TBR News July 24, 2010

Jul 24 2010

The Voice of the White House


             Washington, D.C., July 23, 2010: “There is an old saying that if something is too good to be true, it isn’t. This applies to girl friends, wives, bosses, the ads that are choking the Internet (“Free credit scores!”) and so on.

            More sinister are offerings found in the media and touted on the Internet that can lead to very serious consequences for the unwary.

            The general thrust of these dangers are offers of security in communications with others that are illusory because by using them, the victim is exposing himself to the very people he is trying to avoid. In the second case, the victim is lured into believing that if they send off purloined or otherwise illegally obtained sensitive government documents, they will be published for all the world to see and, of course, the sender will never, ever, be revealed.

            Both of these simplistic scams and more often than not deliberately created by governmental agencies to trap the unwary and act like the famous Venus Fly Catcher plant. Once you get inside to sip the nectar, you are trapped and die.

            As  \an excellent case in point, I am reprinting a story from the New York Times back in 2006 that breathlessly informs the reader that a new encryption device has been developed that will allow someone guaranteed security in their conversations, be they with paid porn conversation or clandestine information-passing events with the Israeli Embassy.

            Trust me, if such devices were marketed, devices preventing possible surveillance, the purveyors would at once be attacked by the government and pressured to either shut down on penalty of prosecution under some deliberately obscure Federal law or allow the aforesaid agency the chance to clandestinely enter the system and listen, or read, anything and everything.

            The first story tells how shocked the government is to discover it might be outwitted but note that the article is basically a free ad for a system that meets with government approval. Also note that the article supplies specific information that allows the thrilled reader to immediately contact the purveyor and buy their approved products.

            We will cover the other concept after the first:”


Voice Encryption May Draw U.S. Scrutiny

May 22, 2006

by John Mrkoff

New York Times

          SAN FRANCISCO, May 21 — Philip R. Zimmermann wants to protect online privacy. Who could object to that?

Skip to next paragraph

            Philip R. Zimmermann created a program to encrypt e-mail. His Zfone will do the same for Internet calls.

He has found out once already. Trained as a computer scientist, he developed a program in 1991 called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, for scrambling and unscrambling e-mail messages. It won a following among privacy rights advocates and human rights groups working overseas — and a three-year federal criminal investigation into whether he had violated export restrictions on cryptographic software. The case was dropped in 1996, and Mr. Zimmermann, who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., started PGP Inc. to sell his software commercially.

Now he is again inviting government scrutiny. On Sunday, he released a free Windows software program, Zfone, that encrypts a computer-to-computer voice conversation so both parties can be confident that no one is listening in. It became available earlier this year to Macintosh and Linux users of the system known as voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP.

What sets Zfone apart from comparable systems is that it does not require a web of computers to hold the keys, or long numbers, used in most encryption schemes. Instead, it performs the key exchange inside the digital voice channel while the call is being set up, so no third party has the keys.

Zfone’s introduction comes as reports continue to emerge about the government’s electronic surveillance efforts. A lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy rights group, contends that AT&T has given the National Security Agency real-time access to Internet communications.

In the wake of 9/11, there were calls for the government to institute new barriers to cryptography, to avoid its use in communications by enemies of the United States. Easily accessible cryptography for Internet calling may intensify that debate.

“I’m afraid it will put front and center an issue that had been resolved in the individual’s favor in the 1990’s,” said James X. Dempsey, policy director for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based public policy group.

The Federal Communications Commission has begun adopting regulations that would force Internet service providers and VoIP companies to adopt the technology that permits law enforcement officials to monitor conventional telephone calls. But for now, at least, F.C.C. regulation exempts programs that operate directly between computers, not through a hub.

“From the F.C.C.’s perspective you can’t regulate point-to-point communications, which I think will let Phil off the hook,” said Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group in Washington.

Zfone may face more of a challenge in Europe, where the British government is preparing to give the police the legal authority to compel both organizations and individuals to disclose encryption keys.

But Mr. Zimmermann, 52, does not see those fearing government surveillance — or trying to evade it — as the primary market. The next phase of the Internet’s spyware epidemic, he contends, will be software designed to eavesdrop on Internet telephone calls made by corporate users.

“They will have entire digital jukeboxes of covertly acquired telephone conversations, and suddenly someone in Eastern Europe is going to be very wealthy,” he said.

While Mr. Zimmerman is giving away his software so far, his goal is to attract VoIP software and hardware developers to license his technology and embed it in their products.

Zfone can automatically encrypt any call between users of freely available VoIP software programs like X-Lite, Gizmo or SJphone. It can be downloaded at www.philzimmermann.com.

The system does not work with Skype, the VoIP system acquired by eBay, which uses its own encryption scheme. But at a conference last week in Cyprus, German officials said they had technology for intercepting and decrypting Skype phone calls, according to Anthony M. Rutkowski, vice president for regulatory affairs and standards for VeriSign, a company that offers security for Internet and phone operations.

Mr. Zimmermann said he had not yet tested Zfone’s compatibility with Vonage, another popular VoIP service.

Mr. Zimmermann contends that the nation is better off with strong cryptography. Indeed, Zfone can be considered an asset, he said, because it allows people to have secret conversations without hiding their Internet protocol addresses, which could be traceable geographically. Those observed having a secured conversation could come under suspicion, of course. But for that reason, he argued, sophisticated criminals or terrorists are unlikely to use the technology.

“I’m sympathetic to the needs of the intelligence community to catch the bad guys,” he said. “I specifically protect the content the criminals want, while simultaneously not interfering with the traffic analysis that the N.S.A. is trying to do. You could make the case that I’m being socially responsible.”

On May 22, 2006, at 11:48 AM, Walter Storch wrote:


This was sent to us by one of our columnists a few minutes ago. A  connection on the staff of the NYT read it and suggested we send it  on to you for comment. It is slated to go up asap and any input  would be gratefully accepted.  tbrnews


The Voice of the White House


May 21, 2006: “Let me start this off with a howlingly funny story. It’s funny because it is so bloody stupid.  One of my alphabet agency contacts was telling me of a renewed scam to better enable the knuckle-draggers to spy on everyone. What they do is this: Put together an encryption or scrambling system that purports to be “unbreakable ” so as to allow the possessors to carry on “absolutely secret” telephone or computer conversations. The obedient press then runs a rigged, government-written  story, (shades of the Lincoln Group!) to the effect that this brilliant system simply cannot be broken and that the company selling it is going to be seriously investigated by the government for building a system that they cannot break.

 In fact, the “unbreakable system” has a built-in trapdoor that you could drive a Mack truck through and the various agencies have this, believe it. When they encounter a scrambled message or conversation using this compromised system, the “unbreakable system” alerts them and since they have the means at hand to look into it, the recorders start in working. This is in the same category as “Internet II” which, my informant advised me, is almost entirely controlled by the domestic counter intelligence people and enables them instant access to all the user’s messages.

Suggestion? Anything that looks too good to be true…is. If it isn’t a criminal con job, it’s a bumbling government sting. The con jobs are usually much more clever and this one is as obvious as a turd  on a bed sheet.

And now on to more entertainment.

And here is Mr. Zimmerman’s instant response:

From :     Philip Zimmermann <prz@mit.edu>

Sent :                 Monday, May 22, 2006 1:11 PM

To :         Walter Storch <tbrnews@hotmail.com>

Subject : Re: Attached copy

Anyone who knows anything at all about me knows that I don't do back  doors, and they know why.  Visit my web site and look on the menu on  the left side, an entry that says "No back doors".  Read what I have  to say about it.



Philip Zimmermann: Creator of PGP


Philip R. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy, an email encryption software package. Originally designed as a human rights tool, PGP was published for free on the Internet in 1991. This made Zimmermann the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the government held that US export restrictions for cryptographic software were violated when PGP spread worldwide. Despite the lack of funding, the lack of any paid staff, the lack of a company to stand behind it, and despite government persecution, PGP nonetheless became the most widely used email encryption software in the world. After the government dropped its case in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc. That company was acquired by Network Associates Inc (NAI) in December 1997, where he stayed on for three years as Senior Fellow. In August 2002 PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation, where Zimmermann now serves as special advisor and consultant. Zimmermann currently is consulting for a number of companies and industry organizations on matters cryptographic, and is also a Fellow at the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. He was a principal designer of the cryptographic key agreement protocol for the Wireless USB standard. His latest project is Zfone, which provides secure telephony for the Internet.

Before founding PGP Inc, Zimmermann was a software engineer with more than 20 years of experience, specializing in cryptography and data security, data communications, and real-time embedded systems. His interest in the political side of cryptography grew out of his background in military policy issues.

Editor’s note: This system was also mentioned in the very popular but totally fictional Da Vinci Code book. This is an entertaining and imaginative detective novel but insofar as historical accuracy is concerned, it is a flop. Creative writing but not based on any kind of fact.

Brown, Dan (2003-03-18). The Da Vinci Code (US hardback ed.). Doubleday. pp. 199. ISBN 0-385-50420-9. 

TBR News respnse to Mr. Zimmerman:

Dear Mr. Zimmernan:

I knew nothing about you until my NYT person sent me the article in today’s paper, based on your work.

This came after I sent material to him for his interest (because he often writes about it.)

He said he found my reporter’s article interesting and that is why, at his suggestion,  I contacted you. I appreciate your prompt response.

I am glad you are not involved with this nasty business and I am certain you will approve it if we draw strong attention to these devious practices.

I have several advanced computer people working for me who have devised various methods of secure communication, devastating and Trojan Horse-laced firewalls (none of which is commercially available) and so on so you can see that I am concerned about unauthorized governmental snooping.

If and when I get wind of these activities, I expose them, and will continue to do so, without let or hindrance, believe me.

We ran a detailed article on the use of the television set as a receiver for illegal and clandestine listening purposes and got an enormous response. When concerned people asked me how to neutralize this, I told them to disconnect their set from the cable hookup and I am told that many do. All it takes is a knuckle-dragger down at the cable head and very simple equipment (according to a friend in the New Jersey Bell labs) to reverse the system and listen. One doesn’t need elaborate and expensive equipment to neutralize this. Simple disconnection is much more effective in the end.

I have recently been tipped that someone has a major Trojan Horse project planted in computers, servers and so on and that this has been dormant for the past three years, waiting activation.

We did a story on this and when “an interested party” (read government informer) got in touch with me and asked me if I knew anything more concrete, (such as identifying information on our informant) my reply was that not only would I not discuss this with him but if I had the trigger to this project, (which, regrettably, I do not) I would put it out and up at once to see if it was genuine. If it didn’t work, the tip was false but if it did, there wouldn’t be any systems left so the matter would be moot.

There has been too much dependence on computer systems and, from what my people tell me, they are very vulnerable. The only reason that our many enemies, both inside and outside the country, haven’t seriously crippled big parts of it is because this might injure their own activities in the same field.

It is never a good idea to go for a walk across the Grand Canyon over a soda cracker bridge if a rain storm is in the offing.


Walter Storch

            “Having discussed one aspect of controlled demolition, let us move on to the next but we should also comment on a system that also guarantees “complete email protection” at http://www.hushmail.com/ 

The second part of this discussion concerns the WikiLeaks site that promises to publish any documents of a secret nature that a reader might wish to extract from government files. A good deal of this lifting goes on and Obama has said he was going to put an end to it.

WikiLeaks appeared on the public stage with the oft-repeated promise to publish “secret documents” that the site managers felt were in the “public interest.” Persons with access to, or possession of, such documents were repeatedly asked to forward them to WikiLeaks “for world-wide publicity.’

 Trust this not, gentlemen, for it shall prove a snare and a delusion. Our government is frantic to put an end to a growing epidemic of leakage of often very embarrassing documents or other information and luring potential leakers into exposing themselves to arrest and prosecution is both obvious and natural.

Again, what I said earlier is true here as well: If it looks too good to be true, it isn’t. And beware of those individuals who loudly praise WikiLeaks and continue to urge the unwary to walk right into the room with the leopard.”



Wikileaks Reopens for Leakers

July 19, 2010  

by Ryan Singel


             Wikileaks is back in business for leakers, with two revamped ways to submit secret documents, the group announced Saturday.

The security certificate for uploading by HTTPS has been replaced, after expiring in early June. When the old certificate expired, it disabled Wikileaks’ upload system for over a month without any notice on the site.

Those with particularly sensitive documents can also once again cloak their uploads over the anonymizing system Tor. Wikileaks’ Tor Hidden Service had been a much-touted feature of the site, but was taken down without notice several months ago.

After Wired.com reported on Wikileaks’ technical issues last month, Julian Assange, the site’s leader, said that both outages were part of an upgrade to Wikileaks’ infrastructure.

The changes and other additions to Wikileaks were announced Saturday at the HOPE hacker conference in New York City by prominent Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, who tacitly acknowledged that Wikileaks had been less than transparent about the outages. In a spirit of communicating more with supporters, he announced a new blog for Wikileaks, supplementing its active Twitter feed.

“It’s extremely important that we tell you what’s  going on,” Appelbaum said. “Because whenever we do anything — when we take down the submission site to make sure that there are some new things that can be launched — we need to make sure that we let you know about it so that it doesn’t cause a huge problem in the media where we have to take a lot of time away from doing important work to talk to people that are not going to be very helpful, and in some cases are quite hostile.”

Assange had been slated to give the Saturday keynote at the hacker conference, but Appelbaum stepped in to deliver the address instead.

Wikileaks has been in the spotlight in the last few months after it released classified footage of a 2007 military attack in Iraq, where two Reuters employees were killed by U.S. soldiers in a Apache helicopter. Two children in a van that stopped to help an unarmed wounded man were also shot and severely wounded in the attack.

In May, PFC Bradley Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, was arrested on charges of leaking the video and other documents to Wikileaks, after confiding in former hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned him in.

While publishing classified documents isn’t a crime in the U.S., press reports indicate the government is concerned that Wikileaks will publish tens of thousands of sensitive State Department cables that Manning purportedly also provided Wikileaks. In chats with Lamo, Manning claimed to have given Wikileaks a database of 260,000 cables; Manning has been formally charged with downloading over 150,000 cables, and leaking more than 50 classified cables.

The reported government interest makes it unlikely that Assange would attempt to enter the U.S., where he’d likely face questioning, but he has spoken publicly twice in the U.K. in the last month.

Other new features announced include increased support for peer-to-peer file sharing and ways to find all leaks by geographic region or subject. The site also published the unique identifier of its SSL certificate, which would-be leakers can use to make sure that their connection to Wikileaks uploading server isn’t being spied on by rogue intelligence agencies.

Some of Wikileaks donations are handled by a German non-profit foundation, which last week said that the site’s spending was parsimonious, and that it would release a fuller report on the site’s budget in August.

The new upload page is handled, without explanation, through the web site for Wikileaks’s sister organization The Sunshine Press. A third security feature on Wikileaks — the ability to access documents securely over HTTPS — has yet to return, and will “take some more time until it is available,” according to the site’s new blog.
Russian Spies and Strategic Intelligence

July 13, 2010

by George Friedman

The Market Oracle


The United States has captured a group of Russian spies and exchanged them for four individuals held by the Russians on espionage charges. The way the media has reported on the issue falls into three groups:


  • That the Cold War is back,


  • That, given that the Cold War is over, the point of such outmoded intelligence operations is questionable,


  • And that the Russian spy ring was spending its time aimlessly nosing around in think tanks and open meetings in an archaic and incompetent effort.


It is said that the world is global and interdependent. This makes it vital for a given nation to know three things about all of the nations with which it interacts.

First, it needs to know what other nations are capable of doing. Whether militarily, economically or politically, knowing what other nations are capable of narrows down those nations’ possible actions, eliminating fantasies and rhetoric from the spectrum of possible moves. Second, the nation needs to know what other nations intend to do. This is important in the short run, especially when intentions and capabilities match up. And third, the nation needs to know what will happen in other nations that those nations’ governments didn’t anticipate.

The more powerful a nation is, the more important it is to understand what it is doing. The United States is the most powerful country in the world. It therefore follows that it is one of the prime focuses of every country in the world. Knowing what the United States will do, and shifting policy based on that, can save countries from difficulties and even disaster. This need is not confined, of course, to the United States. Each country in the world has a list of nations that it is interdependent with, and it keeps an eye on those nations. These can be enemies, friends or just acquaintances. It is impossible for nations not to keep their eyes on other nations, corporations not to keep their eyes on other corporations and individuals not to keep their eyes on other people. How they do so varies; that they do so is a permanent part of the human condition. The shock at learning that the Russians really do want to know what is going on in the United States is, to say the least, overdone.

Russian Tradecraft Examined

Let’s consider whether the Russian spies were amateurish. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviets developed a unique model of espionage. They would certainly recruit government officials or steal documents. What they excelled at, however, was placing undetectable operatives in key positions. Soviet talent scouts would range around left-wing meetings to discover potential recruits. These would be young people with impeccable backgrounds and only limited contact with the left. They would be recruited based on ideology, and less often via money, sex or blackmail. They would never again be in contact with communists or fellow travelers. They would apply for jobs in their countries’ intelligence services, foreign or defense ministries, and so on. Given their family and academic backgrounds, they would be hired. They would then be left in place for 20 or 30 years while they rose in the ranks — and, on occasion, aided with bits of information from the Soviet side to move their careers ahead.

The Soviets understood that a recruited employee might be a double agent. But stealing information on an ad hoc basis was also risky, as the provenance of such material was always murky. Recruiting people who were not yet agents, creating psychological and material bonds over long years of management and allowing them to mature into senior intelligence or ministry officials allowed ample time for testing loyalty and positioning. The Soviets not only got more reliable information this way but also the ability to influence the other country’s decision-making. Recruiting a young man in the 1930s, having him work with the OSS and later the CIA, and having him rise to the top levels of the CIA — had that ever happened — would thus give the Soviets information and control.

These operations took decades, and Soviet handlers would spend their entire careers managing one career. There were four phases:

Identifying likely candidates,

Evaluating and recruiting them,

Placing them and managing their rise in the organization,

And exploiting them.

The longer the third phase took, the more effective the fourth phase would be.

It is difficult to know what the Russian team was up to in the United States from news reports, but there are two things we know about the Russians: They are not stupid, and they are extremely patient. If we were to guess — and we are guessing — this was a team of talent scouts. They were not going to meetings at the think tanks because they were interested in listening to the papers; rather, they were searching for recruits. These were people between the ages of 22 and 30, doing internships or entry level jobs, with family and academic backgrounds that would make employment in classified areas of the U.S. government easy — and who in 20 to 30 years would provide intelligence and control to Moscow.

In our view, the media may have conflated two of Moscow’s missions.

Twin Goals and the Espionage Challenge

One of the Russian operatives, Don Heathfield, once approached a STRATFOR employee in a series of five meetings. There appeared to be no goal of recruitment; rather, the Russian operative tried to get the STRATFOR employee to try out software he said his company had developed. We suspect that had this been done, our servers would be outputting to Moscow. We did not know at the time who he was. (We have since reported the incident to the FBI, but these folks were everywhere, and we were one among many.)

Thus, the group apparently included a man using software sales as cover — or as we suspect, as a way to intrude on computers. As discussed, the group also included talent scouts. We would guess that Anna Chapman was brought in as part of the recruitment phase of talent scouting. No one at STRATFOR ever had a chance to meet her, having apparently failed the first screening.

Each of the phases of the operatives’ tasks required a tremendous amount of time, patience and, above all, cover. The operatives had to blend in (in this case, they didn’t do so well enough). Russians have always had a tremendous advantage over Americans in this regard. A Russian long-term deployment took you to the United States, for example. Were the Americans to try the same thing, they would have to convince people to spend years learning Russian to near-native perfection and then to spend 20-30 years of their lives in Russia. Some would be willing to do so, but not nearly as many as there are Russians prepared to spend that amount of time in the United States or Western Europe.

The United States can thus recruit sources (and sometimes it gets genuine ones). It can buy documents. But the extremely patient, long-term deployments are very difficult for it. It doesn’t fit with U.S. career patterns or family expectations.

The United States has substituted technical intelligence for this process. Thus, the most important U.S. intelligence-collection agency is not the CIA; it is the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA focuses on intercepting communications, penetrating computer networks, encryption and the like. (We will assume that they are successful at this.) So whereas the Russians seek to control the career of a recruit through retirement, the NSA seeks access to everything that is recorded electronically. The goal here is understanding capabilities and intentions. To the extent that the target is unaware of the NSA’s capabilities, the NSA does well. In many ways, this provides better and faster intelligence than the placement of agents, except that this does not provide influence.

The Intelligence Assumption

In the end, both the U.S. and Russian models — indeed most intelligence models — are built on the core assumption that the more senior the individual, the more knowledge he and his staff have. To put it more starkly, it assumes that what senior (and other) individuals say, write or even think reveals the most important things about the country in question. Thus, controlling a senior government official or listening to his phone conversations or e-mails makes one privy to the actions that country will take — thus allowing one to tell the future.

Let’s consider two cases: Iran in 1979 and the Soviet Union from 1989 to 1991. The fall of the Shah of Iran and the collapse of the Soviet empire were events of towering importance for the United States. Assume that the United States knew everything the shah’s senior officials and their staffs knew, wrote, or said in the period leading up to the Iranian Revolution. Or assume that the shah’s prime minister or a member of the Soviet Union’s Politburo was a long-term mole.

Either of those scenarios would not have made any difference to how events played out. This is because, in the end, the respective senior leadership didn’t know how events were going to play out. Partly this is because they were in denial, but mostly this is because they didn’t have the facts and they didn’t interpret the facts they did have properly. At these critical turning points in history, the most thorough penetration using either American or Russian techniques would have failed to provide warning of the change ahead. This is because the basic premise of the intelligence operation was wrong. The people being spied on and penetrated simply didn’t understand their own capabilities — i.e., the reality on the ground in their respective countries — and therefore their intentions about what to do were irrelevant and actually misleading.

In saying this, we must be very cautious, since obviously there are many instances in which targets of intelligence agencies do have valuable information and their decisions do actually represent what will happen. But if we regard anticipating systemic changes as one of the most important categories of intelligence, then these are cases where the targets of intelligence may well know the least and know it last. The Japanese knew they were going to hit Pearl Harbor, and having intelligence on that fact was enormously important. But that the British would collapse at Singapore was a fact not known to the British, so there would have been no way to obtain that information in advance from the British.

We started with three classes of intelligence: capabilities, intentions and what will actually happen. The first is an objective measure that can sometimes be seen directly but more frequently is obtained through data held by someone in the target country. The most important issue is not what this data says but how accurate it is. Intentions, by contrast, represent the subjective plans of decision makers. History is filled with intentions that were never implemented, or that, when implemented, had wildly different outcomes than the decision maker expected. From our point of view, the most important aspect of this category is the potential for unintended consequences. For example, George W. Bush did not intend to get bogged down in a guerrilla war in Iraq. What he intended and what happened were two different things because his view of American and Iraqi capabilities were not tied to reality.

American and Russian intelligence is source-based. There is value in sources, but they need to be taken with many grains of salt, not because they necessarily lie but because the highest placed source may simply be wrong — and at times, an entire government can be wrong. If the purpose of intelligence is to predict what will happen, and it is source-based, then that assumes that the sources know what is going on and how it will play out. But often they don’t.

Russian and American intelligence agencies are both source-obsessed. On the surface, this is reasonable and essential. But it assumes something about sources that is frequently true, but not always — and in fact is only true with great infrequency on the most important issues. From our point of view, the purpose of intelligence is obvious: It is to collect as much information as possible, and surely from the most highly placed sources. But in the end, the most important question to ask is whether the most highly placed source has any clue as to what is going to happen.

Knowledge of what is being thought is essential. But gaming out how the objective and impersonal forces will interact and play out it is the most important thing of all. The focus on sources allows the universe of intelligence to be populated by the thoughts of the target. Sometimes that is of enormous value. But sometimes the most highly placed source has no idea what is about to happen. Sometimes it is necessary to listen to the tape of Gorbachev or Bush planning the future and recognize that what they think will happen and what is about to happen are very different things.

The events of the past few weeks show intelligence doing the necessary work of recruiting and rescuing agents. The measure of all of this activity is not whether one has penetrated the other side, but in the end, whether your intelligence organization knew what was going to happen and told you regardless of what well-placed sources believed. Sometimes sources are indispensable. Sometimes they are misleading. And sometimes they are the way an intelligence organization justifies being wrong.



Kabul conference is surreal theatre featuring the defeated Western allies in competitive denial

July 21, 2010

by Gerald Warner

            We are watching history in the making in Afghanistan; but it is history of a certain stamp – the slow-motion unravelling of a disaster. The international conference meeting in a palatial hall in Kabul has all the unreality of similar doomed assemblies in the past. Think of the States General of France in 1789, the Duma in Russia in 1905 – you get the picture. Here we have high-ranking international diplomats and foreign ministers, the supposed “movers and shakers” of the world, but they have encountered the immovable and the unshakeable: the victorious Taliban and the treacherous warlords of Afghanistan.

            The spin is that, since Nato is so convincingly winning the war, it is time to hand over increasing responsibility to the Afghan government, army and police. It is a measure of how convincingly Nato is winning that the plane carrying the UN Secretary General had to be diverted to avoid being shot down by the Taliban. The conference itself is sealed off and defended by maximum security. Contrast that with conditions in 2001 when John Simpson of the BBC was able to stroll into Kabul and “liberate” the capital. That is how much we are winning the war.

            Hamid Karzai, whose puppet regime makes the average Sicilian municipality look squeaky clean, is proclaiming his resolve to reform corruption, the civil service, the economy, agriculture and education. Considering he has been in office, if not in power, for eight years, that has all the novelty of Labour’s recent general election manifesto. To achieve all this, he wants the proportion of foreign aid controlled by the Afghan government to rise from 20 per cent to 50 per cent. Good call, Hamid. That would enable officials to increase the amount of cash they embezzle, from the £2bn they have already trousered to £5bn.

            Behind Karzai’s confident demeanour lies the uncomfortable reality that his recent back-door overtures to the Taliban have been contemptuously rejected. The same will happen to Nato: why should the Taliban negotiate the endgame to a war it has already won? But Karzai is hopelessly outclassed in the BS stakes by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The move that confirmed the Taliban in its confidence of victory was last year’s announcement by Barack Obama that American troop withdrawals would begin in July 2011. Now, Clinton claims that date “captures both our sense of urgency and the strength of our resolve”.

            Sense of urgency is right; the bit about “resolve” is reminiscent of the famous announcement by the Japanese government of its surrender in 1945: “Events in the course of the war have today taken a turn not necessarily to the advantage of the Empire of Japan.” The difference is that this time it is the Americans who have been beaten; even the much-hyped “surge” on Kandahar quickly subsided into stagnancy.

            Clinton is good value for all those who value surrealism as an art form: “But this date [July 2011] is the start of a new phase, not the end of our involvement. We have no intention of abandoning our long-term mission of achieving a stable, secure, peaceful Afghanistan.” She supports a plan to persuade 36,000 fighters to lay down their arms “if they renounce violence and al-Qaeda” (which they will undoubtedly do if the price is right, for at least a month). In case anybody was still in any doubt about the Secretary of State’s apparent total divorce from reality, she added that any peace settlement must not sacrifice the rights of women who faced repression under the Taliban regime.

            Run that past us one more time, Hill. Are you seeking guarantees of female emancipation from Karzai, who could be in power for as long as 18 months after the departure of Western troops, or from the Taliban? That is the kind of rhetoric that will play well in New Jersey; in Sangin it will raise a belly laugh. One of the causes of increased opposition to Western occupation after 2001 was the rhetoric about remodelling an Islamic society along Western lines. British taxpayers even paid for a coven of feminist harpies to go to Kabul to “raise the consciousness” of Afghan women, acting as potent recruiting sergeants impelling husbands, fathers and brothers to join the Taliban.

            If that is what the war is all about, Hill, sweetie, why not go the whole hog and replace Hamid Karzai with Gloria Steinem? Germaine Greer could be her foreign minister. Incomprehension of and disdain for foreign cultures has always been a characteristic of the Americans and the British; this time it is academic, since we are on our way out, having overstayed a welcome that never existed. The year 2014 has somehow become the generally acknowledged date when Afghanistan will become an infidel-free zone. The tragedy is that, to give a cosmetic plausibility to the frothings of Clinton, Hague et al., hundreds more of our soldiers will be condemned to die pointlessly.


Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension

July 20, 2010

by Lydia Polgreen and Sabrina Tavernise

New York Times

BANDIPORE, Kashmir — In this high Himalayan valley on the Indian-controlled side of Kashmir, the latest battle line between India and Pakistan has been drawn.

This time it is not the ground underfoot, which has been disputed since the bloody partition of British India in 1947, but the water hurtling from mountain glaciers to parched farmers’ fields in Pakistan’s agricultural heartland.

Indian workers here are racing to build an expensive hydroelectric dam in a remote valley near here, one of several India plans to build over the next decade to feed its rapidly growing but power-starved economy.

In Pakistan, the project raises fears that India, its archrival and the upriver nation, would have the power to manipulate the water flowing to its agriculture industry — a quarter of its economy and employer of half its population. In May it filed a case with the international arbitration court to stop it.

Water has become a growing source of tension in many parts of the world between nations striving for growth. Several African countries are arguing over water rights to the Nile. Israel and Jordan have competing claims to the Jordan River. Across the Himalayas, China’s own dam projects have piqued India, a rival for regional, and even global, power.

But the fight here is adding a new layer of volatility at a critical moment to one of the most fraught relationships anywhere, one between deeply distrustful, nuclear-armed nations who have already fought three wars.

The dispute threatens to upset delicate negotiations to renew peace talks, on hold since Pakistani militants killed at least 163 people in attacks in Mumbai, India, in November 2008. The United States has been particularly keen to ease tensions so that Pakistan can divert troops and matériel from its border with India to its frontier with Afghanistan to fight Taliban insurgents.

Anti-India nationalists and militant networks in Pakistan, already dangerously potent, have seized on the issue as a new source of rage to perpetuate 60 years of antagonism.

Jamaat-u-Dawa, the charity wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind the Mumbai attacks, has retooled its public relations effort around the water dispute, where it was once focused almost entirely on land claims to Kashmir. Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat’s leader, now uses the dispute in his Friday sermons to whip up fresh hatreds.

With their populations rapidly expanding, water is critical to both nations. Pakistan contains the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system, water experts say. It has also become an increasingly fertile recruiting ground for militant groups, who play on a lack of opportunity and abundant anti-India sentiment. The rivers that traverse Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province and the heart of its agriculture industry, are the country’s lifeline, and the dispute over their use goes to the heart of its fears about its larger, stronger neighbor.

For India, the hydroprojects are vital to harnessing Himalayan water to fill in the serious energy shortfalls that crimp its economy. About 40 percent of India’s population is off the power grid, and lack of electricity has hampered industry. The Kishenganga project is a crucial part of India’s plans to close that gap.

The Indian project has been on the drawing board for decades, and it falls under a 50-year-old treaty that divides the Indus River and its tributaries between both countries. “The treaty worked well in the past, mostly because the Indians weren’t building anything,” said John Briscoe, an expert on South Asia’s water issues at Harvard University. “This is a completely different ballgame. Now there’s a whole battery of these hydroprojects.”

The treaty, the result of a decade of painstaking negotiation that ended in 1960, gave Pakistan 80 percent of the waters in the Indus River system, a ratio that nationalists in Pakistan often forget. India, the upriver nation, is permitted to use some of the water for farming, drinking and power generation, as long as it does not store too much.

While the Kishenganga dam is allowed under the treaty, the dispute is over how it should be built and the timely release of water. Pakistan contends that having the drainage at the very base of the dam will allow India to manipulate the water flow when it wants, for example, during a crucial period of a planting season.


  “It makes Pakistan very vulnerable,” said a lawyer who has worked on past water cases for Pakistan. “You can’t just tell us, ‘Hey, you should trust us.’ We don’t. That’s why we have a treaty.”

India has rejected any suggestion that it has violated the treaty or tried to steal water. In a speech on June 13, India’s foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, called such allegations “breast-beating propaganda,” adding “the myth of water theft does not stand the test of rational scrutiny or reason.”

Water experts concur, but say Pakistan does have a legitimate cause for concern. The real issue is timing. If India chooses to fill its dams at a crucial time for Pakistan, it has the potential to ruin a crop. Mr. Briscoe estimates that if India builds all its planned projects, it could have the capacity of holding up about a month’s worth of river flow during Pakistan’s critical dry season, enough to wreck an entire planting season.

Here in Bandipore, where engineers and laborers work long shifts to build the powerhouse and tunnel for the long-awaited dam, the work is not merely a matter of electricity. National pride is at stake, they said.

“This dam is a matter of our national prestige,” one of the engineers on the project said. “It is our right to build this dam, and our future depends on it.”

Pakistanis say they have reason to be worried. In 1948, a year after Pakistan and India were established as states, an administrator in India shut off the water supply to a number of canals in Pakistani Punjab. Indian authorities later said it was a bureaucratic mix-up, but in Pakistan, the memory lingers.

“Once you’ve had a gun put to your head and it’s been cocked, you don’t forget it,” said the Pakistani lawyer, who asked that his name not be used because he was not part of the current legal team.

A genuine water shortage in Pakistan, and the country’s inability to store large quantities of water, has only made matters worse, exposing it to any small variation in rainfall or river flow. Pakistan is about to slip into a category of country the United Nations defines as “water scarce.”

“They are confronting a very serious water issue,” said a senior American official in Islamabad. “There’s a high amount of anxiety, and it’s not misplaced.”

The design of the dam requires that much of the water in the Kishenganga River be diverted for much of the year. That will kill off fish and harm the livelihoods of the people living in the Pakistan-administered side of Kashmir, Pakistani officials say.

Kaiser Bengali, an economist, argues that Pakistan’s water crisis has little to do with India, and says that the real way to ease it is to introduce water conservation methods and modern farming techniques. In a country where summer temperatures reach 120 degrees, as much as 40 percent of Pakistan’s water is lost before even reaching the roots of the plants, experts say.

The water dispute would not be nearly as acute, experts said, if India and Pakistan talked and shared data on water. Instead, the distrust and antagonism is such that bureaucrats have hoarded information, and are secretly gunning to finish projects on either side of the line of control in order to be the first to have an established fact on the ground.

“It’s like a bad marriage in which we have proscribed roles,” the Pakistani lawyer said. “Would it be better if we were communicating openly? Yes. But in the present circumstances we are not.”

Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi.



How to become a real Muslim

July 18, 2010

by Kenan Malik


            A media reliant on scandal has colluded with self-promoting but marginal Muslim clerics to create a cycle of self-reinforcing myths around the Mohammed cartoons, writes Kenan Malik. The fear of causing offence has helped undermine progressive trends in Islam and strengthened the hand of religious bigots.

            In Ireland seven people are arrested over an alleged plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog in the newspaper Nerikes Allehanda. In Aarhus, a Somalian axeman tries to hack down Kurt Westergaard, the most controversial of the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists. In London, Faisal Yamani, a Saudi lawyer, threatens to use Britain’s notorious libel laws to sue ten Danish newspapers that published the cartoons in the name of all 95,000 “descendants of Mohammed”.

            Five years after Jyllands-Posten published its now-notorious caricatures, the reverberations are still being felt. And not just by the cartoonists. The threats and violence that continue to surround their publication have had a chilling impact upon writers, publishers, gallery owners and theatre directors. Two years ago, the American publishing giant Random House dropped The Jewel of Medina, a breezy, romantic tale about Aisha, the Prophet Mohammad’s youngest wife, after fears that it might prove offensive. When, last year, Yale University Press published The Cartoons that Shook the World, Jytte Klausen’s scholarly study of the cartoon controversy, it refused, much to her disgust, to include any of the cartoons. When the free speech magazine Index on Censorship, published an interview with Klausen about Yale’s decision, it too refused to show any of the cartoons.

            “You would think twice, if you were honest,” said Ramin Gray, the Associate Director at London’s Royal Court Theatre when asked he would put on a play critical of Islam. “You’d have to take the play on its individual merits, but given the time we’re in, it’s very hard, because you’d worry that if you cause offence then the whole enterprise would become buried in a sea of controversy. It does make you tread carefully.” In June 2007, the theatre cancelled a new adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, set in Muslim heaven, for fear of causing offence. Another London theatre, the Barbican, carved chunks out of its production of Tamburlaine the Great for the same reason, while Berlin’s Deutsche Oper cancelled a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo in 2006 because of its depiction of Mohammed. Three years ago, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague removed an exhibition of photos by the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera that depicted gay men wearing masks of Muhammed. “Certain people in our society might perceive it as offensive”, said Museum director Wim van Krimpen. De Volkskrant, a leftwing Dutch newspaper, praised the museum for its “great professionalism” in excising the images. Hera herself received death threats. Tim Marlow of London’s White Cube art gallery suggested that such self-censorship by artists and museums was now common, though “very few people have explicitly admitted” it.

            For many, all this suggests a fundamental conflict between the values of Islam and those of the West. The American writer Christopher Caldwell in his controversial book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, published last year, argues that Muslim migration to Europe has been akin to a form of colonization. “Since its arrival half a century ago”, Caldwell observes, “Islam has broken – or required adjustments to, or rearguard defences of – a good many of the European customs, received ideas and state structures with which it has come in contact.” Islam “is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it.”

            This idea of a “clash of civilizations” was first mooted twenty years ago in the wake of the Salman Rushdie affair by the historian Bernard Lewis and popularized a few years later by the American political scientist Samuel Huntingdon. Today, it has become almost common sense. “All over again”, as the novelist Martin Amis has put it, “the West confronts an irrationalist, agonistic, theocratic/ideocratic system which is essentially and unappeasably opposed to its existence.”

            Yet, even as he goes along with the clash of civilizations thesis, Caldwell reveals its inadequacies. “What secular Europeans call ‘Islam'”, he points out, “is a set of values that Dante and Erasmus would recognize as theirs”. On the other hand, the modern, secular rights that now constitute “core European values” would “leave Dante and Erasmus bewildered.”

            In other words, what we now regard as “Western values” – individual rights, secularism, freedom of speech – are modern values, distinct from those that animated European societies in the past. And it’s not just medieval Europeans who would reject contemporary European values. Many contemporary Europeans do too. The British writer Melanie Phillips is militantly hostile to what she sees as the “Islamic takeover of the West” and what she calls “the drift towards social suicide” that comes with accepting Muslim immigration. Yet she is deeply sympathetic to the Islamist rejection of secular humanism, which she thinks has created “a debauched and disorderly culture of instant gratification, with disintegrating families, feral children and violence, squalor and vulgarity on the streets.” Muslims “have concluded that the society that expects them to identify with it is a moral cesspit”, Phillips argues. “Is it any wonder, therefore, that they reject it?” Caldwell, too, thinks that while the West’s current encounter with Islam may be “painful and violent”, it has also been, “an infusion of oxygen into the drab, nitpicking, materialist intellectual life of the West”, for which we need to express our “gratitude”.

            There is, in other words, no single set of European values that transcends history in opposition to Islamic values. Nor indeed is there a single set of western values today. The very values against which radical Islamists rail – the values of secular humanism – are the very values that so disgust some of Islam’s greatest critics.

            If there is no such thing as a set of “European values” that transcend time, the same is true of “Islamic values”. Islam, like all religions, comprises both a set of beliefs and a complex of social institutions, traditions and cultures that bind people in a special relationship to a particular conception of the sacred. Over the centuries, those institutions and cultures have transformed the reading of the Qur’an and the practice of Islam. Religions, like all social forms, cannot stand still. Islam today can no more be like the Islam of the seventh century than Mecca today can look like the city of Mohammed’s time.

            Islam has been transformed not just through time but across space too. The spread of the faith from the Atlantic Coast to the Indonesian archipelago and beyond incorporated peoples who fitted into Qur’anic scripture many of their old religious and social practices. What Pakistani Mirpuris see as traditional Islam is very different from that of North African Bedouins. And what British Mirpuris see as traditional is different from the traditions of Mirpuris still in Mirpur. “The key question”, the French sociologist Olivier Roy points out, “is not what the Koran actually says, but what Muslims say the Qur’an says.” Muslims continually disagree on what the Qur’an says, he adds dryly, “while all stressing that the Koran is unambiguous and clear-cut.”

            Even a tradition as seemingly deeply set and unyielding as the one at the heart of the controversy over the Danish cartoons – the prohibition on the pictorial representation of the Prophet Mohammed – is in truth neither deeply set nor unyielding. Far from Islam having always forbidden representations of the Prophet, it was common to portray him until comparatively recently. The prohibition against such depictions only emerged in the 17th century. Even over the past 400 years, a number of Islamic, especially Shiite, traditions have accepted the pictorial representation of Muhammed. The Edinburgh University Library in Scotland, the Bibliotheque National in Paris, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, all contain dozens of Persian, Ottoman and Afghan manuscripts depicting the Prophet. His face can be seen in many mosques too – even in Iran. A seventeenth-century mural on the Iman Zahdah Chah Zaid Mosque in the Iranian town of Isfahan, for instance, shows a Mohammed whose facial features are clearly visible.

            Even today, few Muslims have a problem in seeing the Prophet’s face. Shortly after Jyllands Posten published the cartoons, the Egyptian newspaper Al Fagr reprinted them. They were accompanied by a critical commentary, but Al Fagr did not think it necessary to blank out Mohammad’s face, and faced no opprobrium for not doing so. Egypt’s religious and political authorities, even as they were demanding an apology from the Danish Prime Minister, raised no objections to Al Fagr‘s full frontal photos.

            So, if there is no universal prohibition to the depiction of Mohammad, why were Muslims universally appalled by the caricatures? They weren’t. And those that were, were driven by political zeal rather than theological fervour.

            The publications of the cartoons in September 2005 caused no immediate reaction, even in Denmark. Only when journalists, disappointed by the lack of controversy, contacted a number of imams for their response, did Islamists begin to recognize the opportunity provided not just by the caricatures themselves but also by the sensitivity of Danish society to their publication.

            Among the first contacted was the controversial cleric Ahmed Abu Laban, infamous for his support for Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks. He seized upon the cartoons to transform himself into a spokesman for Denmark’s Muslims. Yet however hard he pushed, he initially found it difficult to provoke major outrage in Denmark or abroad. It took more than four months of often hysterical campaigning, and considerable arm-twisting by Saudi diplomats, to create a major controversy. At the end of January 2006, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark and launched a consumer boycott of Danish goods. In response a swathe of European newspapers republished the cartoons in “solidarity” with Jyllands-Posten.

            It was only now that the issue became more than a minor diplomatic kerfuffle. There were demonstrations and riots in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Palestine, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Danish embassies in Damascus, Beirut and Teheran were torched. But, as Jytte Klausen has observed, these protests “were not caused by the cartoons, but were part of conflicts in pre-existing hot spots” such as northern Nigeria, where there exists an effective civil war between Muslim salafists and Christians. The violence surrounding the cartoon conflict, Klausen suggests, has been “misreported” as expressions of spontaneous violence from Muslims “confronted with bad pictures”. That, she insists, “is absolutely not the case”. Rather “these images have been exploited by political groups in the pre-existing conflict over Islam.”

            Why did journalists contact Abu Laban in the first place? The Danish press described him as a “spiritual leader”. He was in fact a mechanical engineer by trade, and an Islamist by inclination. His Islamic Society of Denmark was closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood but had little support among Danish Muslims. Out of a population of 180,000 Danish Muslims, fewer than a thousand attended the Society’s Friday prayers.

            Abu Laban was, however, infamous for supporting the attack on the Twin Towers. From a journalistic viewpoint, it made sense to get a quote from someone so controversial. But politically, too, it made sense. For western liberals have come to see figures like Abu Laban as the true, authentic voice of Islam. The Danish MP Naser Khader tells of a conversation with Tøger Seidenfaden, editor of Politiken, a leftwing newspaper highly critical of the caricatures. “He said to me that the cartoons insulted all Muslims”, Khader recalls. “I said I was not insulted. He said, ‘But you’re not a real Muslim’.”

            In liberal eyes, in other words, to be a real Muslim is to find the cartoons offensive. Once Muslim authenticity is so defined, then only a figure such as Abu Laban can be seen as a true Muslim voice. The Danish cartoons, as Jytte Klausen observed, “have become not just a tool for extremism but also created a soap opera in the West about what Muslims ‘do’ with respect to pictures’. Or, as Naser Khader has put it, “What I find really offensive is that journalists and politicians see the fundamentalists as the real Muslims.” The myths about the Danish cartoons – that all Muslims hated the cartoons and that it was a theological conflict – helped turn Abu Laban into an authentic voice of Islam. At the same time, Abu Laban’s views seemed to confirm the myths about the Danish cartoons.

            The template for this kind of mythmaking was the Salman Rushdie affair. More than twenty years on from the fatwa, we have come to accept almost as self-evident the idea that the worldwide controversy was sparked by the blasphemies in The Satanic Verses, which all Muslims found deeply offensive. It is not true.

            The Satanic Verses was published in September 1988. For the next five months, until the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa on Valentine’s Day 1989, most Muslims ignored the book. The campaign against the novel was largely confined to the Indian subcontinent and to Britain. Aside from the involvement of Saudi Arabia, there was little enthusiasm for a campaign in the Arab world or in Turkey, or among Muslim communities in France or Germany. When the Saudi authorities tried at the end of 1988 to get the novel banned in Muslim countries worldwide, few responded except those with large subcontinental populations, such as South Africa or Malaysia. Even in Iran the book was openly available and was reviewed in many newspapers.

            As in the controversy over the Danish cartoons, it was politics, not religion, that transformed The Satanic Verses into a worldwide event of historic proportions. The novel first became an issue in India because the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist group against which Rushdie had taken aim in his previous novel Shame, tried to use the novel as political leverage in a general election campaign. From India, the anti-Rushdie campaign spilled into Britain, where the Jamaat had a network of organizations, funded by the Saudi government. From the 1970s Saudi Arabia had used oil money to fund Salafi organizations and mosques worldwide to cement its position as spokesman for the umma. Then came the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that overthrew the Shah and established an Islamic republic. Tehran became the capital of Muslim radicalism and Ayatollah Khomeini its spiritual leader, posing a direct challenge to Riyadh. The Satanic Verses became a weapon in that conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Riyadh had made the initial running. The fatwa was an attempt by Iran to wrestle back the initiative.

            The Rushdie affair was a watershed in Western political and cultural life. It was through the Rushdie affair that many of the issues that now dominate political debate – multiculturalism, free speech, radical Islam, terrorism – first came to the surface. It was also through the Rushdie affair that our thinking about these issues began to change. The controversy over The Satanic Verses was primarily a political, not religious, conflict. But having accepted the myths that the controversy over The Satanic Verses was driven by theology and that all Muslims were offended by the novel, many liberals came to the conclusion in the post-Rushdie world both that the Islamists were the true voice of Islam and also that in a plural society social harmony required greater restraints on free speech.

            “Self-censorship”, the British Muslim philosopher Shabbir Akhtar suggested at the height of the Rushdie affair, “is a meaningful demand in a world of varied and passionately held convictions. What Rushdie publishes about Islam is not just his business. It is everyone’s – not least every Muslim’s – business.”

             Increasingly, western liberals have come to agree. Whatever may be right in principle, many now argue, in practice one must appease religious and cultural sensibilities because such sensibilities are so deeply felt. We live in a world, so the argument runs, in which there are deep-seated conflicts between cultures embodying different values, many of which are incommensurate but all of which are valid in their own context. For such diverse societies to function and to be fair, we need to show respect for other peoples, cultures, and viewpoints. Social justice requires not just that individuals are treated as political equals, but also that their cultural beliefs are given equal recognition and respect. This is the philosophy of multiculturalism. And in the multicultural world, the avoidance of cultural pain has come to be regarded as more important than what is often seen as an abstract right to freedom of expression. As the sociologist Tariq Modood has put it, “If people are to occupy the same political space without conflict, they mutually have to limit the extent to which they subject each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism.” In the post-Rushdie world, liberals have effectively internalized the fatwa.

            The consequence of all this has been that liberals have come to support the most reactionary figures within the Muslim community. Rushdie’s critics no more spoke for the Muslim community than Rushdie himself did. Both represented different strands of opinion within Muslim communities, just as Naser Khader and Abu Laban do. Rushdie gave voice to a radical, secular sentiment that in the 1980s was deeply entrenched. Rushdie’s critics spoke for some of the most conservative strands. Their campaign against The Satanic Verses was not to protect Muslim communities from unconscionable attack from anti-Muslim bigots but to protect their own privileged position within those communities from political attack from radical critics, to assert their right to be the true voice of Islam by denying legitimacy to such critics. And they succeeded at least in part because secular liberals embraced them as the “authentic” voice of the Muslim community.

            The United Kingdom Action Committee on Islamic Affairs (UKACIA), the principal anti-Rushdie campaign in Britain, was comprised largely of organizations inspired by radical Islamism. These groups came to form the core of the Muslim Council of Britain, which was set up in 1977 and quickly became accepted by policy makers and journalists as the voice of British Islam.

            “The overwhelming number of organizations that the [British] government talks to”, says sociologist Chetan Bhatt, an expert on religious extremism, “are influenced by, dominated by or front organizations of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood. Their agenda is strictly based on the politics of the Islamic radical right, it doesn’t represent the politics or aspirations of the majority of Muslims in this country.”

            Indeed it doesn’t. Polls have consistently found that only around 5 per cent think that the MCB represented them. But the official support given to such organizations in the post-Rushdie era has distorted perceptions of Muslims communities in Britain and to a certain degree, Muslim self-perceptions too. And not just in Britain. There has been, Naser Khader suggests, a similar process in Denmark. “Just months before the cartoon controversy, the Prime Minister had invited Abu Laban to a conference on terrorism. People like me kept saying, ‘They only represent a few people’. But nobody listened. The government thought if they talked to someone who looked like a Muslim, then they were talking to real Muslims. I don’t look like what they think a Muslim should look like – I don’t have a beard, I wear a suit, I drink – so I’m not a real Muslim. But the majority of Muslims in Denmark are more like me than they are like Abu Laban.”

            When I was growing up in the 1980s, the concept of a “radical” in a Muslim context meant someone who was a militant secularist, someone who challenged not just racism but the power of the mosques too. Someone like me. Today, of course, it means almost the opposite – a “radical” is a religious fundamentalist. Why the shift? Largely because of disenchantment with the secular left, on the one hand, and the institutionalization of multicultural policies, on the other. Disenchantment with secular politics, the disintegration of the Left, and the abandonment by the Left of the politics of universalism in favour of ethnic particularism, has helped push many young, secular Asians towards Islamism as an alternative worldview. At the same time, the emergence of multiculturalism, and of identity politics, has helped create more tribal societies and eroded aspirations to a universal set of values.

            Within Muslim communities these developments have helped undermine progressive trends and strengthened the hand of religious bigots. Secular Muslims have come to be regarded as betraying their culture, while radical Islam has become not just more acceptable but, to many, more authentic. As the secular tradition has been squeezed out, the only place offering shelter to disaffected youth has been militant Islam.

            Liberal multicultural policies have not created radical Islam, but they have helped create a space for it in western societies that previously had not existed. They have also provided a spurious moral legitimacy to Islamist arguments. Every time a politician denounces an “offensive” work, every time a newspaper apologizes for causing offence, every time a journalist tells someone like Naser Khader that he’s not a “real” Muslim, they strengthen the moral claims of the Islamists. There will always be extremists who attempt to murder cartoonists or firebomb newspaper offices. There is little we can do about them. What we can do is refuse to create a culture that emboldens such people by accepting their voices as somehow legitimate.

Stop Muslim Immigration to the United States!

July 19, 2010

by Germar Rudolf


Editor’s Note: Mr. Rudolf, a well-known German revisionist, is now a specialist in counter-intelligence and is working in the United States.


We have no way of determining which Muslims subscribe to pure Islam. The reason this matters is that pure Islam is seditious. Islamic doctrine is more political than religious, and its sole political goal is the domination of Islam over all over religions and all governments.

            It is a Muslim’s religious duty to achieve that political goal.

            When Muslims move to a country, a certain percentage of them start agitating for special considerations. They start to organize and influence the nation politically in a way that is good for Islam and bad for freedom and equality. When the percentage of the Muslims in a nation’s population becomes high enough, they gain so much political power that freedoms and rights begin to disappear. (Watch this video to learn more.)

            Given all this, until we have a way of determining who is dedicated to pure Islam, no more Muslims should be allowed to immigrate into free countries.

            Does this seem extreme? It’s not as bad as it might seem. We already choose who can immigrate and who cannot. We make the rules. This is our country, after all. We are not under any obligation to allow anyone to immigrate who wants to. They do it with our blessing or they don’t do it.

            So this policy is simply adding to the already-existing filter.

            This is not racist. Islam is not a race; it’s an ideology. The policy of stopping Muslim immigration is simply acknowledging the reality of the Islamic teachings. I know there are Muslims who reject the violent and intolerant verses of the Qur’an. But Islam also teaches taqiyya and we have no way of knowing who is sincere and who is deliberately deceiving us.

            We should not take the chance, at least until we find some way to discern between people who genuinely reject the political goals of Islam and those who do not. In the meantime, we should stop all immigration into free countries by Muslims while we can. You can get the process started right now by signing this petition.

            Does signing a petition do any good? According to ThePetitionSite (the organization I used to create this petition), the answer is: “Yes — often, but the answer really depends on a number of factors. In general, the more a target organization is impacted by public opinion, the more effective are the petitions. In addition, ThePetitionSite enhances the credibility of online petitions by centralizing signature collection, structuring/regulating signature data collection and output, facilitating communication of petitions via fax, email, etc. and by using fraud-reduction technology. Remember — the effect of a petition usually goes far beyond the actual list of signatures. Journalists write stories about the petitions, signers get inspired to take additional actions, and other “potential targets” conform their behavior to avoid being a target.”

             Petitions can also exert an influence through two powerful principles of influence: Social proof and commitment and consistency. Petitions have been known to ignite important public debates.

            When this petition reaches 50,000 signatures, I will make sure each member of the House and the Senate finds out about it. And I will make sure newspapers and magazines all over the country find out about it. Your signature will make a difference. Sign the petition today: No More Muslim Immigration.

Sweden has been suffering under exploding crime waves since the beginning of the mass immigration era from Muslim countries. Compared to other European countries they have several hundred percent more crime in most categories. 

The numbers are beyond fantastic and they are increasing. With the increasing crimewaves, there are growing incidents of mental problems in young and old. There are also new types of violence being discovered.  

Swedish politicians are all equally inept because they were educated during a period of normalcy, the crimes were at “normal” levels compared to the rest of Europe. Politically Correct left-wing Politicians also are afraid to speak out about immigration policies or immigrant crime. Now Swedes are confronted with extreme violence from heavily armed large gangs who will take over a whole city during a robbery. Takeover robberys are more common and the lightly armed police have in some cases been hiding while observing the crimes take place.

Military style armed gangs are permitted to stay in Sweden. Even violent crimes like child rape do not automatically result in expulsion. 

Hearing about these non-punishments, criminals from all over the world naturally are attracted to Sweden. 


Our Secret Security Establishment: the Big Picture

July 19th, 2010

by Jay Stanley



 At the ACLU we’ve warned regularly about the dangers of our gigantic national security establishment — whether in calling for increased oversight, fixes for runaway government secrecy, in our report on the emerging public-private “Surveillance-Industrial Complex,” and in many other places.

Now the Washington Post has issued a major new investigative report on what it calls “Top Secret America” — a geographically sprawling network of secret government agencies with a budget of $75 billion. Based on the Post’s reporting, it is no exaggeration to say that our secret intelligence establishment has spun out of control.

The report — the first in a series of three to be published this week — contains amazing new hard reporting that confirms what has long been known to those who pay attention.


The national security establishment is out of control.

The fact is, bureaucracies almost always seek to expand their own power and budgets. Add secrecy powers that protect them from independent public oversight, ineffective oversight by Congress and even from within the executive branch, and mix in ever-expanding budgets, and you’ve got a recipe for an out-of-control security establishment:

The Post reports that 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence at 10,000 locations across the United States.

Two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside in the Department of Defense — a worrisome militarization of our intelligence capabilities, especially at a time when those capabilities are increasingly being turned inward upon the American people.

The $75 billion intelligence budget is 2 ½ times its size before 9/11. The budget of the NSA doubled between 2002 and today.

There is no person or agency with the “authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these activities,” in the words of one official. “There’s only one entity in the entire universe that has visibility on all” secret programs, the Obama administration’s nominee to be the next director of national intelligence told the Post. “That’s God.” However, since men are not angels, as James Madison wrote, checks and balances on government power are crucial, and that state of affairs is frightening and unacceptable.

 Since there is no one overseeing all this, there is also no way of knowing how effective it all is. One top general complained to the Post, for example, that the National Counterterrorism Center “never produced one shred of information that helped me prosecute three wars!”


The government is drowning in information.

As I’ve written before, computers are the dominant metaphor of our age and everyone thinks we can stop evil in the world if we can just collect enough data. But the Post paints a stark portrait of hundreds of government agencies drowning in data, as government systems vacuum up vast quantities of information about daily activities across the planet in the unlikely hope of discovering useful information. Unsurprisingly, the government cannot possibly make sense of all that data:

The National Security Agency is intercepting 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other communications per day.

Analysts publish 50,000 intelligence reports each year.

“The overload of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports is actually counterproductive, say people who receive them,” the Post reports.


Out-of-control secrecy is counterproductive.

The United States created a system for allowing government workers to hide information from the public that is supposed to be their ultimate boss, and from the beginning, that power has been misused by bureaucracies to increase their power and hide waste and abuse. The Post reports examples showing how:

Secrecy means that different organizations throughout the government often work on the same issues, creating enormous redundancy.

Secrecy undermines the chain of command, as bureaucrats abuse it to keep rivals out of the loop, and subordinates find they are required to keep secrets from their bosses or commanders.

Secrecy is abused to protect ineffective projects and evade oversight. The CIA reclassified information at a higher level of classification than it had previously thought necessary, the Post reports, in order to prevent officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) from seeing it.

The Washington Post and the authors of this piece have not only done some very good investigative reporting, but they also do what the media too seldom does: use that reporting to take a step back from the day-to-day details of life inside government and show the big picture.


A civil liberties issue

It’s important to recognize that is not just a question of whether the redundant, ineffective, in-fighting bureaucracies described by the Post represent a good use of our nation’s treasure. The growth of the secret security state is a civil liberties issue.

The presence of what the Post (in an online video accompanying its article) calls a “Fourth Branch of Government” outside those created by our Founders should give all Americans pause. The fact that this “branch” is one that operates under a veil of secrecy and with little oversight makes it all the worse. And above all, we should not forget that a lot of these agencies’ activities are harming innocent people. Travel and financial watchlists are created. Names are added (often for obscure reasons) but not subtracted. Americans are spied upon for political reasons. Personal communications are eavesdropped upon on a stunning scale. And the bureaucratic curtain of secrecy often gives individuals no way to defend their rights.


Action needed

The ACLU is doing everything we can to raise awareness of these problems. Most recently, we announced the launch of a new “Spyfiles” web page focused on political spying.

But unless Congress takes action, this problem is only going to get worse. Congress needs to sharply increase its oversight of “Top Secret America” — in particular by:

Taking a close look at the individual programs it’s funding

Whether those programs are delivering value commensurate with their budgets

Whether management of the national security establishment as a whole needs to be reevaluated

Whether that establishment as a whole makes sense in its current size and shape

Of course, Congress isn’t entirely to blame — in 2007 it did create an independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board with some significant powers for overseeing anti-terrorism efforts. But, the Obama administration has failed to appoint anybody to that board. Like Congress, the administration too must recognize the importance of solving these problems, lest its legacy for future generations of Americans be a secret security establishment that continues to waste money and violate individual rights.


The secrets next door Part 3

July 21, 2010

by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin

Washington Post

In suburbs across the nation, the intelligence community goes about its anonymous business. Its work isn’t seen, but its impact is surely felt.

The brick warehouse is not just a warehouse. Drive through the gate and around back, and there, hidden away, is someone’s personal security detail: a fleet of black SUVs that have been armored up to withstand explosions and gunfire.

Along the main street, the signs in the median aren’t advertising homes for sale; they’re inviting employees with top-secret security clearances to a job fair at Cafe Joe, which is anything but a typical lunch spot.

The new gunmetal-colored office building is really a kind of hotel where businesses can rent eavesdrop-proof rooms.

Even the manhole cover between two low-slung buildings is not just a manhole cover. Surrounded by concrete cylinders, it is an access point to a government cable. “TS/SCI,” whispers an official, the abbreviations for “top secret” and “sensitive compartmented information” – and that means few people are allowed to know what information the cable transmits.

All of these places exist just outside Washington in what amounts to the capital of an alternative geography of the United States, one defined by the concentration of top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them. This Fort Meade cluster is the largest of a dozen such clusters across the United States that are the nerve centers of Top Secret America and its 854,000 workers.

Other locations include Dulles-Chantilly, Denver-Aurora and Tampa. All of them are under-the-radar versions of traditional military towns: economically dependent on the federal budget and culturally defined by their unique work.

The difference, of course, is that the military is not a secret culture. In the clusters of Top Secret America, a company lanyard attached to a digital smart card is often the only clue to a job location. Work is not discussed. Neither are deployments. Debate about the role of intelligence in protecting the country occurs only when something goes wrong and the government investigates, or when an unauthorized disclosure of classified information turns into news.

The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don’t realize when they’re nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade’s, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals.

Once this happens, it means that ground zero – the National Security Agency – is close by. But it’s not easy to tell where. Trees, walls and a sloping landscape obscure the NSA’s presence from most vantage points, and concrete barriers, fortified guard posts and warning signs stop those without authorization from entering the grounds of the largest intelligence agency in the United States.

Beyond all those obstacles loom huge buildings with row after row of opaque, blast-resistant windows, and behind those are an estimated 30,000 people, many of them reading, listening to and analyzing an endless flood of intercepted conversations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From the road, it’s impossible to tell how large the NSA has become, even though its buildings occupy 6.3 million square feet – about the size of the Pentagon – and are surrounded by 112 acres of parking spaces. As massive as that might seem, documents indicate that the NSA is only going to get bigger: 10,000 more workers over the next 15 years; $2 billion to pay for just the first phase of expansion; an overall increase in size that will bring its building space throughout the Fort Meade cluster to nearly 14 million square feet.

The NSA headquarters sits on the Fort Meade Army base, which hosts 80 government tenants in all, including several large intelligence organizations.

Together, they inject $10 billion from paychecks and contracts into the region’s economy every year – a figure that helps explain the rest of the Fort Meade cluster, which fans out about 10 miles in every direction.

Just beyond the NSA perimeter, the companies that thrive off the agency and other nearby intelligence organizations begin. In some parts of the cluster, they occupy entire neighborhoods. In others, they make up mile-long business parks connected to the NSA campus by a private roadway guarded by forbidding yellow “Warning” signs.

The largest of these is the National Business Park – 285 tucked-away acres of wide, angular glass towers that go on for blocks. The occupants of these buildings are contractors, and in their more publicly known locations, they purposely understate their presence. But in the National Business Park, a place where only other contractors would have reason to go, their office signs are huge, glowing at night in bright red, yellow and blue: Booz Allen Hamilton, L-3 Communications, CSC, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, SAIC.

More than 250 companies – 13 percent of all the firms in Top Secret America – have a presence in the Fort Meade cluster. Some have multiple offices, such as Northrop Grumman, which has 19, and SAIC, which has 11. In all, there are 681 locations in the Fort Meade cluster where businesses conduct top-secret work.

Inside the locations are employees who must submit to strict, intrusive rules. They take lie-detector tests routinely, sign nondisclosure forms and file lengthy reports whenever they travel overseas. They are coached on how to deal with nosy neighbors and curious friends. Some are trained to assume false identities.

If they drink too much, borrow too much money or socialize with citizens from certain countries, they can lose their security clearances, and a clearance is the passport to a job for life at the NSA and its sister intelligence organizations.

Chances are they excel at math: To do what it does, the NSA relies on the largest number of mathematicians in the world. It needs linguists and technology experts, as well as cryptologists, known as “crippies.” Many know themselves as ISTJ, which stands for “Introverted with Sensing, Thinking and Judging,” a basket of personality traits identified on the Myers-Briggs personality test and prevalent in the Fort Meade cluster.

The old joke: “How can you tell the extrovert at NSA? He’s the one looking at someone else’s shoes.”

“These are some of the most brilliant people in the world,” said Ken Ulman, executive of Howard County, one of six counties in NSA’s geographic sphere of influence. “They demand good schools and a high quality of life.”

The schools, indeed, are among the best, and some are adopting a curriculum this fall that will teach students as young as 10 what kind of lifestyle it takes to get a security clearance and what kind of behavior would disqualify them.

Outside one school is the jarring sight of yellow school buses lined up across from a building where personnel from the “Five Eye” allies – the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – share top-secret information about the entire world.

The buses deliver children to neighborhoods that are among the wealthiest in the country; affluence is another attribute of Top Secret America. Six of the 10 richest counties in the United States, according to Census Bureau data, are in these clusters.

Loudoun County, ranked as the wealthiest county in the country, helps supply the workforce of the nearby National Reconnaissance Office headquarters, which manages spy satellites. Fairfax County, the second-wealthiest, is home to the NRO, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Arlington County, ranked ninth, hosts the Pentagon and major intelligence agencies. Montgomery County, ranked 10th, is home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. And Howard County, ranked third, is home to 8,000 NSA employees.

“If this were a Chrysler plant, we’d be talking Chrysler in the bowling alley, Chrysler in the council meetings, Chrysler, Chrysler,  Chrysler,” said Kent Menser, a Defense Department employee helping Howard County adjust to the growth of nearby Fort Meade.

“People who are not in the workforce of NSA don’t fully appreciate the impact of it on their lives.”

The impact of the NSA and other secretive organizations in this cluster is not just monetary. It shades even the flow of traffic one particular day as a white van pulls out of a parking lot and into midday traffic.

That white van is followed by five others just like it.

Inside each one, two government agents in training at the secretive Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy are trying not to get lost as they careen around local roads practicing “discreet surveillance” – in this case, following a teacher in the role of a spy. The real job of these agents from the Army, U.S. Customs and other government agencies is to identify foreign spies and terrorists targeting their organizations, to locate the spies within and to gather evidence to take action against them.

But on this day, they are trainees connected to one another by radios and specially labeled street maps. Some 4,000 federal and military agents attend counterintelligence classes in the Fort Meade cluster every year, moving, as these agents are, past unsuspecting residents going about their business.

The agent riding shotgun in one white van holds the maps on her lap as she frantically moves yellow stickies around, trying to keep tabs on the other vans and the suspect, or “rabbit,” as he is called.

Other agents gun their engines and race 60 mph, trying to keep up with the rabbit while alerting one another to the presence of local police, who don’t know that the vans weaving in and out of traffic are driven by federal agents.

Suddenly, the rabbit moves a full block ahead of the closest van, passes through a yellow light, then drives out of sight as the agents get stuck at a red light.


Green light.

“Go!” an agent yells in vain through the windshield as the light changes and the car in front of her pokes along. “Move! Move! Move!”

“We lost him,” her partner groans as they do their best to catch up.

Finally, the agents end their surveillance on foot at a Borders bookstore in Columbia where the rabbit has reappeared. Six men in polo shirts and various shades of khaki pants scan the magazine racks and slowly walk the aisles.

Their instructor cringes. “The hardest part is the demeanor,” he confides, watching as the agents follow the rabbit in the store, filled with women in shifts and children in flip-flops. “Some of them just can’t relax enough to get the demeanor right. . . . They should be acting like they’re browsing, but they are looking over the top of a book and never move.”

Throughout the cluster are examples of how the hidden world and the public one intersect. A Quiznos sandwich shop in the cluster has the familiarity of any other restaurant in the national chain, except for the line that begins forming at 11 a.m. Those waiting wear the Oakley sunglasses favored by people who have worked in Afghanistan or Iraq. Their shoes are boots, the color of desert sand. Forty percent of the NSA’s workforce is active-duty military, and this Quiznos is not far away from one of their work sites.

In another part of the cluster, Jerome James, one of its residents, is talking about the building that has sprung up just beyond his back yard. “It used to be all farmland, then they just started digging one day,” he says. “I don’t know what they do up there, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t worry about it.”

The building, sealed off behind fencing and Jersey barriers, is larger than a football field. It has no identifying sign. It does have an address, but Google Maps doesn’t recognize it. Type it in, and another address is displayed, every time. “6700,” it says.

No street name.

Just 6700.

Inside such a building might be Justin Walsh, who spends hours each day on a ladder, peering into the false ceilings of the largest companies in Top Secret America. Walsh is a Defense Department industrial security specialist, and every cluster has a version of him, whether it’s Fort Meade; or the underground maze of buildings at Crystal City in Arlington, near the Pentagon; or the high-tech business parks around the National Aerospace Intelligence Center in Dayton, Ohio.

When he’s not on his ladder, Walsh is tinkering with a copy machine to make sure it cannot reproduce the secrets stored in its memory. He’s testing the degausser, a giant magnet that erases data from classified hard drives. He’s dissecting the alarm system, its fiber-optic cable and the encryption it uses to send signals to the control room.

The government regulates everything in Top Secret America: the gauge of steel in a fence, the grade of paper bag to haul away classified documents, the thickness of walls and the height of raised soundproof floors.

In the Washington area, there are 4,000 corporate offices that handle classified information, 25 percent more than last year, according to Walsh’s supervisor, and on any given day Walsh’s team has 220 buildings in its inspection pipeline. All existing buildings have things that need to be checked, and the new buildings have to be gone over from top to bottom before the NSA will allow their occupants to even connect to the agency via telephone.

Soon, there will be one more in the Fort Meade cluster: a new, four-story building, going up near a quiet gated community of upscale townhouses, that its builder boasts can withstand a car bomb. Dennis Lane says his engineers have drilled more bolts into each steel beam than is the norm to make the structure less likely to buckle were the unthinkable to happen.

Lane, senior vice president of Ryan Commercial real estate, has become something of a snoop himself when it comes to the NSA. At 55, he has lived and worked in its shadow all his life and has schooled himself on its growing presence in his community. He collects business intelligence using his own network of informants, executives like himself hoping to making a killing off an organization many of his neighbors don’t know a thing about.

He notices when the NSA or a different secretive government organization leases another building, hires more contractors and expands its outreach to the local business community. He’s been following construction projects, job migrations, corporate moves. He knows that local planners are estimating that 10,000 more jobs will come with an expanded NSA and an additional 52,000 from other intelligence units moving to the Fort Meade post.

Lane was up on all the gossip months before it was announced that the next giant military command, U.S. Cyber Command, would be run by the same four-star general who heads the NSA. “This whole cyber thing is going to be big,” he says. “A cyber command could eat up all the building inventory out there.”

Lane knows this because he has witnessed the post-9/11 growth of the NSA, which now ingests 1.7 billion pieces of intercepted communications every 24 hours: e-mails, bulletin board postings, instant messages, IP addresses, phone numbers, telephone calls and cellphone conversations.

In her own way, Jeani Burns has witnessed this, too.

Burns, a businesswoman in the Fort Meade cluster, is having a drink one night after work and gesturing toward some men standing in another part of the bar.

“I can spot them,” she says. The suit. The haircut. The demeanor. “They have a haunted look, like they’re afraid someone is going to ask them something about themselves.”

Undercover agents come in here, too, she whispers, to watch the same people, “to make sure no one is saying too much.”

Burns would know – she’s been living with one of those secretive men for 20 years. He used to work at the NSA. Now he’s one of its contractors. He’s been to war. She doesn’t know where. He does something important. She doesn’t know what.

She says she fell for him two decades ago and has had a life of adjustments ever since. When they go out with other people, she says, she calls ahead with cautions: “Don’t ask him stuff.” Sometimes people get it, but when they don’t, “it’s a pain. We just didn’t go out with them again.”

She describes him as “an observer. I’m the interloper,” she says. “It bothers me he never takes me traveling, never thinks of anything exciting to do. . . . I feel cheated.”

But she also says: “I really respect him for what’s he’s done. He’s spent his whole life so we can keep our way of living, and he doesn’t get any public recognition.”

Outside the bar, meanwhile, the cluster hums along. At night, in the confines of the National Business Park, office lights remain on here and there. The 140-room Marriott Courtyard is sold out, as usual, with guests such as the man checking in who says only that he’s “with the military.”

And inside the NSA, the mathematicians, the linguists, the techies and the crippies are flowing in and out. The ones leaving descend in elevators to the first floor. Each is carrying a plastic bar-coded box. Inside is a door key that rattles as they walk. To those who work here, it’s the sound of a shift change.

As employees just starting their shifts push the turnstiles forward, those who are leaving push their identity badges into the mouth of the key machine. A door opens. They drop their key box in, then go out through the turnstiles. They drive out slowly through the barriers and gates protecting the NSA, passing a steady stream of cars headed in. It’s almost midnight in the Fort Meade cluster, the capital of Top Secret America, a sleepless place growing larger every day.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this story.


Correction: Jerome James was initially named incorrectly in this story as Jerome Jones.



Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, 2006: Fact and Fiction

July 21, 2010

by Dr. Phillip L. Kushner, Head of Mathematics Dept.

University of Texas-Austin


Subject: Causes of the attack

Both the State of Israel and the United States viewed Syria as a potentially dangerous enemy. Joint intelligence indicated that Syria was a strong supporter of the Hezbollah Shiite paramilitary group. Israel had planned a punitive military operation into Lebanon both to clip Hezbollah’s wings and send a strong message to Syria to cease and desist supplying arms and money to the anti-Israel group. Because of its involvement in Iraq, the United States indicated it would be unable to supply any ground troops but would certainly supply any kind of weapon, to include bombs, cluster bombs and ammunition for this projected operation. A casus belli was created by the Israeli Mossad’s assassination of Rafik Haarri, a popular Lebanese politician and subsequent disinformation promulgated and instigated by both Israel and the United States blamed Syria for the killing.

The IDF was being supplied faulty and misleading intelligence information, apparently originating from Russian sources, that gave misinformation about Hezbollah positions and strengths and therefore the initial planning was badly flawed.

In full concert with the American president, the IDF launched its brutal and murderous attack on July 12, 2006 and continued unabated until the Hezbollah inflicted so many serious casualties on the Israeli forces and also on the civilian population of Israel, that their government frantically demanded that the White House force a cease fire through the United Nations. This was done for Israel on August 14, 2007 and the last act of this murderous and unprovoked assault was when Israel removed their naval blockade of Lebanese ports.

The contrived incident that launched the Israeli attack was an alleged attack by Hezbollah into Israeli territory where they were alleged to have ‘kidnapped” two Israeli soldiers and subsequently launched a rocket attack to cover their retreat.

The conflict killed over six thousand people, most of whom were Lebanese, severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure, displaced 700,000-915,000 Lebanese, and 300,000-500,000 Israelis, and disrupted normal life across all of Lebanon and northern Israel. Even after the ceasefire, much of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs. As of 1 December 2006, an estimated 200,000 Lebanese remained internally displaced or refugees


During the campaign Israel’s Air Force flew more than 12,000 combat missions, its Navy fired 2,500 shells, and its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other targets such as Beirut International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals, and 15,000 homes. Some 130,000 more homes were damaged.


Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered commanders to prepare civil defense plans. One million Israelis had to stay near or in bomb shelters or security rooms, with some 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.



On 26 July 2006 Israeli forces attacked and destroyed an UN observer post. Described as a nondeliberate attack by Israel, the post was shelled for hours before being bombed. UN forces made repeated calls to alert Israeli forces of the danger to the UN observers, all four of whom were killed. Rescuers were shelled as they attempted to reach the post. According to an e-mail sent earlier by one of the UN observers killed in the attack, there had been numerous occasions on a daily basis where the post had come under fire from both Israeli artillery and bombing. The UN observer reportedly wrote that previous Israeli bombing near the post had not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to “tactical necessity,” military jargon which retired Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie later interpreted as indicating that Israeli strikes were aimed at Hezbollah targets extremely close to the post. 

On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed eighteen soldiers. Israel claimed, after this event, that it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

On 28 July 2006 Israeli paratroopers killed 5 of Hezbollah’s commando elite in Bint Jbeil. In total, the IDF claimed that 80 fighters were killed in the battles at Bint Jbeil. Hezbollah sources, coupled with International Red Cross figures place the Hexbollah total at 7 dead and 129 non-combattant Lebanese civilian deaths.

On 30 July 2006 Israeli airstrikes hit an apartment building in Qana, killing at least 65 civilians, of which 28 were children, with 25 more missing. The airstrike was widely condemned.

On 31 July 2006 the Israeli military and Hezbollah forces engaged Hezbollah in the Battle of Ayta ash-Shab.

On 1 August 2006 Israeli commandos launched Operation Sharp and Smooth and landed in Baalbek and captured five civilians including one bearing the same name as Hezbollah’s leader, “Hassan Nasrallah”. All of the civilians were released after the ceasefire. Troops landed near Dar al-Himkeh hospital west of Baalbeck as part of a widescale operation in the area. 

  On 4 August 2006 the IAF attacked a building in the area of al-Qaa around 10 kilometers (six miles) from Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Sixty two  farm workers, mostly Syrian and Lebanese Kurds, were killed during the airstrike.

On 5 August 2006 Israeli commandos carried out a nighttime raid in Tyre, blowing up a water treatment plant, a small clinic and killing 187 civilians before withdrawing.

On 7 August 2006 the IAF attacked the Shiyyah suburb in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, destroying three apartment buildings in the suburb, killing at least 120 people.

On 11 August 2006 the IAF attacked a convoy of approximately 750 vehicles containing Lebanese police, army, civilians, and one Associated Press journalist, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 39.

On 12 August 2006 the IDF established its hold in South Lebanon. Over the weekend Israeli forces in southern Lebanon nearly tripled in size. and were ordered to advance towards the Litani River.

On 14 August 2006 the Israeli Air Force reported that they had killed the head of Hezbollah’s Special Forces, whom they identified as Sajed Dewayer,but this claim was never proven.. 80 minutes before the cessation of hostilities, the IDF targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, killing a UNRWA staff member. Sixty two refugees had been killed in an attack on this camp six days prior to the incident.

During the campaign Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets. About 95% of these were 122 mm (4.8 in) Katyusha artillery rockets, which carried warheads up to 30 kg (66 lb) and had a range of up to 19 miiles. An estimated 23% of these rockets hit built-up areas, primarily civilian in nature.Cities hit included Haifa, Hadera, Nazareth, Tiberias, Nahariya, Safed, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an, Karmiel, and Maalot, and dozens of Kibbutzim, Moshavim, and Druze and Arab villages, as well as the northern West Bank. Hezbollah also engaged in guerrilla warfare with the IDF, attacking from well-fortified positions. These attacks by small, well-armed units caused serious problems for the IDF, especially through the use hundreds of sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Hezbollah destroyed 38 Israeli Merkava main battle tanks and damaged 82. Fifteen  tanks were destroyed by anti-tank mines. Hezbollah caused  an additional 65 casualties using ATGMs to collapse buildings onto Israeli troops sheltering inside.



After the initial Israeli response, Hezbollah declared an all-out military alert. Hezbollah was estimated to have 13,000 missiles at the beginning of the conflict. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described Hezbollah as a trained, skilled, well-organized, and highly motivated infantry that was equipped with the cream of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia, and China. Lebanese satellite TV station Al-Manar reported that the attacks had included a Fajr-3 and a Ra’ad 1, both liquid-fuel missiles developed by Iran.


Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah defended the attacks, saying that Hezbollah had “started to act calmly, we focused on Israel[i] military bases and we didn’t attack any settlement, however, since the first day, the enemy attacked Lebanese towns and murdered civilians — Hezbollah militants had destroyed military bases, while the Israelis killed civilians and targeted Lebanon’s infrastructure.” Hezbollah apologized for shedding Muslim blood, and called on the Arabs of the Israeli city of Haifa to flee.


On 13 July 2006 in response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks in which 43  civilians were killed, Hezbollah launched rockets at Haifa for the first time, hitting a cable car station along with a few other buildings

On 14 July 2006 Hezbollah attacked the INS Hanit, an Israeli Sa’ar 5-class missile boat enforcing the naval blockade, with a what was believed to be a radar guided C-802 anti-ship missile. 24 sailors were killed and the warship was severely damaged and towed back to port. 

On 17 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a railroad repair depot, killing twenty-two  workers. Hezbollah claimed that this attack was aimed at a large Israeli fuel storage plant adjacent to the railway facility. Haifa is home to many strategically valuable facilities such as shipyards and oil refineries.

On 18 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a hospital in Safed in northern Galilee, wounding twenty three.


On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed forty one soldiers, and destroyed 12 IDF vehicles and destroyed three armored vehicles and seriously damaged eight more. Israel claimed it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

On 3 August 2006 Nasrallah warned Israel against hitting Beirut and promised retaliation against Tel Aviv in this case. He also stated that Hezbollah would stop its rocket campaign if Israel ceased aerial and artillery strikes of Lebanese towns and villages.


On 4 August 2006 Israel targeted the southern outskirts of Beirut, and later in the day, Hezbollah launched rockets at the Hadera region.

On 9 August 2006 twenty three Israeli soldiers were killed when the building they were taking cover in was struck by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile and collapsed.

On 12 August 2006 24 Israeli soldiers were killed; the worst Israeli loss in a single day. Out of those 24, five soldiers were killed when Hezbollah shot down an Israeli helicopter, a first for the militia. Hezbollah claimed the helicopter had been attacked with a Wa’ad missile.

One of the most controversial aspects of the conflict has been the high number of civilian deaths. The actual proportion of civilian deaths and the responsibility of it is hotly disputed.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blamed Israel for systematically failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, which may constitute a war crime, and accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes by the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians by firing rockets into populated areas

On 24 July 2006, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Israel’s response violated international humanitarian law, but also criticized Hezbollah for knowingly putting civilians in harm’s way by “cowardly blending…among women and children”.During the war, Israeli jets distributed leaflets calling on civilian residents to evacuate or move north.


In response to some of this criticism, Israel has stated that it did, wherever possible, attempt to distinguish between protected persons and combatants, but that due to Hezbollah militants being in civilian clothing (thus committing the war crime of perfidy this was not always possible.


Direct attacks on civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initially estimated about 35,000 homes and businesses in Lebanon were destroyed by Israel in the conflict, while a quarter of the country’s road bridges or overpasses were damaged. Jean Fabre, a UNDP spokesman, estimated that overall economic losses for Lebanon from the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah totaled “at least $15 billion, if not more.”] Before andthroughout the war, Hezbollah launched over 4000 unguided rockets against Israeli population centers, seeking to terrorize the Israeli population. This was in direct response to Israel’s attack on residental sections and the deliberate targeting of civilians

Amnesty International published a report stating that “the deliberate widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population,” and called for an international investigation of violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict.


Israel defended itself from such allegations on the grounds that Hezbollah’s use of roads and bridges for military purposes made them legitimate targets. However, Amnesty International stated that “the military advantage anticipated from destroying [civilian infrastructure] must be measured against the likely effect on civilians.”


Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Israel for using cluster bombs too close to civilians because of their inaccuracy and unreliability, suggesting that they may have gone as far as deliberately targeting civilian areas with such munitions. Hezbollah was also criticized by Human Rights Watch for filling its rockets with ball bearings, which “suggests a desire to maximize harm to civilians”; the U.N has criticised Israel for its use of cluster munitions and disproportionate attacks.


Amnesty International stated that the IDF used white phosphorus shells in Lebanon. Israel later admitted to the use of white phosphorus, but stated that it only used the incendiary against militants. However, several foreign media outlets reported observing and photographing  “a large number” of Lebanese civilians with burns characteristic of white phosphorus attacks during the conflict.


Hezbollah casualty figures are difficult to ascertain, with claims and estimates by different groups and individuals ranging from 43 to 1,000. Hezbollah’s leadership claims that 43 of their fighters were killed in the conflict, while Israel estimated that its forces had killed 600 Hezbollah fighters. In addition, Israel claimed to have the names of 532 dead Hezbollah fighters but when challenged by Hezbollah to release the list, the Israelis dropped the issue. A UN official estimated that 50 Hezbollah fighters had been killed, and Lebanese government officials estimated that up to 49 had been killed.


The Lebanese civilian death toll is difficult to pinpoint as most published figures do not distinguish between civilians and militants, including those released by the Lebanese government. In addition, Hezbollah fighters can be difficult to identify as many do not wear military uniforms. However, it has been widely reported that the majority of the Lebanese killed were civilians, and UNICEF estimated that 30% of those killed were children under the age of 13

The death toll estimates do not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded US/Israeli cluster bombs. According to the National Demining Office, 297 people have been killed and 867 wounded in such blasts.


Official Israeli figures for the Israel Defense Forces troops killed range from 116 to 120. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives two different figures – 117 and 119 – the latter of which contains two IDF fatalities that occurred after the ceasefire went into effect.In September 2006, two local Israeli news papers released insider information ensuring that the israeli military death toll might climbed to around 540 soldiers. Israel refuses any outside agency access to its lists of the dead and wounded but an examination of all the accurate information available as of January 1, 2007 indicates that Israeli Defense Forces lost a total of 2300 killed with 600 of these dying in militatry hospital facilities subsequent to the conclusion of the fighting and an additional 700 very seriously wounded.

Hezbollah rockets killed 43 Israeli civilians during the conflict, including four who died of heart attacks during rocket attacks. In addition, 4,262 civilians were injured – 33 seriously, 68 moderately, 1,388 lightly, and 2,773 were treated for shock and anxiety

             In March, 2007, the Israeli comptroller had planned to release an interim report that was expected to accuse the army and Olmert of leaving Israeli civilians virtually defenseless during last summer’s Lebanon war, in which Hezbollah guerrillas fired a barrage of rockets and missiles at northern Israel

The Conversations with the Crow

                When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

             Crowley did not listen to them and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

            Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:


Here is the sixteenth chapter:

Conversation No. 16

Date: Sunday, June 16, 1996

Commenced: 2:30 PM CST

Concluded: 2:50 PM CST

RTC: Good day to you, Gregory. I have some interesting news for you today. One of my friends from the Agency tipped me off, knowing how much trouble I have had with the Swiss people across the street. Seems the Jews are planning to squeeze them over Nazi money.

GD: The Third Reich is over and done with years ago.

RTC: No, they put money into the Swiss banks during the war and the Jews want it. I mean even if Hitler sent tons of Reichsbank gold to Switzerland, our Hebrew friends have decided that it was all from melted down wedding rings and dental gold.

GD: Oh such idiotic crap. The Reichsbank refined any gold they bought, stamped it and used it in trade. How in the name of sweet Jesus can the Jews say that this bar came from screaming co-religionists? Garbage. Christ, FDR stole over a hundred million from the Jews in ’41 and five will get you ten that the Jews will never see a penny of this.

RTC: Seized assets?

GD: Right. That was in ’41 and the Rubin report says they never got a cent of it back. Old Franklin gave the money to his family and friends so how can we give it back?

RTC: Franklin was not an honest man.

GD: No, he was not. He cheated on his ugly dyke wife and on everyone else. Jesse Jones got several million.

RTC: Oh, and I was laboring under the misapprehension that Jesse was honest. You’re disillusioning me. Anyway, perhaps you could do a story for your new friend Carto on the subject. It’s my impression that he is not friendly to our Yiddish friends.

GD: Actually, ‘yiddish’ is a language and not a people but I take your meaning.  I wish them luck but the Switzers are very tight with their money.

RTC: Gregory, haven’t you learned in all your readings that a Jew in pursuit of money is an awesome thing to behold. I almost feel sorry for the Swiss.

GD: They should go after the U.S. Treasury to get their deposits back. FDR took them for safekeeping and kept them. Almost 130 million at the time.

RTC: No, the Jews will never go after this country. Why America is the sole supporter of Israel, didn’t you know? All they have to do is to send some Jewish lobby person around to various Congressmen and the money gushes forth. Of course this marks us down with the Arabs as participating in all the nasty business over there and participating on the wrong side. Well, one of these days, the Arabs will get at us for being too friendly.

GD: That will get them nowhere. It will give Israel the opportunity of heating up the fires of war against their enemies. That’s a bit typical I must say. Israel will fight to the death of the last American soldier. I can just see the Russians helping them. The Russians hate them and have been spending the last few years chasing them out of Russia. The new Russians blame the Jews for the atrocities committed by Stalin.

RTC: Well, if it weren’t for the Jews, Stalin would have been gone from the scene long before Beria poisoned him in ’53. Old Joe, by the way, may have used the Jews but he hated them and when it got ga-ga, he began to persecute them. The fact that his daughter was seduced by an old Jew movie producer didn’t help the situation any. That’s one of the reasons Laverenti got rid of Stalin. That and the fact that Stalin was planning to get rid of Laverenti. Besides, Beria was a Jew so the inference there is plain. Well, now they are after any German gold still in Swiss banks. Look for the PR people to cut loose with prayer shawls and wailing when they want us to pressure Bern. It never fails.

GD: Oh, I know about the wailing. You hear it in the shops in Chicago. Some old prune says, ‘My whole family was turned to soap in Auschwitz. They even gassed the cat so can’t I get a better deal on that sofa?’

RTC: So unkind, Gregory, so unkind. And I used to get after Jim who just thought they were all wonderful. My God, did you know that their Mossad, which was originally a sort of travel agency for unwanted Jews, smuggled tens of thousands of perfectly awful Polish Jews into Miami after the war? Brought them up from Cuba and Central America by the boatsful. People up here were unaware of this and when they found out, they were too afraid of being called Nazis to dare to demand expulsion. ‘They have suffered so much,’ Eisenhower said, ‘ so we can just turn a blind eye.’

GD: Not surprising. Eisenhower was a political general after all and if it hadn’t been for Truman, tens of thousands of German POWs would have starved to death in Ike’s camps. If you looked at Ike’s yearbook when he was at West Point, you will see under his picture the interesting words, ‘The Swedish Jew.’ Could this be true?
RTC: Heard the same thing but it could be a joke.

GD: In bad taste.

RTC: I recall very clearly that most of the top-level Communist spies here were all Jews but since Stalin died, they turned their sad eyes towards Tel Aviv instead. Jim wanted more of them in the Company but I did my best to keep them out. One comes in and then two and before you know it, out you go and all the secrets go to Israel by the next plane. Jim made a few errors in his career and loving the Hebrews was probably the worst. Now, they are all over the place here and the Agency is full of them. Hell, we used to be a white man’s organization and now it looks like a synagogue on Saturday around Langley. Well, and Jim’s other mistake was trying to spy on everyone he suspected of disloyalty. He got the sack for reading thousands of pieces of mail and snooping on everyone through the phone company. ATT did as we asked them to. Hell, the FBI tapped phones but they used warrants. Jim just made calls and got enormous amounts of intercepts for nothing. Ah, well, Jim’s gone and it will take years to start the magnitude of his internal spying again. We have a compact with the FBI so that they run things stateside and we run things overseas but that’s never worked. They spy overseas. The legates in the embassies are all FBI men. Of course we don’t squawk too much because we spy on people in the States.

GD: And get rid of your enemies here as well. I mean it’s easier to off someone in Munich than Vienna, Virginia but I notice your people don’t seem to mind. Well, whose season of evil is it, anyway?

(Concluded at 2:55 PM CST)

Dramatis personae:

James Jesus Angleton: Once head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence division, later fired because of his obsessive and illegal behavior, tapping the phones of many important government officials in search of elusive Soviet spies. A good friend of Robert Crowley and a co-conspirator with him in the assassination of President Kennedy

James P. Atwood: (April 16, 1930-April 20, 1997) A CIA employee, located in Berlin, Atwood had a most interesting career. He worked for any other intelligence agency, domestic or foreign, that would pay him, was involved in selling surplus Russian atomic artillery shells to the Pakistan government and was also most successful in the manufacturing of counterfeit German dress daggers. Too talkative, Atwood eventually had a sudden “seizure” while lunching with CIA associates.

William Corson: A Marine Corps Colonel and President Carter’s representative to the CIA. A friend of Crowley and Kimmel, Corson was an intelligent man whose main failing was a frantic desire to be seen as an important person. This led to his making fictional or highly exaggerated claims.

John Costello: A British historian who was popular with revisionist circles. Died of AIDS on a trans-Atlantic flight

James Critchfield: Former U.S. Army Colonel who worked for the CIA and organizaed the Cehlen Org. at Pullach, Germany. This organization was filled to the Plimsoll line with former Gestapo and SD personnel, many of whom were wanted for various purported crimes. He hired Heinrich Müller in 1948 and went on to represent the CIA in the Persian Gulf.

Robert T. Crowley: Once the deputy director of Clandestine Operations and head of the group that interacted with corporate America. A former West Point football player who was one of the founders of the original CIA. Crowley was involved at a very high level with many of the machinations of the CIA.

Gregory Douglas: A retired newspaperman, onetime friend of Heinrich Müller and latterly, of Robert Crowley. Inherited stacks of files from the former (along with many interesting works of art acquired during the war and even more papers from Robert Crowley. Lives comfortably in a nice house overlooking the Mediterranean.

Reinhard Gehlen: A retired German general who had once been in charge of the intelligence for the German high command on Russian military activities. Fired by Hitler for incompetence, he was therefore naturally hired by first the U.S. Army and then, as his level of incompetence rose, with the CIA. His Nazi-stuffed organizaion eventually became the current German Bundes Nachrichten Dienst.

Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr: A grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel, Naval commander at Pearl Harbor who was scapegoated after the Japanese attack. Kimmel was a senior FBI official who knew both Gregory Douglas and Robert Crowley and made a number of attempts to discourage Crowley from talking with Douglas. He was singularly unsuccessful. Kimmel subsequently retired and lives in retirement in Florida

Willi Krichbaum: A Senior Colonel (Oberführer) in the SS, head of the wartime Secret Field Police of the German Army and Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. After the war, Krichbaum went to work for the Critchfield organization and was their chief recruiter and hired many of his former SS friends. Krichbaum put Critchfield in touch with Müller in 1948.

Heinrich Müller: A former military pilot in the Bavarian Army in WWI, Müller  became a political police officer in Munich and was later made the head of the Secret State Police or Gestapo. After the war, Müller escaped to Switzerland where he worked for Swiss intelligence as a specialist on Communist espionage and was hired by James Critchfield, head of the Gehlen Organization, in 1948. Müller subsequently was moved to Washington where he worked for the CIA until he retired.

Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this. Neither were his employers.

Frank Wisner: A Founding Father of the CIA who promised much to the Hungarian and then failed them. First, a raging lunatic who was removed from Langley, screaming, in a strait jacket and later, blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun.

Robert Wolfe: A retired librarian from the National Archives who worked closely with the CIA on covering up embarrassing historical material in the files of the Archives. A strong supporter of holocaust writers.

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