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TBR News July 18, 2016

Jul 18 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. July 18, 2016:” For the past ten years, there have been growing fears that somehow, outsiders have been able to penetrate into the confidential computer files of government agencies, business entities such as banks and defense contractors and individuals.

Some of this appeared to be an attempt to obtain highly classified information that could be of use to others and in other instances, attempts to get into the personal, and corporate, bank accounts of individuals and corporations.

This is a brief study of some of the salient aspects of this problem of computer theft and espionage and we will start with the discovery of massive computer penetration in Israel. We will then consider further penetrations of American business and intelligence computer systems by agents of a foreign government as opposed to confidence men and then conclude with the use of the same methods to commit frauds on the gullible in the United States and elsewhere.

Some of the first public notice of this problem surfaced first in Israel in 2004 when  Israeli law enforcement cyber crime experts discovered that what is known as a Trojan Horse (illicit spyware planted on an unsuspecting computer) had been inserted into about 60 major Israeli businesses. Isreali law enforcement subsequently indicted various members of three of Israel’s largest private investigative agencies on charges of criminal fraud. These spyware plants were in various commercial areas such as : Israeli military contracting, telephone systems, cable television, finance, automobile and cigarette importing, journalism and high technology. These intrusive spyware plants were nearly identical with ones developed by the American NSA and widely used inside the United States to glean political, economic and counter-intelligence information from a huge number of American businesses and agencies. Israeli investigators believed that there was illicit cooperation between the American agency and a counterpart in Israel.

These Trojan horses that penetrated the Israeli computers came packaged inside a compact disc or were sent as an e-mail message that appeared to be from an institution or a person that the victims thought they knew very well. Once the program was installed, it functioned every time the victim’s computer system was in use, logging keystrokes or collecting sensitive documents and passwords before transmitting the information elsewhere.

This clandestine theft of valuable commercial, military and political secrets is certainly not limited to Israel and many important agencies and individuals have become increasingly concerned about what is called “phishing” in which both con men and foreign (and domestic) intelligence agencies can locate, capture and use valuable personal, political and financial information. In September of 2005, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an ad hoc group  of corporate and law enforcement groups that track identity theft and other online crimes, said it had received more than 13,000 unique reports of phishing schemes in that month alone, up from nearly 7,000 in the month of October, 2004..

In late 2005, a new form of phishing, called “spear-phishing” emerged.

So-called spear-phishing is a highly concentrated and far more effectove version of phishing. That’s because those behind the schemes bait their hooks for specific victims instead of casting a broad, ill-defined net across cyberspace hoping to catch throngs of unknown victims.

Spear-phishing, say security specialists, is much harder to detect than phishing. Bogus e-mail messages and Web sites not only look like near perfect replicas of communiqués from e-commerce companies like eBay or its PayPal service, banks or even a victim’s employer, but are also targeted at people known to have an established relationship with the sender being mimicked. American banks such as Chase and Bank of America are among those whose names are faked and also the online auction house of Ebay and the international money transfer firm of PayPal receive considerable attention from the international conmen and credit thieves. These thieves are not necessarily gangs operating for financial gain but also include theft of trade secrets, private corporate banking and highly sensitive military and political information.

While some of these phishers are merely out to make money, others are interested in securing military secrets and political activities, all at the highest and what is hopefully considered as the most secure.

As a case in point, in June of 2005 , the National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre, a British government agency that monitors national UK computer security, took the step of publicly warning about a spear-phishing campaign of “targeted Trojan e-mail attacks” aimed at industrial and government computer networks. The warning noted that the e-mail messages appeared to come from a trusted sender, that antivirus software and firewalls was completely incapable of  protecting  recipients, and that, in fact, there was no way to completely protect any computer connected to the Internet from the Trojan attacks once recipients opened and downloaded a faked e-mail message containing a virus.

The report noted that: “Files used by the attackers are often publicly available on the Web or have been sent to distribution lists,” the warning said. “The attackers are able to receive, trojanise and resend a document within 120 minutes of its release, indicating a high level of sophistication.”

Also,a more traditional phishing scam infected about 30,000 individual computers worldwide, according to CipherTrust, a computer security firm. Consisting of what CipherTrust said was about 50 million e-mail messages that a German hacker deployed simultaneously, the communiqués purported to come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and a German intelligence agency and tried to convince recipients to provide personal information and open a file containing a virus. The F.B.I. issued a warning about the scheme and a spokeswoman said that thousands of people swamped the agency with phone calls inquiring about it. Public awareness and FBI actions sharply reduced and finally obliterated this specific form of fraud but no information has been released to the public by the FBI concerning the identity or motives of many of the hackers. No bank or financial institution ever contacts their depositors and customers by email with warnings about misuse of their credit cards or errors in their personal accounts. The phishers have advanced technologically to the point where actual company logos can be snatched from Web sites to build customized databases of corporate logos. Any email message purporting to come from any bank or financial institution, most especially one that has the proper company logo and format but contains grammatical errors should ever  be responded to.

Some computer security specialists suggest at least one basic approach that might allow e-mail recipients to learn right away that a communiqué appearing to come from a company like Amazon.com actually originated somewhere in the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia or any of the other places that law enforcement officials say are hot spots for phishing scams.
According to CipherTrust, a spear-phisher can rent a server for about $300 month after paying a $100 setup fee; install spam-sending software on the server for about $1,200 a month; and get spam-sending proxies, a database of e-mail addresses, and other necessary add-ons for another $1,900 a month. How much phishers make depends on how many victims they hook, but the relatively small expense means the work can be lucrative. According to a research report issued in June by Gartner Inc., a consulting firm, about 2.4 million Americans reported losing about $929 million to phishing schemes during the previous year.

In 2016, is has been estimated by the FBI and private cyper-protection agencies that about 82 million American adults who use the Internet believed that they received an average of more than 50 phishing e-mails during the prior 12 months. And that, of course, is just what Internet users actually know might be happening.

Phishers main goal is to obtain a victim’s checking-account number and, in addition, credit card and A.T.M. card numbers, which they can copy onto bogus cards they have manufactured for the purpose of extracting money and goods from a victim’s account.

It should be noted that many American banks have serious security gaps in the software used to analyze magnetic stripe coding on the back of A.T.M. cards, and these gaps have permitted card hijackers to use bogus copies. American regulators, concerned about online vulnerabilities at the country’s banks, have sharply tightened security requirements at financial institutions.

Although Interner Provider (IP) numbers lead to Italy, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and Russia, a secret investigation by NSA and other American domestic and foreign intelligence agencies has disclosed that almost all of the scams originate inside Israel and that while the Israeli authorities are aware of this, the fact that information considered “vital to the interests of the State of Israel” is part of the intercepts, no action has been taken against operations that are not directed against Israeli agencies or individuals.  Further, one of the caveats to the continued functioning of these enormously profitable computer frauds is that any monies gleaned from them must be deposited in Israeli, and not foreign, banks.

Isreali intelligence, having formed a cooperative association with Israeli internet swindlers, has, according to an NSA report, not hesitated to spy on their American counterparts.

Among the Israeli corporations on the receiving end of stolen information were two telecommunications affiliates of Bezeq, the country’s largest telephone company. The Israeli government held a controlling interest in Bezeq until it sold most of its stake to private investors, including Los Angeles media mogul Haim Saban, shortly before the Trojan horse scandal became public. A lawyer representing Bezeq and the two affiliates, YES and Pele-Phone, declined to comment on the investigation; Mr. Wismonsky said that Bezeq itself appeared to have been a victim, not a recipient, of stolen information.” 

Thoughts of the Forbidden Man

The application of force alone, without moral support based on a spiritual concept, can never bring about the destruction of an idea or arrest the propagation of it, unless one is ready and able ruthlessly to exterminate the last upholders of that idea even to a man, and also wipeout any tradition which it may tend to leave behind.

Now in the majority of cases the result of such a course has been to exclude such a State, either temporarily or for ever, from the comity of States that are of political significance; but experience has also shown that such a sanguinary method of extirpation arouses the better section of the population under the persecuting power. As a matter of fact, every persecution which has no spiritual motives to support it is morally unjust and raises opposition among the best elements of the population;

so much so that these are driven more and more to champion the ideas that are unjustly persecuted. With many individuals this arises from the sheer spirit of opposition to every attempt at suppressing spiritual things by brute force.

In this way the number of convinced adherents of the persecuted doctrine increases as the persecution progresses. Hence the total destruction of a new doctrine can be accomplished only by a vast plan of extermination; but this, in the final analysis, means the loss of some of the best blood in a nation or State. And that blood is then avenged, because such an internal and total clean-up brings about the collapse of the nation’s strength. And such a procedure is always condemned to futility from the very start if the attacked doctrine should happen to have spread beyond a small circle.

That is why in this case, as with all other growths, the doctrine can be exterminated in its earliest stages. As time goes on its powers of resistance increase, until at the approach of age it gives way to younger elements, but under another form and from other motives.

The fact remains that nearly all attempts to exterminate a doctrine, without having some spiritual basis of attack against it, and also to wipe out all the organizations it has created, have led in many cases to the very opposite being achieved.


Baton Rouge shooter was ex-Marine who denied ties to any group

July 18, 2016

by Mark Hosenball and Kevin Murphy


WASHINGTON/KANSAS CITY, Mo.The gunman who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday was a former U.S. Marine sergeant who served in Iraq and made the dean’s list in college, government officials with knowledge of the case said.

The suspect, Gavin Eugene Long, 29, who also wounded three other officers, was from Kansas City, Missouri, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters. He was divorced and living in a working-class neighborhood, and Missouri records show he had no criminal history.

It was not immediately clear how Long, who was black, ended up in Baton Rouge, where police killed him in a shootout on his 29th birthday, according to media reports. The city has become a flashpoint for protests after police shot and killed Alton Sterling, a black man, outside a convenience store there on July 5.

A website, social media accounts and YouTube videos that appear tied to Long include complaints about police abuse of African-Americans and indicate he recently joined demonstrations in Dallas, where a black former U.S. Army reservist killed five officers two days after Sterling’s death.

In a YouTube video, Long praised the killing of the Dallas officers and said, “It’s justice.” He also posted a separate video on July 8, in which he described himself as a former Christian, former member of the Nation of Islam and then repeatedly stated he was now not affiliated with any group.

“They’ll try to put you with ISIS or some other terrorist group,” he said. “No. I’m affiliated with the spirit of justice. Nothing else.”

A website named “convoswithcosmo” that features self-help, health and relationship advice was owned by a Gavin Long at a Kansas City address, according to online records. As of Sunday night, police in Kansas City had cordoned off the block where that address is located. That address also appears in local court records for a Gavin Long in two separate civil cases.

In a YouTube video posted on July 10, the host of “Convos with Cosmo” says he is in Dallas and had gone to the city to join protests there. The man says that African-Americans are oppressed and questions why white American revolutionaries are praised for fighting their oppressors but African ones are not.

Later in the video, he suggests that only violence and financial pressure will cause change.

“We know what it’s going to take. It’s only fighting back or money. That’s all they care about,” he says to the camera. “Revenue and blood, revenue and blood, revenue and blood. Nothing else.”

A government source said federal officials were reviewing the web postings but could not definitively link them to Long.


Long was affiliated with the anti-government New Freedom Group, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person briefed on the investigation. A spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, said she had no information about such a group.

Reuters was not able to confirm the existence of the New Freedom Group.

Records provided by the U.S. Marines show Long received a number of awards during his five years in the military, including a good conduct medal.

He served in the Marines from August 2005 to August 2010 as a data network specialist and rose to the rank of sergeant, according to Yvonne Carlock, deputy public affairs officer for the Marines. Long was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009.

CBS News reported that he left the Marines with an honorable discharge, but Carlock would not confirm that detail.

Public records show Long had lived in Kansas City and Grandview, Missouri, as well as San Diego and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

He divorced his wife in 2011, with no children at the time, according to Missouri court records. A home that appears to be the last-known address for his ex-wife was vacant on Sunday.

No relatives for Long could be reached by telephone.

Long was a defendant in a case involving delinquent city taxes that was filed in March and dismissed in June, according to court records.

He attended the University of Alabama for one semester in spring 2012 and made the dean’s list for academic achievement, said university spokeswoman Monica Watts.

“The university police had no interaction with him while he was a student,” she said in an email.

(Additional reporting by David Rohde, Ian Simpson and Brendan O’Brien; Additional reporting and writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Peter Cooney and Clarence Fernandez)

‘Yes’ to death penalty will mean ‘No’ to EU membership, EU warns Turkey

July 18, 2016


Reinstating the death penalty in Turkey would end EU accession talks, a German government spokesman has stated. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini also warned that no country can become an EU member that has capital punishment.

“Introduction of death penalty would mean immediate suspension of accession talks,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.

Turkey is part of the Council of Europe and is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Foreign Policy Chief noted.

“No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty,” she said. “Turkey is an important part of the Council of Europe and is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, which is very clear on the death penalty.”

It is wrong to make a hasty decision about the death penalty, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, adding that, at the same time, Turkey cannot ignore the demands of its own people, Reuters reported.

Following a cabinet meeting, Yildirim noted that reinstating the death penalty would require a changing the constitution.

Earlier, President Erdogan said that the parliament may discuss reintroducing the death penalty in Turkey. “We will continue to clean the virus from all state bodies because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state,” he told supporters on Saturday.

A number of EU officials and politicians have voiced concerns over the Turkish government’s crackdown on fundamental rights. A deal to grant Turks visa-free travel to the EU is also in jeopardy, amid calls that the failed coup must not be used as a “carte blanche for arbitrariness.”

The EU signed a migrant deal with Ankara in March, according to which Turkey would take back refugees seeking asylum in the EU in exchange for a multi-billion euro aid package, as well as unprecedented political concessions, including the visa-free regime for Turkish citizens.

“We have nothing against a refugee agreement with Turkey,” Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), which is the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told German broadcaster ARD on Sunday, adding that “total freedom of movement” for Turks is “problematic,” however.

Seehofer said concerns about the visa-free regime “have become even stronger” since the failed coup that has left over 290 people dead.

How the Turkish government handles the coup’s supporters will actually be a “test for Turkey,” Angela Merkel’s coalition partner and Bavarian leader noted, saying it’s important that Ankara stick to the rule of law. “To speak of ‘cleansing’… the term alone is ominous,” Seehofer said.

Addressing a large crowd of supporters on Friday night, President Recep Taiyp Erdogan said that “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army.” “They will pay a heavy price for this,” he added.

At least 7,850 members of the police and military, including several high-ranking officers, have been removed from their posts since the coup attempt was foiled, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. Ankara has arrested some 6,000 people believed to have been involved in the attempted coup and the number “could surpass 6,000,” as the “cleansing operation is continuing,” Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a television interview, as cited by AP.

‘There must be no arbitrary purges’

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz also said reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey would be “totally unacceptable,” adding that Austria rejects it as “a cruel and inhuman form of punishment.”

“The failed coup, which is to be strongly condemned, must not be a carte blanche for arbitrariness. There must be no arbitrary purges, no criminal sanctions outside the constitutional framework and the judiciary. State power must be invariably exercised only on the basis of laws, and human rights must be protected,” Kurtz told Kurier.

The Turkish crackdown on democratic freedoms would complicate negotiations on Ankara’s bid to become a member of the EU, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has warned.

“It should be clear to President Erdogan: There will be no discount for Turkey. The one who restricts fundamental rights and the independence of powers pushes the country away from the basic values of the EU,” Berliner Morgenpost quoted Maas as saying.

“No one should abuse the coup attempt for authoritarian purposes. Only when the military coup is dealt with constitutionally, a further division of Turkish society can be avoided,” he added.

Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey’s EU membership bid, said the alacrity with which judges were rounded up after the coup failed indicates that the government had actually prepared a list in advance.

“It looks at least as if something has been prepared. The lists are available, which indicates it was prepared and to be used at a certain stage,” Hahn said, according to Reuters.

“I’m very concerned. It is exactly what we feared.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has also warned the Turkish government against taking any action that could damage constitutional order.

“There is no excuse for any steps that takes the country away from that,” she said on Monday.

The leader of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament, Thomas Oppermann, has accused Erdogan of jeopardizing the country’s democratic principles.

“If thousands of judges and public prosecutors who obviously had nothing to do with the coup are getting removed, this is an attack on the democratic rule of law,” Oppermann told Spiegel Online.

“Erdogan is abusing the failed coup as an excuse to clean the Turkish state apparatus of opponents of the AKP,” Oppermann said. “Of course the putschists must be held accountable. But this must be done within the law.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced concern that Turkish president will use the failed coup as a pretext to crack down on democracy.

“We’re all concerned, and we’ve expressed that concern that there’s not… a reach well beyond those who engaged in the coup, but that [Erdogan’s government] strengthen democracy,” Kerry said on ABC’s This Week.

Attack in Nice puts French government under pressure over security measures

As church bells tolled across France, a minute of silence was held for victims of the attack in Nice. The government has come under pressure for its security operations as thousands of reservists are to be mobilized.

July 18, 2016


A minute’s silence was held in Nice on Monday as thousands of people gathered to pay their respects to the 84 people who died in last week’s terror attack.

A cannon fired twice to mark the start of the minute and there was spontaneous applause for several seconds for members of the fire brigade and rescue services as they arrived. Afterwards the national anthem, La Marseillaise, and the unofficial anthem of the city of Nice, Nissa la Bella, were sung by the crowd

Officials in Nice, which included Prime Minister Manuel Valls, were greeted with whistles and jeers from the crowd, along with some shouted insults accusing them of incompetence and politicking after the attack. There are 59 victims still hospitalized, 29 of them in intensive care.

President Francois Hollande gathered with state and military officials in a courtyard in the Elysee Palace presidential building in Paris to mark the minute of silence. Earlier, Hollande had presided over his government’s third defense and security council meeting to be held since the truck attack.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said operations would continue in liaison with the Interior Ministry to “eliminate this cancer that is Daesh,” using the alternative name for the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) group.

Cazeneuve also called for citizens to “tell the truth” as he said that vulnerable people in France who were not known to the intelligence services were being lured into terror organizations. He said that the president had called for people to mourn together and unite as a country.

Domestic politics

Over the weekend, the Hollande government – and particularly Cazeneuve – had come under fire from politicians including former president and leader of the Republicains opposition group, Nicolas Sarkozy. Speaking on national TV on Sunday Sarkozy said that “everything that should have been done the past 18 months was not done.”

“We are at war, outright war,” Sarkozy said. “So I will use strong words: it will be us or them.”

Head of the extreme-right National Front (FN) party Marine Le Pen called for Cazeneuve to resign after she cited “serious deficiciencies” in the protection of French citizens. “Anywhere else in the world a minister with such a terrible record – 250 deaths in 18 months – would have resigned a long time ago,” she said at the weekend.

On Monday, Cazeneuve described the politicians as “shameful,” saying “certain members of the political class have not respected the mourning period.”

Last week, a French parliamentary inquiry criticized numerous failings by the intelligence services following the assaults in Paris in January and November last year.

‘Enough of speeches’

There have been written messages left at the site of the attack in Nice which mirrored security concerns: “Enough with the speeches” and “Sick of carnage in our streets.” On Monday, florists laid flowers along the two-kilometer length of the promenade ahead of the minute’s silence at mid day.

Only 52 of the victims have been officially identified as of Monday as authorities take measures to avoid repeating errors of mis-identification which followed the November Paris attacks. At least 10 children were among the dead, as well as tourists from Germany, Ukraine, Switzerland and ten Russians linked to the St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral which is close to the Promenade des Anglais where the attack took place.

Investigation ongoing

The investigation into the attack in Nice has continued, as the motives and organization of the killer remain unclear. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian resident in Nice was killed at the wheel of the truck after zig-zagging through the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night. Terror group “Islamic State” (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack but investigators have yet to find any link.

Six people were in custody on Monday, including a 38-year-old Albanian suspected of providing Lahouaiej-Bouhlel with a pistol he used to fire at police during the attack.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had used the rented truck to stake out the Nice seafront for two consecutive days, at some point taking a photo of himself, before driving the 19-ton truck through barriers at speed. He is reported to have sent a text message just before the attack in which he expressed “satisfaction at having obtained a 7.65-millimeter pistol” and discussed the supply of other weapons.

Bastille Day terrorist was radicalised within months and sent £84,000 to his Tunisian family days before attack

July 17, 2016

by David Chazan,in Nice;Tom Morgan,in Nice and Camilla Turner,in Nice

The Telegraph/UK

The terrorist behind the Bastille Day atrocity was radicalised within months and sent his Tunisian family £84,000 just days before the massacre, it was claimed on Saturday.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s brother in Tunisia described receiving the fortune in cash as police swooped to arrest five suspected associates across the city of Nice

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said  the attacker “appears to have become radicalised very quickly” as one neighbour of his estranged wife added: “Mohamed only started visiting a mosque in April.”

Investigators examining Bouhlel’s phone records found evidence that he was in contact with known Islamic radicals.

However, an intelligence source cautioned: “That could just be a coincidence, given the neighbourhood where he lived. Everyone knows everyone there. He seems to have known people who knew Omar Diaby (a known local Islamist believed to be linked with the Al Nusra group close to Al Qaeda).”

Relatives have reportedly claimed Bouhlel, in the days before the attack, persuaded friends to smuggle the bundles of cash back to his family in their hometown of Msaken, Tunisia.

His brother Jaber also said he had not seen his brother for several years and the money had come as a complete surprise.

Five people thought to know Bouhlel were still being questioned by police this afternoon, including his estranged wife who went to a police station of her own accord.

Among those arrested was Ramzie Arefa, 22, at his family apartment on Rue Marceau, about a mile inland from where the deadly attacks took place on July 15.

His sister, Chaima Arefa, 17, denied he had links to the killer and instead said he had been an innocent bystander on the promenade as Bouhlel ploughed his lorry into the crowd.

She told The Telegraph: “My brother is not a terrorist. We are Muslim but by my brother is not religious. He drinks, he smokes, he goes out.”

The raids came after the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said on national television on Friday evening that he was “a terrorist undoubtedly linked with radical Islam in one way or another.”

Bouhlel had been depressed and out of work in recent months, sparking suggestions that the money may have been from a terror group.

“Mohamed sent the family 240,000 Tunisian Dinars (£84,000) in the last few days,” Bouhlel’s brother told the MailOnline website. “He used to send us small sums of money regularly like most Tunisians working abroad. But then he sent us all that money, it was a fortune.

“He sent the money illegally. He gave cash to people he knew who were returning to our village and asked them to give it to the family.”

However, Bouhlel’s father insisted the killer had “nothing to do with religion” and had been plagued by mental health problems for more than a decade.

Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej-Bouhlel told French media from his home in Tunisia: “He had some difficult periods. I had to take him psychiatrist who gave him medicine. He he had a very serious illness.”

From 2002 to 2004 he had problems that caused a nervous breakdown. He became angry, he shouted, he broke anything that was in front of him.

“But after he went to France, nothing was done about it.

“It’s been four years since he had been home, on special occasions his brothers and sisters would speak to him on the phone – that’s it.

“What I do know, is that he never prayed, he never went to mosque, he had nothing to do with religion…He was alone, depressed, always alone.”

Bouhlel had been estranged from his wife for two years and they were “not on good terms” as the killer was convicted over a road rage incident in March.

His family live in an impoverished neighbourhood in Msaken, some 90 miles south of the Tunisian capital Tunis. Msaken is also just 12 miles from Sousse, where Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui massacred 38 holidaymakers in June 2015.

Meanwhile, President Hollande, under fire for complacency and failing to prevent the Bastille Day massacre and previous terrorist attacks in France, issued a call for national unity today.

After a meeting of ministers at the Elysee Palace in Paris chaired by Mr Hollande, the government spokesman, agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll, said the president wanted to rally the nation in the difficult aftermath of the slaughter of 84 people on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais.

Nice attack propels anti-immigrant sentiments into France’s mainstream

July 17, 2016

by Michael Birnbaum

The Washington Post

NICE, FRANCE — With this coastal city reeling from the Bastille Day attack by one of its Tunisian-born residents, one sentiment is growing stronger and stronger: Keep the immigrants out.

Across France, it is voiced by the far-right National Front party, which counts Nice as a stronghold. It is embraced by the ­center-right politicians dogging French President François Hollande ahead of elections next year. And though Hollande has preached tolerance and unity every time terrorism strikes France, his allies are also trying to tamp down immigration.

Leaders of Nice’s Muslim community say they fear that a backlash could make people such as the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, even more disconnected from French society, sharpening the risk of more attacks. But there are now few mainstream voices in France’s political establishment advocating a welcoming policy toward migrants. Hollande’s center-left Socialist party appears likely to limp to a third-place finish in the presidential race next year behind the far-right National Front, which long had ties to Holocaust deniers.

The dynamic comes as voters around the world seek to bar the way to immigrants amid persistent economic challenges and wars in the Middle East that have displaced millions of women, children and men. British voters last month voted to sever ties with the European Union in a referendum widely seen as motivated by fears over migration. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, plans to build a wall to keep out Mexicans. And just over France’s coastline border with Italy, the anti-immigrant Northern League is also strengthening.

“Islamism has hit again,” said Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, 26, the granddaughter of the founder of the National Front who represents an area near Nice in the French Parliament and is a rising star of the far right. “It is possible to assimilate individuals, but not to assimilate an entire people, who bring with them their culture and their religion,” she said in a video statement after the Thursday attack killed 84 people and wounded 256.

After three mass attacks in France in just 18 months, solidarity and national unity have been replaced by raw anger, with many here directing their frustration toward France’s leaders and the nation’s large Muslim community, even though there were many Muslim victims in the Nice attack. Hollande has appealed for tolerance — but a recent opinion poll found that just 12 percent of French voters support his performance as president.

“We have been capable of unity, of cohesion,” Hollande said Friday after visiting Nice. He called for France to “be stronger than those who wish us harm.”

Many in Nice question how security was so weak that Bouhlel was able to use his rented truck to cut a bloody path of terror over more than a mile of a crowded holiday seafront. On Sunday, people were piling rocks and angry messages on the spot on the Promenade des Anglais where Bouhlel was shot dead by police, a sharp break from previous commemorations that have centered on teary memories of victims rather than raw aggression toward attackers. Amid a crowd of onlookers, one man spat on the rocks and cursed Bouhlel’s memory.

“People need to get out their hate,” shrugged one police officer who was standing near the crowd.

Residents of Nice who have North African backgrounds say they can feel the anger, which many say has been growing for years but has become sharply worse with each attack in the past 18 months. Many of the attackers were French-born children of immigrants who complained that they were seen as too North African in France and too French in their parents’ home countries. Bouhlel, who emigrated from Tunisia in 2009 or 2010, according to his father, was an exception in that he was relatively new to France.

“People look at us differently,” said Myriam Brini, 27, who was born in Nice to Tunisian immigrants and sells croissants and pastries at a bakery just around the corner from the National Front’s local headquarters. She said she used to feel more integrated into French society. “But in the last six or seven years, people look at you like, ‘Hey, that’s an Arab!’ ”

“I have a little daughter, and it’s not the world I hoped for her,” Brini said.

In the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region, which includes Nice, the National Front captured 41 percent of the vote in first-round regional elections in December before losing the second round after opponents combined forces to defeat them. The result was a setback for anti-immigrant forces, but it was still a striking sign of the fast-growing appeal of the party’s message at a time when mainstream leaders are historically unpopular.

The southern coast of France is especially fertile territory for the National Front, since it is home to descendants of the Pieds-Noirs, the French-Algerian colonists who were expelled to France during Algeria’s bloody war of independence that ended in 1962.

The attacks “give a legitimacy to all the ideas of the National Front that they’ve been promoting for 20 years,” said Stéphane Wahnich, who co-authored a book analyzing National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s rhetoric. “With this kind of attack, a lot of people who were hesitating to vote for the National Front will do it.”

Even short of ballot-box triumphs, the National Front has already spread its hard-line ideas about immigration and Islam into the mainstream. In Nice, the local government fought a years-long battle against a new mosque on the city’s western outskirts before losing last month. National leaders have tried to put tough limits on the number of migrants and refugees the nation has to accept under a European Union quota system imposed last year after more than a million people fleeing war and poverty washed onto Europe’s shores.

“Our major fear is that National Front ideas get a majority inside the Socialists and the Republicans,” the two mainstream parties of France, said Otmane Aissaoui, president of the Union of Muslims of the Alpes-

Maritimes, the region’s Muslim umbrella organization. “All parties are playing the Islamist card.”

In the wake of the attacks, anti-immigrant attitudes are coming even from those who say they cannot vote for the National Front because of its fascist-leaning history.

“We are getting more and more racist, but unfortunately we need to,” said Stéphanie van Cappellen, who was working at a deserted cafe in central Nice on Sunday. “You see the immigrants here, they just show up and they get a job, an apartment. People here don’t get that.”

She said she believed that the vast majority of French residents with immigrant backgrounds were peaceful. But “people were laughing after the attack,” she said of Muslim residents of Nice, although there is no evidence that was the case. “How can they do that?”

With such attitudes common among French voters, “the politicians are completely liberated,” said Virginie Martin, a political analyst who has studied the rise of the National Front in southern France. In the eyes of many voters, she said, “it’s like the National Front was right.”

Elie Petit contributed to this report.

The H-Bombs in Turkey

July 17, 2016

by Eric Schlosser

The New Yorker

Among the many questions still unanswered following Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey is one that has national-security implications for the United States and for the rest of the world: How secure are the American hydrogen bombs stored at a Turkish airbase?

The Incirlik Airbase, in southeast Turkey, houses NATO’s largest nuclear-weapons storage facility. On Saturday morning, the American Embassy in Ankara issued an “Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens,” warning that power had been cut to Incirlik and that “local authorities are denying movements on to and off of” the base. Incirlik was forced to rely on backup generators; U.S. Air Force planes stationed there were prohibited from taking off or landing; and the security-threat level was raised to FPCON Delta, the highest state of alert, declared when a terrorist attack has occurred or may be imminent. On Sunday, the base commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, and nine other Turkish officers at Incirlik were detained for allegedly supporting the coup. As of this writing, American flights have resumed at the base, but the power is still cut off.

According to Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, underground vaults at Incirlik hold about fifty B-61 hydrogen bombs—more than twenty-five per cent of the nuclear weapons in the NATO stockpile. The nuclear yield of the B-61 can be adjusted to suit a particular mission. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima had an explosive force equivalent to about fifteen kilotons of TNT. In comparison, the “dial-a-yield” of the B-61 bombs at Incirlik can be adjusted from 0.3 kilotons to as many as a hundred and seventy kilotons.

Incirlik was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the wake of the Second World War; when Turkey joined NATO, in 1952, it became a crucial American base during the Cold War. With a flight time of about an hour to the Soviet Union, the base hosted American fighters, bombers, tankers, and U-2 spy planes. And, like many NATO bases, it stored American nuclear weapons. NATO strategy was dependent on nuclear weapons as a counterbalance to the perceived superiority of Soviet conventional forces. The threat of a nuclear attack, it was assumed, would deter Soviet tanks from rolling into NATO territory. And granting NATO countries access to nuclear weapons would strengthen the alliance, providing tangible evidence that the United States would risk a nuclear war for NATO’s defense.

By the mid-nineteen-sixties, more than seven thousand American nuclear weapons were deployed in Western Europe, Greece, and Turkey. They came in all sizes, shapes, and yields: nuclear warheads, bombs, land mines, depth charges, artillery shells, even small nuclear projectiles that could be fired from a recoilless rifle. The weapons were technically in the custody of U.S. officers, ready to be handed over for use in wartime by NATO personnel. But custody of the weapons was not the same as control of them. A delegation of U.S. senators visiting Europe in 1960 was shocked to find hydrogen bombs loaded onto German planes that were on alert and crewed by German pilots; thermonuclear warheads atop missiles manned by Italian crews; nuclear weapons guarded and transported by “non-Americans with non-American vehicles.” The theft or use of these weapons by NATO allies became a grave concern. “The prime loyalty of the guards, of course, is to their own nation, and not to the U.S.,” the Senate delegation warned in a classified report.

Two years later, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara worried that Turkish officers might try to fire some of NATO’s nuclear missiles at the Soviet Union without permission—and ordered American custodians to sabotage the missiles, somehow, if anyone tried to launch them. Coded switches were subsequently placed inside NATO’s hydrogen bombs. These switches, known as Permissive Action Links (PALs), were designed to hinder unauthorized use of the weapons; the bombs wouldn’t detonate if the operator didn’t enter the right code. But PALs could be circumvented by someone with the proper technical skills. When two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, were on the cusp of war in 1974, the United States secretly removed all of NATO’s nuclear weapons from Greece and cut the arming wires of every nuclear weapon stored in Turkey, rendering them inoperable.

Thanks largely to stockpile reductions during the Administrations of President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush, the United States now has about a hundred and eighty nuclear weapons deployed with NATO, all of them B-61 bombs. In addition to Incirlik, the weapons are stored at bases in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. Today, the symbolism of these bombs is far more important than their military utility; missiles carrying nuclear warheads reach targets much faster, more reliably, and with much greater accuracy. The advocates of retaining nuclear weapons in NATO argue that the B-61 bombs demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to the alliance, intimidate Russia, and discourage NATO members from developing their own hydrogen bombs. Opponents of the weapons, like Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, consider them “absolutely senseless”—and an inviting target for terrorists.

With a few hours and the right tools and training, you could open one of NATO’s nuclear-weapons storage vaults, remove a weapon, and bypass the PAL inside it. Within seconds, you could place an explosive device on top of a storage vault, destroy the weapon, and release a lethal radioactive cloud. NATO’s hydrogen bombs are still guarded by the troops of their host countries. In 2010, peace activists climbed over a fence at the Kleine Brogel Airbase, in Belgium, cut through a second fence, entered a hardened shelter containing nuclear-weapon vaults, placed anti-nuclear stickers on the walls, wandered the base for an hour, and posted a video of the intrusion on YouTube. The video showed that the Belgian soldier who finally confronted them was carrying an unloaded rifle.

Security concerns at Incirlik Airbase recently prompted a major upgrade of the perimeter fence that surrounds its nuclear-weapons storage area. Incirlik is about seventy miles from the Syrian border, and since last October American aircraft and drones based there have been attacking ISIS forces. Its proximity to rebel-controlled areas in Syria and the rash of terrorist acts in Turkey led the Pentagon, a few months ago, to issue an “ordered departure” of all the family members of American troops at Incirlik. They were asked to leave immediately. About two thousand U.S. military personnel remain stationed there. Although Incirlik probably has more nuclear weapons than any other NATO base, it does not have any American or Turkish aircraft equipped to deliver them. The bombs simply sit at the base, underground, waiting to be used or misused.

The Saudis Did 9/11

That’s what the 28 pages tell us

July 18, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it’s just circumstantial evidence, and there’s no “smoking gun.” Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it’s hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

To begin with, let’s start with what’s not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words “CIA” or “FBI,” instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it’s reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it’s contained in the portions we’re not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

In any case, what we have access to makes more than just a substantial case: it shows that the Saudi government – including top officials, such as then Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and other members of the royal family – financed and actively aided the hijackers prior to September 11, 2001.

Support for at least two of the hijackers when they arrived in the US was extended by three key individuals:

  • Omar al-Bayoumi – Bayoumi was clearly a Saudi intelligence agent: the FBI all but identifies him as such. His salary was paid for by companies directly owned and operated by the Saudi government, although he apparently rarely showed up for “work.” He was directly subsidized by the wife of then Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar, and these subsidies were substantially increased when the hijackers arrived in the US. It was Bayoumi who hovered over two of the hijackers – Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Midhar – as soon as they arrived in the United States. He got them an apartment, co-signed the rental agreement, chauffeured them around – and helped them obtain information on flight schools.
  • Osama Bassnan – This individual, who, according to the report, has “many ties to the Saudi government,” boasted to an informant that he did more for the two hijackers than Bayoumi. He was certainly in a position to do so, since he lived directly across the street from them in San Diego. The FBI characterized him as “an extremist and supporter of Osama bin Laden”: like Bayoumi, his longtime associate – with whom he was in constant communication at the time of the hijackers’ American sojourn – Bassnan was subsidized by the Saudi royal family, and specifically Prince Bandar and his wife. A search of Basnan’s apartment turned up indications that he had cashiers checks amounting to $574,000. Bandar’s wife’s account had a standing arrangement to send monthly checks to Basan’s wife for “nursing services.” There is no evidence that such services were ever performed. The suppressed 28 pages cite direct payments from Prince Bandar to Basnan:

“On at least one occasion, Bassnan received a check directly from Prince Bandar’s account. Accordion to the FBI, on May 14, 1998, Bassnan cashed a check from Bandar in the amount of $515,000. Bassnan’s wife also received at least one check directly from Bandar She also received one additional check froth Bandar’s wife, which she cashed on January 8,1998 for 510,000.”

  • Shayk Fahah al-Thumairy – He was a diplomat at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and imam of the King Fahad mosque, which is a focal point of Muslim-Saudi activity in the area. US intelligence avers that “initial indications are that al-Thumairy may have had a physical or financial connection to al-Hamzi and al-Midhar.” Both attended the King Fahad mosque. Thumairy was interviewed by US law enforcement after fleeing to Saudi Arabia, and denied having any contact with the two hijackers – in spite of evidence that he was in telephonic contact with them. This, he asserted, was an attempt to “smear” him.

The two hijackers had extensive contacts with Saudi naval officers in the United States, according to telephone records. And when Abu Zubaydah, one of the 9/11 conspirators, was captured in Pakistan, they found the phone number of a Colorado company that managed “the affairs of the Colorado residence of the Saudi Ambassador.” Prince Bandar is practically the star of the suppressed 28 pages – no wonder the Bush administration, which had close ties to him, fought so hard to keep this secret.

The 28 pages also reveal that an individual – name redacted – associated with al-Qaeda and the hijackers sneaked into the US, avoiding Customs agents and the INS due to the fact that he was traveling with a member of the Saudi royal family. We are also told that “Another Saudi national with close ties to the Saudi Royal Family, [redacted], is the subject of FBI counterterrorism investigations and reportedly was checking security at the United States’ southwest border in 1999 and discussing the possibility of infiltrating individuals into the United States.”

The Saudi government’s financial and operational ties to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers are myriad, and largely substantiated. Furthermore, although some of these links as detailed in the 28 pages are tentative, it’s important to remember that this report was written in 2002, and that the intelligence community was strongly admonished to follow up because lawmakers deemed the lack of investigation into the Saudi connection “unacceptable.” So what did they find out in the fourteen years after that admonition was delivered? Inquiring minds want to know….

Prince Bandar went on to become head of Saudi intelligence: his personal relationship with the Bush family is well-known, and his access to US government officials – and his powerful influence in Washington – makes his starring role in the nurturing of the two hijackers into a gun that, while not quite smoking, is exuding vapors of a highly suggestive nature.

“Circumstantial evidence”? Perhaps – but people have been convicted of murder on the basis of such evidence, and, in this case, there is such a preponderance of evidence that a guilty verdict is unavoidable.

It would not be stretching the evidence to bluntly state that the suppressed 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks places agents of the Saudi government at the epicenter of the plot. In short, there’s no two ways about it: the Saudis did 9/11.

Why did our government cover up this shocking evidence for so long?

The reason is because they had no desire to retaliate against the real perpetrators of 9/11. Instead, as we now know, they were determined to pin the blame on Saddam Hussein: indeed, the Bush administration pressed this talking point relentlessly, until it was forced to backtrack. We attacked Iraq, in the words of neocon grise eminence and top Bush administration official Paul Wolfowitz, because it was “doable.” A years long neoconservative campaign to target Iraq gained new impetus in the wake of 9/11, and the administration and its journalistic camarilla pushed the lie that Iraq was behind the attack. The evidence that the Saudis were involved had to be suppressed – because the Bush administration’s war plans depended on it.

Now that we know the truth, what do we do about it?

To begin with, if any other government had connections to a terrorist attack on the US of this nature, their capital would’ve been a smoking ruin. I’m not suggesting we do that, but at the very least the Saudis must be made to pay a high price for their complicity, starting with a moratorium on all US aid and arms sales to the Kingdom. We imposed trade sanctions on Russia for far less. Cutting off the Saudis from the US banking system should put a crimp in their extensive international network of terror-financing and money-laundering. And I know it’s too much to expect a public statement from our President pointing out that a US “ally” aided and abetted those who murdered over 3,000 people on 9/11, but I can dream, can’t I?

The Saudis aren’t our allies: as the 28 pages make all too clear, they are our deadly enemies. And they ought to be treated as such.

29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

July 18, 2016

by Kristen Breitweiser


First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun – THEY ARE LYING.

Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA – a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality – he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies – under oath – that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

Read the 29 pages and know the facts.

Do not let any person in our government deny the damning reality of the 29 pages.

And as you read the 29 pages remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003.

President Bush did not want the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia investigated. President Bush has deep ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its royal family and only wanted to protect the Kingdom. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq – not Saudi Arabia. So, 29 full pages that said “Saudi” and “Bandar” instead of “Hussein” and “Iraq” was a huge problem for President Bush.

It is well documented that the Joint Inquiry received enormous push-back against its investigation into the Saudis. In fact, former FBI Director Mueller acknowledges that much of the information implicating the Saudis that the Inquiry investigators ultimately uncovered was unknown to him. Why does Mueller say this? Mostly because Mueller and other FBI officials had purposely tried to keep any incriminating information specifically surrounding the Saudis out of the Inquiry’s investigative hands. To repeat, there was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. And for the exception of the 29 full pages, they succeeded in their effort.

Notwithstanding the lack of cooperation from the FBI and the pressure from the Bush Administration to thwart any investigation of the Saudis, the Joint Inquiry was still able to write 29 full pages regarding Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks. No other nation is given such singular prominence in the Joint Inquiry’s Final Report. Not Iraq. Not Iran. Not Syria. Not Sudan. Not even Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The 29 pages have been kept secret and suppressed from the American public for fifteen years – not for matters of genuine national security – but for matters of convenience, embarrassment, and cover-up. Executive Order 13526 makes that a crime. Neither James Clapper nor Barack Obama want to release a statement about that.

The only thing James Clapper and Barack Obama are willing to say about the delayed release of the 29 pages is that they stand by the investigation of the 9/11 Commission. This punt by President Barack Obama is repulsive. President Obama’s deference to the 9/11 Commission – who themselves admit that they were unable to fully investigate the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks – depicts Obama’s utter lack of interest, engagement, or support of the 9/11 families. Frankly, it re-victimizes the 9/11 families by not acknowledging the truth, blocking our path to justice, and the very vital assignment of accountability to those who should be held responsible. Most alarmingly, Obama’s silence keeps us unsafe because instead of calling for an emergency session of Congress to immediately name the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, President Obama continues to downplay, belittle, and ignore the truth leaving us vulnerable to terrorist attacks that are still to this very day being funded by our “ally” the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

To be clear, the 9/11 Commission did NOT fully investigate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Staff Director Philip Zelikow blocked any investigation into the Saudis. Zelikow even went so far as to fire an investigator who had been brought over from the Joint Inquiry to specifically follow-up on the Saudi leads and information uncovered in the Joint Inquiry. I will repeat – the investigator was fired. In addition, Zelikow rewrote the 9/11 Commission’s entire section regarding the Saudi’s and their connection to the 9/11 attacks. Former 9/11 Commissioners John Lehman, Bob Kerrey, and Tim Roemer have all acknowledged that the Saudis were not adequately investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Thus, for any government official to hang their hat on the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report – when Commissioners, themselves, have admitted that the Saudis were not fully investigated, is absurd and disgraceful.

For example, one glaring piece of information was not mentioned in either the 9/11 Commission or the Joint Inquiry’s 29 pages – the information regarding Fahad Thumairy and Khallad bin Attash found in both an FBI report and a CIA report – that are now declassified. Both reports indicate that Fahad Thumairy – a Saudi Consulate official – helped bring Khallad bin Attash into the United States in June of 2000 so he could meet with two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi. Thumairy escorted bin Attash – a known al Qaeda operative – through INS and Customs at LAX evading security and any possible alarm bells. Again, this information is found in both a CIA and FBI report.

Four months after Khallad bin Attash met with the two 9/11 hijackers in Los Angeles, the USS Cole was bombed and seventeen U.S. sailors were killed. Khallad bin Attash, Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi were all named as co-conspirators in the bombing of the USS Cole.

Where is the information regarding bin Attash and Thumairy? Has it ever been investigated? Had our intelligence agencies capitalized on the known connection between Thumairy and bin Attash, they would have been able to thwart the bombing of the USS Cole. In addition, they would have had access and the ability to weave together nearly all the pieces of the 9/11 attacks – more than nine months before the 9/11 attacks happened.

But as history shows, Saudi Consulate official Fahad Thumairy was not investigated and 17 sailors in addition to 3,000 others were killed.

I’m sure that Barack Obama, John Brennan, Anne Patterson, and Philip Zelikow would all consider Thumairy’s operational and financial support of Attash, Mihdhar, and Hazmi as within the threshold of being an “ally” of the United States. I, and the rest of America, would not.

I know summer is a busy time. I know that next week is the Republican Convention. I know that Congress is out of session for two months. And I know that ISIS attacks continue in Nice, Orlando, San Bernardino, Belgium, Paris, and more. Just like I know that Donald Trump picked Mike Pence as his running mate and that there was a coup in Turkey. For an Administration looking to dump some insanely incriminating evidence and have nobody take notice – doing it yesterday when Congress was leaving for their two month summer recess was probably the best day anyone could have imagined.

But, the world is an unstable, crazy place. And, while I used to think I was safe because my government was looking out for me and making decisions that were in my best interests and that of other citizens, I now know better. For fifteen long years, I have fought to get information regarding the killing of my husband from the US government. I have fought, pleaded, and begged for the truth, transparency, justice, and accountability because my husband and 3,000 others were brutally slaughtered in broad daylight. And our government has done nothing but block, thwart, impede, and obstruct that path to truth, transparency, accountability, and justice. Even going so far as to gaslight us to this very day by denying the plain truth written on the plain paper of the 29 pages.

Please read the 29 pages. Look at the facts and evidence. And then watch the venal way various members of our government and media play spin-master on those facts – telling you to deny the very harsh, sobering reality found within those 29 pages. I hope their gaslighting disgusts you as much as it disgusts me.

Note that these 29 pages merely detail the Saudi connection to the 9/11 attacks in San Diego. They briefly touch on the Phoenix information, as well. Though more notably, the 29 pages do not include information found in the more than 80,000 documents that are currently being reviewed by a federal judge in Florida – 80,000 documents that neither the 9/11 Commission, the Joint Inquiry, the Clinton, Bush, or Obama White House, nor the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants us to know about.

More than anything, please know this: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided operational and financial support to the 9/11 hijackers. That is a fact. And, the US government has been covering up that fact for fifteen years – even to this very day. And that is a crime.

Corruption, greed, and vice, specifically as it pertains to protecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is not a one-party problem. It spans both democratic and republican administrations. Blame President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama – as well as, all of their officials and appointees. They are ALL to blame for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks, helping to facilitate the 9/11 attacks through their own abject negligence, using the 9/11 attacks to further ill-begotten gains and goals, and covering-up the 9/11 attacks by not coming clean with the American public for fifteen years.

UK Brexit minister warns new EU migrants could be sent home

David Davis, the Brexit minister, has told a Sunday newspaper that new EU migrants who travel to Britain may be sent home to avoid a surge in immigration. Migrants already in the UK can stay.

July 17, 2016


Davis, the Secretary for State for Exiting the European Union, who leads the newly established ministry dismissed the idea that the UK could expel three million migrants from the EU who already live in Britain.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, he said he wanted to secure a “generous settlement” for both EU migrants already in the UK and for UK citizens who live in continental Europe. Davis denied that he was using UK citizens in the EU as a “bargaining counter.”

If large numbers of migrants arrive in the UK ahead of Brexit, “we may have to say that the ‘right to indefinite leave to remain’ protection only applies before a certain date,” Davis said.

“We may have to deal with that,” Davis said in the interview. “There are a variety of possibilities.” One of those possibilities would be to allow residence only to migrants who arrive before a set date, he said.

Brexit ‘buffer’

Unlike Prime Minister Theresa May, Davis was an outspoken proponent of Brexit during the referendum campaign. He has rejected forecasts that leaving the EU would cause a recession in the UK.

Outside of the bloc, the UK would become the “most open-market and open-minded country in the world,” he said. New trade deals would also “buffer any turbulence” caused by the split, Davis added.

On Sunday, May’s office announced in a statement that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had already proposed striking such a free trade deal with Britain “as soon as possible.”

The statement said May had voiced her willingness to sign an agreement in the near future, while recognizing that Britain was legally prevented from striking deals of this kind while still an EU member.

May called it an “encouraging” sign for Britain’s successful post-Brexit future that a partner such as Australia was already seeking a free-trade deal.

Turnbull, who recently retained power in a national election, on Sunday confirmed that he had discussed a free-trade agreement with May, describing their conversation on Saturday as “constructive.”

Immigration still key

The UK official vowed to take a tough line in negotiating Brexit terms. He also dismissed claims that the EU would refuse to negotiate before London officially triggers exit procedure.

“We don’t have to do any negotiations, just find out where their interests are. It’s not the same thing,” he said, adding that London would “know the shape of the deal” by the time it triggered Article 50 which marks the start of two years of formal negotiations.

Immigration has been the key factor for many Brexit supporters, with a large number of voters angry over workers arriving from Poland or Romania. It may also become a flashpoint in the EU exit talks. Namely, London aims to secure access to the joint European market, but Brussels has signaled such access is only possible if UK respects the four principles of EU membership – which include free movement of labor.

Brexit widens chasm between Wall Street and Europe’s investment banks

July 18, 2016

by Anjuli Davies and Olivia Oran


LONDON/NEW YORK-Market ructions caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union are set to widen the gulf between Wall Street and European investment banks, potentially leaving the continent without its own global champion.

The Brexit vote has pushed shares in Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) to record lows and triggered a string of analyst downgrades, highlighting expectations that Europe’s already-struggling investment banks will be pushed further to the sidelines by their U.S. counterparts.

“In our view, the uncertainty created post Brexit, if it leads to long-term negative impact on profitability, could result in further restructuring in Tier Two investment banks,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note on July 11, downgrading their estimates for European banks in favor of their U.S. rivals.

Brexit is seen as a negative for banks on both sides of the Atlantic because the uncertainty could subdue dealmaking and trading activity. And banks may also face the cost of relocating some London-based businesses and staff to other EU cities.

But European banks will find it tougher as Brexit comes on top of post-financial crisis structural overhauls that their U.S. counterparts have largely completed.

Since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, some headhunters on Wall Street have reported getting more calls from investment bankers at European groups asking about jobs at their U.S rivals.

“People I’ve been in discussion with since the middle of last year have all of a sudden started saying ‘you were right … I should be more open-minded … I don’t want to be the last guy here to turn the lights off. Is it too late in the year to move?’ Gary Goldstein, founder and CEO of executive search firm Whitney Partners in New York, said.

Europe’s banks were already on the back foot before the vote, focused on cost-cutting and shoring up capital while more strongly-capitalized U.S banks have been able to go out to win new business.

“We have been getting a number of calls from senior bankers at the European institutions in the U.S.,” Kevin P. Mahoney at Bay Street Advisors, LLC, said.

“The concerns range from the European banks’ inability to lend, and thus compete on deals going forward, to the quickly eroding value of their stock awards and overall compensation.”


Some senior executives, worried about the risks of Wall Street dominating the region, argue that Europe needs its own investment banks to service companies at home and abroad and help to spur economic growth.

“It is in the interests of Europe at large to have a strong, globally relevant bank in Europe,” Alasdair Warren, head of corporate and investment banking EMEA at Deutsche Bank told Reuters.

“If the only globally relevant banks of scale are North American, it’s not politically or socially good for Europe. But of course, all institutions, irrespective of geography need to be globally competitive.”

Barclays’ (BARC.L) chief executive Jes Staley said earlier this year that the region risked tipping over into American dominance, which could leave Europe’s capital markets entirely dependent on firms based elsewhere.

European companies could also play a role in supporting their home banks. In a research paper in March, think-tank Bruegel said companies could help to bolster the continent’s investment banks.

“We recommend that the big European corporates should cherish the (few) remaining European investment banks, by giving them at least one place in otherwise U.S.- dominated banking syndicates,” the paper said.

“That could help to avoid complete dependence on U.S. investment banks.”


In 2007, the eight biggest European banks’ FICC (fixed income, currencies and commodities) revenue was $48 billion, compared with the $38 billion generated by the five biggest U.S. banks, according to data from analytics firm Tricumen.

Last year, European banks’ revenue was $26 billion while U.S. banks was $43 billion. In eight years, there has been a $22 billion fall in FICC revenue at European banks and a $5 billion increase at U.S. banks. Europe’s 26 percent advantage has turned into a 40 percent deficit.

European banks’ total fee revenue from bond issuance, equity capital markets and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fell from $17 billion to $13 billion between 2007 and 2015, while U.S. banks’ fees remained unchanged at $23 billion.

“I would expect European banks to lose more market share to the U.S. banks,” Darko Kapoor a partner at Tricumen, said.

The Wall Street banks potentially face some big Brexit costs.

The five largest U.S. banks employ around 40,000 people in London, more than in the rest of Europe combined, taking advantage of the EU “passporting” regime that allows them to offer services across the bloc.

If they have to set up new continental European outposts this could be extremely costly.

It could cost 50,000 pounds ($66,215) per person, on average to relocate an employee to the EU, according to consultancy Crossbridge, taking into account the costs of hiring and redundancy, new building, rent and other infrastructure and contingency costs.

U.S. investment banks have 20 percent more EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) staff in Britain than their European counterparts, according to industry analytics firm Coalition.

“Most banks (U.S. and European) have put in place a hiring freeze and are following a “wait and watch” approach. Some banks that had launched restructuring before Brexit are looking at accelerating those programs,” Coalition said.

(Additional reporting by Lawrence White and Mike Stone, editing by Jane Merriman)

 Two Delegates Propose Banning Corporate Lobbyists From the RNC, Get Crushed

July 18 2016

by Zaid Jilani

The Intercept

Donald Trump has denounced his opponents as being controlled by “special interests, the lobbyists and the donors,” but a number of pro-Trump delegates helped crush an effort by two members of the Republican Party’s Rules Committee last week to ban for-profit lobbyists from the Republican National Committee.

Republican State Reps. Mary Anne Kinney of Maine and Cindy Pugh of Minnesota introduced an amendment at a Rules Committee session that would ban registered lobbyists for for-profit entities from serving as members of the RNC.

“This amendment is meant to keep those with a financial stake in being on the RNC [out]….Non-profit lobbyists are exempt,” Ted Cruz delegate Kinney explained, saying that lobbyists for pro-life groups, for instance, would not be barred.

“As a state representative, I’ve witnessed first hand the influence of paid lobbyists,” said Pugh, also elected as a Cruz delegate. “Our Republican Party should be giving voice to everyday, hardworking citizens, and not giving in to the voices of insider lobbyists.”

She went on to cite Trump’s own stated posture against lobbyists, and the influence of lobbyists on the Democratic Party — saying that “Republicans need to make a bold statement that we stand in contrast and have higher standards” than their opponents. (The DNC has welcomed lobbyists this year, in a change from the Obama era).

An objection was raised by California delegate Harmeet Dhillon, who works as a corporate lawyer and serves as both a Trump delegate and a vice chair of the California GOP. “Banning people from participating in politics because of their chosen profession,” she said, is “un-American.”

“Once we single out lobbyists, we’re looking at singling out other potential disfavored professions. Such as plaintiffs lawyers, such as used car salesman…such as farmers people don’t like,” she said. Kinney, the delegate from Maine, is a farmer.

Another corporate lawyer, Mike Stuart, the co-chair of Donald Trump’s West Virginia champaign, rose in opposition as well.

“I truly believe that every state should be able to determine its representatives to the RNC. Whether that be three priests, three pastors, three lobbyists, three coal miners, or three coal miners from Southern West Virginia!” he said. “It’s a states’ rights issue.”

Gwen Bowen, a Louisiana Cruz delegate, praised the amendment for its optics. “There’s a lot of lobbyists on this committee right now, and you know we have a media watching,” she said.  “And so we have an opportunity to say the Republican Party is the grassroots party. And it’s the grassroots people who are going to make the decisions for the rules — not the lobbyists, the paid lobbyists.”

Illinois delegate Demetra Demonte, who has voiced frustration with delegates who do not want to vote for Trump, called the amendment “well-intended,” but “not practical. I think it’s going to open up a Pandora’s Box.”

Oregon delegate Solomon Yue protested: “We have conflicts of interest here….You have paid lobbyists, they are paid to lobby for a third party for profits and for favorable regulations. That is crony capitalism.” He said Trump would approve. “Take a look at our nominee Donald Trump’s message, how he got where he is today. I’m supporting this measure.”

But Maine’s Alexander Willet, who was tapped by the Trump campaign to put down any potential convention revolt, made her position clear: “It should be up to the individual states when electing their national committee folks when making that decision whether they want a registered lobbyist or not.”

After 45 minutes of debate, the committee voted down not only the amendment to bar lobbyists, but also an amendment to the amendment that would simply have required that they disclose their lobbying activities to the RNC. Both were defeated along a voice vote, meaning that there was no roll call. Asked for comment on the vote total, RNC spokeswoman Audrey Scagnelli told The Intercept that the Kinney-Pugh amendment was defeated “overwhelmingly


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