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TBR News August 16, 2016

Aug 16 2016

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C. August 16, 2016: “The Internet has proven to be the greatest source of information since lunatic Christians burnt down the library of Alexandria. Anything being sought, be it an address or an in-depth analysis of Dead Sea scrolls, is there and is the main reason that the famous Encyclopedia Britannica has gone out of business.

At the same time, because it is open to one and all, the Internet is also a breeding ground for a legion of strange persons with a frantic desire to air their pet theses, themselves and their friends.

We see earnest discussions about the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy,the Sinister Truth about Hurricane Katrina, Tesla Death Rays used to bring down the buildings of the WTC, balanced with other information proving beyone a shadow of a doubt that Russian bombers were used. We also discover the evil plottings of the Illuminiati, a group that has been long gone, or that the Rothschild banking house had taken over the whole world. And from one source, now long  vanished, we discover that Houston was destroyed by a nuclear bomb set off by Jewish radicals or that the Fukishima disaster was really caused by an Israeli submarine, using German-made nuclear torpedos! The media, the print and television media, publishes, or does not publish, what the establishment requires but the Internet is impossible to control. Influence, yes, but control, no.

Reading the officially-sanctioned newsites can be highly amusing.

Yes, the Internet can entertain as well as inform.”

US nukes in Turkey vulnerable to ‘terrorists & other hostile forces’ – think tank

August 15, 2016


A US think tank has called for the withdrawal of nuclear arms from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, saying the country is in disorder and is too close to the Syria conflict zone.

The report prepared by the Stimson Center nonprofit think tank, titled ‘B61 Life Extension Program: Costs and Policy Considerations’, questions the safety of American nuclear weapons stored at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.

The failed military coup in Turkey on July 15 resulted in the base’s commander being arrested over alleged participation in the agitation.

Turkish authorities blocked the Incirlik base off completely, cutting the facility’s electric power and prohibiting any aircraft from flying in or out of the airfield.

“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, just 70 miles from the Syrian border,” said report co-author Laicie Heeley. “These weapons have zero utility on the European battlefield and today are more of a liability than asset to our NATO allies,” said Heeley, a fellow with the Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program at the Stimson Center.

The US brought tactical nuclear bombs to Europe and Turkey in 1950s and 1960s, allegedly to deal with Soviet tank armies that it was feared would pour onto the European battlefield in the event of World War III.

Most of the American nuclear arsenals were retracted from Europe in the early 1990s after the fall of the USSR, yet an estimated 180 obsolete nuclear B61 drop bombs are still stored at six European air bases in NATO member states Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The development of modern missile air defenses have nullified the A-bomb’s potential, as no bomber would be allowed to approach, let alone fly over, enemy territory.

Still, the US National Nuclear Security Administration plans to spend $US8 billion to extend service of an estimated 480 out of a total 800 B61 bombs the US still has in stock, the report says. These expenditures are planned within the framework of a 30-year, $1-trillion program, as Washington intends to modernize the American nuclear triad.

“These bombs are ill-suited for modern warfare and incredibly costly,” said Stimson Center co-founder and report co-author Barry Blechman.

The report suggests the “immediate removal” of all B61 nuclear weapons from Europe and discontinuation of the procurement of B61s. In this way the Pentagon would save over $6 billion which could be used to bolster the US military presence in Europe.

“The smart move would be to remove these weapons from Europe and double down to strengthen conventional forces that actually protect our NATO allies,” Blechman proposed.

In an article published on August 11, the former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the White House National Security Council, Steve Andreasen, wrote that the B61 tactical nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik have become a hot potato rather than geopolitical argument.

“What if the Turkish base commander at Incirlik had ordered his troops surrounding the perimeter of the base to turn their guns on the US soldiers that reportedly guard US nuclear storage bunkers there?” said the former top White House arms control official.

The ex-White House weapons chief suggested other hair-raising scenarios involving the Incirlik nuclear arsenal.

For example, nationalistic Turks suspicious of the US role in the recent coup might display anti-American sentiment, similar to the Iranians in 1979, and seize the Incirlik base.

The proximity of the base to the Syrian border – where a war between international jihadist groups and the government of President Bashar Assad is raging for the sixth year – is another factor. The Pentagon already ordered all military families out of Incirlik and southern Turkey back in March over terrorism-related security concerns, recalls Andreasen.

“There are no do-overs in history, but there are lessons,” Andreasen concluded.

Kurds may abandon Turkey after coup against Erdogan

Turkey’s government has wasted no time in going after political opponents in the month since the failed coup. Germany’s main Kurdish organization has warned that displaced people could seek asylum in large numbers.

August 14, 2016


Prosecutors in Istanbul have requested a five-year prison sentence for Selahattin Demirtas (pictured), accusing the 43-year-old former human rights lawyer and co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which advocates for Kurds and other minorities, of ” terrorist propaganda” for allegedly maintaining ties to Abdullah Ocalan, the detained leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey, the United States and the EU have classified the group as a terrorist organization.

“Again there’s risk of conflict between security forces and the PKK,” Ali Toprak, the chairperson of Germany’s KGD Kurdish advocacy group, told DW, noting that the PKK has threatened attacks if Ocalan is not released. He said any escalation could send Kurds fleeing to Germany: “If the situation doesn’t improve, if there’s civil war, there could be a massive exodus from Turkey to Europe.”

A long-running uprising in Turkey’s Kurdish regions was temporarily overshadowed by the July 15 coup attempt. The PKK first took up arms against the government over 30 years ago, and the fighting has led to more than 40,000 deaths. Neither the PKK nor the Turkish government is looking to reconcile following the end of a ceasefire last year. Kurds in eastern Turkey, where most live, are facing a state of emergency, Toprak said. “Entire cities and regions have been razed,” he added. “There are 500,000 internally displaced Kurds.”

The Turkish government’s wide-ranging post-coup crackdown has only worsened the situation. “We’ve seen the risk of a new refugee crisis in Turkey for months,” Toprak said. “No one wanted to listen to us. Now, it’s not just Kurds looking to get out – but many democrats and those in the opposition.”

‘Just the beginning’

By the end of June, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees had received 1,719 applications from citizens of Turkey for 2016, most of them from Kurds. Two hundred and seventy-five more people applied for asylum in July, the month of the coup.

“In my eyes, this is just the beginning,” Toprak said.

The prosecution of the HDP’s Demirtas hardly comes as a surprise. It is just the Turkish government’s most recent move against politicians who are sympathetic to Kurds. In May, the government revoked the immunity of one-third of MPs. As the second largest opposition party, the HDP was most affected most.

Russia uses Iran as base to bomb Syrian militants for first time

August 16, 2016

by Andrew Osborn


Moscow-Russia used Iran as a base from which to launch air strikes against Syrian militants for the first time on Tuesday, widening its air campaign in Syria and deepening its involvement in the Middle East.

In a move underscoring Moscow’s increasingly close ties with Tehran, long-range Russian Tupolev-22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used Iran’s Hamadan air base to strike a range of targets in Syria.

It was the first time Russia has used the territory of another nation, apart from Syria itself, to launch such strikes since the Kremlin launched a bombing campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September last year.

It was also thought to be the first time that Iran has allowed a foreign power to use its territory for military operations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Iranian deployment will boost Russia’s image as a central player in the Middle East and allow the Russian air force to cut flight times and increase bombing payloads.

The head of Iran’s National Security Council was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying Tehran and Moscow were now sharing facilities to fight against terrorism, calling their cooperation strategic.

Both countries back Assad, and Russia, after a delay, has supplied Iran with its S-300 missile air defense system, evidence of a growing partnership between the pair that has helped turn the tide in Syria’s civil war and is testing U.S. influence in the Middle East.

Relations between Tehran and Moscow have grown warmer since Iran reached agreement last year with global powers to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of U.N., EU and U.S. financial sanctions.

President Vladimir Putin visited in November and the two countries regularly discuss military planning for Syria, where Iran has provided ground forces that work with local allies while Russia provides air power.


The Russian Defence Ministry said its bombers had taken off on Tuesday from the Hamadan air base in north-west Iran. To reach Syria, they would have had to use the air space of another neighboring country, probably Iraq.

The ministry said Tuesday’s strikes had targeted Islamic State as well as militants previously known as the Nusra Front in the Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al Zour provinces. It said its Iranian-based bombers had been escorted by fighter jets based at Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province.

“As a result of the strikes five large arms depots were destroyed … a militant training camp … three command and control points … and a significant number of militants,” the ministry said in a statement.

The destroyed facilities had all been used to support militants in the Aleppo area, it said, where battle for control of the divided city, which had some 2 million people before the war, has intensified in recent weeks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based war monitor, said heavy air strikes on Tuesday had hit many targets in and around Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, killing dozens.

Strikes in the Tariq al-Bab and al-Sakhour districts of northeast Aleppo had killed around 20 people, while air raids in a corridor rebels opened this month into opposition-held eastern parts of the city had killed another nine, the observatory said.

The Russian Defence Ministry says it takes great care to avoid civilian casualties in its air strikes.

Zakaria Malahifi, political officer of an Aleppo-based rebel group, Fastaqim, said he could not confirm if the newly deployed Russian bombers were in use, but said air strikes on Aleppo had intensified in recent days.

“It is much heavier,” he told Reuters. “There is no weapon they have not dropped on Aleppo – cluster bombs, phosphorus bombs, and so on.”

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the war, is divided into rebel and government-held zones. The government aims to capture full control of it, which would be its biggest victory of the five year conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped in rebel areas, facing potential siege if the government closes off the corridor linking it with the outside.

Russian media reported on Tuesday that Russia had also requested and received permission to use Iran and Iraq as a route to fire cruise missiles from its Caspian Sea fleet into Syria, as it has done in the past.

Russia has built up its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Caspian as part of what it says are planned military exercises.

Russia’s state-backed Rossiya 24 channel earlier on Tuesday broadcast uncaptioned images of at least three Russian Tupolev-22M3 bombers and a Russian military transport plane inside Iran.

The channel said the Iranian deployment would allow the Russian air force to cut flight times by 60 percent. The Tupolev-22M3 bombers, which before Tuesday had conducted strikes on Syria from their home bases in southern Russia, were too large to be accommodated at Russia’s own air base inside Syria, Russian media reported.

(Additional reporting by Polina Devitt, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Angus McDowall and Thomas Perry; Editing by Peter Graff)

 Christ the Essene

by Harry von Johnston. PhD


The British philosopher, William of Occam, has stated that entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity; that the simplest answer to a complex problem is the correct one.

If this thesis, called Occam’s Razor, is applied to many convoluted historical situations such as the origins of various international wars or incidents like the assassination of Kennedy or the realities behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, myths and legends fall and the truth remains standing amongst the rubble.

Ongoing but increasingly limited, public interest in the life and preachings of Jesus the Christ has highlighted this parallel problem: the Christ’s life, ministry and death are so surrounded with a thick growth of myth and legend that it takes a serious, and thoroughly objective, effort to hack through this undergrowth to find the actual, as opposed to the legendary, Jesus.

Stripped of centuries of myth-making, legend and creative writing, the actual facts about Jesus the Christ show a man who is certainly a powerful figure and whose teachings resound, though greatly diminished, even two thousand years after his death.

In an analytical historical study of Jesus, stripped of legend, myth and deliberate propaganda, the real figure emerges from the myth and a strong reality replaces a weak fiction.

Consider, then, this study as an educational process and not an iconoclastic attack and in that light, the resulting revelations will have a powerful, and in the end, a positive, and certainly lasting, effect.

Truth can, indeed, be beneficial. But not to all.

God Hates Fags!

“It’s NOT OK to be gay. It will damn the soul, destroy the life, and doom any nation that tolerates such evil. God Hates Fags is a profound theological statement, which America needs more than it needs oxygen or bread.” — Westboro Baptist Church “News Release,” May 3, 1999.

Although an extreme attitude, the anti-homosexual hysteria expressed by the mid-west Baptist church is prevalent in the preachings and dogmas of the Evangelical, far-right Christian churches. A number of these churches have called for the imprisonment of all homosexuals and a few demand their execution.

That their views are increasingly at odds with the views of the general public is of no concern to them. In their minds, they are right, the others wrong and they will, by one means or another, force the majority to obey the minority.

The interesting part of this hysterical and irrational hatred can be found in the self-hatred of closet gays who have a significant representation in the ministries, but from a historical point of view, the great irony is that the icon of their religion, Jesus, was himself a practicing homosexual!

Not even the year of Jesus’ birth is known although many theologians have concluded that Jesus was born sometime in the autumn, between 11 and 13 CE. Also, there is disagreement about where Jesus was born. Different theologians, as opposed to historians, argue Bethlehem in Judea, and Nazareth.

That was prior to certain archeological discoveries in the Dead Sea area.

From the Dead Sea scrolls, we learn that Jesus was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to an Egyptian Jewish father and Egyptian mother.

He was not born in a stable in Bethlehem nor were there any wise men visiting nor a special star hovering overhead.

The basis of all of this revisionist material is clearly set forth in a scroll found at Cave #3 on the Dead Sea in 1953.

It is on parchment (used only for important documents…the rest were on papyrus) and was written at the time of Jesus, about 50-55 CE.

The document is the only extant period reference to Jesus; all the others were created, often out of whole cloth, two hundred years later, and in the case of significant paragraphs in Josephus, later Christian forgeries.

This revealing scroll has been forensically tested as to age, type of ink, handwriting etc and was very clearly created at the time and place indicated.

The text of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in four different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean.

The scroll in question here, from cave #3 is in Nabataean, used from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE

From this we discover that Jesus was a Jew but born in Alexandria, Egypt, ten years after the date ascribed in the Gospels to his nativity.

‘Bar Nasha’ (son of man) was Jesus name for himself.

Jesus was not a Nazerene, as is often stated in the New Testament, but an Alexandrian Jew. His parents immigrated to Palestine, and the young Jesus joined the Essene religious movement where Jesus’ elder brother was a member of this religious and agricultural cult.  He subsequently became heavily involved in their revolts against the occupying Roman power, was one of the leaders in a revolt attempt, fled when the Roman troops attacked in a pre-emptive strike, leaving many of his fellow cult members to be captured by the Romans and all later crucified.

He escaped with a small number of Essenes to the desert where he remained until he died.

The interesting aspect of this is that the Essene cult was an all-male agricultural commune and very specifically homosexual in nature and practice.

In the scroll, Jesus’ sexual orientation is specifically addressed and names of his male lovers covered.

It should be noted that the scrolls themselves were prepared by members of the Essene cult who were themselves homosexuals and therefore not critical of Jesus orientation.

During the Procuratorship of Antonius Felix (52 to 58 CE) Jesus amassed a mob of about 30,000 Palestinian Jewish dissidents, planning to attack Jerusalem and drive out the Roman garrison. One of Jesus’s Essene close associates, a man named Judas, informed Felix of the impending raid and it was stopped by Roman troops with a heavy loss of life for the rebels. Many were taken prisoner, tried and later crucified for rebellion against the Roman government but the period records show, very clearly, that their leader, Jesus from Alexandria, escaped and vanished into the desert.

Roman period writings show that this man came out of the desert with a force of 30,000 and went up the Mount of Olives in order to fall on the city of Jerusalem, expel the Roman garrison and become ruler. Felix engaged the Egyptian and his followers in battle and dispersed them, taking most of them prisoners.

Josephus, who lived and wrote during the period, wrote about this plot of an Egyptian Jew under the procurator Felix.

The history of Josephus is full of similar occurrences, which show the state of mind of the Jewish population at the time of Jesus.

An attempted putsch by the Alexandrian Essene prophet, Jesus, would be fully in accord with it.

If we think of Jesus’ activism as such an attempt against Roman authority, the betrayal of the Essenes to the Roman authorities by Jesus’ co-conspirator, Judas, becomes understandable as well.

Marcus Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58 CE, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus.

The period of his rule was marked by internal feuds and disturbances on the part of the Jewish population, which he put down with great severity.

On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but through the intercession of his brother, the freedman Pallas, who had great influence with the Emperor Nero, he escaped unpunished.

Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.

(to be continued)

 The Raid

In Bungled Spying Operation, NSA Targeted Pro-Democracy Campaigner

August 14, 2016

by Ryan Gallagher and Nicky Hager

The Intercept

Tony Fullman is a middle-aged former tax man and a pro-democracy activist. But four years ago, a botched operation launched by New Zealand spies meant he suddenly found himself deemed a potential terrorist — his passport was revoked, his home was raided, and he was placed on a top-secret National Security Agency surveillance list.

The extraordinary covert operation, revealed Sunday by Television New Zealand in collaboration with The Intercept, was launched in 2012 after New Zealand authorities believed they had identified a group planning to violently overthrow Fiji’s military regime.

As part of the spy mission, the NSA used its powerful global surveillance apparatus to intercept the emails and Facebook chats of people associated with a Fijian “thumbs up for democracy” campaign. The agency then passed the messages to its New Zealand counterpart, Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

One of the main targets was Fullman, a New Zealand citizen, whose communications were monitored by the NSA after New Zealand authorities, citing secret evidence, accused him of planning an “an act of terrorism” overseas.

But it turned out that the claims were baseless — Fullman, then 47, was not involved in any violent plot. He was a long-time public servant and peaceful pro-democracy activist who, like the New Zealand and Australian governments at that time, was opposed to Fiji’s authoritarian military ruler Frank Bainimarama.

Details about the surveillance are contained in documents obtained by The Intercept from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. More than 190 pages of top-secret NSA logs of intercepted communications dated between May and August 2012 show that the agency used the controversial internet surveillance system PRISM to eavesdrop on Fullman and other Fiji pro-democracy advocates’ Gmail and Facebook messages. Fullman is the first person in the world to be publicly identified as a confirmed PRISM target.

At the time of the spying, New Zealand’s surveillance agency was not permitted to monitor New Zealand citizens. Despite this, it worked with the NSA to eavesdrop on Fullman’s communications, which suggests he is one of 88 unnamed New Zealanders who were spied on between 2003 and 2012 in operations that may have been illegal, as revealed in an explosive 2013 New Zealand government report.

In response to questions for this story, the NSA declined to address the Fullman case directly. A spokesperson for the agency, Michael Halbig, said in a statement to The Intercept that it “works with a number of partners in meeting its foreign-intelligence mission goals, and those operations comply with U.S. law and with the applicable laws under which those partners operate.”

Antony Byers, a spokesperson for New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, said he would not comment “on matters that may or may not be operational.” The country’s spy agencies “operate within the law,” Byers said, adding: “We do not ask partners to do things that would circumvent the law, and New Zealand gets significant value from our international relationships.”

Unexpected Twist

Fullman was born in Fiji in 1965 and emigrated to New Zealand when he was about 21. He became naturalized as a New Zealand citizen and spent most of his working life in the country, including more than 20 years in various roles at the government’s tax department, where he was based out of offices first in Auckland and later in the capital city of Wellington.

In his spare time, Fullman worked as an amateur boxing judge and referee and helped out once a month at a Wellington soup kitchen run by a Christian charity. Between 2001 and 2003, he attended graduate school, earning two masters degrees: one in public management, the other in information systems. And in 2009, he decided to return to Fiji after he was offered a job as chief executive of the Fiji Water Authority.

The move back to Fiji, however, led to a dramatic and unexpected twist in the course of his life — partly due to an old childhood friend.

Fullman had grown up in Fiji in the port town of Levuka. There, during the 1960s, his mother had worked as secretary to Kamisese Mara, an influental local politician who went on to serve as Fiji’s prime minister between 1970 and 1992. Kamisese had a young son — Ratu Tevita Mara — who was about the same age as Fullman. The two boys became best friends, together attending school, playing rugby, and going on trips.

“Weekends we would go fishing or go up to his mother’s farm, help out on the farm,” Fullman recalled in an interview with The Intercept. “We spent a lot of time together. He was like a brother to me.”

When Fullman left Fiji for New Zealand in his early 20s, he kept in contact with Mara through phone and email. And by the time Fullman returned to Fiji in 2009 to take the water authority job, Mara had become a powerful military officer, serving as the Fijian army’s chief of staff.

But the political situation in Fiji was now highly unstable, and Mara was at the center of some of the tensions. The country had experienced three military coups between 1987 and 2006 that were rooted in ethnic and religious divisions. Following the latest coup in 2006, which had brought authoritarian ruler Bainimarama to power, the military government and police were accused of systematically cracking down on freedom of speech and arresting critics and human rights defenders.

Mara was dissatisfied with the leadership and, in May 2011, he became embroiled in a high-profile dispute with the Bainimarama regime. He was accused of plotting to overthrow the government and charged with uttering a seditious comment. He was hauled before a court, where he was threatened with imprisonment for allegedly uttering the words, “This government is fuck all.”

Mara was freed on bail while the case against him remained ongoing. But he was concerned about the prospect of ultimately receiving a lengthy jail term. He decided to take a drastic course of action — and fled Fiji, escaping on a boat to nearby Tonga.

Following Mara’s dramatic getaway, Fullman was questioned by the Fijian military. It had found records of phone calls between him and Mara dated from shortly before Mara had left. Facing potential punishment over allegations that he helped Mara escape, Fullman decided that he too would have to promptly leave Fiji.

NSA Spying

By 2012, Fullman had moved to Sydney, Australia, where he was living with his sister and her family. Alongside Mara and other former Fiji residents, he was working with a group called the Fiji Movement for Freedom and Democracy, which was campaigning against the Bainimarama regime.

In early July 2012, Fullman and Mara traveled to New Zealand, where they held meetings with some of the group’s supporters in Auckland. The meetings appear to have attracted the attention of New Zealand’s spies — and culminated in an extraordinary sequence of events: Fullman’s home was raided, his passport revoked, and both he and Mara were put under top-secret NSA surveillance.

A New Zealand government source familiar with the operation that targeted the democracy group, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified information, told The Intercept that an investigation was launched after New Zealand’s equivalent of the FBI, the Security Intelligence Service, bugged telephone calls in which it believed it heard people discussing a plot to violently overthrow Bainimarama. According to the source, security officials were “very excited,” thinking they “finally had some baddies, real live terrorists in New Zealand.”

At the time, the New Zealand government had been keeping close tabs on the political situation in Fiji, which consists of some 333 small islands located about a three-hour flight north of Auckland. Fiji has historically maintained strong trading and tourism links with New Zealand, but the relationship had soured in the aftermath of the 2006 military coup. The New Zealand government expressed its opposition to the Bainimarama regime’s takeover, placing sanctions on Fiji and calling for the restoration of democracy. By mid-2012, however, relations between the countries were beginning to thaw. New Zealand government officials were openly discussing the possibility of ending the sanctions, in part because they may have been concerned that Fiji seemed to be moving closer to forming an allegiance with China and other Asian nations.

At 7am on July 17, 2012, about a week after Fullman had returned to Australia from the trip to New Zealand, a team of more than a dozen Australian security agents and two Australian federal police detectives arrived at his sister’s home in Sydney looking for weapons and other evidence of the suspected plot.

They seized computers, phones and documents from the premises and confiscated Fullman’s passport on behalf of the New Zealand authorities. Teams of New Zealand Security Intelligence Service officers and police simultaneously raided Fullman’s former apartment in the Wellington suburb of Karori and the homes of at least three other Fiji Freedom and Democracy movement supporters in Auckland, seizing their computers and other property.

The same day that the raids took place, New Zealand Minister of Internal Affairs Chris Tremain signed a notice canceling Fullman’s passport. The notice said the minister had canceled the passport based on secret details provided by the Security Intelligence Service: “The majority of [the] information is classified but in summary I have good reason to believe that … you are involved in planning violent action intended to force a change of Government in a foreign state; and you intend to engage in, or facilitate, an act of terrorism overseas.”

Fullman was baffled by the allegations, which he denied, and sought legal advice to challenge them. At the same time, unknown to him, he had also entered onto the radar of the world’s most powerful surveillance agency: the NSA.

Between early July and early August 2012, New Zealand spies appear to have requested American assistance to obtain the emails and Facebook communications of Fullman and Mara, including from a “democfiji” email address used by Fullman to organize events for the campaign group, whose slogan was “thumbs up for democracy.”

The NSA’s documents contain a “priority list” that names the two men as “Fiji targets” alongside their Gmail addresses and an account number identifying Fullman’s Facebook page. The documents indicate that the NSA began intercepting messages associated with Mara’s accounts on about the July 9, 2012 and on August 3 started spying on Fullman’s messages. The agency also obtained historic messages from the two men dating back to the beginning of May 2012.

To conduct the electronic eavesdropping, the NSA turned to one of its most controversial surveillance programs: PRISM. The agency uses PRISM to secretly obtain communications that are processed by major technology companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo, as the Washington Post and The Guardian first reported in 2013.

Almost all of the more than 190 pages of intercepted Gmail and Facebook messages from Fullman and Mara is headed “US-984XN,” the code for surveillance that is carried out under PRISM. The pages reveal that the legal justifications NSA cited for the surveillance were selected inconsistently. Most of Fullman’s emails and Facebook messages were obtained as “foreign government” targets, while others such as his bank statements and Facebook photographs were collected under the category of “counter-terrorism.”

The classification markings on some of the files — “REL TO USA/NZ” — make clear that the intercepted communications were to be released to New Zealand spies. In one of the files showing Fullman’s intercepted emails and Facebook chats, the NSA explicitly noted that the intercepted material had been forwarded to its New Zealand intelligence counterpart, the GCSB. (New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes, a surveillance alliance that also includes electronic eavesdropping agencies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.)

The NSA surveillance, however, produced no evidence of a plot. The intercepted messages contained personal information and typical Facebook chit chat. The NSA collected Fullman’s bank statements, which were attached to his emails and showed his visits to a coffee shop, a pharmacy, and purchases at a shoe store. There was correspondence about Fullman working to establish a tourism venture on an island in Tonga, emails about a birthday party, many communications about the Fijian pro-democracy group’s blog posts, and details about alleged abuses committed by Fijian military officials. There were discussions about an unwell mother and a young relative with a confidential health problem. A top-secret intelligence document even reproduced a photograph of Fullman’s silver Mitsubishi station wagon alongside details of its precise location. But there was not a single hint of any plans for violence or other clandestine activity.

It would soon become clear that there was no evidence to support the New Zealand authorities’ suspicions. And gradually, their case would fall apart.

On 16 April, 2013, the internal affairs minister, Tremain, wrote again to Fullman. Contrary to the earlier notice he had issued, Tremain now said that “based on advice” provided by the Security Intelligence Service, there were “no longer national security concerns” about Fullman. The cancellation of his passport was lifted “without requiring an application for a replacement, or payment of a fee.” The change of position followed Fullman initiating legal action against the New Zealand government in the Wellington High Court two months earlier.

Another of the pro-democracy members whose home was raided during the operation was former Fiji sports minister and then-grocery store owner Rajesh Singh. After his home was searched by police and security agents, Singh complained to New Zealand’s inspector general of intelligence and security, Andrew McGechan, who questioned the officers involved and reviewed the investigation. His report said the Security Intelligence Service had applied for a domestic intelligence warrant “against a number of individuals” because of “suspicions of a plan to inflict violence.”

But McGechan identified neither unlawful behavior by Singh nor evidence of the supposed terrorist plot. His May 2014 report said: “There is nothing in the issue of the Warrant itself or in the questions and answers that followed … which comes even near to approaching proof of criminal activity or participation in terrorism.” He noted that “no police activity has resulted, or charges been laid.”

The Intercept asked Fullman if he or Mara had ever heard of — or been involved in — discussions about overthrowing or assassinating Bainimarama. Far from denying it, he said that sort of talk happened frequently within Fijian pro-democracy circles. However, he said it was just angry ranting, when the alcohol was flowing, something completely different from real plans.

“People would say things like, ‘Please can we just hire the Americans to send one drone to Fiji to get rid of those bastards’, or ‘Let me go back to Fiji and I’ll just get a knife and stab him!’” Fullman said. “It’s venting. It’s our way of maintaining sanity — we just sit and bitch about everything. We don’t want violence. We want something where there’s control, a planned approach. More to the effect where it’s the people who protest and say, ‘Enough is enough. This is wrong. We want to go back to the old constitution and have elections.’”

The New Zealand security agency may not have recognized the difference between eavesdropped venting and an actual plot, prematurely launching its raids and broad secret surveillance operation without any clear evidence.

Four days after the raids on Fullman and his fellow campaigners, New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully traveled to Fiji for trade talks. Fullman believes that the timing was no coincidence — and that the raids targeting the pro-democracy group were used by the New Zealand government as a bargaining chip to curry favor with the Bainimarama regime. “The minister can go to Fiji and say, ‘look we saved you, let’s be friends again, let’s start talking about how we can help each other again’,” Fullman says. “It was part of the frame up.”

No charges were ever brought against any of the Fiji campaigners, yet the ramifications of the case are still felt. Fullman says he gets pulled out of airline queues for security searches every time he travels, and he has had trouble finding work since news reports following the raids in 2012 linked him to a Fiji assassination plan. He told The Intercept that he was never notified that his private communications had been monitored by New Zealand with the help of American counterparts at the NSA — possibly illegally — nor did he ever receive an apology or compensation for his treatment.

As he recalls the saga, there is no anger in Fullman’s voice, only disappointment. Since the affair, he has not felt like returning to live in New Zealand and plans to stay in Australia for the foreseeable future. “To be betrayed by your own country, it’s really hard,” he says, letting out a sigh. “It puts a sour taste in your mouth.”

‘UK officials patrolling the Internet, on road to creating ‘thought police’

August 15, 2016


We have activists who have been detained for saying that they would like to do something – not the fact that they had done something – and this is a worrying trend, Annie Machon, former MI5 agent, told RT.

Scotland Yard is creating a special unit designed to counter online harassment in the UK. The program will cost almost 2 million pounds, with five detectives and an army of volunteers, hunting down Internet trolls.

RT: Almost two million pounds will be poured into policing the web. Could this money be better spent elsewhere?

Annie Machon: Of course this money can be better spent on elsewhere. Britain has a very long and noble – or ignoble – tradition of political satire, freedom of expression. People are just mopping up the politicians, the political classes and debating about all sorts of political ideas, social ideas, whatever, and that leads to a healthy democracy. There has been concern already around the fact that the intelligence agencies are conducting mass surveillance. That has put a chilling effect on the concept of this freedom of expression, this free speech. People are beginning to think: ‘Well, should I express myself as I would wish to over the internet?’ However, for it not to be overtly a police issue, rather than an intelligence issue trying to track terrorists, policing people for their freedom of expression, for their political satire, for their banter, whatever, seems to be another dangerous step… towards totalitarianism. Once people lose the feeling that they can freely express themselves, they stop freely express themselves politically and democracy is dead.

RT:This web squad comes amid the recent wave of attacks in Europe, people don’t feel safe on the streets. Should all the efforts be directed at policing the streets?

AM: I think efforts should be directed at trying to target people who want to cause harm on the streets, particularly with these so-called lone-wolf attacks that have been going on across Europe. I’ve been saying for years now that rather than mass surveillance, which drowns out the targeted information we need to preemptively stop these types of attacks – in fact, what are intelligent agencies as well as police services should be doing is doing targeted surveillance using an array of different types of investigative techniques, not just electronic surveillance, but human information, mobile surveillance, that sort of thing. That way you can hopefully have a chance of trying to stop these types of attacks. By policing people on the internet you’re just going to lose all the nuggets of solid information in the tsunami of intelligence coming in.

RT: The metropolitan police commissioner has recently warned that a terror attack in the UK is a matter of when, not if. What should be done to prevent attacks?

AM: I think it could well do. If people feel that they are being surveyed on Twitter, or Skype, or Facebook, or whatever, then people start to inhibit what they say, how they interact with other people. We have a sort of extended consciousness almost on the internet. We live our lives mainly online to a certain extent these days. So if we feel we can’t freely express and communicate, watch and read online then we lose that particular freedom. That is dangerous for democracy.

With this new initiative with the Metropolitan Police trying to police trolls on the internet, and what is being called ‘thought crime’ we’ve already seen this in the UK. Back in 2011, when the Royal Wedding happened between Prince William and Kate Middleton, people were preemptively arrested and held in custody for 24 hours purely for having said on Facebook that they wanted to go and demonstrate the wedding, because they disagreed with the whole concept of royalty, they were Republicans, or whatever. So we had one university professor preemptively arrested and held in prison for 24 hours. We have other activists – same thing happened to them purely for them saying that they would like to do something – not the fact that they had done something, or they were going to do something. And that is thought crime pure and simple. So to see this now enshrined with a very expensive unit within the  Metropolitan Police is the next step and it is very worrying next step.

Would a Trump America walk away from NATO?

The US has long warned its European partners it was losing patience with paying the majority of NATO’s bills. The nomination of Donald Trump has made the threats of a US withdrawal from NATO seem real and present.

August 15, 2016


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made US dissatisfaction with NATO’s resource and funding gap a major campaign issue for the first time, coupling stark reprimands against European allies who don’t devote the NATO-prescribed minimum 2 percent of GDP to military spending with blunt threats to walk away from mutual defense responsibilities enshrined in Article V of the NATO treaty.

Trump says “NATO is obsolete and extremely expensive to the US, disproportionately so, and we should readjust NATO.” He pledges if he becomes president, US participation in an Article V operation would depend on whether the ally under attack had “fulfilled their obligations” to the US. It’s unclear whether Trump believes other NATO countries owe money directly to the US for military reassurance, as he also said recently that European allies “don’t pay us what they should be paying” and that he “want[s] them to pay.”

Former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, a prominent Republican voice on foreign policy, agrees the gap between American and European defense spending is a neuralgic problem that needs to be addressed. “The question is,” Volker says, “what do you do about it? And to threaten to blow up NATO might be a negotiating tactic that somebody might want to try out, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to threaten that, because you’re sending the wrong signal to people like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, who have invaded their neighbors, who have threatened NATO countries, who buzzed our warships. They’ve threatened to attack Denmark with nuclear weapons.”

While Volker notes “there are a lot of institutional checks and balances that will kick in if [Trump] actually does get elected president, you don’t really know” how much of the campaign bluster he would try to carry through to policy.

‘Trump makes no sense’

Even Republican party stalwarts have found Trump’s views so disturbing they are deserting him to publicly endorse his opponent Hillary Clinton. Among them is Reuel Marc Gerecht, a prominent neo-conservative commentator and former CIA officer, who’s written an open letter raising alarm about Trump’s foreign-policy positions.

Gerecht shakes his head in disappointment at where he – and the GOP – find themselves today. “If you’d asked me 18 months ago whether I could envision voting for Clinton, the answer would have been no, I could not.” But he’s openly supporting her now and concluding his own party has imploded. “Mr. Trump makes no sense,” Gerecht says, and while he disagrees with many Clinton positions, he feels she is at least “within the realm of normal.”

As for whether Trump really would or could pull the US out of NATO, Gerecht speculates a Trump presidency might mean there won’t even be a NATO to quit. “Any president has within his powers as commander-in-chief to effectively gut NATO,” he says. “And certainly by simple statements that he’s already made, if he were to make them again after becoming president, that he would not honor Article V, then NATO is de facto defunct.”

Constanze Stelzenmüller, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and frequent commentator on her native Germany, says even if Trump doesn’t win and cut off US support for NATO, damage has been done. “The reality is that in politics, just talking about this kind of thing, as a candidate who isn’t even elected yet, already has an impact on people’s expectations and on the relationship in the ‘now’ as opposed to in November or in January,” she says. “It is damaging the transatlantic relationship which is based on trust and the assumption that we have a broad commonality of interests and values now because Europeans understand that Trump is not a singular phenomenon, he is a symptom of a broader mood.”

That mood sees Americans turning away not just from NATO but from other international involvement as well. Erik Brattberg, a Swedish senior fellow with the McCain Institute on International Leadership, believes the transatlantic free-trade deal known as TTIP, already struggling under a supportive President Obama, would face certain doom under Trump. But Brattberg says there would be bigger things to worry about in that case, such as “what does the West actually stand for anymore?”

Brattberg says it’s no longer clear whether the US worldview is “liberalism, openness and globalization” or “nationalism, protectionism and religion.” “These are fundamental questions that I think both American and European citizens are going to face,” he says. “And the elections, both here and other elections coming up in Europe, are going to be pivotal for how we respond to them.”

Islamophobia mainstreamed

Growing Islamophobia around the world, fueled by Islamist-inspired attacks particularly in Europe, is one of those challenges that will consume increasing time in European political campaigns as it has in the American one. Shahed Amanullah, a former advisor to the US State Department on Muslim outreach, is a co-founder of Affinis Labs, which helps launch Muslim-founded startups around the world. Amanullah worries that the popularity of Trump’s views – for example, his pledge to ban Muslims from coming to America – is “normalizing” what he calls “structural Islamophobia” that he says has previously been more accepted in Europe, but not in the US. That’s “empowering those people in Europe who are now feeling that because America is starting to adopt some of this that they’re now validated,” Amanullah says.

“We all need to band together to help fix some of these problems that are a forest fire raging around the world and not put gas on it,” Amanullah adds. “I think Trump doesn’t realize that he will be putting gas on a fire that’s going to make things worse for conflict in the Middle East. It’s going to make things worse for integration in Europe. It’s going to make things worse in terms of racial and ethnic tensions at home. I think the rest of us see it. I don’t think he does.”

Trump cabinet?

But a growing number of Republicans are declaring themselves unwilling to be part of a Trump government. Former Ambassador Volker says he and his counterparts with deep experience look at each other and say “I don’t want to [serve in a Trump administration], but I want YOU to do it” – he chuckles – “because we want sane people, good people who know policy, who know what they’re doing.”

It’s unclear who might be left to ask. Last week, 50 more former officials went public with their opposition to Trump. In an open letter described as “unprecedented” for its big names and fervent views, a list of prominent Republicans who “served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush” laid out the reasons to stop Trump.

The letter states the candidate “has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which US foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends. Unlike previous presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.”

Trump would be, they warn, the “most reckless president in American history.”

The Trump campaign responded to the letter by thanking the group for “coming forward so everyone in this country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place.”

Turkey hits back after Sweden accuses it of legalising child sex

Turkey’s constitutional court annulled in July a criminal code provision punishing as ‘sexual abuse’ sexual acts with under-15s

August 15, 2016


Turkey has summoned Sweden’s envoy in an escalating row after Stockholm accused Ankara of legalising sex with children.

The dispute is the latest in several spats highlighting rising tensions between Turkey and EU states in the wake of the botched 15 July coup followed by a prolonged crackdown that angered Europe.

Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, had tweeted on her official account that the “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed,” following a controversial ruling by the Turkish constitutional court.

“It is a scandal for a foreign minister to post such a tweet based on false news or speculation,” the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said in televised comments, adding the Swedish ambassador to Ankara had been summoned to his ministry. However, the Swedish foreign ministry said it was the chargé d’affaires who was summoned by Ankara, as the ambassador was still on vacation.

Çavuşoğlu blasted the “unacceptable” tweet, saying Wallström should have acted responsibly. “A foreign minister should not tell lies and should not adopt an approach accusing Turkey,” he said. “Yes to criticism but this is a slander, a lie.”

Turkey’s constitutional court in July annulled a criminal code provision punishing as “sexual abuse” all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15, responding to a petition brought by a lower court. The court has given a six-month period for parliament to draw up a new law based on its ruling.

The lower court that brought the petition was worried there was no distinction between cases of sexual acts involving a young teenager or a toddler. The legal age of consent in Turkey remains 18 and was not affected by the ruling. But it drew a furious response from activists worried it would open the way for unpunished child sexual abuse.

The justice ministry said in a statement that a new bill would be submitted to the parliament “as soon as possible” while adding the constitutional court ruling would come into effect no earlier than 11 December. “By passing new legislation by the court-imposed deadline, the Turkish government will prevent a loophole from emerging in the future,” the ministry said. “Under Turkish law, all provisions related to the sexual abuse of children remain in effect. As such, the claim that the sexual abuse of children under 15 goes unpunished is completely baseless.”

On Twitter, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Mehmet Şimşek, told Wallström she was misinformed.

The Turkish ambassador to Stockholm was due to meet the Swedish foreign minister on Monday, Çavuşoğlu said, adding he would also speak to Wallström on the phone. The Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven told the country’s news agency TT: “For our part it’s important to express … what we believe in. There is no reason to back down from a view that we want to strengthen children’s rights … It’s important for us to have a dialogue but we have to express what we feel strongly about.”

Ankara also summoned the Austrian chargé d’affaires at the weekend in protest over a news ticker at Vienna airport about the age of consent controversy. The digital sign – above an arrivals board and supplied by mass-circulation daily Kronen Zeitung – said in German “Turkey allows sex with children under 15”.

The foreign ministry expressed outrage that the airport was being abused by a “discredited newspaper to spread its irresponsible, distorted and falsified messages in order to defame a friendly country”.

Çavuşoğlu hit back, saying: “It is alarming that the slander campaign that started in Austria – the capital of racism and Islamophobia – is spreading into Sweden which is actually more sensitive on human rights.”

Ties between Turkey and Austria have strained after a number of Austrian politicians spoke out against Turkey’s longstanding bid to join the EU, particularly after the vast purge that followed the coup bid. Austrian defence minister, Hans Peter Doskozil has compared Turkey to a “dictatorship”.

Inciting Wars the American Way

August 15, 2016

by Todd E. Pierce,


The New York Times took notice recently of the role that so-called “think tanks” play in corrupting U.S. government policy. Their review of think tanks “identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy.”

Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, while their investigation demonstrates well that the US is even more corrupt, though its corruption is better disguised, than the many foreign countries whom we routinely accuse of corruption, it failed to identify the most egregious form of corruption in our system. That is, those think tanks that are constantly engaged in the sort of activities which the DOD identifies as “Information War” when conducted by foreign countries who are designated by the US as an enemy at any given moment.

Those are activities using disinformation and propaganda to condition a population to hate a foreign nation or population with the intent to foment a war, which is the routine “business” of the best known US think tanks.

There are two levels to this information war. The first level is by the primary provocateur, such as the Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the smaller war instigators found wherever a Kagan family member lurks. They use psychological “suggestiveness” to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the US population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.

Once that fear and paranoia is instilled in much of the population, it can then be manipulated to foment a readiness or eagerness for war, in the manner that Joseph Goebbels understood well.

The measure if success of such a disinformation and propaganda effort can be seen when the narrative is adopted by secondary communicators who are perhaps the most important target audience. That is because they are “key communicators” in PsyOp terms, who in turn become provocateurs in propagating the false narrative even more broadly and to its own audiences, and becoming “combat multipliers” in military terms.

It is readily apparent now that Russia has taken its place as the primary target within US sights. One doesn’t have to see the US military buildup on Russia’s borders to understand that but only see the propaganda themes of our “think tanks.”

A prime example of an act of waging information war to incite actual military attack is the Rand Corporation, which, incidentally, published a guide to information war and the need to condition the US population for war back in the 1990s. Rand was founded by, among others, the war enthusiast, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, who was the model for the character of Gen. Buck Turgidson in the movie Dr. Strangelove. LeMay once stated that he would not be afraid to start a nuclear war with Russia and that spirit would seem to be alive and well at Rand today as they project on to Putin our own eagerness for inciting a war.

The particular act of information warfare by Rand is shown in a recent Rand article: How to Counter Putin’s Subversive War on the West.” The title suggests by its presupposition that Putin is acting in the offensive form of war rather than the defensive form of war. But it is plain to see he is in the defensive form of war when one looks at the numerous provocations and acts of aggression carried out by American officials such as Victoria Nuland and General Breedlove, and the US and NATO military buildup on Russia’s borders.

Within this Rand article however can be found no better example of psychological projection than this propagandistic pablum that too many commentators, some witless, some not, will predictably repeat:

“Moscow’s provocative active measures cause foreign investors and international lenders to see higher risks in doing business with Russia. Iran is learning a similar, painful lesson as it persists with harsh anti-Western policies even as nuclear-related sanctions fade.

Russia will decide its own priorities. But it should not be surprised if disregard for others’ interests diminishes the international regard it seeks as an influential great power.”

In fact, an objective, dispassionate observation of US/Russian policies would show it has been the US carrying out these “provocative active measures” as the instigator, not Russia.

Nevertheless, showing the success that our primary war provocateurs have had in fomenting hostility and possibly war is that less militaristic and bellicose Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), ostensibly working for “peace,” have adopted this false propaganda theme uncritically.

The Carnegie Moscow Center Foundation, which includes Russians on its staff, is a prime example. Lately, it has routinely echoed the more provocative and facially false accusations made against Russia by the outright militaristic and war instigating US think tanks. An example is in a recent article of Carnegie, entitled: Russia and NATO Must Communicate Better.

It begins: “The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication.”

Unfortunately, that is now true. But the article’s author suggests throughout that each party, Russia and the US/NATO, had an equal hand in the deterioration of relations, by his evenhandedness. He wrote: “The West needs to acknowledge that the standoff with Russia is not merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive,” as if Western officials don’t already know that that was only a propaganda theme for their own populations to cover up the West’s aggressiveness.

So Americans, such as myself, must acknowledge and confront that the standoff with Russia is not only not “merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive,” but it is rather, that the US is “turning authoritarian, nationalistic,” and even more “assertive,” i.e., aggressive, toward the world

Suz Tzu wrote that a “sovereign” must know oneself and the enemy. In the case of the US sovereign, the people and their elected, so-called representatives, there is probably no “sovereign” in human history more lacking in self-awareness of their own nation’s behavior toward other nations. So fanatics like the US General’s we’ve seen at the recent political conventions and even worse, General Breedlove, are encouraged to be ever more threatening to the world’s populations.

When that then generates a response from some nation with a tinpot military relative to our own, with ours paid for by the privileged financial position we’ve put ourselves into post WWII, our politicians urgently call for even more military spending from the American people to support even more aggression, all in the guise of “national defense.”

Recognizing that must then be coupled with recognition of a US law passed in 2012 providing for military detention of journalists and social activists as the DOJ conceded in Hedges v. Obama. Add to that what the ACLU recently compelled the US government to reveal, the “Presidential Policy Guidance,” and it is plain to see which nation has become most “authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive.” It is the United States.

The Presidential Policy Guidance “establishes the standard operating procedures for when the United States takes direct action, which refers to lethal and non-lethal uses of force, including capture operations against terrorist targets outside the United States and areas of active hostilities.”

What other nation, besides Israel probably, has a governmental “Regulation” providing for assassinations outside “areas of active hostilities?”

It should readily be evident that it is the U.S. now carrying out the vast majority of provocative active measures and has the disregard for others complained of here. At least for the moment, however, the US can still hide much of its aggression using the vast financial resources provided by the American people to the DOD to produce sophisticated propaganda and to bribe foreign officials with foreign aid to look the other way from US provocations.

It is ironic that today, one can learn more about the US military and foreign policy from the Rand Corporation only by reading at least one of its historical documents, “The Operational Code of the Politburo.” This is described as “part of a major effort at RAND to provide insight into the political leadership and foreign policy in the Soviet Union and other communist states; the development of Soviet military strategy and doctrine . . . .”

As this was when the Politburo was allegedly at its height in subverting and subjugating foreign countries as foreign policy, it should be exactly on point in describing current US foreign policy. This document can be found here.

That US think tanks such as Rand and the American Enterprise Institute put so much effort into promoting war should not come as a surprise when it is considered their funding is provided by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) which Eisenhower warned us about. That this US MIC would turn against its own people, the American public, by waging perpetual information war against it just to enrich their investors, might have been even more than Eisenhower could imagine however.

Doctors Without Borders Hospital Bombing in Yemen Earns Rare Saudi Rebuke at State Department

August 15, 2016

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

After the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed a hospital in Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders on Monday, the U.S. State Department offered a rare condemnation of the coalition’s violence.

“Of course we condemn the attack,” said Elizabeth Trudeau, a spokesman for the State Department.

The State Department has previously deflected questions about coalition attacks by referring reporters to the Saudi government — even though the U.S. has supplied the coalition with billions of dollars of weapons, and has refueled Saudi planes.

Trudeau also stressed that “U.S. officials regularly engage with Saudi officials” about civilian casualties — a line that spokespeople have repeated for months. Saudi Arabia has nevertheless continued to bomb civilian sites, including homes, markets, factories, and schools.

“We’ve also encouraged them to do their utmost to protect entities protected by international law, such as hospitals,” said Trudeau.

But for the Saudi coalition, bombing medical facilities has become business as usual. In October, the coalition bombed an MSF-supported hospital in Yemen’s Haydan district, destroying the only emergency medical facility serving 200,000 people. (Doctors Without Borders is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF.) In December, airstrikes destroyed an MSF clinic in Taiz while doctors were treating the wounded from a nearby Saudi airstrike in a park. And in January, the coalition destroyed a hospital in Razeh district, killing five people — and killing an ambulance driver working for MSF later that month.

Those strikes have been widely reported because they targeted a prominent Western charity, but the coalition has likely carried out far more attacks on Yemeni-run hospitals. During the first eight months of the war, between March and November 2015, the International Red Cross received hundreds of reports on attacks on health facilities throughout the country.

The hospital attack comes in the midst of an aggressive offensive by the Saudi regime after Houthi rebels in Yemen rejected a one-sided peace deal earlier this month. The coalition has since destroyed a food factory, a children’s school, and a bridge that Oxfam described as “the main supply route for Sana.”

On Monday, Trudeau also denounced the destruction of the bridge. “We have seen those reports, and if the bridge was deliberately struck by coalition forces, we would find this completely unacceptable,” she said. “The bridge was critical for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, destruction will further complicate efforts to provide assistance to the people of Yemen.”

Trudeau clarified with reporters after the briefing that she meant that statement as a condemnation. “The bridge — you saw me condemn that today,” she said. Condemnation, rather than, say, concern, is considered strong diplomatic language.

The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has launched the country into a humanitarian crisis. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia has imposed a strict blockade on Yemen, which previously imported 90 percent of its food and medicine. According to UNICEF in May, the conflict has left 21 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and more than 300,000 children under 5 at risk of severe malnutrition.

Despite the condemnations, Trudeau refused to say whether the State Department would reconsider arming the Saudi regime. “I have nothing to preview on that,” she said.


From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 67

August 15, 2016


The conditions under which U.S. military capabilities can be brought to bear in domestic civilian affairs are explained in a new three-volume manual published last week by the Department of Defense.

As a rule, DoD intervention comes “in response to a request for assistance from civil authorities for domestic emergencies, law enforcement agency support, and other domestic activities. The most visible support is provided during major natural and man-made disasters and other incidents.”

Except in cases of imminent loss of life or similar extremes, requests for military assistance are supposed to undergo a threshold review to establish their legality.

“A key factor in determining whether DoD should provide support of non-DoD entities is identifying the authority that directs or allows the support. U.S. law, Presidential Executive Orders and directives, federal regulations, and DoD policies provide the framework and authorities for DoD to provide support of non-DoD entities…. Responsibilities also may be reflected in memorandums of agreement (MOAs).”

The new DoD manual details the elements of that legal and regulatory framework. It identifies the six standing Execute Orders (EXORDs) that authorize DoD support to civilian authorities, the relevant presidential directives, and the array of other instructions, regulations, statutes and directives that constrain or empower the U.S. military in domestic civilian matters.

The manual addresses DoD rules for the use of force (RUF), and describes a wide range of potential DoD missions in the civilian arena, including: search and rescue, explosive ordnance disposal, response to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents, pandemics, acts of terrorism, mass migration emergencies, and civil disturbances, as well as support to National Special Security Events and to national and international sporting events, among other missions.

See DoD Manual 3025.01, Volume 1 – Defense Support of Civil Authorities: Overview, August 11, 2016

DoD Manual 3025.01, Volume 2 – Defense Support of Civil Authorities: Incident Response, August 11, 2016

DoD Manual 3025.01, Volume 3 – Defense Support of Civil Authorities: Pre-Planned DoD Support of Law Enforcement Agencies, Special Events, Community Engagement, and Other Non-DoD Entities, August 11, 2016


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service in the last few days include the following.

Natural Gas Discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, August 15, 2016

Al Qaeda and U.S. Policy: Middle East and Africa, updated August 11, 2016

Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2016, updated August 15, 2016

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated August 12, 2016

Methane: An Introduction to Emission Sources and Reduction Strategies, updated August 15, 2016

Revisiting U.S.-Mexico Sugar Agreements, CRS Insight, August 12, 2016

Repair, Modification, or Resale of Software-Enabled Consumer Electronic Devices: Copyright Law Issues, August 11, 2016

Next Steps for Auction of TV Broadcast Airwaves to Commercial Carriers, CRS Insight, August 15, 2016

DOJ Brings Forfeiture Action to Seize and Return $1 Billion Embezzled Malaysian Government Assets, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 15, 2016

Cybersecurity Issues and Challenges: In Brief, updated August 12, 2016

DC Circuit Holds an Agency Official’s Private Email Account Not Beyond the Reach of FOIA, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 9, 2016






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