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TBR News June 16, 2020

Jun 16 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. June 16, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not
the place to discuss it.
Comment for June 16, 2020: “”All across the nation, thousands of small businesses have shut down, their employees sacked, their premesis shuttered. This because of the gross mishandling, by Trump and his people, of the coronavirus. Will Trump address this issue. No, he will not. Trump is too busy plotting to get reelected in November and as a narcissist, he has no interest in, nor compassion for, anyone but himself. That should be remembered by voters in November.”

Trump Approval Rating

June 11-13
Abacus Data
Approve Disapprove
38%       54%

The Table of Contents
• The gap between Trump’s world and reality is widening. It’s disturbing to watch
• From Occupation to ‘Occupy’: The Israelification of American domestic security
• US military in Germany: What you need to know
• Spy and Counterspy
• Spies can eavesdrop by watching a light bulb’s variations
• Capture of the printed word
• Protesters, Here’s How to Set Up a Cheap Burner Phone
• 2013-2015: Trump Tower Surveilled by FBI as Part of Effort to Catch Russian Mobsters
• The Encyclopedia of Amereican Loons

The gap between Trump’s world and reality is widening. It’s disturbing to watch
In Greek mythology, Cerberus – angry and snarling – stood at the gates to hell. Trump and his inner circle are our Cerberus
June 15, 2020
by Francine Prose
The Guardian
Given how busy most Americans are these days – home-schooling their kids, dealing with unemployment, waiting on line at food banks, protesting systemic racism, worrying about our economy and our educational system – few of us have the time, the energy or inclination to wonder what it’s like to be Donald Trump, to imagine how his mind works, what he really thinks and believes. But over the past few weeks, the increasingly strange, intentionally provocative, inappropriate and frankly delusional tweets and pronouncements issuing from the Oval Office have once again caused us to reflect on the president’s inner life. We’ve grown accustomed to his shortcomings, the regular failures of decency, common sense and good taste. Yet the gap between what the president is saying – and the reality we observe around us – appears to be widening.
Does Trump truly believe that Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old protester shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers, was an antifa insurrectionist plotting to block the communications equipment of the officers who shoved him and left him bleeding from the ear? Does the courtly, somewhat hesitant Gugino really look to anyone like a dangerous thug? How could someone have watched that video and floated the idea that the attack on Gugino, still hospitalized with a brain injury, “could be a set-up?”
Is it possible that a president who has spent four years lying to the American people now assumes that everyone is lying? Or can he simply no longer distinguish between fact and fiction, between conspiracy theories spread by fringe “news” outlets such as the One America News Network and observable reality? What sane human being could imagine that America wanted to hear that George Floyd was smiling down from heaven at the day’s modestly improved job reports?
Lately, I’ve been thinking of the 8,000-word “long telegram” that George Kennan, then the American chargé d’affaires in Moscow and later an architect of the cold war, sent to the state department in 1946 – a document in which Kennan described the methods of an authoritarian dictatorship, “so strange to our form of thought”. Under Stalin, wrote Kennan, “The very disrespect of Russians for objective truth – indeed, their disbelief in its existence – leads them to view all stated facts as instruments for furtherance of one ulterior purpose or another.”
It’s remarkable, how much one can get used to, with a president who has made over 18,000 false or misleading claims since taking office. But all that seems more disturbing now, not only because the tweets and speculations have gotten more aggressive and outlandish, but because the upheavals in our country, the crises we face – the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, the tanking economy, the unrest inspired by the early stages of a necessary reckoning with racism – have made us wish, more than ever, for a leader who shows some honesty, common sense, or who just (we’re setting the bar quite low here) behaves like a responsible adult.
Now, when we most need stability, when we have never felt more uncertain about the future – will school reopen in the fall? Will we get our jobs back? What will life look like after the pandemic? – we have a president who seems to enjoy destabilizing us further. How could anyone think that what we need now is more chaos, disorder and ill will, filtering down from the top?
These days, when I think of Trump, I only rarely picture a guy with an orange face, weird hair and an absurdly long tie. I’ve instead begun to imagine Cerberus, the many-headed dog-monster from Greek mythology.
One of this creature’s heads is obviously Donald Trump’s, but there are others, snarling and yapping and bickering, all offering wrong opinions and bad advice as they try to keep Trump in line and do damage control when he strikes out on his own. Trump’s head may be the monster’s public face, but there are also the heads of Ivanka and Jared; of the attorney general, William Barr, subverting the rule of law and orchestrating the vile photo op in front of St John’s church; of Mitch McConnell; and of senior adviser Stephen Miller, fanning Trump’s racism and implementing his inhuman anti-immigration policies.
I’ve heard it said that the decision to stage a Republican campaign rally on 19 June (Juneteenth, the date when the last of the Confederate slaves were freed) in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where more than 300 Black people were killed by white mob in 1921) “has Stephen Miller written all over it”. That supposition seems likely, given Trump’s notoriously weak grasp of American history in general and African American history in particular; recall when, in 2017, he spoke as if abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, were still alive “and is being recognized more and more”. (On Saturday Trump agreed to change the date of the campaign rally in Tulsa.)
Let’s not forget who Cerberus was, in Greek mythology. Perpetually angry and snarling, Cerberus acted as the guardian of the underworld. His ferocious multiple dog heads were forever twisting, showing their teeth, and barking at the newly damned approaching the gates of hell.

From Occupation to ‘Occupy’: The Israelification of American domestic security
One of the first comprehensive surveys of Israeli training of US local and federal law enforcement officials.
June 9, 2020
by Max Blumenthal
The Gray Zone
(Editor’s note: The eruption of national protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd have shed new light on Israel’s training of local police officers across the country.
100 members of the 800-strong Minneapolis police department were trained at a conference in Israel in 2012. That means at least one of every eight members the city’s force has been influenced by the methods
The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal produced one of the first comprehensive surveys of Israeli training of US local and federal law enforcement officials in the following article published by Al Akhbar English in 2011.)
In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”
Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.
The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.
Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics have been used to suppress the Occupy movement in general.
The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.
“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”
Changing the way we do business
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisers who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.
Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.
During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.
Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”
Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.
PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.
Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz
Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”
Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.
The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”
Fighting “crimiterror”
Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.
Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”
A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarked at a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Demographic Unit
For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officer to Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.
Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”
Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”
The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”
Shop ‘til you’re stopped
At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselves for five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.
Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.
Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.
“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.
“Occupy” meets the occupation
When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.
Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much they will inform police repression of future examples of street protest. What can be said for certain is that the Israelification of American law enforcement has intensified police fear and hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”

US military in Germany: What you need to know
A decision to move US troops out of Germany would mark a major change in the defense relationship between the two countries and reshape the basis of American military presence in Europe since WWII.
June 16, 2020
by Ben Knight
DW
The Federal Republic of Germany has been a vital part of United States defense strategy in Europe ever since the end of World War II, when US forces were part of a 10-year Allied occupation of the country. Though troop numbers have fallen drastically since those days, the US military still maintains a major presence and over the intervening decades, US military communities have formed around a handful of German towns.
Germany’s strategic importance for the US is reflected by the location of US European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, from which it serves as the coordinating structure for all American military forces across 51 primarily European countries.
The mission of EUCOM is to protect and defend the US by deterring conflict, supporting partnerships such as NATO, and countering transnational threats. At its command are the US Army Europe, the US Air Forces in Europe, and the US Marine Corps Forces Europe, all of which have installations in Germany.
In fact, Germany hosts the largest portion of US troops in Europe — roughly 38,600, though the numbers vary as troops are regularly rotated to other countries. This is also more military personnel than the US keeps in any other country except Japan.
However, the numbers have fallen in recent years. German government figures show that between 2006 and 2018, the number of US troops stationed in Germany more than halved, from 72,400 to 33,250, as the US military responded to a shifting and increasingly complex global security situation.
Marines, soldiers and airmen
Germany is home to five of the seven US Army garrisons in Europe (the other two are in Belgium and Italy), and the US Army Europe is headquartered at the garrison in Wiesbaden, a city close to Frankfurt in central western Germany.
Figures provided to DW by the US military show that these five garrisons, each consisting of various installations at different locations, currently comprise around 29,000 military personnel. This number includes the US Marine Corps Forces of Europe and Africa, which are headquartered in Böblingen, southwestern Germany, as part of the US Army Garrison Stuttgart.
In addition, roughly 9,600 US Air Force personnel are spread across various locations in Germany, including the two US Air Force bases of Ramstein and Spangdahlem.
US military in Germany: More than troops
Because US military installations also employ American civilians, and servicemen and women can sometimes bring their families with them overseas, sizable civilian communities can form around bases. In fact, some US bases in Germany, such as the one near Ramstein, are small towns in themselves. They include not only barracks, airfields, exercise terrain, and material depots, but also their own American shopping malls, schools, postal services, and police force. Sometimes the only legal tender is the US dollar.
Meanwhile, the US Army Bavaria Garrison, headquartered at Grafenwoehr, near Bavaria’s Czech border, is the largest overseas US Army base in the world, both in population and acreage, covering over 97,000 acres (390 square kilometers).
Bases also often employ significant numbers of local nationals and serve as an economic boost for the surrounding German communities, whose businesses provide goods and services. Past installation closures, such as the army garrison at Bamberg in 2014, took a toll on the local economy, and many Germans living near active US military installations have expressed opposition to potential troop reductions.
But the extent of US military presence in Germany is not limited to personnel: The US also keeps planes at other non-US air force bases in Germany. Additionally, thanks to NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement, an estimated 20 nuclear weapons are believed to be kept at Germany’s Büchel Air Base in western Germany — something which has attracted much criticism from Germans.
Another contentious arrangement is the fact that the Ramstein Air Base is used as a control center for drone strikes in Yemen and elsewhere.
Allied postwar occupation and its legacy
The US military presence in Germany is a legacy of the post-WWII Allied occupation, which lasted from 1945 to 1955. During this time, millions of US, British, French and Soviet troops were stationed in Germany.
The northeastern part of the country, which officially became East Germany in October 1949, fell under Soviet control.
In West Germany, the occupation was regulated by the Occupation Statute, signed in April 1949, when the country was founded. The statute allowed France, the UK and the US to keep occupational forces in the country and maintain complete control over West Germany’s disarmament and demilitarization.
When the military occupation of West Germany officially ended, the country regained control of its own defense policy. However, the Occupation Statute was succeeded by another agreement with its NATO partners. This deal, known as the Convention on the Presence of Foreign Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany, was signed in 1954 by West Germany. It allowed eight NATO members, including the US, to have a permanent military presence in Germany. The treaty still regulates the terms and conditions of the NATO troops stationed in Germany today.
The number of US military personnel has been declining ever since the end of the Cold War in 1990, when, according to the German government, there were an estimated 400,000 foreign troops stationed on German soil. Roughly half of these were US military personnel, but they were gradually withdrawn as tensions with what was left of the Soviet Union eased, and conflicts elsewhere, such as the first Gulf War in Iraq, drew more US military away.

Spy and Counterspy

The American public seems to love conspiracy stories as witness the frenzies over the 9/11 episode, the stories about the ‘Chem-Trails,’ the fatal crash of the private aircraft of Paul Wellstone, the arrival of ‘Planet-X’ and various other entertaining stories about the probably appearance of Jesus Christ on bodega walls or cheese sandwiches. Here is, however, a very real and very deadly, conspiracy that many people are only dimly aware of and not only is it real, is has cost, and will cost, the American people their homes, their pensions and their life savings. For centuries there have been stories, rumors and hints that various Jewish groups, mostly bankers and financial manipulators, who were involved in massive financial swindles, political manipulations and even the instigation of various wars and revolutions from which they and their relations could reap a profit.
One of the most prolific and well-read of exposés of Jewish manipulations is the notorious ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” From its first appearance in Russia in 1905, this work has sold millions of copies and been translated into twenty two languages. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a political forgery by the Tsar’s secret police. Taken from a French political satire, it has been branded by Jewish groups as a forgery. It is. It is also based on much earlier writings that most certainly are not forgeries. There was a meeting of the top Jewish leaders of Europe, called in 1806 by Napoleon, who produced a large body of theoretical work on Jewish control, all of which can be found in official French archives and from which the Protocols was descended.
Today, we in the grip of a deadly financial, political and military crisis that has been engineered by Jewish groups for their own profit, both political and financial. This is not a matter of silly bloggers and their easily-disproved strange stories but a deadly matter of documented truth. Much of this truth can be found here and there in libraries and on the internet but no one has ever bothered to collect it and make coherent sense out of it.
Since the late 1960’s, a unit of the Pentagon has been monitoring international diplomatic and military communications, to include those of the Israeli government and intelligence agencies. From these intercepts, it is clearly evident that there is a specific plan on the part of some Jews to infiltrate the highest levels of the American political and economic agencies with the sole purpose of giving unconditional support to the state of Israel. I should comment here that during the Roosevelt era, we had a similar movement but these people sent all their intelligence material to Moscow because then it was believed that Josef Stalin loved Jews and protected them. It has later been discovered that Stalin actually hated Jews and late in his life, determined to remove them all from Russia as “internationalists” who owed no loyalty to Russia but to themselves, their people and, later, to Israel.
We have the case of Jonathan Pollard who supplied Israel with “a boxcar” full of the most sensitive intelligence material and many others whose names are not as well known. We had the outrageous Israeli military attack on a U.S. ship, the ‘Liberty’ and we saw Lyndon Johnson refuse to go to its assistance because Tel Aviv asked him not to. We have seen the deadly growth of the so-called Neocons, almost all of whom are Jewish and many of whom are Isreali citizens and some who worked for Israeli intelligence networks before coming to the United States. We have the shadowy but very real presence of the Israeli Mossad working against American interests in America even as I write. The CIA is now filled with Israeli people and all of whom burn up the wires or stuff the mails with information they glean from their jobs.
But even more obnoxious are the activities of a legion of Jewish bankers, financial manipulators and thieves whose activities have directly contributed to the collapse of the American economy. Their manipulations pushed up stock and real estate prices and when they had taken their profits, they withdrew and allowed the markets to collapse. The current posterboy for Israeli theft is Bernie Madoff who stole billions, banked most of it in the total safely of Israeli banks from which it can never be returned to its victims. This is not the first time this has happened as witness the Jewish Oligarchs of Yeltsin’s Russia who, with the assistance of their co-religionists in the World Bank and the IMP looted Russia and, like Madoff, stuck their boodle into Tel Aviv banks. Those who did not flee to England, escaped to Israel who has never deported a Jewish citizen to face criminal charges in another country.
This sort of thing has not gone unnoticed by American intelligence agencies. The FBI has been recording information on AIPAC for years and the U.S. Army has been doing the same thing to the supposedly secret messages to and from Israeli diplomatic centers.
Many of these records of theft, treason and pillage have appeared privately and now, most certainly now, is the time for this entire deliberate scheming to be exposed to its victims, the American public.
That such outrageous, and obvious, thefts as those perpetrated by Bernie Madoff and others, as yet free, have escaped the attention of regulatory agencies like the SEC is nonsense. A Ponzi fraud would be child’s play for the competent auditors at the SEC to detect, yet Bernie passed the test on at least four separate occasions. Why did this happen? Because Bernie is a connected Jew and as such, in the current American political and business climate, untouchable. News reports are that Bernie had to “turn in his passport” so as to avoid escape. Which passport, pray tell? His American one or the Israeli one? The entertaining part of all this, if indeed entertainment can be found in such damaging, public and outrageous thefts, is that Bernie stole from fellow Jews. But then, of course, the money all ends up in Israel but in different hands.
There are two basic issues here and they are that Jewish financial speculators are rampaging all over the American economic scene, stealing, lying and conning everyone, safe in the knowledge that they can hide their money and their worthless persons in Israel and both will be safe from American justice and the second is that Israel has virtually taken control over such agencies as the CIA, the White House and most of the American media.
Complaints, allegations of theft of money and state secrets and other high crimes and misdemeanors all are either ignored or deliberately covered up solely because of the great power of the Israel lobby in the United States today.
Money and political power these creatures of the night and dark places do have but their victims, en masse, ever find out the truth behind the damaging manipulations, the trees of American forest preserves will bear strange fruit in the morning light.

Perhaps the best known case of Israeli spying in the US is that of Jonathan Pollard. A civilian analyst in naval intelligence, Pollard had access to thousands of secret documents that he passed to Israel. Until 1998, Israel denied that it had any direct contact with Pollard, but in May of that year Benjamin Netanyahu admitted Pollard was an intelligence source who was being handled by the Israeli Bureau for Scientific Relations.
Far more than Pollard, though, Israeli spying spans a number of decades and into the heart of the most sensitive data and material in the American government.
In the late 1960s Zalman Shapiro, a prominent member of the Zionist Organization of America, was placed under investigation for passing highly-enriched uranium to Israel. Shapiro founded the nuclear fuel plant at Apollo, Pennsylvania, and enough uranium was believed to have been smuggled from the plant to create Israel’s first dozen nuclear bombs. The CIA Tel Aviv station chief has said that the plant was “an Israeli operation from the beginning” but all FOIA requests for the extensive CIA files on the operation are being rejected, presumably because it would mean the US would have to give up its long-held policy of “nuclear ambiguity” and admit the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons.
In 1985 Richard Kelly Smyth, a physicist and businessman who had contracted with NATO and NASA was arrested for illegally passing 15 shipments of nuclear triggering devices to the Israeli government via an Israeli trading company. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison but was immediately eligible for parole because he was 72 years old at the time of his sentencing.
In 1993 a massive ADL-led spying operation was busted targeting numerous institutions and individuals, including the NAACP and even the San Francisco police. The data was being passed to Israel, and in some cases South Africa. The city dropped criminal prosecution of the case after lobbying from local Jewish organizations, but the ADL was forced to settle a civil lawsuit out of court for an undisclosed sum.
In 1996 it was revealed that the Office of Naval Intelligence had confirmed that “US technology has been acquired [by China] through Israel in the form of the Lavi fighter and possibly SAM [surface-to-air] missile technology.” According to the report, this technology transfer “represents a dramatic step forward for Chinese military aviation.”
There are many such stories of spying and espionage relating to Israel, but by far the most revealing centre around 9/11. The so-called dancing Israelis were not only promptly allowed to leave the US without charges, they were even featured on Israeli television as folk heroes who talked openly about how they had been sent to America specifically to document the 9/11 attacks.
In an even more explosive series of reports for Fox News, reporter Carl Cameron began a series of reports detailing an ongoing and extensive investigation into Israeli persons of interest in the 9/11 case. The report detailed striking facts about how two Israeli-owned companies were suspected of supplying Israeli intelligence with vast reams of data about the American phone systems, as well as providing Israeli agents with warnings when they were under investigation by US authorities.
Given this lengthy and detailed history of Israeli spying in the US, why then is so much attention showered on stories like that of Anna Chapman and the Russian spy ring, while these Israeli spying stories are reported furtively, if at all, and quickly shoved down the memory hole. The answer to this question, too, has been revealed in various ways over the years.
Of course, spying between countries that are nominally allies is in itself nothing new. US spies themselves have been caught up in numerous scandals over the years, including the infamous UN spying scandal that was revealed in 2010.
But when a country like Israel — a supposed “friend” of the United States and a nation for whose billions of dollars in economic and military aid the American taxpayers foot the bill — turns out to be the nation that is most deeply involved in spying operations in the US, and even controls much of the technology and financial infrastructure which the US uses to spy (unconstitutionally) on its own citizenry, the American people have a duty not merely to be puzzled but actively outraged at the government and media’s complicity in keeping this information from the public.
Congress will not, of course, change its tune overnight and suddenly start holding accountable the nation which has so long bragged of its influence over them. Nor will the media suddenly start fear mongering about the nuclear-armed espionage-conducting menace to American security that is Israel. Instead, as always, the American public, and indeed the people of all the countries around the world who are similarly dealing with Israel’s spying activities, to inform themselves of the true history of these operations and to spread this knowledge to others.
After all, the only alternative is to hope for an Anna Chapman-esque photogenic Mossad agent is apprehended on US soil so that the establishment press will have no choice but to cover the story in an attempt to bolster their plunging ratings.

Spies can eavesdrop by watching a light bulb’s variations
Technique allows for real-time listening in on a room hundreds of feet away.
June 13, 2020
by Andy Greenberg,
wired.com –
The list of sophisticated eavesdropping techniques has grown steadily over years: wiretaps, hacked phones, bugs in the wall—even bouncing lasers off of a building’s glass to pick up conversations inside. Now add another tool for audio spies: Any light bulb in a room that might be visible from a window.
Researchers from Israeli’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science today revealed a new technique for long-distance eavesdropping they call “lamphone.” They say it allows anyone with a laptop and less than a thousand dollars of equipment—just a telescope and a $400 electro-optical sensor—to listen in on any sounds in a room that’s hundreds of feet away in real-time, simply by observing the minuscule vibrations those sounds create on the glass surface of a light bulb inside. By measuring the tiny changes in light output from the bulb that those vibrations cause, the researchers show that a spy can pick up sound clearly enough to discern the contents of conversations or even recognize a piece of music.
“Any sound in the room can be recovered from the room with no requirement to hack anything and no device in the room,” says Ben Nassi, a security researcher at Ben-Gurion who developed the technique with fellow researchers Yaron Pirutin and Boris Zadov, and who plans to present their findings at the Black Hat security conference in August. “You just need line of sight to a hanging bulb, and this is it.”
In their experiments, the researchers placed a series of telescopes around 80 feet away from a target office’s light bulb, and put each telescope’s eyepiece in front of a Thorlabs PDA100A2 electro-optical sensor. They then used an analog-to-digital converter to convert the electrical signals from that sensor to digital information. While they played music and speech recordings in the faraway room, they fed the information picked up by their set-up to a laptop, which analyzed the readings.
The researchers found that the tiny vibrations of the light bulb in response to sound—movements that they measured at as little as a few hundred microns—registered as measurable changes in the light their sensor picked up through each telescope. After processing the signal through software to filter out noise, they were able to reconstruct recordings of the sounds inside the room with remarkable fidelity: They showed, for instance, that they could reproduce an audible snippet of a speech from President Donald Trump well enough for it to be transcribed by Google’s Cloud Speech API. They also generated a recording of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” clear enough that the name-that-tune app Shazam could instantly recognize it.
The technique nonetheless has some limitations. In their tests, the researchers used a hanging bulb, and it’s not clear if a bulb mounted in a fixed lamp or a ceiling fixture would vibrate enough to derive the same sort of audio signal. The voice and music recordings they used in their demonstrations were also louder than the average human conversation, with speakers turned to their maximum volume. But the team points out that they also used a relatively cheap electro-optical sensor and analog-to-digital converter, and could have upgraded to a more expensive one to pick up quieter conversations. LED bulbs also offer a signal-to-noise ratio that’s about 6.3 times that of an incandescent bulb and 70 times a fluorescent one.
“Side channel” attack
Regardless of those caveats, Stanford computer scientist and cryptographer Dan Boneh argues that the researchers’ technique still represents a significant and potentially practical new form of what he calls a “side channel” attack—one that takes advantage of unintended leakage of information to steal secrets. “It’s a beautiful application of side channels,” Boneh says. “Even if this requires a hanging bulb and high decibels, it’s still super interesting. And it’s still just the first time this has been shown to be possible. Attacks only get better, and future research will only improve this over time.”
The research team, which was advised by BGU’s Yuval Elovici and Adi Shamir, the coinventor of the ubiquitous RSA encryption system, isn’t the first to show that unexpected sonic phenomena can enable eavesdropping. Researchers have known for years that a laser bounced off a target’s window can allow spies to pick up the sounds inside. Another group of researchers showed in 2014 that the gyroscope of a compromised smartphone can pick up sounds even if the malware can’t access its microphone. The closest previous technique to lamphone is what MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe researchers in 2014 called a “visual microphone”: By analyzing video recorded via telescope of an object in a room that picks up vibrations—a bag of potato chips or a houseplant, for instance—those researchers were able to reconstruct speech and music.
But Nassi points out that the video-based technique, while far more versatile since it doesn’t require a bulb to be visible in the room, requires analysis of the video with software after it’s recorded to convert the subtle vibrations observed in an object into the sounds it picked up. Lamphone, by contrast, enables real-time spying. Since the vibrating object is itself a light source, the electro-optical sensor can pick up vibrations in far simpler visual data.
That could make lamphone significantly more practical for use in espionage than previous techniques, Nassi argues. “When you actually use it in real time you can respond in real time rather than losing the opportunity,” he says.
Still, Nassi says the researchers are publishing their findings not to enable spies or law enforcement, but to make clear to those on both sides of surveillance what’s possible. “We want to raise the awareness of this kind of attack vector,” he says. “We’re not in the game of providing tools.”
As unlikely as being targeted by this technique is, it’s also easy to forestall. Just cover any hanging bulbs, or better yet, close the curtains. And if you’re paranoid enough to be concerned about this sort of spy game, hopefully you’ve already used anti-vibration devices on those windows to prevent eavesdropping with a laser microphone. And swept your house for bugs. And removed the microphones from your phone and computer. After all, in an era when even the light bulbs have ears, a paranoiac’s work is never done.

Capture of the printed word
June 16, 2020
by Christian Jürs

Prior to the event of printed, and later television, media, it was not difficult for the world’s power elites and the governments they controlled, to see that unwelcome and potentially dangerous information never reached the masses of people under their control. Most of the general public in more distant times were completely illiterate and received their news from their local priest or from occasional gossip from travelers, The admixture of kings, princes and clergy had an iron control over what their subject could, or could not hear. During the Middle Ages and even into the more liberal Renaissance, universities were viewed with suspicion and those who taught, or otherwise expressed, concepts that were anathema to the concept of feudalism were either killed outright in public or permanently banished. Too-liberal priests were silenced by similar methods. If Papal orders for silence were not followed, priests could, and were, put to the torch as an example for others to note.
However, with the advent of the printing press and a growing literacy in the population, the question of informational control was less certain and with the growing movements in Europe and the American colonies for less restriction and more public expression, the power elites found it necessary to find the means to prevent unpleasant information from being proclaimed throughout their lands and unto all the inhabitants thereof.
The power elites realized that if they could not entirely prevent inconvenient and often dangerous facts to emerge and threaten their authority, their best course was not censorship but to find and develop the means to control the presentation and publication of that they wished to keep entirely secret.
The first method was to block or prevent the release of dangerous material by claiming that such material was a matter of important state security and as such, strictly controlled. This, they said, was not only for their own protection but also the somewhat vague but frightening concept of the security of their people.
The second method was, and has been, to put forth disinformation that so distorts and confuses actual facts as to befuddle a public they see as easily controlled, naïve and gullible.
The mainstream American media which theoretically was a balance against governmental corruption and abuses of power, quickly became little more than a mouthpiece for the same government they were supposed to report on. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, most American newspapers were little better than Rupert Mudoch’s modern tabloids, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing but during the First World War, President Wilson used the American entry into the First World War as an excuse for setting up controls over the American public.
Aside from setting up government control over food distribution, the railroads, much industry involved in war production, he also established a powerful propaganda machine coupled with a national informant system that guaranteed his personal control. In 1918, citing national security, Wilson arrested and imprisoned critical news reporters and threatened to shut down their papers.
Wilson was a wartime president and set clear precedents that resonated very loudly with those who read history and understood its realities.
During the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt, another wartime leader, was not as arrogant or highhanded as Wilson (whose empire fell apart after the end of the war that supported it) but he set up informational controls that exist to the present time.
And after Roosevelt, and the war, passed into history, the government in the United States created a so-called cold war with Soviet Russia, instead of Hitler’s Germany, as the chief enemy. Control of the American media then fell into the hands of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency who eventually possessed an enormous, all-encompassing machine that clamped down firmly on the national print, and later television media, with an iron hand in a velvet glove.
Media outlets that proved to be cooperative with CIA propaganda officials were rewarded for their loyalty and cooperation with valuable, and safe, news and the implication was that enemies of the state would either be subject to scorn and derision and that supporters of the state and its policies would receive praise and adulation.
The methodology of a controlled media has a number of aspects which, once clearly understood, renders its techniques and goals far less effective.
Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out.

Protesters, Here’s How to Set Up a Cheap Burner Phone
June 15, 2020
by Micah Lee
The Intercept
If you’re taking to the streets to demand justice for the victims of police brutality and homicide, you may want to leave your phone at home. No matter how peaceful your behavior, you are at risk of getting arrested or assaulted by police. Cops might confiscate your phone and search it regardless of whether or not they’re legally allowed to, or they might try to break it, especially if it contains photos or video of their violent or illegal actions.
At the same time, it’s a good idea to bring a phone to a protest so you can record what’s happening and get the message out on social media. Filming police is completely legal and within your rights, and it’s one of the few tools citizens have against police brutality. It’s also important to be able to communicate with others in real time or to find your friends in case you get separated.
To reconcile this tension — between wanting to protect your privacy and wanting to digitally document protests and police misdeeds — the safest option is to leave your primary phone, which contains a massive amount of private information about you, at home and instead bring a specially prepared burner phone to protests.
I discuss how to do this at length below, and in the video above.
What if I Can’t Afford a Burner Phone?
I bought a Nokia 1.3 smartphone for $99, as well as three months of prepaid phone service for $40. If this is too expensive for you, you may have other options:
If you have an old phone collecting dust in a drawer, as long as it still works and the battery still holds a charge, you can use this as your burner phone rather than buying a new one. You just need a new SIM card, like one that comes with prepaid cell service. Make sure to factory reset the phone before getting ready to protest.
There are even cheaper phones and prepaid service options than the ones I chose, and these can work fine as well.
If you want to avoid paying for phone service for your second phone, depending on your current cell phone provider and what types of phones you have, you may be able to remove the SIM card from your main phone and insert it into your burner phone, and then put it back after the protest. This will cause all calls and texts to temporarily go to your burner phone instead of your main one. You’ll want to make sure the SIM card slot on the second phone can accommodate the size of the SIM card you have on your primary phone.
If a separate burner phone still isn’t an option and you decide you need to bring your primary phone, here are some steps to take to make it safer and less likely for your private data to end up in the hands of the police:
Disable fingerprint and face unlock, and instead require typing a passcode or password to unlock your phone. This makes it take longer to get into your phone, but it also makes it considerably harder for police to get in without your consent.
Make sure your passcode or password is not easily guessable. If you’re using a numeric passcode, it should be at least 6 digits, but longer is better.
Set up a SIM PIN, which prevents police from removing the SIM card from your phone and inserting it into another, which would allow them to take over your phone number. Here are iPhone instructions and Android instructions for doing this. If you set a SIM PIN, you’ll need to type it every time you reboot your phone in addition to your passcode.
If you’re using Android, make sure your phone’s storage is encrypted (all iPhones have encrypted storage). On most Android phones, you can look in the Settings app, under Security > “Encrypt phone” to find phone encryption settings.
Disable every smartphone feature that isn’t necessary like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location services. You can also keep your phone in airplane mode when you don’t need to use the network. This will make your phone leak less information that police can use to track you.
The Markup published some good steps to take before bringing your primary phone into a protest, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good guide as well.
There are additional tips for non-burner phones in a video I made with my colleague Lauren Feeney in 2017, “How to Protect Your Privacy at a Protest.”
Picking Out a Burner Phone
The main criteria for picking out a cheap burner phone is cost, which means iPhones are out. You may be able to find an old or refurbished iPhone for around $200, but Android phones can do the job just as well for much less. It’s common for low-end Android phones to be riddled with security issues that never get fixed, so the next criteria is finding a phone that supports the latest security updates.
With this in mind, I settled on the Nokia 1.3, which I bought for $99 on Amazon. This phone was released in March 2020, and it comes with the latest version of Android (the Go edition for low-end devices). It seems to have a good battery life and a decent camera, which is about all that’s required for this phone.
I was also looking for a cheap prepaid phone plan and ended up choosing Mint Mobile. I ordered a SIM card that comes with 3 months of service, also on Amazon, for $40.
I’m using this phone and this phone service, but these steps should be similar no matter what model phone or phone service provider you go with.
Using a Password Manager
Everyone who is serious about digital security should be using a password manager. Password managers are apps that create and store passwords for you, allowing you to use strong, random passwords without needing to memorize them. All your passwords are saved in an encrypted vault, and you unlock them using a single passphrase that you do memorize.
The process of setting up this burner phone requires keeping track of a bunch of passwords, so if you’re not already using one, you should set one up first. Some good options are Bitwarden, KeePassXC, LastPass, and 1Password.
When you’re setting up your burner phone, you’ll want to save the following information in your password manager:
Username and password for prepaid mobile service account
Username and password for burner Google account
PIN for unlocking the phone
PIN for Signal
Any other PINs or login information related to your phone
Setting Up and Locking Down the Nokia 1.3 or Other Android Phone
Watch the video for a complete tutorial on configuring the Nokia 1.3 to get ready to bring to a protest. Much of the advice applies to other up-to-date Android phones. The tutorial steps include:
Inserting the prepaid Mint Mobile SIM card and activating cell phone service
Creating a burner Google account to go along with the burner phone
Installing system updates, and adjusting all of the Android settings to be as secure, and to leak as little data, as possible
Installing and configuring the Signal app, and adding the contacts you’ll need during the protest to the device in such a way that they don’t get uploaded to the cloud
Installing social media apps
Setting up Google Photos to automatically upload photos and videos to the cloud, so that you’ll be able to recover them from another device even if police confiscate or break your phone
I also went to a Black Lives Matter protest in Oakland, California, to field test this burner phone. The video includes photos and footage that I took so you can see the quality of the camera.
A Note About Anonymity
If you carry a phone with you, you don’t have location privacy. Police are able to use devices called cell-site simulators, also known as Stingrays or IMSI-catchers, to monitor and collect data from all phones at a protest. Additionally, telecom and tech companies collect their own vast location databases from phones, and this sort of data is not possible to anonymize.
Using a burner phone can help with this problem, especially if you leave it powered off or in airplane mode except when you need to use it. But if you actually want to make sure your burner phone isn’t connected to your identity in any way, you have to do a lot more work:
You have to buy the phone and phone service in person using cash instead of online, and pick a carrier that allows you to activate service without asking for identification.
Whenever you need to use the internet — first on your computer to activate your phone service, and then on your burner phone to install updates and apps — you need to do so anonymously by using Tor Browser or a public Wi-Fi network that’s far from your home.
You should never have your primary phone and your burner phone powered on in the same place at the same time, and you should never power on your burner phone at your house.
You also need to take additional steps to stay anonymous at a protest, such as wearing nondescript clothes, covering your face (you should be doing this anyway since we’re in the middle of a global coronavirus pandemic), covering tattoos, and making a plan to avoid license plate readers or using public transit cards that can track your movements.
Keeping yourself completely anonymous while using a burner phone for protests is outside the scope of this article. Instead, these steps present a middle ground where it’s more difficult, but not impossible, for police to learn your identity, and if they confiscate and search your burner phone, they’ll gain access to far less private information about your life, your friends, and your activism than if they had confiscated your primary phone.
Before the Protest
Each time you’re preparing to go to a protest, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll be bringing with you. Leave all electronics at home except for your burner phone: Don’t bring a laptop, a smartwatch (sorry, your steps won’t count), USB sticks, or anything else. And if you’re planning on using your burner phone to bring to different protests, make sure to delete all your photos and videos from the burner phone after copying them to another device, and to delete any Signal conversations from previous protests, before you head out.
It’s always safest to go to protests with a buddy or a group of friends. You should put the phone numbers of everyone you know who will be at the protest in your burner phone in case you need to contact them. If your friends are bringing burner phones of their own, put their burner numbers in your contacts.
You should also make sure you know who to call in case you get arrested. Protest organizers should provide attendees with a legal support phone number, often run by an organization like the National Lawyers Guild. You should write this phone number on your skin with a permanent marker. If you get arrested, the police will confiscate your phone so you won’t be able to look it up there. You’ll want to call this number from jail in order to get legal support.
And it’s important to keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing. Make sure to bring a face mask and hand sanitizer, and attempt to social distance when you can to avoid spreading the virus. It’s also always a good idea to bring a bottle of water.
During the Protest
No matter what cops might tell you, it’s completely legal to film them in public. Filming the police is one of the few tools citizens have to force accountability on them. If it weren’t for people filming police brutality on their cellphones, we wouldn’t have nearly so much evidence of widespread systemic racism within American police forces.
It’s good to share photos and videos from protests on social media, but you should also be mindful of the wishes of other protesters. While you’re legally allowed to film anything in a public gathering, it’s respectful to ask permission before taking photos of people’s faces.
If you’re paying for enough mobile data, you may want to configure Google Photos to automatically upload all photos and videos you take to the cloud. This way if police confiscate or damage your phone during the protest, you’ll be able to log in to your burner Google account from another device to access your media later on. Be aware, however, that pictures in Google Photos are not encrypted, meaning Google will be able to provide them to authorities if subpoenaed.
If You Get Arrested
Even if you’re peaceful and aren’t breaking any laws, police might arrest you at a protest. If you can tell that you’re about to get arrested, and it’s safe to do so, power off your phone. This makes it a lot harder for cops to get into your phone.
Police do not have the right to search your phone without your consent unless they get a warrant. If an officer asks you to unlock your phone, or if they grab your phone from your hands while it’s unlocked, tell them: “I do not consent to a search of my phone. I want to talk to a lawyer.” (It’s OK if you don’t have a lawyer yet, you should still say this.) They may confiscate your phone and illegally search it anyway, but it’s best to make it clear at the moment that you don’t consent.
It’s also possible that cops might try to steal or break your phone, especially if they noticed you filming them being violent. If any of this happens, at least it will just be your cheap burner phone with minimal data on it rather than an expensive phone full of private information about your life and your activism.

2013-2015: Trump Tower Surveilled by FBI as Part of Effort to Catch Russian Mobsters

The FBI conducted a lengthy surveillance operation at Trump Tower, including wiretapping and other methods, in an attempt to gain information on a Russian organized crime money-laundering network operating out of Unit 63A in the building.
The opulent apartment was owned by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (or Tokhtakhounav), a notorious Russian mafia boss.
The surveillance was successful and used to arrest and prosecute over 30 people.
Tokhtakhounov is the only one to escape arrest, and in 2017 was considered a fugitive by American law enforcement officials. Seven months after the April 2013 indictment and after being named in an Interpol “red notice,” Tokhtakhounov appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
FBI agent Mike Gaeta, who ran the initial FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his money-laundering and gambling ring, told a reporter: “He is a major player. He is prominent. He has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”
Gaeta and the FBI believed Tokhtakhounov and his ring moved over $50 million in illegal money into the US. He noted: “Because of his status, we have kept tabs on his activities and particularly as his activities truly enter New York City. Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus and then ultimately here to the United States.”
Donald Trump himself was not a subject of the investigation, but Trump Tower was under close watch. Another member of Tokhtakhounov’s ring, Vadim Trincher, also lived in Trump Tower. He was convicted of racketeering and was sentenced to a five-year prison term.
Former FBI official Rich Frankel said of Trump Tower: “Everything was moving in and out of there. [Trincher] would have people come in and meet with them. He would use the phones. He would also communicate, whether it was through e-mail or other communications through there. His base of operations was in the Trump Tower.”
One recording by the FBI had Trincher threatening to have a debtor tortured and murdered. One tenant, Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan, was gunned down in broad daylight on Sixth Avenue in a gang-related assassination.
Nektalov was cooperating with federal investigators at the time of his murder. Trump Organization spokespersons denied that unusually large numbers of Russian citizens have been living spaces in Trump properties, but property records show that is a lie. ABC will report: “Trump-branded developments catered to large numbers of Russian buyers, including several who had brushes with the law. Russian buyers were particularly drawn to Trump licensed condo towers in Hollywood, Florida, and Sunny Isles. Local real estate agents credited the Russian migration for turning the coastal Miami-area community into what they called Little Moscow.” Tokhtakhounov is enjoying a life of luxury in Moscow, and is regularly observed in public. Daily Kos writer Mark Sumner will note that the three floors between Tokhtakhounov’s apartment and Trump’s penthouse suite was occupied by Bayrock, a shady company “owned by post-Soviet oligarchs and operated by securities fraudster Felix Sater.” Sumner will write: “It looks like Trump Tower was a one-size fits all money-laundering superstore. … Was there a wiretap at Trump Tower? Damn right there was. Because Trump Tower is a hotbed of illegal activity, and it’s just part of the ‘open for business’ sign Trump hung out for Russian mobsters.”
Broidy and his wife, attorney Robin Rosenzweig, engaged in a year-long email exchange with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to arrange a consulting contract. Low was at the center of the investment scandal that also involved, among others, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The couple proposed a $75 million fee from Low if their company could ensure that the DOJ would drop its investigation into the investment scandal. Broidy also prepared talking points for Najib before the prime minister met with Trump in 2017; Broidy advised Najib to emphasize Malaysia’s committment to standing with the US against North Korea. Lawyer Chris Clark sends a statement on behalf of Broidy and Rosenzweig, saying that they were asked to provide advice to Low “as part of a broader team.” The statement continues, “At no time did Mr. Broidy or Ms. Rosenzweig, or anyone acting on their behalf, discuss Mr. Low’s case with President Trump, any member of his staff, or anyone at the US Department of Justice.” In July 2016, the DOJ filed civil forfeiture complaints seeking to recover over $2 billion in assets illegally acquired with funds misappropriated from 1MDB. The DOJ identified Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) as someone who laundered over $400 million stolen from the firm. A Malaysian investigation cleared Najib and 1MDB of wrongdoing. 1MDB says it is cooperating with the investigation, but also asserts that no money is missing from its coffers. The department says Low and other high-level officials at 1MDB stole over $4.5 billion from a sovereign wealth fund administered by the firm. Najib was the recipient of some $681 million of the stolen funds, according to the DOJ, though both Low and Najib have denied any wrongdoing in the scandal. The money apparently was sunk into, among other things, buying artwork by Monet and Van Gogh, a private jet, a $250 million yacht (later seized by Indonesian authorities on behalf of the US), real estate, and investments in the American film The Wolf of Wall Street. After the Wall Street Journal publishes some of the emails, both Rosenzweig and Broidy’s assistant say that their email account was hacked. “It’s definitely a hack,” Rosenzweig says. “They’ve hacked attorney-client privileged documents.” The Journal initially received the emails from an anonymous group using the nickname “L.A. Confidential,” who describes itself as a group dedicated to “expos[ing] people associated with Hollywood.” Rosenzweig says she does not recognize some of the emails published by the Journal. She says she and her husband are conducting a “personal investigation.” Clark says: “We are concerned that the Wall Street Journal is in possession of internal drafts of documents that were never used, and that were never intended to be shared with third parties. We question the legality and propriety of the manner in which the documents were obtained.

The Encyclopedia of Amereican Loons

James Tour

A nanotechnologist and Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, as well as Professor of Computer Science, at Rice University, James Tour certainly has reason to be confident about his skills and knowledge in his field of expertise. Unfortunately, that might also be part of the explanation for why he is willing to spew so much nonsense about fields he knows nothing about.
Tour is a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, making him one of a very small number of nationally prominent researchers among the signatories as well as the even smaller number of those who seem to have been actually aware of what they were signing. Indeed, even Tour himself has said that “I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion. So I prefer to be free of that ID label.”
Despite demonstrably failing to grasp the basics of evolution (see below), Tour is nevertheless confident in his analysis: “if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me, because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this, and get that. I mean, ab initio, I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules. I understand that if I take Nature’s tool kit, it could be much easier, because all the tools are already there, and I just mix it in the proportions, and I do it under these conditions, but ab initio is very, very hard.” Of course, evolution doesn’t make molecules to a specification, so his comparison is irrelevant, but it is very instructive that Tour doesn’t realize that. Now, he did follow the previous claim up with admitting that “I don’t understand evolution, and I will confess that to you.” That hasn’t stopped him from offering his uninformed opinions (“egregious idiocy”) on the topic on numerous occasions – apparently doing so is justified because other synthetic chemistry experts he has talked with don’t claim to understand everything about evolution either (yes, the unstated premises in that piece of reasoning are somewhat hard to identify; more details about Tour’s ignorance here). So, Tour has for instance claimed that he felt the explanations offered by evolution are incomplete, and that he finds it hard to believe that nature can produce the machinery of cells through random processes, which is not what the theory of evolution says but which would also, independently of that fundamental error, have amounted to a reasonably clear example of a named fallacy. Taking a cue from standard creationist materials, Tour also claims that “[f]rom what I can see, microevolution is a fact” and “there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution.” But of course, like the creationists who apparently supply him with his talking points, Tour offers no suggestion for what mechanism could possibly and magically prevent microevolutionary changes from accumulating into macroevolutionary changes over time – besides, one would think that if his considerations based on his own field were relevant (they are not), they would apply equally well to microevolution. We strongly suspect the issue is, for Tour, not ultimately a matter of science or evidence (Tour is, as you’d expect, a religious fundamentalist).
He also thinks that brave, maverick scientists who question the consensus about evolution are persecuted in academia by cabals of skeptics. Suffice to say: there are better explanations for why you won’t find respected biologists being confused by the questions that confuse James Tour in the field, but we are hardly surprised that when the competing explanations for his observations are “maybe I am wrong about a field I don’t understand” and “I am correct in my claims about a field I don’t understand but it doesn’t look that way because there is a conspiracy to suppress the scientists who say what I do,” James Tour is the kind of person who opts for the latter.
At least creationists seem to have been very excited to have him onboard. Tour has also contributed chapters to creationist and anti-science books detailing his lack of understanding of the theory of evolution and drawing silly conclusions from that, as well as given numerous talks on religion, prayer and how the theory of evolution cannot explain abiogenesis, which it doesn’t purport to do. He also contributed e.g. to the 2018 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith: Tear Down that Wall on how to get faith to take some control back over science.
Diagnosis: As opposed to the vast, vast majority of the signatories to the Discovery Petition, James Tour is indeed a scientist. He is, of course, not a biologist and willfully fails to understand the fundamentals of evolution, but a modicum of confidence, religious fundamentalism, Dunning-Kruger and general ignorance make for a forceful combo. Currently, he is apparently also being persecuted, insofar as people have criticized him for passing desperately silly and ignorance-fueled judgments on scientists and scientific field he doesn’t understand.

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