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TBR News October 1, 2019

Oct 01 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 1, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October 1: “With the increasing political pressure on him and his enablers, Trump is coming unglued. He ramps around his office, and out into the other areas, shouting that he will find and destroy anyone daring to threaten his position as President.

His enablers? Crime partners? As usual, he will dump them the moment it seems they are caught. This entire impeachment issue will not go away as he wants but appears to be getting larger and more strident as the days progress.

Nixon was smart enough to see what was coming so he resigned but this one will barricade himself in the Oval Office and scream to his nutty far right followers to defend him with AK 47s and Molotov cocktails.

This is going to be quite a drama before it is over.”


The Table of Contents

  • Support for impeachment surges amid Trump-Ukraine scandal
  • Outrage as Trump suggests key Democratic foe face arrest for ‘treason’
  • Barr and Pompeo implicated in Trump impeachment scandal – reports 
  • Five fantasies Trump is pushing about the Ukraine scandal – and the truth
  • How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart
  • Iraq Is Once Again the Battleground for an American Proxy War
  • A Study of Assassination: A Current CIA Manual
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons


Support for impeachment surges amid Trump-Ukraine scandal

Americans still remain split about removing Trump from office, and analysts caution that single polls can be misleading

September 30, 2019

by Tom McCarthy in New York

The Guardian

Public support for impeaching Donald Trump and removing him from office has climbed significantly in the week since news first emerged that Trump sought foreign help for his 2020 re-election campaign, according to two polls released Monday.

One poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University over the weekend, found a 20-point swing in the last five days in support for Trump’s impeachment. Americans are now split 47-47 on the question of impeachment, the poll found, compared with 37% for impeachment and 57% opposition measured by the poll on 25 September.

A second poll, conducted by CNN/SSRS, also found that 47% of Americans support impeaching Trump, up 6 points from when the question was asked in May.

The odds of Trump’s impeachment hit a new high of 71% in online betting markets, meanwhile.

Polling analysts caution that single polls can be misleading and a better guide to the public mood lies in polling averages. There has been insufficient polling about impeachment to establish such an average in the wake of revelations last week about a months-long campaign by Trump and his associates to extract political favors from Ukraine.

The polling analyst Nate Silver pointed out that the Quinnipiac poll, which showed the 20-point swing in opinions about impeachment, was “not a uniformly great poll for Democrats”. “Although support for impeachment is way up,” Silver tweeted, “the number of voters who *strongly* approve of Trump is also up (overall approval roughly unchanged).”

Strong approval for Trump in the Quinnipiac poll jumped from 29% five days ago to 35%. Among Republicans, 88% said they approved or strongly approved of Trump’s job performance.

Among Democrats, 90% said they thought Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Given Democratic control of the House, that support for impeachment could soon translate to actual impeachment.

Removal of Trump from office, which would require Senate action and the defection of about 20 Republican senators, would be much less straightforward and would likely hinge on a large shift in opinions about Trump among Republican voters.

The polls did register some wariness of Trump among Republicans. In the CNN poll, support among Republicans for Trump’s impeachment was measured as more than doubling since May, from 6% to 14%. In the Quinnipiac poll, 12% of Republican respondents said they thought Trump “abuses the power of his office”.

Fifty per cent of independents, who roughly equal Republicans in party registration, told Quinnipiac they approved of the impeachment inquiry against Trump, with 45% disapproving.

A majority of Americans of every political persuasion told the pollster they were paying “a lot” of attention to Trump’s “actions regarding Ukraine”.


Outrage as Trump suggests key Democratic foe face arrest for ‘treason

  • President unleashes barrage littered with false claims
  • Laurence Tribe: the House must flex its muscles

September 30, 2019

by David Smith in Washington and Andrew Roth in Kyiv

The Guardian

Donald Trump, already facing impeachment, has provoked fresh outrage by suggesting one of his main political adversaries should be arrested for “treason”.The US president unleashed a barrage of tweets littered with false claims, incendiary language and a refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing in a July phone call with the president of Ukraine.

Trump singled out Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, who has been criticised for his opening statement at a hearing last week in which he parodied Trump’s conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Schiff “illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” Trump wrote. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”

The comment echoed Trump’s comment during a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton that if he was in charge, she would “be in jail”.

“Lock her up!” became a common chant at his rallies.

Schiff is widely viewed as the public face of the impeachment inquiry. There is no basis for accusing him of treason, which is defined by the constitution as waging war against the US or providing material support to one of its declared enemies and is punishable by death.

Schiff has said he plans to subpoena Trump’s personal lawyer for documents tied to the Ukraine affair.

“We’re going to need evidence from Rudy Giuliani,” he told CBS. “And it’s our intention as soon as first thing next week to subpoena him for documents. And there may very well come a time where we want to hear from him directly.”

Shooting the messenger is a familiar Trump tactic. But his responses to the threat of impeachment have been increasingly wild. On Monday he renewed his assaults on the media and the whistleblower who raised the alarm over the call in which Trump coerced Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential election rival.

Trump tweeted: “The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up. It is mostly about the call to the Ukrainian President which, in the name of transparency, I immediately released to Congress & the public. The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!”

Trump’s allies are also seeking to discredit his accuser and sow confusion. But Trump’s words and actions are spelled out in a rough transcript and the whistleblower complaint. He is receiving unusual criticism from some Republicans and former administration officials.

On Sunday, Trump rewrote a quotation from Pastor Robert Jeffress, who told Fox News: “If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger tweeted: “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”

Many analysts predict Trump will be impeached by the House. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, confirmed on Monday that the Senate would have “no choice” but to take the matter up.

Such is Trump’s grip over the Republican party and conservative media that conventional wisdom holds he would be acquitted by the Senate, maybe even receiving a political boost. But polls show growing public support for impeachment.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Monday, senior fellow Jon Hudak noted that Richard Nixon won re-election by a landslide in 1972 and had a job approval rating far higher than Trump’s.

Hudak said: “To think on election day 1972 that Richard Nixon would be impeached and removed from office, which but for his resignation he would have been, to think that would have happened in less than two years, people would have laughed in your face.

“But alas, the evidence was built, the tapes came out and movement happened within the Republican conference and the Senate. Granted, our politics is different now from what it was in 1974, but this idea that there is nothing that can come out that will move a Republican senator towards voting to convict the president I think is foolish.”

Trump’s allies are struggling to control the narrative. Giuliani made the erroneous claim it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 US election. The former New York mayor has been encouraging Ukraine to investigate Biden and Clinton.

Tom Bossert, Trump’s former homeland security adviser, told ABC on Sunday: “I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again. That conspiracy theory has got to go.”

Lawyers representing the whistleblower, whose identity remains secret, said they have “serious concerns for our client’s personal safety, as well as for others connected to this matter”.

According to the whistleblower complaint, the Trump administration sought to restrict access to records of his conversation with Zelenskiy by putting them on a system used to hold classified material. The call did not contain any information pertinent to national security, the complaint said, but was potentially embarrassing.

Zelenskiy said on Monday he does not plan to publish his own notes from the call.

“There are certain nuances and things which I think it would be incorrect, even, to publish,” he told journalists at a military site near Kyiv, according to Reuters.

He dodged questions of whether Ukraine planned to pursue an investigation at Trump’s request into Biden or his son Hunter.

“We are open, we are ready to investigate [but] it has nothing to do with me. Our independent law enforcement agencies are ready to investigate any case in which the law was broken.”

There is no evidence Joe Biden or his son, Hunter, engaged in corruption in Ukraine.

Barr and Pompeo implicated in Trump impeachment scandal – reports

Attorney general and Secretary of State both reportedly took part in contacts between Trump and foreign leaders

October 1, 2019

by Tom McCarthy in New York

The Guardian

An effort in recent months by Donald Trump to rewrite the history of the 2016 US presidential election and set up a 2020 re-election victory was both more geographically sprawling and reliant on the day-to-day participation of top cabinet members than previously reported, it emerged on Monday.

Both William Barr, the attorney general, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, collectively participated in contacts between Trump and leaders of at least four foreign countries, according to multiple reports.

Those contacts were variously aimed at producing stories that could damage Joe Biden, Trump’s potential 2020 opponent, or at producing stories that could undermine the US intelligence community assessment from 2017 of Russian election tampering in the last election, the reports said.

An impeachment inquiry launched last week in the House of Representatives was sparked by known Trump administration contacts with one country, Ukraine. But the picture of Trump’s outreach to additional potential foreign partners, and the scope of involvement of top government officials in the effort, was quickly changing.

Barr and Pompeo – whose vast portfolios nominally run from administering criminal justice in the United States to securing international alliances and combating threats abroad – have separately tried to distance themselves from the avalanching revelation that Trump’s conduct of the matters of state has apparently, in significant proportion, been devoted to the pursuit of the president’s personal bugbears and ambitions.

Barr was previously reported to be “surprised and angry” to find his name mentioned in a summary of a call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, while Pompeo, when asked what he knew about that phone call, replied that he had not seen a copy of the whistleblower document that flagged it: “I haven’t seen the complaint,” he told ABC News.

In fact, Pompeo reportedly took part in the call, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a senior state department official. For his part, Barr flew to Italy and to London to ask for help in “investigating” the roots of the Russia investigation, the Washington Post reported. Trump also asked the Australian prime Scott Morrison for help, and Morrison agreed to assist, something first reported by the New York Times, and confirmed by the Australian government.

“It should trouble all of us that the attorney general is flying overseas and spending his time focused on discrediting the origins of the Mueller probe instead of combating crime here in the US,” tweeted the former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “His personal involvement reinforces the view that he does Trump’s bidding.”

“Pretty clear that Barr is working feverishly [with] Trump to produce some kind of anti-Mueller report,” tweeted the MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

The justice department defied that characterization, issuing a statement Monday describing Barr’s work as business-as-usual to support the US attorney John Durham’s ongoing investigation of the FBI’s former investigation of Russian election tampering. The justice department opened the counter-investigation following Trump’s repeated claims that his campaign, which had serial secret contacts with Russian operatives, had been unfairly targeted for scrutiny.

“At attorney general Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr Durham to appropriate officials,” the spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

Foreign officials could have information useful to Durham because the investigation of Trump’s campaign began with a tip to the FBI from an Australian diplomat that a Trump aide had drunkenly told him about a Russian offer of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

But it was very unusual for the attorney general, much less the president, to be personally involved at such lengths in an internal investigation, even where foreign contacts are required, former federal prosecutors said.

“In a real investigation, all that is needed is a request from a line prosecutor to the foreign country, made through the [justice department] Office of International Affairs, and pursuant to the terms of a mutual legal assistance treaty,” tweeted Harry Sandick, a former prosecutor in the southern district of New York. “No calls from the president are involved.”

Trump’s exertions to rewrite the history of the 2016 election and win re-election next year are the focus on an impeachment inquiry, which he appears to want to beat by exploiting the powers of his office to tar his political opponents as corrupt.

After the impeachment inquiry was announced last week, the Trump administration intensified an investigation of communications between career public servants and Clinton, who found scandal by setting up a private server to host her correspondence as secretary of state.

Pompeo oversees the internal state department investigation – but has refused questions about it.

“I tried to ask [Pompeo] today why he is targeting veteran diplomats for routine emails when they had nothing to do with that private server,” the NBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell tweeted Monday. “He turned his back and walked away.”

When a summary appeared last week of the July phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, the scope of involvement by the Trump administration seemed at first to be limited. Trump had mostly used his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pursue his project, it seemed.

But that picture has quickly changed. The release of a whistleblower report Thursday suggested an active role by Barr, and said that a dozen US officials had listened to the Trump-Ukraine phone call, and that summaries of the call had been distributed more widely – raising the question of what proportion of Trump administration energies in recent months have been devoted to Trump’s pet projects.

“The America First crowd is jeopardizing our national security,” tweeted Barack Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Favreau, “by pressuring foreign governments to help them discredit our intelligence officials and rig our elections.”


Five fantasies Trump is pushing about the Ukraine scandal – and the truth

The US president is facing an impeachment inquiry directly related to his relentless pursuit of malicious untruths

September 30, 2019

by Ed Pilkington

The Guardian

Donald Trump’s fondness for conspiracy theories stretches back years, to his claim to have seen “thousands and thousands” of Muslims cheering on 9/11, his denial of the climate crisis and many other falsehoods.

Indeed, you can date Trump’s entry into presidential politics to his 2011 “birther” fixation, when he claimed Barack Obama was born outside the US. The 44th president was born in Hawaii and his birth certificate proves it.

Now, Trump’s taste for scurrilous and malicious untruths has come back to bite him. The US president is facing an impeachment inquiry that could remove him from office, precisely because of his relentless pursuit of conspiracy theories.

Here are the five such theories that lie at the heart of the Ukraine scandal:

  1. Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor, to shield his son Hunter

This goes right to the core of the impeachment inquiry, as it speaks to the “urgent concern” raised by a whistleblower in the intelligence services. According to the whistleblower’s complaint, Trump repeatedly urged the Ukrainian government to investigate the former vice-president, in the hope of gathering dirt on someone who stands a good chance of contesting next year’s presidential election.

Trump’s theory begins with a truth: in 2016 Biden withheld $1bn in loan guarantees from Ukraine in order to winkle out its then chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. The prosecutor, Trump’s story goes on less accurately, was busily investigating Hunter Biden, the vice-president’s second son, who was a paid board member of a large Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.

Two and two makes five: Joe Biden, Trump concluded, was corruptly interfering in Ukraine in order to protect his son.

There are problems with this narrative. The Burisma investigation was dormant when Biden pushed for Shokin to be fired. And Biden was not alone in wanting Shokin out: several European governments and authorities including the IMF also pressed for his dismissal, because of his dire record on fighting corruption.

  1. Hunter Biden was up to his neck in corruption

There is no doubt the younger Biden’s appointment at Burisma in April 2014 was curious, to put it politely. He had no expertise in the gas industry and it is hard to avoid the thought his main attraction was his bloodline.

But the move was not illegal and his father has stated that the pair never discussed business. In May, the then prosecutor general of Ukraine told Bloomberg there was no evidence either Biden did anything wrong.

Then, as now, there was no law or regulation preventing children or other relatives of powerful public figures pursuing lucrative business opportunities.

Ask Billy Carter, brother of Jimmy Carter; Hillary Clinton’s brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham; and George W Bush’s brother Neil. As Vox has pointed out, all raised eyebrows by engaging in business dealings when their relative was in high office. To that list you might add three other presidential children: Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka Trump.

  1. The whistleblower is biased

Trump has repeatedly smeared the individual he calls the “so-called whistleblower” and “#FakeWhistleblower”, questioning his or her patriotism and motivations.

A whole new conspiracy theory has emerged. Trump has tweeted a link to an article by the rightwing website the Federalist that suggests foul play on the grounds that Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower’s attorney, interned for leading Democrats Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior adviser, told Fox News Sunday: “I know the difference between a whistleblower and a deep state operative.”

The truth is, very little is known about the whistleblower’s political beliefs. The inspector general of the intelligence community, the first to receive the complaint, did find “some indicia of an arguable political bias”.

But he concluded that the allegations “appeared credible”. Furthermore, the general counsel in the office of the director of national intelligence stated: “We have every reason to believe that [the whistleblower] has acted in good faith.”

In a related theory, the Federalist also reported that shortly before the Ukraine complaint was filed, the US intelligence community “secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings”. The report, embraced by conservative media figures Trump is known to follow, has been debunked.

  1. ‘CrowdStrike’

This is the most bizarre of all Trump’s Ukraine fantasies. To put it briefly: Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company hired by the Democratic National Committee to look into a massive hack of emails during the 2016 election, was in cahoots with key Democrats and collectively framed Russia as the source of the theft.

In fact, the theory goes, the DNC server was not hacked by Russia but was hidden in Ukraine. The whole Russia line was a ruse to besmirch Trump and help Clinton.

There are so many fallacies in the theory it is hard to know where to begin. There is no one DNC server and it is not hidden in Ukraine. Russia was confirmed as the source of the hacked emails by US intelligence agencies, the justice department and the FBI.

On Sunday, Trump’s first homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert – no deep state Democrat he – told ABC the idea Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in 2016 was “completely debunked” and “has no validity”.

  1. George Soros is behind it all

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who is now Trump’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly touted the idea that the billionaire philanthropist was the financier and mastermind behind Democratic dirty dealings in Ukraine.

“George Soros was behind it, George Soros’ company was funding it,” Giuliani told ABC, referring to the related conspiracy theory that Ukraine colluded with Clinton.

Soros has been a favourite target of virulent rightwing conspiracy theories dating back to the early 1990s, many with antisemitic undertones.

The Soros-Ukraine narrative has been widely discredited. An investigation by the Daily Beast found it to be “flimsy” and based “almost entirely on innuendos”.


How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart

 For all their overwhelming firepower, the U.S. and its allies can cause a lot of misery in the Middle East, but still can’t govern the course of events.

September 30, 2019

by Conn Hallinan


In many ways it doesn’t really matter who – Houthis in Yemen? Iranians? Shiites in Iraq? – launched those missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia. Whoever did it changed the rules of the game, and not just in the Middle East. “It’s a moment when offense laps defense, when the strong have reason to fear the weak,” observes military historian Jack Radey.

In spite of a $68 billion a year defense budget – the third highest spending of any country in the world – with a world-class air force and supposed state-of-the-art anti-aircraft system, a handful of bargain basement drones and cruise missiles slipped through the Saudi radar and devastated Riyadh’s oil economy. All those $18 million fighter planes and $3 million a pop Patriot antiaircraft missiles suddenly look pretty irrelevant.

This is hardly an historical first. British dragoons at Concord were better trained and armed than a bunch of Massachusetts farmers, but the former were 5,000 miles from home and there were lots more of the latter, and so the English got whipped. The French army in Vietnam was far superior in firepower than the Viet Minh, but that didn’t count for much in the jungles of Southeast Asia. And the US was vastly more powerful than the insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we still lost both wars.

The September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco refineries at Abqaiq and Khurais did more than knock out 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s oil production – it shook the pillars of Washington’s foreign policy in the region and demonstrated the fragility of the world’s energy supply.

The End of the Carter Doctrine?

Since 1945, Washington’s policy in the Middle East has been to control the world’s major energy supplies by politically and militarily dominating the Persian Gulf, which represents about 15 percent of the globe’s resources. The 1979 Carter Doctrine explicitly stated that the US reserved the right to use military force in the case of any threat to the region’s oil and gas.

To that end, Washington has spread a network of bases throughout the area and keeps one of its major naval fleets, the Fifth, headquartered in the Gulf. It has armed its allies and fought several wars to ensure its primacy in the region.

And all that just got knocked into a cocked hat.

Washington blames Iran, but the evidence for that is dodgy. The Americans have yet to produce a radar map showing where the missiles originated, and even the Trump administration and the Saudis have scaled back blaming Tehran directly, instead saying the Iranians “sponsored” the attack.

Part of that is plain old-fashioned colonial thought patterns: the “primitive” Houthis couldn’t pull this off. In fact, the Houthis have been improving their drone and missile targeting for several years and have demonstrated considerable skill with the emerging technology.

The US– and, for that matter, the Saudis – have enormous firepower, but the possible consequences of such a response are simply too costly. If 18 drones and seven cruise missiles did this much damage, how much could hundreds do? World oil prices have already jumped 20 percent. How high would they go if there were more successful attacks?

The only way to take out all the missiles and drones would be a ground attack and occupation. And who is going to do that?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already begun withdrawing its troops from Yemen and has been holding talks with the Houthis since July (which is likely why UAE oil facilities were not attacked this time around). The Saudi army is designed for keeping internal order, especially among Shiites in its Eastern provinces and Bahrain. The princes in Riyadh are far too paranoid about the possibility of a coup to build a regular army.

Would the US? Going into an election with prices already rising at the pump? The US military wants nothing to do with another war in the Middle East, not, mind you, because they have suddenly become sensible, but as Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff put it, it drains resources from confronting China. mn

Starting with the administration of George W. Bush, and accelerated during the Obama presidency’s “Asia Pivot,” the US military has been preparing for a confrontation with China in the South and/or East China Sea. The Pentagon also has plans to face off Russia in the Baltic.

One suspects that the generals made it clear that, while they can blow up a lot of Iranians, a shooting war would not be cost free. US Patriot missiles can’t defend our allies’ oil fields (or American bases in the region), and while the anti-missile capabilities on some US naval ships are pretty good, not on all of them are armed with effective systems like the Sea Sparrow. Americans would be coming home in boxes just as the fall election campaign kicked into high gear.

Whether the military got that message through to the Oval Office is not clear, but Trump’s dialing down of his rhetoric over Iran suggests it may have.

Making Good on a Stalemate

What happens now? The White House has clearly ruled out a military response in the short run.

Trump’s speech at the UN focused on attacking globalism and international cooperation, not Iran. But the standoff is likely to continue unless the Americans are willing to relax some of their “maximum pressure” sanctions as a prelude to a diplomatic solution.

The US is certainly not withdrawing from the Middle East. In spite of the fact that shale oil has turned the United States into the world’s largest oil producer, we still import around one million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia. Europe is much more dependent on Gulf oil, as are the Chinese and Indians. The US is not about to walk away from its 70 plus year grip on the region.

But the chessboard is not the same as it was six months ago. The Americans may have overwhelming military force in the Middle East, but using it might tank world oil prices and send the West – as well as India and China – into a major recession.

Israel is still the dominant local power, but if it picks a fight with Iran or Hezbollah, those drones and cruises will be headed its way. Israel relies on its “Iron Dome” antimissile system, but while Iron Dome may do a pretty good job against the primitive missiles used by Hamas, mobile cruises and drones are another matter. While Israel could inflict enormous damage on any of its foes, the price tag could be considerably higher than in the past.

Stalemates can be dangerous because there is an incentive to try and break them by introducing some game changing weapon system. But stalemates also create the possibility for diplomatic solutions. That is certainly the case now.

If a more centrist government emerges from this last round of Israeli elections, Israel may step back from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s relentless campaign against Teheran. And Trump likes “deals,” even though he is not very good at them.

“This is the new strategic balance,” says Newclick Editor-In-Chief Prabir Purkayastha in the Asia Times, “and the sooner the US and its NATO partners accept it, the quicker we will look for peace in the region.”


Iraq Is Once Again the Battleground for an American Proxy War

September 28, 2019

by Patrick Cockburn

The Independent UK

People in Baghdad are fearful that the next war between the US and Iran will take place in Iraq, which is only just returning to peace after the defeat of Isis. Alarm that Iraq will be sucked into such a conflict has increased here because of recent Israeli drone attacks on the bases of the Iraqi paramilitary group known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, which is accused by the US and Israel of acting as a proxy of Iran.

“The new development is that Israel has entered the conflict in Iraq,” says Abu Alaa al-Walai, the leader of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a militant Shia paramilitary movement with ties to Iran, speaking in an exclusive interview with The Independent in Baghdad. He says that three Israeli drones attacked one of his bases in the Iraqi capital, called al-Saqr, on 12 August, leading to the explosion of 50 tons of weaponry. The Israelis confirm that they carried out the raid, which was preceded by several others, claiming that they hit Iranian missiles on their way to Syria and Lebanon.

It is the likelihood of US complicity in the Israeli action which could provoke a political crisis in Iraq. Abu Alaa says that an unpublished Iraqi government report on the attack reveals that the Israeli drones were launched from a US base called Kassad in Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria. “Iraqi radar tracked one out of three of the drones travelling at 140km before, during and after the attack,” he says.

US policy in the Middle East is notoriously incoherent and contradictory under President Trump, but allowing Israel to make pin-prick attacks from a US base against the Hashd looks peculiarly like self-destruction from an American point of view. It has already led to a bill passing through the Iraqi parliament demanding the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

Asked if Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada would attack US forces, if there is a war between the US and Iran, Abu Alaa replies: “Absolutely, yes”. He expresses enthusiasm for drone warfare, saying that the successful drone assault on the Saudi oil facilities on 14 September makes battlefields more equal for groups like his own. “We are working day and night to develop drones that can be put together in a living room,” he says.

Drone attacks on US bases in Iraq would not enjoy the same element of surprise as those on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but the bases are certainly vulnerable. In many respects, they do not add to US strength in Iraq but they could become American “hostages” in Iraq in the event of an Iran-US conflict.

The future of the Hashd al-Shaabi as an Iranian-influenced state-within-a-state is the crucial issue in the struggle for influence between Iran and the US. Washington is pushing for the role of the Hashd to be reduced or even eliminated, but these efforts are likely to prove ineffective and even counterproductive.

The Hashd is a political as well as a military organisation and is so well established in Iraq that there is not much the US can do to reduce its influence. Its parliamentary representatives did well in the last general election in 2018 and its support is essential for any stable Iraqi government.

A similar pattern has held true in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. The US wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, though without benefiting Iran. But the downfall of Saddam’s Sunni Arab regime was inevitably followed by a political revolution in which it was replaced by the Shia majority and, to a lesser degree, by the Kurds. Try as they might, US diplomats and generals in Baghdad could not avoid cooperating, often covertly, with Iran.

Not much has really changed in the years that followed. The ruling Shia majority has an Iraqi national identity, but this is matched, and usually overmatched, by a strong religious Shia identity. Given that Iraq and Iran are among the few Shia-led states in the world it is scarcely surprising that they feel that they have much in common. Post-Saddam Iraq saw the first Shia Arab government take power in the region since Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in 12th century Egypt. “Religiously speaking, Iran gives Iraq strategic depth,” says Dhiaa al-Asadi, a leading figure in the populist religious movement of the Shia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr.

President Trump and previous US administrations have repeatedly made the mistake of denouncing Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and the Hashd in Iraq as Iranian proxies pure and simple. This is a mistake because these powerful paramilitary movements are rooted, above all else, in the local Shia communities. Iran may have fostered these groups but it does not have command and control over them.

Another reason why Mr Trump’s bid to roll back Iranian influence is unlikely to get anywhere, is that Iran’s paramilitary allies have been victorious, or at least held their own, in the wars in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen over the last two decades. Many Iraqis resent this fragmentation of power, complaining that “the Hashd is strong and our government is weak” – but there is not a lot they can do about it. Iran is adept at playing Iraqi political chess games and acting as the broker between different factions and centres of power.

The US is not strong enough to oust the Hashd in Iraq, but that does not mean it will not try. The US must have known that Israel was firing drones into Iraq since it controls Iraqi airspace, but using Israel as its proxy in Iraq is a risky game.

Iraq has enjoyed a couple of years of relative peace since the defeat of Isis with the recapture of Mosul in 2017. The hundreds of security checkpoints and concrete anti-bomb blast walls in Baghdad have largely disappeared. The city is full of new restaurants and shops and the streets are thronged with people until late at night. But many Iraqis wonder how long this will last, if the US-Iran confrontation escalates into a shooting war. “Many of my friends are so nervous about a US-Iran war that they are using their severance pay on leaving government service to buy houses in Turkey,” said one civil servant.

There are good reasons for them to be worried: US and Saudi authority in the Middle East has been damaged by Iranian-inspired attacks – the Iranian modus operandi is normally to act through others – on oil tankers in the Gulf, a high-flying US drone, and the Saudi oil industry. So far, Mr Trump has not thought it is in the US’s interest to hit back, but he cannot indefinitely absorb this kind of punishment without looking weak.

Iraq is one place where the US and its allies could try to retaliate and their main target is likely to be the Hashd. This could in turn provoke attacks on US bases which look vulnerable in the age of the drone. Iraqis dread the idea of another military conflict, but they fear it may in any case be heading in their direction.



Assassination is a term thought to be derived from “Hashish”, a drug similar to marijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-Dan-Sabah to induce motivation in his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.

It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been sele cted by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization.


Assassination is an extreme measure not normally used in clandestine operations. It should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service. This reticence is partly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper. No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Consequently, the decision to employ this technique must nearly always be reached in the field, at the area where the act will take place. Decision and instructions should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. Ideally, only one person will be involved. No report may be made, but usually the act will be properly covered by normal news services, whose output is available to all concerned.


Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim has knowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged. Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may be regarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoning career is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be held necessary.

But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.


The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject is unaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also be affected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed “simple”; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase”; those where the victim is guarded will be termed “guarded.”

If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the adjective will be “safe.” It should be noted that no compromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.

A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident or natural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called “secret”; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open”; while if the assassination requires publicity to be effective it will be termed “terroristic.”

Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassination at all. A Chase assassinations usually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations.


In safe assassinations, the assassin needs the usual qualities of a clandestine agent. He should be determined, courageous, intelligent, resourceful, and physically active. If special equipment is to be used, such as firearms or drugs, it is clear that he must have outstanding skill with such equipment.

Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin be transient in the area. He should have an absolute minimum of contact with the rest of the organization and his instructions should be given orally by one person only. His safe evacuation after the act is absolutely essential, but here again contact should be as limited as possible. It is preferable that the person issuing instructions also conduct any withdrawal or covering action which may be necessary.

In lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care. He must not know the identities of the other members of the organization, for although it is intended that he die in the act, something may go wrong. While the assassin of Trotsky has never revealed any significant information, it was unsound to depend on this when the act was planned.


When the decision to assassinate has been reached, the tactics of the operation must be planned, based upon an estimate of the situation similar to that used in military operations. The preliminary estimate will reveal gaps in information and possibly indicate a need for special equipment which must be procured or constructed. When all necessary data has been collected, an effective tactical plan can be prepared. All planning must be mental; no papers should ever contain evidence of the operation.

In resistance situations, assassination may be used as a counter-reprisal. Since this requires advertising to be effective, the resistance organization must be in a position to warn high officials publicly that their lives will be the price of rep risal action against innocent people. Such a threat is of no value unless it can be carried out, so it may be necessary to plan the assassination of various responsible officers of the oppressive regime and hold such plans in readiness to be used only if provoked by excessive brutality. Such plans must be modified frequently to meet changes in the tactical situation.


The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The July 20, 1944 attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention.

Techniques may be considered as follows:

  1. Manual.

It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well. Even a highly trained Judo expert will hesitate to risk killing by hand unless he has absolutely no alternative. However, the simplest local tools a re often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice. A length of rope or wire or a belt will do if the assassin is strong and agile. All such improvised weapons have the important advantage of availability and apparent innocence. The obviously lethal machine gun failed to kill Trotsky where an item of sporting goods succeeded.

In all safe cases where the assassin may be subject to search, either before or after the act, specialized weapons should not be used. Even in the lost case, the assassin may accidentally be searched before the act and should not carry an incriminating device if any sort of lethal weapon can be improvised at or near the site. If the assassin normally carries weapons because of the nature of his job, it may still be desirable to improvise and implement at the scene to avoid disclosure of his identity.

  1. Accidents.

For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous blows of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified witness”, no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.

Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject’s death and at the same time establish a workable alibi.

If the subject’s personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used carefully to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind.

Falls before trains or subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.

Automobile accidents are a less satisfactory means of assassination. If the subject is deliberately run down, very exact timing is necessary and investigation is likely to be thorough. If the subject’s car is tampered with, reliability is very low. The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.

It is relatively easy to take control of a subject’s moving vehicle via his on-board computer system. The vehicle can be suddenly accelerated and then crashed into another on-coming vehicle, as happened to Putin’s car in Moscow, or into a tree or over a steep cliff.

Arson can cause accidental death if the subject is drugged and left in a burning building or vehicle. Reliability is not satisfactory unless the building or vehicle is isolated and highly combustable.

  1. Drugs.

In all types of assassination except terroristic, drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and rare method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice.

If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected at the passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism.

Specific poisons, such as arsenic or strychnine, are effective but their possession or procurement is incriminating, and accurate dosage is problematical. Poison was used unsuccessfully in the assassination of Rasputin and Kolohan, though the latter case is more accurately described as a murder.

The murder of Joseph Stalin by Beria was successfully carried out by the use of Warfarin, an American-supplied rat poison.

LSD can prove to be an effective neutralizer if put into a drink for the target, before a pubic appearance.

  1. Edged Weapons

Any locally obtained edge device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability.

Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate.

Abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.

Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet.

Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid blood vessels on both sides of the windpipe.

If the subject has been rendered unconscious by other wounds or drugs, either of the above methods can be used to insure death.

  1. Blunt Weapons

As with edge weapons, blunt weapons require some anatomical knowledge for effective use. Their main advantage is their universal availability. A hammer may be picked up almost anywhere in the world. Baseball and cricket bats are very widely distributed. Even a rock or a heavy stick will do, and nothing resembling a weapon need be procured, carried or subsequently disposed of.

Blows should be directed to the temple, the area just below and behind the ear, and the lower, rear portion of the skull. Of course, if the blow is very heavy, any portion of the upper skull will do. The lower frontal portion of the head, from the eyes to the throat, can withstand enormous blows without fatal consequences.

  1. Firearms

Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively. The assassin usually has insufficient technical knowledge of the limitations of weapons, and expects more range, accuracy and killing power than can be provided with reliability. Since certainty of death is the major requirement, firearms should be used which can provide destructive power at least 100% in excess of that thought to be necessary, and ranges should be half that considered practical for the weapon.

Firearms have other drawbacks. Their possession is often incriminating. They may be difficult to obtain. They require a degree of experience from the user. They are often easily traced. Their use is consistently over-rated.

However, there are many cases in which firearms are probably more efficient than any other means. These cases usually involve distance between the assassin and the subject, or comparative physical weakness of the assassin, as with a woman.

(a) The precision rifle. In guarded assassination, a good hunting or target rifle should always be considered as a possibility. Absolute reliability can nearly always be achieved at a distance of one hundred yards. In ideal circumstances, t he range may be extended to 250 yards. The rifle should be a well made bolt or falling block action type, handling a powerful long-range cartridge. The .300 F.A.B. Magnum is probably the best cartridge readily available. Other excellent calibers are: 375 Magnum.270 Winchester, .30 – 106 p.s., 8 x 60 MM Magnum, 9.3 x 62 kk and others of this type. These are preferable to ordinary military calibers, since ammunition available for them is usually of the expanding bullet type, whereas most ammunition for military rifles is full jacketed and hence not sufficiently let hal. Military ammunition should not be altered by filing or drilling bullets, as this will adversely affect accuracy.

The rifle may be of the “bull gun” variety, with extra heavy barrel and set triggers, but in any case should be capable of maximum precision. Ideally, the weapon should be able to group in one inch at one hundred yards, but 21/2″ groups are adequate. The sight should be telescopic, not only for accuracy, but because such a sight is much better in dim light or near darkness. As long as the bare outline of the target is discernable, a telescope sight will work, even if the rifle and shooter are in total darkness.

An expanding, hunting bullet of such calibers as described above will produce extravagant laceration and shock at short or mid-range. If a man is struck just once in the body cavity, his death is almost entirely certain.

Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.

(b) The machine gun.

Machine guns may be used in most cases where the precision rifle is applicable. Usually, this will require the subversion of a unit of an official guard at a ceremony, (Sadat) though a skillful and determined team might conceivably dispose of a loyal gun crow without commotion and take over the gun at the critical time.

The area fire capacity of the machine gun should not be used to search out a concealed subject. This was tried with predictable lack of success on Trotsky. The automatic feature of the machine gun should rather be used to increase reliability by placing a 5 second burst on the subject. Even with full jacket ammunition, this will be absolute lethal is the burst pattern is no larger than a man. This can be accomplished at about 150 yards. In ideal circumstances, a properly padded and targeted machine gun can do it at 850 yards. The major difficulty is placing the first burst exactly on the target, as most machine gunners are trained to spot their fire on target by observation of strike. This will not do in assassination as the subject will not wait.

(c) The Submachine Gun.

This weapon, known as the “machine-pistol” by the Russians and Germans and “machine-carbine” by the British, is occasionally useful in assassination. Unlike the rifle and machine gun, this is a short range weapon and since it fires pistol ammunition, much less powerful. To be reliable, it should deliver at least 5 rounds into the subject’s chest, though the .45 caliber U.S. weapons have a much larger margin of killing efficiency than the 9 mm European arms.

The assassination range of the sub-machine gun is point-blank. While accurate single rounds can be delivered by sub-machine gunners at 50 yards or more, this is not certain enough for assassination. Under ordinary circumstances, the 5MG should be used as a fully automatic weapon. In the hands of a capable gunner, a high cyclic rate is a distinct advantage, as speed of execution is most desirable, particularly in the case of multiple subjects.

The sub-machine gun is especially adapted to indoor work when more than one subject is to be assassinated. An effective technique has been devised for the use of a pair of sub-machine gunners, by which a room containing as many as a dozen subjects can be “purified” in about twenty seconds with little or no risk to the gunners.

While the U.S. sub-machine guns fire the most lethal cartridges, the higher cyclic rate of some foreign weapons enable the gunner to cover a target quicker with acceptable pattern density. The Bergmann Model 1934 is particularly good in this way. The Danish Madsen SMG has a moderately good cyclic rate and is admirably compact and concealable. The Russian SHG’s have a good cyclic rate, but are handicapped by a small, light protective which requires more kits for equivalent killing effect.

Allende was killed with such a weapon by Special Forces personnel.

(d) The Shotgun.

A large bore shotgun is a most effective killing instrument as long as the range is kept under ten yards. It should normally be used only on single targets as it cannot sustain fire successfully. The barrel may be “sawed” off for convenience, but this is not a significant factor in its killing performance. Its optimum range is just out of reach of the subject. 00 buckshot is considered the best shot size for a twelve gage gun, but anything from single balls to bird shot will do if the range is right. The assassin should aim for the solar plexus as the shot pattern is small at close range and can easily destroy the head.

(e) The Pistol.

While the handgun is quite inefficient as a weapon of assassination, it is often used, partly because it is readily available and can be concealed on the person, and partly because its limitations are not widely appreciated. While many well known assassinations have been carried out with pistols (Lincoln, Long, Gandhi), such attempts fail as often as they succeed, (Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill, Reagan).

If a pistol is used, it should be as powerful as possible and fired from just beyond reach. The pistol and the shotgun are used in similar tactical situations, except that the shotgun is much more lethal and the pistol is much more easily concealed.

In the hands of an expert, a powerful pistol is quite deadly, but such experts are rare and not usually available for assassination missions.

.45 Colt, .44 Special, .455 Kly, .45 A.S. (U.S. Service) and .357 Magnum are all efficient calibers. Less powerful rounds can suffice but are less reliable. Sub-power cartridges such as the .32s and .25s should be avoided.

In all cases, the subject should be hit solidly at least three times for complete reliability.

(f) Silent Firearms

The sound of the explosion of the proponent in a firearm can be effectively silenced by appropriate attachments. However, the sound of the projective passing through the air cannot, since this sound is generated outside the weapon. In cases w here the velocity of the bullet greatly exceeds that of sound, the noise so generated is much louder than that of the explosion. Since all powerful rifles have muzzle velocities of over 2000 feet per second, they cannot be silenced.

Pistol bullets, on the other hand, usually travel slower than sound and the sound of their flight is negligible. Therefore, pistols, submachine guns and any sort of improvised carbine or rifle which will take a low velocity cartridge can be silenced. The user should not forget that the sound of the operation of a repeating action is considerable, and that the sound of bullet strike, particularly in bone is quite loud.

Silent firearms are only occasionally useful to the assassin, though they have been widely publicized in this connection. Because permissible velocity is low, effective precision range is held to about 100 yards with rifle or carbine type weapons, while with pistols, silent or otherwise, are most efficient just beyond arms length. The silent feature attempts to provide a degree of safety to the assassin, but mere possession of a silent firearm is likely to create enough hazard to counter the advantage of its silence. The silent pistol combines the disadvantages of any pistol with the added one of its obviously clandestine purpose.

A telescopically sighted, closed-action carbine shooting a low velocity bullet of great weight, and built for accuracy, could be very useful to an assassin in certain situations. At the time of writing, no such weapon is known to exist.

  1. Explosives.

Bombs and demolition charges of various sorts have been used frequently in assassination. Such devices, in terroristic and open assassination, can provide safety and overcome guard barriers, but it is curious that bombs have often been the implement of lost assassinations.

The major factor which affects reliability is the use of explosives for assassination. The charge must be very large and the detonation must be controlled exactly as to time by the assassin who can observe the subject. A small or moderate explosive charge is highly unreliable as a cause of death, and time delay or booby-trap devices are extremely prone to kill the wrong man. In addition to the moral aspects of indiscriminate killing, the death of casual bystanders can often produce public reactions unfavorable to the cause for which the assassination is carried out.

Bombs or grenades should never be thrown at a subject. While this will always cause a commotion and may even result in the subject’s death, it is sloppy, unreliable, and bad propaganda. The charge must be too small and the assassin is never sure of: (1) reaching his attack position, (2) placing the charge close enough to the target and (3) firing the charge at the right time.

Placing the charge surreptitiously in advance permits a charge of proper size to be employed, but requires accurate prediction of the subject’s movements.

Ten pounds of high explosive should normally be regarded as a minimum, and this is explosive of fragmentation material. The latter can consist of any hard, metallic material as long as the fragments are large enough. Metal or rock fragments should be walnut-size rather than pen-size. If solid plates are used, to be ruptured by the explosion, cast iron, 1″ thick, gives excellent fragmentation. Military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Anti-personnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Anti-personnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100 and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.

The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.

A large, shaped charge with the head filled with iron fragments (such as 1″ nuts and bolts) will fire a highly lethal shotgun-type slug to 50 yards. This reaction has not been thoroughly tested, however, and an exact replica of the proposed device should be fired in advance to determine exact range, pattern-size, and penetration of fragments. Fragments should penetrate at least 1″ of seasoned pine or equivalent for minimum reliability. Any firing device may be used which permits exact control by the assassin. An ordinary commercial or military explorer is efficient, as long as it is rigged for instantaneous action with no time fuse in the system. The electric target can serve as the triggering device and provide exact timing from as far away as the assassin can reliably hit the target. This will avoid the disadvantages of military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Anti-personnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Anti-personnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100 and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.

The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.

A large, shaped charge with the head filled with iron fragments (such as 1″ nuts and bolts) will fire a highly lethal shotgun-type slug to 50 yards. This reaction has not been thoroughly tested, however, and an exact replica of the proposed device should be fired in advance to determine exact range, pattern-size, and penetration of fragments. Fragments should penetrate at least 1″ of seasoned pine or equivalent for minimum reliability.

Any firing device may be used which permits exact control by the assassin. An ordinary commercial or military explorer is efficient, as long as it is rigged for instantaneous action with no time fuse in the system.

The electric target can serve as the triggering device and provide exact timing from as far away as the assassin can reliably hit the target. This will avid the disadvantages of stringing wire between the proposed positions of the ass assin and the subject, and also permit the assassin to fire the charge from a variety of possible positions.

The radio switch can be rigged to fire automatically, though its reliability is somewhat lower and its procurement may not be easy.

  1. Drones

A special small drone with a rifled pistol barrel and a single cartridge can be used to kill a subject. An on-bord television device allows the operator to track the target while they are in the open and then allow the operator to fire a single bullet into the target and escape the scene. Such a device was intended to kill Edward Snowden in Moscow but this proved to be too difficult and was abandoned.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 1, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.


Conversation No. 58

Date: Thursday, January 9, 1997

Commenced:  9:47 AM CST

Concluded:  10:28 AM CST

RTC: Ah, good morning, Gregory. Did you talk to Bill yesterday?

GD: Yes, he actually called me. He was discussing Kronthal with me mostly, but I think he was on a fishing trip. Was asking me about the new Mueller book…what was in it and such like.

RTC: Did you tell him anything?

GD: No, not in specific. I find him entertaining and sometimes truthful, but I don’t trust him. And I don’t trust Kimmel, either.

RTC: Probably a good idea. I rarely hear from Kimmel these days.

GD: I wonder why?

RTC: I think you’re the reason. Bill was cautioning me against talking too much to you because it might hurt my reputation.

GD: I think it must be the fact that I’m a practicing vampire. You know, Robert, it’ll be tough sledding this winter.

RTC: Why is that?

GD: No snow.

RTC: I walked right into that one, didn’t I? Has anyone discussed the Kennedy business with you?

GD: Corson did, once. Said he had the real story in his safe deposit box, and Plato or Aristotle would get it when he was called to Jesus.

RTC: Plato. That’s the fix lawyer around here. Little favors for this person or that one, little jobs for the Company and so on.

GD: They probably deserve each other.

RTC: Probably. And how is the Mueller book doing?

GD: Well enough. I’m starting to block out the Kennedy book and, yes, I know not to talk about it…

RTC: Or even write something up about it. If Tom thought you were into this, he’d have his boys do a black bag job on you and get into your hard drive.

GD: I could put a bomb in it… When they turned it on, somebody later  would be carrying a white cane and being nice to his German Shepherd guide dog.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not to make jokes about things like that.

GD: If people don’t want me to punt them in their fat ass, they shouldn’t bend over. On the other hand, it might be an invite for something more romantic.

RTC: I can see you’re in a good mood today.

GD: Foul mouthed as ever.

RTC: Sometimes, but always entertaining.

GD: I know Kimmel doesn’t find me entertaining. I make fun of the establishment and he is so obviously a dedicated and vocal part of it.

RTC: Everyone has to have something to cling to.

GD: What a waste of time. People are so predictable and so pathetic. You know, Robert, it’s like visiting your ant farm every morning and watching the ants leading their programmed lives.

RTC: Isn’t that a bit arrogant, Gregory?

GD: It’s not that I’m so smart, Robert, although I am, but it’s because so many are so stupid. Anyway, enough Weltschmertz.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: Pain with the world. Burned out. Bored. Frustrated.

RTC: I see. When you get to my age, that’s the whole thing.

GD: Well, if youth knew and age could, Robert. I think that’s from Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who invented aspirin. You know, God is Love, there is no pain. They ought to put that up in the terminal cancer wards. It would be such a comfort. I understand Mary was buried with a telephone in her coffin. High hopes and impossibilities sums it up, and have an aspirin.

RTC: That’s Christian Science, isn’t it? You heard about the Christian Scientist? He had a very bad cold and pretty soon, the cold was gone and so was the Christian Scientist.

GD: That’s how it goes, I guess. Now let me get serious about this ZIPPER business. If you want me to do a treatment on this that will be to your benefit, I need to get from you, on the phone is fine, some kind of a rationale for what happened. I mean, that’s what you want, isn’t it? To let those who come after you fully understand the reasons for your actions.

RTC: Yes, that’s it exactly. If that ever got out, though by now, it probably won’t, I don’t want my son and my grandchildren thinking I was just a common or garden variety assassin. They should know the reasons for why we acted as we did.

GD: Fine. Go ahead.

RTC: You must understand that we took our duties very seriously. Angleton was a first class counter intelligence man and very dedicated. And he discovers that the most important intelligence reports, the President’s daily briefings from the CIA, are ending up in Moscow. Within a week of them being given to the President. A week. And this was not a one-time incident but had been going on for some time. We then tried to find out how this was happening. A major intelligence disaster, Gregory, major. Now there were several copies of this report disseminated, never mind to whom, so in each one, a little spice was put in. An identifier as you will. Nothing that changed the thrust of the report but a little bit of spice, as Jim used to say. Jim’s contact in Moscow was a diplomat, never mind which country, because we don’t need to make trouble for him. So from him, we got copies of what Nikita was getting. So can you imagine how stunned we all were to learn that it was the President’s copy that was being leaked? My God! So we couldn’t just walk up to him and ask him how come Khrushchev was reading his briefings a week after we gave them to him. Jim couldn’t find a way how this was done, but then we had a report that Bobby, his brother, was known to be friendly with a prominent KGB fellow, Bolshakov. No question of who he was. The TASS man here. Top level. Bobby was known to have had at least one meeting with him. Hoover was having Bobby watched day and night because Hoover hated him and wanted to catch him doing something bad so he could leak it to the Post and get him sacked. Anyway, they found out that Bobby was talking to the Commie on the phone from his home so we, and Hoover, tapped his phone. Hoover didn’t know we were doing it, too, but that’s Washington politics for you. And we heard, for sure, that Bobby was sending thermofax copies of this report to him. I mean, there was no question. And, we learned, too, that Kennedy was keeping in direct contact with Khrushchev by Bobby and the Russian. I mean they were subverting the entire diplomatic system and God alone knows what Kennedy was talking about. We had to make sure of this, and really sure. It was explosive, believe me. Jim and a few of us sat down, listened to tapes and agent reports and tried to decide what to do. I mean, Gregory, here we had our President giving, actually giving, the most secret documents to our worst enemy, a man who swore in public he would destroy us. So, what to do? Make it public? Who would dare to do this? Of course we had strong media contacts but we all decided this was just too mind-boggling and negative to let outside that room. And that is where the decision was made to simply get rid of Kennedy. He was too independent, he had sacked Dulles and Bissel over the Cuban thing and threatened to Mansfield to break the Agency up. And here he was giving our worse enemy top secret inside information. I mean it really wasn’t open to discussion. You can see this all, can’t you?

GD: I can see your point of view very clearly.

RTC: What would you have done?

GD: I’m not an important person like those people, so what difference does my opinion make in all this? I’m just trying to find the rationale.

RTC: Well, do you have it?

GD: Yes, very clearly.

RTC: Well, the rest was lining up the players. Jim did his part, McCone did his part and he talked to Hoover to get his cooperation. We never went directly to him, but we used Bill Sullivan, his right hand trouble-shooter. That’s how it was done. Hoover hated the Kennedys,  especially Bobby, and we had to have him on our side because it was his people that would investigate any killing that had to be done. It took about a week of back and forth but finally it was agreed on. Johnson was no problem. He was a real rat; a wheeler-dealer whom you couldn’t trust to the corner for a pound of soft soap. The Kennedy bunch were treating him like shit and planned to dump him as VP, so of course he went for the wink and the nod. Fortas was his bagman, just like Sullivan was Hoover’s. These are people who know the value of silence from long experience. And it went on from there. I have a phone conference record which I will dig out, when the time comes, and send to you. At this point are you clear on the motivations? I mean, this was not just some spur of the moment thing, Gregory. We felt it had to be done to stop what we could only call high treason. Hoover and Johnson both went along on those grounds. A matter of treason. And it had to be stopped. I don’t see this as heroic but a vital necessity. For the country.

GD: I remember reading somewhere that treason doth never prosper for if it prospers, none dare call it treason.

RTC: Something like that.

GD: Very like.

RTC: But if you look at it carefully, and I hope you will, Gregory, you will see that Kennedy was committing the treason, not us. It was he and his vile brother who were passing our most sensitive and secret documents to our enemies. What were we to do? Confront him? We’d all be fired, or worse. What choice was there? Tell me that.

GD: From that point of view, none.

RTC: We are making progress. One thing…Jim was thinking about blowing up Kennedy’s yacht while and was sailing around off Cape Cod but since there certainly would be children on board, I put a stop to that. Kennedy is one thing but not the children.

GD: And the wife? Our American saint.

RTC: Oh that one. Don’t be fooled, Gregory. Jackie claims descent from French nobility but in fact, her French ancestor wasn’t a nobleman, but an immigrant cabinetmaker. And crap about her being related to Robert E. Lee is more crap. That part of her family were lace curtain micks from the old sod. The woman is a fraud. She married Kennedy for his father’s money, that’s all. Wonderful backgrounds here, Gregory. Old Joe was as crooked as they come. He was an associate of Al Capone, a bootlegger, and worse, and in 1960, he and the mob rigged the election so Jack could get in. Yes, I know all about that. They did their work in Chicago with the Daley machine and the local mob. That’s right, vote early and vote often. They even voted the cemeteries. I never really liked Nixon but they connived and stole the election from him slicker than snot off a glass-handled door knob.

GD: Ain’t it nice living in a democracy? So Kennedy wasn’t a saint by any stretch.

RTC:We can overlook all the women and the wild drug and sex orgies in the White House, but, Gregory, passing our top secrets to the enemy was too damned much. I would like you to show that very clearly if and when you get into this.

GD: Well, from a pragmatic view, Robert, it is the very best and clearest reason for the killing. A question here.

RTC: Certainly.

GD: A plot. Good, but then how do you keep it quiet? Someone might talk.

RTC: Remove them, Gregory.

GD: But what about those who remove those who know too much? Then they know too much.

RTC: Oswald knew a little too much, just a little but enough. And he could prove he never shot Kennedy. So he had to go before he started to talk. Oswald knew some of our people and he worked directly for ONI, so there were dangers there. On the other hand, the man who shot King, Ray, knew nothing so he got to live and end up in jail until he died. He knew there was something wrong, but, and this is important to note, Gregory, he had no proof.

GD: You did King?

RTC: No Hoover did King. He hated him with a visceral passion. Hoover was a nut, Gregory, but a very powerful and very dangerous nut. There is a long-standing rumor here that Hoover had passed the color line and that he was part black. Hoover was a homosexual and there we have two reasons to hate yourself. King was black and he was a womanizer. And Bobby was AG and loathed Hoover. He used to go into Hoover’s office while he was taking his after-lunch nap and wake him up. And he laughed at him and called him a faggot behind his back. Not to do that to Hoover. He stayed in absolute power because he had enough real dirt on Congress to put most of them away in the cooler or the loonie bin. No, Bobby signed his death warrant when he did those things. No, Hoover did King and Hoover did Bobby. Not himself, but he got Bill Sullivan to do it. Sullivan was his hatchet man and we worked directly with Bill. But then Bill got old and was starting to babble like old people do, and he was hinting about Hoover, who had sacked him after he had used him. No, that doesn’t make it, so some kid shot Bill right through the head. He thought he was a deer. My, my.

GD: And Bobby?

RTC: That was Hoover too. It was an agreement. We did John and Edgar did the others. We had one of our men there when they did Bobby, just to observe. We got George the Greek to keep an eye open. They got one of Kennedy’s people to steer him into the kitchen after a speech and the raghead was waiting. One of the Kennedy bodyguards did him from behind while all the shooting and screaming was going on. Much better than John. They had a real shooter in front of real people. None of the questions like we had in Dallas. No loose ends, so to speak. And King was another clean job. Sullivan was very good.

GD: And that’s why he turned into a deer.

RTC: Yes, he turned into a very dead deer.

GD: And you got Cord’s wife on top of it.

RTC: Jim said she was hanging around with hippies and arty-farty people and running her mouth.

GD: Did she know anything?

RTC: No, but she was well-connected and some people might believe her. She’d been humping Kennedy and they apparently really go along with each other. She was a lot more of a woman than Jackie and she never nagged Jack or acted so superior like Jackie loved to do. Her brother in law worked for us and we all agonized over this but in the end, Jim had his way. Of course Cord thought it was peachy-keen. He hated her, but then Cord hated everybody. The vicious Cyclops!

GD: One eye.

RTC: Yes. Oh, and like Jim, he, too, was a profound poet. God, spare me from the poets of the world. You don’t write poetry, do you, Gregory.

GD: No, but really filthy limericks, Robert. Would you like to hear some?

RTC: Oh, not now. Maybe later.

GD: Probably just as well. Once I get started on those, I’ll be going strong an hour later. But let me tell you just one. Not a dirty one, but after about an hour of limericks, I love to end the night with this one. Can I proceed?

RTC: Just one?

GD: Yes, just one.

RTC: Go on.

GD: ‘There was an old man of St. Bees,

Who was stung on the arm by a wasp.

When asked if it hurt,

He replied ‘No, it didn’t,

‘I’m so glad that it wasn’t a hornet.’

(Concluded at 10:28 AM CST)


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Maya Shetreat-Klein

Yes, she is a genuine MD. But no: you should not take medical advice from her. Maya Shetreat-Klein is the author of the book The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil”, detailing the eponymous dirt cure, a health regimen Shetreat-Klein apparently developed through dealing with her own son’s ostensibly mysterious illness at one year old, an illness that apparently caused a sudden delay his development. Through her work, she – according to herself – “began to uncover the surprising roles food play in many modern childhood (and adult) ailments.” According to Shetreat-Klein, modern food production, with pesticides and GMOs, are to blame; at least “there is mounting evidence that these food transformations are some of the root causes of illnesses manifesting in childhood and beyond.” “There is mounting evidence that X” of course means that X hasn’t been established with any significant degree of likelihood (but that Shetreat-Klein and her ilk are certain that it will be established regardless of the state of the evidence), and usually that there is little evidence beyond poorly designed studies in predatory journals. (Apparently her son’s illness was caused by soy allergy; “once she removed it from his diet, his development went right back on track as if he’d never faltered.”)

The Dirt Cure blames the food and pharmaceutical industrial complexes (she has plenty of conspiracy theories and shill gambits for you) for filling our foods with toxins, and describes “the mounting evidence” (yes, again) of how these toxins are provoking huge rises in chronic childhood illnesses, as well as cancer and illness in adults. Perhaps the worst villain is RoundUp, which she ties to Agent Orange and which she – damned be the evidence pretty conclusively showing the opposite – thinks is stored in the body to make us sick. Apparently everything was much better 200 years ago, when we knew exactly what we were eating and the average life expectancy in the Western World was 35.

Now, in fairness, the main thesis of the book, that sterile environments contribute to the prevalence of allergies, does actually have some evidence to support it. But Shetreat-Klein really isn’t concerned with the state of the evidence; she takes the thesis as a starting point for fully embracing appeal to nature as a guiding creed. And it’s not like exposure to germ will only help prevent allergies, as Shetreat-Klein sees it: it will help boost your health and energy, too

Shetreat-Klein seems to have abandoned her medical training more or less completely in favor of random appeals to nature (where “nature” means whatever she wants it to mean). Currently she subscribes to terrain medicine, a long discarded view of medicine that once became the basis for naturopathy, and her website describes her as “neurologist, herbalist, shaman, astrologist” (no less). And of course, once you start down the path to the dark side, it is hard to stop. Shetreat-Klein has for instance given talks on “Herbal Medicine in Pediatric Neurology” (as well as a talk on her dirt cure) at the anti-vaccine and quackery summit AutismOne.

Her website is pretty illuminating: you’ll get a special offer on the “Shetreat 28 day cleanse” (we didn’t bother to check the new price) and an invitation to “learn which healing practice will help you connect with the Earth.” She even has something called “The Intuition Prescription”, a masterclass that will help you “[t]une into your inner voice, tap into the power that resides within you, and find balance between science and the sacred”. We wager a guess that there won’t be much of the former in her “balance”. Oh, and then there are the “6 Ways Drumming Heals Your Mind, Body and Spirit.” In short: this is what post-truth looks like in a medical context.

Diagnosis: Yes, she is somewhat marketing savvy and knows how to tap into fashionable new age trends. You really, really shouldn’t take medical advice from her, however.

John Nacco & Bob Pearson

We haven’t really dealt sufficiently with technowoo (like this), and probably ought to remedy the situation somewhat. There is, for instance, a multitude of fuel-saving devices on the market – products and techniques that purportedly help your car save energy by, well, customers not knowing much about physics or chemistry, and one such item is the inset fuel stabilizer (IFS), invented by one Bob Pearson. The IFS putatively aligns fuel and air molecules “in an energy field” so that they completely burn inside the Stabilizer (some discussion here) thereby improving economy. The device was marketed by something called Inset Industries, of which we have been able to locate little information, but John Nacco is – or was – one of their spokespeople and Executive Vice President.

So, how exactly does IFS create the energy field? Well, according to Nacco the molecules that make up hydrocarbon fuels are surrounded by a positive charge, which will attract other fuel molecules, and removing the positive charge will make the molecules repel each other, thereby allowing oxygen molecules to attach themselves to individual fuel molecules instead of having to bond to clusters of fuel molecules. The increased level of oxygen in the mix will then produce a more even burn and result in close to 100 percent combustion of the fuel molecules. How positively charged molecules attract each other, how negatively charged ones repel rather than attract positively charged ones, or how oxygen molecules, which are neither positively nor negatively charged, get attracted to the negatively charged fuel “molecules” is not really explained, but if you ask those questions you are probably not in the target audience for IFS anyways. (You should probably not ask for evidence of near 100 percent combustion of fuel molecules or his claim that the fuel stabilizer lower the emissions readings become. This is not about evidence. This is about balancing chakras and monetary sacrifices to appease the fuel gods.) Inset Industries also has some testimonials, mostly from unnamed sources, and some indecipherable charts.

NASCAR racer Dean Gullik actually used the device and reported that he felt that his race car got more power. A test of horsepower with and without the IFS revealed no difference, so Gullik and Nacco claimed instead that the increased power wasn’t from increased horsepower but due to a change in “the torque curve.” Meanwhile, NASCAR allowed Gullik to continue to use the device because it obviously had no positive effect on performance.

Diagnosis: We have no information of the current whereabouts of Mr. Nacco or Mr. Pearson– Inset Industries may be defunct at present – and they seem to be relatively minor characters. Nor are we really completely convinced they must necessarily have believed the claims he made on behalf of IFS. Still, technowoo is widespread, often strikingly similar to medical woo, and deserving of exposure and as much ridicule as it can get.


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