TBR News May 21, 2016

May 21 2016


The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 21, 2016: “The political scene in America today puts one in mind of the unstable and very volatile period preceding the Civil War. The South is becoming radicalized and deliberately flouting the laws of the country. The Supreme Court rules that abortion and gay marriage is legal and in the South, they flout this. The South is the final fortress of the Evangelicals and there is mounting local hysteria in favor of its denial of the laws. So far, the government, which is compelled to support the laws, has not sent troops to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi or Oklahoma but we note that the senior Bundy made the tactical error of leaving his ranch in Nevada and traveling to Oregon in support of his family occupation of a Federal museum. The government grabbed him in Oregon and he is now facing a long sentence for his armed resistance to the BLM enforcement of their grazing rules. No government can permit blatant violation of its laws as various groups of anti-government citizens flout the laws.”


The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

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

His name was Heinrich Müller.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 23 November 1949

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day here, an American Harvest Festival. No one in this house is American with the exception of Heini but as a concession to the national customs, we will be having an entirely American dinner. I have spoken with the cook on Monday about this and we will have the turkey, the bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams (a purely American potato also called a sweet potato), soup, fresh rolls, a pie made with pumpkin and nutmeg and other things. Am told it is a very traditional and good feast so one has hopes my informants are correct.

Thursday, 24 November 1949

Today we had the Thanksgiving dinner that seemed to be entirely worthwhile. There were two turkeys, one for the staff and one for me and my immediate circle which consisted of Irmgard, Heini and the First and Second Murderers. I have been reading Macbeth. Arno made remarks about the turkey, indicating that he preferred it to chicken and the pie was a great success.

It was raining today and warm during the day.

After the dinner, I put on my raincoat, took an umbrella and Maxl for a walk up and down the streets around here for my exercise and the welfare of the carpets.

A very pleasant experience with what I have learned are called the Cave Dwellers!

I will put some of this down because I am in a particularly good mood and everyone else has gone to their beds, or someone else’s, and I am not tired enough to go to sleep.

Tomorrow, I will have to start preparations for my trip to Florida but tonight I can enjoy myself with thoughts about the future.

During my walk today, I went past an old but obviously very expensive house and as I was passing, I heard the sound of a piano so I stopped for a moment and listened. It was a very proficient rendering of a Bach piece that I have played myself so I looked up at the house and saw that a window on the first floor was open. Although it was raining, it was still a warmish day and it was very humid. A few moments later, a well-dressed, elderly woman emerged from the front door, umbrella in hand, and came down the front walk and through the gate.

Since Maxl and I were standing in front of the fence and she emerged no more than three feet away, I raised my hat to her. I said that I hoped she would not take offense at my standing in front of her house but that I had heard someone playing most proficiently on the piano and that as an amateur pianist, I was very much impressed. To this the woman replied, in excellent humor, that she had no objections to my listening and that it was her niece who was practicing for a recital.

There were formal pleasantries exchanged (reading Emily Post has been of great help here in Washington, at least with civilized people) and I gave her my nice engraved card with my nice new name on it.

Her car came out from the rear of the house with not only a chauffeur but also a footman, both in livery! Before she got into the car, this grande dame said to me that she and her niece were at home on Wednesdays and they would be most happy if I would call. She had all of the panache of the wife of an Ambassador and when I made some reference to this, she said that she was a Cave Dweller and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Transients.

On that note, she entered her car and drove off.

Although Maxl has no ear for music, I certainly do and I stood there for another ten minutes. When I got back home, somewhat wetter than I had wanted, I had someone dry Maxl off before letting him go upstairs.

I also had the occasion to speak with one of my American friends and asked him about the Cave Dwelling lady and was promptly told that this is the terminology for the old Washington society whose roots go back to the eighteenth century and who take a dim view of diplomats and politicians.

When I gave him the address, he told me he would check on it for me. An hour later he called back with the news that this house, or mansion, was the property of a very prominent, and wealthy, old family.

I shall first digest my meal and then plan to make my call on Wednesday. No doubt the niece will be fat and ugly but she plays like an angel.

Sunday, 27 November 1949

To an early Mass and trying to put together some material for my meeting with the P. (resident, ed.) in Florida. Robert came by just before lunch, hoping no doubt to get a free meal. He is very upset about the visit of some retired Japanese general to Maryland. One of his brothers died in Japanese captivity during the war and Robert now claims that this Lieutenant General (Dr. Shiro, ed.) Ishii was in charge of a bacteriological warfare complex in China who experimented on living people, mostly Allied prisoners of war. Killing them rather badly of course. Also this gang spread anthrax, the plague and other charming things all over China and up into Russia. Poor Russians. Schreiber’s people give them plague on one side and General Ishii gives it to them on the other.

But, according to Robert who ought to know, General MacArthur not only protected Ishii and his medical assassins but actually set them up in a secret compound in Japan to continue their happy work!

And now some of the more important killers have been invited to the United States as honored guests to lecture on their activities to American Army personnel out at Ft. Detrick in Maryland where, Robert tells me, we are planning to do the same thing to the Russians that Schreiber (Dr. Walter Paul, ed.) and Ishii did during the war.

I enjoy the irony of the situation. That is the irony inherent in Robert coming to me for assistance! And I am a wanted war criminal who ran the dread Gestapo! I suppose if the government will make love to Ishii and his men, they must have no problem with me at all. And, Robert tells me, not only does MacArthur know but the President has been informed as well!

This is a Pandora’s Box which should be kept tightly shut in my opinion because Washington is still full of Soviet friends in spite of all our labors in the vineyards of the Lord and if Josef gets wind of this nasty business, no doubt people will be dropping like flies in Cleveland and certainly here.

I must make an effort to buy some property, hopefully with a house on it, in some nice remote place like Colorado, where I can escape if such a filthy business gets started.


The account of General Ishii is certainly not a great secret but there are some aspects of it that are not so commonly known to the public and for obvious reasons. The Japanese Political Police, the dreaded Kempeitai, set up a biological and chemical warfare center in Manchuria during the 1930s. Initial experiments on living prisoners were conducted using Chinese, but during the war, Unit 731, as the huge complex was called, received over 3,000 American, British, Dutch, Russian, Korean and Chinese prisoners for vivisection, injection with deadly diseases, artificial freezing experiments and other pleasantries.

In addition to such activities, Lt. General Dr. Shiro Ishii also used Japanese Army special units to spray dysentery, bubonic plague, typhoid and cholera germs over the population of China’s Zhejiang Province to test various diseases and determine the most effective means of liquidating large numbers of their enemies.

A translation of a Japanese official report exists in which Army Headquarters in Tokyo was considering putting pathogens onto air-borne balloons and letting the prevailing air currents deliver the deadly contents to the United States Pacific Northwest.

This activity was by no means limited to China and the Kempeitai had other facilities throughout their Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere including Malaya, other Chinese sites, the prison complex at Singapore and Hiroshima on the main island of Japan.

Not only did MacArthur protect Ishii and his staff but also all of his files dealing with his experiments were taken over by the United States Army and Ishii was put to work along with members of his staff on the identical projects at a secret site in Japan. This site was later developed into a major Japanese pharmaceutical firm in which MacArthur and some of his closest collaborators initially had a financial interest and were considered to be participating partners.

There are several reports on this business, one prepared by G2 in Tokyo in 1948 and another follow-up prepared during the Korean War in 1951. At that time there was a very high level argument as to whether or not the atomic bomb should be used on the North Koreans and Chinese invaders of South Korea. Some counsel held out for using Ishii’s version of an Asiatic Final Solution but fortunately, Truman vetoed both projects.

Monday, 28 November 1949

A number of matters. I spoke with Hoover again about the British and have absolutely stressed my belief that not only were they spying on us, especially on our atomic programs here, but also giving vital secrets to the Soviets! Hoover hates the British as much as he does the Russians so it has not been difficult to gain his interest.

  1. (ruman, ed.) is neutral about the British and even cooperative with them and I will have to do what I can to wreck this situation. I suggested to H. that perhaps he had better set up a section to keep an eye on the British.

We will start with the telephones and observation of those who use their embassy here and their consulates in Chicago and New York. He agrees to start this program “very soon” and I gave him some information on a few British agents here. He told me Stephenson was a Canadian murderer who killed Americans who got in the British way during the war and who had agents spying all over Washington. They and the Russians!

I am keeping Harold P. (hilby, ed.) in the background until I can have my own people get enough background material on the new spy chief to make an impression on Hoover. I dug out the papers covering Philby’s defection, or rather cooperation with us in 1939 and will have photocopies made to add to my reports to Hoover.

Spending tonight on a report for Truman in Florida and have decided to downplay the menace of the communist intellectual and stress actual spies in place, especially in the Atomic program. Using material from Pash and some from Hoover. I will talk about the atomic program and the Russians, and then move right into the British situation without letting any light get in between.

Also some piano practice and preparations for my Wednesday visit to my neighbor and the unknown niece. I keep imagining what she looks like. Hopefully attractive (I cannot abide ugly women, especially fat and ugly women). It would be pleasant to at least become acquainted with a really attractive younger woman who is a good pianist and likes Bach!

It never fails that she will have huge buttocks, bad skin and teeth and a shrill voice. Or legs like my Bechstein (a German piano, ed.). Well, the aunt has enough money to make her interesting but she is far too old.

One of the guards who is from Utah and is a Mormon (but not a very good one Heini tells me because he smokes and drinks coffee) told a joke which is worth putting down. The head of the Mormon Church was called Brigham Young. He was a raging polygamist but liked younger women, as I do. He used to say (and I had to write this down to get the English correct), “I don’t care how you bring them but bring them young.” Or a contraction to say “Bring’em young.” An American joke. It’s true that we always learn the nasty parts of a foreign language first.

Learning French, one does not first say, “Please tell me how to get to the nearest cathedral so that I may pray,” but instead, “where is the local whorehouse so I can screw to clear my sinuses,” or even better, “what price do you charge for your services, Madame, and do you have a health certificate?” Always avoid a prostitute who has a pack of dogs following her down the street while she is on combat patrol. They have a better sense of smell than we do and God knows what goes on internally.

Imagine having three beautiful young wives? It would kill me but would be an interesting way to commit suicide as well as being very expensive. One wife is quite enough but I never can keep my eyes off a woman with pretty legs. Heini knows this little failing of mine and comforted me with a story about his father’s dog. He said, “There’s nothing wrong with chasing pretty women, Boss. But my dad (Vati) has a dog that chases cars too.” Yes, and of course what happens when the dog catches the car? Does he mount the exhaust pipe and burn his vital parts? Heini is an excellent fellow but is sometimes too sharp. Although I am no virgin in that area either.






1st images of EgyptAir wreckage released, reports of smoke onboard confirmed

May 21, 2016


Smoke was reportedly detected on board the EgyptAir plane before it crashed in the southern Mediterranean, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency told the media. The Egyptian army, in the meantime, released the first photos of the plane wreckage.

The information about the smoke on the plane was confirmed by an official from France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for civil aviation safety.

“The BEA confirms that there have been ACARS [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] messages sent by the plane indicating that there was smoke shortly before the data transmissions broke,” a spokesperson told AFP.

“These messages do not allow in any way to say what may have caused smoke or fire on board the aircraft,” the agency also told Reuters.

The ACARS messages “generally mean the start of a fire,” BEA spokesman Sebastien Barthe told AP.

“The focus of the investigation is to find wreckage and flight recorders,” the agency added.

Early reports on the smoke were released by the Aviation Herald website which reports daily about incidents and critical situations in civil aviation companies. According to the outlet, the smoke was detected in the lavatory.

The Egyptian army has released pictures on Facebook of the wreckage of Flights MS804 and passengers’ belongings found in the southern Mediterranean.

The blue panel of the plane, with “EgyptAir” markings, is clearly visible in the pictures, as well as the yellow life jackets.

EgyptAir Flight MS804 took off from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport late at night on Wednesday with 66 passengers and crew aboard, bound for Cairo, and disappeared from radar early on Thursday in Egypt’s airspace.

A third day of search efforts is going on in the Mediterranean. The operation involves the Egyptian, French, Greek and US navies, mostly covering the southern part of the Mediterranean as a possible crash area.

On Friday, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said that the Egyptian search mission found human remains and belongings of the passengers, hours after the first debris were spotted 290km north of Alexandria, Egypt

Later the Egyptian military said it had identified a search area to recover EgyptAir Arbus A320’s flight recorders, Al Ahram newspaper reported. “The area is three to four nautical miles (5.6-7.4km) away from the crash site,” a source close to the investigation told the newspaper.

The location where wreckage from the plane will be brought to for investigation has not been agreed, Egypt’s Aviation Ministry said at a briefing Saturday.

The ministry said that special equipment is on its way to locate black boxes, adding that these boxes may be at a depth of around 3,000 meters.

Egyptian authorities and the airline urged people to refrain from drawing premature conclusions. However, several aviation experts and intelligence services worldwide said they believed a terror attack was more likely than a technical failure.


Turkey: Law experts concerned by stripping of immunity

An amendment to strip parliamentary immunity has sent shockwaves through Turkey. The bill is widely seen as a method of tossing the Peoples’ Democratic Party out of parliament and boosting the power of President Erdogan.

May 21, 2016


In Turkey, opposition politicians and legal scholars see grave danger in the constitutional amendment to strip lawmakers of parliamentary immunity that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) successfully pushed through the Grand National Assembly on Friday. The amendment passed with 376 votes, nine over the required two-thirds of parliament required to avoid a popular referendum. The passing of the amendment has strengthened the hand of the parliamentary alliance against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which campaigns for equality for Kurds and other minorities.

Perhaps most surprisingly, at least 20 deputies of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voted to amend the constitution. “Those who who voted in favor have signed off on a historical mistake,” said Sezgin Tanrikulu, a CHP deputy of Kurdish descent.

The change has diminished the power of Turkey’s already-weak opposition, which is primarily composed of three parties with little in common: the HDP, the centrist CHP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). With this move, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a step closer to establishing the top-heavy system that he has sought since 2014, when he won control of what had traditionally and officially been a more ceremonial executive position. Many in the capital, Ankara, have questioned the CHP lawmakers’ motivation for essentially advancing Erdogan’s efforts to concentrate power in the presidency.

“The CHP’s stance in the beginning was quite correct,” said Ayse Sayin, the Ankara news editor at the daily Cumhuriyet. “Their position was that, on principal, the immunity of all deputies should be permanently stripped. However, the AKP would not accept this. When the AKP kept saying, ‘We will remove these immunities,’ [CHP leader Kemal] Kilicdaroglu said, ‘All right then.’ But he couldn’t guess what was going to happen next.”

Sayin said some CHP deputies had voted in favor of the amendment because they were afraid that if it were to go to referendum, it would be coupled with Erdogan’s desired measure to convert Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. “In the second round of voting, the fear of a referendum tipped the scales,” he said. “Internally, the CHP is conflicted. Anything is possible. The MHP is also a party that will sustain major internal chaos in the near future. However, one thing is certain: Everything that happens in Ankara is going in the direction that Erdogan wants.”

‘In pieces’

The constitutional law professor Ergun Ozbudun said judicial independence and the rule of law were “in pieces” – and he made no secret of whom he held responsible for that fact: “The CHP is mocking the public. The conflicting statements within the party come one after the other.”

“We will see in the ensuing period how Kilicdaroglu explains his ‘we acted in accordance with the constitution’ statement to the public,” Ozbudun said. “But there is no explanation. A provisional clause has been added to the constitution, and parliamentarians have been targeted within a specific period. Everyone has already talked about how the target is the HDP. There is a clear violation of the constitution. The CHP must accept that this was a mistake.” He added: “The future, life and wealth of this country’s democracy and its parliamentarians remain at the mercy of the government and the judges and prosecutors who work with it. Democracy has taken a great, historic blow.”

As evidence, Ozbudun cited the imprisonment of elected Kurdish deputies in the 1990s after a similar stripping of immunity – a recent precedent that led to an unprecedented spike in violence. “The foundation has been laid for the deepening of the rift between Turks and Kurds, what happened in 1994 and the return of events that no one can condone,” he said.

Practical questions

The criminal law professor Izzet Ozgenc is among those who say the amendment will pave the way for a number of judicial problems. “For example, including the leader of the main opposition party, there are investigations against party leaders for insulting the president,” Ozgenc said. “Let’s say that the main opposition party is called by a prosecutor to testify and that leader doesn’t go. What will happen? Will he be brought by force? In a country where something like this could happen, it is impossible to talk about democracy.”

Ozgenc said the responsibility for future legal cock-ups lay with the president. “I expressed my views to Erdogan,” Ozgenc said. “When the amendment reaches the president, he absolutely must send it back to parliament for a new debate.”

That appears unlikely. With Erdogan’s approval, the amendment would go into effect after being published in Turkey’s Official Gazette. Nearly 150 deputies could have their immunity stripped. They include 55 members of the opposition CHP, 29 lawmakers for the ruling AKP, 10 legislators for the nationalist MHP and one independent. The faction most disproportionately affected, however, would be the HDP, which has 59 representatives – 53 of whom would face prosecution, including the party’s co-leaders. Almost all of the accusations have to do with the nebulous charge of expressing verbal support for banned Kurdish groups, and none are related to the more banal political crimes of bribery, corruption or theft.


Israeli Hardliners Harden Further

May 19, 2016

by Paul R. Pillar

National Interest

There already shouldn’t have been any doubt about the orientation of the current Israeli government and the associated obduracy of that government in blocking any path toward resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is firmly rightist, dominated by those opposed to the relinquishing of occupied territory or the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu, who comes across as one of the more moderate members of his own coalition, has paid more lip service than some other members of that coalition to the idea of an eventual Palestinian state, but he has made clear with other words and actions that he has no intention of any such thing coming into being on his watch, or of taking any meaningful steps toward such a state coming into being. Now come reports that Netanyahu is offering the defense ministry to former Moldovan nightclub bouncer (and resident of a West Bank settlement) Avigdor Lieberman. This will bring into the ruling coalition Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, which even within the Israeli context is usually described as “hard right.”

Bringing Lieberman into the government is indicative not only of the overall orientation of that government but also of some larger disturbing trends in Israeli attitudes that the government has fomented more than it has discouraged. If Lieberman is made defense minister he would replace Moshe Ya’alon, who in recent days has backed the Israeli military in prosecuting (though only for manslaughter, not the murder that occurred) an Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape shooting in the head, at close range, a Palestinian man who was wounded and lying on the ground, already subdued and obviously not a threat. Lieberman has joined other hardliners in expressing support for the soldier. (Netanyahu has visited the soldier’s family to express sympathy.)

Netanyahu had been trying to recruit another coalition partner to increase his government’s thin majority in the Knesset. Talks with centrist leader Isaac Herzog fell through; the government evidently had more in common with the crude hard right tendencies of Lieberman. Perhaps the timing of this latest political move was a natural outcome of this sequence of negotiations. Or maybe it was at least as much another example of Netanyahu’s proclivity for poking a stick in the eye of foreign leaders who look like they might be getting on his case about the Palestinian conflict—such as timing an announcement of more settlement expansion to coincide with a visit of Vice President Biden. This time the stickee is the French government, which is organizing an international conference for later this year on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

All honest outside observers should use the report about Lieberman coming into the Israeli government as an occasion to remind themselves that this tragic and long-running conflict continues to run because one side refuses to end it. The gross asymmetry between the two sides is all-important. One side, the occupying power—the side with the firepower—has the ability to end the occupation and resolve the conflict if it decided to do so. The other side has no such power. That other side, the Palestinian side, has tried to use violent resistance but has subsequently and correctly drawn the conclusion that such violence is not the answer; the violence, unsurprisingly, only stokes legitimate fears among Israelis about their security. Violence has been continuing in the unplanned, spontaneous, and frustration-driven form of young people grabbing knives and stabbing the first Israelis they can find. The Palestinian leadership has turned to multilateral diplomacy, which, besides popular boycotts, is about the only tool it has left. And the Israeli government does everything it can to impede and to foil such diplomacy, as it is trying to do now with the French initiative.

A common urge to sound impartial leads to the common refrain that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists because neither side has the political will to settle it. Nonsense. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians do not want to continue to live under Israeli occupation. They have the will but not the power to settle. There certainly are divisions and political weakness on the Palestinian side—of which the Israeli government has striven to prevent any repair, such as in “punishing” the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority through withholding tax revenue whenever it has moved toward reconciliation with Hamas—but there is no significant pro-occupation party among Palestinians. The hardliners who control Israel policy have the power but—as ample evidence, even without Avigdor Lieberman, has shown—not the will, as long as third parties do not make them suffer any meaningful consequences. They do want the occupation to continue.

The Netanyahu government’s repeated claim that it wants to negotiate with the Palestinians should be described as the charade that it is. It is understandable that Palestinian leaders have no desire to engage in talks that have no prospect of leading to anything, when such engagement would just mean participating in the charade while the occupation continues and more facts are built on the occupied ground. The insincerity is all the more obvious when Netanyahu speaks of talks with “no preconditions” while at the same time insisting that the Palestinians pronounce Israel to be a “Jewish state”—a precondition that implicitly limits how the issue of Palestinian refugees and right of return can be resolved, and also would mean the Palestinian leadership formally signing on to a declaration that non-Jewish Israelis are second-class citizens. Those are the only things such a pronouncement would mean. The Palestinian leadership long ago recognized, formally and unequivocally, the state of Israel. As Palestinian leaders have noted, that state is free to describe itself any way it wants.

With the American political system still wearing its usual straitjacket on this issue, the main hope right now for taking any steps out of this tragic situation lies with the French initiative. If the United States is to do anything helpful any time in the foreseeable future, it probably will have to come in the remaining eight months of the Obama administration. One of the two presumptive presidential nominees speaks of taking U.S.-Israeli relations “to the next level”—and it is safe to assume she doesn’t mean that the next level will consist of imposing consequences for the continued occupation. The other presumptive presidential nominee caused nervous moments in the Israel lobby when he talked about being impartial, but the nerves were soothed with a speech to AIPAC that said all the “right” things. And now he has Sheldon Adelson and Adelson’s heavyweight bankroll on his side, with everything that implies for this nominee’s future posture on Israel-related issues if he were to be elected.


Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick to replace Ya’alon as Knesset member

Glick is a prominent proponent of the right of Jews to visit the Temple Mount. He survived an assassination attempt in October 2014.

May 20, 2016

Haaretz         |

American-born Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick will replace Moshe Ya’alon in the Knesset, following the latter’s resignation on Friday.

Glick, who survived an assassination attempt in October 2014, is the next in line on the Likud’s list of Knesset candidates to replace a sitting Knesset member .

“I pray to God that He give me good counsel and accompany me as an emissary for the nation of Israel, to sanctify the name of Heaven and to increase peace and light in the world and work to unify the nation of Israel,” Glick told the Arutz Sheva website on Friday.

Yehuda Glick, 50, came to prominence in October 2014, when he was shot four times at point-blank range outside the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

According to eyewitness testimony, Glick was loading equipment into the back of his car after speaking at a conference when a man on a motorcycle approached him, asked him if he was Yehuda Glick and then shot him in the chest.

Glick later said that that the gunman had apologized before firing at him, saying: “I’m very sorry, but you’re an enemy of Al-Aqsa. I have to.”

The alleged assailant, Mutaz Hijazi, a member of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, was traced by the Israeli security services to the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Abu Tor and killed in a gunfight.

Glick survived the shooting, though he was severely injured, and left hospital in late November 2014.

Glick, who lives in the settlement of Otniel, is the leader of HaLiba, a coalition of groups dedicated to “reaching complete and comprehensive freedom and civil rights for Jews on the Temple Mount,” and chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation.

He was previously executive director of The Temple Institute, which promotes the construction of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.

After recovering from his injuries, Glick was charged with assaulting a Palestinian woman on the Temple Mount and barred from entering the sanctuary. He was acquitted of the charge in February and the following week paid his first visit to the mount in 18 months.

“Thank God, when I was laying unconscious a day after the attack, my wife said that we would return to the Temple Mount and that’s what we’re doing today,” Glick told Haaretz at the time.

“As soon as we entered, someone from the Waqf recognized me and reported it in his walkie-talkie but it was early and there weren’t many people. Some gathered around us, but the police protected us and the visit passed peacefully.”

Glick stressed that his visit to the Temple Mount was symbolic and said he would continue fighting to allow for all Jews to enter the holy site.

“I’m not the story here,” said Glick. “The story is all the people of Israel. We will continue to call on and support Jews coming to the Temple Mount so that they will become part of the natural view on the Temple Mount.”

Glick was born to the United States to American parents who immigrated to Israel when he was a baby. Prior to entering the Knesset, he will have to renounce his American citizenship.


U.S. targets spying threat on campus with proposed research clampdown

May 20, 2016

by Julia Edwards


Washington-Leading U.S. universities are pushing back against a proposed State Department rule that would bar foreign students from more research projects and classes involving information seen as vital to national security.

The proposal by the administration of President Barack Obama reflects growing worries in Washington over a rise in intellectual property theft from foreign adversaries such as China.

Research related to defense technology such as munitions, nuclear engineering and satellite technology would be particularly affected by the rule, which is still in the proposal process and has not been widely reported.

Defense contractors such as Northrop Grumman (NOC.N), Boeing (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) regularly sponsor university research, but did not respond to requests for comment.

The new rule, which largely applies to company-sponsored research, threatens to shrink the pool of research opportunities available for U.S. colleges, which have grown strongly in popularity among high-paying foreign students in recent years.

Some top U.S. schools do not accept any research grants that restrict participation by foreign citizens because it runs counter to their policies of academic freedom and non-discrimination.

In a letter to the State Department, Stanford University said it joined The Association of American Universities (AAU), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Pennsylvania in criticizing the rule, citing “disastrous consequences.” The AAU represents 62 leading research institutions, including Harvard, Duke University, and the University of Chicago.

The universities say the rule would tip the balance too far in favor of national security against academic freedom.

“We wouldn’t be able to perform the same basic foundational research that we do,” said Stanford’s director of export compliance Steve Eisner. “Stanford has a policy of conducting research openly regardless of citizenship. We’re not going to tell our Chinese students that they can’t participate.”No current cases of industrial espionage involve university research, though government officials told Reuters they suspect university faculty are violating loosely defined research rules.

A 2011 FBI report said “foreign adversaries and competitors take advantage” of the openness of information on college campuses and a small percentage of students, researchers and foreign professors are “working at the behest of another government.”

There were just under 1 million foreign students at U.S. colleges in the 2014-2015 school year, 31 percent of whom were Chinese, according to the Institute of International Education. That has grown from fewer than 100,000 in the 1960s when the United States began regulating their access to research.

In 2015, the number of intellectual property cases investigated by the FBI rose 53 percent from the previous year.

The FBI says China is the main culprit. It has accused Chinese nationals of attempting to export technology from the United States, including genetically modified corn seed and sensitive military information stored on Boeing computers.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that “we know that some foreign spies and criminals target students and faculty alike to steal valuable technology and intellectual property.” It added it was working with universities and laboratories to raise awareness of the threat.

A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Lei, said the United States should be improving cooperation with China instead of adding restrictions on foreign students.

“China’s scientific and technological developments have been achieved through the hard struggle of the Chinese people,” Lei said at a ministry briefing on Thursday.


The proposed rule comes as universities face shrinking federal funding for research, forcing many to rely more on industry-sponsored projects.

State Department officials told Reuters they are aware of universities’ opposition to the rule, but have received no complaints or advice from companies that sponsor university research.

Experts in counterterrorism and counter nuclear proliferation told the State Department tighter restrictions on research access are necessary because universities are “a soft target,” said Tony Dearth, director of defense trade controls licensing at the State Department.

In the first case of its kind, University of Tennessee electrical engineering professor John Reese Roth was convicted in 2008 of exporting “defense articles” without a license, and of wire fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to four years.

Roth used foreign students in research on plasma-based flight-control devices for drone aircraft under a U.S. Air Force contract. He let two foreign students illegally gain access to sensitive information and export it to China, said the FBI.

The proposed rule would expand the definition of research classified as “technical” to any project that undergoes a pre-publication review by a private sponsor.

Unlike less-sensitive “fundamental” research, technical research is regulated in a variety of ways including a requirement that foreign students must apply for a license. Students from China, Iran and North Korea are usually denied licenses, said university officials.

The State Department argues that if a company wants to take a second look at research because it may be sensitive to its economic interests, foreign student involvement should be regulated.

Stanford told the State Department in a public letter that the new rule would affect a broad portion of industry-backed research because universities “routinely” allow sponsors to review results for up to 90 days.

Colleges that object to the government’s foreign-student restrictions have long avoided technical research and focused solely on projects classed as fundamental. The new rule would force them to either loosen their policies or give up defense-related research.

Schools with fundamental research-only policies are already in the minority. A Reuters survey of the top 35 research universities, ranked by R&D expenditures, found only 11 were still adhering to such a position.

Federal funding for research still dwarfs business funding, but the two are trending in opposite directions.

Over 2011-2014, federal funds for university research fell to $37.9 billion from $40.8 billion, according to the National Science Foundation. Over the same period, industry-sponsored university research grew to $5.9 billion from $4.9 billion.

“As federal funds have become scarcer and the competition has increased, I think we see a lot of universities expanding their partnerships with industry,” said Bob Hardy, director of intellectual property management at the Council on Government Relations, an association of research universities.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Stuart Grudgings)


Secret Service agent shoots armed man outside White House

May 20, 2016

by Peter Hermann, Clarence Williams and Fenit Nirapp

Washington Post

A Secret Service agent shot and critically wounded a man Friday afternoon who approached a guard booth outside the White House and refused to put down the pistol he was carrying, according to law enforcement officials.

Lines of tourists were frantically ushered away from the area as heavily armed police converged on the security shack near 17th and E streets NW, which is outside the secure perimeter and accessible to the public. The White House was put on lockdown, and Vice President Biden was secured inside the complex, authorities said. President Obama was golfing at Joint Base Andrews at the time.

Authorities said the man, who was shot once in the chest, was hospitalized in critical condition Friday night. Two law enforcement officials identified him as Jesse Olivieri, a Pennsylvania man in his 30s. His relatives could not immediately be reached to comment.

Police released no other details about him or an apparent motive. Authorities discovered ammunition for a .22-caliber weapon inside the man’s white, four-door sedan, which was parked near the scene, according to two law enforcement officials.

Friday’s apparent attempt to breach the White House grounds is another in a series of security incidents in recent years at or near the presidential complex. It took place against a backdrop of heightened global tension brought on by terrorist attacks and the ongoing wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan and as officials were investigating the crash of an Egyptian passenger jet over the Mediterranean Sea.

Law enforcement officials said there was no immediate sign that Friday’s incident, which occurred just after 3 p.m., had any links to terrorism.

The Secret Service said in a statement that the man approached the security gate holding a gun and that “officers gave numerous verbal commands for the subject to stop and drop the firearm. When the subject failed to comply with the verbal commands, he was shot once by a Secret Service agent and taken into custody.”

Officials said they recovered the man’s firearm.

Baltimore resident Akil Patterson, who was in a security line for the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, said he saw an officer come through a side door and overheard radio chatter: “Shots, shots fired, suspect down, suspect down.”

Jaspreet Singh said a friend, Ranjit Singh, texted him that: “A cop shot a guy.” In his text, the friend said he saw a man with a gun in his right hand walking toward a police officer before he was shot.

Federal agents with the Washington field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping to trace the weapon, according to an agency spokesman. Officials said that the man’s car was found parked near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, and an officer spotted the ammunition through a window.

Law enforcement officials noted that the man did not gain access to the White House complex. After the incident, police blocked streets between 16th and 17th Streets NW, along with parts of the Mall near the Washington Monument. A helicopter circled overhead as tourists, office workers and people with White House appointments were quickly ushered away.

People have tried to reach the mansion’s grounds for years for a wide variety of reasons. Some suffered mental illness, others wanted to make a political statement and some sought notoriety. One person this year allegedly climbed the fence to try to escape apprehension in a series of robberies he had just committed.

The Secret Service last year added small spikes — or “pencil points” — to the top of the six-foot fence that surrounds the White House complex after a series of incidents in which intruders climbed the fence. Last month, the agency announced a plan to raise the height of the security fence to 11 feet by 2018.

Perhaps the most serious breach was on Sept. 19, 2014, when Omar Gonzalez climbed over the north fence and made his way deep into the White House. When he was finally tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent in the ornate East Room, he was found to have a knife in a pants pocket. Two hatchets, a machete and 800 rounds of ammunition were found in his car nearby. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned two weeks later.

But there have been recent incidents as well. Last month, a man threw his backpack over the north fence and climbed over. He was immediately arrested. On March 7, a man in a hoodie climbed over a smaller first barrier but was tackled and arrested before he could reach the fence. And in November, a college student draped in an American flag climbed over the spiked White House fence while the first family was inside the residence celebrating Thanksgiving.

Friday’s shooting was being investigated by several federal agencies, though by evening, D.C. police had assumed command because of involvement by a law enforcement officer. The Secret Service will determine whether the shooting met its standards for using deadly force; D.C. police, along with prosecutors, will investigate whether any laws were broken.

The sound of gunfire and the cadre of law enforcement that blanketed downtown Washington shattered the calm of one of the few warm, sunny days the area has experienced in weeks.

Jason Wilson, visiting from Detroit to collect a President’s Volunteer Service Award, said he heard one shot while he and colleagues were standing near 17th and F streets NW.

“We were hoping it was a blown tire, but it wasn’t,” he said. “Within a few seconds, police were rushing down the street, telling us to move away.”

Trabian Shorters, head of an advocacy group whose members were waiting in line to enter the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, was also among those in the area.

“They started yelling for everyone to clear the canopy and get to the street,” Shorters said. “They were very emphatic. It was clearly very serious.”

Juliet Eilperin, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Hicks, Joe Heim, Matt Zapotosky and Julie Tate contributed to this report.


E.U. seeks to curb visa-free travel for noncitizens

May 20, 2016

by James McAuley

Washington Post

PARIS — The European Commission reached a preliminary agreement Friday making it easier to suspend visa-free travel for non-E.U. citizens from certain countries that fail to meet their obligations to the 28-member bloc.

The pact reached by E.U. interior and migration ministers would allow the European Union to suspend its visa waiver programs with some countries as a kind of emergency brake system on visa liberalization amid heightened security concerns across Europe.

It comes in the midst of Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II, in which more than 1 million migrants and refugees arrived on European soil in 2015.

In the E.U.’s search for a solution, visa liberalization has been used as leverage. Turkey, for instance, demanded visa-free travel for its citizens as a reward for taking back migrants from continental Europe — a demand that left many E.U. leaders skeptical.

“We need an emergency brake for all visa-free countries to make sure that visa liberalization cannot be abused,” Klass Dijkhoff, the Dutch migration minister, told the Associated Press in Brussels on Friday.

In addition to Turkey, Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine are seeking visa-free travel status within what is known as the Schengen area of the European Union.

According to E.U. officials, the general emphasis of Friday’s agreement — which will now pass to the European Parliament for further discussion — is to expand the suspension criteria already in place.

Under the terms of the new agreement, which remain tentative, the time period before a particular country can be challenged and sanctioned for abusing privileges will now decrease from six months to as few as two, an E.U. official told The Washington Post.

Additionally, the European Commission would be allowed to directly confront specific countries, instead of waiting for individual member states to act on their own.

These new criteria also emerge amid ongoing revelations about ways in which the Islamic State has used the general chaos of the migrant route to easily send its operatives into Europe, where they have perpetrated terrorist attacks. Two men sent by the Islamic State in the summer of 2015, for instance, were involved in the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris, which killed 130 people and injured hundreds more in a coordinated series of bombings and shootings across the city.

In the aftermath of those attacks, security concerns remain high all over Europe. In France on Thursday, President François Hollande extended for a third time the national state of emergency he declared on Nov. 14.

On Friday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters that visa liberalization cannot “happen without any precautions” or “without a managed calendar.”

“So we have taken an extremely firm position,” he said.


What is Dominionism? Palin, the Christian Right, & Theocracy

by Harry von Johnston, PhD


Sarah Palin is a “Dominionist” with an apocalytic End Times theological viewpoint that sees the war in Iraq as part of God’s plan. This highly politicized concept of dominionism is based on the Bible’s text in Genesis 1:26:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (King James Version).

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” (New International Version).

The vast majority of Christians read this text and conclude that God has appointed them stewards and caretakers of Earth. As Sara Diamond explains, however, some Christian read the text and believe, “that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.” That, in a nutshell, is the idea of “dominionism.”

Just because some critics of the Christian Right have stretched the term dominionism past its breaking point does not mean we should abandon the term. And while it is true that few participants in the Christian Right Culture War want a theocracy as proposed by the Christian Reconstructionists, many of their battlefield Earth commanders are leading them in that direction. A number of these leaders have been influenced by Christian Reconstructionism, which is a variant of theocracy called “theonomy.”

The theocratic right seeks to establish dominion, or control over society in the name of God. The late D. James Kennedy, former pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries, called on his followers to exercise “godly dominion … over every aspect … of human society.” At a “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference in February, 2005, Kennedy said:

“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

Twenty-five years ago, dominionists targeted the Republican Party as the vehicle through which they could advance their agenda. At the same time, a small group of Republican strategists targeted fundamentalist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches to expand the base of the Republican Party. This is not about traditional Republicans or conservative Christians. It is about the manipulation of people of a certain faith for political power. It is about the rise of dominionists in the U.S. federal government.


Oklahoma governor vetoes bill to jail abortion doctors

May 20, 2016

by Jon Herskovitz and Heide Brandes


Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill calling for prison terms of up the three years for doctors who performed abortions, saying the legislation would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge, her office said on Friday.

The bill, which was approved a day earlier in the Republican-dominated legislature, would have made performing an abortion a felony. It also called for revoking the license of any doctor who conducted one.

The bill allowed an exemption for an abortion necessary to save the life of the mother.

“The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother,’” Fallin said, in a statement from her office, where she was described as “the most pro-life governor in the nation.”

Abortion rights groups had promised a bruising legal battle if the bill were signed into law, which would have resulted in an expensive legal battle.

Cash-strapped Oklahoma is battling a $1.3 billion budget hole that has caused it to cut education funding and other state programs.

Had the bill been approved, the state would have been the first to use its codes of professional conduct to implement a measure that would effectively serve as an abortion ban, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights but whose data is used by both sides of the debate.

Other states that have tried to impose outright abortion bans after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision have seen their laws struck down by courts, it said.

Supporters have said the bill could withstand a legal challenge because the state was within its rights to set licensing requirement for doctors.

Legal experts have said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is legal in the United States and Oklahoma must abide by the court’s decision.

Since Fallin took office in 2011, Oklahoma has been one of the leaders in adding restrictions to abortions.

“Governor Fallin did the right thing today in vetoing this utterly unconstitutional and dangerous bill,” said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas and Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


The U.S. Is ‘Missing’ Millions in Ukraine

Marie Antoinette would be proud—the revolution which cost her head is back, and inflicted on ordinary people

May 17, 2016

by Derek Monroe

the Observer

On March 17, Ukraine’s oligarch-owned propaganda TV channel Ukraine Today announced to the world a milestone in the fight against corruption. In response to the solicitation of two Verkhovna Rada parliamentarians (members of president Petro Poroshenko’s cabinet), the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) initiated an investigation of the missing two million dollars of U.S. and EU aid that was originally allotted to reform the country’s judiciary.

While two million dollars is chump change in comparison to size and history of Ukrainian corruption, such quick action by the (until now) very shy Ukrainian prosecutors has raised eyebrows in political circles around the world. This is in sharp contrast to 2014, when in one of the biggest heists of aid money anywhere—an estimated two billion dollars in IMF aid for Ukraine—speedily exited the country via PrivatBank, owned by the politically-connected oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

As sad as it sounds, the two million dollars of U.S. and EU aid allegedly went missing while in hands of a corruption-fighting NGO: the Anti-Corruption Action Center (the ACAC).

In 2015, the ACAC was the only institution to pursue the missing billions, suing the GPO into kickstarting an investigation into PrivatBank. Back then, Mr. Kolomoisky had a hand in the country’s politically strategic plans to move Ukraine toward the West. At one point, he even funded his own private army of 20,000 men to fight the so-called separatists. (As Kiev’s “revolutionary” government grew disheartened watching its conscript army refuse to fight its own people in the East, the country had to rely on quickly-assembled units of neo-Nazis and right wingers to do the job with oligarch-sponsored militias.)

While the Obama administration publicly hopped the bandwagon of “change” in Ukraine, sending the FBI and U.S. Treasury to investigate the crimes of the previous corrupt regime, it left the current corrupt regime alone. As it turned out, nobody really missed the missing IMF billions and Mr. Kolomoisky wasn’t bothered. The issue died in a face-saving exit, played out in the local courts of Odessa Oblast where everyone involved seemed to get lost in complicated world of tax havens, offshore banking and legal jurisdictions compounded with a strong case of Ukrainian amnesia. Even the IMF—so strict and unforgiving in its dealings with Greece—exhibited a Christmas-like generosity in its Ukrainian portfolio, indicating that a good-cop bad-cop scenario depends on your neighbors (Russia).

But what wasn’t forgotten was the fuss started by the ACAC, which came biting as soon as the situation in the East settled in an uneasy truce.

The Kolomoisky-owned Ukraine Today opened fire on the NGO as soon as the Verkhovna Rada deputies announced their two million dollar problem to the world. Until then, the Rada was preoccupied with insider wheeling and dealing, which led it to be regularly besieged by right wing nationalists, opposition party members and citizens disgusted with inflation and corruption. Now, the Rada is focused on keeping foreign media accountable for alleged “lies”—The New York Times called the country what it is: a corrupt swamp.

The attack on the ACAC is a classic example of political retribution made possible by Mr. Poroshenko. His administration’s rollback of democracy has increased lawlessness, both on and off the political scene—replacing one head of the GPO with another as a means to convince the U.S. and international donors that reforms are on track.

Georgian-born reformer Davit Sakvarelidze, a deputy prosecutor general, was fired just hours before the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin (a Poroshenko appointee) was fired by the Rada for blocking investigations of corruption cases. Mr. Shokin was replaced by Yuriy Sevruk—a relic of previous administration overseeing the Interior Ministry’s actions against the EuroMaidan—and Mr. Sakvarelidze was replaced by Mykola Stoyanov, a close friend of Mr. Kolomoisky.

Before his firing, Mr. Sakvarelidze accused Mr. Sevruk of halting the investigation into corrupt prosecutors and instigating a campaign to destroy his legacy. In a politically-motivated vendetta against both Mr. Sakvarelidze and the ACAC, Yuriy Stolyarchuk, head the anti-corruption department, opened an investigation into alleged embezzlement of U.S. funds dedicated for prosecutorial reform.

At this point, U.S. ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt denied any theft took place, taking sides against Mr. Stolyarchuk and indirectly against President Poroshenko—who happened to be the ultimate decider left on the scene. Mr. Stolyarchuk fired back in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper stating Mr. Pyatt himself could be questioned about the missing funds, implying personal involvement. Meanwhile, after being raided by the GPO’s men, the ACAC issued a plea for help and, as such, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement that the money wasn’t actually missing as it was never even given to the ACAC.

By now, the majority of oligarch-owned media have decided to sit and wait. Ukrainians journalists understand that going against the political interests of the state is not only hazardous to one’s career, but to one’s life and one’s health as well.

Ironically, the Poroshenko administration is following the lead of the American-installed Al-Abadi administration in Iraq. Corrupt and ruled by internal interests, both parliaments create their own reality in the tug-of-war for power and money, which includes increased spending on military. Both setups are also threatened by outside developments (the civil war in the East, and Daesh respectively) as the name of the game is a monopoly-like of accumulation of wealth with get-out-of-jail-free cards given away by the top of the official administrations.

Increasingly, the cookies distributed by the Deputy Secretary of State Nuland at the EuroMaidan are the most expensive pastries ever sold: they are paid for both in U.S. Treasury (five billion and counting) and at least 10,000 lives.

Marie Antoinette would be proud. The revolution which ultimately cost her head is back, and inflicted on ordinary people.


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