Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News August 6, 2016

Aug 06 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. August 6, 2016: “What is in the uncovered DNC communications that is causing so much well-concealed panic in that organization?

There has descended a public curtain of silence over these “secret” emails but Wikileaks has thousands of them and hiding them from the view of the American public will not be a successful program. What has been known, and is known, is that there are very graphic personal messages from, and to, the top leaders of the DNC. These are often of an erotic nature and are written by, and to, women. This can explain the sudden resignations by members of the DNC. Erotic scandals duiring the election campaign are not the sort of thing the DNC wants the American voters to read.” Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup

August. 2, 2016

by Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu

New York Times

ISTANBUL — A Turkish newspaper reported that an American academic and former State Department official had helped orchestrate a violent conspiracy to topple the Turkish government from a fancy hotel on an island in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. The same newspaper, in a front-page headline, flat-out said the United States had tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed coup.

When another pro-government newspaper asked Turks in a recent poll conducted on Twitter which part of the United States government had supported the coup plotters, the C.I.A. came in first, with 69 percent, and the White House was a distant second, with 20 percent.

These conspiracy theories are not the product of a few cranks on the fringes of Turkish society. Turkey may be a deeply polarized country, but one thing Turks across all segments of society — Islamists, secular people, liberals, nationalists — seem to have come together on is that the United States was somehow wrapped up in the failed coup, either directly or simply because the man widely suspected to be the leader of the conspiracy, the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-exile in the United States.

“Whenever something shocking and horrific happens in Turkey, the reflex is conspiracy,” said Akin Unver, an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

That response goes back almost a century, to the end of World War I, when the West carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire. A Western plan to divide what became modern Turkey failed after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder, waged war against the occupiers. But the effort forever ingrained in the Turkish psyche a fear of Western conspiracies.

In the case of the failed coup, there is much more at play than fanciful conspiracy theories, many Turks say, because of the nearly universal conviction that it was engineered by Mr. Gulen, who for 16 years has lived in a secluded compound in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

In various interviews and statements, Mr. Gulen has strongly denied involvement in the coup. Yet because he lives in the United States, and because of other salient facts — including that a former C.I.A. official and a former American ambassador to Turkey helped Mr. Gulen receive a green card — many Turks believe Mr. Gulen is an American agent. From there, it is a short step to the conclusion that the United States conspired with him to bring down the Turkish government.

Continue reading the main story

“The U.S. is behind the coup, no doubt,” said Haluk Taylan, 48, a shopkeeper in Istanbul. “The deep state of the U.S., the C.I.A., had a role in it.”

The theories have become so rampant that top American officials, including President Obama, have been forced to publicly deny trying to topple the government of a NATO ally.

“I know there isn’t any real evidence yet, but I think it would be naïve to say that the U.S. has no involvement in the coup attempt,” said Bekir Karabulut, a software developer in Istanbul. “The U.S. likes to meddle in our business, and the C.I.A. has supported Gulen for years. They helped him flee from Turkey.”

Turkey has demanded Mr. Gulen’s extradition, saying he commands the Fethullah Terror Organization. To back the claim, the Turkish government has sent a dossier of evidence to the White House, although it has not yet made a formal legal request.

A delegation of Turkish lawmakers arrived in the United States this week to press the case, and the two countries appear to be on a collision course over the matter. In an interview on CNN Turk, John R. Bass, the United States ambassador to Turkey, referred to “the apparent involvement of a large number” of Mr. Gulen’s supporters in the coup plot. Analysts are doubtful Turkey will be able to provide evidence for extradition that will hold up in an American court.

Turks, in their exasperation that the United States has not turned over Mr. Gulen, have made this analogy: What if Turkey, in 2001, had harbored Osama bin Laden?

Given the widespread sentiment that Mr. Gulen was behind the coup, a failure to extradite him would probably provoke a popular backlash in Turkey against the United States, and would confirm for many that the Americans had conspired against Turkey.

“If they don’t give him back, that is the end of our relationship with America,” said Osman Arsan, a waiter in Istanbul. “They are backstabbing and insincere. They must show their true colors. If not, they should prepare themselves for the response of the Turkish people. We are all united for this cause. We will not forgive them.”

Turks have also been rankled by what they see as the preoccupation of the United States and Europe with Mr. Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown, rather than standing by Turkey for facing down the existential threat the coup represented.

The West has criticized the purges, in which thousands of soldiers have been arrested and tens of thousands of government employees dismissed from their jobs for supposed links to Mr. Gulen, as Mr. Erdogan has moved quickly against perceived enemies in the government.

But many of Mr. Erdogan’s traditional opponents — Kurds, secularists, nationalists — have long worried about the influence of Mr. Gulen’s loyalists inside the state, and are largely united in believing Mr. Gulen was behind the coup. They not only support the purges, but also assume that the United States is taking Mr. Gulen’s side.

Turkish leaders have been playing a double game with the notion of American involvement in the coup, sometimes encouraging the conspiracy theories publicly while privately assuring American officials that nothing has changed in the countries’ relationship.

Ibrahim Kalin, Mr. Erdogan’s spokesman, recently told reporters, “We don’t think that the U.S. has any involvement in the coup attempt.”

And this week, when Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Ankara, the capital, Turkish officials assured him that their country was intent on maintaining a close relationship in the fight against the Islamic State.

Last week, an American general said he was concerned about the relationship with Turkey because several Turkish officers who had been interlocutors with the United States on counterterrorism issues had been arrested after being accused of taking part in the coup. Mr. Erdogan seized on these comments and lashed out at the United States.

“The U.S. general stands on the coup plotters’ side with his words,” he said. “He disclosed himself with his statements.”

Saying the comments amounted to standing beside the coup plotters, Mr. Erdogan also referred to Mr. Gulen, saying: “The coup plotter is in your country. You are nurturing him there. It’s out in the open.”

Safak Timur contributed reporting.

‘Turkey will become an important country of origin for refugees’

Media reports say more Turkish citizens are fleeing to Germany – especially Kurds. Asylum attorney Heiko Habbe thinks the German government is partially responsible for the situation.

August 5, 2016


DW: Mr. Habbe, asylum requests from Turkey are on the rise according to the German newspaper “Tagesspiegel,” which cited recent statistics from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). These state that last year 1,719 Turkish citizens applied for asylum, and in the first six months of this year there have already been 1,767 requests. Why is that?

Heiko Habbe: Firstly, that is not a worrying development – in light of the overall number of 800,000 asylum requests last year, and 200,000 the year before. But of course there is concern that the trend has to do with political developments within Turkey: From the resurgence of the Kurdish conflict, which – as far as one can tell – is being intentionally stoked by the Turkish government, to the mass incarcerations that have been taking place in the wake of the recent failed coup attempt.

BAMF cannot yet say what effect July’s attempted coup will have on asylum requests. When will the current situation be reflected in those numbers?

hat is hard to say. What concerns us is that Turkey will once again become an important country of origin. After having disappeared from BAMF statistics for decades, it was suddenly among the top 15 countries of origin in the first quarter of this year.

We are talking about a country that is supposedly a candidate for EU membership. One must ask: Have the EU and Germany’s government failed to push Turkey to improve its human rights situation?

Despite the tense situation in southeastern Turkey, recognition rates for asylum requests have gone down dramatically. BAMF spoke of acceptance rates of 5.2 percent for Kurdish Turks in the Tagesspiegel article. Last year that rate was 14.7. How do explain that?

I cannot confirm that the numbers have gone down, because numbers of recognized requests from Turkey over the last several years have never been published. In the first quarter of 2016 the overall adjusted protection rate for asylum seekers from Turkey was still at 14.5 percent.

Even if one assumes an acceptance rate of nearly 15 percent, deportation numbers remain relatively high. Is the situation in Turkey thus that Kurds no longer need protection from other countries?

Turkey’s domestic situation is complex. However, one particular argument put forth by BAMF has often been criticized. In the past they have repeatedly claimed: A Kurdish asylum seeker may be directly affected by the conflict in the southeast, but that is a regional issue. Kurds can live in total safety in Istanbul; therefore they need no protection from Germany.

Affected persons argued to the contrary. They reported that they were discriminated against and attacked in other parts of the country as well.

How are such situational reports – which provide the basis for deciding which people, fleeing from which countries, will get protection in Germany – put together?

BAMF and the administrative courts rely mainly on situational reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is not a source that is beyond dispute. The reports are very detailed, but they reflect the view of the ministry, which at times seems influenced by diplomatic considerations.

If you read reports from Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch you are immediately confronted with much more troubling assessments. But BAMF does not vigorously consult these.

Are you criticizing that?

Let’s just say it is no coincidence that a large number of asylum requests rejected by BAMF are later overturned in the courts.

Can German authorities generally react quickly enough to changing political situations – say, a failed coup attempt?

Reactions do not tend to come quickly. Naturally one has to wait and see how a given situation develops, and facts have to be collected for new reports. In the past, BAMF would temporarily suspend proceedings when political situations changed very quickly. That was the case in the 1990s, for instance, when the Taliban began rapidly gaining influence in Afghanistan. At the time one wanted to wait and see whether a new state order would evolve.

What does that then mean for asylum seekers?

Requests are shelved for months or more. People live in uncertainty and have no idea if they will be granted asylum. It is extremely burdensome.


Commentary: The world’s best cyber army doesn’t belong to Russia

August 4, 2016

by James Bamford


National attention is focused on Russian eavesdroppers’ possible targeting of U.S. presidential candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Yet, leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents show that the Obama administration has long been involved in major bugging operations against the election campaigns — and the presidents — of even its closest allies.

The United States is, by far, the world’s most aggressive nation when it comes to cyberspying and cyberwarfare. The National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on foreign cities, politicians, elections and entire countries since it first turned on its receivers in 1952. Just as other countries, including Russia, attempt to do to the United States. What is new is a country leaking the intercepts back to the public of the target nation through a middleperson.

There is a strange irony in this. Russia, if it is actually involved in the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee, could be attempting to influence a U.S. election by leaking to the American public the falsehoods of its leaders. This is a tactic Washington used against the Soviet Union and other countries during the Cold War.

In the 1950s, for example, President Harry S Truman created the Campaign of Truth to reveal to the Russian people the “Big Lies” of their government. Washington had often discovered these lies through eavesdropping and other espionage.

Today, the United States has morphed from a Cold War, and in some cases a hot war, into a cyberwar, with computer coding replacing bullets and bombs. Yet the American public manages to be “shocked, shocked” that a foreign country would attempt to conduct cyberespionage on the United States.

NSA operations have, for example, recently delved into elections in Mexico,  targeting its last presidential campaign. According to a top-secret PowerPoint presentation leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, the operation involved a “surge effort against one of Mexico’s leading presidential candidates, Enrique Peña Nieto, and nine of his close associates.” Peña won that election and is now Mexico’s president.

The NSA identified Peña’s cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, “might find a needle in a haystack.” The analyst described it as “a repeatable and efficient” process.

The eavesdroppers also succeeded in intercepting 85,489 text messages, a Der Spiegel article noted.

Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena’s predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able “to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon’s public email account.”

At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Unlike the Defense Department’s Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA’s headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office.

And it is about to grow considerably bigger, now that the NSA cyberspies have merged with the cyberwarriors of U.S. Cyber Command, which controls its own Cyber Army, Cyber Navy, Cyber Air Force and Cyber Marine Corps, all armed with state-of-the-art cyberweapons. In charge of it all is a four-star admiral, Michael S. Rogers.

Now under construction inside NSA’s secret city, Cyber Command’s new $3.2- billion headquarters is to include 14 buildings, 11 parking garages and an enormous cyberbrain — a 600,000-square-foot, $896.5-million supercomputer facility that will eat up an enormous amount of power, about 60 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power a city of more than 40,000 homes.

In 2014, for a cover story in Wired and a PBS documentary, I spent three days in Moscow with Snowden, whose last NSA job was as a contract cyberwarrior. I was also granted rare access to his archive of documents. “Cyber Command itself has always been branded in a sort of misleading way from its very inception,” Snowden told me. “It’s an attack agency. … It’s all about computer-network attack and computer-network exploitation at Cyber Command.”

The idea is to turn the Internet from a worldwide web of information into a global battlefield for war. “The next major conflict will start in cyberspace,” says one of the secret NSA documents. One key phrase within Cyber Command documents is “Information Dominance.”

The Cyber Navy, for example, calls itself the Information Dominance Corps. The Cyber Army is providing frontline troops with the option of requesting “cyberfire support” from Cyber Command, in much the same way it requests air and artillery support. And the Cyber Air Force is pledged to “dominate cyberspace” just as “today we dominate air and space.”

Among the tools at their disposal is one called Passionatepolka, designed to “remotely brick network cards.” “Bricking” a computer means destroying it – turning it into a brick.

One such situation took place in war-torn Syria in 2012, according to Snowden, when the NSA attempted to remotely and secretly install an “exploit,” or bug, into the computer system of a major Internet provider. This was expected to provide access to email and other Internet traffic across much of Syria. But something went wrong. Instead, the computers were bricked. It took down the Internet across the country for a period of time.

While Cyber Command executes attacks, the National Security Agency seems more interested in tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet, according to the documents.

One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a “capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time.” Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing “millions of implants” — malware — in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks.

Yet, even as the U.S. government continues building robust eavesdropping and attack systems, it looks like there has been far less focus on security at home. One benefit of the cyber-theft of the Democratic National Committee emails might be that it helps open a public dialogue about the dangerous potential of cyberwarfare. This is long overdue. The possible security problems for the U.S. presidential election in November are already being discussed.

Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare.

In fact, the United States is the only country ever to launch an actual cyberwar — when the Obama administration used a cyberattack to destroy thousands of centrifuges, used for nuclear enrichment, in Iran. This was an illegal act of war, according to the Defense Department’s own definition.

Given the news reports that many more DNC emails are waiting to be leaked as the presidential election draws closer, there will likely be many more reminders of the need for a public dialogue on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare before November.

(James Bamford is the author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine.)


Thaw could release Cold War-era U.S. toxic waste buried under Greenland’s ice

August 5, 2016

by Alister Doyle


OSLO (Reuters) – Global warming could release radioactive waste stored in an abandoned Cold War-era U.S. military camp deep under Greenland’s ice caps if a thaw continues to spread in coming decades, scientists said on Friday.

Camp Century was built in northwest Greenland in 1959 as part of U.S. research into the feasibility of nuclear missile launch sites in the Arctic, the University of Zurich said in a statement.

Staff left gallons of fuel and an unknown amount of low-level radioactive coolant there when the base shut down in 1967 on the assumption it would be entombed forever, according to the university.

It is all currently about 35 meters (114.83 ft) down. But the part of the ice sheet covering the camp could start to melt by the end of the century on current trends, the scientists added.

“Climate change could remobilize the abandoned hazardous waste believed to be buried forever beneath the Greenland ice sheet,” the university said of findings published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The study, led by York University in Canada in collaboration with the University of Zurich, estimated that pollutants in the camp included 200,000 liters (44,000 UK gallons) of diesel fuel and the coolant from a nuclear generator used to produce power.

“It’s a new breed of political challenge we have to think about,” lead author William Colgan, a climate and glacier scientist at York University, said in a statement.

“If the ice melts, the camp’s infrastructure, including any remaining biological, chemical, and radioactive wastes, could re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems,” the University of Zurich said.

The study said it would be extremely costly to try to remove any waste now. It recommended waiting “until the ice sheet has melted down to almost expose the wastes before beginning site remediation.”

There was no immediate comment from U.S. authorities.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Oil prices plummet amid continued oversupply, with no end in sight

After a brief rally in June crude-oil prices have hit their lowest prices in months, creating much market uncertainty that looks likely to continue

August 6, 2016

by Debbie Carlson


Oil may be a precious and dwindling resource but at the moment, at least, it looks like we just have too much of it. Crude-oil prices are now at their lowest since early April, hit by continued oversupply, concerns about global demand and negative price sentiment by oil-market participants. And that situation looks likely to continue in the near future.

The US crude oil benchmark price, West Texas Intermediate traded at the New York Mercantile Exchange, closed at $39.51 a barrel on Tuesday, the first time since 6 April. The global Brent crude oil benchmark closed at $41.50 on Tuesday, a three-and-a-half month low. As of midday Wednesday, prices were just above those levels.

Prices rebounded by the end the week following a better-than-expected July US jobs report. September WTI crude oil settled at $41.83 a barrel and October Brent closed at $44.28. But US petroleum prices are down about 25% from the June highs of around $52, putting them in bear-market territory. However, they remain above the depths of the decade-plus price lows established in February, when US prices fell under $30 a barrel.

Some of the reasons for crude oil’s June rise are also responsible for its current retreat, market watchers said. There were a series of supply outages earlier this year, said Bill O’Neill, a principal at commodities consulting group LOGIC Advisors, such as Canadian wildfires in the oil-sands region, sharp production decreases in Nigeria and Libya and an oil workers’ strike in Kuwait.

“Those have been more or less solved, or been alleviated. So we’re seeing a glut of supply as production in most of those areas is returning,” O’Neill said.

At the time there were hopes the production outages and relatively lower prices would mean higher demand would drain the bloated inventories to finally bring the crude oil market back into balance between supply and demand, said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.

However, when US crude-oil prices hit $50, it encouraged some US shale-oil producers to open the spigots again, as evidenced by a few weeks of rising oil-rig counts, said Stewart Glickman, head of energy research at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“What had been a pretty precipitous decline in US production doesn’t look like it’s going to be so precipitous anymore,” Glickman said.

As the new supply trickled in, oil refiners’ profits were shrinking. With smaller margins and high inventory of products like gasoline and diesel, refiners had little incentive to produce more, leaving crude inventories to pile up, Glickman added.

In the background is the decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to continue its market share grab and pump as much oil as possible. Some news reports suggest Opec’s July production could be a record because of increases from Iran and Nigeria.

That bloated inventory is evident in data from the Department of Energy’s statistical arm, the Energy Information Administration, which shows continued historically high levels of crude oil. Haworth said hopes were high the summer driving season would deplete some of those stocks. Demand is strong, but so far has been under expectations.

“The market appears somewhat disappointed how inventory declines happened during peak seasonal demand … It happened less than we all expected,” he said.

The swiftness of oil’s rally to $50 may have spooked users, said Jay Hatfield, portfolio manager for the InfraCap Active MLP exchange-traded fund (AMZA).

“People are sensitive to prices … we need lower prices to clean out the excess inventory,” he said.

Some worries about global demand contributed to the recent selloff. Chinese imported oil demand is slowing, said Haworth, Glickman and O’Neill. Additionally, O’Neill added there are still concerns about European demand following the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the lower-than-expected US gross domestic product data also weighed on sentiment.

“There’s nothing on the economic side that indicates a need to rush into buying,” he said.

Haworth, Hatfield and O’Neill, said as prices weakened into July, short-term traders followed the downward momentum and established positions to benefit from further price drops. That compounded the price break and helped to send values to the $40 level.

Hatfield said in the near-term there’s little reason for demand to pick up since the energy markets are entering the “shoulder season” where refiners take downtime for maintenance, and as they get ready to switch from summer fuel blends to winter fuel blends. Weather during the next few months usually temperate with no increased heating or cooling needs.

Prices could dip a little further, but none of the market watchers expect a retreat to the $20s. Nor do they see prices going much above $50. Also, most investment banks haven’t changed their long-term price forecasts for crude oil to be near $50 toward year’s end.

However, the crude-oil market’s actions have confounded many in the past two years. Part of that might be because there’s a still a bit of a bias that crude oil prices usually rise, O’Neill said.

“Many markets have a bias (on price direction). Being bullish crude oil for the last 10 to 15 years clearly was right. But that might not be the case anymore,” he said.

Donald Trump now says even legal immigrants are a security threat

August 5, 2016

by Jenna Johnson

Washington Post

First Donald Trump said that he wanted to block nearly all foreign Muslims from entering the United States. More recently, he decided to stop using the word “Muslim” as he called for halting immigration from countries with high rates of terrorism, although he has yet to say which countries that would include.

At a rally in Portland, Maine, on Thursday afternoon, Trump provided a lengthy explanation of why he thinks the United States needs to be skeptical of immigrants from many countries, even if they follow the legal process. Reading from notes, Trump listed nearly a dozen examples of immigrants, refugees or students who came to the United States legally — often applying for and receiving citizenship — and then plotted to kill Americans, sometimes successfully doing so. The countries that he referenced in these examples: Somalia, Morocco, Uzbekistan (he asked the crowd where it was located), Syria, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen (which he pronounced “yay-men”). Trump’s staff has yet to confirm if there are countries from which the nominee wants to limit immigration.

“We’re letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” Trump said. “There’s no way of vetting them. You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time.”

At another point in the rally, Trump said: “Hillary Clinton wants to have them come in by the hundreds of thousands, just remember. This has nothing to do with politics, folks. This is a whole different level. This has to do with pure, raw stupidity. Okay?”

Trump has long called for a crackdown on illegal immigration, which he has framed as a national security concern. In his announcement speech last year, Trump described illegal Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. At numerous rallies, mothers and fathers whose children have been killed by illegal immigrants have shared their heartbreaking stories. Trump has said that building a wall along the border with Mexico will not only keep out illegal immigrants but also criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists. And he has proposed deporting the millions of immigrants illegally living here, starting with those who have committed crimes.

For more than 10 months, Trump has opposed allowing any Syrian refugees into the country because they could be terrorists, and he has promised to kick out all Syrian refugees currently in the country. In December, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Last month Trump said that his position on banning Muslims has “gotten bigger,” as he’s now focusing on territories with terrorism problems. Last week Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “People don’t want me to say ‘Muslim.’ I guess I prefer not saying it, frankly, myself. So we’re talking about territories.” But he has yet to say which territories he would target.

About 13 percent of 318.9 million people living in the United States in 2014 were immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute, which is a massive increase from 1970, when the rate was less than 5 percent. Mexico is the most common home-nation of these immigrants, followed by India, China and the Philippines.

Within minutes of taking the stage in Maine on Thursday afternoon, Trump warned the crowd of outsiders “pouring into our country,” and he promised to build a wall along the border. He was interrupted by protesters who held up pocket-sized copies of the Constitution. The crowd booed and then chanted: “USA! USA! USA!”

As the protesters were led away, Trump resumed: “A Trump rally is the safest place in our country to be. Believe me. Believe me. Right? It is safe. But if we keep going the way it is, our whole country is becoming different.”

Trump warned the crowd that “radical Islamic terrorism” is the “most important issues facing civilization right now” and that the United States has to be more careful in allowing foreigners to visit or move here.

“We’ve just seen many, many crimes getting worse all the time, and as Maine knows — a major destination for Somali refugees. Right? Am I right?” Trump said, as the crowd affirmed what he had said. “Well, they’re all talking about it: Maine. Somali. Refugees. We admit hundreds of thousands, you admit into Maine, and to other places in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of refugees, and they’re coming from among the most dangerous territories and countries anywhere in the world — right? — a practice which has to stop. It has to stop… This is a practice that has to stop.”

To back up this point, Trump rattled through a list of cautionary examples — nearly all of which appear on a list of 26 examples released in November by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee who chairs an immigration subcommittee. Sessions has closely advised Trump for months and one of his former aides, Stephen Miller, is now a senior policy adviser to Trump and often speaks at Trump’s rallies about the dangers of immigration. In nearly each example, Trump noted that the suspect in question came to the United States legally and was granted citizenship.

“They’re the ones we know about. There are so many that we don’t know about. You’re going to have problems like you’ve never seen,” Trump said. “We don’t know where these people are. You know when the government puts them around… for the most part, very few people know where they even are. We don’t even know where they are located. I’m telling you, I’ve said it before: This could be the great Trojan horse of all time. They’re coming in. They’re coming in.”

Here are the examples Trump gave:

  • Somalia: Trump referenced a Washington Times article about thousands of Somali refugees resettling in Minnesota and “creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state’s safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups.” The article quotes a FBI official saying Minnesota has seen recruitment videos targeted at Somalis in their state but that authorities have been working closely with the Somali community. “It’s happening,” Trump said. “It’s happening. You see it, you read about it. You can see it.” (You can read the full article here: “Feds’ relocation of Somali refugees stresses Minn. welfare, raises terror fears.”)
  • Chechnya: Trump noted that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the so-called Boston bombers, came to the United States ” through the political asylum process.” Trump did not mention that the brothers were from Chechnya, but he noted that the younger brother became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Sept.11, 2012, while the older brother had an application pending. “Oh that’s wonderful, right?” Trump said. “We take them. We take them.”
  • Pakistan: Trump referenced the mass shooting in San Bernardino, although he didn’t mention the residency status of the married couple accused of murdering their coworkers. Syed Rizwan Farook was a U.S. citizen, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, was a permanent resident from Pakistan. At other rallies, Trump has questioned why Malik was allowed to come to the United States on a “fiancee visa.”
  • Morocco: Trump said that a “Moroccan national on a student visa… was arrested for plotting to blow up a university and a federal courthouse.” Some background that Trump didn’t include: Federal authorities began investigating El Mehdi Semlali Fathi, a native of Morocco who was living in Connecticut on a long-expired student visa. Fathi told a friend he wanted to use “toy planes” to bomb a university and a federal building, but he was never arrested on terrorism-related charges. Instead, Fathi was arrested on immigration-related charges, and in October 2014, he was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment for fabricating a refugee application. He was set to be deported upon his release.
  • Uzbekistan: Trump said that a Uzbek refugee living in Idaho — he paused to ask the audience: “You know where that is? You know where that is, huh?” — was arrested and charged with “teaching terror recruits how to build bombs.” Trump opined: “Oh, wonderful, wonderful. I don’t want them in this country.” Fazliddin Kurbanov was arrested in 2013 and charged with teaching people to build bombs that would target public transportation. Earlier this year he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
  • Syria: Trump said that an immigrant from Syria, who received U.S. citizenship, planned to killed solders on a military base. He was likely referring to Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, who was born in Somalia and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, settling in Ohio but traveling to Syria to allegedly train with a terrorist organization. Mohamud was indicted on terrorism charges in April 2015, with prosecutors stating that he “wanted to go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers execution style.”
  • Again, Somalia: Trump mentioned the Oregon college student who plotted to blow up a Christmas tree during a lighting ceremony, noting that he was a Somalian refugee who gained citizenship. In October 2014, Mohamed Osman Mohamud was sentenced to 30 years in prison for trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Afghanistan and the Philippines: Trump said an immigrant from Afghanistan who became a U.S. citizen and a legal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted of “plotting to join Al-Quada and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible.” In February 2015, Sohiel Omar Kabir, originally of Afghanistan, and Ralph Deleon, a citizen of the Philippines who was a lawful permanent U.S. resident, were sentenced to 300 months in federal prison for participating in plots to provide material support to terrorists and kill American military members.
  • Iraq: Trump said an Iraqi immigrant who applied for and received U.S. citizenship was arrested for lying to federal authorities about pledging allegiance to ISIS and his travels to Syria and wanting to “kill as many Americans as possible, didn’t care how.” Bilal Abood, who worked for the U.S. military as a translator during the Iraq War, was sentenced to four years in federal prison in May for lying to the FBI about traveling to Syria and sending a tweet that pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State. Abood testified that he traveled to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army, which opposes the Islamic State, according to the Dallas Morning News. During the sentencing, the judge said there no evidence suggesting Abood was planning a terrorist attack.
  • Again, Pakistan: Trump said two immigrants from Pakistan who became citizens were sentenced to “decades-long prison terms for plotting to detonate a bomb in the middle of New York City.” In June 2015, brothers Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi were sentenced to 35 years and 20 years in prison for plotting a terrorist attack in New York City in 2012 and assaulting two deputy U.S. marshals while in custody.
  • Yemen: Trump said an immigrant from Yemen was arrested for trying to join the Islamic State and illegally buying firearms to “kill as many military personnel as possible.” A version of Jeff Sessions’ list states that this happened in September 2014 but provided no links to additional information.


Def Con: Do smart devices mean dumb security?

August 6, 2016

BBC News

From net-connected sex toys to smart light bulbs you can control via your phone, there’s no doubt that the internet of things is here to stay.

More and more people are finding that the devices forming this network of smart stuff can make their lives easier.

But that convenience may come at a high cost – namely security.

Def Con, which sees 15,000 of the world’s top hackers gather in Las Vegas, was this year studded with talks about the security shortcomings of IoT gadgets. Holes, data leaks and bugs have been found in everything from CCTV cameras to solar panels, thermostats to door locks. One talk about the bugs in those sex toys revealed that these intimate gadgets are being perhaps too candid with data about the people enjoying them.

And there is starting to be evidence that cyber criminals are waking up to the potential for IoT devices to help them carry out attacks that revolve around bombarding websites with more data than they can handle – a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS).

Home CCTV cameras, domestic routers and other smart devices have all been used for these kinds of attacks.

“Using these devices to DDoS a site makes a lot of sense,” said Raimund Genes, European technology head at Trend Micro.

Many cyber criminals who run networks of hijacked machines that can be used to DDoS a site are switching to IoT devices, he said, because they are easier to find, take over and manage than the networks of PCs that are more traditionally used for these types of attack.

Bigger risk

While criminals might abuse in-home devices for attacks, they were unlikely to target individual devices in homes with a view to crashing them or locking them up with malware and demanding a fee to free them.

The economics of those types of attack made no sense for competent cyber thieves, said Mr Genes.

“All of the IoT attacks sound cool but commercial cyber crime doesn’t have an interest in them,” he said. “They are much more interested in volume because they are running a business.”

“At the moment they are making much more money from ransomware on Windows PCs,” he added.

Deral Heiland, who oversees research into IoT devices for security firm Rapid7, said the broader risks involved with these gadgets became apparent when one considered the ecosystem they were likely to be part of.

“Your mobile phone is part of the loop, so is the app, the cloud interface and then you also have the connectivity between all of these devices,” he said. “From a security standpoint, any failing in any one of these devices affects the security of the whole thing, the ecosystem.”

Most of the firms that make IoT devices did a poor job of handling updates to their products that fix the bugs security researchers are finding, said Mr Heiland.

However, he said, it was not going to be consumers that felt the true impact of poor IoT security.

Many large firms were now starting to put in place smart systems that manage heating and lighting in buildings, branch offices and factories. Companies could make big cost savings with such systems, said Mr Heiland, giving them a powerful motive to install them.

As these IoT devices are built to work inside offices rather than homes they are typically controlled by more powerful chips, he said. Unfortunately work by Rapid7 suggests they share the same security failings as their smaller counterparts.

This might make them much more attractive to the types of cyber thieves keen to get at corporate networks, said Mr Heiland.

“The person who is doing the administration for the IoT lighting is probably the same person who is doing the administration for the network,” he said. “That’s certainly someone bad guys want to get to.”

Mr Genes from Trend Micro agreed that it was likely the big firms adopting smarter manufacturing systems or putting IoT devices throughout their organisation would feel the brunt of any security failings – not consumers.

“We can see that this might be a problem for industrial services,” he said, “and we are working with GE, Hitachi and Siemens on this.”

The result could be network-based defences that sanitise data travelling to and from plant and machinery to help it avoid being attacked or compromised, he said.

Rolling robot

Cesar Cerrudo, chief technology officer of security firm IOActive, believes security problems emerge because it is usually smaller, newer firms making the gadgets. They were not interested in writing secure code because of the pressure they were under to succeed quickly, he said.

“The problem with the start-ups is that they need to get their product out very fast,” he said. “If you put security on it then that slows it down and they spend more money and that makes no sense for them.”

This was galling, he said, because the types of bugs being found in the software inside IoT gadgets have long been known about. And, he said, there were well-established methods of writing secure code that avoided these problems.

Adding security after the fact was always more difficult than doing it during design and development, he said.

They also had a duty to realise the threat that smart devices represent – especially when the IoT stuff starts moving around on its own.

“That’s when the danger goes kinetic,” he said, adding that the ultimate example of an IoT device was probably an autonomous vehicle.

“That’s really just a robot rolling down the road,” he said.


BREAKING: Newly Discovered Letters Between Hillary Clinton & Saul Alinsky (Marxist & Community Organizer)

Political Insider

Hillary Clinton, who is already the presumed front-runner for President in 2016, has a radical past, and details are only now bubbling to the surface.

Today, The Washington Free Beacon put together an excellent report about new letters between Hillary Clinton and Saul Alinsky, the infamous community organizer who wrote ‘Rules for Radicals.’ That book, which Alinsky dedicated to ‘Lucifer,’ became the handbook for racial agitators and left-wing political problem causers.

His efforts- which were just as evil as they were brilliant- were essential to the growth of the political left, including Marxism- as David Horowitz explains:

[Alinsky was] the practical theorist for progressives who had supported the Communist cause to regroup after the fall of the Berlin Wall and mount a new assault on the capitalist system.


It was Alinsky who wove the inchoate relativism of the post-Communist left into a coherent whoe, and helped to form the coalition of communists, anarchists, liberals, Democrats, black racialists, and social justice activists…

Here is what the Free Beacon reported:

Clinton met with Alinsky several times in 1968 while writing a Wellesley college thesis about his theory of community organizing.

Clinton’s relationship with Alinsky, and her support for his philosophy, continued for several years after she entered Yale law school in 1969, two letters obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show.

The letters obtained by the Free Beacon are part of the archives for the Industrial Areas Foundation, a training center for community organizers founded by Alinsky, which are housed at the University of Texas at Austin.

The letters also suggest that Alinsky, who died in 1972, had a deeper influence on Clinton’s early political views than previously known.

A 23-year-old Hillary Clinton was living in Berkeley, California, in the summer of 1971. She was interning at the left-wing law firm Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, known for its radical politics and a client roster that included Black Panthers and other militants.

On July 8, 1971, Clinton reached out to Alinsky, then 62, in a letter sent via airmail, paid for with stamps featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and marked “Personal.”

Here is a copy of those letters:


With Barack Obama in the White House, America has already seen how much damage a community organizer can use in the White House. Can we really afford 4… or 8… more years of terrible leadership?


10 Dirty Secret CIA Operations

by Mike Floorwalker


We’ve always loved to discuss some of the shadier dealings of the government and the military—and no organization provides more fodder for these discussions than the American Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA has a way of very publicly blowing their cover—seeming to pop up wherever turmoil, strife, and political unrest materialize. Despite being almost synonymous with dirty tricks, the Agency has essentially been given free rein, permitted to use whatever tactics they see fit to deal with any (real or perceived) threat to American interests.

If there’s one thing we know about absolute power, it’s that it corrupts absolutely; and if there’s one thing we know about the CIA, it’s that the astoundingly unethical and criminal projects highlighted in this list are probably just the tip of the iceberg.

  1. Operation PBSUCCESS was the code name for a CIA-backed coup led against the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, the President of Guatemala, in 1954. It’s one of the first in a long line of suspected or acknowledged CIA interventions in the governments of foreign countries, and it was indeed a tremendous success from the Agency’s point of view.—the first indication that such a feat could be accomplished relatively smoothly.

Elected in 1950, Arbenz set about instituting reforms aimed at making his country self-sufficient, by giving huge chunks of government land back to citizens. This rubbed the US Government the wrong way, as much of this land was “owned” by the United Fruit Company, a truly evil corporation with which the Eisenhower administration was snugly in bed at the time (CIA director Allen Dulles and his brother John, the Secretary of State, both had strong ties to the company).

The Agency snidely referred to Arbenz policies in internal memoranda as “an intensely nationalistic program of progress colored by the touchy, anti-foreign inferiority complex of the ‘Banana Republic.’ ” In other words, non-dependence on the US and its allies was not to be tolerated.

Four hundred and eighty CIA-trained mercenary soldiers, led by exiled Guatemalan military officer Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, forcibly wrested Guatemala from Arbenz’ control. While he and his aides were able to flee the country, CIA documents show that “the option of assassination was still being considered” right up until the day he resigned on June 27, 1954.

  1. Operation Mongoose

After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, the Agency’s public image was worse than ever. President Kennedy famously proclaimed that he would “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds” (shortly before getting shot, but we digress). But to deal with Cuba, he turned to the only person he knew he could trust: his brother, Robert, who organized Operation Mongoose. This operation was conducted by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the CIA, under Robert Kennedy’s supervision. He told his team at its first briefing that deposing Castro was “the top priority of the US government—all else is secondary—no time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared.”

Among the dozens of extremely silly methods of assassination proposed: infecting Castro’s scuba gear with tuberculosis; planting exploding seashells at a favorite diving site; slipping him a poisoned fountain pen; and even even poisoning or slipping a bomb into one of his cigars. Castro’s bodyguard asserted that there were hundreds of CIA schemes on Castro’s life—and they all ended in failure, a gigantic waste of time and money. Castro was Cuba’s dictator for forty-nine years, stepping down in 2008 due to failing health, and appointing his younger brother as his replacement.

  1. CIA-Produced Pornography

President Sukarno ruled Indonesia from 1959 until 1966, when he was deposed by Suharto, one of his generals. Sukarno had been deemed pro-Communist by the CIA, which meant there would inevitably be an attempt to oust him or at least make him look bad—but the plot they actually came up with was truly laughable.

The CIA produced a porno film starring a Sukarno look-alike, titled “Happy Days”, for distribution in Indonesia. Not that the culture generally frowns upon such things, but as the CIA understood it, “being tricked, deceived, or otherwise outsmarted by one of the creatures God has provided for man’s pleasure cannot be condoned” in Indonesian culture, and “what we were saying was that a woman had gotten the better of Sukarno.” The film went as far as production, and stills were made, but for some reason (perhaps common-sense) it was never deployed.

Bizarrely enough, this idea resurfaced shortly before the Second Gulf War, when the CIA suggested that a fake gay porno featuring Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden be produced in order to discredit these men in the eyes of their followers. This went nowhere—at least one official claiming that nobody would care. “Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos.”

  1. Pakistani Vaccine/DNA Collecting Drive

The May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was the result of an insane amount of intelligence collecting and planning; regardless of his crimes, conducting a US military operation to kill a foreign national on Pakistani soil was bound to have myriad consequences. A courier had been tracked to an Abbottabad compound, where it was pretty damn certain Bin Laden was hiding. But before conducting the raid, they had to be absolutely sure—and one method of collecting this proof was shady in the extreme.

The CIA recruited a respected Pakistani doctor to organize a fake vaccination drive in the town, and in the process collected thousands of blood samples from children in the area children—among them, as it turned out, Bin Laden’s children. Since theirs was a fairly upscale section of town, the campaign began in a poorer area to make it look more authentic, then moved on to the neighborhood housing the Bin Laden compound a month later—without even following up with the required second or third doses in the poor area. The whole thing worked—with consequences.

For one thing, Dr. Shakil Afridi—the doctor involved—has been convicted of treason by the Pakistani government and given a thirty-three-year prison sentence (“Wouldn’t any country detain people for working for a foreign spy service?” one Iranian official helpfully pointed out). For another, the campaign has caused irreparable damage to organizations that carry out legitimate vaccinations. There are deep-seated suspicions in many Middle Eastern regions about those who provide vaccinations, and this gambit to assist in finding Bin Laden has only bolstered those suspicions—particularly in Nigeria, India and of course Pakistan, where efforts to eradicate polio are ongoing.

  1. Muammar al-Qaddafi

February 2011 saw the beginning of the Libyan Revolution, which would culminate in the August ousting of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, followed by his capture and killing in October. There was little mention at the time of any potential involvement by foreign interests—but about one year later, an incident occurred which shed a curious light on the entire Revolution.

On September 11, 2012, an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi came under attack by armed militants. The response came not from within the mission itself, but from half a dozen CIA agents deployed from a hidden base within the city. More reinforcements arrived from Tripoli, and diplomatic personnel where whisked by convoy to chartered aircraft which carried them out of the country.

This betrayed a CIA presence in the city, which had hitherto been unknown. The Agency was forced to admit that it had maintained a fairly strong presence in Libya since about February 2011—right around the time the Libyan Revolution began. The annex which had housed the secret base was scrubbed clean and abandoned after the incident at the mission.

  1. Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird was a bit of a two-pronged approach to dealing with the media: on the one hand, journalists were routinely employed by the CIA to develop intelligence and gather information, or to report on certain events in a way that portrayed the US favorably. On the other, there were actual plants within the media—paid off with bribes or even directly employed by the CIA—to feed propaganda to the American public.

Mostly, this program was meant to convince the public of how incredibly scary Communism was, and to make sure that public opinion favored taking out the Red Menace at any expense. Even scarier was the fact that having major newspaper publishers and the heads of TV stations bought and paid for meant that significant overseas events could be excluded from coverage in the media—events like the aforementioned coup in Guatemala, which didn’t see the light of the day in the American press at the time.

Congressional hearings in 1976 (the “Church Committee”) revealed that the CIA had been bribing journalists and editors for years. Following the Church hearings, newly minted CIA director and future President George H.W. Bush announced: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” Yet he added that the CIA would continue to welcome unpaid, voluntary support of said journalists.

  1. Operation CHAOS

Protests against US involvement in Vietnam were proving to be a giant pain in the backside for the government’s plans in the mid 1960s. While Mockingbird was busily using the mainstream to try to shove the necessity of the war down the throat of the public, the “counter-culture” couldn’t be controlled so easily. Ever-mindful of the KGB’s propensity for their own style of dirty tricks, the CIA attempted to weed out any foreign influence on the American anti-war movement by launching Operation CHAOS—and they didn’t even bother to come up with an innocuous-sounding code name.

Since the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of domestic surveillance wasn’t quite producing the desired results, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the CIA to undertake its own program of spying on US citizens. Their main task was to infiltrate student organizations—both radical and otherwise—in order to gather intelligence on potential foreign influences, and to subvert such groups from within. Famous groups such as “Students For a Democratic Society” and the Black Panthers were targeted; eventually, the program for some reason expanded to include women’s liberation and certain Jewish groups.

There is strong evidence that this type of activity has never ceased, though CHAOS itself was shuttered after the Watergate scandal. In 2011, the Agency came under fire for allegedly working with the New York Police Department to conduct surveillance of Muslim groups in the area, who had not done anything wrong and who are now suing in Federal court.

  1. Phoenix Program

Phoenix was a program headed by the CIA, in conjunction with US Special Forces and Australian and South Vietnamese commandos, during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was simple: assassination. And although this was a military unit, their targets weren’t military, but civilian.

From 1965 to 1972, Phoenix was involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of thousands upon thousands of citizens. People deemed critical to the infrastructure of the Viet Cong, or thought to have knowledge of VC activities, were rounded up and taken to regional interrogation centers, were they were subjected to: “rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock . . . rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners…”

Phoenix was the subject of 1971 Congressional hearings on abuse. Former members described it as a “sterile depersonalized murder program”, and it was phased out after negative publicity, though the replacement program F-6 was quietly phased in to take its place.

  1. Operation Ajax

The success of Operation Ajax paved the way for all future CIA operations of a similar nature. It resulted in the return to power of the Shah in 1953, after a military coup planned by American and British intelligence.

The first democratically-elected leader of Iran, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, was seen as a potential liability because of his plans to nationalize the oil industry. Fearful of having to compete with the Soviet Union for Iranian oil, the decision was made to install a leader who was partial to US interests. You can probably see a theme developing here.

CIA agents Donald Wilber and Kermit Roosevelt Jr. (the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt) carried out the campaign by bribing everybody who could be bribed in Iran: government officials, business leaders, and even street criminals. These recruits were asked to support the Shah, in various ways, and to oppose Mossadegh.

It worked: an uprising was instigated, Mosaddegh was jailed, and pro-Western Iranian Army General Fazlollah Zahedi was installed in his place. Zahedi had been arrested by the British during World War Two for attempting to establish a Nazi government, and he lived up to that legacy by appointing Bahram Shahrokh—a protege of Joseph Goebbels—as his director of propaganda.

  1. The Mujahideen

In 1978, Afghanistan became mired in civil war as two Communist parties seized control of the country. When it began to look like anti-Communist rebels were gaining a foothold, the Soviet Union invaded the country to lend support. And that’s when the US, of course, decided to get involved.

The CIA set up camps to train the rebels, known as Mujahideen, in the necessary tactics for beating back the Soviets. Advanced weaponry was also part of the deal, including—importantly—Stinger surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles. Soviet airstrikes had driven hundreds of guerrillas out of the cities and into the surrounding hills, and mitigating the effectiveness of those strikes proved to be essential in prolonging the conflict, placing a great strain on Soviet resources.

The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan almost until its collapse in the early 1990s, but the legacy of the Mujahideen lives on. The CIA are finding their own tactics and training turned against them by Mujahideen veterans who have begun their own training programs, producing highly trained and skilled terrorists who now make up the backbone of Al-Qaeda and other radical groups. The US discovered these ramifications the hard way after invading Afghanistan in 2001. The invasion led to a quagmire of an occupation, which—as of this writing—has dragged on for just as long as that of the Soviets.




































No responses yet

Leave a Reply