TBR News December 31, 2015

Dec 30 2015

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. December 30, 2015: “I am always entertained by reading, in the American media, that ‘powerful strikes are being carried out in Syria by the US-led coalitiion….” This is nothing but so much nonesense and deliberate hype. The US studiously declined to attack ISIS,but once in a while went after empty buildings and dissident groups their friends in Turkey and Saudi Arabia did not like. The turning tide in Syria is not caused by a US-led  coalition but by a Russian one. The Russians have effectively cut off the flow of looted Syrian oil to Turkey (and the US) and have been attacking rebel groups run by the CIA. Less oil for America and more stars on the wall at Langley! The best place to get real news is on the Internet, not the American media sites.”

The Secret Background of 9/11

by Harry von Johnson, PhD

In this overview treatment of the economic warfare that has had disastrous consequences for the United States, we investigate the Saudi terrorists attacks on American targets of prominence on September 11, 2001.

This report, in all rights, ought to be dedicated to dramatis personae: Karl Rove who conceived it, George W. Bush who approved it and Dick Cheney who implemented it.

The deadly attacks by a team of Saudi terrorists against American targets on September 11, 2001, was in no way a secret venture. Almost from its inception, its progress was known to, and closely followed by, the intelligence agencies of Britain, Russia, Germany and Israel. All of these countries, without exception, duly notified the American authorities about a pending attack, by aircraft, against American targets. The Israeli Foreign Intelligence agency, the Mossad, had actually penetrated the leadership of the group centered in Hollywood, Florida, and made regular reports on the pending attack to their government. The Israeli government, in turn, made full disclosure to the highest level of authority in Washington.

Interestingly enough, the man who formulated the attack, Osama bin Ladin, was a personal friend of the American president, George Bush, and his very wealthy Saudi family had been investors in Bush’s Arbusto Energy Oil Company, founded in 1978.

Another big investor was BCCI (Bank of Credit & Commerce) that later was shut down in July of 1991, charged with multibillion-dollar fraud and which had been heavily involved in drug money laundering, arms brokering, covert intelligence work, bribery of government officials and aid to terrorists.

Several members of the Bush family were heavy investors in the Carlyle Group, a defense contractor and investment fund with numerous interests in the Middle East, run by former Reagan administration Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci. Former President George H. W. Bush attended an investment meeting at the Washington, D.C. Ritz-Carlton hotel on September 10, 2001 and also a meeting with Shafiq bin Laden, representing joint interests of the Saudi Binladin Group and Carlyle.

In addition to the question of American control of oil and natural gas deliveries, there was also an internal political issue. It should be noted that during the previous administration of William Clinton, the American right wing, personified by the Republicans, fought a long, loud and effective public relations battle against what they saw was Clinton’s left wing policies. There was a steady drumfire of attacks, mostly from the far right Evangelicals, about Clinton’s various affairs and also about alleged financial peculations when he was governor of Arkansas.

Always extremely manipulative and often very vicious, the Republican leadership, coupled with outside business interests, manoevered George Bush into the Oval Office by a mixture of bribery, political presssure and deliberate vote fraud in Florida.

When a narrow Supreme Court majority placed Bush into office, Dick Cheney, a fixture of the very far right Republicans, appointed himself to the office of Vice President.

Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney was born in Nebraska in 1941, Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyoming., later attending  Yale University. Cheney dropped out during his sophomore year, and eventually earned a political science degree at the University of Wyoming in 1965.

After winning a postgraduate fellowship that took him to Washington, Cheney was employed by the Nixon administration as a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, who at that time was director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and later White House counsel. 

In August 1974, after President Nixon resigned from office in disgrace , Rumsfeld was called to join the White House staff as an assistant to Ford, and Cheney moved along with Rumsfeld. Hard-working, loyal and good-natured, Cheney made a good impression and became Ford’s chief of staff from 1975 to 1977.

A very strong neo-conservative and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton Company, which greatly benefitted from contracts with the U.S. government, especially in the war with Iraq Cheney has ties to the Carlyle Group, is a former Senior Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute,has served on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and has been linked to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Cheney opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, is an anti-abortion advocate, and supports prayer in school. While serving in Congress, he was one of 21 members opposing the sale ban of armor-piercing bullets; was one of only four to oppose the ban on guns that can get through metal detectors; opposed sanctions against the apartheid-era South Africa in the mid-1980s along with voting against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela; voted for a constitutional amendment to ban school busing; voted against Head Start; and voted against extending the Clean Water Act in 1987.

Cheney was appointed head of Halliburton in 1995. This company was, and still is, the largest worldwide providers of equipment and services to the oil industry, Cheney was appointed to head this company solely because of his previous government employments and the contacts this supplied. During his five years as CEO, Cheney nearly doubled the size of Halliburton’s government contracts, totaling $2.3 billion.

Cheney continued to draw a $1,000,000 per year paycheck from Halliburton while serving as the Vice President.He stated a number of times that he saw no conflict of interest between taking this paycheck, and participating in White House decisions that have allocated billions of dollars of bids to Halliburton that have not gone to open tender.

Since he and Bush occupied the White House, Cheney  managed to accomplish a great deal in the fields of personal enrichment and political gain. As Vice President, Cheney met with the heads of oil, gas, and nuclear power companies, asked for and got their needs and requirements and turned them into a new national Energy Plan. Cheney’s close relations with the later-convicted swindler, Ken Lay of Enron, is a case in point. Given his key role in determining the policy and practice of the Bush administration, an understanding of Cheney’s history is important

While Cheney was running Halliburton, there was a 91% increase in U.S. government contracts with that firm.

In 2000, before assuming office as Vice President, Cheney’s  income from Halliburton was $36,086,635 

American energy companies gave the 2000 Bush/Cheney presidential campaign $1,800,000

He convinced the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. to lend Halliburton and oil companies another $1.5 billion, backed by U.S. taxpayers. Unfortunately some of these loans went to a Russian company with ties to drug dealing and organized crime. Under Cheney’s leadership Halliburton and its subsidiaries supported, or even ordered, human rights violations and broke international laws. Libya engaged a foreign subsidiary of Halliburton company, Brown & Root, to perform millions of dollars worth of work. At the time, Libya was strongly suspected of harboring and encouraging terrorist activity, Brown & Root was subsequently fined $3.8 million for violating Libyan sanctions. (Although Cheney wasn’t leading Halliburton when these sales started, subsidiaries’ sales to Libya continued throughout his tenure.)

Halliburton became the biggest oil contractor for Iraq, selling more than $73 million in goods and services to Saddam Hussein’s regime although there were firm U.S. sanctions on Iraq at the time. , Karl Christian Rove became Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush until his sudden resignation on August 31, 2007. He once headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives..

Rove influenced dealings with Iraq and North Korea, according to Bush administration sources. For instance, when the U.S. was notified, through formal diplomatic channels, that North Korea had nuclear technology, Congress was in the midst of discussing the Iraqi war resolution. Rove counseled the president to keep that information from Congress for 12 days, until the debate was finished, so it would not affect the vote. He was also reported to be present at a war strategy meeting concerning whether to attack Syria after Iraq. Rove said the timing was not right.

Yet. having the political advisor involved in that decision is wrong. It was Rove who kept President Bush relentlessly adherent to his obsessive goal of a permanent Republican-controlled executive, making the argument that America is safe only in their hands – Rove, highly intelligent and extremely arrogant, firmly believed himself an expert in both policy and politics because he could see no distinction between the two.

This matters for a number of reasons. There is always a time during any president’s administration when what is best for the future of the country diverges from what best serves that president’s political future. It was always Rove’s firm intention to push the president in the direction of reelection rather than the country’s best interests.

What Rove always wanted to achieve, was nothing less than a major alignment in US politics, making the Republicans the sole party of government for a generation or more.

In June 2003 powerful far right wing writer, Grover Norquist wrote “In crafting its agenda for economic reform, the Bush administration has the luxury of being able to think and plan over a full eight years…This guarantee of united Republican government has allowed the Bush administration to work and think long-term….Republicans are looking at decades of dominance in the House and Senate and having the Presidency with some regularity.”  According to Norquist “every time the government gets smaller there are fewer Democratic precinct workers in the world…It is a virtuous cycle.”.

Now that we have some background on the players, let us consider the origins of the 9/11 attacks on American targets.

We have taken a brief look at the major players in the game and have taken even a briefer look at some of the attending circumstances behind the Saudi terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Now it is time to outline what lay behind the actual attack. High level people in the government are laboring under the misapprehension that they are speaking over secured telephone lines or email or faxing over other secure services but in the main, they are living in a fool’s paradise.

President Bush did not have very secure lines of communications but neither did Cheney nor Rove. Not only can our very own NSA listen in to conversations held from Cheney’s “Secret Command Post” but so can others, to include the Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies. Our Army has been reading top secret Israeli diplomatic, military and intelligence messages for some time.  And even the PRC and the French are not without success in pulling messages off the air and breaking even the most complicated algorithmic encryption.

It is from these sources that  it has been possible to put together a plot that not even the most creative of the bloggers could possibly have imagined.

It is well known that the far right wing of the Republican Party was determined to get control of the White House just as they then had control of Congress. They were well on their way to stacking the third branch of our government, the judicial. The main architect of this ambitious plan was Karl Rove.

Very intelligent but totally amoral and personally vicious, Rove was a powerful influence over George Bush, converting him to a form of aggressive Evangelical Christianity and getting him elected to the Governorship of Texas. Rove was instrumental in convincing the power elite of the time to support Bush as the Republican candidate for President in 2000 and the manipulations to put the colorless Bush into the Oval Office have been covered extensively in the media and on the Internet.

There were deliberate voter frauds including fixed voting machines, machines made and controlled by a strong Bush supporter. There was obvious and deliberate voter fraud in Florida, a state run by Bush’s brother and Rove had seen to it that there was a bare majority of the Supreme Court to, in effect, job Bush straight into the White House.

Now, the plotters reasoned, they had control of the executive, the legislative and the judicial. There was only one more factor to take into account in the final securing of absolute power and that was the American public.

It was well known that the United States was in growing need of natural gas and, most especially oil. It was also less well known that the once-enormous Saudi fields were running dry and that Iraq had more oil than Saudi Arabia. Also, the Iraqi dictator, Hussein, had physically bombarded Israel during the Gulf War and he was viewed by that country as a great menace. The strong, overly strong many asserted, influence Israel and its organs in the United States had was another factor in the plan.

It was the gradual inclusion of top Israeli political and military leaders in the plan that allowed the Russian GRU to discover it. Rove saw a brief, Bismarckian campaign against Iraq that would gain the United States access to that country’s oil and to establish even stronger ties with Israel and its domestic support of Republican policies.

What was lacking was a casus belli, a cause for war. It was in this area that Bush and Cheney had excellent prospects. Osama bin Ladin was the son of a very powerful Saudi businessman who had the highest-level connections in his country and whose family activities were well known to Cheney because of his tenure as head of Halliburton.

The bin Ladins also had very good connections with George Bush and had invested heavily in his company, Arbusto. Certain favors could then certainly be asked and, if everyone could see profit in them, granted. It is known that the great bulk of the actual 9/11 terrorists were Saudi citizens (1 Egyptian, two UAE, 1 Lebanese and 15 Saudis) and they were ordered  to attack the United States, again (there had been one unsuccessful attack on the WTC on February 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated in the parking garage below the North Tower of the WTC. The 1,500 lb explosive device  was intended to knock the North Tower  into the South Tower , bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people.)

The bomb was badly situated and it only killed six people and injured over a thousand. Herein lay the seed for the Rovian casus belli, only this time, a more spectacular attacks needed to be launched to achieve any hoped for results in both supplying a Pearl Harbor-type excuse for war but also a power tool to be used to frighten the mass of the public into terribled obedience to the wishes of a protecting government.

There were so many contacts with the Saudi elements that no one could possibly keep track of them but it was obvious to most foreign agencies after the attack that its origins were never in doubt. And to further assist the plot, the Israelis were brought into the fold. Their competent foreign intelligence, the Mossad, was already at work undercover in the United States, spying on anti-Israel Moslim activists so it surprised no one when the Mossad, using Yemini Jews, infiltrated the Atta group in Hollywood, Florida. The incident would be executed by people controlled by bin Ladin but supervised by the Mossad.  

But it was all very well and good for a trio of highly-placed plotters to scheme inside a relatively secure White House but as the plans were developed and others brought into the execution of it, the chnce for serious leaks became greater.

Although the government quickly enlisted the aid of a legion of conspiracy people to cloak their actions with absurd rumors and distracting fictions, there were still many who questioned the attacks but as the years have passed, the subject has grown stale and so grown over by a huge jungle of lies, fictions and confusion that like the earlier Kennedy assassination, it will pass into the oblivion of history.

The attacks went off as planned, Bush played the role of savior and in the wake of the attack, fear became the order of the day and fear was constatly being cultivated by the Bush people and harvested at the polls.

But the Rove people failed in two areas and it was a failure that eventualy brought down their plans. The Saudi attack that was aborted in the fields of Pennsylvania was intended to crash into the Capitol building when Congress was in session, causing huge casualties and giving Bush the excuse to govern by decree until some vague future time when new elections to replace the dead or crippled members of that body could be held.

The second area of failure was the refusal of the senior commanders of the Army to become involved in neo-Fascistic roundups of any dissident citizenry or to run any barbed wire detention centers.

By constantly crying about the wolves, the Bush conspirators exceeded their brief and eventually, the public ignored the color coding and the exhortations to use duct tape on windows to prevent radioactive matrial from entering their homes.

In short, the plotters could only go so far without eventually enforcing their wishes and the plot, which killed a huge number of people and bankrupted the country, fell apart.

But fortunately, so also did the far right Republicans and God willing, we shall not see their like again.

US ‘spied on Binyamin Netanyahu during Iran nuclear deal talks’

NSA surveillance of Israeli officials and US congressmen revealed that prime minister and advisers leaked negotiation details, the Wall Street Journal reported

December 30, 2015

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

The US spied on the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, because of concerns he would derail the Iran nuclear deal, according to a new account of surveillance operations.

Despite Barack Obama’s promise to curtail eavesdropping on allies in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations about the scale and scope of US activities, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance included phone conversations between top Israeli officials, US congressmen and American-Jewish groups, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The White House did not confirm or deny the report. Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council, said on Wednesday: “We are not going to comment on any specific alleged intelligence activities. As a general matter, and as we have said previously, we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”

Relations between Obama and Netanyahu have often been described as strained. The NSA reports allowed Obama administration officials to peer inside Israeli efforts to turn Congress against the Iran deal, the Wall Street Journal said.

The surveillance allegedly revealed how Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the US-Iran negotiations, which they learned through Israeli spying operations. Last March, Israel denied reports that its security forces spied on the negotiations between Tehran and major powers over Iran’s nuclear capacities.

Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, was described as coaching unnamed Jewish-American groups on lines of argument to use on Capitol Hill, and Israeli officials were pressuring legislators to oppose the deal, the newspaper said.

The revelations came despite Obama’s promise two years ago to curb spying on US allies following intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of the vast extent of the NSA’s online surveillance.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel had been embarrassed by the revelation that her mobile phone had been monitored and other allies expressed private concerns about the breadth of NSA monitoring.

But, according to the Wall Street Journal, Obama decided there was a “compelling national security purpose” in continuing to monitor some leaders, including Netanyahu and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The US administration decided not to remove or disable the “cyber-implants” it had embedded in foreign communications systems, as they would be hard to replace. Instead, the report said, Obama ordered that some of the hacked systems used by close allies would not be routinely monitored by the NSA, while others would continue to be mined for intelligence.

Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” one unnamed senior US official told the paper, which claimed that one tool was a cyber implant in Israeli networks that gave the NSA access to communications within the Israel prime minister’s office.

In addition, after Israel’s lobbying campaign against the Iran nuclear deal went into full swing on Capitol Hill, administration and intelligence officials realised that the NSA was sweeping up the content of conversations with members of Congress, the newspaper said. One unnamed US official described that realisation as “an ‘oh shit’ moment”.

A 2011 NSA directive said direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress should be destroyed when they are intercepted. But the NSA director can issue a waiver if he determines the communications contain “significant foreign intelligence”, the Journal said.

During Israel’s lobbying campaign in the months before the deal was passed by Congress in September, the NSA removed the names of legislators from intelligence reports and weeded out personal information, the newspaper said.

Price of the National Security Council said on Wednesday: “When it comes to Israel, President Obama has said repeatedly that the US commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct. This message has always been backed by concrete actions that demonstrate the depth of US support for Israel.”

He added: “Our support for Israel was an important element in deterring Iran from ever seeking a nuclear weapon, and remains a critical part of our efforts to push back against Iran’s destabilising actions in the region.”

John Kirby, spokesman for the State Department, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “Without getting into intelligence matters, the president made it clear that we’re not going to collect intelligence on national leaders unless there’s some strong compelling national security case. So I’m not going to talk about the specifics in that article. I’m just not going to address the intelligence aspects here.”

He added: “The secretary [of state] enjoys a very strong relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu and they speak frequently. We don’t always agree, of course, with Israeli leaders about everything that’s going on there or in the region, but he has a very, very healthy relationship with the prime minister and works at that relationship very hard.”

But Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate intelligence committee and Republican presidential candidate, told Fox News: “Obviously people read this report, they have a right to be concerned this morning about it. They have a right to be concerned about the fact that while some leaders around the world are no longer being targeted, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East – Israel – is.”

He continued: “I actually think it might be worse than what some people might think, but this is an issue that we’ll keep a close eye on, and the role that I have in the intelligence committee. But I’m not trying to be evasive, but I want to be very careful in a national broadcast like this how we discuss these sorts of issues.”


Conversations with the Crow

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

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.


Conversation No. 10

Date: Thursday, May 2, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:22 AM CST

GD: Good day to you, Robert. How goes the battle with you?

RTC: I think I’m slowly losing ground, Gregory, but I’m still fighting.

GD: I’ve been  fighting for years so I understand the concept.

RTC: I hear the Germans are not happy over some of your writings. You are disturbing the Jewish community with your allegations that we hired the head of the Gestapo.

GD: Who cares?

RTC: You heard the old saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Well, the Beltway has no fury like a Jew ignored. How dare we hire the head of the Gestapo? How could we do such a thing to them? They are the Chosen of God, after all.

GD: What did God choose them for? To stand in the shower lines in some Polish camp?

RTC: Oh, now, Gregory, show some compassion.

GD: My God, why should any of us care about all of those nonsense stories? Lampshades and cakes of soap, my ass.

RTC: We are all supposed to care about that, Gregory. And if they use it right, they can get discount airline tickets and something off on that new sofa.

GD: Stunning revelations indeed, Robert. Another group of obnoxious nuts.

RTC: Believe me, Gregory, there are far worse.

GD: Who? The Pedophile’s Protective League? The Bellowing Jesus Freaks of Bad Seepage, Ohio?

RTC: There are worse things in this world than the Society of Professional Hebrew Moaners.

GD: The Sackcloth and Ashes League? The Humpback’s Tuesday Afternoon Bridge Club?

RTC: Why don’t you try the Scientologists? Now that group is really something to contemplate.

GD: I’ve read a little about them but not much. Started by some old faker named Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard. I used to be a science fiction nut and I remember reading one of his stories years ago. Awful writing. Sounded like it was written by a ten year old.

RTC: That’s the one. He may have been an awful writer but he was a class A conman. Those people made more Goddam trouble for us. They were running all over the Med in the ‘60s in some rusty tub called the Royal Scotsman. My God, what a ship of fools that was. We were getting requests from DoS and other people to look into them. All over the place, docking here and there, chasing frantic deserters into towns, screaming at people…my God what a circus that one was. And old Hubbard waddling around in some naval uniform, shouting at people one minute and trying to bribe some public official on shore the next.

GD: That I knew nothing about.

RTC: We did, believe me. Hubbard was as crazy as a loon and Washington was afraid he would start a war. You ever read about them?

GD: Just something here and there. Hubbard died, didn’t he?

RTC: Yes, about ten years ago. His people got rid of him because he was getting to be a flaming nut and threatened to fire all of his top people. Since their scam brought in about a million dollars a day, those at the top had no intention of allowing a fat, old psychotic liar push them out.

GD: Was that in the press?

RTC: No. Hubbard was a raging paranoid, among other failings, and was convinced that everyone was out to get him so he went into hiding. That was where he was, out in California, when they gave him the needle. Of course they got the old idiot to sign a will leaving them everything and in with the drugs. As I recall, they cremated him as fast as possible and dumped his ashes into the Pacific off the stern of a sardine boat.

GD: Sic transit Gloria mundi, Robert

RTC: Isn’t that always the truth?

GD: How did they make a million a day? Print it?

RTC: No, Barnum was right, Gregory. There is a sucker born every minute. When I took Jim’s files out of there, I got the Scientology file, too. Three large boxes of files. My son read through some of them and said it sounded like a group therapy session over at St. Elizabeth’s The money? It came from legions and more legions of suckers who flocked to the tin can boys and paid until they were broke.

GD: Tin cans?

RTC: Yes. Hubbard had a very simple device that registered electrical skin responses. Works like the polygraph but has no value. We all have these electrical impulse things and of course the little needle jumps around. They have so called experts called auditors who tell the mark that this is helping to clear up their psyche so they can go out into the real world without a bag over their head. We know, and I am sure you do too, that the world is full of failures and worse. Now, instead of hanging themselves or jumping in front of Amtrak trains, they can grab the tin cans and let someone tell them that being ugly, stupid or a failure is really not their fault. Others are to blame. Of course they will never be free of their loads of guilt until the auditor tells them they are OK and that day never comes. As long as the marks have money, the tin cans are grasped and the wallets slowly empty. When it does, the sucker is tossed out on the street and then, broke, they jump off of railroad bridges and make messes on the tracks.

GD: A million a day?

RTC: Oh yes, at least. Hubbard once said that if a man wanted to be really rich, he should found a religion.

GD: Faking it with tin cans and some worthless meter is not a religion.

RTC: Oh, they turned it into one. They have a lock on a number of frustrated fanatics, fueled by vast sums of money pouring in from the army of suckers.

GD: You mentioned a boat?

RTC: Oh yes, in the 80’s, old Hubbard got it into his head that powerful forces were after him so he bought an old boat, filled it up with nuts and off they went, cruising all over the place and creating diplomatic havoc. Later, he got tired of his admiral’s uniform so he took over some town in Florida and terrorized the normal people before moving on to California, the true home of fruits and nuts. And in the meantime, before Hebe the Yench and the Dwarf Miscarriage terminated him, old Hubbard had his crazy followers break into government building and steal sensitive files. Of course they got caught but Hubbard claimed ignorance. He wasn’t stupid by any means but he had Borderline Personality disorder and couldn’t tell the truth when a lie would suffice.

GD: Who are the Hebe and the Dwarf?

RTC: In house for Heber Jentsch and David Miscavage. The first one is a front and the dwarf is the one who runs the show now that his founder is floating on the surf. Oh, you should read the nonsense….Gregory, do you know what a DC8 is?

GD: Certainly. It’s an older commercial jet.

RTC: Hubbard said, and the ninnies still believe, that certain superior aliens, the father of all of the more enlightened of us, were brought to Earth from Venus millions of years ago on DC8s.

GD: Robert…

RTC(Laughter) No, I’m serious. We don’t need to even discuss this moronic crap but thousands of panting believers accept it as the truth. The problem is, while they have stopped running around in the boat, they now try to take over small towns and are heavy in the electronics business. And of course swindling fools out of Daddy’s trust fund.

GD: You have material on them? RTC: Yes, I do, Gregory.

GD: Any chance I could see it? RTC: Of course, I can dig it out and ship it to you. But a word of caution here, Gregory, never try to use it.

GD: Why not?

RTC: My God, these twits sue everyone in sight for no reason. If you wrote that all up, they would sue you, your dog, your neighbors, your dead grandmother, your school and probably the mailman. The word ‘crazy’ is too mild to use in conjunction here. But, I will send this off to you with my caveat.

GD: You know, my sister’s cat keeps crapping on her bed. Maybe I could stuff it into a tin can and read the meter.

RTC: (Laughter) Be my guest. Why not audit a cat?

GD: I used to think it was books that were audited.

RTC: Gregory, these people can’t read books.

GD: Speaking of books, Bender is going ahead with the Mueller series so I guess Wolfe will hiss at you in the Archives like Loki.

RTC: Bill and I will look forward to the new books, Gregory. And we do need to get together in person sometime, right here. It’s safe enough here.

GD: Should we invite Kimmel?

RTC: Gregory, I have enough problems from the Justice people over you without fanning the flames. I think you love to fan the flames. Have you ever considered a gracious retirement?

GD: That takes money, Robert.

RTC: Yes, that it does. Sell more books.

GD: That’s not my bailiwick. Maybe I could start a religion, Robert. Tell people I came from Venus and if they are good, and give me lots of money, I can elevate them to a huge and invisible flying saucer and take them to Pluto where the men will have huge peckers and the women get to eat a ton of chocolates a day and not gain a pound. And they will all live forever and never worry about falling hair or sagging breasts. Why? Because I will turn them all into little green toads and eventually feed them to the Great God Dagon.

RTC: Well, that way we would get rid of everyone in Los Angeles and Washington.

GD: And our magic spaceship will be a 707 and we can call it the Ship of Fools.

RTC: I will look up those files for you Gregory.

GD: Thanks. It will beat reading the obits in the paper, looking for dead enemies.


(Concluded at 9:22 AM CST)


El Nino weather: Worries grow over humanitarian impact

December 30, 2015

by Matt McGrath


The strongest El Nino weather cycle on record is likely to increase the threat of hunger and disease for millions of people in 2016, aid agencies say.

The weather phenomenon is set to exacerbate droughts in some areas, while increasing flooding in others.

Some of the worst impacts are likely in Africa with food shortages expected to peak in February.

Regions including the Caribbean, Central and South America will also be hit in the next six months.

This periodic weather event, which tends to drive up global temperatures and disturb weather patterns, has helped push 2015 into the record books as the world’s warmest year.

By some measures this has already been the strongest El Nino on record. It depends on exactly how you measure it,” said Dr Nick Klingaman from the University of Reading.

“In a lot of tropical countries we are seeing big reductions in rainfall of the order of 20-30%. Indonesia has experienced a bad drought; the Indian monsoon was about 15% below normal; and the forecasts for Brazil and Australia are for reduced monsoons.”

As both droughts and floods continue, the scale of the potential impacts is worrying aid agencies. Around 31 million people are said to be facing food insecurity across Africa, a significant increase over the last year.

Around a third of these people live in Ethiopia where 10.2 million are projected to require humanitarian assistance in 2016.

What is El Nino?

El Nino is a naturally occurring weather episode that sees the warm waters of the central Pacific expand eastwards towards North and South America.

It was originally recognised by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino translates as Little Boy, or Christ Child.

The phenomenon, which happens every two to seven years, usually peaks late in the calendar year, although the effects can persist well into the following spring and last up to 12 months.

El Nino is part of what is known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle – the opposite phase of the cycle is called La Nina. La Nina is sometimes referred to as the cold phase and El Nino the warm phase

The current El Nino episode is the strongest event since 1998 and is expected to be among the three most powerful ever recorded. According to the WMO, the peak three month average water surface temperatures in tropical Pacific are expected to exceed 2C above normal.

Strongest El Nino since 1950 on the way

The UK’s Department for International Development says (DfID) it is providing emergency support for 2.6 million people and 120,000 malnourished children. It says it will provide 8 million people with food or cash support from January 2016.

“If we fail to act now against this especially powerful El Nino, we will fail vulnerable people across our world,” UK International Development Minister Nick Hurd said in a statement.

“Ensuring security for those affected by El Nino is important to their countries but also in Britain’s national interest. Only by protecting and stabilising vulnerable countries can we ensure people are not forced to leave their homes in search of food or a new livelihood.”

According to the UN, around 60 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of conflict.

Aid agencies like Oxfam are worried that the impacts of the continuing El Nino in 2016 will add to existing stresses such as the wars in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen.

They say that food shortages are likely to peak in Southern Africa in February with Malawi estimating that almost three million people will require humanitarian assistance before March.

Drought and erratic rains have affected two million people across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. More floods are expected in Central America in January.

“Millions of people in places like Ethiopia, Haiti and Papua New Guinea are already feeling the effects of drought and crop failure,” said Jane Cocking, from Oxfam.

“We urgently need to get help to these areas to make sure people have enough food and water.

“We cannot afford to allow other large-scale emergencies to develop elsewhere. If the world waits to respond to emerging crises in southern Africa and Latin America, we will not be able to cope,” she said.

While many parts of the developing world will more directly feel the ongoing impacts of El Nino, the developed world will see impacts on food prices.

“It takes some time for the impacts of El Nino to feed through to social and economic systems,” said Dr Klingaman.

“Historically food prices have gone up by 5%-10% for staples. Crops like coffee and rice and cocoa and sugar tend to be particularly affected.”

The El Nino event is likely to tail off into the spring – but that may not be good news either.

El Ninos are often followed by La Nina events, which can have opposite but similarly harmful effects. Scientists say during an El Nino there is a huge transfer of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. Normally, as in 1997/98, that heat transfer tends to be followed by a cooling of the ocean, a La Nina event,

“It’s possible but far from certain that this time next year we could be talking about the reverse of many of these impacts,” said Dr Klingaman.

“In places where we are seeing droughts from El Nino, we could be seeing flooding from La Nina next year.

“It’s just as disruptive, it’s just the other way round.”


North Atlantic storm pushes Arctic temperatures skywards

A massive North Atlantic storm swirling east of Greenland is sucking unseasonal warm air toward the North Pole. Weather analysts forecast extreme seas and winds around Iceland and more rain for sodden Britain.

Decmber 30,2015


Meteorologists said the storm centered near Iceland on Wednesday was expected to push formerly subtropical Atlantic air toward the North Pole, making the Arctic far warmer than usual winter temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Temperatures at the winter-darkened North Pole Wednesday lay only around freezing point, or 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Norway’s Spitzbergen archipelago, within the Arctic Circle, was experiencing 3 degrees plus.

Iceland’s Meteorological Office forecast temperatures from zero up to five degrees Celsius, combined with extreme winds and high seas.

To the east, a huge high pressure zone sat over Poland and Russia, leaving continental Europe relatively dry but drenched Britain facing more rainfall and high seas on the fringe of “Storm Frank.”

Weather experts said the winter storm was historically unusual because of its very low air pressure coupled with high atmospheric jet streams. Similar temperature anomalies have also developed recently over northern Canada and Siberia.

‘Mind boggling’

On Monday, Washington Post weather expert Jason Samenow had described the impending North Atlantic storm as “mind boggling.”

“The surge of warm air making a beeline towards the North Pole is astonishing,” Samenow wrote.

Environmental blogger Robert Schibbler said the storm system coupled with two other powerful North Atlantic low pressure systems illustrated a “truly extreme” situation.

The anomaly, Schribbler said, “reeks of a human-forced warming of the Earth’s climate.

Samenow added, however, that climate scientists still debated to what extent causal links could be drawn from warming directly to such storms.

El Nino also to blame?

Another NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch said the El Nino weather phenomenon of exceptional sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific was possibly causing spillover effects in the Atlantic and even Europe.

At the Paris UN climate summit in early December, rich and poor nations reached a deal widely seen as the most important climate roadmap since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

It commits signatories to rein in rising levels of exhaust gases, especially carbon dioxide, from burning fossil fuels and foresees investments in new technologies using renewable sources such as solar and wind energy.

Arctic warming at double globe’s pace

In mid-December, the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said atmospheric warming was happening in the Arctic at more than twice the rate compared to anywhere else in the world.

“We know this is due to climate change,” said NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad.

In recent years Arctic Sea ice, which normally reaches its peak coverage in the North Hemisphere’s peak winter month of February, had had its lowest extent since records began in 1979, the NOAA added.

Greenland’s melting ice sheet, a potentially sizeable cause of global sea level rises, lost mass between 2003 and 2010 at twice the rate of the whole 20th century, the journal Nature reported two weeks ago.

Sea ice retreat

Sea ice retreat is seen a major threat to ecological systems, including the dependency of species such as walruses on ice layers for mating and giving birth.

Exceptionally widespread plankton blooms had occurred in Arctic coastal areas, including the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, the NOAA said.

Subarctic fish were on the move northward into Arctic waters, it added, posing risks for smaller Arctic fish from unfamiliar predators but a boon for Greenland fishermen.

In the 1980s, older, thicker ice made up half of the Arctic’s ice sheet. At the close of last winter in March, “first year ice” made up 70 percent of the ice pack.

The warming trend made last month the warmest November in 136 years and marked seven consecutive months of record-breaking temperatures.

ipj/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)


Greek and Turkish jets in dogfight over Aegean

December 29, 2015


Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea on Tuesday after Turkish aircraft violated Greek national air space several times.

A formation of six Turkish jets, flanked by two CN-235 aircraft that were not in formation, violated Greek air space nine times, according to Greek defense officials.

In all cases the Turkish jets were chased off by Greek aircraft. Two of the eight Turkish aircraft were armed.

The violations were the first since early December following a minor diplomatic spat between the two Aegean neighbors after a message on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Twitter account accused Turkish jets of repeated transgressions in the Aegean.


IS ‘has executed over 2000 civilians’

December 29, 2015

Hearald Sun

IS ‘has executed over 2000 civilians’

The Islamic State jihadist group has executed 2001 civilians as well as 420 of its own members in Syria since declaring its caliphate 18 months ago, a monitoring group says.

Among the dead civilians were some 930 members of the Shuaitat tribe who rose up against the jihadist organisation last year after it captured their homeland in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

The jihadist group has executed 420 of its own members, mainly foreign fighters, on charges of spying for foreign countries or because they were trying to escape and return home.

Victims of Islamic State’s executions in Syria also included over 1000 government troops and loyalist militiamen as well as 253 rebel fighters and rival jihadists, the Britain-based Observatory said.

On June 29, 2014, weeks after capturing swathes of neighbouring Iraq in a lightning offensive, the organisation declared its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi caliph and said he was entitled to the allegiance of all Muslims worldwide.

The group has deliberately cultivated a reputation for brutality with graphic videos showing executions of its prisoners, in an apparent effort to gain media attention and deter any opposition to its rule.


The war on Islamic State brings lessons from the past

December 30, 2015

by Derek Monroe


On December 17, 2010, Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after the authorities confiscated his products and beat him. This gave the beginning to what later became the “Arab Spring” and all its subsequent turmoil.

From the US vantage point, the event gave birth to the current set of conflicts in Syria that as a result produced a myriad of Al-Qaeda affiliated organizations, as well as Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL/Daesh). While the beating of children in Daraa in March 2011 by President Assad’s security forces galvanized the waves of protest around Syria, the seeds of the conflict reach far deeper. It was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that destabilized the region and as the 2006 WikiLeaks communication revealed, the US State Department had planned to start regime change in Syria way ahead of Bouazizi’s self-immolation or the protests in Daraa.

As the US media sold the turmoil in Syria in a simplistic narrative of the quest for freedom by its “moderate” fighters, and regardless of the mirage of the Free Syrian Army’s actual ability to pose an existential threat to the Assad regime, the reality turned out to be much darker and more complicated. From a jeans-clad Arab moderate clutching a smartphone to the AK-47 wielding jihadist, the road to freedom took a detour on a highway of preconceived notions and outright propaganda. Currently, the only “success” story of the Arab Spring, Tunisia, is the world’s top exporter of fighters for IS, while the country has experienced bouts of violence that did not exist in the time of dictatorship.

Looking at the root cause of Islamic State, one cannot help but notice the evolution of its messages and metamorphosis into what is one of the most dynamic counter cultural movements since World War 2, albeit a de facto one. It has embraced social media and its theatrical video releases of barbarism have expressions not only in propaganda anthems and documentaries, but in poetry as well. It provides a vision of the caliphate as a non-national entity where anything is possible. Its fighters hail from over 90 countries, and to the small group of Muslims that believe its messaging, it is a harbinger of a new revolution to change the world. In its dynamics of growth and revolution, the original Al-Qaeda is rather similar to the 19th century’s anarchist movement which, through violence and internal struggle, has been incorporated by IS. The latter used its own dreams of the state epitomized in the caliphate and its anachronistic vision of Islamic “lebensraum,” the living space, to take over from Al-Qaeda’s inability to offer a coherent version of the same.

A similar paradigm also existed in anarchist movements’ force incorporated and then domesticated by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917. The anarchist leftovers that didn’t fit into the statist version of Soviet reality were figuratively and literally eliminated up to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, thus putting an end to the utopia of a stateless future. The positive messaging of IS as perceived by many of its young fighters is in turn internalized by their own search for transcendency and the meaning of life. It is basically the same re-write of the National Socialist (Nazi) playbook of creating positive change in the world  by instilling a sense of camaraderie, belonging and common purpose, versus the globalist message of material consumption that is as vacuous as it is ineffective to counter it.

The IS revolutionary vanguard also has a very acute awareness of history, justifying its barbarism as if the struggles of Muslims against the Crusaders of the 12th century happened only yesterday. In their collective mind the current conflict in Syria is just another chapter in the long struggle to create a utopia of the caliphate. The violence, mayhem and outright hatred of non-Muslims has a very Pol Pot-like quality of new society that is as pure in its form as the Aryan world of supremacy created by Hitler’s own delusions of German national grandeur. The inner Muslim cleansing against Shia populations by the Sunni Islamic State is also explained along the lines of self-prescribed puritanism that has as much to do with Saudi-exported Wahhabism as it does with the Iraqi vacuum that was created by the US invasion in 2003. The fuel of ideology continues to power the movement along with money and weapons flowing from fellow travelers and ruthless geopolitical opportunists in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. In a bid to establish its own political real estate, IS has also migrated into the mode of building a caliphate as a pan-national project mirroring earlier attempts at pan-Arabism by Egypt’s President Nasser, 60 years earlier.  It incorporated the idea of fighting injustice in the Palestinian struggle for independence as a common platform for all Arab politics, thus skillfully exploiting the grievances that came to be an integral part of the Arab psyche.

This is an attempt in creation of critical state mass presenting an image of viable theocracy. It is dressed in righteous, galvanizing anger that is able to present a unified front in what it sees as the “anti-imperialist” and religious struggle against the West and Russia. Therefore, the internal Muslim struggle against the Kurds, Shia and Yazidis, among others, is referred to as purification of the realm, not unlike the Nazi cleansing of its own perceived undesirables, i.e. the Jews, communists, gays, gypsies and the handicapped.

Except for the Syrian government and Russia – which both see IS as a mortal threat due to their own experience with Islamist terrorism, and in the case of the latter because of the threat in its own backyard in the Caucasus and central Asia – politicians in the West and the Middle East are not interested in defeating Islamic State. If IS doesn’t seem to represent an existential threat to the former, it does, however, pose it to the latter. Unfortunately, it is the misguided gamble of the West and the neighbors of Iraq and Syria that is fueling the proxy conflict, having their eyes fixed on the region’s resources. The reality of the long term repercussions and associated risks to the lives of the millions caught in the crossfire of geopolitical wishful thinking and jihadism don’t even register in this zero-sum game of ruthless opportunism.

The conflict in Syria is also the first conflict of the 21st century, and climate change has as much to do with it as do politics and ideology. According to Prof. Jay Famiglietti of the University of California-Irvine, the conflict has been aggravated by a severe drought and the failure of the Syrian government to address its effects on agriculture. Many farms folded and hundreds of thousands were forced to move to the cities, thus creating resentment against Assad that exploded into a revolt.

In many ways the issue of water availability has slowly transformed from socio-economic to geopolitical not only in the Middle East. Former President George W. Bush’s purchase of over 300,000 acres in Paraguay during his presidency has a mark of boldness that is unprecedented on the US political scene. The land covers one of the world’s largest aquifer systems, the Guarani, and its purchase is a sign of the private and political control of resources essential to human life, and thus a source of conflicts to come.

In the West, the outcome of political jihad dressed in theatrical elements of horror will continue to politically mobilize public opinion against it. These efforts will curtail civil liberties at home and guarantee profits for the military/financial complex, while the age of economic austerity will continue.  The millions fleeing the region are rendering their own judgments on IS and the war, as well as the state of their own civilization that has failed them. The continuing war in Syria could be a prelude to something bigger, as was the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat itself this time.


Syrian troops backed by Russian jets enters rebel-held southern town: army

December 30, 2015

by Suleiman Al-Khalidi


Beirut-Syrian troops fought their way into a rebel-held town in the southern province of Deraa on Wednesday in an assault which rebels said was supported by the heaviest Russian aerial bombing campaign so far in the south.

Troops were in Sheikh Maskin’s main square and had taken over the eastern and northern neighborhoods of the town which lies on a major supply route from the Syrian capital, Damascus, to the city of Deraa, the army said in a statement.

A rebel source confirmed troops had entered parts of the town and said fierce clashes were raging in the eastern neighborhood known as the Masaken – an area of dozens of apartment buildings that formerly housed top army officers.

A commander in a leading rebel group fighting in the area said the heavy Russian bombing on their posts, where rebels had counted at least 100 raids in the past two days, had been decisive in tipping the balance against the rebels.

“This is the heaviest Russian bombing on the side of the regime in Deraa and without it the army, which faces manpower shortages, would not have made these gains,” said one commander from Jabhat Thuwwar Souria, a group involved in the fighting.

Rebels from an array of groups – some of them backed by Western powers and including the Islamist Muthana group – fought back against the offensive near a former air base north of the town of Sheikh Maskin, insurgents on the ground told Reuters.

The army assault on Sheikh Maskin is part of the government’s first major offensive in southern Syria since Russia joined the fight on Sept. 30 to support its ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Its recapture would consolidate the army’s hold over the heavily fortified region which has formed a southern line of defense protecting Damascus.

Russia, which did not confirm the strikes and has up to now concentrated on the northwest and coastal areas, has said it is primarily targeting hardline Islamic State fighters.

Washington and other regional powers have regularly accused it of striking other anti-Assad rebel groups, seen as more moderate, that some in the West hope will form part of a future settlement of the near five-year war.

The army took the Brigade 82 base from the rebels on Tuesday, lost it as bad weather set in, and took it once more overnight with the support of the air strikes, said rebels.

Syria’s army said it had made advances overnight against insurgents who it said were mainly al Qaeda inspired groups.

Sheikh Maskin, the main goal of the army’s southern campaign, lies on one of the main supply routes from the capital Damascus to the city of Deraa, close to the border with Jordan.

Securing the town would allow the army to press further south in mainly rebel held towns such as Ibtaa, Dael and in Ataman near Deraa city.

Rebels from another mainstream anti-Assad armed opposition alongside some Islamist groups said they shelled army posts in the city of Izraa, a main government held town that has major fortifications and is based to the east of Sheikh Maskin.

Activists and residents say Russian air strikes, in which missiles and bombs are launched from a high altitude, are distinct from Syrian air force strikes which rely more on barrel bombs dropped from helicopters flying at a lesser height.

Rebels still control large parts of the region, that also borders Israel, but have been largely on the defensive since their failed offensive in June to take the government-controlled part of Deraa city.

The south is the last major stronghold of the mainstream, anti-Assad opposition, who have been weakened elsewhere by the expansion of the ultra-hardline Islamic State group in the east and north, and gains by the Nusra Front in the northwest.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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