TBR News December 3, 2010

Dec 03 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., November 3, 2010: “There is now a growing, genuine terror in the American power elite, that the on-going devastating Department of State secret cables released by WikiLeaks will spread to the American business community with fatal results. America is not controlled by the Jesus Freaks, big labor or the AARP but is solidly under the iron control of a genuine power elite comprised, in the main, of major American business interests. They have controlled American for decades and they control it now. These people decide who is going to represent their interests in Congress. They put up the money and instruct the media what to say and when to say it and Hey Presto! We have a new face in Congress and, more important, a new vote. The daily procession of limousines with darkened windows that daily plies its way to the Hose and Senate office buildings remind one of endless funerals. Inside the black limousines are the lobbyists, often former Congressmen or high level government officials, very many of whom were forced to retire due to financial peculations or such delightful things as buggering Congressional pages in the lavatories of that House of Finance. And in the cavernous trunks of these sleek vehicles are bags and bags of hundred dollar bills. It’s encouraging that so many of our legislators, and the judicially as well, love to collect the patriotic, engraved images of Benjamin Franklin. They much preferred the portrait of Salmon P. Chase, once Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, but he was on the ten thousand dollar bill and these have been withdrawn to prevent their use by another criminal association, the global drug peddling groups. Reinstating Salmon P. Chase would be such a worthy step in promoting cooperation between America’s major business enterprises.

These entities, the United States government’s, financial supporters; major banks, insurance companies, the oil industry have combined or separately, immense assets.  They exercise huge  and almost total control over most legislative and , almost equally important academic institutions and so-called “think tanks.” With these bought-and-paid-for influencers of public opinion, it is obvious that an all-encompassing flood of daily disinformation in favor of or against individuals or legislation that these power elites see as necessary to their continued profitable existence or a threat thereunto gushes out what is essence is a corporate-controlled sewer.

  • The Control of the Experts:  America has been trained since childhood to respect and honor the opiinions of persons designated as experts, Most of these are academics who, it is well known, will do almost anything for money except, perhaps, having coitus with roadkill in broad daylight. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, Most academics, their programs, schools and lives are controlled by government grants, and consequently are fanatic if wordy, supporters of whatever status quo required..
  • Controlling The Data: By controlling the source data of any investigation, be it legal or scientific, the government has the ability to engineer any truth they wish, that is, as long as the people do not care enough to ask for the source data. Cleverly skewed or falsified figures released to the gullible in faked polls show that up is really down and right is always wrong. As a recent example of this, CBS released a poll of 5,000 people and found that over 90% of the American public was absolutely in favor of the TBS groping and nude scans at airports. On the other hand, the British-based Reuters news service conducted a similar poll among 75,000 people and found that 0ver 90% of Americans were strongly opposed so such gross invasions of privacy. Someone has obviously lied but since American business seldom bribes foreign news sources, CBS emerged as the clear winner.

Another example would be found in the Department of Labor’s evaluations on unemployment. There is massive, and growing, unemployment in the United States but as this reflects badly on the Administration and calls for steps they are either unwilling or unable to take, Cautious but happy optimism is called for and by  using such tricks as incorporating ambiguous birth / death ratios into their calculation in order to make it appear as though there are less unemployed people, or leaving out certain subsections of the population manifestation of confidence-building disinformation can be snapped up by every member of the media with glee and spread across the land like dried fertilizer over a farmer’s fields.

  • Using the willing media to destroy opponents:: Governments faced with an effective opponent will always attempt to demonize that person or group in the eyes of the public. This is often done by associating them with a group or idea that the public already hates.
  • The manufacturing of happy and positive news.  This falls in with inventing new fake statistics or radically altering old ones. Happy stories about the White House Christmas tree or a dance troupe of starving Haitian children touring America are the sort of thing plastered all over the front pages and seen, full of dance music and smiling faces, on the evening news.
  • Controlled opposition: Men in positions of power have known for centuries the importance of controlled opposition. If a movement rises in opposition to one’s authority, one must usurp that movement’s leadership. If no such movement exists, the establishment will often create one, staff it with its own people  in order to supply inaccurate and easily crushed information. Such groups always attract dissident citizens who can then be dissected and punished by the FBI at their leisure.

It would not be inaccurate to state that at the present time, America’s  major media journalism is hallmarkde by obviously biased, irresponsible, and sensationalist reporting that deliberately distorts, exaggerates or misstates the truth. It’s calculated and ordered  disinformation is designed solely to either minimize potential opposition to a concept dear to the hearts of the power elite

Today the establishment print and television media is in crisis simply because there is a growing distrust of the honest of the reporting and, even more important, the fact that mot Americans have access to the Internet. I, personally, recommend the following sources. They cost nothing and are always more accurate than the canned garbage being spoon-fed to us now:



The Guardian


AFP http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&source=hp&q=Agence+France+Presse&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=DpnQSuvUI5LasQP9w_HvCw&sa=X&oi=news_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCUQsQQwAw

RIA Novosti




In sum, television and print journalists support powerful interests as paid liars, less graciously called paid whores.As a result, wars fought for economic gain alone are called liberating wars. At the seme time, official government and business interests are endorsed wholeheartedly.. The market and those who control it work best if left to themselves so on they go, raping, looting and pilligaing with a smiling media standing just behind them, nodding and smiling while they pick up the economic crumbs left behind by their masters.

As an example of our thesis, let us consider America’s Premier Newspaper, the New York Times.  .

For many decades, The Times has been the closest thing in America to an official ministry of information and propaganda masquerading as real news, commentary and analysis.

The Times has a long history of:

  • supporting many powerful individuals and institutions;
  • backing corporate interests;
  • endorsing unnecessary but profitible wars;
  • supporting CIA efforts to topple elected governments, assassinate independent leaders, prop up friendly dictators, secretly fund and train paramilitary death squads, practice sophisticated forms of torture, and menace democratic freedoms at home and abroad
  • For decades, in fact, some Times’ foreign correspondents were covert Agency assets. Others today likely are as well as other prominent fourth estate members.

The Times management is also comfortable with:

  • Washington and corporate lawlessness;
  • an unprecedented and growing wealth gap;
  • Wall Street banksters looting the federal treasury;
  • a private banking cartel controlling the nation’s money;
  • unmet human needs and increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair for growing millions in a nation run by rogue politicians who don’t give a damn as long as they’re re-elected;
  • a de facto one-party state;
  • deep corruption at the highest government and corporate levels;
  • democracy for the select few alone;
  • sham elections; and
  • a deepening social decay symptomatic of a declining state, yet The Times management won’t use its clout to expose and help reverse it.

Of course, the same applies throughout the corporate media, the only variance being audience size, the ability to influence it, and the special impact of TV news and talk radio to arouse their faithful. Plus their power of round-the-clock persuasive repetition.

Post-/911, the Times played the lead role in taking the nation to war by highlighting the “day of terror” and saying the “President Vows to Exact Punishment for ‘Evil.’ “

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Judith Miller was a weapon of mass deception with her daily front page Pentagon press release columns masquerading as real news, later exposed as manipulative lies, but they worked.

Following the September 15, 2009 Goldstone Commission report, a same day Neil MacFarquhar column suggested that Israel’s “disproportionate attack” followed Hamas provocations, so perhaps it was justified. While The Times gave Judge Goldstone op-ed space, it:

– published scathing letters denouncing his “one-sidedness” and a September 18 piece saying “the Obama administration said (today) that a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza was unfair to Israel and did not take adequate account of ‘deplorable’ actions by the militant group Hamas in the conflict last winter.”

The paper then imposed a near-blackout on its news and editorial pages to bury the story and kill it through silence – never mind its importance in documenting clear evidence of Israeli war crimes against a civilian population.

Julian Assange did not steal official American governmental or business communications; he only published them. Instead of screaming at, and threatening him, wouldn’t the government and its obedient and captive media be better motivated to attack the stupid and inept officials who are the subject of the published leakings? On the other hand, depopulating the newsrooms and Congressional offices of this country would hardly be in order so it is gooing to be better to get the CIA to shoot him dead somewhere, preferably outside the country. A crazed Muslim could be the most effective assassin and he would soon be forgotten as the United States gears up to invade Canada.”

How the US media is dumping on WikiLeaks – and censoring the cable disclosures

December 2, 2010

by Roy Greenslade

The Guardian

In a hard-hitting piece in defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – now officially named as a fugitive – Alexander Cockburn contends that American newspapers have colluded with the US government to conceal some of the leaked embassy cables.

He cites research by Gareth Porter, who identified a cable released by WikiLeaks that provides a detailed account of how Russian specialists countered official US claims that Iran had missiles capable of reaching Europe, or that Iran intended to develop such a capability. Porter wrote:

“Readers of the two leading US newspapers never learned those key facts about the document. The New York Times and the Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles… from North Korea.

Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the US view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence…

The Times, which had obtained the diplomatic cables not from WikiLeaks but from The Guardian… did not publish the text of the cable.

The Times story said the newspaper had made the decision not to publish ‘at the request of the Obama administration’. That meant that its readers could not compare the highly distorted account of the document in the Times story against the original document without searching the WikiLeaks website.”

Aside from this self-censorship, Cockburn also remarks on the distaste among the “official” US press for WikiLeaks after its previous releases of documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He writes:

“The New York Times managed the ungainly feat of publishing some of the leaks while simultaneously affecting to hold its nose, and while publishing a mean-spirited hatchet job on Assange by its reporter John F Burns, a man with a well burnished record in touting the various agendas of the US government.”

As for TV coverage, he cites Glenn Greenwald, writing on the Salon.com:

“On CNN, Wolf Blitzer was beside himself with rage over the fact that the US government had failed to keep all these things secret from him…

Then – like the Good Journalist he is – Blitzer demanded assurances that the government has taken the necessary steps to prevent him, the media generally and the citizenry from finding out any more secrets…

The central concern of Blitzer – one of our nation’s most honoured ‘journalists’ – is making sure that nobody learns what the US government is up to.”

Some of that Blitzer rant (no longer available on the CNN site) deserves quoting. Here’s a sample:

“Are they doing anything at all to make sure if some 23-year-old guy, allegedly, starts downloading hundreds of thousands of cables, hundreds of thousands of copies of sensitive information, that no one pays attention to that, no one in the security system of the United States government bothers to see someone is downloading all these millions – literally millions of documents?…

It’s amazing to me that the US government security system is so lax that someone could allegedly do this kind of damage just by simply pretending to be listening to a Lady Gaga CD and at the same time downloading all these kinds of documents…

Do we know yet if they’ve [done] that fix? In other words, somebody right now who has top secret or secret security clearance can no longer download information onto a CD or a thumb drive? Has that been fixed already?”

Journalists who oppose WikiLeaks are opposed to journalism. Here’s Jack Shafer offering some sense:

“Information conduits like Julian Assange shock us out of that complacency. Oh, sure, he’s a pompous egomaniac sporting a series of bad haircuts and grandiose tendencies.

And he often acts without completely thinking through every repercussion of his actions.

But if you want to dismiss him just because he’s a seething jerk, there are about 2,000 journalists I’d like you to meet.”

Quite so. Too many “seething jerks” who also deny the point of their own trade – disclosure!

Sources: The First Post/CounterPunch/Salon.com/ worldnewsmania/Slate.com

WikiLeaks diverts to European websites amid U.S. fury

December 3, 2010

by Georgina Prodhan


PARIS PARISWikiLeaks directed readers to a web address in Switzerland on Friday after two U.S. Internet providers ditched it in the space of two days, and Paris tried to ban French servers from hosting its trove of leaked data.

The Internet publisher directed users to www.wikileaks.ch after the wikileaks.org site on which it had published classified U.S. government information vanished from view for about six hours.

A Dutch- and a German-based site, www.wikileaks.nl and www.wikileaks.de , were also giving readers access to the leaked documents.

EveryDNS.net, which helps computers to locate the sites of its members, said it had stopped providing services to WikiLeaks at 10 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on Thursday.

WikiLeaks had turned to EveryDNS and host servers in Europe after Amazon.com stopped hosting the site on Thursday.

The United States is furious about WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of confidential diplomatic cables that have given unvarnished and sometimes embarrassing insights into the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

Amazon denied it was under pressure from lawmakers, saying WikiLeaks had breached its terms by not owning the rights to the content it was publishing. But U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks on Tuesday and called on other companies that host websites to boycott WikiLeaks.

To run a website, WikiLeaks needs three things above all: computer servers that hold or “host” its content; a “registrar” that enables it to own a particular domain, such as “wikileaks.ch” or “wikileaks.org”; and a provider such as EveryDNS that links the hosts and the names together so that users can use a particular address or URL such as www.wikileaks.ch to call up a website behind it.


In a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, France’s Industry Minister Eric Besson said he would try to ensure that WikiLeaks could no longer be hosted in France.

WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, said in an online discussion with readers of Britain’s Guardian newspaper he had expected clampdowns in countries that championed free speech:

“Since 2007 we have been deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we suspected suffered a free speech deficit in order to separate rhetoric from reality. Amazon was one of these cases.”

Michiel Leenaars, director of strategy at the Dutch Internet research group NLnet, said any attempt to stop WikiLeaks’ information from being published was doomed.

“It’s an arms race,” he said. “The information is out there and people are publishing and republishing it around the planet. Over 2,000 people are seeding it as we speak.”

EveryDNS.net said the WikiLeaks web address that it administered had been bombarded by unidentified Internet hackers, undermining the service it provides to other clients.

“These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites,” it said.


All Internet domains with the suffix “.ch” are administered by Switch, a Swiss academic organization.

On Friday, the Pirate Party of Switzerland — part of an international movement fighting for the free sharing of online content — said it owned the “wikileaks.ch” domain name and was happy to support WikiLeaks.

“I don’t see an opportunity for a foreign government to reach into Switzerland,” said Leenaars. “This is a very forward-looking move.”

The U.S. government showed on Monday it was prepared to shut websites when it seized the domain names of 82 organizations that it said were involved in selling counterfeit goods.

Wikileaks has no shortage of supporters internationally, with some half a million fans on Facebook — some of whom are almost certainly capable of hosting some or all of its data.

But the United States and other governments look to be hoping that a wider backlash will make it harder for Assange, deter other potential leakers and possibly prevent Wikileaks from releasing all 250,000 unredacted cables.

So far, the only cables released have been linked to specific stories in the associated newspapers, and have had sensitive names and details blocked out, or “redacted.”

“Wikileaks will survive somewhere because that’s how the information age works, but the unity of the fightback from governments is striking,” said Jonathan Wood, global issues analyst at Control Risks.


Additional reporting by Nick Pollard in Stockholm, Peter Apps in London and Sven Egenter in Zurich; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Wikileaks Doc: U.S. Tried to Stop Accountability Abroad

November 30, 2010


We’re still reviewing the most recent mass of Wikileaks documents, but already they reveal improper government conduct: Bush administration officials pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers responsible for the kidnapping, extraordinary rendition and torture of German national Khaled El-Masri, an ACLU client. Mr. El-Masri was kidnapped from Macedonia in 2003, taken to a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan where he was held for several months and tortured before being released on a hillside in Albania.

In 2007, even as the ACLU was asking a federal court to find that former CIA director George Tenet violated U.S. and international human rights laws when he authorized agents to abduct and abuse Mr. El-Masri, a Wikileaks-released diplomatic cable describes a U.S. official’s efforts to prevent international accountability. According to the cable, which is from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Chargé d’Affaires John M. Koenig told German officials to “weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.” of issuing international arrest warrants in the El-Masri case.

In the end, the lower courts in the United States refused to hear Mr. El-Masri’s case on the grounds that it concerned state secrets, the Supreme Court declined the ACLU’s appeal on Mr. El-Masri’s behalf, no German prosecution of CIA officials has yet taken place, and Mr. El-Masri, an acknowledged innocent, has never received an official apology, let alone compensation for the abuses he suffered.

Much of the furor over the Wikileaks document release has not focused, however, on government wrongdoing and efforts to shield it from judicial and public view. And indeed, it is this larger point that is lost when the emphasis is on diplomats with egg on their faces because of unvarnished, often gossipy, assessments of world leaders.

The Wikileaks phenomenon — the existence of an organization devoted to obtaining and publicly releasing large troves of information the U.S. government would prefer to keep secret — illustrates just how broken our secrecy classification system is. While the Obama administration has made some modest improvements to the rules governing classification of government information, both it and the Bush administration have overclassified and kept secret information that should be subject to public scrutiny and debate. As a result, the American public has had to depend on leaks to the news media and whistleblowers to know what the government is up to.

Without whistleblowers who disclosed illegal activity, we wouldn’t know about the CIA’s secret prisons and we wouldn’t know about the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program. Without leaks to the media, we wouldn’t know that civilian casualties from the war in Iraq are much higher than was thought, or that U.S. troops were going into battle without adequate body armor.

There is certainly a narrow category of information that the government should be able to keep secret in order to protect national security and for other purposes. But the reality is that much more information has been classified by the U.S. government than should be, and information is often classified not for legitimate security reasons, but for political reasons — to protect the government from embarrassment, to manipulate public opinion or even to conceal evidence of criminal activity. When too much information is classified, it becomes more and more difficult to separate the information that should be made public from the information that is legitimately classified.

What the Wikileaks phenomenon means in the longer term — and how the government will respond — is still open to question. But two things are already clear. First, to reduce incentives for leaks, the government should provide safe avenues for government employees to report abuse, fraud and waste to the appropriate authorities and to Congress. Second, the Obama administration should recommit to the ideals the president invoked when he first came to office: “The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.” Democracy, after all, depends on transparency. The American public has a right to know what the government is doing in its name.

WikiLeaks reveals more than just government secrets

November 30, 2010

by Glenn Greenwald


The WikiLeaks disclosure has revealed not only numerous government secrets, but also the driving mentality of major factions in our political and media class.  Simply put, there are few countries in the world with citizenries and especially media outlets more devoted to serving, protecting and venerating government authorities than the U.S.  Indeed, I don’t quite recall any entity producing as much bipartisan contempt across the American political spectrum as WikiLeaks has:  as usual, for authoritarian minds, those who expose secrets are far more hated than those in power who commit heinous acts using secrecy as their principal weapon.

First we have the group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process.  There was Sarah Palin on on Twitter illiterately accusing WikiLeaks — a stateless group run by an Australian citizen — of “treason”; she thereafter took to her Facebook page to object that Julian Assange was “not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” (she also lied by stating that he has “blood on his hands”:  a claim which even the Pentagon admits is untrue).  Townhall’s John Hawkins has a column this morning entitled “5 Reasons The CIA Should Have Already Killed Julian Assange.”  That Assange should be treated as a “traitor” and murdered with no due process has been strongly suggested if not outright urged by the likes of Marc Thiessen, Seth Lipsky (with Jeffrey Goldberg posting Lipsky’s column and also illiterately accusing Assange of “treason”), Jonah Goldberg, Rep. Pete King, and, today,

The way in which so many political commentators so routinely and casually call for the eradication of human beings without a shred of due process is nothing short of demented.  Recall Palin/McCain adviser Michael Goldfarb’s recent complaint that the CIA failed to kill Ahmed Ghailani when he was in custody, or Glenn Reynolds’ morning demand — in between sips of coffee — that North Korea be destroyed with nuclear weapons (“I say nuke ‘em. And not with just a few bombs”).  Without exception, all of these people cheered on the attack on Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, yet their thirst for slaughter is literally insatiable.  After a decade’s worth of American invasions, bombings, occupations, checkpoint shootings, drone attacks, assassinations and civilian slaughter, the notion that the U.S. Government can and should murder whomever it wants is more frequent and unrestrained than ever.

Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves —

eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.  And the fact that this mindset is so widespread and mainstream is quite a reflection of how degraded America’s political culture is.  When WikiLeaks critics devote a fraction of their rage to this form of mainstream American thinking — which, unlike anything WikiLeaks has done, has actually resulted in piles upon piles of corpses — then their anti-WikiLeaks protestations should be taken more seriously, but not until then.

* * * * *

Then, with some exceptions, we have the group which — so very revealingly — is the angriest and most offended about the WikiLeaks disclosures:  the American media, Our Watchdogs over the Powerful and Crusaders for Transparency.  On CNN last night, Wolf Blitzer was beside himself with rage over the fact that the U.S. Government had failed to keep all these things secret from him:

Are they doing anything at all to make sure if some 23-year-old guy, allegedly, starts downloading hundreds of thousands of cables, hundreds of thousands of copies of sensitive information, that no one pays attention to that, no one in the security system of the United States government bothers to see someone is downloading all these millions — literally millions of documents? . . . at this point, you know, it — it’s amazing to me that the U.S. government security system is so lax that someone could allegedly do this kind of damage just by simply pretending to be listening to a Lady Gaga C.D. and at the same time downloading all these kinds of documents.

Then — like the Good Journalist he is — Blitzer demanded assurances that the Government has taken the necessary steps to prevent him, the media generally and the citizenry from finding out any more secrets:  “Do we know yet if they’ve [done] that fix? In other words, somebody right now who has top secret or secret security clearance can no longer download information onto a C.D. or a thumb drive? Has that been fixed already?”  The central concern of Blitzer — one of our nation’s most  honored “journalists” — is making sure that nobody learns what the U.S. Government is up to.

Then there’s the somewhat controversial claim that our major media stars are nothing more than Government spokespeople and major news outlets little more than glorified state-run media.  Blitzer’s CNN reporting provided the best illustration I’ve seen in awhile demonstrating how true that is.  Shortly before bringing on David Gergen to rail against WikiLeaks’ “contemptible behavior” (while, needless to say, not giving voice to any defenders of WikiLeaks), this is what was heard in the first several minutes of the CNN broadcast:

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Brooke, thanks very much.

Happening now, a criminal investigation into the leak of U.S. diplomatic secrets. . . .  The White House says it would be an understatement to say that President Obama is not pleased about these leaks. The Justice Department says a criminal investigation is ongoing and the State Department is leading attempts at international damage control right now.

Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is over at the State Department working the story for us.

And there’s enormous potential damage for the United States in these — in these leaks, Jill.  I assume that’s what officials there are telling you.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: They are, Wolf. They’re pretty overt about it. It could be very, very damaging. . . . The Secretary slammed the release of the cables, calling it an attack.

CLINTON: This is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community. . . .

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me be very clear, this is not saber rattling.

DOUGHERTY: The U.S. attorney general is not ruling out going after the WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, even though he is not an American citizen.

HOLDER: To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law and who has put at risk the assets and the people that I have described, they will be held responsible.

That’s CNN’s journalism:  uncritically passing on one government claim after the next — without any contradiction, challenge, or scrutiny.  Other than Blitzer’s anger over the Government’s failure to more effectively keep secrets from everyone, what would an overtly state-run media do differently?  Absolutely nothing.  It’s just so revealing that the sole criticism of the Government allowed to be heard is that they haven’t done enough to keep us all in the dark.

Then we have

The New York Times, which was denied access to the documents by WikiLeaks this time but received them from The Guardian.  That paper’s Executive Editor, Bill Keller, appeared in a rather amazing BBC segment yesterday with Carne Ross, former British Ambassador to the U.N., who mocked and derided Keller for being guided by the U.S. Government’s directions on what should and should not be published (video below):

KELLER:  The charge the administration has made is directed at WikiLeaks: they’ve very carefully refrained from criticizing the press for the way we’ve handled this material . . . . We’ve redacted them to remove the names of confidential informants . . . and remove other material at the recommendation of the U.S. Government we were convinced could harm National Security . . .

HOST (incredulously):  Just to be clear, Bill Keller, are you saying that you sort of go to the Government in advance and say:  “What about this, that and the other, is it all right to do this and all right to do that,” and you get clearance, then?

KELLER:  We are serially taking all of the cables we intend to post on our website to the administration, asking for their advice.  We haven’t agreed with everything they suggested to us, but some of their recommendations we have agreed to:  they convinced us that redacting certain information would be wise.

ROSS:  One thing that Bill Keller just said makes me think that one shouldn’t go to

The New York Times for these telegrams — one should go straight to the WikiLeaks site.  It’s extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the U.S. Government, but that says a lot about the politics here, where Left and Right have lined up to attack WikiLeaks – some have called it a “terrorist organization.”

It’s one thing for the Government to shield its conduct from public disclosure, but it’s another thing entirely for the U.S. media to be active participants in that concealment effort.  As

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins put it in a superb column that I can’t recommend highly enough:  “The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment. . . . Clearly, it is for governments, not journalists, to protect public secrets.”  But that’s just it:  the media does exactly what Jenkins says is not their job, which — along with envy over WikiLeaks’ superior access to confidential information — is what accounts for so much media hostility toward that group.  As the headline of John Kampfner’s column in The Independent put it:  “Wikileaks shows up our media for their docility at the feet of authority.”

Most political journalists rely on their relationships with government officials and come to like them and both identify and empathize with them.  By contrast, WikiLeaks is truly adversarial to those powerful factions in exactly the way that these media figures are not:  hence, the widespread media hatred and contempt for what WikiLeaks does.  Just look at how important it was for Bill Keller to emphasize that the Government is criticizing WikiLeaks but not

The New York Times; having the Government pleased with his behavior is his metric for assessing how good his “journalism” is.  If the Government is patting him on the head, then it’s proof that he acted “responsibly.”  That servile-to-power mentality is what gets exposed by the contrast Wikileaks provides.

* * * * *

Then we have the Good Citizens who are furious that WikiLeaks has shown them what their Government is doing and, conversely, prevented the Government from keeping things from them.  Joshua Foust — who says “he’s spent the vast majority of his adult life doing defense and intelligence consulting for the U.S. government” — has a private Twitter feed for various intelligence officials and reporters, behind which he’s been bravely railing against WikiLeaks defenders (including me) and hysterically blaming WikiLeaks disclosures for everything from Chinese cyber warfare to the next terrorist attackPlenty of other people are reciting anti-WikiLeaks condemnations from the same script.

It’s hardly surprising that people like Foust who work for the Government and depend upon staying in its good graces are screeching all sorts of fear-mongering claims (he’s apparently a DIA analyst under contract for Northrop Grumman, though he doesn’t disclose that to his readers).  That’s what the Government, its enablers and royal court hangers-on do:  you wind them up and they insist that any restraints on, or exposure of, the U.S. Government will help the Terrorists get us, and subject us to other scary dangers.  But what’s extraordinary is that these strident claims continue even after the U.S. Government’s prior “blood-on-their-hands” warnings have been exposed as wildly exaggerated.   As the pro-Obama, pro-National Security State

Before setting forth why these WikiLeaks disclosures produce vastly more good than harm, I’ll state several caveats as clearly as I can.  Unlike the prior leaks of war documents, there are reasonable concerns about this latest leak (most particularly that impeding diplomacy makes war more likely).  Like all organizations, WikiLeaks has made mistakes in the past, including its failure to exercise enough care in redacting the names of Afghan informers.  Moreover, some documents are legitimately classified, probably including some among the documents that were just disclosed.

Nonetheless, our government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat.  And few organizations besides WikiLeaks are doing anything to subvert that regime of secrecy, and none is close to its efficacy.  It’s staggering to watch anyone walk around acting as though the real threat is from excessive disclosures when the impenetrable, always-growing Wall of Secrecy is what has enabled virtually every abuse and transgression of the U.S. government over the last two decades at least.

In sum, I seriously question the judgment of anyone who — in the face of the orgies of secrecy the U.S. Government enjoys and, more so, the abuses they have accomplished by operating behind it  — decides that the real threat is WikiLeaks for subverting that ability.  That’s why I said yesterday:  one’s reaction to WikiLeaks is largely shaped by whether or not one, on balance, supports what the U.S. has been covertly doing in the world by virtue of operating in the dark.  I concur wholeheartedly with Digby’s superb commentary on this point yesterday:

My personal feeling is that any allegedly democratic government that is so hubristic that it will lie blatantly to the entire world in order to invade a country it has long wanted to invade probably needs a self-correcting mechanism. There are times when it’s necessary that the powerful be shown that there are checks on its behavior, particularly when the systems normally designed to do that are breaking down. Now is one of those times. . . . .As for the substance of the revelations, I don’t know what the results will be. But in the world of diplomacy, embarrassment is meaningful and I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing for all these people to be embarrassed right now.  Puncturing a certain kind of self-importance — especially national self-importance — may be the most worthwhile thing they do. A little humility is long overdue.

The careerists scattered about the world in America’s intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well. The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America’s unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it.

As Scott Shane, the

New York Times’ national security reporter, puts it: “American taxpayers, American citizens pay for all these diplomatic operations overseas and you know, it is not a bad thing when Americans actually have a better understanding of those negotiations”.  Mr Shane goes on to suggest that “Perhaps if we had had more information on these secret internal deliberations of governments prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we would have had a better understanding of the quality of the evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

I’d say providing that information certainly would have been a socially worthy activity, even if it came as part of a more-or-less indiscriminate dump of illegally obtained documents. I’m glad to see that the quality of discussion over possible US efforts to stymie Iran’s nuclear ambitions has already become more sophisticated and, well, better-informed due to the information provided by WikiLeaks.

If secrecy is necessary for national security and effective diplomacy, it is also inevitable that the prerogative of secrecy will be used to hide the misdeeds of the permanent state and its privileged agents. I suspect that there is no scheme of government oversight that will not eventually come under the indirect control of the generals, spies, and foreign-service officers it is meant to oversee. Organisations such as WikiLeaks, which are philosophically opposed to state secrecy and which operate as much as is possible outside the global nation-state system, may be the best we can hope for in the way of promoting the climate of transparency and accountability necessary for authentically liberal democracy.

The central goal of WikiLeaks is to prevent the world’s most powerful factions — including the sprawling, imperial U.S. Government — from continuing to operate in the dark and without restraints.  Most of the institutions which are supposed to perform that function — beginning with the U.S. Congress and the American media — not only fail to do so, but are active participants in maintaining the veil of secrecy.  WikiLeaks, whatever its flaws, is one of the very few entities shining a vitally needed light on all of this.  It’s hardly surprising, then, that those factions — and their hordes of spokespeople, followers and enablers — see WikiLeaks as a force for evil.  That’s evidence of how much good they are doing.

WikiLeaks says will also expose corporate world

December 2, 2010


LONDON -LONDONWhistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, which is causing an international storm over its release of confidential diplomatic cables, said it would also publish disclosures from the corporate world.

“I believe that in the future we are going to have more material that is pertaining to the corporate community,” WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said late Wednesday.

Shares in Bank of America fell 3 percent Tuesday amid investor fears that the largest U.S. bank by assets might be at the center of WikiLeaks’ next document release.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said his group planned to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year, according to an interview published Monday by Forbes Magazine.

Hrafnsson, speaking at an event in London, confirmed that the website had information about the operations of a U.S. bank, but declined to identify it.

“We usually don’t comment on the projects that are ongoing. We take our time in scrutinizing the material before we release it and that applies to this material as well,” he said.

(Reporting by Tim Castle; editing by David Stamp)

Gold Imports by China Soar Almost Fivefold as Inflation Spurs Investment

December 2, 2010

Bloomberg News

China’s gold imports jumped almost fivefold in the first 10 months from the entire amount shipped in last year as concern about rising inflation increased its appeal as a store of value, said the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

Imports gained to 209 metric tons compared with 45 tons for all of 2009, Shen Xiangrong, chairman of the bourse, told a conference in Shanghai today. China, the world’s largest producer and second-biggest user, doesn’t regularly publish gold-trade figures and rarely comments on its reserves.

Bullion soared 27 percent this year as the dollar dropped on concern that the trillions of dollars governments are pumping into the global economy may debase the value of currencies. China has pledged to use price controls and may raise interest rates a second time this year to slow inflation that has gained to the highest level since 2008.

“The central bank may now be approving all gold import” applications, Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council’s Far East department, said in an interview. “The government hasn’t officially said that China is encouraging private gold investments, but we in the industry suspect it. And you can see the big jump in the delivered gold imports through the exchange has to be approved by them.”

Gold demand in China gained in the first half as government measures to cool the property market and falling equities spurred investment, the gold exchange said July 7. About 70 percent to 80 percent of the imports in the first 10 months were made into mini-gold bars, which Chinese investors like to hold, the exchange’s Shen said.

Inflation Expectations

“Given China is the world’s biggest gold producer, the sharp increase in its imports is a big surprise,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at IDO Securities Co. in Tokyo. “People there need to buy gold to hedge against inflation as the country’s tightening monetary policy drives investors from stocks and properties to gold.”

China’s consumer prices jumped 4.4 percent in October, the fastest pace in two years, and above the government’s full-year target of 3 percent. China’s central bank raised interest rates in October for the first time since 2007 and ordered banks on Nov. 10 and Nov. 19 to hold more money in reserve.

“The expectation for higher inflation has fueled great interest among investors to hold physical gold, which led to higher imports,” the gold exchange’s Shen said. The exchange traded 5,014.5 tons of gold in the first 10 months, up 43 percent from a year ago, Shen said.

Investment Demand

Bullion for immediate delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,392.07 an ounce at 5:36 p.m. in Shanghai after yesterday touching $1,397.50, the highest price since Nov. 12. The metal reached a record $1,424.60 an ounce on Nov. 9 and is set for a 10th annual gain.

China’s investment gold demand may reach 150 tons this year, up from 105 tons last year, the World Gold Council’s Cheng said. That compares with 3 to 4 tons 10 years ago, Cheng said.

“The investment demand we estimate already reached 120 tons in the first three quarters, and it usually spikes in the fourth,” Cheng said. Global investment demand for gold of 1,901 tons last year exceeded jewelry consumption of 1,759 tons for the first time in three decades, according to London-based researcher GFMS Ltd.

China’s gold market may double in the next decade as retail investment and jewelry demand gain, the World Gold Council said Nov. 3. Consumption may climb to 800 tons to 900 tons in the next ten years, said Wang Lixin, the council’s Greater China general manager. China’s jewelry and investment gold demand was 428 tons in 2009, according to the council.

Relaxed Rules

Sales of gold products such as bars by China National Gold Group Corp., owner of the country’s largest deposit of the metal, jumped as much as 40 percent in the first half, Song Quanli, deputy party secretary at the company, said July 7.

China’s central bank in August said that it would let more banks import and export gold and allow overseas companies more access to trading. Gold demand growth in China will likely be supported by rising disposable income levels and the country could surpass India as the world’s biggest bullion consumer, Deutsche Bank AG said Aug. 6.

China’s plans to relax gold-trading rules may boost demand and increase trading volumes on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the bank said. Demand will continue to grow, making China one of the top importers together with India, IDO’s Kikukawa said.

Gold imports this year by India have already exceeded 2009 levels as consumers boost jewelry purchases, the World Gold Council said Nov. 17. Imports totaled 624 tons by the end of the third quarter, compared with 559 tons in all of 2009, according to the council.

Output Grows

China’s gold output may rise to 340 tons this year, from 314 tons last year, solidifying the nation’s position as the world’s largest producer, Zhang Fengkui, section chief of the raw materials department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said on Oct. 16.

The country should raise its gold holdings and its 1,054 tons of reserves are inadequate compared with the 8,133 tons held by the U.S. and 3,408 tons by Germany, Meng Qingfa, a researcher at the China Chamber of International Commerce, said on Oct. 27.

Gold accounts for 1.6 percent of the reserves held by the People’s Bank of China, according to the World Gold Council. The country increased reserves by 454 tons to 1,054 tons since 2003, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said last April.

Feiwen Rong. With assistance from Jae Hur in Tokyo. Editors: Richard Dobson, Jake Lloyd-Smith.

To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Feiwen Rong in Beijing at frong2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

US State Department tells employees not to read WikiLeaks

The US State Department has pushed employees toward “digital diplomacy” with Twitter and iPhone apps, but the department has banned all employees from using WikiLeaks.

December 1, 2010

by Ben Arnoldy

Christian Science Monitor

New Delhi- The US State Department has directed its staff around the world not to surf the WikiLeaks website, according to employees.

The ban is in response to WikiLeaks’ decision to published classified material, including US diplomatic cables. It’s not clear when the policy first began but it joins a similar order by the US Department of Defense put in place since the leaking of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents earlier this year.

Analysts suggest the State Department is temporarily falling back on traditional bureaucratic protocols in the face of a crisis that is emblematic of the shift to an online world. As the dust settles, the WikiLeaks upheaval may push to the fore tensions between new “digital diplomacy” efforts that use Twitter and smart-phone apps, and an older culture of classified cables.

“They need to engage with the broader public, which is empowered with web 2.0, but at the same time keep confidentiality, which is a huge tension that organizations like the State Department have to address,” says Jovan Kurbalija, an expert in diplomacy and information technology based in Geneva.

Tech-savvy State Department?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pushed for more integration of Internet advances in US diplomacy. She supported young, tech-savvy officers who were developing huge Twitter followings.

In East Africa, the State Department supported a competition called “Apps 4 Africa” that challenged software developers to come up with a socially beneficial phone application. The winner was “iCow,” an application that helps farmers track animal breeding cycles.

“That’s at the heart of what this digital diplomacy is,” says Sam DuPont, a policy analyst with NDN, a think-tank in Washington. “Using this incredibly powerful global network to bypass traditional government-to-government, diplomat-to-diplomat relationships and use the technology to reach people you couldn’t reach before.”

The transparency conundrum

But the embrace of modern communications has not necessarily included the underlying philosophy of information openness. Much diplomatic work still depends upon confidential conversations, and the WikiLeaks crisis has, so far, moved the agency toward more information restrictions.

The State Department is undertaking an effort to gain more control over the information flowing in and out of its network. Spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters Tuesday that the State Department has “temporarily severed” the connection between an internal database and another classified network.

“We want to make sure that our documents are adequately protected and that we have the ability to detect if anything like this occurs in the future,” said Mr. Crowley. The agency “has narrowed, for the time being, those who have access to State Department cables across the government.”

Asked about the ban on surfing the WikiLeaks site, another State Department spokesperson said it could not be confirmed at this time.

A matter of principle?

One diplomat says the ban has no impact on the ability to follow what’s going on since the cables can be accessed elsewhere online and read about in news reports. The ban, the diplomat says, is more about standing on principle that the cables should still be treated as classified documents.

“The idea of it being based on principle is strange,” says Mr. DuPont. “We don’t keep things classified [just] on principle.”

Digital diplomacy experts appear nonplussed that the State Department went from iCow to a ban on a website with content that comes from the State Department, and seem to doubt the directive came from its technology squad.

A stated purpose for the Defense Department’s ban, meanwhile, is to keep information properly organized.

“Department of Defense military, civilian, and contractor personnel have been advised that they should not access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information. Doing so could introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks,” writes Dave Thomas, spokesman for the National Defense University, in an e-mail.

As a military institution, the Washington-based university has given the same “guidance” to its students, staff, and faculty.

The ban on downloading, printing, and reposting the cables from WikiLeaks could also be motivated by the potential for website downloads to harbor malicious code, known as malware, used for gaining unauthorized access to a computer.

“There’s always a worry. I guess it’s possible that somebody could put malware there. [But] it’s a safe site to surf to,” says Gadi Evron, a cybersecurity expert.

WikiLeaks, meanwhile, has been hit by suspected cyberattacks known as distributed denial of service attacks that clog up a site’s ability to be accessed.

New WikiLeaks revelations show Ireland blocking U.S. arms to Israel

Cable sent in 2006 indicates that the Irish government has been making it increasingly difficult for American weapons shipments to Israel to pass through its airport.

December 2, 2010

by Barak Ravid


A cable sent in 2006 by the U.S. ambassador to Ireland at the time, James C. Kenny, discloses that the deputy head of mission warned Irish officials that the United States would begin using other European airports. Such a move could cost the Irish economy tens of millions of dollars.

After the Second Lebanon War, the Israel Defense Forces needed to restore its depleted ammunition stocks, but the ambassador’s cable indicates that the Irish government has been making it increasingly difficult for American weapons shipments to Israel to pass through its airport.

The cable, sent from the Dublin embassy in September 2006, says that “although supportive of continued U.S. military transits at Shannon Airport, the Irish Government has informally begun to place constraints on U.S. operations at the facility, mainly in response to public sensitivities over U.S. actions in the Middle East.”

According to the ambassador, “Segments of the Irish public … see the airport as a symbol of Irish complicity in perceived U.S. wrongdoing in the Gulf/Middle East.” He said the Irish government “has recently introduced more cumbersome notification requirements for equipment-related transits in the wake of the Lebanon conflict.”

The ambassador noted that the Irish foreign office protested to him that in February 2006, Apache helicopters were sent to Israel via Ireland without the local authorities being appropriately informed.

The ambassador wrote that senior Irish officials told him informally that if the United States made further mistakes in its conduct at the airport, the matter could become a central issue in Ireland’s 2007 elections.

Russo-German ties worry the West

December 3, 2010
by Marwan Al Kabalan,

Gulf News

The emerging alignment is a security issue as well as an economic concern for the continent and the US

Germany could also provide Russia with badly needed technology and expertise to develop its economy and cease to be mere exporter of primary commodities.Image Credit: DANA A. SHAMS/ Gulf NewsThe steadily improving German-Russian relations are causing panic in Washington and other western capitals. The two countries are Europe’s greatest powers and the convergence of their interests is seemingly posing huge challenge to the US and may even lead to expelling it all together from the European continent.

This increasingly warm Russo-German relationship is partially attributed to the 2008 financial crisis. Indeed, the Germans have been developing economic relations with Russia since the late 1980s — before the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Berlin Wall — but the economic crisis which hit several EU countries, particularly Greece, forced them to reconsider their relationship with Russia.

Since the end of the Second World War, Germany’s foreign policy sought to realise two key objectives: first, maintaining close ties with France — its former historical foe — and subsequently eliminate the threat of war. Germany had fought three wars with France in less than seven decades (the 1870 War, First World War, and Second World War). Its primary goal was hence not fighting another one.

Germany’s second objective was to ensure economic prosperity for its people. Memories of the Great Depression, which led to the rise of militarism and Nazism, made prosperity and economic development Germany’s top priority in the aftermath of the Second World War.

For over half a century, Germany’s twin foreign policy pillars could be achieved through European integration. The 2008 economic crisis has shaken German confidence in the European Union as an instrument of security, stability and prosperity, however.

Indeed, the Germans are not thinking of abandoning European integration, which had given them almost seven decades of peace. They are considering other foreign policy options, nonetheless. Here, better relations with Russia appear of paramount importance.

Russia supplies Germany with nearly 40 per cent of its natural gas needs. Without Russian energy, the German economy could literally collapse. Germany, on the other hand, is Russia’s only hope to realise its long-awaited dream — integration with Europe’s economic and security systems.

Germany could also provide Russia with badly needed technology and expertise to develop its economy and cease to be mere exporter of primary commodities. For over a decade, Germany has been leading European opposition to the US policy of containing Russia. In the April 2009 Nato summit, which was jointly hosted by Germany and France, Berlin lobbied to initiate a new “Strategic Concept” for the military pact that would exclude Russia from being viewed as an enemy.

Furthermore, it blocked Georgia and Ukraine’s application for full membership in the western security organisation.

Germany’s position was appreciated in Moscow since the two former Soviet satellites have been pursuing anti-Russian polices. Germany has also opposed the establishment of a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic by the US. Russia has for long viewed the project as a major national security threat. During the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, Germany vetoed an EU resolution to impose economic sanctions against Moscow.

Germany has been rewarded with billions of dollars worth of contracts. As a result, it is outstripping China as Russia’s largest economic partner. The volume of trade between the two countries has increased by 23 per cent in 2009, reaching $90 billion (Dh330.3 billion). With over 5,000 companies operating in Russia, German investments in the Russian economy exceeded $20 billion this year alone, with Siemens and Daimler being the largest investors. This economic relationship made Germany immune to Russian pressure during the gas crisis of 2008. When Russia stopped supplying Europe with gas over a dispute with Ukraine over gas prices, Germany was unaffected. Unlike the rest of the European countries, which are dependent on Russian energy, Moscow made sure that Germany received its energy needs without interruption.

The emerging German-Russian alignment is a security issue as well as an economic issue. Between 1870 and 1940 there was a three-player game in continental Europe — France, Germany and Russia. The shifting alliances between these three powers had led to war on three major occasions: 1870, 1914 and 1940. For Germany that should remain past tense.

Embracing rather than antagonising Russia has been for a while Germany’s key foreign policy objective. This policy seems to have paid dividends. Russia is cooperating more on the Iran nuclear crisis; it is becoming Nato’s key supply route for the Afghan war theatre and is joining the western alliance in fighting ‘terrorism’. From an American perspective, the fruit of cooperation with Russia are short-term gains. In the long run, a German-Russian alliance constitutes major threat.

Dr Marwan Al Kabalan is the Director of The Damascus Centre for Economic and Political Studies.


Oceans attack: Global flood risks in the 21st century

December 1, 2010
by Olga Sobolevskaya
RIA Novosti

Planet Earth should have been named planet Water. This popular joke among geographers contains more than a grain of truth: the world ocean covers two-thirds of the surface of our planet. Its increasingly erratic behavior is one of the topics being discussed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun (Mexico), which will run from November 29 through December 10. The question at the heart of the discussion sounds like an idea for a disaster film: what cities will be flooded first if the world ocean rises one meter by the end of the 21st century?

The threat of flooding will be the greatest in St. Petersburg, the Yamal Peninsula, Northern Germany, the Netherlands and the deltas of the Nile and Ganges, as well as in the world’s other lowlands, predicts Sergei Dobrolyubov, head of the oceanography chair at the department of geography at Moscow State University. If sea level rises a meter and a half, nearly all of Bangladesh will be flooded, affecting 17 million people according to estimates. Florida and the Maldives are also considered high-risk zones.

A “growing” ocean

According to satellite data and coastal measurements, sea level is rising by 2 to 3 mm per year. There are two reasons for this.

First, continental glaciers are melting. According to Alexander Kislov, head of the meteorology and climatology chair at the department of geography at Moscow State University, mountain ice caps are retreating all over the planet. For example, Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (5895 meters), recently lost its ice cap.

Second, the water in the ocean is expanding due to global warming. We all know from physics classes that heat causes a body to expand.

A one-meter rise in the world ocean by the end of the 21st century may not seem significant at first glance, especially considering that the Caspian Sea has risen by 2.5 meters since 1997. But the change in the Caspian is a local factor.

A rising world ocean, on the other hand, is a global issue affecting many countries.

Killer waves

Over the past 60 years, oceanographers say that storm waves (or “killer waves”) have been getting higher and, consequently, more devastating, especially in the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific. In the past decade alone, tidal waves have grown by 10 to 12 cm. The highest storm wave registered so far was 34 meters. But even a 20-meter killer wave can be extremely dangerous to ships and oilrigs.

The deadliest natural hazards involving the atmosphere and the ocean are tsunamis, typhoons and storm surges.

A 10-meter tsunami is much more dangerous than a 20-meter storm. Tsunamis are longer and move faster. Storm waves hit the coast at separate spots, whereas tsunamis strike the coast as a continuous kilometers-long wall of water. That powerful mass of water can kill people and crush coastal buildings and ships.

In 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean claimed the lives of over 270,000 people. Leading oceanographers are drawing bleak parallels recalling other tsunamis that washed away entire civilizations. A tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption on the Santorini Island is thought to have destroyed the Minoan civilization.

To understand the destructive force of a tropical cyclone, look no further than Hurricane Katrina, which descended on New Orleans in the autumn of 2005. Storm surges in deltas can be equally catastrophic. For example, the surge caused by the 1970 Bhola cyclone killed 300,000 people in Bangladesh.

But storms are becoming more frequent even in the Arctic Ocean as the area that is free of ice continues to increase. According to oceanographers, coastal ice in that region is retreating by 10 to 15 cm per year.

And soon the islands flooded lay…”

St. Petersburg, which has survived 305 incidents involving rises in water level since its founding, is the most waterlogged city in Europe alongside Venice. Alexander Pushkin described St. Petersburg’s worst flood of 1824 in his poem the Bronze Horseman: “…But the wind driving from the bay/ Dammed Neva back, and she receding/ Came up, in wrath and riot speeding/ And soon the islands flooded lay…”

According to Alexander Rybalko, chief researcher at the Sevmorgeo center for maritime geological exploration, even minor floods, when the water level rises by 1.5m or more, erode foundations and flood basements. Nature is on the offensive, and Rybalko believes the city needs facilities that will protect it from even the slightest changes in water level.

Valery Malinin, professor at the Russian State Hydrometeorological University, warns that the St. Petersburg Flood Prevention Complex can itself trigger a storm surge flooding vast areas of St. Petersburg and its suburbs.

This system of dams, which has been under construction since 1979, runs along the Gulf of Finland from Bronka to Sestroretsk through Kotlin Island, where Kronstadt stands. If a storm surge higher than 6 meters occurs “it would not be possible to express the damage in monetary terms,” the professor says.

The revenge of Mother Nature

Oceanographers continue their costly and complicated research using 4,000 solar-powered buoys in the world ocean, satellites and research vessels such as Academician Joffe, Mstislav Keldysh and Academician Sergey Vavilov. And while predictions are not hard facts, continuous monitoring of the world ocean has led researchers to conclude that it is all but impossible to slow the rise of the sea level.

The ocean’s climate system is inertial. Massive carbon dioxide emissions continue to heat up the atmosphere (the average temperature on Earth has risen by 0.76 degree Celsius over the past century). And as temperatures increase, so too will the volume of the water in the ocean and the sea level.

Researchers are unanimous in their conclusion: it’s time for humanity to start adapting to the new realities and build structures to protect itself from the ocean’s next attack.

Conversations with the Crow

When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

Crowley did not listen to them (no one else ever does, either) and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:


Here is the forty-seventh chapter

Conversation No. 47

Date: Wednesday, November 20, 1996

Commenced: 1:50 PM CST

Concluded: 2:22 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Am I being inconvenient?

RTC: No, Gregory. I’ve finished lunch, done a bit with the Switzers, read the papers and the rest of the day is free. How are you doing? Getting ready for Thanksgiving?

GD: Oh yes. I was reading a Sheldon ‘Furry Freaks’ cartoon that showed a bunch of hippies at Thanksgiving. One of them was making a terrible face and he said to the girlfriend, who had obviously cooked the bird, ‘This stuffing is really terrible. What is it?’ And she replied that it came already stuffed from the organic foods shop. It obviously had not been emptied of its innards and I was wondering how much of it they ate.

RTC: Typical long-hair stupidity. I take it your turkey is not from an organic turkey farm?

GD: Free range turkeys? No, they stuff them in little pens, fatten them and then into the eye with the icepick and into the defeathering machine. As Cromwell was supposed to have said about Charles I, ‘Cruel necessity.’ But it tastes fine if you aren’t socially conscious.

RTC: It smacks of the concentration camp soap stories.

GD: And don’t forget the shrunken heads and the lampshades while you’re at it, Robert. We mustn’t be callous and forget the crime of the century. Of course, it’s interesting that the Turkish murders of a million unarmed Armenians some years ago seems to be strangely forgotten.

RTC: Well, the Israelis are friends with Turkey and since they run the media here, they have an understanding about that. There can’t be stories that would eclipse their very own big money maker and which at the same time would offend one of their only allies.

GD: Oh, the bitter realities of realpolitik. You recall talking about the Pedophile Academy you people run?

RTC: I do. You aren’t interested in joining, are you?

GD: No, actually, I lust after sheep. Just think of it as Farrah Fawcett in a fur coat and all will come out in the end.

RTC: A pun is the lowest form of humor, Gregory.

GD: I know and I am so ashamed. but they do look so cute in lacy panties.

RTC: I am certain you’re joking, Gregory. Do you have lamb at Easter?

GD: Sir, think you I am so callous? Months of true love to be followed by sordid death and the roasting pan? Terrible, Robert, terrible. Oh well, I suppose there in our imperial city things are really pure and noble.

RTC: Hardly. You mentioned the kiddie’s club. There’s a lot worse than that in our fair city, believe me.

GD: Oh, I am sure of that. Prominent Evangelical leaders meeting in a basement dungeon while someone like Pat Robertson, dressed in mesh stockings and a feather boa, whipping teen-aged acolytes with a cat of nine tails. I’ve heard Washington is famous for things like that.

RTC: Actually, yes it is. For example, one of the less appetizing aspects of our little Company has been the fairy club.

GD: You mean you hire all those nasty florist types?

RTC: No, I mean we have an entire subsection devoted to the care and feeding of queers. Its under the Science and Technology people and consists of raging homos whose job it is to infiltrate groups of prominent Beltway queers, get the information on them so we can blackmail them into doing what we want. We’ve set up male whorehouses around here, all equipped with special mikes and cameras so we can get the evidence on the creeps and then twist their arms. They staff these places with young military personnel…mostly Marines but quite a few Army people, and naturally sailors. We have a lot of Congressmen in the basket and one hell of a lot of senior military people around to do what we want, not to forget foreign diplomats, important business people and, as you say, some impressive religious leaders. It’s mostly the military that we bag and a large number of the far right and the very fanatical religious types.

GD: That’s not surprising. Most of those people are drawn to strength and a well-muscled Marine with a leather belt is a pretty good illustration of what they consider strength. Far right types like leather boots and domination. I suppose the marks pay for sex?

RTC: Oh, yes, and pay very well. First they pay cash and then they pay later in services. You would be astounded the number of fairies in high places here and most of them are in our little bags. And they do perform for us. A proper vote on yearly cash allotments, no questions asked, shutting off people who don’t like us, promoting or assisting those who are known to be on our good list. We have one Supreme Court justice, at least five appellate court judges, God knows how many senior FBI people, quite a few NSA personnel and, who would be shocked, enough State Department queers to stock a good hotel. I, personally, have nothing to do with this, but my friend Ed is involved in the administration of this and he has mentioned governors, senior senators and so on that he can jerk around at leisure. Of course, we set up the male whorehouses, but never, never have any of our people on the premises. We have surveillance monitors all over the neighborhood and perhaps next door listening to the tapes and turning on the TV cameras but we don’t want one of our straight people bagged if the local cops raid a place. The DC cops are stupid and corrupt beyond belief, but one never knows if they’ll get a wild hair up their ass and pull a raid. If they did, of course, we could quiet it down in the court system here, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. It does pay off, Gregory, and I can assure you that I, personally, have nothing to do with it.

GD: I don’t question that, Robert. Anyone I might know about?

RTC: Oh, God, it would be wonderful if you put all of this into your books, but if you did, don’t talk about it in front or you would have many problems. Faggotry is a fact of life, Gregory, but none of these assholes want to be exposed. Nixon had his times with Bebe Rebozo, too, but of course never in one of our DC peg houses. That never went anywhere, but I know it’s true. There are tapes. We bug all kinds of rendezvous places like certain motels, beach houses and so on. For example, we couldn’t bug Nixon’s place in Florida, but we certainly could bug Rebozo. It’s quite an area of exploitation, Gregory. Once we nailed a very senior Israeli diplomat who liked to be whipped by muscular young blacks and when we wanted some information, Jim just casually showed him some stills from a surveillance tape and you would be amazed how much instant cooperation we got on a certain Arab matter. And speaking of diplomatics, the Saudis are absolutely the worst. They’ll fuck anything in sight if it’s warm, and my, they do have lots of money.

GD: I recall an old Persian poem I once read out loud in Lit class that goes, ’Across the river there is a boy with an ass like a peach, but alas, I cannot swim.’ I had to go home for two days for that but the class had quite a laugh.

RTC: You must indeed have been quite a scholar.

GD: No, I was quite a trouble-maker. One of my teachers once told me, in front of the class, that I was an idiot’s delight. I told her right back that I was pleased to make her so happy. This time, I went on leave for a week.

RTC: Well, she had it coming.

GD: Oh yes, she did. They never liked me in high school, Robert, and the feeling was mutual. Once, I entered a national patriotic essay contest and, by God, I won a big prize. I wrote about the joys of being a patriot and the usual drivel. Anyway, I got the letter at home and I assume the school was told at the same time. Wonderful responses from them. They had planned for a special assembly to honor the gifted one, but no way would they do this for me. Do you know, they actually called me in and suggested, very firmly, that I step aside and let little Robbie the Pig get the prize? This was the son of the local Methodist minister and a real toad. Chubby, whining, self-righteous and a born stool pigeon. Learned the art from dad, no doubt. Anyway, I flatly refused to yield. Then they called my mother and went to work on her. Of course she didn’t need any leaning and for two weeks, I got nothing but stereophonic yammering from both parents. I just wasn’t a good advertisement for the school and a real gentleman would let them have a grand ceremony for Robbie the Pig. I still wouldn’t budge so they sent the award and the check to me at home and I had a hell of a time getting the check away from my father, who tried to keep it. Lovely.

RTC: Not very civilized behavior, Gregory. I think you did the right thing then.

GD: Oh yes, Robert, and I certainly did the right thing about two weeks later.

RTC: I am almost afraid to ask. No more detergent in the school soup pot?

GD: No, this came before that. I felt I had been dishonored, and as Mueller once said to me, I have a fine fourteenth century mind. One cannot permit that sort of thing. My revenge was fairly simple and direct. Of course, no one suspected me, which is a little of a letdown, but the uproar was worth it. In the main hall of the school, right by the front office, was a large, bronze medallion with a depiction of the school symbol on it. It was set into the floor right in front of another bronze piece that listed all the former students of the high school who died in the Second World War. On both sides were flags, and during school hours, two members of the Honor Patrol stood on both sides of the sacred lares and panares to prevent careless or evil students from trampling on the school crest or not saluting, hand on chest, the plaque. My, my, what an inviting and sacred target. I broke into the school one Saturday night, very easy considering the very pickable locks and the better reality that there was no watchman. Now, I suppose, they would have surveillance cameras every ten feet but we were not so advanced then. I got into the chemistry lab, stole two bottles of concentrated nitric acid and a pair of acid-proof lab gloves, went down the hall and poured one bottle all over the floor relic. Much hissing and bubbling and clouds of stinking smoke. The second bottle I uncorked and poured the contents all down the wall piece. Much hissing, smoking and so on. Then, I tossed the bottles into a convenient trash bin and left by the front door. Outside they had the imperial flag pole in the courtyard. Every morning, the royal honor guard attended the morning flag-raising while someone played some raucous piece, off key of course, on a bugle. As a sort of afterthought, I took out my Swiss Army knife and cut the halyards on the pole and pulled down the lines. The pole was about sixty feet tall and set in concrete so replacing the lines would be a major task. My, my, and I felt so good all the way home.

RTC: Your honor had been avenged?

GD: Yes, and the next day, it was even more pleasurable. I had so little to really enjoy in those days, I treasured every moment, believe me. Came into the school and saw no one. Halls empty. For a hopeful moment, I thought that there was no school but it was not to be. Walking around, I came to the main hall which was packed with very emotional fellow students. Weeping girls and outraged boys. I managed to work my up towards the front of the mourners and saw my handiwork, full in the face as it were. It looked like the sacred relics had been made of brown sugar and melted in great gullies. I didn’t obliterate them but you could only see a few letters on the wall plaque and the mess on the floor looked like it had been at the bottom of the sea for a thousand years. Police all over the place, taking pictures, very angry honor students, people in a state of anger and grief. And all over a few crummy pieces of bronze. Oh, yes, and a scene outside where a fat janitor was risking his life on a ladder that kept slipping, to replace the flagpole ropes. They had to get a local fire truck out later on to do the job. Oh, my, and the police, who made Mongoloid idiots look like Harvard graduates, running all over the place with note books, interviewing everyone that would hold still. Massive grief and anger. A special assembly, mandatory attendance, in which the principal and other lesser lights offered a small reward to any snitches listening. You’d have thought someone took the Shroud of Turin and used it for toilet paper. Ah well, these rare and beautiful moments are ones to be treasured.

RTC: Simple but effective, Gregory.

GD: Always smile at a man when you kick him in the balls, Robert. Oh, that thing played out for about a month and then we were all asked to contribute to a replacement venture. When the collection cup came around in my math class, I spit into it. Another moment of perverse happiness. The soaping of the stock pot was a real, transcendent joy for me, but the curtain raiser was almost as much fun. The thought, and the sight, of most of the student body soiling their clothes, and the floors, was good enough to keep me warm for months but the wailing and cursing of my fellow stoats at the scene of the great sacrilege in the upper hall was not to be denigrated.

RTC: Did you ever tell your friend Heinrich Mueller about this?

GD: No. I don’t think he would have approved of it and I admired him. Listen, do you think you might get a list of your limp-wristed victims? Of course, I assure you that I will publish it, know that in front.

RTC: Not while I’m alive, but yes, I think I can accommodate you. Too bad I wouldn’t be around to read about all the suicides or flights from Congress.

(Concluded at 2:22 PM CST)

Dramatis personae:

James Jesus Angleton: Once head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence division, later fired because of his obsessive and illegal behavior, tapping the phones of many important government officials in search of elusive Soviet spies. A good friend of Robert Crowley and a co-conspirator with him in the assassination of President Kennedy

James P. Atwood: (April 16, 1930-April 20, 1997) A CIA employee, located in Berlin, Atwood had a most interesting career. He worked for any other intelligence agency, domestic or foreign, that would pay him, was involved in selling surplus Russian atomic artillery shells to the Pakistan government and was also most successful in the manufacturing of counterfeit German dress daggers. Too talkative, Atwood eventually had a sudden, and fatal, “seizure” while lunching with CIA associates.

William Corson: A Marine Corps Colonel and President Carter’s representative to the CIA. A friend of Crowley and Kimmel, Corson was an intelligent man whose main failing was a frantic desire to be seen as an important person. This led to his making fictional or highly exaggerated claims.

John Costello: A British historian who was popular with revisionist circles. Died of AIDS on a trans-Atlantic flight to the United States.

James Critchfield: Former U.S. Army Colonel who worked for the CIA and organizaed the Cehlen Org. at Pullach, Germany. This organization was filled to the Plimsoll line with former Gestapo and SD personnel, many of whom were wanted for various purported crimes. He hired Heinrich Müller in 1948 and went on to represent the CIA in the Persian Gulf.

Robert T. Crowley: Once the deputy director of Clandestine Operations and head of the group that interacted with corporate America. A former West Point football player who was one of the founders of the original CIA. Crowley was involved at a very high level with many of the machinations of the CIA.

Gregory Douglas: A retired newspaperman, onetime friend of Heinrich Müller and latterly, of Robert Crowley. Inherited stacks of files from the former (along with many interesting works of art acquired during the war and even more papers from Robert Crowley.) Lives comfortably in a nice house overlooking the Mediterranean.

Reinhard Gehlen: A retired German general who had once been in charge of the intelligence for the German high command on Russian military activities. Fired by Hitler for incompetence, he was therefore naturally hired by first, the U.S. Army and then, as his level of incompetence rose, with the CIA. His Nazi-stuffed organizaion eventually became the current German Bundes Nachrichten Dienst.

Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr: A grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel, Naval commander at Pearl Harbor who was scapegoated after the Japanese attack. Kimmel was a senior FBI official who knew both Gregory Douglas and Robert Crowley and made a number of attempts to discourage Crowley from talking with Douglas. He was singularly unsuccessful. Kimmel subsequently retired and lives in retirement in Florida

Willi Krichbaum: A Senior Colonel (Oberführer) in the SS, head of the wartime Secret Field Police of the German Army and Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. After the war, Krichbaum went to work for the Critchfield organization and was their chief recruiter and hired many of his former SS friends. Krichbaum put Critchfield in touch with Müller in 1948.

Heinrich Müller: A former military pilot in the Bavarian Army in WWI, Müller  became a political police officer in Munich and was later made the head of the Secret State Police or Gestapo. After the war, Müller escaped to Switzerland where he worked for Swiss intelligence as a specialist on Communist espionage and was hired by James Critchfield, head of the Gehlen Organization, in 1948. Müller subsequently was moved to Washington where he worked for the CIA until he retired.

Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this. Neither were his employers.

Frank Wisner: A Founding Father of the CIA who promised much to the Hungarian and then failed them. First, a raging lunatic who was removed from Langley, screaming, in a strait jacket and later, blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun.

Robert Wolfe: A retired librarian from the National Archives who worked closely with the CIA on covering up embarrassing historical material in the files of the Archives. A strong supporter of holocaust writers

Register of the Dead in the Bush/Obama war   8


December 1, 2010

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

1st. Lt. Scott F. Milley, 23, of Sudbury, Mass., died Nov. 30 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lt. Col. Gwendolyn A. Locht, 46, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was medically evacuated from Kandahar, Afghanistan, on May 22 for treatment of a non-combat related illness.  She died Nov. 16 in Houston, Texas.  Locht was assigned to the 96th Inpatient Operations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of six soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died Nov. 29, in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an insurgent attacked their unit with small arms fire.

Killed were:

Sgt. 1st Class Barry E. Jarvis, 36, of Tell City, Ind.

Staff Sgt. Curtis A. Oakes, 29, of Athens, Ohio.

Spc. Matthew W. Ramsey, 20, of Quartz Hill, Calif.

Pfc. Jacob A. Gassen, 21, of Beaver Dam, Wis.

Pfc. Austin G. Staggs, 19, of Senoia, Ga.

Pvt. Buddy W. McLain, 24, of Mexico, Maine.

They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

Poll: Growing US Skepticism With Afghan War

Obama’s New 2014 ‘Deadline’ Finds Few Supporters

by Jason Ditz, December 01, 2010


A new poll from USA Today/Gallup is showing a growing disconnect between the Obama Administration’s stated Afghan War policy and popular opinion, as a growing number of Americans see the 2001 invasion as a mistake and a solid majority see the war, nine years later, going poorly.

The poll also showed only 1 in 5 Americans actually agrees with the Obama Administration’s stated 2014 “timetable” for ending the war, a date which his own officials are already downplaying.

Unfortunately it is also showing about an even split among opponents of Obama’s date between those who actually want to end the war sooner and those who want it to continue indefinitely. The split was largely along party lines, with a number of Republicans wanting to keep the war going seemingly for no other reason than to outhawk Obama.

But when President Obama is taken out of the equation, the public seems greatly worried. When the question is just about how the costs will impact the US domestically, over two thirds of voters are very or somewhat worried and only 10 percent are “not at all worried.”

The Economist‘s Democracy in America blog has an equally excellent analysis


New York Times Editorial Page put it today

with great understatement:  “The claim by [] Clinton that the leaks threaten national security seems exaggerated.”

The Wall Street Journal


No responses yet

Leave a Reply