TBR News May 14, 2018

May 14 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 14, 2018:” On August 21st, 2008, the Iranian MV Iran Deyanat, a 44468 dead weight tonnage carrier. that is  owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) – a state-owned company run by the Iranian military that was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for its false manifests and traffic in forbidden nuclear materials, was seized by Somali pirates to be held for their usual ransom.

The ship had set sail from Nanjing, China, July 28, 2008

The Old Nanking Port of Nanjing is the largest inland port in China, yearly reaching 108.59 million tons in 2007. The port area is 98 kilometers (61 mi) in length and has 64 berths including 16 berths for ships with a tonnage of more than 10,000. Nanjing is also the biggest container port along the Yangtze River; in March 2004, the one million container-capacity base, Longtan Containers Port Area opened, further consolidating Nanjing as the leading port in the region.

During her stay at Nanjing, the MV Iran Deyanat was loaded primarily with eight cargo containers, lined with lead and with electronic locks. The 20 ft containers are  8’ wide, and carry a load of 48,060 lb per container. This special container cargo had a total load of 384,480 pounds which consisted of packaged of nuclear waste that originated at the Tianwan 1&2 Atomic plants from Jiangsu Province (built in 2007) Once the radiation death of many of the pirates (16) became known, reporters attempting to contact responsible officials in the Pentagon and the Department of State were told these officials refused to comment on any of the implications of the cargo. The ship’s manifest was falsified but the deadly cargo was supposed to be headed for Rotterdam and an unspecified “German client.”

Much of the story was covered in a London Times article which was subsequently removed from that paper’s archive and the initial story was tailored by the ‘Long War Journal,’ a website with close connections to the Department of Defense and the CIA. It tended to dismiss the entire question of a radioactive cargo and instead, discussed unspecified chemicals.

Let us say that a mythical ship, the Extreme Venture, picks up a cargo at an approved port and sails off to another port that is also approved. Again, if a country or entity wanting to take a dangerous cargo to the same port, it need only paint out its name, change its radio call signs, and using the methodology instituted by the U.S., enter, for example, the port of Haifa a day in advance of the real Extreme Venture. Having passed all the approved requirements, it can enter the harbor, proceed to an assigned dock, unload its containers onto waiting trucks and sail out of the harbor without let or hindrance. And the next day when the real Extreme Venture arrives, one can expect that the security people would be in a state of frenzy. By that time, the fake Extreme venture has put yet another name on her bows and stern, run up another flag and using shipping information easily available on the internet, become another innocent cargo ship among many.

The American view, known to several other countries, is that as both the United States and Israel have been at the forefront of violent verbal attacks against, and threats of violence to, Iran, they are now the prime targets of what, at the worst case scenario, could amount to a commercial delivery of least 16 containers of deadly radioactive material, mixed with high explosives.

One of the largest cargo container ports in America, Long Beach, California, has DHS inspection teams at work on a round the clock basis but because of the huge volume of traffic, only 2% of the cargo containers can be checked thoroughly at any given time. This means that should another Iranian cargo container, sailing under a false flag and with a false manifest, dock at Long Beach and offload her deadly cargo, there is a 98% chance that it could avoid any kind of inspection, be loaded onto waiting trucks and shipped to destinations all over the United States.”

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 Gearing Up for the Third Gulf War

Will Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, and Tehran Face Off in a Future Cataclysm?

by Michael T. Klare

Tom Dispatch

With Donald Trump’s decision to shred the Iran nuclear agreement, announced last Tuesday, it’s time for the rest of us to start thinking about what a Third Gulf War would mean. The answer, based on the last 16 years of American experience in the Greater Middle East, is that it won’t be pretty.

The New York Times recently reported that U.S. Army Special Forces were secretly aiding the Saudi Arabian military against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. It was only the latest sign preceding President Trump’s Iran announcement that Washington was gearing up for the possibility of another interstate war in the Persian Gulf region. The first two Gulf wars — Operation Desert Storm (the 1990 campaign to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait) and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq — ended in American “victories” that unleashed virulent strains of terrorism like ISIS, uprooted millions, and unsettled the Greater Middle East in disastrous ways. The Third Gulf War — not against Iraq but Iran and its allies — will undoubtedly result in another American “victory” that could loose even more horrific forces of chaos and bloodshed.

Like the first two Gulf wars, the third could involve high-intensity clashes between an array of American forces and those of Iran, another well-armed state. While the United States has been fighting ISIS and other terrorist entities in the Middle East and elsewhere in recent years, such warfare bears little relation to engaging a modern state determined to defend its sovereign territory with professional armed forces that have the will, if not necessarily the wherewithal, to counter major U.S. weapons systems.

A Third Gulf War would distinguish itself from recent Middle Eastern conflicts by the geographic span of the fighting and the number of major actors that might become involved. In all likelihood, the field of battle would stretch from the shores of the Mediterranean, where Lebanon abuts Israel, to the Strait of Hormuz, where the Persian Gulf empties into the Indian Ocean. Participants could include, on one side, Iran, the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and assorted Shia militias in Iraq and Yemen; and, on the other, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  If the fighting in Syria were to get out of hand, Russian forces could even become involved.

All of these forces have been equipping themselves with massive arrays of modern weaponry in recent years, ensuring that any fighting will be intense, bloody, and horrifically destructive. Iran has been acquiring an assortment of modern weapons from Russia and possesses its own substantial arms industry. It, in turn, has been supplying the Assad regime with modern arms and is suspected of shipping an array of missiles and other munitions to Hezbollah. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have long been major recipients of tens of billions of dollars of sophisticated American weaponry and President Trump has promised to supply them with so much more.

This means that, once ignited, a Third Gulf War could quickly escalate and would undoubtedly generate large numbers of civilian and military casualties, and new flows of refugees. The United States and its allies would try to quickly cripple Iran’s war-making capabilities, a task that would require multiple waves of air and missile strikes, some surely directed at facilities in densely populated areas. Iran and its allies would seek to respond by attacking high-value targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia, including cities and oil facilities. Iran’s Shia allies in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere could be expected to launch attacks of their own on the U.S.-led alliance. Where all this would lead, once such fighting began, is of course impossible to predict, but the history of the twenty-first century suggests that, whatever happens, it won’t follow the carefully laid plans of commanding generals (or their civilian overseers) and won’t end either expectably or well.

Precisely what kind of incident or series of events would ignite a war of this sort is similarly unpredictable.  Nonetheless, it seems obvious that the world is moving ever closer to a moment when the right (or perhaps the better word is wrong) spark could set off a chain of events leading to full-scale hostilities in the Middle East in the wake of President Trump’s recent rejection of the nuclear deal. It’s possible, for instance, to imagine a clash between Israeli and Iranian military contingents in Syria sparking such a conflict. The Iranians, it is claimed, have set up bases there both to support the Assad regime and to funnel arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon. On May 10th, Israeli jets struck several such sites, following a missile barrage on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights said to have been launched by Iranian soldiers in Syria. More Israeli strikes certainly lie in our future as Iran presses its drive to establish and control a so-called land bridge through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Another possible spark could involve collisions or other incidents between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf, where the two navies frequently approach each other in an aggressive manner. Whatever the nature of the initial clash, rapid escalation to full-scale hostilities could occur with very little warning.

All of this begs a question: Why are the United States and its allies in the region moving ever closer to another major war in the Persian Gulf? Why now?

The Geopolitical Impulse

The first two Gulf Wars were driven, to a large extent, by the geopolitics of oil. After World War II, as the United States became increasingly dependent on imported sources of petroleum, it drew ever closer to Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer. Under the Carter Doctrine of January 1980, the U.S. pledged for the first time to use force, if necessary, to prevent any interruption in the flow of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to this country and its allies. Ronald Reagan, the first president to implement that doctrine, authorized the “reflagging” of Saudi and Kuwaiti oil tankers with the stars and stripes during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War that began in 1980 and their protection by the U.S. Navy. When Iranian gunboats menaced such tankers, American vessels drove them off in incidents that represented the first actual military clashes between the U.S. and Iran. At the time, President Reagan put the matter in no uncertain terms: “The use of the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf will not be dictated by the Iranians.”

Oil geopolitics also figured prominently in the U.S. decision to intervene in the First Gulf War. When Iraqi forces occupied Kuwait in August 1990 and appeared poised to invade Saudi Arabia, President George H.W. Bush announced that the U.S. would send forces to defend the kingdom and so played out the Carter Doctrine in real time. “Our country now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence,” he declared, adding that “the sovereign independence of Saudi Arabia is of vital interest to the United States.”

Although the oil dimension of U.S. strategy was less obvious in President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, it was still there. Members of his inner circle, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the safety of Persian Gulf oil lanes and needed to be eliminated. Others in the administration were eager to pursue the prospect of privatizing Iraq’s state-owned oil fields and turning them over to American oil companies (a notion that evidently stuck in Donald Trump’s mind, as he repeatedly asserted during the 2016 election campaign that “we should have kept the oil”).

Today, oil has receded, if not entirely disappeared, as a major factor in Persian Gulf geopolitics, while other issues have moved to the fore. Of greatest significance in animating the current military standoff is an escalating struggle for regional dominance between Iran and Saudi Arabia (with a nuclear-armed Israel lurking in the wings). Both countries view themselves as the hub of a network of like-minded states and societies — Iran as the leader of the region’s Shia populations, Saudi Arabia of its Sunnis — and both resent any gains by the other. To complicate matters, President Trump, clearly harboring deep antipathy toward the Iranians, has chosen to side with the Saudis big league (as he might say), while Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, fearing Iranian advances in the region, has opted to weigh in on the Saudi side of the equation in a major way as well. The result, as suggested by military historian Andrew Bacevich, is the “inauguration of a Saudi-American-Israeli axis” and a “major realignment of U.S. strategic relationships.”

Several key factors explain this transition from an oil-centric strategy emphasizing military power to a more conventional struggle among regional rivals that has already deeply embroiled the planet’s last superpower. To begin with, America’s reliance on imported oil has diminished rapidly in recent years, thanks to an oil drilling revolution in the U.S. that has allowed the massive exploitation of domestic shale reserves through the process of fracking. As a result, access to Persian Gulf supplies matters far less in Washington than it did in previous decades. In 2001, according to oil giant BP, the United States relied on imports for 61% of its net oil consumption; by 2016, that share had dropped to 37% and was still falling — and yet the U.S. remains deeply involved in the region as a decade and a half of unending war, counterinsurgency, drone strikes, and other kinds of strife sadly indicate.

By invading and occupying Iraq in 2003, Washington also eliminated a major bulwark of Sunni power, a country led by Saddam Hussein who, two decades earlier, had been siding with the U.S. in opposing Iran. That invasion, ironically enough, had the effect of expanding Shiite influence and making Iran the major — possibly the only — winner in the years of war that followed. Some Western analysts believe that the greatest tragedy of the invasion, from a geopolitical point of view, was the ascension of Shiite politicians with close ties to Tehran in post-Hussein Iraq. Although that country’s current leaders appear intent on pursuing a path of their own in the post-ISIS moment, many powerful Iraqi Shiite militias — including some that played key roles in driving Islamic State militants out of Mosul and other major cities — retain close ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

While disasters in themselves, the wars in Syria and Yemen have only added additional complexity to the geopolitical chessboard on which Washington found itself after that invasion and from which it has never extricated itself. In Syria, Iran has chosen to ally with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to preserve the brutal Assad regime, providing it with arms, funds, and an unknown number of advisers from the Revolutionary Guards. Hezbollah, a Shiite political group in Lebanon with a significant military wing, has sent large numbers of its own fighters to Syria to help Assad’s forces. In Yemen, the Iranians are believed to be providing arms and missile technology to the Houthis, a homegrown Shiite rebel group that now controls the northern half of the country, including the capital, Sana’a.

The Saudis, in turn, have been playing an ever more active role in bolstering their military power and protecting embattled Sunni communities throughout the region. Seeking to resist and reverse what they view as Iranian advances, they have helped arm militias of an extreme sort and evidently even al-Qaeda-associated groups under attack from Iranian-backed Shiite forces in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, in the case of Yemen, they organized a coalition of Sunni Arab states to crush the Houthi rebels in a brutal war that has included a blockade of the country, helping to produce mass famine and a relentless American-backed air campaign, which often hits civilian targets including markets, schools, and weddings. This combination has helped produce an estimated 10,000 civilian deaths and a singular humanitarian crisis in that already impoverished country.

In response to these developments, the Obama administration sought to calm the situation by negotiating a nuclear deal with the Iranians and by holding out the promise of increased economic ties with the West in return for reduced assertiveness outside its borders. Such a strategy never, however, won the support of Israel or Saudi Arabia. And in the Obama years, Washington continued to support both of those countries in a major way, including supplying massive amounts of military equipment, refueling Saudi planes in midair so they could strike deeper into Yemen, and providing the Saudis with targeting intelligence for their disastrous war.

The Anti-Iranian Triumvirate

All of these regional developments, in play before Donald Trump was elected, have only gained added momentum since then, thanks in no small degree to the pivotal personalities involved.

The first of them, of course, is President Trump. Throughout his election campaign, he regularly denounced the nuclear deal that Iran, the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the European Union all signed onto in July 2015. Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement forced Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions. It was a plan that Iran scrupulously adhered to. Although President Obama, many senior American policymakers, and most European leaders had argued that the JCPOA — whatever its flaws — provided a valuable constraint on Iran’s nuclear (and so other) ambitions, Trump consistently denounced it as a “terrible deal” because it failed to eliminate every last vestige of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure or ban that country’s missile program. “This deal was a disaster,” he told David Sanger of the New York Times in March 2016.

While Trump, who has filled his administration with Iranophobes, including his new secretary of state and new national security adviser, seems to harbor a primeval animosity toward the Iranians, perhaps because they don’t treat him with the adoration he feels he deserves, he has a soft spot for the Saudi royals, who do. In May 2017, on his first trip abroad as president, he traveled to Riyadh, where he performed a sword dance with Saudi princes and immersed himself in the sort of ostentatious displays of wealth only oil potentates can provide.

While in Riyadh, he conferred at length with then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 31-year-old son of King Salman and a key architect of Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical contest with the Iranians. Prince Mohammed, who serves as the Saudi defense minister and was named crown prince in June 2017, is the prime mover behind the kingdom’s (so far unsuccessful) drive to crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen and is known to harbor fierce anti-Iranian views.

At an earlier White House luncheon in March 2017, bin Salman, or MBS as he’s sometimes known, and President Trump seemed to reach an implicit agreement on a common strategy for branding Iran a regional threat, tearing up the nuclear agreement, and so setting the stage for an eventual war to vanquish that country or at least to fell the regime that runs it. While in Riyadh, President Trump told a conference of Sunni Arab leaders that, “from Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death of America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room.”

While no doubt gratifying to the Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, and other Sunni rulers listening, those words echoed the views of the third key player in the strategic triumvirate that may soon drive the region into all-out war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also known as “Bibi.” For years, he has railed against Iranian ambitions in the region and threatened military action against any Iranian move that would, as he saw it, impinge on Israeli security. Now, in Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince, he has the allies of his dreams. In the Obama years, Netanyahu was a fierce opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal and used a rare appearance before a joint session of Congress in March 2015 to denounce it in no uncertain terms. He has never — right up to the days before Trump withdrew from the accord — stopped working to persuade the president that the agreement should be junked and Iran targeted.

In that 2015 speech to Congress, Netanyahu laid out a vision of Iran as a systemic danger that would later be appropriated by Trump and his Saudi confederates in Riyadh. “Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world,” he asserted in a typically hyperbolic statement. “Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Backed by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Backed by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic strait at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.”

Now, Netanyahu is playing a major role in driving the already crippled region into a war that could further destroy it, produce yet more terror groups (and terrorized civilians), and create havoc on a potentially global scale, given that both Russia and China back the Iranians.

Girding for War

Pay attention to the words of Netanyahu in Washington and Donald Trump in Riyadh. Think of them not as political rhetoric, but as prophesies of a grim kind. You’re going to be hearing a lot more such prophesies in the months ahead as the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia move closer to war with Iran and its allies. While ideology and religion will play a part in what follows, the underlying impetus is a geopolitical struggle for control of the greater Persian Gulf region, with all its riches, between two sets of countries, each determined to prevail.

No one can say with certainty when, or even if, these powerful forces will produce a devastating new war or set of wars in the Middle East. Other considerations — an unexpected flare-up on the Korean Peninsula if President Trump’s talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un end in failure, a fresh crisis with Russia, a global economic meltdown — could turn attention elsewhere, lessening the importance of the geopolitical contest in the Persian Gulf. New leadership in any of the key countries could similarly lead to a change of course. Netanyahu, for example, is now at risk of losing power because of an ongoing Israeli police investigation into allegedly corrupt acts of his, and Trump, well, who can say? Without such a development or developments, however, the way to war, which will surely prove to be the road to hell, seems open with a Third Gulf War looming on humanity’s horizon.



Kim Jong-un: The Commie Who Came in From the ColdIs he North Korea’s Gorbachev?

May 14, 2018

by Justin Raimondo


Why has North Korea suddenly decided to negotiate with Seoul and Washington, and quite possibly give up its nuclear weapons?

This question has commentators in the West stumped, and so they fall back on the usual self-serving narcissistic America-centric nonsense: Kim Jong-un was so intimidated by President Trump’s outlandish threats that he decided to be a good boy and capitulate. The North Koreans naturally deny this, and their denials are quite credible: after all, the Korean stalemate has been pretty much unalterable since the signing of the armistice in 1953, and there is no reason to believe that this frozen conflict would reemerge as a hot spot – and burst into flame – since both sides would be very badly burned.

Yes, there has been plenty of rhetorical bombast since the North acquired a nuclear capacity and some semi-credible means of delivering a nuclear payload, but in reality this actually lessened the prospect of bombs dropping on either side of the demilitarized zone – for the same reason that deterrence worked to make a nuclear exchange between the US and the Soviet Union unthinkable.

So if Trump’s tweeted bloviations weren’t the cause of the North Korean charm offensive, and subsequent North-South rapprochement during the Winter Olympics, then what is going on here?

There is a lot of evidence that the North Koreans have decided on a major turn toward the West. Although the present opacity of the North gives us only a limited view of what is going on, there is sufficient reason to believe that the last Stalinist regime on earth is on a course of self-liquidation that – they hope – will enable them to survive as a political force in a reunified Korean nation.

In short, Kim Jong-un aspires to be North Korea’s Mikhail Gorbachev: a communist dictator who wants to come in from the cold.

This is indicated by statements coming from both sides prior to the Kim-Trump summit. Here is what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to say after his first meeting with the South Koreans:

“‘If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on par with our South Korean friends,” Pompeo said during a joint news conference with [South Korean Foreign Minister] Kang [Kyung-wha].”

It was natural to expect that there would be some kind of economic assistance program for the North if the negotiations succeed. Yet this kind of extravagant promise – to bring the North up to the advanced level of the South – is unusual, to say the least. How could this occur unless the communist dictatorship was neutralized and the two halves of the Korean nation reunited?

Another indication of the North Korean turn toward the West is the announcement by the ruling North Korean Workers Party that their “military first” socio-economic program has been abandoned in favor of an “economy first” initiative. Giving the green light to market forces, which have already taken hold in the North, the regime is moving toward the same economic development strategy as their Chinese neighbors, and while it’s unlikely we’ll hear Kim announce “To get rich is glorious,” as Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping reportedly did, it’s not out of the question.

While we are supposed to think that the North Korean dictatorship is unyielding in its commitment to communist ideology, the Stalinist version of communism has never been averse to compromising in the face of political realities. Stalinism was itself a modification – a compromise – of orthodox Leninism in that it forswore world revolution in favor of socialism in one country. At crucial times Stalinist regimes have made big concessions to the “bourgeois world” in order to ensure their own survival: the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the subsequent alliance with the West against the Nazis are two major examples, but hardly the only ones. In China, for example, the Chinese Communist Party for a time dissolved their own organization and joined Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists in a fight against the Japanese: they did this at Stalin’s suggestion.

This possibility – that the North is seeking de facto self-dissolution as a survival tactic – is reinforced by a seeming anomaly: the North’s statement to the effect that they have withdrawn their objections to the US military presence in the South, at least for the moment. One would think that this demand would be at the top of Kim’s list: but no, they appear to have dropped it, and this comports with the idea that the North may be seeking a fundamental change rather than a simple de-escalation of tensions.

But why would the North Koreans agree to such major concessions when they have the security provided by nuclear weapons and the military stalemate on the Korean peninsula continues? For the same reason their former Soviet patrons gave up the ghost – because socialism doesn’t work. As the great libertarian economist  Ludwig von Mises showed nearly 100 years ago, there can be no rational pricing under a socialist regime, and therefore rational economic planning – the core of the socialist concept – cannot occur. Aside from that, the peculiar characteristic of North Korean socialism – the “juche” idea, which is basically economic autarky – make the success of even a modified communist system utterly impossible, no matter how many concessions to the internal market economy the regime makes.

Kim Jong-un and the ruling elite of North Korea looked at the South and decided they wanted some of that good stuff too: they want to live in a modern state, with all the amenities (like functioning electricity!). Furthermore, they looked at the geopolitical corner they’ve backed themselves into and saw that their enemies have the advantage: the North Koreans are literally surrounded, with no way out except to align with one of their adversaries.

And who are their enemies? Up until recently, the South was a declared enemy. And surely the Japanese, who are hated by the South as well as the North, also qualify: the legacy of World War II is still fresh in that part of the world. And despite popular misconceptions, and the history of the Korean war, the Chinese are also considered adversaries: there’s a long history of embittered polemics between the two ostensibly communist countries, involving both ideology and border disputes. Now that China has moved toward rapprochement and economic partnership with the West, the North Koreans have decided to take the same route – only more so.

My view is that the North Koreans have decided on an alliance – I repeat, an alliance, not just a rapprochement – with the United States on the grounds that the far enemy is less dangerous than their Chinese frenemies next door. The last thing Kim wants is to be absorbed by his erstwhile allies in Beijing, who, after all, have joined with the West in imposing punishing economic sanctions. Another indication of the anti-Chinese orientation of the regime is the execution of Kim’s uncle – who had been in charge of negotiating with the Chinese over economic “free trade zones” – and the subsequent purge of “anti-party elements” who supposedly were giving away economic concessions to the Chinese for practically nothing.

A new generation of leadership has taken the reins in Pyongyang, exemplified by Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, with her Western-style clothing and casual poise. It’s no surprise that the North Korean elite doesn’t want to exist within the constraints imposed by an outlived conflict. That our President sees this and is acting to meet them on their own terms is to his credit – not that Trump’s enemies in this country and abroad are willing to give him the least amount of credit.

But no matter: like the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the European wing of the Bolshevik movement, this historic development is occurring over and above the whiny protests of the usual suspects. Remember how the neocons denounced Ronald Reagan for taking Gorbachev seriously? The same thing is happening today, with the “liberals” joining the war-loving neocons in their skeptical chorus.

Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump is making history – and I’m loving it.


US exceptionalism Trump-style: Believing no deal can work without America

May 14, 2018

by Alexandre Antonov


Many US presidents believed their country to be uniquely poised to decide on how the world should work. Donald Trump pushes the misconception further, apparently believing no international agreement can work without America in it.

Trump the deal-maker proved to be a great deal-breaker. Not even halfway past his term, he managed to withdraw from the TTP, a transpacific trade deal aimed at curtailing China’s economic influence in Asia, the Paris Accord, a key agreement on tackling climate change, and now the JCPOA, a security arrangement meant to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The dust has not yet settled after Trump last week shove his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal in the face of European allies, but the US president seems to believe the JCPOA to be a thing of some distant past, an oddity of a glorious American historic record.

“Remember how badly Iran was behaving with the Iran Deal in place. They were trying to take over the Middle East by whatever means necessary. Now, that will not happen!” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “Iran has no respect for world peace. Exiting the Iran Deal was needed.”

Everyone in the deal except the US reassured that they will keep their end of the bargain despite Trump’s move. Everyone, including Iran, so those international inspections and uranium enrichment restrictions are still in place. But for Trump the deal is dead, and to make reality comply with this vision he is even willing to have his senior official threaten European companies with sanctions to back off from doing business in Iran.

There is a certain pattern here actually. The TTP – sans America – is moving forward. In January the 11 remaining signatories said they managed to overcome their differences and are holding the door open for the US, presumably betting on a less protectionist administration eventually taking over. The Paris climate agreement is being kept alive in the US at state level. It’s not that Trump’s policies don’t hurt international agreements he does not like – they are just don’t play make-or-break in many cases.

A waning empire does not collapse overnight, and the US still has fingers in many pies, of course. It can cause damage to non-compliers if it chooses to, bashing them through its control of global financial infrastructure, a couple of billions worth of arms secretly funneled to some rebel groups or a barrage or two of Tomahawk missiles. But it hardly makes the US indispensable. It’s time to get used to it.



‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 43, injures 2,200 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem

May 14, 2018


Forty-three Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations ahead of the US embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.

More than 2,200 protesters have been injured in Gaza so far on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 74 children and 23 women, according to the ministry.

The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths.

There are around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces.

Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem.

The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. At least one child is among the fatalities.

Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.” Six children are among Monday’s fatalities, according to the human rights organization.

The majority of injuries have been caused by live bullets while some 320 people were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists.

Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.

Meanwhile, the IDF said Israeli Air Force planes targeted Hamas posts near Jabalya after its soldiers came under fire in the area.

The latest deaths bring the number killed since the Great March of Return protests began six weeks ago to 88.

Dr. Mkhaimer Abuseda, professor of political sciences at Alazhar University in Gaza, told RT that the relocation of the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is “a very sad day for the Palestinians, reminding them of their first Nakba some 70 years ago.”

“It seems to me that the Palestinians have decided that the US is no longer an honest broker in the MidEast peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said, adding that it will likely lead to further Palestinian rage and resistance.

Scuffles have reportedly broken out outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem as the inauguration ceremony took place inside.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has condemned Monday’s violence, claiming the US, as well as Israel, is responsible for the “massacre” because of their “unjust decision” to move the embassy.

Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.

Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Returndemonstrations.

The IDF dropped leaflets warning people in Gaza to stay away from the security fence ahead of Monday’s protests. Demonstrators in North Gaza brought down an IDF drone that was allegedly dropping fire bombs on tents, according to the Great Return March movement.


The Great Majority of Jews Today Have No Historical or Ethnic Relationship to Palestine

by Issa Nakhleh  LL.B

The Jews of today are composed of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews. The Sephardi Jews are the Oriental Jews wo are descendants of the Jews who left Palestine during the Christian era and migrated to neighboring Arab countries., North Africa and Spain. Some of the Oriental Jews were also converts to Judaism, such as some Berbers of North Africa who were converted to Judaism. The Tunisian Jews, Albert Memmi, a Professor of Sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris, has expressed doubt as “to whether his own ancestors in the Saraha had any historic connection to Palestine. Perhaps, he suggested, they were just Berbers converted to Judaism, since according to his information, “most North African Jews are simply Berber nomads who have accepted Judaism.”

Arthur Koestler maintains that there were many Jewish converts outside of Palestine with no biblical family roots:

‘Witness to the proselytizing zeal of the Jews of earlier times are the black-skinned Falasha of Abyssinia, the Chinese Jews of Kai-Feng who look like Chinese, the Yemenite Jews with the dark olive complexion, the Jewish Berber tribes of the Sahara who look like Tauregs, and so on, down to our prime example, the Khazars.’

The Ashkenazi Jews who lived in Russian and Central Eastern Europe and later on migrated to Western and Southern Europe, are of Khazar origin and were converted to Judaism in the 9th century A.S. The Khazar Jews have no ethnic or historical connection with Palestine. The Ahakenazi Jews who migrated to Palestine during the British mandate and who committed the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people are descendants of the Khazars. The Jewish Encyclopedia refers to the Khazars and their conversion to Judaism:

“A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Khazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians(855)…Driven onward by the nomadic tribes of the steppes and by their own desire for plunder and revenge, they made frequent invasions into Armenia…

In the second half of the sixth century the Khazar move westward. They established themselves in the territory bounded by the Sea of Azov, the Don and the lower Volga, the Caspian Sea, and the northern Caucasus…In 679 the Khazars subjugated the Bulgars and extended their sway further west between the Don and the Dnieper, as far as the the head-waters of Donetsk….It was probably about that time that the Khaghan (Bulan) of the Khazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion…

It was one of the successors of Bulan, named Obadiah, who regenerated the kingdom and strengthened the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish scholars to settle in his dominions, and founded synagogues and schools, The people were instructed in the Bible, Mishnah, and Talmud…

From the work Kitab al-Buldan written about the ninth century, it appears as if all the Khazars were Jews and that they had been converted to Judaism only a short time before that book was written….It may be assumed that in the ninth century many Khazar heathens became Jews, owing to the religious zeal of King Obadia,. “Such a conversion in great masses says Chwolson (Izvyestia o  Khazaraka, p 58), ” may have been the reason for the embassy of the Christians from the land of the Khazars to the Byzantine emperor Michael…

The Jewish population in the entire domain of the Khazars, in the period between the seenth and tenth centuries, must have been considerable…

The Russians invaded the trans-Caucasian country in 944…This seems to have been the beginning of the downfall of the Khazar kingdom…The Russian prince Sviatoslav made war upon the Khazars (c.974) the Russians conquered all the Khazarian territory east of the Sea of Azov. Only the Crimean territory of the Khazars remained in their possession until 1016, when they were dispossessed by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzanatines…Many were sent as prisoners of was to Kiev, where a Khazar community had long existed…Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Khazrian royal family emigrated to Spain…

Professor Graetz describes the Khazar kingdom as follows:

“The heathen king of a barbarian people, living in the north,m together with all his court, adopted the Jewish religion…Their kings, who bore the title of Khakhan or Khaghan, had led these warlike sons of the steppe from victory to victory…

It is possible that the circumstances under which the Khazars embraced Judaism have been embellished by legend, but the fact itself is too definitely proved on all sides to allow any doubt as to its reality. Besides Bulan, the nobles of his kingdom, numbering nearly four thousand,m adopted the Jewish religion. Little by little it made its way among the people, so that most of the inhabitants of the towns of the H=Khazar kingdom were Jews…At first the Judaism of the Khazars must have been rather superficial, and could have had but a little influence on their mind and manners…

A successor of Bulan, who bore the Hebrew name of Obadiah, was the first to make serious efforts to further the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish sages to settle in his dominions, rewarded them royally, founded synagogues and schools, caused instruction to be given to himself and his people in the Bible and the Talmud, and introduced a divine service modeled on that of the ancient communities…After Obadiah came a along series of Jewish Khaghans, for according to a fundamental law of the state only Jewish rulers were permitted to ascent the throne…”

According to Dr. A.A. Poliak, Professor of Medieval Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, the descendants of the Khazars-“those who stayed where they were, those who emigrated to the United States and to other countries, and those who went ti Israel– constitute now the large majority of world Jewry.”

The physiological differences between the Ashkenazim, who are mainly of Turkic Khazar origin, the the Sephardim, who are mainly of Semitic Palestinian origin, has been confirmed by scientific evidence:

“By, and large, the Sephardim are dolichocephalic (long-headed), the Ashkenazim brachycephalic (broad-headed)…The statistics relating to other physical features also speak against racial unity…The hardest evidence to date come from classification by blood groups.”The thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler pps. 232-233

Thus both historical and physiological evidence negate any historical claims to being of Palestinian origin to the European Jews in Israel and to the majority of Jews in the world.


Israel in control in Washington

May 14, 2018

by Christian Jürs


AIPAC The FBI investigation into Israeli espionage agents in the Pentagon is part of a major struggle between prominent Likudists in the Pentagon and the US security apparatus. Ever since the Trump regime came to power there has been a fierce political and organizational war between the Pentagon Likudists and their militant American collaborators, on the one hand, and the professional military and intelligence apparatus, on the other. This conflict has manifested itself in a series of major issues including the war in the Middle East, the rational for war, the relationship between Israel and the US, the strategy for empire, as well as tactical issues like the size of military force needed for colonial wars and the nature of colonial occupation. From 9/11/2001 to the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon Likudists and the civilian Neocons had the upper hand: they marginalized the CIA and established their own intelligence services to “cook the data”, they pushed through the doctrine of sequential wars, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq and projecting wars with Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. The Pentagon Zionists increased Israel’s power in the Middle East and promoted its expansionist colonization of Palestine, at the expense of US soldiers, budget busting expenditures and CIA objections.

The US military and security apparatus has retaliated. First by debunking Zionist lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, then by exposing the role of Zionist client Ahmed Chalabi as a double agent for Iran, followed by a two-year investigation of Pentagon Likudists passing documents to Israeli military intelligence and the secret police, the Mossad.

Israel has for decades subverted US foreign policy to serve its interests through the organized power of major Jewish organizations in the US. What is new in the current Pentagon spy case is that rather than pressuring from the outside to secure favorable policies for Israel, the Israel loyalists are in top positions within the government making strategic decisions about US global policy and providing their Israeli handlers with secret documents pertaining to top level discussions in the White House on questions of war and peace. Today the politics of Pentagon and AIPAC espionage is especially dangerous – because what is at stake is a new US and/or Israeli war on Iran which will ignite the entire Middle East.

Given the high level of structural collaboration and integration of US Pentagon Likudist agents and US Jewish organizations with the Israeli state, the boundaries of what are United States policies and interests and what are Israeli prerogatives and interests are blurred. From the perspective of the Pentagon Zionists and their organized Jewish supporters, it is “natural” that the US spends billions to finance Israeli military power and territorial expansion. It is “natural” to transfer strategic documents from the Pentagon to the Israeli State. As Haaretz states, “Why would Israel have to steal documents when they can find out whatever they want through official meetings?” The routinization of espionage via official consultations between Israeli and US Zionist officials became public knowledge throughout the executive branch. Only it wasn’t called espionage, it was referred to as ‘exchanging intelligence’, only the Israelis sent ‘disinformation’ to the Pentagon Zionists to serve their interests while the latter passed on the real policies, positions and strategies of the US government.

The history of the key Zionists in the Pentagon reveals a pattern of disloyalty to the US and covert assistance to Israel. Harold Rhode and William Luti, both identified

. Rhode had his security clearance suspended. CIA operatives in Baghdad reported he was constantly on his cell phone to Israel reporting on US plans, military deployments, political projects, Iraqi assets and a host of other confidential information. Michael Ledeen, another influential Zionist policy maker who worked in the Pentagon lost his security clearance after he was accused of passing classified material to a ‘foreign country (Israel). In 2001 Feith hired Ledeen to work for the Office of Special Plans which handled top secret documents. Feith himself was fired in March 1983 from the National Security Council for providing Israel with classified data.

It is clear that Israeli agents, not simply Zionists ideologues, infest the top echelon of the Pentagon. The question is not merely a question of taking this or that policy position in favor of Israel but of working systematically on a whole range of issues to further Israeli power over and against US imperial interests.

The Israeli officials claim that Mossad and military intelligence solemnly pledged to stop spying on the US after the Jonathan Pollard case. “We have never spied on the US since…”, they claim. In fact over 800 Israeli spies posing as ‘art’ students and tourists were expelled after 9/11 and several Mossad agents posing as movers in New Jersey and Tennessee were expelled.

The arrogance of Israeli power in the US, which Netanyahu has publicly boasted about, is largely based on the simple principle embraced by all Zionist zealots whether they are Ivy league academics or neo-fascist felons (like Elliot Abrams) is “What’s good for Israel is good for the US”. “Good for Israel” today means bloody US wars against Israel’s adversaries, unconditional support for Israeli expansion and pillage of Palestine and now spying on the US for the good of Israel. Guided by this slogan it is easy to see how everything in the US that might be of use to Israeli intelligence whether it be documents, directives or strategic debates about big wartime issues taking place in the White House are fair game for transmission to Israeli intelligence.


Pastor who prayed at embassy opening is ‘a religious bigot’ says Mitt Romney

Robert Jeffress has made offensive remarks on Judaism and Islam

May 14, 2018

by Martin Pengelly and agencies

The Guardian

An evangelical pastor who former presidential candidate Mitt Romney denounced as a “religious bigot” delivered a prayer at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

Praising Donald Trump’s “determination, resolve, courage” in moving the embassy from Tel Aviv despite warnings that the move would provoke violent protest, Robert Jeffress said God had “has given us a president” who “stands on … the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel”.

Concurrently in Gaza, health officials said 41 Palestinians were killed when Israeli forces opened fire at protesters rallying against the embassy opening. Officials who spoke to Reuters said at least 900 were injured, about 450 by live bullets.

Romney criticised the choice of a man who has said all Jews will go to hell to deliver a blessing in Israel. Jeffress is the leader of a Dallas-area Baptist church and a spiritual adviser to Trump. He has been criticised for calling Islam and Mormonism “heresy from the pit of hell” and saying Jews “can’t be saved”. As reported by dallasnews.com, he also said Islam is “a religion that promotes paedophilia”.

Romney, a Mormon, wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell’. He has said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States embassy in Jerusalem.”

Trump considered Romney to be his first secretary of state. Since then, Romney has been a consistent and strong critic of Trump’s behaviour in office.

Jeffress responded to Romney on the same platform, writing: “Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.”

In his prayer on Monday, he said Israel was “a blessing to the entire world, through her innovations in medicine, technology and energy. But most of all Israel has blessed this world by pointing us to you, the one true God, through the message of her prophets, the scriptures and the Messiah.”

He added: “We want to thank you, especially today, for the courageous leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his determination to do whatever it takes to defend his people at all cost.

“We want to thank you for the tremendous leadership of our great president, Donald J Trump. Without President Trump’s determination, resolve, courage, we would not be here today. And I believe father that I speak for every single one of us when I say that every day, we thank you that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history but more importantly stands on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel.”

Trump tweeted about the ceremony on Monday morning. “US embassy opening in Jerusalem will be covered live on [Fox News] & [Fox Business],” he wrote, advertising his favoured TV network. “Lead up to 9am (eastern) event has already begun. A great day for Israel!”

The president then addressed the ceremony by video link, saying the US was “a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace”.

His daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, both senior White House aides, were present. Kushner said: “As we have seen from the protest of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

In an Instagram post before the ceremony, accompanying a picture taken at the Western Wall, Ivanka Trump wrote: “We will pray for the boundless potential of the future of the US-Israel alliance, and we will pray for peace.”

The Israeli Defense Forces said on Monday a jet had bombed five “terrorist targets” in Gaza, “in response to the violent acts of the last few hours being carried out by Hamas along the security fence”.

In a video issued on the eve of ceremonies in Jerusalem, the al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said negotiations and “appeasement” had failed Palestinians. He urged Muslims carry out jihad against the US.

Trump later tweeted: “Big day for Israel. Congratulations!”


Different…but the same!

by P. Kushner

In this article, a preview of his coming book, the author draws strong parallels between the Evangelical Christians and the Holocaust Jewish religious/political movements.

And these parallels are most certainly there.

Both are oriented to gaining political and economic power.

Both have made extensive use of fictional writings. In the case of the Evangelical Christians, the Rapture and the Battle of Armageddon  which are recent inventions (ca 1910) by a Charles Parham Fox and are not in the Bible. Parham Fox was a convicted thief and child molester.

Also, note that none of the Gospels were contemporary with the purported career of Jesus and in the ensuing centuries, have been constantly rewritten to suit current political needs. Further, the mainstay of Evangelical Christians is the so-called ‘Book of Revelations’ purported to have been written by John the Devine, Jesus’ most intimate friend. This was certainly not written by someone living at the time of Jesus’ alleged ministry but over fifty years later. The actual author was one John of Patmos who was resident at the Roman lunatic colony located on the island of Patmos. This particular work is beloved of Evangelicals because it is so muddled, obscure and bizarre that any meaning can, and is, attributed to it.

I refer the reader to “Foundations of Christianity” by Karl Kautsky (a Jewish German early Communist and secretary to Engels)

The nationalistic Zionist movement does not have a great body of historical supportive material so, like the early Christians, they have simply invented it. These fictions include, but certainly are not limited to, “The Painted Bird” by Kosinski, (later admitted by its author to be an invented fraud before his suicide, ) and “Fragments” by “Binjimin Wilkomersky” ( A Swiss Protestant named Bruno Dossecker who was born in 1944) that is mostly copied from the Kosinski book and consists of ‘recovered memory,’ and of course the highly-propagandized favorite “Anne Frank Diary” which was proven, beyond a doubt, by the German BKA(Bundes Kriminal Amt, an official German forensic agency) as a forgery, made circa 1949 (ball point ink was used on paper made after 1948 and the handwriting completely different from the original Frank girl’s school papers still extant) All of these frauds have been, and still are,  considered as seminal truths by the Holocaust supporters and the discovery of fakery loudly denied by them, and questioners accused of being ‘Nazis.’  This closely parallels the same anger expressed by the Evangelicals when their stories about the Rapture or the Battle of Armageddon are questioned by anyone. Here, doubters are accused of being ‘Satanists’ and ‘Secular Humanists.’

I refer the reader to “The Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish academic and the son of genuine survivors of the German Concentration Camp system.

When confronted with period and very authentic evidence that the death toll among Jewish prisoners never approached even a million, or that there were no gas chambers in use at any prison camp, the standard, and badly flawed counter argument is that while the accuracy of the period German documents is not in question, as everyone knows that 6 millions of Jews perished, therefore the names are on so-called ‘secret lists.’

When asked where a researcher could view these documents (the actual German SS records, complete, are located in the Russian Central Archives in Moscow) the ludicrous response is that because these lists are secret, no one has ever seen them! This rationale does not even bear comment.

The Christians have their Passion of the Christ, which may or may not have happened, (it was in direct opposition to Roman law which governed Judea at the time,) and the Jews have their long agony of  the Holocaust, which is an elaborate and fictional construction based on fragmentary facts. A Jewish supporter, Deborah Lipstadt ( a well-known academic) has said repeatedly that the word holocaust must be capitalized and can only be used to discuss the enormous suffering of the Jewish people. The huge genocidal programs practiced by the Turks against Armenian Christians in 1916 and the even larger massacres by Pol Pot in Southeast Asia may never be likened to the absolutely unique Jewish suffering, according to current Zionist-Holocaust Jewish dogma.

Both stress the suffering and death of their icons, in the former case, the leader of their cult, which initially consisted entirely of very poor Jews, and in the second, an entire people. Both sides have enormous public relations machinery in place which is used constantly to promulgate both faiths and both are hysterically opposed to any questioning or debate on any aspects of their faith.

The issues of suffering, death and prosecution are both used to fortify their positions in society and render it difficult for anyone to attack them. These issues are also used to gain political power (for the Evangelicals) and money (for the Zionist-Holocausters)

Both of these groups seek a high moral ground from which to attack any questioning of their faith and because many of the adherents to both beliefs are aware that their houses are based on sand, fight fiercely lest a storm arise, beat upon both houses and thereby cause a great fall (to be Biblical in expression.)



Brother and Sisters in Christ!!!!

We are honored to announce to you the founding of our NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH!

We know that many of you are not satisfied with the enforced meekness of regular Christian churches; that you are often humiliated by your neighbors and co-workers for displaying the piscine symbols of the Faith on your cars and front doors, mocked because of your picketing of abortion clinics and Satanist movies and demands for censorship of everything but the stock market reports.

Now, we have the True Answer for you!

We have formed the Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger whose credo is the manifestation of Muscular Christianity and the total destruction of all alien forms of life who will not accept the Word of Christ as Gospel! Unlike their Jesus Christ who is meek and long-suffering, our Jesus Christ is capable of leaping over several buildings at a single bound and of smiting Satan with both hands and a length of lead pipe for good measure! Our Jesus Christ would never have kissed Judas but rather, have snapped his neck like a piece of celery in a Bloody Mary! Our Jesus Christ would not merely have torn the veil in the temple but instead, have reduced the building to instant rubble along with all the congregation!

No longer do pious possessors of the One Truth have to put up with mockery from alien cults such as the Mormons, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Roman and Eastern Catholics, Hindus, Moslems and other false cults of Lucifer. Now, the Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger will smite them hip and thigh and cast them into Outer Darkness. This time there will be no wailing and gnashing of teeth because Jesus Christ the Avenger will have ripped off their jaws (and private parts as well)!

You can join our Church and experience the thrill of Power as you witness acts of Holy Vengeance daily on the television. Rejoice when Orthodox Jews are forced to eat pork sausage and sour cream, see Christian Scientists compelled to take drugs, laugh when Mormons are made to drink Coke and iced tea and be enraptured as Baptists are held under water for ten minutes!

Those of you who crave Creative Christian Action can join the Society of the Militant Meek, the Sword of the Lord and Gideon, and the guarantors that the Meek shall indeed inherit the Earth! We alone can guarantee this because it is our aim to Exterminate anyone who does not belong to our Church! And not only will we inherit the earth, we will also inherit all of the cars, TVs, DVDs, bank accounts, clothing and real estate of the Departed Satanists!

Membership in the Society of the Militant Meek is not automatic but application must be made to your local Church of Jesus Christ the Avenger along with the severed head of a Satanist. Please note that we cannot accept the severed head of an ex-spouse, a mother-in-law, a creditor or anyone else against whom you might have some unworthy Personal Objection . No, the head must be of a Satanist unknown to you. (The Pastor of your Church has lists for your use.)

We hope we have made you aware of our goals and we advise you that More Bulletins will Follow!


Popular encrypted email standards are unsafe – European researchers

May 14, 2018


FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European researchers have found that the popular PGP and S/MIME email encryption standards are vulnerable to being hacked, leading them to urge people using them to disable and uninstall them immediately.

University researchers from Muenster and Bochum in Germany, and Leuven in Belgium, discovered the flaws in the encryption methods that can be used with popular email applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail.

“There are currently no reliable fixes for the vulnerability,” lead researcher Sebastian Schinzel, professor of applied cryptography at the Muenster University of Applied Sciences, said in a tweet on Monday.

“If you use PGP/GPG or S/MIME for very sensitive communication, you should disable it in your email client for now.” The team will unveil their findings in full on Tuesday.

The vulnerabilities in PGP and S/MIME standards pose an “immediate risk” to email communication including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a U.S. digital rights group.

It recommended that users switch for the time being to secure messaging app Signal for sensitive communications.

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) put out a statement saying there were risks that attackers could secure access to emails in plain text once the recipient had decrypted them.

It added, however, that it considered the encryption standards themselves to be safe if correctly implemented and configured.

“Securely encrypted email remains an important and suitable means of increasing information security,” it said in a statement, adding that the flaws which have been discovered can be remedied through patches and proper use.

The use of PGP – short for Pretty Good Privacy – for secure communications has been advocated, among others, by Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on pervasive electronic surveillance at the U.S. National Security Agency before fleeing to Russia.

PGP, for example, works using an algorithm to generate a ‘hash’, or mathematical summary, of a user’s name and other information. This is then encrypted with the sender’s private ‘key’ and decrypted by the receiver using a separate public key. To exploit the weakness, a hacker would need to have access to an email server or the mailbox of a recipient. In addition the mails would need to be in HTML format and have active links to external content to be vulnerable, the BSI said.

It advised users to disable the use of active content, such as HTML code and the loading of external content, and to secure their email servers against external access.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg


Employers are monitoring computers, toilet breaks – even emotions. Is your boss watching you?

From microchip implants to wristband trackers and sensors that can detect fatigue and depression, new technology is enabling employers to watch staff in more and more intrusive ways. How worried should we be?

May 14, 2018

by Emine Saner

The Guardian

Last year an American company microchipped dozens of its workers. In a “chip party” that made headlines around the world, employees lined up to have a device the size of a grain of rice implanted under the skin between their thumb and forefinger. At first, Todd Westby, the CEO of Three Square Market, thought only about five or six people – him and a couple of directors, some of the people who worked in the IT department – would volunteer. But of the 90 people who work at the headquarters, 72 are now chipped; Westby has a chip in each hand. They can be used to open security doors, log on to computers and make payments at the company’s vending machines.

Can he see it taking off at lots of other companies? “Not necessarily,” he says. Or at least not yet. It’s partly a generational thing, he believes. “You may never want to be chipped but if you’re a millennial, you have no problems. They think it’s cool.” There are other uses for it – two months ago, the company (whose core business is selling vending machines and kiosks) started chipping people with dementia in Puerto Rico. If someone wanders off and gets lost, police can scan the chip “and they will know all their medical information, what drugs they can and can’t have, they’ll know their identity.” So far, Three Square Market has chipped 100 people, but plans to do 10,000.

The company has just launched a mobile phone app that pairs the chip with the phone’s GPS, enabling the implantee’s location to be tracked. Last week, it started using it with people released from prison on probation, as a replacement for ankle tags, which Westby describes as “intimidating and degrading”. Could he ever see the company using GPS to track its chipped employees? “No,” he says. “There’s no reason to.”

Not all firms would agree. Tech companies are coming up with ever more bizarre and intrusive ways to monitor workforces. Last week the Times reported that some Chinese companies are using sensors in helmets and hats to scan workers’ brainwaves and detect fatigue, stress and even emotions such as anger. It added that one electrical company uses brainwave scans to decide how many breaks workers get, and for how long. The technology is used on high-speed train drivers to “detect fatigue and attention loss”. While this sort of technology may have legitimate safety applications – a similar project was carried out with Crossrail workers using wristbands that sensed fatigue – it’s not hard to see how it could creep into other areas.

In February, it was reported that Amazon had been granted patents for a wristband that not only tracked workers’ locations in the warehouse as they “picked” items to be dispatched, but could “read” their hand movements, buzzing or emitting a pulse to alert them when they were reaching for the wrong item. In the filing, Amazon describes it as being able to “monitor performance of the placing of the incoming inventory item into the identified storage location by the inventory system worker”.

There are tech companies selling products that can take regular screenshots of employees’ work, monitor keystrokes and web usage, and even photograph them at their desks using their computers’ webcams. Working from home offers no protection, as all this can be done remotely. Software can monitor social media usage, analyse language or be installed on employees’ phones to monitor encrypted apps such as WhatsApp. Employees can be fitted with badges that not only track their location, but also monitor their tone of voice, how often they speak in meetings and who they speak to and for how long.

Employees have always been watched at work, and technology has always been used to do it. But where it was once a factory foreman with a stopwatch, or workers having to physically clock in and out, now “all of that physical stuff has gone into digital technology”, says André Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at Cass Business School. “It captures things that you weren’t able to capture in the past, like how many keystrokes are people taking, what are they looking at on their screen while they’re at work, what kind of language are they using. And surveillance follows you outside the workplace now.”

How much of this is legal? In the UK, employers are allowed to monitor which websites you look at while at work, says Philip Landau, a partner at Landau Law Solicitors who specialises in employment law. “However, the device they monitor must be partly or wholly provided by work. Employers must also give prior warning if they are going to monitor your online activity, and should make you aware of the relevant social media policy.” It is also legal to monitor keystrokes, though again employees must be told they will be watched. “In companies where this system is in place, it is not uncommon for employers to speak to employees if they feel that their number of keystrokes is low,” says Landau. “It is worth noting that a high number of keystrokes does not necessarily mean high levels of productivity and vice versa.”

Employers could theoretically use your computer’s webcam to see when you’re at your desk but “there should be a justification for such monitoring, and you should be informed of it beforehand. You should also be informed what the pictures will be used for, and how they will be stored.” As for GPS tracking, “a company may track any vehicles that they supply to their staff. However, the data they collect must only be used for the management purposes of the company. Any GPS device is not allowed to be turned on if the employee is using the vehicle for personal reasons outside of work.”

James Bloodworth spent a month working as a “picker” – the person who locates the products ordered – for Amazon in March 2016 for his book Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain. “We carried this handheld device at all times and it tracks your productivity,” he says. It would direct workers to the items they need to find on the shelves in one of Amazon’s vast warehouses. “Each time you picked up an item, there would be this countdown timer [to get to the next item] which would measure your productivity.” Bloodworth says supervisors would tell people how productive they were being; he was warned he was in the bottom 10%. “You were also sent admonishments through the device saying you need to get your productivity up. You’re constantly tracked and rated. I found you couldn’t keep up with the productivity targets without running – yet you were also told you weren’t allowed to run, and if you did, you’d get a disciplinary. But if you fell behind in productivity, you’d get a disciplinary for that as well.” It didn’t feel, he says, “that you were really treated as a human being”. Workers had to go through airport-style security scanners at the beginning and end of their shifts, or to get to the break areas. He says going to the loo was described as “idle time” and once found a bottle of urine on one of the shelves.

Amazon says its scanning devices “are common across the warehouse and logistics sector as well as in supermarkets, department stores and other businesses, and are designed to assist our people in performing their roles”, while the company “ensures all of its associates have easy access to toilet facilities, which are just a short walk from where they are working”. It adds: “Associates are allowed to use the toilet whenever needed. We do not monitor toilet breaks.”

Some of Bloodworth’s colleagues, he says, were angry about the level of monitoring – “but it was more cynicism and resignation. Most of the people I met hadn’t been in the job very long or were looking for other jobs. Every job was temporary and it was a workforce completely in flux.” Has Bloodworth seen the future? Will we all be monitored like this by our bosses in years to come? Possibly, he says. “One of the things that has arisen in response to the book is that people say work is going to be automated anyway, or workers need to be more flexible, as if this is the way of the future and it’s inevitable, which I think is quite dangerous. Amazon can get away with this because of political choices and because the trade union movement is quite weak. I think other businesses will look at Amazon, see they have had success with this business model – and seek to replicate it.”

For his book Working the Phones, Jamie Woodcock, a sociologist of work at the Oxford Internet Institute, spent six months working in a call centre. You get a sense of the monitoring, he says, “from the moment you walk in. You have TV screens that have everyone’s relative performance to each other displayed. Managers collect data on almost every single part of what you do. Every single phone call I ever made was digitally recorded and stored. In terms of monitoring, it’s like being able to call back every single thing somebody has made on an assembly line and retrospectively judge it for quality. We all make mistakes and we all have bad days, but this kind of monitoring can be made retrospectively to sack people and is used to give people a sense that they could lose their jobs at any moment.”

Monitoring is built into many of the jobs that form the so-called “gig economy”. It’s not easy to object to the constant surveillance when you’re desperate for work. What has surprised Spicer is how willingly people in better-paid jobs have taken to it. “Prisoners in the past were forced to wear tracking bands but now we willingly put on step trackers or other kinds of tracking devices given to us by our employers, and in some cases we pay for the privilege.” Companies such as IBM, BP, Bank of America, Target and Barclays have offered their employees Fitbit activity trackers.

It is part, Spicer says, of “this whole idea of wanting to improve or optimise yourself. A lot of technology is designed to not just feed back data about your performance to your boss, but also give it to you. I guess they’re also seen as cool or fashionable, so it’s not surprising they’re taken up so readily.”

Spicer has watched the shift away from “monitoring something like emails to monitoring people’s bodies – the rise of bio-tracking basically. The monitoring of your vital signs, emotions, moods.” Of Three Square Market’s practice of chipping employees, he says: “You can imagine that slowly extending. You could imagine things like employers asking to have your DNA in the future, and other kinds of data.”

Surveillance can have positive applications. It’s necessary (and legally required) in the financial industry to prevent insider trading. It could be used to prevent harassment and bullying, and to root out bias and discrimination. One interesting study last year monitored emails and productivity, and used sensors to track behaviour and interaction with management, and found that men and women behaved almost identically at work. The findings challenged the belief that the reason women are not promoted to senior levels is that they are less proactive or have fewer interactions with leaders, and simply need to “lean in”.

Still, says, Woodcock, “we need to have a conversation in society about whether work should be somewhere that you’re surveilled”. That need is perhaps most urgent where low-paid, insecure jobs are concerned. “If you work in the gig economy, you have a smartphone,” Woodcock points out, and that smartphone can be used to track you. “I think because many of these workplaces don’t have traditional forms of organisation or trade unions, management are able to introduce these things with relatively little collective resistance.”

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain is well aware of the issues of monitoring and data collection. James Farrar is the chair of its United Private Hire Drivers branch, and the Uber driver who won a legal battle against the company last year for drivers’ rights. “They do collect an awful lot of information,” he says. “One of the things they will report to you on a daily basis is how good your acceleration and braking has been. You get a rating. The question is: why are they collecting that information?” Uber also monitors “unusual movements” of the phone when someone is driving (implying it knows if someone is using their phone while at the wheel) and, of course, tracks cars and drivers by GPS.

“My concern with it is this information is being fed into a dispatch algorithm,” he says. “We should have access to the data and understand how it’s being used. If some kind of quality score on my driving capability [is put into an algorithm], I may be offered less valuable work, kept away from the most valuable clients – who knows?” It’s not an unreasonable fear – the food delivery company Deliveroo already does something similar, monitoring its riders’ and drivers’ performance, and has started offering “priority access” when booking shifts to those who “provide the most consistent, quality service”. Uber, however, says its monitoring is intended only to deliver “a smoother, safer ride … This data is used to inform drivers of their driving habits and is not used to affect future trip requests.”

Not all surveillance is bad, says Farrar. In some ways, he would like more. He was assaulted by a passenger and is calling for CCTV in all vehicles, partly for the safety of drivers. “There is a role for surveillance technology,” he says. Ironically, when Farrar went for a meeting with Uber to discuss the assault, the company made him turn his phone off to prove he wasn’t recording it.


Thieves suck millions out of Mexican banks in transfer heist

May 14, 2018

by Michael O’Boyle


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Thieves siphoned hundreds of millions of pesos out of Mexican banks, including No. 2 Banorte, by creating phantom orders that wired funds to fake accounts and promptly withdrew the money, two sources close to the government’s investigation said. Hackers sent hundreds of false orders to move amounts ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of pesos from banks including Banorte, to fake accounts in other banks, the sources said, and accomplices then emptied the accounts in cash withdrawals in dozens of branch offices.

One source said the thieves made off with more than 300 million pesos ($15.4 million). Daily newspaper El Financiero said about 400 millions pesos had been stolen in the hack, citing an anonymous source.Lorenza Martinez, head of Banxico’s payment system, told Reuters on Friday that five institutions saw “unauthorized transfers,” but she stopped short of calling it a cyber attack.Inter-bank transfers slowed in later April, feeding worries that Latin America’s second biggest economy could be the latest victim in a global wave of cyber attacks.

Hackers may have had help inside bank branches, since such big cash withdrawals are uncommon, one source said.”In terms of the security of the bank’s offices, I think that is part of the analysis that each bank is doing,” Martinez said. Martinez said that the central bank’s SPEI interbank transfer system was not compromised but that the problem had to do with software developed by institutions or third-party providers to connect to the payment system.

Mexico’s SPEI system is a domestic network similar to the SWIFT global messaging system that moves trillions of dollars each day. Hackers have used SWIFT connections to attack banks around the world.The central bank and banks have said that no clients had been affected so far. Martinez said that the transfers hit accounts of financial institutions in the central bank.

Reporting by Michael O’Boyle; Editing by David Gregorio




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