TBR News February 23, 2016

Feb 22 2016

Comment: A public relations firm has noticed us that an article from The Guardian stated that George H.W. Bush was on the staff of Brown Brothers, Harriman. Our informant has stated, on behalf of the company, that George H.W. Bush was never a member of this company. They wished us to make a suitable acknowledgement of this, which we are doing. It is true that Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush, was a member of the firm. Prescott Bush did receive a high Nazi decoration, the German Eagle Order, from Adolf Hitler but his son only started two wars and is reputed to have negotiated with the Saudis on certain acts of violence.

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 23, 2016: “The reason this site does not do extensive coverage of the domestic political scene is because it is not worth the time or the trouble to do so. The real issues of massive unemployment, climate change and a looming mortgage and property title scam are swept under the official carpet and the watchword is ‘not on my watch, sweetheart.’ But postponement is not abandonment and our next president will have a reeking garbage can of problems to deal with. The current gang will all be living on Aruba with their bribe money, laughing over cocktails at the problems they now have nothing to worry about.”

Conversations with the Crow

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

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

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

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

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



Conversation No. 36

Date: Sunday, September 15, 1996

Commenced: 11:15 AM CST

Concluded: 11: 37 AM CST

RTC: Ah, good  morning, Gregory. Been to church early today?

GD: No, haven’t been to church for some time. Yourself? I mean someone who lives on Cathedral Avenue ought to have some nearby inspiration.

RTC: No, I get out very seldom these days what with my hip problem and I do have a balance issue. Asthma  makes me short of breath sometimes. Never mind that. Anyway, I was looking for some papers on the Vietnam business….for addition to my book on that sorry time…and I found an analysis of the flying saucer business we talked about.  I pulled it out for you. On the Vietnam business, I’ve finished the manuscript long ago but I keep thinking that I ought to put more documentation with it. Stupid dreams because I can never publish it. Had to sign that paper, you know. Bill has looked at it and thinks it would become a best seller but I am not going to give it to him in spite of what he thinks. Trento would love to lay his hands on it. He wouldn’t publish it, of course, but would run to Langley for that pat on the head and another nice pen set. Joe does love to collect pen sets and get those loving pats on the head.

GD: Could I look at it, Robert?

RTC: Ah….I might consider it but you couldn’t use any of it while I am still kicking. But anyway, this Roswell business…and oh yes, one in Montana about three years later…now the Company had nothing to do with any of this but we did get a copy of an official and very secret report, not because we cared about a spaceship wreck or little green men but because of the methodology used in containing and negating the story. Too many people knew about this so the cover-up had to be through and intense. It was a sort of primer for us. We improved on it, of course, but it was an excellent foundation for other matters.

GD: Such as?

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, one thing at a time. Yes, an excellent primer.

GD: I used to live in Las Cruces which is close by that area and from talking with people down there, it is almost universally believed. I believe a space ship crashed there and the Air Force was involved. The locals are still afraid of the threats they got back in ’47-’48 so I feel that where there is smoke, there must once have been fire.

RTC: What is your understanding of the incident? GD: There was a big thunderstorm then and much lightening and one of the farmers or ranchers found debris all over his landscape. The Air Force people descended on the place and in essence shut everyone up. I was told repeatedly that bodies of aliens were found. Is that in your paper? Make a wonderful story.

RTC: Yes, as I recall, about four dead ones and one living.

GD: Little green men? RTC: As I read it, not green but a sort of grayish green or gray. About four feet in height with no body hair, fewer fingers than ours and large eyes. I mean no question because there are original photographs attached. And the dead ones started rotting right away and the stink was monumental. There were complete autopsies, of course, but not in situ. Flew them out, iced up, for work at Wright.

GD: And the live one? RTC: Died a little later. They were not of this world, Gregory but it was, and is, amazing how they at least resembled humans.

GD: That alone would drive the religious freaks nuts. Human forms from outer space? RTC: Yes and that’s why in the movies you see giant crabs or whatever. Can’t look like us.

GD: Such closed minds. Darwin was basically right and someday, they will discover the so-called missing link that proves him right. Would that get suppressed, do you think? RTC: Depends who is in power in the White House at the time. But let me send the report off to you to evaluate. I personally don’t see this as tabloid news about green men but how the story was contained and essentially countered. The one in Montana was much safer because this one crashed into a mountain, way up, with no busybody farmers and local hicks around to pick up dangerous souvenirs

GD: What was the determination there? RTC: Essentially the same as Roswell. Unworldly metals and other debris, crisped remains of small people…I guess four feet was general…and so on. Again, lightening storms in the area. These things can be detected by a certain form of radar but not by most so there was a fix and that’s how the wreckage was found. The metal in both sites was odd enough. Very light but impossible to bend or even cut into. Equipment containers that were impossible to open or even open. That drove them all crazy because if we could construct aircraft, or even tanks, from such a metal, the advantages would be obvious. No shell could penetrate and the light weight would be a huge advantage in combat. As I understand it, no one could ever figure the composition out.

But again, the methodology…the mixture of threats of death and the cover stories are what this report was mostly about. Of course the press does just as it’s told as do the local police and so on. And no one in the Air Force is going to talk or they’ll end up taking a long walk on a very short pier. Time goes by and everyone but a few forget and that’s the end of it.

GD: Did they have any idea where these things came from? RTC: No, they never did and therein lies another factor. Truman ordered silence, or rather approved the order on it because no one wanted a panic. The Cold War was just starting and they were afraid of the Orson Wells business all over. No, there could be no mass panic. My God, every attention-starved nitwit in the country would chime in with fictional stories about landings in their yard and so on. That no one wanted so rather than stifle any talk about genuine sightings, they rigged thousands of fakes ones until the public thought it was all too funny for words and went back watching baseball games on the idiot box. We took this and refined it. I wrote some suggestions on this and I will attach them for you. Sometimes we can’t cover up some nasty action so the best way to hide it is to magnify it so much and pass it to so many gabbling idiots that the public is quickly bored. I recall the business of people vanishing and that is true so the story goes out about flying saucers landing in cow pastures and kidnapping cows or fake stories about this or that child vanishing, and then his turning up later in a local candy store. A few dozen like this every year gets the public accustomed to disbelieving abduction stories. Or we could throw in a child molester from time to time just to spice up the pot. Hell, we, and the Pentagon, among others, have full-time departments handling fake stories. We leak them to the supermaket press.

GD: Or one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid rags…

RTC: Yes, Rupert can be so accommodating.  He keeps the trailer park crowd in a state of perpetual excitement. Bread and circuses. Always the same.

GD: Do you know how many actual incidents got investigated? RTC: I know of the two specifically. The one in New Mexico in ’47 and then the Montana one about two years later. I am sure there are more. The Russians had their own problems but they have much better control over the media that we do. They had less running around and creative writing issues.

GD: Nothing hostile?

RTC: Not that I ever heard about. I think just recon trips. That’s the educated guessing. Roswell was near some of our more sensitive A-bomb areas but I can’t figure out Montana.

GD: Maybe they were looking to kidnap some mountain goats for sexual escapades.

RTC: As I recall, they had no sex organs. I think goats would be out.

GD: No organs? How could they reproduce the species? RTC: I don’t think the Pentagon was interested in that question. Maybe they just came out of a big machine somewhere, did their routines and died. I understand that they rotten very quickly and the stink when they did made it really impossible to do effective autopsies.

GD: I had that problem with floaters. Or abdominal cancer. God, what stenches from both. I used to wear a mask soaked in bay rum but I have seen techs puke on the spot. You just have to blot it out. A little like waking up after a drunken party and finding yourself in the sack with a really ugly woman. Never happened to me but did to a friend. A quiet departure. And a quick one too. And the forlorn cries of ‘Oh Honey, where are you going?’ echoing behind him. ‘Why outside to puke, my lovely one” might be an appropriate answer. Later, send her flowers you filched out of a cemetery and a zucchini in remembrance of things past. I don’t think Marcel would like that. I think he liked sailors.

RTC: Who?

GD: Marcel Proust. Wrote a book called that. Well, at this point either the visitations have stopped or the little gray men with no dicks have all gone into Congress. Except those thieves stink before they are dead. Well, send it all on and I promise to read it with interest….

RTC: Yes, and keep quiet indeed.

GD: A given.

(Conclusion at 11:37:AM CST)

Comment: Flying Saucers of the Third Reich

The ‘Bellenzo-Schriever-Miethe Disc’.

The retractable undercarriage legs terminated in inflatable rubber cushions. The craft was designed to carry a crew of three The “Schriever-Habermohl” flying disc developed between 1943 and 1945 consisted of a stable dome-shaped cabin surrounded by a flat, rotating rim. Toward the end of the war, all the models and prototypes were reported destroyed before they could be found by the Soviets. According to postwar U.S. intelligence reports, however, the Russian army succeeded in capturing one prototype. After the war, both Schriever and  Miethe, another German scientist involved in the design of flying disks, came to work for the US under ‘Operation Paperclip.’. Habermohl was reported, by U.S. Army Military Intelligence, as having been taken to the Soviet Union.

The first non-official report on the development of this craft is to be found in Die Deutschen Waffen und Geheimwaffen  des 2 Weltkriegs und ihre Weiterentwicklung (Germany’s Weapons and Secret Weapons of the Second World War and their Later Development).,  J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, Munich, 1956, pps 81-83.  The author of this detailed and technical work on German wartime weaponry was Major d.R. Rudolf Lusar, an engineer who worked in the German Reichs-Patent Office and had access to many original plans and documents. Lusar devoted a section of the chapter entitled “Special Devices,” to Third Reich saucer designs.

Among other things, Lusar declared: “German scientists and researchers took the first steps toward such flying saucers during the last war, and even built and tested such flying devices, which border on the fantastic. According to information confirmed by experts and collaborators, the first projects involving “flying discs” began in 1941. The blueprints for these projects were furnished by German experts Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe, and the Italian expert Bellonzo.

“Habermohl and Schriever chose a flat hoop which spun around a fixed pilot’s cabin in the shape of a dome. It consisted of steerable disc wings which enabled, according to the direction of their placement, in horizontal takeoff or flight. Miethe developed a kind of disk 42 meters in diameter, to which steerable nozzles had been attached. Schriever and Habermohl, who had worked together in Prague, took off on 14 February 1945 in the first “flying disc.” They attained a height of 12,400 meters in three minutes and a horizontal flight speed of 2000 KMH. It had been expected to reach speeds of up to 4000 KMH.

“Massive initial tests and research work were involved prior to undertaking the manufacture of the project. Due to the high rate of speed and the extraordinary heat demands, it was necessary to find particular materials in order to resist the effects of the high temperatures. Project development, which had run into the millions, was practically concluded by the final days of the war. All existing models were destroyed at the end of the conflict, but the factory at Breslau in which Miethe had worked fell into the hands of the Soviets, who seized all the material and technical personnel and shipped them to Siberia, where successful work on “flying saucers” was conducted.

“Schriever was able to leave Prague on time, but Habermohl must be in the Soviet Union, since nothing more is known concerning his whereabouts. The aged German builder, Miethe, is in the United States developing, it is said, “flying saucers” for the A.V. Roe Company in the U.S.A. and in Canada…”

The Schriever-Habermohl Project

The project is usually referred to as the Schriever-Habermohl project although it is by no means clear that these were the individuals in charge of the project. Rudolf Schriever was an engineer and test pilot. Less is known about Otto Habermohl but certainly he was an engineer. This project was centered in Prag, at the Prag-Gbell airport Actual construction work began somewhere between 1941 and 1943 This was originally a Luftwaffe project which received technical assistance from the Skoda Works at Prag and at a Skoda division at Letov and perhaps elsewhere. Other firms participating in the project according to Epp were the Junkers firm at Oscheben and Bamburg, the Wilhelm Gustloff firm at Weimar and the Kieler Leichtbau at Neubrandenburg . This project started as a project of the Luftwaffe, sponsored by head of the Luftwaffe’s Technical Section, Generaloberst Ernst Udet. It later came under the control of Albert Speer’s Armament Ministry at which time it was administered by engineer Georg Klein. Finally, probably sometime in 1944, this project came under the control of the SS, specifically under the direct control of SS-Gruppenführer (General) Hans Kammler

Georg Klein stated after the war to American intelligence investigators that he saw this device fly on February 14, 1945 . This may have been the first official flight, but it was not the first flight made by this device. According to one witness, a saucer flight occurred as early as August or September of 1943 at the Prag-Gbell facility. The eyewitness was in flight-training at the Prag-Gbell facility when he saw a short test flight of such a device. He states that the saucer was 5 to 6 meters in diameter (about 15 to 18 feet in diameter) and about as tall as a man, with an outer border of 30-40 centimeters. It was “aluminum” in color and rested on four thin, long legs. The flight distance observed was about 300 meters at low level of one meter in altitude.

Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to both the Schriever-Habermohl and the Miethe-Belluzzo projects, states that fifteen prototypes were built in all. The final device associated with Schriever-Habermohl is described by engineer Rudolf Lusar who worked in the German Patent Office, as a central cockpit surrounded by rotating adjustable wing-vanes forming a circle. The vanes were held together by a band at the outer edge of the wheel-like device. The pitch of the vanes could be adjusted so that during take off more lift was generated by increasing their angle from a more horizontal setting. In level flight the angle would be adjusted to a smaller angle. This is similar to the way helicopter rotors operate. The wing-vanes were to be set in rotation by small rockets placed around the rim like a pinwheel. Once rotational speed was sufficient, liftoff was achieved. After the craft had risen to some height, the horizontal jets or rockets were ignited and the small rockets shut off  After this, the wing-blades would be allowed to rotate freely as the saucer moved forward as in an auto-gyrocopter. In all probability, the wing-blades’ speed, and so their lifting value, could also be increased by directing the adjustable horizontal jets slightly upwards to engage the blades, thus spinning them faster at the discretion of the pilot.

Rapid horizontal flight was possible with these jet or rocket engines. Probable candidates were the Junkers Jumo 004 jet engines such as were used on the famous German jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262. A possible substitute would have been the somewhat less powerful BMW 003 engines. The rocket engine would have been the Walter HWK109 which powered the Messerschmitt 163 rocket interceptor .If these had been plentiful, the Junkers Jumo 004 probably would have been the first choice. Epp reports Jumo 211/b engines were used . Klaas reports the Argus pulse jet (Schmidt-duct), used on the V-l, was also considered .All of these types of engines were difficult to obtain at the time because they were needed for high priority fighters and bombers, the V-l and the rocket interceptor aircraft.

Joseph Andreas Epp reports in his book Die Realitaet der Flugscheiben (The Reality of the Flying Discs) that an official test flight occurred in February of 1945. Epp managed to take two still pictures of the saucer in flight which appear in his book. There is some confusion about the date of these pictures. Epp states the official flight had been February 14, 1945 but an earlier lift-off had taken place in August of 1944.

Very high performance flight characteristics are attributed to this design. Georg Klein says it climbed to 12,400 meters (over37,000 feet) in three minutes  and attaining a speed around that of the sound barrier . Epp says that it achieved a speed of Mach 1 (about 1200 kilometers per hour or about 750miles per hour. From his discussion, it appears that Epp is describing the unofficial lift-off in August, 1944 at this point. He goes on to say that on the next night, the sound barrier was broken in manned flight but that the pilot was frightened by the vibrations encountered at that time . On the official test flight, Epp reports a top speed of 2200 kilometers per hour . Lusar reports a top speed of 2000kilometers per hour . Many other writers cite the same or similar top speed.

There is no doubt of two facts. The first is that these are supersonic speeds which are being discussed.

Second, it is a manned flight which is under discussion.

Some new information has come to light regarding the propulsion system which supports the original assessment. Although actual construction had not started, wind-tunnel and design studies confirmed the feasibility of building a research aircraft which was designated Projekt 8-346. This aircraft was not a saucer but a modern looking swept-back wing design. According this post-war Allied intelligence report, the Germans designed the 8-346 to flying the range of 2000 kilometers per hour to Mach 2. .Interestingly enough, it was to use two Walther HWK109 rocket engines. This is one of the engine configurations under consideration for the Schriever-Habermohl saucer project.

Schriever continued to work on the project until April 15, 1945. About this time Prag was threatened by the advancing Soviet Army. The saucer prototype(s) at Prag-Gbell were pushed out onto the runway and burnt. Habermohl disappeared and is presumed to have  ended up in the hands of the Soviets. Schriever, according to his own statements, packed the saucer plans in the trunk of his BMW and with his family drove into the relative security of Bavaria. After cessation of hostilities Schriever worked his way north to his parents house in Bremerhaven-Lehe. He later worked for the U.S. Army.

Therefore, the history of the Schriever-Habermohl project in Prag can be summarized in a nutshell as follows: Epp’s statement is that it was his design and model which formed the basis for this project. This model was given to General Ernst Udet which was then later forwarded to General Dr. Walter Dornberger at Peenemünde. Dr. Dornberger tested and recommended the design which was confirmed by Dornberger to Epp after the war A facility was set up in Prag for further development and the Schriever- Habermohl team was assigned to work on it there. At first this project was under the auspices of Hermann Göring and the Luftwaffe.  Sometime later, the Speer Ministry took over the running of this project with chief engineer Georg Klein in charge. Finally, the project was usurped by the SS in 1944, along with other saucer projects, and fell under the control of Kammler. Schriever altered the length of the wing-vanes from their original design. This alteration caused the instability. Schriever was still trying to work out this problem in his version of the saucer as the Russians overran Prag. Haberrmohl, according to Epp, went back to his original specifications, with two or three successful flights for his version.

Viktor Schauberger [1885-1958], an Austrian inventor who was closely involved with Hitler’s Third Reich, worked on the advancement of a number of flying disc-shaped craft for the Nazis between 1938 and 1945. Based on “liquid vortex propulsion” many of them, according to records, actually flew. One “flying saucer” [fliegende untertassen] reputedly destroyed at Leonstein, had a diameter of 1.5 meters, weighed 135 kilos, and was started by an electric motor of one twentieth horsepower. The vehicle was equipped with a turbine engine to supply the energy required for liftoff.

According to Schauberger, “If water or air is rotated into a twisting form of oscillation known as ‘colloidal’, a build up of energy results which, with immense power, can cause levitation.” On one attempt one such apparatus “rose upwards, trailing a blue-green, and then a silver-colored glow.”

The Russians blew up Schauberger’s apartment in Leonstein, after taking what remained following an earlier visit by the Americans. Schauberger supposedly was later involved in working on a top secret project in Texas for the U.S. Government and died shortly afterwards of ill health.

In a letter written by Schauberger to a friend it states that he once worked at Matthausen concentration camp directing technically oriented prisoners and other German scientists in the successful construction of a saucer. In this letter written by Schauberger, he gives further information from his direct experience with the German military :

“The ‘flying saucer’ which was flight-tested on the 19th February 1945 near Prague and which attained a height of 15,000 metres in 3 minutes and a horizontal speed of 2,200 km/hour, was constructed according to a Model 1 built at Mauthausen concentration camp in collaboration with the first-class engineers and stress-analysts assigned to me from the prisoners there.

It was only after the end of the war that I came to hear, through one of the workers under my direction, a Czech, that further intensive development was in progress: however, there was no answer to my enquiry.

From what I understand, just before the end of the war, the machine is supposed to have been destroyed on Keitel’s orders. That’s the last I heard of it.

In this affair, several armament specialists were also involved who appeared at the works in Prague, shortly before my return to Vienna, and asked that I demonstrate the fundamental basis of it:

The creation of an atomic low-pressure zone, which develops in seconds when either air or water is caused to radially and axially under conditions of a falling temperature gradient.”

Sources and References

Combined Intelligence Committee Evaluation Reports, Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee, Evaluation Report 149,page 8

Lusar, Rudolf, Die Deutschen Waffen und Geheimwaffen des 2. Weltkrieges und ihre Weiterentwicklung, J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, Munich, 1956, pps 81-83

Meier, Hans Justus, 1999, page 24, “Zum Thema “FliegendeUntertassen” Der Habermohlsche Flugkreisel”, reprinted in Fliegerkalender 1999, Internationales Jahrbuch die Luft-und Raumfahrt, Publisher: Hans M. Namislo, ISBN 3-8132-0553-3

Epp, Joseph Andreas, 1994, page 28, Die Realität derFlugscheiben, Efodon e.V., c/o Gernot L. Geise,Zoepfstrasse 8, D-82495

Keller, Werner, Dr., April 25, 1953, Welt am Sonntag, “Erste ‘Flugscheibe’ flog 1945 in Prag enthuellt Speers Beauftrager”, an interview of Georg Klein

Zwicky, Viktor, September 19, 1954, page 4, Tages-Anzeiger52 für Stadt und Kanton Zuerich, “Das Raetsel der Fliegenden Teller Ein Interview mit Oberingenieur Georg Klein, derunseren Lesern Ursprung und Konstruktion dieser Flugkörpererklaert”

Klein, Georg, October 16, 1954, page 5, “Die Fliegenden Teller”, Tages-Anzeiger für Stadt und Kanton Zuerich

Der Spiegel, March 30, 1959, “Untertassen Sie fliegen aberdoch” Article about and interview of Rudolf Schreiver

Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries

February 22, 2016

byJustin Gillis

The New York Times

The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.

Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach, Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.

Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing salt water, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of fresh water and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland

Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.

I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, the primary author of one of two related studies released on Monday. “It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”

In the second study, scientists reconstructed the level of the sea over time and confirmed that it is most likely rising faster than at any point in 28 centuries, with the rate of increase growing sharply over the past century — largely, they found, because of the warming that scientists have said is almost certainly caused by human emissions.

They also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100.

Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.

The findings are yet another indication that the stable climate in which human civilization has flourished for thousands of years, with a largely predictable ocean permitting the growth of great coastal cities, is coming to an end.

I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, and co-author of one of the papers, published online Monday by an American journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In a report issued to accompany that scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal flood days now occurring in towns along the East Coast would not be happening in the absence of the rise in the sea level caused by human emissions.

Antarctica could be much more vulnerable to melting than we thought

February 22, 2016

by Chris Mooney

The Washington Post

In two new studies, scientists say that the vast ice continent of Antarctica seems to have given up tremendous volumes of ice — even sprouting considerable plant life — during an era over 10  million years ago when concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide don’t seem to have been all that much higher than they are now.

That period was known as the Miocene. And during its early and middle phases, between 23 and 14 million years ago, carbon dioxide concentrations are believed to have sometimes reached around 500 parts per million or somewhat higher — not so very far from the 400 parts per million (and rising) where we stand today.

During this same era, finds the research, the continent is believed to have lost volumes of ice equivalent to tens of meters of sea level rise around the globe. Overall, Antarctica currently contains enough ice to raise seas by some 60 meters, or 200 feet, were it to melt entirely.

It’s doing it during this time interval when CO2 levels are not all that high,” says David Harwood, one of the study’s authors and a geologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. “It’s showing that dynamic behavior of advance and retreat under pretty modest CO2 concentrations.”

The paper therefore infers that there the ice sheet may be quite sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide at levels not far from where we are now. Or as the scientists put it in their final sentence: “Given current atmospheric Co2 levels have risen above 400 ppm and are projected to go higher, paleoclimate reconstructions such as this one for the early to mid-Miocene imply an element of inevitability to future polar warming, Antarctic ice sheet retreat, and sea level rise.”

The totality of the work was published in two separate papers Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In one of them, Richard Levy of New Zealand’s GNS Science, Harwood, and a large team of international colleagues presented their results from analysis of the ANDRILL-2A drill core, a more than half mile long core of ocean mud and sediment extracted near the U.S. Antarctic base McMurdo Station, as part of a multinational scientific collaboration to learn more about Antarctica’s deep past.

Meanwhile, Edward Gasson of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and four colleagues simultaneously published the results of a sophisticated new computer simulation of Antarctica that, they said, could reproduce the ice behavior implied by the massive core.

Finally, our understanding of physical processes and our knowledge of the shape of the Antarctic continent beneath the ice — determined through decades of data collection — reproduce conditions that match important records like ANDRILL,” said Jamin Greenbaum, an Antarctic researcher and research associate at the University of Texas at Austin who led research last year finding a key vulnerability in the gigantic Totten glacier of East Antarctica, but was not involved in the current study. “Results like these will give us added confidence in predictive models meant to forecast future sea level rise.”

The ANDRILL-2A drill core itself can only be called a treasure trove of information about Antarctica’s deep past. It was extracted from a floating ice platform over the ocean about 20 miles offshore, not far from the TransAntarctic Mountains, a vast range dividing East and West Antarctica.

Scientists can gather large volumes of information about past seas and climates from such an object, by studying the layers of sediment that settled over eons. These contain not only records of past animal and plant life — ranging from the shells of tiny organisms to residues of pollen and spores — but also isotopes of the element oxygen, which have long known to provide a telling record of the state of the planet’s oceans and ice sheets.

When the ice sheets grow, they grow with a greater amount of Oxygen 16 in them, it’s the more volatile, reactive one,” says Harwood. “So when you store ice on land, the oceans get enriched in Oxygen 18.”

The reason is that Oxygen 16 is lighter and evaporates more easily from the ocean. Ice sheets are fed, over long time periods, by the falling of snow on top of them – snow that originates as evaporation off the seas and falls as precipitation. The more that happens, the more Oxygen 16 is stored in ice sheets, and the more Oxygen 18 is remaining in the ocean.

When it comes to learning what Antarctica — the planet’s not-quite-sleeping ice giant — is capable of, of particular interest to scientists is a period called the Mid-Miocene climatic optimum, some 14 to 15 million years ago. Targeting this period as well as millions of years before it in the drill core, the researchers observed evidence suggesting that Antarctica’s ice both advanced much farther out into the sea than where it now rests during cool phases, but also retreated much farther inland than we see at present. And seas fell, or rose, accordingly.

As it changed, the ice sheet left currently ice-crushed coastlines exposed, providing a much more hospitable environment for life plant and animal life — and this seems to have occurred repeatedly during times when carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were at their highest. (Carbon dioxide and temperature changes at that time were not caused by humans, of course — rather, they resulted from more slow-moving changes in the orbit of the Earth.)

The fact that we’re at 400 already, and preindustrial we were at 280, we’ve already gone 120,” says Harwood, referring to parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “So we only need to go that far again until we reach this potential for the variability that we’re seeing in the Miocene, in terms of the way the ice sheet can respond.” The drill core, he said, suggests not only that Antarctica probably gave up the ice contained in West Antarctica during those periods (capable of raising present day seas by about 10 feet), but also much ice from the larger East Antarctica.

Granted, there’s still considerable uncertainty about just how much carbon was in the air at that time. And at least one Antarctic scientist expressed skepticism about the kinds of inferences that can be made about our planetary future from a study like this.

I think the further back you go, the larger the envelope of uncertainty in terms of extrapolating forward,” said Jonathan Bamber, an Antarctic researcher based at the University of Bristol in the UK who reviewed the paper for the Post. Bamber didn’t challenge the results itself, but merely suggested that the planet was so different 15 million years ago that other factors than carbon dioxide concentrations could have played a major role in what happened to Antarctica.

For instance, Bamber noted, the Isthmus of Panama, connecting North and South America, didn’t exist then (though some recent research potentially suggests otherwise). That’s a factor that Bamber called “quite important, because it allowed heat transport between the Pacific and Atlantic,” which in turn could have changed key features of the workings of the Earth’s climate.

One thing that remains very unclear from the study is how fast Antarctica can change. The time scales involved in the new research are simply too large to allow for reducing the current findings down to human terms.

One of the things they can’t really resolve particularly well is these changes, how rapid they are, if it’s tens of thousands of years, or hundreds of thousands of years,” said Bamber.

Still, the climate modeling study that was published at the same time as the study of the deep ocean drill core found that by adding several new processes and features to the simulation which speed up the rate of Antarctic ice collapse, it was possible to reproduce the presumed ice loss from Antarctica during the Miocene with only 500 parts per million or so of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Those factors include so-called “hydrofracture” — in which Antarctic ice shelves, which stabilize inland ice, shatter and fall apart as water pools on their surfaces, much as happened in recent memory with the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves — and “cliff collapse,” in which the sheer walls of ice that linger behind after hydrofracturing also crumble, due to the relative weakness of ice as a material.

Researchers like the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Edward Gasson and Rob DeConto have been exploring including these processes in their modeling of how the ice sheets work in order to better understand their apparent changes in past eras, including several other prior warm periods besides the Miocene.

We’re adding and including new physical processes in these models, and the result of that is we’ve begun to be able to simulate with these models the kinds of changes in the ice sheets that the geologists see,” says DeConto. He continued: “We were able to generate sea level going up and down again, on the order of tens of meters, like 30 meters, without having to go to extremely high levels of CO2.”

DeConto also cautioned that the Miocene is not a perfect analogue for our planet’s future – the key role of changes in the Earth’s orbit during this era pretty much ensures that. After all, it’s now us, not these orbital cycles, that are in the driver’s seat.

Nonetheless, DeConto underscored that the new research does highlight, above all, that the Antarctic ice sheet can really respond significantly to changes in the composition of the atmosphere. “This isn’t a direct analogy for the future, but it’s just one more piece of evidence,” he said.

Syria Conflict: Turkish Threats of Intervention After Ankara Bombing Taken Seriously by Barack Obama

February 20, 2016

by Patrick Cockburn

The UNZ Review

The war in Syria is reaching a climax. The Syrian army, supported by Russian bombers, is advancing north of Aleppo to cut off the Syrian armed opposition from the Turkish border. The Syrian Kurds, backed by US air strikes, are closing in on Isis and non-Isis supply lines in the same area. In the wake of the bomb in Ankara on 17 February that killed 28 people, Turkey is threatening military intervention in Syria in retaliation for the attack. On Friday, President Barack Obama spent one hour and 20 minutes on the phone to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging restraint.

The Turks and the Saudis are always trying to nudge the US into sending ground troops to Syria, but they are not going to launch a large-scale military intervention on their own,” said a former senior diplomat in the Middle East. Turkish and Saudi policy on Syria has hitherto been full of threats and bombast, but it is dangerously mercurial and some form of military action cannot be ruled out, even if it is opposed by the US or Russia.

The US knows that Turkish military action would be directed primarily against the Syrian Kurds and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) that have been America’s most effective ally fighting Isis. In his conversation with Mr Erdogan, Mr Obama is reported to have said that the YPG should not seek to exploit recent gains by the Syrian army north of Aleppo to take more territory. But at the very moment that the two men were speaking, the success of US-YPG co-operation was underlined by a little-reported victory in north-east Syria, where the Syrian Democratic Forces, a proxy for the YPG, captured the important Isis stronghold of Shadadeh with the help of US air strikes.

There is a further reason why the US would be loath to give up its military alliance with the Syrian Kurds. “Over a year ago, the Americans realised that the Turks were not going to close their border with Syria to Isis and other jihadis on its northern, Turkish side,” said the former diplomat. “So the Americans decided to close the border on the southern side, with the help of the Syrian Kurds.” It is this plan which is now close to fulfilment.

President Obama’s policies in Syria since the rise of Isis in the summer of 2014 have always made more sense than critics supposed. Prior to the fall of Mosul, the White House had miscalculated the degree to which the Syrian war could left to fester without destabilising the rest of the region. Mr Obama unwisely compared the movement that became Isis to a junior basketball team seeking to play in the big leagues.

But Mr Obama has a far more acute sense than most other politicians about the ease with which the US, or any other foreign power intervening in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, can become plugged into local confrontations and disputes. I once asked General David Petraeus, the commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul in 2004, what was the most important advice he could give to his successor. He said, after reflecting for some moments, that his advice would be “not to align too closely with one ethnic group, political party, tribe, religious group or social element”.

This approach is sensible, though scarcely feasible, because a foreign power under pressure acquires local allies where it can find them without inquiring too closely into their character and motives. For instance, Turkey has pushed for the US to support “safe havens” for displaced people and moderate armed opposition in northern Syria. This sounds benign and even humanitarian until one realises that the idea is directed primarily at stopping the Kurds from controlling more territory, and that the Turkish definition of “moderate” appears to include extreme jihadis such as Ahrar al-Sham that usually fight in alliance with the al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra.

It is right to be sceptical of “tail-wags-the-dog” explanations in which big powers shift the blame for their more culpable actions to local allies. But it also true that one of the main reasons for the disastrous outcome of foreign interventions in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 is that they have been justified as actions against a much-demonised enemy and in favour of an over-praised, moderate, secular opposition which did not exist.

In Iraq in 2003, the US dissolved the Iraqi army; this is often recalled as a foolish and unnecessary act by the head of the US occupation, Paul Bremer, which had the disastrous consequence of alienating the Sunni officer class and promoting the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq. But I was in Baghdad at the time and, in reality, the dissolution of the army was being recommended to the Americans by the Kurdish and Shia leaders, representing 80 per cent of Iraqis, who rightly saw the Iraqi security forces as the most important institution through which the 20 per cent Sunni minority had traditionally held power. The Americans and allies such as the British were unwittingly presiding over a sectarian and ethnic revolution which was bound to have explosive consequences.

Skip forward 10 years to the poison gas attack in Damascus in August 2013, when the US and Britain almost intervened militarily against the Syrian government. In retrospect, this is recalled as the moment when a chance was lost to back a moderate armed opposition in overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad. In fact, the Syrian army controlled most of the populated parts of the country at the time, so any foreign air campaign would have had to be sustained along the same lines as Libya. And the outcome would have been similar to Libya as well, since Isis, al-Nusra and other jihadis already dominated the armed opposition and would have taken power.

Mr Obama evidently realised this at an early stage, and has shown understandable impatience at what became almost conventional wisdom among politicians and the media. He said in 2014 that the idea that there was ever a moderate opposition “in a position to suddenly overturn not only Assad but also ruthless, highly trained jihadists if we just sent a few arms is a fantasy. And I think it’s very important for the American people – but maybe more importantly, Washington and the press corps – to understand that.” It would be interesting to know if Mr Obama’s thoughts on David Cameron’s famous “70,000 moderate fighters”, whom Britain supports, are equally scathing.

The Syrian uprising or war has passed through three phases: a short period in 2011 when local forces determined what was happening in the country; 2012 to 2014 when regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran played a dominant role; and 2014 to 2016 when the conflict became internationalised. Three events marked the last period, in which the US and Russia became the decision-makers: the rise of Isis in 2014; the consequent start of the US air campaign; the beginning of the Russian air strikes a year later.

Americans and Russians are today crucial military players in Syria and it is becoming too late for Turkey and Saudi Arabia to buck the trend successfully, though this does not prove that they will not try to do so.

Who are the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK)?

February 20, 2016


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (Teyrebazen Azadiya Kurdistan – TAK) claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s suicide bombing in Ankara that killed 28 and wounding 61 others,  calling it a “War Of Taking Revenge.”

This was a revenge for Kurds killed and burned in Cizre by the fascist Erdogan and his gang,” the group said in a statement published online on Saturday.

The month-long Turkish military operations in the majority Kurdish town of Cizre in Turkey’s southeast ended on February 11. The Turkish military claimed their activities in the city were part of security operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Locals report at least 145 civilians were killed and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas accused Turkish authorities of committing a massacre there. The town remains under curfew.

Little is known about TAK. It appeared on the scene in mid-2004, carrying out small, non-lethal attacks at first. However they quickly, and deliberately, began targeting and killing civilians and tourists. It appears to have been founded within the the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and still claims Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned head of the PKK, as its leader though it severed ties with that organization, stating that they could no longer accept what they call the “passive struggle methods” of the PKK.

We will be in more radical position… After now, our attacks will continue and become more violently [sic]. We, as an organization are not connected with or dependent on any one or anywhere. Each militants [sic] of our force is ready to sacrifice his/her life for this struggle. We have the will and force to do all kind of action. Our military training and technical opportunities are adequacy [sic] for all kind of actions,” proclaimed an undated statement published on TAK’s website announcing its separation from the PKK.

TAK’s aim is to oppose Turkey’s repression of the Kurdish minority and to avenge the deaths of Kurds killed by Turkish authorities. “The military bureaucracy, economy and tourism are our top priority targets, while terror of state is not stopped [sic].”

TAK’s leadership and numbers are unknown but it claims on its website that its ranks have swelled three-fold and it is welcomed by the people.

In its statement released yesterday, TAK reiterated its commitment to targeting tourists, arguing that attacking the tourism industry damages Turkey economically and is therefore justified. Tourism accounts for approximately 10% of Turkey’s GDP.

Tourism is one of the most important sources feeding the dirty and special war, so it is a major target we aim to destroy,” TAK announced. “We warn the foreign and native tourists not [to] go to the touristic areas in Turkey. We are not responsible for who will die in the attacks targeting those areas. Turkey is not able (and will never be) to save you and tis [sic] own people.”

The PKK has renounced the use of terrorist tactics and Ocalan has committed to seeking a political resolution to the Kurdish issue. The PKK’s armed wing claims it limits its activities to confrontations with and attacks on the Turkish military and security forces. 

Americans Holding Favorable Views of Israel Decline 16%

Favorable U.S. views of Iran and the Palestinian Authority jump 42%

February 22, 2016

by Grant SMith


The percentage of Americans viewing Israel favorably has fallen to 59 percent. By contrast, nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) now view the Palestinian Authority favorably. Americans viewing Iran favorably also surged to a recent high of 16% of the adult population.

These are the results of three IRmep polls of the U.S. adult internet population fielded by Google Consumer Surveys February 19-20. The questions posed were, “What is your overall opinion of [country]?” Respondents could also fill in their own response. Most of these, representing up to 12.9% of the total responses, offered no opinion.

The IRmep survey methodology differs from the popular Gallup World Affairs Survey methodology. Gallup conducts a serial telephone survey with multiple questions per respondent. Gallup’s last publicly available data is from a February 8-11, 2015 survey of 837 adults with a 4% margin of error. IRmep’s Google Consumer Survey margin of error on three questions fielded separately ranged from only 1.5% to 2.3% with a sample size target of 1029 national adults. Nevertheless, comparing historical Gallup data (2001-2015) with new IRmep poll numbers (2016 only) asking the same question reveals a stunning turn in U.S. public opinion.

American public opinion of Israel (survey results) has not been this low since 2004, a year Israel conducted three separate military operations against Palestinians living in Gaza. Gallup’s February 2015 poll captured a small year-on-year decline at the onset of Israel’s final attempt to thwart the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran. Negative headlines and reports subsequently filled U.S airwaves with news of the Netanyahu administration’s many efforts against the deal. According to reports, Israel even spied on U.S.-Iran negotiations and then leaked details to Israel affinity organization leaders working against it in the United States.

Israeli government officials also secretly contacted and lobbied undecided U.S. lawmakers asking, “What it would take to win their votes.” However, Israel was fighting an international deal immensely popular with the general American public and key interest group segments. Pro-Israel organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations sided with the Netanyahu administration – and against the preferences of many Americans they claim to represent – which may have also damaged their images along with Israel’s. The deal passed in mid-July of 2015.

Meanwhile, Iran has seen its favorability rankings surge 42%. (Survey results) The restoration of normal business and financial ties with much of the world appears to be viewed favorably by some Americans. This may result from a decline in media and interest group-generated information about the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon – which most Western intelligence agencies say does not exist. In late 2014, 58.5% of Americans mistakenly believed Iran already had nuclear weapons. (Survey results) The quick resolution of an incident in January during which Iran captured then quickly released two U.S. Navy patrol boats and their crewmembers and release of other American captives, such as Washington Post reporter Janson Rezaian, may have bumped Iran’s favorability rankings to this high.

The Palestinian Authority’s rise from 17 to 24 percent favorability among Americans accompanied the running of that nation’s banner up a flagpole in front of the United Nations headquarters. (Survey results) Overall, Palestine received improving news media coverage of its history and unpleasant narratives of life under Israeli occupation, as well as some positive coverage of its peaceful civil society efforts to highlight the situation – such as the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Scotland would seek independence referendum if Britain votes to leave EU: Sturgeon

February 20,2016

by Ana Nicolaci Da Costa


If Britain votes in a June referendum to leave the European Union against the wishes of Scotland then pressure would rise for a second independence referendum, the nationalist leader of Scotland said on Saturday.

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party and of Scotland’s devolved government, said she supports staying in the EU, and polls show that a majority of the 5 million Scots would also back that view.

However, the Scottish vote is dwarfed by that of England which has 53 million and represents about 84 percent of the population of the United Kingdom.

“Across the UK the polls suggest this campaign is on a knife-edge and that’s why I think it’s important for the in-campaign to be positive,” Sturgeon said.

“If we get into the situation, where Scotland votes to stay in, the rest of the UK votes to come out, then people in Scotland will have big questions they will want to look at again about whether Scotland should be independent.”

Scots rejected independence by 55-45 percent in a vote in 2014 but since then the SNP has gained further strength, taking 56 of the 59 seats representing Scotland in the national parliament in London in last May’s election.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday called a June 23 referendum on membership of the EU after securing a deal from other EU leaders.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond said he did not rate the EU deal that Cameron had secured.

If “we were dragged out against our will by the votes of a much larger English (electorate), then the pressure for another independence referendum in Scotland would be irresistible and I think very rapid,” Salmond said.

(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

German and French foreign ministers urge Ukraine to push reform program

The foreign ministers of France and Germany have urged Ukraine to continue its program of reforms and to fight against corruption. The ministers are making a joint trip to Kyiv ahead of talks with Russia next week.

February 22, 2016


French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault flew in to Berlin to review foreign affairs with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before the two men set off for Kyiv on Monday.

Fluent German-speaker Ayrault was only appointed to the Foreign Ministry earlier this month after Laurent Fabius was named as head of France’s Constitutional Council, the body which ensures laws comply with the constitution. The 66-year-old Ayrault served as French prime minister from 2012 to 2014 but has never served in a diplomatic role.

In Berlin, Ayrault hailed Germany’s “courage” in opening its borders to refugees, saying “The German people are acting with a courage that invites respect.”

He added that both Paris and Berlin wished to “improve the control of refugees and stop irregular migrants.” France plans to accept 30,000 refugees, while Germany took in more than a million last year.

Joint approach toward Ukraine

Berlin and Paris have led efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine that has claimed more than 9,000 lives in fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government troops in the east of the country. But the Minsk II peace plan signed last year expired at the end of 2015 with few of its provisions met.

A high-ranking Ukrainian diplomat told the AFP news agency that the visit represented “a very serious signal that France will continue being an active player in attempts to find a settlement” to Kyiv’s 22-month conflict with pro-Russian rebels.

On their arrival in Kyiv on Monday evening, Steinmeier and Ayrault met with representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors a ceasefire agreement in the east of Ukraine, according to the German Foreign Ministry.

The French Foreign Ministry called the visit to Ukraine by Steinmeier and Ayrault “an opportunity to take stock with the Ukrainian authorities on the progress of reforms and the implementation of the Minsk accord.”

“In return for our solidarity and support, we rely on the affirmation of political powers in Ukraine to continue the course of reforms,” Ayrault and Steinmeier wrote in a statement published in Monday’s edition of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.”

The ministers said Ukraine was in urgent need of reforms and called on politicians to “remain true to the spirit of Maidan.” The second anniversary of the protests directed at the former pro-Russian regime was marked with a number of commemorations over the weekend.

Ukraine’s pro-Western coalition lost its legislative majority in parliament last week.

“A return on the road to reform is important,” Steinmeier told a joint press conference with Ayrault before their departure for Kyiv on Monday.

“We come to Ukraine in the midst of a political crisis,” said Ayrault, but added: “We will support Ukraine.”

The two ministers are due to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on Tuesday before departing later in the day.

Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia are due to meet in Paris next week for talks intended to revive the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

Emails Show Hillary Clinton Aides Celebrating F-15 Sales to Saudi Arabia: “Good News”

February 22, 2016

by Lee Fang

The Intercept

The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen has been led by American-made F-15 jet fighters.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers from the air has prompted human rights organizations to claim that some Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes. At least 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the United Nations — mostly by airstrikes. The strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

The planes, made by Boeing, have been implicated in the bombing of three facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières). The U.N. Secretary General has decried “intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the chamber of commerce, a wedding hall, and a center for the blind,” and has warned that reports of cluster bombs being used in populated areas “may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature.”

Bombs dropped by fighter jets are pulverizing Yemen’s architectural history, possibly in violation of international humanitarian law.

A few years earlier, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made weapons transfer to the Saudi government a “top priority,” according to her closest military aide.

And now, newly released emails show that her aides kept her well-informed of the approval process for a $29.4 billion sale in 2011 of up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighters, manufactured by Boeing, along with upgrades to the pre-existing Saudi fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft and munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics.

The deal was finalized on Christmas Eve 2011. Afterward, Jake Sullivan, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and now a senior policy adviser on her presidential campaign, sent her a celebratory email string topped with the chipper message: “FYI — good news.”

The email string was part of a new batch of emails from Clinton’s private server, made public on Friday evening as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

One American official, whose name is redacted in the emails, said he had just received confirmation that Prince Salman, now the king of Saudi Arabia but at the time the senior Saudi liaison approving the weapons deal, had “signed the F-15SA LOA today” and would send scanned documents the following day.

Not a bad Christmas present,” he added.

Another official, whose name is also redacted, confirmed that a Saudi general who had been working with U.S. officials was “pleased, as are all of us,” and said he would soon contact executives at Boeing.

The congratulatory tone continues through the email chain with other officials, also with redacted names, calling the weapons deal “Great news!”

On December 26, Jeremy Bash, then-chief of staff at the Pentagon, sent the email string, titled “F-15SA Christmas Present,” to Sullivan, who sent it to Clinton with his own note at the top.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez have previously reported for the International Business Times that Clinton’s State Department was heavily involved in approving weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. As weapons transfers were being approved, both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Boeing made donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Post revealed that a Boeing lobbyist helped with fundraising in the early stages of Hillary Clinton’s current presidential campaign.

Jeremy Bash is now managing partner at Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm that provides advice to Clinton on foreign policy while providing paid advice to the military contracting industry.


Our new President and his Wife, Doris

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