TBR News June `19, 2019

Jun 19 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 19, 2019:

“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.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 19:” Trump obviously has never heard about the concept of the Lone Wolf.

His repeated threats to deport all Mexicans from the United States will resonate in that community and here is where the Lone Wolf concept arises.

A Lone Wolf is a person who is totally unknown to all authorities.

He lives a solitary life and has never had contact with any kind of intelligence or law enforcement agency.

He hears Trump threatening to deport him and others and broods about it.

Then he arms himself, easy to do in America, and sets out to remove Trump from the political scene.

If he is successful, and there is no reason to think he might not be, there will be great roarings in the press and all the lunatic bloggers will emerge from under damp rocks and for years we will hear about “secret plans” conducted by various “secret organizations” and many noble trees will be cut down to provide the pulp for thousands of lunatic books.

The Lone Wolf? I doubt if he will escape unharmed but it would be impossible to defend against him.

The misuse of the mouth can lead to terminal problems indeed.”

The Table of Contents

  • Trump sets stage for 2020 fight with false claims and recycled attacks
  • Why stop at promising the moon? Trump vows to cure cancer & AIDS, go to Mars in 2nd term
  • Trump vows removal of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week
  • What You Need to Know About Trump’s Mass Deportation Threat
  • Rising vaccination mistrust worldwide is undermining fight against deadly diseases – research
  • Overpopulation problems: The Calhoun rat experiments
  • Evidence suggests Saudi crown prince liable for Khashoggi murder: U.N. expert
  • Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations



Trump sets stage for 2020 fight with false claims and recycled attacks

President kicked off his bid with lies, attacks on the press and claims a Democrat president would ‘shut down your free speech’

June 19, 2019

by David Smith in Orlando

The Guardian

Donald Trump has set the stage for the nastiest US presidential race in modern times with a campaign rally that recycled old themes and stoked resentment towards Democrats and the media.

More than 500 days before the 2020 US election, the president formally launched his campaign before a capacity 20,000 crowd in a sports stadium in Orlando in the vital swing state of Florida, demonstrating that his base, at least, remains as fervent as ever.

Trump spent little effort offering a vision of the future. He and his supporters were most energised by his greatest hits: grievance politics, demonising opponents, raging against perceives injustices. There was even a reprise of attacks on Hillary Clinton, his defeated rival in 2016, complete with furious chants of “Lock her up!”

His vicious, often fabricated, attacks implied that while a referendum on his record would likely end in defeat, his campaign believes that whipping up fear of a Democrat in the White House could yet save his skin.

“Just imagine what this angry leftwing mob would do if they were in charge of this country,” Trump said. “Imagine if we had a Democrat president and Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents, which they are trying to do now anyway.”

He added, without evidence: “They would strip Americans of their constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political base.”

Trump made the comments after saying 145 judges had been appointed under his administration, and recalling the bitterly disputed confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court. Kavanaugh had been credibly accused of sexual assault when he was a teenager. On Tuesday, Trump falsely claimed these were “fraudulent charges”.

Watched by his wife, Melania Trump, and other family members, during a speech lasting more than an hour, the president set out a blueprint for attacks for whoever emerges from the crowded field of potential Democratic primary contenders, who will meet next week for their first debates.

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” Trump said. “The Democrat party has become more radical, more dangerous and more unhinged than at any point in the history of our country.”

He falsely and wildly claimed that leading Democrats favour “open borders” and oppose measures to prevent the execution of children after birth. The most divisive president for decades argued it was Democrats who want to divide Americans into factions and “shred the constitution”.

Trump, wearing his signature red tie and relishing the febrile atmosphere, also worked his familiar theme of us v them, putting himself on the side of the ordinary citizens and “deplorables”, an unlikely position for a millionaire businessman, TV celebrity and now, president. “Many times I said we would drain the swamp. That’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s why the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently.”

He showed how he intends to weaponise the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference. “What did they come up with?” he asked. “No collusion and the facts that led our great attorney general to determine no obstruction.” Mueller’s findings did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow, but it did point to 10 instance of attempted obstruction of justice, and Mueller himself has said he did not clear Trump of a crime.

“For the last two and half years we have been under siege,” he said, complaining that opponents have been given a “free pass”. He warned: “They are really going after you. That’s what this is all about.”

Just as in 2016, Trump showed his intention to go after the media. “By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there,” he said. “The amount of press we have tonight reminds me of the Academy awards before they went political and their ratings went down the tubes.”

On several occasions the predominantly white crowd booed and jeered, made thumbs down gestures and chanted “CNN sucks!”

It was four years to the week, Trump noted, since he descended the escalator at Trump Tower to launch his wildly improbable bid for the White House. On that occasion he railed against Mexican “criminals” and “rapists” and demanded a border wall.

Getting the sequel under way, there was a familiar refrain. Trump condemned “illegal mass migration” to fire up the crowd.

Trump admitted he has made his wall “cheaper” and asserted: “We’re going to have over 400 miles of wall built by the end of next year. It’s moving very rapidly.” According to factcheckers, this is very unlikely, and most of the wall would be mere replacement barrier, not fresh construction.

Indeed, there was the usual litany of Trump exaggerations and lies. The man who pulled America out of the Paris climate accord and slashed environmental regulations announced: “Our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.”

He said of the economy: “It’s soaring to incredible new heights. Perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country.” In fact, growth hit higher levels in the 1980s and 1990s. Trump also falsely claimed the biggest tax cut in American history.

When he did look forward, the promises were vague and invited mockery. He suggested that a cure for cancer is within reach and declared: “We will eradicate Aids in America once and for all. We’re very close.”

The bare-knuckle approach to the coming election was shared by the vice-president, Mike Pence, and Trump’s children. Donald Trump Jr, whose gestures and pronunciations increasingly resemble his father, described Joe Biden, currently leading the Democratic field of contenders in the polls, as usually “groping someone” – a reference to Biden’s inappropriate touching of women.

The negativity was also reflected outside the venue, where street vendors sold T-shirts that said: “Trump 2020, Get on board or get run over”, “Trump 2020, the sequel, make liberals cry again” and “Trump 2020: Fuck your feelings”. A handwritten banner hung on a wire fence proclaimed: “Hillary for prison”.

Members of the rightwing organisation Proud Boys yelled anti-Democratic chants, some displaying white power symbols on their clothing and banners. They were stopped by police before they could disrupt an anti-Trump rally.

But there was also opposition. Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters applauded and took photos when a 20ft blimp of a Trump baby in a nappy was inflated near the arena.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders gave an immediate rebuttal to Trump’s speech, summarizing it as “lies, distortions, and total absolute nonsense”. He criticized Trump for barely talking about the climate emergency, or that “half of the people in this country are working paycheck to paycheck”.


Why stop at promising the moon? Trump vows to cure cancer & AIDS, go to Mars in 2nd term

June 19, 2019


President Donald Trump has promised voters he’ll cure not only cancer but AIDS – and go to Mars – if he wins another term, one-upping Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s cancer-cure promise during his re-election campaign launch.

“We will come up with the cures to many, many diseases, including cancer and others, and we’re getting closer all the time,” Trump boasted, coming to the end of a lengthy speech during the launch rally for his 2020 campaign on Tuesday night. “We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all, and we’re very close. We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars.”

President Donald Trump has promised voters he’ll cure not only cancer but AIDS – and go to Mars – if he wins another term, one-upping Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s cancer-cure promise during his re-election campaign launch.

“We will come up with the cures to many, many diseases, including cancer and others, and we’re getting closer all the time,” Trump boasted, coming to the end of a lengthy speech during the launch rally for his 2020 campaign on Tuesday night. “We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all, and we’re very close. We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars.”

Trump spoke for nearly 90 minutes, hitting familiar themes including immigration (the wall has been redesigned to be “stronger, better and cheaper”), healthcare (Democrats hate our beloved private health insurance), the bullets the country has dodged under his leadership (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, and the dreaded Iran nuclear deal), and socialism (still bad).

“I can promise you I will never let you down,” he said during the speech, which ended with a promise to make America not only great but wealthy, strong, and safe again.


Trump vows removal of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week

June 17, 2019

The Washington Post

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, California, with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.

Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the “rocket docket.”

In April, acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were ousted after they hesitated to go forward with the plan, expressing concerns about its preparation, effectiveness and the risk of public outrage from images of migrant children being taken into custody or separated from their families.

Vitiello was replaced at ICE by former FBI and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan, who had impressed the president with statements on cable television in favor of harsh immigration enforcement measures.

In his first two weeks on the job at ICE, Morgan has said publicly that he plans to beef up interior enforcement and go after families with deportation orders, insisting that the rulings must be carried out to uphold the integrity of the country’s legal system.

“That will include families,” he said, adding that ICE agents will treat the parents and children they arrest “with compassion and humanity.”

U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.

Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds – and perhaps thousands – of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest.

The president’s claim that ICE would be deporting “millions” also was at odds with the reality of the agency’s staffing and budgetary challenges. ICE arrests in the U.S. interior have been declining in recent months because so many agents are busy managing the record surge of migrant families across the southern border with Mexico.

The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children – some of whom are U.S. citizens – might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend’s house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.

Supporters of the plan, including Miller, Morgan and ICE deputy director Matthew Albence, have argued forcefully that a dramatic and highly publicized operation of this type will send a message to families that are in defiance of deportation orders and could act as a deterrent.

According to DHS officials, nearly all unauthorized migrants who came to the United States in 2017 in family groups remain present in the country. Some of those families are awaiting adjudication of asylum claims, but administration officials say a growing number are skipping out on court hearings while hoping to live and work in the United States as long as possible.

Publicizing a future law enforcement operation is unheard of at ICE. Trump administration officials blasted Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf last year for warning immigrants about an impending raid, saying she endangered agents’ safety.

“The Oakland mayor’s decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased that risk for my officers and alerted criminal aliens – making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold,” then-ICE deputy director Thomas Homan said at the time.

Homan later retired, but last week Trump said Homan would return to public service as his “border czar.” On Fox News, Homan later called that announcement “kind of premature” and said he had not decided whether to accept the job.

Schaaf responded late Monday to the president’s tweet teasing the looming ICE roundups.

“If you continue to threaten, target and terrorize families in my community . . . and if we receive credible information . . . you already know what our values are in Oakland – and we will unapologetically stand up for those values,” she wrote.

“Our next challenge is going to be interior enforcement,” Morgan told reporters June 4 in Washington. “We will be going after individuals who have gone through due process and who have received final orders of deportation.


What You Need to Know About Trump’s Mass Deportation Threat

June 18, 2019

by Maryam Saleh

The Intercept

In between tweets complaining about Fox News polling numbers and boasting about the size of future rallies, President Donald Trump took a moment on Monday to send shock waves through immigrant communities with a threat meant to rally his base — but one that is not actually logistically possible.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” he tweeted. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.” An administration official later told the Associated Press that the effort would target people who have received final orders of deportation. There are more than 1 million people living in the United States with final deportation orders, among an undocumented population of about 11 million.

“He obviously wants everyone to believe he’s talking about some mass roundup, which is just not possible,” immigration attorney Matt Cameron said of Trump, “both because of resources and because of due process.”

The genuine fear, coupled with the artificial threat, coming at a time of maximum insecurity for immigrants in the United States, has put immigrant rights’ groups in a bind. They are being careful in their responses to Trump’s tweet, trying to avoid creating panic, while also trying to equip people with resources needed to defend themselves legally. Adonia Simpson, director of the Family Defense Program at the Miami-based Americans for Immigrant Justice, said her group was considering whether to host a know your rights training, noting that, in her experience, immigrants tend to be afraid to go out and access legal resources at times like these. The National Immigrant Justice Center, for its part, has been circulating know your rights information online.

Simpson described people with final deportation orders as the “lowest hanging fruit” of the immigration system. ”The easiest population to go after would be individuals that have final orders of removal and are perhaps going to check in at their local ICE offices,” she said. (People with final orders of removal are sometimes allowed to stay in the United States as long as they periodically check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often because the agency lacks the resources to deport them, they have strong family ties in the country, or there is no other country willing to take them in.)

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump linked his announcement of a mass roundup to recent talks with Mexico and Guatemala to keep asylum-seekers from reaching the United States, which is vastly different from removing people with final deportation orders from the country. This is yet another indication that Trump’s tweet — issued the night before his official 2020 campaign launch — was about appealing to a nativist base rather than an actual policy.

Another possibility is that Trump was referring to the rumored expansion of expedited removal, a program that currently allows ICE to quickly deport people within 14 days of their entry to the United States, if they’re caught within 100 miles of the border. “To be totally blunt, I don’t think Trump is capable of that level of nuance,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.

By all measures, a plan to deport “millions” of people is an astounding exaggeration — even beginning to deport millions, as Trump pledged ICE would do, stretches the truth to a breaking point. As Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, pointed out on Twitter, ICE has deported an average of 90,000 people from the interior of the United States in recent years. The largest number of people ICE deported overall — from the interior, as well as recent border crossers — was about 420,000 people in 2012.

In response to a question about Trump’s tweet, ICE sent a statement that referred to interior enforcement. “ICE will continue to conduct interior enforcement without exemption for those who are in violation of federal immigration law,” the statement reads. “This includes routine targeted enforcement operations, criminals, individuals subject to removal orders, and worksite enforcement.”

Regardless of what Trump was referring to, or if such a plan to deport immigrants actually exists, ICE is not actually capable of such a large-scale deportation operation, immigration lawyers and analysts say.

There are about 5,000 officers in Enforcement and Removal Operations, or ERO, an arm of ICE, who carry out deportations. From a basic staffing perspective, that’s not enough people to work to arrest and deport millions of people. Even if ICE transferred personnel from Homeland Security Investigations, the arm that looks into criminal activity and trafficking, to ERO, there would still be a shortage of officers.

“The only way they could really actually do this is to reassign people from HSI without actually going after people with serious criminal records,” said Cameron, who noted that the majority of immigrants with final deportation orders don’t have criminal records. “Potentially they’re giving up serious security investigations,” he added, referring to ICE. “We can talk about the necessity of those investigations, but at least on paper, that’s what they justify their existence with.”

ICE did not respond to a question about whether it would transfer personnel from HSI to ERO.

Another factor that makes it impossible for ICE to effectuate the plan is the lack of available bed space. Deportees don’t go straight from custody to a foreign country, but are generally detained first; there are about 50,000 beds in immigration detention centers around the country. Then there are basic logistics. To track down people with final deportation orders, ICE would probably look them up at their last known address, which, in most cases, is likely not their current address, Cameron said. Immigrants with final deportation orders often don’t have passports, and ICE would have to engage in a monthslong process to obtain travel documents for the people it intends to deport.

One of the first immigration actions Trump took as president was to eliminate a system of priorities that President Barack Obama created for deportations. The system prioritized the deportation of people with serious criminal records or who otherwise posed a threat to public safety, and its creation was an acknowledgement by the Obama administration that it’s simply not possible to deport the 11 million people who live in the United States without proper legal documents. Though the Department of Homeland Security under Trump has gone after all undocumented immigrants with equal zeal, it has maintained that it is doing so in the interest of public safety — a notion that is easily disproven.

“Trump has abandoned any pretense of any kind of priorities,” Cameron said. “If they’re going to apply that standard for people with final orders, you’re going to give up any pretense that this is about public safety.”

Due process safeguards in the immigration system are another hurdle the administration would face.

“If you start aggressively enforcing against people who have final orders right now, you’re going to see lots of motions to reopen being filed, which would slog up a court system that’s already backed up,” said Cameron, who is based on Boston and works frequently with Central American immigrants.

The same issue would exist even if a future enforcement operation were to expand beyond people with final orders of removal to something like a workplace raid, Simpson said. “Most of these individuals would have the opportunity to have their case heard before the immigration judge,” she said. “These aren’t people who would be immediately deported. This is something that isn’t being considered in terms of effectuating removals of people in the coming weeks.”


Rising vaccination mistrust worldwide is undermining fight against deadly diseases – research

June 19, 2019


Vaccination mistrust is highest in developed nations, with France the most skeptical, says new research. Public mistrust in vaccines is having a negative effect on the fight against deadly, preventable diseases, experts warn.

The Wellcome Trust conducted the biggest global study of trust in science, including vaccines, with responses from over 140,000 people in 140 countries. It revealed confidence in vaccinations is low in some parts of the world, with France having the highest percentage of such skepticism worldwide. One in three surveyed in France believe vaccinations are unsafe and 19 percent disagree that such measures are effective.

While overall, 79 percent of those surveyed agreed that vaccines are safe, in Eastern Europe, only half of people agree that vaccinations are safe, and in Western Europe, just 59 percent agree. In Northern America, and Southern and Northern Europe, just over 70 percent agree they are safe.

Vaccines have completely eradicated smallpox and have almost eliminated diseases like polio, however other preventable diseases like measles are making a resurgence as a result of people avoiding vaccinations. Countries that were close to getting rid of measles have experienced large outbreaks recently, including the US and France.

In almost every region of the world, there has been a rise in cases, with a 30 percent increase in 2017 from 2016.

“Vaccine hesitancy has the potential, at least in some places, to really hinder the very real progress the world has made in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases,”said Dr Ann Lindstrand, an expert in immunization at the World Health Organization.

Reuters reports that in France, vaccination scepticism is a result of mistrust in pharmaceutical companies, science and the government. Social media has also reportedly contributed to a rise in anti-vaxxer groups and misinformation around the world.


Overpopulation problems: The Calhoun rat experiments

In a 1962 edition of Scientific American, the ecologist John B Calhoun presented the results of a macabre series of experiments conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He had placed several rats in a laboratory in a converted barn where – protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding – they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space, a fact that became increasingly problematic as what he liked to describe as his “rat city” and “rodent utopia” teemed with animals. Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight. But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiraled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed. Males became hypersexual, pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioral sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass. Even when reintroduced to normal rodent communities, these “socially autistic” animals remained isolated until death. In the words of one of Calhoun’s collaborators, rodent “utopia” had descended into “hell”.

Calhoun’s experiments with rats and mice proved extremely influential. His findings resonated with a variety of concerns, including population growth, environmental degradation and urban violence. In the course of a project on the history of stress, Jon Adams of the London School of Economics and I have traced how evidence of crowding pathology, generated in the rodent laboratories of NIMH, travelled to an alternative setting: the buildings, institutions and cities of the social scientist, city planner, architect and medical specialist. While urban sociologists and social psychiatrists explored correlations between density and pathologies in their statistical studies, environmental psychologists moved to the laboratory and fields such as the prison, the school and the hospital. Social and medical scientists were attracted to the possibility of providing evidence of how a physical and measurable variable – density – had important consequences demanding policy response. Many had already begun using Calhoun’s rats to support family planning programs or for improving the physical design of the city.

However, results from human studies of crowding proved inconsistent. In an influential series of experiments by the psychologist Jonathan Freedman, individuals employed to carry out tasks under varying conditions of density displayed few pathologies.5 Focus now shifted away from simply identifying the pathological consequences of density and towards factors that mediated its effects. This was aided by a distinction between “density” as a physical measure and “crowding” as a subjective response.6 Feeling crowded was determined by a range of social and psychological factors: an individual’s desired level of privacy, their ability to control a situation or their social role. Increased density might be inevitable but human beings were capable of coping with crowding.

Yet this did not mean that Calhoun’s research was rejected. Researchers recognized that Calhoun’s work was not simply about density in a physical sense, as number of individuals-per-square-unit-area, but was about degrees of social interaction. By reducing unwanted interaction through improved design of space – providing prisoners with individual cells or patients with independent living areas – crowding stress could be avoided.7 This had been the focus of Calhoun’s later research. Through improved design and increased control, Calhoun attempted to develop more collaborative and adaptable rodent communities capable of withstanding greater degrees of density.8

Continued problems of prison overcrowding and transport congestion ensure that the subject of crowding stress remains pertinent, but the relevance of Calhoun’s experiments is less commonly acknowledged. Towards the end of his career, Calhoun, who died in 1995, would be increasingly dismayed that it was a simplified, negative message – population density equals pathology – that was more commonly associated with his work, making his contribution seem not only flawed in the human context, but dangerous. In the words of the sociologists Fischer & Baldassare: “A red-eyed, sharp-fanged obsession about urban life stalks contemporary thought.”9 In focusing upon crowding, not only were the benefits of dense city-living ignored, but other causes of urban pathology, such as poverty and inequality, were neglected. Yet Calhoun’s work considered many of these factors, suggested how they could be overcome, and as such, his role deserves reconsideration.

  1. 1. Aggression. Normally in the wild, male rats will fight other male rats for dominant positions in the social hierarchy. These fights were observed among the more aggressive rats in this study as well. The difference was that here, unlike in their natural environments, top-ranking males were required to fight frequently in order to maintain their positions and often the fights involved several rats in a general brawl. Nevertheless, the strongest males were observed to be the most normal within the center pens.

However, even those animals would sometimes exhibit “signs of pathology; going berserk; attacking females, juveniles, and less active males; and showing a particular predilection—which rats do not normally display—for biting other rats on the tail” (p. 146).

  1. Submissiveness. Contrary to this extreme aggression, other groups of male rats ignored and avoided battles for dominance. One of these groups consisted of the most healthy-looking rats in the pens. They were fat and their fur was full, without the usual bare spots from fighting. However, these rats were complete social misfits. They moved through the pens as if asleep or in some sort of hypnotic trance, ignoring all others, and were, in turn, ignored by the rest. They were completely uninterested in sexual activity and made no advances, even toward females in heat.

Another group of rats engaged in extreme activity and were always on the prowl for receptive females.

Calhoun termed them probers. Often, they were attacked by the more dominant males, but were never interested in fighting for status. They were hypersexual and many of them even became cannibalistic!

  1. 3. Sexual deviance. These probers also refused to participate in the natural rituals of mating. Normally, a male rat will pursue a female in heat until she escapes into her burrow. Then, the male will wait patiently and even perform a courtship dance directly outside her door. Finally, she emerges from the burrow and the mating takes place. In Calhoun’s study, this ritual was adhered to by most of the sexually active males except the probers. They completely refused to wait and followed the female right into her burrow. Sometimes the nests inside the burrow contained young that had failed to survive, and it was here that late in the study the probers turned cannibalistic.

Another group of male rats was termed the pansexuals because they attempted to mate with any and all other rats indiscriminately. They sexually approached other males, juveniles, and females that were not in heat. This was a submissive group that was often attacked by the more dominant male rats, but did not fight for dominance.

  1. 4. Reproductive abnormalities. Rats have a natural instinct for nest building. In this study, small strips of paper were provided in unlimited quantities as nest material. The females are normally extremely active in the process of building nests as the time for giving birth approaches. They gather the material and pile it up so that it forms a cushion. Then they arrange the nest so that it has a small indentation in the middle to hold the young. However, the females in the behavioral sink gradually lost their ability (or inclination) to build adequate nests. At first they failed to form the indentation in the middle. Then, as time went on, they collected fewer and fewer strips of paper so that eventually the infants were born directly on the sawdust that covered the pen’s floor.

The mother rats also lost their maternal ability to transport their young from one place to another if they felt the presence of danger. They would move some of the litter and forget the rest, or simply drop them onto the floor as they were moving them. Usually these infants were abandoned and died where they were dropped. They were then eaten by the adults. The infant mortality rate in the middle pens was extremely high, ranging from 80% to 96%.

In addition to these maternal deficits, the female rats in the middle pens, when in heat, were chased by large groups of males until they were finally unable to escape. These females experienced high rates of complications in pregnancy and delivery. By the end of the study, almost half of them had died.


Evidence suggests Saudi crown prince liable for Khashoggi murder: U.N. expert

June 19, 2019

by Stephanie Nebehay


GENEVA (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials should be investigated over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi since there is credible evidence they are liable for his death, a U.N. rights investigator said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, rejected the investigator’s report as “nothing new”.

He added in a tweet: “The report of the rapporteur in the human rights council contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility.”

Khashoggi’s killing provoked widespread disgust and damaged the image of the crown prince, previously admired in the West for pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive.

Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, called on countries to invoke universal jurisdiction for what she called the international crime and make arrests if individuals’ responsibility is proven.

In a report based on a six-month investigation, she also urged countries to widen sanctions to include the crown prince, who many consider the kingdom’s de facto ruler, and his personal assets abroad, until and unless he can prove he has no responsibility.

Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding.

His body was dismembered and removed from the building, the Saudi prosecutor has said, and his remains have not been found.

“What needs to be investigated is the extent to which the crown prince knew or should have known of what would have happened to Mr. Khashoggi, whether he directly or indirectly incited the killing…whether he could have prevented the execution when the mission started and failed to do so,” Callamard told reporters.

“It is the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,” Callamard said in her report.


The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of ordering and committing the crime.

Callamard said the Saudi trial should be suspended, citing concerns over secret hearings and a potential miscarriage of justice. Instead, a follow-up international criminal probe should be launched, she said, adding: “Of course there are a range of options, an ad hoc tribunal, a hybrid tribunal, any type of mechanism that will deliver a credible process and a credible outcome.”

The CIA and some Western countries believe the crown prince ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.

The U.N. report publishes excerpts from what it calls conversations inside the consulate shortly before Khashoggi arrived at the building and during his final moments, in which a Saudi official is heard discussing cutting a body into pieces.

The material relies on recordings and forensic work by Turkish investigators and information from the trials of the suspects in Saudi Arabia, the report said. Callamard said that she could not reach firm conclusions about what the team was told was the sound of a “saw” in the operation.

“Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries suggest that Mr. Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag,” the report said.

Callamard went to Turkey earlier this year with a team of forensic and legal experts and said she received evidence from Turkish authorities.

“There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s”, she said.

“Indeed, this human rights inquiry has shown that there is sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the crown prince demanding further investigation,” she added, urging U.N. Secretary-General to establish an international probe.

Asked if universal jurisdiction meant potential arrests of suspects abroad, Callamard said: “If and when the responsibility of those individuals has been proven, including the responsibilities of a level that warrant arrest, absolutely.”

Judicial authorities in countries that recognize universal jurisdiction for serious offences can investigate and prosecute those crimes no matter where they were committed.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by Stephen Kalin and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Turkey; Editing by Andrew Heavens and William Maclean


Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid

NYT reported on US efforts to insert malware into Russia’s energy infrastructure.

June 17, 2019

by Dan Goodin

ars technica

Hackers behind dangerous oil and gas intrusions are probing US power grids

Saturday’s NYT article came one day after researchers with security firm Dragos said that hackers behind at least two dangerous intrusions on industrial facilities have expanded their activities to probing dozens of power grids in the US and elsewhere. Last year, researchers with security firm FireEye said the hacker group’s malware—which actively targets safety systems used to prevent explosions, fires, and other potentially fatal accidents—was developed with the help of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics in Moscow.

The NYT said the United States’ increasingly offensive digital incursions into Russia’s electric infrastructure were part of a broader view designed to make Russia and other US adversaries pay a price for engaging in cyberoperations against the US or US interests. Such operations include inroads into US industrial systems by the same Russian hackers who breached regional power authorities in Ukraine in December 2015. Those breaches left hundreds of thousands of people in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of the country without electricity.

Following revelations in 2016 that Russian hackers breached the Democratic National Committee and focused on the US power grid, the NYT said, then-President Obama decided to be less passive.

“Mr. Obama secretly ordered some kind of message-sending action inside the Russian grid, the specifics of which have never become public,” reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth wrote. “It is unclear whether much was accomplished.”

More recently, Trump advisors have signaled a more aggressive posture. Speaking last Tuesday at a conference organized by The Wall Street Journal, President Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton reportedly said: “We thought the response in cyberspace against electoral meddling was the highest priority last year, and so that’s what we focused on. But we’re now opening the aperture, broadening the areas we’re prepared to act in.”

Sharply reduced shelf life

As noted earlier, at least one analyst has publicly doubted the NYT’s reporting that the US operations included the placing of implants inside the Russian power grid.

“Revealing potent ‘implants’ to the adversary means sending the adversary into intense search mode, so ‘implants’ likely will have a sharply reduced shelf-life,” Johns Hopkins political scientist Thomas Rid wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Publicity burns capabilities. I find it hard to believe that CYBERCOM would burn top-tier tools like this.”

While it remains unclear precisely how the new, more aggressive digital incursions into Russia’s power grid are manifesting themselves, Saturday’s report has clearly gotten the attention of Russian foreign policy commentators. “This is a direct challenge that Moscow cannot leave unanswered,” Ruslan Pukhov, an arms expert and head of the Center for Strategies and Technologies, told the Russian business daily Kommersant, according to the NYT. Monday’s NYT article also said US efforts to insert malware into Russia’s energy system might jeopardize a possible Putin-Trump meeting at the G20 Summit in Japan later this month.

The Kremlin on Monday warned that reported US digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid could trigger a “cyberwar” between the two countries.

The warning came two days after The New York Times reported that the US Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world, was aggressively stepping up its targeting of Russia’s grid. Saturday’s report said the command had taken steps to place “potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.” In some cases, the NYT reported, Pentagon and intelligence officials have been hesitant to brief President Trump in detail about the activities out of concern he might countermand the operations or discuss them with foreign officials. Last year, Trump gave the Cyber Command more leeway to conduct offensive online operations, the publication said.

Some analysts have cast doubt on the NYT reporting that the United States has put implants inside Russia’s grid, and the publication was clear it had no classified information detailing how deep into Russia’s power infrastructure the US has bored. The report, however, was enough to get the attention of Kremlin officials, who pushed back in a post published Monday by the TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government.

“If one assumes that some government agencies do this without informing the head of state, then of course this may indicate that cyberwar against Russia might be a hypothetical possibility,” Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The spokesman went on to say that “vital areas of our economy are under continuous attacks from abroad.” Russian agencies have countered the attacks to prevent damage to the country’s economy.

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Jeffrey Satinover

Crank magnetism is the tendency of cranks to be attracted to multiple independent crank ideas at the same time. The prevalence of crank magnetism is not particularly surprising insofar as the crank ideas are rooted in the same errors of thinking, such as an inability to distinguish science from pseudoscience. Jeffrey Satinover is a spectacular illustration of crank magnetism at work. Satinover is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and physicist, and has written pseudoscientific books on a range of subjects within and beyond his own field characterized by being consistently wrong on every major issue. Topics range from brain neurophysiology to the psychology of narcissism to the breakdown of modern society, but he is probably most famous for his writings (and public-policy efforts) relating to homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ex-gay movement – indeed, Satinover is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), in addition to being a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Math and Science at King’s College, New York (during Marvin Olasky’s tenure as provost), a fundamentalist Christian college affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ that envisions itself as a counterweight to secular universities “[t]rafficking in the assumptions of atheism and Darwinian evolution”. Satinover is also lecturer at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich and Managing Director of Quintium Analytics, LLC, an investment advisory company he founded in 2007.


Satinover is a longtime and ardent critic of homosexuality and gay rights. In his 1996 book ‘Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth’(published by the evangelical and certainly not academic publisher Baker Books) he argues, against the evidence, that homosexuality is a condition that can and should be treated, that it can be compared to pathologies like alcoholism and pedophilia, and that homosexuality, although “not a true illness,” may “be thought an illness in the spiritual sense of ‘soul sickness,’ innate to fallen human nature”; it is definitely psychologically unhealthy “as evidenced by the higher associated suicide rate.” Moreover, “gay activism distorts the truth and harms not only society, but homosexuals themselves.” The book has little scientific merit of course, but Satinover isa psychologist, and credentials like that make him useful to certain groups. He has frequently been called to testify in court cases regarding his views on same sex marriage (though in fairness not always providing the kind of testimony his side wished for), and his research is frequently cited by hate groups combatting gay rights and marriage equality.

Numerology and Quantum pseudoscience

Satinover’s other writings include The Truth Behind the BibleCode and Cracking the Bible Code, in defense of – yup – the Bible Code, the idea that the Hebrew text of the Old Testament contains hidden codes which reveal prophesies. Needless to say, neither book was published by an academic publisher. It is probably because Big Science hates open-mindedness.

Satinover has also written several books that speculate on quantum mechanics as he applies it to conscious thought, includingThe Quantum Brain, which ostensibly explores current developments at the interface of physics, computation, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. He was also a witness for the side of New Age lunacy in the “documentary” What the Bleep Do We Know, as well as its sequel What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole. Apparently, according to Satinover, quantum mechanics can offer a blistering critique of modern psychiatry: “In general, the field of psychiatry strips people of the need to feel responsible. And, often enough, so does religion. But if you take quantum mechanics seriously enough, it puts the responsibility squarely back in your lap. And it doesn’t give answers that are clearcut, or comforting. It says, ‘Yes, the world is a very mysterious place. Mechanism is not the answer, but I’m not going to tell you what the answer is. Because you’re old enough to decide for yourself.” This is not remotely how anything works. Note that Satinover doesn’t suggest that you take quantum mechanics seriously, but that you take it “seriously enough”. We suspect a lot hinges on that “enough”.

Diagnosis: A spectacular illustration of how it is possible to get through a real and thorough education yet be completely defenseless against all forms of deranged pseudoscience. Being a brave maverick doctor doesn’t warrant much respect when you only distinguish yourself from the establishment by being wrong in the dumbest possible ways.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 19, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.


Conversation No 20

Date: Sunday, June 30, 1996

Commenced: 2:11 PM CST

Concluded: 2:23 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert.

RTC: Gregory. How does it go with you?

GD: I got a nasty letter from my wife today. For some reason, she wants me to send her money. I haven’t seen her in eighteen years but she still feels I owe her something.

RTC: Are you divorced?

GD:L No She’s a fanatic Catholic and that is not to be discussed. I couldn’t take her so I left. Sorry about that. Mass three times a day, seven days a week. Her priest told me she was crazy. Her father told me, once he got to know me, that if he had known me better earlier, he would have warned me off.

RTC: He is with us?

GD: My father-in-law? No, the Admiral died seven years ago. I liked him but as pretty as his daughter was, I couldn’t stand the fanatic religious face she finally revealed to me. Wanted to bring the boy up as a priest but I talked him out of it. More reason to hate me. He wanted to be a police detective so I called up the local police commissioner, who was a friend of mine, and got him a job. Now he runs the biggest private law enforcement computer system in Germany. Ah, the stories he could tell. Well, he, at least, likes me. He told me he would have taken off the way I did and does not hold this against me. He told her to shove it and left. My God, the bitch ranted at me for a week about that. I mean I was over here but she got onto the phone and I finally had to change my number. Women, Robert, are either at your feet or at your throat. My first wife was very attractive but she married me for money and when I wouldn’t cut loose any of it for her worthless family, she made my life miserable and took off. I envy you your stable, peaceful domestic life, believe me. Moved her hippo mother in, cats shitting all over the kitchen, screaming, filthy underwear in the bathroom and so on. They were doing some insulation work on the apartment and I stuck a load of angel hair spun glass insulation into her bras and panties. There she was, scratching herself frantically in public. That stuff is wonderful. I put some in my dad’s golf socks once and his feet looked like cured hams after 18 holes in the hot sun. Anyway, after that, and the killing of the pussies,she left and I swore I would never marry again but I did. I thought with the little head and not the big one.

RTC: Yes, my life is placid and comforting, Gregory, but yours must have been something a psychiatrist would have delighted in.

GD: I should have taken her out on the boat and chunked her over somewhere. I didn’t but I should have. The second one was even better looking that the first but she was a religious nut. I have met Protestant nuts but not many Catholic ones. It was my luck to marry one. She hid it, of course, but once we were legally wed, the evil secret emerged. I was going to buy her knee pads to keep her from getting callous pads like a camel. Well, I really think I ought to be nicer to my hand. My latest one is just eighteen and very good looking. I am putting her through law school and she will probably leave me but for the time being, all is relative happiness. Unlike the others, this one is very intelligent so we can talk. Trying to get her interested in classical music. Not ‘A Weekend With Bach’ or ‘Couperin on the Jews’ Harp’ but the real thing. God knows, I have at least a thousand recordings to assuage me in my old age and she is actually beginning to listen to some of them. Well, one hopes but probably in vain.

RTC: This must be your day to confess your sins, Gregory.

GD: Not my sins but the sins of others. My current one started life in a trailer park but has moved outward and upward. Pretty soon, she’ll realize her potential and she will go on to better things but right now, all is fine.

RTC: Bring her with you back here, why not?

GD: This one could charm the socks off the statue of Lincoln. What a politician she would make. Well, enough domestic tranquility. I sent you the latest manuscript on Mueller so once you and Bill have read it, why not give me your comments. For better or worse. I would send it over to Langley but it would take those stone lawn dwarves a year to get past the second page. Well, the bell just went off on the oven so the roast baby is probably ready for the table.

RTC: I hope you are jesting, Gregory. If they are listening, you might have unexpected visitors.

GD: Oh yes, about a month after they hear this. At any rate, enjoy yourself and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.


(Concluded at 2:23 PM CST)






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