TBRF News April 1, 2017

Apr 01 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 1, 2017: “Now that many of the formerly important print media are rapidly going out of the printing business, their websites are jammed with all manner of annoying, repulsive and misleading advertisements.

And we see stories labeled in small type as ‘Sponsored Content; (which means a paid ad) for such idiot things as a picture of some old geek and the caption ‘See how this multi-millionaire made a fortune selling used condoms as chewing gum!’

Or advertising stunning vacations at some Arab desert resort that is so remote and so unpleasant that the only person in your family that should be sent there is your mother-in-law (and then with a one-way ticket)

And in downloading a story to reprint, one must be careful not to trigger the hidden ads that creep in at the end of every paragraph.

Ad blockers take care of most of this but some of the moronic messaging does manage to creep in to make your day.”

Table of Contents

  • Marble Framework
  • WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations
  • Major internet providers say will not sell customer browsing histories
  • India, Long at Odds With Pakistan, May Be Rethinking Nuclear First Strikes
  • White House spokesman sidesteps Russia questions, focuses on Clinton and Syria
  • Al-Qaeda & ISIS perfecting laptop bombs to bypass airport security – report
  • Turkey’s Worldwide Monitoring of Suspected Gülen Supporters
  • The Armenian Holocaust: A Turkish Delight
  • GOP Lawmakers Now Admit Years of Obamacare Repeal Votes Were a Sham
  • JDL members may be charged with hate crime for attack on 55yo teacher
  • The Jewish Defense League

 Marble Framework

March 31, 2017


Today, March 31st 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Marble” — 676 source code files for the CIA’s secret anti-forensic Marble Framework. Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.

Marble does this by hiding (“obfuscating”) text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equivallent of a specalized CIA tool to place covers over the english language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.

Marble forms part of the CIA’s anti-forensics approach and the CIA’s Core Library of malware code. It is “[D]esigned to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation” as “string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop.”

The Marble source code also includes a deobfuscator to reverse CIA text obfuscation. Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA. Marble was in use at the CIA during 2016. It reached 1.0 in 2015.

The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, — but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

The Marble Framework is used for obfuscation only and does not contain any vulnerabilties or exploits by itself.

WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations

March 31, 2017

by Ellen Nakashima

The Washington Post

WikiLeaks’ latest disclosure of CIA cyber-tools reveals a technique used by the agency to hide its digital tracks, potentially blowing the cover on current and past hacking operations aimed at gathering intelligence on terrorists and other foreign targets.

The release Friday of the CIA’s “Marble Framework” comes less than a month after the WikiLeaks dumped onto the Internet a trove of files — dubbed “Vault 7” — that described the type of malware and methods the CIA uses to gain access to targets’ phones, computers and other electronic devices.

[WikiLeaks says it has obtained trove of CIA hacking tools]

“This appears to be one of the most technically damaging leaks ever done by WikiLeaks, as it seems designed to directly disrupt ongoing CIA operations and attribute previous operations,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley.

The material includes the secret source code of an “obfuscation” technique used by the CIA so its malware can evade detection by anti-virus systems. The technique is used by all professional hackers, whether they work for the National Security Agency, Moscow’s FSB security agency or the Chinese military. But because the code contains a specific algorithm — a digital fingerprint of sorts — it can now be used to identify CIA hacking operations that had previously been detected but not attributed.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I got hacked.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘I got hacked by the CIA,’ ” said Jake Williams, founder of Rendition InfoSec, a cybersecurity firm. “I suspect this could cause some foreign policy issues down the road.”

If this source code is used in a majority of CIA hacking operations, Williams said, the release could be “devastating.”

WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange, has sought to position itself as a champion of transparency and defender of privacy rights. It described the Marble Framework as “the digital equivalent of a specialized CIA tool to place covers over the English language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.”

In releasing the material, WikiLeaks tweeted: “CIA Vault 7 Part 3 ‘Marble’ — thousands of CIA viruses and hacking attacks could now be attributed.”

The agency responded angrily.

“Dictators and terrorists have no better friend in the world than Julian Assange, as theirs is the only privacy he protects,” spokesman Dean Boyd said, without commenting on the authenticity of the release.

“The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the intelligence community’s ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries,” Boyd said. “Such disclosures not only jeopardize U.S. personnel and operations but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.’’

CIA hacking operations are much smaller in scale than the NSA’s, designed to enable intelligence-gathering by human spies — more “boutique” than industrial-strength.

WikiLeaks, in its news release, suggested that the obfuscation tool might be used to conduct a “forensic attribution double game” or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

But Williams explained that the tests were to ensure that hacking operations using code written in those languages could be hidden. “If you’re trying to false-flag an operation as Chinese, you wouldn’t want to hide those code strings, you’d want everyone to see them,” he said. Moreover, ­other experts said, attribution is based on more than just malware analysis.

The extent of the damage will take time to assess, and the cost of replacing lost capabilities is expected to be high, experts said. The FBI is investigating how the files were breached.

Major internet providers say will not sell customer browsing histories

March 31, 2017

by David Shepardson


WASHINGTON-Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said Friday they would not sell customers’ individual internet browsing information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules.

The bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc.

The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on social media sites.

“We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so,” said Gerard Lewis, Comcast’s chief privacy officer.

He added Comcast is revising its privacy policy to make more clear that “we do not sell our customers’ individual web browsing information to third parties.”

Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no plans to do so in the future, said spokesman Richard Young.

Verizon privacy officer Karen Zacharia said in a blog post Friday the company has two programs that use customer browsing data. One allows marketers to access “de-identified information to determine which customers fit into groups that advertisers are trying to reach” while the other “provides aggregate insights that might be useful for advertisers and other businesses.”

Republicans in Congress Tuesday narrowly passed the repeal of the rules with no Democratic support and over the objections of privacy advocates.

The vote was a win for internet providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast and Verizon. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules.

The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump plans to sign the repeal of the rules, which had not taken effect.

Under the rules, internet providers would have needed to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing. Websites do not need the same affirmative consent.

Some in Congress suggested providers would begin selling personal data to the highest bidder, while others vowed to raise money to buy browsing histories of Republicans.

AT&T says in its privacy statement it “will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period.” In a blog post Friday, AT&T said it would not change those policies after Trump signs the repeal.

Websites and internet service providers do use and sell aggregated customer data to advertisers. Republicans say the rules unfairly would give websites the ability to harvest more data than internet providers.

Trade group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said in an op-ed Friday for website Axios that individual “browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks – by virtually every site you visit on the internet.”

This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the bill, arguing most Americans “believe that their private information should be just that.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)

 India, Long at Odds With Pakistan, May Be Rethinking Nuclear First Strikes

March 31, 2017

by Max Fsher

The New York Times

India may be reinterpreting its nuclear weapons doctrine, circumstantial evidence suggests, with potentially significant ramifications for the already tenuous nuclear balance in South Asia.

New assessments suggest that India is considering allowing for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s arsenal in the event of a war. This would not formally change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive.

It would also change India’s likely targets, in the event of a war, to make a nuclear exchange more winnable and, therefore, more thinkable.

Analysts’ assessments, based on recent statements by senior Indian officials, are necessarily speculative. States with nuclear weapons often leave ambiguity in their doctrines to prevent adversaries from exploiting gaps in their proscriptions and to preserve flexibility. But signs of a strategic adjustment in India are mounting.

This comes against a backdrop of long-simmering tensions between India and Pakistan — including over state-sponsored terrorism and the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir — which have already led to several wars, the most recent in 1999.

The new interpretation would be a significant shift in India’s posture that could have far-reaching implications in the region, even if war never comes. Pakistan could feel compelled to expand its arsenal to better survive a pre-emptive strike, in turn setting off an Indian buildup.

This would be more than an arms race, said Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies nuclear powers.

“It’s very scary because all the ‘first-strike instability’ stuff is real,” Mr. Narang said, referring to a dynamic in which two nuclear adversaries both perceive a strong incentive to use their warheads first in a war. This is thought to make nuclear conflict more likely.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hints of a high-level Indian debate over the nuclear doctrine mounted with a recent memoir by Shivshankar Menon, India’s national security adviser from 2011 to 2014.

“There is a potential gray area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first” against a nuclear-armed adversary, Mr. Menon wrote.

India, he added, “might find it useful to strike first” against an adversary that appeared poised to launch or that “had declared it would certainly use its weapons” — most likely a veiled reference to Pakistan.

Mr. Narang presented the quotations, along with his interpretation, in Washington last week, during a major nuclear policy conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” he told a gathering of international government officials and policy experts.

Mr. Menon’s book, he said, “clearly carves out an exception for pre-emptive Indian first use in the very scenario that is most likely to occur in South Asia.”

The Pakistan Problem

Should India sustain a nuclear attack, its doctrine calls for a major retaliation, most likely by targeting its adversary’s cities. When this policy was announced in 2003, it fit the threat posed by Pakistan’s arsenal of long-range, city-destroying weapons.

Since then, Pakistan has developed smaller warheads designed for battlefield use. These were meant to address Pakistan’s India problem: The Indian military is much larger, virtually ensuring its victory in an all-out war.

Such weapons could be used against invading Indian troops, halting a war before it could be lost. This would exploit a gap in India’s doctrine: It is hard to imagine that India would escalate to total nuclear war, as its doctrine commands, over a small battlefield strike on Pakistani soil.

This created a Pakistan problem for India: Its chief adversary had made low-level nuclear war thinkable, even potentially winnable. Since then, there have been growing hints of debate over modifying the Indian doctrine.

The passage alone does not prove a policy shift. But in context alongside other developments, it suggests either that India has quietly widened its strategic options or that officials are hoping to stir up just enough ambiguity to deter its adversaries.

After Mr. Narang’s presentation generated attention in the South Asian news media, Mr. Menon told an Indian columnist, “India’s nuclear doctrine has far greater flexibility than it gets credit for.”

Mr. Menon declined an interview request for this article. When told what the article would say, he did not challenge its assertions. India’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Whether these signals indicate a real shift or a strategic feint, analysts believe they are intended to right a strategic imbalance that has been growing for almost a decade.

  1. S. Nagal, a lieutenant general who led India’s nuclear command from 2008 to 2011, argued in a 2014 article for a policy of “ambiguity” as to whether India would launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Also that year, the Bharatiya Janata Party said it would consider changing India’s doctrine, but then abandoned this position. It took power in national elections a few weeks later.

Last November, Manohar Parrikar, then the defense minister, said India’s prohibition against nuclear first use was too restrictive, though he added that this was only his opinion.

Another reason analysts suspect change: India’s doctrine initially served to persuade the United States to drop economic sanctions it had imposed over nuclear tests. Given President Trump’s softer stance on proliferation, that impetus may no longer apply.

‘The Seductive Logic’

Mr. Menon, in his book, seemed to settle on an answer to India’s quandary: “Pakistani tactical nuclear weapon use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first strike against Pakistan,” he wrote.

The word “comprehensive” refers to a nuclear attack against an adversary’s arsenal, rather than its cities. It is meant to instigate and quickly win a nuclear exchange, leaving the other side disarmed.

Taken with a policy of pre-emption, these two shifts would seem to address India’s Pakistan problem, in theory persuading Pakistani leaders that a limited nuclear war would be too dangerous to pursue.

For India, Mr. Narang said, “you can really see the seductive logic” to such an approach. This would be “really the only pathway you have if you’re going to have a credible nuclear deterrence.”

It is impossible to know whether statements like Mr. Menon’s are intended to quietly reveal a policy shift, while avoiding the crisis that would be set off by a formal change, or merely stir doubt.

Either way, the intent appears the same: to create just enough uncertainty in the minds of Pakistani leaders that they become restrained by the potential threat of pre-emptive Indian strikes.

But if that threat is plausible, then the distinction between a real threat and a feint blurs.

Use It or Lose It

Shashank Joshi, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said he suspected that Mr. Menon was signaling something subtler: a warning that India’s strategy could adapt in wartime, potentially to include first strikes.

That distinction may be important to Indian officials, but it could be lost on Pakistani war planners who have to consider all scenarios.

Mr. Joshi, in a policy brief for the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, tried to project what would happen if India embraced such a policy, or if Pakistan concluded that it had.

First would come the arms race.

The fear of a first strike, Mr. Joshi wrote, “incentivizes Pakistan to undertake a massive nuclear buildup, in order to dispel any possibility of India disarming it entirely.”

India, whatever its strategy, would feel compelled to keep pace.

Second comes the tightening of nuclear tripwires, Mr. Joshi warned, as “this reciprocal fear of first use could pull each side in the direction of placing nuclear forces on hair-trigger alert.”

Finally, in any major armed crisis, the logic of a first strike would pull both sides toward nuclear escalation.

“If Pakistan thinks India will move quickly, Pakistan has an incentive to go even quicker, and to escalate straight to the use of the longer-range weapons,” Mr. Joshi wrote.

This thinking would apply to India as well, creating a situation in which the nuclear arsenal becomes, as analysts dryly put it, “use it or lose it.”

‘That Can Blow Back Real Quick’

The most optimistic scenario would lock South Asia in a state of mutually assured destruction, like that of the Cold War, in which armed conflict would so reliably escalate to nuclear devastation that both sides would deem war unthinkable.

This would be of global concern. A 2008 study found that, although India and Pakistan have relatively small arsenals, a full nuclear exchange would push a layer of hot, black smoke into the atmosphere.

This would produce what some researchers call without hyperbole “a decade without summer.” As crops failed worldwide, the resulting global famine would kill a billion people, the study estimated.

But nuclear analysts worry that South Asia’s dynamics would make any state of mutually assured destruction less stable than that of the Cold War.

For one thing, Pakistani leaders view even conventional war with India as an existential threat, making them more willing to accept nuclear risks. For another, a large-scale terrorist attack in India could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as Pakistan-sponsored, potentially inciting war. The disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, where conflict sometimes boils over, adds a troubling layer of volatility.

“Maybe it is this Reaganesque strategy,” Mr. Narang said, comparing India’s potential strategic shift to President Ronald Reagan’s arms race with the Soviet Union. “But Pakistan has a much bigger security problem than the Soviet Union did. And that can blow back real quick.”

White House spokesman sidesteps Russia questions, focuses on Clinton and Syria

The White House spokesman has dismissed concerns over Congressional hearings on Russian influence. Instead he blamed former Secretary Clinton for making concessions to Moscow, and hinted at a new Syria policy

March 31, 2017


The White House said on Friday that it was not concerned about disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn offering to testify before Congress on Russia meddling in the US election. A lawyer for the retired general had said Flynn would do so if he could be promised immunity from prosecution.

President Trump later backed Flynn’s claim for immunity via Twitter, saying “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media and Dems, of historic proportion!”

However, there were reports the Senate Intelligence Committee had decided not to accept Flynn’s offer to testify at this time and that it was premature to make a decision on immunity.

On February 13, Flynn made history by stepping down after only 24 days at his post, following revelations that he had dubious conversations with Russian officials after President Trump was elected.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump wanted to “get this matter behind us.” He added that “the president is very clear that he wants Mike Flynn to go and be completely open and transparent with the committee.”

Russian collusion?

However, Spicer was repeatedly challenged by reporters on whether or not other senior officials in the Trump administration or his election campaign team had colluded with Russia, particularly in relation to the 2016 presidential race – a matter currently being investigated by Congress.

Instead of answering, Spicer changed the subject to Trump’s former rival Hillary Clinton, saying she had made “concession after concession,” to Moscow. Without elaborating on what these concessions were, the White House spokesman said that her policies as Secretary of State were to blame for a resurgent Russia.

U-turn on Assad’s removal in Syria?

Spicer was later pressed on an apparent change of course from the Trump administration with regards to Syria. After six years of Washington insisting that peace in Syria could not come without President Bashar al-Assad being removed from power, on Thursday it appeared that the US had backed off from that position.

First, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a press conference in Turkey that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people” and later in the day, US envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley reiterated this position by saying “our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”

Spicer confirmed that this was the new policy during Friday’s briefing. He said that Washington had to accept “reality” and focus on fighting “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists.

There is a “need to de-escalate violence and have a political process where Syrians will decide their own future,” the president’s spokesman said.

Without giving any details, Spicer said that the new government had “opportunity and options” with regard to Syria that had been unavailable to former President Barack Obama.

The press secretary was also asked to give a clear answer on President Trump’s accusation that Obama had his home wiretapped after the election, a claim decried as ludicrous by liberal and conservative political figures alike.

After weeks of sidestepping the issue, Spicer said definitively that the White House had no evidence for these allegations. Trump “doesn’t really think,” that his predecessor “personally,” surveilled him, according to Spicer.

Al-Qaeda & ISIS perfecting laptop bombs to bypass airport security – report

April 1, 2017


Terrorist organizations are believed to be working on explosives that can fit inside electronic devices and would not be detectable by airport security systems, US intelligence sources told CNN.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda are reportedly testing explosive devices that can pass through airport security screening concealed in a laptop or any other electronic device which is large enough. Terrorists might have gained access to airport scanners to test the advanced technology, according to US intelligence officials cited by CNN.

“As a matter of policy, we do not publicly discuss specific intelligence information. However, evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics,” the Department of Homeland Security told CNN in a statement.

Bomb-makers are able to modify accumulators for devices, using common household tools, FBI information indicates.

Intelligence gathered in recent months has reportedly played a key role in the Trump administration’s airline electronics ban aboard direct flights from airports in several mainly Muslim countries. The US Department of Homeland Security expressed its concerns over commercial aviation being targeted following the announcement of the measure.

The UK has adopted additional security measures for direct flights from six countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia – forbidding passengers to take on board any device larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width, and 1.5cm in depth. Washington’s ban applies to US-bound flights from 10 international airports of eight countries – the six above-mentioned countries, as well as Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

The move has sparked outrage on social media, leading airlines to come up with ways to make it up to their customers. Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways now loan out laptops and tablets on US-bound flights free of charge.

Turkey’s Worldwide Monitoring of Suspected Gülen Supporters

The Turkish government is spying on its own citizens around the world on a previously unreported scale, even in such far-flung corners as Ulaanbaatar and Dar Es Salaam. The espionage is detailed in newly obtained documents from Turkey’s embassies.

March 31, 2017

by Hasnain Kazim


The Turkish Embassy in Tokyo took the easier route: In a secret report, it listed 15 schools believed to be associated with Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen. The list included the schools’ names, Japanese addresses, names of the school heads, email addresses, telephone numbers and the dates of their establishment. The list filled four pages. It provided no further comments, analysis or criticism.

The Tokyo staff was unusually perfunctory with its sparse list, at least compared to Turkish representatives in other parts of the world, which monitor fellow Turkish citizens by the hundreds, listing in secret documents rumors and family ties to alleged terrorist sympathizers.

The result is a more than 100-page compendium of suspected enemies of the state around the world — an imposing document that provides evidence of global espionage activities against suspected members of the Gülen movement. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed Gülen for last year’s failed coup attempt and his alleged followers have been the subject of widespread persecution in Turkey.

The diplomatic cables contain information collected by Turkish diplomatic outposts in 35 countries. Turkish embassies in Nigeria, Australia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have all reported on the schools in those countries they believe to be affiliated with the Gülen movement. They document the organizations in which Gülen supporters are active and the media they write for. They also outline the relationships of the alleged supporters to each country’s government. SPIEGEL reviewed the documents together with its partners within the consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC).

Direct Orders from Ankara

The request to compile the files came directly from Ankara. On Sept. 20, 2016, the Turkish government’s religious agency, Diyanet, sent out an order asking that “detailed reports about ‘Fetö’s’ organizational structures, activities and educational institutions” be sent back home.

Fetö is the Turkish abbreviation for Gülenist Terror Organization, the label Turkey’s government applied to the group following the July 15 putsch attempt. For years, Erdogan has accused the movement of infiltrating the state and assuming important posts in the judiciary, police, military and the school system and erecting parallel structures that would allow it to ultimately topple Erdogan.

In the months that have passed since the coup attempt, over 130,000 government employees — including judges, prosecutors, police officers, soldiers and teachers — have been fired or suspended from their jobs because of alleged ties to the organization. It has not, however, been conclusively proven that Gülen was, in fact, behind the botched putsch.

Behind the movement is an opaque network that is active internationally and was established by Gülen, who has been living in exile in the United States since 1999. The 75-year-old was once considered a close confidant to Erdogan, but he ultimately amassed too much power and became the subject of persecution himself.

Turkey’s Search for Incriminating Material

In his desire to convince the world that Gülen is a criminal, Erdogan has been demanding that the U.S. extradite Gülen for months. That also likely explains why the Turkish government is currently collecting information from all over the world. It needs incriminating evidence in order to substantiate the allegations against Gülen.

Earlier this week, German public broadcasters NDR and WDR, together with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, reported that Turkey’s MIT intelligence service provided Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, with a file on suspected Gülen supporters in Germany that included detailed lists of names, mobile and landline numbers and secretly taken photos of the people in question. The move is a clear indication that Turkey considers its espionage activities to be legal

Most of the embassies also seemed more than willing to comply with the order from Ankara. Diplomats in Nouakchott in Mauretania, for example, reported that Fetö there is largely active in the education sector, in trade and in the media branch. “For years, Fetö schools have been presented as Turkish schools and have taken advantage of the country’s love of Turkey.”

In Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, diplomats reported that a school believed to be affiliated with Gülen has been demanding “between $6,500 and $15,000” in tuition fees per year. Among the school’s pupils, the report claims, are children of the president, government ministers, ministry officials and foreign diplomats. Turkish diplomats also reported that the Gülen movement deliberately seeks access to the rich and powerful. The Turkish ambassador, according to the report, has repeatedly demanded that action be taken against the infiltration of the educational institution, but that the Tasmanian side has taken no action.

In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a Turkish diplomat wrote, “Since 1994, Fetö has been exploiting Turkey’s good reputation in Mongolia and the religious values of our Muslim brothers. This organization is like a Trojan horse and is prepared to do anything to achieve its secret agenda.”

Even the smallest of observations seem suspicious. The Turkish consul general in Salzburg even sees a hostile act in the swimming course for women offered by the Akaysa organization, which it believes to be Gülen-aligned. He wrote that the association had succeeded “through its education, cultural and charitable activities and events” in drawing attention to itself. “Through feigned interest in the problems of the people” and other “positive-sounding activities” the “terrorist organization Fetö has attempted to create a good impression among our country’s people,” he wrote.

In Switzerland, a Turkish diplomat observed that Gülen sympathizers had “not been turning up in our mosques — neither during the prayer times nor during Friday prayers,” since the failed putsch.

‘A Cancerous Growth’

When questioned about a report compiled by the Turkish Embassy in Sweden, the Turkish ambassador confirmed after initial hesitation that his embassy had written the cable for the religious authority Diyanet. He said information had been gathered about Gülen-aligned schools that had voiced criticism of the Turkish government. The ambassador described the Gülen movement as a “cancerous growth.”

The documents also clearly prove that the Gülen movement maintains a global network that includes universities, schools, child-care centers, media, trade associations, aid organizations and youth groups. What the Turkish government hasn’t succeeded in explaining so far is the alleged link between the Gülen movement and terrorism.

Despite this, parents in many countries have since pulled their children out of Gülen schools out of fear they will be subject to abuse from other members of local Turkish communities or that they will be banned from re-entering Turkey. In Belgium, a school bus was even set on fire.

The furthest-reaching allegations in the embassy reports are directed at the media. A report from the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen claims that the Gülen movement operates newspapers in the country that have published “insulting and derisive news and articles against our honored president and against Turkey” in an attempt “to create a negative image of Turkey and to influence public opinion.” It noted that the coup attempt and the “people’s battle for democracy” was not the focus of the reporting, but rather the “fired government employees.” Individual journalists are cited by name, including Hasan Cücük, who works in Denmark and has now discovered that his name appears on the list as an enemy of Turkey.

“We assume that these people are threatened with arrest as soon as they travel to Turkey,” says Austrian Green Party politician Peter Pilz. “Even the fact that they now have Austrian or German passports is insufficient to protect them.” Pilz wants to establish an information and research center on the Erdogan regime to which people can turn if they are being spied on or threatened. “We need to apply legal means to crack down on the spying structures of the Turkish embassies and organizations,” the politician says.

Since the coup attempt in July, the number of arrests of individuals arriving at the Istanbul Airport has increased dramatically. Those affected, including both Turks and citizens of other countries who have spoken critically of Erdogan, suspect that they were denounced by name. The Foreign Ministry in Berlin has confirmed that the month of February alone saw at least 10 incidents in which Germans were refused entry into Turkey.

Investigations in Germany and Austria

In Germany, the Turkish-Islamic umbrella organization DITIB is suspected of having placed Erdogan opponents in the country under observation. Several imams are believed to have spied on members of their congregations and six have been withdrawn from Germany after the spying allegations emerged.

The Armenian Holocaust: A Turkish Delight

April 1, 2017

by Benjamin Dova

Before World War I the Ottoman Empire came under the Young Turks government. At first some Armenian political organizations supported the Young Turks in hopes that there would be a real change from Abdul Hamid’s policies towards the Armenian population. There were Armenians elected to the Ottoman Parliament, where some remained throughout the ensuing world war. However they were later to be disappointed. Other parliamentarians such as Muradyan and Garo would go on to lead Armenian rebels in ethnic cleansing campaigns against Muslim and Jewish Ottoman villagers. The Young Turks feared the Armenian community, which they had believed was more sympathetic to allied powers (specifically Russia) than to the Ottoman Empire.

In 1914 Ottomans passed a new law that required all adult males up to age 45, to either be recruited in the Ottoman army or pay special fees in order to be excluded from service. Most of the Armenian recruits were later turned into road laborers and the executed. Those who escaped joined the Russians on the east.

In early 1915, simultaneously with a disastrous Ottoman defeat at the hands of Russia at Sarikamish, with the loss of over 80% of a huge military force, battalions of Russian Armenians organized the recruiting of Turkish Armenians from behind the Turkish lines. In response the Young Turk government executed 300 Armenian nationalist intellectuals, although a partisan source as Peter Balakian’s “The Burning Tigris” tells us most were imprisoned and there were even survivors. The fact that most Armenian men were also butchered in the army and many influential figures arrested and killed, places a question mark over certain arguments that Armenians organized revolts and that there was a civil war, given that Armenians were outnumbered, outmanned and outgunned. On the other hand, there were articles in the New York Times as early as November 7, 1914, days after Russia had declared war, attesting to Armenian uprisings (“ARMENIANS FIGHTING TURKS — Besieging Van—Others operating in Turkish Army’s Rear”), and accounts from Armenians themselves, such as Boghos Nubar’s 1919 letter in the Times of London stressing Armenian belligerence. In addition, there is evidence of Russian financial support, testimony from even those such as Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to the effect of “…In the early part of 1915… every Turkish city contained thousands of Armenians who had been trained as soldiers and who were supplied with rifles, pistols, and other weapons of defense,” and even accounts from Armenian newspapers hailing the rebellion. Chronology here is important and not incontestably established.

After the recruitment of most men and the arrests of certain intellectuals, widespread massacres were taking place throughout Ottoman Empire. In desperate attempts at survival, upon hearing of massacres of nearby villages, Armenians in Musa Dagh and Van organized their self defense. In Van, they handed over control of the city to advancing Russians. After waves of massacres and countermassacres, the Ottoman government ordered the deportation of over 1 million Armenians living in Anatolia to Syria and Mesopotamia though this figure has not been conclusively established. Indeed, there is another consensus this number did not exceed 700,000, and Arnold Toynbee reported in his Wellington House (British propaganda division) report of “The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” that 500,000 were alive in 1916. Although the word deportation seems pretty innocent (some would prefer the word “relocation,” as the former means banishment outside a country’s borders; Japanese-Americans, for example, were not “deported” during WWII), things were not, because the deportations themselves were a silent method of mass execution that led to the death of many of the Armenian population, by forcing them to march endlessly through desert, without food or water or enough protection from local Kurdish or Turkish bandits.

In the process several hundred thousand died in the resulting death marches from starvation, dehydration, disease or exhaustion. Several hundred thousands more were massacred by Kurdish militia and Ottoman gendarmes (while other gendarmes gave up their lives defending the Armenians), giving an estimated total under certain counts of 1,500,000 Armenians dead. Then again, the Armenians contend one million survived, and even the Patriarch Ormanian provided a pre-war population figure of 1,579,000. Sympathetic sources as Le Figaro, prompted by Armenian terrorism in 1977 France, figured only 15,000 Armenians as having died from shootings, sickness and deprivation on the march. It also must be borne in mind that of the 2.5-3 million Turkish mortality, many succumbed to the same factors as famine and disease.

Mr. Hovhannes Katchaznouni, first Prime Minister of the Independent Armenian Republic, describes this part of history as follows in his 1923 Manifesto: “At the beginning of the Fall of 1914 when Turkey had not yet entered the war but already been making preparations, Armenian revolutionary bands began to be formed in Transcaucasia with great enthusiasm and especially with much uproar… The Armenian Revolutionary Federation had active participation in the formation of the bands and their future military action against Turkey… In the Fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer band organized themselves and fought against the Turks because they could not refrain themselves from fighting. This was an inevitable result of psychology on which the Armenian people had nourished itself during an entire generation; that mentality should have found its expression and did so….The Winter of 1914 and Spring of 1915 were the periods of greatest enthusiasm and hope for all Armenians in the Caucasus including of course the Dashnaktsutiun. We had no doubt the war would end with the complete victory of the Allies; Turkey would be defeated and dismembered and its Armenian population would be liberated. We had embraced Russia wholeheartedly without any compunction. Without any positive basis of fact we believed that the Tzarist government would grant us a more-or-less broad self-government in the Caucasus and in the Armenian vilayets liberated from Turkey as a reward for our loyalty, our efforts and assistance. ”

Statistics of the Second Massacre

In 1896 the Ottoman government recorded 1,144,000 Armenians living in Anatolia. Professor Justin McCarthy, U.S. historian and expert in Ottoman history, whose books are published by a Turkish organization as well as prestigious university presses such as the Oxford University Press, estimated that there were 1,500,000 Armenians in Anatolia in 1912. According to the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, there were between 1,845,000 and 2,100,000 Armenians in Anatolia in 1914. Estimates range from 1,000,000 given by some Turkish sources to more than 3,500,000 given by some Armenian sources. Arnold J. Toynbee, who served as an intelligence officer during World War I, estimates there were 1,800,000 Armenians living in Anatolia in 1914. Encyclopaedia Britannica took 1,750,000 Armenians living in Anatolia as their estimate, in certain later editions. In 1911, the encyclopedia had figured 1.1 million, and Toynbee estimated less than one million in his 1915 book, “Nationalism and the War,” before his services were enlisted in Wellington House.

GOP Lawmakers Now Admit Years of Obamacare Repeal Votes Were a Sham

March 31 2017

by Lee Fang

The Intercept

It is hard to overestimate the role of the Affordable Care Act in the Republican resurgence.

Over the last seven years, the GOP has won successive elections by highlighting problems with Obamacare, airing more than $235 million in negative ads slamming the law, and staging more than 50 high-profile repeal votes. In 2016 every major Republican presidential candidate, including Donald Trump, campaigned on a pledge to quickly get rid of it.

Now in total control of Congress and the White House, some GOP legislators are saying that the political assault on Obamacare was an exercise in cynical politics, and that an outright repeal was never on the table.

“We have Republicans who do not want to repeal Obamacare,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., on Sirius XM Patriot on Wednesday.

“They may have campaigned that way, they may have voted that way a couple of years ago when it didn’t make any difference,” Brooks continued. “But now that it makes a difference, there seems to not be the majority support that we need to pass legislation that we passed 50 or 60 times over five or six years.”

Likewise, Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., one of the lawmakers who came into power by riding the anti-ACA Tea Party wave in 2010, and who once elected pledged to “repeal, defund, delay, and dismantle Obamacare,” recently conceded in a candid interview with the Delaware County Daily Times that previous repeal efforts were a sham.

Asked if the years of votes against the ACA were simply “ceremonial,” since Republicans knew that any serious repeal bill would be vetoed by President Barack Obama, Meehan responded “yes.”

“I don’t think anyone would quarrel with the idea that they were largely position votes,” Meehan continued. “They were as political as they were anything else because there was a recognition that those were unlikely to be moved.”

Republicans expected Hillary Clinton to win the election last year, and had not planned for being in a position to actually pass a repeal effort this year, said Meehan. But after Trump’s victory, the GOP leadership thought something had to be done on their campaign promises, and that’s why they attempted to move forward with the American Health Care Act.

Other Republican lawmakers have made similar remarks in recent days.

“You know, I think maybe its easier to run on these platitudes, run on a platform like this,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., when asked by local radio station News Talk 1290 if Republicans ran on repeal “simply to get elected or re-elected.”

Bacon, admitting that he supports provisions of the law, including coverage for pre-existing conditions, noted that governing can be very different from campaigning. “Sometimes things sound easier when you’re running,” Bacon added.

Another candid comment came from Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who told reporters last Friday that the dozens of repeal votes were cast in the past without any plan for viable legislation.

“Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” Barton told Talking Points Memo.

“We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”

Even House Speaker Paul Ryan, shortly after his legislation to overhaul the health care system was pulled from a vote, said that Republicans weren’t ready to meet promises on repealing and replacing Obamacare — an implicit concession that previous repeal votes were merely symbolic.

“We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do,” Ryan said, adding that his party wasn’t prepared to be the “governing party.”

“We will get there,” Ryan added, “but we weren’t there today.”

After the defeat of Ryan’s legislation last week, the speaker called Obamacare the “law of the land” that will remain “for the foreseeable future.”

Following the embarrassing admission, conservative donors and some White House officials have mounted a campaign to revive a repeal effort, though there are few details about the type of repeal effort would muster support among the hard-right conservatives and moderates who sank the last attempt.

JDL members may be charged with hate crime for attack on 55yo teacher

April 1, 2017


Two Jewish Defense League (JDL) members who beat a 55-year-old Palestinian-American teacher outside an AIPAC meeting in Washington DC last weekend may be charged with an additional hate crime felony.

Kamal Nayfeh was visiting his daughter in Washington DC and accompanied her to a demonstration outside the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting. He was attacked by a group of JDL members wielding flags on poles.

“All what I was thinking is, ‘Is this happening to me? Oh my God, I can’t believe it,” Kamal Nayfeh told WSOCTV. “I feel hits from everywhere, and I fell down and I can feel the kicks everywhere on my body.”

The two men, Yosef Steynovitz from Ontario and Rami Lubranicki of New Jersey, are members of the JDL – a group the FBI considers a “right-wing terrorist group.”

The pair were arrested and charged with felony assault with significant bodily injury, and a simple assault misdemeanor.

The state police report on the attack listed “suspected hate crime” based on “anti-Arab” under the “other felony involved” section, JTA reported. Hate crimes automatically increase penalties when added to a conviction.

Nayef’s daughter Dayna said she had to ask the police to take action as the attackers “were left to freely walk around for a while before being detained.”

“I asked him directly, ‘Did you hit my Dad?’” Dayna said. “And this guy told me with a police officer standing beside me, ‘Yes I hit your dad, and I hope he learned a lesson.’”

Dayna said her father walked her to the protest, but was not participating. When members of the JDL shouted something about there being no Palestinians there, Nayfeh said, “I am Palestinian,” according to Dayna. He was then attacked.

“The only thing I told them was I am a Palestinian,” Nayfeh said. “They didn’t know anything about me.”

Jason Charter, an organizer with Americans Take Action, was also attacked by JDL members and suffered a concussion after he was hit over the head with a pipe.

The Jewish Defense League

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a radical organization that preaches a violent form of anti-Arab, Jewish nationalism. Its late founder, Rabbi Meir Kahane, claimed that Jews face fierce anti-Semitism domestically and abroad and must protect themselves by any means necessary.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Jewish Defense League

Date Founded: 1968  .

Location: New York, NY  .

The JDL’s position with regard to Israel is denial of any Palestinian claims to land and the calling for the removal of all Arabs from the “Jewish-inherited soil.” The group has orchestrated countless terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad, and has engaged in intense harassment of foreign diplomats, Muslims, Jewish scholars and community leaders, and officials.

In Its Own Words

“To turn the other cheek is not a Jewish concept. Do not listen to the soothing anesthesia of the establishment. They walk in the paths of those whose timidity helped bury our brothers and sisters less than thirty years ago.” —Rabbi Meir Kahane, Jewish Defense League founder

“[I]n the end — with few exceptions — the Jew can look to no one but another Jew for help and … the true solution to the Jewish problem is the liquidation of the Exile and the return of all Jews to Eretz Yisroel — the land of Israel.”— Jewish Defense League’s “Five Principles”

“It was the lack of discipline and Jewish unity that led continually to the destruction of the Jewish people. It is Jewish unity and self-discipline that will lead to the triumph of the Jewish people.” — Jewish Defense League’s “Five Principles”


The Jewish Defense League was founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane (born Martin Kahane). Its inception was part of the white backlash surrounding the New York City teachers’ union strikes of 1968. The strikes brought to the surface racial tension between the predominantly Jewish teachers union, and black residents who were seeking greater control over their neighborhood schools. This, coupled with black demands for more civil service jobs, stirred the already hostile racial climate in Manhattan’s neighborhoods and led working-class Jews in the outer boroughs to join the JDL. Kahane, who then wrote for The Jewish Weekly, an Orthodox periodical, flooded the tabloids with stories of blacks and Puerto Ricans terrorizing Jews in Manhattan. He dispatched JDL units to “patrol” predominantly Jewish areas, which ultimately led to an ethnic polarization of neighborhoods.

By 1970, however, the JDL had changed its primary cause to the plight of Soviet Jews. From that point on, the main objective of the JDL was to terrorize Soviet establishments in the U.S. to influence the communist nation to change its anti-Semitic policies — specifically, its ban on emigration to Israel. The terrorism become so severe that President Richard Nixon feared JDL activity would threaten the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT) II negotiations with the Soviet Union. In 1970 alone, the JDL committed five acts of terrorism, taking over the East Park Synagogue in Manhattan twice, in May and in November, to protest the Soviet U.N. Mission across the street. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, JDL members did everything from pouring blood over the head of a Soviet diplomat at a reception in Washington, D.C., to planting a smoke bomb in a Carnegie Hall performance of a Soviet orchestra. With each incident, the JDL claimed responsibility by phoning in its official slogan, in reference to the Holocaust, “Never again!”

Members of the Jewish community in Moscow, however, made clear that they did not appreciate the JDL’s efforts in the U.S., which were made allegedly on their behalf. In a New York Times article headlined “Anti-Soviet Violence Here Upsets Jews in Moscow,” Soviet Jews publicly made their case against the JDL. “A number of Jewish activists refused permission to emigrate … feel that [anti-Soviet] harassment in New York hurts their cause and may give Soviet authorities an excuse to become even more intransigent,” the newspaper reported.

Though Soviets were their main victims, the JDL has targeted anyone it considers a threat to the survival of radical Jewish nationalism. This includes U.S. and foreign diplomats, domestic radical-right organizations, Arab and Muslim activists, journalists and scholars, and Jewish community members who are simply not “Jewish enough.” In 1975, six JDL members forced their way into the office of the executive vice president of the San Francisco Jewish Welfare Foundation and assaulted four staff members, including one who had been crippled from time spent in a concentration camp. The break-in was to protest the “slow response” of the federation to community needs of Jews in San Francisco.

The following year, JDL members began targeting diplomats of all nations who had voted for a U.N. resolution equating Zionism with racism. Three members were charged with invading and vandalizing the Mexican consulate in Philadelphia, and were later convicted of obstructing foreign officials and their duties, damaging property of a foreign government, and conspiracy.

The JDL also pitted its radical agenda against that of Nazis. In 1981, 20 members of the JDL took over the offices of the American Civil Liberties Union in Atlanta to protest its representation of neo-Nazis in court. Later that year, eight members attacked National Socialist Party of America leader Harold Covington with steel pipes as he approached NBC studios in New York, which led Covington to state, later that evening on the “Tomorrow” show, that “all Jews should be gassed.” Earlier that year, the JDL had terrorized Boleslavs Maikovskis, an accused Nazi war criminal. A representative from the JDL took responsibility for throwing four gasoline firebombs into the Latvian ex-Nazi’s home in Mineola, N.Y.

The JDL has experienced waves of internal strife throughout its years of operation, first of all with Kahane’s emigration to Israel in 1971. Kahane’s successor, David Fisch, was a Columbia University student who could not maintain unity in the early years. Kahane returned to the U.S. in 1974 to name Russel Kelner international chairman. Kelner was a former U.S. Army lieutenant, trained in guerilla warfare and ready to direct the JDL’s paramilitary camp. In 1990, an Egyptian-born Islamic extremist, El Sayyid Nosair, assassinated Kahane during a Zionist conference in New York City, again throwing the group into disarray.

The JDL got some unwelcome international attention in 1994, when Baruch Goldstein, a JDL member, massacred 29 Palestinian Muslims kneeling in prayer at a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron. The JDL’s website justifies Goldstein’s mass murder by saying “Goldstein took a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews.”

In 2002, then-JDL Chairman Irv Rubin was jailed while awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy in planning bomb attacks against the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Calif., and on the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa. Rubin slit his throat with a prison-issued safety razor, and fell or jumped off a balcony, sustaining injuries that led to his death several days later. Rubin’s co-defendant in the case, Earl Krugel, met a similar fate in 2005 in a Phoenix prison when another inmate, reportedly, swung a bag containing a cinderblock into the back of Krugel’s head, killing him. Krugel was murdered less than two months after being sentenced as part of a plea bargain.

In 2003, the Rubin family filed a wrongful death suit, citing allegedly suspicious circumstances. Upon the death of Rubin, Shelley Rubin, Irv’s widow, named Bill Maniaci temporary leader of the JDL. In 2004, Rubin called for Maniaci to resign. When he refused, he was stripped of his title and membership, taking a large portion of the organization with him. After a lengthy legal battle over the JDL’s intellectual property and website, Shelley Rubin won the title of permanent chairman and CEO of the JDL.

In 2009, never-before-seen FBI documents concerning Rubin’s alleged confession and details about his death were published by the online news site TheEnterpriseReport.com.

The FBI deemed the league a right-wing terrorist group in their report “Terrorism 2000/2001,” but its domestic influence has waned in the years since, and today the JDL has no active chapters in the U.S. The JDL continues to wield steady membership through its website and blog, which distort news stories in order to vilify politicians, academics, and community leaders as “anti-Semitic.” One such attack was entitled “Carter the Jew Hater,” and attacked the former president’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The JDL today has chapters in Eastern Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Russia, and the United Kingdom.


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