TBR News August 30, 2019

Aug 30 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 30, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for August 30 “ On the weekend, I had a social get-together with friends of the family. One of the guests, who is with the U.S. military here in the D.C. area, got to talking with me about work his sigint unit was engaged in. Since he did not have any objections to my “discussing it” with others, provided his name and unit designation was not used, I am giving you a brief outline of a very fascinating subject. It seems that the Army, the Navy, the CIA, the DHS and the FBI all are engaged in various counter-intelligence activities. None of them share information with each other and none of them ever forward information to Bush that he might object to reading because it might contradict his fantasies. The Army discovered, quite by accident it seems, an international cell-phone circuit that has proven to be most interesting. The speakers, all Arabic, are apparently Saudis from their speech patterns. They are located in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Italy, Germany and Spain. From a constant 24/7 surveillance of their activities, my contact told me that the military intelligence people here are positive that some kind of a very major attack on Israel is now in progress. They are certain that rockets or standard military units are not in the picture. It appears that a radical and very well funded Islamic group, probably based in Saudi Arabia (don’t forget, most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis and we are certain that the Saudis are supplying their Sunni friends in Iraq with bombs and other equipment of death) and that they are preparing to launch some kind of a deadly attack on Israel. Army specialists have considered BW/CW and explosive scenarios but have tended to rule out the former because of the probability that fellow-Arabs would die in large numbers. Rockets have been ruled out because it would be possible to track them, if not intercept them, and the Israelis would retaliate with aerial attacks at the very least or, more likely, get the U.S. to attack for them. When I asked if this was commonly known, my source replied that it was not. Apparently, the senior leadership of our military loathes Bush and believes that Israel has too great an influence with him. They have said, and will say, nothing about their surveillance efforts because, to be frank, the Army brass hopes it will succeed and we will be finally rid of what my source said was ‘the Spanish Fly in MidEastern politics.’ A neutralized Israel would relieve the United States military of fighting their regional wars for them and peace, they believe, would descend on the region.  I asked him when they felt such a serious attack would happen and he said they did not know but the increase in phone traffic and the growing urgency of the coded messages lent strong belief to imminent action on the part of the plotters.  I am not at all surprised by either the fury of the Muslims or the attitudes of the senior military people but there is a certain inevitability about the whole matter. Ten years ago, I would have thought this was fantasy and nonsense but not now. I did ask if the sigint people or the higher brass felt that an attack would be directed against us (After all, my family lives in this area) but it seems that this does not appear to be any part of the projected action.”



The Table of Contents

  • Hezbollah will respond to Israel: but When? How? And at What Cost?
  • The Case of the Iranian Missiles
  • Google says hackers have put ‘monitoring implants’ in iPhones for years
  • Facial recognition: ten reasons you should be worried about the technology  
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons


Hezbollah will respond to Israel: but When? How? And at What Cost?

August 28, 2019

by Elijah J. Magnier

The “Axis of the Resistance” has been informed about Hezbollah’s intention to respond to Israel imminently, confirmed sources within the decision-making leadership. The main offices of militant leadership and all gathering of forces have been abandoned or forbidden, and a state of full alert has been declared in preparation for a possible Israeli decision to go to war. In Iran, Syria and Palestine, the finger is on the trigger. Is the Middle East going to war? Actually, it all depends on how far- and in which direction- the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to go: and the degree to which he will accept, or not, the hit back from Hezbollah.

This all snowballed when, from al-Ayen in the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah launched his threat against Israel. He swore to down drones violating Lebanese sovereignty and threatened to kill Israelis. This is would be carried out in retaliation for the Israeli killing of two Hezbollah members in Syria, and for sending suicide drones to hit Hezbollah high-value objectives and capabilities in the suburbs of Beirut. Netanyahu responded a few hours late by bombing a position of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC)- in the same Bekaa Valley, to send a clear message to Sayyed Nasrallah:  Hezbollah’s challenge is being acknowledged, and answered with another Israeli challenge. Now it is only a question of when, how, and at what cost the Hezbollah “bloody retaliation” will be, bloody because it is inevitable that Israeli soldiers will be killed.

Sayyed Nasrallah had no option but to respond to the Israeli violation of the Rule of Engagement (ROE) established since the 2006 third Israeli war on Lebanon. If he fails to hit Israel and accepts the ongoing international mediation and politico-financial temptations offered to the Lebanese government to persuade him to renounce his promised attack, he loses his credibility, which is substantial right now. Moreover, Israel would then be encouraged to hit more targets in Lebanon as it is doing in Iraq and in Syria for some years now, against hundreds of objectives. If Hezbollah refrains from responding as promised,  Netanyahu will “get away with it”: this boosts his chances in the forthcoming election.

Sayyed Nasrallah committed himself before the whole world to hit back at Israel. All eyes in the Arab world – in particular among the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Yemeni and his own Lebanese society that is embracing Hezbollah – are focussed on what the target will be and when the attack will take place. In Israel, Sayyed Nasrallah has high credibility, and people believe him, as indeed most Israeli newspapers write today. Hezbollah is expected to halt Israel’s violation of the Rules of Engagement and give an example to follow for all those within the “Axis of the Resistance” and put a stop to the Israeli attacks on their sovereignty.

It will not be possible to stop all Israeli drones from flying over Lebanon and prevent these from collecting intelligence information. That is considered vital to Israel to update its bank of objectives and analyse any potential threat. Sayyed Nasrallah is aware of that and for that very reason he would indeed attempt to down Israeli drones.

Since the attack against Beirut, Israeli drones continue over flying Beirut: “Israel is doing everything to provoke a reaction from Hezbollah so that it can identify our anti-air missile capability”, said a source within the “Axis of the Resistance”.

Israel is also waiting to see if it is possible to continue targeting Hezbollah warehouses or send suicide drones to target-kill specific individuals, depending on the price it needs to pay in exchange for its killing of Hezbollah operatives. Netanyahu has positioned himself at the bottleneck, unable to move in or out. He pushed his arrogance to the limit in Lebanon, knowing that he would corner Sayyed Nasrallah if Hezbollah were not to hit back (due to the critical financial situation in Lebanon) and the desire to stay away from a devastating war. Now, the Israeli Prime Minister is asking Hezbollah to “calm down”. But it looks like it is too late to turn back the hands of the clock.

Because Iraq did not reply to the Israeli targeting of its warehouses (five destroyed so far) and the assassination of an Iraqi commander (killed by a drone on the Iraqi-Syrian border), Israel obviously concludes that the Iraqi stage is open to its military activities. Hezbollah is aware of the Israeli modus operandi so it cannot permit replication in Lebanon, even at the cost of going to war.

Actually, in Israel, many leaders are blaming Netanyahu for gossiping and bragging about Israel’s responsibility in attacks outside Israel’s borders. Israel generally prefers to be quiet about this practice, one used by Israel for decades but now exploited by Netanyahu for electoral purposes.

So, what is the “cost” Hezbollah is looking for? According to sources within the “Axis of the Resistance”, Hezbollah is looking for a target- to kill two or three Israelis or send a suicide drone against an Israeli military gathering or other more deadly and spectacular options. “Israel is only a few metres from the Lebanese borders. Killing Israeli soldiers is so simple when a Rule of Engagement is violated. Netanyahu will have to justify for his people what advantage he gained in breaking the cessation of hostility since 2006 despite repeated warnings of the consequences. He is either looking for war – in which case both belligerents have to be ready – or he will have caused unnecessary killing on both sides. He will have to pay the price for this,” said the source.

Obviously, Hezbollah is not looking to push Israeli too far outside its comfort zone, with an “acceptable” number of casualties: a hit in exchange for another hit. It will depend on Netanyahu to take it further into war if he wishes to, or to nurse his wounds. Although the Israeli Prime Minister holds the initiative and was respecting to the “rules of the game” as long as he honoured the undeclared agreement, it is time now for him to understand that Lebanon, despite its small size, is not Yemen or Syria or Iraq.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s disposition to attack Israel was boosted by the Lebanese President Michel Aoun who described the Israeli aggression as “an act of war”. Prime Minister Saad Hariri considered the aggression “a threat to regional stability”. Hezbollah has enough domestic support to stand against Israel and retaliate even if the situation goes out of control. Sayyed Nasrallah is no longer constrained by the Lebanese officials who asked him months ago to take into consideration the tourist season, and to share their positive view of the highly tense situation in the Middle East. Indeed, the Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese fronts are all on the verge of explosion, depending on how Israel and the US are willing to be “guided.”

During the last Israeli elections, Hezbollah decided to keep at a distance. This time it seems the situation is different. There is an opportunity for Hezbollah to damage Netanyahu who is facing elections during the third week of September. In this case, Hezbollah’s reply to Israel must be before the 19thof September. If Netanyahu decides to go to war regardless of the outcome, he will certainly lose his possibility of re-election. Most probably, if he does not respond to Hezbollah, he will look weak but will come out of it with less damage.

This takes us to the date of the attack. First, and indeed above all, it depends on the opportunity and on identifying a selective target. That depends on the military decision and findings on the Lebanese-Israeli borders and most probably in the next 72 hours. Second, there are possibilities for allowing the 31stof August to go by, the date the “Amal” movement is planning a large gathering in Beirut to start celebrating the first day of Muharram. This is the first night that marks the beginning of Ashura, a solemn day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Bin Ali Bin Abi Taleb, Mohammad’s grandson, at Karbalaa, Iraq.

The first 10 days of Ashura bring most of the Shia in Lebanon and in particular Hezbollah supporters, to the utmost level of sacrifice. Netanyahu could not have chosen a worse timing for his violation of the Rules of Engagement.

Sayyed Nasrallah is not obliged to provide a date of attack to Israel. It is common for an organisation to first exhaust a country’s resources by forcing it to mobilise its forces on all fronts and abroad to protect its embassies. Therefore, the exact date will be kept in the hands of Hezbollah to evaluate. It could be that allowing the Israeli soldiers to relax on the borders after several weeks of lack of action would create the best opportunity, but I doubt Hezbollah would wait that long. As we have said, Hezbollah as a matter of precaution has abandoned its offices and known gathering places: this is standard practice when war (an Israeli hit or attack) is expected. Netanyahu has really no alternative but to wait and decide if war is really going to be his next best option.


Missiles and Rockets of Hezbollah

Hezbollah (“Party of God”) is a Lebanese political party and militant group with close ties to Iran and Syria’s Assad regime. It is frequently identified as an Iranian proxy, as the Party supports Tehran’s regional ambitions in exchange for military, financial, and political support.

Hezbollah is the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, and has been described as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.”

This is especially true with regard to its missile and rocket forces, which Hezbollah has in vast quantities arrayed against Israel.

Hezbollah’s arsenal is comprised mostly of small, man-portable and unguided surface-to-surface artillery rockets. Although these devices lack precision, their sheer number make them effective weapons of terror. According to Israeli sources, Hezbollah held around 15,000 rockets and missiles on the eve of the 2006 Lebanon War, firing nearly 4,000 at Israel over the 34-day conflict. Hezbollah has since expanded its rocket arsenal, today estimated at 130,000.

In May 2006, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah explained that “The purpose of our rockets is to deter Israel from attacking Lebanese civilians…The enemy fears that every time he confronts us, whenever there are victims in our ranks among Lebanese civilians, this will lead to a counter-barrage of our rockets, which he fears.”

Indiscriminate rocket fire, particularly from small, easily transportable launchers makes the suppression of fires with airpower more challenging. This forces Israel to rely more heavily on ground forces in a conflict. Lacking any air force of its own, Hezbollah prefers ground wars in its own territory to bombardment from the skies. As Human Rights Watch notes, however, these arguments do not justify civilian targeting and casualties under international law.

The continued growth of Hezbollah’s missile and rocket forces is undesirable for both the United States and Israel, for several reasons.

It may, for example, embolden the party to overstep Israeli red lines. Hezbollah’s push to acquire longer-ranged and precision-guided munitions could likewise spur Israel into preemptive action. Hezbollah’s weapons acquisition also raises the prospects for the proliferation of missile technology and know-how. According to Saudi and UAE officials, Hezbollah militants have worked with their Houthi forces in rocket development and launch divisions.

Hezbollah forces in Syria and Iraq similarly operate with various Shiite militias. Growing relations among these groups presents risks for the dissemination of missile technology and knowledge.

Land Attack Missiles and Rockets

107 & 122 mm ‘Katyusha’ Rockets+


Fajr-1 / Chinese 107 mm Rockets+


Falaq 1/2+


333 mm Shahin-1

122 mm Type-81 Rocket+

Fajr-3 and Fajr-5+


Raad-2 and Raad-3 / 220 mm Uragan-type Rockets+


302 mm Khaibar-1 / M-302 / B-302+


Zelzal-1 and Zelzal-2+


Fateh-110 / M-600+



And the most recent Hezbollah long-disance missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead is the

RS-28 Sarmat (Russian: РС-28 )

Type: Superheavy Intercontinental ballistic missile

Place of origin: Russia

Service history

Used by: Russian Strategic Missile Troops

Production history

Designer: Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau

Manufacturer: KrasMash, Zlatous MZ, NPO Energomash, NPO Mashinostroyeniya, KBKhA


Weight: 220 tonnes

Length: 36.3 m

Diameter: 3.0 m

Warhead:10–24 MIRVs (various type and yield, including HGVs); At the maximum reported throw-weight of up 10,000 kg, the missile could deliver a 50 Mt charge (the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the maximum achieved ratio was apparently 5.2 megatons of TNT per metric ton in B/Mk-41).

Engine: First stage: PDU-99 (RD-274 derived)

Propellant: Liquid

Operational range: approx. 10,900 kilometres (6,800 mi)

Speed: over Mach 20.7; 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph)

Guidance system: Inertial guidance, GLONASS, Astro-inertial

Accuracy: 10 m

Launch platform: Silo

Antiship Missiles (ASMs)

C-802 / Yingji-2 / Noor+




Antitank Missiles (ATMs)

According to Israeli tank commanders at the front of the 2006 War, Hezbollah’s anti-tank missiles damaged or destroyed Israeli vehicles on about 20% of their hits. The party successfully struck nearly 50 Israeli Merkava tanks during the conflict, penetrating the armor of 21. Hezbollah used ATGMs against buildings and Israeli troop bunkers as well. More Israeli infantry soldiers were killed by anti-tank weapons than in hand-to-hand combat.

While fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah has effectively used ATMs to counter suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devises (SVBIED) launched by the extremist group.

RPG-29 Vampir+


9M14 Malyutka (NATO: AT-3 Sagger) +


9K111 Fagot (NATO: AT-4 Spigot)+


M113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel)+


9K115-2 Metis-M (NATO: AT-13 Saxhorn-2)+


9M133 Kornet-E (NATO: AT-14 Spriggan)+


Antiair Missiles (AAMs)

Most of Hezbollah’s antiair missile systems offer only a relatively small area of protection. They nevertheless force Israeli aircraft to fly at higher altitudes, reducing Israel’s ability to accurately strike ground-based targets. Israeli policymakers and military officers have consistently reiterated their concerns about Hezbollah acquiring more sophisticated air defenses from Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

Misagh-1/2 +


ZU-23 +


9K32 Strela-2 (NATO: SA-7 Grail)+


9K33 Osa (NATO: SA-8 Gecko)+


9K34 Strela-3 (NATO: SA-14 Gremlin)+

9K310 Igla-1 (NATO: SA-16 Gimlet) and 9K38 Igla (NATO: SA-18 Grouse)+

9K40 Buk-M2 (NATO: SA-17 Grizzly)+

Pantsyr-S1 (NATO: SA-22 Greyhound

220 tonnes


36.3 m


3.0 m


10–24 MIRVs (various type and yield, including HGVs; At the maximum reported throw-weight of up 10,000 kg, the missile could deliver a 50 Mt charge (the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the maximum achieved ratio was apparently 5.2 megatons of TNT per metric ton in B/Mk-41).

Further, should the United States prepare to assist Israel, it is believed that Russian intelligence will quickly detect such actions and Hezbollah would be forwarned in sufficient time to launch pre-emptive strikes, to include silo-based heavy missiles.

Mashinostroyeniya, KBKhA


Weight: 220 tonnes

Length: 36.3 m

Diameter: 3.0 m

Warhead:10–24 MIRVs (various type and yield, including HGVs); At the maximum reported throw-weight of up 10,000 kg, the missile could deliver a 50 Mt charge (the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the maximum achieved ratio was apparently 5.2 megatons of TNT per metric ton in B/Mk-41).

Engine: First stage: PDU-99 (RD-274 derived)

Propellant: Liquid

Operational range: approx. 10,900 kilometres (6,800 mi)

Speed: over Mach 20.7; 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph)

Guidance system: Inertial guidance, GLONASS, Astro-inertial

Accuracy: 10 m

Launch platform: Silo

These missiles could easily reach American and Saudi military targets in Europe and the Middle East, hence the reluctance of the Pentagon officials to support Israeli demands for preemptive strikes.


The Case of the Iranian Missiles

August 30, 2019

by Christian Jürs

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

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

This threat, and the subsequent threat to attack an American Navy aircraft carrier carry with them the danger that a rigged Gulf of Tonkin incident can be arraigned to supply a legitimate motive for the U.S. Navy to take “retaliatory measures” against Iran. In the mountains on Iran’s western border on the Gulf are numerous missile bases, constructed with aid of the Russians. Recently, Russia made a deal with the United States, In return for allowing Russian naval units to berth in and protect Syrian gulf ports, they gave the Americans all the coordinates of their missile sites! In the event of a “hostile act” on the part of Iran (Perhaps a small military type MTB wearing an Iranian flag, would lunch relatively small surface-to-surface at some large American ship. There would be explosions and, out of necessity, American deaths. Shocked headlines in the CIA-controlled New York Times and Washington Post and a stunned Congress would demand revenge.  Then our Naval units would attack the missile bases and turn them into large, rubble-filled holes and our next target would be far to the north in Tehran. Our military is stretched too thin to become involved in yet another political war but the Navy and Air Force have been unscathed and would do the attacking. Naturally, the Israeli units would be unable to assist this effort to save them from possible attack because they were too busy protecting the Sacred Motherland to get killed elsewhere and, even worse, to lose expensive aircraft to air defense missiles.

What is causing a deliberate escalation of this project is multifaceted in nature. China does a good deal of oil business with Iran. China has reached a trade volume of 53 billion dollars with Iran and also has a treaty to manage an aslect of the South Pars oil fields. China has been threatening our allies lately, hacking into sensitive governmental computers sites and threatening us with dire fiscal problems because they own so much of our Treasury notes and intercepted messaging indicates China is trying to forge more important ties with Tehran, just short of an open military or other alliance that would upset the balance of power. Tehran and North Korea have also had other missile-oriented dealings such as, 4000 km ranged Musudan missiles which are similar to Taepodong – 1 and Taepodong – 2 missiles. Iran now has the ability to mass produce aversive balllistic missile systems with the technical aid of both North Korea, China and Russia. The North Koreans, and their Pakistani friends, are now lower down the list of supporters but China is coming to the fore   Using technical assistance as noted at this time Iran has build and can build intercontinental ballistic missiles that now have a range of more than 5500 km.

IRSL-X-2 and Shahab-6. missiles have the capacity to strike into the eastern end of the Mediterranean and shorter range missiles have been developed to attack American naval units in the Gulf area. Threat and counterthreats have driven the Iranian programs deep underground where American missile or bunker-buster bombing attacks could not destroy them and there are a number of hidden underground missile sites which have been carefully concealed from American aerial surveillance efforts and Israeli as well.  The Chinese, in furtherance of both financial gain and merely fishing in troubled waters, have supplied the Iranians with surveillance paths and times of both American and Israeli drones which they obtained by gaining clandestine admittance to secret American and Israeli military defense computer sites.

Much more serious, from Israeli’s point of view is that the Chinese have given a GPS missile control system to the Iraninans which will permit them pinpoint accuracy in directing their present long range missiles to exact targets, be they important Israeli sites like Dimona or U.S. Naval facilities in Muscat or elsewhere.

Tensions build on a daily basis but sometimes the gamblers do not realize the chances they might be taking with something erratic and uinplanned for happening and then the whole Middle East would erupt in bloody warfare. The thesis of the “Arab Spring” is sreading outside its intended and the Iranians are aware that both the American CIA and its Israeli counterpart, the Mossad, have penetrated into Iran and are not only spying but engaging in acts of murder and potential sabotage. In a society as paranoid as Iran’s it might take very little for someone to push a button and once lanuched, a missile, or flight of missiles, cannot be called. We all know how wars start but none of know how they will end!


Google says hackers have put ‘monitoring implants’ in iPhones for years

Visiting hacked sites was enough for server to gather users’ images and contacts

August 30, 2019

by Alex Hern

The Guardian

An unprecedented iPhone hacking operation, which attacked “thousands of users a week” until it was disrupted in January, has been revealed by researchers at Google’s external security team.

The operation, which lasted 30 months, used a small collection of hacked websites to deliver malware on to the iPhones of visitors. Users were compromised simply by visiting the sites: no interaction was necessary, and some of the methods used by the hackers affected even fully up-to-date phones.

Once hacked, the user’s deepest secrets were exposed to the attackers. Their location was uploaded every minute; their device’s keychain, containing all their passwords, was uploaded, as were their chat histories on popular apps including WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage, their address book, and their Gmail database.

The one silver lining is that the implant was not persistent: when the phone was restarted, it was cleared from memory unless the user revisited a compromised site. However, according to Google’s Ian Beer, “given the breadth of information stolen, the attackers may nevertheless be able to maintain persistent access to various accounts and services by using the stolen authentication tokens from the keychain, even after they lose access to the device”.

Beer is a security researcher at Project Zero, a team of white-hat hackers inside Google who work to find security vulnerabilities in popular tech, no matter who it is produced by. The team has become controversial for its hardline approach to disclosure: 90 days after it reports a bug to the victim, it will publish the details publicly, whether or not the bug has been fixed in that time.

In total, 14 bugs were exploited for the iOS attack across five different “exploit chains” – strings of flaws linked together in such a way that a hacker can hop from bug to bug, increasing the severity of their attack each time.

“This was a failure case for the attacker,” Beer noted, since even though the campaign was dangerous, it was also discovered and disrupted. “For this one campaign that we’ve seen, there are almost certainly others that are yet to be seen.

“All that users can do is be conscious of the fact that mass exploitation still exists and behave accordingly; treating their mobile devices as both integral to their modern lives, yet also as devices which when compromised, can upload their every action into a database to potentially be used against them.”

Google said it had reported the security issues to Apple on 1 February. Apple then released an operating system update which fixed the flaws on 7 February.


Facial recognition: ten reasons you should be worried about the technology

August 21, 2019

The Conversation

Facial recognition technology is spreading fast. Already widespread in China, software that identifies people by comparing images of their faces against a database of records is now being adopted across much of the rest of the world. It’s common among police forces but has also been used at airports, railway stations and shopping centres.

The rapid growth of this technology has triggered a much-needed debate. Activists, politicians, academics and even police forces are expressing serious concerns over the impact facial recognition could have on a political culture based on rights and democracy.

Human rights concerns

As someone who researches the future of human rights, I share these concerns. Here are ten reasons why we should worry about the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces.

1) It puts us on a path towards automated blanket surveillance

CCTV is already widespread around the world, but for governments to use footage against you they have to find specific clips of you doing something they can claim as evidence. Facial recognition technology brings monitoring to new levels. It enables the automated and indiscriminate live surveillance of people as they go about their daily business, giving authorities the chance to track your every move.

2) It operates without a clear legal or regulatory framework

Most countries have no specific legislation that regulates the use of facial recognition technology, although some lawmakers are trying to change this. This legal limbo opens the door to abuse, such as obtaining our images without our knowledge or consent and using them in ways we would not approve of.

3) It violates the principles of necessity and proportionality

A commonly stated human rights principle, recognised by organisations from the UN to the London Policing Ethics Panel, is that surveillance should be necessary and proportionate. This means surveillance should be restricted to the pursuit of serious crime instead of enabling the unjustified interference into our liberty and fundamental rights. Facial recognition technology is at odds with these principles. It is a technology of control that is symptomatic of the state’s mistrust of its citizens.

4) It violates our right to privacy

The right to privacy matters, even in public spaces. It protects the expression of our identity without uncalled-for intrusion from the state or from private companies. Facial recognition technology’s indiscriminate and large-scale recording, storing and analysing of our images undermines this right because it means we can no longer do anything in public without the state knowing about it.

5) It has a chilling effect on our democratic political culture

Blanket surveillance can deter individuals from attending public events. It can stifle participation in political protests and campaigns for change. And it can discourage nonconformist behaviour. This chilling effect is a serious infringement on the right to freedom of assembly, association, and expression.

6) It denies citizens the opportunity for consent

There is a lack of detailed and specific information as to how facial recognition is actually used. This means that we are not given the opportunity to consent to the recording, analysing and storing of our images in databases. By denying us the opportunity to consent, we are denied choice and control over the use of our own images.

7) It is often inaccurate

Facial recognition technology promises accurate identification. But numerous studies have highlighted how the algorithms trained on racially biased data sets misidentify people of colour, especially women of colour. Such algorithmic bias is particularly worrying if it results in unlawful arrests, or if it leads public agencies and private companies to discriminate against women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

8) It can lead to automation bias

If the people using facial recognition software mistakenly believe that the technology is infallible, it can lead to bad decisions. This “automation bias” must be avoided. Machine-generated outcomes should not determine how state agencies or private corporations treat individuals. Trained human operators must exercise meaningful control and take decisions based in law.

9) It implies there are secret government watchlists

The databases that contain our facial images should ring alarm bells. They imply that private companies and law enforcement agencies are sharing our images to build watchlists of potential suspects without our knowledge or consent. This is a serious threat to our individual rights and civil liberties. The security of these databases, and their vulnerability to the actions of hackers, is also cause for concern.

10) It can be used to target already vulnerable groups

Facial recognition technology can be used for blanket surveillance. But it can also be deployed selectively, for example to identify migrants and refugees. The sale of facial recognition software to agencies such as the controversial US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has been heavily criticised for its tactics in dealing with migrants, should worry anyone who cares for human rights. And the use of handheld mobile devices with a facial recognition app by police forces raises the spectre of enhanced racial profiling at the street level.

Debate sorely needed

With so many concerns about facial recognition technology, we desperately need a more prominent conversation on its impact on our rights and civil liberties. Without proper regulation of these systems, we risk creating dystopian police states in what were once free, democratic countries.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 30, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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


Conversation No. 71

Date: Friday, February 28, 1997

Commenced:  9:50 AM CST

Concluded: 10:12  AM CST


RTC: Top of the morning to you, Gregory. How are you today?

GD: Functioning, Robert. And with you?

RTC: The usual. Listen, Gregory, I had a phone call yesterday from someone at the Agency about you. I am afraid I became annoyed with this creature and said harsh things to them.

GD: Anyone I know?

RTC: I doubt it. Aside from a few broken down academics, a blank face. Someone named Hayden Peake. Have you ever heard of him?

GD: No. Is he someone important?

RTC: No, except in his own mind. He’s one of our librarians. He whined to me that you were pure evil and I shouldn’t talk to you. He’s a friend of Critchfield who is frantically trying to shut off your comments about Mueller’s survival and, worse, work for us after the war. I don’t know whether Peake got put up to this by Jim or by Kimmel. Maybe both. At any rate, when he told me that he had proof that Mueller died in ’45, I told him he was fuller of shit than a Christmas turkey and that I knew personally, and could prove, that Mueller not only worked for the Swiss after the war but for Jim after ’48. I told him that I personally had met Mueller in the late ‘40s, here in D.C and that whatever his so-called proof consisted of he could shove it up his ass. For a denizen of P Street here, he might have enjoyed that exercise.

GD: P Street?

RTC: That’s a street much beloved by many of our leading lights here, Gregory. Leather bars, whipping salons, way-stations for muscular young servicemen wanting to make a few dollars on the side, or on their backs. You know what I mean. I asked Bill about this asshole and he did some checking and mentioned an establishment called the Fireplace. You know, the Company used to be an inspiring place to work when we got started. Hell, if the D.C. police ever raided the P Street places, half the senior people at Langley would be in custody, along, of course, with a number of top military people and not to mention certain key Congressmen. The other half of our new leadership would be in synagogues. Jews and fairies, Gregory. It’s sad. At any rate, I have had it up to here with these people.

GD: What does this Peake person do?

RTC: I said he was a librarian.

GD: Wolfe is a librarian.

RTC: A pair of scumbags, Gregory. Peake thinks he’s a great historical writer and Wolfe has dreams of glory as a fake PhD. And they all loathe and despise you. Why? Because, Gregory, you are a much better writer, and certainly a researcher, than either of them and for some unknown reason, they think their useless opinions impress me. I know you and they don’t. Kimmel is probably behind some of this and he does the same thing. You see, as I said once before, if the Jews get it into their slimy heads that the evil chief of the Gestapo worked for our CIA, they would leave shit all over the sidewalks in D.C. I know for a fact they are screeching, like the rest of the old faggots, to the Army to keep Mueller’s files closed from the likes of you. You see, you are not part of the game, Gregory. The game? They all run around in circles, bent over with their trousers down around their ankles and their noses stuck up the asshole of the one in front. A bunch of incompetent idiots. They can squeal like little pigs to each other but by God, I won’t have them squealing to me and I told Peake, and I will call up Tom with the same message which is to stop bothering me with their envy or I will be forced to take some action against them.

GD: A machinegun?

RTC: No, worse. I know enough about these whiners to destroy them and if they want some fun and games, they can just continue their feeble trashing attempts. And I am now determined to go through my files and send you a number of them. That way, if anything happens to me, you will have lots of ammunition for your gun.

GD: Oh, I doubt if they’ll shoot you.

RTC: Shoot me? No, I mean if God calls me. That’s what I mean. I am not as well as I could be, Gregory, and one day, I won’t be around. I would like to think you are provided for. I know why they are yammering at me and why odious little shits like Wolfe and bombastic frauds like Kimmel and pubcrawlers like old Peake keep whining at me. They know I am someone who knows too much and they are terrified that I am getting senile and am talking to you.

GD: Well, you’re talking to me but I doubt if you’re senile, Robert.

RTC: Well, thank you for the consideration but I am getting a little forgetful at times and it’s harder to get around these days. No, I’m not ga-ga yet but if I get any more calls from the rat brigade members, they’ll find out how senile I am. If I chose to do so, there would be bodies heaped up chest high on the Mall. Ah, well, Gregory, a bit of my Irish temper clears the air.

GD: I heard from someone that you were a terrifying person, Robert, but I never saw it.

RTC: You did once. That was when Bill wanted to get your son a job at the CIA to try to stop your publishing things they didn’t like. You remember that?

GD: Oh yes. You were not nasty to me, though.

RTC: I said terrible things to Bill and I thought he would cry when I was done. My God, all the weird stories floating around about you. Fifteen different names, robbing banks, selling nuns to Arabs, faking official documents on an old Remington, anti-Semitism, loving the Nazis and on and on. No, Jim is absolutely livid I put him in touch with you. Jim is a shit and I understand he wrote you compromising letters that he wants back. Is that true?

GD: Oh, yes, quite true. Ink-signed. In the original envelopes as well.

RTC: A word of advice here, Gregory. Put them in a very safe place. And not in a safe deposit box either. Our people can get into those with ease. No, some really safe place. Jim wants to lay his hands on these so bad he can taste them. They don’t know what to do with you, Gregory. They can’t con you because you are way smarter than they are and, to be honest, they are all dumb as posts.

GD: And how about Trento?

RTC: Oh, God, another one. They won’t attack you to your face because not only are they third class assholes but they are also cowards and you have a reputation for ferocity equaled only by a very hungry lion. No, they sneak around, like that turd from Justice that Kimmel got to yammer at me about you. I gave you his number just after he called me. You did call him back as I recall.

GD: Oh yes, I did. He was shocked that you gave me his number and I had a conversation with him.

RTC: Now you mustn’t threaten a Justice Department man, Gregory. What did you say to him?

GD: Only that I would credit him with the writing of some awful article. I say that to many people and since I have done this from time to time, they usually get the message.

RTC: The all remind me of a bunch of old women. Just like old aunties  chattering and gossiping about everyone else. Chatter, chatter and shit. People wear bullet proof vests on their backs here inside the Beltway because the standard game is to stab everyone in the back. Starting with your friends and moving outwards.

GD: And upwards?

RTC: I think the brass keeps some of these yammering turds around for the same reason that a whore keeps a pimp around. She wants someone she can look down on. Not like it used to be, Gregory. We were men then, not old gossiping queers. Oh yes, and bitter, treacherous old Jews like Wolfe and his friends. I don’t know what is worse, a treacherous and plotting Jew or a spiteful old queer. Ah well, let us go on to other things less annoying. How is the next Mueller book coming along? Did you get the file on Diem and his brother?

GD: I did. I don’t know where I can fit it in but perhaps a footnote on officially sanctioned assassinations.

RTC: And JFK has become a blessed saint in heaven. He ordered the Diems offed just like Nixon and Kissinger ordered Allende done in. Pious frauds, one and all. Now that’s what I mean by my being able to do terrible damage to them and their precious jobs. I was in the Army during the war and I would like to think that I and my friends were able to help this country, even if just a little but I found it was easier to cope with the professionals from the KGB rather than the rank amateurs we have now. Peake once wanted me to ghost write a paper on the KGB and I told him I would not. If I write something now, based on my experience and knowledge, I am not going to let some pseudo-academic try to take credit for it.

GD: Oh, the academic world is just the same. More backstabbing, gossip, innuendo and pure malice than you could imagine. And these academic papers are worthless for anything but to use as toilet paper. Bad, stilted writing and full of official lies which most of them write to impress their grandchildren and awed middle-class morons with. Robert, in my research, I have learned to totally discount any of these academic papers.

RTC: Oh yes, Peake told me breathlessly….

GD: Some sailor giving him a run for his money.

RTC: (Laughter) No, but I have been told that the great David Irving says you are a fraud. My God, what a compliment.

GD: Irving is the  fraud and writes at a high school level. Historian? Gas bag. I had dealings with him once and I would never let something like that in my house other than to fix the plumbing. Or around my children, either. Peake actually used Irving as a prop?

RTC: The blind leading the blind. I’ve never read any of Irving’s material but they do tell me that he’s a lightweight.

GD: A legend in his own mind. It is said his ma was Jewish but I don’t think that’s been proven. Lower middle class oaf with delusions of grandeur and reference.

RTC: Ah, my, what a wonderful morning, full of the milk of human kindness.

GD: I think the milk has gone bad, Robert.

RTC: It’s too bad you weren’t around in the early days, I mean actually old enough to work for me. We would have gotten along wonderfully well. I would have had to warn you to be a little restrained in some areas but I think we could have worked well together.

GD: Well, I do respect you Robert, which is more than I can say for the rest of the zoo creatures I’ve encountered since I started tilting at D.C. shithouses. Oh and yes, do you know how many fairies you can get on a bar stool?

RTC: I assume this is a joke.

GD: Why of course, Robert, always the jester. If you turn it upside down, you can seat four comfortably.

RTC: (Prolonged laughter) Well, now I’m back in a good mood.

GD: Don’t pass this on to your callers. You might hurt their feelings.


(Concluded at 10:12 AM CST)




Encyclopedia of American Loons

Noson Leiter

More from the fuming, delusional hatred department. Noson Leiter, of the rather unappealingly named Torah Jews for Decency, is apparently one of the Religious Right’s favorite rabbis, and has appeared at Tea Party conferences along with luminaries like Rick Scarborough. Leiter rose to a modicum of fame when he blamed Hurricane Sandy on New York’s marriage equality law. He was, of course, not the only dingbat to do so, but might have been the only one to point out the appearance of a double rainbow after the storm as evidence that Hurricane Sandy was a sequel to the Flood (which God, according to the Bible, explicitly promised never to do again). Leiter had previously worked with Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn said law. Not everyone was impressed with Leiter’s observations.

Leiter has also asserted that the “end game” of the gay rights movement is “child molestation.” (No, he has no decency, which is presumably why he feels the need to put “decency” in the name of his organization.) “They are after our kids,” says Leiter; “they are after the bibles and guns that Americans cling to but they are also after us and after our kids.” He also warned that gay rights advocates “will not rest until all of their opposition is totally eliminated,” but fortunately assured us that they will ultimately lose, because “the Lord will vanquish evil.” Apparently, this is a recurring theme; also in connection with blaiming Hurricane Sandy on the gays, Leiter said that the “LGBT radical homosexualist movement” will increase child abuse by giving molesters a “license to victimize” children and even “a certain degree of diplomatic immunity.”

Leiter’s general point was ostensibly (but not really) that any bill involving social issues should require a study of the “fiscal impact” the legislation would have. Price agreed, of course.

Diagnosis: Hate, hate and more hate, fuelled by fanatic delusions. Same as always.


Bryan Leonard

Bryan Leonard is one of the alleged martyrs featured in the creationist movements dishonest “academic freedom” campaigns, people having been the victim of what Intelligent Design creationists would describe as oppression by the Darwinist establishment (i.e. actual scientists with actual expertise and a commitment to science). A more comprehensive description of the so-called Bryan Leonard affair can be found here. We’ll just provide a brief recap:

Leonard was (or perhaps is) a high school biology teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School in a suburb of Columbus (yes, he was teaching the controversy and promoting creationism to the high-school kids; surprised?), and – a decade ago – an appointee to the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee, where he authored the creationist-friendly “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education in 2004. Leonard also testified for the pseudoscience side at the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court hearings (excerpts from his testimony here). Leonard himself appears to be a young-earth creationist.

Now, by 2005 Leonard was also a doctoral candidate in science education at Ohio State University, doing dissertation research on the academic merits of an ID-based “critical analysis” approach to teaching evolution in public schools. Scheduled to defend on June 6, the defense was suddenly postponed to the shock and horror of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscientists everywhere. And of course, in real life the postponement was due to the questionable tactics and strategy of the creationists, in particular the composition of Leonard’s committee. You see, the OSU requires that the committee must reflect the expertise needed for the dissertation and must have at least three members: two from the science education program area and one from outside the science education program area. Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements – in particular, it contained no member from the science education program area – and one suspects this was because his advisor, Paul Post, realized that it would not pass if they included, you know, actual experts on biology on the committee. Instead, the committee included, in addition to an assistant professor in French & Italian, Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition, both of whom have track-records as champions of creationism and pseudoscience – both are signatories to the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, for instance, and DiSilvestro, surely coincidentally, also testified for the anti-science side at the Kansas evolution hearings. (He was also at that time contact person for the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement’s 52 Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin’s Theory petition; and Needham was a signatory). Leonard’s advisor Paul Post has no relevant qualifications to comment on evolution either.

So, when members of the faculty of the OSU brought these and other anomalies to the attention of appropriate administrators in the Graduate School, the assistant professor of French & Italian asked to be relieved and was replaced by the Dean of the College of Biological Sciences who was an evolutionary biologist. At that time, the defense was suddenly postponed, apparently at the request of Leonard’s advisor; it was never rescheduled. And note: It was Leonard’s advisor who asked for the postponement, after it became clear that he wouldn’t be allowed to violate the guidelines in his attempt to fix the jury in Leonard’s favor (which rather strongly suggests that the creationists on the committee had little confidence in the actual merits of Leonard’s pro-creationist thesis). The pattern of behavior from the Intelligent Design community is rather striking – even if Leonard’s thesis were perfectly OK, the attempt of the Intelligent Design community to subvert the process is telling, isn’t it? Being caught in the act, the Intelligent Design community responded by claiming “violation of academic freedom”, of course. Indeed, a decade later the case remains one of their go-to examples of howChristians are oppressed in academia.

Diagnosis: We haven’t heard much from Leonard since 2005, but the Bryan Leonard case is occasionally revived by pseudoscientists who aren’t that concerned with what actually happened. Now, one can reasonably argue that Leonard was, indeed, a victim in that particular case – a victim of the shenanigans of established creationists, of course – but his activities on the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee and role in the Kansas Kangaroo court hearings still qualify him for an entry in our Encyclopedia.





No responses yet

Leave a Reply