Archive for February, 2019

TBR News February 28, 2019

Feb 28 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 28, 2019:” The Asian banking communities of Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo are privately expressing their concerns over the possibility that strong rumors of the “dumping” of ASign in merican dollars by major European and Russian banking houses could create economic havoc with the world currency market.

The perceived recklessness of the American Trump Administration’s willingness to launch military attacks against their perceived enemies has caused deep anxiety in both European and Asian economic institutions. It is felt, most especially in Europe but now even in Asia, that the United States has embarked on a reckless course aimed at world economic domination.

Instead of diplomacy, the Trump  administration has resorted to threats of naked aggression against any nation that thwarts its designs on this forceful domination.

Afraid of unbridled American “cannon diplomacy,” first European and now Asian economic and political institutions have been engaged in frantic attempts to neutralize what is seen as naked U.S. military aggression.

Unable to match American military might, a number of nations which include France, Germany, Switzerland, the Russian Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia and North Korea have been exploring the possibility of the development of stronger ties, both political and economic.

In a series of meetings now being held in Geneva, Switzerland under conditions of the strictest security, concerned parties have been very seriously considering the options available for the blunting of the current American military and economic plans for world domination.

Once, the famous British pound was the lingua franca of the world’s banking business and after the collapse of Britain following the Second World War, the pound was replaced by the American dollar.

Now, with the formation of the European Union, the new euro is being put forward as an alternative to the dollar and to help achieve this, a plan to “dump” bank and governmental holdings of billions of dollars is now under serious consideration.

Another issue under discussion is the matter of foreign investments in the American business community and the deposit of hundreds of millions of dollars in American banks.

It is widely held that these investments are only supplying fuel to the American politico/military machine and that the devaluation of the dollar added to the complete withdrawal of all foreign investment funds would send a serious message indeed to the reckless American President Bush and his clique of “neocons,” (neo-conservatives) most of whom are Israeli Likud-supporting American Jews.

Also under discussion is the future exclusion of what are viewed as “rogue” former Eastern Bloc nations such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania, all of whom appeared willing to risk the wrath of the rest of the strongly-antiwar EU by their support of American aggression in the Middle East.”


The Table of Contents

  • The Leaks That Trump’s Justice Department Prosecutes Are Mostly About Trump, His Cronies, and Russia
  • Impeachment decoded: A look at how to remove a U.S. president
  • Loyalty to Trump cost Michael Cohen everything. Republicans pay heed
  • Impeach Donald Trump
  • Being Jewish in France: ‘Just go back to Tel Aviv!’
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News February 27, 2018

Feb 27 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 26, 2019:” Trump, who claims to be brilliant, is not.

He has a long, long history of lies, illegal and immoral manipulations, very bad judgement and daily manifestations of ego-maniacal problems.

His habit of tossing his crime partners over the side of his boat with casual abandonment is going to cost him the shreds of his tattered reputation and very probably, his position in the government.

He quickly abandoned his lawyer when he was arrested and the result is that the lawyer is dumping on him with relish.”


The Table of Contents

  • Cohen to accuse Trump over WikiLeaks, Moscow project, hush payments
  • Michael Cohen testimony: key excerpts to reveal ‘truth about Trump’
  • Cohen warns Republican lawmakers: don’t protect Trump
  • Nuclear fears abound after India-Pakistan military escalation
  • India builds bunkers to protect families along Pakistan border
  • India and Pakistan’s troubled history
  • What would happen if Pakistan attacks India with nuclear weapons?
  • The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered
  • Power of Siberia: Russia’s 3000 km gas pipeline to China 99% complete
  • The Canadian-American Border and Immigration Policies
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The travel trick that airlines hate

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TB News February 26, 2019

Feb 26 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 26, 2019:”India and Pakistan are swiftly approaching the probability of nuclear war. The Pakistani’s have raided into India and that country has retaliated by launching an aerial attack on Pakistani military bases that launched the attack. As both sides have nuclear weapons, the probability is that one, the other or both will use these in the very near future. The useless UN would be helpless to stop them and the American President is far too ignorant to interfere . And he would take the side of the country that paid him the most money.”


The Table of Contents

  • House set to vote to end Trump’s border wall ’emergency’
  • Air strike on Pakistan sparks celebrations in India, seen boosting Modi support
  • Pakistan vows retaliation after India’s airstrikes on alleged militant camps
  • Who would win? India has army advantage over Pakistan, but nuclear stocks assure mutual destruction
  • Survival of the Richest
  • Can a sitting U.S. president face criminal charges
  • The CIA Confessions: The CrowleyConversations
  • Countrywide: Subprime Kings and the MERS scam

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TBR News February 25, 2019

Feb 25 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 26, 2019: “We are out of the office until February 3, 2019 ed.”


The Table of Contents

  • What happens if Mueller finds Trump fingerprints in Russia conspiracy?
  • Venezuela: US increasingly isolated as allies warn against use of military force
  • Nord Stream 2 Russian gas pipeline likely to go ahead after EU deal
  • Arctic Oil: The New Venezuela?
  • Kashmiris face uncertain future as violence escalates
  • America: ‘Indispensable Nation’ No More
  • After Putin’s warning, Russian TV lists nuclear targets in U.S.
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News February24, 2019

Feb 24 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 24, 2019:” The Plan-A constant subject for the high-level intelligence people inside the Beltway is the progress of what is called ‘The Plan.’

This is a long-term program, formulated and implemented, by the far-right element in the government and eagerly supported by the so-called neo-cons.

The purpose of this program is to destabilize Russia, force Putin and his supporters out of office and replace them, as was done during the reign of the CIA-friendly Yeltsin, with persons friendly to the United States aims and, especially, friendly to US business interests.

Russia is in possession of a very large reservoir of natural resources from oil to gold and American interests very nearly had their controlling hands on all of this during the Yeltsin years but lost it when Putin got in control.

They hate his intractable nationalism and have done, and are doing, everything they can to discredit, defeat and eventually oust him.

A major part of The Plan has been to get physical control of countries surrounding Russia from the Baltic states to the ‘Stans and to ring Russia with American-oriented and friendly countries.

Putin, aware of this because of the obviousness of the plottings and also because of very high-level information leaks from Washington, responded and with deadly effect. Georgia was run by a domestic politician who was eccentric, egotistical but in the pocket of Washington, and who allowed American troops and their military equipment to pour into the country.

But two Georgian provinces, inhabited mostly by Russians, objected to the blatantly pro-West government in Tiblisi and protested.

Georgia’s answer was to threaten force and, with full American support, to mass Georgian troops on the borders of these provinces.

Putin responded by sending a Russian military strike force into the area in support of the break-away areas and this caused a two-fold retreat on the part of American supporters. The military units rapidly evacuated west to the Black Sea and US Naval evacuation while an army of CIA personnel fled in terror to the airport at Tiblisi to avoid capture. This demarche disillusioned a number of eastern European countries who then toned down their anti-Russian rhetoric and made pacific moves towards the Kremlin.

A very high-level Polish government contingent flying into Smolensk to confer with the Russians were destroyed when their aircraft, responding to faked ground signals at the fog-shrouded Smolensk airport, slammed into the ground, wiping out the top level Poles. The Russians did not destroy the Poles but American intelligence operatives did.

This pointless slaughter was designed to teach wavering cantonists a lesson.

And the so-called “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine was entirely a CIA operation.

The government in that country was replaced with a pro-Western one and the Ukraine was then viewed in Washington as another country to stock with threatening American missiles and troops.

When the Ukrainians tired of the corruption that inevitably is attendant upon a pro-West government and eventually elected a pro-Russian president, the CIA predictably responded by fomenting civil strife in Kiev and when that appeared to be waning, had their surrogates start shooting at random into the crowd to stir up public anger.

Putin’s response was to occupy the Russian-populated Crimea, hold an election that overwhelmingly supported union with Russia and gained the important naval base at Sebastopol that the Ukraine had promised to the US Navy and, more important, the Crimean off-shore oil fields and a coastline that permitted an easier installation of the South Stream oil transmission line from Russian oil fields to southern Europe.

The fury of the balked intelligence and governmental organs in Washington has been monumental and because a restive Europe is presenting a disunited front in the dictated attacks on Russia, more pressure is being planned to further threaten and pressure Putin.

The oil-rich Arctic is a prime future battlefield selected by Washington to engage the Russians, but the latter hold most of the geo-political cards.

And attempts to economically isolate Russia can easily backfire and create economic chaos with America’s economic powers.

The Russians hold 118 billion dollars worth of US Treasury certificate and their tenative allies, the Chinese, hold one trillion dollars of the same certificates. Should these countries, against whom the United States has been conducting clandestine political warfare, ever decide to jointly dump these financial instruments, the collapse of the dollar as the leading international currency would create an economic crisis that could easily prove fatal to Washington.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department usually uses water.”



The Table of Contents

  • ‘You’re fired!’ America has already terminated Trump
  • Help, the helpers are coming!
  • The very fake ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ and the art rip-off of the millennium
  • The Anatomy of a Fraud
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News February 23, 2019

Feb 23 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 23, 2019:” Comments from Pascal-

Men wish to be great and see that they are small. Men wish to be happy and see that they are miserable. Men wish to be perfect and see that they are full of imperfections. Men wish to be the object of the love and esteem of others and see that their shortcomings merit only their dislike and contempt. This situation in which he finds himself produces in him the most unjust and criminal passions imaginable, for a man conceives a deadly hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults. He would like to crush it, and, unable to do this, he destroyed it the best he can, and in his consciousness, and that of others. He takes every precaution to hide his shortcomings both from other and himself, and cannot bear to have them pointed out or observed.

Pascal-    Pensées 743”

The Table of Contents

  • Thousands march as France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests rumble on
  • Liberté for Whom?
  • North Carolina orders new U.S. House election after ‘tainted’ vote
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News February 22, 2019

Feb 22 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 22, 2019:” Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a robot bird whose wings can flap independently of each other.

Called the “Robo Raven,” the breakthrough engineering technology allows the robot to achieve any desired motion and to perform aerobatic maneuvers.

Developed by University of Maryland Professors S.K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck and their students, the robot birds could one day be used for reconnaissance and surveillance.

The final design enables a tiny video camera, can be launched from the ground, and can fly in winds up to 10 mph.

The micro air bird even fooled a local hawk, which attacked the robot in mid-flight on more than one occasion.”


The Table of Contents

  • On to Caracas and Tehran!
  • The Truth About Georgia
  • US military interventions from 1890 to 2014.
  • One dead in Venezuela’s Brazil border area after troops open fire
  • U.S. Democrats introduce resolution stopping Trump border emergency
  • ‘Even Nixon wasn’t like him’: Trump’s bid to upend Russia inquiry unprecedented, experts say
  • Trump-Russia inquiry: What might ‘Mueller report’ look like?
  • Manhattan district attorney preparing charges against Manafort: New York Times
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Revisionism’s Cast of Characters

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TBR News February 21, 2019

Feb 21 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 21, 2019:”  “There have been growing fears that somehow, outsiders have been able to penetrate into the confidential computer files of government agencies, business entities such as banks and defense contractors and individuals.

Some of this appeared to be an attempt to obtain highly classified information that could be of use to others and in other instances, attempts to get into the personal, and corporate, bank accounts of individuals and corporations.

This is a brief study of some of the salient aspects of this problem of computer theft and espionage and we will start with the discovery of massive computer penetration in Israel. We will then consider further penetrations of American business and intelligence computer systems by agents of a foreign government as opposed to confidence men and then conclude with the use of the same methods to commit frauds on the gullible in the United States and elsewhere.

Some of the first public notice of this problem surfaced first in Israel in 2004 when Israeli law enforcement cyber crime experts discovered that what is known as a Trojan Horse (illicit spyware planted on an unsuspecting computer) had been inserted into about 60 major Israeli businesses. Isreali law enforcement subsequently indicted various members of three of Israel’s largest private investigative agencies on charges of criminal fraud. These spyware plants were in various commercial areas such as : Israeli military contracting, telephone systems, cable television, finance, automobile and cigarette importing, journalism and high technology. These intrusive spyware plants were nearly identical with ones developed by the American NSA and widely used inside the United States to glean political, economic and counter-intelligence information from a huge number of American businesses and agencies. Israeli investigators believed that there was illicit cooperation between the American agency and a counterpart in Israel.

These Trojan horses that penetrated the Israeli computers came packaged inside a compact disc or were sent as an e-mail message that appeared to be from an institution or a person that the victims thought they knew very well. Once the program was installed, it functioned every time the victim’s computer system was in use, logging keystrokes or collecting sensitive documents and passwords before transmitting the information elsewhere.”

 The Table of Contents

  • Immigration, rail funding and lawsuits: why California and Trump are at war
  • Neo-Nazi in coast guard plotted attack on Democrats and journalists, say prosecutors
  • US arm-twisting & pipe dreams aside, Europe just won’t quit Russian gas imports
  • Following the Foreign-Policy Money Trail in Washington
  • AT&T pulls ads from YouTube over videos exploiting children
  • Smallpox bioterrorist attack could devastate planet for 10 years
  • Comments on Smallpox
  • Ex-Trump adviser Stone tells U.S. judge he abused gag order on criminal charges
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversation
  • French President’s Promise to Crack Down on Anti-Semitism Could Threaten Critics of Israel
  • The Israeli False Flag Operation against Iran

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TBR News February 20, 2019

Feb 20 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 20, 2019:”  “Waiting to Happen: It was in the Spring of 2001 when a young computer expert living in the Mid-West developed a lethal virus intended to do a full-bore global destruction to the international computer/internet system.

The virus is spread from computer to computer system to computer and it is so constructed that it cannot be searched out by any known computer security system. The virus remains placidly dormant until it is triggered and then after a specific lapse of time, is fully activated.

What does this virus do?

Totally obliterates the computer hard drive and expunges it of all memory.

In essence, the hard drive is flat line and cannot be reconstructed.

What sort of a trigger would activate this?

Perhaps a first, middle and last name coupled with a fake social security number.

The probability of this trigger accidentally emerging would be a mathematical impossibility.

Let us say that this was triggered on the computer system of a major bank.

When the activating time arrived, everything on the bank computer would be gone. No one could access the ATM machine, cash checks, or otherwise have access to the bank’s services.

There would be mass panic and the bank’s computer people would install backup systems.

After a frenzied flurry, all would return to normal, that is until the activated triggers would work again.

Official records, social security, food stamps, passport data, criminal rap sheets, and dozens and dozens more of vital services would, in essence, be gone with the wind.

And since this project has been silently contaminating the global systems since 2001, the length and depth of the infections would be immense and all-inclusive.

Of course the Russians would be blamed but the computers would be as dead as a squashed cockroach and the entire societal global informational and business structures would gasp, gurgle and die.

People could not buy food, electrical systems would fail and soon, the woodlands of America, and the world, would be filled with frantic citizens digging caves in the soil, or places to bury their surviving family members.

The motto?

Never put all your eggs in one basket.”

The Table of Contents

  • Number of U.S. hate groups hits all-time high, watchdog says
  •  US hate groups have seen ideas enter mainstream in Trump era, report finds
  • Far Right American militants
  • Vladimir Putin says Russia will target US if it deploys missiles to Europe
  • Border wall, bullet train: California vs. Trump escalates
  • Trump slams California for lawsuit against border emergency declaration
  • California says will block crude oil from Trump offshore drilling plan
  • Trump and the Russians
  • Seven days, seven lies: Donald Trump’s claims debunked 
  • Mapping the American War on Terror: Now in 80 Countries
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Google admits error over hidden microphone

Number of U.S. hate groups hits all-time high, watchdog says

February 20, 2019

by Katharine Jackson


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of hate groups operating in the United States rose 7 percent to an all-time high in 2018, reflecting an increasingly divisive debate on immigration and demographic change, the Southern Poverty Law Center said on Wednesday.

The SPLC, which has tracked hate groups since 1971, found there were 1,020 operating in the United States last year, breaking the 1,018 record set in 2011. It marked the fourth consecutive year of growth.

The group’s annual report on hate activities blamed the rise in part on Republican President Donald Trump, whose administration has focused on reducing illegal and legal immigration into the United States.

“The numbers tell a striking story – that this president is not simply a polarizing figure but a radicalizing one,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which released the new numbers. “Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it – with both his rhetoric and his policies.”

The SPLC defines hate groups as organizations with beliefs or practices that demonize a class of people.

The White House has repeatedly rejected charges of bias leveled at Trump, often citing the effects that a strong economy have had on minority communities. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report on Wednesday.

The non-profit said the growth of hate groups appeared to be prompting some who share their ideologies to take violent action. As an example, it cited Robert Bowers, who is accused of killing 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October while shouting “All Jews must die.”

The report also found that the number of black nationalist groups rose 13 percent to 264 in 2018, an increase the SPLC attributed to a backlash against Trump’s policies.  Some of the SPLC’s targets have criticized the Montgomery, Alabama-based organization’s findings, saying it has mislabeled legitimate organizations.

Earlier this month the founder of the Proud Boys, a self-described men-only club of “Western chauvinists,” sued the center for defamation over the hate group label. He contended the Proud Boys oppose racism, while the SPLC said it stood by its research.

Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown

 US hate groups have seen ideas enter mainstream in Trump era, report finds

Southern Poverty Law Center report shows an all-time high in hate groups since they began counting, beating the previous record in 2011

February 20, 2019

by Jason Wilson

The Guardian

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that hate groups in the US have continued to surge in the Trump era, and that the president himself has helped to mainstream hate by “fueling fears of a white minority country”.

The Alabama-based SPLC – one of the most long-standing and widely-cited anti-hate organizations – counted 1,020 hate groups in the United States in 2018, up 7% from the previous year.

This represented an all-time high since the SPLC began counting hate groups, beating the previous record in 2011, when the far right’s angry reaction to the Obama presidency was peaking.

In a press conference, Heidi Beirich, the director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project blamed in part the “words and imagery coming out of the Trump administration” which have been “heightening the fears” of demographic replacement.

The report points to a range of murders and violent attacks – like a mail-bombing spree that targeted Democrats and media organisations and a mass shooting at a Philadelphia synagogue – as evidence that the conspiracy-fueled far right is increasingly willing to commit extreme acts.

Another similar recent report from the Anti-Defamation League suggested that extremist murders in the United States in 2018 were carried out almost exclusively by the far right.

But the SPLC also points to the increasingly strident expression of far right ideas in conservative media, and from Republican politicians, as evidence that hate is being mainstreamed.

One example is Donald Trump’s apparent adoption of the cause of white South African farmers in 2018. The report also discusses how Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have seized on the idea that white people will be demographically replaced in the United States by a wave of immigrants. Both of these themes are regularly pushed by white nationalists.

Though the report surveys a wide range of hate groups – from the antigovernment “patriot” movement to antisemitic black nationalist groups – it drew particular attention to two developments in 2018.

The first is the explosive growth in white nationalist groups. While longstanding white supremacist movements like the Klu Klux Klan have continued to dwindle, newer styles of internet-savvy white organizations have grown explosively. The 148 groups of this type identified by the SPLC represent a 50% increase on 2017.

White nationalist groups like Identity Evropa have been prominently involved in a wave of flyer distribution, which has escaped its former confines on college campuses and into the “public domain”. The level of flying and related actions, like banner drops, has been “unprecedented” according to the SPLC.

The second area of extensive growth has been in the catch-all category of “general hate”. That growth is largely as a result of the growth of the “western chauvinist” group, the Proud Boys, who the SPLC says now have 44 chapters in 31 states.

It describes the Proud Boys’ attendance at frequently violent street rallies as “the most relentless campaign of rightwing street violence in recent memory”.

The Proud Boys have recently cemented their links with people in high levels of the Republican party. Last week, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was given pride of place at a Trump rally in Miami. The month before, Tarrio was a prominent visitor to Roger Stone in the wake of his arrest by the FBI. Stone himself has been frequently photographed with Proud Boys, and the Proud Boys often flourish a video of stone apparently being initiated in some way into the group.

The SPLC’s description of the group in these terms comes in the face of a lawsuit launched by founder Gavin McInnes against the organization earlier this month. McInnes’s suit is one of a number launched by rightwing figures who object to the SPLC’s classification or monitoring of their activities.

Asked about the lawsuits pending against the SPLC by McInnes and the Center for Immigration Studies, Beirich said: “We stand by our hate group listings”.

Repeatedly, Trump himself is singled out by the SPLC report, and his Twitter account in particular is nominated for pushing “noxious anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views”.

Far Right American militants

February 20, 2019

by Christian Jürs

The policy of the supporters of the far right groups is to exacerbate latent racism in the United States to the point where public violence erupts and the political polarization of the public becomes manifest. By encouraging and arming the far right and neo nazi groups, the Scavenius group is laying the groundwork for an acceptable and militant government reaction, the institution of draconian control over the entire population and the rationale for national and official government control, all in the name of law and order. It is planned that the far right and neo nazi groups be taken into the law enforcement structure and used to put down any public demonstrations that the government deems to be a potential threat to their policies.

Who are these groups? Here is a listing of only some of them:

  • ACT for America
  • Alliance Defending Freedom
  • America’s Promise Ministries
  • American Border Patrol/American Patrol
  • American Family Association
  • American Freedom Party
  • American Renaissance
  • Aryan Brotherhood
  • Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
  • Aryan Nations
  • Blood & Honor
  • Brotherhood of Klans
  • Center for Security Policy
  • Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • The Creativity Movement
  • The Sovereign Citizen Movement of the US and Canada
  • The Dominonist Movement of America
  • National Alliance
  • National Coalition for Immigration Reform
  • National Socialist Movement
  • National Vanguard
  • Oath Keepers
  • Sons of the South
  • Stormfront
  • The Aryan Terror Brigade.
  • The neo-Confederate League of the South.
  • Traditionalist Worker Party
  • White Revolution

The basic plan of the planners is to supply activist neo-nazi groups in the United States with weapons smuggled into the US. These weapons originate with the Chinese firm, NORENCO, The China North Industries Corporation. This is a Chinese company, located in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China that manufactures civil and military firearms and ammunition.

Vladimir Putin says Russia will target US if it deploys missiles to Europe

The Russian president delivered his state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday. He accused the US of unilaterally withdrawing from the INF treaty and said he would target the US if it deployed missiles in Europe.

February 20, 2019


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced new Russian weapons would target the US if it deploys missiles to Europe.

At his state-of-the-nation speech, he announced Russia was developing a new hypersonic missile for the navy and that Russia was building a new submarine with a drone complex capable of hitting both land and sea targets.

He said Russia was not seeking confrontation despite the US withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), but that it would deploy missiles if the US chose to do so.

He warned US policy-makers, “obsessed” with US exceptionalism, should calculate the risks before taking any steps.

“It’s their right to think how they want. But can they count? I’m sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing,” Putin told Russia’s political elite to strong applause.

NATO denounces threats

NATO said Putin’s threats were “unacceptable” and that Russia should “focus on returning to compliance” with the INF treaty.

The US has accused Russia of developing a new ground-launched cruise missile that violates the INF treaty, a Cold-War era accord that prohibits missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers.

Russia long denied that it had built such missiles, but recently acknowledged their existence. It denies that the missiles violate the terms of the treaty.

A senior US administration official said that any new missiles were still in the research and development phase.

Domestic issues, rail to Crimea

The majority of Putin’s speech was spent on domestic issues. He called for more social and economic development and proposed tax breaks for families with children, noting that Russia’s birthrate is falling.

He repeated last year’s statistics, saying that 19 million people lived in poverty and said that government should provide assistance or training to help people get out of poverty. He also proposed creating 1 million vocational jobs for students.

In business he said that the future for hi-tech growth in Russia was huge. He encouraged Russians to buy Russian products if possible.

Referring to infrastructure, he noted that 60 airports would be upgraded in the coming years, that there will be increased capacity on the Trans Siberian Railway. He announced that with the completion of the Kerch Strait Bridge linking Russia to Crimea, rail service would soon begin there.

Border wall, bullet train: California vs. Trump escalates

February 20, 2019

by Kathleen Ronayne

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Disputes over President Donald Trump’s border wall and California’s bullet train are intensifying the feud between the White House and the nation’s most populous state.

The Trump administration on Tuesday said it plans to cancel or claw back $3.5 billion in federal dollars allocated to California’s high-speed rail project, seizing on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent decision to scale back plans for a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles route.

Newsom branded the move “political retribution” for the state’s lawsuit against Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. California led a 16-state coalition in filing the suit Monday, challenging Trump’s power to declare an emergency to earn more money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“It’s no coincidence that the Administration’s threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the President’s farcical ‘national emergency,'” Newsom said in a statement. “This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by.”

It’s the latest spat between Trump and California, which has styled itself as the Democratic-led “resistance” to the administration. Newsom, less than two months into his tenure, has appeared more eager to hit back at Trump than former California Gov. Jerry Brown. The lawsuit is California’s 46th against the Trump administration.

Using a broad interpretation of his executive powers, Trump declared an emergency last week to obtain wall funding beyond the $1.4 billion Congress approved for border security. The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

Trump’s use of the emergency declaration has drawn bipartisan criticism and faces a number of legal challenges.

Still the president has told reporters he expects to prevail.

“I think in the end we’re going to be very successful with the lawsuit,” Trump told reporters, calling it an “open and closed” case.

Trump had earlier singled out California for its lead role in the suit, seeking to link the state’s high-speed rail project to his plan for the wall.

On Twitter, Trump claimed the “failed Fast Train project” was beset by “world record setting” cost overruns and had become “hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!”

The estimated cost for a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles train has more than doubled to $77 billion. That’s about 13 times the $5.7 billion Trump sought unsuccessfully from Congress to build the wall.

Hours later, the U.S. Department of Transportation told California it planned to cancel nearly $1 billion in federal money allocated to the rail project and wanted the state to return $2.5 billion it had already spent.

Trump’s comments about a “failed” project followed Newsom’s comments last week that the current plan for an LA-San Francisco train would cost too much and take too long. Instead, he said he’d focus immediately on a line through the Central Valley while still doing environmental work on the full line. That work is a requirement for keeping the federal money.

Still, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Newsom’s remarks reinforced concerns about the project’s ability to deliver. The department wrote Newsom’s comments mark a “significant retreat from the State’s initial vision and commitment and frustrated the purpose for which the Federal funding was awarded.”

California Republicans who have long called the project a waste of money applauded the Trump administration’s move to take back the money.

“It is time to move on from the broken high-speed rail project and redirect our efforts to infrastructure projects that work for Californians,” said U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, a city on the train’s route.

But Newsom said the state intends to keep the money. Losing it would be a major blow to the chronically underfunded project.

“This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it,” he said.

The agreement with the federal government allows the administration to withhold or take back the money if the state fails to make “adequate progress” or “complete the project or one of its tasks.”

If the federal government decides to take the money back, it doesn’t have to wait for California to write a check. Instead it could withhold money from other transportation projects.

Tuesday’s comments won’t be the last; the administration has given California until March 5 to respond formally.

Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed.

Trump slams California for lawsuit against border emergency declaration

February 19, 2019

by Katie Galioto


President Donald Trump took a swing at California on Tuesday morning with tweets criticizing the state for leading the legal charge against his efforts to fund a southern border wall by declaring a national emergency.

“As I predicted, 16 states, led mostly by Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit,” Trump tweeted.

The president forecast legal challenges Friday when he announced his use of emergency powers during a White House news conference, in which he called the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit “disgraceful.” The West Coast court is home to some of the country’s most left-leaning jurists and a strategic spot for cases against the Trump administration.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, calls the emergency declaration a “manufactured crisis” structured to redirect federal dollars toward the construction of a border wall Trump has promised to build since his campaign.

In his tweets, Trump also slammed California for its plans to build a high-speed rail train, a project that’s drawn national attention in recent weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his State of the State address that construction of the full route — which would have connected San Francisco to Los Angeles — would not be feasible due to climbing costs and logistical challenges.

“The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!” Trump tweeted.


California says will block crude oil from Trump offshore drilling plan

February 7, 2018

by Sharon Bernstein


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California will block the transportation through its state of petroleum from new offshore oil rigs, officials told Reuters on Wednesday, a move meant to hobble the Trump administration’s effort to vastly expand drilling in U.S. federal waters.

California’s plan to deny pipeline permits for transporting oil from new leases off the Pacific Coast is the most forceful step yet by coastal states trying to halt the biggest proposed expansion in decades of federal oil and gas leasing.

Officials in Florida, North and South Carolina, Delaware and Washington, have also warned drilling could despoil beaches, harm wildlife and hurt lucrative tourism industries.

“I am resolved that not a single drop from Trump’s new oil plan ever makes landfall in California,” Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, chair of the State Lands Commission and a Democratic candidate for governor, said in an emailed statement.

The commission sent a letter on Wednesday to the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) urging the bureau’s program manager Kelly Hammerle to withdraw the draft proposal, saying the public did not have an adequate opportunity to provide input on the plan.

“It is certain that the state would not approve new pipelines or allow use of existing pipelines to transport oil from new leases onshore,” the commission wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

California has clashed repeatedly with President Donald Trump’s administration over a range of other issues since last year, from climate change to automobile efficiency standards to immigration.

The Interior Department last month announced its proposal to open nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, sparking protests from coastal states, environmentalists and the tourism industry.

Governors from nearly every U.S. coastal state except Alaska and Maine expressed opposition, and even Alaska’s governor requested sensitive areas be removed.

The proposal also comes amid low U.S. oil industry demand for new offshore leases, as drillers focus on cheaper and highly-productive wells onshore that have pushed U.S. production over 10 millions barrels per day for the first time since 1970.

Heather Swift, spokeswoman for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, said developing the five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leases is “a very open and public process.”

“Secretary Zinke looks forward to meeting with more Governors and other coastal representatives who want to discuss the draft program,” she said, adding the bureau “has planned 23 public meetings, in our coastal states, to secure feedback directly from citizens.”

In an interview on Tuesday, William Brown, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s chief environmental officer, said state input is taken seriously, and has resulted in past drilling plans being scaled back. He said the approval process would take two years and include an environmental review.


Trump has said more offshore drilling would boost the U.S. economy and national security by reducing reliance on imported oil.

Opponents of offshore drilling have complained that Congress has passed no new safety standards since BP Plc’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It took months to stop that leak, which became the largest oil spill in American history, despoiling the environment of Gulf Coast states and causing billions of dollars in economic damage.

Offshore drilling has been restricted in California since a 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara. In 2015, another spill in Santa Barbara County sent as much as 2,400 barrels of oil (101,000 gallons or 382,000 liters) onto the coast and into the Pacific, leaving slicks that stretched over nine miles (14 km).

Major oil companies, like Chevron Corp (CVX.N), have long since abandoned their efforts in California’s offshore region, despite its estimated 250 million barrels of proven oil reserves, due in part to legislative and political hurdles and easier prospects elsewhere.

Chevron gave away the U.S. Geological Survey seismic data on offshore California and other parts of the U.S. West Coast for research use in 2005, deeming it no longer commercially useful.

Neal Kirby, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents small and mid-sized drilling companies, said his members support the administration’s drilling plan.

But, he said that the industry was primarily interested in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, a region close to existing oil infrastructure and highly-productive fields. He said if California bars oil from passing through pipelines, companies would be even less likely to seek new offshore leases there.

A number of other states have asked the Interior Department to exempt them from the drilling plan. So far, Secretary Zinke has said he would exempt Florida, which borders the Eastern Gulf and the Southeastern Atlantic, to protect its tourism industry and he has promised to hold discussions with other states that have expressed concerns.

On Jan. 24, U.S. lawmakers from Florida sent Zinke a letter pressing him to honor his pledge, noting that the acting chief of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had said Florida’s coast is “still under consideration for offshore drilling.”

Environmentalists and some elected officials plan to protest the drilling plan at a public meeting on Thursday in Sacramento.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; editing by Richard Valdmanis, David Gregorio and Clive McKeef

Trump and the Russians

February 20, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Donald Trump has pursued business deals in Russia since 1987, and has sometimes traveled there to explore potential business opportunities. In 1996, Trump trademark applications were submitted for potential Russian real estate development deals. Mr.Trump’s partners and children have repeatedly visited Moscow, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities. Mr.Trump was never able to successfully conclude any real estate deals in Russia. However, individual Russians have invested heavily in Trump properties, and following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed money from Russian sources. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

In 1996 Mr.Trump partnered with Liggett-Ducat, a small company, and planned to build an upscale residential development on a Liggett-Ducat property in Moscow. Trump commissioned New York architect Ted Liebman, who did the sketches.

In 1987 Mr.Trump visited Russia to investigate developing a hotel

In Russia, Mr.Trump promoted the proposal and acclaimed the Russian economic market. At a news conference reported by The Moscow Times, Mr.Trump said he hadn’t been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow” in contrast to other cities had visited “all over the world.

By this time, Mr.Trump made known his desire to build in Moscow to government officials for almost ten years ranging from the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (they first met in Washington in 1987) to the military figure Alexander Lebed.

Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, showed Trump plans for a very large shopping mall to be located underground in the vicinity of the Kremlin. The mayor complimented Mr.Trump’s suggestion that this mall should have access to the Moscow Metro, and it was eventually connected to the Okhotny Ryad station. Although the 1996 residential development did not happen, Mr.Trump was by this time well known in Russia.

Between 2000–2010, Mr.Trump entered into a partnership with a development company headquartered in New York represented by a Russian immigrant, Felix Sater. During this period, they partnered for an assortment of deals that included building Trump towers internationally and Russia was included. For example, in 2005 Slater acted as an agent for building a Trump tower alongside Moscow River with letters of intent in hand and “square footage was being analyzed.”

In 2006, Mr.Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka stayed in the Hotel National, Moscow for several days, across from the Kremlin, to interview prospective partners, with the intention of formulating real estate development projects.

Sater had also traveled to Moscow with Mr. Trump, his wife Ivanka and son Donald Jr.

Mr. Trump was associated with Tevfik Arif, formerly a Soviet commerce official and founder of a development company called the Bayrock Group, of which Sater was also a partner.

Bayrock searched for deals in Russia while Trump Towers company were attempting to further expand in the United States. Mr. Sater said, “We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia,” on the scale of “…a large Vegas high-rise.”

In 2007, Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors

During 2006–2008 Mr.Trump’s company applied for a number of trademarks in Russia with the goal of real estate developments. These trademark applications include: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home.

In 2008, Mr. Trump spoke at a Manhattan real estate conference, stating that he really prefered Moscow over all cities in the world and that within 18 months he had been in Russia a half-dozen times.

Mr.Trump had received large and undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products such as wine, ties, or mattresses, which would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns

A secret KGB memo under date of February 1, 1984 concerned the necessity of making an expanded use of the facilities of cooperating foreign intelligence services—for example, Czechoslovakian or East German intelligence networks.

The most revealing section concerned kompromat.

The document specifically requested any compromising information about Donald Trump, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself. Plus any other information that would compromise the subject (Trump) to his country’s authorities and the general public. Naturally the information could be used to cause him serious problems in his country if exposed.

Finally, the report mentioned that his attitude towards women was also of interest. The point of interest would be if he was the habit of having affairs with women.

Mr. Trumps’ first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin in 1986. His original position was Soviet ambassador to the U.N. Dubinin’s mission as ambassador was to make contact with America’s business elite.

There was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the son of Estée Lauder. Mr. Trump was invited to meet the Ambassador. Ambassador Dubinin spoke fluent English and during the course of the luncheon Trump spoke at length with the Ambassador who proposed that Trump build a large luxury hotel, directly across from the Kremlin, in association with the Soviet government.

Mr.Trump at once became interested in the project and expressed his willingness to cooperate on such a project.

By January 1987, Mr.Trump had become a “prominent person” status and therefore Ambassador Dubinin deemed Mr.Trump interesting enough to arrange his trip to Moscow. U.S.-based Soviet diplomat, Vitaly Churkin—the future U.N. ambassador—was of assistance in this project.

Mr. Trump first visited the Soviet Union on July 4, 1987.

Mr. Trump flew to Moscow for the first time, together with his wife Ivana and Lisa Calandra, Ivana’s Italian-American assistant. Ambassador Dubinin’s invitation to Trump to visit Moscow was a standard operation exercise by the KGB.

The Trump trip was orchestrated by the Intourist Agency which was under the control of the KGB. Its duty was to investigate and monitor all foreigners coming into the Soviet Union.

The Trumps were treated with great courtesy by Soviet officials and they were housed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, at the bottom of Tverskaya Street, near Red Square.

The hotel was connected to the Intourist complex next door and was under KGB control.

The Lenin suite had been fixed for electronic surveillance.

In November of 2013, the Miss Universe pageant was held iin Moscow

It was there that  Mr. Trump — then the pageant’s owner — spent several days socializing with Russia’s business and political elite and becoming acquainted with a wealthy developer whose connections his son would later seek to capitalize on. The developer, Aras Agalarov, offered to pass on information about potential rival Mrs. Clinton from Russia’s top prosecutor to help a projected Trump presidential campaign.

The contest was held at Crocus City Hall, a venue owned by Agalarov. The event would be a family affair: Agalarov’s son, a pop singer named Emin, performed on stage and his wife was a judge.

Mr.Trump remained on good and productive terms with the Agalarov family, at one point, appearing in a music video with Emin and sending him a videotaped greeting on his 35th birthday.

During his trip to Moscow on November 9-11, 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, Mr.Trump surrounded himself with business people and those necessary to sign a deal which would bring a Trump Tower project to Moscow. These were: Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov,Yulya (Yulia) Alferova,Herman Gref, Artem Klyushin, Vladimir Kozhin, Chuck LaBella, Rotem Rosen, Phil Ruffin, Alex Sapir, Keith Schiller, Roustam Tariko and Bob Van Ronkel.

At first, President Putin, who had planned on meeting Mr.Trump at the pageant, sent numerous individuals tied to the Russian construction sector to the event to discuss potential lucrative building plans and to ascertain Mr. Trump’s attitudes.

President Putin to establish a distance, stated he was unable to attend the pagent because of a last-minute visit from the King of the Netherlands.

Previous to this meeting, there had been no positive positions on the possibility that Mr. Trump, with Russian assistance and financing, might construct a luxury hotel in Moscow. Trump made several tweets thanking individuals in Moscow and bragging about his future plans. Then on November 12th, 2013 Trump posted a link to the Moscow Times, remarking that his organization was working on building a luxury hotel in Moscow “@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”

This hotel deal was finalized during Trump’s weekend stay in Moscow for his Miss Universe pageant. At the Four Seasons Hotel at Ulitsa Okhotnyy Ryad, 2, a private meeting was held between Mr. Trump and President Putin. As the President is fluent in English, no other person was present. President Putin praised the business abilities of Mr. Trump and said that he would be a “refreshing person” as President of the United States. President Putin said that his people would be pleased to support Mr. Trump and that if this support was deemed material in achieving a victory, President Putin had one request to make of Mr. Trump. President Putin said his best wish was to establish “friendly and cooperative attitudes” by both parties, firmer business contacts and an abandonment of the policy of threats to the Russian Republic. President Putin stressed that certain very right-wing groups in America had been constantly agitating against him and against the Russian Republic and he hoped that Mr. Trump, if elected, could ignore these few people and work with, not against the Russian Republic. Mr. Trump repeatedly assured the President that he would be most eager to do just that and he agreed to work with various people in the United States who were friendly towards, and had connections with, the Russian Republic.

This most important conversation was recorded as a form of kompromat. And it is certain that a direct quid pro quo took place in November of 2013 between President Putin and Mr. Trump.

On June 16, 2015, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for President


Seven days, seven lies: Donald Trump’s claims debunked 

US President Donald Trump held forth on all manner of things this past week, opining for more than 90 minutes to the White House press at the top of a Cabinet meeting and capping off the week with a news conference that stretched for an hour.

And he’s been tweeting a lot.

Many of Mr Trump’s claims were only thinly masquerading as truths. Here’s a sampling of falsehoods he made, from his approval rating to the US government shutdown — paired with a reality check.


THE FACTS: He hasn’t. Mr Trump’s claim is only supported when counting work done under past presidents and ignoring the fact that fences from prior administrations are not the towering walls he promised. The 2006 Secure Fence Act has resulted in about 1,050 kilometres of border barrier. Money approved by Congress in March 2018 is to pay for 135 kilometres, but that work is not done. Mr Trump has achieved some renovation of existing barrier.


THE FACTS: He’s wrong in saying drug smugglers don’t or only rarely use official border crossings for their trafficking. Land ports of entry are their primary means for getting drugs into the country, not stretches of the border without barriers, says the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The agency said in a November report that the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organisations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the US though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also employ buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing smuggling methods that would not be choked off by a border wall.


THE FACTS: Russia says it’s happy. A US withdrawal opens opportunities for Moscow and Tehran to increase their influence and may help the Syrian government survive as a Kurdish-led opposition force loses its military ally on the ground. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the US “has done the right thing” in planning to pull out.


THE FACTS: It’s not all about him, or even mostly about him. While Americans may end up paying somewhat less for gasoline this year, Mr Trump’s suggestion that he deserves all the credit and averted a US economic depression is an exaggeration. Oil prices, which peaked on October 3, have been generally falling on the realisation that US sanctions against Iran would not create a shortage and on fear that a global oversupply of oil will spill into 2019 if slower international economic growth depresses energy demand. The president’s supposed “let it flow” edict did not stop OPEC and its Russia- led allies from agreeing last month to cut oil production. That initially failed to stop oil prices from sliding further; they have since rebounded a few dollars in the past week. Continued OPEC production cuts would push prices higher. Mr Trump has pointed to his positive relations with Saudi Arabia, which remains the biggest oil exporter. As a so-called swing producer with the ability to adjust production up or down relatively quickly, it can indeed influence the price of crude. But the market is complex: Canada, for example, is actually the top source of US oil imports, with Saudi Arabia second.


THE FACTS: Prices continue to rise. Administration policies announced last year and currently being completed don’t seem to have shifted that trend. Figures on US prescription drug price changes compiled by health data company Elsevier show that from December 20 through January 2, there were 1,179 product price changes. Of those, 30 were price cuts and the remaining 1,149 were price increases, with 328 of them between nine per cent and 10 per cent. All but one of the rest were by lower percentages. Elsevier spokesman Chris Capot said more companies will be announcing price increases this month.

Separately, a data firm whose software can help patients find the most cost- effective medications says its information shows price increases on many commonly used drugs for conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. “In the first two days of January, prices have increased on more than 250 different products,” said Michael Rea, CEO of Rx Savings Solutions. The average increase is about six per cent, he added.


THE FACTS: It’s nowhere close to 30 million to 35 million, according to his own Homeland Security secretary as well as independent estimates. The nonpartisan Pew Research Center estimates there were 10.7 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally in 2016, the most recent data available. Advocacy groups on both sides of the immigration issue have similar estimates. At a House hearing last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen acknowledged the number was “somewhere” between 11 million and 22 million, significantly lower than Trump’s claim of 35 million.

According to Pew, the number of immigrants in the U.S. illegally had reached a height of 12.2 million in 2007, representing about four per cent of the U.S. population, before declining in part because of a weakening U.S. economy.


This is easily shown to be false by checking readily available figures published by CNN.

President George H.W. Bush had a Republican party approval rating of 94% in January 1990, at the exact same point in his presidency as Mr Trump is now.

Even higher was George W. Bush’s Republican party approval rating 18 months into his presidency. In July 2002, he had a 96% approval rating.

Mapping the American War on Terror: Now in 80 Countries

February 20, 2019

by Stephanie Savell


In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding.

When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think it would be that hard to do. This was before the 2017 incident in Niger in which four American soldiers were killed on a counterterror mission and Americans were given an inkling of how far-reaching the war on terrorism might really be. I imagined a map that would highlight Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria – the places many Americans automatically think of in association with the war on terror – as well as perhaps a dozen less-noticed countries like the Philippines and Somalia. I had no idea that I was embarking on a research odyssey that would, in its second annual update, map U.S. counterterror missions in 80 countries in 2017 and 2018, or 40% of the nations on this planet (a map first featured in Smithsonian magazine).

As co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, I’m all too aware of the costs that accompany such a sprawling overseas presence. Our project’s research shows that, since 2001, the U.S. war on terror has resulted in the loss – conservatively estimated – of almost half a million lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone. By the end of 2019, we also estimate that Washington’s global war will cost American taxpayers no less than $5.9 trillion already spent and in commitments to caring for veterans of the war throughout their lifetimes.

In general, the American public has largely ignored these post-9/11 wars and their costs. But the vastness of Washington’s counterterror activities suggests, now more than ever, that it’s time to pay attention. Recently, the Trump administration has been talking of withdrawing from Syria and negotiating peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yet, unbeknownst to many Americans, the war on terror reaches far beyond such lands and under Trump is actually ramping up in a number of places. That our counterterror missions are so extensive and their costs so staggeringly high should prompt Americans to demand answers to a few obvious and urgent questions: Is this global war truly making Americans safer? Is it reducing violence against civilians in the U.S. and other places? If, as I believe, the answer to both those questions is no, then isn’t there a more effective way to accomplish such goals?

Combat or “Training” and “Assisting”?

The major obstacle to creating our database, my research team would discover, was that the U.S. government is often so secretive about its war on terror. The Constitution gives Congress the right and responsibility to declare war, offering the citizens of this country, at least in theory, some means of input. And yet, in the name of operational security, the military classifies most information about its counterterror activities abroad.

This is particularly true of missions in which there are American boots on the ground engaging in direct action against militants, a reality, my team and I found, in 14 different countries in the last two years. The list includes Afghanistan and Syria, of course, but also some lesser known and unexpected places like Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Mali, and Kenya. Officially, many of these are labeled “train, advise, and assist” missions, in which the U.S. military ostensibly works to support local militaries fighting groups that Washington labels terrorist organizations. Unofficially, the line between “assistance” and combat turns out to be, at best, blurry.

Some outstanding investigative journalists have documented the way this shadow war has been playing out, predominantly in Africa. In Niger in October 2017, as journalists subsequently revealed, what was officially a training mission proved to be a “kill or capture” operation directed at a suspected terrorist.

Such missions occur regularly. In Kenya, for instance, American service members are actively hunting the militants of al-Shabaab, a US-designated terrorist group. In Tunisia, there was at least one outright battle between joint U.S.-Tunisian forces and al-Qaeda militants. Indeed, two U.S. service members were later awarded medals of valor for their actions there, a clue that led journalists to discover that there had been a battle in the first place.

In yet other African countries, U.S. Special Operations forces have planned and controlled missions, operating in “cooperation with” – but actually in charge of – their African counterparts. In creating our database, we erred on the side of caution, only documenting combat in countries where we had at least two credible sources of proof, and checking in with experts and journalists who could provide us with additional information. In other words, American troops have undoubtedly been engaged in combat in even more places than we’ve been able to document.

Another striking finding in our research was just how many countries there were – 65 in all – in which the U.S. “trains” and/or “assists” local security forces in counterterrorism. While the military does much of this training, the State Department is also surprisingly heavily involved, funding and training police, military, and border patrol agents in many countries. It also donates equipment, including vehicle X-ray detection machines and contraband inspection kits. In addition, it develops programs it labels “Countering Violent Extremism,” which represent a soft-power approach, focusing on public education and other tools to “counter terrorist safe havens and recruitment.”

Such training and assistance occurs across the Middle East and Africa, as well as in some places in Asia and Latin America. American “law enforcement entities” trained security forces in Brazil to monitor terrorist threats in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics, for example (and continued the partnership in 2017). Similarly, U.S. border patrol agents worked with their counterparts in Argentina to crack down on suspected money laundering by terrorist groups in the illicit marketplaces of the tri-border region that lies between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

To many Americans, all of this may sound relatively innocuous – like little more than generous, neighborly help with policing or a sensibly self-interested fighting-them-over-there-before-they-get-here set of policies. But shouldn’t we know better after all these years of hearing such claims in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where the results were anything but harmless or effective?

Such training has often fed into, or been used for, the grimmest of purposes in the many countries involved. In Nigeria, for instance, the U.S. military continues to work closely with local security forces which have used torture and committed extrajudicial killings, as well as engaging in sexual exploitation and abuse. In the Philippines, it has conducted large-scale joint military exercises in cooperation with President Rodrigo Duterte’s military, even as the police at his command continue to inflict horrific violence on that country’s citizenry.

The government of Djibouti, which for years has hosted the largest U.S. military base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier, also uses its anti-terrorism laws to prosecute internal dissidents. The State Department has not attempted to hide the way its own training programs have fed into a larger kind of repression in that country (and others). According to its 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism, a document that annually provides Congress with an overview of terrorism and anti-terror cooperation with the United States in a designated set of countries, in Djibouti, “the government continued to use counterterrorism legislation to suppress criticism by detaining and prosecuting opposition figures and other activists.”

In that country and many other allied nations, Washington’s terror-training programs feed into or reinforce human-rights abuses by local forces as authoritarian governments adopt “anti-terrorism” as the latest excuse for repressive practices of all sorts.

A Vast Military Footprint

As we were trying to document those 65 training-and-assistance locations of the U.S. military, the State Department reports proved an important source of information, even if they were often ambiguous about what was really going on. They regularly relied on loose terms like “security forces,” while failing to directly address the role played by our military in each of those countries.

Sometimes, as I read them and tried to figure out what was happening in distant lands, I had a nagging feeling that what the American military was doing, rather than coming into focus, was eternally receding from view. In the end, we felt certain in identifying those 14 countries in which American military personnel have seen combat in the war on terror in 2017-2018. We also found it relatively easy to document the seven countries in which, in the last two years, the U.S. has launched drone or other air strikes against what the government labels terrorist targets (but which regularly kill civilians as well): Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. These were the highest-intensity elements of that U.S. global war. However, this still represented a relatively small portion of the 80 countries we ended up including on our map.

In part, that was because I realized that the U.S. military tends to advertise – or at least not hide – many of the military exercises it directs or takes part in abroad. After all, these are intended to display the country’s global military might, deter enemies (in this case, terrorists), and bolster alliances with strategically chosen allies. Such exercises, which we documented as being explicitly focused on counterterrorism in 26 countries, along with lands which host American bases or smaller military outposts also involved in anti-terrorist activities, provide a sense of the armed forces’ behemoth footprint in the war on terror.

Although there are more than 800 American military bases around the world, we included in our map only those 40 countries in which such bases are directly involved in the counterterror war, including Germany and other European nations that are important staging areas for American operations in the Middle East and Africa.

To sum up: our completed map indicates that, in 2017 and 2018, seven countries were targeted by U.S. air strikes; double that number were sites where American military personnel engaged directly in ground combat; 26 countries were locations for joint military exercises; 40 hosted bases involved in the war on terror; and in 65, local military and security forces received counterterrorism-oriented “training and assistance.”

A Better Grand Plan

How often in the last 17 years has Congress or the American public debated the expansion of the war on terror to such a staggering range of places? The answer is: seldom indeed.

After so many years of silence and inactivity here at home, recent media and congressional attention to American wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen represents a new trend. Members of Congress have finally begun calling for discussion of parts of the war on terror. Last Wednesday, for instance, the House of Representatives voted to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and the Senate has passed legislation requiring Congress to vote on the same issue sometime in the coming months.

On February 6th, the House Armed Services Committee finally held a hearing on the Pentagon’s “counterterrorism approach” – a subject Congress as a whole has not debated since, several days after the 9/11 attacks, it passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump have all used to wage the ongoing global war. Congress has not debated or voted on the sprawling expansion of that effort in all the years since. And judging from the befuddled reactions of several members of Congress to the deaths of those four soldiers in Niger in 2017, most of them were (and many probably still are) largely ignorant of how far the global war they’ve seldom bothered to discuss now reaches.

With potential shifts afoot in Trump administration policy on Syria and Afghanistan, isn’t it finally time to assess in the broadest possible way the necessity and efficacy of extending the war on terror to so many different places? Research has shown that using war to address terror tactics is a fruitless approach. Quite the opposite of achieving this country’s goals, from Libya to Syria, Niger to Afghanistan, the U.S. military presence abroad has often only fueled intense resentment of America. It has helped to both spread terror movements and provide yet more recruits to extremist Islamist groups, which have multiplied substantially since 9/11.

In the name of the war on terror in countries like Somalia, diplomatic activities, aid, and support for human rights have dwindled in favor of an ever more militarized American stance. Yet research shows that, in the long term, it is far more effective and sustainable to address the underlying grievances that fuel terrorist violence than to answer them on the battlefield.

All told, it should be clear that another kind of grand plan is needed to deal with the threat of terrorism both globally and to Americans – one that relies on a far smaller U.S. military footprint and costs far less blood and treasure. It’s also high time to put this threat in context and acknowledge that other developments, like climate change, may pose a far greater danger to our country.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

February 20, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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


Conversation No. 43

Date: Friday, October 25, 1996

Commenced: 3:45 PM CST

Concluded: 4:15 PM CST


GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Everything going well for you? How was your doctor’s appointment?

RTC: Well, no results but I am resigned to being old, Gregory. When you get to my age, you’ll count the day as wonderful if you can open your eyes in the morning. How is it with you?

GD: It goes. Moving to Illinois was not the best of ideas but my son left me little choice. It was move or else.

RTC: Or else what?

GD: He would leave and I would be stuck with a huge rent for a big house with a swimming pool that he insisted we have but he only used once. I used it all the time but I had to clean it and with all the trees and the occasional drowned squirrel, it was a wonderful addition that I would never want again unless I was rich enough to afford a weekly pool service. Of course the scumbag neighbors wanted their filthy kids to use it but I said that was not possible. I told them my insurance forbade it but actually, who wants an army of screaming little assholes using the pool as their private toilet?

RTC: Sounds like you put your Scrooge hat on this morning.

GD: Actually, I like kids. If you barbecue the small ones, they go well with a pitcher of Jack Daniels.

RTC: For God’s sake, don’t ever say that around a Jew or you’ll go stone deaf from the screaming.

GD: Oh, I know you’re right about that one. It’s a little like saying that you’re looking for a chink in someone’s armor and Asian-Americans start shouting. And never call a spade, a spade.

RTC: Yes. We live in an artificial society, Gregory. Our primitive selves still heft the vanished club with which to smite other cave-dwellers.

GD: In the Mueller book, I made reference to the fact that we now have nice-nice titles for people. I said we call janitors ‘sanitary engineers’ and that Mongoloids are now called ‘differently abled.’ And some reader wrote a nasty letter to my publisher about this which he forwarded for my comment. She said she was horrified and repulsed by the use of the Mongoloid idiot implication. Her little Timmy was the sweetest child on earth and I ought to be thrashed for calling him this terrible, forbidden name.

RTC: Did you reply?

GD: Oh yes. I wrote to her that having read her letter with sorrow because she was stuck with a retard, I suggested, very pointedly, that she ought to put some chlorine in her gene pool.

RTC: (Laughter) Gregory, you didn’t.

GD: Why not? Hell, the Greeks knew something about genes and they left their retards out on the mountainside to either die slowly or more quickly when the animals got them. Keeps the race clean if you follow me. Now, we let the innates breed and they are filling what passes for civilization with all kinds of lopsided mongrels. Malthus doesn’t mention eugenics but I feel that the herd should be thinned and the best breeding stock put in a separate pen to avoid two legged goats or chickens covered with fur.

RTC: You sound like a Nazi. As I recall, we had that Dr. Mengele on the payroll. Down in South America where we wanted him to do work on breeding superior people.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert, talk about infuriating the Jews. If they ever found out about that delightful fact, all their newspapers, magazines and television stations would do terrible damage to the CIA. My grandfather was a Nazi but I am not.

RTC: Over there?

GD: No, here. A member of the AO in good standing.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: The Auslands Organization. Party members residing outside Germany. He was a banker with close connections to the Schreoder people in Cologne. Party member since 1923.

RTC: Well, the CIA is now full of Jews so if they find that out, they will do more than keep your books out of the bookstores.

GD: I suppose if I turned my back on them, I might have some trouble. They don’t like confrontation and love to work in the dark or through surrogates. They hate the Mueller books, not because Mueller was anti-Semitic but because he is presented as a human being. To professional Jews, all Germans are evil. Little children of eight were trained to visit the concentration camp in their neighborhood and toss screaming Jewish babies into the giant bonfires that burned day and night.

RTC: Now I know you’re joking.

GD: Of course but that sort of silly crap is very close to what they do.

RTC: Of course it’s to make money and gain moral superiority. ‘Oh Mr. Salesman, my whole family died in the gas chambers. Terrible. Can you give a poor survivor 50% off on that couch?’

GD: Robert, that’s very unkind. True but unkind.

RTC: I remember when they attacked the Liberty and were killing Americans. Deliberate of course and the Navy sent aircraft to wipe them out. Johnson found out about this and stopped the flight. Why? He didn’t want to offend Israel.

GD: What about dead Americans?

RTC: Pales into insignificance when balanced against the vital needs of precious Israel. At the time, they were murdering captured Etyptian soldiers and they didn’t want us listening in so the tried to sink the ship.

GD: And Pollard…

RTC: Oh my, yes and even now they want us to liberate him. They made him an honorary member of the Knesset and put big bucks away for him in a private account. And this for an American who was stealing important secrets and giving them to what was supposed to be an ally.

GD: Did you ever read the Bunche report?

RTC: Ralph Bunche. The UN man?

GD: Yes. After the Jews murdered Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross and one of their royal family, solely because he refused to allow them to butcher Arab farmers, they killed him and Bunche, who was on Cypress dealing with refugees, was given his job. The UN prepared a chronology of violence in Palestine from ’44 until ’48…day by day. A wonderful chronicle of arson, murder, kidnapping, poisoning and God alone knows what atrocities. Blowing up hotels full of people and so on. I got a copy from an Army friend and if you like, I can send you a photo copy.

RTC: That I would like to see although there’s nothing I can do about it now.

GD: And when you were in the CIA?

RTC: I never liked dealing with those people. Jim Angleton loved them and kissed their asses but I never trusted any of them.

GD: Especially our allies?

RTC: Oh no, they are not our allies. If it weren’t for the fact that Jews have lots of money and own almost all the newspapers and TV stations, we wouldn’t be so eager to kiss their hairy asses, believe me.

GD: Well, the wheel turns, Robert, and one day there will be a reckoning of sorts. I don’t forsee enormous gas chambers being built in Detroit but the public can get very unpleasant when it gets angry.

RTC: But without the papers and TV and with political correctness in full swing, I can’t see mobs in the street burning down kosher meat stores.

GD: Who knows the way the wheel turns?

RTC: But don’t put any of this into future books, Gregory. Not a good idea. You will be accused of masterminding the assassination of Lincoln.

GD: Well, they may have the newspapers but there are other avenues. I remember once when I was giving a lecture, some old bitch came up to me afterwards and began telling me how her whole family had been turned into lampshades and soap at Auschwutz. She dared me to respond but I did.

RTC: And? God help us all, what did you say?

GD: Why, I said my uncle had died at Auischwitz during the war. She blinked and asked me if he were a Jew.

GD: I told her no, he was not. I said he got drunk on the Fuehrer’s birthday, fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck.

RTC: My God, you have balls, Gregory. What did she do?

GD: I think she swallowed her false teeth. However, everyone around us started laughing so not everyone was mad at me. She waddled off before I could tell her about the new German pizza oven that seated four.

RTC: Gregory, do let us change the subject. Suppose some Jewish FBI agents were listening to this?

GD: I would offer a special bargain on hand soap. I could set up a booth at a fair with hand soap in piles and a sign saying ‘Find a Relative!’ over it. Probably not a good idea. They would ask me for a 50% discount. Oh, by the way, to change the subject…

RTC: Thank God…

GD: Yes. Did you know that the British Prince Consort, Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a German, not a Greek. He also had been a uniformed member of several Nazi organizations before he joined the Royal Navy. His brother had been a member of the SS and his sister had been a German nurse so they never got invited to the royal wedding. His uncle was Prince Phillip of Hesse who lived in Italy where he married their Crown Princess. He was Hitler’s art dealer in Italy. Phillip is related to the last Empress of Russia, the German Kaiser  and others. His uncle was a general in the SA. I have a snapshot of him in his Hitler Youth uniform, dagger and all, with a friend of mine when both were at a Hitler Youth rally. I would imagine the IRA would love to buy that one.

RTC: I had heard something about this. Phil is a nasty piece of arrogant work. Anthony Blunt…

GD: I know all about his going to Germany and hiding references to Phillp’s Nazi past. That’s why he never got arrested when he was exposed as a Russian spy.

RTC: You do get around, Gregory.

GD: If we got together, I could tell you lots of interesting facts, Robert. Well, enough evil for the moment. My dog is making go outside noises so I had best leave you. I will call you later, OK?

RTC: Salud.


(Concluded at 4:15 Pm CST)

Google admits error over hidden microphone

February 20, 2019

by Dave Lee, North America technology reporter

BBC News

Google has acknowledged that it made an error in not disclosing that one of its home alarm products contained a microphone.

Product specifications for the Nest Guard, available since 2017, had made no mention of the listening device.

But earlier this month, the firm said a software update would make Nest Guard voice-controlled.

On Twitter, concerned Nest owners were told the microphone “has not been used up to this point”.

Business Insider was first to report the development.

The Nest Guard is one component in the Nest Secure range of home security products. The system includes various sensors that can be monitored remotely by the user.

Nest Guard is an all-in-one alarm, keypad, and motion sensor but, despite being announced well over a year ago, the word “microphone” was only added to the product’s specification this month.

The change coincided with the announcement that it was now compatible with Google Assistant.

In response to criticism, Google said on Tuesday: “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.”

It added: “The microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.

“Security systems often use microphones to provide features that rely on sound sensing. We included the mic on the device so that we can potentially offer additional features to our users in the future, such as the ability to detect broken glass.”

The firm’s mea culpa has been accepted as genuine by many company watchers, but some say it still raises significant privacy concerns.

“This is the kind of thing that makes me paranoid of smart home devices,” commented Nick Heer, who writes the Pixel Envy blog.

“If I owned one of these things and found out that the world’s biggest advertising company hid a microphone in my home for a year, I’d be livid.”

UK-based privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch added: “Many of our worries about smart home devices appear to be proving true… Google should be held to account for wrongly advertising this product.”

Nest Guard went on sale in the US last year as part of Google’s Secure alarm system. A European and Canadian release is also planned but has yet to occur.

Nest, a company known for its smart thermostat, was acquired by Google in February 2014, for a reported $3.2bn (£2.5bn).

The acknowledgment comes days after Singapore Airlines faced criticism for installing cameras into the backs of some of its planes’ seats as part of a new in-flight entertainment system.

The company confirmed the cameras’ existence on Sunday, but said they had been disabled and added that it had no plans to use them.

Additional reporting by Leo Kelion










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TBR News February 19 ,2019

Feb 19 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

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

Washington, D.C. February 19, 2019:” Report for Congress June 28, 2004

Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance


The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to improve border security is a technique that has garnered congressional attention. This report examines the strengths and limitations of deploying UAVs along the borders and related issues for Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant.


Border Security has long been recognized as a priority by the Congress. The northern border separating the mainland United States and Canada is 4,121 miles long and consists of 430 official and unofficial ports of entry. The expansive nature and the possibility of entry through unpopulated regions make the border difficult to patrol. In July 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert Bonner announced that an additional 375 border patrol agents would be reassigned to the northern border. This increase brought the number of border patrol agents to one thousand. Commissioner Bonner also noted that CBP’s border agents had, “the front line responsibility for detecting terrorists and terrorist weapons.”

The southern border separating the United States and Mexico is 2,062 miles long and consists of thirty ports of entry and “innumerable unofficial crossings.” Unlike the northern border, however, as of January 2003, 10,408 border patrol agents were stationed. on the southern border. Despite this larger presence, illegal border crossings and significant drug smuggling activities occur frequently.

Borders are monitored and protected by border patrol agents, video cameras, ground sensors, physical barriers, land vehicles and manned aircraft. The diverse nature of U.S. border defense is challenged by an equally diverse array of threats ranging from terrorists to drug smugglers, arms dealers, and human traffickers. Past difficulties in securing the borders in conjunction with fears that terrorists could exploit existing security vulnerabilities by surreptitiously crossing the borders has prompted Congress to call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to examine the potential use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

There are two different types of UAVs: drones and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs). Both drones and RPVs are pilotless, but drones are programmed for autonomous flight. RPVs are actively flown — remotely — by a ground control operator. UAVs are defined as a powered aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry lethal or nonlethal payloads. UAVs have played key roles in recent conflicts. Historically, UAVs have been used in various military settings outside of U.S. borders. UAVs provided reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, search and rescue and battle damage assessments. In the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, UAVs have been used for surveillance, but also attack. The Predator UAV, for example, was armed with anti-tank weapons and used to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda members.

UAVs have also been used in domestic settings. The NASA-sponsored Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program has produced civilian UAVs to monitor pollution and measure ozone levels. Academia has also been active in exploring civilian uses for UAVs. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is involved in developing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and video camera guidance for locating and identifying toxic substances. The Department of Energy recently announced that it will test UAVs outfitted with radiation sensors to detect potential nuclear reactor accidents.

On November 12, 2003, Congress agreed to the Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Conference Report (H.R. 1588) which became P.L. 108-354 on November 24, 2003. Section 1034 of the DOD Authorization Act requires the President to issue a report “on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for support of homeland security missions.” UAVs were recently tested for potential domestic application on the U.S.-Mexican border.. UAV demonstrations conducted by various commercial companies at Fort Huachuca and Gila Bend, Arizona on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Bureau have prompted various questions regarding their potential use within the United States. Shortly after the Arizona UAV demonstrations, DHS acknowledged that one model of UAV, the Predator B, would be used in Operation Safeguard, an experimental law enforcement program that will conduct missions along the U.S.-Mexican border. P.L. 108-90 on Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security provides $35.2 million to establish a Northern Border airwing, of which $12.8 million will be available for aircraft procurement. In doing so, Congress supported functional and organizational Air and Marine Interdiction (AMI) and modernization efforts. Congress also tasked the DHS Under Secretary of Border and Transportation Security to devise a report outlining operational plans by which the Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) would eliminate surveillance gaps affecting the northern border and western United States.

Benefits and Limitations of UAVs

One potential benefit of UAVs is that they could fill a gap in current border surveillance. In particular, technical capabilities of UAVs could improve coverage along remote sections of the U.S. borders. Electro-Optical (EO) sensors (cameras) can identify an object the size of a milk carton from an altitude of 60,000 feet. UAV’s also can provide precise and real-time imagery to a ground control operator, who would then disseminate that information so that informed decisions regarding the deployment of border patrol agents can be made quickly.

Another benefit of the UAV system is its loiter capabilities. The Predator B used in Operation Safeguard can fly for more than thirty hours without having to refuel. The UAV’s ability to loiter for prolonged periods of time has important operational advantages over manned aircraft. The longer flight times of UAVs means that sustained coverage over a previously exposed area may improve border security.

UAVs are less expensive than manned aircraft used for border security. The unit cost of UAVs varies widely. The Shadow UAV costs $350,000 while the Predator costs $4.5 million. In contrast, the unit cost of a P-3 manned aircraft used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is $36 million. Blackhawk helicopters which are frequently used on the borders cost $8.6 million per unit. However, the benefit of the Blackhawk’s relative low unit cost is diminished by its lack of endurance. Blackhawks have a.CRS-4 maximum endurance of 2 hours and 18 minutes. Consequently, UAVs longer dwell time would allow them to patrol the border longer.

The range of UAVs is a significant asset when compared to border agents on patrol or stationery surveillance equipment. If an illegal border entrant attempts to transit through dense woods or mountainous terrain, UAVs would have a greater chance of tracking the violator with thermal detection sensors than stationary video equipment which is often used on the borders. It is important to note, however, that rough terrain and dense foliage can degrade the images produced by an UAV’s sensory equipment and thus limit their effectiveness at the borders. The extended range and endurance of UAVs may lesson the burdens on human resources at the borders. During Operation Safeguard the prototype Predator B was remotely piloted from a ground control station. The safety concerns faced by helicopter pilots on patrol are eliminated when UAVs are used.

Despite potential benefits of using UAVs for homeland security, various problems encountered in the past may hinder UAV implementation on the border. There are concerns regarding UAVs high accident rate. Currently, the UAV accident rate is 100 times higher than that of manned aircraft. Because UAV technology is still evolving there is less redundancy built into the operating system of UAVs than of manned aircraft and until redundant systems are perfected mishap rates are expected to remain high. Additionally, if control systems fail in a manned aircraft, a well-trained pilot is better positioned to find the source of the problem because of his/her physical proximity. If a UAV encountered a similar system failure, or if a UAV landing was attempted during difficult weather conditions, the ground control pilot would be at a disadvantage because he or she is removed from the event. Unlike a manned pilot, the remote pilot would not be able to assess important sensory information such as wind speed.

The key component of Operation Safeguard was to identify potential threats crossing the southern border illegally. The surveillance capabilities of UAVs equipped with only an E-O camera and Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) sensor have been limited in the past by poor weather conditions. Cloudy conditions and high humidity climates can distort the imagery produced by EO and FLIR equipment. Although the Predator B is operating in the low-humidity environment of the Southwest, the effects of extreme climatic or atmospheric conditions on its sensors reportedly can be mitigated if DHS decides to outfit the Predator B with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system. Radars can produce high resolution imagery in inclement weather. The ability of SAR to function during adverse weather conditions sets it apart from optical or infrared systems.. However, its ability to track moving targets is limited. This limitation can be mitigated by accompanying SAR with moving target indicator (MTI) radar technology. Adding SAR and MTI to the Predator B’s platform could significantly enhance its operational capability for border missions. By adding SAR and MTI to the UAV platform, however, the costs of using UAVs on the border would increase.

How UAVs could be integrated into civilian airspace within the United States is a fundamental question that would need to be addressed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and DHS. Integrating UAVs into civilian airspace so that they could operate safely would require not only the creation of regulatory guidelines by the FAA but also technical developments. Currently, the FAA is working on guidelines for integrating UAVs into the national air space (NAS). Although there are no guidelines or regulations for incorporating UAVs into the NAS, the FAA has worked closely with government users of UAV technology in developing a certificate of authority (COA) so NAS can be blocked off for exploratory development or operational testing. A primary concern of the FAA is whether UAVs can operate in already crowded airspace. The challenge, according to FAA spokesman William Shumann is, “to develop vehicles that meet FAA safety requirements if they want to fly in crowded airspace.” Before UAVs can be introduced into national airspace, the FAA, DHS and other relevant users will need to address collision-avoidance, communication and weather avoidance issues.

Issues for Congress

Congress will likely conduct oversight of Operation Safeguard before considering wider implementation of this technology. If implemented, would UAVs simply be used to monitor the border for illicit activity, or would they be utilized in a more sophisticated manner? In the future could UAV imagery be used to develop intelligence products on patterns and tactics used by illegal entrants?

If Congress concurs that UAVs can fulfill an important homeland security mission, how many UAVs, and of what type would be needed to patrol the borders? A robust pilot program simultaneously testing multiple UAVs on the borders might be needed in order to ascertain where, how and whether UAVs should be deployed. Larger scale testing would provide an opportunity to evaluate whether limitations of UAVs would hinder their utility on the border. In the past, multiple UAVs piloted in close proximity to each other have experienced interference and loss of control between the UAV and the remote pilot. In many cases interference led to accidents. An expanded pilot program would provide an opportunity to evaluate UAVs under a more realistic operational setting. Additionally,.CRS-6 testing multiple UAVs on the borders could help in establishing parameters under which they could successfully operate.

Should RPVs vs Drones be pursued and deployed for border security? Autonomous drones offer advantages over RPVs, especially in terms of reducing personnel workload and operating costs. However, at this stage of technological development, RPVs can be operated more flexibly than drones, and suffer accidents less frequently.

The use of UAVs on the northern and southern borders could potentially act as an important force multiplier by covering previously unpatrolled areas or more effectively surveilling areas already patrolled. The benefit of increased coverage, however, may not be so significant when terrorists, like the September 11 hijackers, can and have entered the country through more easily accessible official ports of entry. Another consideration is how well the CBP could respond to UAV imagery. Are there enough border patrol resources to investigate all UAV identified targets? Would the lack of human resources render high technology like UAVs less effective?

The technical capabilities of the UAVs have been tested in a military context, but serious safety and technical issues need to be addressed if the program is to be expanded domestically. Perhaps most important, a clearly defined role and action plan for the application of UAV technology to homeland security needs would need to be created. Another set of questions pertains to the schedule for implementing UAVs in border security. Currently, the regular use of UAVs in U.S. airspace appears to be slated for the year 2008.  If UAVs are deemed to be useful for border security, some may ask why it will take so long implement this technology. Other countries, such as Japan and South Korea have, for many years, used UAVs in a variety of civil roles. Italy could fly civil UAVs by the end of 2002.  Could U.S. aviation authorities pursue a more aggressive implementation plan?

UAVs are likely to be fielded as part of a larger system of border surveillance, not as a solution in and of themselves. Are there potential alternatives to using UAVs in this surveillance system? Aerostats may offer one alternative. Aerostats are helium-filled blimps that don’t fly horizontally but are instead tethered to the ground with a cable that provides power. Like UAVs, Aerostats are unmanned and can loiter for long periods of time. Aerostats are already fielded by the Customs Service and by the Army for both civil and military applications. If UAVs are deemed attractive because of low cost, elevated sensor capabilities, and long loiter times, Aerostats may be studied as a platform that might offer advantages in all three of these areas.


The Table of Contents

The Empire in Collapse

  • Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?
  • Trump’s reaction to McCabe shows he may be the most useless of them all
  • “The President Has Been Acting on Russia’s Behalf”: U.S. Officials Are Shocked by Trump’s Asset-Like Behavior
  • Vandals desecrate 90 Jewish graves in east France ahead of marches
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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