s statement that only one Saudi government employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers in California and elsewhere was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi government officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network.

“They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated,” he said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

Although Lehman said he did not believe that the Saudi royal family or the country’s senior civilian leadership had any role in supporting al-Qaida or the 9/11 plot, he recalled that a focus of the criminal investigation after 9/11 was upon employees of the Saudi ministry of Islamic affairs, which had sponsored Thumairy for his job in Los Angeles and has long been suspected of ties to extremist groups.

He said “the 28 pages”, which were prepared by a special House-Senate committee investigating pre-9/11 intelligence failures, reviewed much of the same material and ought to be made public as soon as possible, although possibly with redactions to remove the names of a few Saudi suspects who were later cleared of any involvement in the terrorist attacks.

Lehman has support among some of the other commissioners, although none have spoken out so bluntly in criticizing the Saudis. A Democratic commissioner, former congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana, said he wants the congressional report released to end some of the wild speculation about what is in the 28 pages and to see if parts of the inquiry should be reopened. When it comes to the Saudis, he said, “We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what happened on 9/11.”

Another panel member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of offending the other nine, said the 28 pages should be released even though they could damage the commission’s legacy – “fairly or unfairly” – by suggesting lines of investigation involving the Saudi government that were pursued by Congress but never adequately explored by the commission.

“I think we were tough on the Saudis, but obviously not tough enough,” the commissioner said. “I know some members of the staff felt we went much too easy on the Saudis. I didn’t really know the extent of it until after the report came out.”

The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the United States.

In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice after leaving the commission. The staff included experienced investigators from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA, as well as the congressional staffer who was the principal author of the 28 pages.

Zelikow fired a staffer, who had repeatedly protested over limitations on the Saudi investigation, after she obtained a copy of the 28 pages outside of official channels. Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report or was being pushed to tiny, barely readable footnotes and endnotes. The staff protests were mostly overruled.

The 9/11 commission did criticize Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of a fundamentalist branch of Islam embraced by terrorists and for the Saudi royal family’s relationship with charity groups that bankrolled al-Qaida before 9/11.

However, the commission’s final report was still widely read as an exoneration, with a central finding by the commission that there was “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” provided financial assistance to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. The statement was hailed by the Saudi government as effectively clearing Saudi officials of any tie to 9/11.

Last month, president Barack Obama returned from a tense state visit to Saudi Arabia, disclosed the administration was nearing a decision on whether to declassify some or all of the 28 pages, which have been held under lock and key in a secure room beneath the Capitol since they were written in 2002. Just days after the president’s comments, however, his CIA director, John Brennan, announced that he opposed the release of the congressional report, saying the 28 pages contain inaccurate material that might lead to unfair allegations that Saudi Arabia was tied to 9/11.

In their joint statement last month, Kean and Hamilton suggested they agreed with Brennan and that there might be danger in releasing the full 28 pages.

The congressional report was “based almost entirely on raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI”, they said. “The 28 pages, therefore, are comparable to preliminary law enforcement notes, which are generally covered by grand jury secrecy rules.” If any part of the congressional report is made public, they said, it should be redacted “to protect the identities of anyone who has been ruled out by authorities as having any connection to the 9/11 plot”.

Zelikow, the commission’s executive director, told NBC News last month that the 28 pages “provide no further answers about the 9/11 attacks that are not already included in the 9/11 commission report”. Making the 28 pages public “will only make the red herring glow redder”.

But Kean, Hamilton and Zelikow clearly do not speak for a number of the other commissioners, who have repeatedly suggested they are uncomfortable with the perception that the commission exonerated Saudi Arabia and who have joined in calling for public release of the 28 pages

Lehman and another commissioner, former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, filed affidavits last year in support of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by the families of 9/11 victims. “Significant questions remain unanswered concerning possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors,” Kerrey said. Lehman agreed: “Contrary to the argument advocated by the Kingdom, the 9/11 commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of Sept. 11, 2001 or the financing of al-Qaida.” He said he was “deeply troubled” by the evidence gathered about a hijackers’ support network in California.

In an interview last week, congressman Roemer, the Democratic commissioner, suggested a compromise in releasing the 28 pages. He said that, unlike Kean and Hamilton, he was eager to see the full congressional report declassified and made public, although the 28 pages should be released alongside a list of pertinent excerpts of the 9/11 commission’s final report. “That would show what allegations were and were not proven, so that innocent people are not unfairly maligned,” he said. “It would also show there are issues raised in the 28 pages about the Saudis that are still unresolved to this day.”


Interview With BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti: Banned by Israel From Traveling, Threatened With Worse

May 13, 2016

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

Despite having lived in Israel for 22 years with no criminal record of any kind, Omar Barghouti was this week denied the right to travel outside the country. As one of the pioneers of the increasingly powerful movement to impose boycotts, sanctions and divestment measures (BDS) on Israel, Barghouti, an articulate, English-speaking activist, has frequently traveled around the world advocating his position. The Israeli government’s refusal to allow him to travel is obviously intended to suppress his speech and activism. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the world leaders who traveled last year to Paris to participate in that city’s “free speech rally.”

As the husband of a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Barghouti holds a visa of permanent residency in the country, but nonetheless needs official permission to travel outside of Israel, a travel document which – until last week – had been renewed every two years. Haaretz this week reported that beyond the travel ban, Barghouti’s “residency rights in Israel are currently being reconsidered.”

The travel denial came after months of disturbing public threats directed at him by an Israeli government that has grown both more extreme and more fearful of BDS’s growing international popularity. In March, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency rights, explicitly admitting that this was in retaliation for his speech and advocacy: “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner . . . . he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world.”

Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.” She added: “Israel has used this sort of control to arbitrarily ban many Palestinians from traveling, as well as to ban international human rights monitors, journalists and activists from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

But the threats to Barghouti from the Israeli Government extend far beyond his right to travel. Last month, Amnesty International issued an extraordinary warning that the group “is concerned for the safety and liberty” of Barghouti, citing threats from Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence. As Amnesty noted, “the term alludes to ‘targeted assassinations’ which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of Palestinian armed groups.”

As The Intercept has regularly reported over the last year, the attempts to criminalize BDS activism – not only in Israel but internationally – is one of the greatest threats to free speech and assembly rights in the west. The threat has become particularly acute on U.S. college campuses, where official punishments for pro-Palestinian students are now routine. But obviously, the threats faced by Barghouti inside Israel are far more severe.

Regardless of one’s views on BDS and the Israeli occupation, anyone who purports to believe in basic conceptions of free speech rights should be appalled by Israeli behavior. I spoke with Barghouti yesterday about this latest Israeli attack on his core civil liberties, the growing extremism in Israel, and broader trends with free speech and BDS activism. “I am unnerved,” he told me, “but I’m certainly undeterred.” You can listen to the 25-minute discussion on the player below; a full transcript appears below that.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

GLENN GREENWALD: This is Glenn Greenwald with the Intercept. And my guest today is Omar Barghouti, who is a Palestinian human rights activist and one of the co-founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, better known as BDS, which is designed to put non-violent international pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories, establish equal rights for Palestinians and accept the right to return of Palestinian refugees who fled during and after the establishment of Israel.

BDS has gained considerable international support over the last few years as the West has watched Israel expand its occupation of the West Bank, while its army kills thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And as a result of that success, BDS has come under a multi-pronged attack from Israel and its supporters around the world.

As part of that attack, this week news broke that Israel denied Barghouti an international travel permit. As a resident of Israel he is required to apply for this permit every two years to travel internationally. Human Rights Watch condemned the act “as something that appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful political activism”.

Before welcoming you I just want to say that I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the last several years who are probably subject to electronic surveillance on their telephones but I’m not sure I’ve ever spoken to someone who’s subject to as much surveillance as you are.

So with that, thanks very much for taking the time to talk with me, I really appreciate it.

Before I ask you to just talk a little bit about what happened with this travel restriction, I just want to give a little bit context and background for listeners. This didn’t really come out of nowhere; in late March Israel’s interior minister was quoted as telling a conference that he was considering revoking you residency.

He said: “I was given information that his life is in Ramallah and he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.” He continued: “he was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world.”

Amnesty has said that they’re actually “concerned for your safety and liberty” and they cited a quote from the Israeli Minister of Transport and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Yisrael Katz, who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

So, with that context in mind, obviously the Israeli government has become obsessed with restricting and punishing BDS leaders. Tell us about this new travel restriction that Israel has imposed on you. How did you learn about it? What is it?OMAR BARGHOUTI: Every couple of years I have to renew my Israeli travel document and without that I cannot leave or re-enter the country. Because I’m a permanent resident in Israel, I cannot leave on any other passport except the Israeli travel document.

GREENWALD: Do you have another passport?

BARGHOUTI: Yes, I have Jordanian citizenship.

GREENWALD: But in order to leave Israel, you need their permission every two years.

BARGHOUTI: Yes. On April 19th the Ministry of Interior in Acre where I live officially informed us that they will not renew my travel document therefore effectively banning me from travel. This comes as you rightly noted in the context of very heightened repression against the BDS movement, which seeks freedom, justice and equality for Palestinian citizens. So it seeks Palestinian rights under international law. But because it has become so effective of late, because support has been rising tremendously in the last couple of years, we are in a way paying the price for the success of the movement.

Many people are realizing that Israel is a regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid and are therefore taking action to hold it to account to international law. Israel is realizing that companies are abandoning their projects in Israel that violate international law, pension funds are doing the same, major artists are refusing to play Tel Aviv, as Sun City was boycotted during apartheid South Africa.

So they’re seeing this isolation growing, they can see the South Africa moment if you will. And because of that, they’ve heightened their pression, including espionage on BDS human rights defenders, whether Palestinian, Israeli or international, surveillance of course, plus those latest threats of targeted civil elimination and banning us from travel, and so on.

So we are really unnerved, I am personally quite unnerved by those threats. We take them very seriously, especially in this context. We live in a country where racism and racial incitement against indigenous Palestinians has grown tremendously into the Israeli mainstream. It has really become mainstream today to be very openly racist against Palestinians. Many settlers and hard-right wing Israelis are taking matters into their own hands – completely supported by the state – and attacking Palestinians.

So in that context I am unnerved, but I’m certainly undeterred. I shall continue my non-violent struggle for Palestinian rights under international law and nothing they can do will stop me.

GREENWALD: About the travel restrictions themselves, how long have you been receiving this travel permission? Did they give you any reason as to why in this case it was being denied? And did you have any problems in the past – from their perspective – that would justify this denial?

BARGHOUTI: No, actually I’ve been a permanent resident of Israel since 1994, so 22 years running and without any violations of the law – not even a traffic violation. So there’s nothing on my record that they can use against me.

Calling for a boycott until now is not a crime in Israel. It’s a tort – they can punish me in various ways – but it’s not a crime that they can revoke my residency right based upon. And they know that very well – they don’t stand on very strong legal grounds. So they’re looking for ways to intimidate me, to bully me, to silence me by other ways. And that doesn’t seem to be working, so now they’re working on revoking my permanent residency.

I have not had any problems in the past having my travel document renewed, for 22 years. So it’s just when BDS started to really become a very impactful, very effective movement with impressive growth and support, including among young Jewish Americans, young Jewish Brits, and so on – and that really alarms Israel – only then that they start taking such repressive, anti-democratic, draconian measures to the extreme against the movement, which is a non-violent movement, accusing us of all sorts of things.

GREENWALD: So as far as your status in Israel is concerned, and your right to travel, if I’m not mistaken you live in Israel with your wife who is an Israeli citizen, correct?

BARGHOUTI: Yes, correct, my wife is a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

GREENWALD: So does that give you entitlement to stay or are they actually able to revoke your permanent residency status?

BARGHOUTI: When it comes to non-Jews – as we’re called in Israel – no-one knows what applies and what doesn’t apply. As you know there are more than 50 laws in Israel that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of the state, let alone Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza, who are non-citizens.

So, a Palestinian citizen of Israel does not get the full set of rights that a Jewish citizen gets because simply the Palestinian is not a Jewish national and only if you’re a Jewish national – whatever that means – do you get the full set of rights. This is an extra-territorial definition of nationality so Israel does not have Israeli nationality – there is no such thing.

The Supreme Court rejected that notion, the Knesset did, there is no Israeli nationality. There is Israeli citizenship but that does not entitle you to the full set of rights. So yes, my wife is an Israeli citizen and I got my permanent residency through that but what rights I’m entitled to and am not entitled to depends on the mood of the politicians and how much the courts are ready to go along with that.

GREENWALD: Let’s discuss the efforts against the BDS movement more broadly beyond Israeli borders. For a long time I think the tactic was to try and ignore BDS, to treat it as though it was so marginalized and inconsequential that it wasn’t even worth discussing or acknowledging let along taking action against. And, as you’ve suggested, as it’s become a much more widely accepted tactic, as the world watched in horror – I think one of the turning points of the last operation in Gaza that killed so many children and innocent men and women – it has become a tactic that in a lot of ways is starting to replicate, as you suggested as well, what happened in South Africa across lots of college campuses. Young American Jews who are fully now on board with BDS as a moral and necessary tactic.

And as a result you’ve starting to see more world leaders and people like Hilary Clinton denounce BDS in the most vehement terms, even equating it with antisemitism and I think most disturbing of all, actual laws are now being issued, not just in the United States but throughout Europe, to criminalize BDS and make it illegal to advocate it or engage in activism on its behalf.

Talk about what you’ve witnessed as someone who’s been in this movement from the beginning, about the changes that are underway in terms of how the response is developing toward this movement.

BARGHOUTI: I think after years of failure in stopping or even slowing down the growth of BDS and the growth of support for BDS around the world, especially in the West, Israel is resorting to its most powerful weapon if you will, which is using its influence in the US congress and through that its influence in Brussels and in the EU and so on, to criminalize BDS from above, after failing to stop it from below.

Because BDS is growing at the grassroots level – trade unions, academic unions, student groups, LGBTQ groups, women groups and so on, Israel is resorting to that attempt to de-legitimize it from above.

So as you rightly said, they’re working on passing legislation across the United States and state legislatures to criminalize BDS or to “black-list” individuals and organizations involved in BDS, reminding us of the worst days of McCarthyism. So really, Israel is fostering a new McCarthyism, and nothing less than that because it’s calling on governments that it deems friendly to punish speech, punish activism and campaigning to uphold Palestinian rights under international law.

So this is a non-violent inclusive movement that is anchored in the international declaration of human rights. It’s opposed to all forms of racism, including antisemitism. And we’re not shy about that. We’re very categorical about out opposition to all forms of racism. Because of that – not despite that – Israel is extremely worried. Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid is worried when this human rights inclusive movement is reaching out and appealing to a mass public, including many young Jewish Americans.

So it’s resorting to this new McCarthyism. In France it’s the worst, with government actually saying that calling for a boycott of Israeli products is now illegal in France. You can call for a boycott of French products in Paris and that’s ok, but not of Israeli products. Imagine the enormous hypocrisy.

GREENWALD: And people have been arrested wearing pro-BDS t-shirts in Paris.

BARGHOUTI: Exactly. The measure of repression in France is unprecedented. We have not seen anything like that. Paris has really become the capital of anti-Palestinian repression of late. Imagine – the city of freedoms , supposedly, has become the city of darkness for Palestinians.

GREENWALD: There was a huge free speech march there just over a year ago.

BARGHOUTI: We don’t see this anti-Palestinian repression as isolated. Israel is fostering this but there is a lot of repression already in the West. There’s already an attack on unions, an attack on free speech, on social justice, racial justice movements, there’s enormous militarization and securitization of society in the West .

And Israel is benefitting from this enormous homeland security and military market – it’s great business for Israel. It’s training police forces across the United States, from Ferguson to Baltimore. London police, Paris police.

GREENWALD: One of the criticisms of BDS opponents, when they hear things like what you just said, denouncing this erosion of civil liberties throughout the West including in Europe is, they say, it’s kind of ironic, maybe even hypocritical of you, as an advocate and proponent of Palestinian rights, to be critiquing civil liberties erosions in the West when throughout the Palestinian territories there certainly are no rights for LGBTs, or very few, and that there are far fewer rights for women for civil liberties in places like Gaza and certain parts of the West Bank. How do you respond to that? Is that something you address in your activism for Palestinian rights?

BARGHOUTI: Sure. As an inclusive movement, we call for equal rights for all humans, irrespective of identity. So absolutely, we oppose every form of discrimination against anyone based on any identity attribute. Now, do we have repression in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza? Absolutely.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are under Israeli military occupation so they’re suffering  denial of all rights, from freedom of movement to the right of free speech, to all kinds of rights, to the right to life in some cases, as we’ve seen in Gaza. But yes, on top of that, there is social repression, of course.

GREENWALD: Imposed by Palestinians on other Palestinians.

BARGHOUTI: Imposed by the Palestinian authority, by the authorities in Gaza and that’s yes, Palestinian repression on Palestinians. But the authority in Ramallah is buttressed, is supported entirely by western governments, by The United States, by European governments and to a large extent, by Israel.

So it’s not like the European and American funders are pushing for more democratization and free speech and civil liberties. They’re accepting the growing repression of the Palestinian authorities so long as it does the job, carrying some of the burdens of the occupation while Israel continues to colonize and ethnically cleanse and commit war crimes.

GREENWALD: You talked a little earlier about what you say now is this open racism and even supporters of Israel, people who openly self-identify as Zionist, have sounded these alarm bells about the deterioration of civic discourse on Israel, about how things that were once unthinkable or relegated to a fringe have now become mainstream.

You’re somebody who has lived in Israel since 1994, so 22 years now – how do you describe the changes in terms of what has taken place in Israel domestically? Is it something you regard as a radical departure from what has taken place or is it a natural evolution of something that was a little bit more hidden, that people were maybe a bit more polite about 20 years ago, but is now just made a bit more explicit?

BARGHOUTI: I think racism is inherent in any colonial society and Israel is no exception. As a regime of settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid, racism is not coincidental. It’s a pillar of the system. Look at how Israel treats BDS. BDS calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions to achieve Palestinian freedom, justice and equality and they see that as a major threat. But freedom, justice and equality only threaten lack of freedom, injustice and inequality. It doesn’t threaten anyone else who isn’t premised on the existence of racism.

Certainly, as you rightly said, Israel has dropped the mask. With the last elections in 2015, Israel elected its most racist government ever and we have the most racist parliament ever. The most racist Knesset ever, as Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper calls it. To the extent that, a couple of days ago the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli army said that racism is growing to an extent that reminds people of 1930s Germany.  This is the Deputy Chief of Staff in Israel – this is not some nobody on the streets of London or Paris. This is an extremely important statement by one of the top generals in Israel. He is very alarmed that those symptoms of extreme racism are appearing everywhere and are becoming prevalent in Israeli society. And that is really, really scary.

On the other hand, by dropping the mask, Israel’s regime has in a way accelerated the growth of movements like ours.  Boycott has grown tremendously – I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it – we can attribute part of the success, part of the credit, for the growth and impact of BDS to the Israeli government’s far-right policies and their dropping the mask of enlightenment democracy and so on. They’re doing away with that, with the Ministry of Education instilling extreme racist notions in textbooks, with the Minister of Culture requiring Loyalty Oaths by artists who want to perform in Tel Aviv.

It’s really reaching an unprecedented level of bare racism. Racism was always there but it was always very couched, very hidden by a supposedly liberal Zionist façade that projects to the world Israeli scientific miracles and cultural miracles and whitewashing very well Israel’s deeply rooted racist colonial society.

GREENWALD: My final question is about a couple of reservations or criticisms or objections toward the BDS platform that come not from the obvious opponents of BDS but from people who are generally very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause who even are very harsh critics of Israel. A lot of the time people in that camp will say the following: “Why is it that Israel specifically should be boycotted for its human rights violations when so many other countries in the world including the United States are guilty of at least equal if not greater human rights violations and yet there’s no boycott movement for them?”

And then the other related criticism is that the platform of BDS itself – by including a right of return to Palestinians which would, if accepted, essentially result in the end of Israel as a Jewish state and is something that Israel will never ever accept – makes the BDS movement something designed to achieve a goal that can never actually be achieved and therefore, less effective.

How do you respond to those two concerns or criticisms?

BARGHOUTI: It’s funny when people on the fringe talk about effectiveness,  when Israel is fighting BDS with such immense resources  around the world, inducing governments to pass laws to fight it, using its intelligence sources to spy on citizens around the world – human rights activists involved in BDS. It’s very strange to hear anything about the effectiveness of the movement. I think that’s settled by now. Companies are abandoning Israeli projects, pension funds are abandoning Israeli projects, major churches, major academic associations across the world, especially in the US, are taking action.

GREENWALD: But when they do that, they’re doing that – at least in terms of what they’re expressing – in opposition to the occupation.

BARGHOUTI: Not just that. When you look at academic associations and trade unions, Glenn, they’ve gone way beyond that. Churches, yes, they’ve stuck to the occupation only, but when you look at Academic Associations – the American Studies Association, the Anthropological Association, Women’s Studies and so on, they’ve gone for a full academic boycott of Israel which targets all Israeli academic institutions because of their complicity in planning, implementing and whitewashing Israel’s regime of oppression.

GREENWALD: What I meant was not that their boycott is directed only at Israelis in the occupied territories but rather that their objective in supporting the boycott is not to secure right of return for the Palestinians, as they describe it, but instead is to end the occupation. Would you agree with that?

BARGHOUTI: In fact, most partners and supporters of BDS completely support the three planks in our BDS call of 2005, which is ending the occupation, ending the racial discrimination in Israel and the system of apartheid and right of return. So we’re not aware of partners who do not support the right of return as a basic UN stipulated right.

All refugees, be they Jewish refugees from World War II to refugees from Kosovo, have that right. This is in international law and Palestinians should not be excluded. It’s quite racist to say that the return of Palestinian refugees would end Israeli apartheid and that’s bad because? What is so wrong about refugees having the right to return home? If that disturbs an apartheid system that’s premised on being exclusionary and racist and that does not want to see people gain their rights, what’s the argument there?

GREENWALD: Just to be clear, the argument that I’m describing here – and by the way this isn’t my argument, I’m not advocating it, I’m simply articulating it – it’s the objection that comes not from right-wing critics of BDS but from a lot of allies and a lot of people who are long-time supporters of Palestinian rights, such as Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky.

The argument is not that the right of return is not justifiable, morally or ethically, in fact I think both of them – and pretty much everyone would agree with them – would say that in an ideal world Palestinians would have the right to return. Their argument is a tactical or pragmatic one: that if you allow Palestinians the right of return it would essentially mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state which in turn means that Israel will never ever agree to it. And so you’ve essentially created an unattainable goal, one that can never happen and isn’t realistic and is therefore designed not to help Palestinians, but to be this objective that is inevitably destined to fail.

BARGHOUTI: Well actually that’s a very dogmatic objection. Saying that it will never happen ignores history, ignores that major empires have collapsed in our lifetime that were thought to be invincible just years before collapsing. Who would have thought a country as powerful as the Soviet Union would collapse? Who would have thought in the 1980s that apartheid in South Africa would collapse? Who would have thought that East Timur would have autonomy when 20 years before no-one knew where East Timur was?

So it’s really quite dogmatic for people to say only when it comes to protecting Israeli apartheid you cannot question it – if you dare, Israel will bring down the house on everyone.

Israel depends tremendously on public support from the outside, from complicity from Western governments. As that erodes, as BDS grows and public support for BDS grows, and Israel gets isolated in the academic, economic, cultural and military sphere, eventually, it will have to abide by international law, and we will see dissent growing in Israel like any other colonial state.

We will not see dissent as long as the price is not high enough. When it becomes high enough we will see growing dissent and more Jewish Israelis joining the ranks of BDS so that we can both ethically shape a future together based on justice, freedom and equality.

Going back to the first point which was why target Israel and not the United States. Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a very similar argument with this issue when it was brought up about South Africa. He said certainly apartheid Africa was not by far the most evil system of oppression around, but you could not ask South Africans – the black majority – why are you fighting apartheid? If you’re sick with the flu you don’t fight another illness, you fight the sickness that you are suffering from.

The Palestinians are under an Israeli regime of oppression so naturally we have to fight this immediate oppressor. Now the fact that Israel is completely supported by the United States – sponsored, bank-rolled, protected – that doesn’t mean that we should not fight our immediate oppressor. That’s how you effectively make a change and achieve your rights.

This is not an intellectual exercise. Yes, one can call for a boycott of all governments that support Israel’s oppression – the United States and so on – but that’s intellectualism that leads to no action. If we follow Paulo Freire’s reflection and action model, that you have to reflect and then act, you’re not acting by calling for a boycott of the United States because it’s the only surviving empire. It’s invincible at this point in time, in 2016. It would be completely ridiculous to call for a boycott of the United States.

As Naomi Klein said, it would never work. Boycotts are not just intellectual exercises, they have to work. We’re not in it for fun, we’re not in it to make a point. We‘re in it to gain our freedom and rights under international law and for that we have to be very strategic.

GREENWALD: I said that would be my last question but I actually have one more – a very narrow, specific question about the news of the denial of your travel permit. Are there appeals available to you? Do you have legal recourse that you can seek in order to get the decision reversed and do you intend to do that?

BARGHOUTI: I cannot speak a lot about our legal strategy but certainly we’re exposing this around the world. We rely on action by citizens of the world, not on the governments because governments are very complicit in Israel’s regime of oppression, but Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, and other groups have started campaigning in the US against this travel ban against me. And many, many groups are working for the right to BDS. Even if you disagree with some of the tactics of BDS, on purely free speech grounds you’ve got to support our right to call for BDS.

In the United States in particular it’s protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution so even the New York Times at one point defended our right to advocate for BDS while being completely against BDS.I think Israel will face a problem that it is alienating the liberal mainstream and that will be really the final stroke in its wall to wall support in the United States.

GREENWALD: Well, there are loads of people who love to wrap themselves in the flag of free speech rights, including supporters of Israel, and hopefully those people will have the courage of their convictions that even if they don’t agree with your positions on BDS and Israel generally in the occupation, that they would nonetheless see it as highly objectionable that you should be denied the most basic right of international travel simply because the Israeli government wants to punish you for your political views or constrain you from engaging in activism internationally. And hopefully this interview will help to bring some attention to what has been done to you.

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

BARGHOUTI: Thank you so much Glenn


German comedian under investigation for insulting Turkish leader vows not to insult Hitler

German comedian Jan Böhmermann has returned to television after a pause following a row over a poem insulting Turkey’s president. The German parliament is debating the law that has the satirist under investigation.

May 13, 2016


The German comedian at the center of a free-speech row over a crude poem about Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to television late Thursday after a pause of several weeks. He said he would no longer make jokes about Adolf Hitler because it could be construed as disturbing the dead.

Jan Böhmermann, the front man of the comedy show “Neo Magazin Royale,” is under investigation for reading a poem on television in late March accusing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of bestiality and pedophilia.

The case has turned into a domestic and diplomatic headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who controversially gave the green light to prosecutors to investigate the comedian after Erdogan’s lawyers filed a complaint under an archaic German law proscribing defamation of foreign leaders.

Even before reading the poem, Böhmermann admitted it tested the limits of freedom of speech. The poem was a sharp piece of satire aimed at a Turkish leader who has clamped down on all types of dissent and filed nearly 2,000 defamation complaints against critics in Turkey.

The Böhmermann case has been carried to the German parliament, which on Thursday debated the defamation law – article 103 of the penal code.

That debate stirred further controversy when a member of parliament from Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the jurist Detlef Seif, read the poem out loud in parliament. He recited it not in a show of support, but rather to criticize the crude satire.

“A person’s honor is under attack here and the justice must decide if these statements are still covered by freedom of expression and the press,” Seif told parliament. “But put yourselves in the shoes of Erdogan and think about it, how would you take it?”

“I ask that the parliamentary immunity of CDU MP Detlef Seif be lifted for prosecution under article 103 of the penal code,” Böhmermann responded on Twitter.

The recital drew criticism from some members of the governing coalition and opposition Greens and Left Party, who had tabled a motion to immediately lift article 103 from the penal code. Merkel has said she wants to overturn the law, but not until 2018. Justice Minister Heiko Maas, meanwhile, has made clear he would like to expedite striking the law from the books.

Ironically, Seif’s recital will now remain accessible to the public on the German parliament’s media library. Public broadcaster ZDF, which airs Böhmermanns’ show, had previously scrubbed all footage of the poem from the internet based on what the broadcaster said were its “quality guidelines.”


‘Records on ISIS terrorists ignored’: Turkish MP accuses govt, passes ‘evidence’ to RT

May 13, 2016


A Turkish opposition MP has accused the government of ignoring Islamic State terrorists’ activity on its territory despite knowing their precise locations. Documents containing what is thought to be proof of those allegations have been handed over to RT.

“These phone conversations include terrorists’ locations, which hotel they were staying in, which petrol station they would fill their cars at, in which mosque they would gather, how many people would come and go – all of it. Even though this information was known, there wasn’t any operation against them,” opposition MP Eren Erdem told the Turkish parliament. “I am asking a simple question: Why didn’t you arrest these terrorists?”

As he was speaking, Erdem was holding a stack of documents in his hand, alleging there are 422 pages of police data concerning IS, which prove the authorities deliberately didn’t act when it had a chance to arrest them. The Turkish MP provided copies of the documents to RT, and they are currently being examined.

Erdem says some of the transcribed phone recordings belong to Ilhami Bali from an IS affiliate suspected of staging high-profile bomb attacks in Ankara and the mainly-Kurdish border city of Suruc, which targeted pro-Kurdish and leftist gatherings.

Another man mentioned in the documents is Ebu Hanzala, a pro-jihad speaker, who was arrested by the Turkish police in 2015 only to be released later by a Turkish court. On his website, he is calling for killing people from religious and ethnic minorities.

Erdem, who is a member of the Republican People’s Party, is a well-known critic of the Turkish government. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled him a traitor for his earlier accusations, in which Erdem said Ankara knew about a cross-border supply of chemical weapons to IS and did nothing to prevent it.

Voicing accusations of alleged links between Turkish authorities and terrorist groups in Syria is a dangerous move in Erdogan’s Turkey. Last week, a Turkish court sentenced two prominent journalists from the Cumhuriyet newspaper to jail terms of over five years for a report about supplies of arms to Syrian militants by Turkish special services. They have been convicted on charges of “revealing state secrets.”

Erdem is immune from prosecution due to his MP status, but parliament is currently in the process of stripping this protection from its members.


US immigration officials planning 30-day ‘surge’ of arrests to deport families

May arrests to focus on Central American mothers and children who’ve already been told to leave, according to ICE internal document instructing field offices

May 12, 2016


US immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.

The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.

Those raids, which resulted in the detention of 121 people, mostly women and children, sparked an outcry from immigration advocates and criticism from some Democrats, including the party’s presidential election frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.

The exact dates of the latest series of raids were not known and the details of the operation could change.

The operation in January marked a departure for ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security, from one-off deportations to high-profile raids meant to deter migrants from coming to the United States.

An ICE spokeswoman said the agency does not “confirm or deny the existence of specific ongoing or future law enforcement actions”. The spokeswoman said immigrants who arrived illegally after 1 January 2014 are priorities for removal.

Federal resources were strained in 2014 under a wave of illegal migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, especially women and children fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The planned new raids are in response to a renewed surge of illegal entries by Central American women traveling with their children.

From October 2015 through March 2016, the US Border Patrol apprehended more than 32,000 family “units”, defined as mothers and children traveling together, for crossing illegally into the United States. Over the same period in 2014-2015, there were about 14,000 such apprehensions; in 2013-2014, about 19,800.

Many of those apprehended for unlawful entry are put into deportation proceedings in court but do not show up for their scheduled appearance before a judge or ignore court orders to leave the country.

The surge in illegal border crossings has put Obama in a tough spot in a presidential election year in which he wants to see a fellow Democrat elected as his successor.

Obama has said criminal immigrants and those who have recently entered the country are priorities for deportation. He is regularly hammered by Republicans over the presence of more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

But Hispanic-Americans tend to vote for Democrats, who are more sympathetic to the plight of the undocumented.

Clinton raised concerns about the January raids at the time, saying they had “sown fear and division in immigrant communities”.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has pledged to build a wall along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.

Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson told a US Senate panel in March that the January raids had helped to deter Central Americans from migrating illegally. Border Patrol reported fewer illegal entries between January and March 2016 compared to October and December 2015, but there were more apprehended than over the same time period in early 2015.

A separate document seen by Reuters said Johnson was concerned about the most recent uptick in border crossings.

Immigration advocates say they have asked Johnson to abandon plans for future raids.

“Raids are not the answer,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, a legal aide and advocacy group for migrants.

“This is a humanitarian challenge,” she said.


Once Again, Thieves Enter Swift Financial Network and Steal

May 12, 2016

by Michael Corkery

The New York Times

Thieves have again found their way into what was thought to be the most secure financial messaging system in the world and stolen money from a bank. The crime appears to be part of a broad online attack on global banking.

New details about a second attack involving Swift — the messaging system used by thousands of banks and companies to move money around the world — are emerging as investigators are still trying to solve the $81 million heist from the central bank of Bangladesh in February. In that theft, the attackers were able to compel the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money to accounts in the Philippines.

The second attack involves a commercial bank, which Swift declined to identify. But in a letter Swift plans to share with its users on Friday, the messaging network warned that the two attacks bore numerous similarities and were very likely part of a “wider and highly adaptive campaign targeting banks.”

The unusual warning from Swift, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, shows how serious the financial industry regards these attacks to be. Some banking experts say they may be impossible to solve or trace. Swift said the thieves somehow got their hands on legitimate network credentials, initiated the fraudulent transfers and installed malware on bank computers to disguise their movements.

“The attackers clearly exhibit a deep and sophisticated knowledge of specific operation controls within the targeted banks — knowledge that may have been gained from malicious insiders or cyberattacks, or a combination of both,” Swift said in its warning, which is expected to be posted on a secure part of its website on Friday.

Security experts who have studied the attacks said the thieves may have been lurking inside the bank systems for months before they were detected.

In its warning, Swift pointed to another worrying situation: that the thieves may have been able to recruit bank employees to hand over credentials and other key details.

In both cases, the core messaging system of Swift was not breached; rather, the criminals attacked the banks’ connections to the Swift network. Each bank is responsible for maintaining the security of its connection to Swift. Criminals have found ways to exploit loopholes in bank security to obtain login credentials and dispatch fraudulent Swift messages.

“As a matter of urgency, we remind all customers again to urgently review controls in their payments environments,” Swift tells its customers in the letter to be posted on Friday.

Banks — like many major corporations — are constantly under attack by criminals, seeking to find the weak point in their defenses. An attack in the summer of 2014 on JPMorgan Chase compromised the accounts of 76 million households and seven million small businesses, but no money was stolen. Thieves frequently steal bank customers’ A.T.M. and credit card credentials.

But these attacks involving Swift stand out, because millions of dollars were stolen — not from a large number of customers, but from the banks themselves. It is as if the thieves used their hacking skills to reach inside a bank vault.

Emboldened and enriched, the thieves are likely to strike again, security experts predict.

“An event like this changes the risk profile for the banking system, since the attackers will inevitably reinvest some of their profits in new large-scale attacks,” said Paul Kocher, a security and encryption expert who is the president of Cryptography Research, a division of Rambus.

Initially, many banks and security experts dismissed the Bangladesh attacks as brazen, but probably isolated, events in a developing country. A stream of news reports from the capital of Dhaka cited rudimentary technology at Bangladesh Bank, like a $10 router and an absence of firewalls. Bangladesh officials had blamed the New York Fed, saying it failed to block the fraudulent transfers.

On Tuesday, representatives from Swift, the New York Fed and Bangladesh Bank met in Basel, Switzerland, to discuss the breach and the vulnerabilities it exposed in the system.

In a joint statement, the three sides said they had agreed to cooperate in trying to “bring the perpetrators to justice, and protect the global financial system from these types of attacks.”

But the details of the second attack — which Swift said occurred in the last few months — suggested a highly sophisticated threat that did not necessarily hinge on weak digital defenses. Swift declined to say how much money was stolen from the bank, which was not located in Bangladesh.

Somehow the thieves obtained a valid Swift credential that allowed them to “create, approve and submit” messages on the network. Those messages — sent from PCs in the bank’s back offices or from laptops — were then used to move money from one of the bank’s accounts.

Many banks have a system of checks and balances by which they can validate and review transactions to root out fraud.

But in this latest case, the thieves used a form of malware that targeted a PDF reader that the bank used to confirm that payments had been made. The malware, according to Swift, then manipulated the PDF to “remove traces of the fraudulent instructions.”

That the thieves knew that the bank used a PDF program to confirm its payments shows the level of detail gleaned about how the particular system worked. At Bangladesh Bank, Swift transactions were tracked using physical printouts. So the thieves tailored their malware in that attack to interfere with the printer and cover their tracks.

The attacks have been a major headache for the ubiquitous and publicity-shy Swift, an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Based in Belgium, Swift is partly owned and overseen by the world’s biggest banks, which have used the technology to facilitate money transfers since the 1970s. It prides itself on not disclosing any information about its users.

After the attacks, Swift has had to walk a fine line of emphasizing the fundamental soundness of its network while urging its 11,000 users to take the utmost security measures to defend against future attack.

“Your first priority should be to ensure that you have all the preventative and detective measures in place to secure your own environment,” Swift said in its message. “This latest evidence adds further urgency to your work.”

Nicole Perlroth contributed reporting.


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