TBR News June 23, 2010

Jun 23 2010

The Voice of the White House


            Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010: “All matter of interesting subjects boiling in the pot these days. Sacking a General in Afghanistan who really did not want to get the blame for Obama’s coming military failures there. And, of course, the oil spill in the Gulf, now the subject of many idiot blogs about huge gas bubbles, cracked ocean floors, false flag operations and on and on.

            If Yellowstone erupted tomorrow, count on it, the bloggers would drag the fictional Sorcha Faal out of retirement and talk about ‘Tesla death rays’, evil plots by the Bilderburgers, the Illuminati, the Skull and Bones Society and the CFR people.

            The Jews, both in Israel and the United States, are furious that their piracy is being criticized. How dare the world criticize sacred Israel? Well, they have seen to it that the mainline media in America keeps very quiet.

             However, they cannot stifle comment elsewhere and Israel is being roasted. The Internet is daring to comment on this business so the treacherous Lieberman now wants to muzzle the Internet.

            Here I have a nasty joke while talking about Treacherous Joe. His wife, Hadessa, was tormenting their illegal Honduran maid. (‘Awfully stupid but we pay her two dollars an hour and she eats what’s left over of the dog’s dinner and we make her sleep in the garage.’) when maid yelled up at Mrs.Lieberman…’Mrs. Lieberman, the garbage man is here! And the response was ‘Tell him we don’t want any this week!’

            This, of course will annoy the Political Correctness assholes but I rather enjoyed it when I heard it. I do know how Joe keeps the flies out of his living room. He takes his dumps in the hall.”

Israel Vows To Tighten Gaza Blockade – U.S. Media Reports Blockade Eased

June 23, 2010

Steve Watson

            While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to tighten the blockade against Gaza, the castrated corporate media in the U.S. is reporting that Israeli restrictions are being eased.

Last week, Netanyahu’s office released a statement in English that vowed to “liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza” and “Expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision”.

The headlines quickly followed:

Israel Eases Restrictions on Goods Bound for Gaza Strip” (Washington Post)
            “Israel to Ease Gaza Land Blockade” (New York Times)
            “Israel to Ease Blockade of Gaza, Cabinet Says” (CNN)
            “Israel says it will ease Gaza blockade” (MSNBC)

And on and on…

However, none of these outlets reported on the fact that Netanyahu’s security cabinet never actually reached any agreement to do anything regarding the blockade.

As Ha’aretz reported:

The prime minister’s office announced on Thursday that the security cabinet had agreed to relax Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, but as it turns out, no binding decision was ever made during the cabinet meeting.

The prime minister’s office issued a press release in English following the meeting, which was also sent to foreign diplomats, was substantially different than the Hebrew announcement–according to the English text, a decision was made to ease the blockade, but in the Hebrew text there was no mention of any such decision.

Just hours later, Netanyahu pledged that his government intends to “tighten” the blockade, noting:

“There will be no civilian closure of Gaza but there will be a security closure.

That security closure will be tightened from now on.”

A key passage of Netanyahu’s statement came with the declaration:

“We have deprived Hamas of the ability to blame Israel for hurting the civilian population [of Gaza] and our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas.”

As Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera notes, this simply gives an official status to an illegal blockade:

By changing it from a “civilian” blockade to a “military” one, in one stroke Israel pacified the international community and gained their approval (or at least a nod) for its continuing policy in Gaza.

Israel’s naval blockade remains in place and the Gazan people are not allowed to leave or export any goods:

But even if more goods are let in, even if the UN is finally able to finish its projects in the Strip, even if the land crossings start working efficiently and for longer hours – the people of Gaza are still under the whim of Israel’s decisions and 1.7 million people cannot leave.

            Israel has now also asked the UN to suspend attempts to organise an international inquiry into the violent raid on the freedom flotilla to Gaza last month.

            Now Iran says it intends to send a blockade-busting ship carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza.


            With an armada of twelve or more U.S. and Israeli warships, including an aircraft carrier, making their way to the Red Sea, with former senior Israeli officials ratcheting up the war rhetoric, and with Israeli commandos training for another possible confrontation at sea, any kind of incident could spark off conflict.


The Downgrading of Zionism

June 17, 2010

by Stuart Littlewood
Sabbah Report

            Not all Jews are Zionists. Many reject the Zionist project and fight against it.

            So why on earth would a non-Jew wish to be one? Indeed, how could a genuine Christian seriously consider becoming a Zionist? It has puzzled me for a long time. The two ideas are incompatible, are they not?

            So consider for a moment Anglican Friends of Israel, as an example. Their stated aims include:

            * To support the people of Israel and to secure defensible borders for the State of Israel.
            * To recall the Church to G-d’s Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith.
            * To call Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs – of both word and deed – inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
            * To fight all libels against Israel and the Jewish people and their State.
            * To protect the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

            Are they Zionists? It sounds very much like it. For them Israel can do no wrong and Christians need to apologise to the Jewish people… er, what for?

            And what makes them think that Muslims are more of a threat than Israeli extremists to Christian communities?

            You should also see the sort of stuff the Anglican Friends of Israel post on their website.
The Mavi Marmara
June 2, 2010

Anglican Friends of Israel

              Anglican Friends of Israel are dismayed at international condemnation of Israel following attacks upon Israeli Defence Force personnel by a supposedly peaceful aid convoy… Israeli offers of peaceful means to deliver the aid into Gaza were refused. Video footage proves that the violence which tragically resulted in the deaths of some passengers and injuries to others including IDF personnel was begun by Aid convoy members… Terrorists in Gaza continue to fire rockets into Israel – over 60 this year so far – and to explode bombs in order to kill and maim Israeli citizens.

Western spokespersons might bear in mind that the terror threat to western nations springs from the same source as that faced daily by Israelis and be more circumspect in making demands on Israel before all relevant facts have emerged. 

Comment: Anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was actually penned by the crapaganda unit in Tel Aviv. These Anglicans (if they are Anglicans) swallowed Israel’s poisonous concoction hook, line and sinker and re-broadcast it while the abducted flotilla aid workers – witnesses to the murderous assault and executions – were incarcerated in Israeli jails and unable to tell the outside world what really happened.

            I don’t know of any danger to us from Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran, if those are the “terror” sources referred to. I doubt if groups who wish to see the Israeli nuclear threat to their region neutralised are also gunning for us, even though people like Anglican Friends of Israel and foreign secretary William Hague are doing their best to provoke them. But Israel of course wishes to make the British feel threatened and to draw us for strategic reasons into their schemes for permanent occupation and domination. There are always plenty of useful idiots to do their bidding.

            A few days earlier the Anglicans issued a press release stating that the flotilla to Gaza was “a publicity stunt, not a genuine aid convoy”. The item was actually a statement by the Israeli embassy repeated word for word and containing meaningless information like… “Since last year’s January cease fire, 133 million liters of fuel entered Gaza from Israel – That’s more than enough fuel to fill the fuel tank of every car and truck in Israel!” and “Since the ceasefire, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel – That’s almost a ton of aid for every man woman and child in Gaza.”

             Meaningless, because the figures lacked context. You have to go to the UN for that. Whatever Israel lets in, says the UN, it’s only one-fifth of what’s needed.

            Some apparently responsible people, it seems, would rather accept without question the disinformation fed them by the Israeli authorities than on-the-spot assessments and reports by the UN and various charities.

             Actually Israel is letting in only a quarter of what it let in before Hamas was elected.

            Without question there was a publicity angle to the voyage. The organisers had a political point to make – the whole ugly US/UK-created mess out there is a political cesspit. The Israelis couldn’t afford to see their illegal blockade breached. The evidence points to a planned execution raid on the Mavi Marmara in the dead of night with a pre-prepared hit-list.

            And in a letter to the BBC these Anglicans insisted that Operation Cast Lead (Israel’s blitzkrieg on Gaza after breaking the ceasefire with Hamas, subsequently killing 1400, maiming heaven knows how many and making hundreds of thousands homeless) was an act of “self-defense”.

            If you are as bewildered as I am why so-called Christians are persuaded to sign up to Zionism, a short paper explaining the phenomenon is available from Sadaka, The Ireland Palestine Alliance – see www.sadaka.ie. I found it very helpful.

“The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. Within their land, Jerusalem is recognised to be their exclusive, undivided and eternal capital, and therefore it cannot be shared or divided.

             At the heart of Jerusalem will be the rebuilt Jewish temple, to which all the nations will come to worship God. Just prior to the return of Jesus, there will be seven years of calamities and war known as the tribulation, which will culminate in a great battle called Armageddon, during which the godless forces opposed to both God and Israel will be defeated.

Jesus will then return as the Jewish Messiah and king to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy a privileged status and role in the world.”
            That’s the Zionist dream in a nutshell!

… Zionists claim Jerusalem is theirs by heavenly decree! However, this holiest of cities was already 2000 years old when King David captured it. It dates back 5000 years and was named after the Canaanite God of Dusk.

             Historians say that Jerusalem, in its ‘City of David’ form, lasted a mere 73 years. In 928BC the kingdom divided into Israel and Judah, and in 597BC the Babylonians conquered the city and destroyed Solomon’s temple. The Jews recaptured it in 164BC but finally lost it to the Roman Empire in 63BC. Before the present-day conflict the Jews, in total, controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, whereas it was subsequently ruled by Muslims for 1,277 years. Before the Jews it belonged to the Canaanites. And for nearly 90 years it was also a Christian kingdom. A lot of competing claims, then, which is probably why the UN declared it should be independently administered as an international city.

            In 1187 Saladin restored the city to Islam while allowing Jews and Christians to remain.    Today Jewish religious groups want control of the city for their spiritual centre and for a third temple to be built in accordance with ancient prophecies. The plan to make the Israeli occupation permanent threatens especially the Muslim but also the Christian holy places and serves to keep political tension boiling. It is no surprise, given Israel’s reliance on ‘black’ propaganda, that when the Iranian president quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying the unfriendly regime occupying Jerusalem “must vanish from the page of time”, he was immediately reported as wanting to wipe Israel off the map.

            Sadaka puts the genuine Christian position by quoting The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a statement by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued in 2006…

            We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

            We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.

            We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!
            The Declaration, explains Sadaka, asserts that “Christian Zionists have aggressively imposed an aberrant expression of the Christian faith and an erroneous interpretation of the Bible, which is subservient to the political agenda of the modern State of Israel… Christian Zionism thrives on a literal and futurist hermeneutic in which Old Testament promises made to the ancient Jewish people are transferred to the contemporary State of Israel in anticipation of a final future fulfillment.”

            I haven’t yet seen credible response from the Christian Zionists.

             Alarmingly, the US-based Unity Coalition for Israel brings together over 200 organisations and is the largest pro-Israel network in the world. They claim to have 40 million active members and lobby on behalf of Israel through 1,700 religious radio stations, 245 Christian TV stations and 120 Christian newspapers.

            The question I’d like answered is this. Are we to believe that an all-powerful supernatural Being has chosen and elevated one group of humans to a position of supremacy above all others, and has approved the use any means including murder and brutal eviction to achieve their goal, and now mobilizes millions of lesser mortals from around the globe, like those who regard themselves as upstanding Christians, to serve as tools and sing the praises of this ‘Grand Design’?

            In the meantime I’m with the Churches of Jerusalem on this one.


Historic Victory at Oakland Port –Israeli Ship Blocked from Unloading

June 21, 2010


In a historic action and unprecedented action today, over 800 labor and community activists blocked the gates of the Oakland docks in the early morning hours, prompting longshore workers to refuse to cross the picketlines where they were scheduled to unload an Israeli ship.

From 5:30 am to 9:30 am, a militant and spirited protest was held in front of four gates of the Stevedore Services of America, with people chanting non-stop, “Free, Free Palestine, Don’t Cross the Picket Line,” and “An injury to one is an injury to all, bring down the apartheid wall.”

Citing the health and safety provisions of their contract, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers refused to cross the picketline to report for duty.

Between 8:30 and 9:00 am, an emergency arbitration was conducted at the Maersk parking lot nearby, with an “instant” arbitrator called to the site to rule on whether the workers could refuse to cross the picketline without disciplinary measure.

At 9:15 a.m, after again reviewing the protests of hundreds at each gate, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the union that it was indeed unsafe for the workers to enter the docks.

To loud cheers of “Long Live Palestine!” Jess Ghannam of Free Palestine Alliance and Richard Becker of the ANSWER Coalition announced the victory. Ghannam said, “This is truly historic, never before has an Israeli ship been blocked in the United States!”

The news that a container ship from the Zim Israeli shipping line was scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area today has sparked a tremendous outpouring of solidarity for Palestine, especially in the aftermath of the Israeli massacre of volunteers bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31.

With 10 days advance notice of the ship’s arrival, the emergency “Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was set up. On Wednesday, some 110 people from unions and community came to help organize logistics, outreach and community support. Initiating organizations included the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the ANSWER Coalition, the Bay Area Labor Chapter of USLAW and the Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice.

This week the San Francisco Labor Council and Alameda Labor Council passed resounding resolutions denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Both councils sent out public notices of the dock action.

The ILWU has a proud history of extending its solidarity to struggling peoples the world over. In 1984, as the Black masses of South Africa were engaged in an intense struggle against South African apartheid, the ILWU refused for a record-setting 10 days to unload cargo from the South African “Ned Lloyd” ship. Despite million-dollar fines imposed on the union, the longshore workers held strong, providing a tremendous boost to the anti-apartheid movement.

Today’s Oakland action, in the sixth largest port in the United States, is the first of several protests and work stoppages planned around the world, including Norway, Sweden and South Africa. It is sure to inspire others to do the same.

Turkey’s Gain Is Iran’s Loss
by Elliot Hen-Tov and Bernard Haykel   
June 18, 2010
New York Times

            Since Israel’s deadly raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara last month, it’s been assumed that Iran would be the major beneficiary of the wave of global anti-Israeli sentiment. But things seem to be playing out much differently: Iran paradoxically stands to lose much influence as Turkey assumes a surprising new role as the modern, democratic and internationally respected nation willing to take on Israel and oppose America.

While many Americans may feel betrayed by the behavior of their longtime allies in Ankara, Washington actually stands to gain indirectly if a newly muscular Turkey can adopt a leadership role in the Sunni Arab world, which has been eagerly looking for a better advocate of its causes than Shiite, authoritarian Iran or the inept and flaccid Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf.

Turkey’s Islamist government has distilled every last bit of political benefit from the flotilla crisis, domestically and internationally. And if the Gaza blockade is abandoned or loosened, it will be easily portrayed as a victory for Turkish engagement on behalf of the Palestinians. Thus the fiery rhetoric of Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeals not only to his domestic constituency, but also to the broader Islamic world. It is also an attempt to redress what many in the Arab and Muslim worlds see as a historic imbalance in Turkey’s foreign policy in favor of Israel. Without having to match his words with action, Mr. Erdogan has amassed credentials to be the leading supporter of the Palestinian cause.

While most in the West seem to have overlooked this dynamic, Tehran has not. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a regional summit meeting in Istanbul this month to deliver an inflammatory anti-Israel speech, yet it went virtually unnoticed among the chorus of international condemnations of Israel’s act. On June 12 Iran dispatched its own aid flotilla bound for Gaza, and offered to provide an escort by its Revolutionary Guards for other ships breaking the blockade.

Yet Hamas publicly rejected Iran’s escort proposal, and a new poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 43 percent of Palestinians ranked Turkey as their No. 1 foreign supporter, as opposed to just 6 percent for Iran.

Turkey has a strong hand here. Many leading Arab intellectuals have fretted over being caught between Iran’s revolutionary Shiism and Saudi Arabia’s austere and politically ineffectual Wahhabism. They now hope that a more liberal and enlightened Turkish Sunni Islam — reminiscent of past Ottoman glory — can lead the Arab world out of its mire.

You can get a sense of just how attractive Turkey’s leadership is among the Arab masses by reading the flood of recent negative articles about Ankara in the government-owned newspapers of the Arab states. This coverage impugns Mr. Erdogan’s motives, claiming he is latching on to the Palestinian issue because he is weak domestically, and dismisses Turkey’s ability to bring leadership to this quintessential “Arab cause.” They reek of panic over a new rival.

Turkey also gained from its failed effort, alongside Brazil, to hammer out a new deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The Muslim world appreciated Turkey’s standing up to the United States, and in the end Iran ended up with nothing but more United Nations sanctions.

In taking hold of the Palestinian card, Prime Minister Erdogan has potentially positioned Turkey as the central interlocutor between the Islamic/Arab world and Israel and the West, and been rewarded with tumultuous demonstrations lauding him in Ankara and Istanbul. Meanwhile, the streets of Tehran have been notably silent, with Mr. Ahmadinejad’s regime worried about public unrest during the one-year anniversary of last summer’s fraudulent elections.

Prime Minister Erdogan has many qualities that will help him gain the confidence of the Arab masses. He is not only a devout Sunni, but also the democratically elected leader of a dynamic and modern Muslim country with membership in the G-20 and NATO. His nation is already a major tourist and investment destination for Arabs, and the Middle East has long been flooded with Turkish products, from agriculture to TV programming.

With Turkey capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of Arabs, Iran will increasingly find it harder to carry out its agenda of destabilizing the region and the globe. For Americans, it may be hard to see the blessings in a rift with a longtime ally. But even if Turkey’s interests no longer fully align with ours, there is much to be gained from a Westernized, prosperous and democratic nation becoming the standard-bearer of the Islamic world.

Elliot Hen-Tov is a doctoral candidate and Bernard Haykel a professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton.


Easing the Gaza Blockade

June 21, 2010
New York Times


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has made the right decision to significantly ease Israel’s punishing and counterproductive blockade of Gaza. The move was clearly intended to mollify Washington and Europe in the wake of Israel’s deadly raid this month on an aid flotilla trying to run the blockade.


If done right, and managed correctly, it should improve the lives of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip without compromising Israel’s security. It should also focus more international attention, criticism and pressure on Hamas, which continues to rocket Israeli cities and refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist.

Israel has a responsibility to its citizens to stop the delivery of all weapons and rockets to Hamas. But the near-total blockade of Gaza — mattresses, many foods and even toys have been on the list of banned imports — has caused widespread suffering and given Hamas more excuses for its excesses and mismanagement.

The militant group also takes a large cut of the profits from the extensive networks that smuggle in everything from cars to missiles through tunnels underneath the border with Egypt. Mr. Netanyahu has rightly refused to abandon the sea blockade of Gaza. He cannot do that until Hamas stops rocketing Israeli cities and towns.

Mr. Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel “seeks to keep out of Gaza weapons and war-supporting matériel” but that “all other goods would be allowed into Gaza.” Israeli officials, who need to translate that commitment into policy, should take their prime minister at his expansive word.

The best course, and one Israeli officials say they will now follow, is to create a short list of items banned for security reasons, and allow in everything else. Right now the list of banned goods is huge, constantly shifting, and often not even publicly available.

Israeli officials also promised to streamline the entry and exit of Palestinians for humanitarian and medical reasons and of international aid workers.

Gazans need everything including more food and medicine. They need construction materials to rebuild homes destroyed in the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

Israel had sharply curbed deliveries of cement and steel, arguing that Hamas would use them to build bunkers or weapons. Under the new plan, more construction supplies will be allowed in, but only for projects approved by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and under international supervision. That makes sense, but the bureaucratic process must not be allowed to stifle needed reconstruction.

Israel needs to implement the new policy quickly and make sure that, unlike now, all decisions and criteria are explained publicly. Unfortunately, some of the good will from the Sunday announcement was erased by Monday’s news that Jerusalem plans to demolish more than 20 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to clear the way for an archaeological park.



BP was told of oil safety fault ‘weeks before blast’

June 21, 2010

by Hilary Andersson

BBC News

            A Deepwater Horizon rig worker has told the BBC that he identified a leak in the oil rig’s safety equipment weeks before the explosion.

Tyrone Benton said the leak was not fixed at the time, but that instead the faulty device was shut down and a second one relied on.

BP said rig owners Transocean were responsible for the operation and maintenance of that piece of equipment.

Transocean said it tested the device successfully before the accident.

Meanwhile, BP has said that its costs in tackling the disaster have now risen to $2bn (£1.34bn).


On 20 April, when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded killing 11 people, the blowout preventer, as the device is known, failed.

The most critical piece of safety equipment on the rig, they are designed to avert disasters just like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The blowout preventer (BOP) has giant shears which are designed to cut and seal off the well’s main pipe. The control pods are effectively the brains of the blowout preventer and contain both electronics and hydraulics. This is where Mr Benton said the problem was found.

“We saw a leak on the pod, so by seeing the leak we informed the company men,” Mr Benton said of the earlier problem he had identified. “They have a control room where they could turn off that pod and turn on the other one, so that they don’t have to stop production.”

Professor Tad Patzek, petroleum expert at the University of Texas, was blunt in his assessment: “That is unacceptable. If you see any evidence of the blowout preventer not functioning properly, you should fix it by whatever means possible.”

Mr Benton said his supervisor e-mailed both BP and Transocean about the leaks when they were discovered.

Daily costs

He said he did not know whether the leaking pod was turned back on before the disaster or not.

He said to repair the control pod would have meant temporarily stopping drilling work on the rig at at time when it was costing BP $500,000 (£337,000) a day to operate the Deepwater Horizon.

Henry Waxman, a House of Representatives Democrat who is overseeing congressional investigations into the rig disaster, has accused BP of taking safety shortcuts to save money.

“BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure,” Mr Waxman said.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward, giving evidence to Congress, said: “There is nothing I have seen in the evidence so far that suggests that anyone put cost ahead of safety, if there are then we will take action.”

Congress has identified numerous other problems with the blowout preventer, including design problems, unexpected modifications and a flat battery.

Cement job

The other major problems on the rig, Congress has said, centred around the cement job. Cement in an oil well blocks explosive gases from escaping, and it appears the cement may not have set properly on the Deepwater Horizon

BP said it had indications of a successful cementing operation and the company that was in charge of the cement job, Halliburton, has said it was consistent with that used in similar applications.

Several rig workers the BBC spoke to who were on the Deepwater Horizon said there was pressure in April to work fast.

Work to prepare and then seal the well was behind schedule and had to be completed before a production rig could move in and start turning profits.

“Too many jobs were being done at one time. It should have just really slowed down and just took one job at a time, to make sure everything was done the way it should have been,” said Mr Benton, who is now suing BP and Transocean for negligence.

BP has responded to Mr Benton’s account saying Transocean was responsible for both the maintenance and operation of the blowout preventer.

Judge limits DHS laptop border searches

June 10, 2010

by Declan McCullagh


A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler’s laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California rejected the Obama administration’s argument that no warrant was necessary to look through the electronic files of an American citizen who was returning home from a trip to South Korea.

The court concludes that June search required a warrant,” White ruled on June 2, referring to a search of Andrew Hanson’s computer that took place a year ago. Hanson arrived San Francisco International Airport in January 2009.

The Justice Department invoked a novel argument–which White dubbed “unpersuasive”–claiming that while Hanson was able to enter the country, his laptop remained in a kind of legal limbo where the Bill of Rights did not apply. (The Fourth Amendment generally requires a warrant for searches.)

“Until merchandise has cleared customs, it may not enter the United States,” assistant U.S. attorney Owen Martikan argued. “The laptop never cleared customs and was maintained in government custody until it was searched…”

This is not exactly a new dispute: two years ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection announced that it reserves the right to seize for an indefinite period of time any laptops that are taken across the border.

Last year, the department reiterated that claim, saying laptops and electronic gadgetry can still be seized and held indefinitely. There’s no requirement that they be returned to their owners after even six months or a year has passed, though supervisory approval is required if they’re held for more than 15 days. The complete contents of a hard drive or memory card can be perused at length for evidence of lawbreaking of any kind, even if it’s underpaying taxes or not paying parking tickets.

In response, Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, introduced a bill that would require border agents to obtain a warrant or court order to hold such a device for more than 24 hours.

Customs agents say that after Hanson was randomly selected for a secondary baggage examination, he became nervous. That led Customs agent Sheryl Edwards to ask for an examination of Hanson’s laptop, a digital camera with memory card, two CD-ROMs, and two DVDs.

That examination, customs agents say, showed one incriminating photograph: an adolescent girl covered with mud, standing on a beach, and not wearing any clothes. Edwards concluded that the image was illegal; Hanson was charged with transportation and possession of child pornography in September 2009. He has pleaded not guilty.

For his part, Eric Chase, an attorney representing Hanson, acknowledged that an immediate search conducted at the border without a warrant is permissible. But police perusal of a hard drive six months later definitely is not, he said when asking the court to toss out the results of the June 2009 search.

“As applied to border searches generally, agents, after taking their permissible look while at the border crossing itself, would be free to ‘detain’ electronic devices and conduct further examinations whenever and wherever they pleased as justified solely because their ‘peek’ exposed the computer’s contents to law enforcement,” Chase wrote.

Customs agents also searched Hanson’s laptop three times in February 2009, with the first search taking place about a week after he entered the country and turning up no evidence of child pornography. The second and third searches allegedly did. White allowed the results of those searches to be used as evidence, saying they were “justified as an extended border search supported by reasonable suspicion.”

A 2006 Police Blotter article reported that the Ninth Circuit, which sets precedents that are binding on San Francisco federal courts, ruled that random searches of laptops at the border without a search warrant is permissible. But the Ninth Circuit did not address what happens if the search takes place a month or half a year later.

            Excerpt from court ruling:

The government argues that the February search was justified as an extended border search supported by reasonable suspicion…In contrast to a search conducted at the border, or its functional equivalent, an extended border search must be supported by “‘reasonable suspicion’ that the subject of the search was involved in criminal activity, rather than simply mere suspicion or no suspicion.” In order to determine whether the search was supported by reasonable suspicion, the court examines the totality of the circumstances, such as the time and distance elapsed, whether there was a lapse in surveillance, and the diligence of law enforcement.

Because the agents did not find contraband while the laptop was located at the border and, in light of the time and distance that elapsed before the search continued, the court concluded that the search should be analyzed as an extended border search. Given the passage of time between the January and February searches and the fact that the February search was not conduct(ed) at the border, or its functional equivalent, the court concludes that the February search should be analyzed under the extended border search doctrine and must be justified by reasonable suspicion.

When the court examines the totality of the circumstances, including Officer Edwards’ description of the Image, her observations that Hanson appeared nervous, the discovery of the condoms and the male-enhancement pills, and Hanson’s statement that he had been working with children, the court concludes that the government has met its burden to show the February search was supported by reasonable suspicion. Accordingly, Hanson’s motion is DENIED IN PART on this basis…

The government also argues that because Officer Edwards properly seized the laptop, and because the laptop remained in law enforcement custody, she was entitled to conduct a more thorough search at a later time. However, the cases on which the government relies for this argument address the right to conduct a more thorough search of a container as a search incident to a valid arrest, another recognized exception to the warrant requirement… Hanson was not arrested on January 27, 2009, and for that reason the court finds the government’s reliance on the “search incident to a valid arrest” line of cases to be inapposite. Accordingly, because the court concludes that June search required a warrant, and because it is undisputed that the search was conducted without a warrant, Hanson’s motion is GRANTED IN PART on this basis.

The Conversations with the Crow

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

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

            Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to: http://www.shop.conversationswiththecrow.com/Conversations-with-the-Crow-CWC-GD01.htm:

           Here is the fifth chapter:

Conversation No. 5

Date:  Friday, March 22, 1996

Commenced:  8:15 AM CST

Concluded: 8:45 AM CST

RTC: Up early, aren’t you, Gregory?

GD: Actually, I haven’t been to bed yet, Robert. Been reading a really interesting paper someone sent me about the Clintons. Such lovely people. Of course, I can’t do anything with it but I will make Xerox copies and send them off. Costs money and no paper would dare to even ask questions. Such sleazy crooks, Robert. Roosevelt stole but he had some class after all.

RTC: Do you think they shot that Foster man?

GD: I have no idea. It was the convenient death of a man who knew far too much, Robert. Have you any comments?
RTC: Bill is utterly ruthless and his shrew of a wife is one step behind him. They would have ordered it, for certain, but one does not know.

GD: I saw the in situ pictures from the Virginia park police of the body. Poor Vince. His last act was to defy the law of gravity. He was lying in the park with his head pointing down a hillside but the dried blood all ran up. Isn’t that wonderful?

RTC: Some of those people are mindless, Gregory. But that doesn’t mean he was murdered. Someone might have dumped the stiff there to get him out of the White House.

GD: Well, false in one thing, false in all, as they used to say. Frau Clinton looks like a bimbo who could put kittens into a microwave and have a real laugh. She was tied up with the Black Panthers in Oakland some years ago. I have a California police report about that. A friend in Sacramento sent me a copy about a day before the FBI came and removed the original. Caught in the sack with a nice black lassie, she was. They went to Sacramento, the Panthers and the gun moll, and they sported guns there and terrified people. The late night motel raid was the result. Well, I could send that around too but we would never hear a word about it.

RTC: Our people had connections with Bill when he was the governor there. Used to bring drugs in from Mexico and land them downstate. Arkansas is about as backwards as Kenya these days and Bill had no problem sticking a bag full of cash in his sock drawer. Oh, well, if it weren’t for the crooked pol, none of us could make an honest buck.

GD: Ah, Robert, that’s just what the Indian hooker said when the bank teller told her one of her twenties was counterfeit.

RTC: Now that’s a good one, Gregory.

GD: I thought so, Robert. Oh how about the whore who, when told by another teller in another bank, that a hundred was fake, ‘My God, I’ve been raped!’

RTC: Fun and games so early in the day.

GD: Yes, I suppose so. When I’m working…doing research…I’m very quiet and very focused on my work but all of the nasty comments and so on are just a form of relief. I have known a few CIA people in my life but you are the first one with whom I can have a nice talk. The others like to think that their feces smell like lilacs in bloom. They ask much and give little.

RTC: I see your point but you don’t fully grasp the techniques. No one wants to talk with you, Gregory, because while they are interrogating you, you are interrogating them and, let me be very clear on this as Nixon would have said, you are way and above any of them and certainly their superior  in the interrogation business. If one of them makes the slightest slip, you pounce on the knowledge and he loses control. You have a phenomenal memory and the ability to use it in a very abstract and very deadly manner. You know this, naturally, but always complain that people behave like swine around you. I agree they do. Kimmel is an example of this. Actually, they are afraid of you, Gregory, really afraid. I don’t mean that you’ll pull a knife or gun and do them but they cannot control you and when they cannot control a person or a situation, they panic. They live by rule books and you do not. May I ask you a question here?

GD: Surely.

RTC: Do you work for anyone?

GD: Like the Germans or the Russians? Or the Chinese? No, I work for myself. I hate working for other people who only want you to support the views of their superiors. If they want this or that to be a certain way and I see very clearly that they are wrong, I have to be silent or become a toady. For example, Gehlen told me that in ’48, the Army…he worked for them just before your people took him over…Critchfield that is…Gehlen told me that the Army wanted him to prepare a paper showing that the Russians were going to attack Western Europe. Gehlen said this was impossible. He said the Russians had torn up all the railroad lines in their Zone and sent the rails back to Russia. Obviously, they could not rush troops to the border except on bicycles or mules. And of the 135 Russian armored units technically…note that I said technically…stationed in their Zone, almost all of them were just cadre with perhaps ten officers and men and no armored units. No, our people needed a dangerous enemy against whom to arm. Revisiting the business heyday of the war was the right idea but, of course, without real dangers. We knew the Russians were not going to attack but the report, lies that it contained, was deliberately leaked by the Army to Congress and others. Hey presto! A Cold War starts. We had to rearm and stop the reduction of our Army. Oh yes, the Generals did not want to lose their cushy jobs and the American industrial people were cooing with delight over all the contracts for aircraft, bombs, rifles, tanks and battleships that they all knew would never be used. No, that was all a deliberate sham and designed to make the elite people richer. Of course the film industry and the media cranked out horror stories about the evil Stalin’s plans to attack us. Christ, they were terrified we would nuke Moscow like we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I can see the first attack but the second was not needed. The Japanese immediately indicated they would surrender but the military wanted to try out another bomb with a different approach. Just for fun as it were.

RTC: Well, and here we are, Gregory. Reagan played high stakes poker with the Russians and made them fold their hand. We beat them. No war, no destruction, was there?

GD: No there was not but what do we do now? Our greedy businessmen now try to loot Russia and strip her of her natural resources. We could try to make an ally of her, why not? No one needs an enemy.

RTC: Too many people in power remember the propaganda of the Cold War, Gregory and their mind sets are so strong that logic would scarcely move them.

GD: It’s too bad I am not in control. Can you see that, Robert?

RTC: You would be dead in a week, Gregory.

GD: Not if I got to them first.

RTC: Well, what would you do?

GD: Divide and conquer and the ones who wanted a turf war, would quickly end up under it. My main crime is a faint conscience. You can’t be moral when dealing with dung-munchers.

(Concluded at 8:45AM CST)



Dramatis personae:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this.


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

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

Tea Party: Rename NYC “Israel”
 June 20, 2010


          Rob D. Rich, who leads the Tea Party for Freedom in Texas, said last week he believes New York City should be renamed Israel. New York’s Bloomberg administration responded by saying that Texas could also be renamed Little Mexico.

            “New York City is Israel,” said Rich, who heads the third-largest party in the US. “Changing its name to Israel will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Israelis with an alternate homeland.” Rich added that Palestine deserved a special status in the US government because it was fighting for Al-Quds.

            “If The Dome of the Rock falls into the hands of the Jews, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Al-Quds is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated and the ideology of Jewish barbarism,” he said.

            “There has been an independent Jewish state since 1776, and it’s the Empire State’s large megalopolis.” Rich also called on the US government to refer to NYC as Israel and move its embassy to Wall street.

            The Tea Party for Freedom nearly tripled its power in the last election, going from nine Senate seats to 24. The right-wing party, which has called for a ban on Jewish temples and yarmulkes, has been holding so far unsuccessful negotiations with the liberal Right.

Russia Demands Israel Lift The Siege On Gaza
June 22, 2010
by Saed Bannoura –

IMEMC & Agencies –

            The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Israel to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, and also demanded actual measures to end the humanitarian crisis in the coastal region.

            The siege was imposed by Israel four years ago leading to hundreds of casualties as hospitals and medical centers ran out of supplies and needed medical equipment.

            On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, phoned his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, and demanded that Israel lift the siege, and also asked him about the latest developments in proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

            The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement revealing that Lavrov stressed the importance of advancing peace talks in the Middle East based on the principles of international law. He said that peace, security and stability in the region, not only with the Palestinians, but also with Lebanon and other countries, requires implementing international law.


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