TBR News May 29, 2017

May 29 2017

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. May 29, 2017:” “The Social Network Follies

The Internet has an enormous storehouse of information and nearly any desired material can be located and downloaded. That is the positive aspect of the Internet. The negative side is that the Internet supplies an enormous flood of false, misleading and useless information, almost all of invented out of whole cloth by the same types that also have rushed to join, and use, what is known as the Social Network.

The Social Networks are a handy means for persons to express their personal views on almost any subject and to communicate with others of a like mind. The problem that one notes from reading their postings is the same one observes in reading the comments appended to serious articles on major newspapers. In reading both of these areas, one is at once struck by the utter stupidity of the writers, their total lack of English, their constant bad grammar and terrible spelling and, most important, their desire not to express a thoughtful view but to parade their insignificance and ignorance to a wide audience.

Another negative aspect of the Social Network is that, at least in the United States, all of the networks of any size are working closely with such official governmental agencies as the DHS and the FBI, to spy on their members at no cost or effort to themselves. In these cases, the mindless babblings and boastings of the dim of wit load federal surveillance files with moronic chatters from which the authorities can easily build a criminal case.

We did some research on the social networks and discovered that they have attracted more members than the government can keep up with, redolent of the thousands of hungry flies congregating in a cow pen.


750,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


250,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


110,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


85,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


70,500,000 – Monthly Visitors

Google +

65,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


25,500,000 – Monthly Visitors

Live Journal

20,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


19,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


17,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


12,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


12,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


7,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


5,400,000 – Monthly Visitors


4,300,000 – Monthly Visitors


117,000,000 Yearly Visitors

BlackPlanet (Black Americans)

20,000,000 Yearly Visitors

Blauk  Anyone who wants to tell something about a stranger or acquaintance.       1,081,215  Yearly Visitors              .

Formspring    social Q&A website

290,000,000  Yearly Visitors

Habbo  For teens. Chat room and user profiles.

268,000,000 Yearly Visitors

Itsmy     Mobile community worldwide, blogging, friends, personal TV shows

2,500,000 Yearly Visitors

Kiwibox General.

2,400,000 Yearly Visitors”

 Table of Contents

  • Russia condemns latest North Korea missile launches, calls for restraint
  • US, Japan to take ‘specific action’ after N. Korea missile hit Japanese economic zone
  • Abolish Memorial Day
  • Donald Trump’s War on Journalism Has Begun. But Journalists Are Not His Main Target.
  • US considers laptop ban on all international flights
  • The Roosevelt-Churchill Conversations
  • Defense secretary Mattis says US policy against Isis is now ‘annihilation’ 
  • When Intelligence Isn’t
  • If SNP wins election in Scotland, PM May will have to grant independence vote -Sturgeon
  • France outraged by desecration of Charles de Gaulle tomb

 Russia condemns latest North Korea missile launches, calls for restraint

May 29, 2017


Russia condemned on Monday the latest missile launches conducted by North Korea, while calling the world community for restraint, RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying.

“We are at the same time calling on the partners with whom we are working to show restraint, including towards military activity in this region,” the agency quoted Vladimir Titov as saying.

North Korea fired at least one short-range ballistic missile on Monday that landed in the sea off its east coast, the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure and threats of more sanctions.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)

 US, Japan to take ‘specific action’ after N. Korea missile hit Japanese economic zone

May 29, 2017


Tokyo will take “specific action” and join forces with the US to deter Pyongyang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after a North Korean missile flew about 450km before landing inside Japan’s economic zone.

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Prime Minister Abe told reporters in a televised comment, as cited by Reuters.

“Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea,” Abe said, adding that Japan will also maintain close contact with neighboring South Korea and other countries.

The strident statement came in response to the latest missile launch by North Korea. On Monday morning, a short-range ballistic missile traveled around 450km and landed in the Sea of Japan, 300km off the Japanese coast.

The missile, said to be a Scud-type projectile, was launched from an airfield near Wonsan, a city on North Korea’s east coast, according to the US Pacific Command and South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

Roh Jae-cheon, the spokesman for the JCS, said the missile flew at an altitude of 120km (75 miles). “So far, the assessment is there was at least one missile but we are analyzing the number of missiles,” he said earlier in the day.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said the North Korean missile launches pose risks to air traffic in the area as well as to maritime lanes in the Sea of Japan, according to Reuters.

“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is highly problematic from the perspective of the safety of shipping and air traffic and is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Suga told reporters.

Moscow urged the international community to be cautious in taking further action after North Korea’s missile launches. “We are indeed concerned over the situation,” Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told journalists on Monday. “In the meantime, we call upon our partners to show restraint, including when it comes to military activity in the region.”

Earlier in May, North Korea tested the Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile. A reportedly nuclear-capable missile was launched just a week after North Korea launched its Hwasong-12 rocket.

The series of launches has raised the stakes on the Korean Peninsula, though while Pyongyang’s neighbors condemn the launches, they also maintain that any coercive action would lead to dire consequences.

On Sunday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned that a conflict with North Korea would be “catastrophic.” He also said Pyongyang “has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.”

Abolish Memorial Day

May 28, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


Author’s note: I had actually started to write a Memorial Day column when I looked up this piece from 2012, which says almost precisely what I intended to say. When you’ve been writing a column covering foreign affairs for over twenty years, as I have, repetition is inevitable, but what follows captures my view of this holiday and its contemporary meaning so completely that I decided to give it to my readers, rather than attempt to replicate the same thoughts albeit in different words.

We might as well get rid of Memorial Day, for all the good it does us. Originally “Decoration Day,” the last Monday in May has been the designated time for us to remember the war dead and honor their sacrifice – while, perhaps, taking in the lessons of the many conflicts that have marked our history as a free nation. In line with the modern trend of universal trivialization, however, the holiday has been paganized to mark the beginning of summer, when we get out the barbecue grill and have the neighbors over for hamburgers and beer. As for contemplating the meaning of the day in the context of our current and recent wars, that is left to those few pundits who pay attention to foreign policy issues, or else to writers of paeans to the “Greatest Generation” – World War II being the only modern war our panegyrists deign to recall, since it is relatively untouched by the ravages of historical revisionism.

Indeed, as far as our wars are concerned, the very concept of historical memory has vanished from the post-9/11 world. It seems the earth was born anew on September 11, 2001, and only ragged remnants of our mystified past – mostly from World War II and the Civil War – survived the purge. In the new version our victories are exaggerated and glorified, while our defeats – e.g. Vietnam, Korea, our nasty little covert wars in Central and South America – are not even mentioned, let alone considered in depth.

The abolition of historical memory is one of the worst aspects of modernity: it is certainly the most depressing. For the modern man, it’s an effort to recall what happened last week, never mind the last century. The news cycle spins madly and ever-faster, and the result is that we are lost in the blur of Now: for all intents and purposes, we are a people without a history, who recall past events – if we remember them at all – as one would summon a vague and confusing dream.

The Vietnam war was the last major conflict that caused us to reconsider our foreign policy of global intervention for any length of time, and at this point it has been thoroughly buried in the public imagination. For a brief moment the so-called Vietnam Syndrome was bemoaned by the political class, who complained it prevented them from indulging their desire to intervene anywhere and everywhere at will. And the memory of that futile crusade did have a restraining effect for some years – until the passage of time, the collapse of Communism, and – finally – the 9/11 terrorist attacks wiped the slate clean.

Never mind remembering the lessons of Vietnam – we’ve repressed even the bitter lessons of our most recent “past” conflict, the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. No sooner had we fallen into that quicksand then we promptly forgot who pushed us in – which is why the authors of that disaster continue to function as foreign policy mavens and political seers whose reputations are considered sterling. The neocon clique, and any number of politicians of both parties who fulsomely supported that war, today act as if they have nothing to apologize for, and nothing to regret: far from being repentant, they are, if anything, proud of their advocacy, secure in the knowledge that “everyone” believed Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” and smug in the certainty that no one of any consequence has anything to gain by raising the subject.

Who really remembers the Kosovo war – that is, the war as it unfolded? We were told as many as a hundred-thousand Kosovars were being exterminated, and yet at war’s end we found a few thousand – Serbs and Kosovars in equal number – had been murdered. The trial of a man named Ratko has the War Party mythologizing that conflict, as is its wont: unfortunately for them, the kangaroo court known as the Hague Tribunal has been adjourned in that case, perhaps permanently, on account of the prosecution’s withholding of evidence. That’s par for the course: withholding evidence, suppressing truth, editing the historical record has been their modus operandi from the start, but apparently the judges had an attack of conscience in this case, and it looks like the NATO-crats won’t get their show trial after all.

Who really remembers the Korean war? Not even writers whose major interest is foreign policy are capable of recalling it as it was actually fought. Rachel Maddow, MSNBC anchor and liberal voice, recently wrote an entire book based on the premise that Republicans are primarily responsible for “the unmooring of American military power” from either constitutional or political restraints – forgetting (if she ever knew) it was Harry Truman who set that precedent when he sent US troops to Korea without bothering to ask Congress first.

I don’t blame Rachel: history is a forgotten discipline, practiced selectively when it is invoked at all. These days it is best not to contemplate the past too much, or too intently, because comparison with the present is bound to depress us. An ice-cream cone bought for a Memorial Day picnic used to cost a dime: today nothing costs a dime, not even alms to a beggar.

To recall past wars is to recall their folly, and no one wants to be reminded of their moral and cognitive shortcomings: so we resort to mythology that valorizes the victors and paints the defeated in various shades of black – and when that’s not possible, amnesia is our last resort.

So I say: let’s rid ourselves of Memorial Day, and at least be honest with ourselves in this one instance. Let’s acknowledge we’d much rather forget our history of mass murder, and rename the last Monday in May in honor of some pagan holiday – because Memorial Day is an oxymoron in a nation of amnesiacs.

Donald Trump’s War on Journalism Has Begun. But Journalists Are Not His Main Target.

May 27, 2017

by Peter Maass

The Intercept

Wars are rarely announced in advance, but President Trump provided an abundance of warning about his intention to wage an assault on journalism. During the election campaign, he called journalists an “enemy of the people” and described media organizations he didn’t like as “fake news.” You can pretty much draw a direct line between his words and the actions we’ve seen lately — which include journalists physically prevented from asking questions of officials, arrested when trying to do so, and in a now-famous example from Montana, body-slammed to the ground by a Republican candidate who didn’t want to discuss his party’s position on healthcare.

This is most likely a prelude. From virtually the moment Trump took the oath of office, a deluge of irritating leaks has poured forth about, for instance, his private complaints against senior aides and his late night habits when he is upstairs at the White House without a tweet-blocking retinue of aides. Matters of crucial substance have also been leaked, such as his own disclosure of highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister, and his obstruction-of-justice-worthy request to James Comey that the FBI restrain its investigation of Michael Flynn. Just a few days ago, there was another leak that wasn’t even Trump-centric, disclosing information about the British investigation into the suicide bombing in Manchester.

“These leaks have been going on for a long time, and my administration will get to the bottom of this,” Trump warned in a statement on Thursday. “The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security. I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Trump is known for his post-thinking bluster but here he means what he suggests about indictments. Of course he’s using national security as a fig leaf to obscure his principal concern about the damage to his own image, which is being shredded. He is taking advantage of the unfortunate groundwork laid by his predecessor, Barack Obama, who oversaw an unprecedented crackdown on the press by deploying the draconian Espionage Act against leakers. Far worse is almost certainly coming from Trump. One of the recent leaks that embarrassed him revealed, ironically, his demand to Comey that the FBI put journalists in jail if they refuse to disclose their sources.

Journalists are not the real target of Trump’s war on journalism, however. We are the highly-visible collateral damage, the broken glasses on the bruised body of free expression. The true targets – the people whom the Trump administration most wants to punish and silence – are the government officials who provide us with the news for our stories. The First Amendment protects journalists but not their sources; there is no constitutional right to tell journalists the truth.

These people, our sources, are incredibly vulnerable, lacking in most cases the financial and legal resources that are available to most journalists. When journalists are threatened by the government, there is a ready-made community to defend them, including advocacy groups that will rise to their aid, and a social network of colleagues who will stand by their side. A government official who leaks to a journalist has almost none of that. Instead of gaining the support of co-workers when punishment is threatened, the likeliest outcome is ostracism, because everyone else fears for their job. If you are a journalist and the government goes after you, the odds are quite good that your employer will strongly support you, but a government leaker faces the opposite predicament – their employer is the one attacking them.

Financial ruin usually comes next. I have written about several of the most notable Espionage Act prosecutions in recent years, including the case of Stephen Kim, a State Department diplomat accused of disclosing classified information to a journalist. (The information about North Korea, according to a State Department official quoted in court documents, was “a nothing burger.”) Facing the possibility of more than a decade in prison if he was convicted by a jury, Kim agreed to a plea deal and a sentence of 13 months. The case drained his finances as well as his relatives’, and he often considered killing himself. “Everything was just a blur,” he told me. “I compare it to losing all five senses at the same time. You don’t see anything, you don’t smell anything, you don’t hear anything. Nothing. That’s the only way I can describe it.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote about his ordeal

After devoting more than a decade of his life to preventing North Korea from building a nuclear arsenal, he was now accused of helping Pyongyang. How could he live with the stain of what his government accused him of doing? Espionage. What could he say to his young son? To his elderly parents? “Every single day, I thought about killing myself,” Kim said. He went online to find out how many sleeping pills or Tylenol he would need to swallow to end his life. He considered jumping in front of a train, because that would be quick. He made plans for letting people know he had committed suicide, deciding that he would send a note to a friend and explain that it should be opened on a certain day; inside he would place his house and car keys. “It’s a ruthless calculus — you don’t think like a normal person,” Kim told me. “I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it, either. Why should I be? Have you gone through what I have?”

Outcomes vary, but none are enviable. Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of documents from the National Security Agency, has been able to avoid prison by gaining political refuge in Russia. He fled because if you are indicted under the Espionage Act, as he was, you are not allowed to present a public-interest defense — meaning, you are not allowed to justify the crime of leaking by arguing it was done to disclose to the public even greater crimes the government was committing. Chelsea Manning, who as an Army soldier leaked thousands of documents that disclosed U.S. war crimes, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, though she is now free after serving seven years and receiving a pardon from Obama as he left office.

Today’s leakers can expect no mercy from the incensed Trump administration, which is stacked, no surprise, with a murderers’ row of First Amendment antagonists, leading off with Trump. Next to him, there is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said, when asked in March if there would be indictments, “We’ve never seen this kind of leaking. It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it.”

His number two at the Department of Justice, Rod Rosenstein, was the driving force behind the prosecution last year of Gen. James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about leaking to reporters (Cartwright was later pardoned by Obama and did not go to prison). In a sentencing memo, Rosenstein painted a stark picture, writing that “the need for deterrence is strong. Every day across the United States government, individuals are entrusted with highly sensitive classified information. They must understand that disclosing such information to persons not authorized to receive it has severe consequences.”

For Trump, who himself has disclosed a surprising amount of sensitive intelligence, the national security argument is window dressing. The leaks he truly despises are the ones that embarrass him personally. This points to a key problem of leak crackdowns: a large amount of information is classified mainly because it would embarrass the government if made public. Senior officials routinely exaggerate the national security repercussions and brush aside the benefits to our society. But even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has acknowledged, for instance, that the consequences of Manning’s leak were “fairly modest.”

Nonetheless, Trump’s war on journalism is moving ahead. The resistance to it should not be modest.

 US considers laptop ban on all international flights

US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he was considering banning laptop computers on all international flights in and out of the country. Kelly added there were signs of “a real threat.”

May 28, 2017


Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly made his remarks during the Memorial Day weekend – one of the busiest travel periods in the US. Kelly said that terrorists were “obsessed” with the idea of “knocking down an airplane in flight – particularly a US carrier, if it’s full of mostly US folks.”

“There’s a real threat – numerous threats against aviation,” Kelly told the Fox News less than a week after the bombing at an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester in the United Kingdom.

The UK has since raised its security to the highest level in ten years, fearing that further attacks might be planned especially at hubs of public transportation, such as train stations and airports.

Last week, Kelly already met with European Commission officials in Brussels to discuss further details about a possible laptop ban in airplane cabins. However, the air travel industry has already been highly critical of the idea.

Expansion of existing ban

The move would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that currently affects roughly 50 flights per day from 10 cities – mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. This current ban was reportedly put in place because of concerns about terrorist attacks and related risks. Countries that are affected by the present ban are Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

Travelers from those destinations are barred from bringing laptops, tablets and a number of other devices on board with them in their carry-on bags – regardless of their nationalities. Electronic devices bigger than smartphones have to be checked in on those flights. Some of the airlines affected by the ban have tried to implement workaround solutions especially for business class travels, such as making complimentary laptops available to those affected.

A ban that would encompass all international flights would likely follow a similar pattern.

 The Roosevelt-Churchill Conversations

On March 6, 1942, German Minister of Post, Dr. Wilhelm Ohnesorge, sent the following letter to Adolf Hitler. To it was attached a sample manuscript of an intercepted conversation.


The Reichspost Minister                 Berlin W 66                 6 March 1942

Leipziger Str. 15

Geheime Reichssache!

(Secret State Matter)

U5342-11Bfb Nr. 23 gRs

Decoding of the American-England telephone system

Mein Führer!

The Research Section (Forschungsanstalt) of the German Reichspost has, as the latest of its efforts, completed a unit designed to intercept the telephone message traffic between the United States and England which had been rendered unintelligible by their use of current communications technology. Because of the significant work of its technicians, the Reichspost is the sole agency in Germany that is now able to make immediate interception and decoding of these hitherto unintelligible conversations.

I will present these results to the Reichsführer-SS, Pg Himmler who will forward them on the 22nd of March.

It is my intention, pending your approval, to strictly limit the circulation of these communications in order that no news of our success reaches the English. This might seriously jeopardize future interceptions.

Heil mein Führer!


In 1937, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company put into use a telephone scrambling device called the A-3. This device, which permitted telephone conversations to be scrambled at one and descrambled at the other, effectively prevented interception of the conversations en route.

The German Reichspost (state postal system responsible for the telephone and telegraph systems in Germany) had purchased the A-3 system from AT&T before the war for use on lines in service between Germany and the United States. However, each set of scrambling devices was different and in practice, the possessors of one set could not intercept the transmissions of another.

The A-3 system in use between Roosevelt and Churchill was housed, in America, in a secure area of the AT&T offices at 47 Walker Street in New York City and the British A-3 counterpart was located at Whitehall in London. Roosevelt’s calls to Churchill were routed through the New York office where technicians constantly supervised the conversations to be certain that the transmitted speech was unintelligible after passing through the scrambling devices.

In September of 1939, the A-3 system was in use by the White House and on the first day of that month, Roosevelt heard from his personal friend and Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, that the Germans had invaded Poland.

The Germans were well aware that Roosevelt used this device through an indiscreet article in the New York Times of October 8, 1939 entitled “Roosevelt Protected in Talks to Envoys by Radio Scrambling to Foil Spies Abroad.”

The spies abroad found this indiscretion stimulating and Dr. Ohnesorge determined to find a way to unscramble the President’s messages. He assigned a specialist in the field, Kurt Vetterlein, to work on the project using the A-3 equipment then in the hands of the Reichspost as a basis. By late 1940, Vetterlein and his team of specialists had effectively broken Roosevelt’s secure system.

Vetterlein then built a device that was able to descramble each conversation as it progressed without the loss of a single word and Ohnesorge ordered an intercept station to be established in the occupied Dutch coastal town of Noorwikj aan Zee, just north of den Haag. Here, in a former youth hostel, Vetterlein set up the equipment he needed to begin a full-scale 24-hour program of interception and transcription of the trans-Atlantic radio telephone traffic.

The first intercept was made at 7:45 PM on September 7, 1941. The daily number of intercepted calls, on a 24 hour basis, ranged from a high of sixty to a low of thirty and were screened by experts for their intelligence value. Important material was transcribed in the original English and send by courier either to Hitler’s military headquarters in East Prussia or to Heinrich Himmler at the RSHA in Berlin.

Himmler, in turn, had the original English texts translated into German and distributed within his organization. SS General Gottlob Berger, head of Himmler’s Main Office, was one of the recipients and the head of Overseas Intelligence of the Sicherheitsdienst or SD received others.

These intercepts, coupled with confidential coded reports by Bruggmann, Swiss Minister to the United States, proved to be of incredible value to German intelligence organs and gave the Germans the closest look at the inner workings of the top leadership of the United States. Bruggmann was the brother-in-law of Vice President Henry Wallace who was absolutely indiscreet about top level police decisions. The Swiss Minister had no idea that the Germans were reading all of his secret dispatches to the Swiss Foreign Office in Bern just as the American President and the British Prime Minister had no idea their often sophomoric and pompous chatterings were ending up on the desk of Adolf Hitler within hours after they hung up.

Ever since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the subsequent entry of the United States into what then became World War II, there has been a heated and protracted debate about the historical role played by Roosevelt in this episode. His detractors have claimed that the President was fully aware of the impending Japanese attack and allowed it to proceed because it supplied him a casus belli that would permit him to actively engage his real enemy, Hitler. Much is made of the interception and decoding of Japanese official military and governmental messages, which in hindsight would appear to point clearly to a Japanese attack.

Certainly, the decoding of Japanese Foreign Office diplomatic traffic would indicate the strong probability of a military attack on the United States by the Japanese if their respective governments were unable to resolve their problems in the Pacific.

None of the diplomatic messages, however, were specific about such an attack and all that can be gained from reading them is the clear knowledge that the Japanese did not want war with the United States and, like Saddam Hussein of Iraq, were desperately seeking some kind of a peaceful solution.

Given that Roosevelt was aware of this attitude, which he clearly was, there has been no proof that the President was aware of a specific attack on the United States.

On November 26, 1941, the German intercept station in Holland recorded the following conversation between Roosevelt and Churchill concerning the situation in the Pacific. It is of such historical importance that it is reproduced in full and copies of the original German documents are attached. These transcripts of the Roosevelt/Churchill conversations were always initially in English and were then later translated into German.

Roosevelt-Churchill Conversation of November 26, 1941

This conversation is taken directly from a German transcript of a trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation initiated by British Prime Minister Winston Spencer-Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt. The original was taken down in English and a German translation is in the German State Archives.

The original carbon copy of this, and other historically important German intercepts, came from the private files of Robert T. Crowley, formerly Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Conversation Participants

A=Franklin Roosevelt, Washington

B= Winston Churchill, London

B: I am frightfully sorry to disturb you at this hour, Franklin, but matters of a most vital import have transpired and I felt that I must convey them to you immediately.

A: That’s perfectly all right, Winston. I’m sure you wouldn’t trouble me at this hour for trivial concerns.

B: Let me preface my information with an explanation addressing the reason I have not alluded to these facts earlier. In the first place, until today, the information was not firm. On matters of such gravity, I do not like to indulge in idle chatter. Now, I have in my hands, reports from our agents in Japan as well as the most specific intelligence in the form of the highest level Japanese naval coded messages (conversation broken) for some time now.

A: I felt this is what you were about. How serious is it?

B: It could not be worse, A powerful Japanese task force comprising (composed of) six of their carriers, two battleships and a number of other units to include (including) tankers and cruisers, has sailed yesterday from a secret base in the northern Japanese islands.

A: We both knew this was coming. There are also reports in my hands about a force of some size making up in China and obviously intended to go (move) South.

B: Yes, we have all of that. (Interruption) ..are far more advanced than you in our reading of the Jap naval operations codes. But even without that, their moves are evident. And they will indeed move South but the force I spoke of is not headed South, Franklin, it is headed East..

A: Surely you must be…will you repeat that please?

B: I said to the East. This force is sailing to the East…towards you.

A: Perhaps they set an easterly course to fool any observers and then plan to swing South to support the landings in the southern areas. I have…

B: No, at this moment, their forces are moving across the northern Pacific and I can assure you that their goal is the (conversation broken) fleet in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor.

A: This is monstrous. Can you tell me…indicate…the nature of your intelligence? (conversation broken) reliable? Without compromising your sources…

B: Yes, I will have to be careful. Our agents in Japan have been reporting on the gradual (conversation broken) units. And these have disappeared from Japanese home waters. We also have highly reliable sources in the Japanese Foreign Service and even the military…

A: How reliable?

B: One of the sources is the individual who supplied us the material on the diplomatic codes that (conversation broken) and a Naval officer whom our service has compromised. You must trust me, Franklin and I cannot be more specific.

A: I accept this.

B: We cannot compromise our code breaking. You understand this. Only myself and a few (conversation broken) not even Hopkins. It will go straight to Moscow and I am not sure we want that.

A: I am still attempting to…the obvious implication is that the Japs are going to do a Port Arthur on us at Pearl Harbor. Do you concur?

B: I do indeed. Unless they add an attack on the Panama Canal to this vile business. I can hardly envision the canal as a primary goal, especially with your fleet lying athwart their lines of communications with Japan. No, if they do strike the canal, they will have to first neutralize (destroy) your fleet (conversation broken).

A: The worse form of treachery. We can prepare our defenses on the islands and give them a warm welcome when they come. It would certainly put some iron up Congress’ ass (asshole).

B: On the other hand, if they did launch a bombing raid, given that the aircraft would only be of the carrier-borne types, how much actual damage could they inflict? And on what target?

A: I think torpedoes would be ruled out at the outset. Pearl is far too shallow to permit a successful torpedo attack. Probably they would drop medium bombs on the ships and then shoot (conversation broken) damage a number of ships and no doubt the Japs would attack our airfields. I could see some damage there but I don’t think either an airfield or a battleship could sink very far. What do your people give you as the actual date of the attack?

B: The actual date given is the eighth of December. That’s a Monday.

A: The fleet is in harbor over the weekend. They often sortie during the week…

B: The Japs are asking (conversation broken) exact dispositions of your ships on a regular basis.

A: But Monday seems odd. Are you certain?

B: It is in the calendar. Monday is the eighth. (conversation broken).

A:…then I will have to reconsider the entire problem. A Japanese attack on us, which would result in war between us…and certainly you as well…would certainly fulfill two of the most important requirements of our policy. Harry has told me repeatedly…and I have more faith in him than I do in the Soviet ambassador…that Stalin is desperate at this point. The Nazis are at the gates of Moscow, his armies are melting away…the government has evacuated and although Harry and Marshall feel that Stalin can hang on and eventually defeat Hitler, their is no saying what could transpire (happen) if the Japs suddenly fell on Stalin’s rear. In spite of all the agreements between them and the Japs dropping Matsuoka, there is still strong anti-Russian sentiment in high Japanese military circles. I think that we have to decide what is more important…keeping Russia in the war to bleed the Nazis dry to their own eventual destruction (conversation broken) supply Stalin with weapons but do not forget, in fact he is your ally, not mine. There are strong isolationist feelings here and there are quite a number of anti-Communists…

B: Fascists…

A: Certainly, but they would do all they could to block any attempt on my part to do more than give some monetary assistance to Stalin.

B: But we too have our major desperations, Franklin. Our shipping upon which our nation depends, is being sunk by the huns faster than we could ever replace (conversation broken) the Japs attack both of us in the Pacific? We could lose Malaya which is our primary source of rubber and tin. And if the Japs get Java and the oil, they could press South to Australia and I have told you repeatedly, we cannot hold (conversation broken) them much but in truth I cannot deliver. We need every man and every ship to fight Hitler in Europe…India too. If the Japs get into Malaya, they can press on virtually unopposed into Burma and then India. Need I tell you of the resultant destruction of our Empire? We cannot survive on this small island, Franklin, (conversation broken) allow the nips (knips?) to attack, you can get your war declaration through your Congress after all. (conversation broken)

A: Not as capable as you are at translating there messages and the army and navy are very jealous of each other. There is so much coming in that everyone is confused. We have no agents in place in Japan and every day dozens of messages are (conversation broken) that contradict each other or are not well translated. I have seen three translations of the same message with three entirely different meanings (conversation broken) address your concern about British holdings in the Pacific…if the Japanese do attack both of us, eventually we will be able to crush them and regain all of the lost territories. As for myself, I will be damned glad to be rid of the Phillipines.(sic)

B: I see this as a gamble (conversation broken) what would your decision be? We cannot procrastinate over this for too long. Eleven or twelve days are all we have. Can we not agree in principle now? I should mention that several advisors have counseled (advised) against informing you of this and allowing it to happen. You see by notifying you where my loyalty lies. Certainly to one who is heart and soul with us against Hitler.

A: I do appreciate your loyalty, Winston. What on the other hand, will happen here if one of our intelligence people is able to intercept, decipher and deliver to me the same information you just gave me? I cannot just ignore it…all of my intelligence people will know about it then. I could not ignore this.

B: But if it were just a vague message then?

A: No, a specific message. I could not just sweep it under the rug like that (conversation broken).

B: Of course not. I think we should matters develop as they will.

A: I think that perhaps I can find a reason to absent (leave) myself from Washington while this crisis develops. What I don’t know can’t hurt me and I too can misunderstand messages, especially at a distance (conversation broken)

B: Completely. My best to you all there.

A: Thank you for your call.

In dealing with documents of a controversial nature, there are a number of factors to be considered. The first point to consider is the authenticity of the document in question.

Authenticity can be determined by several means. There is the provenience of the piece; where it came from and a catalog of the owners showing unbroken custody. Then there is the forensic study of the document. Is the paper correct to the period when the document was purported to have been written. Is the typewriter or the handwriting correct? If ink is used, can it be tested as to age?

These are the forensic issues and the next issue is one of plausibility. Does the document accurately reflect knowledge and opinion when it was alleged to have been written? The sure sign of a faked or altered piece is if it reflects information known only after the fact and not before.

A document that accurately depicts the opinions, and errors, current with its alleged origin is far more believable than one that reflects information that was developed at a later date, information that could not be known to a period writer.

In the case of the copies of the German intercepts, these principles have been carefully adhered to. Because of the importance of some of these captured papers, it is vital to at least ascertain their authenticity based on the forensic criteria.

These documents, fortunately, exist in their original form.

The Roosevelt/Churchill conversation of November 26, 1941, was typed on a German Olympia typewriter, manufactured in 1938. The typeface does not indicate excessive wear such as one would find in an old, second-hand machine.

The paper on which the document was originally typed is common pulp paper, very quick to age. This paper proved to be unremarkable pulp that could have come from any period. There were no chemical additives, as are found in post 1948 paper, and no wood pulp additives that would preclude period German manufacture.

The next step in authentication would be to study the text to see if the speech was consistent with the speakers, their education and background.

In studying this aspect of the conversations, it must be remembered that these intercepts were taken down directly from the intercepted messages, as they were in progress. The technicians were persons in German employ who were conversant with idiomatic English. They were not necessarily of German birth or upbringing and attempting to write down intercepts in a foreign language could easily lead to minor grammatical or textual errors.

It is also necessary to consider the personal attitudes of persons who wish not to believe the authenticity of very controversial documents.

As a case in point, using this November 26, 1941, intercept as an example, several scholars have decided that the text is authentic. One reviewer, historian John Lukacs, has decided that it is not.

Dr. Lukacs has written at some length about this intercept in the American Heritage magazine of November/December 2002.

A very polished writer, Dr. Lukacs has stated that he simply cannot, and will not, accept this conversation as authentic. He stated in his article that he once spoke with an unnamed elderly British translator who stated she could not accept some of the comments made in the text.

There is the argument that Churchill would never have called Roosevelt by his first name. Since Roosevelt had known Churchill and his family for some time before the date of the conversation, there is no logical reason why he would not have used the President’s first name. Roosevelt’s mother was a friend of the Churchill family and had been visiting with them in England in 1915. This is an obscure fact, admittedly, but one that is not so concealed that it could never be discovered by a competent researcher.

There is also the question of Churchill’s use of ‘fascist’ in the conversation when Lukacs feels that ‘Nazi’ would be more accurate. A number of Churchill’s published speeches contain references to both definitions. Lukacs refers to the use of this word as ‘nonsensical’ when in fact published material shows that Churchill very clearly had used it a number of times in his writings and speeches.

What all of this proves is nothing more than the fact that Dr. Lukacs is not happy with the implication that Churchill, about whom he has written glowingly and at great length and whom he holds in the highest esteem, had prior knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack and was engaged in plotting with his American opposite number to let it go forward. By both Roosevelt and Churchills’ doing so, it is obvious many lives were lost and the war burst forth on a global dimension.

Dr. Peter Hoffman from Canada and Dr. Lukacs have both written in glowing phrases about their particular historical idols. Hoffman produced a highly laudatory work on Claus von Stauffenberg, as worshipful as the Lukacs’ Churchill works, and any writer who dares to denigrate their heroes immediately draws the academic ire of their biographers.

These academic gentlemen staked out their turf, as it were, and like many other academics, will fight to the death to defend their own territory. It is never an edifying sight to witness distinguished academics engaged in behavior redolent of  elderly whores engaging in a hair-pulling and purse-swinging battle in a dark alley over possession of a drunken client but this sort of activity seems to be more the norm than the exception

The ferocity of these encounters is always in direct proportion to the unimportance of the subject.

In essence, Dr. Lukacs simply cannot, and will not, accept anything that brings the character, or lack of it, of his primary hero into question.

Many do indeed revere both Roosevelt and Churchill. Still others revere Hitler and Stalin and are just as fierce in the defense of their respective heroes.

Defense secretary Mattis says US policy against Isis is now ‘annihilation’ 

Retired general indicates aggressive turn in Iraq and Syria, saying ‘intention is that foreign fighters do not survive’ and ‘civilian casualties are a fact of life’

May 28, 2017

by Martin Pengelly

The Guardian

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Sunday the US had “accelerated” its tactics against the Islamic State, moving from a policy of “attrition” to one of “annihilation”.

The retired Marine Corps general also said “civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation”, adding: “We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can.”

His remarks came a day after he cited the suicide bombing in Manchester, which has been claimed by Isis, in a speech to graduating cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“Manchester’s tragic loss underscores the purpose of your years of study and training at this elite school,” Mattis said on Saturday. “We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of normal. This is not normal.”

The bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena killed 22 people, the youngest an eight-year-old girl, and injured dozens more. Fourteen people have been arrested, with two subsequently released. The bomber, Salman Abedi, was Libyan but may have traveled to Syria.

Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Mattis said: “Our strategy right now is to accelerate the campaign against Isis. It is a threat to all civilized nations. And the bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot.

“We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them. Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

Mattis also said efforts against Isis would be “a long fight” and “a fight about ideas”.

“We’re going to shatter their sense of invincibility there in the physical caliphate,” he said. “That’s only one phase of this. Then we have the virtual caliphate, that they use the internet.”

“We have got to dry up their recruiting,” he said. “We have got to dry up their fundraising. The way we intend to do it is to humiliate them, to divorce them from any nation giving them protection, and humiliating their message of hatred, of violence. Anyone who kills women and children is not devout. They … cannot dress themselves up in false religious garb and say that somehow this message has dignity.”

Asked if he was concerned by the prospect of civilian casualties caused by such aggressive action, Mattis said: “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation. We do everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity, taking many chances to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.”

Heavy fighting against Isis militants continues in Mosul, Iraq, with local forces supported by a US-led air campaign. In March, a US airstrike in the city triggered a massive explosion, killing more than 100 people.

“The American people and the American military will never get used to civilian casualties,” Mattis said. “And we will – we will fight against that every way we can possibly bring our intelligence and our tactics to bear.

“People who have had tried to leave that city were not allowed to by Isis. We are the good guys. We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can.”

Regarding the civilian deaths in Mosul, Mattis said: “We believe we found residue that was not consistent with our bomb. So we believe that what happened there was that Isis had stored munitions in a residential location. Showing, once again, the callous disregard that has characterized every operation they have run.”

Mattis, who has been nicknamed “Mad Dog” due to his preference for aggressive tactics, was also asked: “What keeps you awake at night?”

“Nothing,” he said. “I keep other people awake at night.”

 When Intelligence Isn’t

May 27, 2017

by Patrick Armstrong


In my career in the Canadian government I was never formally in “intelligence” but I did participate in writing many “intelligence assessments”. Facebook, Twitter and other kinds of social media didn’t much exist at that time but, even if they had, I can’t imagine that we would have ever used them as sources of evidence: social media is, to put it mildly, too easy to fake. In writing intelligence assessments, while we did use information gathered from intelligence sources (ie secret), probably more came from what was rather pompously called OSInt (Open Source Intelligence; in other words, stuff you don’t need a security clearance to learn). What was, however, the most important part of creating an assessment was the long process of discussion in the group. Much talk and many rewrites produced a consensus opinion.

A typical intelligence assessment would start with a question – what’s going on with the economy, or political leadership or whatever of Country X – and would argue a conclusion based on facts. So: question, argument, conclusion. And usually a prediction – after all the real point of intelligence is to attempt to reduce surprises. The intelligence assessment then made its way up the chain to the higher ups; they may have ignored or disagreed with the conclusions but, as far as I know, the assessment, signed off by the group that had produced it, was not tampered with: I never heard of words being put into our mouths. The intelligence community regards tampering with an intelligence assessment to make it look as if the authors had said something different as a very serious sin. All of this is preparation to say that I know what an intelligence assessment is supposed to look like and that I have seen a lot of so-called intelligence assessments coming out of Washington that don’t look like the real thing.

Intelligence is quite difficult. I like the analogy of trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle when you don’t know what the picture is supposed to be, you don’t know how many pieces the puzzle has and you’re not sure that the pieces that you have are actually from the same puzzle. Let us say, for example, that you intercept a phonecall in which the Leader of Country X is telling one of his flunkeys to do something. Surely that’s a gold standard? Well, not if the Leader knew you were listening (and how would you know if he did?); nor if he’s someone who changes his mind often. There are very few certainties in the business and many many opportunities for getting it wrong.

So real raw intelligence data is difficult enough to evaluate; social media, on the other hand, has so many credibility problems that it is worthless; worthless, that is, except as evidence of itself (ie a bot campaign is evidence that somebody has taken the effort to do one). It is extremely easy to fake: a Photoshopped picture can be posted and spread everywhere in hours; bots can create the illusion of a conversation; phonecall recordings are easily stitched together: here are films of Buks, here are phonecalls. (But, oddly enough, all the radars were down for maintenance that day). It’s so easy, in fact, that it’s probably easier to create the fake than to prove that it is a fake. There is no place in an intelligence assessment for “evidence” from something as unreliable as social media.

An “intelligence assessment” that uses social media is suspect.

So why are there so many “intelligence assessments” on important issues depending on social media “evidence”?

I first noticed social media used as evidence during the MH17 catastrophe when Marie Harf, the then US State Department spokesman, appealed to social media and “common sense”. She did so right after the Russians had posted radar evidence (she hadn’t “seen any of that” said she). At the time I assumed that she was just incompetent. It was only later, when I read the “intelligence assessments” backing up the so-called Russian influence on the US election, that I began to notice the pattern.

There are indications during the Obama Administration that the intelligence professionals were becoming restive. Here are some examples that suggest that “intelligence assessments” were either not being produced by the intelligence professionals or – see the last example – those that were were then modified to please the Boss.

  • Shortly after the MH17 crash, a group of intelligence operators said “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 per cent sure of a nationality”. Eight months later, they apparently had nothing to add to that statement. A year later still nothing. But US Secretary of State Kerry began immediately speaking of an “enormous amount of evidence” of Russian involvement. What evidence? Not intelligence assessments, it seems.
  • It was said that intelligence people tried to stop the Libya attack: “You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They’re just full of stupid, stupid facts.”
  • There are indications from her e-mails that then US Secretary of State Clinton listened more to private advisors and newspaper editorials than intelligence sources.
  • The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, confirmed that the DIA had warned the Obama Administration that extremist salafists were the major force driving the insurgency in Syria and that an ISIS-like organisation could be created. Here he says that he thinks the Administration took a “wilful decision” to ignore the warning.
  • In September 2015 it was revealed that 50 military intelligence analysts had formally complained that their conclusions were being distorted “to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria”.

If one adds the reliance on social media to these indications, it seems a reasonable suspicion that these so-called intelligence assessments are not real intelligence assessments produced by intelligence professionals but are post facto justifications written up by people who know what the Boss wants to hear.

We have already seen what appears to have been the first example of this with the “social media and common sense” of MH17. And, from that day to this, not a shred of Kerry’s “evidence” have we seen. The long-awaited Dutch report was, as I said at the time, only a modified hangout and very far from convincing.

Russia “invaded” Ukraine so many times it became a joke. The “evidence” was the usual social media accompanied by blurry satellite photos. So bad are the photos, in fact, that someone suggested that “Russian artillery” were actually combine harvesters. In one of the rare departures from the prescribed consensus, a former (of course) German Chief of Staff was utterly unconvinced by thse pictures and explained why. By contrast, here is a satellite photo of Russian aircraft in Syria; others here. Sharply focussed and in colour. The “Russian invasion” photos were lower quality than the Cuban Missile Crisis photos taken six decades earlier! A hidden message? See below.

The so-called Syrian government CW attack on Ghouta in August 2013 was similarly based on social media; heavily dependent, in fact, on “Bellingcat”. Quite apart from the improbability of Assad ordering a CW attack on a suburb a short drive away from arriving international inspectors, the whole story was adequately destroyed by Seymour Hersh. (Bellingcat’s “proofs”, by the way, can be safely ignored – see his faked-up “evidence” that Russians attacked an aid convoy in Syria.)

A dominant story for months has been that Russia somehow influenced the US presidential election. As ever, the Washington Post led the charge and the day after the election told us “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House”. But when we finally saw the “secret assessments” they proved to be laughably damp squibs. The DHS/FBI report of 29 December 2016 carried this stunning disclaimer:

This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of the DNI report of 6 January 2017 was the space – nearly half – devoted to a rant that had been published four years earlier about the Russian TV channel RT. What that had to do with the Russian state influencing the 2016 election was obscure. But, revealingly, the report included:

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

In other words, DHS told us to ignore its report and the one agency in the US intelligence structure that would actually know about hacking and would have copies of everything – the NSA – wasn’t very confident. Both reports were soon torn apart: John McAfee: “I can promise you if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians”. (See 10:30). Jeffrey Carr: “Fatally flawed”. Julian Assange: not a state actor. Even those who loath Putin trashed them. In any case, as we now know, the NSA can mimic Russians or anyone else.

In April there was another suspiciously timed “CW attack” in Syria and, blithely ignoring that the responders didn’t wear any protective gear in what was supposed to be a Sarin attack, the Western media machine wound up its sirens. The intelligence assessment that was released again referred to “credible open source reporting” and even “pro-opposition social media reports” (! – are the authors so disgusted with what they have to write that they leave gigantic hints like that in plain sight?). Then a page of so of how Moscow trying to “confuse” the world community. And so on. This “intelligence assessment” was taken apart by Theodore Postol.

So, we have strong suggestions that the intelligence professionals are being sidelined or having their conclusions altered; we have far too much reliance of social media; is there anything else that we can see? Yes, there is: many of the “intelligence assessments” contain what look like hints by the authors that their reports are rubbish.

  • Absurdly poor quality photos (maybe they were combine harvesters!).
  • Including a photo of damage to the port engine intake which contradicts the conclusion of the MH-17 report.
  • DHS “does not provide any warranties”.
  • The one agency that would know has only “moderate confidence”.
  • Irrelevant rants about RT or assumed nefarious Russian intentions.
  • “Pro-opposition social media reports”.

There are too many of these, in fact, not to notice – not that the Western media has noticed, of course – they rather jump out at you once you look don’t they? I don’t recall inserting any little such hints into any of the intelligence assessments that I was involved in.

In conclusion, it seems that a well-founded case can be presented that:

  • The normal process of producing intelligence assessments was not observed in the above cases;
  • “Intelligence assessments” were fabricated relying on social media (one can only assume because there was nothing else);
  • In other words, these “intelligence assessments” were not true intelligence assessments; they were (clumsy) efforts written to justify conclusions. (“Hand-picked, seasoned” the Obama Administration’s former DNI tells us).
  • And then carefully leaked. (So ingrained is the leaking habit it appears that some source in the US intelligence world leaked sensitive data from the recent Manchester bombing to the New York Times.)
  • The authors may even have left hints that they were nonsense.

Where done? By whom? That remains to be discovered. More Swamp to be drained.

 If SNP wins election in Scotland, PM May will have to grant independence vote -Sturgeon

May 28, 2017


If the Scottish National Party wins the most seats in Scotland at a June 8 election, Prime Minister Theresa May’s refusal to agree to a second independence referendum will be unsustainable, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday.

The SNP, which won 56 of parliament’s 59 Scottish seats at the last election in 2015, has said Scots should get another say on independence once the terms of Britain’s EU exit are clear.

Polls show the SNP is set to easily win in Scotland in June, though May’s Conservatives are expected to take some seats from them as the issue of keeping the United Kingdom together takes center stage.

May has said now is not the time to discuss a fresh independence vote. Scots rejected independence by 10 percentage points in 2014 and support for secession since then is little changed.

“If the SNP win the election on June 8 in Scotland, and I am taking nothing for granted, … then I think that position of the prime minister is unsustainable,” Sturgeon said in an interview with the BBC.

She said the win would add weight to the SNP’s victory in the Scottish election last year and a vote in the Scottish parliament giving her a fresh mandate to seek a new referendum.

Sturgeon pointed to other times May has changed her mind.

On Monday May was forced to backtrack on one of her Conservative Party’s most high-profile election pledges to force elderly people to pay more for their social care after her opinion poll lead halved.

“In politics positions quickly become unsustainable and we have seen in the last few days … this is not a prime minister who is very good at holding positions under pressure. She is a prime minister that has seemed to perfect the art of the U-turn,” Sturgeon said.

The SNP will insist on Scotland’s right to decide its own future as Britain leaves the European Union when it sets out is pre-election policy document on Tuesday.

Sturgeon, who said she wants an independent Scotland to be a full member of the EU, argues that a new choice is needed because Scots voted to stay in the bloc in a referendum last June, at odds with the overall vote to leave.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Editing by David Evans and Stephen Powell)

 France outraged by desecration of Charles de Gaulle tomb

Two suspects have stomped on the grave of the wartime hero and kicked off its cross, police said. The act of vandalism has sent shockwaves across France’s political landscape, with politicians expressing sheer outrage.

May 28, 2017


French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday called on authorities to quickly repair the tomb of former President General Charles de Gaulle after two suspects vandalized the site.

Macron said that De Gaulle’s memory is “dear to all French people.” French politicians, including Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, slammed the act of vandalism against the wartime hero’s tomb.

“Sadness and consternation: The act of vandalism committed on the tomb of General de Gaulle is an act against France,” said Philippe in a tweet.

“Shame on those who vandalized General de Gaulle’s tomb. It has dealt a blow to my patriotic heart,” said Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin.

De Gaulle is revered in France as a wartime hero for leading French liberation forces in World War II and founding the country’s Fifth Republic. He also served as the French president for a decade and ended the country’s colonial war in Algeria.

Search for suspects

Police said they were searching for two suspects for stomping on the tomb and kicking off its 1.5-meter-high (4.9-feet-high) cross.

Frederic Nahon, the public prosecutor of the town Chaumont, said the tomb is under round-the-clock video surveillance, which provided authorities with images of the suspects committing the act of vandalism.

De Gaulle’s tomb is located in the eastern village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, where he lived and died. He is buried next to his wife Yvonne de Gaulle and daughter Anne de Gaulle. His grave draws thousands of visitors each year.



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