TBR News May 17, 2016

May 17 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 17, 2016: “Actually, the title here is outdated. I am no longer in Washington but live out of the country. Not in poverty like the immigrants from the Middle East, but comfortably. I moved because I could clearly see what was coming in America and preferred to be somewhere else when it happened. One has totally different perspectives when outside the Beltway and when I select media articles for my columns, I rarely choose American ones. I find more accuracy of reporting on RT (which does have a strong slant towards Russia) or on the Guardian. With the latter, one must take their left-wing orientation into account but other than that, the Guardian is a good source for provocative articles. And God save us from the lunatic bloggers who constantly invent sensational stories that have no basis in truth. Some of these are run by people with severe psychological conditions and others are government disinformation outlets.”


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.

Sunday, 17 July 1949

An entire week has passed without the time for making notes. Several conferences concerning counter-espionage matters. Now, I am attempting to get some attention paid to the United Nations. Working both with the Hoover people and with the CIA, lists have been drawn up of spies, probable spies and highly suspect individuals attached to that organization. Approximately 30 are members of various communist parties, another 30 or so were previously spies and 20 had been members of the underground in other countries than their own.

Not a good situation but we have the diplomatic problem. Immunity will be called into play. This UN is a useless organization with about as much significance as the old Austrian parliament. This nonsense was Roosevelt’s post-Wilson idealistic shit and it has no more value or logic than the utopian plans of the crazy Marx. We should foist it off on the British but then the diplomats who want to spy would find so many of their tribe there that they would become useless. Also, they would all starve to death in England, or freeze in the winter.

I have suggested this in all seriousness, the removal of the UN. Most are in agreement but say it could never be done. At least we have some control while it is here.

I see this organization of pseudo-intellectual Marxists as an open sore that badly needs treatment but all I can do is to continue to make suggestions.

The new Secretary of Defense (Louis, ed.), Johnson, is a disaster. Forrestal, he of the gravity experiment, was a lunatic and this new one is worse. F. crept around in silence but J. roars like a bull in heat and is completely disruptive wherever he goes. The Army is furious with him but Truman seems to be loyal. I met him once and that was quite enough for me. One cannot have even the most basic or serious discussion with him; J. spends entirely too much time shouting orders at everyone and enlarging his already immense offices.

The Congress will not proceed with their investigation of Hiss. Much criticism of the conduct of the judge (Samuel Kaufman, ed.) in the case, which will go on again. It is claimed that he was strongly biased in favor of Hiss. I spoke at some length with Nixon about this, at a small function, and he wants an investigation of the judge. Not that it will do any good at all because Truman likes the man and there the matter will stop.

I have compared Nixon with other politicians and he is a man to watch. Very shrewd, well read and determined. Certainly a man who plans to go forward. Penetrating analysis of situations coupled with intense ambition. Why is it that men from poor backgrounds such as Stalin, Hitler, and in all modesty, myself, are so intensely ambitious? Poverty or the fear of returning to it is quite an effective goad and Nixon comes from a poor family.


There has always been strong criticism of the UN from the day it was first lodged in New York State and there was strong, and effective, criticism of its predecessor, the League of Nations so beloved by Woodrow Wilson. Neither organization had any real power and in the case of the UN, unless the American President deferred to it as Clinton did, it is only a talk shop filled with chattering minorities. Like all such utopian ventures, it has an acceptable pedigree of good intentions but like a bad watchdog, no teeth and a strong leash.

Louis Johnson was a loud, disruptive and completely useless man who nevertheless managed to capture Truman’s attention and loyalty. Harry Truman in and of himself was a competent and very honest leader but his choice of subordinates left a great deal to be desired.

A further reading of the Müller papers will show how the former head of the Gestapo, who was used to dealing with the Führer and his myriad of jostling and contesting satraps, dealt very successfully with the American President and at least some of his luminaries.

There always has been considerable support for Alger Hiss, most especially from the liberal arena, and this manifested itself early on during his series of trials. Hiss was eventually convicted of perjury, in good part through the actions of Richard Nixon who built a career on being an anti-communist.

Years later, with the advent of the Freedom of Information Act, Hiss sought, through his attorneys, to get sufficient information from the hitherto closed U.S. files to overturn his conviction and refute the charges of being a Soviet spy. A former KGB general obligingly wrote that Hiss had never been such an agent but the attorneys, after searching through the official records, told Hiss to let the matter drop entirely because there was no question at all of his guilt. With the NSA release of portions of the so-called Venona papers, copies of heavily censored Soviet wartime spy messages; it becomes very evident that the lawyers were right.

As far as the KGB general is concerned, it should be noted that almost nothing in the way of “secret file” information emanating from Moscow can be trusted. From faked Goebbels diaries through counterfeit reports of U.S. POWs still in Vietnam through confidential reports on Lee Harvey Oswald and badly faked documents on John Demjanjuk, claimed to be a vicious concentration camp guard, the flood of disinformation continues to pour out of the secret archives of the former Soviet Union, passed first through the workshops of the former KGB.

Wednesday, 20 July 1949

Anniversary of the bomb attack on Hitler that propelled me to the top of the mountain. Of course it is not to be celebrated as such but certainly remembered. As I predicted at the time, those who escaped our vengeance are now the glowing heroes of the New (and U.S. controlled) Germany. I can see that my cleansing of the Augean stables at the end has prevented the ascension to the top of the new dung heap of many of the maggots.

A good deal of growing problems, I am told, in the Orient. The U.S. has a strong position in Europe but has been greatly reducing its forces in Japan and Korea. Chiang will certainly lose China to the communists. They are organized and dedicated to their cause while he is corrupt and has no idea at all what he is doing.

Stalin loves to fish in such troubled waters so one must keep an eye on that area. Not that this concerns me but I have learned that Stalin’s people are sharing intelligence they have learned here in Washington with the communists in China.

More fishing in troubled waters and an even better reason to have a major razzia (police mass roundup, ed.) of the Roosevelt traitors before they manage to get this country into a war in the Pacific.

I have named my new chief guard “Heini” after myself. After all, the name is the same but “Hank” sounds foreign on the tongue. He seems to be doing very well here and is fitting in quite well. Well enough, I might say, to begin paying not unwelcome attention to Irmgard.

She is still angry with me for not giving her a sack full of money for her “new spring outfit” and is probably baiting me by paying attention to others. He, on the other hand, is much younger than I am (and a little younger than she) and, I must say, is probably better looking.

It does occur to me that if I. becomes difficult, I could encourage a liaison. It would enable me to find someone else, which I have been planning to do for some time now, and would keep I., a keeper of secrets of some magnitude, in my household. If she left, and was jealous, it would be necessary to take certain steps to keep her silence…permanently.

I have been reading (Curzio, ed.) Malaparte’s book on the coup. The analysis of Hitler has not proven to be valid but as M. was deeply involved with Mussolini, his discussion of the 1922 Fascist takeover of Italy is very interesting for me. This since I have a large number of documents that we grabbed in Rome in 1943, along, one must boast, with the Mussolini-Churchill papers. One day, I shall release these and watch my dear British friends dance around.

Monday, 25 July 1949

Grumblings about the spy-ridden UN investigations going on but for various reasons, diplomatic immunity and national prestige being two of the strongest, we will not conduct a wholesale investigation. We should keep the suspected diplomats under continuous observation, listen in to all their telephone conversations, open their mail and put microphones in their missions, homes or apartments. Hoover is already doing this at the suggestion of the President.

Although Truman does not like Hoover, I have said to T. that H. is useful and has complete control over an efficient and publicly accredited counterintelligence agency. Better to put up with his ideas and use his agency rather than try to replace him. Besides, H. has files on everyone in Washington, as I have discovered. One of his top aides has been in liaison with me and we have agreed, in principle at least, to trade files on important people. I offer him Eisenhower, who will be a major political player, and he will give me both McCarthy and any information he might have on the British in this country.

The trials in New York drag on. I had a visit at the Justice Department this day with the attorney from New York. The one with the ugly wife, toilet-dwelling mother-in-law and dirty children. I passed on some information to assist their efforts but am afraid that the trial will still be in progress when the end of the century arrives.

They ar presenting a bill before Congress to prevent aliens charged with espionage from getting bailment. This relates to Gerhard Eisler who promptly escaped. Eisler they wanted, but Hiss they do not. Perhaps the State Department can find a way to have Hiss made ambassador to some African country where the natives could eat him. One cannibal, late for the feast, would say to another he met in the forest, “Have you eaten Hiss yet?” and the reply would be, “Yes, we just passed him in the woods.”

I am to give a private lecture to a number of senior U.S. military officers on the weekend about the structure and methods of penetration of the communists. After all, these methods have not changed from the time when I was working on them and hopefully, I will make a few more allies.

Wednesday, 10 August 1949

(Senator Pat, ed.) McCarran (D. NV, ed.) is making a great storm over the number of communists in the UN. From what I understand, he is planning to expose a number of Stalin’s agents who have come here on various Polish ships over the past year. He has also been complaining that large numbers of spies are crossing the U.S. Mexican and Canadian borders and that nothing can be done about it.

We should get Willi K. to come over here and we could set up a regular border guard like I ran in Germany. I doubt if anything could cross the border, which I now understand is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese.


Krichbaum had been in charge of the Grenz-Polizei or Border Police in southwest Germany and had been Müller’s chief deputy for border police matters in the Gestapo, which controlled the unit.


Dean, ed.) Acheson, that very proper British gentleman (his papa was a sergeant in a British army unit once) is outraged by McC.’s activities. Truman seems to like A. but I have met him and he is a thorough going fraud, fake British accent and all. He knows Hiss and is very defensive of him although there is no doubt at all here that H. was a Soviet spy.

The weather has been hot, very humid and raining here. Everyone with a legitimate excuse to do so flees this city in August and goes to their homes in the mountains or at the sea.

Wonderful comment from Bavaria where their puppet parliament is now in opposition to the American occupation government. A fellow named Loritz was being tried there for black-marketing practices (how are people supposed to live a decent life there without someone finding ways to supplement their inadequate diets?) and L. has now said that the Ami (American, ed.) jails are far worse than anything the Gestapo ever ran! We never ran a single jail but never mind.

And that idiot Adenauer is squealing that his government is full of Nazis. Of course it is.

When you consider that all of the civil servants during the Third Reich had to belong to the Party, it is not at all surprising that so many bureaucrats were NS (National Socialist, ed.) members.

We used to complain about the uselessness of the Weimar government but what the Americans and British have set up is more like Hagenbeck (a famous Hamburg circus, ed.) than anything else.

Willi (Krichbaum, ed.) writes me here that last winter was awful in Germany, which I well know, having sent food to my family and some friends. Also I am interested in the utter uselessness of Gehlen and his people. God knows how many of our people Willi has managed to find jobs for. I have warned him that Soviets have penetrated there but he does not care. He tells me about the moronic ideas that Gehlen discusses with his American controllers and says that as stupid as they are, the American plans are even worse. And there is no liaison worth speaking of with the British, who I have been reliably advised, are now engaged in intensive spying against the United States.The British are immersed in deep poverty and their pride is badly damaged. They want their own Atomic Bomb to feel important again. This is an area I intend to work in very soon. H.(oover, ed.) dislikes the English more than I do and we are to have a serious discussion of this espionage very soon now.





Snowden Archive——The SidToday Files

May 16, 2016

The Intercept

Last Update — May 16 2016


The Intercept’s first SIDtoday release comprises 166 articles, including all articles published between March 31, 2003, when SIDtoday began, and June 30, 2003, plus installments of all article series begun during this period through the end of the year. Major topics include the National Security Agency’s role in interrogations, the Iraq War, the war on terror, new leadership in the Signals Intelligence Directorate, and new, popular uses of the internet and of mobile computing devices.

Along with this batch, we are publishing the stories featured below, which explain how and why we’re releasing these documents, provide an overview of SIDtoday as a publication, report on one especially newsworthy set of revelations, and round up other interesting tidbits from the  files.

📥Download this batch🐱Download documents via GitHub

Sorted by Most Recent˅

Select a Topic˅

Dec. 24 2003Read All About Us! (repost)

Dec. 22 2003SID Around the World: A TDY to Guantanamo Bay

Dec. 17 2003ConSIDer This: Military Rank Abbreviations

Dec. 15 2003You Can’t Keep the NSC Waiting!.. A Day in the Life of a GRSOC Analyst

Nov. 7 2003Sitting in the SOO’s Chair

Oct. 23 2003Spanning The Globe…Misawa to Menwith Hill: Part 2

Oct. 22 2003Spanning The Globe…Misawa to Menwith Hill: Part 1

Sep. 29 2003Plenty of Action on the Action Team

Sep. 24 2003NSA Linguists ‘Panning for Gold’

Sep. 16 2003SID Around the World: The Rheinland

Sep. 4 2003Mathematician: An Insider’s View

Sep. 2 2003SID Around the World: Peak Conditions in Denver

Aug. 20 2003Data Flow Manager: The Data Fairy?

Aug. 13 2003ConSIDer This: The ABC’s of Second Party Liaison

Aug. 8 2003Read All About Us! (repost)

Aug. 5 2003ConSIDer This: What Does It Mean to Downgrade COMINT?

Aug. 1 2003Introduction to REDACTED, Customer Relationships Director

Aug. 1 2003Working as a Policy Analyst: One Person’s Perspective

Jul. 23 2003ConSIDer This: Electronic Records

Jul. 18 2003The Life of An Exec

Jul. 17 2003SID Around the World: Washington, D.C.

Jul. 2 2003SID Around the World: Life in the Field

Jun. 30 2003SIGINT Development Conference Wrap-Up

Jun. 30 2003Rebroadcast of View from the Iraqi Front

Jun. 27 2003Another Top Iraqi Captured

Jun. 27 2003Who’s Who in HR for SID

Jun. 26 2003Introducing Carl Johnson as Assistant Deputy Director for Customer Relationships

Jun. 26 2003SID Around the World: A Country the Size of Maryland

Jun. 26 2003MG Quirk Leads Group to Iraq

Jun. 25 2003Book Review: Cryptonomicon

Jun. 25 2003MG Q, Where Are You?

Jun. 25 2003Congratulations to SID Promotees and Award Recipients!

Jun. 24 200324-hours in Iraq

Jun. 24 2003Beaver Tail, the Food

Jun. 23 2003King of Diamonds Apprehended in Iraq

Jun. 23 2003Makin’ It Easy

Jun. 21 2003SINIO Strategic Intelligence Seminar: Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Jun. 20 2003North Korea Rock Drill Held This Week

Jun. 20 2003Director’s Paper on the Extended Enterprise: What It Means for SID

Jun. 19 2003The International Affairs Institute (IAI)

Jun. 19 2003SID Around the World: SIGINT from Paradise (Okinawa)

Jun. 18 2003Jack Israel, A&P;’s Senior Technical Leader

Jun. 17 2003Analysis Conference: Charting the Course to the Future

Jun. 17 2003Introducing Jim Allen, Incoming Deputy Director for Analysis and Production

Jun. 16 2003Staying Focused on Iraq

Jun. 16 2003SINIO Strategic Intelligence Seminar: Latin American Futures Project

Jun. 16 2003Building the ARC (Professional Skills Inventory)

Jun. 13 2003Annual COMBAT SENT Predeployment Conference and Program Review: June 17-20th

Jun. 13 2003Coming Soon: Getting to Know the SID Leadership Team

Jun. 12 2003Deputy Chief CRD Bound for Europe

Jun. 12 2003The Crypto-Mathematics Institute (CMI)

Jun. 11 2003SIGINT Development: A Network of Discovery Networks

Jun. 11 2003OUTPARKS: A New Internet for NSA


Jun. 10 2003SINIO Summer 2003 Series of Strategic Intelligence Issue Seminars Begins with Tough Times for Turkey

Jun. 10 2003SID Military Performers of the Quarter Announced

Jun. 10 2003P3 Note to the SID Workforce

Jun. 10 2003Crisis Support for Employees

Jun. 10 2003Office Manager: Jack-of-All-Trades

Jun. 9 2003Customer Feedback Made Easier

Jun. 9 2003Coffee with JOCCP

Jun. 9 2003General Zahner’s View from the Front

Jun. 6 2003SID Around the World: Living High in the Balkans

Jun. 6 2003The SID Leadership Offsite

Jun. 5 2003View from the Iraqi Front: Friedman Presentation– Today!

Jun. 5 2003CAPT Joseph Rochefort Career Language Award Winners

Jun. 4 2003Sydney Jaffe Career Language Award Winners

Jun. 3 2003Coming Soon: SID Around the World!

Jun. 3 2003New Release: The FORNSAT Plan

Jun. 2 2003View from the Iraqi Front: Friedman Presentation

Jun. 2 2003SID Leaders Reconvene for Second Offsite Meeting

May. 30 2003SID’s Interactions with Congress: Communications and Orgs

May. 30 2003Why Have Names Changed in SEARCHLIGHT? (repost)

May. 29 2003SID’s Interactions with Congress: Budget Jargon and RFIs

May. 29 2003The SIGINT Director Needs You!

May. 28 2003New-Hire What’s on Your Mind Session– Today

May. 28 2003SID’s Interactions with Congress: Setting the Budget

May. 27 2003Address on Terrorism in Southeast Asia– Today

May. 27 2003SID Leadership Offsite: Believing in Magic

May. 23 2003Conference on Organized Crime Held This Week

May. 23 2003SID Celebrates Memorial Day

May. 23 2003Address on Terrorism in Southeast Asia– May 27th

May. 22 2003Why Have Names Changed in SEARCHLIGHT?

May. 22 2003OpSIGINT Update: New Target Focus and Exciting Job Opportunities

May. 22 2003The Collection Association (CA)

May. 21 2003Fusing Signals Data, with WARGODDESS

May. 21 2003SID Leadership Holds Offsite

May. 20 2003Introduction to the Korean Issue Management Team

May. 20 2003Interagency SARS Conference — Today

May. 19 2003SIGINT DEVELOPMENT 2003 Conference

May. 19 2003SID Property Inventory Starts Today

May. 16 2003The Comms Team Runs with the Pack!

May. 16 2003The Crypto-Linguistic Association (CLA)

May. 15 2003SID Property Inventory Starts Next Week

May. 15 2003Machine Translation Success Story

May. 15 2003The Matrix is Here…Original NIPF Version, Not “Reloaded”

May. 14 2003…and Planning Ahead: What’s on Your Mind Session for New Hires– May 28th

May. 14 2003SID’s Promotion Process

May. 14 2003What’s on Your Mind Sessions for Shiftworkers– Wednesday and Friday

May. 13 2003What’s on Your Mind Sessions for Shiftworkers– Starting Tomorrow

May. 13 2003Regional Targets’ Africa Strategy

May. 12 2003SID Mailbag Open for Business

May. 12 2003NCPAC Personnel Deploy to Support Operation Iraqi Freedom

May. 9 2003The KRYPTOS Society

May. 8 2003The First SIGINT Enterprise Annual Report

May. 8 2003CATAPULT: A Bilateral Data Port

May. 8 2003Reminder: What’s on Your Mind Session Tomorrow

May. 7 2003Interagency SARS Conference– May 20th

May. 7 2003What is JOURNEYMAN?

May. 6 2003SID What’s on Your Mind Session for Shiftworkers–May 14th

May. 6 2003Stand-up of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC)

May. 6 2003SID Leadership Office Moves

May. 5 2003Target Development from Scratch: the Russian Tambov Crime Syndicate

May. 2 2003MG Quirk and Charlie Meals Make the Rounds

May. 2 2003SID Using New Classification Markings in Its Reports

May. 1 2003Reminder: SID What’s on Your Mind Session for MILITARY Workforce – May 2nd

May. 1 2003Collecting in Afghanistan

Apr. 30 2003SID Hiring (part 2: Welcoming New Hires)

Apr. 29 2003SID Hiring (part 1: Outlook)

Apr. 29 2003SID Town Meeting Recap

Apr. 28 2003ConSIDer This: Vital Records

Apr. 28 2003SID Town Meeting Recap

Apr. 25 2003A Look at NSA’s Learned Organizations

Apr. 25 2003SID What’s on Your Mind Session for MILITARY Workforce – May 2nd

Apr. 24 2003Making Customer Feedback Work for Everyone

Apr. 24 2003NIPF–Recap

Apr. 23 2003REMINDER: NIPF Is Here! Briefing on New Intelligence Community Priorities System-WED 23 Apr 0830-1000

Apr. 23 2003A Perspective on the NSA/ USUN Partnership

Apr. 22 2003Reminder: SID Front Office Open House Tomorrow

Apr. 22 2003Dynamic Methods of Interaction with New and Existing Customers

Apr. 21 2003Charlie Meals as SID Deputy Director: Proud to Serve with the SID Work Force

Apr. 21 2003New SID Deputy Directorate Leadership Announced

Apr. 21 2003MG Quirk as the SIGINT Director: We’re on the Right Path

Apr. 18 2003Profile: Intelligence Security Issues

Apr. 18 2003One Last Mo-Gram: Thank You

Apr. 17 2003NIPF–What Is It and What Does It MEAN for Intelligence Community Priorities?

Apr. 17 2003Information Needs Management: Careful Planning Aids SIGINT Response to Iraq War

Apr. 16 2003Profile: SIGINT Policy

Apr. 16 2003What’s on Your Mind Session: May 9th

Apr. 16 2003When Meeting Customer Needs Means Defending the Nation

Apr. 15 2003SID Front Office Open House – April 23rd

Apr. 14 2003SID Support to POW Rescue

Apr. 14 2003Profile: SIGINT Legislative Affairs

Apr. 11 2003Analysis Innovation Resource Program Accepting Proposals

Apr. 11 2003Post-war Iraq Plan

Apr. 11 2003SID Training Announcements

Apr. 10 2003Documenting Your Contribution During The Iraq Crisis

Apr. 10 2003New SID Director and Deputy Director Announced

Apr. 9 2003Profile: SIGINT Support Services

Apr. 9 2003Uncovering North Korea Nuclear Programs

Apr. 8 2003Profile: SID Registry – Grand Central

Apr. 8 2003Promotion Cycle Recap

Apr. 7 2003Support to UN Diplomatic Efforts on Iraq

Apr. 7 2003ICAP Call for Applications

Apr. 4 2003Profiles: SID Communications and Support Operations

Apr. 4 2003Read All About Us!

Apr. 3 2003Schedule for 3rd and 4th Quarter Tools Courses

Apr. 3 2003SID Leadership Transition: Passing the Baton


Apr. 2 2003New Hire What’s On Your Mind Session — Today

Apr. 2 2003SIGINT Strategy: The Importance of Common Goals

Apr. 2 2003Last QUICKMASK Training Today

Apr. 1 2003Practical Jokes and April Fools

Apr. 1 2003Deployed SIGINT Analysts–An Urgent Need

Mar. 31 2003Welcome to SIDtoday

Mar. 31 2003The Analyst Cockpit


Even basic phone logs can reveal deeply personal information, researchers find

Stanford study shows how details gleaned from telephone ‘metadata’ by National Security Agency pose a threat to privacy of ordinary citizens

May 16, 2016

by Ian Sample

The Guardian

The mass collection of telephone records by government surveillance programs poses a clear threat to the personal privacy of ordinary citizens, according to US researchers who used basic phone logs to identify people and uncover confidential information about their lives.

Armed with anonymous “metadata” on people’s calls and texts, but not the contents of the communications, two scientists at Stanford University worked out individuals’ names, where they lived and the names of their partners. But that was not all.

The same data led them to uncover potentially sensitive information about some individuals. One man was found to own a rifle, while another had recently been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Other data pointed to a new pregnancy, a person with multiple sclerosis, and an individual who was gearing up to grow cannabis.

The results highlight the extraordinary power of telephone metadata – the number called, when, and for how long – particularly when it is paired with public information available from services such as Google, Yelp and Facebook. The value of the data, which is not subject to the same legal protections as the content of people’s communications, has long been recognised by the security services. As Stewart Baker, the former general counsel at the US National Security Agency put it in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations: “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life.”

Patrick Mutchler, a computer security researcher at Stanford, said that while the power of metadata was understood by those gathering the information, the public was largely in the dark because so few published studies have revealed how rich the data are. “That makes it difficult for people with strong opinions about these programs to fight them. Now we have hard evidence we can point to that didn’t exist in the past,” he said.

For the study, the researchers signed up 823 people who agreed to have metadata collected from their phones through an Android app. The app also received information from their Facebook accounts, which the scientists used to check the accuracy of their results. In all, the researchers gathered metadata on more than 250,000 calls and over 1.2m texts.

Analysts who logged into the NSA’s metadata gathering system were initially allowed to examine data up to three hops away from an individual. A call from the target individual’s phone to another number was one hop. From that phone to another was two hops. And so on. The records available to analysts stretched back for five years. The collection window has now been restricted to two hops and 18 months at most.

The Stanford study found that armed with one phone number to start from, the NSA program would initially have given analysts access to telephone metadata for tens of millions of people. Once restrictions came into place, that number fell dramatically, but it still meant that armed with a single phone number, an NSA analyst could retrieve metadata on 25,000 people.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mutchler describes how on a shoestring budget, he and fellow graduate student, Jonathan Mayer, uncovered a wealth of personal information, some of it sensitive, about people who took part in the study. Through automatic and manual searches, they identified 82% of people’s names. The same technique gave them the names of businesses the people had called. When these were plotted on a map, they revealed clusters of local businesses, which the scientists speculated surrounded the person’s home address. In this way, they named the city people lived in 57% of the time, and were nearly 90% accurate in placing people within 50 miles of their home. Mutchler believes some of the misses came from people not updating their Facebook page when they moved out of their parents’ home, for example, to go to college.

The scientists next delved into more personal territory. Using a simple computer program to analyse people’s call patterns, they inferred who among the study volunteers was in a relationship. Once they knew the owner of a particular number had a partner, identifying the significant other was trivial, they report.

For the final part of the study, the researchers delved even deeper, to see what sensitive information they could glean from telephone metadata. They gathered details on calls made to and from a list of organisations, including hospitals, pharmacies, religious groups, legal services, firearms retailers and repair firms, marijuana dispensaries, and sex establishments. From these, they pieced together some extraordinary vignettes from people’s lives.

The metadata from one person in the study showed they had a long call from a cardiology centre; spoke briefly with a medical laboratory; answered a number of short calls from a local pharmacy, and then made calls to a hotline for abnormal heart-rate monitoring devices. Another participant made frequent calls to a local gun supplier that specialised in semi-automatic rifles, and later placed a number of long calls to the customer support hotline run by a major gun manufacturer that produced the rifles. Another still placed calls to a hardware store, a locksmiths, a hydroponics supplier and a head shop in the space of three weeks. The metadata from two others suggested one had multiple sclerosis and the other had just become pregnant.

“All of this should be taken as an indication of what is possible with two graduate students and limited resources,” said Mutchler, who argues that the findings should make policymakers think twice before authorising mass surveillance programs. “Large-scale metadata surveillance programs, like the NSA’s, will necessarily expose highly confidential information about ordinary citizens,” the scientists write, adding: “To strike an appropriate balance between national security and civil liberties, future policymaking must be informed by input from relevant sciences.”

Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said the study provided numbers that discussions can now be based on. “With the right analytics running over nation-scale comms data you can infer huge amounts of sensitive information on everyone. We always suspected that of course, but here’s the data.”


Oops! CIA watchdog ‘inadvertently’ destroys its only copy of torture report

May 16, 2016


The CIA’s internal watchdog “inadvertently” deleted its only copy of the Senate report on torture techniques employed by the agency in the wake of 9/11 – and did so while the Justice Department was insisting in court that copies were being stored.

Other copies still exist, including at the CIA itself, but news of the deletion is significant, as it occurred at the CIA inspector general’s office, which is in charge of overseeing policies and conduct at the agency to ensure that it is not breaking the law or acting out of bounds.

Although the full 6,700-page torture report has never been released to the public, the Senate did release a 500-page executive summary in 2014. The report detailed the CIA’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and more, sparking an outcry from a number of human rights groups

With the American Civil Liberties Union suing to get the entire report released, the fact that the inspector general’s copy was erased has raised red flags.

“It’s breathtaking that this could have happened, especially in the inspector general’s office — they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself,” said Douglas Cox, a City University of New York School of Law professor, to Yahoo News, which first reported the deletion. “It makes you wonder what was going on over there?”

When the Senate released its 500-page executive summary, copies of the full report were sent to multiple federal agencies, including the CIA’s internal watchdog. After receiving a computer disk containing the report, the inspector general’s office it to its network and then destroyed the disk, Yahoo reported. According to acting Inspector General Christopher R. Sharpley, this was “the normal course of business.”

In early 2015, the Justice Department ordered federal agencies not to open the file because doing so would make it subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Consequently, last week, a federal appeals court declined to release the report under FOIA because it is considered a congressional document.

Nevertheless, an employee at the CIA inspector general’s office reportedly believed that the Justice Department’s order not to open the file meant that it should be removed, and then deleted it. This left the office without the disk or the network copy.

The Senate committee that drafted the torture report and the Justice Department both learned of the erasure during the summer of 2015. However, the judge overseeing the FOIA lawsuit was never told, and back in February 2015 the Justice Department assured the courts that the files would not be destroyed.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is now urging the CIA to give the inspector general’s office another copy. So far, the watchdog has yet to receive it.

“Your prompt response will allay my concern that this was more than an ‘accident,’” she wrote to agency director John Brennan. “The CIA IG should have a copy of the full study because the report includes extensive information directly related to the IG’s ongoing oversight of the CIA.”

Meanwhile, Feinstein wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging her to inform the courts that the copy has been destroyed.

Feinstein was the leading lawmaker pushing for the release of the executive summary of the torture report, and sent copies of the full report to other agencies so that it could be preserved and potentially declassified later. She also sent a copy to the CIA inspector general because she wanted the watchdog to review the torture program and ensure that it was never resumed.


Hidden Microphones Exposed As Part of Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area

May 13, 2016

by Jackie Ward


OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing.  It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it.

Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

Jeff Harp, a KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent said, “They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment. I mean, there’s microphones that are planted in places that people don’t think about, because that’s the intent!”

FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures and at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse without a warrant to record conversations, between March 2010 and January 2011.

Federal authorities are trying to prove real estate investors in San Mateo and Alameda counties are guilty of bid rigging and fraud and used these recordings as evidence.

Harp said, “An agent can’t just go out and grab a recording device and plant it somewhere without authorization from a supervisor or special agent in charge.”The lawyer for one of the accused real estate investors who will ask the judge to throw out the recordings, told KPIX 5 News that, “Speaking in a public place does not mean that the individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy…private communication in a public place qualifies as a protected ‘oral communication’… and therefore may not be intercepted without judicial authorization.”

Harp says that if you’re going to conduct criminal activity, do it in the privacy of your own home. He says that was the original intention of the Fourth Amendment, but it’s up to the judge to interpret it.

Harp said, “An agent can’t just go out and grab a recording device and plant it somewhere without authorization from a supervisor or special agent in charge.”

The lawyer for one of the accused real estate investors who will ask the judge to throw out the recordings, told KPIX 5 News that, “Speaking in a public place does not mean that the individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy …private communication in a public place qualifies as a protected ‘oral communication’… and therefore may not be intercepted without judicial authorization.”

Harp says that if you’re going to conduct criminal activity, do it in the privacy of your own home . He says that was the original intention of the Fourth Amendment, but it’s up to the judge to interpret it.


U.S. judge restores bail for ex-prep school student in sex case

May 16, 2016

by Ted Siefer


Concord, NH-A New Hampshire judge on Monday ordered the release from jail of a former prep school student convicted of luring an underage classmate into a sexual encounter, two months after his bail was revoked for curfew violations.

Owen Labrie, 20, was convicted last year of the felony crime of using a computer to arrange a sexual encounter with a minor and initially released on bail pending an appeal. He was ordered to prison in March after prosecutors said that he had violated the terms of his curfew during repeated evening visits to Boston.

Merrimack Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler on Monday ruled that Labrie could be released, the week after the state Supreme Court ruled that his continued detention should be reconsidered, in part because it could exceed the time it will take for his appeals to be completed.

Labrie’s attorneys have requested a new trial, alleging errors on the part of his previous legal counsel.

Smukler ordered Labrie to wear an electronic ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts as a condition of his release.

“I am cognizant of the fact Mr. Labrie spent two months incarcerated, and that may have impressed on him the importance” of obeying the bail conditions, Smukler said.

Labrie’s attorney, Jaye Rancourt, previously acknowledged that he had repeatedly violated his curfew, which required him to be at his mother’s home in Tunbridge, Vermont from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. She insisted that these were oversights resulting from trips to the Boston area to meet with lawyers or for educational purposes.Prosecutors had maintained that Labrie willfully flouted the conditions, in part to visit a girlfriend.

Labrie, who wore orange jail scrubs, did not speak during the hearing, nor did he show clear emotion after the ruling.

County prosecutors urged the judge not to release Labrie.

“The only thing that has changed about the defendant is that he doesn’t like jail,” said prosecutor Catherine Ruffle.

Labrie’s trial cast a harsh light on the elite St. Paul’s School and its student tradition of a “senior salute,” in which students in their final year seek underclassmen for romantic or sexual encounters.

He was found guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault because the victim was 15 years old, below the age of consent. Labrie was 18 at the time.

(Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by Tom Brown)


World powers approve arms for Libya’s new government

The United States and other world powers have said they are ready to provide weapons to Libya’s new unity government.

The West is looking to shore up the government to fight jihadists and prevent a refugee influx.

May 16, 2016


Major world powers convening in Vienna on Monday said they were prepared to lift a UN arms embargo on Libya’s new unity government to help it secure control over the chaotic North African oil state.

The West and Libya’s neighbors hope a new UN-backed government will be able to dislodge the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) and prevent an influx of migrants from crossing the sea to Europe.

“The key question is whether Libya remains a place where terrorism, criminal human smuggling and instability continues to expand, or if we are able, together with the government of national unity, to recover stability,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, summing up the issues ahead of a meeting of top diplomats from 21 countries.

The foreign ministers said in a communiqué they were “ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping” of government forces.

The approval, including from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, all but ensures an exemption from a 2011 UN arms embargo for the new unity government. Any lifting of the arms embargo would not apply to other armed groups in the country.

Risky decision

International powers prodding Libyans to overcome their differences had said they would support a new government. However, the decision to partially lift the embargo is risky.

There are concerns over whether the new unity government will be able to keep weapons out of the hands of extremists and a multitude of militias, as well as the potential for human rights abuses.

The new UN-backed unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj sailed into the western city of Tripoli at the end of March in an effort to bring stability to Libya five years after NATO-backed rebels ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and the country descended into chaos.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) has only very loose control in a collapsed state filled with competing armed groups. It has secured the support of the administration in Tripoli but not a rival parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The two rival administrations have been fighting each other for more than a year. A power vacuum has enabled IS to carve out an area of control around the central coastal city of Sirte, where Western intelligence agencies estimate the extremist group has more than 5,000 fighters. Europe is concerned IS could use Sirte to launch attacks on the continent.

“The situation in Libya is extremely bad, I’ll be very frank, economically, financially and security-wise,” said Sarraj, the head of the GNA. “It requires the collaboration of all parties.”Sarraj said he would submit a proposal to world powers for “assistance on training and equipping our troops.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said while the US supported exempting the new unity government from an arms embargo it was “a delicate balance.”

“But we are all of us here today supportive of the fact that if you have a legitimate government and that legitimate government is fighting terrorism, that legitimate government should not be victimized by [the embargo],” he told reporters.

‘Stabilization of Libya is key’

To prop up the new government, world powers are also prepared to give humanitarian and economic assistance.

“The stabilization of Libya is the key answer to the risks that we have, and to stabilize Libya we need a government,” said Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who co-chaired the meeting.

The West has shot down the idea of sending in combat troops, but France and Britain have special forces advisers in the country. The United States also has special forces in the country collecting intelligence and is ramping up its drone and air power capability in the region, recently carrying out an airstrike against IS.

Libya descended into chaos in 2011 after NATO intervened to aid rebels seeking to topple longtime ruler Gadhafi. The sudden collapse of the state and presence of massive weapons stockpiles added fuel to regional and tribal rivalries in the oil rich country.

The country’s weapons stockpiles have ended up as far away as Syria, where Libyan jihadists flooded in to oust President Bashar al-Assad. Some battle-hardened jihadists have since returned to Libya.

Libya’s massive weapons caches have also ended up in West Africa, where they helped to strengthen insurgent groups al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.


Architects of disastrous Iraq War still at large

May 16, 2016

by Neil Clark


Bombs going off in Iraq? Well, it happens all the time – what’s there to see? Let’s all move along shall we?

On Thursday, at least 13 people were killed in a ISIS attack on a café in Baghdad for the ‘crime’ of watching a football match. The day before at least 88 people were killed in three explosions across Baghdad; scores were injured.

Yes, these events got some coverage on Western news channels, but they weren’t the main stories.

The neocon war lobby, who, remember, couldn’t stop talking about Iraq in 2002/3, and telling what a terrible threat the country’s WMDs posed to us, would of course like us to forget the country all together now. They’ve told us lots of times we need to ‘move on’ from talking about the 2003 invasion and instead focus on more important things – like how we can topple a secular Syrian president who’s fighting the very same terrorists who are bombing Baghdad.

The next few months though are going to very tricky for the ‘Don’t Mention the Iraq war’ clique. After years of delay, the Chilcot report into the war, is finally coming out in Britain in July.

There are legitimate fears, bearing in mind the composition of the panel, that Chilcot will seek to whitewash those who took us to war. Another Establishment cover-up certainly can’t be discounted.

But if Sir John does try and tell us that the war was all an ‘honest mistake’, he and his panel will be a laughing stock. Whatever Chilcot’s conclusions are, the important thing is that Iraq will be back in the news headlines, and this represents a great opportunity for those of us who opposed the 2003 invasion to ensure that justice is finally done.

It’s surely clear to almost everyone now that we were lied into an illegal war which not only destroyed an entire country, but which also led directly to the rise of IS and helped bring terrorism to Europe too.

We don’t need Sir John to tell us that Bush and Blair knew there were no WMDs in Iraq – as common sense and logic tells us that the deadly duo would never have invaded if they had genuinely believed the lurid claims contained in the decidedly dodgy dossiers.

Everything we were told by the neocons in the lead-up to war was false. To quote the title of a book by the antiwar British MP Peter Kilfoyle, there were Lies, Damned Lies and Iraq.

‘Saddam has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes’.

Horse manure.

‘Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction program is active, detailed and growing’.


‘Saddam Hussein… has the wherewithal to develop smallpox’.


‘We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade…We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases’.


‘The threat is very real and it is a threat not just to America or the international community but to Britain.’ Has the trash been collected yet?

Yet up to now- the people who peddled this bullsh** – bullsh** which led to the deaths of up to 1m people and made the Middle East and the world a far more dangerous place – have got off scot-free.

Tony Blair did step down as British Prime Minister in 2007, but remains a free man. Almost every week, we read in the newspapers about the vast fortune he has accumulated, with much of the money coming from governments and countries which benefited from the toppling of Saddam.

Blair’s partner in crime, George W. Bush, also remains at liberty.

Politicians who voted for an illegal war and who have failed to offer us a mea culpa for doing so – have advanced – but not to the jailhouse. In 2005, as I explained here, the pro-war David Cameron was fast-tracked by the neocons to become Conservative leader – at the expense of the more popular anti-war Ken Clarke.

In the US, the pro-Iraq war Hillary Clinton is the current odds-on favorite to succeed Barack Obama in the White House.

Disgustingly, obscenely, and outrageously, some of the most vociferous opponents of the Iraq war – the people who correctly predicted the disasters that would occur if Iraq was invaded – have seen their careers go into reverse because of the stance they took.

In Britain, George Galloway, the antiwar socialist who toured the country warning us what would happen if we listened to Bush and Blair, has become an outcast. The man who was branded as a ‘traitor’ by the pro-war Blairites for his stance on Iraq, is still waiting for his expulsion from the Labour Party to be rescinded. In the US, as anti-war activist Don Debar pointed out on Crosstalk this week, people of note who had opposed the Iraq war resolution – including Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich – had been ‘driven out of Congress by one mechanism or another’.

Meanwhile, in the media, the journalists and neocon think-tankers who fed us with conspiracy theories about Saddam’s non-existent WMDs and his non-existent links with Al Qaeda, continue to push pro-war propaganda. They are regular guests on Establishment friendly current affairs programmes on both sides of the Atlantic, imparting their ‘expertise’ on Syria and other foreign policy issues. No one ever has the courage to ask them: ‘Whatever happened to those WMDs you told us that Iraq had?

At the same time, the journalists who called Iraq right – like the great John Pilger – are absent from Western television news and current affairs programs. You’ve got to tune in to channels like RT – which the hawks would dearly love to see taken off air – to see them.

I’m sure that future generations will be shocked and appalled at how the Iraq war brigade were able to get away with it for so long.Iraq, in the words of John Pilger, was an ‘epic crime against humanity’, yet its perpetrators and enablers, are still there, thirteen years on, making money before our very eyes.

How have we allowed this to happen?

The pro-Iraq war clique have attempted to use political correctness to their advantage. As part of what Media Lens calls ‘demonising dissent’ – the fourth component of a ’Propaganda Blitz’,principled opponents of western foreign policy are smeared as ‘sexist’ ‘misogynist‘, ‘racist’ ‘conspiracy theorists’ ‘genocide deniers’ and even ‘dictator apologists’ -in the hope that no one will draw attention to the ‘morally virtuous’ attacker’s support for wars which have led to over 1m people losing their lives.

Identity politics has played into the war lobby’s hands. The neocons and Blairites are able to pose as ‘progressives’ who care deeply about the rights of women and gay people- while all the time pushing for wars which will kill women and gay people in great numbers.

To deflect attention away from their crimes, the Iraq war clique- who have clearly read their Orwell- also encourage us to focus on the alleged crimes of ‘Official Enemies’. We’re supposed to feel outraged over a non-existent ‘Russian invasion of the Ukraine’, while forgetting about the all too real invasion of Iraq and its catastrophic consequences.

Cowardly Establishment-friendly ‘leftists’, who wouldn‘t retweet or cite with approval an article published by RT because of fear they’d be excommunicated from the ‘Elite Journos Club’, happily engage with unrepentant pro-Iraq war propagandists on social media.

In doing so these western faux-progressives are effectively saying that the deaths of up to 1m Iraqis don’t matter. They’re sticking a big two fingers up at the people of the global south who have been the victims of neocon wars and destabilization campaigns.

The Nuremberg Judgement was quite clear: To launch a war of aggression, as the Iraq war clearly was, ‘is not only an international crime; it is the SUPREME INTERNATIONAL CRIME differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.’

If we have retain any proper sense of right and wrong, then it is those who carried out the ‘supreme international crime’ – and their supporters – who should be treated as pariahs, and not those who opposed the crime.

We don’t just need to campaign for Bush and Blair and their cohorts to stand trial (a website here offers a reward for those who attempt a peaceful citizen’s arrest of Blair), but also to work for a new law to bar those who supported the ‘supreme international crime’ and who have not publicly apologized for their actions, from holding public office in Britain and America.

In Germany after WW2, Denazification took place to remove Nazis from positions of power and influence. We need similar action today against the serial warmongers of the 21st century.

In Britain, the publication of Chilcot in July should provide the perfect opportunity for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who opposed the Iraq invasion, to go on the front foot against his pro-war critics in the party who have worked tirelessly to undermine his democratic mandate.

There’s still hope too that in America, Hillary the Hawk can be defeated.

Let’s talk about Iraq. Let’s talk about it incessantly. Let’s make sure that there is a reckoning, at long last, in 2016. Because if we want justice for the 1m or so people who lost their lives because of pack of lies nothing else will do.








‘He called me to the toilet’: Leaked accounts of kids raped by employee at Turkish refugee camp

May 17, 2016


Harrowing accounts by pre-teen victims of a rapist at Turkey’s Nizip refugee camp paint a picture of systematic abuse at the site designed to be a sanctuary. Amid the ongoing probe, neither reporters, nor opposition MPs are able to freely access the camp.

Sputnik agency has obtained an indictment of the 27-year old serial rapist who worked as a cleaner at the Nizip refugee camp in Antep, Turkey. The alleged perpetrator, who faces up to 230 years behind bars, is accused of sexually abusing some 30 children as young as eight years old from June to September 2015.

The indictment sheet contains the names of only eight boys, all of them from war-torn Syrian regions, who have been confirmed by the court as victims of the offender identified only as “E.E.”. Families of other underage victims decided not to proceed with charges, as they were afraid of being deported back to the conflict zone, according to Erik Acarer, a journalist with the BirGün newspaper, which first broke the story.

“E.E.” – a native of the southeastern Turkish district of Bozova in Şanlıurfa province – stands accused of “premeditated sexual abuse towards children, forcing minors to enter into sexual relations in a perverted form” for exchange of a slightly more than a US dollar on average. The court is expected to deliver its verdict on June 1.

Rape survivors who testified before the court provided crucial evidence in the case, as the man deliberately chose blind spots of cameras to commit his attacks so they would remain unseen.

“E. E. called me and took me to the toilet. He offered me 1.5 liras for sex. I refused. Then he abruptly removed my trousers and raped me,” a boy, identified only as “A.D.”, told the court

A few days later, he called me again, but I ran. The next day, he grabbed me again, dragged me to the toilet and did the same thing,” the boy said.

Another victim of repeated sexual abuse that went unnoticed was a 12-year-old, identified only as “M.H.”

“During Ramadan, E.E. called me to the shower and said that he would give me 5 liras. I came to him. At first, he was caressing various parts of my body, then he began touching my genitals, but there was no rape,” said the boy, who was also allegedly subjected to similar acts by the same man 15 days after the end of Ramadan.

One of the boys, identified as “H.I.”, told the story of how he escaped the fate of the other boys due to sheer luck.

“E.E. called me and told me to meet him in the toilet for ‘some fun’ and promised to give me 10 liras,” said the boy. Luckily for the child, the man had forgotten something and left the premises. “At that point, I ran away. I went to my father and told him everything. We then went together to the police station and told them about what happened.”

‘Exemplary’ facility praised by Western officials

The shocking evidence comes from the camp personally showcased by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to high-profile European guests, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Donald Tusk as an exemplary facility in April. Now the refugee camp, which just last month seemed to have gladly welcomed European politicians, seems to have turned into a closed facility.

In April, Merkel praised Turkey for the efforts it is undertaking “not only to provide a safe haven for millions of refugees, but also to provide them with opportunities and perspectives,” apparently charmed by an extravagant welcome ceremony with four young Syrian women clad in white dresses presenting flowers to her.

Tusk then went even further, calling the country “the best example for the whole world of how we should treat refugees,” adding that “no one has the right to lecture Turkey what to do.”

However, the doors of the celebrated refugee camp closed before country’s own journalists and the Turkish MPs from Republican People’s Party (CHP). The latter managed to enter the territory but were barred from speaking to the families of the victims.

Broken cameras, victims missing

RT spoke to Erk Acarer, a reporter with the BirGün newspaper, banned by the Turkish government from accessing the camp area, who alleged the authorities might have planned to cover up the unpleasant truth about the camp.

“Our access to the camps was restricted from the very beginning… The authorities did not give us any explanation,” he said, stressing that such strange conduct of the camp administration “confirms what we have been saying from the very beginning that the government is covering something there.”

He also added that the authorities carefully selected which journalists would be allowed to visit the center to make sure that any information that could harm the government would not be let out.

“Our access to the camps was restricted from the very beginning and they only let pro-government journalists in and they don’t do that very often. Firstly they clear up the site and later lawmakers from the Republican People’s Party somehow managed to get in and naturally they wanted to meet the families of the victims. But naturally, the authorities did not allow this,” he said.

Since the probe into E.E.’s activities was opened, the employee has not been even dismissed by the camp operator, the Ministry for Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). The operator, which runs refugee facilities in the country, only “changed the place of duty of their worker, who is held responsible of abuses rather than handing him to the court.”

Acarer also had some alarming information regarding the security cameras at the camp, which could have caught the rapist in the act.

“There are 85 cameras in the camp and 14 were pointed at the scenes where the sexual assaults took place. But strangely when the court asked for the video recordings, the camp authorities replied that all 14 cameras were broken and were not able to record anything,” the journalist mentioned.

However, the most serious concern is now the psychological wellbeing of the victims, which is unknown as they “don’t have access to the families of the victims.”

What is worse, three of the victims are said to be still missing.

Staged show for inspectors?

The unfolding tragedy could be a sign of a larger looming social problem within Turkey, as the country may not be able to create an acceptable environment for the Syrian refugees to live and work on a par with Turkish citizens.

“The government claims that Syrians are in good hands, but this is not real,” Acarer said.

On Thursday, the CHP called on the Turkish Parliament to launch a parliamentary commission to investigate all the circumstances of the case – so far, to no avail.

Elif Dogan, a CHP MP, was among the delegation of deputies that were allowed to enter the camp. However, the inspection was “reminiscent of a well-planned and prepared demonstration program, as if we were on a tourist trip, where a special imitation of a tent camp had been prepared and carefully demonstrated. I suspect that behind these closed doors were even more serious violations and crimes,” the MP told Sputnik.

“Around us, 10-15 guards had gathered, and they did their best to prevent our work. I wanted to ask, where they had been when children were being raped?” she asked, criticizing AFAD.

RT has asked some of the leading human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UNICEF Turkey and OHCHR to comment on the case. So far we have received a response only from HRW, which was “unable to comment this time” as it “hasn’t looked into this issue sufficiently.”


Turkey confirms 13 missing killed in PKK blast last week

May 16, 2016

by Mahumue Bozarslan


Diyarbakir (Turkey) (AFP) – Turkish authorities on Monday confirmed that 13 missing civilians had been killed last week in a blast caused by a huge quantity of explosives hoarded by Kurdish rebels blowing up accidentally.

The mainly Kurdish region of Diyarbakir, in southeast Turkey, was rocked by a massive explosion on Thursday night said to have been caused by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants loading explosives onto a truck.

Four people, all PKK militants, were initially said by the authorities to have been killed in the blast, which the interior ministry blamed on explosives detonating prematurely.

But the local governor’s office later confirmed media reports that a dozen citizens were still missing after the immense blast, which reportedly involved some 15 tonnes of explosives.

A statement by Diyarbakir prosecutors late Monday said DNA testing based on body parts sent to Istanbul experts had confirmed 13 more people had been killed in the blast.

Their remains will now be passed onto families for burial later in the week.

The statement means that the confirmed death toll from the incident is now far higher than had been previously admitted by the authorities.

It said that 23 people had been wounded in the blast and three more had been confirmed dead in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, putting the total death toll at 16.

It was not clear if these three fatalities referred to the PKK militants mentioned previously by the authorities or other civilians.

Reports had said earlier that authorities had conducted three investigations of the scene, collecting body parts from a half kilometre area which were sent to Istanbul for analysis and DNA identification.

An AFP correspondent who visited the scene on Friday saw body parts still strewn around the area and was told by villagers that up to 16 people were missing.

The blast left a gigantic crater in the ground which locals inspected in a state of shock.

In a statement, the PKK also said the explosion was accidental, claiming the vehicle exploded when anti-PKK villagers opened fire on the truck.

The group said the explosives were meant to be transferred to another location and not detonated. It offered condolences to the families of the bystanders who died but said it was not to blame for the loss of life.

Turkey has been waging an offensive against the PKK after the collapse in 2015 of a two-year ceasefire declared by the group.

Hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in attacks since then although civilian deaths in the conflict have rarely been confirmed.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding a homeland for Turkey’s biggest minority. Since then, the group has pared back its demands to focus on cultural rights and a measure of autonomy.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply