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TBR News May 15, 2016

May 15 2016


The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 15, 2016:  ” The U.S. military used the SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System) frequency-hopping radios in the field. These radio sets are categorized as Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) transceivers. The FHSS method is not new: it originated from the Second World War and, simply stated, it employs a narrow band carrier, shifting frequency in a pattern known only to the transmitter and the receiver. The frequency can be changed several hundred times per second.

FHSS military radios are synchronized daily to use the same frequency modulation algorithm. The synchronization process occurs either through a direct physical connection of the radio sets to each other or to a special device known as the programmer. Some radios can also synchronize frequency modulation algorithms via an encrypted transmission of the frequency modulation algorithm in a non-frequency-hopping mode, although this method is generally considered less secure.

Military radios in the U.S. armed forces commonly use encryption and the frequency hopping methods provide an additional layer of security during transmission of the encrypted signal. An example of a frequency-hopping field VHF/FM transceiver used by U.S. Special Forces would be the Caracal RPM 4740 manufactured by Thales Communications of France.

The Caracal covers the 30 to 87.975 MHz frequency range. It also has 10 programmable simplex or half-duplex channels out of its repertoire of 2,320. Hopping in narrowband (6.4 MHz) and wideband (30 to 87.975 MHz) orthogonal modes, Caracal contains high-grade internal digital encryption and has an output of 1 W. Insertion of frequency and security codes is accomplished using the MA 4073B programmer or MA 4083B fill gun. A reset switch on each radio is used to erase codes rapidly. The synchronization function is broadcast, requiring about 6 seconds. Other features include receive-only selective calling, frequency barring and ‘hailing’ by fixed-frequency radios when in the hopping mode.

However, security afforded by frequency-hopping methods is very dependant on strict adherence to protocols for operating such radios. The U.S. troops and other operators of frequency-hopping radio sets frequently disregard these protocols. An example would be an artillery unit passing digital traffic in the frequency-hopping mode, which would enable an unauthorized listener to determine the frequency-hopping algorithm and eavesdrop on the transmission.

Even when proper protocols for using frequency-hopping radios are being adhered to, interception and decryption of these signals is still possible. Frequency-hopping interceptors are special advanced reconnaissance wideband receivers capable of simultaneously tracking a large number of frequency-hopping encrypted transmissions even in high background noise environments.

An example of such a reconnaissance device would be the FH-1 frequency-hopping interceptor manufactured by VIDEOTON-MECHLABOR Manufacturing and Development Ltd. of Hungary. The FH-1 frequency-hopping interceptor is a modern reconnaissance system based on parallel signal processing technology.

The equipment has 160 independent receiving channels covering a 4 MHz wide IF band with 25 kHz channel spacing, 60 dB channel selection and 60 dB intermodulation suppression. The 4 MHz wide IF band is the IF output of a special high-speed front-end receiver which has a 20 to 1,000 MHz frequency range.

The digitized output signals of the channels are multiplexed and fed as 1 Mbits/s data to a fast dedicated signal-processing computer. As the processing time of the 160 channels is 200 µs with the front-end receiver 4 MHz frequency setting time, the processing speed of this interceptor is 4 MHz/200 µs or 20 GHz/s. This high speed makes it possible to process the complete 30 to 80 MHz ground-to-ground VHF band within a 2.5 ms time slot.

The system’s processing algorithm filters out noise spikes and stationary transmissions and in this way hopping transmissions can be classified either in the traditional frequency versus amplitude mode or in a waterfall-like frequency versus time display mode. Optional software modules are available for direction-finding the FH transmission and for controlling a remote follower/jammer.”



The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Monday, 6 June 1949

The judge in the New York trial (Harold Medina, ed.) has had to put several of the communists on trial in prison because they refused to cooperate with the court. They are to go to prison for thirty days. They go to court in the day and at night, back to the jail. Of course we now have to hear from Wallace who is outraged at such bad treatment of his fellow communists.

Some discussion in circles here about Ickes, former Interior Minister (Secretary, ed.) under Roosevelt. Information has come out in the Coplon trial that one Gruber, Ickes’ secretary, was in direct contact with someone named Gerenin at the Soviet Embassy here. Probably Gerchekov who was with the GRU. Loud denials from Ickes as well as Gruber. Why send your secretary to the Embassy when you can go yourself? Everyone knows how close Ickes was with their Ambassador.

A very strange man, Ickes. A mean-spirited and thoroughly vicious man with a very odd family background. His son died under what they call “peculiar circumstances” and his first wife was killed in a car crash. He married a woman much younger. While he was vindictive to everyone else, he had his head stuck well up Roosevelt’s ass throughout the reign. When he wasn’t licking around Roosevelt, he was doing the same to the Soviet Ambassador.

What is it, I wonder, that makes Americans with a good social background and in possession of some money, so eager to sell their flabby bodies to Stalin? Money? Dissatisfaction with their government? A lunatic urge to be important? Younger women? Was Ickes acting on Roosevelt’s orders or is he just another Wallace? Hoover thinks the former.

Material taken from Coplon when she was arrested, lists of very secret FBI files into their investigations concerning top communists. The prosecution is of two minds about this. They, of course, do not want secrets revealed but they also want as much as possible to emerge about the extent of communist penetration.

Many prominent names. Of course, most of these assholes were not members of the communist party and can claim with great indignation that they were not communists. They are only liberal activists or supporters of the New Deal, or lovers of Negroes or worshippers of the Roosevelts, husband and….what can I call her? A wife? Not a husband but certainly not a practicing woman.

You can say what you like about Hitler, and many do, but at least his lady friend wasn’t an old dyke (the word Müller actually used was “Tunte” which translates into “fairy,” ed.). Imagine, R. let his wife’s lover live in the White House and even sleep in her bed and not a sound from him. She, on the other hand, threatened to leave him if he kept up an affair with her own secretary (whom she fired when she found out). Such scandals and so unimportant but it is just such disgusting behavior that often can seriously affect world history.

Also, some testimony about former Secretary of State (James, ed.) Byrnes who allegedly blocked any FBI investigation into a Soviet spy. Standard denials from Byrnes.

The spy was Schevencko who is in my lists.

Saturday, 11 June 1949

Much coming into public view about communists. Ugly scene in Congress yesterday when (Senator James O., Dem. Mississippi, ed.) East-land, whom I have met and who is a man of some strong character, went after Wallace’s party secretary (Progressive Party, ed.) and they cursed at each other in a public hearing.

Such mixed feelings here about all of this communist business which is accelerating in a most satisfactory manner. Loyal Democrats wish not to smear the sainted image of Franklin R.; loyal Republicans wish to do exactly that. Now we have some Democrats attacking the communists in public and this is causing anguish in Hollywood, New York and, yes, right here in Washington.

More conversations with McCarthy and a friend about various matters. It is necessary to brief him without appearing to do so. He can get anonymous reports, as he does, and I certainly can deny being the source. Entertaining talking with M. He boasts constantly about his war record, which wasn’t much and when he found out I had been a pilot in the (First World, ed.) war; he went on about his exploits in the Pacific. His confidential file, which is locked up in the top drawer of my writing desk, indicates that M. is not well acquainted with the truth and will say, or do, almost anything to get attention. Other Congressmen are more stable, (Millard, Dem. Maryland, ed.) Tydings for example, but M. can be counted on to shout out all kinds of ugly truths at the top of his voice. Such people are often very useful, but to others, not themselves.

I have seen the Hiss material many times and there is no doubt that he will be convicted. Usually these agents are more careful. H. should have killed Chambers when he could. C. has told me that he was terrified that Hiss or one of his sub-agents would have him murdered and I believe that C. had legitimate fears. Now, H. lawyers are trying to make C. out to be a lunatic. They will not expose him as a homosexual. Too many other prominent people in that room, such as (William C., ed.) Bullitt (close Roosevelt friend and former Ambassador to Russia, ed.) and his terrible “friend” (Carmel, ed.) Offie, (Sumner, ed.) Welles and about half the staff at the Department of State.


Carmel Offie, a civil servant, was born of Italian immigrants and was well known as a homosexual in some State Department circles. He became acquainted with William Bullitt when the latter was Ambassador to the Soviet Union and they developed what can discreetly be termed a very close relationship.

When Bullitt left the government, Offie stayed in the Department of State and joined the new CIA in 1947, and in 1948, became deputy head of the Office of Policy Coordination and a confidant of Frank Wisner, Sr.

Offie was involved with Operation Bloodstone, the transfer to the United States and the use by the CIA of various former Nazi officials.

In 1953, Offie was arrested by D.C. police for “gross acts of immorality” in a public lavatory and left the CIA.

Tuesday, 14 June 1949

A visit to the CIA offices on “E” Street. I walked a distance and took one of the streetcars and then more walking. The streetcars do not have wires overhead which is visually acceptable. They have some care about such things here. I am bothered with the hot weather because it is so damp and one’s clothes tend to stick to the seats but that is the least of my worries.

I must say that Truman is entirely right about the CIA. He is afraid he created a monster one day and the next, after they have stroked him with some pet project they know he likes, not so sure once more. As a professional, I am not influenced by stroking but by actions and deeds.

Here we have a congregation of pseudo-intellectual elitists, mostly Protestant and almost all graduates of either Harvard or Yale, all lawyers from the same firms and all as ignorant of the actualities of global realpolitik as a Pasing schoolgirl. Dulles from Switzerland is hovering around with his pipe and there is, of course, Wisner who runs around being very important

If these idiots do not like someone, they decide how to kill them, with what kind of poison or rifle bullet or how to overthrow the government in some small, harmless country, which might be flirting with the Russians. And Truman has absolutely no control over them whatsoever!

Hillenkoether is only a sham leader. He is a decent Navy man with combat experience who is tricked and lied to by the club members on a daily basis. They lie to everyone including the Admiral and the President and are embarked on a career of empire building that has no real goal other than to indulge their spy fantasies and their monumental egos. I predict nothing but trouble from these people and I warned Hoover that they would be moving into his house next if he wasn’t careful. I suggested that he spy on them just as they are spying on him.

I don’t think one needs to tell Hoover how to protect his back but I made my point just the same. We seem to get on after a fashion and we will see where it goes.

The CIA people are not happy with all the publicity we are giving to communist infiltrators. They would rather turn them than expose them. They do not realize that our aim is to inform the American people just how dangerous the infiltration had been and at what high levels.

If Wallace had been Vice President, there is no doubt that the red flag would be flying over the “People’s Republic of North America” at this moment. A very close thing and in order to crush communist activity, we must get the approval of the public. We can only get that if the people are actually aware of the seriousness of the menace. And it still exists today.

The CIA is not so much counterintelligence more than policy-setting intelligence. They do not seek to identify and destroy internal enemies, but in my view, are well on their way of becoming the same thing!

I must spend more time at the Library of Congress as they have a truly incredible fund of books and it helps to improve my English and my mind.

There is a small chess club in town and I will be taken there later this week as the guest of a member. Everything is a club here, one has to know this or that prominent person to go anywhere or meet anyone of importance. Still, while I loathe that kind of crap, I will put up with it.

Friday, 17 June 1949

The Coplon woman has all kinds of amusing tales to tell about her relationship with G.(ubitchev, ed.). She claims that the FBI papers she had in her possession when she was arrested were “for a book” she was writing and that she had only given her Soviet spy lover a box of cakes and a necktie!

I certainly know what he gave her and it wasn’t a box of cakes. More like a Minsk sausage. These plain, desperate women (and I suppose men as well) are such tempting targets and the Soviets are so good at their sexual games. Of course in some cases, it must be a terrible chore to make love to an ugly woman. A few glasses of schnapps helps out a lot, I am told. It would take a barrel of schnapps to get me in the mood for the Roosevelt woman, let me say right here.

The Ickes creature was also a witness, stating that the FBI were wrong and that the (Ruth, ed.) Gruber woman “was never” his secretary. Of course she was not. She was a lover who posed as a secretary. No one wants to talk about that. I am curious to know what a withered and vicious old man like that can do with a younger woman? Perhaps she whips him while he is wearing women’s clothes. A British diplomat here does that sort of thing, according to Hoover. Maybe Ickes should get together with him and the smacks can be heard the next street over.

The government case against Hiss has finished. The judge will not dismiss the case and it is wagered here that Hiss will end very badly. His usefulness has long gone but the Secretary of State (Dean Acheson, ed.) simply worships H. and is furious that he is even suspected of being a spy. If I had anything to do with it, A. would go down the laundry chute into the cellar of political oblivion.

Such a pompous ass! He wears English clothes, speaks with a very fake British accent and ought to go and live in London and eat their vile food. One of my Pentagon friends just returned from London and says the food there, even in the best restaurants, is filthy and not fit for human consumption. Are they still rationing in England?

I will arrange for another shipment of good food, including hams, cheeses and so on, to Pasing. (Müller’s family lived in Pasing after the war and documents released by the U.S. government in 1998 show that it was strongly believed by both American and German intelligence agencies that Müller had been in contact with and had also been of financial assistance to his family. ed.) They can eat well while the British starve. And just think, the CIC (Counterintelligence Corps) will make the delivery right to the door!

A note from Willi (Krichbaum, Müller’s former chief deputy in the Gestapo and later Gehlen’s chief recruiter, ed.) about problems with Gehlen. Gehlen is a lightweight but certainly far better than the idiot who controls him. A packet of reports from W. shows me that G. has no idea at all what he is up to. Gehlen’s American overlord has gotten wind of the fact that I am living in Switzerland and ran shrieking to his superiors. The evil Heini Müller is eating Swiss chocolate!

They’ll put a rocket up his ass and now we can find out who told him and we can send that one off to visit Baby Jesus with a big piece missing from the top of his head. I suggested they send the overlord off as well but am told he is “useful,” whatever that means. Pliant is more likely.

The British are landing agents in the Baltic areas and no doubt all of their blockheaded agents are rounded up by the NKVD before the sand has dried on their boots.

Perhaps someone should go to a local lunatic asylum and get out a few inmates. I am certain they could do a far better job than the ones now in place.

More paintings, these from the Weill collection in Paris, have sold and a packet of money will be delivered here on the weekend. Two of the pictures with damaged frames have been returned by my new friend at the National Gallery. A really magnificent restoration job I must say. One cannot detect where the original gesso left off and the new repairs began. I gave my friend a little scribble by Picasso that had him moist with joy. Some people are so easily pleased after all!


To read the entire Mueller Chronicals,  please click here:



Beijing blasts Pentagon report on Chinese military as damaging trust

May 15, 2016

by Benjamin Kang Lim


China condemned the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on the Chinese military on Sunday, calling it deliberate distortion that has “severely damaged” mutual trust.

In its annual report to Congress on Chinese military activities, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday that China is expected to add substantial military infrastructure, including communications and surveillance systems, to artificial islands in the South China Sea this year.

China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun expressed “strong dissatisfaction” and “firm opposition” to the Pentagon report and said it has “severely damaged mutual trust”, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The report “hyped up” China’s military threat and lack of transparency, “deliberately distorted” Chinese defense policies and “unfairly” depicted Chinese activities in the East and South China seas, Yang was quoted as saying.

“China follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature,” Yang said, adding that the country’s military build-up and reforms are aimed at maintaining sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and guaranteeing China’s peaceful development.

It is the United States that has always been suspicious and flexing its military muscle by frequently sending military aircraft and warships to the region, Yang said.

Despite its calls for freedom of navigation and restraint for peace, the U.S. has pushed forward militarization of the South China Sea with an “intention to exert hegemony”, Yang added.


The Pentagon report said the planned addition of military infrastructure would give China long-term “civil-military bases” in the contested waters.

It estimated that China’s reclamation work had added more than 3,200 acres (1,300 hectares) of land on seven features it occupied in the Spratly Islands in the space of two years.

The report said China had completed its major reclamation efforts in October, switching focus to infrastructure development, including three 9,800 foot-long (3,000 meter) airstrips that can accommodate advanced fighter jets.

Yang, the spokesman, defended the construction, saying it serves mostly civilian purposes and helps fulfill China’s international responsibilities and obligations by providing more public goods.

The Pentagon report comes at a time of heightened tension over maritime territories claimed by China and disputed by several Asian nations. Washington has accused Beijing of militarizing the South China Sea while Beijing, in turn, has criticized increased U.S. naval patrols and exercises in Asia.

The U.S report renewed accusations against China’s government and military for cyber attacks against U.S. government computer systems, a charge Beijing denies. The Pentagon said attacks in 2015 appeared focused on intelligence collection.

(Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Richard Borsuk)


Germany not muzzled by migration pact with Turkey: Steinmeier

The German foreign minister has rejected criticism that Germany is making concessions to Turkey over a migration pact. He said the government would continue to talk with Ankara about issues such a press freedom.

May 15, 2016


In a newspaper interview published on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier denied that the German government was tiptoeing around difficult issues in its dealings with Turkey for fear of jeopardizing an EU migration deal with Ankara.

“We will continue to speak about undesirable developments in Turkey, about restrictions on the freedom of opinion and the press. Anyone who is willing to listen can hear that,” he told the “Tagesspiegel” newspaper.

He said the interest of Turkey in the agreement, which includes visa-free travel for Turks to the EU if certain conditions are fulfilled and over 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), should not be underestimated.

The conditions required by the EU for relaxing visa restrictions were known to Ankara and had been negotiated with the Turkish government, Steinmeier said, adding that “the ball is now in Turkey’s court.”

“Ankara has to tell us how it intends to answer the open questions,” Steinmeier said.

Diplomatic spat

His remarks come amid a row between Brussels and Turkey over the criteria that need to be met for visa-free travel to be extended to Turkish citizens. The EU is calling on Ankara to loosen its anti-terrorism laws as one of 72 conditions for the visa-free travel concession that was agreed in March.

Turkey has refused to change the anti-terrorism laws following a recent spate of terror attacks in the country and has threatened to break off the deal if the EU continues to insist on the condition.

Steinmeier said Germany had to continue to talk with Turkey, which under the deal is taking back migrants who have traveled by sea to Greece from Turkish soil if they do not apply for asylum there.

“Whether we like it or not, Turkey remains the key country for migration to Europe. We need a certain amount of cooperation if we want to avoid situations such as those we had last year,” Steinmeier said, referring to the huge influx of migrants and refugees to Europe in 2015. Germany received about 1.1 million asylum-seekers in 2015.

Reduced numbers

The number of people trying to reach Europe from Turkey, many of them refugees from the Syrian civil war, has sunk drastically since the much-criticized deal went into effect on March 20.

Under the agreement, the EU will take in one Syrian citizen for every one that has been sent back to Turkey, though a cap of 72,000 Syrians in total has been imposed – a low number in view of the millions that have been displaced by the Syrian conflict. The measure is intended to discourage people-smuggling via the sometimes perilous route over the Aegean Sea.


German politicians say Merkel left EU exposed to Turkish blackmail

May 15, 2016

by Michelle Martin


Berlin-German politicians accused Chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend of making Europe overly dependent on Turkey in the migrant crisis, leaving the bloc vulnerable to blackmail by President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey, refusing to bow to European Union demands to rein in its broad anti-terror laws, said on Friday talks on a deal to provide visa-free travel in return for stopping illegal migrants reaching the EU had reached an impasse and the bloc must find a “new formula” to salvage the agreement.

Merkel, whose popularity has suffered due to her liberal migrant policy that saw Germany take in more than one million migrants last year, had spearheaded EU efforts to secure the deal, signed in March.

While the numbers of migrants have dropped sharply this year, Merkel continues to attract criticism from her conservative allies in Bavaria as well as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“I’m not against talks with Turkey but I think it’s dangerous to become so dependent on Ankara,” said Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

Seehofer told Welt am Sonntag (WamS) that the deal with Turkey had helped boost support for AfD, which is currently polling at up to 15 percent.

Sahra Wagenknecht of the opposition far-left Linke party told the same newspaper Merkel had essentially negotiated the deal without involving her European partners.

“The chancellor is therefore responsible for Europe having become vulnerable to being blackmailed by the authoritarian Turkish regime and for Erdogan feeling noticeably strengthened to crush human rights underfoot,” she said.

Cem Oezdemir, co-leader of the Greens party and the son of Turkish immigrants, also told WamS the deal had put Europe at risk of being blackmailed and said Merkel was largely to blame.

While the EU is desperate for the deal to succeed, it also insists that Turkey meet 72 criteria, including anti-terror laws which it says Turkey uses to stifle dissent. Ankara says it needs sweeping legislation to fight Kurdish insurgents and Islamic State.

Merkel is due to attend the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23 and there are plans for bilateral talks with other leaders in attendance, her spokesman said on Friday.

Members of the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s junior coalition partner, also expressed concern.

Carsten Schneider told WamS Merkel had made Erdogan the key to her refugee policy and if he stopped cooperating, “the extent of Germany’s isolation in Europe will become clear again”, while Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel said Merkel should not “kowtow” to Erdogan.But SPD Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Tagesspiegel newspaper Turkey was still the key country for migration to Europe, adding: “We need to cooperate to some extent if we want to avoid the circumstances we had last year.”

Merkel has drawn heavy criticism for allowing German prosecutors to pursue a case against a German comedian at the Turkish leader’s behest. The comic had recited a sexually crude poem about Erdogan.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Clelia Oziel)


Moody’s downgrades Saudi Arabia over lower oil prices

May 15, 2016


Saudi Arabia’s credit rating has been downgraded by Moody’s ratings agency. The US-based firm said the downgrade reflects their view that lower oil prices have led to a “material deterioration” in Saudi Arabia’s credit profile.

Moody’s downgraded Saudi Arabia’s long-term issuer rating by one notch to A1. It also lowered the Kingdom’s long-term foreign-currency bond and deposit ceilings to A1 from Aa3.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. The ratings agency said the drop in oil prices from their mid-2014 peaks has affected the Kingdom’s economy and the government’s finances in a negative way, and this affects both external accounts and reserve buffers. “While the government has ambitious and comprehensive plans to address the shock by diversifying its economic and fiscal base, those plans are at an early stage of development and their impact remains uncertain,” Moody’s said.

Over 70 percent of the country’s income comes from energy exports. With the plunge in crude prices, Saudi Arabia ran a record deficit of over $90 billion in 2015.

Nominal GDP dropped by 13.3 percent in 2015, and Moody’s said it expects another five-percent reduction in 2016. Growth will average only two percent over the coming five years, much lower than the five-percent annual average recorded in 2011 to 2015, the ratings agency noted, adding that government finances have also significantly deteriorated. According to Moody’s estimates, the general government fiscal balance recorded a deficit of 14.9 percent of GDP in 2015, following a deficit of 2.3 percent in 2014. Moody’s expects a deficit on a similar scale this year.

Last month, Riyadh approved a long-term economic blueprint to transform the kingdom’s economy, aimed at minimizing the country’s reliance on oil. Titled ‘Saudi Vision 2030’, the plan reveals budget, policy and regulatory changes to be realized over the next 15 years, to help the country’s economy to survive beyond crude. Riyadh intends to raise its share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP from 16 percent to 50 percent. It also plans to sell less than five percent of the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil company. According to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the company is valued at more than $2 trillion.

The big question, according to Moody’s, is how Saudi Arabia would fund a huge budget deficit averaging 9.5 percent of GDP between 2016 and 2020. It would require total financing of $324 billion (almost 50 percent of estimated nominal GDP in 2015).

“It is not yet clear how this cumulative financing need will be met: while Saudi Arabia’s low levels of government debt at 5.8 percent of GDP in 2015 provide fiscal space, no medium-term funding strategy has yet been announced,” Moody’s pointed out.

Oil prices slumped after production grew faster than demand, with growing production from shale operators in the US contributing to the surfeit. In November 2014, several months after prices began to dive, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to continue pumping rather than relinquish market share.


Netanyahu lashes out at Iran for ‘mocking’ Holocaust in cartoon contest

US State Department says contest should be condemned

Israeli PM accuses the Islamic Republic of planning another genocide

May 15, 2016


Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iran Sunday for staging a Holocaust-themed cartoon contest that mocked the Nazi genocide of six million Jews during the second world war. The Islamic Republic was busy planning for another one, he said.

A State Department spokesman, traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia, expressed US concern about the contest, saying it should be “condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged”.

Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to threaten its very existence.

But Netanyahu said Israel opposed not only Iran’s belligerent policies, but its values.

“It denies the Holocaust, it mocks the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting. “I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this.”

State Department spokesman Mark Tone said the US was concerned the cartoon contest could “be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past”.

“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged,” Toner said. “We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust.”

The denial or questioning of the genocide is widespread in the Middle East, where many regard it as a pretext Israel used for its creation and to excuse its actions toward the Palestinians.

“Holocaust means mass killing,” said contest organizer Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei. “We are witnessing the biggest killings by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”

He said the purpose of the Tehran event was not to deny the Holocaust but rather to criticize alleged western double standards regarding free expression – and particularly as a response to depictions of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and others.

The exhibit featured some 150 works from 50 countries, with many portraying Israel as using the Holocaust to distract from the suffering of the Palestinians, and others comparing Netanyahu to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Others depicted Palestinian prisoners standing behind concentration camp-style barbed wire fences and a Jerusalem mosque behind a gate bearing the motto, “Arbeit Macht Frei”, that appeared at the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

The contest was organized by non-governmental bodies with strong support from Iran’s hardliners. A previous contest in 2006 got a boost from then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who referred to the Holocaust as a “myth” and repeatedly predicted Israel’s demise.


The Holocaust Mythology

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Many allegtions have been made that the use of Zyklon B to gas Jews is well-documented?

Could this be accurately be documented?  There are no period references to it.

And one should not  such use fictive references like Hilberg, Reitlinger, Goldhagen or other of their stripe. Legimate historians ought to deal only in facts, not fiction nor the fictive inventions of those who write to an idea.

Perhaps the proofs are concealed in the famous “Secret Lists.”

In fact, not in fiction, in all the enormous files of captured German records, in addition to postwar U.S. historical evaluations, there is no reference whatsoever to gas chambers. References to executions of Jews, Poles, Russians, Italians, Frenchmen, Hungarians and others do indeed exist but a through compilation of the figures do not show the existence of three million Jews in any camp system nor their summary executions by gas, hanging or shooting.

The real figure of murdered Jews, as opposed to the false one, is 300,000. Some enterprising and amoral twit has merely added a zero.

This Holocaust business is just that; a business. Squeeze money from the Swiss and the Germans, weep and wail and get political clout (and healthy discounts on furniture) in various countries, especially in rich America. Now, we have the edifying spectacle of brave attorneys and rabbis who have extracted billions from the Swiss to aid “Holocaust Survivors’ being charged with massive embezzlement of these funds. Could there be a lesson to be learned from this? No one who runs a business, based on fraud, likes to have their myths and legends questioned. It can cost them money in the end.

Old alchemists  postulated the turning of lead into gold. The modern Holocausters have succeeded in turning blood into gold and, scrambling up on the rotten bodies of their co-religionists, are reaching for the heavens.

The Schindler list story is hysterically funny, when one considers the paperwork on him now extant. Schindler was a Gestapo officer who took part in the Gleiwitz action, set up a munitions factory utilizing captive Jews and was certainly not any kind of a humanitarian. The number of people who believe in these stories is not an indication of their reliability. After all, Christians believe there was a Jesus and that Jesus is coming back again, and there still some in America who believe that George W. Bush is both sane and a good president.

And why not discover more “secret lists” that prove that it was 30 million Jews who were killed? Many enemies, much honor and in this case, larger figures, more loot to be extracted from the suckers.

When faced with the realities of the official records, the typical Holocauster screams with rage and cites his aunt Sophie who was gassed twice, along with the canary. The sainted New York Times has referred, on several occasions of record, that this or that person was a “Holocaust Survivor” (note the reverend capitalization) who died at age 50. Since the Second World War was over in 1945, what “Holocaust” did they survive? An exceptional spring sale at Bloomingdales? Next, we will be reading similar stories about 35 year old Survivors. What did they survive?  The Bush Administration?

I might recommend to readers of fiction, the ‘Painted Bird’ by Kosinski, ‘Fragments’ by Dossecker/Wilkomerski or even the ‘Anne Frank Diary’ by Meyer Levin. And of course, Goldhagen’s howler. The first three references are aimed at the gullible and the latter at congenital idiots.

Of such, then, is someone’s Kingdom of Heaven.

In Genesis we read…”And slime had they for mortar.” We can certainly learn much from the Bible, can’t we?

I believe it was Pascal who said that if you wish to ruin a man, (or his myths) make him a subject of ridicule.


Squatters See a New Frontier in the Empty Homes of Las Vegas

May 14, 2016

by Ian Lovett

New York Times

LAS VEGAS — On a drive through this desert city, the blight from the housing collapse of eight years ago can be seen on almost every block: Overgrown yards and boarded-up windows identify the foreclosed and abandoned homes that still pockmark southern Nevada.

But not all of the dwellings are empty.

Squatters have descended on every corner of the Las Vegas Valley, taking over empty houses in struggling working-class neighborhoods, in upscale planned communities like Summerlin, and everywhere in between. And they often bring a trail of crime with them.

While some unauthorized tenants are families seeking shelter, police officers here say they are more frequently finding chop shops, drug dealers and counterfeiters operating out of foreclosed homes. One man who the police say was squatting has been charged with murdering a neighbor during a burglary.

Even as construction cranes have returned to the Las Vegas Strip and unemployment here has fallen to single digits, the situation is getting worse: the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has received more calls about squatters each year since it began tracking the problem; there were more than 4,000 complaints last year, up 43 percent from 2014 and more than twice as many as in 2012.

Residents say the explosion of squatters has shattered their sense of security, leaving them wary of any new neighbors at a time when the city is still trying to climb back from the depths of the recession.

“Things get out of hand pretty quickly when these people move in,” said Jacquelyn Romero, 59, who has lived in the neighborhood for about 15 years. “We’re trying to do almost like a neighborhood watch, just to keep ourselves safe.”

Like many homeowners here, Ms. Romero does not know how many squatters have taken up residence on her block over the last few years. There was the one who broke into cars on the street, and the one who threatened neighbors with a metal pipe. She is sure there have been others in the neighborhood’s foreclosed and boarded-up homes, but it is sometimes hard to identify them.

The problem has grown so acute that the Nevada Legislature passed a law last fall to make it easier to arrest squatters, who often brandish phony leases in hopes of staying longer in the homes they have taken over.

“People drive through neighborhoods and look for houses that appear to be vacant,” said Lt. Nick Farese, who is leading the police department’s antisquatter efforts. He said that squatters occupied homes across this entire city of 600,000 people, adding that “we have seen a direct correlation between squatter houses and crime — burglaries, theft, robberies, narcotics.”

Several other areas that were hit hard by the housing crisis, like Detroit and parts of Florida, have also dealt with persistent squatters.

In Las Vegas, the crackdown against squatters coincides with a resurgence, albeit modest, in the local housing market. Foreclosures are falling and home prices are creeping upward (though they remain far short of the prerecession peak).

But with a transient population of down-and-out gamblers and a glut of homes that have already been foreclosed, opportunists can still take their pick of thousands of empty houses. Inside one, squatters had scrawled a warning to stay away on a wall: “Violent tweekers on guard.”

In North Las Vegas, Deborah Lewis has seen just about every kind of squatter at the house next door since the owners walked away four years ago.

But there was little that the police could do under Nevada law at that time: If the squatters produced a lease, even if it was clearly a fake, and there was no evidence of breaking and entering, it was considered a civil dispute.

“When do kids have a lease in their back pocket?” Ms. Seaman said. “That’s when I realized how bad it was. I was a legislator and a Realtor, and I felt so helpless.”

Ms. Seaman found that across her district in northwestern Las Vegas squatters had infiltrated even wealthier neighborhoods. So she sponsored a law that established new criminal offenses like unlawful occupancy, which outlaws moving into a vacant home knowing you do not have permission to be there. Violators can face misdemeanor or felony charges.

The new law has hardly been a cure-all, though. Investigating fake leases cases takes time, police officers say, and usually involves finding the legal owner — and owners who walked away from underwater mortgages are not always in the mood to help.

And years of budget cuts during the recession have left local police departments short on resources.

“One of the biggest challenges is carving out time to combat squatters in the middle of the violent crime epidemic we’re facing,” Lieutenant Farese said. “There’s a lack of budget, a lack of manpower.”

Local agencies have started to get creative in their efforts to combat squatters. Banks have slowed a “cash for keys” program that offered residents money to leave foreclosed homes; local elected officials said squatters were making a living moving into one foreclosed house after another, then asking the bank to pay them to move out. Once a home is listed as foreclosed in North Las Vegas, new residents cannot get their water turned on unless they prove legal occupancy.

But squatters are getting creative as well. Some repair broken windows and other damage from past squatters, pretending they own the place, neighbors say. At least one group of alleged squatters filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to keep possession of the $800,000 home in the hills they were occupying, with its pool and views overlooking the Strip. (Repeated calls and knocks on the door at that house went unanswered, even though four people were visible in the living room. The police raided the house and arrested four people on Wednesday.)

In North Las Vegas, Officer Scott Vaughn has investigated 80 squatting cases so far this year, and said he had seen everything: prostitution rings; teenagers using vacant homes for parties; and even a squatter who tried to pull a Jedi mind trick.

First, two women said they had just bought the middle-class home, but they stole water from the neighbors’ outdoor spigots at night, because like most abandoned homes this one had no running water. Then came a group of counterfeiters, who left their printing materials visible from the window, Ms. Lewis said. Later groups tore out the stove, refrigerator and copper wire; broke windows; and burned the kitchen floor. Since water at the house had been shut off, they left feces all over one room, a common problem that creates health hazards. (For electricity, those who can afford it can set up accounts with the power company; those who cannot often run wires to nearby utility boxes.)

“It’s been a total circus — you name it, we’ve had it next door,” Ms. Lewis, 58, said. “It’s scary, because you don’t know if these people are packing. One guy came over here, and he was looking in our window. Scary.”

Real estate agents, who spend much of their time opening up homes they expect will be empty, are particularly at risk.

Victoria Seaman, a Realtor and state assemblywoman who represents Las Vegas, said she realized how serious the problem was after she found herself face to face with squatters. While she was checking on a property she was selling, two children answered the door and showed her a lease that Ms. Seaman said she knew was bogus. The parents said they had found the place on Craigslist and met someone at a casino once a month to pay rent in cash.

“He was staring at me and telling me, ‘You don’t want to arrest me. You want to let me go,’” Officer Vaughn said. “I said, ‘The Force is not on your side today. You’re going to jail.’”


Glock-armed Israeli robot joins ranks of mechanized killers

May 15. 2016


Yet another robot armed with a handgun was presented last week by an Israeli robotics company. A portable remotely operated crawler with a 9mm Glock 26 pistol mounted inside is a crack shot. It can also scout and climb stairs.

“Criminal was killed by robot” might soon become a standard police report. Just as an anonymous “police sniper,” this robot gives the operator a chance to remain anonymous while pressing the red button to relay a kill command.

The DOGO crawling traction tactical combat robot unveiled by Israeli General Robotics Ltd. was developed with counterterrorism in mind. The machine, operated remotely from a Panasonic touchpad, boasts 360-degree vision and audio intercom for conducting negotiations. It can be armed with non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray and flashlight blinders, but it can also serve as an unemotional and lethal terminator.

The robot has special extendable “antennas” that help the compact machine climb stairs quickly. While inactive, the robot can be carried in a backpack.

DOGO’s 12 kilograms is enough to withstand the recoil of a 9mm Glock 26 hidden in its belly. The robot can deliver rapid and accurate fire at a target. The gun’s 14-round magazine is loaded once and can be reloaded by the operator once the mission is over.

“No robot out there on the market is organically designed to engage the target,” Defense News cited Shahar Gal, General Robotics vice president for business development and son of the company’s founder, retired Israeli Colonel Udi Gal.

It takes DOGO mere seconds to be ready to fire after receiving a command to prepare its gun. Six of the robot’s micro-cameras ensure all-around vision while two boresight cameras are used for aiming the weapon.

DOGO’s battery life enables the robot to remain online and active for about four hours.

The company’s founder and chief executive Udi Gal, a former deputy director of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s research and development directorate, says the emphasis was on safety when DODO was designed.

“Our slogan is risk the Dogo, not personnel,” he said.

The idea to arm a robot with a gun is not new, but military units already deployed in various armies are usually armed with machineguns, grenade launchers and antitank rocket systems.

In 2015, a homemade multi-rotor drone with a semiautomatic 9mm handgun mounted on it, built by 18-year-old Austin Haughwout of Clinton, Connecticut, created quite a stir in the US. It flew quite steadily and could fire its weapon accurately.

A “flying gun” drone capable of hovering in the air and shooting a mounted handgun spurred federal investigators into action, with the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives involved.

The idea to strap a flamethrower to a UAV inspired Connecticut authorities to consider making weaponized drones a crime in the state


Eight Turkish soldiers, 22 militants killed as violence widens in southeast

May 13, 2016

by Seyhmus Cakan and Seda Sezer

DIYARBAKIR/ISTANBUL, Turkey  Eight Turkish soldiers and 22 Kurdish militants have been killed in clashes over the last two days, authorities said on Friday, as violence widened in the largely Kurdish southeast following two bombings.

After the collapse of a ceasefire between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the government last July, Turkey’s southeast has seen some of its worst fighting since the height of the Kurdish insurgency in the 1990s.

President Tayyip Erdogan has said the violence, and a concurrent threat from Islamic State militants, justifies Turkey’s broad anti-terror laws, which have become a sticking point with the EU in talks about a landmark deal to stem the flow of illegal migrants to Europe.

“The fight by our security forces in coordination and in harmony with soldiers, police, village guards and all units against terror will continue with determination,” Erdogan said in a statement.


Six soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in clashes with militants in the southeastern Hakkari province near the border with Iraq on Friday, the military said.

Two more were killed in a separate incident when a helicopter crashed in Hakkari due to a technical fault, the military said. Six PKK militants were also killed in an operation in that region.

In the nearby Siirt province, one militant was killed when security forces pursued vehicles attempting to flee a security check, the local governor’s office said. They found 200 kilograms of explosives in one of the vehicles.

On Thursday, 15 militants were killed in clashes in Sirnak province, the military said.

The military has also carried out regular air strikes against PKK camps in mountainous northern Iraq. A total of 140 militants have been killed in such attacks between April 29 and May 10, broadcaster NTV said, citing the military.

The widening violence follows two bombings on Thursday.

Four suspected bomb makers were killed and 23 people were wounded when an explosion ripped through a village in the southeast as PKK militants loaded explosives onto a small truck, the government said.

(Reporting by Seda Sezer; Editing by David Dolan and Nick Tattersall; editing by Ralph Boulton)


Canada wildfire: why a sleeping giant awoke in Alberta and became relentless

Those on the front lines ask what made this fire of ‘unprecedented speed’ different from the hundreds of other blazes that ignite yearly in the region

May 15, 2016

by Ashifa Kassam

The Guardian

A multi-headed monster. An animal of fire. The Beast.

As it raged out of control across northern Alberta and burst into Fort McMurray with unparalleled ferocity, the wildfire began racking up a list of colourful nicknames.

Within the span of a few days, the blaze had swelled in size, from some 1,200 hectares to more than 220,000. It cut a path of destruction through Fort McMurray, a city in the heart of Alberta’s oilsands, forcing the evacuation of more than 88,000 people and flattening some parts of the city, leaving a trail of charred rubble in its wake.

Few on the front lines had ever seen anything like it. “It’s an unprecedented fire with respect to the rate it spread, how it involved the community,” said regional fire chief Darby Allen earlier this week, after cooler temperatures and higher humidity allowed crews to get a handle on the fire.

“The way this thing happened, the way it travelled, the way it behaved, they’re rewriting their formulas on how fires behave, based on this fire,” he said.

So what made this fire different from the hundreds of others that ignite yearly in the region, or other wildfires around the world? “We’ve had faster fires speeds, we’ve had bigger fires, but this one in terms of impact and where it landed, it is definitely historic,” explained Chad Morrison, Alberta’s manager of wildfire prevention.

A 2011 fire in northern Alberta grew to more than 700,000 hectares. Another in 1951 burned some1.4 million hectares, becoming one of the largest recorded fires ever seen in North America. But these fires burned in remote areas of the province, Morrison said. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a community of this size and scale be impacted by a wildfire of this size and ferocity.”

The fire pitted firefighting crews – often more used to battling blazing houses or apartments – against a wildfire capable of sweeping through entire neighbourhoods. Firefighters managed to save around 85% of the city, relinquishing an estimated 2,400 homes and buildings to the flames.

The cause of the extreme fire, which first ignited in a remote forested area, remains under investigation.

Shifting winds early last week saw the fire swiftly transform from one that was largely in control into a raging blaze that breached the boundaries of Fort McMurray. At one point the fire managed to jump a kilometre-wide river.

“No amount of tankers, or resources or no size of firebreak could have prevented it from hitting the community that day,” Morrison said. “Sometimes Mother Nature is going to do what it wants to do and bad things happen.”

The “nasty, dirty” fire – in the words of the local fire chief – surprised scientists by igniting its own fires, said Mike Flannigan who studies wildland fire at Edmonton’s University of Alberta.

Fuelled by tinder and helped along by unseasonably warm weather and low humidity, the fire released massive amounts of energy as it moved, creating its own weather and lightning. Fires that produce lightning are not unheard of, said Flannigan. “But this one generated lightning and then generated new fire starts. That’s the first time I’ve heard this.”

As the fire made headlines around the world, many were quick to link its extreme behaviour to climate change. But Kerry Anderson, a fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, said the long-term records needed to firmly establish whether this link exists. “We know that forest fires occurred 100 years ago, but its not really until the last 15 or 20 years that we’ve gotten a fairly reliable record of the fire area being burned every year.”

He pointed to the current El Niño event to explain the extreme fire. A mild winter in Canada saw the fire season start some four weeks earlier than usual and helped created the tinder-dry conditions. “Fire is a natural part of the environment in Canada… If it weren’t for fires, mature forests would suddenly be susceptible to fire and disease.”

Others say climate change could make these kinds of extreme fire events become the new normal. “We have a temperature and it’s turning into a fever and we’re trying to ignore it,” said Tim Lynham, a fire behaviour expert with Natural Resources Canada.

Climate warming has seen snow melt earlier, leaving soil and vegetation drier and helping to push the fire season to begin earlier. The result is a longer period of the year when fires can occur, said Lynham. “And with that will come more threats to communities.”

More than 500 firefighters continue to fight the blaze in northern Alberta. Its growth has slowed in recent days and its size now hovers around 241,000 hectares. Winds have helped shift its movement away from the communities.

Across Alberta, where more than 15 wildfires are currently burning, firefighters continue to aggressively focus on the fire they call The Beast, all too conscious of its latent strength and power to wreak havoc.

“It’s kind of a sleeping giant in that forested area,” Morrison said. “And some day when it gets hot and dry again, it’s going to wake up and go for a little walk in the forest and burn some more.”





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