Archive for August, 2018

TBR News August 31, 2018

Aug 31 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 31, 2018:”There is growing turmoil in a country where the irrational actions of the President are increasingly feeding sharp political divisions. The increasing attacks on Trump by many diverse areas of the media are polatizing public opinion into us vs them positions and instead of a president who understands both the art of diplomacy and its necessity, we have as a national leader a man who is incapable of telling the truth, is threatening against any entity or individual whom he sees as critics, and whose irrational attacks on foreign leaders and business entities is rapidly building a consortium of angry enemies.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 11
  • Donald Trump’s approval rating sinks to lowest of his presidency
  • Exclusive: Chief U.S. spy catcher says China using LinkedIn to recruit Americans
  • America’s Facebook Friend Allies
  • Even Israeli Officials Are Warning That Trump’s Moves Against Palestinians May Backfire
  • China Daily derides Trump’s Twitter rants as ‘messages from some alternative universe’
  • Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies
  • Russia warns U.S. against ‘illegal aggression against Syria’
  • Europe and nationalism: A country-by-country guide


Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 11

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018


  • Apr 7, 2017

“In just the last few days our nation’s ICE officers have arrested … 84 criminal aliens in the Pacific Northwest.”

Source: Weekly address

in fact: Fewer “criminal aliens” were arrested than Trump claimed. According to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement itself, of the 84 people detained in the Pacific Northwest had criminal records, not all 84.


  • Apr 11, 2017

“And yesterday, Toyota just announced that it will invest more than $1.3 billion — it’s probably going to be $1.9 billion — into its Georgetown, Ky., plant, an investment that would not have been made if we didn’t win the election.”

Source: Remarks at CEO discussion

in fact: Like many of the recent investments Trump claims have been made solely because of his victory, this one had nothing to do with his victory. A Toyota spokesman told that the investment was planned “several years ago” and “predates the Trump administration”; it is part of a larger package of investments the company announced two weeks before Trump’s inauguration.


Speaking about chief strategist Steve Bannon: “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”

Source: Interview with the New York Post

in fact: The Associated Press noted that Trump was inaccurately downplaying his relationship with Bannon, whom he certainly knew by the time he added Bannon to his campaign in 2016. “David Bossie, who was deputy campaign manager, told The Associated Press after Trump took office that Bossie had introduced Trump and Bannon in 2011 at Trump Tower and they had grown close. Bannon interviewed Trump at least nine times in 2015 and 2016,” the AP wrote.


  • Apr 12, 2017

“I mean the car industry is not going to leave us anymore, believe me. The car industry is staying in our country. They were leaving. If I didn’t win this election, you would have lost your car industry to Mexico and to other countries.

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: Though some production has shifted abroad and continues to do so, the industry certainly was not at risk of vanishing before Trump took office: domestic production increased from 5.8 million vehicles in 2009, during the financial crisis, to 11.8 million vehicles in 2015, according to the American Automotive Policy Council.


About his failure to make executive appointments: “I am waiting right now for so many people. Hundreds and hundreds of people. And then they’ll say, why isn’t Trump doing this faster? You can’t do it faster, because they’re obstructing. They’re obstructionists.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: Trump’s glacial pace has nothing to do with Democratic obstruction. He simply isn’t nominating people for posts.


“When you look at Susan Rice and what’s going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now. They’re saying you know, you were right when you said that. Perhaps I didn’t know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, was criticized by some on the right over her decision during the 2016 campaign to request the identities of certain people anonymously mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports, possibly including Trump ally and future national security adviser Michael Flynn. But there is no indication that Rice did anything wrong, or even unusual, and even if she did, this would not make Trump correct for claiming Obama had wiretapped him.


“The New York Times said the word ‘wiretapped’ in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: The Times never changed its headline; it simply used different words in its print and online headlines, which is normal.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times


“We’re talking about surveillance. It was ‘wiretapped’ in quotes.” And: “But I put ‘wiretapped’ in quotes.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: Trump did use quotation marks in two of his four tweets accusing Obama of improperly surveilling him. However, in the other two, he made the same accusation without quotation marks. “How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process,” he wrote in one; “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” he wrote in the other.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times


“Obamacare is a disaster. It’s really gone. Essentially, it’s gone.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: We allow Trump rhetorical license to call Obamacare “collapsing” and even “exploding,” though experts say neither is true. But it is plainly false to say the law is “gone.” While its marketplaces have problems, they are still functioning and providing insurance to millions; so is its Medicaid

Trump has repeated this claim 33 times


“Well, as an example, on health care, I won’t get one Democrat vote, even though many of them think it’s an incredible plan.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: There is no evidence that any Democrat in Congress thinks his health plan is “incredible.” The plan has been denounced by a wide variety of experts and interest groups, and even many Republicans say it is bad.


Speaking about the battle to retake Mosul from Daesh, also known ISIS and ISIL: “Look, they’re still fighting. Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.”

Source: Interview with Fox Business

in fact: Military officials never predicted that the battle would be completed in a week. The battle was always framed as a long, tough fight.


“And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

Source: Interview with the Wall Street Journal

in fact: Though China has repeatedly invaded the Korean Peninsula, Korea was never actually a part of China. The claim outraged South Koreans.


“The Secretary General and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete; it’s no longer obsolete.”

Source: Remarks at joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

in fact: NATO has long fought terrorism. The change NATO made in 2016 was merely to reorganize its operations, adding an assistant secretary general for intelligence and security. The change was unrelated to Trump’s complaints, experts say.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times


“Great win in Kansas last night for Ron Estes, easily winning the Congressional race against the Dems, who spent heavily & predicted victory!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: One can easily dispute the claim that Estes, a Republican candidate in a special election to replace CIA Director Mike Pompeo, won “easily”: he prevailed by just seven percentage points in a district Trump won by 27 points in the 2016 election, and he required a visit from Ted Cruz and a last-minute robocall from Trump to do it. That subjective claim aside, though, the rest of the tweet is incorrect. Democrats were vastly outspent by Republicans — the party’s reluctance to help candidate James Thompson drew intense criticism after the vote — and Democrats did not predict victory


  • Apr 16, 2017

“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: It has never been “almost an impossible thing” for a Republican to win by a large margin in the Electoral College. Since the 1870s, every elected Republican president except for George W. Bush and Richard Nixon (in 1968) has won a bigger share of the Electoral College than Trump did.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times


Donald Trump’s approval rating sinks to lowest of his presidency

New survey shows first time the national displeasure rating has exceeded 50%, and a majority of support for Mueller’s Russia investigation

August 31, 2018

by Joanna Walters in New York and agencies

The Guardian

Donald Trump has slumped to the lowest approval rating of his presidency, with 60% disapproving of his performance as the US president, according to a new national survey.The figure includes 53% who say they disapprove strongly of his performance in the White House, the first time the national displeasure rating has exceeded 50%, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll published on Friday morning.

The poll that also found that a majority support the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and think Trump should not fire attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Just 36% of those asked said they approved of the job Trump is doing, matching his low in surveys carried out since he was inaugurated in January of 2017.

The startling new measures will make even stronger the contrast on Friday between the low public opinion of Trump and his glaring absence from services scheduled to commemorate the late Senator John McCain, whose casket was transported from Arizona, the state he represented and where he died last Saturday, to Washington DC on Thursday evening.

McCain on Friday becomes only the 31st American to be accorded the honor of lying in state in the US Capitol in Washington, where the vice-president, Mike Pence, will represent the administration in a morning service to which Trump has expressly not been invited.

The president has also not been invited to the memorial service for McCain in the National Cathedral on the outskirts of Washington on Saturday, where former presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and George W Bush, a Republican, were asked by McCain in recent months to give eulogies.

The results of the new opinion poll come 10 days after Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty of fraud by a jury in a federal trial in Alexandria, Virginia. And on the day Manafort was convicted, Trump’s former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York to, among other charges, campaign finance violations for paying hush money to women who allege affairs with Trump in the past – violations that Cohen blamed on Trump in open court.

Americans are more or less split on the wisdom of Congress impeaching Trump. The poll found that 49% said impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office should happen, while 46% say Congress should not go through with such a move.

A total of 64% of those polled said Trump should not fire Jeff Sessions, whom Trump has repeatedly lambasted since the attorney general recused himself, shortly after taking up his post in 2017, from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow and obstruction of justice.

And a strong 63% approve of the Russia investigation being carried out, with 52% saying they strongly approve.

In the week since John McCain died, the rift between the two men has been deepened, with criticism of Trump for lack of tributes to McCain, followed by a belated, lukewarm acknowledgment of McCain’s service to the country as a war hero and longtime senator. A final statement from McCain, who was known for reaching across the political divides, read out after his death, was critical of “tribal” politics and insular ultra-nationalism in a pointed dig a Trump’s style.

Sarah Palin, McCain’s disastrous choice to be his Republican running mate in the 2008 election, has also pointedly not been invited to the funeral service on Saturday.

In another tumultuous week for Trump, he announced that his White House counsel, Don McGahn, who has been cooperating with Mueller, will resign. The president also renewed his assault on the mainstream media and stepped up attacks on internet giant Google, alleging anti-conservative bias from both.

He also informed Congress on Thursday that he is canceling pay raises due in January for most civilian federal employees, citing budget constraints even as he repeatedly touts the strength of the US economy.


Exclusive: Chief U.S. spy catcher says China using LinkedIn to recruit Americans

August 31, 2018

by Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States’ top spy catcher said Chinese espionage agencies are using fake LinkedIn accounts to try to recruit Americans with access to government and commercial secrets, and the company should shut them down.

William Evanina, the U.S. counter-intelligence chief, told Reuters in an interview that intelligence and law enforcement officials have told LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft Corp., about China’s “super aggressive” efforts on the site.

He said the Chinese campaign includes contacting thousands of LinkedIn members at a time, but he declined to say how many fake accounts U.S. intelligence had discovered, how many Americans may have been contacted and how much success China has had in the recruitment drive.

German and British authorities have previously warned their citizens that Beijing is using LinkedIn to try to recruit them as spies. But this is the first time a U.S. official has publicly discussed the challenge in the United States and indicated it is a bigger problem than previously known.

Evanina said LinkedIn should look at copying the response of Twitter, Google and Facebook, which have all purged fake accounts allegedly linked to Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies.

“I recently saw that Twitter is cancelling, I don’t know, millions of fake accounts, and our request would be maybe LinkedIn could go ahead and be part of that,” said Evanina, who heads the U.S. National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center.

It is highly unusual for a senior U.S. intelligence official to single out an American-owned company by name and publicly recommend it take action. LinkedIn boasts 562 million users in more than 200 counties and territories, including 149 million U.S. members.

Evanina did not, however, say whether he was frustrated by LinkedIn’s response or whether he believes it has done enough.

LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety, Paul Rockwell, confirmed the company had been talking to U.S. law enforcement agencies about Chinese espionage efforts. Earlier this month, LinkedIn said it had taken down “less than 40” fake accounts whose users were attempting to contact LinkedIn members associated with unidentified political organizations. Rockwell did not say whether those were Chinese accounts.

“We are doing everything we can to identify and stop this activity,” Rockwell told Reuters. “We’ve never waited for requests to act and actively identify bad actors and remove bad accounts using information we uncover and intelligence from a variety of sources including government agencies.”

Rockwell declined to provide numbers of fake accounts associated with Chinese intelligence agencies. He said the company takes “very prompt action to restrict accounts and mitigate and stop any essential damage that can happen” but gave no details.

LinkedIn “is a victim here,” Evanina said. “I think the cautionary tale … is, ‘You are going to be like Facebook. Do you want to be where Facebook was this past spring with congressional testimony, right?’” he said, referring to lawmakers’ questioning of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Russia’s use of Facebook to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections.

China’s foreign ministry disputed Evanina’s allegations.

“We do not know what evidence the relevant U.S. officials you cite have to reach this conclusion. What they say is complete nonsense and has ulterior motives,” the ministry said in a statement.


Evanina said he was speaking out in part because of the case of Kevin Mallory, a retired CIA officer convicted in June of conspiring to commit espionage for China.

A fluent Mandarin speaker, Mallory was struggling financially when he was contacted via a LinkedIn message in February 2017 by a Chinese national posing as a headhunter, according to court records and trial evidence.

The individual, using the name Richard Yang, arranged a telephone call between

Mallory and a man claiming to work at a Shanghai think tank.

During two subsequent trips to Shanghai, Mallory agreed to sell U.S. defense secrets – sent over a special cellular device he was given – even though he assessed his Chinese contacts to be intelligence officers, according to the U.S. government’s case against him. He is due to be sentenced in September and could face life in prison.

While Russia, Iran, North Korea and other nations also use LinkedIn and other platforms to identify recruitment targets, the U.S. intelligence officials said China is the most prolific and poses the biggest threat.

U.S. officials said China’s Ministry of State Security has “co-optees” – individuals who are not employed by intelligence agencies but work with them – set up fake accounts to approach potential recruits.

They said the targets include experts in fields such as supercomputing, nuclear energy, nanotechnology, semi-conductors, stealth technology, health care, hybrid grains, seeds and green energy.

Chinese intelligence uses bribery or phony business propositions in its recruitment efforts. Academics and scientists, for example, are offered payment for scholarly or professional papers and, in some cases, are later asked or pressured to pass on U.S. government or commercial secrets.

Some of those who set up fake accounts have been linked to IP addresses associated with Chinese intelligence agencies, while others have been set up by bogus companies, including some that purport to be in the executive recruiting business, said a senior U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the matter.

The official said “some correlation” has been found between Americans targeted through LinkedIn and data hacked from the Office of Personnel Management, a U.S. government agency, in attacks in 2014 and 2015.

The hackers stole sensitive private information, such as addresses, financial and medical records, employment history and fingerprints, of more than 22 million Americans who had undergone background checks for security clearances.

The United States identified China as the leading suspect in the massive hacking, an assertion China’s foreign ministry at the time dismissed as `absurd logic.`


About 70 percent of China’s overall espionage is aimed at the U.S. private sector, rather than the government, said Joshua Skule, the head of the FBI’s intelligence division, which is charged with countering foreign espionage in the United States.

“They are conducting economic espionage at a rate that is unparalleled in our history,” he said.

Evanina said five current and former U.S. officials – including Mallory – have been charged with or convicted of spying for China in the past two and a half years.

He indicated that additional cases of suspected espionage for China by U.S. citizens are being investigated, but declined to provide details.

U.S. intelligence services are alerting current and former officials to the threat and telling them what security measures they can take to protect themselves.

Some current and former officials post significant details about their government work history online – even sometimes naming classified intelligence units that the government does not publicly acknowledge.

LinkedIn “is a very good site,” Evanina said. “But it makes for a great venue for foreign adversaries to target not only individuals in the government, formers, former CIA folks, but academics, scientists, engineers, anything they want. It’s the ultimate playground for collection.”

Reporting by Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by John Walcott; Editing by Kieran Murray and Ross Colvin


America’s Facebook Friend Allies

We seem obsessed with collecting them, even though they’re far more of a burden than any online acquaintance.

August 16, 2018

by Doug Bandow

The American Conservative

Washington has been supremely embarrassed—by a nominal ally, as usual. After the Trump administration insisted that its involvement in Yemen helped reduce civilian casualties there, Saudi Arabia promptly launched an air attack that slaughtered a bus full of school children.

It was a demonstration of how America’s allies often cause more trouble than her enemies do.

No country has more allies that the United States. The most important ones are in Europe and Asia, though Washington also designates favored nations as “Major Non-NATO Allies” (MNNAs), which typically receive some mix of security guarantees and financial support. Then there are a few informal allies, which are security partners in all but name.

This list seems ever to increase. U.S. policymakers constantly seek out more, rather like how many strive to increase their Facebook friends. And indeed, many of America’s professed friends have no more value than those on Facebook.

There are 28 other NATO members, including such behemoths as Albania, Montenegro, and Slovenia. Recently invited to join was Macedonia. Presidents have designated 16 nations as MNNAs, which includes Australia, Japan, and South Korea, along with Egypt, Bahrain, Israel, Tunisia, Pakistan, and Argentina. Saudi Arabia and Taiwan are de facto allies, with presumed but unclear security guarantees.

That’s a lot of charges for America to keep track of. Unfortunately, many of these allies haven’t been putting their best faces forward lately, which has caused plenty of headaches for Washington.

Germany. This enemy turned ally should be the cornerstone of any continental defense alliance. The Federal Republic has Europe’s largest economy and population. It also has a history of military accomplishment (though Germans are admittedly uncomfortable pointing that out). Yet Berlin treats Germany’s and Europe’s defense as an afterthought. The Merkel government has ramped up military spending slightly, though to what effect is unclear: the Bundeswehr lacks even minimal readiness and could not be deployed in any serious fight.

Turkey. Having morphed into the caliphate that the Islamic State only claimed to be, Turkey is growing more Islamist and authoritarian by the day. The new sultan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, still feels the need to hold elections. But they are mere formalities, with Erdogan having seized control of the media, imprisoned political opponents, punished critical businessmen, and silenced academics. He’s also treated tens of thousands of people as traitors, prosecuting some, firing others, banning travel by many, and scaring private firms against employing most of them. At the same time, Ankara has undermined Washington’s security interests, purchasing Russian military equipment, facilitating ISIS activity on Turkish territory, targeting America’s Kurdish allies, threatening U.S. troops stationed with Kurdish forces, and confronting NATO neighbor Greece.

Saudi Arabia. Even after modestly loosening the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s cultural strictures, the Saudi government shares few interests and values with America. Politically and religiously, Saudi is a totalitarian state. There are no meaningful elections, no critical media, no opposition activists, no public worship by non-Muslims, and no limits to the abusive power of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud. Despite his reputation as a reformer, MbS, as he is known, is unwilling to accept the slightest criticism at home or abroad. Internationally he is a reckless and bloody adventurer. He attacked Yemen to restore a pliable leader to power, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. He supported radical insurgents in Syria, contributing to that nation’s violent implosion. He attempted to isolate and apparently planned to invade Qatar with the intention of turning it into a puppet state, until U.S. pressure and Turkish troops prevented that. He kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister and forced his resignation—which was immediately reversed when Riyadh finally allowed its captive to leave.

Egypt. Pharaoh Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who usually uses the title “president,” has created a police state far more fearsome than anything deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak ever ran. Cairo, dependent on Saudi subsidies, joined the assault on Qatar. Washington, meanwhile, pays Egypt not to attack Israel, even though the comfortable, well-paid, and influential Egyptian military elite has no intention of risking the good life with a foolish war. The money instead underwrites the imprisonment of tens of thousands of Egyptians, who years hence likely will remember who aided their oppressors.

Israel. Politically inviolate in America, Israel is a regional superpower that requires neither subsidy nor guarantee for its security. Its only serious existential threat comes from within, created by more than half a century of brutal occupation over a large Palestinian population. Moreover, in coming years that occupation could force Israel to choose between being Jewish and democratic. And even worse, the Netanyahu government is driving Washington towards war with Iran, a nation that poses no threat to America and that can be contained by its neighbors.

Poland and the Baltic States. The reason Germany and most other NATO members spend so little on their militaries is because they don’t really fear Russia. An attack by Moscow on Europe is only slightly more likely than a Martian invasion. President Vladimir Putin is not pushing a global ideology and would benefit little if his troops ended up occupying a war-ravaged continent. Russia would also lose any full-scale war with America and Europe. Poland and the Baltics seemingly do worry more about Moscow’s ambitions, but they aren’t willing to spend on their defense. These governments—other than Estonia—have found it painful to hit even the alliance’s recommended military spending level of 2 percent of GDP. Yet even that is a pitiful amount for nations that claim to be at risk of a Russian blitzkrieg. Instead of pouring resources into a tough territorial defense, they want Washington to station U.S. forces on their territory.

Argentina, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Philippines, and Morocco. Why are these considered allies? Argentina is a nice place to visit, but it has little security relevance to the United States: years ago, Washington chose the United Kingdom over Argentina when those two states came to blows over the Falkland Islands. Tunisia is the one success of the Arab Spring, but a “major” ally? American forces should have come home from Afghanistan years ago. Pakistan has continually undermined America’s policy in neighboring Afghanistan. The Philippines has a military even less fit for combat than Germany’s but expects Washington to fight China to protect its contested territorial claims. And although Morocco is a great tourist destination, it occupies the Western Sahara against the wishes of that region’s people.

Japan. Another enemy turned friend, Tokyo for decades enthusiastically hid behind its U.S.-imposed constitution, which technically forbids it to create a military. The Japanese instead established a “Self-Defense Force” and greatly limited its responsibilities. That made sense in the early years after World War II, but certainly not today. Japan has the capability to deter both North Korea and China and could contribute significantly to Asian-Pacific security. Even once skeptical nations such as the Philippines want their former occupier to do more. So far, however, Japan prefers that U.S. policymakers risk Los Angeles to protect Tokyo.

Montenegro. This micro-state entered NATO last year, bringing with it a 2,000-man military. The country is best known as the movie set for the James Bond film Casino Royale. As an international combatant, it compares poorly to the imaginary Duchy of Grand Fenwick immortalized in the novel and movie The Mouse that Roared. Likely next new member Macedonia has a similar feel, though its military is bigger, about 8,000 men.

Facebook friends aren’t worth much, but at least they normally don’t cost anything. Accepting an online friend does not obligate one to pay his mortgage, gas up his car, and defend him from local gangsters.

America’s allies are very different. They expect to be paid for everything they do, don’t do, could have done, and were willing to do if we’d thought to ask. They want security guarantees, explicit and implicit. In the worst cases, they drag America into stupid, needless, endless wars.

Alliances are not social clubs to which all countries should belong. They are a means to an end, military organizations that should enhance America’s security. Most of our allies today fail that standard. Ending unnecessary alliances doesn’t mean always going it alone. It means cooperating with countries towards shared ends while maintaining the flexibility to assess the degree of danger and proper response.

Thankfully, America faces few true existential threats. Washington should stop automatically treating its allies’ enemies as its own enemies. Better to avoid unnecessary conflicts, leave capable friendly states responsible for their own defense, and encourage regional security cooperation.

If U.S. military action is necessary as a last resort, so be it. But let that action reflect necessity on behalf of American security, not misguided loyalty to a fake ally.


Even Israeli Officials Are Warning That Trump’s Moves Against Palestinians May Backfire

August 30 2018

by Murtaza Hussain

The Intercept

Jared Kushner has yet to formally unveil his highly touted peace plan for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. But in the past weeks and months, its outlines have become increasingly clear. Recent moves by the United States to recognize Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and deprive Palestinians of refugee status have taken key issues off the table before any future peace negotiation even begins. The Trump administration has announced a steady stream of cuts in aid for Palestinians, including reported plans to stop all funding for the United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency which provides healthcare and schooling for Palestinian refugees, as well as cutting $200 million in economic aid to the West Bank and Gaza. These moves are helping clarify the Trump administration’s strategy for getting to peace in the region: imposing maximum pain on the Palestinians as a means of bullying them into submission.

But this strategy may backfire, including against a Netanyahu government that has enthusiastically supported Trump’s get-tough approach. Even former Israeli military officials have begun raising the alarm that the Trump administration’s punitive actions against the Palestinians, rather than bringing peace, are leading the region toward a new era of conflict. In an article this week in Ha’aretz, former Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Peter Lerner criticized the administration’s attempts to “blackmail” the Palestinians, stating that such a strategy would lead to a power vacuum in the West Bank, warning that “hardballing the Palestinian into submission is likely to blow up on Israel’s doorstep.” Lerner’s warning echoes previous reports from Israeli military officials that funding cuts are likely to lead to a humanitarian crisis and further unrest in the occupied territories.

The Trump administration’s unapologetically anti-Palestinian posture, famously symbolized this May by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley walking out of a U.N. Security Council meeting to avoid even hearing a speech by the Palestinian envoy, is in many ways something new in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. While the United States has never been seen as a neutral arbiter on the conflict — famously characterized as “Israel’s lawyer” even by U.S. officials who have taken part in negotiations — the Trump administration’s actions have risen to a new level of overt hostility to Palestinian claims. Going back to the administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman, successive U.S. presidents have shown a willingness to downplay the right of self-determination for the Arab people living in Palestine, while supporting Israeli expansion.

But experts say that even weighed against this shabby historical standard, the Trump administration’s approach is unique for its single-minded focus on satisfying short-term Israeli goals and political constituencies in the U.S., even at the cost of U.S. interests.

“Past U.S. administrations were also slanted toward the Israelis, but what’s different today is that the usual mitigating factors in decision-making, such as American national security interests and the desire to at least appear even-handed, no longer seem to be present,” says Khaled Elgindy, a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute. “Instead we have domestic politics and ideology in their purest form dictating U.S. policy on this issue.”

A number of high-ranking U.S. officials have strong ideological ties to the Israeli right, including U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who has been personally involved in the funding of West Bank settlements and whose appointment was even opposed by hundreds of U.S. rabbis in a public petition. Under Friedman, Kushner, and Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt, the administration has charged ahead with provocative actions like cutting critical aid for organizations working in Gaza and the West Bank, despite warnings even from pro-Israel organizations that these actions are setting the stage for unrest.

“Even Israeli military officials have weighed in against cutting aid to UNRWA, because they know that there are security implications on the ground to such a decision,” says Elgindy. “But this doesn’t seem to be a factor in the Trump administration’s thinking.”

Despite helping champion this effort to make life worse for the Palestinian people, Kushner has also, somewhat incongruously, held himself out to them as a peacemaker. In an interview published in Arabic with a Palestinian newspaper in June, Kushner claimed that “the prospects for peace are very much alive.” He also claimed that Palestinian leaders were refusing to negotiate with him due to the fear that “we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it because it will lead to new opportunities for them to have a much better life.”

In recent months, White House officials have suggested that they have plans to boost economic activity in the occupied territories as a means of helping woo ordinary Palestinians and hopefully reconciling them to the continued denial of their political rights and the loss of key interests like a capital in East Jerusalem and the return of refugees. This idea of an “economic peace” has long been promoted by Israeli officials as a way of sidestepping thornier political questions. Israel’s warming relationships with the Gulf Arab monarchies have also boosted the prospects for such an approach being tried, with states like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia reported as potentially bankrolling investments in the occupied territories.

But experts with experience in past negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians say that, despite the hopes of Kushner and the Gulf Arab leaders, such a plan is unlikely to bear fruit.

“The idea behind an ‘economic peace’ is that if you keep people economically satisfied, they won’t demand their political rights,” says Diana Buttu, a political analyst based in Ramallah and former legal adviser to the Palestinian side during the Oslo peace process. “Such an idea is not going to work because this conflict is fundamentally about politics and human rights, not economics.”

Buttu adds that the Trump administration’s approach of favoring Israel while bullying the Palestinians into submission may achieve the short-term goal of pleasing the president’s supporters among Christian evangelicals and donors like Sheldon Adelson, but it is unlikely to win Palestinians cooperation with any peace plan. Such an approach may indeed backfire on the Israeli government in the long-term. Faced with a hostile U.S. administration, intransigent Israeli leadership and feckless local government in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians may end up bypassing their own ineffectual leaders and fighting to achieve their rights directly. Grassroots movements like the Great Return March in Gaza, and protests in villages like Nabi Saleh, have suggested that the weakening of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, along with the likely death of the two-state solution, may already be giving rise to new citizen-led movements engaged in direct action against the occupation.

“Palestinians have weathered a lot, but what they are feeling now is that their leadership is incapable of defending them from the Trumps of the world,” Buttu says. If such a dynamic accelerates, it could create a serious dilemma for the Israeli government. “If you looked at South Africa during in 1984, during what seemed like the worst of apartheid, no one would’ve thought that within 10 years that the country would have a black president and that it would be Mandela of all people.”

Butto added, “Things can change just like that.”



China Daily derides Trump’s Twitter rants as ‘messages from some alternative universe’

August 31, 2018


In a Friday editorial, China Daily said that US President Donald Trump’s social media rants are “from some alternative universe,” following his claim that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Trump’s allegation was met with scepticism by commentators, both foreign and domestic, after he posted it on Twitter this week. The Chinese newspaper has now weighed in to allege that he is looking for a “scapegoat” to draw attention away from domestic scandals.

The president tweeted on Wednesday about a “very big story” which claimed that Hillary Clinton’s email server had been hacked by China. He also took the opportunity to sardonically deride both the FBI and Department of Justice while also taking a potshot at the ongoing Mueller investigation saying, “Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)?”

The China Daily’s riposte was equally pointed. “To the thinking person, there are few things more disconcerting than a tweet by the US president,” it reads.

As the editorial points out, the Chinese government was quick to deny Trump’s claim. The paper, which is owned by the Communist Party of China, added that the tweet was clearly an attempt to distract voters “as he desperately needs a scapegoat,” ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November, which will see the Republican party fight to maintain control of both houses of Congress.

“Based on both his own definition and from the perspective of the FBI investigation, what he has just resorted to is fiction. Since his supporters have shown a willingness to suspend disbelief, we can no doubt look forward to more such tales,” the scathing editorial concludes.


Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies

August 31, 2018

by John and Ahmed Rasheed


PARIS/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official told Reuters. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.”

Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km, putting Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh or the Israeli city of Tel Aviv within striking distance if the weapons were deployed in southern or western Iraq.

The Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has bases in both those areas. Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is overseeing the program, three of the sources said.

Western countries have already accused Iran of transferring missiles and technology to Syria and other allies of Tehran, such as Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities, seeing it as a threat to their security.

Israeli officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the missile transfers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that anybody that threatened to wipe Israel out “would put themselves in a similar danger”.


The Western source said the number of missiles was in the 10s and that the transfers were designed to send a warning to the United States and Israel, especially after air raids on Iranian troops in Syria. The United States has a significant military presence in Iraq.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base,” the Western source said.

The Iranian sources and one Iraqi intelligence source said a decision was made some 18 months ago to use militias to produce missiles in Iraq, but activity had ramped up in the last few months, including with the arrival of missile launchers.

“We have bases like that in many places and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region,” said a senior IRGC commander who served during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Western source and the Iraqi source said the factories being used to develop missiles in Iraq were in al-Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf al-Sakhar, north of Kerbala. One Iranian source said there was also a factory in Iraqi Kurdistan

The areas are controlled by Shi’ite militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the closest to Iran. Three sources said Iraqis had been trained in Iran as missile operators.

The Iraqi intelligence source said the al-Zafaraniya factory produced warheads and the ceramic of missile moulds under former President Saddam Hussein. It was reactivated by local Shi’ite groups in 2016 with Iranian assistance, the source said.

A team of Shi’ite engineers who used to work at the facility under Saddam were brought in, after being screened, to make it operational, the source said. He also said missiles had been tested near Jurf al-Sakhar.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment.

One U.S official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Tehran over the last few months has transferred missiles to groups in Iraq but could not confirm that those missiles had any launch capability from their current positions.

Washington has been pushing its allies to adopt a tough anti-Iran policy since it reimposed sanctions this month.

While the European signatories to the nuclear deal have so far balked at U.S. pressure, they have grown increasingly impatient over Iran’s ballistic missile program.

France in particular has bemoaned Iranian “frenzy” in developing and propagating missiles and wants Tehran to open negotiations over its ballistic weapons.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Iran was arming regional allies with rockets and allowing ballistic proliferation. “Iran needs to avoid the temptation to be the (regional) hegemon,” he said.

In March, the three nations proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its missile activity, although they failed to push them through after opposition from some member states.

“Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern,” a document from the three European countries said at the time.


A regional intelligence source also said Iran was storing a number of ballistic missiles in areas of Iraq that were under effective Shi’ite control and had the capacity to launch them.

The source could not confirm that Iran has a missile production capacity in Iraq.

A second Iraqi intelligence official said Baghdad had been aware of the flow of Iranian missiles to Shi’ite militias to help fight Islamic State militants, but that shipments had continued after the hardline Sunni militant group was defeated.

“It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight Daesh (Islamic State) militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict,” the official said.

The Iraqi source said it was difficult for the Iraqi government to stop or persuade the groups to go against Tehran.

“We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because simply the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button,” he said.

“Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides,” the Iraqi official said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring an assortment of Shi’ite militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) into the state apparatus. The militias report to Iraq’s prime minister, who is a Shi’ite under the country’s unofficial governance system.

However, Iran still has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Soleimani.

Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and Jonathan Landay in Washington; editing by David Clarke


Russia warns U.S. against ‘illegal aggression against Syria’

August 30, 2018


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had told U.S. officials earlier this week that Moscow is concerned over signs that the United States is preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against “groundless and illegal aggression against Syria”.

Antonov met this week with U.S. officials, including James Jeffrey, special representative for Syria, the Russia Embassy said in a posting on its Facebook page.

Reporting and writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore


Europe and nationalism: A country-by-country guide

June 5, 2018

BBC News

Across Europe, nationalist and far-right parties have made significant electoral gains.

Some have taken office, others have become the main opposition voice, and even those yet to gain a political foothold have forced centrist leaders to adapt.

In part, this can be seen as a backlash against the political establishment in the wake of the financial and migrant crises, but the wave of discontent also taps into long-standing fears about globalisation and a dilution of national identity.

Although the parties involved span a broad political spectrum, there are some common themes, such as hostility to immigration, anti-Islamic rhetoric and Euroscepticism.

So where does this leave Europe’s political landscape?


Inconclusive elections and months of uncertainty have culminated in two populist parties – the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and right-wing League – forming a coalition government.

Their rise from the political fringes comes in a country badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis and which then became the main destination for North African migrants.

Formerly known as the Northern League, The League has switched focus from its initial goal of creating a separate northern state to leading a country it once wanted to leave.

Their joint programme for government includes plans for mass deportations for undocumented migrants, in line with The League’s strong anti-immigration stance.

Visiting Sicily, Italy’s new interior minister and League leader Matteo Salvini said the island must stop being “the refugee camp of Europe”.

Both parties are unhappy with the euro, and with few ruling out more elections the next vote could provide a major headache for the European Union.


Formed just five years ago, in 2017 the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the federal parliament for the first time.

From its beginnings as an anti-euro party, it has pushed for strict anti-immigrant policies and tapped into anxieties over the influence of Islam. Leaders have been accused of downplaying Nazi atrocities.

Their success has been interpreted as a sign of discontent with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy for refugees.

At the height of the migrant crisis, Mrs Merkel lifted border controls and almost a million people arrived in 2015, many of them Muslims from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite her CDU/CSU bloc seeing its worst result in almost 70 years, last year’s elections were enough for Mrs Merkel to secure a fourth term as chancellor and form another coalition with the SPD party. For AfD, their status as the largest opposition party gives them their biggest platform yet.

But the AfD’s rise has also seen a change in tone from Mrs Merkel – in her first major speech of her new term she said that the “humanitarian exception” of 2015 would not been repeated, as well as promising to beef up border security and boost deportations.


A far-right party in neighbouring Austria has enjoyed even greater success than the AfD.

Last year saw the Freedom Party (FPÖ) become junior partner in a coalition with the government of Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The Conservatives along with the centre-left Social Democrats have long dominated Austrian politics.

The FPÖ had already only narrowly lost a presidential election in which the two main centrist parties did not even make the second round.

As in Germany, the migrant crisis is also seen as key to their success, and an issue they long campaigned on.

Mr Kurz has vowed a hard-line on immigration; during the campaign the FPÖ even accused him of stealing their policies.

Since the election there have been proposals to ban headscarves for girls aged under 10 in schools and plans to seize migrants’ phones.


Despite the efforts of leader Marine Le Pen to make the far-right National Front palatable to France’s mainstream, she was comprehensively defeated by Emmanuel Macron for the presidency in May 2017.

Marine Le Pen is anti-EU, opposed to the euro and blames Brussels for mass immigration.

In 2010 she told FN supporters that the sight of Muslims praying in the street was similar to the Nazi occupation in World War Two.

Since their loss in the presidential election, the FN suffered an underwhelming result in parliamentary elections, winning a small handful of seats while Mr Macron’s party dominated.

More recently the party has renamed itself as the National Rally, with Ms Le Pen saying she would seek to gain power through forming coalitions with allies.


In April, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured a third term in office with a landslide victory in an election dominated by immigration.

The victory, he said, gave Hungarians “the opportunity to defend themselves and to defend Hungary”.

Mr Orban has long presented himself as the defender of Hungary and Europe against Muslim migrants, once warning of the threat of “a Europe with a mixed population and no sense of identity”, comments that led to him being called a racist.

He is arguably the leading voice among the Visegrad countries in Central Europe – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – that oppose EU plans to compel countries to accept migrants under a quota system.


Although it fell a long way short of a majority, the anti-immigrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) was the largest party in this year’s general election.

The party is led by former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who like the Visegrad leaders opposes migrant quotas, and has said he wants Slovenia to “become a country that will put the wellbeing and security of Slovenians first”.

During the campaign he formed an alliance with Mr Orban, borrowing his tactic of stirring fears about migrants.

Slovenia, though, only accepted 150 asylum applications last year. During the migrant crisis most of those on the move used the Balkans and Central Europe as transit towards the West.


Another party that has condemned the EU’s handling of the migrant crisis, the conservative Law and Justice party secured a strong win in 2015 elections.

Some of the party’s most high-profile policies, such as taking control of state media and judicial reforms that allow the government to sack and appoint judges, have alarmed the EU.

Law and Justice was also behind a controversial law making it illegal to accuse the Polish nation or state of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust, which some saw as an attempt to whitewash the role of some individuals in Nazi atrocities.

Poland and Hungary have offered each other political support, such as over migrant quotas and Viktor Orban expressing “solidarity” with Poland in its battle over court reforms.


With elections due in September, and polls showing support at record highs, the far-right Sweden Democrats will have high hopes of their best showing yet.

The centre-left Social Democrat party of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has seen support ebb away and recently announced a toughening up of immigration policy.

The Social Democrats are a party associated with generous social welfare and tolerance of minorities, while the Sweden Democrats oppose multiculturalism and want strict immigration controls.

Like many of the countries featured here, though, the picture is complex. Sweden has welcomed more migrants per capita than any other European country and has one of the most positive attitude towards them.

Elsewhere in Europe…

  • Immigration rules in Denmark are among Europe’s toughest, reflecting the power of the right-wing Danish People’s Party, who are the second largest party in parliament. Denmark allows its police to seize migrants’ property to pay for their upkeep and has pledged to boost contraception aid to developing countries to “limit the migration pressure”
  • The Czech Republic’s new Prime Minister Andrej Babis says recent elections in Slovenia and Italy show the stance of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia on immigration is spreading
  • The 2015 elections in Finland saw the right-wing Finns Party come second, although this year its candidate in presidential elections won just 6.9%
  • In the build-up to last year’s election in the Netherlands, the anti-immigration Freedom Party of Geert Wilders had been tipped to win, but in the end came a distant second despite increasing their number of seats.






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TBR News August 30, 2018

Aug 30 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 30, 2018: “The tighter the legal noose tightens around the President, the louder and more erratic are his responses. Now, he is violently attacking the American media for daring to publish negative comments, as he sees them, against him. He is livid that many of his top associates seem to be cooperating with an official investigation into him and his dealings and has threatened to attack and punish any member of the media who dares to contradict his strange views. And many of his small-minded but fanatic supporters are making death threats against the media for not respecting Trump. In light of the multitude of revelations about is private and public life, this is not hard to do.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 10
  • FBI arrests man who threatened to kill Boston Globe staff for criticizing Trump
  • The Neoconservative Comeback
  • Trump seeks to backtrack on 2017 comments on Comey firing
  • Trump’s Attacks on the Media Are Reaching Dangerous New Levels
  • Trump Is in Trouble. Here’s How Much Worse It Can Get
  • Carl Bernstein: Trump attacks ‘degenerate’ Watergate reporter
  • The CIA’s interest in the Douglas book on Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller and their attempts to secure damaging documents showing their employment of many SS and Gestapo officials.

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TBR News August 29, 2018

Aug 29 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 29, 2018: “SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), is an American technology applications company headquartered in the United States and who works for a number of U.S. federal, state, and private sector clients. It works extensively with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the American domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, as well as other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.From 2001 to 2005, SAIC was the primary contractor for the FBI’s unsuccessful Virtual Case File project. SAIC relocated its corporate headquarters to their existing facilities in Tysons Corner in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near McLean, in September 2009. As part of its outsourcing solution, SAIC has development centers in Noida and Bangalore, India. Scicom Technologies Noida was acquired by SAIC in September 2007.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) transitioned a Remote Viewing Program to SAIC in 1991 and it was renamed Stargate Project. STARGATE was one of a number of “remote viewing programs” conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by the eccentrics at the CIA. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool.

The program consisted of two separate activities. An operational unit employed remote viewers to train and perform remote viewing intelligence-gathering. The research program was maintained separately from the operational unit.

This effort was initiated in response to CIA concerns about highly unreliable reports of Soviet investigations of ‘psychic phenomena.’ Between 1969 and 1971, US intelligence sources erroneously concluded that the Soviet Union was engaged in “psychotronic” research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately 60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975. The money and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial and “fringy.” Using a declared, but fictional ‘Soviet threat,’ the CIA and other agencies have successfully deluded Congress, and often the White House, into heavily funding project that the agencies consider to be ‘cash cows.’

The initial research program, called SCANATE [scan by coordinate] was funded by CIA beginning in 1970. Remote viewing research began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute [SRI] in Menlo Park, CA. This work was conducted by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, once with the NSA and a later-identified Scientologist. The effort initially focused on a few “gifted individuals” such as the very eccentric Ingo Swann, an OT Level VII Scientologist. Many of the SRI “empaths” were from the Church of Scientology. Individuals who appeared to show potential were trained and taught to use talents for “psychic warfare.” The minimum accuracy needed by the clients was said to be 65%, and proponents claim that in the later stages of the training effort, this accuracy level was “often consistently exceeded.”

Ingo Swann born in 1933 in Telluride, Colorado, had been heavily involved with the bizarre Scientology movement from its onset and was best known for his work as a co-creator (according to his frequent collaborators Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff) of what has been called ‘remote viewing,’ specifically the Stargate Project.

Swann described himself as a “consciousness researcher” who had sometimes experienced “altered states of consciousness.” In other words, Swann actually believed that “special” individuala can leave their body and travel through space..

Swann helped develop the process of remote viewing at the Stanford Research Institute in experiments that caught the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency. He proposed the idea of Coordinate Remote Viewing, a process in which ‘remote viewers’ would see a location given nothing but its geographical coordinates,. This bizarre project, was developed and tested by Puthoff and Targ with CIA funding.. Details and transcripts of the SRI remote viewing experiments themselves were found to be edited and even unobtainable.

A Dr. Silfen and Swann prepared an unofficial report of later out-of-body experiments and circulated it to 500 members of the ASPR, before the ASPR board was aware of it. According to Swann, Dr. Silfen has ‘disappeared’  (or like so many other Scientology stories, never existed) and ‘cannot be located.’ Swann claimed he searched diligently for her and begged help from all his Scientology friends. According to Swann, in April 1972 a move was made at the ASPR in New York to discredit him and throw him out because he was a scientologist.”

Ingo Swann died in New York, January 31, 2013.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 10
  • Trump told Japan’s Abe he ‘remembers Pearl Harbor,’ Washington Post says. Didn’t happen, Tokyo says
  • White House counsel McGahn to leave post: Trump
  • How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites
  • US, Russia engage in war of words as Syria attack looms
  • Turkish purchase of Russian anti-missile system concerns U.S. – Mattis
  • Germany creates DARPA-like cybersecurity agency
  • How Macedonia Could Push NATO into a War
  • When the inmates rule the asylum
  • Trump-backed candidate’s ‘monkey’ comment draws fire in Florida race

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TBR News August 28, 2018

Aug 28 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 28, 2018: “Attacking Iranian nuclear facilities also has the potential of igniting a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Russia. The Russian Federation is not only Iran’s foremost supplier of nuclear technology and training, it is reported that hundreds of Russian scientists and technicians currently work in Bushehr. A preemptive attack on Bushehr may kill a large number of Iranian and Russian personnel; the ensuing diplomatic crisis could seriously affect not only Russian-U.S. trade but also cooperation on international matters, including the war on terrorism.

An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities that are viewed by most Iranians as a symbol of national pride and technological progress would provide the Iranian mullahs the necessary justification to intensify their crackdown on dissidents and moderates, whom the hawks are likely to brand as agents of foreign powers. It is equally plausible that, fearing such a backlash, domestic opposition forces in Iran would band together with Iran’s new hawkish majority in parliament and abandon their calls and protests for reform.

Unlike Iraq, which in June 1981 was in the midst of a major war with Iran and lacked the military means to retaliate for Israel’s attack on its nuclear reactor in Osirak, Iran is not only capable but very likely to respond to a preemptive attack on its nuclear facilities. Various Iranian leaders have already promised very strong reactions to such an event.

Iran’s most dangerous potential response to an American or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities might be a serious and sustained rocket attack on Israel with especial emphasis on th Golan Heights.

The majority of the Middle Eastern governments, with the sole exception of Israel, view President Trump as bombastic, unstable and vicious and if Iran were attacked and responded with force, there is no doubt Iran would find many allies.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 9
  • Donald Trump: Google’s news service is rigged against me
  • Trump’s Psychopathology Is Getting Worse
  • U.S. judge gives partial win to prosecution ahead of Manafort’s second trial
  • Turkey warms to Russia as U.S. ties slip
  • How dangerous are Austria’s far-right hipsters?
  • ‘Europe has to play its trump cards’: German energy giant says Russian gas vital for continent
  • Nord Stream 2: Gas pipeline from Russia that’s dividing Europe
  • U.S. court says North Carolina gerrymander is illegal, seeks new congressional map
  • ‘Apocalyptic threat’: dire climate report raises fears for California’s future

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TBR News August 27, 2018

Aug 27 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 27, 2018: “”Over the past few years, the American media has been breathlessly informing the public about “probable attacks” on Iran because, it is stated, that country is developing atomic weapons to use on Israel. Of course whatever happens to Israel is of vital importance to the United States and is mostly non-Israeli citizens.

The U.S. has been placing economic sanctions on Iran and this is damaging their economy. Their response? They have threatened to close the international waterway, the Straits of Hormuz! Since almost all Iranian oil, on which they depend for a significant part of their national income, comes from selling, and shipping, oil, this is mere sound and fury, signifying nothing. This false bravado is also designed to build public morale in Iran with national elections looming.

This threat, and the subsequent threat to attack an American Navy aircraft carrier carry with them the danger that a rigged Gulf of Tonkin incident can be arraigned to supply a legitimate motive for the U.S. Navy to take “retaliatory measures” against Iran. In the mountains on Iran’s western border on the Gulf are numerous missile bases, constructed with aid of the Russians.

In the event of a “hostile act” on the part of Iran, perhaps a small military type MTB wearing an Iranian flag, would lunch relatively small surface-to-surface at some large American ship. There would be explosions and, out of necessity, American deaths. Shocked headlines in the CIA-controlled New York Times and Washington Post and a stunned Congress would demand revenge.  Then our Naval units would attack the missile bases and turn them into large, rubble-filled holes and our next target would be far to the north in Tehran.

Our military is stretched too thin to become involved in yet another political war but the Navy and Air Force have been unscathed and would do the attacking. Naturally, the Israeli units would be unable to assist this effort to save them from possible attack because they were too busy protecting the Sacred Motherland to get killed elsewhere and, even worse, to lose expensive aircraft to air defense missiles.

What is causing a deliberate escalation of this project is multifaceted in nature. China does a good deal of oil business with Iran. China has reached a trade volume of 53 billion dollars with Iran and also has a treaty to manage an aslect of the South Pars oil fields.

China has been threatening our allies lately, hacking into sensitive governmental computers sites and threatening us with dire fiscal problems because they own so much of our Treasury notes and intercepted messaging indicates China is trying to forge more important ties with Tehran, just short of an open military or other alliance that would upset the balance of power.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 8
  • How heartening to see a still robust US constitution as the net closes on Trump
  • Donald Trump Tweet-Directs Attorney General To Investigate Political Foes
  • Omarosa Claims Melania Trump Can’t Wait to Divorce the President: She’s ‘Counting Every Minute’
  • Roger Stone says he may soon be indicted in Trump-Russia investigation
  • Iran says it has full control of Gulf, U.S. Navy does not belong there
  • The American theft of German gold (translated from the German)
  • EU security must no longer depend on US – Macron
  • Trump takes aim at Venezuela lifeline, which could raise prices at the pump
  • Homelessness in England triples under austerity
  • No alcohol safe to drink, global study confirms

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TBR News August 26, 2018

Aug 26 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 26, 2018: “In July of 1940, at the Democratic convention held in Chicago, Joseph Kennedy Jr. was a delegate pledged to James Farley. During the course of the convention, Roosevelt’s men wished the nomination to be unanimous but young Kennedy refused to change his vote in spite of tremendous pressure put on him and his father by the Roosevelt camp.

The elder Kennedy had been an early Roosevelt supporter and had been given the Ambassadorship to England as a reward for his past contributions to the party. In this position, Kennedy enraged the British by his negative attitudes towards their government and his advices to Roosevelt not to support Britain militarily.

All of the State Department cables were intercepted and decoded by British intelligence and the American Embassy in London was bugged with the result that many anti-Roosevelt comments purporting to come from Kennedy were passed on to Roosevelt by Churchill.

The ambassador was eventually recalled and a number of post-war British writers have attempted to portray Kennedy as a German spy, without the smallest degree of proof.

On August 12, 1944, Joseph Kennedy Jr. was piloting a special bomber loaded with explosives. It was intended that he aim the plane at a German rocket site near the French coast and parachute out while the flying bomb continued to its target.

Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft exploded in mid-air, instantly killing Kennedy and his co-pilot. The fuzes on the aircraft intended to explode the explosive cargo were designed to be activated by an FM radio beam.

By coincidence, at the moment of the explosion, a British FM station, whose stated purpose was to send out false radio signals designed to disrupt incoming German V-1s, suddenly went on the air.

The British later apologized for their error, stating that they were “totally unaware” of the Kennedy mission.

Neither the German V-1, or “buzz bomb”, or the V-2, used any kind of radio control to direct them to their targets. By the time of the Kennedy mission, British experts had throughly inspected sufficient crashed V-1s to realize this fact and were also aware that the V-2 long range rocket was set on its course at launch time.

No radio interception on the part of the British or Americans would have had the slightest effect on the trajectory of either weapon and this was well known at the time.

In 1944, Joe Kennedy said to then-Senator Harry Truman at a Democratic strategy meeting in Boston, ‘Harry, what the hell are you doing campaigning for that crippled son-of-a-bitch that killed my son Joe?'”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 8
  • Impeach Trump: why Republicans, not Democrats are talking up the prospect
  • Trump’s tariffs could cripple American farmers
  • U.S. judge rejects Trump directives easing ability to fire federal workers
  • Warding off witchcraft? Pastor calls for prayers to protect Trump from occult
  • Why Evangelicals Support President Trump, Despite His Immorality
  • Let’s drop the euphemisms: Donald Trump is a racist president
  • Support for Israel increasingly seen as a liability as Democrats move to the left


Blessed Prozac Moments

Encyclopedia of American Loons

  • #1050: Jon Rappoport
  • Depopulation by vaccines?

Encyclopedia of American Loons

  • #197: Alex Jones
  • Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify ban Infowars’ Alex Jones

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TBR News August 25, 2018

Aug 25 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 25, 2018: “1. Internet access can be controlled or its use directed according to the server configuration, thus creating an excellent disinformation weapon.  In previous times, a national media report that was deemed to be offensive or problematical to the government could be censored, or removed at governmental request. Now, however, the government cannot control the present Internet in the same manner in which it has previously controlled the public media.

2.The Internet permits uncensored and unfiltered versions of events, personalities and actions to be disseminated worldwide in seconds and the so-called “blogs,” chat rooms and websites are almost completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable. This unfortunate situation permits versions of events to find a far wider and far more instantaneous audience than the standard print and, to a lesser degree, the television mediums ever could.The Internet can be used to send coded messages that cannot be interdicted by any government or law-enforcement agency.

3.The Internet can be utilized to steal and disseminate highly damaging, sensitive government or business data.

4.The Internet permits anti-government groups or individuals with few resources to offset the efforts of far larger, and far better funded, government and its national media sources.

5.The Internet can be used to create serious disruptions of governmental agencies and the business communities.

  1. The Internet can serve as an excellent tool for organizing groups of anti-government individuals into action.
  2. The Internet can be used to expose government actions and military operations in advance of said actions.
  3. The Internet is capable of hiding the identities of those launching attacks on the actions and personnel of various government agencies.

9.The Internet can materially assist an underfunded, anti-government group to raise money for continued operations.

10. The Internet can be utilized to locate and publicize the personnel of government agencies.

  1. The Internet can be used as a tool to recruit new members for anti-government groups.
  2. The Internet is capable of limiting the risk of identification of the members of anti-government groups.
  3. The Internet, while impossible to control, is also an excellent recruiting ground for sympathetic or easily-convinced “bloggers” who will quickly disseminate official dissemination for pay or public acclaim.
  4. By using controlled sources, it is easily possible to defuse delicate situations and divert public attention away from unwelcome issues.

15. The Internet can be utilized to create an atmosphere of fear or of compliance in furtherance of official policy.

16. The Internet can be an outstanding command and control mechanism in the marshalling of public opinion in support of a government program.”

The Table of Contents

  • Fenced out: Los Angeles businesses find new way to keep away homeless
  • U.S. calls foreign mail system unfair in surprise win for Amazon
  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 8
  • Trump’s terrible week: stunning news and whispers of impeachment
  • Bolton calls on Al-Qaeda to stage more chemical attacks in Syria
  • Will the Fervor to Impeach Donald Trump Start a Democratic Civil War?

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TBR News August 24, 2018

Aug 24 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 24, 2018:” “Zero Hedge is a very eccentric Austrian economics-based finance blog run by a pseudonymous founder who posts articles under the name “Tyler Durden,” after the character from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. It has accurately predicted 200 of the last 2 recessions.

“Tyler” claims to be a “believer in a sweeping conspiracy that casts the alumni of Goldman Sachs as a powerful cabal at the helm of U.S. policy, with the Treasury and the Federal Reserve colluding to preserve the status quo.” While this is not an entirely unreasonable statement of the problem, his solution actually mirrors the antagonist in Fight Club: Tyler wants, per Austrian school ideas, to lead a catastrophic market crash in order to destroy banking institutions and bring back “real” free market capitalism.

The site posts nearly indecipherable, and generally bizarre, analyses of multiple and seemingly unrelated subjects that are intended  to point towards a consistent theme of economic collapse “any day now.”

“ Tyler” seems to repeat The Economic Collapse Blog’s idea of posting blog articles many times a day and encouraging people to post it as far and wide as humanly possible. “Tyler” moves away from the format of long lists to write insanely dense volumes filled with generally contradicting jargon that makes one wonder if the writers even know what the words actually mean. The site first appeared in early 2009, meaning that (given “Tyler’s” psychotic habit of denying each and every positive data point), anyone listening to him from the beginning missed the entire 2009-2014 rally in the equities market.

The only writer conclusively identified is one Dan Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian former medical student, who conducts public interviews on behalf of Zero Hedge. This hysterical blog came online several days after he lost his job at Wexford Capital, a Connecticut-based hedge fund (run by a former Goldman trader). And Ivandjiiski chose his pen name from a nihilistic psychotic delusion.

Zero Hedge is not quite the NaturalNews of economics, but not for want of trying.

This entertaining nonsense is in the same category as the pompous, and often rewritten, political blog, the Drudge Report and the “Sorcha Faal” which used to screech about the fictional “Planet X.” And for even more light-weight entertainment, look at the conspiracy blogs of “Dr.” Paul Fetzer and Tom Hengehan. Since the media has virtually done away with comic strips, these are all that is left to entertain a bored reader. These sort of babblings also entertain a legion of the feeble-minded conspiracy freaks that flock to the strange Internet sites like flies to shit.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 7
  • Can Donald Trump Unite the World (Against Himself)?
  • David Pecker: Trump confidant and National Enquirer boss was given immunity in Cohen case
  • What does David Pecker’s immunity mean for Donald Trump?
  • Trump accuses social media giants of censorship, says ‘millions’ being silenced
  • Sessions hits back at Trump over criticism
  • Donald Trump Will Fire Jeff Sessions After Midterms, Republicans Say
  • Prosecutors grant Trump Organization CFO immunity in Cohen probe: WSJ
  • Do Democrats Want an Impeachment Fight?
  • China’s Flood of Counterfeit International Gold and Silver coins

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TBR News August 23, 2018

Aug 23 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 23, 2018:” Both the State of Israel and the United States view Syria as a potentially dangerous enemy. Joint intelligence indicates that Syria is a strong supporter of the Hezbollah Shiite paramilitary group.

Israel had planned a punitive military operation into Lebanon both to clip Hezbollah’s wings and send a strong message to Syria to cease and desist supplying arms and money to the anti-Israel group. Because of its involvement in Iraq, the United States indicated it would be unable to supply any ground troops but would certainly supply any kind of weapon, to include bombs, cluster bombs and ammunition for this projected operation.

A casus belli was created by the Israeli Mossad’s assassination of Rafik Haarri, a popular Lebanese politician and subsequent disinformation promulgated and instigated by both Israel and the United States blamed Syria for the killing.

The IDF was being supplied faulty and misleading intelligence information, apparently originating from Russian sources, that gave misinformation about Hezbollah positions and strengths and therefore the initial planning was badly flawed.

In full concert with the American president, the IDF launched its brutal and murderous attack on July 12, 2006 and continued unabated until the Hexbollah inflicted so many serious casualties on the Israeli forces and also on the civilian population of Israel, that their government frantically demanded that the White House force a cease fire through the United Nations. This was done for Israel on August 14, 2007 and the last act of this murderous and unprovoked assault was when Israel removed their naval blockade of Lebanese ports.

The contrived incident that launched the Israeli attack was an alleged attack by Hezbollah into Israeli territory where they were alleged to have ‘kidnapped’ two Israeli soldiers and subsequently launched a rocket attack to cover their retreat.

The conflict killed over six thousand people, most of whom were Lebanese, severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure, displaced 700,000-915,000 Lebanese, and 300,000-500,000 Israelis, and disrupted normal life across all of Lebanon and northern Israel. Even after the ceasefire, much of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs.

During the campaign Israel’s Air Force flew more than 12,000 combat missions, its Navy fired 2,500 shells, and its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other targets such as Beirut International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals, and 15,000 homes. Some 130,000 more homes were damaged.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered commanders to prepare civil defense plans. One million Israelis had to stay near or in bomb shelters or security rooms, with some 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.

On 26 July 2006 Israeli forces attacked and destroyed an UN observer post. Described as a nondeliberate attack by Israel, the post was shelled for hours before being bombed. UN forces made repeated calls to alert Israeli forces of the danger to the UN observers, all four of whom were killed. Rescuers were shelled as they attempted to reach the post. According to an e-mail sent earlier by one of the UN observers killed in the attack, there had been numerous occasions on a daily basis where the post had come under fire from both Israeli artillery and bombing.

  • On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed eighteen soldiers. Israel claimed, after this event, that it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.
  • On 28 July 2006 Israeli paratroopers killed 5 of Hezbollah’s commando elite in Bint Jbeil. In total, the IDF claimed that 80 fighters were killed in the battles at Bint Jbeil. Hezbollah sources, coupled with International Red Cross figures place the Hezbollah total at 7 dead and 129 non-combatant Lebanese civilian deaths.
  • On 30 July 2006 Israeli air strikes hit an apartment building in Qana, killing at least 65 civilians, of which 28 were children, with 25 more missing. The air strike was widely condemned.
  • On 31 July 2006 the Israeli military and Hezbollah forces engaged Hezbollah in the Battle of Ayta ash-Shab.
  • On 1 August 2006 Israeli commandos launched Operation Sharp and Smooth and landed in Baalbek and captured five civilians including one bearing the same name as Hezbollah’s leader, “Hassan Nasrallah”. All of the civilians were released after the ceasefire. Troops landed near Dar al-Himkeh hospital west of Baalbeck as part of a widescale operation in the area.
  • On 4 August 2006 the IAF attacked a building in the area of al-Qaa around 10 kilometers (six miles) from Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Sixty two farm workers, mostly Syrian and Lebanese Kurds, were killed during the airstrike.
  • On 5 August 2006 Israeli commandos carried out a nighttime raid in Tyre, blowing up a water treatment plant, a small clinic and killing 187 civilians before withdrawing.
  • On 7 August 2006 the IAF attacked the Shiyyah suburb in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, destroying three apartment buildings in the suburb, killing at least 120 people.
  • On 11 August 2006 the IAF attacked a convoy of approximately 750 vehicles containing Lebanese police, army, civilians, and one Associated Press journalist, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 39.
  • On 12 August 2006 the IDF established its hold in South Lebanon. Over the weekend Israeli forces in southern Lebanon nearly tripled in size. and were ordered to advance towards the Litani River.
  • On 14 August 2006 the Israeli Air Force reported that they had killed the head of Hezbollah?s Special Forces, whom they identified as Sajed Dewayer,but this claim was never proven.. 80 minutes before the cessation of hostilities, the IDF targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, killing a UNRWA staff member. Sixty two refugees had been killed in an attack on this camp six days prior to the incident.

During the campaign Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets. About 95% of these were 122 mm (4.8 in) Katyusha artillery rockets, which carried warheads up to 30 kg (66 lb) and had a range of up to 30 km (19 mi). An estimated 23% of these rockets hit built-up areas, primarily civilian in nature.

Cities hit included Haifa, Hadera, Nazareth, Tiberias, Nahariya, Safed, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an, Karmiel, and Maalot, and dozens of Kibbutzim, Moshavim, and Druze and Arab villages, as well as the northern West Bank. Hezbollah also engaged in guerrilla warfare with the IDF, attacking from well-fortified positions. These attacks by small, well-armed units caused serious problems for the IDF, especially through the use hundreds of sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Hezbollah destroyed 38 Israeli Merkava main battle tanks and damaged 82. Fifteen  tanks were destroyed by anti-tank mines. Hezbollah caused  an additional 65 casualties using ATGMs to collapse buildings onto Israeli troops sheltering inside.

After the initial Israeli response, Hezbollah declared an all-out military alert. Hezbollah was estimated to have 13,000 missiles at the beginning of the conflict. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described Hezbollah as a trained, skilled, well-organized, and highly motivated infantry that was equipped with the cream of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia, and China. Lebanese satellite TV station Al-Manar reported that the attacks had included a Fajr-3 and a Ra’ad 1, both liquid-fuel missiles developed by Iran.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah defended the attacks, saying that Hezbollah had “started to act calmly, we focused on Israel[i] military bases and we didn’t attack any settlement, however, since the first day, the enemy attacked Lebanese towns and murdered civilians  Hezbollah militants had destroyed military bases, while the Israelis killed civilians and targeted Lebanon’s infrastructure.” Hezbollah apologized for shedding Muslim blood, and called on the Arabs of the Israeli city of Haifa to flee.

  • On 13 July 2006 in response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks in which 43  civilians were killed, Hezbollah launched rockets at Haifa for the first time, hitting a cable car station along with a few other buildings
  • On 14 July 2006 Hezbollah attacked the INS Hanit, an Israeli Sa’ar 5-class missile boat enforcing the naval blockade, with  what was believed to be a radar guided C-802 anti-ship missile. 24 sailors were killed and the warship was severely damaged and towed back to port.
  • On 17 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a railroad repair depot, killing twenty-two workers. Hezbollah claimed that this attack was aimed at a large Israeli fuel storage plant adjacent to the railway facility. Haifa is home to many strategically valuable facilities such as shipyards and oil refineries.
  • On 18 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a hospital in Safed in northern Galilee, wounding twenty three.
  • On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed forty one soldiers, and destroyed 12 IDF vehicles and destroyed three armored vehicles and seriously damaged eight more. Israel claimed it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.
  • On 3 August 2006 Nasrallah warned Israel against hitting Beirut and promised retaliation against Tel Aviv in this case. He also stated that Hezbollah would stop its rocket campaign if Israel ceased aerial and artillery strikes of Lebanese towns and villages.
  • On 4 August 2006 Israel targeted the southern outskirts of Beirut, and later in the day, Hezbollah launched rockets at the Hadera region.
  • On 9 August 2006 twenty three Israeli soldiers were killed when the building they were taking cover in was struck by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile and collapsed.
  • On 12 August 2006 24 Israeli soldiers were killed; the worst Israeli loss in a single day. Out of those 24, five soldiers were killed when Hezbollah shot down an Israeli helicopter, a first for the militia. Hezbollah claimed the helicopter had been attacked with a Wa’ad missile.

One of the most controversial aspects of the conflict has been the high number of civilian deaths. The actual proportion of civilian deaths and the responsibility of it is hotly disputed.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blamed Israel for systematically failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, which may constitute a war crime, and accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes by the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians by firing rockets into populated areas

  • On 24 July 2006, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Israel’s response violated international humanitarian law, but also criticized Hezbollah for knowingly putting civilians in harm’s way by “cowardly blending…among women and children”.

During the war, Israeli jets distributed leaflets calling on civilian residents to evacuate or move north.

In response to some of this criticism, Israel has stated that it did, wherever possible, attempt to distinguish between protected persons and combatants, but that due to Hezbollah militants being in civilian clothing

Direct attacks on civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initially estimated about 35,000 homes and businesses in Lebanon were destroyed by Israel in the conflict, while a quarter of the country’s road bridges or overpasses were damaged. Jean Fabre, a UNDP spokesman, estimated that overall economic losses for Lebanon from the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah totaled “at least $15 billion, if not more.”] Before and throughout the war, Hezbollah launched over 4000 unguided rockets against Israeli population centers, seeking to terrorize the Israeli population. This was in direct response to Israel’s attack on residential sections and the deliberate targeting of civilians

Amnesty International published a report stating that “the deliberate widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population,” and called for an international investigation of violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict.

Israel defended itself from such allegations on the grounds that Hezbollah’s use of roads and bridges for military purposes made them legitimate targets. However, Amnesty International stated that “the military advantage anticipated from destroying [civilian infrastructure] must be measured against the likely effect on civilians.”

Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Israel for using cluster bombs too close to civilians because of their inaccuracy and unreliability, suggesting that they may have gone as far as deliberately targeting civilian areas with such munitions. Hezbollah was also criticized by Human Rights Watch for filling its rockets with ball bearings, which “suggests a desire to maximize harm to civilians”; the U.N has criticized Israel for its use of cluster munitions and disproportionate attacks.

Amnesty International stated that the IDF used white phosphorus shells in Lebanon. Israel later admitted to the use of white phosphorus, but stated that it only used the incendiary against militants. However, several foreign media outlets reported observing and photographing a large number of Lebanese civilians with burns characteristic of white phosphorus attacks during the conflict.

Hezbollah casualty figures are difficult to ascertain, with claims and estimates by different groups and individuals ranging from 43 to 1,000. Hezbollah’s leadership claims that 43 of their fighters were killed in the conflict, while Israel estimated that its forces had killed 600 Hezbollah fighters. In addition, Israel claimed to have the names of 532 dead Hezbollah fighters but when challenged by Hezbollah to release the list, the Israelis dropped the issue. A UN official estimated that 50 Hezbollah fighters had been killed, and Lebanese government officials estimated that up to 49 had been killed.

The Lebanese civilian death toll is difficult to pinpoint as most published figures do not distinguish between civilians and militants, including those released by the Lebanese government. In addition, Hezbollah fighters could be difficult to identify as many did not wear military uniforms. However, it has been widely reported that the majority of the Lebanese killed were civilians, and UNICEF estimated that 30% of those killed were children under the age of 13

The death toll estimates do not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded US/Israeli cluster bombs. According to the National Demining Office, 297 people were killed and 867 wounded in such blasts.

Official Israeli figures for the Israel Defense Forces troops killed range from 116 to 120. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives two different figures 117 and 119 the latter of which contains two IDF fatalities that occurred after the ceasefire went into effect. In September 2006, two local Israeli newspapers released insider information ensuring that the Israeli military death toll might climbed to around 540 soldiers. Israel refused any outside agency access to its lists of the dead and wounded but an examination of all the accurate information available as of January 1, 2007 indicates that Israeli Defense Forces lost a total of 2300 killed with 600 of these dying in militatary hospital facilities subsequent to the conclusion of the fighting and an additional 700 very seriously wounded.

Hezbollah rockets killed 43 Israeli civilians during the conflict, including four who died of heart attacks during rocket attacks. In addition, 4,262 civilians were injured, 33 seriously, 68 moderately, 1,388 lightly, and 2,773 were treated for shock and anxiety

In March, 2007, the Israeli comptroller had planned to release an interim report that was expected to accuse the army and Olmert of leaving Israeli civilians virtually defenseless during last summer’s Lebanon war, in which Hezbollah guerrillas fired a barrage of rockets and missiles at northern   Israel.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 6
  • Donald Trump’s reckoning has arrived
  • Is Donald Trump Above the Law?
  • Midterm lawfare? Federal prosecutors derail re-election bids of two prominent Trump supporters
  • The New Cold War Flops
  • The Attack on Iran: Israel’s Plans for a US Action
  • Air Marshals Secretly Followed an Artsy Virginia Mom on Flights to Make Sure She Wasn’t Going to Destroy America



Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 6

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018


  • Feb 24, 2018

“Now you know they’re not going to have their best people in the lottery, ’cause they’re not going to put their best people in the lottery. They don’t want to have their good people leave.”

Source: Phone call to Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, Justice

in fact: This is, as always, an inaccurate description of Diversity Visa Lottery program. Contrary to Trump’s regular claim, foreign governments do not put the names of their problem citizens into the lottery to try to dump them on the United States. Would-be immigrants sign up on their own, as individuals, of their own free will; they are not “given” to the United States by nefarious foreign leaders.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times


“We actually have lottery systems — where you go to countries and they do lotteries for who comes into the United States.”

Source: Phone call to Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, Justice

in fact: The diversity visa lottery, in which people receive “green cards” for permanent residency, is conducted by the U.S. State Department, not by foreign countries.

“I’m the one that’s pushing DACA. And the Democrats are nowhere to be found.”

Source: Phone call to Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, Justice

in fact: This is transparently inaccurate. Trump, a Republican, cancelled the Democrat-created DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that gives young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the “DREAMers,” work permits and protection from deportation. Democrats are now urging him to simply re-protect DACA enrollees without conditions. Conversely, Trump and other Republicans are demanding steep concessions — billions of dollars for a border wall, a reduction of one third or more in legal immigration — in exchange for protecting DACA enrollees, and some conservative Republicans continue to deride any permanent protection for enrollees as “amnesty.” Democrats have consented to billions in wall funding, but Trump has rejected even this deal on the grounds that he also wants the cuts to legal immigration. In short: Trump is free to argue, as some DREAMers are, that Democrats are not fighting hard enough for DACA enrollees, but there is no reasonable argument that they are “nowhere to be found” on the subject or that Trump is the one “pushing DACA.”

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times


“He got scammed by somebody pretending to be a Russian…if you look at Adam Schiff, last week, two weeks ago, he got scammed by somebody…he spoke to this person, thought he was a Russian, but it didn’t work out that way, he wasn’t a Russian.”

Source: Phone call to Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, Justice

in fact: Trump had both the “when” and the “who” wrong in this story. The “when”: Schiff was tricked by a phone prankster in April, 10 months prior, not last week or two weeks ago. (Trump might have been confused because news outlets wrote stories on the call two weeks prior to this phone call to Pirro.) The “who”: Schiff believed he was speaking to Ukrainian politician Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of that country’s parliament, not a Russian; he was, in fact, speaking to Russians, two Russian pranksters.


“That document (Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s memo) really verifies the Nunes memo. And that’s why they didn’t push hard to have it — if you notice, they did not push it hard, because they understood this was going to happen.”

Source: Phone call to Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, Justice

in fact: There is no reasonable argument that the Democrats “didn’t push hard” for the release of the Schiff memo. They pleaded with Trump to release it. When he refused, they denounced him. (“What’s really going on here is that the president doesn’t want the public to see the underlying facts,” Schiff said on CBS’s Face the Nation.) The memo was only released after extensive redactions by the FBI.


“‘Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts’ @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This is an egregious distortion of what the Fox News host actually said. The real quote: “Congressman Schiff, he argues the Republican memo ‘omitted and distorted key facts.'” Trump, in other words, left out the words “he argues the Republican memo” in order to make it seem as if Fox was criticizing Schiff rather than simply reporting on Schiff’s own views.


“‘Russians had no compromising information on Donald Trump’ @FoxNews Of course not, because there is none, and never was.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent for CNN, checked the Fox footage and reported that the alleged Fox quote Trump tweeted here was never actually uttered on television. Stelter wrote on Twitter: “He’s completely misquoting Fox here. Fox hosts pointed out that there’s nothing *in the Dem memo* about the Russians having compromising info about Trump. But what he quoted was never said on Fox. Maybe he misunderstood the TV coverage?”


“Dems are no longer talking DACA! ‘Out of sight, out of mind,’ they say. DACA beneficiaries should not be happy. Nancy Pelosi truly doesn’t care about them.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This is transparently inaccurate. Trump, a Republican, cancelled the Democrat-created DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that gives young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the “DREAMers,” work permits and protection from deportation. Democrats are now urging him to simply re-protect DACA enrollees without conditions. Conversely, Trump and other Republicans are demanding steep concessions — billions of dollars for a border wall, a reduction of one third or more in legal immigration — in exchange for protecting DACA enrollees, and some conservative Republicans continue to deride any permanent protection for enrollees as “amnesty.” Democrats have consented to billions in wall funding, but Trump has rejected even this deal on the grounds that he also wants the cuts to legal immigration. In short: Trump is free to argue, as some DREAMers are, that Democrats are not fighting hard enough for DACA enrollees, but there is no reasonable argument that they are no longer talking about DACA. Pelosi, further, has been one of the most vocal Democrats on the issue. In early February, she set a House of Representatives record by giving an eight-hour speech in support of DACA recipients.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times


“…lowest black unemployment in history!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This used to be true, but it was false at the time Trump tweeted. The Black unemployment rate did hit an all-time low (for the period since the government began tracking Black unemployment separately in the early 1970s), 6.8 per cent, for December. But then, in January, it spiked to 7.7 per cent, a non-record. The government report showing the spike to 7.7 per cent had been out for three weeks when Trump posted this tweet.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times


  • Feb 25, 2018

“Your GDP numbers, as you know, the first quarter — or the last quarter for the previous administration — was not good. And if you look at them now, we’re hitting 3s routinely, and we had a 3.2. ”

Source: Speech at the Governors’ Ball

in fact: It is an exaggeration to say the U.S. is now hitting 3 per cent GDP growth “routinely.” Trump has been president for three full quarters. In the first two (the second and third quarter of 2017), GDP growth did indeed hit 3: 3.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent. But in the third quarter (the fourth quarter of 2017), the most recent, growth was 2.6 per cent.


Donald Trump’s reckoning has arrived

After Michael Cohen’s day in court, the president is in very real legal jeopardy. It’s now conceivable he could be forced to resign

August 21, 2018

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

To lose one of your inner circle to criminal charges may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two on the same day looks like carelessness.

Donald Trump is nothing if not careless. His type inevitably gets like that as their escapades grow ever more preposterous. Sooner or later, their delusional sense of power and smarts ends in the kind of concrete solitude now being contemplated by Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. The laws do not apply to them until, suddenly, they do.

Of the two legal calamities befalling Trump, the plea bargain of his personal fixer is even more disastrous than the guilty verdicts slapped down on his campaign chairman. Although let’s be honest: the scale of both disasters makes it a close call.

Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women who were allegedly the mistresses of one Donald Trump. All this in the middle of the 2016 election, “at the direction of the candidate”, as Cohen told the court.

Never mind the facepalming deceit and hypocrisy of the candidate who claimed he was running against Crooked Hillary.

For now we need to stay focused on the very real legal jeopardy facing Crooked Donald. Campaign finance crimes of this kind are not trivial matters: under federal guidelines updated at the end of last year by Trump’s own justice department, a campaign finance crime committed knowingly and willfully amounting to more than $25,000 is what they call a five-year felony.

Just one of Cohen’s payments, made at Trump’s direction, amounted to $130,000.

Of course any normal politician would have died of embarrassment at arranging secret payments to any porn star, never mind one called Stormy Daniels. Any normal politician would have found his career and reputation shredded to the point where he would be too ashamed to stay in public life or, for that matter, any public space.

But as we all know by now, Crooked Donald is entirely abnormal, with no reputation to save, and no sense of shame.

Just seven years ago, a federal grand jury indicted former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards on six counts of breaking campaign finance laws for the exact same scenario as this sitting president: paying hush money to cover up an extramarital affair. Edwards escaped conviction after a jury was deadlocked on most of the charges, and the Justice Department did not seek a retrial. Edwards disappeared from public view, and his political career came to a definitive end.

It’s hard to imagine Trump making the same choice. He can no more disappear from public view than you can forget your first projectile vomiting. John Edwards was vilified for betraying his inspirational, cancer-stricken wife. Yet even he had more decency and dignity than Donald Trump.

Until this point, most of the nation’s nattering nabobs have conjured up scenarios about impeachment.

No doubt the pressure for impeachment will only build from here – even without a full-blown conspiracy with a hostile foreign nation to manipulate the election. The current campaign finance crimes on display are more than enough to meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. But impeachment in a Democratic-controlled House – if this year’s elections proceed as forecast – will ultimately be followed by failure in a Senate trial, where Republicans would need to vote to kick Trump out of office. There is no plausible scenario where this Republican Party would do so, even with White House tapes of Trump discussing a Russian conspiracy.

Cohen’s plea bargain suggests we may have sought out the wrong historical figure in the Nixon White House. Nixon was forced to resign by his party and his sense of shame: two factors that are absent today.

Instead we should be looking at Nixon’s first vice-president, Spiro Agnew, who was forced out of office by something much more familiar: criminal investigations into conspiracy, tax fraud and bribery, among other things. Agnew had been a corrupt public official since his days as Maryland governor, and the corruption continued into his vice-presidency. A year after his re-election, Agnew accepted a guilty plea bargain on tax evasion and resigned from office.

Until his resignation, Agnew claimed the US attorney’s investigations were all lies. His lawyers claimed that a sitting vice-president couldn’t be indicted. Both of those arguments collapsed. As one of Agnew’s lawyers recently wrote, there are no constitutional protections against indictment for either a president or a vice-president.

Would Trump resist a plea bargain more than anyone else in his inner-circle? Does he have the spinal fortitude to risk a five-year jail term and a good chunk of his personal fortune for the chance of saving his political career and the undying love of his political base?

He may decide that his base will always love him. He may decide that his freedom is as much about avoiding four more years in the White House as it is about avoiding five years in the Big House. If shame won’t make him quit, perhaps a plea bargain will.

There was a time when we all covered political sex scandals because, as Matt Bai explained so well about Gary Hart, they told us something about character. Those were the old days. Now we know all about Donald Trump’s character, but we still don’t know all about the conspiracies to manipulate the 2016 election.

If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.

Instead, he attracted the attention of every self-respecting law enforcement and intelligence officer in the nation’s capital and beyond. The downfall of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel began when he ran for office in Colombia, and the same might just prove to be true about the far smaller Trump enterprise.

Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing. As a candidate he suggested his supporters would suffer some kind of headache from all of his endless winning. He imagined them saying “Please don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.” How right he was.

Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist


Is Donald Trump Above the Law?

August 22 2018

by James Risen

The Intercept

Ever since the federal investigations of President Donald Trump and his lackeys began, most outside observers have argued it was highly unlikely that Trump himself would face criminal prosecution.

The conventional wisdom has been that federal prosecutors would bow to long-standing tradition and decades-old Justice Department legal opinions and not seek an indictment of a sitting president. Trump might face impeachment in Congress, which is a political process, but it seemed far-fetched that prosecutors would try to send him directly from the White House to prison.

But that line of thinking was upended Tuesday, when Trump became the unnamed “Individual-1” in a federal criminal case. Tuesday was the day that the chances that Trump will face indictment and criminal prosecution surged higher than ever before.

In fact, August 21, 2018, seems certain to be a watershed day in Trump’s manic presidency.

In a Virginia federal court on Tuesday, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was found guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating whether Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, in a New York federal court on Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer, pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and, most critically for Trump, campaign finance violations.

Both of Tuesday’s cases were really bad news for Trump, but the Cohen plea deal presented a more immediate threat to the president. As part of his plea, Cohen directly implicated the president, asserting that he worked with Trump during the campaign to pay off two women to keep their stories of alleged affairs with Trump out of the press before the 2016 election. Given the way the payments were made, as well as their intent, that effort was a violation of federal campaign finance laws. Cohen asserted in federal court that Trump had committed a felony.

Now, federal prosecutors are faced with a dilemma. They have just triumphed in a high-profile white-collar criminal case in which they successfully nailed the personal lawyer to the president. They squeezed Cohen so hard that he admitted the president was his co-conspirator in a crime. And not just any crime — a crime designed to help Trump win the presidency.

Can prosecutors now ignore the logic of their own case? Don’t they have to go after Trump himself?

Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, asked that question publicly on Tuesday. In a tweet after Cohen’s plea, Davis wrote that his client “stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

The Cohen and Manafort cases were brought by different teams of prosecutors, and that may make a difference in how each is pursued from here. The Cohen prosecution was conducted by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, while the Manafort case was brought by Mueller and his team from the special counsel’s office.

As special counsel, Mueller has great latitude in how he pursues the Trump-Russia case. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation because of questions about his own connections to Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. Mueller has taken great advantage of his independent status to conduct a highly aggressive investigation of Trump and those around him. Manafort was only the latest in a long line of people from the Trump circle to discover just how seriously Mueller is pursuing his inquiry. Mueller was clearly prosecuting Manafort to pressure him to flip and tell all that he knows about Trump and Russian collusion.

But the prosecutors in New York who have handled the Cohen case don’t enjoy the same level of independence that Mueller does. Any effort by Southern District prosecutors to pursue their case and investigate “Individual-1” in the White House will almost certainly have to be approved by Sessions. It seems unlikely that he would believe that his recusal on the Trump-Russia probe would apply in the Cohen investigation, even though Cohen is widely believed to have information about the Trump-Russia case. And, after being repeatedly and publicly attacked and humiliated by Trump for his recusal in the Mueller inquiry, Sessions may be eager to prove his loyalty to Trump and block any further investigation in the Cohen case. (Although it’s also possible that, after silently enduring months of Trump’s abuse, Sessions might keenly enjoy approving a legal assault on the president.)

While the U.S. Constitution seems rather vague on the whether a president can be indicted while in office, Justice Department lawyers have consistently argued that constitutional law forbids it. In 1973, during the Nixon administration, the Justice Department “concluded that the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unduly interfere with the ability of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned duties, and would thus violate the constitutional separation of powers,” according to a DOJ memo written in 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration. Almost three decades after Watergate, the 2000 memo reaffirmed the department’s earlier decision: “No court has addressed this question directly, but the judicial precedents that bear on the continuing validity of our constitutional analysis are consistent with both the analytic approach taken and the conclusions reached. Our view remains that a sitting President is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution.”

If Sessions and the Justice Department block New York prosecutors from pursuing Trump, what happens next? Will the information be referred to Congress as part of impeachment proceedings? If Democrats retake the House in the midterm elections this fall, will they be willing to pursue impeachment, knowing they will almost certainly lack the votes in the Senate to win a conviction?

What we know for sure is that the path to the criminal prosecution and imprisonment of the president of the United States is now clear. How it is handled will be a major test for the American system of government.


Midterm lawfare? Federal prosecutors derail re-election bids of two prominent Trump supporters

August 22, 2018


In at least two congressional districts at opposite ends of the US, federal indictments of Trump-supporting lawmakers may play a key role in handing over their solid Republican constituencies to Democrat challengers.

Congressman Duncan Hunter, representing California’s 50th district, and his wife Margaret were charged on Tuesday with 60 counts of misusing about $250,000 in campaign funds for personal purchases, and with filing false reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

California has a “jungle primary” system, in which the top two candidates proceed to the general election regardless of their party affiliation. As the primaries took place on June 5, there is no mechanism to replace Hunter on the ballot, which means his Democrat challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar, will basically run uncontested despite winning less than 18 percent of the primary vote.

This is modern politics and modern media mixed in with law enforcement that has a political agenda,” Hunter told San Diego’s KGTV on Wednesday. “This is the Democrats’ arm-of-law enforcement,” he added. “I think they’ve used every dirty trick in the book.”

Hunter’s attorney, Gregory Vega, brought up the ballot problem in an August 6 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Vega also sought the recusal of two key prosecutors in the case, Assistant US attorneys Alana Robinson and Emily Allen, citing their presence at an August 2015 fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in La Jolla, California.

“The only way these two Assistant US Attorneys were able to attend was by use of their official positions as Department of Justice employees,” Vega wrote. Meanwhile, Hunter was “the first sitting member of Congress to endorse President Trump in February 2016, and he has been an outspoken supporter of the President ever since.”

US Attorney Adam Braverman and the DOJ “reviewed and rejected Mr. Hunter’s complaints,” Southern District spokeswoman Kelly Thornton told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Thornton said the two justice officials attended the Clinton fundraiser at the US Secret Service’s invitation, calling it standard practice. “The Secret Service requested the prosecutors’ attendance and routinely asks prosecutors to attend events involving their protectees.”

Hunter has been on the federal authorities’ radar since April 2016, when the FEC began looking at some questionable campaign expense reports. Vega accused the Southern District prosecutors of a “sudden, inexplicable rush to indict my client before the general election without affording him sufficient due process.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) echoed the claims that the timing of Hunter’s indictment was suspicious, going so far as to accuse Braverman and his subordinates of “political misconduct.”

“I don’t know how you make any kind of sense other than he sat on it for most of three years and certainly the last year,” Issa told CBS, referring to US Attorney Adam Braverman. “As far as I know, we’ve got no legal way for Duncan to get off the ballot and somebody else to get on.”

Hunter was first elected in 2008, after serving three combat tours in the US Marine Corps. The seat was previously held by his father for 14 terms.

Another prominent Trump supporter, Rep.Chris Collins of New York’s 27th congressional district, was arrested on August 8 and charged with insider trading. Though he initially said he would remain in the race despite the charges, Collins dropped his re-election bid just three days later. The GOP is now looking to replace him on the ballot.

Though Hunter has not yet dropped out of the race, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has already removed him from all congressional committees. Ryan, a frequent critic of Trump, is not seeking re-election in November.


The New Cold War Flops

Poll shows anti-Russia campaign had little effect

August 23, 2018

by Justin Raimondo


Has there ever been a country so vilified as Russia, a leader so demonized as Vladimir Putin?

It makes me dizzy just to think of all the crimes that have been laid at that particular doorstep. I could spend the rest of this column simply listing them, from the deaths of numerous Russian journalists to the extinction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions – that and so much more! The omnipotent Russian President has apparently poisoned so many Russian expatriates in Britain that the streets are awash in polonium, novichok, and god knows what else. Why, it only took a few thousand bucks spent on some Facebook ads that practically no one saw to steal the presidential election from the rightful winner. Vlad the Bad is the all-powerful villain at the center of so many sinister conspiracies that it’s hard to keep track of them.

The anti-Russian campaign that the media has been hyping ever since Trump took office isn’t anything new. Those of us born during the cold war years – the first cold war, that is – remember all too well the atmosphere of hysteria and unreason that prevailed in those days. The fear of Communist agents under every bed was exploited by the War Party to no end – no good end, that is – and one would’ve thought that the collapse of communism and the end of the cold war would put a stop to it.

No such luck. It started in 2003, when the neocons declared war on Russia for Putin’s refusal to sign on to the Iraq war. Richard Perle led the charge, demanding Russia’s expulsion from the G-8.

The hate-on-Russia campaign has been ongoing ever since that time, only increasing in intensity and changing as to the details over the years. The main instrument of this effort has been the “mainstream” media, which, like the “intelligence community,” has now begun openly acting in a coordinated manner, an activist component of the anti-Trump popular front. The Russia-gate hoax is the central narrative of the NeverTrumpers, and hatred of Russia is therefore central to the emerging ideology of #TheResistance – a trend that does not bode well for the future of what was once known as American liberalism.

What does bode well for the country, however, is the fact that the American people aren’t buying the new cold war. After all those years of frenetic propaganda, a new Gallup poll shows that nearly 60% of the American people prefer diplomacy over confrontation with Russia:

“In an era of increasingly tense U.S.-Russian relations marked by allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, Americans believe it is more important to try to continue efforts to improve relations between the countries (58%), rather than taking strong diplomatic and economic steps against Russia (36%).”

Every fifty years or so the War Party migrates to the other side of the political spectrum, and this poll shows that the switching of partisan polarities is well underway. The majority of Democrats – 51% — say it’s more important to impose sanctions and take other hostile actions against Russia than to engage in diplomacy, while a whopping 74% of Republicans take the opposite view of diplomacy over confrontation. The Trumpification of the GOP means a less interventionist Republican electorate, as I’ve been saying for many months. This poll confirms it: the Republicans (in general!) are the party of peace.

The good news doesn’t end there. The really great news is that the Democrats are badly split, with a significant minority choosing diplomacy over sanctions. The clincher is that the independents are with the peaceniks in the GOP: diplomacy, they say, is better than conflict.

The Great American Peace Consensus has spoken! If the Democrats run with this Russia-gate nonsense in 2020 they will lose, bigtime. There’s no way they’re going to sell the American people on a cheap remake of “Red Dawn.”

Oh yes, the good news just keeps coming:

“Just 9% of Republicans agree that Russians interfered and changed the outcome of the election. Rather, the majority of Republicans, 58%, believe Russia interfered but it did not change the outcome. Nearly one in three Republicans reject the idea that Russia interfered.”

On the other hand, the Democrats swallow the Russia-gate myth whole: 78% believe it, despite the lack of publicly available evidence.

What this means is that most Democrats are not only epistemologically challenged but they are also more likely to believe authority figures unquestioningly, whereas Republicans are more prone to freethinking – although there are still a few deadheads among them.

We haven’t heard much about this particular poll, and the reason ought to be clear enough: it illustrates the waning power of the “mainstream” media, underscoring their pathetic weakness even when they act in concert. And if you think their coordinated editorials against Trump the other day was the first instance of their consolidation into a political bloc then you haven’t been paying attention. They’ve been peddling this anti-Russian conspiracy narrative for years – and now to see that it has had almost no effect on the majority of ordinary Americans must be so humiliating. All that effort – for nothing! The American people have far more sense than the political class that purports to rule over them, and that includes the media.

Our journalists are extra sensitive these days, responsive to every slight, both real and imagined, precisely because they sense their own impending irrelevance. Do you wonder why it’s the journalists who scream the loudest in favor of censoring alternative voices like Alex Jones? They hate the competition and would love to stamp it out: Jones’s kookiness gives them the perfect foil and pretext.

Trump called them the “enemy of the people,” but that’s letting them off easy. Our media is the enemy of reality, and the servitor of entrenched Power. They’ve inverted their job description: instead of reporting the facts they are intent on hiding them. That’s why alternative media are growing by leaps and bounds, while the legacy media is on its last legs.


The Attack on Iran: Israel’s Plans for a US Action

August 23, 2018

by Christian Jürs

1.The problem under consideration here is that Iran has, or will have, a nuclear weapon.. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Israelis are afraid Iran will use it on them.

2.Israel would have logistical problems attacking Iran. Any attack would have to be an aerial attack, using fighter-bombers to pin-point known Iranian nuclear facilities.

The current opinion in some circles, mostly in the United States, is that at some point in the near future, the growing threat or re-imposition of devastating economic sanctions on Iran will convince its radical religious leaders to terminate their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Also, there is the growing hope that the CIA’s funded Iran’s Green Movement will overthrow, a la the Ukrainian Orange Revolution and replace the Muslim fundamentalist regime, or at the very least find the means to modify and secularize the regime’s ideological extremism. It is also possible that disrupting operations  now being implemented by the intelligence agencies of Israel, the United States, Great Britain, and other Western powers—programs designed to subvert the Iranian nuclear effort through physical sabotage and, upon occasion, the carefully engineered disappearances of nuclear scientists—will have derailed Iran’s progress towards achieving the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

It is now planned in Tel Aviv that senior Israeli officials, representing both their political and military establishments, will come to Washington for conferences both with their American counterparts and, eventually, with President Trmup. These conversations, which have been carefully planned and scripted, will have the Israelis advising their American counterparts that they are planning an attack, nuclear or non-nuclear as the situation develops, on Iran because a nuclear Iran poses the ‘gravest threat since Hitler’ to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe that  by launching a preemptive strike at all possible Iranian sites suspected of participation in their nuclear program they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years,. Further, talking-point secret Israeli memos state: Israel will inform their American counterparts that Israel has no other choice than to launch this attack. They will not ask for permission for this attack, because it will soon be too late to ask for permission.

Insofar as President Trump is concerned, the Israelis are considering the most important point of these interviews would be to discover as to what would be the circumstances under which President Trump would move to halt the Iranian projects. The primary point, then, is to convince the Americans that only military force, i.e., heavy bombing raids, would be able to “totally obliterate Iran’s attempts to get a nuclear weapon and, further, to prevent them from rebuilding their infrastructure in the foreseeable future.” From the Israeli point of view, all of their future actions, which also include the use of their own nuclear weapons on Tehran depends entirely upon the answers, primarily of the President but also of the American military leadership..

Also, in the possible event that the American President were to agree fully with Israeli wishes, i.e., to use American aircraft to obliterate the perceived Iranian threat by bombing specific, and even general, Iranian targets, could an Israeli-sponsored domestic American propaganda campaign to encourage sections of the American public, outside of the fully-cooperative Jewish community, to support such an American attack.

At the present time, it is well-established that Israeli agents, Mossad and others, have inserted themselves into all the instruments of power and propaganda in the United States where they have sent any pertinent information to Israel and kept up a steady offensive against the minds, and wills, of the American people. Also, many of the more prominent American newspapers, such as the New York Times is entirely Jewish-owned, this is stated to be the most receptive to the needs of both Washington and Tel Aviv.

Israel is fully prepared to take a chance on permanently alienating American affection in order to make a high-risk attempt at stopping Iran. If Iran retaliates against American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, the consequences for Israel’s relationship with America’s military leadership could be catastrophic.

It has been seriously discussed in Tel Aviv and in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, that probably the best way to compel the American public and through them, the President, to unilateral action, would not be to launch an attack on Tehran but instead, attack America through a false-flag operation. This would consist of a believable attack, or attempted attack, on a major American target a la the 9/11 Saudi-supported attacks.

The most current plan would be for a known militant Arab anti-Israel group, Hezbollah, to actually deliver an atomic device to the city of New York, or, alternatively, to Washington.

The American Central Intelligence Agency, now seeking to reshape its negative image, would report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation the exact details of the arrival and placement of the bomb.

The actual bomb would be genuine but would have a part that was malfunctioning, thus rendering the weapon impossible to detonate. The Arabs involved in this delivery would have in their number, a Yemeni Jew, such as the ones that instigated the 9/11 Saudi attacks, and this sleeper would carry numerous forged documents “proving” that Tehran was directly behind this planned attack.

Revelation of these documents by the fully-supportive New York Times and Washington Post would immediately swing a significant bulk of the American public behind an immediate attack on Tehran with the purpose of neutralizing its atomic weapons capacity.

This program is now on the table and undercover Israeli agents, posing as top-level Iranian operatives, have located a small group of Hizbollah in Lebanon who would be willing to deliver and prepare this device in New York or, as an alternative, Washington itself. Israeli intelligence feels that the use of Hizbollah personnel would entirely justify their obliterating Hizbollah-controlled territory in southern Lebanon that now house many thousands of long-range surface to surface missiles that could easily reach Tel Aviv and other vital Israeli targets.

This action, which has already been planned in detail, would be conducted by Israel alone and would compliment the projected American attack on Tehran. Israel stresses the fact that both attacks must be simultaneous lest a forewarned Hezbollah launch rocket attacks on Israel upon hearing of the American attack. Timing here is considered to be absolutely vital.

Both Israel and Hezbollah have accused UNIFIL of bias. Israel again accused them of failing to prevent, and even collaborating with, Hezbollah in its replenishment of military power. Hezbollah, in turn, said “certain contingents” of UNIFIL are spying for, if not assisting, Israel.

Israel has long been a serious planning for a future invasion of Lebanon and such an assault would continue attacking until both Hezbollah’s membership and their system of tunnels and bunkers was completely destroyed, because Israel will never tolerate a “zone of invulnerability” occupied by a sworn enemy, or a double threat posed by Hezbollah’s rockets.

In the event that Israeli military aircraft attack Tehran, there is the vital necessity that these Israeli military aircraft would be under great pressure to return to base at once because Israeli intelligence believes that Iran would immediately order Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli air-force resources would be needed to hunt Hezbollah rocket teams.

Israel’s Northern Command, at its headquarters near the Lebanese border, is ordered that in the event of a unilateral Israeli or American strike on Iran, their mission would be to attack and completely destroy any and all identified Hezbollah rocket forces, by any and all means necessary, to include small nuclear devices that could destroy a number of square miles of what is called ‘terrorist territory’ and render it useless as any future base of attack against Israel. At the present time the Iranians are keeping their Hezbollah firm ally in reserve until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.

During  the years since the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon Hezbollah has greatly increased its surface-to-surface missile capability, and an American/Israeli strike on Iran, would immediately provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most Israeli/American intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 surface-to-surface rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel. It is further known that Russia has sent large numbers of longer range surface-to-surface missiles to Syria which has, in turn, shipped them to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. These missiles have the capacity to easily reach Tel Aviv and Israelis are very concerned that a massive rocket barrage deep into Israel could not only do serious damage to their infrastructure but could easily provoke a mass immigration of Israelis to other areas, thus depriving Israel of both civilian and military personnel it would certainly need in the event of increased Arab military actions against Israel.

Even if Israel’s Northern Command successfully combated Hezbollah rocket attacks in the wake of an Israeli strike, which American experts have deemed to be “nearly impossible” political limitations would not allow Israel to make repeated sorties over Iran. “America, too, would look complicit in an Israeli attack, even if it had not been forewarned. The assumption—that Israel acts only with the full approval of the United States is a feature of life in the Middle East, and it is one the Israelis are taking into account. A serious danger here to Israeli attack plans would be if the United States got wind of the imminence of such an attack and demanded that Israel cease and desist in its actions. Would Israel then stop? Though highly unlikely, this is an unpleasant and unacceptable

At this time, the Israelis have drawn up specific plans to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and the Bushehr reactor, along with four other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program that have been identified by joint past and present Israeli-American aerial surveillance.

If Israeli aircraft succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, all well and good but even if  they fail to damage or destroy these targets ,such an attack is feared by American and other nations as risking a devastating change in the Middle East. Such an attack could initiate immediate reprisals such as a massed rocket attack by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon as well as other actions from neighboring Muslim states.

This could become a major diplomatic crisis for President Trump that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the international price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of seriously endangering Jewish groups around the world, and especially in the United States by making them the targets of Muslim-originated terror attacks and most certainly accelerating the growing immigration of many Israelis to what they felt might be much safer areas.

An Israeli political and military consensus has now emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by December of 2010. (Of course, it is in the Israeli interest to let it be known that the country is considering military action, if for no other reason than to concentrate the attention of the Trump administration. The Netanyahu government is already intensifying its analytic efforts not just on Iran, but on a subject many Israelis have difficulty understanding: President Trump.

The Israelis argue that Iran demands the urgent attention of the entire international community, and in particular the United States, with its unparalleled ability to project military force. This is the position of many moderate Arab leaders as well that if America allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold, the small Arab countries of the Gulf would have no choice but to leave the American orbit and ally themselves with Iran, out of self-protection. Several Arab leaders have suggested that America’s standing in the Middle East depends on its willingness to confront Iran. They argue, self-interestedly, that an aerial attack on a handful of Iranian facilities would not be as complicated or as messy as, say, invading Iraq. The basic question then is why the Jewish state should trust the non-Jewish president of the United States to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.

For more than a year, these White House officials have parried the charge that their president is unwilling to face the potential consequences of a nuclear Iran, and they are frustrated by what they believe to be a caricature of his position. It is undeniably true, however, that the administration has appeared on occasion less than stalwart on the issue.

One question no administration official seems eager to answer is this: what will the United States do if sanctions fail?

In Israel, of course, officials expend enormous amounts of energy to understand President Trump, despite the assurances they have received from others. Delegations from Netanyahu’s bureau, from the defense and foreign ministries, and from the Israeli intelligence community have been arriving in Washington lately with great regularity. As an alternative to cooperation by Trump, Israel, through her supporters and lobbyists in the United States are preparing to offer extensive financial and other incentives to political opponents of Trump, mostly the right-wing Republicans and American Christian groups and cults. Both of these groups are being cultivated currently with the idea that if Trump will not cooperate, the Republicans will in the future as they always have before. Also to consider is the current antipathy of American Jews for Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and these American Jews, who are, like the president they voted for in overwhelming numbers, generally supportive of a two-state solution, and dubious about Jewish settlement of the West Bank.

Both Israeli and American intelligence agencies are of the firm belief that Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability, which is the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device.. The Iranian regime, by its own statements and actions, has made itself Israel’s most zealous foe; and the most crucial component of Israeli national-security doctrine, a tenet that dates back to the 1960s, when Israel developed its own nuclear capability as a response to the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, is that no regional adversary should be allowed to achieve nuclear parity with the reborn and still-besieged Jewish state, the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons and the regime’s theologically motivated desire to see the Jewish state purged from the Middle East

Patriotism in Israel runs very high, according to numerous polls, and it seemed unlikely that mere fear of Iran could drive Israel’s Jews to seek shelter elsewhere. But one leading proponent of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, If Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, the very idea of Israel as a Zionist entity would be endangered. “These people are good citizens, and brave citizens, but the dynamics of life are such that if someone has a scholarship for two years at an American university and the university offers him a third year, the parents will say, ‘Go ahead, remain there,’ If someone finishes a Ph.D. and they are offered a job in America, they might stay there. It will not be that people are running to the airport, but slowly, slowly, the decision-making on the family level will be in favor of staying abroad. The bottom line is that we would have an accelerated brain drain. And an Israel that is not based on entrepreneurship that is not based on excellence will not be the Israel of today.”

Most critically if a Zionist Israel is no longer seen by its 6 million Jewish inhabitants and also by the approximately 7 millions of Jews resident outside of Israel that because of continuing threats from outside the country as no longer a natural safe haven for Jews then the entire concept of a Zionist haven/state is destroyed

To understand why Israelis of different political dispositions see Iran as quite possibly the most crucial challenge they have faced in their 62-year history, one must keep in mind the near-sanctity, in the public’s mind, of Israel’s nuclear monopoly. The Israeli national narrative, in shorthand, begins with shoah, which is Hebrew for “calamity,” and ends with tkumah, “rebirth.” Israel’s nuclear arsenal symbolizes national rebirth, and something else as well: that Jews emerged from World War II having learned at least one lesson, about the price of powerlessness.

If Israel is unable to change Trump’s mind, they will continue to threaten to take unilateral action against Iran by sending approximately one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—by crossing Saudi Arabia, and along the border between Syria and Turkey, and, without consulting the Americans or in any way announcing their missions by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)

The first belief by Israeli military planners is that Israel would get only one try. Israeli planes would fly low over Saudi Arabia, bomb their targets in Iran, and return to Israel by flying again over Saudi territory, possibly even landing in the Saudi desert for refueling—perhaps, if speculation rife in intelligence circles is to be believed, with secret Saudi cooperation.

Israel has been working through the United States to procure Saudi cooperation with an Israeli air strike against Tehran and other targets inside Iran.. The Saudis are treating this subject with great caution lest other Arab states learn of their putative cooperation in an Iranian attack with over flights of Saudi territory by Israeli military aircraft.

The current American/Israeli military plans are for the Saudis to turn off their radar after they have been noticed by the American embassy that an Israeli attack is imminent and also to permit the Israeli aircraft to land in their country for refueling The Israelis are not concerned with any kind of Iranian aircraft resistance because their airfields have been pinpointed by American satellites and one of the attacking groups would use low-yield atomic rocketry on all the identified Iranian bases. It is obvious that when, not if, the Saudis part in this becomes public, it will create immense ill-will in neighboring Muslim states, an impression the Saudi government is most anxious not to deal with.

Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean–built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.

The reasoning offered by Israeli decision makers was uncomplicated: At the present moment, Israel possesses 135 nuclear weapons, most of them  mainly two-stage thermonuclear devices, capable of being delivered by missile, fighter-bomber, or submarine (two of which are currently positioned in the Persian Gulf). Netanyahu is worried about an entire complex of problems, not only that Iran, or one of its proxies, would, in all probability, destroy or severely damage Tel Aviv; like most Israeli leaders, he believes that if Iran gains possession of a nuclear weapon, it will use its new leverage to buttress its terrorist proxies in their attempts to make life difficult and dangerous; and that Israel’s status as a haven for Jews would be forever undermined, and with it, the entire raison d’être of the 100-year-old Zionist experiment.

Another question Israeli planners struggle with: how will they know if their attacks have actually destroyed a significant number of centrifuges and other hard-to-replace parts of the clandestine Iranian program? Two strategists told me that Israel will have to dispatch commandos to finish the job, if necessary, and bring back proof of the destruction. The commandos—who, according to intelligence sources, may be launched from the autonomous Kurdish territory in northern Iraq—would be facing a treacherous challenge, but one military planner I spoke with said the army would have no choice but to send them.

Netanyahu’s obvious course is to convince the United States that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is obligated to grapple with it, not Israel alone. It is well-known that Israel by itself could not hope to deal with a retaliation against it by Iran and other Arab states but that a confederation of other nations, led, of course, by the United States could defend Israel against her enemies. The Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, does not place and credence in the current sanctions against Iran, even the ones initiated by the United States at Israel’s urgent request. Is it known that Netanayahu is not happy with President Trumps’s reluctance to support an Israeli attack on Iran and has brought a great deal of political pressure to bear on the President by American Jewish political and business groups.

Netanyahu understands, however, that President Trump, with whom he has had a warm and friendly relationship, believes that stringent sanctions, combined with various enticements to engage with the West, might still provide Iran with a face-saving method of standing down.

Israel’s current period of forbearance, in which Israel’s leadership waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December.  The American defense secretary, said at a meeting of NATO defense ministers that most intelligence estimates predict that Iran is one to three years away from building a nuclear weapon. “

One of the consistent aims of Israel is to pressure President Trump, who has said on a number of occasions that he finds the prospect of a nuclear Iran “unacceptable,” into executing a military strike against Iran’s known main weapons and uranium-enrichment facilities.

Donald Trump is steadfastly opposed to initiating new wars in the Middle East and an attack by U.S. forces on Iran is not a foreign-policy goal for him or his administration. The Israeli goal is to compel him by public, and private, pressure to order the American military into action against Iran

President Trump has said any number of times that he would find a nuclear Iran “unacceptable.” His most stalwart comments on the subject have been discounted by some Israeli officials

If the Israelis reach the firm conclusion that Trump will not, under any circumstances, launch a strike on Iran, then the countdown will begin for a unilateral Israeli attack


Air Marshals Secretly Followed an Artsy Virginia Mom on Flights to Make Sure She Wasn’t Going to Destroy America

More details emerge on TSA’s secret, suspicionless surveillance of certain American travelers.

August 20, 2018

by Scott Shackford

Visit Turkey recently? If you have, air marshals may be snooping on you during your domestic travels.

Among the travelers followed under a secret Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program recently exposed by the Boston Globe were a professional basketball player and a social media manager for an arts and crafts company.

Neither of these women was actually suspected of any sort of criminal or terrorist activity. Nor, apparently, were thousands of others surveilled and trailed under the TSA’s Quiet Skies program, which launched in 2012 and expanded significantly this year. But Courtney Vandersloot, the basketball player, and Taylor Usry, the social media manager, were tracked by air marshals and were subjected to heightened security screening, all because they had gone to Turkey.

The Boston Globe tracked down Usry in Williamsburg, Virginia. She wasn’t spied on during her trip to Turkey, where she took some arts-and-crafts courses. It was when she returned that the surveillance began. In July she flew to Florida for work. Plainclothed air marshals followed her, kept track of everything she did, kept records of her behavior, and even rode on the flight with her down to Tampa to keep tabs on her.

That’s creepy enough, but she was also subjected to very extensive hands-on screening and security pat-downs—intrusive enough that they made her cry, she tells the Boston Globe. She also had an encounter in line with a chatty, friendly man who asked her all sorts of questions that she now sees in a new light. (Her husband thought the man was flirting with her.) She was also selected for one last “random” bag check at the gate.

Vandersloot went to Turkey to play professional basketball there. She has a work visa to do so, and she says the U.S. government knows full well what her business in the country was. She even qualified in 2016 for a program that expedites travel clearances for people who are considered low risk. Nonetheless, she tells the Globe that she was singled out for extensive searches during her domestic trips.

Civil rights and privacy groups are up in arms. The secretive surveillance appears completely unattached to anything resembling risk or threat assessment: Essentially the program calls for suspicionless surveillance of Americans for the purpose of finding out whether they’re a potential threat. Some air marshals themselves have criticized the program, not being enthusiastic about spending their time spying on people who are not under investigation for any actual wrongdoing.

But the TSA has defended the snooping and says it will continue, despite its intrusiveness, its ineffectiveness, and the fact that many of the people carrying it out think it’s a waste of time.

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TBR News August 22, 2018

Aug 22 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 22, 2018:”The results of the latest court cases involving criminal acts by close Trump associates are expected but devastating for Trump’s future in office. He has fanatic supporters; mostly country people, obsessive gun owners, very far right wing members and religious fanatics, but there are not enough of them to either assure Republican control of Congress or to get him reelected to the Oval office.

People in Washington who have contact with Trump know him as a boastful bully, a chronic liar and and man with the morals of a simian. He has been taped by an associate using foul language and, more important, strong racial comments.

If the large Latin American population and the even larger black population of the United States organize themselves, Trump and his obedient hand puppets will be a part of an ugly episode of American political history, soon to be forgotten.”


The Table of Contents

  • Jolted by ex-allies’ criminal cases, Trump faces election and legal risks
  • Cohen bombshell sparks fresh calls for Trump impeachment – but what happened to Russia collusion?
  • Will Donald Trump remain bulletproof after Manafort and Cohen?
  • Manafort trial has Ukraine freshly nervous about Trump
  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: Number 5
  • Trump turmoil latest: lawyer says Cohen has information regarding Russian conspiracy
  • Trump biography
  • The inescapable weight of my $100,000 student debt

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