TBR News February 25, 2016

Feb 25 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 25, 2016:”It is amusing to watch the reporting by much of the media about the progress of Donald Trump. The more left-wing the media is, the more they try to inform their viewers that Trump really is a huge failure and that no one will vote for him. And when he wins, there has been muted, grumpy, silence and more gushing for the left-wing candidates. What both the media and the left wing do not realize is that the American public is sick to death of the muddle-headed twits that are running the country. They are tired of corruption and incompetence and Trump is resonating with his forceful views. And what you see with Mr.Trump is just excactly what you get. Not so with the other, very predictable candidates. The UK Guardian, a decent entity but left of center, acts as if the Lord Satan, lashing tail and all, is poised to poison all the North American continent! In the end, it is the public that always determines and the fringe groups and their spokesmen who lose.”

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. 18

Date: Wednesday, June 26, 1996

Commenced: 11:15 AM CST

Concluded: 11:40 AM CST

RTC: I did some digging in the archives, through the kindness of a friend, and dug up the story about your Vancouver caper. The Vancouver Sun had a running account of it. My God, what an uproar you caused! Mounties here and there, mass arrests, utter Christmas chaos in the shops. Wherever did you come up with such an idea, Gregory? GD: From the German Operation Bernhard, Robert. They counterfeited the British pound note, destroyed its value, made millions in the process and did a good deal to bankrupt Britain after the war. The confidence in the almighty pound was gone. I figured that if the Canadians could gleefully steal all my money, I could teach them all a lesson in manners.

RTC: You surely did that. How much did you get out of it? GD: Nothing. No, I take that back. They stole four dollars and ten cents from me and I got four dollars and ten cents back. I didn’t do it to make money, Robert. I did it to teach them a lesson and I think I succeeded. Besides, I got my money back.

RTC: It cost the Canucks millions.

GD: So what? I never counterfeited the money and I never took a penny from the money. All I did was to walk around Vancouver at the height of the Christmas season, scattering money here and there. So much in the Sally Ann pots, so much for the Hare Krishna people, so much in public lavatories, telephone booths, retail stores and finally, in a wild orgy of joy, scattering the money out of the back of a friend’s van all over the town. And on a windy night at that. Twenties all over like leaves in early autumn. Oh my and the next day, small children, finding the money, rushed to candy or comic book stores and were promptly arrested. Hysteria reigned. And what was left over from my charitable scatterings was tossed by myself off the roof of my downtown hotel, late at night and in a good wind coming up Granville Street from the water. Oh yes, I did have my fun. I got to visit all my Canadian friends, treat them all to wonderful dinners in return for all the dinners they gave me and give them the pure Christmas tide joy of tossing tens of thousands of dollars worth of fake Canadian money all over town. Yes, it was entertaining and instructive.

RTC: Instructive?

GD: To see the growing hysteria on the television and to hear the constant hooting of police sirens as another 90 year old grandmother was dragged off to the cooler because she found a stack of my little children in a phone booth and was using them to buy Christmas presents. Lawyers were frantic, families hysterical, the police completely beyond their depth and Ottawa in a frenzy. They said it was the biggest counterfeiting ring in Canadian history and the press was split between deciding whether Chinese drug dealers or the Mafia were responsible.  But there was even more fun later on.

RTC: You were caught.

GD: For a time, but I got out from under it. But the thing I do remember the best and savor on cold winter nights when I have no money, and naturally, no friends, is the thought of my dear friends in the Secret Service.

RTC: Now, given what you did, I can’t imagine you could call them that. They certainly couldn’t say that about you.

GD: No, I suppose not. You see, I was working on a new book down at the same print shop that had turned out the Canadian money in the first place. The owner, as I found out, was a convicted child molester named Temple. He did call himself Church from time to time but that is neither here nor there. Poor Temple had a loose mouth and bragged to some black fellow he was trying to impress and that one ran to the Feds. So one day, when I came in to work on the light table, I was introduced to two creatures known as Bob and Joe. They were introduced to me as members of the Mafia. How entertaining, Robert. I know Mafiosa and they are all Sicilians, not strange people that looked like they escaped from Arkansas. Mafia my ass. Anyway, one had a wire that a blind man would have seen, a box under his shirt. And as subtle as a fart in a bathtub. I remember one of them getting me off to one side and asking me about the joys of counterfeiting. Of course I made both of them in about thirty seconds but did enjoy myself. I told Bobby, off the record, that I had a friend working at Treasury who stole bearer bonds and flogged them to me at pennies apiece.

RTC: Jesus…

GD: Ah, yes, and his eyes bugged and his tongue hung out. What did I do with them? Bobby asked me. Did I keep them at home? Oh no, I told him with a wink. I sold them. To whom he wanted to know. To the KGB people who used them to finance their North American spy rings.

RTC: Merciful Christ, Gregory. You did that? You aren’t pulling my leg? GD: No, I was pulling his. I also told him I was selling the bonds to a major criminal family in London, the Minge family.

RTC: Never heard of them.

GD: Oh they do exist, or the name is well known to the London people. So later, I learned from my lawyer, the Secret Service got ahold of their representative at the London Embassy and had him ask Scotland Yard about this. As I understand  it, that one told some official that his people were interested in London Minges. The official responded by saying ‘What do think I am? A bloody pimp?’ You see, a ‘minge’ is Cockney for a woman’s delicate parts. Also used to denote streetwalkers.

RTC: (Loud and prolonged laughter) You’ll be the death of me with your chronicles, Gregory.

GD: Well, it took a while to find out about this but when the Federal courthouse people heard about it, it made for many days of merriment. The Secret Service was not entertained. I often wondered what would have happened if the Brits rounded up some old hookers and sent them to the Embassy? Little boys would have been more effective. You know about the State Department people. They weren’t happy but later, after I dissed the charges, the Canadians tried to lure me back to Canada to put me away for centuries. You see, Robert, I told my lawyer that if I was extradited to Canada, I would tell my friends on the Sun that I was actually working for the CIA who were the sponsors of the Quebec Libré movement and gave them plastique explosive. Of course your Canada Desk actually did support the terrorists and I had chapter and verse on this. So I was not deported and let go.

RTC: Gregory, that was very nasty of you. Of course it was true. Where did you find out about that one? GD: A former girlfriend told me. She was pissed off at the Agency and I am a very good listener. It saved my ass, Robert. But to get back to the story. They tried to lure me back so I told them they could meet with me at the San Francisco airport and that I could give them the plates for the money which, I might tell you, they never found. So I read in the paper that Nixon was expected in ‘Frisco and I told my new friends from Vancouver that they could just fly down and meet me. I picked the day Richard was flying in and by God, sir, they did come down. In a private plane with, as I was told, restraints on board. My, my what were they going to use these for? Anyway, I called up the airport Hilton and made reservations in the name of Harry Brunser. Just for accuracy, Robert, a Brunser is San Francisco street slang for an anus.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: Yes, and I got the desk clerk to assign me a room number. I passed this to the Canadians and in due time, they came down in a private plane, drove up to the hotel in a rented car and all went inside. Of course before this happened, I called up the Secret Service and told them French Canadian terrorists were going to fly into San Francisco and shoot Nixon. I said they would be staying at the Hilton under the name of Brunser. I hate to miss good entertainment so I was sitting in the hotel parking lot, wearing a rabat…

RTC: A what? GD: A rabat. Catholic priests wear them. A priest’s collar and bib. I always wear it with a black suit and rimless glasses. Anyway, up drives the car and into the lobby go my new friends. About two minutes later, after they have mentioned the key word to the primed desk man, two vans full of men in flak vests rushed into the lobby.

RTC: Oh merciful Jesus, if I didn’t know you better….how terrible. But funny.

GD: Yes. The Canadians were all dragged out, yelling and shouting, except for one who put up a fight and pulled a gun. They had him by the arms and legs because he couldn’t walk anymore. And what, they were asked later, were they doing with automatic weapons? And handcuffs? They eventually were allowed to go back to Canada after their plane was put back together and I got a call from my lawyer, a few days later, who indicated that such pranks were not appreciated and a repetition of them might not be nice for me. He did laugh, however. I understand the judge in my case laughed too. He called me the Professor Moriarty of Northern California.



(Concluded at 11:40 AM CST)

Increased flooding in US coastal cities caused by climate change, study says

Climate Central sounds ‘warning bells’ of human impact on rising sea levels with report that coastal flooding days have more than doubled in US since 1980s

February 23, 2016

by Oliver Milman

The Guardian

Rising sea levels are putting increasing pressure on US coastal cities, with a new analysis showing that human-driven climate change is to blame for three-quarters of the coastal flooding events over the past decade.

The Climate Central research shows that coastal flooding days have more than doubled in the US since the 1980s, the primary drivers of which have been the warming of the atmosphere and oceans. The findings are based on a separate study, released on Monday, that found the Earth’s seas are rising at a pace unseen in the past 2,800 years.

Between 2005 and 2014, a gauge at Kings Point in New York showed there were 157 days where the water reached above an established “nuisance” level – double the total of the previous decade. A total of 96 of these flooding events are attributed to changes in the climate.

In Washington DC, a total of 522 human-induced flooding days have occurred since 1950, with just 336 deemed to have occurred regardless of the changes in our climate. In San Francisco, the number of human-caused flooding events is almost three times above the unaltered trend while Charleston in South Carolina endured 219 flooding days between 2005 and 2014, with the vast majority climate change-driven.

The analysis compares the latest yearly estimates for human-caused global sea level rise with hourly water level records at 27 tide gauges around the US, to see the influence of climate change on nuisance flooding. The world’s oceans are estimated to have risen by an average of six inches compared with the 19th century, spurred by melting land ice and the thermal expansion of seawater.

The results show that flooding events are being severely exacerbated by climate change, primarily in the upping of high tide marks. With even just a small increase in the high tide level, flooding can inundate areas, resulting in roads being cut off or houses and businesses becoming swamped.

Across all the tidal gauges, climate change was responsible for three-quarters of these flooding events over the past decade. The US’s east coast is experiencing sea level increases above the global average, possibly due to a change in the Gulf stream that is causing warmer water to pile up along the Atlantic seaboard.

This human fingerprint on flooding is already interfering with people’s lives and local economies, as well as degrading local infrastructure,” said Dr Ben Strauss, who led the analysis. “We aren’t talking about buildings getting knocked over, but there are real effects to people’s lives.

There has been a sharp spike in flood rates over the past few decades, driven by us. This is only going to continue to accelerate and we will see more dramatic impacts in the coming decades. We can take adaptive measures but eventually a lot of land will be submerged. These flooding events are the warning bells.”

Barrier islands, which are long offshore deposits of sediment or sand found in places such as New Jersey and North Carolina, will bear the brunt of the continued sea level increases. Miami Beach, which is re-engineering its flood controls to deal with regular inundations, is considered particularly vulnerable.

In the long run some places will have to be abandoned, but in the short term it’s not clear,” said Strauss. “It will all depend on how we plan. The better we plan for this, the better our chances will be.”

The study released on Monday, compiled by an international team of scientists, found that if greenhouse gas pollution continues at its current pace, the sea level will rise by a further 57cm to 131cm. If countries fulfil the treaty agreed upon last year in Paris and limit further warming to another 2C, sea level rise would be in the 28 to 56cm range.

Trump’s third straight win has rivals looking for answershird February 24, 2016

by James Oliphant and Megan Cassella


WASHINGTON – Businessman Donald Trump inched closer to the U.S. Republican presidential nomination after easily outdistancing his rivals in the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday, giving him his third win in four early nominating contests.

Trump won Nevada by a margin of 22 percentage points, garnering 45.9 percent of the vote, the state Republican Party said after 100 percent of all precincts reported results. That gave him at least 12 of the 30 delegates at stake, which would bring his total to at least 79 before February ends, according to the Associated Press.

While more than 1,200 are needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Trump has built a formidable head start over his main rivals, U.S. senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Rubio eked out another second-place showing with 23.9 percent of the vote, and Cruz again came in a close third with 21.4 percent. Each gained at least five delegates, the AP reported.

Finishing at the bottom of the heap were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 4.8 percent of the vote and Ohio Governor John Kasich with 3.6 percent.

Broadcast networks called Nevada for Trump almost immediately after voting ended, with the state Republican Party confirming the victory soon afterward.


Trump’s decisive win is likely to further frustrate Republican establishment figures who, less than a month ago, were hoping that the outspoken billionaire’s insurgent candidacy was stalled after he lost the opening nominating contest in Iowa to Cruz.

But since then, Trump has tallied wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina and now Nevada, with a suite of southern states ahead on March 1, so-called Super Tuesday.

If you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much, and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country,” Trump said at a victory rally in Las Vegas.

Polls suggest Trump will do well in many of those Super Tuesday states, placing further pressure on Cruz and Rubio, as well as Carson and Kasich, who were not factors in Nevada.

These guys have to figure out how to turn their fire on Trump,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington. Absent that, he said: “Which one is going to get out of this field?”


In the run-up to Nevada, most of Trump’s rivals left him alone, preferring to tussle with each other to try to be the last surviving challenger to the front-runner.

Not long after Trump’s win was certified in Nevada, Cruz’s campaign released a statement criticizing Rubio for not winning the state. It did not mention Trump at all.

Rubio, who has emerged as the Republican establishment’s favorite to derail Trump’s progress, can take some solace in finishing second. But that also has to be viewed as somewhat of a setback considering that he had frequently campaigned in Nevada, having lived there for years as a child. A Cuban-American, he had attempted to rally the support of the state’s large Latino population.

Rubio had also benefited from Saturday’s departure of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush from the race. That brought an influx of new funds, a bevy of endorsements and a wealth of media attention. But none of it was enough to overtake Trump.

Meanwhile, Cruz has been facing mounting questions about the viability of his campaign since he won in Iowa. Trump has made serious inroads among his core base of conservative supporters, draining anti-government hardliners and evangelicals.

Cruz targeted Nevada’s fierce libertarian wing, appealing directly to those who supported local rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed protest against the federal government in 2014 and a more recent one that Bundy’s sons staged at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. But that, too, was not enough.

The upcoming March 1 primary in Cruz’s home state of Texas is looming as a make-or-break moment for him. Aiding his cause, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott endorsed Cruz in a video that appeared on Wednesday, CNN reported.

Despite early reports on social media of procedural irregularities at many Nevada caucus sites, the Republican National Committee and the party’s state chapter said voting ran smoothly. Higher-than-normal turnout was reported, although historically, few of the state’s citizens take part.

Nevada’s contest had been viewed as a test of whether Trump had organizational might to match his star power. Unlike in primaries, caucus results depend more on a campaign’s success in motivating supporters to participate. Trump’s failure to do that in Iowa was viewed as contributing to his defeat there.

(Reporting by Megan Cassella, James Oliphant, Alana Wise and Eric Walsh; Written by James Oliphant; Editing by Paul Tait, Michael Perry and Lisa Von Ahn)

This article was funded in part by SAP. It was independently created by the Reuters editorial staff. SAP had no editorial involvement in its creation or production.

The Atlantis-style myths that turned out to be true

Local legends often tell of cities or islands that have been lost to the waves. Nowadays we are sceptical of these tales, but some of them really happened

January 19, 2016

by Jane Palmer


In one cataclysmic night, the gods sent a battalion of fire and earthquakes so intense that the Utopian kingdom of Atlantis sank deep into the ocean, never to be found again.

So tells Plato’s infamous myth, which has captivated audiences for more than 2,300 years. Many people have subsequently floated theories about exactly where Atlantis was: in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Spain, even under Antarctica. A popular idea is that the Atlantis myth is associated with the fate of Thera, now the Greek island of Santorini, which was partly destroyed by a volcanic eruption about 3,600 years ago. But many, if not most, scientists think we will never tie Atlantis to a real location.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the story of Atlantis is a myth,” says Patrick Nunn, a geologist at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

But Atlantis is not the only legend of a sunken city. Similar tales are told around the world, and it now seems that some of them are true.

Plato was living in a volcanically and tectonically active part of the world where massive earthquakes and tsunamis were not usual.

“He observed what was going on and he used details from these observations to make his narrative about Atlantis sound more credible,” says Nunn. “But, I think, there’s no way that we could consider Atlantis as a particular place.”

Despite Nunn’s scepticism about this ill-fated kingdom, he is one of a growing band of geologists who have begun to take an interest in similar myths in the belief that some really can shed light on ancient geological events.

In 1966, the scientist Dorothy Vitaliano coined a name for the discipline: geomythology. It is, she said, the science of “seeking to find the real geological event underlying a myth or legend to which it has given rise”.

“Myths are largely event-based, in that they are triggered to a large part by an event, or combination of events, that catastrophically impact society,” says Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist, who co-edited a volume on the subject. “Then these myths provide a window upon those events that can be recovered, retrieved and even dated.”

A close inspection of such “geomyths” has revealed valuable information – a date for the most recent eruption of the volcano Nabukelevu in Fiji, for example.

And scientists have no shortage of myths, or geological events, to ponder: stories of volcanoes and earthquakes abound, as do tales of catastrophic floods and lands submerged under the sea.

When Nunn heard the story of another lost island, Teonimanu in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific, he was instantly intrigued. “It was high land, it wasn’t a low atoll or reef island just made of sand that could be easily washed away,” Nunn says. “It was a substantial island that disappeared

The tale tells of the cuckolded husband Roraimenu, whose wife Sauwete’au went to live with another man on the island of Teonimanu. An enraged Roraimenu purchased a wave curse to seek his revenge and travelled to the island of Teonimanu, with four waves attached to the front of his canoe, and four on the rear.

Once ashore, he planted two taro plants, kept another and beat a hasty retreat to his own island of Ali’ite. The curse stated that when the leaves sprouted on his taro plant, the onslaught would start. On that day, Roraimenu watched from a mountaintop as the eight waves surged on Teonimanu, one by one, until it sank, never to be seen again.

Nunn interprets the waves in the story as a description of a tsunami train – many tsunamis consist of a series of waves. “But of course, waves can’t wash away islands, particularly islands that are high and volcanic,” Nunn says.

It was actually a sea-floor earthquake that geologists believe took the island, which had always teetered on the edge of a steep, undersea slope. Once the tremors shook the foundations, a large landslide carried Teonimanu underwater, which likely generated a tsunami train in the process.

For the people that survived, and lived to tell, and retell, the tale, the waves and the island’s destruction are inextricably linked. “So you actually get the island subsiding, or sinking, abruptly at the same time as the waves are generated,” Nunn says. “For an uninformed observer, of course, it’s logical to connect the two.”

Nunn had encountered similar myths, but he had interpreted them as descriptions of lost populations of people who had lived on the islands – not the literal loss of the islands themselves.

In fact, there is still some scientific scepticism about the ability of entire islands to slip beneath the sea in the way that Nunn thinks Teonimanu did. But Nunn points out that the volume of material in an island such as Teonimanu is still a lot less than the amount that moves in large terrestrial landslides.

What’s more, surveys conducted of the sea floor in the region have revealed submerged debris that could be evidence of the loss of a number of islands, with older islands further down the slope. “This made it clear to me that entire islands could disappear,” Nunn says.

No less dramatic are ancient stories of coastal cities being lost to the waves. Several are described in ancient Sanskrit texts, including the Mahabharata, a 4000-year-old poem that has the honour of being the longest epic narrative in world literature. The Mahabharata and another Sanskrit epic – the Ramayana – were originally written on palm leaves.

A tale in the Mahabharata tells how Lord Krishna, following a battle victory, decided to leave the city of Dwaraka for his heavenly abode. The Arabian Sea then submerged it. Although long believed to be no more than a mythical kingdom, a 1963 archaeological investigation discovered Dwaraka intact, under the sea, on India’s Saurashtra coast.

Similar stories exist about the city of Poompuhar and ancient ruins at the city of Mahabalipuram. Both are also now known also to have existed: the Mahabalipuram ruins “reappeared” after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. “When you look at these places, they’re all saying the same thing,” Nunn says. “That large waves came on land and washed away the places that people were living in.”

But Nunn believes that tsunamis alone don’t account for the submergence and subsequent abandonment of such cities.

Instead he believes that the steady creep of post-glacial sea level rise slowly claimed the coastal lands and the tsunamis merely finished off the job.

“If the sea level is rising, and you have these kinds of extreme waves superimposed on a rising sea level, then clearly one day those waves are going to have an effect that they wouldn’t have if the sea level wasn’t rising,” he says.

But tales about these less glamorous, tortoise-paced inundations are few and far between. “We humans like disaster stories but adapting to gradual change doesn’t sell so well,” says Martin Bates, a geoarchaeologist at University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

That is, unless you are an Aborigine living on the coast of Australia.

Around 20,000 years ago, at the coldest time of the last ice age, the sea level was about 120 metres below its present level.

But as temperatures rose, huge masses of ice started to melt and pour waters into the world’s oceans. During the next 13,000 years, sea levels gradually rose to reach their current levels.

“We think Australia was abuzz with talk about this as it would have been a major concern,” says Nicholas Reid, a linguist at the University of New England in Australia.

Aboriginal societies have probably existed in Australia for around 65,000 years, isolated until the European colonisation in 1788. Australia was undoubtedly a hard environment to live in, and survival through the generations depended on passing down information about food, the landscape and the climate from one generation to another.

Reid teamed up with Nunn, and between them they searched through documented Aboriginal Australian stories for tales describing times when sea levels were lower than today, or rising. They found 21 such stories from different locations around the Australian coast describing landscapes that had become submerged, never to re-emerge.

In regions of Australia where the coastal land had a low topography, even a small rise in sea level would have claimed large chunks of land relatively quickly.

“People must have been aware that every year the sea was on the rise,” Reid says. “And they must have had stories from their fathers and grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, that the sea used to be out even further.”

Some of these stories are pragmatic descriptions of a time when sea levels were lower, such as memories of the loss of kangaroo hunting grounds around Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne.

Others are more figurative. In one such story an ancestral character, Ngurunderi, chased his wives who attempted to flee to Kangaroo Island on foot. In his anger, Ngurunderi summoned the seas to rise, separating the island from the mainland and turning the women into rocks that now jut out of the water.

New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America

David Keys

February 28, 2012

The Independent

New archaeological evidence suggests that America was first discovered by Stone Age people from Europe – 10,000 years before the Siberian-originating ancestors of the American Indians set foot in the New World.

A remarkable series of several dozen European-style stone tools, dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, have been discovered at six locations along the US east coast. Three of the sites are on the Delmarva Peninsular in Maryland, discovered by archaeologist Dr Darrin Lowery of the University of Delaware. One is in Pennsylvania and another in Virginia. A sixth was discovered by scallop-dredging fishermen on the seabed 60 miles from the Virginian coast on what, in prehistoric times, would have been dry land.

The new discoveries are among the most important archaeological breakthroughs for several decades – and are set to add substantially to our understanding of humanity’s spread around the globe.

The similarity between other later east coast US and European Stone Age stone tool technologies has been noted before. But all the US European-style tools, unearthed before the discovery or dating of the recently found or dated US east coast sites, were from around 15,000 years ago – long after Stone Age Europeans (the Solutrean cultures of France and Iberia) had ceased making such artefacts. Most archaeologists had therefore rejected any possibility of a connection. But the newly-discovered and recently-dated early Maryland and other US east coast Stone Age tools are from between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago – and are therefore contemporary with the virtually identical western European material.

What’s more, chemical analysis carried out last year on a European-style stone knife found in Virginia back in 1971 revealed that it was made of French-originating flint.

Professor Dennis Stanford, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and Professor Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter, the two leading archaeologists who have analysed all the evidence, are proposing that Stone Age people from Western Europe migrated to North America at the height of the Ice Age by travelling (over the ice surface and/or by boat) along the edge of the frozen northern part of the Atlantic. They are presenting their detailed evidence in a new book – Across Atlantic Ice – published this month.

At the peak of the Ice Age, around three million square miles of the North Atlantic was covered in thick ice for all or part of the year.

However, the seasonally shifting zone where the ice ended and the open ocean began would have been extremely rich in food resources – migrating seals, sea birds, fish and the now-extinct northern hemisphere penguin-like species, the great auk.

Stanford and Bradley have long argued that Stone Age humans were quite capable of making the 1500 mile journey across the Atlantic ice – but till now there was comparatively little evidence to support their thinking.

But the new Maryland, Virginia and other US east coast material, and the chemical tests on the Virginian flint knife, have begun to transform the situation. Now archaeologists are starting to investigate half a dozen new sites in Tennessee, Maryland and even Texas – and these locations are expected to produce more evidence.

Another key argument for Stanford and Bradley’s proposal is the complete absence of any human activity in north-east Siberia and Alaska prior to around 15,500 years ago. If the Maryland and other east coast people of 26,000 to 19,000 years ago had come from Asia, not Europe, early material, dating from before 19,000 years ago, should have turned up in those two northern areas, but none have been found.

Although Solutrean Europeans may well have been the first Americans, they had a major disadvantage compared to the Asian-originating Indians who entered the New World via the Bering Straits or along the Aleutian Islands chain after 15,500 years ago.

Whereas the Solutreans had only had a 4500 year long ‘Ice Age’ window to carry out their migratory activity, the Asian-originating Indians had some 15,000 years to do it. What’s more, the latter two-thirds of that 15 millennia long period was climatologically much more favourable and substantially larger numbers of Asians were therefore able to migrate.

As a result of these factors the Solutrean (European originating) Native Americans were either partly absorbed by the newcomers or were substantially obliterated by them either physically or through competition for resources.

Some genetic markers for Stone Age western Europeans simply don’t exist in north- east Asia – but they do in tiny quantities among some north American Indian groups. Scientific tests on ancient DNA extracted from 8000 year old skeletons from Florida have revealed a high level of a  key probable European-originating genetic marker. There are also a tiny number of  isolated Native American groups whose languages appear not to be related in any way to Asian-originating American  Indian peoples.

But the greatest amount of evidence is likely to come from under the ocean – for most of the areas where the Solutreans would have stepped off the Ice onto dry land are now up to 100 miles out to sea.

The one underwater site that has been identified – thanks to the scallop dredgers – is set to be examined in greater detail this summer – either by extreme-depth divers or by remotely operated mini submarines equipped with cameras and grab arms.

By connecting each story with the specific geological event it describes, the researchers believe they could date some of the narratives as between 7,000 and 10,000 years old.

“If you are talking about 10,000 years you are really talking about 300 to 400 generations,” Reid says. “The idea that you can transmit anything over 400 generations is extraordinary.”

Scientists have previously thought that the accuracy of such stories could not persist for much more than 800 years without being written down. But Reid believes a key feature of Indigenous storytelling culture – a “cross-generational cross-checking” process – could explain the stories endurance through the millennia.

In this process, a father will pass down the story to his children – and their nephews and nieces are responsible for ensuring the children know those stories correctly.

“This mechanism constitutes a scaffolding across generations that makes the replication of story telling with high degrees of accuracy possible,” Reid says.

The researchers believe that the sheer isolation of Australia may also have played into the stories’ ability to survive intact. In terms of the movement of people Australia has been a stable continent, and there have been no invading armies.

“These stories do describe a time when the sea came up, inundated the continental shelf so that people lost land that they had previously lived on,” Reid says. “These stories are the responses to that and they are still being told in 2015.”

But whether stories that have endured for 7,000 years or more will continue to be told is an issue that concerns Nunn.

In aboriginal and Pacific Island communities, some members of the younger generation are not learning their native languages and they are less interested in cultural traditions.

“They prefer downloading a new ringtone, or something similar, to listening to their grandparents’ stories that don’t sound credible anyway,” Nunn says. “What I fear is that if we don’t collect these narratives in the next 20 years or so, then they will completely disappear.”

That cell phones can arrest the spread of stories that have stood for millennia is rather galling, and for geomythologists it could mean the irretrievable loss of vital information.

It might also have a detrimental impact on island and coastal communities, because Nunn believes that cultural myths relating to sea level rise could help galvanise local participation in adaptation strategies to current climate change. Sea level rise myths might even contain clues about the kinds of adaptations that could help coastal communities.

Perhaps, most importantly of all, myths can provide a form of validation for geological events that simply cannot be confirmed by current scientific methods.

“As geoscientists, we look back into the past and infer that things happened but we can’t prove that they happened,” Nunn says. “But if someone says, ‘I saw this happen and this is how it happened’, that’s incredible. It’s the best corroboration that you can get.”

Extinction of Neanderthals Was Not a Climate Disaster Scenario

New Research Reveals That Abrupt Climate Change Was Not the Primary Cause of Species Disappearance

For the past few decades, scientists have offered several competing theories for what led to the extinction of the Neanderthals, with much of the debate focusing on the relative roles of climate change versus conflict with modern humans. Now one theory can be ruled out.
New research by a multidisciplinary, international team—including paleoclimatologist Konrad Hughen of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution—shows that Neanderthals did not die out at a time of extreme and sudden climatic change, as some researchers have suggested.

Comparing the dates of the final Neanderthal occupation of Gorham’s Cave on Gibraltar with paleo-climatological records drawn from Greenland ice cores and from Atlantic seafloor sediments, Hughen and colleagues concluded that two proposed dates (roughly 28,000 and 32,000 years ago) both fall within climate intervals that were not particularly cold or otherwise severe.

Specifically, the proposed dates do not coincide with what scientists know as “Heinrich Events,” when vast quantities of icebergs spilled into the North Atlantic, blanketed it with fresh water, and disturbed oceanic and atmospheric circulation to cause abrupt climate changes.

Another more controversial proposal suggests that the last Neanderthals may have died out as recently as 24,000 years ago. If that timeline is true, it did coincide with a period of major climate shifting, but the changes were much more gradual and incremental, possibly allowing them to adapt and migrate as they had done before.

The younger date “would imply a greater role of climate in Neanderthal extinction, not necessarily directly but perhaps in the form of climate-driven intensified competition as a result of increased southward human migration from higher latitudes,” the scientists wrote.

Although scientists have been expanding the records of past climate, correlating them with anthropological and archaeological findings has often been difficult. Tzedakis noted that “there are three main limitations to understanding the role of climate in the Neanderthal extinction: uncertainty over the exact timing of their disappearance; uncertainties in converting radiocarbon (14C) dates to actual calendar years; and the chronological imprecision of the ancient climate record.”

Our method circumvents the last two problems,” said Hughen. Basically, the researchers did not attempt to relate the dates of the disappearance of Neanderthals to a calendar year, but directly to what the climate record tells us about the environment.

From ice cores and sedimentary records, Hughen and other paleoclimatologists can derive information about past temperatures and the amount of moisture in the atmosphere to paint a general picture of global climate. Radiocarbon-dated events may be difficult to calibrate exactly with calendar years, but geologic, climatological, and paleontological records can be mapped to each other.

In this case, we were able to provide a much more accurate picture of the climatic background at the time of the Neanderthal disappearance,” Hughen added. “Our approach offers the potential to unravel the role of climate in critical events of the recent fossil record, as it can be applied to any radiocarbon date from any deposit.”

For Brexit!: Nationalism versus globalism

February 24, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


Nationalism in on the rise in every region of the earth. In the face of an increasingly globalized world, the banners of tribe, tradition, and particularism are being unfolded in unabashed defiance. From Paris to Peoria the battle-cry is heard: Preserve our sovereignty!

Nationalism has had a bad reputation ever since the 1930s, when it was associated with colored- shirt-wearing thugs, militarism, and war: raging across Europe, it ignited a horrific conflagration. The pan-European idea was created largely in reaction to this bloody history, and yet the result has been a counter-backlash of nationalism, a new sort that has little if anything to do with its historical antecedents.

In the West, this current wave of nationalism, for the most part, is relatively pacific: instead of promoting aggression across borders it is intent on making those borders impenetrable. The old Bismarckian nationalism was statist and super-centralist as well as expansionist; the new nationalism is often (though not always) libertarian, decentralist, and uninterested in foreign adventurism (i.e. “isolationist”).

The best example of this is the new nation of Catalonia, which is seeking to part peaceably with Spain. With their own language, a long tradition going back to medieval times, and a relatively healthy economy compared to the rest of the Iberian peninsula, the Catalonians long to break free. The Spanish central authorities have reacted with all-too-predictable hostility, threatening to send in the tanks – and the European Union (EU) has taken Madrid’s side, declaring that an independent Catalonia will be isolated both economically and diplomatically.

Here is a classic case of the new nationalism in its purest form: arrayed against it are not only the centralists in Madrid but the super-centralists in Brussels.

If the Catalonians exemplify the new nationalism, then the EU represents the hyper-centralist and imperialist character of globalism –an open conspiracy by the transnational elites to crush all particularities beneath the iron heel of homogeneity. Indeed, one of the EU’s intellectual architects, Alexandre Kojeve, longed for a “universal homogenous state,” which he believed was inevitable. (Kojeve, by the way, inspired Francis Fukuyama’s vision of the “end of history,” which the neocons took to heart.) In the wake of World War II, as the nations of Europe heaved themselves up out of the rubble, European intellectuals and policymakers sought out a program that would make the rise of nationalism impossible. The “family of Europe” fit the bill.

The irony of this is that the German National Socialists predated Kojeve and his intellectual comrades in pursuing this vision of a united Europe, utilizing the memory of Charlemagne and his Holy Roman Empire in their propaganda. One division of the Waffen SS was dubbed the “Charlemagne Division,” the idea being that this would recruit Frenchmen to the Nazi cause. The British Union of Fascists, founded by Sir Oswald Mosley, fully embraced the “European idea”: the Mosleyites founded the first activist organization for European unity, “Europe a Nation.”

On the left, the idea of a federalized Europe has a long history: the Marxists have long called for a “Socialist United States of Europe,” the abstract propaganda of the various Trotskyist sects being the prime contemporary example. The center-left Social Democrats took this idea from the Marxist arsenal of slogans and gave it concrete form in the shape of the European Movement International, which embraced a wide spectrum of politicians and cultural figures: EMI agitated for a single European entity, including especially a European central bank. This agitation, which occurred almost exclusively among the elites, resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Rome by West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Luxembourg, and creation of the European Economic Community, in 1957.

The process of economic and political integration was mostly completed by 1993, with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the creation of the euro, and subsequently the first sessions of the European parliament. Gradually, the chiefly economic character of what was formerly called the European Community gave way to a more explicitly political and federalist structure, as the huge EU bureaucracy began to take shape and proposals for a pan-European diplomatic and military apparatus were concretized.

As NATO was born as the West’s answer to the Warsaw Pact, so the European Community was conceived as the answer to Comecon, created by the Soviets to consolidate the economies of their East European empire. And when the Soviet Union fell, the EU and NATO moved to expand eastward, until today they have absorbed most of the former Warsaw Pact countries and are aggressively moving to extend their influence even deeper into Eurasia. The EU is, essentially, Europe without Russia, and Washington certainly wants to keep it that way: the freezing of Euro-Russian relations over the Ukrainian civil unrest, and the war preparations engaged in by the NATO leadership, have renewed the bad old days of the cold war. Once again the specter of a continent-wide conflict hangs over Europe – ironic, since the creation of the EU was supposedly premised on preventing this very outcome.

Yet all is not well within the borders of this new European Empire: in England, the people chafe under edicts issued from Brussels. In the southern European states, which aren’t in the best of shape economically, demands for austerity are met with sullen (if impotent) defiance. And separatist movements, from Catalonia to Flanders to Transdniester are rising up all over the place, centrifugal forces that threaten to tear down the lofty visionary schemes of the Pan-Europeanist elites.

The arrogance and spendthrift policies of the EU bureaucracy have spawned a backlash on the left and the right. In Greece and Spain, left-wing anti-EU parties have arisen and gained popular support. In France, Britain, Germany, and throughout Eastern Europe, Euro-skeptic right-wing populist parties threaten to displace the traditional center-right.

In Britain, the pro-EU Tory party leadership was forced to promise a referendum on EU membership, or else lose masses of voters to the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose leader, Nigel Farage, advocates leaving the EU. In a bid to ameliorate the rebellion within the ranks of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated with the Brussels bureaucracy in an effort to gain concessions meant to preserve British sovereignty. He did not succeed, however, and now the Euro-skeptics are rising up, with popular London mayor Boris Johnson coming out for “Brexit.”

On the British left, Jeremy Corbyn, the elected leader of the Labor Party, has vowed to fight to keep Britain in the EU, but there is a coalition of hard left types who want out. The Euro-skeptics are split into three groups, one associated with UKIP, another one leftist, and yet another one that preaches “unity.” Polls so far show the pro-EU forces have the upper hand, but this could change as more Conservative Party figures come out for leaving and the hard left galvanizes its forces in spite of Corbyn’s position.

The EU is an attempt by the European elites to forge a “nation” out of nothing: that is, out of a concept that is not shared by ordinary Europeans. The campaign to create a “European” patriotism has fallen flat on its face, and instead the EU is widely reviled as a self-perpetuating gaggle of bureaucrats intent on bailing out the banks, fattening their own expense accounts, and imposing unworkable edicts from on high.

Just as the sea erodes the hardest rock, so the worldwide nationalist tide threatens to erode supra-national institutions like the EU at their very foundations. Indeed, all empires are coming under threat from the populist uprisings that are springing up from Paris to Peoria: they, and not the carefully constructed artifices of globalist elites, are the wave of the future.

And it isn’t just Europe that’s rising up: here in America, a populist movement against globalism is on the march. On the left, activists are beginning to challenge the “centrist” Establishment of the Democratic party, challenging our interventionist foreign policy. On the right, there’s a real rebellion, with the frontrunner going so far as to declare that the Bush administration lied us into war!

No matter what party you support, or what you think of the candidates, it can’t be denied that change is in the air. People are questioning long-held assumptions, and our foreign policy of global intervention is being scrutinized – and criticized.

U.S. Marshals secretly tracked 6,000 cellphones

February 23, 2016

by Brad Heath

USA Today

WASHINGTON — Federal marshals have secretly used powerful cellphone surveillance tools to hunt nearly 6,000 suspects throughout the United States, according to newly-disclosed records in which the agency inadvertently identified itself as the nation’s most prolific known user of phone-tracking devices.

The fact that the U.S. Marshals Service uses cellphone trackers, commonly known as stingrays, has long been among law enforcement’s worst-kept secrets, though the agency still refuses to acknowledge it. The Marshals Service confirmed its use of the devices to USA TODAY only in the process of trying to keep it secret, rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of its log of cases in which agents had used stingrays.

The Marshals Service’s response to that request included an almost totally censored spreadsheet  listing its stingray cases, with information about the cases stripped out line by line, which made it possible to count the number of entries the agency had made on its log of stingray uses. The agency described the log in a letter as “a listing of IMSI catcher use,” using another name for the technology that intercepts cellphone signals.

Stingrays are suitcase-sized devices that can pinpoint a cellphone’s location within a few yards by posing as a cell tower. In the process, they also intercept information about other cellphones that happen to be nearby, a fact that has raised concerns among privacy advocates and some lawmakers. Dozens of police departments use the devices, often concealing that fact from suspects and their lawyers.

The Marshals Service’s surveillance log lists 5,975 cases in which the Marshals Service used stingrays. The agency declined to say what time period the log covered, or where the suspects were arrested. It also declined to identify the suspects, to protect their privacy.

Just that sheer number is significant,” American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nathan Wessler said. “That’s a lot of deployments of a very invasive surveillance tool.”

No other law enforcement agency is known to have used stingrays so often. The New York Police Department told the ACLU last month that it used the cell-tracking devices about 1,000 times since 2008; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it had used one about 1,800 times to conduct investigations throughout the state. Until now, Baltimore’s police force had been the most prolific known user; a detective there testified that city police had used their tracker 4,300 times.

FBI director James Comey said in 2014 that stingrays allow the police to track dangerous criminals; “It’s how we find kidnappers. It’s how we find drug dealers. It’s how we find missing children. It’s how we find pedophiles,” he said. The Marshals Service declined to say what types of cases it used stingrays to investigate, but much of its work involves chasing fugitives and sex offenders.

Despite the nearly 6,000 times marshals used the device, there are few records to suggest that the government has revealed that fact to the suspects they arrested — though laws in some states require that suspects be notified of electronic surveillance.

Not disclosing use of stingrays appears to be the agency’s policy. The Marshals Service’s Technical Operations Group instructs agents that they should not reveal “sensitive or classified information or programs” without approval from the surveillance unit unless a court orders them to do so.

For any sensitive technique, method, source or tool, it only makes good sense that law enforcement would not divulge this information,” said William Sorukas, a former supervisor of the Marshals Service’s domestic investigations arm. “An investigator would never release or publicize the name of a confidential informant.”

Still, privacy advocates have expressed alarm about the lengths to which law enforcement has gone to keep the cellphone trackers secret, even from courts. In 2014, the ACLU obtained an email from a Sarasota, Fla. Police sergeant asking officers from another agency not to reveal in court that their case had involved the use of a stingray. “In the past, and at the request of the U.S. Marshals, the investigative means utilized to locate the suspect have not been revealed,” he wrote, suggesting that officers instead say they had received help from “a confidential source.”

A spokesman for the Marshals Service, Drew Wade, declined to answer questions about agents’ use of stingrays. Instead, he said in a statement that the marshals “use various investigative techniques” to locate fugitives, and that whatever those techniques might be, they are “subject to court approval.”

At least 14 new cases of ‘possible sexual transmission’ of Zika virus – CDC

February 24, 2016


Health officials are investigating 14 new cases of possible sexual transmission of the Zika virus in the United States, including several cases involving pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

In two of the new suspected sexual transmission cases that have been investigated, Zika virus infection has been “confirmed in women whose only known risk factor was sexual contact with an ill male partner who had recently traveled to an area with local Zika virus transmission,” according to a CDC statement.

Tests have not been completed for their male partners yet. In all of the cases, travelers reported symptom onset within two weeks prior to their non-traveling female partner’s symptom onset, the agency said.

In four other cases, preliminary tests have indicated that women were infected, but confirmatory tests are still pending. Eight other cases are still being investigated, the CDC reported.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus from infected women to their sex partners has not been documented, nor has transmission from persons who are asymptomatically infected,” the agency said.

So far, all of the 82 Zika infections diagnosed in the United States have involved people who traveled to outbreak regions. Earlier this week the CDC expanded its Zika travel advisory to two more destinations — the Marshall Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquito bites, and sexual transmission has been considered quite rare, with only two cases reported to date. Earlier this month, the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services announced an occurrence of sexually transmitted Zika infection in Texas.

The CDC has recommended that men who have recently been to a Zika outbreak area use a condom when they have sex with a pregnant women, or to abstain from sex during the pregnancy. It also said that pregnant women should postpone trips to over 30 destinations with outbreaks.

There is currently no vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has already spread to over 30 countries in the Americas. Earlier this month the WHO declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

Although there’s no definitive proof that it directly causes birth defects, scientists believe Zika could be linked to microcephaly (or abnormally small heads) in newborns, as well as to a serious neurological disorder in adults called Guillain-Barre syndrome. In most people Zika causes no symptoms at all or only mild ones that last about a week such as fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes.

Oregon refuge protesters to be arraigned over armed occupation

February 24, 2016

by Eric M. Johnson


The leaders of a six-week armed occupation at a U.S. wildlife refuge in rural Oregon are to be arraigned on Wednesday on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers policing the compound during a fight over federal control of land in the West.

Ammon Bundy and other anti-government protesters arrested in connection with the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon were set to appear in U.S. court in Portland on Wednesday, Bundy’s attorneys said in a statement.

Four of the 16 protesters facing one conspiracy charge each have asked the court to wave their appearance at the arraignment, affirming their intention to plead not guilty to the charges, court documents show.

The 41-day standoff ended on Feb. 11 when the final four protesters surrendered to authorities following a dramatic exchange with mediators.

On Jan. 26, Bundy, his brother Ryan and nine other protesters had been arrested on a snow-covered roadside while on their way to speak at a community meeting in John Day, Oregon. A spokesman for the group, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot dead in the stop.

The Bundys and the others face one count each of plotting to prevent by “force, intimidation, and threats” agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from performing their duties.

A three-page indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Portland earlier this month, says the defendants brandished firearms and refused to leave the refuge, threatening violence against anyone who attempted to remove them. It also says they warned the sheriff of “extreme civil unrest” if their demands were unmet, among other acts of intimidation.

The Malheur takeover, which began on Jan. 2, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property near the refuge. The occupation also was a protest against federal control over millions of acres of public land in the West.

The cost of the standoff likely will run into the millions of dollars with local and state agencies looking to the federal government – and the arrested occupiers – to shoulder the bulk of the bills.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Bill Trott)

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