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TBR News August 2, 2016

Aug 02 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. August 2, 2016: “In 1951, when Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh nationalized the oil industry in that Mideast nation, he was deposed by a coup instigated by the CIA and the Shah came to power, assuming complete control in 1963.Thousands of Iranians, perhaps millions died during the repressive rule of the Shah and his SAVAK secret police. The Shah was finally forced out in 1979 by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who became the US’s latest foreign enemy despite the fact that he had been on the CIA payroll while living in Paris. The Shah was granted asylum in the United States.

In Guatemala in 1954, again the CIA toppled the popularly elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, which had nationalized United Fruit property.

Prominent American government officials such as former CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith, then CIA Director Allen Dulles, Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs John Moors Cabot and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles were all closely connected to United Fruit.

An estimated 120,000 Guatemalan peasants died in the resulting military dictatorships.

Fidel Castro, with covert aid from the CIA, overthrew the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and instituted sweeping land, industrial and educational reforms as well as nationalizing American businesses. Swiftly labeled a communist, the CIA then organized anti-Castro Cubans resulting in numerous attacks on Cuba and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. The island nation has been the object of US economic sanctions since that time.

More than 3,000 persons died in the wake of an invasion of the Dominican Republic by US Marines in 1965. The troops ostensibly were sent to prevent a communist takeover, although later it was admitted that there had been no proof of such a takeover.

Also in 1965, the US began the bombing of North Vietnam after President Johnson proclaimed the civil war there an “aggression” by the north. Two years later, American troop strength in Vietnam had grown to 380,000. US dead by the end of that Asian war totaled some 58,000 with casualties to the Vietnamese, both north and south, running more into the millions.

In 1973, the elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown by a military coup aided by the CIA. Allende was killed and some 30,000 persons died in subsequent violence and repression, including some Americans.

In 1968, the General Suharto overthrew General Sukarno, the dictator of Indonesia, again with aid from the CIA. Suharto proved even more dictatorial and corrupt than his predecessor. A reported 800,000 people died during his regime.

Another 250,000 persons died in 1975 during the brutal invasion of East Timor by the Suharto regime aided by the US Government and Henry Kissinger.

In 1979, the powerful Somoza family, which had ruled Nicaragua since 1937, was finally overthrown and Daniel Ortega was elected president. CIA-backed Contra insurgents operating from Honduras fought a protracted war to oust the Ortega government in which an estimated 30,000 people died.

The ensuing struggle came to include such shady dealing in arms and drugs that it created a scandal in the United States called Iran-Contra, which involved selling arms to Iran and using the profits to support the Contras.

US Marines landed in Lebanon in 1982 in an attempt to preventing further bloodshed between occupying Israeli troops and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Thousands died in the resulting civil war, including several hundred Palestinians massacred in refugee camps by Christian forces working with elements of the Israeli armed forced under Sharon.

Despite the battleship shelling of Beirut, American forces were withdrawn in 1984 after a series of bloody attacks on them.

In 1983, US troops invaded the tiny Caribbean island nation of Grenada after a leftist government was installed. The official explanation was to rescue a handful of American students who initially said they didn’t need rescuing.

For nearly 20 years, during the 1970s and 1980s, the US Government gave aid and arms to the right wing government of the Republic of El Salvador for use against it leftist enemies.

By 1988, some 70,000 Salvadorans had died.

More than one million persons died in the 15-year battle in Angola between the Marxist government aided by Cuban troops and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, supported by South Africa and the US Government.

When Muammur al-Qaddafi tried to socialize the oil-rich North African nation of Libya beginning with his takeover in 1969, he drew the wrath of the US Government. In 1981, it was claimed that Qaddafi had sent hit teams to the United States to assassinate President Reagan and in 1986, following the withdrawal of U.S. oil companies from Libya, an air attack was launched which missed Qaddafi but killed several people including his infant daughter.

In 1987, an Iraqi missile attack on the US frigate Stark resulted in 37 deaths.

Shortly afterward, the Iraqi president apologized for the incident.

In 1988, a US Navy ship shot down an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf resulting in 290 deaths. The Reagan Administration simply called it a mistake.

Thousands of freedom-seeking Chinese were killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 after hardliners conferred with former President Richard Nixon on how to deal with the dissidents.

About 8,000 Panamanians died over Christmas, 1989, when President George H.W. Bush sent US troops to invade that Central American nation to arrest his former business partner, Manuel Noriega. The excuse was that Noriega was involved in the importation of drugs to the United States. U.S .News & World Report noted that in 1990, the amount of drugs moving through Panama had doubled.

Iraqi casualties, both military and civilian, totaled more than 300,000 during the short Persian Gulf War of 1991.

It has been estimated that more than one million Iraqis, including women and children, have died as a result of the continued missile and air attacks over the past decade as well as economic sanctions against that nation.

Also in 1991, the United States suspended assistance to Haiti after the election of a liberal priest sparked military action. Eventually, US troops were deployed.

In February, 2014, the CIA instigated and supported rioting and rebellion in Kiev, the Ukraine, to topple a Russia-friendly head of state. The resulting chaos resulted in over 30,000 Ukranian dead the the loss of the oil-rich Crimea.

The names of nations that have felt the brunt of US CIA and/or military activity as a result of foreign policy include Somalia, Afghanistan, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Brazil, Chad, Sudan, Ukraine and many others.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated during the Vietnam War, “My government is the world’s leading purveyor of violence.” He did not say “my country” or “my people,” it is the government, or rather those who control it, that are responsible. Although we the distracted and unaware citizens who claim to live in a democracy must take our fair share of the blame.”

SECRECY NEWS

From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 62

July 29, 2016

NUMBER OF NEW SECRETS IN 2015 NEAR HISTORIC LOW

The production of new national security secrets dropped precipitously in the last five years and remained at historically low levels last year, according to a new annual report released today by the Information Security Oversight Office.

There were 53,425 new secrets (“original classification decisions”) created by executive branch agencies in FY 2015. Though this represents a 14% increase from the all-time low achieved in FY 2014, it is still the second lowest number of original classification actions ever reported. Ten years earlier (2005), by contrast, there were more than 258,000 new secrets.

The new data appear to confirm that the national security classification system is undergoing a slow-motion process of transformation, involving continuing incremental reductions in classification activity and gradually increased disclosure.

Thus, the number of officials who are authorized to generate new national security secrets (“original classification authorities”) dropped to an all-time reported low of 2,199, the new ISOO report said.

Meanwhile, “derivative classification activity,” or the incorporation of existing secrets into new forms or products, dropped by 32%.

The number of pages declassified increased by 30% over the year before.

Of particular interest, the number of internal ”classification challenges” — in which government employees who are authorized holders of classified information themselves challenged the classification status or level of the information — reached an all-time high of 952 formal challenges in FY 2015. Of those, 411 (or 43%) were granted in whole or in part, ISOO reported. This internal challenge procedure has the potential to create an entire new dynamic of self-correction within the classification system.

See 2015 Report to the President, Information Security Oversight Office, transmitted by ISOO Acting Director William A. Cira, July 15, 2016.

Not all is well, however.

The cost of the national security secrecy system reached an all-time high of $17.44 billion in FY 2015, up 8% from the year before — a rate of growth that seems hard to sustain.

The average number of days to respond to a mandatory declassification request increased to 270 days, and the number of MDR requests that have gone unresolved for more than a year increased significantly to more than 14,000.

The use of the “declassify in ten years or less” instruction on newly classified documents dropped sharply down to 15%, making it harder to implement automatic declassification procedures in the future.

Overall, however, the good news — a reduced scope for secrecy and increased disclosure activity — seems to dominate. The sustained reductions in new classification activity are likely to be extended further with the implementation of the second Fundamental Classification Guidance Review that is now underway.

Interestingly, the impressive changes in national security classification policy over the past several years have occurred primarily at the agency level. The White House seems barely cognizant of those changes, and did not mention them at all in a recent description of the Obama Administration’s efforts “to drive openness and transparency in government.”

A BURST OF NEW PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES

On July 26, President Obama issued Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 41 on United States Cyber Incident Coordination.

Aside from the intrinsic interest of this document, it signifies an unexplained burst in the production of Presidential Policy Directives since the public release of PPD 30 in June 2015. Instead of the previous average of around 5 presidential directives issued per year, President Obama produced about ten PPDs in the past 12 months.

With one exception, even the subject matter of PPDs 31 through 40 is publicly unknown.

The exception is PPD 35 on United States Nuclear Weapons Command and Control, Safety, and Security, which was issued on December 8, 2015. PPD 35 was publicly referenced by the Department of Defense in the April 2016 DoD Instruction 5210.42 on DoD Nuclear Weapons Personnel Reliability Assurance.

PPD 35 presumably modifies and supersedes President GW Bush’s 2003 National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 28, which was identically entitled United States Nuclear Weapons Command and Control, Safety, and Security.

But since neither the text of NSPD 28 nor that of PPD 35 have been made public, the substance of any changes that were made to U.S. nuclear weapons policy by the later directive is not known.

TITLES OF ALL 2015 CRS REPORTS PUBLISHED

An internal congressional edition of the 2015 annual report of the Congressional Research Service includes a helpful listing of the titles of all CRS reports and other products that were issued in 2015 (at pp. 47-124).

The availability of such a list makes it possible to identify and request specific reports whose existence would otherwise be unknown.

The public edition of the 2015 CRS annual report, which is posted on the Library of Congress website, excludes the list of new CRS products.

Fighting between Turkish forces, Kurdish rebels kills 43

July 30, 2016

AP

ISTANBUL (AP) — Authorities say fighting between Turkish forces and Kurdish rebels in the restive southeast of the country has killed eight Turkish soldiers and 35 Kurdish fighters.

The office of Turkey’s General Staff headquarters said Saturday the eight soldiers were killed in a clash Friday afternoon with Kurdish militants at a checkpoint in the southeastern Hakkari province. A subsequent operation against the Kurdish rebels left eight Kurds dead, the military said.

Separately, a further 27 fighters from the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, were killed in the same province when Turkish troops launched an air-and-ground operation against groups of PKK fighters attempting to infiltrate early Saturday, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, quoting the military.

The PKK reportedly bombed a freight train in the eastern province of Elazig on Saturday, planting an improvised device on the tracks that caused damage but no casualties, Anadolu said. Security forces have begun an operation in the area to apprehend those responsible.

Turkish forces have been fighting the PKK for decades, with armed clashes resuming after a 2 1/2 year cease-fire collapsed in mid-2015.

‘Hard’ for France to guarantee freedom of Islam if Muslims don’t help country – Valls

August 1, 2016

RT

If Muslims in France don’t help the country to battle extremists and those who threaten the Republic, it will be “increasingly hard” for Paris to guarantee freedom of Islam, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

“Through its history and its geography… and through its immigration, France maintains very strong ties with Islam,” Valls wrote in a long essay in Le Journal du Dimanche, a French weekly newspaper.

According to the PM, Islam is “second-largest religion” in France and many French Muslims don’t have to identify themselves “as an Arab-Muslim culture.”

However, a “terrible poison” of extremism has started spreading in the country, the French PM wrote.

“Slowly, insidiously, against the background of influences from abroad and rising communalism, developed against a model of society which contradicts the Republic and its values. Many Muslims in France are taken hostage by the fundamentalist Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood, who use their worship as a banner, a weapon against others.”

And thus Paris must “invent a balance with Islam” under which “the Republic offers a guarantee of free exercise of religion,” Valls concluded.

“If Islam is not helping the Republic to fight against those who undermine public freedoms, it will be increasingly hard for the Republic to guarantee this freedom of worship.”

He added that the country should “build a true pact with Islam in France, giving this foundation a central place.”

Extremism “pushes hundreds of individuals, sometimes the very young – men, women of Muslim culture or recent converts – to take up arms, and turn against their country,” Valls wrote.

“We must be – and we are – ruthless with all those who promote hatred and advocate violence. Places of worship that house these [jihadist] preachers are and will be systematically closed. If preachers are foreign [nationals], they will be deported.”

The French PM has previously proposed a re-think of relations with Islam. On Friday he said he was considering a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques.

France has been shaken by a series of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS)-linked attacks since January 2015. By far the worst was in November 2015 when at least 130 people were killed. Following that attack, France introduced a state of emergency which is presently ongoing.

A tragedy in Nice on July 14 killed at least 84 people when a truck driven by an IS sympathizer plowed through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations.

After that attack, Valls asserted that that France “will have to live with terrorism.” The statement angered social media users who shamed the PM, saying that more people apparently need to be killed in terror attacks to wake up the French government.

Last week France was shaken by the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, northern France, by two purported IS militants. The 85-year-old was killed on Tuesday when his throat was slit during a hostage situation at the local church. French police killed the IS-inspired attackers, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, both 19, as they tried to flee the church.

The attack was heavily-criticized by Muslim groups across France and abroad. French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which dubbed the attack as a “cowardly assassination.” The Muslim community in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray refused to bury one of the attackers, Adel Kermiche, saying that he had “tainted Islam.”

America’s Longest War Gets Longer

July 30, 2016

by Eric Margolis

UNZ

Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails.

This was rich coming from the US that snoops into everyone’s emails and phones across the globe. Remember German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone being bugged by the US National Security Agency?

Unnamed US ‘intelligence officials’ claimed they had ‘high confidence’ that the Russian KGB or GRU (military intelligence) had hacked the Dem’s emails. These were likely the same officials who had ‘high confidence’ that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

Blaming Putin was a master-stroke of deflection. No more talk of Hillary’s slush fund foundation or her status as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street. All attention was focused on President Putin who has been outrageously demonized by the US media and politicians.

Except for a small faux pas – a montage of warships shown at the end of the Democratic Convention is a blaze of jingoistic effusion embarrassingly turned out to be Russian warships!

Probably another trick by the awful Putin who has come to replace Satan in the minds of many Americans.

And what a joy for the war party that those dastardly Ruskis are now back as Enemy Number One. Much more fun than scruffy Arabs. The word is out: more stealth bombers, more warships, more missiles, more troops for Europe. The wicked Red Chinese will have to wait their turn until Uncle Sam can deal with them.

I always find conventions depressing affairs. Rather than the cradle of democracy, they remind me of clownish Shriners Conventions. Or as the witty Democratic advisor Paul Begala said, `Hollywood for ugly people.’ What, I kept wondering, is the rest of the world thinking as it watching this tawdry spectacle?

One thing that that amazed me was the Convention’s lack of attention to America’s longest ever war that still rages in the mountains of Afghanistan. For the past thirteen years, America, the world’s greatest military and economic power, has been trying to crush the life out of Afghan Pashtun mountain tribesmen whose primary sin is fiercely opposing occupation by the US and its local Afghan opium-growing stooges.

The saintly President Barack Obama repeatedly proclaimed the Afghan War over and staged phony troops withdrawals. He must have believed his generals who kept claiming they had just about defeated the resistance alliance, known as Taliban.

But the war was far from being `almost won.’ The US-installed puppet regime in Kabul of President Ashraf Ghani, a former banker, holds on only thanks to the bayonets of US troops and the US Air Force. Without constant air strikes, the US-installed Ghani regime and its drug-dealing would have been swept away by Taliban and its tribal allies.

So the US remains stuck in Afghanistan. Obama lacked the courage to pull US troops out. Always weak in military affairs, Obama bent to demands of the Pentagon and CIA to dig in lest the Red Chinese or Pakistan take over this strategic nation. The US oil industry was determined to assure trans-Afghan pipeline routes south from Central Asia. India has its eye on Afghanistan. Muslims could not be allowed to defeat the US military.

Look what happened to the Soviets after they admitted defeat in Afghanistan and pulled out. Why expose the US Empire to a similar geopolitical risk?

With al-Qaida down to less than 50 members in Afghanistan, according to former US defense chief Leon Panetta, what was the ostensible reason for Washington to keep garrisoning Afghanistan? The shadowy ISIS is now being dredged up as the excuse to stay.

This longest of wars has cost nearly $1 trillion to date – all of its borrowed money – and caused the deaths of 3,518 US and coalition troops, including 158 Canadians who blundered into a war none of them understood.

No one has the courage to end this pointless war. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Afghans are being killed. Too bad no one at the Democratic or Republican Conventions had time to think about the endless war in forgotten Afghanistan.

German court bans Erdoğan from addressing Cologne rally

Ankara questions decision to not allow president appear in live broadcast.

August 1, 2016

by Barbara Surk

Politico.eu

Germany’s highest court upheld a ban on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broadcasting a message to supporters at a rally in Cologne on Sunday, leading the Turkish president’s spokesman to question the “real reason” behind the decision.

Thousands of Erdoğan’s supporters attended the rally in the city in western Germany to express support for his policies following a failed attempt by a group within Turkey’s military to overthrow the government on July 15.

According to an Associated Press report, Erdoğan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Sunday that Turkey was “curious what the real reason is behind why German local courts and the Constitutional Court have prevented [Erdoğan’s] message, and hope German officials will provide a satisfactory explanation.”

Police in Cologne said Turkey’s sports minister is expected to attend the rally, but authorities imposed the condition that no messages from speakers elsewhere, such as politicians in Turkey, could be shown on a video screen, Associated Press reported.

The German Constitutional Court decided late Saturday to uphold that policy.

It comes amid concerns in Germany and elsewhere in the EU over Erdoğan’s harsh crackdown following the failed coup.

The president declared a state of emergency and purged the military, courts and the media of tens of thousands of employees on suspicion they had participated in the attempt to oust him.

Zafer Sirakaya, head of the Union of European Turkish Democrats that organized the Cologne rally, criticized the court ruling and said it was politically motivated.

“There is no acceptability to this ruling from a legal perspective. It is extremely clear that this is a political decision,” Sirakaya told the Anadolu press agency.

Once the Great Hope of the Middle East, Turkey Is Weak and Unstable

July 31, 2016

by Patrick Cockburn

UNZ

Coup attempt and purge are tearing Turkey apart. The Turkish armed forces, for long the backbone of the state, are in a state of turmoil. Some 40 per cent of its generals and admirals have been detained or dismissed, including senior army commanders.

They are suspected of launching the abortive military takeover on 15-16 July, which left at least 246 people dead, saw parliament and various security headquarters bombed and a near successful bid to kill or capture President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In response, Erdogan and his government are carrying out a purge of everybody from soldiers to teachers connected in any way to the movement of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen accused of organising the coup attempt.

Among media outlets closed in the past few days are 45 newspapers, 16 TV channels – including a children’s channel – and 23 radio stations. People fearful of being implicated in the plot have been hurriedly disposing of Gulenist books and papers by burning them, throwing it into rivers or stuffing them into rubbish bins.

Five years ago, Turkey looked like the most stable and successful country in the Middle East – an example that its neighbours might like to follow. But, instead of Iraq and Syria becoming more like Turkey, it has become more like them in terms of political, ethnic and sectarian division.

Erdogan’s personal authority is being enhanced by his bravery and vigour in defeating the coup attempt and by the removal of remaining obstacles to his rule. But the failed putsch was also a sign that Turkey – a nation of 80 million people with an army 600,000-strong – is becoming weaker and more unstable.

Its leaders will be absorbed in the immediate future in conducting an internal purge and deciding who is loyal and who is not. While this is going on, the country faces pressures on many fronts, notably the war with Kurdish guerrillas in the south east, terror attacks by the Islamic State and diplomatic isolation stemming from disastrous Turkish involvement in the war in Syria.

The destabilisation of Turkey is good news for Isis because Turkish security organisations, never very assiduous in pursuing salafi-jihadi rebels, will be devoting most of their efforts to hunting down Gulenists. Both Isis and other al-Qaeda-type movements like al-Nusra Front will benefit from the anti-American atmosphere in Turkey, where most believe that the US supported the coup attempt.

The Turkish armed forces used to be seen as a guarantee of Turkey’s stability, inside and outside the country. But the failed coup saw it break apart in a manner that will be very difficult to reverse. No less than 149 out of a total of 358 generals and admirals have been detained or dishonourably discharged. Those arrested include the army commander who was fighting the Kurdish insurrection in south east Turkey and the former chief of staff of the air force.

Many Turks have taken time to wake up to the seriousness of what has happened. But it is becoming clear that the attempted putsch was not just the work of a small clique of dissatisfied officers inside the armed forces; it was rather the product of a vast conspiracy to take over the Turkish state that was decades in the making and might well have succeeded.

At the height of the uprising, the plotters had captured the army chief of staff and the commanders of land, sea and air forces.They were able to do so through the connivance of guards, private secretaries and aides who occupied crucial posts.

The interior minister complains that he knew nothing about the coup bid until a very late stage because the intelligence arm reporting to him was manned by coup supporters. Erdogan gave a near comical account of how the first inkling he had that anything was amiss came between 4pm and 4.30pm on the day of the coup attempt from his brother-in-law, who had seen soldiers blocking off streets in Istanbul. He then spent four hours vainly trying to contact the head of the national intelligence agency, the chief of staff and the prime minister, none of whom could be found. Erdogan apparently escaped from his holiday hotel on the Aegean with 45 minutes to spare before the arrival of an elite squad of soldiers with orders to seize or kill him.

There is little question left that the followers of Fethullah Gulen were behind the coup attempt, despite his repeated denials. “I don’t have any doubt that the brain and backbone of the coup were the Gulenists,” says Kadri Gursel, usually a critic of the government. He adds that he is astonished by the degree to which the Gulenists were able to infiltrate and subvert the armed forces, judiciary and civil service. The closest analogy to recent events, he says, is in the famous 1950s film  Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which aliens take over an American town without anybody noticing until it is almost too late.

The coup attempt was so unexpected and unprecedented that Turkey today is full of people asking questions about their future, and that of their country – questions to which there are no clear answers.

Will Erdogan exploit the opportunity offered by the failed coup to demonise all opponents and not just Gulenists as terrorists? Some 15,000 people have been detained of whom 10,000 are soldiers. The presidential guard has been stood down. One third of the judiciary has been sacked. So far most of the journalists and media outlets targeted have some connection with the Gulenists, but few believe that the clamp down on dissent will end there.

“Erdogan’s lust for power is too great for him show restraint in stifling opposition in general,” predicts one intellectual in Istanbul who, like many interviewed for this article, did not want his name published. When one small circulation satirical magazine published a cartoon mildly critical of the government last week, police went from shop-to-shop confiscating copies.

For the moment, Erdogan is benefiting from a degree of national solidarity against the conspirators. Many Turks (and not just his supporters) criticise foreign governments and media for making only a token condemnations of the coup attempt before demanding restraint in conduct of the purge. They point out that, if the coup had more successful, Turkey would have faced a full-blown military dictatorship or a civil war, or both. Erdogan said in an interview that foreign leaders who now counsel moderation would have danced for joy if he had been killed by the conspirators.

Sabiha Senyucel, the research director of the Public Policy and Democracy Studies think tank in Istanbul, says that the evening of the coup attempt “was the worst evening of my life”. She complains that foreign commentators did not take on board that “this was a battle between a democratically elected government and a military coup”.

She has co-authored a report citing biased foreign reporting hostile to Erdogan and only mildly critical of the coup-makers. She quotes a tweet from an MSNBC reporter at the height of the coup attempt, saying that “a US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany”.

Turkey is deeply divided between those who adore and those who hate Erdogan. Senyucel says that “there are two parts of society that live side by side but have no contact with each other”.

But, even so, it is difficult to find anybody on the left or right who does not suspect that at some level the US was complicit in the coup attempt. Erdogan is probably convinced of this himself, despite US denials, and this will shape his foreign policy in future.

“The lip-service support Erdogan got from Western states during and immediately after the coup attempt shows his international isolation,” said one observer. The Turkish leader is off to see Vladimir Putin on 9 August, though it is doubtful if an alliance with Russia and Iran is really an alternative to Turkey’s long-standing membership of Nato.

Erdogan can claim that the alternative to him is a bloody-minded collection of brigadier generals who showed no restraint in killing civilians and bombing parliament. But the strength and reputation of the Turkish state is being damaged by revelations about the degree to which it has been systematically colonised since the 1980s by members of a secret society.

Gulenist candidates for jobs in the Foreign Ministry were supplied with the answers to questions before they took exams, regardless of their abilities. The diplomatic service – once highly regarded internationally – received an influx of monoglot Turkish-speaking diplomats, according to the Foreign Minister. “The state is collapsing,” says one commentator – but adds that much will depend on what Erdogan will do next.

In the past he has shown a pragmatic as well as a Messianic strain, accompanied by an unceasing appetite for political combat and more power. His meeting last week with other party leaders, with the notable exception of the Kurds, may be a sign that he will be forced to ally himself with the secularists. He will need to replace the ousted Gulenist officers in the armed forces and many of these will secularist victims of past purges by the Gulenists.

Turkey is paying a heavy price for Erdogan’s past alliances and misalliances. Many chickens are coming home to roost.

The Gulenists were able to penetrate the armed forces and state institution so easily because between 2002 and 2013 they were closely allied him and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in opposition to the secularists. Isis has been able to set up a network of cells in Turkey because, until recently, the Turkish security forces turned a blind eye to salafi-jihadis using Turkey as a rear base for the war in Syria. Erdogan arguably resumed confrontation and war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as an electoral ploy to garner nationalist support after his failure to win the general election on 7 June last year.

Erdogan thrives on crisis and confrontation, of which the failed coup is the latest example. But a state of permanent crisis is weakening and destabilising Turkey at a moment when the rest of the region is gripped by war.

As Israel Prospers, Obama Set to Give Billions More in Aid While Netanyahu Demands Even More

July 31 2016

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.

In response to this massive windfall, Netanyahu is angry that he is not getting even more. For some time, “Netanyahu was holding out for as much at $5 billion a year.” Also, Israel has been opposed to efforts to direct more of that aid to U.S. military contractors rather than Israeli ones (so this “aid” package is as much a transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to weapons manufacturers in both countries as it is to Israel itself). Moreover, “Israelis are also said to be displeased with a U.S. position that whatever amount of money they agree on will be final and that Israel will not go to Congress requesting more money.”

Usually, when someone hands you billions of dollars in aid, you’re not in much of a position to demand more. But the rules for Israel when it comes to U.S. policy, as is so often the case, are simply different. Even as Israel has aggressively expanded settlements of the West Bank (often in a way designed to most humiliate the U.S.) and slaughtered civilians in Gaza, U.S. aid simply increases more and more. What’s particularly fascinating about all of this is that Netanyahu originally intended to wait until the “next administration” to finalize the deal because, assuming that would be Hillary Clinton, he believed (with good reason) he would get an even better deal, but is now worried about an “unpredictable” Donald Trump, who has spouted standard pro-Israel rhetoric before AIPAC (and worse) but had previously espoused the need for “neutrality” on the Israel/Palestine question and has made “America First” the rhetorical centerpiece of his campaign.

All of this means that the U.S. generally, and Democrats specifically, bear direct responsibility for the hideous brutality and oppression imposed by Israel on Palestinians through decades of occupation. That’s because, as a 2012 Congressional Resources Service report documented, “almost all U.S. aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. U.S. military aid has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world. U.S. military aid for Israel has been designed to maintain Israel’s ‘qualitative military edge’ over neighboring militaries.” And, of course, Clinton herself has vowed in a letter to Democratic Party billionaire funder Haim Saban and her speech to AIPAC to do everything possible to oppose a boycott of Israel in order to end the occupation.

What’s perhaps most shocking of all is how little attention or debate any of this receives. Would Americans really be supportive of transferring billions of dollars every year to Israel, and then entering into a new agreement to significantly increase that amount and guaranteeing it – placing it beyond debate – for 10 more years? That seems doubtful. To begin with, Israel enjoys universal health care coverage while “33 million Americans, 10.4 percent of the U.S. population,” remain without health insurance.

As The Forward put it in 2012: “Israeli citizens appear to be getting better care [than Americans] for their lower expenditures.” Fortunately for Israel, the people of that country enjoy a much higher life expectancy than the citizens of the country which transfers billions to them every year. According to the most recent CIA statistics, Israelis can expect to live 82.27 years – 11th best in the world – while Americans can expect only 79.68 years, which is 43rd in the world.

Israeli infants also fare much better than American infants. Israel has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world (3.55 deaths for every 1,000 births), while 5.87 American babies die for every 1,000 births. Just last month, the unemployment for Israel fell to the lowest level in decades (4.8%, which “is not only low historically but low by international standards, and by conventional economic definitions there’s no unemployment at all in Israel”), while U.S. workers, despite declining unemployment rates, continue to struggle when “the underemployed and the discouraged” are counted.

In sum, U.S. politicians in both parties endlessly pay lip service to how much Americans are struggling while the Obama administration prepares to transfer more and more billions of their money to Israel. The U.S. does so even as Israel pursues with more aggression than ever the very policies that the U.S. claims to find so objectionable and destructive (just two days ago, the State Department said Israel “is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution” by continuing to expand illegal settlements).

Just compare (a) the rhetoric Democrats love to spout about themselves to (b) their treatment of Palestinians to see how empty the former is. And just imagine what would happen if this policy of transferring even more billions of American taxpayer money to Israel were widely debated instead of ignored as Bipartisan Consensus.

MH370 was flown into water, says Canadian air crash expert

August 1, 2016

BBC News

A world-leading air crash investigator has said he believes flight MH370 was deliberately flown into the sea.

Larry Vance told Australian news programme 60 Minutes that erosion along the trailing edge of recovered wing parts indicated a controlled landing.

The Boeing 777 disappeared while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board in March 2014.

The official investigation team has said it is investigating whether the plane was piloted in its final moments.

MH370: What we know

An Australian-led search for the missing jet has focused on an area of the ocean floor 2,000km (1,242 miles) off Australia’s west coast. The zone was selected based on the theory the flight was running on autopilot after veering off course.

But an official co-ordinating the search effort told 60 Minutes the wreckage could be outside that search zone, if someone had been in control of the plane when it crashed.

‘Controlled crash’

Mr Vance was formerly investigator-in-charge for the Canadian Aviation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, and has led more than 200 air crash investigations.

He was the chief author of a report into the 1998 SwissAir Flight 111 crash off Nova Scotia, Canada which killed 229 people. The force of that crash broke the plane into more than two million pieces.

He told 60 Minutes that an absence of such wreckage was one factor suggesting MH370 landed in controlled circumstances.

“Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight,” he said.

“Somebody was flying the airplane into the water. There is no other alternate theory that you can follow.”

Flaperon extended

Despite the extensive search of the southern Indian Ocean, no trace of the aircraft was found until the discovery of a wing section called a flaperon on Reunion Island off Madagascar one year ago.

According to Mr Vance, photographs of the recovered flaperon show a jagged edge, suggesting high-pressure water erosion that could only be caused if someone had been guiding the plane into the ocean.

“The force of the water is really the only thing that could make that jagged edge that we see. It wasn’t broken off. If it was broken off, it would be a clean break. You couldn’t even break that thing.”

He said the fact the flaperon had apparently been deployed for landing also indicated that someone was piloting the plane when it hit the ocean.

“You cannot get the flaperon to extend any other way than if somebody extended it,” he said.

“Somebody would have to select it.”

‘Looking for evidence’

Mr Vance’s theory is the latest to emerge on what has become one of aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries.

The search for MH370 has been combing a 120,000sq km area of seabed using underwater drones and sonar equipment deployed from specialist ships.

It is expected to draw to a close by the end of the year if it does not find credible new evidence.

Peter Foley, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) programme director of the search, told 60 Minutes that the type of damage the flaperon sustained provided evidence for the controlled landing theory.

Mr Foley was asked: “If there was a rogue pilot, isn’t it possible that the plane was taken outside the parameters of the search area?”

He replied: “Yeah — if you guided the plane or indeed control-ditched the plane, it has an extended range, potentially.”

“There is a possibility… somebody [was] in control at the end and we are actively looking for evidence to support that.”

 

See Rio and then Die

Don’t put your head under water’: Rio Olympic visitors issued dire warning

August 1, 2016

by Matt Bonesteel

The Washington Post

The Associated Press has been doing an independent study of Rio’s water quality for the past 16 months as the city prepares to host the Olympics. The main takeaway is this:

“Don’t put your head under water.”

That warning, issued to the AP by Valerie Harwood, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, applies not only to the 1,400 athletes who will compete in sports that utilize Rio’s waterways but also to the 300,000 to 500,000 foreign visitors who are expected to descend on the city for the Games, because some of them will certainly want to visit Rio’s famous beaches. But the water at places such as Copacabana beach have shown consistently high levels of both bacteria (which can be dealt with using antibiotics) and adenoviruses (which cannot). So getting any of that in your mouth is probably going to be unpleasant.

Even the sand isn’t safe.

“Samples from the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema revealed high levels of viruses, which recent studies have suggested can pose a health risk — particularly to babies and small children,” the AP’s Jenny Barchfield writes.

At issue is the sewage that is regularly dumped into Rio’s waters, a practice the AP says has been going on for “centuries.” City and national officials promised to clean up the water when bidding for the games with billions of dollars in sewage-treatment improvements, a pledge that apparently has gone unheeded:

The most contaminated points are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where Olympic rowing will take place, and the Gloria Marina, the starting point for the sailing races. In March, 2015, sampling at the Lagoon revealed an astounding 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter; this June, adenovirus readings were lower but still hair-raising at 248 million adenoviruses per liter. By comparison, in California, viral readings in the thousands per liter are enough to set off alarm bells. …

In June, 2016, the levels of fecal coliforms in water samples from Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches were extremely low, with just 31 and 85 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters, respectively. But still, both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.

And if you’re traveling to Rio with plans to head for the beaches, don’t expect any notice that things might not be safe: According to the AP, water-quality warning signs, which once were posted at the city’s most prominent beaches, have been removed.

Donald Trump Reaffirms Support for Warmer Relations With Putin

August 1, 2016

by Alexnder Burnsaug

The New York Times

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Donald J. Trump unabashedly trumpeted his support for warmer relations with Russia at a campaign rally here on Monday night, acidly mocking opponents who say he is too friendly to Vladimir V. Putin, the country’s strongman president.

Mr. Trump, who has been under fire from Democrats and some conservative national security leaders for his accommodating stance toward Mr. Putin, cast his supportive remarks as a matter of practical necessity. By aligning itself with Russia, he said, the United States could more easily take on the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

“If we could get Russia to help us get rid of ISIS — if we could actually be friendly with Russia — wouldn’t that be a good thing?” Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said. Repeating the question moments later, he won loud applause from the crowd: “If we could get along with Russia, wouldn’t that be a good thing, instead of a bad thing?”

Noting that Mr. Putin had made laudatory comments about him, Mr. Trump teased political rivals, including Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, who have criticized his friendliness with the Russian leader. “They say, ‘Putin likes Trump,’” Mr. Trump began. He continued the mimicry: “How dare he like Putin? How dare he?”

Mr. Trump also reiterated his view that NATO, the security alliance formed as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, was “obsolete.”

Both Mrs. Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, have chastised Mr. Trump for praising Mr. Putin, and Mr. Trump has raised concerns among defense experts for repeated comments that appear to signal tolerance of Russia’s aggression in Eastern Europe.

In an appearance on “This Week” on ABC News over the weekend, Mr. Trump declined to express disapproval of Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014. On the contrary, Mr. Trump suggested that the people there might be happier under Russian rule.

And the Republican nominee said in an interview with The New York Times in July that he would not necessarily come to the defense of NATO states in the event of invasion, and would decide based on whether the country in question had paid its dues to the alliance.

Mr. Trump also touched off an uproar during the Democratic National Convention last week when he said in a news conference that he hoped Russian hackers would infiltrate Mrs. Clinton’s email. He later said he was being sarcastic.

With his appearance in Pennsylvania on Monday, Mr. Trump showed no intention of abandoning his embrace of Mr. Putin and his country. He professed disbelief that political opponents have said he should swear off Mr. Putin. “He said nice things about me,” Mr. Trump said. “Why would I disavow it? Why?”

He derided Mrs. Clinton at length and accused her Democratic primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, of having made a “deal with the devil” to support her in the general election.

“She’s the devil,” Mr. Trump said of Mrs. Clinton.

 

The Life and hard Times of the Bitch Goddess from Hell  Part 1

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

In a life marked largely by a mixture of  political caution and cold calculation, one negative and potentially damaging entry on former Senator Clinton’s resume stands out; her clerkship in 1971 at one of America’s most radical, far-left law firms, Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein.

Hillary’s supporters always claim she did nothing but work on child support cases but this is not true. She worked very closely with the notorious Black Panthers.

One partner at the firm, Doris Walker, was a Communist Party member at the time.

Another partner, Robert Treuhaft, and his wife, Jessica Mitford, joined the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) in 1943 and remained members until 1958.

Both Treuhaft and his wife left the party in 1958, several years after being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and labeled as one of America’s most “dangerously subversive” lawyers. The Oakland, California-based firm was renowned for taking clients others rejected as too controversial, including Communists, draft resisters, and members of the African-American militant group known as the Black Panthers.

After the 1968 incidents when armed Panthers invaded the California State Legislators in Sacramento to protest strict gun laws being considered, the State Police took a very active interest in closely watching the Panthers and their activities and so it was that a police raid on a Panther-inhabited Oakland apartment house in 1971 found a number of illegal weapons and also the Rodham young lady in what was called a “compromising situation” with a black female member of the Panthers         No charges were filed at the time but the incident found its way into the files of the California State police with a snide mention of it in the column of San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen.

Ms Rodham eventually married political hopeful William J. Clinton and he in time became President of the United States and then, federal agents went to the offices of the California State Police in search of the damning report but it had been removed from the files several weeks earlier and could not be found.

No doubt it will duly surface, before the elections in November.

(to be continued)

 Yoko Ono: “I Had an Affair with Hillary Clinton in the ’70s”

July 25, 2016

World News Daily

Los Angeles | Yoko Ono shocked reporters yesterday when she responded to a question concerning the presidential run of Hillary Clinton and the possibility that she could become the first woman President of the United States in American history.

The artist and widow of John Lennon, who is in Los Angeles to present a collection of cups and saucers she is exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Art, totally took reporters by surprise by admitting she had not only met the former First Lady at various times during a series of protests against the Vietnam War in New York in the 1970s but also knew her “intimately”.

The celebrity admitted laughingly to having “a fling” with her at the time and acknowledged her election “would be a great advancement for LGBT and Women rights in America” she added.

Yoko Ono when asked about her thoughts about Hillary’s run for the presidency completely took reporters by surprise.

“We met many times during the New York Vietnam War protests in the 1970s, and became very intimate. We shared many of the same values about sexual equality, fighting against the authoritarian, patriarchal, male-dominated society we were raised in” she explained.

“We had a brief romantic fling when I lived with John in Manhattan and Hillary was studying at Yale, but eventually we lost touch. I am amazed how things are going well for her and wish her the best for her campaign” she told reporters during the press conference.

Experts believe the statement could affect the presidential candidates bid for the presidency but previous allegations of Hillary Clinton’s lesbian past have not seemed to play against the front runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential race yet.

 Past Time To Rethink NATO

August 2, 2016

by Patrick J. Buchanan

AntiWar

With Democrats howling that Vladimir Putin hacked into and leaked those 19,000 DNC emails to help Trump, the Donald had a brainstorm: Maybe the Russians can retrieve Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.

Not funny, and close to “treasonous,” came the shocked cry.

Trump then told The New York Times that a Russian incursion into Estonia need not trigger a U.S. military response.

Even more shocking. By suggesting the U.S. might not honor its NATO commitment, under Article 5, to fight Russia for Estonia, our foreign policy elites declaimed, Trump has undermined the security architecture that has kept the peace for 65 years.

More interesting, however, was the reaction of Middle America. Or, to be more exact, the nonreaction. Americans seem neither shocked nor horrified. What does this suggest?

Behind the war guarantees America has issued to scores of nations in Europe, the Mideast and Asia since 1949, the bedrock of public support that existed during the Cold War has crumbled.

We got a hint of this in 2013. Barack Obama, claiming his “red line” against any use of poison gas in Syria had been crossed, found he had no public backing for air and missile strikes on the Assad regime.

The country rose up as one and told him to forget it. He did.

We have been at war since 2001. And as one looks on the ruins of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and adds up the thousands dead and wounded and trillions sunk and lost, can anyone say our War Party has served us well?

On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee.

Eisenhower refused to intervene to save the Hungarian rebels. JFK refused to halt the building of the Berlin Wall. LBJ did nothing to impede the Warsaw Pact’s crushing of the Prague Spring. Reagan never considered moving militarily to halt the smashing of Solidarity.

Were all these presidents cringing isolationists?

Rather, they were realists who recognized that, though we prayed the captive nations would one day be free, we were not going to risk a world war, or a nuclear war, to achieve it. Period.

In 1991, President Bush told Ukrainians that any declaration of independence from Moscow would be an act of “suicidal nationalism.”

Today, Beltway hawks want to bring Ukraine into NATO. This would mean that America would go to war with Russia, if necessary, to preserve an independence Bush I regarded as “suicidal.”

Have we lost our minds?

The first NATO supreme commander, General Eisenhower, said that if U.S. troops were still in Europe in 10 years, NATO would be a failure. In 1961, he urged JFK to start pulling U.S. troops out, lest Europeans become military dependencies of the United States.

Was Ike not right? Even Barack Obama today riffs about the “free riders” on America’s defense.

Is it really so outrageous for Trump to ask how long the U.S. is to be responsible for defending rich Europeans who refuse to conscript the soldiers or pay the cost of their own defense, when Eisenhower was asking that same question 55 years ago?

In 1997, geostrategist George Kennan warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe “would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era.” He predicted a fierce nationalistic Russian response.

Was Kennan not right? NATO and Russia are today building up forces in the eastern Baltic where no vital U.S. interests exist, and where we have never fought before – for that very reason.

There is no evidence Russia intends to march into Estonia, and no reason for her to do so. But if she did, how would NATO expel Russian troops without air and missile strikes that would devastate that tiny country?

And if we killed Russians inside Russia, are we confident Moscow would not resort to tactical atomic weapons to prevail? After all, Russia cannot back up any further. We are right in her face.

On this issue Trump seems to be speaking for the silent majority and certainly raising issues that need to be debated.

How long are we to be committed to go to war to defend the tiny Baltic republics against a Russia that could overrun them in 72 hours?

When, if ever, does our obligation end? If it is eternal, is not a clash with a revanchist and anti-American Russia inevitable?

Are U.S. war guarantees in the Baltic republics even credible?

If the Cold War generations of Americans were unwilling to go to war with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union over Hungary and Czechoslovakia, are the millennials ready to fight a war with Russia over Estonia?

Needed now is diplomacy.

The trade-off: Russia ensures the independence of the Baltic republics that she let go. And NATO gets out of Russia’s face.

Should Russia dishonor its commitment, economic sanctions are the answer, not another European war.

Zika Surge in Miami Neighborhood Prompts Travel Warning

August 1, 2016

by Pam Beliuck

New York Times

Federal health officials on Monday urged pregnant women to stay away from a Miami neighborhood where they have discovered additional cases of Zika infection — apparently the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people not to travel to a place in the continental United States.

Florida officials said the number of Zika cases caused by local mosquitoes had risen to 14 from the four announced on Friday: 12 men and two women. They declined to say whether either woman was pregnant. All of the cases have been in one neighborhood.

Health officials said they still did not expect the number of local cases to grow into anything comparable to the epidemic that has raged across Latin America in recent months.

The 10 newly identified patients were most likely infected weeks ago, as early as mid-June, the officials said.

But the new information casts doubt over the effectiveness of weeks of intensive mosquito-control efforts in South Florida and raises questions about tourism in the state, which drew more than 100 million visitors last year.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., said that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, has proved to be a wily adversary in Wynwood, a crowded, urban neighborhood in north Miami where all the cases were found. The mosquito may be resistant to the insecticides being used or may be able to hide in standing water.

“Aggressive mosquito control measures don’t seem to be working as well as we would like,” he said in a press briefing on Monday.

The authorities had expected additional cases of Zika infection linked to the neighborhood, he said. But officials were particularly concerned by indications over the weekend that “moderately high” numbers of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and their larvae were still being found in a one-square-mile section in Wynwood, an area of warehouses, art galleries, restaurants, bars, apartments and condominiums.

“We advise pregnant women to avoid travel to this area,” Dr. Frieden said, “and pregnant women who live and work in this area and their partners to make every effort to avoid mosquito bites and practice safe sex.”

Pregnant women who traveled to the neighborhood on or after June 15 should talk with their doctors about getting tested for possible infection, he said.

In addition, said Dr. Denise J. Jamieson, a leader of the C.D.C.’s pregnancy and birth defects team, “we are recommending women who are considering pregnancy not get pregnant for up to eight weeks after returning from that area.”

No mosquito found in the neighborhood has tested positive for the virus, but this species has a short life span. Health officials said the Florida mosquitoes carrying the virus had probably acquired it by biting an infected traveler from Latin America or the Caribbean.

At the request of the state, the C.D.C. has dispatched an emergency response team of eight experts in fields including birth defects and mosquito control.

Dr. Frieden said mosquitoes in the neighborhood would be tested for resistance to the insecticides being used, which he said were two different types of pyrethroids.

In a sign that the Zika cases might affect tourism in Florida, Britain’s health agency, saying the risk was moderate, advised pregnant women on Saturday to “consider postponing nonessential travel to affected areas until after the pregnancy.”

Jack Ezon, the president of Ovation Vacations in New York, said that his agency received 22 reservation cancellations on Monday for trips to Florida over the next six months, and that about four times as many people called for information about the travel advisory.

“Yesterday, the news was terrorism. Today, the news is Zika,” he said.

The airline JetBlue said in a statement that it would allow refunds for people with “concerns of traveling to Zika-impacted areas confirmed by the C.D.C.”

But Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for American Airlines, which has a hub in Miami, said no refunds would be issued, even for pregnant women. “The C.D.C. advisory doesn’t tell people they shouldn’t travel to Miami,” he said.

Abraham Pizam, the dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, said that if the travel advisory had any effect on tourism, it would be only “for a very short period of time” and would not put a big dent in the diverse range of tourists who visit Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement that the Florida health authorities had tested people in three locations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and ruled out transmission by local mosquitoes in two of those locations. Six of the 10 newly identified cases were asymptomatic and discovered through the door-to-door testing.

Dr. Frieden said 12 of the 14 cases were linked to a 150-meter area around two workplaces where the initial two cases were identified in July.

Since July 7, when Florida began investigating what turned out to be the first diagnosed local transmission, more than 200 people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties who live or work near the Wynwood neighborhood have been tested, Mr. Scott said.

Mosquito experts said Aedes aegypti thrives in tiny pockets of water — a bottle cap, a storm drain — making for a notoriously elusive foe.

“Very little historically has worked on Aedes aegypti, owing to its stealthy and domestic behavior,” said Phil Lounibos, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida.

Aerial spraying is largely ineffective in an urban setting like Wynwood. Instead, mosquito control employees have conducted 621 property inspections there, treated 21 properties for mosquito breeding and used portable sprayers against adult mosquitoes on 100 properties, said Gayle Love, the spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste.

Spray trucks were also sent to the neighborhood, but were legally allowed to spray only at night, while Aedes aegypti mosquitoes tend to bite during the day, said Michael S. Doyle, the executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.

“Most of the chemicals that are available for mosquito control are not effective against Aedes aegypti — they are resistant,” he said.

On Monday, in Wynwood, there was little obvious concern.

“I haven’t seen any panic,” said Virgil Cantú, 22, a bartender at the Bar Next Door.

Melanie Hernandez, 20, who was working Monday at the Marine Layer clothing store in Wynwood, said she was worried, even though she did not plan to get pregnant anytime soon. “I looked up the symptoms online after I heard that Wynwood is ground zero for Zika,” she said.

“Obviously you’re scared, because you never know.”

Pentagon: 33 American Service Members Have Contracted Zika Overseas

August 1, 2016

by Corey Dickstein

military.com

WASHINGTON – At least 33 active-duty service members, including one pregnant woman, have contracted the Zika virus while serving overseas, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

Six family members of service members have also contracted the virus outside of the continental United States, said Army Maj. Roger Cabiness, a spokesman for the Defense Department. Those numbers were current as of Friday.

The virus has spread through much of Latin America and the Caribbean since its outbreak in Brazil in May 2015. Its connections to pregnancy defects, confirmed by scientists at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have led the World Health Organization to declare it a global emergency. The Defense Department has taken steps to monitor and control the populations of mosquitos capable of carrying the virus, which are found at nearly 200 stateside installations from Texas in the west to Florida and as far north as New York, according to Pentagon information.

“DOD is actively testing mosquitoes for Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations,” Cabiness said.

Most people who contract the virus will likely remain asymptomatic, according to the CDC, but “there is now enough evidence to conclude” that Zika can cause pregnancy complications that produce severe fetal abnormalities, including microcephaly, a rare condition that causes unusually small heads and lack of brain development in children.

Information about the pregnant servicemember or the condition of her unborn child was not immediately available Monday, said Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson, a Pentagon spokesman, who cited privacy laws.

There have been at least 1,650 cases of Zika in the United States, according to the CDC. The vast majority have been transmitted outside the continental United States, though some transmissions have occurred through sexual contact with someone who contracted it while traveling.

However, Florida health officials have determined mosquitoes in a small area of Miami have spread the virus to at least four people, according to the CDC. The Associated Press, citing Florida Gov. Rick Scott, reported Monday up to 14 people had contracted Zika through local mosquitoes in Miami.

There are several DOD installations in and around Miami, but no mosquitos on any of those bases or any others in the United States have tested positive for Zika.

 

 

 

 

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