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TBR News February 22, 2019

Sep 22 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. September 21, 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for September 22: “The current uproar, mostly encouraged by the media, about weather changes, is redolent of big flocks of sheep charging around their pens, bleating and shoving. Small armies of mindless bipedal sheep, carrying the obligatory hand-lettered signs, flock to the steps of Congress, chanting various verses in the weird hope that Congress will change the weather. That global weather is changing is obvious and this change is blamed by the sheepies on human activities. The last such change in the global weather took place when there were no people around burning fossil fuel. Eventually, the warming will cease and bitter cold will follow and ice will follow that. Perhaps Congress can pass laws against this but by that time, Congress will have moved to Florida to keep from being frozen solid in Washington. And the sheepies, the ones not embedded in ice, will have found something else to bleat about.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump is a walking, talking national security liability
  • Trump’s week of dithering over Iran makes America look weak and foolish
  • Saudi waffling
  • Climate Change: Milankovitch Cycles
  • Climate Change: How Do We Know?
  • Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies
  • Why I Decided Not To Delete My Old Internet Posts
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Murder in the East: The German Einsatzkommandos in Action
  • Israel: Wounded Netanyahu in desperate battle for political survival after poll shock
  • Israelis Have Made Their Verdict Clear: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Time Is Up
  • Overpopulation Problems: Rats and Humans

 

 

Trump is a walking, talking national security liability

A toddler leads the most powerful country in the world. And when he fixates on a national security problem, you can be sure it will get worse

September 30, 2019

by Michael H Fuchs

The Guardian

As the Trump administration cycles through officials and policies at a whiplash-inducing speed, the one constant is Donald Trump and his unique talent for exacerbating national security threats.

While the list of this administration’s national security catastrophes is long – from announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement to eroding America’s alliances – the events of recent weeks bring into stark relief the danger of Trump’s national security agenda.

Everyone agrees that China presents serious economic challenges to the US, but Trump has addressed the problem by inflicting economic damage on America instead. Trump launched a trade war that has hurt Americans – one analysis found that the trade war has killed 300,000 US jobs – and is feeding concerns of a global recession, while failing to change China’s behavior. Trump is so mad at his own inability to secure a deal that he frequently tweets out new tariff threats or pauses because he can’t stick with a strategy, a habit which will likely continue – and continue to undermine the American economy – until Trump decides it’s time to declare victory, at which point it won’t matter to him whether anything substantive has been achieved.

Iran posed serious threats already, but Trump found a way to add yet another one by ending the nuclear deal that had verifiably stopped Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. Now, Iran is ramping up its nuclear capabilities, and growing tensions and the recent attack in Saudi Arabia have once again raised the changes of conflict. Trump’s sporadic interest in diplomacy is positive (though when starting from the precipice of war, just about anything else is a positive step), but after withdrawing from the deal and alienating allies in the process, Trump has squandered any credibility or leverage to give diplomacy a chance.

Trump continues to treat one of the world’s most dangerous regimes – that of Vladimir Putin in Russia – as a friend, regularly undermining US interests with Russia, from his recent decision to withhold security assistance from Ukraine, to his refusal to safeguard the 2020 election from foreign interference, to the recent revelation that the CIA extracted an intelligence source from Russia in 2017 because Trump’s cavalier handling of classified secrets put the asset in danger.

Even when Trump’s instincts might seem right – talk to North Korea, get out of Afghanistan – he can’t deliver, and makes perilous situations even more dangerous.

After almost launching an unnecessary war with North Korea, Trump reversed course and sped into a summit with Kim Jong-un instead. Diplomacy is the only way to effectively deal with North Korea, but instead of real diplomacy led by seasoned US diplomats, Trump insists on making his personal relationship the hinge on which this diplomacy depends. And so far, three photo ops with Kim have failed to deliver any meaningful results for America. Meanwhile, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs, and Trump cares so little that he has barely seemed to notice North Korea’s 10 missile tests since May.

On Afghanistan, Trump has continually claimed that he wants to end the war, but increased the US troop presence in Afghanistan instead. And while his team was working on a peace deal with the Taliban – no matter how imperfect, it could be the first step that leads to a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban to end the conflict – Trump found a way to botch whatever small chance he had at success. Regardless of what really transpired behind the scenes of the now-cancelled (and ill-conceived) summit with the Taliban at Camp David, Trump threw the baby out with the bath water by ending the talks altogether. After almost a year of negotiations with the Taliban, Trump threw a tantrum and now says that the talks are “dead”.

Meanwhile, Americans continue to die in Afghanistan.

The reasons for these disastrous policies are manifold. But the thread connecting them all is Trump’s need to filter everything through his own ego. Trump met with Kim because no sitting president had done it before, and now Trump can’t admit that it’s not working. Trump ended the talks with the Taliban because his idea of a summit at Camp David didn’t work out – and so if he couldn’t personally bring peace to Afghanistan, he wasn’t going to let anyone else do it. Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal because it was a crowning achievement of Barack Obama, and Trump’s rise to prominence rested on Trump’s promotion of the fiction that everything Obama did was awful. And on Russia, the Trump campaign’s collusion to win the 2016 election places Trump squarely in Putin’s pocket, and therefore Trump cannot change course.

If all this wasn’t concerning enough, a whistleblower in the intelligence community was reportedly so concerned by a promise Trump made to a foreign leader that it was reported to the intelligence community’s inspector general. Trump literally cannot even be trusted to have a normal conversation with a foreign leader without potentially compromising national security.

John Bolton is gone, and that’s good. And with this president, a simple shift in the wind could trigger yet another course correction on Afghanistan, or North Korea, or anything else. But what doesn’t change any time soon is the toddler who leads the most powerful country in the world. And when he fixates on a national security problem, you can be sure it will get worse, and the American people will pay the costs.

Michael H Fuchs is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs

 

Trump’s week of dithering over Iran makes America look weak and foolish

The president’s misconceived Middle East policy has been laid bare, and few allies will rush to the rescue

September 21, 2019

by Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

They must be laughing their socks off in Tehran. The days following last weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities, blamed by the US on Iran, have seen an almost comical display of indecision, confusion and bluster by the leader of the world’s most powerful country. As a result, Iran looks stronger … and Donald Trump looks like a clown.

If Iranian leaders intended to call Trump’s bluff, they have succeeded – for now at least. The president’s immediate reaction to the attacks was to declare the US “locked and loaded” for retaliatory strikes. Then he remembered he’s opposed to fighting wars in the Middle East and hopes to be re-elected next year.

Trump switched tack, saying the attacks were no big deal, even as global oil prices rocketed, because the US no longer needed Middle East energy. That’s not strictly true. Official figures show the US imported 48 million barrels of oil and petroleum products a month from the Gulf in 2018. Still dodging and weaving, he said what happened next was up to the Saudis – an extraordinary outsourcing of national security policy.

Trump ended the week still trying to have it both ways. He imposed additional sanctions on Iran and ordered a limited number of troops to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for defensive purposes. But he did not rule out talks with Iran’s president at the UN this week – despite the US denial of visas to many of his officials.

It had become painfully clear Trump simply had no idea what to do. With his “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran backfiring and his bellicose threats ringing hollow, he is the emperor with no clothes, the president who speaks loudly and fears to wield the big stick. Trump, plainly, has no strategy, no back-up plan – and no clue.

This White House farce, which included the appointment of uber-hawk Robert O’Brien to replace uber-hawk John Bolton as national security adviser, is of course no laughing matter. Trump could start firing off missiles at any moment. His unpredictability is part of the problem. The Iranians, emboldened, could overplay their hand. Another perceived provocation could jerk the meter back towards war.

Yet this latest phase of the Iran crisis does have an upside. By supplying a much-needed reality check, it has driven home to all concerned the disastrous consequences a new, multi-dimensional Gulf war could have for international security and the global economy. And it has exposed Trump’s failure to think through his bid to force Iran to its political and economic knees.

One such newly illuminated hard truth is the very limited nature of US military options. Military analysts say missile strikes, or a naval blockade of Iranian ports, would invite devastating retaliation. After the Iraq experience, ground troops are out of the question. And attacks on Iranian allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah would risk drawing Israel into an expanding regional conflict. Although it has drawn up a target list, the Pentagon cautioned Trump last week against taking precipitate action.

Another hard truth is that Iran is proving a tougher nut to crack than hawks such as Bolton ever imagined. The oilfield attacks, using drones and cruise missiles, demonstrated considerable military daring and technical expertise. Embarrassingly, they bamboozled the Saudis’ expensive US-supplied Patriot missile defences and early-warning systems.

Abandoning its policy of “strategic patience” after enduring a year of punitive oil and financial sanctions, Iran has shifted to a twin-track strategy, slowly resuming prohibited nuclear activities while disrupting global energy supplies, for example by targeting Gulf tankers. So far, despite all Trump’s ranting, Tehran has paid zero military price. Meanwhile, it has flatly denied responsibility for the Saudi attacks in a formal note sent to Washington.

Diplomatically speaking, too, Iran is ahead. European governments supportive of the nuclear agreement rejected by Trump last year blame aggressive US policy for the current escalation. Britain does not say so in public, but Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, is not so timid. “The deal to stop Iran acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to,” she said last week.

This lack of a united front is damaging, as Trump may belatedly be realising. Inverting “America first” unilateralist rhetoric, he has ordered his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to try to assemble an anti-Iran “international coalition”. Suddenly Trump’s problem was the “world’s problem”. Pompeo is now saying the US seeks a “peaceful resolution” and is stressing non-military means to “mitigate” the crisis.

Like the US plan for joint Gulf naval patrols, the idea of an American-led coalition has few takers – partly because US policy is so obviously wrong-headed. But doubts about Trump’s trustworthiness are also a factor. US claims in 2003 about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be false. Many Europeans will question the credibility of accusations made against Iran by a proven serial liar.

These doubts are shared by Saudi leaders, who reportedly do not wholly trust Trump to back them if war breaks out. Another uncomfortable truth is that Saudi princes and military chiefs, authors of the Yemen catastrophe, appear to be no match for an angry, cornered Iran. For the US, the Saudis are again proving to be problematic and needy partners.

All told, Trump’s misconceived Iran policy has suffered a comprehensive, very public drubbing. So will the US take a deep breath and think again? Perhaps. The harshest reality laid bare by Trump’s week of dither is that the age-old fight between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not necessarily America’s fight – and few Americans believe that murderous Saudi royal despots are worth dying for.

 

Saudi waffling

September 22, 2019

by Christian Jürs

A most interesting report exists from a connection in Saudi Arabia who discusses the relative uselessness of the American Patriot missile defense system against the use of attack drones.

The American system protects on a 120 degree coverage and this has proven to be of little worth.

On the other hand, the Russian S-400 AA system covers 360 degrees. The Americans have forbidden allied countries from purchasing the Russian system and penalize them if they do so.

Turkey is an example of this.

The Saudis have purchased enormous and very expensive defense systems from America and now are, very cautiously, approaching the Russians with the intent of purchasing and installing the superior Russian AA defense system.

They argue that their installations are vital to the economy of Saudi Arabia and it is necessary to defend them.

The recent Abqaiq attack appears to be a warning by Iran and their allies of things to come if Saudi Arabia continues to remain in the American orbit.

A report by Russian Colonel Vladimir Kurchenko on this subject is most illuminating. Russia is developing their own oil programs which include foreign holdings and Saudi Arabia is considered to be a viable subject.

Full, though at the Saudi request, very clandestine cooperation is the Russian goal. (See report by banjadai@hotmail.com ada)

 

Climate Change: Milankovitch Cycles

OSS

What are Milankovitch Cycles? Natural global warming, and cooling, is considered to be initiated by Milankovitch cycles. These orbital and axial variations influence the initiation of climate change in long-term natural cycles of ‘ice ages’ and ‘warm periods’ known as ‘glacial’ and ‘interglacial’ periods. Our current climate forcing shows we are outside of that natural cycle forcing range.

Where are we currently in the natural Milankovitch cycle?

Pre-industrial forcing estimated around 0.0 to -0.1W/m2

The natural cycle that people refer to regarding large scale climate change is the time between ice ages and warm periods. The long cycle time is about 100,000 years. We can spend around 20% of the cycle in an interglacial and around 80% in an ice age, depending on where we are in these cycle influences.

What causes this are the natural cycles that influence earth climate – the Milankovitch Cycles?

The Milankovich cycles are caused by changes in the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis, and the wobble of our axis.  The mass and movement of the other planets in our solar system actually affect the Earth orbit just as our planetary mass similarly affects their orbits.

As the Earth’s orbit changes, so too does the amount of sunlight that falls on different latitudes and in seasons.  The amount of sunlight received in the summer at high northern latitudes appears to be especially important to determining whether the Earth is in an ice age or not. When the northern summer sun is strong, the Earth tends to be in a warm period.  When it is weak we tend to be in an ice age.  As we come out of an ice age, the sea level rises about 400 feet, and we enjoy a warm period ‘like’ the one we are in now. That is the natural cycle, brief warm periods followed by an ice age about every 100 thousand years.

There are three general factors that determine the forcing changes in the Milankovitch cycles.

1.Eccentricity (the elliptical changes in the earths orbit around the sun)

2.Obliquity (the tilt of Earth’s axis toward and away from the sun)

3.Precession (the wobble of Earth’s axis toward and away from the sun)

The two terms you want to be familiar with in the Milankovitch cycles are perihelion and aphelion. These terms pertain to proximity to, and/or climate forcing from solar energy.

Perihelion is when Earth spends more time in close proximity to the sun, or in the case of the tilt and wobble cycles when the northern hemisphere land mass facing the sun is closest to the sun, causing warming.

Aphelion is the opposite, when the Earth spends more time during the year away from the sun, or in the case of the tilt and wobble cycles when the northern hemisphere land mass facing the sun is further from the sun, causing cooling.

The Eccentricity Cycle (Elliptical Cycle)

This is the longer cycle. About every 100k years. When the Earth orbit is elliptical we spend less time close to the sun in the span of a single year. This means we get less solar energy on an annual basis, and tends to cool the Earth.

According to Ralph Keeling, Director of the CO2 program at Scripps Institute of Oceanography: “The ice sheets melt when the ice sheet is exposed to more summer sunlight. This happens when the northern summer aligns with the point of closest approach between the earth and sun. The point of closest approach is known as perihelion. The earth/sun perihelion depends on how elliptical the orbit is. The more elliptical, the closer the approach.”

The Obliquity Cycle (Axial Tilt)

The Axial Tilt, or obliquity, varies to the plane of the Earth’s orbit. This tilt, typically around 23 1/2 degrees can vary between 22 and 24 1/2 degrees. That means it can change up to 2.5 degrees over a period of 41,000 years. Increased obliquity can cause summers to be warmer and winters to be colder.

So when our orbit is elliptical and our northern hemisphere, which is mostly land mass is tilted toward the sun, we can melt our way out of an ice age pretty fast in fact it only takes a few thousand years. As we attain a more circular orbit and the combined effects of the tilt and wobble work together in their natural cycles the Earth has a chance to cool again and we go back into an ice age.

Inversely, decreased obliquity can cause cooler summers that in combination with other factors can help push the climate system into ice ages, when the this cycle is favorable for that condition.

We are currently in a decreasing phase, which under normal circumstances, without the excess GHG’s, would cool the climate system.

The Precession Cycle (Wobble)

Next is precession, or wobble. This cycle occurs every 26,000 years. This gyroscopic wobble of the earths axis is driven by tidal forces which are influenced by our sun and moon. The Earth is actually not perfectly round so the gravitational pull tugs the axis over time creating the wobble cycle. Now there’s a technical term for you.

This wobble can cause a difference in the types of seasons one polar hemisphere will experience over the other. The hemisphere at perihelion (closest to the sun) will enjoy an increase in summer solar radiation but a cooler winter, while the opposite hemisphere will have a warmer winter and a cooler summer.

Currently the southern hemisphere is at perihelion, so they are enjoying warmer summers, but cooler winters, which likely contributes to snowfall in the hemisphere.

 

Climate Change: How Do We Know?

NASA

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling:

Global Temperature Rise

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

Warming Oceans

The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1968

Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent’s ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found.

Shrinking Ice Sheets

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same time period. The rate of Antarctica ice mass loss has tripled in the last decade.

Glacial Retreat

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.

Decreased Snow Cover

Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier

Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier

Sea Level Rise

Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year

Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century.

Declining Arctic Sea Ice

Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades

Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.11

An indicator of changes in the Arctic sea ice minimum over time. Arctic sea ice extent both affects and is affected by global climate change.

An interactive exploration of how global warming is affecting sea ice, glaciers and continental ice sheets worldwide.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth’s polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system.

Extreme Events

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.

The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.12

The official website for NASA’s fleet of Earth science missions that study rainfall and other types precipitation around the globe.

Earth’s water is stored in ice and snow, lakes and rivers, the atmosphere and the oceans. How much do you know about how water is cycled around our planet and the crucial role it plays in our climate?

Ocean Acidification

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.13,14 This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.

 

References

1.IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers

B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,” Nature vol 382, 4 July 1996, 39-46

Gabriele C. Hegerl, “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method,” Journal of Climate, v. 9, October 1996, 2281-2306

  1. Ramaswamy et.al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling,” Science 311 (24 February 2006), 1138-1141

B.D. Santer et.al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes,” Science vol. 301 (25 July 2003), 479-483.

2.In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first predicted that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.

3.National Research Council (NRC), 2006. Surface Temperature Reconstructions For the Last 2,000 Years. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php

4.https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/indicators.php

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

5.https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20170118/

6.Levitus, S.; Antonov, J.; Boyer, T.; Baranova, O.; Garcia, H.; Locarnini, R.; Mishonov, A.; Reagan, J.; Seidov, D.; Yarosh, E.; Zweng, M. (2017). NCEI ocean heat content, temperature anomalies, salinity anomalies, thermosteric sea level anomalies, halosteric sea level anomalies, and total steric sea level anomalies from 1955 to present calculated from in situ oceanographic subsurface profile data (NCEI Accession 0164586). Version 4.4. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. doi:10.7289/V53F4MVP

7.https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7159

8.National Snow and Ice Data Center

World Glacier Monitoring Service

9.National Snow and Ice Data Center

Robinson, D. A., D. K. Hall, and T. L. Mote. 2014. MEaSUREs Northern Hemisphere Terrestrial Snow Cover Extent Daily 25km EASE-Grid 2.0, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: https://doi.org/10.5067/MEASURES/CRYOSPHERE/nsidc-0530.001. [Accessed 9/21/18].

http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/snow_extent.html

Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, Data History Accessed September 21, 2018.

10.R. S. Nerem, B. D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B. D. Hamlington, D. Masters and G. T. Mitchum. Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era. PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717312115

11.https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_ice.html

12.USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, doi: 10.7930/J0J964J6

13.http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F

14.http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

15.C. L. Sabine et.al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2,” Science vol. 305 (16 July 2004), 367-371

16.Copenhagen Diagnosis, p. 36.

 

Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

September 20, 2019

ENM NEWS

The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, newly released documents show

The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends — encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers and even universities.

The demands can scoop up a variety of information, including usernames, locations, IP addresses and records of purchases. They don’t require a judge’s approval and usually come with a gag order, leaving them shrouded in secrecy. Fewer than 20 entities, most of them tech companies, have ever revealed that they’ve received the subpoenas, known as national security letters.

The documents, obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and shared with The New York Times, shed light on the scope of the demands — more than 120 companies and other entities were included in the filing — and raise questions about the effectiveness of a 2015 law that was intended to increase transparency around them.

“This is a pretty potent authority for the government,” said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas who specializes in national security. “The question is: Do we have a right to know when the government is collecting information on us?”

The documents provide information on about 750 of the subpoenas — representing a small but telling fraction of the half-million issued since 2001, when the Patriot Act expanded their powers.

The credit agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion received a large number of the letters in the filing. So did financial institutions like Bank of America, Western Union and even the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. All declined to explain how they handle the letters. An array of other entities received smaller numbers of requests — including Kansas State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, probably because of their role in providing internet service.

Other companies included major cellular providers such as AT&T and Verizon, as well as tech giants like Google and Facebook, which have acknowledged receiving the letters in the past.

Albert Gidari, a lawyer who long represented tech and telecommunications companies and is now the privacy director at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, said Silicon Valley had been associated with the subpoenas because it was more willing than other industries to fight the gag orders. “Telecoms and financial institutions get little attention,” he said, even though the law specifically says they are fair game.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that information on the roughly 750 letters could be disclosed under a 2015 law, the USA Freedom Act, that requires the government to review the secrecy orders “at appropriate intervals.”

The Justice Department’s interpretation of those instructions has left many letters secret indefinitely. Department guidelines say the gag orders must be evaluated three years after an investigation starts and also when an investigation is closed. But  a federal judge noted “several large loopholes,” suggesting that “a large swath” of gag orders might never be reviewed.

According to the new documents, the F.B.I. evaluated 11,874 orders between early 2016, when the rules went into effect, and September 2017, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, requested the information

“We are not sure the F.B.I. is taking its obligations under USA Freedom seriously,” said Andrew Crocker, a lawyer with the foundation. “There still is a huge problem with permanent gag orders.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

National security letters, which the F.B.I. has issued since the 1980s, have long been a point of contention in the debate over privacy and security. Initially, the bureau had to show “specific and articulable facts” indicating that the target was an agent of a foreign power. Now, the F.B.I. must certify that the information is “relevant” to a terrorism, counterintelligence or leak investigation.

“NSLs are an indispensable investigative tool,” the Justice Department argued in the Freedom of Information Act case. The department has said in legal documents that the information gleaned from the letters is important to identifying subjects and their associates, while helping to clear the innocent of suspicion.

According to a 2007 report from the Justice Department inspector general, the F.B.I. didn’t track how often information from the letters was used in criminal proceedings. But the report also said the letters had led to guilty pleas for arms trading, at least one conviction for material support of terrorism, and multiple charges of fraud and money laundering. The tool was also cited in efforts to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Much of the concern about the letters has focused on the gag orders, which accompany nearly every request and prevent the recipient — typically indefinitely — from disclosing even the existence of the letter. The federal government has argued that the secrecy is necessary to avoid alerting targets, giving would-be terrorists clues about how the government conducts its surveillance or hurting diplomatic relations.

After a series of court rulings found that the gag orders violated First Amendment protections, Congress enacted the review requirements.

The documents obtained through the lawsuit include the number of orders reviewed, as well as redacted copies of 751 letters from the F.B.I. informing companies and organizations their gag orders had been lifted. These so-called termination letters do not reveal the contents of the original national security letters, but indicate which entities received them.

Because so few gag orders have been reviewed and rescinded, it isn’t possible to say whether the companies that received the most termination letters also received the most national security letters. But given the overall secrecy around the program, the termination letters offer a rare glimpse into these subpoenas.

Equifax, Experian and AT&T received the most termination letters: more than 50 each. TransUnion, T-Mobile and Verizon each received more than 40. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft got more than 20 apiece. Over 60 companies received just one.

The underlying national security letters were not included in the documents, and it is unclear when most of them were issued and who the individual targets were.

Tech companies have disclosed more information about the letters they received than the major phone providers, which included general information about them in transparency reports.

“We have fought for the right to be transparent about our receipt” of national security letters, Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security, said in a 2016 statement explaining why the company was releasing the subpoenas. “Our goal in doing so is to shed more light on the nature and scope” of the requests, he added.

Other companies have generally remained mum. In response to inquiries, a TransUnion spokesman would say only that the company “has not disclosed the receipt of any national security letters.” An spokesman for Equifax said it was “compliant with the national security letters process.”

Mr. Gidari, the former tech lawyer, attributed some of that lack of reporting to differences in company culture, noting that tech firms were more predisposed to openness, and financial institutions less likely to discuss any outside access to customer data. And most small companies, he said, don’t have the resources to keep long-term track of or challenge the subpoenas.

“That’s the problem with the Freedom Act: It procedurally pretended to solve the problem,” he said. “But the whole structure of this involves presumption in favor of the government for perpetual sealing.”

 

Why I Decided Not To Delete My Old Internet Posts

September 21, 2019

by Edward Snowden

The Intercept

While working for the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden helped build a system to enable the United States government to capture all phone calls, text messages, and emails. Six years ago, he provided documents about this electronic panopticon to journalists, and the shocking revelations that ensued set off massive changes — changes in attitudes and behaviors, in policies and technologies, across private industry and the public sector, in the U.S. and around the world.

Now, in his new memoir “Permanent Record,” Snowden explains how his revolutionary act of whistleblowing came to occur. At its root was a decision dating to Snowden’s earliest contact with the NSA — “the first thing that you might call a principle that occurred to me during this idle but formative time,” as the future government systems engineer puts it in the excerpt below: The determination to live in an honest world, a world where people could show their true faces and own their full history, a world without shame. This was the ideal that guided Snowden into the NSA. And of course it would be the ideal that guided him out, as well.

After my injured legs forced me out of the Army, I still had the urge to serve my country. I would have to serve it through my head and hands — through computing. That, and only that, would be giving my country my best. Though I wasn’t much of a veteran, having passed through the military’s vetting could only help my chances of working at an intelligence agency, which was where my talents would be most in demand and, perhaps, most challenged.

That meant that I needed a security clearance. There are, generally speaking, three levels of security clearance in the American Intelligence Community, or IC: from low to high, confidential, secret, and top secret. The last of these can be further extended with a Sensitive Compartmented Information qualifier, creating the coveted TS/SCI access required by positions with the top-tier agencies — CIA and NSA. The TS/SCI was by far the hardest access to get, but also opened the most doors, and so I went back to Anne Arundel Community College while I searched for jobs that would sponsor my application for the grueling background investigation the clearance required. The approval process for a TS/SCI can take a year or more. All it involves is filling out some paperwork, then sitting around with your feet up and trying not to commit too many crimes while the federal government renders its verdict. The rest, after all, is out of your hands.

On paper, I was a perfect candidate. I was a kid from a service family, nearly every adult member of which had some level of clearance; I’d tried to enlist and fight for my country until an unfortunate accident had laid me low. I had no criminal record, no drug habit. My only financial debt was the student loan for my Microsoft certification, and I hadn’t yet missed a payment.

None of this stopped me, of course, from being nervous.

I drove to and from classes at community college as the National Background Investigations Bureau rummaged through nearly every aspect of my life and interviewed almost everyone I knew: my parents, my extended family, my classmates and friends. They went through my spotty school transcripts and, I’m sure, spoke to a few of my teachers. I got the impression that they even spoke to a guy I’d worked with one summer at a snow cone stand at Six Flags America. The goal of all this background checking was not only to find out what I’d done wrong, but also to find out how I might be compromised or blackmailed. The most important thing to the IC is not that you’re 100 percent perfectly clean, because if that were the case, they wouldn’t hire anybody. Instead, it’s that you’re robotically honest — that there’s no dirty secret out there that you’re hiding that could be used against you, and thus against the agency, by an enemy power.

This, of course, set me thinking — sitting stuck in traffic as all the moments of my life that I regretted went spinning around in a loop inside my head. Nothing I could come up with would have raised even an iota of eyebrow from investigators who are used to finding out that the middle-aged analyst at a think tank likes to wear diapers and get spanked by grandmothers in leather. Still, there was a paranoia that the process created, because you don’t have to be a closet fetishist to have done things that embarrass you and to fear that strangers might misunderstand you if those things were exposed. I mean, I grew up on the Internet, for Christ’s sake. If you haven’t entered something shameful or gross into that search box, then you haven’t been online very long — though I wasn’t worried about the pornography. Everybody looks at porn, and for those of you who are shaking your heads, don’t worry: Your secret is safe with me. My worries were more personal, or felt more personal: the endless conveyor belt of stupid jingoistic things I’d said, and the even stupider misanthropic opinions I’d abandoned, in the process of growing up online. Specifically, I was worried about my chat logs and forum posts, all the supremely moronic commentary that I’d sprayed across a score of gaming and hacker sites. Writing pseudonymously had meant writing freely, but often thoughtlessly. And since a major aspect of early Internet culture was competing with others to say the most inflammatory thing, I’d never hesitate to advocate, say, bombing a country that taxed video games, or corralling people who didn’t like anime into reeducation camps. Nobody on those sites took any of it seriously, least of all mysel

When I went back and reread the posts, I cringed. Half the things I’d said I hadn’t even meant at the time — I’d just wanted attention — but I didn’t fancy my odds of explaining that to a gray-haired man in horn-rimmed glasses peering over a giant folder labeled PERMANENT RECORD. The other half, the things I think I had meant at the time, were even worse, because I wasn’t that kid anymore. I’d grown up. It wasn’t simply that I didn’t recognize the voice as my own — it was that I now actively opposed its overheated, hormonal opinions. I found that I wanted to argue with a ghost. I wanted to fight with that dumb, puerile, and casually cruel self of mine who no longer existed. I couldn’t stand the idea of being haunted by him forever, but I didn’t know the best way how to express my remorse and put some distance between him and me, or whether I should even try to do that. It was heinous, to be so inextricably, technologically bound to a past that I fully regretted but barely remembered.

This might be the most familiar problem of my generation, the first to grow up online. We were able to discover and explore our identities almost totally unsupervised, with hardly a thought spared for the fact that our rash remarks and profane banter were being preserved for perpetuity, and that one day we might be expected to account for them. I’m sure everyone who had an Internet connection before they had a job can sympathize with this — surely everyone has that one post that embarrasses them, or that text or email that could get them fired.

My situation was somewhat different, however, in that most of the message boards of my day would let you delete your old posts. I could put together one tiny little script — not even a real program — and all of my posts would be gone in under an hour. It would’ve been the easiest thing in the world to do. Trust me, I considered it.

But ultimately, I couldn’t. Something kept preventing me. It just felt wrong. To blank my posts from the face of the earth wasn’t illegal, and it wouldn’t even have made me ineligible for a security clearance had anyone found out. But the prospect of doing so bothered me nonetheless. It would’ve only served to reinforce some of the most corrosive precepts of online life: that nobody is ever allowed to make a mistake, and anybody who does make a mistake must answer for it forever. What mattered to me wasn’t so much the integrity of the written record but that of my soul. I didn’t want to live in a world where everyone had to pretend that they were perfect, because that was a world that had no place for me or my friends. To erase those comments would have been to erase who I was, where I was from, and how far I’d come. To deny my younger self would have been to deny my present self’s validity.

I decided to leave the comments up and figure out how to live with them. I even decided that true fidelity to this stance would require me to continue posting. In time, I’d outgrow these new opinions, too, but my initial impulse remains unshakable, if only because it was an important step in my own maturity. We can’t erase the things that shame us, or the ways we’ve shamed ourselves, online. All we can do is control our reactions — whether we let the past oppress us, or accept its lessons, grow, and move on.

This was the first thing that you might call a principle that occurred to me during this idle but formative time, and though it would prove difficult, I’ve tried to live by it.

Believe it or not, the only online traces of my existence whose past iterations have never given me worse than a mild sense of embarrassment were my dating profiles. I suspect this is because I’d had to write them with the expectation that their words truly mattered — since the entire purpose of the enterprise was for somebody in Real Life to actually care about them, and, by extension, about me.

I’d joined a website called HotOrNot.com, which was the most popular of the rating sites of the early 2000s, like RateMyFace and AmIHot. (Their most effective features were combined by a young Mark Zuckerberg into a site called FaceMash, which later became Facebook.) HotOrNot was the most popular of these pre-Facebook rating sites for a simple reason: It was the best of the few that had a dating component.

Basically, how it worked was that users voted on each other’s photos: Hot or Not. An extra function for registered users such as myself was the ability to contact other registered users, if each had rated the other’s photos Hot and clicked “Meet Me.” This banal and crass process is how I met Lindsay Mills, my partner and the love of my life.

Looking at the photos now, I’m amused to find that 19-year-old Lindsay was gawky, awkward, and endearingly shy. To me at the time, though, she was a smoldering blonde, absolutely volcanic. What’s more, the photos themselves were beautiful: They had a serious artistic quality, self-portraits more than selfies. They caught the eye and held it. They played coyly with light and shade. They even had a hint of meta fun: there was one taken inside the photo lab where she worked, and another where she wasn’t even facing the camera.

I rated her Hot, a perfect 10. To my surprise, we matched (she rated me an eight, the angel), and in no time we were chatting. Lindsay was studying fine art photography. She had her own website, where she kept a journal and posted more shots: forests, flowers, abandoned factories, and — my favorite — more of her.

I scoured the Web and used each new fact I found about her to create a fuller picture: the town she was born in (Laurel, Maryland), her school’s name (MICA, the Maryland Institute College of Art). Eventually, I admitted to cyberstalking her. I felt like a creep, but Lindsay cut me off. “I’ve been searching about you, too, mister,” she said, and rattled off a list of facts about me. She’d checked my email address against dozens of sites, figuring out which ones I’d registered on.

I felt like a creep, but Lindsay cut me off. “I’ve been searching about you, too, mister.”

These were among the sweetest words I’d ever heard, yet I was reluctant to see her in person. We scheduled a date, and as the days ticked down my nervousness grew. It’s a scary proposition, to take an online relationship offline. It would be scary even in a world without ax murderers and scammers. In my experience, the more you’ve communicated with someone online, the more disappointed you’ll be by meeting them in person. Things that are the easiest to say on-screen become the most difficult to say face-to-face. Distance favors intimacy: No one talks more openly than when they’re alone in a room, chatting with an unseen someone alone in a different room. Meet that person, however, and you lose your latitude. Your talk becomes safer and tamer, a common conversation on neutral ground.

Online, Lindsay and I had become total confidants, and I was afraid of losing our connection in person. In other words, I was afraid of being rejected.

I shouldn’t have been.

Lindsay — who’d insisted on driving — told me that she’d pick me up at my mother’s condo. The appointed hour found me standing outside in the twilight cold, guiding her by phone through the similarly named, identical-looking streets of my mother’s development. I was keeping an eye out for a gold ’98 Chevy Cavalier, when suddenly I was blinded, struck in the face by a beam of light from the curb. Lindsay was flashing her brights at me across the snow.

“Buckle up.” Those were the first words that Lindsay said to me in person, as I got into her car. Then she said, “What’s the plan?”

It’s then that I realized that despite all the thinking I had been doing about her, I’d done no thinking whatsoever about our destination.

If I’d been in this situation with any other woman, I’d have improvised, covering for myself. But with Lindsay, it was different. With Lindsay, it didn’t matter. She drove us down her favorite road — she had a favorite road — and we talked until we ran out of miles on Guilford and ended up in the parking lot of the Laurel Mall. We just sat in her car and talked.

It was perfection. Talking face-to-face turned out to be just an extension of all our phone calls, emails, and chats. Our first date was a continuation of our first contact online and the start of a conversation that will last as long as we will. We talked about our families, or what was left of them. Lindsay’s parents were also divorced: Her mother and father lived 20 minutes apart, and as a kid Lindsay had been shuttled back and forth between them. She’d lived out of a bag. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays she slept in her room at her mother’s house. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays she slept in her room at her father’s house. Sundays were the dramatic day, because she had to choose.

She told me how bad my taste was and criticized my date apparel: a button-down shirt decorated with metallic flames over a wifebeater and jeans (I’m sorry). She told me about the two other guys she was dating, whom she’d already mentioned online, and Machiavelli would’ve blushed at the ways in which I set about undermining them (I’m not sorry). I told her everything, too, including the fact that I wouldn’t be able to talk to her about my work — the work I hadn’t even started. This was ludicrously pretentious, which she made obvious to me by nodding gravely.

I told her I was worried about the upcoming polygraph required for my clearance, and she offered to practice with me — a goofy kind of foreplay. The philosophy she lived by was the perfect training: Say what you want, say who you are, never be ashamed. If they reject you, it’s their problem. I’d never been so comfortable around someone, and I’d never been so willing to be called out for my faults. I even let her take my photo.

I had her voice in my head on my drive to the NSA’s oddly named Friendship Annex complex for the final interview for my security clearance. I found myself in a windowless room, bound like a hostage to a cheap office chair. Around my chest and stomach were pneumographic tubes that measured my breathing. Finger cuffs on my fingertips measured my electrodermal activity, a blood pressure cuff around my arm measured my heart rate, and a sensor pad on the chair detected my every fidget and shift. All of these devices — wrapped, clamped, cuffed, and belted tightly around me — were connected to the large black polygraph machine placed on the table in front of me.

Behind the table, in a nicer chair, sat the polygrapher. She reminded me of a teacher I once had — and I spent much of the test trying to remember the teacher’s name, or trying not to. She, the polygrapher, began asking questions. The first ones were no-brainers: Was my name Edward Snowden? Was 6/21/83 my date of birth? Then: Had I ever committed a serious crime? Had I ever had a problem with gambling? Had I ever had a problem with alcohol or taken illegal drugs? Had I ever been an agent of a foreign power? Had I ever advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government? The only admissible answers were binary: “Yes” and “No.” I answered “No” a lot, and, before I knew it, the test was over.

I’d passed with flying colors.

As required, I had to answer the series of questions three times in total, and all three times I passed, which meant that not only had I qualified for the TS/SCI, I’d also cleared the “full scope polygraph” — the highest clearance in the land.

I had a girlfriend I loved, and I was on top of the world.

I was 22 years old.

Excerpted from PERMANENT RECORD by Edward Snowden, published by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company. Copyright ©2019 by Edward Snowden.  All rights reserved.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

September 22, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conversation No. 120

Date: Saturday, December 20, 1997

Commenced: 10:29 AM CST

Concluded: 10:50 AM CST

GD: Good morning, Robert.

RTC: And to you.  Getting ready for Christmas?

GD: Just another day, Robert. Christmas used to be something I looked forward to and enjoyed but like childhood, those days have long passed. Another day. My one son is not interested in giving but he loves to get. The true Christmas season. By the way, did you know what the Jewish Santa said to the children at the local mall?

RTC: A Jewish Santa?

GD: Anything for money, Robert, anything. He said, ‘Ho, ho, ho children. Want to buy some toys?’

RTC: (Laughter) Not tolerant. A pedophilic Santa would say, ‘Come and sit on Santa’s lap.’

GD: (Laughter) Kill them all, Robert and let God punish the bad ones by making them listen to Wayne Newton records for all eternity. I wonder when we will have a new war? These seem to come in cycles, don’t they? If the politicians had to put on oversized uniforms and get shot at, we would have eternal peace, wouldn’t we?

RTC: No doubt about that. The Vietnam war was a disaster.

GD: Oh yes, a real disaster. The public was getting worked up and we started on the first steps of revolution here. You know that.

RTC: Probably so. Johnson was lousy.

GD: So was MacNamera and all the rest of them.

RTC: We were only there to appease the French.

GD: Yes, and your people killed Diem and made things worse. But I did my bit.

RTC: You were in then?

GD: You might say so, Robert. I did my bit. No I was not in military service but I did terrible damage to it.

RTC: How so?

GD: I ran a group that smuggled young Americans into Canada and security from the draft.

RTC: How many?

GD: Me personally? A little over three thousand.

RTC: My God, how ever did you do it?

GD: I organized some of the more competent ones into small cells and used the services of a commercial truck company to smuggle them into Canada, mostly Vancouver. And to make a bit of money for the cause, we smuggled immigrant Chinese workers back into the States from Canada to labor in the sweatshops of Chinatown in Frisco. Fifteen hundred a head coming back balanced nothing charged for going up.

RTC: Surely the Bureau must have gotten wind of all this movement.

GD: Of course they did. You see, I worked for a fancy hotel in Santa Monica and always dressed very well. One day, an FBI team hidden in the usual television repair truck, saw me chatting with a know trouble-maker down on the beach and the next day, two of them came into the hotel to visit me. Polite enough. Showed me a picture of this fellow with a ratty beard and I at once said I had met him in Venice. That’s how it got started. I looked respectable and even acted respectable so they asked me to spy for them. They were more than considerate and the money was good. They were looking for someone known as ‘The Doctor’ who was smuggling live bait out of the country. I could have made their day by telling them that I was the Doctor but why upset people unnecessarily? In essence, they were paying me to find myself. Because I am not schizophrenic, I never met myself but I was well-paid for my efforts. Actually this was a wonderful cover for my activities because now I could mingle with civil resistance people without fear of detection. They were so happy with my reports, Robert. Clandestine meetings in distant parking lots and envelopes stuffed full of money vanishing into my pocket. And I got rid of rivals and if I spotted a stool pigeon, I got them onto the official shit list. Actually, it was an interesting and rewarding time in my life.

RTC: It was in Vancouver where you did the funny money caper, wasn’t it?

GD: Of course it was. They evicted me when I went there after the Vietham war was over and they threw me out of the country and stole my money. I only went to get it back.

RTC: Kimmel was telling me about this in horror. You cost them millions, didn’t you?

GD: Yes, but I got my money back, every cent of it.

RTC: How much?

GD: Four dollars and ten cents, Robert. Yes, I have two Canadian two dollar bills and a dime in a shadow box over my desk even as I am speaking to you. I told Tom about this and he had a fit.

RTC: I would imagine. He did not think that was amusing.

GD: No, but I did and after all, that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

RTC: In the end, I suppose so. I read a report on your activities once. Corson gave it to me. Actually we both thought it was highly entertaining. Are you really a doctor of something?

GD: No, I lie sometimes. But they lie all the time.

RTC: I won’t ask you who you are talking about.

GD: I could go on for hours.

RTC: Jesus, over three thousand? I heard about this doctor person once as I recall but I have forgotten most of it. Well, now I can say I know a famous outlaw.

GD: I’ll accept that, Robert, in the Christmas spirit of kind giving. Oh and taking as well. You can’t do one without the other. After all, our loss was Canada’s gain. When Carter pardoned all of the escapees, most of them stayed in Canada. Doesn’t speak well of the atmosphere here, does it?

RTC: I suppose not. Having a tree this year?

GD: No, I am not. And I am not buying any toys from the Jewish Santa either. I don’t fancy reindeer shit on my roof.

 

(Concluded at 10:50 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Hal Puthoff

Harold Puthoff is an engineer and parapsychologist and one of the true legends of pseudoscience. In the 1970s and 1980s Puthoff directed a CIA/DIA-funded program at SRI International tasked with investigating paranormal abilities, collaborating with Russell Targ in a study of the purported psychic abilities of Uri Geller, Ingo Swann, Pat Price, Joseph McMoneagle and others, as part of the Stargate Project. Both Puthoff and Targ became convinced that Geller and Swann had genuine psychic powers, which doesn’t exactly speak too well of their methods or critical thinking abilities. Some of their “research” was summed up in the book Mind at Large: Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Symposia on the Nature of Extrasensory Perception(Puthoff, Targ and Charles Tart.)

When psychologists attempted to replicate Targ and Puthoff’s remote viewing experiments (they seem to have invented the term by the way, which is really just a fancy name for “clairvoyance” or “telepathy”), they were unsurprisingly unable to do so. Accordingly, they investigated the procedure of the original experiments to see whether they could explain the discrepancy, and thus discovered that the notes given to the judges in Targ and Puthoff’s experiments contained clues as to which order they were carried out, such as referring to yesterday’s two targets, or they had the date of the session written at the top of the page. They concluded that these clues were the reason for the experiment’s high hit rate (this was not the only problem with the “research”). One may wonder why Puthoff and Targ put the clues in there, but you probably shouldn’t. In fact, the investigators (Marks and Kammann) were initially able only to investigate the few actual transcripts Targ and Puthoff had actually published; to find out whether the unpublished transcripts contained cues, Marks and Kammann wrote to Targ and Puthoff requesting copies, which Targ and Puthoff refused to supply – which is pretty unusual in scientific contexts. Marks and Kammann were nevertheless able to obtain copies from the judge who used them, and guess what? The transcripts of course contained a wealth of cues. In other words, if Targ and Puthoff weren’t frauds, they must have been extraordinarily delusional, possibly even by pseudoscientist standards. Subsequent tests of their hypotheses were negative; moreover, students have easily been able to obtain Targ and Puthoff’s desired results based on the clues left in the transcripts alone. Though bunk, Puthoff and Targ’s experiments are still harvesting press coverage from the credulous (or spineless).

In 1985, Puthoff founded the for-profit company EarthTech International and a purportedly scientific research organization, Institute for Advanced Studies, where he is Director. Puthoff and EarthTech were granted a US Patent in 1998 after five years delay, due to controversy over their claim that information could be transmitted over a distance using a modulated potential with no electric or magnetic field components. The case is still used for educational purposes in patent law to illustrate that even for a valid patent “even a competent examiner may fail to distinguish innovation from pseudoscience.”

In particular, Puthoff is famous for his promotion of zero-point energy (ZPE); indeed, he is probably the main promoter of the idea. And it is pseudoscience, of course. Puthoff’s work on ZPE lacked transparency and scientific backing, and as such bore a striking resemblance to his psi work.

It is worth mentioning that already in the 1960s, while a devout top-level scientologist, Puthoff wrote, in a scientology publication, that he had achieved “remote viewing” abilities during his ascension through scientology ranks, and that scientology had given him “a feeling of absolute fearlessness.” (He later severed all connections with scientology.)

Diagnosis: Though it is hard to believe, Puthoff seems to be a true believer, which makes his systematic and striking failures to make his experiments methodologically sound all the more interesting. Probably harmless by now, but his legacy continues to sillify the Internet.

Matt Pruitt

That there is a “Bigfoot Field Researchers’ Organization” isn’t really that surprising (director: one Matt Moneymaker, no less). That they don’t find anything isn’t particularly surprising either. In fact, it is even unclear whether “loon” is a fitting epithet for all of their members. Matt Pruitt, for instance, is a name we encountered through reports from his 2012 venture to find the Boggy Creek Monster, a Bigfoot relative, in Arkansas. Pruitt’s adventure involved a 31-squatcher strong expedition that was thwarted by a park ranger when it turned out that Pruitt had forgotten to apply for a park pass. Pruitt was given a $524 ticket. But then, the squatchers had paid him between $300 and $500 apiece for the privilege of having Pruitt lead them, so you should probably not feel sorry for him.

Apparently he also runs a blog, and is a frequent interviewee for various cryptozoology outlets. He is also a “member of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy (NAWAC).”

Diagnosis: Very possibly not a loon at all. He still deserves a mention, though.

 Alan Pressman

We initially encountered Alan Pressman as a member of the board of directors of Purity Products (Jahn Levin’s group), a manufacturer and online pusher of homeopathic remedies and, in particular, dietary supplements and vitamin supplements (pseudovitamins, mostly) with a mission “to help you experience dynamic, vibrant health,” which sounds like an interesting health goal (would you really like your health to be “dynamic”?). We don’t know if he’s still affiliated with that group, but the association should give you an idea about where he is coming from. Pressman (a “DC, CNS, DAC, BN” – ah, alphabet soup) is a chiropractor and author of numerous books on nutrition, who currently runs the radio show Healthline, which is – to put it diplomatically – not a place to get your health information (unless your goal is to make your health “dynamic”, that is), as well as InVite Health (a telling name), a “unique health and wellness brand that combines innovative products, nutritional education, and a luxury retail store experience”. At least that last bit suggests that he isn’t even trying to hide what kind of venture we’re talking about. (Yes, InVite is a standard online supplement pusher.) Pressman himself has also served as Chairman of the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Professor of Nutrition Research at New York Chiropractic College, as well as Associate Professor of Bio-Nutrition at the University of Bridgeport, a naturopathic college.

According to the website, InVite’s products are developed by “healthcare experts who understand both the science behind vitamins and supplements,” but looking at their list of nutritionists and consultants, you’ll find precisely what you’d expect: a number of naturopaths, people affiliated with the Bridgeport institution. and holistic health coaches. The “science behind vitamins and supplements” is, of course, pretty clear; the InVite people don’t mean thatscience, though.

But let’s just list some of those consultants for future reference, shall we? (Many of the names are followed by mysterious acronyms and information about certifications/association with organizations that receive sometimes less than 10 results on Google). They include:

–      Amanda Williams, who holds a doctorate in medicine from Xavier University in Aruba. That institution is described here. But rest assured: Williams “has successfully completed training as an instructor in Diabetes Self-Management through Stanford University” and “continues to obtain medical education credits through the American Academy of Anti-Aging”. It’s actually interesting that they offer this information on their website for everyone to see.

–      Claudia Guy, an ND.

–      Wilfredo Hernandez, who has a degree from the University of Bridgeport, and a FirstLine Therapy® Certification from Metagenics  – detox nonsense.

–      Kayanne McDermott, another ND and Bridgeport graduate.

–      Claire Arcidiacono, yet another ND, Bridgeport graduate, and an InVite Director of Nutrition. Dangerous.

–      Allie Might, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who is “passionate about cleansing and detoxification”, which is, needless to say, not a particularly laudatory or attractive character trait.

–      Archana Gogna, a part-time instructor (focusing on “inflammation and which foods and supplements have the ability to naturally combat it,” which should be a one-word, two-letter class) at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, an almost legendarily insane black hole of quackery.

–      Kristina Smyth, who has “a Health Coach Certification from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition,” which is not something to be proud of. Neither is “member of National Association of Nutrition Practitioners” (any crackpot can be), whereas “member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners” (no drugs, plenty of supplements – the difference being that the latter are not FDA regulated) is downright frightening.

–      Nur Abulhasan, who “holds certifications in Integrative Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and has been actively serving as a Holistic Health Coach,”

–      Asha Mattai, “an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach” who “graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition”.

Diagnosis: They should be ashamed of themselves. They really should. They aren’t. Dangerous.

 

Murder in the East: The German Einsatzkommandos in Action

The Babi Yar and other exterminations

by Ernst Gauss, PhD

The term “revisionist” is generally used to denote the activities of individuals who have a different views of an historical event from generally accepted views.

In the present case, we refer to those students of history who view the social activities of the Third Reich in a radically different way than other students of history. They view the reporting of harassment, imprisonment and murder by the government of the Third Reich of Jews to be incorrect.

They maintain that the existance of gas chambers used to kill prisoners or police actions in occupied countries to slaughter Jewish inhabitants as pure fiction. That an impressive mass of evidence rules against them does not matter and in their tight, bizarre world, their views are the correct ones.

As an example, we have their reporting of the infamous ‘Babi Yar’ massacre by German SS police units of over thirty three thousand Jews from Kiev by the revisionists. They claim that this is pure propaganda put out by Jewish groups and the incident, and other similar ones, never happened.

Unfortunaely for this concept, their hopes, and often fanatically expressed views, are offset by the existance of genuine period German SS records that clearly prove that hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and, sad to relate, many childen, were deliberately murdered by members of the so-called SS Einsatzgruppen in Poland, the Baltic states and the parts of Russia that were occupied by German troops.

That the revisionists are well aware of these documents,and their content, now in the U.S. National Archives, is well known but as these contradict their political beliefs,in point of fact, they are never mentioned.

Here, they are.

_______________________________________________________________

 

“But as it has been irrefutably proven by now that the alleged massacre of Babi Yar is an atrocity lie of no substance, this admittedly throws the authenticity or at least the reliability of the entire IMT document series ‘USSR Event Reports’ and all other documents into doubt, and hence the entire Special Units mass murder per se.”

Rudolf, Germar: Holocaust Victims: A Statistical Analysis. W. Benz and W. N. Sanning – A Comparison, Disesecting the Holocaust, Theses & Dissertations Press, Capshaw (AL) 2000, pp. 183-216 (Note.Thesis & Dissertations Press was owned by Rudolf at the time of publication.)

Germar Rudolf

Germar Rudolf, also known as Germar Scheerer, was born 29 October 1964.

In 1995, Rudolf was sentenced to 14 months in prison for “inciting racial hatred” by the district court of Stuttgart because of the “Rudolf Report”, as Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany. Rudolf avoided prison by fleeing to Spain, England, and finally to the United States. His first marriage was to a German national with whom he had two children, and they settled at Hastings in England, until he and his wife divorced and she returned to Germany with their children.

All the while, criminal investigations continued in Germany. In August 2004, the district court of Mannheim distrained a bank account in an attempt to confiscate 55% of Rudolf’s business turnover from the years 2001-2004, some €214,000, but at that time the account contained only some €5,000. Rudolf and his associates had earned this money by selling Holocaust denial publications which are banned in Germany, but Rudolf’s business was in the UK and the US.

On September 11, 2004, Rudolf married a US citizen and settled in Chicago, and they later had a child. He applied for political asylum, or at least for the right not to be expelled, but this was turned down in November 2004 on the basis that the application had no merits and was a case of frivolous litigation. Rudolf appealed against this ruling, and in early 2006 the US Federal Court in Atlanta found that his application was not “frivolous”, but upheld the decision that it had no merit. The Immigration Services said that Rudolf did not have a right to file an application to remain with his family. On November 14, 2005, Rudolf was extradited to Germany where he was wanted for incitement of racial hatred (Volksverhetzung) On arrival there, he was arrested by the police and transferred to a prison in Rottenburg, then to another in Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg.

On March 15, 2007, the Mannheim District Court sentenced him to two years and six months in prison for inciting hatred, disparaging the dead, and libel. Rudolf accepted the verdict, and copies of his “Lectures on the Holocaust” were confiscated and destroyed. The prosecution’s initial request to confiscate €214,000 was reduced to €21,000, the total turnover from the sales of the book. He was released from prison on July 5, 2009 and now lives in the US with his wife and daughter. -Wikipedia

 

What Happened at Babi Yar? (The Revisionist View)

Fact vs. Myth

(Reprinted from the FocalPoint website of David Irving)

by Michael Nikiforuk

The memory of the “massacre” of Jews at Babi Yar is painful to all politicians. But evidence shows it never happened. Aerial reconnaissance photos taken before and during World War II show mass graves of victims of the Soviet Cheka/NKVD, but an absence of Jewish mass burials.

What if anything, happened at a place called Babi Yar (Old Woman’s Ravine) near Kiev, Ukraine – September 29, 1941? According to official histories and inscriptions on monuments, 250,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed by the Nazis there. But if thousands of Kievan Jews (those not evacuated by the Soviets) were killed in September of 1941 by the Germans, they were not murdered or buried at Babi Yar. This fact was revealed in aerial reconnaissance photos discovered in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, DC.

In February 1997 a Ukrainian court threw out a case brought by Ukrainian Jews against V. Kretytnychy of the St. Andrew Society and E. Musiyenko, editor of the Kiev Evening News (Vechirnyi Kyiv), who challenged the official Babi Yar story. Encouraged by the court decision, on March 19, 1997 the Kiev Evening News published a four-page story setting the record straight for the first time since the Allies condemned the phony “atrocity” during World War II.

What is now coming to the fore is incontrovertible proof that no massacre took place at Babi Yar during the German occupation of Kiev; that the ravine was not used as a mass grave for Jews killed by the Germans. But it was a burial field, between 1922-1935, for the victims of the Cheka/NKVD.

Perhaps Ukraine’s current leaders might better serve their people, as well as their post-Communist consciences, by exhibiting tangible contrition relative to Communism’s early 1930’s famine-slaughter of unquestionably immense proportions

 

David Irving

Irving marginalised himself in 1988 when, based on his reading of the pseudoscientific Leuchter report, he began to espouse Holocaust denial, specifically denying that Jews were murdered by gassing at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Irving’s reputation as a historian was discredited when, in the course of an unsuccessful libel case he filed against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, he was shown to have deliberately misrepresented historical evidence to promote Holocaust denial. The English court found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier, antisemite and racist, who “for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”. In addition, the court found that Irving’s books had distorted the history of Hitler’s role in the Holocaust to depict Hitler in a favourable light -Wikipedia

 

Austria Frees Holocaust Denier From Jail. FRANKFURT, Dec. 20 — Thirteen months after being jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust, the British historian David Irving was freed Wednesday by a court in Vienna, which ruled that he could serve the remainder of his sentence at home on probation. Dec 21, 2006

 

 

Babi Yar (The factual, and accurate, account)

Babi Yar is the name of a ravine situated just outside the city of Kiev, capital of  the Ukraine.  At the time that the events depicted below took place, Kiev was part of the USSR.  In the early hours of June 22, 1941, the armed forces of the Third Reich streamed across its eastern border with the USSR, initiating a military conflagration codenamed Operation Barbarossa, a conflict that in terms of the numbers of fatalities, wounded, barbarities committed, human suffering, both military and civilian, and the scale and scope of its international implications, most probably has no equal in human history.  Kiev fell to the German forces on September 19.  Prior to evacuating the city the Soviet security services had left explosives in a number of buildings set to detonate between September 24 and 28.   The buildings in which they had been placed were comandeered by the military administration and substantial casualties were sustained.

At a meeting which was attended by the military governor, the Higher SS and Police Leader, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe C, SS-Brigadeführer Dr. Otto Rasch, and the commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a, SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel, it was decided that the appropriate response to this would be the elimination of the Jews of Kiev.   They, needless to say, had absolutely nothing to do with the explosions.  Sonderkommando 4a, included Security Service (Sicherheistdienst), Waffen-SS, and police battalion personnel.  Other police battalions and Ukrainian auxiliary police were drafted to assist in the operation.

On September 28, the Germans posted a notice all over town that read:

All [Jews] living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity are to report by 8 o’clock on the morning of Monday, September 29th, 1941, at the corner of Melnikovsky and Dokhturov Streets (near the cemetery). They are to take with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear, etc.

Any [Jew] not carrying out this instruction and who is found elsewhere will be shot.

Any civilian entering flats evacuated by [Jews] and stealing property will be shot.

Beginning on September 29, the Jews of Kiev were assembled and marched to the vicinity of the ravine.  Not far from its edge they were told to strip off their clothes and remove their valuables.   In groups of ten they were marched to to the edge, whereupon they were shot and fell into the Yar. The accepted estimate is that 33,771 Jews were executed in this manner.

Babi Yar continued to be an execution spots for many months subsequently.  Jews from other parts of the Ukraine were brought there for execution.  So too were Roma and Sinti, and Soviet prisoners of war.  The Soviet authorities estimated that approximately 100,000 corpses lay strewn across the bed of Babi Yar.  Beginning in July 1943 SS personnel were given the task of eliminating all evidence of the massacre.  To achieve this the corpses were exhumed and burnt.  The task of exhumation, moving and burning the corpses, was forced on inmates of the concentration camp Syretsk, 100 of whom were Jewish. Aided by land moving machinery, the task was completed in six weeks.  No trace, apparently, was left.  With the exception of fifteen prisoners who knew what their ultimate fate was likely to be, and who escaped, the concentration camp inmates who had carried out this work were executed by the SS.

Although this method of eliminating Jews in areas occupied by the Germans post-June 22, 1941, was repeated on a massive scale by personnel of the Einsatzgruppen, various auxiliary forces, and police battalions in the occupied areas of the USSR, resulting in some 1.5 million Jewish dead, as well as the dead of members of other ethnic and national groups, the destruction of Kiev Jews at Babi Yar has come to symbolise the methods and incomprehensible barbarity of this phase of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.

 

The Müller Reports

The Official German RSHA Daily Reports on the Action of all Einsatzgruppen engaged in Anti-Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 23 June 1941 through 21 May 1943 inclusive

The information in the following tables comes directly from twelve folders of IV A 1 Lagezimmer and are the only surviving originals of Ereignismeldung UdSSR. Numbers 1-195 from 23. June 1941 through 24 April 1942 by CdS/Amt IV A1 and Meldungen aus den besetzeten Ostgebeiten, Numbers 1-55 between 1 May 1942 and 31 May 1943 by CdS Kommando stab. Copies of these important documents can be found in the U.S. National Archives, Rolls T-175 No’s 233 through 236, in the Berlin Document center in Berlin and at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich.

With the invasion of Soviet Russia on 21 June 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the RSHA instituted these reports into a comprehensive daily summery of the various daily reports submitted by the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos. “Sammelmeldung UdSSR, Nr. 1” was prepared by SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, head of Amt IV, the Gestapo. They were classified as “Geheime Reichssache” or Secret State matters and circulated to a limited distribution list (at first 10 copies, then distribution was expanded successively.)

The only known copies of these daily summaries was from the IV A 1 Lagezimmer. A typical; Ereignismeldung contains a list of Standorte of each HSSPF, KdS, Einsatzgruppe, Einsatzkommando, and Sonderkommando reporting, accounts of Bandenbekämpfung operations, including the shooting of Jews and Soviet Political Commissars, and reports on political and economic conditions much like those to be found in standard SD reports.

Since a great deal of fictional data has been presented concerning the number of Jews who died as a result of interactions with the Einsatzgruppen and their subgroups, it is instructive to study all of these daily, highly classified reports, and set down the actual numbers of the casualties on the Soviet Russian side. It is clearly obvious from reading through these over 4,000 pages of detailed reports that Jews were singled out for murder both because they were Jews but also because they were basically allied with the Soviet Partisan movement and were killed in combat with German security units.

It should be noted that these Müller reports were classified as highly secret and had a very limited circulation within the organs of the Third Reich. As Müller was noted for his accuracy and thoroughness, it is not possible that he invented these figures in the hopeful event that future scholars would be misled by their contents

Very often numbers of Communist party officials and the dreaded Commissars were executed by the SD units when they were captured. As there were a significant number of Jews in these organs, it has been impossible to differentiate between the makeups of the totals. The reports of executions were, in a number of cases, marked: ‘Execution of Communist officials and Jews.’

The following several examples of messages are from the Einsatzgruppen Reports.

The number of the report and the date will be noted with each excerpt.

The Einsatzgruppen reported on their activities to their respective headquarters which sent the information to Berlin. There the RSHA compiled concise reports in the name of the Chief of Sipo and the SD. Copies were distributed to high- ranking army, police and SS officers, diplomats, members of the foreign office an even to industrialists as they related to economic factors in the Soviet territories.  The Einsatzgruppen Reports were discovered by the U.S.Army in Gestapo headquarters in Berlin after the war. They were initially impounded by a research analyst attached to the Berlin branch of the Office of the Chief of Council for War Crimes. They were sealed and transported in the custody of the US Army to Nuremberg. During the first days of the Einsatzgruppen Trial, the authenticity of the reports was established beyond doubt and none of the German defendants challenged their validity.

After the trial, the original reports were sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC. In 1960 they were given to the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz. Photocopies of all the reports remain in the National Archives, the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz , the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

 

Examples of the Einsatzgruppen Reports

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 17

7.July.1941

According to instructions by RSHA, liquidations of government and party officials, in all named cities of Byelorussia, were carried out. Concerning the Jews, according to orders, the same policy was adopted. The exact number of the liquidated has not as yet been established.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 19

11.July.1941

In Kaunas, up to now a total of 7,800 Jews have been liquidated, partly through pogroms and partly through shooting by Lithuanian Kommandos. All of the corpses have been removed. Further mass shootings are no longer possible.  Therefore, I summoned a Jewish committee and explained that up to now we had no reason to interfere with the internal arrangements between the Lithuanians and the Jews.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 106

7.October.1941

In agreement with the city military command, all the Jews of Kiev were ordered to appear at a certain place on Monday, 29 September, by 6 o’clock. This order was publicized by posters all over the town by members of the newly organized Ukrainian militia. At the same time, oral information was passed that all the Jews of Kiev would be moved to another place. In cooperations with the HQ of the Einsatzgruppen and two Kommandos of Police Regiment South, Sonderkommando 4a executed 33,771 Jews on September 29 and 30.

[NOTE: This took place outside of Kiev and is known, post-war as the so-called Babi Yar massacre.]

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 111

12.October.1941

These were the reasons for the executions carried out by the Kommandos: political officials; plundereres and saboteurs; active Communists and political representatives; Jews who gained their release from prison camps by false statements; agents and informers of the NKVD; persons who by false depositions and witness influencing were instrumental in the deportation of ethnic Germans; Jewish sadism and revenge; undesirable elements; partisans; politruks; danger of plague and epidemics; members of Russian bands; armed  insurgents supplying Russian bands; rebels and agitators; drifting juveniles; Jews in general.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 117

18.October.1941

The districts occupied by the Kommandos were cleansed of Jews. 4,091 Jews and 46 Communists were executed during the time span covered by the report, bringing the total to 40,699 [for the period of 1-15 October 1941 by Einsatzgruppen D].

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 126

27.October.1941

The difficulties in carrying out such a large action – first of all with respect to sowing disunity – were overcome in Kiev by a call via posters to the Jewish population that they were to move. Although at the start, one could count on the participation of about 5,000-6,000 Jews, more than 30,000 Jews turned up who, due to extraordinarily skillful organization, believed in the transfer right up to the moment of their execution.

Thus, even if about 75,000 Jews had been liquidated so far, it has already become clear that a solution of the Jewish question will not be possible in this way. True, we have succeeded in bringing about a total solution to the Jewish problem, particularly in smaller towns and also in the villages.  However, in bigger towns it was observed that all the Jews have disappeared after such an execution.

Operational Situation Report USSR No.127 

31.Oct.1941

In this area the Security Police has come up against two major groups of adversaries. They are: 1) the Jews, 2) those once active in the former Soviet regime … In this regard it should be pointed out that in the Ukraine, those who sympathized with the Soviets were predominantly Jews … It can now be stated without reservation that the Jews were, without exception, supporters of Bolshevism. “Over and over again, particularly in the cities, the Jews are cited as the real Soviet rulers who exploited the people with indescribable brutality and delivered them to their deaths at the hands of the NKVD. The (German Security Police) units have carried out approximately 10,000 interrogations during the past four months. Again and again, the Jews were cited as having worked actively for the Soviets, if not in responsible positions then at least as agents, collaborators or informers. Not a single Jewish corpse had been found in any of the numerous mass graves. In any case, it is evident that the Jews share the greatest guilt with others for the slaughter of the Ukrainian people and the ethnic Germans.

For this reason, special measures against the Jews are considered necessary by the Security Police

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 173

25.February.1942

In the course of a routine Security Police screening of an additional part of the civilian population around Leningrad, 140 more people had to be shot. The reasons for this were as follows:

  1. Active participation in the Communist Party before the arrival of the German troops;
  2. b) Seditious and provocative activity since the arrival of the German Army;
  3. c) Partisan activity;
  4. d) Espionage;
  5. e) Belonging to the Jewish race.

 

 

Israel: Wounded Netanyahu in desperate battle for political survival after poll shock

Israel’s president to meet PM and opposition leader Benny Gantz in bid to resolve election stalemate

September 21, 2019

by Oliver Holmes

The Guardian

Israel’s president is set to begin two days of consultations with political parties after a deadlocked election last week plunged the country into uncertainty over who will lead the next government.

Near-final results from Tuesday’s poll showed the opposition chief, Benny Gantz, marginally ahead of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with his Blue and White party taking 33 seats out of parliament’s 120. The ruling Likud party has 31.

Critically, neither side appeared able to forge a majority government, even with support from allies in smaller parties.

On Sunday afternoon President Reuven Rivlin will meet both leaders in an attempt to break the stalemate or face the possibility of a potential third round of elections in less than a year. Rivlin holds a largely ceremonial post but is also responsible for choosing the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a government. Usually, the decision is clear, and often goes to the leader of the largest party, but the muddied result has created an impasse.

Despite being Israel’s longest-serving leader and having a reputation for political sorcery, Netanyahu is fighting a tough battle. On Thursday he acknowledged his plan had failed. “During the elections, I called for the establishment of a rightwing government,” Netanyahu said in a video message. “But unfortunately the election results show that this is not possible.”

After leading the country for 10 consecutive years, Israeli media has questioned whether his era was over. His biographer, Anshel Pfeffer, wrote that, while he may still cling on, “the Netanyahu magic has been broken”.

Fearing defeat, the prime minister has called for his opponent to join him in a unity government, hinting that he might be willing to accept a power-sharing arrangement with Gantz. There is a precedent in Israel for political rivals to serve together after Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres rotated the role of prime minister in the mid-1980s. However, Gantz, a former military chief, swiftly rejected Netanyahu’s offer and said he should lead because his alliance won the most seats. “We will not be dictated to,” he warned.

Israel has held two elections in five months after Netanyahu failed to cobble together a coalition following a similar result in April. Rather than give the opposition a chance to do so, he instead pushed to dissolve the Knesset, triggering repeat elections and giving himself another opportunity.

The gamble has left him in an apparently worse position and the stakes are much higher. In two weeks’ time he will face pre-trial hearings for three corruption cases against him. A majority in the Knesset could give Netanyahu – who denies any wrongdoing – immunity from prosecution.

At the centre of the impasse, and the man with the key to ending it, is Israel’s apparent kingmaker – the far-right ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman. The staunch secularist took eight seats, but his refusal to join a government with Jewish religious groups has added further blocks.

Politicians from an alliance of the country’s minority Arab population could also play a role, after they became the third-largest bloc in the Knesset. Ayman Odeh, the head of the group, has said that he may back Gantz, but even that would not give the opposition figure a majority.

If Sunday’s talks prove fruitless, Rivlin’s office said he might invite Netanyahu and Gantz back for more consultations. The president is obliged by law to choose a candidate by 2 October, who will then have up to six weeks to form a government. If that person fails, the president can task another, but the process could break down and force the holding of a third election.

Rivlin has said he will do everything in his power to avoid such a costly scenario that would paralyse Israeli politics right into 2020. Yet some say it looks increasingly likely.

“These are early days indeed to try to make sense of what government may emerge from the migraine-inducing complexity of Israel’s elections,” wrote David Horovitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel. “But the outcome everybody professes to want to avoid is already starting to loom in the distance.

“If Netanyahu sees it as his last hope, and Gantz thinks he’ll emerge from it stronger, we may yet have to go through this all again.”

Israelis Have Made Their Verdict Clear: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Time Is Up

There looms the possibility of weeks of horse-trading and the Joint List of Arab legislators becoming the official opposition

September 21, 2019

by Jonathan Cook

The National.

For most Israelis, the general election on Tuesday was about one thing and one thing only. Not the economy, nor the occupation, nor even corruption scandals. It was about Benjamin Netanyahu. Should he head yet another far-right government, or should his 10-year divisive rule come to an end?

Barring a last-minute upset as the final ballot papers are counted, Israelis have made their verdict clear: Netanyahu’s time is up.

In April’s inconclusive election, which led to this rerun, Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with its main opponent in the Blue and White party, led by retired general Benny Gantz. This time Gantz appears to have nudged ahead, with 32 seats to Netanyahu’s 31 in the 120-member parliament. Both parties fared worse than they did in April, when they each secured 35 seats.

But much more significantly, Netanyahu appears to have fallen short of the 61-seat majority he needs to form yet another far-right government comprising settler and religious parties.

His failure is all the more glaring, given that he conducted by far the ugliest – and most reckless – campaign in Israeli history. That was because the stakes were sky-high.

Only a government of the far-right – one entirely beholden to Netanyahu – could be relied on to pass legislation guaranteeing him immunity from a legal process due to begin next month. Without it, he is likely to be indicted on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust.

So desperate was Netanyahu to avoid that fate, according to reports published in the Israeli media on election day, that he was only a hair’s breadth away from launching a war on Gaza last week as a way to postpone the election.

Israel’s chief law officer, attorney general Avichai Mendelblit, stepped in to halt the attack when he discovered the security cabinet had approved it only after Netanyahu concealed the army command’s major reservations.

Netanyahu also tried to bribe right-wing voters by promising last week that he would annex much of the West Bank immediately after the election – a stunt that blatantly violated campaigning laws, according to Mendelblit.

Facebook was forced to shut down Netanyahu’s page on two occasions for hate speech – in one case after it sent out a message that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men”. That sentiment appeared to include the 20 per cent of the Israeli population who are Palestinian citizens.

Netanyahu incited against the country’s Palestinian minority in other ways, not least by constantly suggesting that their votes constituted fraud and that they were trying to “steal the election”.

He even tried to force through a law allowing his Likud party activists to film in Arab polling stations – as they covertly did in April’s election – in an unconcealed attempt at voter intimidation.

The move appeared to have backfired, with Palestinian citizens turning out in larger numbers than they did in April.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, intervened on Netanyahu’s behalf by announcing the possibility of a defense pact requiring the US to come to Israel’s aid in the event of a regional confrontation.

None of it helped.

Netanayhu’s only hope of political survival – and possible avoidance of jail time – depends on his working the political magic he is famed for.

That may prove a tall order. To pass the 61-seat threshold, he must persuade Avigdor Lieberman and his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party to support him.

Netanyahu and Lieberman, who is a settler, are normally ideological allies. But these are not normal times. Netanyahu had to restage the election this week after Lieberman, sensing the prime minister’s weakness, refused in April to sit alongside religious parties in a Netanyahu-led government.

Netanyahu might try to lure the fickle Lieberman back with an irresistible offer, such as the two of them rotating the prime ministership.

But Lieberman risks huge public opprobrium if, after putting the country through a deeply unpopular rerun election, he now does what he refused on principle to do five months ago.

Lieberman has nearly doubled his party’s seats to nine, by insisting that he is the champion of the secular Israeli public.

Most importantly for Lieberman, he finds himself once again in the role of kingmaker. It is almost certain he will shape the character of the next government. And whoever he anoints as prime minister will be indebted to him.

The deadlock that blocked the formation of a government in April still stands. Israel faces the likelihood of weeks of frantic horse-trading and even the possibility of a third election.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of Palestinians – whether those under occupation or those living in Israel as third-class citizens – the next Israeli government is going to be a hardline right one.

On paper, Gantz is best placed to form a government of what is preposterously labeled the “center-left”. But given that its backbone will comprise Blue and White, led by a bevy of hawkish generals, and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, it would, in practice, be nearly as right wing as Netanyahu’s.

Gantz even accused Netanyahu of stealing his idea in announcing last week that he would annex large parts of the West Bank.

The difficulty is that such a coalition would depend on the support of the 13 Joint List legislators representing Israel’s large Palestinian minority. That is something Lieberman has rejected out of hand, calling the idea “absurd” early on Wednesday as results were filtering in. Gantz appears only a little more accommodating.

The solution could be a national unity government comprising much of the right: Gantz’s Blue and White teamed up with Likud and Lieberman. Both Gantz and Lieberman indicated that was their preferred choice on Wednesday.

The question then would be whether Netanyahu can worm his way into such a government, or whether Gantz demands his ousting as a price for Likud’s inclusion.

Netanyahu’s hand in such circumstances would not be strong, especially if he is immersed in a protracted legal battle on corruption charges. There are already rumblings of an uprising in Likud to depose him.

One interesting outcome of a unity government is that it could provoke a constitutional crisis by making the Joint List, the third-largest party, the official opposition. That is the same Joint List described by Netanyahu as a “dangerous anti-Zionist” party.

Ayman Odeh would become the first leader of the Palestinian minority to attend regular briefings by the prime minister and security chiefs.

Netanyahu will continue as caretaker prime minister for several more weeks – until a new government is formed. If he stays true to form, there is plenty of mischief he can instigate in the meantime.

 

Overpopulation Problems: Rats and Humans

CROWDING INTO THE BEHAVIORAL SINK

Calhoun, J. B. (1962). Population density and social pathology. Scientific American, 206(3), 139-148.

The effects of crowding on our behavior is something that has interested psychologists for decades. You have probably noticed how your emotions and behavior change when you are in a situation that you perceive as very crowded. You may withdraw into yourself and try to become invisible; you might look for an escape; or you may find yourself becoming irritable and aggressive. How you react to crowding depends on many factors.

You will notice that the title of the article of discussion in this chapter uses the phrase population density rather than crowding. While these may seem very similar, psychologists draw a clear distinction between them.

Density refers to the number of individuals in a given amount of space. If 20 people occupy a 12-by-12-foot room, the room would probably be seen as densely populated. Crowding, however, refers to the subjective psychological experience created by density. That is, if you are trying to concentrate on a difficult task in that room with 20 people, you may experience extreme crowding. Conversely, if you are at a party with 20 friends in that same room, you might not feel crowded at all.

One way behavioral scientists can study the effects of density and crowding on people is to observe places where crowding already exists, such as Manhattan, Mexico City, some housing projects, prisons, and so on. The problem with this method is that all these places contain many factors that can influence behavior. For example, if we find high crime rates in a crowded inner-city neighborhood, there’s no way to know for sure that crowding is the cause of the crime. Maybe it’s the fact that people there are poor, or that there’s a higher rate of drug abuse, or perhaps all these factors combine with crowded conditions to produce the high crime rates. 250

Another way to study crowding is to put human subjects into high-density conditions for relatively short periods of time and study their reactions. While this method offers more control and allows us to isolate crowding as a cause of behavior, it is not very realistic in terms of real-life crowded environments, since they usually exist over extended periods of time. It should be pointed out, however, that both of these methods have yielded some interesting findings about crowding that will be discussed later in this chapter.

Since it would be ethically impossible (because of the stress and other potential damaging effects) to place humans in crowded conditions over long periods of time simply to do research on them, there is a third way of addressing the effects of density: Do research using animal subjects. One of the earliest and most classic series of studies of this type was conducted by John B. Calhoun (1917-1995) in 1962. Calhoun allowed groups of white rats to increase in population to twice the number that would normally be found in a space the size of a 10-by-14- foot room and observed their “social” behavior for 16 months.

THEORETICAL PROPOSITIONS

Calhoun especially wanted to explore the effects of high density on social behavior. It may seem strange to you to think of rats as social animals, but they do socialize in various ways in their natural environment.

To appreciate what led Calhoun to the study being discussed in this chapter, it is necessary to back up several years to an earlier project he conducted. Calhoun had confined a population of rats to a quarter-acre of enclosed, protected outdoor space. Plenty of food was available; there were ideal protected nesting areas; there were no predators; and all disease was kept to a minimum. In other words, this was a rat’s paradise. The point of Calhoun’s early study was simply to study the population growth rate of the rats in a setting free from the usual natural controls on overpopulation (predators, disease, etc.). After 27 months, the population consisted of only 150 adult rats. This was very surprising since with the low mortality rate of adult rats in this ideal setting, and considering the usual rate of reproduction, there should have been 5,000 adults in this period of time! The reason for this small population was an extremely high infant mortality rate. Apparently, reproductive and maternal behavior had been severely altered by the stress of social interaction among the 150 rats, and very few young rats survived to reach adulthood. Even though this number of rats (150 in a quarter-acre) does not seem to be particularly dense, it was obviously crowded enough to produce extreme behavioral changes.

These findings prompted Calhoun to design a more controlled and observable situation inside the lab in order to study more closely what sorts of changes occur in the rats when they are faced with high population density. In other words, he had observed what happened, and now he wanted to find out why.

METHOD

In a series of three studies, either 32 or 56 rats were placed in a 10-by-14-foot laboratory room that was divided into four sections or pens (see Figure 1). There were ramps that allowed the rats to cross from pen 1 to pen 2, from pen 2 to pen 3, and from pen 3 to pen 4. It was not possible for the rats to cross directly between pen 1 and pen 4. Therefore, these were end-pens. If a rat wanted to go from 1 to 4, it would have to go through 2 and 3.

The partitions dividing the pens were electrified, so the rats quickly learned that they could not climb over them. These pens consisted of feeders and waterers and enclosures for nests. The rats were supplied with plenty of food, water, and materials for building nests. In order to observe and record the rats’ behavior there was a viewing window in the ceiling of the room.

From his years of studying rats, Calhoun was aware that this particular strain normally is found in colonies of 12 adults. Therefore, the observation room was of a size to accommodate 12 rats per pen, or a total of 48. After the groups were placed in the room, they were allowed to multiply until this normal density was nearly doubled to 80. Once the population level of 80 was reached, young rats that survived past weaning were removed so that the number of rats remained constant.

With this arrangement in place, all that was left was to observe these crowded animals for an extended period of time and record their behavior. These observations went on for 16 months.

RESULTS

It is important to keep in mind that the density of the rats was not extreme; in fact, it was quite moderate. If the rats wanted to spread out, there would only have to be 20 or so per pen. But this is not what happened. When the male rats reached maturity, they began to fight with each other for social status as they do naturally. These fights took place in all the pens, but the outcome was not the same for all of them. If you think about the arrangement of the room, the two end-pens only had one way in and out. So when a rat won a battle for dominance in one of these pens, he could hold his position and territory (the whole pen) simply by guarding the entrance and attacking any other male that ventured over the ramp. As it turned out, only one male rat ended up in charge of each of the end-pens. However, he was not alone. The female rats distributed themselves more or less equally over all four pens. Therefore, the masters of pens 1 and 4 each had a harem of 8 to 12 females all to themselves. And they didn’t take any chances. In order to prevent infiltration, the males took to sleeping directly at the foot of the ramp and were always on guard.

On occasion, there were a few other male rats in the end-pens, but they were extremely submissive.

They spent most of their time in the nesting burrows with the females and only came out to feed. They did not attempt to mate with the females. The females in these pens functioned well as mothers. They built comfortable nests and nurtured and protected their offspring. In other words, life for most of the rats in these end-pens was relatively normal and reproductive behavior was successful. About half of the infant rats in those pens survived to adulthood.

The rest of the 60 or so rats crowded into the middle two pens. Since these two pens each had central feeding and watering devices, there were many opportunities for the rats to come in contact with each other. The kinds of behaviors observed among the rats in pens 2 and 3 demonstrate a phenomenon that Calhoun termed the behavioral sink. A behavioral sink is “the outcome of any behavioral process that collects animals together in unusually great numbers. The unhealthy connotations of the term are not accidental: A behavioral sink does act to aggravate all forms of pathology that can be found within a group” (p. 144). Let’s examine some of the extreme and pathological behaviors he observed:

  1. Aggression. Normally in the wild, male rats will fight other male rats for dominant positions in the social hierarchy. These fights were observed among the more aggressive rats in this study as well. The difference was that here, unlike in their natural environments, top-ranking males were required to fight frequently in order to maintain their positions and often the fights involved several rats in a general brawl. Nevertheless, the strongest males were observed to be the most normal within the center pens.

However, even those animals would sometimes exhibit “signs of pathology; going berserk; attacking females, juveniles, and less active males; and showing a particular predilection—which rats do not normally display—for biting other rats on the tail” (p. 146).

  1. Submissiveness. Contrary to this extreme aggression, other groups of male rats ignored and avoided battles for dominance. One of these groups consisted of the most healthy-looking rats in the pens. They were fat and their fur was full, without the usual bare spots from fighting. However, these rats were complete social misfits. They moved through the pens as if asleep or in some sort of hypnotic trance, ignoring all others, and were, in turn, ignored by the rest. They were completely uninterested in sexual activity and made no advances, even toward females in heat.

Another group of rats engaged in extreme activity and were always on the prowl for receptive females.

Calhoun termed them probers. Often, they were attacked by the more dominant males, but were never interested in fighting for status. They were hypersexual and many of them even became cannibalistic!

  1. Sexual deviance. These probers also refused to participate in the natural rituals of mating. Normally, a male rat will pursue a female in heat until she escapes into her burrow. Then, the male will wait patiently and even perform a courtship dance directly outside her door. Finally, she emerges from the burrow and the mating takes place. In Calhoun’s study, this ritual was adhered to by most of the sexually active males except the probers. They completely refused to wait and followed the female right into her burrow. Sometimes the nests inside the burrow contained young that had failed to survive, and it was here that late in the study the probers turned cannibalistic.

Another group of male rats was termed the pansexuals because they attempted to mate with any and all other rats indiscriminately. They sexually approached other males, juveniles, and females that were not in heat. This was a submissive group that was often attacked by the more dominant male rats, but did not fight for dominance.

  1. Reproductive abnormalities. Rats have a natural instinct for nest building. In this study, small strips of paper were provided in unlimited quantities as nest material. The females are normally extremely active in the process of building nests as the time for giving birth approaches. They gather the material and pile it up so that it forms a cushion. Then they arrange the nest so that it has a small indentation in the middle to hold the young. However, the females in the behavioral sink gradually lost their ability (or inclination) to build adequate nests. At first they failed to form the indentation in the middle. Then, as time went on, they collected fewer and fewer strips of paper so that eventually the infants were born directly on the sawdust that covered the pen’s floor.

The mother rats also lost their maternal ability to transport their young from one place to another if they felt the presence of danger. They would move some of the litter and forget the rest, or simply drop them onto the floor as they were moving them. Usually these infants were abandoned and died where they were dropped. They were then eaten by the adults. The infant mortality rate in the middle pens was extremely high, ranging from 80% to 96%.

In addition to these maternal deficits, the female rats in the middle pens, when in heat, were chased by large groups of males until they were finally unable to escape. These females experienced high rates of complications in pregnancy and delivery. By the end of the study, almost half of them had died.

DISCUSSION

You might expect that a logical extension of these findings would be to apply them to humans in high-density environments. However, for reasons to be discussed shortly, Calhoun did not draw any such conclusions. In fact, he discussed his findings very little—probably assuming, and logically so, that his results spoke volumes for themselves. He did comment on one clear result: that the natural social and survival behaviors of the rats were severely altered by the stresses associated with living in a high-population-density environment. In addition, he noted that through additional research, with improved methods and refined interpretation of the findings, his studies and others like them may contribute to our understanding of similar issues facing human beings.

SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS

As with many of the studies in this book, one of the most important aspects of Calhoun’s studies was that they sparked a great deal of related research on the effects on humans of high-density living. It would be impossible to examine this large body of research in detail here, but perhaps a few examples should be mentioned.

One environment where the equivalent of a behavioral sink might exist for humans is in extremely overcrowded prisons. A study funded by the National Institute of Justice examined prisons where inmates averaged only 50 square feet each (or an area about 7-by-7 feet), compared with less crowded prisons. It was found that in the crowded prisons there were significantly higher rates of mortality, homicide, suicide, illness, and disciplinary problems (McCain, Cox, & Paulus, 1980). Again, however, remember that other factors besides crowding could be influencing these behaviors.

Another interesting finding has been that crowding produces negative effects on problem-solving abilities. One study placed people in small, extremely crowded rooms (only 3 square feet per person) or in larger, less crowded rooms. The subjects were asked to complete rather complex tasks, such as placing various shapes into various categories while listening to a story on which they were to be tested later. Those in the crowded conditions performed significantly worse than those who were not crowded (Evans, 1979).

Finally, what do you suppose happens to you physiologically in crowded circumstances? Research has determined that your blood pressure and heart rate increase. Along with those effects, you tend to feel that other people are more hostile and that time seems to pass more slowly as density increases (Evans, 1979).

CRITICISMS

Calhoun’s results with animals have been supported by later animal research (see Marsden, 1972). However, as has been mentioned before in this book, we must always be careful in applying animal research to humans. Just as substances that may be shown to cause illness in rats may not have the same effect on human physical health, environmental factors influencing rats’ social behaviors may not be directly applicable to people. At best, animals can only represent certain aspects of humans. Sometimes animal research can be very useful and revealing and lead the way for more definitive research with people. At other times, it can be a dead end.

In 1975, a study was undertaken in New York City that attempted to replicate with people some of Calhoun’s findings (Freedman, Heshka, & Levy, 1975). Data were collected for areas of varying population density on death rates, fertility rates (birth rates), aggressive behavior (court records), psychopathology (admissions to mental hospitals), and so on. When all the data were analyzed, no significant relationships were found between population density and any form of social pathology.

Nevertheless, Calhoun’s work in the early 1960s focused a great deal of attention on the psychological and behavioral effects of crowding. This line of research, as it relates to humans, continues today.

RECENT APPLICATIONS

John Calhoun died on September 7,1995, and left behind a legacy of insightful and historically meaningful research. The kinds of social problems discussed by Calhoun in his 1962 article are increasingly relevant to the human condition. Consequently, when scientists undertake research to better understand and intervene in such problems as aggression, infertility, mental illness, or various forms of social conflict, it is not unusual for them to make reference to Calhoun’s research on crowding and behavioral pathology.

An interesting study citing Calhoun’s work, examined changes in animal behavior that accompany domestication (Price, 1999). This author contended that species of animals that are domesticated, that is, kept as pets, have undergone genetic and developmental changes over many generations that have altered their behaviors in ways that allow them to share a common living environment with humans. Basically, what Price is suggesting is that as wild animals have become domesticated over centuries, they have had to adapt to human settings that are very different from their original habitats. This usually includes living in peaceful harmony (most of the time, at least) with others of their own species, other animal species, and humans, usually in relatively crowded conditions. This is accomplished, the author contends, through the evolution of increased response thresholds, meaning it takes a lot more provocation for a domesticated animal to become territorial and aggressive. In other words, dogs, cats, and humans are all able to live together in a relatively small space without running away or tearing each other to pieces as would occur among non-domesticated animals in the wild.

In a different direction, an article by Torrey and Yolken (1998) incorporated Calhoun’s study in examining the association between growing up in crowded conditions and the development of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic-depression): Many studies have found that people who are raised in high-density urban environments are at increased risk for these psychological disorders later in life. Numerous factors are present in crowded, urban settings that may account for such increased risks. However, the authors of this study hypothesized that it is not the increased density of living conditions in the neighborhood, but rather in the individual homes (more people occupying less space) that may explain the higher rates of mental illness later in life. Why? This study contended that exposure to a larger number of infectious agents may account for this association.

Finally, a related study found a possible key difference in human reactions to population density compared to animals. In animal studies, pathology appears to increase in a linear way as a direct result of increased density: as one increases the other increases. However, a study by Regoeczi (2002) found that for humans, the effect of household population density on social withdrawal and aggression actually decreased as the number of people in a single household increased. However, this effect was only observed until the number of people exceeded the total number of rooms; very much beyond that, the antisocial effects begin to appear with increasing density. In other words when living conditions are such that, say, 5 people occupy a 3-room apartment or 7 people are squeezed into a 4-room house, the tendency for people to withdraw and/or display more aggression increases. Two possible causes may be at work here. Either density is causing the pathology, or people who are more withdrawn or more aggressive end up in less crowded living situations, by choice or by ostracism, respectively.

These studies demonstrate how social scientists are continuing to explore and refine the effects of density and crowding. The causes of social pathology are many and complex. The impact of population density, first brought to our attention by Calhoun over 40 years ago, is only one, but a very crucial, piece of the puzzle.

Bibliography

Evans, G. W. (1979). Behavioral and psychological consequences of crowding in humans. Journal of Applied Social

Psychology, 9, 27-46.

Freedman, J. L., Heshka, S., & Levy, A. (1975). Population density and social pathology: Is there a relationship? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 11, 539-.552.

Marsden, H. M. (1972). Crowding and animal behavior. In J. F. Wohlhill & D. H. Carson (Eds.), Environment and the social sciences. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

McCain, G., Cox, V. C., & Paulus, P. B. (1980). The relationship between illness, complaints, and degree of crowding in a prison environment. Environment and Behavior, 8, 283-290.

Price, E. (1999). Behavioral development in animals undergoing domestication. Applied Animal Behavior Research,65(3), 245-271.

Regoeczi, W. (2002). The impact of density: The importance of nonlinearity and selection on flight and fight responses. Social Forces, 81, 505-530.

Torrey, E., & Yolken, R. (1998). At issue: Is household crowding a risk factor for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder? Schizophrenia Bulletin, 24(3), 321-324.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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