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TBR News May 19, 2017

May 19 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 19, 2017: “Now that Sweden has dropped the fake rape charges against Julian Assange, the US government is becoming violently determined to lay their hands on him.

They want to try him for treason. Since Assange is an Australian, not an American, treason is total nonsense.

But the US government is run by total nonsense and if they think that by burning Assange at the stake in public, as they would dearly like to do, they would stop highly damaging WikiLeaks releases, they are, as usual, deluded fools.

This is similar to a cry anguish of a woman whose husband has just been arrestd for extensive child molesting, ‘These people are ruining my family!’”

 

Table of Contents

  • The Washington Post: America’s #1 source of mass hysteria
  • Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy
  • Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
  • What you need to know about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign
  • Better Call Bob! Mueller Is the Lawyer You Bring In to Handle Politically Toxic Situations
  • The Myopic Campaign to Make Russia a Pariah
  • When wolves return to the wild, everything changes
  • The Numbers Game: An Analysis of Demographics in Holocaust Literature
  • GOP senators to Turkey: Apologize for DC brawl

The Washington Post: America’s #1 source of mass hysteria

May 18, 2017

by Robert Bridge

RT

The most widely circulated publication in Washington DC, a weapon of mass distribution, has sparked a political firestorm with an unsubstantiated report leveled against – any guesses? – President Donald Trump and his supposed bromance with Putin’s Russia.

Dear reader, if that opening summary gives you a sense of déjà vu, you’re not alone. We’ve been down this dark road before; it’s not a bad dream. It’s just The Washington Post’s latest addition to the steaming compost pile, featuring lies, fabrication and fake news aimed at protecting the Swamp monsters at all cost.

“President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State,” the Bezos-owned Post reported, blatantly bereft of a single verifiable source.

Thus was launched the latest salvo in The Post’s non-stop fake news campaign, apparently to compromise the 45th President of the United States to such a degree that calls for his impeachment will be a foregone conclusion (Incidentally, The Post, judging by a Trump hit-piece that appeared just one day before the latest bombshell, seems to be at the forefront of that movement).

The Post article in question was polluted with wholly subjective comments sprinkled with some half-baked truths: “For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.”

First, some fact-checking. Russia is only an “adversary” of the United States to the degree the American media proclaims it to be. After all, Russia has taken upon itself the unenviable task of routing Islamic State in Syria, and with stunning success. Major Syrian cities, like Palmyra and Aleppo, have been liberated from the terrorist yoke. And let’s not forget that before Russia appeared on the scene, ISIS somehow found the time to run a profitable oil-export business through a loophole on the Turkish border. What next? ISIS issuing IPOs on Wall Street? Russia put an end to that startup venture in short order. All things considered, one would think Washington would be seeking more “enemies” like Russia, which seems to be Trump’s rationale.

Concerning allegations that Trump somehow was wrong to share intelligence with Russia that involved Islamic State, even The Post admitted that “Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets.” Yet, several lines later, it performed a perfect flip-flop into the shallow end, saying: “At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others.”

Then, to conceal its tracks into the jungle of fake news, The Post was forced to ratchet up the intrigue, alleging that “the partner” who had provided the intelligence (the identity of the “partner” – like so much in this story – remains a source of speculation) “had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia.” Really? Let’s be honest. Would any other US Commander-in-Chief aside from Donald J. Trump be blamed for not sitting on smoking intelligence if it meant thwarting an ISIS attack? Probably not. So why the double-standards when it comes to The Donald?

There is another serious matter here that few are mentioning, and that is the identity of these serial leakers. As Trump could be practically heard screaming over Twitter, where is the investigation into these high-level loud mouths? More importantly, why is the media not using more discretion when quoting such sources? Which leads us to the real question: are these “leaks” in reality nothing more than fake news dressed up like bonafide facts?

Whatever the case may be, the US mainstream media in general and The Washington Post, in particular, are ramping up domestic tensions to levels rarely seen before. The stakes are high. The reason is because Trump refuses to do the bidding of the Deep State, not to mention the ‘media industrial complex, which is hell-bent on war in Syria. Proof of that assertion was readily available when Trump bombed a desolate Syrian airfield in early April.

Establishment cheerleader Fareed Zakaria led the round-table rabble when he gleefully gushed, “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States” following the Syrian fireworks display. Really, Fareed? All it took was that little rusty hook – the promise of another US military invasion – to drag you over to Team Trump? Now that Trump is showing a willingness to cooperate with Russia, thereby dashing the fantasies of those media warmongers who – like MSNBC anchor Brian Williams getting all misty-eyed at the “beauty of our weapons” – must start reviling him all over again.

History of Fakery

Since 2013, when the Graham family sold the newspaper to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash, the publication has morphed into some sort of political parody knockoff of the National Enquirer. It’s new motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” emblazoned below its title, seems to serve more like a funeral epitaph than any guiding principle that it dutifully follows.

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If so, then a lot of readers of The Washington Post must be insane, unless they are not expecting a different result, which would be fact-based reporting without some political ax to grind. In that case, regular readers of The Post who don’t expect different results are not necessarily clinically insane, but rather happily delusional.

Since the public has a rather notorious short memory when it comes to news, here’s a quick trip down the Memory Road of WaPo Fake News.

  1. Comey goes Begging?

After Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, The Washington Post reported Comey had just sought more funds from the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s alleged ties to the Russians.

However, apparently, The Post never bothered to ring up the Department of Justice, because as it turned out Comey never requested more funds.

  1. DOJ hissy fit?

The Post, quoting a “person close to the White House (perchance a lost tourist?),” reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, the man to whom Comey reported, threatened to resign following the decision to fire Comey.

Yet here we have a video of Rosenstein himself denying that he had considered resigning.

  1. Spicer in the bushes?

Following news of Comey’s firing, The Post, apparently in some lame effort to sound like a Saturday Night Live episode, reported that Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, was “hidden in the darkness and among the bushes” trying to avoid reporters.

When that was proven to be yet another steaming pile of horse manure, The Post was forced to add this note to the fake story

EDITOR’S NOTE:This story has been updated to more precisely describe White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s location late Tuesday night in the minutes before he briefed reporters. Spicer huddled with his staff among bushes near television sets on the White House grounds, not “in the bushes,” as the story originally stated.

  1. Russians turned off the lights?

And then there was the time The Post reported that a “Russian operation” was responsible for hacking into the state of Vermont’s power grid? The story is still sitting there, in fact, carrying the same scaremongering headline, positioned over yet another Editor’s Note divesting Russian hackers of any blame:

Editor’s Note: “An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the US electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.”

  1. The Post decides what’s fake

Finally, the mother of all ironies. The Post’s crown gem of all fake news was essentially a fake news story blaming Russia – and a host of alternative websites – for spreading fake news. I kid you not. In fact, much of the unfounded hysteria over “Russia hacking American democracy” resulted from a now debunked Post article that used material from a group called PropOrNot, which, despite proclaiming to gauge the media on behalf of the public, shuns the public spotlight, preferring anonymity. The Post article by one Craig Timberg alleged “a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy…”

PropOrNot issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its opinion, “echoed” Russian propaganda.

So next we’ll be banning echos, I guess.

*WaPo’s Editorial Note that accompanies the above-mentioned ‘scoop’ is so lengthy I must, regrettably, refer the reader to The Washington Post to read it online.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that The Post’s latest bit of insanity against Trump and Russia comes at a time when an ongoing investigation into the murder of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, DC street, has taken a very interesting and disturbing turn.

Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor, said his efforts are pointing to Rich having made contact with WikiLeaks before his untimely death.

Why is this important? Because of all the possible suspects to have leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks, thus possibly sidetracking Hillary Clinton’s hopes for the White House, it seems that Mr. Rich, who was the Voter Expansion Data Director at the DNC, was far ahead of Russia on that score.

Yet US media scoffed at any attempt to make a connection between Mr. Rich and the DNC leaks, even after WikiLeaks decided in August to issue a US $20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of the young staffer. It’s important to note that WikiLeaks never said Rich was the source of the leaked emails. And Washington metropolitan police reported his killing was related to a robbery gone awry.

Nevertheless, Wheeler’s recent comments are raising some eyebrows. In fact, The Washington Post would have performed much more of a public service by examining this story rather than seeing a Russian behind every tree.

“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Wheeler said. “I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the DC police or FBI headquarters.”

Coincidence or not, The Washington Post story on Trump allegedly passing intelligence to the Russians was published less than an hour after the Seth Rich story broke.

 

Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

May 19 2017

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their seven-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their seven-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

But that celebration obscures several ironies. The most glaring of which is that the legal jeopardy Assange now faces is likely greater than ever.

Almost immediately after the decision by Swedish prosecutors, British police announced that they would nonetheless arrest Assange if he tried to leave the embassy. Police said Assange was still wanted for the crime of “failing to surrender” – meaning that instead of turning himself in upon issuance of his 2012 arrest warrant, he obtained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. The British police also, however, noted that this alleged crime is “a much less serious offence” than the one that served as the basis for the original warrant, and that the police would therefore only “provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.”

That could perhaps imply that with a seriously reduced police presence, Assange could manage to leave the embassy without detection and apprehension. All relevant evidence, however, negates that assumption.

Just weeks ago, Donald Trump’s CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, delivered an angry, threatening speech about WikiLeaks in which he argued: “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” The CIA Director vowed to make good on this threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

Days later, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly suggested that the Trump DOJ would seek to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks on espionage charges in connection with the group’s publication of classified documents. Trump officials then began leaking to news outlets such as CNN that “US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

For years, the Obama DOJ had extensively considered the possibility of prosecuting WikiLeaks and Assange, even convening a Grand Jury that subpoenaed multiple witnesses. Though the Obama DOJ refused to say they had terminated that investigation – which is what caused Ecuador to continue to fear persecution – Obama officials strongly signaled that there was no way to prosecute WikiLeaks without also prosecuting news organizations that published the same documents, or at least creating a precedent that would endanger First Amendment press freedoms. As the Washington Post reported in 2013:

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.

That same article noted that “officials stressed that a formal decision has not been made, and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impaneled.” But it seemed that, under Obama, prosecution was highly unlikely.

But the Trump administration – at least if one believes its multiple statements and threats – appears unconstrained by those concerns. They appear determined to prosecute WikiLeaks, which has published numerous secret CIA hacking documents this year.

Press freedom groups, along with the ACLU and some journalists, such as the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, have warned of the grave dangers such a prosecution would pose to media outlets around the world. But that seems an unlikely impediment to an administration that has made clear that they regard the press as an enemy.

Indeed, Sessions himself refused to rule out the possibility that the prosecution of Assange could lead to the criminal prosecution of other news organizations that publish classified documents. Trump’s leading candidate to replace James Comey as FBI Director, Joe Lieberman, has long called for the prosecution not only of WikiLeaks but also possibly media outlets such as the New York Times that publish the same classified information. And anonymous sources recently claimed to the New York Times that when Trump met with Comey early on in his administration, the new U.S. President expressly inquired about the possibility of prosecuting news outlets.

The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears farther away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.

Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The move brings to an end a 7-year legal stand-off, but UK police may still arrest him.

May 19, 2017

DW

Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said Friday the investigation into the rape allegations would not proceed because “there’s no possibility of arresting Assange in the foreseeable future.”

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape. The 45-year-old, who denies the allegations, has said he feared Swedish authorities would extradite him to the United States, where he said he could face the death penalty for Wikileaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.

n documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward. “We are not making a statement about his guilt,” she stressed, adding that the investigation could be reopened if Assange came to Sweden before the statute of limitations runs out in 2020.

Friday was the deadline for prosecutors to renew or lift the warrant for Assange’s arrest.

UK arrest warrant still valid

While Friday’s announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden, there is no guarantee he will be able to walk free.

British police said Assange is still wanted in Britain for jumping bail in 2012 and that they would be obliged to arrest him “should he leave the embassy.” Breaching bail is punishable by up to one year in prison.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that any action concerning Assange were he to leave the embassy would be an operational matter for the British police. Asked if she would support Britain extraditing him to the US, the prime minister replied: “We look at extradition requests when we receive them on a case by case basis.”

WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the ball was now in the UK’s court. “UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.”

Some legal experts have said Sweden’s action makes Assange’s position more precarious because Britain had previously been bound to give priority to Sweden’s extradition request over any warrant from the US. Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: “Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any US extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden.”

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to “grant safe passage” out of the country to Assange.

Assange: My name was slandered

Assange’s lawyer Per E Samuelsson told Swedish Radio the decision was “a total victory” for his client. But Assange later wrote on Twitter that he would “not forgive or forget.”

“Detained for seven years without charge…while my children grew up and my name was slandered,” the WikiLeaks founder said.

A lawyer for the woman who accused Assange of rape slammed the decision to drop the investigation. “It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts,” Lawyer Elisabeth Fritz said in a statement. “My client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape.”

Assange, an Australian national, was questioned in November in the presence of a Swedish prosecutor. He has repeatedly reiterated his innocence and said the sex was consensual.

What you need to know about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign

Ex-FBI director Robert Mueller has been appointed as special counsel to probe possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign

May 18, 2017

by Michael Knigge

DW

What’s the scope of the special counsel investigation?

According to the order appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel, he is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

The order also states – and this could broadly expand the reach of the probe – that the special counsel can look into “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” and “any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”

The latter paragraph refers to the jurisdiction of a special counsel and authorizes him or her to also “investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.”

Taken together, this means that while the original focus of the investigation is to look into possible ties between the Kremlin and Trump associates during the presidential campaign, the scope of the probe can be expanded if merited by what is discovered. It is also noteworthy in light of recent events surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey that the special counsel in the course of his probe can also investigate federal crimes such as “obstruction of justice” and “intimidation of witnesses.”

“That’s the nature of these investigations – that once you begin to look at one set of issues, one quickly realizes that they are connected to others,” said James Davis, an American scholar and dean of the School of Economics and Political Science at St. Gallen University in Switzerland.

Who is Robert Mueller anyway?

Mueller was nominated as director of the FBI by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001 and served under Bush, as well as under his Democratic successor Barack Obama, until 2013. That the native New Yorker, a trained lawyer, is prepared to act independently if necessary and is not easily scared by political pressure is best evidenced by a climactic episode that curiously also involves James Comey.

In 2004 FBI director Mueller, together with James Comey, then deputy attorney general, rejected demands from the White House to reinstate the controversial domestic surveillance that had been put in place by the Bush administration after 9/11. When the White House overruled them, they threatened to resign until they received presidential assurances that the program would be overhauled.

“He is a guy who has a lot of integrity on both sides of the aisle, as well as within the FBI and the Department of Justice, so I think this is a good choice,” said Davis.

What powers does a special counsel have?

Essentially, a special counsel has the same powers as a regular federal prosecutor, with the difference being that he or she operates outside of the normal Justice Department hierarchy. Special counsels have their own budget, can hire their own staff, and investigate, subpoena and prosecute individuals.

But how independent is the special counsel from the Trump administration?

If, as reported, the White House really did learn only one hour ahead of the public that a special counsel had been appointed, this could serve as an indication of the Justice Department’s desire to show that this really is an independent investigation.

It is also noteworthy because the two top officials at the Justice Department have now essentially taken themselves out of the Russia investigation.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already recused himself from the probe in March. And since his deputy Rod Rosenstein wrote the official recommendation to fire Comey, he has now also been drawn into the Russia-Comey matter and therefore will likely try to steer clear of the investigation as much as possible.

“Every effort has been made that he can operate as independently as possible,” said Davis.

How dangerous is this for President Trump himself?

“It’s a very dangerous situation if the president has something to hide,” said Davis, because Mueller will follow wherever the investigation will take him. “We just don’t know what type of pressure the president will put on Mueller. But I have no doubts that he is up to that task.”

To be clear, it is also entirely possible, as the president has said, that the investigation will reveal no wrongdoing on his part.

How long will the investigation take?

The investigation is open-ended, and at this point it is impossible to say how long it might take and what its outcome could be. Mueller will first need some time to set up his office before he can really begin with the probe. How long the investigation takes then depends on what Mueller does or does not find.

“This is all going to keep us busy in the summer and into the fall and perhaps, depending on what’s found, going forward,” said Davis.

Better Call Bob! Mueller Is the Lawyer You Bring In to Handle Politically Toxic Situations

May 18, 2017

by Trevor Aaronson

The Intercept

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he called on Washington’s consummate clean-up man.

A decorated Marine in the Vietnam War, Mueller has established an unmatched reputation in government and in the private sector as the guy you bring in when the situation is too politically toxic for anyone else. Last year, a federal judge appointed him to help settle more than 500 lawsuits against Volkswagen for its use of software to hide excess vehicle emissions. The NFL tasked him with writing a report about Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice’s assault of his then-fiancée in an elevator. And Booz Allen Hamilton, the former employer of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, hired Mueller to conduct a review after another employee, Harold Martin, removed classified NSA information.

A former U.S. attorney in San Francisco, Mueller was appointed as FBI director a week before September 11, 2001. When Al Qaeda hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington, D.C., and crashed another in a field in Pennsylvania, Mueller headed the investigation of the largest crime scene in FBI history. At the same time, President George W. Bush gave his new FBI director a mandate: never another attack.

Mueller’s job was to transform the FBI overnight from an organization set up to investigate crimes after they occurred to one that could collect intelligence and prevent the next attack. The bureau Mueller took charge of was hardly equipped for the transformation. The FBI had just a handful of agents who could speak Arabic, and the most ambitious and talented agents viewed counterterrorism and counterintelligence as career dead ends.

Dale Watson, the counterterrorism section chief Mueller inherited, was once asked in a deposition if he knew the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. “Not technically, no,” Watson answered. When asked if he thought someone in his position should know the difference, Watson responded, “To some degree, yes.”

Watson was indicative of the FBI at the time. Mueller’s predecessor, Louis Freeh, was a Luddite who had resisted efforts to give FBI agents unfettered Internet access for investigative work. As a result, when the 9/11 attacks occurred, agents were forced to fax around photos of the suspected hijackers.

The Bush administration reorganized the government after 9/11, creating the Department of Homeland Security. But Mueller succeeded in pushing back on early proposals to split the FBI into a law enforcement agency and an intelligence agency. Mueller insisted that the FBI could be both, arguing that there were advantages to marrying law enforcement powers with counterterrorism, intelligence and counterintelligence mandates. He reshuffled the FBI and created a new executive assistant director position for intelligence, elevating the importance of intelligence and counterintelligence programs.

“I am committed to the closest possible cooperation with the intelligence community and other government agencies,” Mueller told Congress in 2003.

Mueller was at times a measuring influence on some of the Bush administration’s more draconian instincts. In 2004, Mueller and Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who would later succeed him as head of the FBI, threatened to quit over the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Yet Mueller wasn’t a consistent critic of broadening surveillance powers. He oversaw an expansion of the FBI’s human intelligence apparatus to more than 15,000 informants — 10 times more than the FBI had during the Church Committee investigations of COINTELPRO — and approved mass surveillance programs of Muslims in the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the FBI over warrantless surveillance of Muslims in southern California, for which the Justice Department declared the state secrets privilege by asserting that the release of information related to the litigation would harm national security. Mueller also expanded the FBI’s use of stings to catch would-be terrorists, a practice Human Rights Watch found “often targeted particularly vulnerable people, including those with intellectual and mental disabilities and the indigent.”

At the same time, Mueller battled strife from within as he transformed the bureau to function more as a counter-terrorism and intelligence agency. One of his agents, Bassem Youssef, filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2003, alleging the bureau had a “glass ceiling” for employees of Middle Eastern origin and that the FBI continued to promote agents into counterterrorism positions despite lacking knowledge of Arabic and Middle Eastern culture. When asked about this in a deposition, Mueller stood by his hiring and promotion practices. “There are a number of qualities that go into making a leader, a number of skill sets that are necessary to be effective,” he said.

FBI directors are only supposed to serve a maximum 10-year term, a limit to prevent another J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the FBI and its predecessor organization, the Bureau of Investigation, from 1924 to 1972. Demonstrating Mueller’s bipartisan support, President Obama requested a two-year extension for the director, which Congress approved.

As FBI director for 12 years, Mueller changed the FBI from within. Counterterrorism and counterintelligence went from career dead ends to the sections the most ambitious agents applied to work in, and the budgets ballooned. In 2013, Mueller’s last year as director, counterterrorism and counterintelligence received more than $3.3 billion, the largest single expenditure in the FBI budget.

“The FBI has always adapted to meet new threats. And we must continue to evolve, because terrorists, spies, and hackers certainly will,” Mueller said in a November 2011 speech.

Now that he’s heading the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, Mueller is in a unique position to protect his and the FBI’s legacy. He has an opportunity to display what he has long argued — that the bureau can act as an effective counterintelligence agency while, at the same time, bringing criminal charges when appropriate. He has skin in this game, and for the Trump administration, this should be concerning.

The Myopic Campaign to Make Russia a Pariah

Reporting on the Oval Office conversation is the latest salvo.

May 16, 2017

by Ted Galen Carpenter

The American Conservative

During the 2016 presidential election cycle, there was a largely partisan effort to portray Donald Trump and his advisors as being under undue Russian influence. Now that campaign has turned into something much broader, uglier, and more dangerous. It has become a crusade to make Russia a pariah and impugn the loyalty and ethics of anyone who advocates even a modestly less confrontational relationship with that country.

The latest salvo in that campaign is a May 15 Washington Post story charging that President Trump revealed highly classified information to two Russian officials, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, during a meeting at the White House. The clear implication was that this alleged sharing of intelligence data was highly improper, if not treasonous.

National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and other officials flatly denied that any information regarding intelligence sources and methods was given to the Russians. Even if Trump had done so, he violated no laws. It has been well established for decades that the president can instantly declassify any materials and share them with any individual he chooses. Since the information in question apparently involved ISIS terror plans, including using computer laptops to smuggle bombs on board commercial aircraft, it would not be surprising if the administration was willing to share its knowledge with Russian officials. Russia has been the victim of Islamic terrorist attacks on several occasions and is a de facto ally in the war against ISIS.

The underlying message in the Washington Post story—and the subsequent comments by prominent Democrats and their allies in the media—is that close cooperation with Moscow, even on anti-terrorism measures, is illegitimate. That is merely the latest stage in an intensifying anti-Russia hysteria. Russophobes have portrayed not only Trump and his associates, but scholars and journalists who have no affiliation with the administration, as “Putin puppets” if they dare favor anything less than an ultra-hardline policy toward that country. Victims of such smears include Princeton Professor Stephen Cohen, a longtime distinguished scholar on the Soviet Union and Russia, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan, former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, and TAC columnist Daniel Larison.

Such tactics echo the worst excesses of the McCarthy era in the 1950s and threaten to poison the public discourse. They also risk applying to Russia what has been an especially counterproductive feature of U.S. foreign policy over the decades. Often in response to public and congressional pressure, American leaders have attempted to make designated governments diplomatic and economic pariahs. Washington refused to have any direct dealings with Communist China from 1949 until Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon abandoned that strategy in the early 1970s. A similar approach was in effect regarding Cuba from 1960 until President Obama began to normalize ties in 2014. An isolation strategy existed toward Vietnam for more than 20 years following the communist conquest of South Vietnam in 1975. Until a very limited rapprochement occurred over the past two years, the same state of affairs existed with respect to Iran. And there is only the occasional glimmer of a beneficial policy shift regarding the decades-long campaign of isolation against North Korea.

All of those isolation policies had one feature in common: They were miserable failures. In some cases the results were merely frustrating and disappointing—as with Cuba, Iran, and Vietnam. Using that strategy toward China was disastrous, however, leading to a bloody clash during the Korean War, two instances of nearly stumbling into war over Taiwan, and the U.S. pondering an attack to eliminate Beijing’s embryonic nuclear program in the mid-1960s. The current ominous tensions regarding North Korea indicate that the policy could produce equally unfortunate results there, perhaps even triggering a second Korean War.

Given that dismal track record, an attempt to make Russia a pariah would be the essence of folly. Not only is Russian cooperation valuable in addressing a number of mutual problems, including Islamic terrorism and defusing the North Korea crisis, but Russia remains an important player overall in the international system. Being on bad terms with—much less trying to isolate—a power that possesses several thousand nuclear warheads is criminally reckless. The current anti-Russia hysteria is not only extremely damaging to America’s internal political health; it also could produce catastrophic international consequences.

When wolves return to the wild, everything changes

Top predators like wolves have a powerful effect on their ecosystems, and if they are taken away, a strange phenomenon can happen

May 17, 2017

by Yao-Hua Law

BBC News

In late March 1995, the USA’s Yellowstone National Park received a special delivery. Fourteen grey wolves, flown in two months earlier from the Canadian Rockies, were released into the park. Neighbouring Idaho received fifteen wolves. Wolves howling in the snow, not heard in these forests since their extermination 60 years before, trumpeted their return.

Scientists had intended to reintroduce and conserve grey wolves in their original habitats. They did not foresee that the wolves, with blood on their teeth and claws, would restore leaves to the trees.

In fact, it seems the return of the wolves has had remarkable consequences for the entire Yellowstone ecosystem. The story illustrates how the presence or absence of a top predator can utterly reshape an ecosystem.

In Yellowstone, the wolves quickly reclaimed their spot as top predator. Ecologist William Ripple of Oregon State University has been studying the wolves since their return. He found that, within a decade of their release, the wolves had cut the number of elk – their main prey – by half. The surviving elks avoided the wolves’ core range and stayed on the periphery. Woody trees like aspen and willow, which had been chewed and trimmed by zealous elks, now grew tall and lush.

The wolves’ rivals, such as coyotes, also suffered their wrath. “Coyotes are very scared of wolves,” says Ripple, who has seen the wolves’ aggression towards coyotes in Yellowstone. “Wolves will chase coyotes, kill them, and even consume them sometimes. Wolves do not like coyotes at all.”

In the Lamar River Valley in Yellowstone, coyote densities dropped almost 40% after the wolf reintroduction. In neighbouring Grand Teton National Park, coyote densities fell by 30% in the presence of wolves. Pronghorn fawns, which coyotes prey on, survived better where there were more wolves and fewer coyotes.

Ripple and Thomas Newsome, an ecologist at Deakin University, found that across North America, coyotes retreated where wolves roamed. In turn red foxes, the prey and competitor of coyotes, increased. Ripple and Newsome derived their findings from fur harvest records from eight provinces and states.

“We found on a large geographic scale that wolves suppress coyote and release foxes, because foxes are small and do not compete with wolves,” says Ripple. “So, foxes benefited from wolves suppressing coyotes.”

In most ecosystems, every species eats and is eaten by various others. You can picture this as a ladder. The top predator claims the highest rung; mesopredators, which are smaller predators that are eaten by the top predator, sit one rung lower; and so on to plants on the bottom rung.

This means that top predators put a cap on the numbers of mesopredators. If top predators dwindle or disappear, the cap is lifted, and mesopredator numbers should surge. This idea is called the “mesopredator release hypothesis”.

Mesopredators, released in the absence of top predators, can potentially claim dominance. If that happens, species down the ladder have to contend with an unbridled mesopredator.

In the decades after grey wolves were hunted out of the USA, coyote numbers rose while wild rabbit and hare numbers plummeted. From coast to coast, snowshoe hares, white-tailed jackrabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits and pygmy rabbits were added to species-of-concern lists. Some were wiped out locally. Evidence suggests that coyotes caused the rabbit and hare’s demise.

When the released mesopredator is an invasive species, the consequences can be drastic.

“In Australia, we have lost thirty mammal species over the last 200 years,” says Newsome. “That’s half of the world mammal extinctions in Australia alone.” Such extinction rates greatly exceed past records.

Europeans reached Australia in the 1600s, bringing the tides of change that eventually swept aside the continent’s biodiversity. Humans and their livestock now dominate the wetter, richer environments of Australia, while introduced herbivores like camels and goats graze the arid parts. As their foods shrunk and competition spiked, native animals faltered.

However, for many of the extinct animals the final blow might likely have come from two invasive predators: the red fox and domestic cat. A 2006 study suggested that predation by foxes and feral cats was a key force driving many native rodents, marsupials and birds into decline or extinction.

Despite their deadly impact, foxes and cats are not the top predators in Australia. They are mesopredators, weighing only 6kg and 4kg on average respectively. Larger marsupial predators once reigned over Australia, but they are just bones and dirt now. Today, a canine, the dingo sits atop the ladder in mainland Australia.

Looking much like a dog, the dingo weighs about 20kg. It too was brought into Australia by humans, 3,500-5,000 years ago, and used to live across most of mainland Australia. But when dingoes started attacking sheep, people fought back.

Dingoes were trapped, shot and poisoned in and around sheep farms. Australians were so keen to exclude dingoes that they built a wire fence 5,500km long and up to 2m high. The Dingo Barrier Fence, completed in 1946, keeps dingoes out of the sheep pastures of south-east Australia. South of the fence remains an almost dingo-free sheep haven.

However, it turns out the Dingo Barrier Fence affects more than dingoes.

In a 2011 study, scientists compared sites on either sides of the fence and found more small mammals on the dingo side. There were also fewer foxes on the dingo side. What’s more, when scientists began to relate the distributions of dingoes, foxes and small animals, they found a consistent pattern elsewhere beyond the vicinity of the fence. Where dingoes live, there were fewer foxes and more small animals like greater bilbies, dusky hopping mice, rock wallabies, painted dragons and malleefowl.

Since dingoes and foxes compete for many of the same prey, it is easy to imagine the bigger dingoes dominating foxes through brute force. Like wolves limiting coyotes in North America, dingoes in Australia seem to suppress foxes. However, the evidence is less clear as to whether dingoes suppress the feral cats that are Australia’s other major mesopredator.

The success of the grey wolf reintroduction into the Yellowstone ecosystem, and the positive response of the ecosystem to the return of its top predator, has prompted some scientists to consider reintroducing dingoes to their original habitats.

Of 30 extinct mammal species in Australia, “at least 20 are attributed to the predation of red foxes and feral cats in the absence of dingoes,” says Newsome. Because studies have suggested that “in the presence of dingoes you can have fewer foxes and maybe fewer cats, and you have higher survival of native mammals, I think this is something we should explore further and pursue as a conservation tool.”

However, the return of a top predator could also wreak havoc.

The top predator might have a severe impact on mesopredators, or on prey that are close to extinction. The story of wild dogs, and their struggle in the wake of the reintroductions of lions to parts of Africa, highlights the dire consequences.

Wild dogs are Africa’s most endangered large carnivores. A 2012 census put the population at fewer than 1,400 adults. On average, one and three out of every ten wild dog adults and pups are killed by lions, respectively. Lions are death manifest for wild dogs.

A study published in December 2016 detailed the conflict between wild dogs and lions in the Savé Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe.

The conservancy received three lions in 1995, and had fewer than ten by 1999. Another ten were released in 2005, and the population had exceeded 100 by the late 2000s. Meanwhile, wild dogs recolonised the conservancy in the early 1990s and their numbers peaked in 2004. To understand the impact of lions on wild dogs, scientists examined how wild dog numbers and den sites changed between the periods 1996-1999 and 2010-2013, when lion numbers were low and high, respectively.

The growing lion pride knocked the wild dogs off their stride. The lions took to hunting in impala-rich areas, so to avoid them wild dogs shifted their dens to rugged areas with fewer impalas. Even so, their pack sizes shrunk by one-third and pup numbers halved. At least 30% and 70% of wild dog adults’ and pups’ deaths, respectively, were caused by lions in 2010-2013; there were no such casualties in 1996-1999.

The issue may be that wild dogs huddle near their dens for three months to raise newborns, making them easy pickings for lions. Wild dogs breed only once a year, and lions kill more pups than the dogs can produce. In effect, Savé Valley Conservancy may end up trading wild dogs for lions.

In Australia, reintroducing dingoes might also plunge some endangered animals into the same plight as wild dogs

Wild greater bilbies in central Australia are often eaten by foxes and cats, and evidence suggests that dingoes can relieve bilbies by controlling foxes, says ecologist Euan Ritchie of Deakin University. But in particularly small bilby populations, “putting dingoes [in] could just tip them over the edge.”

Similar concerns have been raised over dingo predation on the critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat. “There are surely areas in Australia where you wouldn’t rush to put dingoes back, because that could contribute to extinction of critically endangered animals,” says Ritchie.

On top of that, there is the conflict between sheep and dingoes. “Dingoes and sheep don’t mix,” says Peter Fleming, a pest researcher at Australia’s Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. The issue is that dingoes kill more sheep than they eat. “If you have dingoes with your sheep, they will continue to kill your sheep until your sheep’s all gone or the dingoes die.”

Socio-economic issues aside, scientists are yet to agree on the impact of dingoes on mesopredators.

Some scientists, like Fleming, insist that only experiments can confirm whether a mesopredator release will happen. For that, dingoes should either be added into or removed from multiple sites, and mesopredators monitored over time and compared against sites without dingo treatments. These experiments must be done across different ecosystems to reflect Australia’s diverse environments.

“I’m quite happy to accept whatever evidence it is, as long as it’s causative rather than just correlative,” says Fleming. “You should not make decisions based just on correlative evidence.”

Other scientists, like Ritchie and Newsome, see compelling evidence in various studies showing that fewer dingoes correlate with more red foxes. Although correlational studies cannot pinpoint underlying processes like experiments can, they capture patterns across large swaths of land and time, says Ritchie.

“If we continue to take dingoes out of the system, or compare between areas with and without dingoes, we don’t really know to what extent dingoes suppress foxes and cats,” says Newsome. Reintroducing dingoes as an experiment would assess the full ecological effects of dingoes. “It would help us make an informed decision about the next step going forward.”

To that end, in 2015 Newsome, Ritchie, Fleming, Ripple and others proposed reintroducing dingoes as an experiment.

They suggested Sturt National Park, an arid area of 3,000 sq km tucked in the north-west corner of New South Wales. Red foxes, feral cats and several large herbivore species live in the Park, and the Dingo Barrier Fence runs along the north and west borders of the Park.

If the fence was moved inwards to run along the south and east borders instead, dingoes should naturally recolonise the Park. Scientists could then compare sites inside and outside the dingo-recolonised Park to see how an increase in dingoes affect their communities. Newsome is currently talking to stakeholders and sponsors about the project.

When Newsome first proposed his dingo reintroduction experiment, he was surprised by the press’s encouraging response. “We weren’t dealing with negative press about buffoons trying to reintroduce dingoes to kill all the sheep,” he says. “That was the more common rhetoric about 15 years ago.”

Meanwhile, Fleming and his team are about to end a four-year dingo-removal experiment in east Australia. “At the moment, it doesn’t look like there’s any evidence of suppression,” says Fleming. After “eye-balling the data”, Fleming says dingoes, foxes and cats all increased when they stopped removing dingoes. If dingoes suppress foxes, then “dogs would go up but the foxes wouldn’t. But that doesn’t occur [in their experiment].” Fleming aims to publish the results by the end of 2017.

If we wish to enlist dingoes to control red foxes and feral cats, we would need to do more than test the mesopredator release hypothesis. We must also protect the welfare of sheep farmers and their flock from dingoes. For that, we may have to turn to another introduced canine: livestock guardian dogs.

Linda van Bommel, an ecologist at Australia National University, has been studying the use of guardian dogs to protect Australian livestock. Maremma sheepdogs, a white woolly dog of 40kg, are one of the more common guardian dogs used in Australia. Maremma bond well with sheep. “Often, the sheep will run towards the dogs, and the dogs will stand between the sheep and the threat,” says van Bommel.

Most farmers benefited from having the dogs. In van Bommel’s survey, published in 2012, 66% of livestock guardian dog owners said sheep predation stopped after they started using the dogs. Another 30% reported lower sheep predation.

One farmer used to lose all his lambs and 100 sheep a year, either to wild dogs or dingoes. But with guardian dogs among his sheep, he kept most of his lambs and did not lose a single adult sheep. “For that farmer,” says van Bommel, “it’s the difference between going broke and continuing to profit from running sheep.”

In another study, published in 2016, van Bommel found that red foxes and grey kangaroos avoid Maremma sheepdogs. Hence Maremma sheepdogs not only protect livestock from dingoes, they may even function like top predators and deter mesopredators and large herbivores.

If dingoes were ever to be reintroduced into areas around farms, farmers would need ways to protect their flock without killing the dingoes. “Livestock guardian dogs would be prominent candidates for that,” says van Bommel.

However, she says there is still a mountain to climb. “Most farmers would rather not see dingoes in the environment altogether.”

Today, more than ever before, scientists are studying predators and unraveling their influence. “It is a new science. I expect a lot more to be known,” says Ripple, whose grey wolf studies in Yellowstone popularized the positive role of predators.

A century ago, people were enthusiastically killing lions, wolves, and dingoes. When we eliminated the top predators, we unknowingly released mesopredators that have led to unexpected, and still underappreciated, consequences. Now, though we have yet to fully appreciate the dynamics of predators, we are at least debating alternatives to killing them. Nature is red in tooth and claw, and it seems that can be a good thing.

The Numbers Game: An Analysis of Demographics in Holocaust Literature

By Walter Storch

AUSCHWITZ: (Polish: Oswiecim)

Located approximately 60km (37mi) west of Krakow, in Eastern Upper Silesia, which was annexed to Germany following the defeat of Poland, in September, 1939

The first camp was built shortly after Poland’s defeat, in a suburb of Oswiecim (Zasole), at the site of a former Imperial Austrian Army Artillery barracks complex and initially held about 10,000 prisoners, mostly Polish prisoners of war.

The second site, known as Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, was built 3km from the original camp, in March of 1941

All of the satellite camps, such as Auschwitz II, were under the control of the main Auschwitz camp commander’s headquarters. The Auschwitz monthly camp statistics that were sent to KL Headquarters outside Berlin reflected all of the auxiliary camps as well as the main camp.

In the years intervening since the end of the Second World War, there has built up a legend about the planned murder by the Germans of European Jewry. A program of euthanasia, it is said, was later developed into a wide-spread program of mass gassings of Jews in several of the German prisons called Concentration Camps.

The motivator behind these mass killings was, the legend states, Adolf Hitler whose personal hatred of Jews drove him to order his dread Gestapo and SS to round up and kill every Jew they could lay their hands on.

Initially, the camp at Dachau, outside of Munich, was stated to be the center of the murder machine but as it became evident that this camp did not gas large numbers of Jews, the center was arbitrarily moved to the east, to the town of Auschwitz located on several rivers in Upper Silesia.

Here, it is said, a vast death camp was built to house tens of thousands of Jews awaiting their turn in the enormous gas chambers, and a second camp, Auschwitz II or Birkenau was also built for the sole purpose of slaughtering the Jews who made up almost the entire population of this murder central.

Jewish victims, it has been written, poured into Auschwitz from all over conquered Europe. They arrived, jammed into cattle cars, were dragged out of their transport, lined up and immediately forced into the huge gas chambers. Later, after they were dead, their stiffened corpses were dragged out by other camp inmates and shoved into equally gigantic crematoria and burned to ashes.

In recent years, bits and pieces of evidence that would tend to bring some of this into question has resulted in a further shift to the east. Supporters of the mass murder theories now postulate that the SS Einsatzgruppen or Combat Units, composed of Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and German police units, who were operating behind the German front lines in Russia, were the true murders of millions of Jews. In the savage anti-Partisan wars, the Einsatzgruppen were stated to have slaughtered millions of Russian, and some Polish, Jews.

Opposing an enormous body of literature and media productions, a number of dissatisfied historians began to question the validity of the allegations of an immense German murder plot aimed primarily at Jews but also expanded to include Gypsies. Any attempts to bring these allegations into question were met immediately by loud outcries from their proponents and needless to say, no major publishing house anywhere in the world would dare to publish even the most moderate and meticulously researched revisionistic work.

The enormous death toll, it is firmly said by proponents of the murder machine theory, is immutable; these figures are well and permanently established in history and questioning them is the work of anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and professional, unbalanced hate-mongers.

It is the actual figures, however, upon which the legend of the Holocaust stands or falls. Are there such figures? Are they reliable? Surely in the enormous official German records, captured by both the Soviets and Americans, there have to be specific confirmations of the awful death tolls.

In fact such records do exist; some in Moscow and some in Washington, DC, but these original documents are generally not available to what Holocaust supporters state are prevaricators, liars and anti-Semites. They can be found today in official state archives, some difficult to find because they have been misfiled and others because pressure groups who fear their publication have pressured the archives to keep them hidden.

In this study, we have explored these forbidden or obscured documents, collated them and are presenting the results in an effort to achieve some balance for a subject that heretofore has been the private playground of individuals and organizations who have a vested financial and political motive in preventing any erosion of what they see is their own territory.

As huge sums of money have resulted from the maintenance and careful nurturing of what has proven to be an extraordinarily successful cash cow, the desperation of its creators can easily be understood.

Truth, however, is mighty and shall prevail.

To open this investigation, consider the following article produced by the people calling themselves the “Nizkor Prjoect”

This article represents the Jewish theory of the Auschwitz work complex as a death camp solely intended for the slaughter of European Jews

“How many people died at Auschwitz?

“…Foner’s Spotlight article made assertions regarding the number of people killed at the Auschwitz camp:

Most Americans have been instructed in the “irrefutable fact” that homicidal gassings had taken place at Auschwitz. The number of those so executed – also declared irrefutable – was 4.1 million.

Then came the Leuchter Report in 1988. This was followed by a “re-evaluation” of the total deaths at Auschwitz (down to 1.1 million).

Previous to 1992, anyone who publicly doubted the 4.1 million “gassing” deaths at Auschwitz was labeled an anti-Semite, neo-nazi skinhead (at the very least). Quietly, because of revisionist findings, the official figure was lowered to 1.1 million. No mention of that missing 3 million.

Foner’s assertions are simply not true; although it is correct to note that the Polish Communist government did claim that four million people were exterminated at Auschwitz, historians (Feig, Reitlinger, Hilberg, et al.) have never supported that figure. Consider the estimates provided by Buszko at the end of his article on Auschwitz, which appeared in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust:

  • Of the 405,000 registered prisoners, 65,000 survived
  • Of the 16,000 Soviet POW’s, 96 survived
  • Various estimates suggest 1.6 million were murdered

Buszko’s article, and the above estimates, appeared in the 1990 edition of the

Encyclopedia, which clearly puts the lie to Foner’s comment that “anyone who publicly doubted the 4.1 million .. ” figure “previous to 1992…” was “…labeled an anti-Semite…”. Buszko is not only a Jewish historian, but Polish as well.

Leon Poliakov, the author of the well-documented “Harvest of Hate,” which was, we note, first published in 1956, provides the following information, which clearly demonstrates that Foner’s contention, cited above, is an outright lie:

After some thirty months of intense activity, the Auschwitz balance sheet showed close to two million immediate exterminations (this figure can never be fixed exactly), (8) to which one must add the deaths of some 300,000 registered prisoners – Jews for the most part, but not entirely – for whom the gas chamber was only one of any number of ways by which they might have perished. (Poliakov, 202)

In his affidavits, Hoess spoke of two and a half million, ‘a figure set officially,’ he wrote, under the signature of [Eichmann], in a report to Himmler. This figure has been accepted by several authors, and it appears in the verdict at the trial of the major war criminals. However, there is no reason for accepting without question the statistics attributed to Eichmann, which may err on either side.

Adding the number of victims to those deported from different countries gives a lower figure, although we have little data, for example, on the number of Polish Jews sent to Auschwitz. An approximate figure in the neighborhood of two million seems closer to the truth.” (Ibid.)

Feig also provides evidence of the false nature of Foner’s comment when she notes that:

Höss testified that the Tesch directors could not help but know of the use for their product because they sold him enough to annihilate two million people.’

Feig’s book was published in 1981

According to Snyder, Adolf Eichmann reported to Himmler, in 1944, that four million had been killed in the camps, and another million had been shot or killed by mobile units. (Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. 1989) Eichmann’s report, which referenced all the camps (most of which were in Nazi-occupied Poland), may have been the source of the Polish Communist government’s figures. (Snyder is a Professor of History at the City College and the City University of New York.)

During the war crimes trials, Höss was asked if it was true that he had no exact numbers because he had been forbidden to compile them, and he agreed. He also agreed that Adolf Eichmann had told him that that more than two million people had been exterminated there. (von Lang, 120)

The Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich, provided the following capsulated paragraph about Auschwitz in a March, 1992, letter of inquiry.

The extermination camp in Birkenau, established in the second half of 1941, was joined to the concentration camp Auschwitz, existing since May 1940. From January 1942 on in five gas chambers and from the end of June 1943 in four additional large gassing-rooms gassings with Zyklon B have been undertaken. Up until November 1944 more than one million Jews and at least 4000 gypsies have been murdered by gas. (IFZ)

While it is admittedly difficult to compile exact figures, (emphasis added) since the Nazis did not maintain registration records for those who were to be exterminated immediately upon arrival at Auschwitz, it seems accurate to assert that the number of Jews killed fell somewhere between one and one-point-six million.

According to figures provided by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the overall number of victims of Auschwitz in the years 1940-1945 is estimated at between 1,100,000 and 1,500,000 people. The majority of them, and above all the mass transports of Jews who arrived beginning in 1942, died in the gas chambers. (Waclaw Dlugoborski and Franciszek Piper, Eds. Auschwitz 1940-1945. Central Issues in the History of the Camp. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 2000, 5 vols., 1799 pp., ISBN 83-85047-87-5)

Jews were not the only victims of this Nazi German killing machine – historians estimate that among the people sent to Auschwitz there were at least 1,100,000 Jews from all the countries of occupied Europe, over 140,000 Poles (mostly political prisoners), approximately 20,000 Gypsies from several European countries, over 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and over 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities.

The Leuchter Report, which Foner alludes to extensively in his Spotlight article, has been thoroughly refuted. For detailed information about the report, see the Leuchter FAQ.

Two German firms, Tesch/Stabenow and Degesch, produced Cyclone B gas after they acquired the patent from Farben. Tesch supplied two tons a month, and Degesch three quarters of a ton. The firms that produced the gas already had extensive experience in fumigation.”

This overview is entirely typical of the death camp argument. It is not based on official figures obtained from various archives but solely upon the personal opinions of individuals who are obviously writing to an idea. Such phrases as “absolutely established”, “irrefutable facts” and “thoroughly refuted” are the easily-recognized hallmarks of the propagandist, not the historian. In point of fact, writers attempting to confirm the allegations of astronomical death tolls for European Jews are not writing from any kind of an objective historical point of view but from thoroughly skewed and propagandistic one.

Truth is the first casualty of the propagandist.

The argument is made that since it is “clearly evident” that six million European Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis under Hitler, the fact that nowhere in the through and extensive files of the Third Reich can be found any specific reference to such acts, the answer to this absence is also clearly evident; there are special and secret lists made of Jews who were not entered onto the rolls of the camps but who were immediately executed.

However, if there are no existing Third Reich documents proving the mass murders, neither are there any of the secret lists to be found.

The “secret list” theory is one of desperation, not a clever invention.

When the Glücks files emerged in Moscow, the archivists at the Central Archives stated that Jewish groups were well aware of these documents and had repeatedly insisted that the Russians not release them to “outsiders” who were “not able to properly understand them.”

What obviously was meant is that these extensive, and complete, files clearly did not support the murder of six millions of European Jews and their release would merely complicate the fundraising efforts of the proponents of the planned extermination theories.

As an historical footnote to this commentary, the following officially recorded conversation of Hitler’s is set forth. The first part of it has been widely quoted in a number of books but the second part, for obvious reasons, has not.

On Saturday, October 25, 1941, Hitler received Count Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister at his East Prussian military headquarters for a conference. Present were a number of senior government officials. Following the conference, Hitler held a small, private dinner for several of these personages. One of them was Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the SS and the other was (SS-Obergruppenführer) Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Main State Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt-RSHA) which controlled the Gestapo and the SD. During the course of the dinner, Hitler said:

“From the rostrum of the Reichstag I prophesized to Jewry that, in the event of war’s proving inevitable, the Jew would disappear from Europe. That race of criminals has on its conscience the two million dead of the First World War, and now already hundreds of thousands more.”

At this point, historians generally comment on Hitler’s obvious intention to slaughter all the Jews he could lay his hands on. The balance of the conversation conveys a rather different meaning.

“Let nobody tell me that all the same we can’t park them in the marshy parts of Russia! Who’s worrying about our troops? It’s not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing.”1

The question of the number of persons who died in Auschwitz has been addressed in a publication entitled Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp.2 A chapter by Franciszek Piper entitled “The Number of Victims” addresses the issues discussed here and sections of it deserve to be quoted and enlarged upon.

“In erasing traces of the crimes perpetrated in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis destroyed documents that could serve as the basis for determining how many people died there. When the Soviet soldiers liberated the camp in January 1945, they found documents that confirmed only 100,000 deaths. Yet surviving prisoners maintained that millions had perished at Auchwitz.

Faced with this disparity, officials of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, the organization entrusted with investigating the crimes committed at Auschwitz, conducted an in-depth study. Based on witness testimonies regarding the capacity of the camp and the length of time that its machinery for mass murder was operative, (emphasis added) the commission concluded that no fewer than four million (emphasis added) persons were put to death at the camp…Four million…is the number recorded in Polish literature, as well as in publications of other countries.”

In The Final Solution, one of the first books to deal with the Holocaust, published in 1953, the figure of four million was radically reevaluated. English art historian Gerald Reitlinger estimated the number of victims at Auschwitz to be roughly 800,000 to 900,000, (emphasis added) based on an analysis of the losses of Jews reported by specific countries…

The destruction by the Nazis of most Auschwitz records is the most important cause of divergent estimates…researchers had to rely on discrepant and imprecise data from testimonies and depositions of witnesses, former prisoners and Nazi functionaries and on court decisions and fragmentary and incomplete records of camp registries, archives, (sic) and other institutions. (Emphasis added).”

The question of the destruction of Auschwitz records has been raised over the years to support the claims that large numbers of people died in the camp but were not recorded. If the SS camp administration did destroy or remove official records from Auschwitz before the complex was overrun by the Soviets in early 1945, they did not and could not touch the records that had been sent to the headquarters of the camp system outside of Berlin, or any other copies sent to different agencies. According to the author of the article, the Soviets did find records indicating 100,000 deaths.

Reliance on anything originating from Stalin’s agents is totally unrealistic. The Soviets had no problem continuously rewriting their own history and obviously would have had no problem rewriting the history of other nations. The concurrence of the Poles in Soviet findings has no validity whatsoever. Poland was under complete control of the Soviets at the time of their reports and any official commission would do precisely as it was told by its masters.

It was only after the implosion of the Soviet Empire that their state archives became available to outside researchers, at least on a limited basis. As has been noted before, it was the standard policy of the Soviet government to denigrate and attack the government of West Germany, not support it. The microfilms released by the Russian archives in the early 1990s were copies of documents found at the SS camp headquarters in 1945 and had these supported the theory of extensive extermination programs, they certainly would have been released years before.

There is another argument used to explain the lack of documentation supporting the thesis of a million or more dead at Auschwitz. This argument claims that endless transports of Jews were delivered to the camp, not recorded anywhere and immediately executed. This, it is claimed, explains why there is such a disparity between official German figures and those proposed by others.

This argument has some fleeting validity but the question arises that if these transports were unrecorded in German records, how could anyone use them as references other than by supposition and speculation? It is very difficult to have one’s cake and eat it too.

The question of transport also needs to be addressed. When the German Reichsbahn scheduled rail transportation to Auschwitz, it was listed officially as special trains (Sonderzug) which indicated that the transports were privately contracted…in this case by the SS. If these transports were of an official, State nature, they would be listed as regular traffic, paid for by the government. While in the beginning of the forced Jewish emigration prior to the war, the Jewish community in Germany and overseas was compelled to pay for the emigration out of their own pockets, such accommodations were not operational during the war except in rare cases. It should also be noted that transport from Auschwitz taking manufactured products to various points in Europe were also listed as Special Trains. Auschwitz was part of the SS economic empire and as such, was run by the SS and not the German government. The Armed SS (Waffen-SS) was not an official part of the Wehrmacht and its operating expenses, as were the operating expenses for the entire SS, had to be paid for by the SS itself.

This in itself would cast considerable doubt on the thesis that a vast extermination program had been ordered by Hitler officially as State policy. When the SS ran out of operating capital, the transports stopped running.

The use of prisoner labor was certainly addressed in the numerous trials held after the war.

Another thesis often expressed is that the victims at Auschwitz were nearly all Jewish. Reports from the camp break down the exact number of inmates by groups, to include Jews. At Auschwitz, by far the largest group were those held in protective custody or as political prisoners.

With former Soviet archival material now available, a greater balance should be much easier to obtain. It was only their stubborn refusal to release these records that allowed inflated figures, supported only with anecdotal and unsupported material, to flourish and, like ivy, expand and cover every aspect of the building beneath.

This archival material has, in fact, been available on microfilm since 1989 but is rarely discussed.

An article in the New York ‘Times’ of March 3, 1991 quotes the Soviet sources with considerable accuracy. Forty-six camps are covered with a total death toll of more than 400,000. Auschwitz records contain approximately 70,000 death certificates and in addition the death totals of 130,000 among the forced laborers in all camps and 200,000 additional names of various classes of prisoners in all camps to include Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Gross Rosen. When queried about this article and the numbers reflected in it, Red Cross officials in Washington, DC agreed that they were indeed the figures contained in the microfilms they had received from Soviet sources but that “special secret lists” existed that boosted the death toll far higher. Further questioning elicited that no one had seen these “secret lists” but that they must certainly exist and that quoting from the official records was “misleading” and should not be done.

The records of the concentration camp system discovered by the Soviets at the system headquarters outside of Berlin in 1945 are complete. From a chronological point of view, there are no gaps. Many of the records found by the Soviets at Auschwitz are not complete but the headquarters files contain copies of all the Auschwitz records

The arrest, deportation and forced labor of a large number of people, including Jews, was repugnant and on a parallel with the British concentration camps (from whence the name came) instituted during the Boer War in which over 20,000 Boer women and children died in conditions of disease, filth and squalor, and is not possible to ignore or justify.3

Aside from the records of the camp headquarters siezed by the Soviets in 1945 from Oranienburg, another source exists that deals with the monthly population reports made by the individual camps to headquarters. These consisted of radio reports sent in to Oranienburg on a monthly basis. From early 1942 through February of 1943, British intelligence was monitoring these reports and in their official history of the British intelligence system, stated that,

“The returns from Auschwitz, the largest of the camps with 20,000 prisoners, mentioned illness as the main cause of death, but included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassing.” (emphasis added) 4

Given inaccurate demographics about the post-war Jewish population, there is still a considerable gap in the number of Jews, mostly Polish Jews, who were living in Poland in 1939 and unaccounted for in 1945. The assumption was made, and is still being made, that these differences were clearly explained by the extermination theory.

The former Soviet Union maintained a rigid control over its files until its collapse, and it has only been since this point in time that a much clearer picture of events has become evident.

In 1995, Russian author Arkady Vaksberg, a Jewish writer, attorney, and investigative journalist, published a book entitled ‘Stalin Against The Jews’, the basic theme of which is the persecution of Soviet Jews by Stalin after he had used them against his enemies. Vaksberg goes into some detail about the Polish Jews who, in September of 1939, fled the German advance into Poland and went into the Soviet Union. Vaksberg states that these Polish Jews were seized by Stalin’s agencies and put into prison camps.

The author states that exact figures of these prisoners are not presently available but speaks of “hundreds of thousands.” He also mentions that Soviet border police shot down many escaping Jews before they crossed the border into Communist territory. Survival in Soviet Gulags was very poor; of the 80,000 German prisoners of war captured at Stalingrad, only 6,000 were alive in 1955 to return to Germany. How many of these hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews survived the war is not known, but perhaps former Soviet archives hold the final answer to this issue, an issue that has persisted for half a century.5

After the breakup of the Yugoslav state in the 1990s, the “ethnic cleansing” by the winsome Serbs of anyone they disliked, including Catholics and Jews, was greeted with a chorus of dismay from other nations…but nothing more.

 

  1. Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945,” New York, 1953, p 72, Protocol 52.
  2. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp,” ed. Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, 1994, Indiana University Press. pps 61 et seq.
  3. Amery, vol.5, 252, 253, 601; vol. 6, 24-25
  4. British Intelligence in the Second World War,” Hinsley et al, London, 1980, vol. 11, p 673.
  5. Stalin Against the Jews,” Vaksberg, New York, 1995, pp 103-107.

GOP senators to Turkey: Apologize for DC brawl

May 17, 2017

by Mark Hensch

The Hill

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Mike Lee (Utah) are demanding that Turkey apologize for a recent attack on protesters in Washington, D.C.

“We strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington,” the senators said in a statement Wednesday.

“Reports indicate that some Turkish officials were involved in assaulting protesters, which violates the most basic rules of democracy and is an affront to the United States and the value we place on the right to free speech, as embodied in our Constitution. We call upon the Turkish government to apologize immediately for the involvement of any officials.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday also pressed Turkey to apologize.

“The Turkish government owes an apology,” he tweeted. “Perhaps they forgot we have unalienable rights in this country.”

And House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the administration should examine charges for those responsible.

Metropolitan Chief of Police Peter Newsham on Wednesday called attacks on protesters at the Turkish ambassador’s residence the day before in Washington “brutal.”

Newsham confirmed that 11 people and one police officer were injured in Tuesday’s commotion, with nine receiving treatment at local hospitals.

He added that authorities had arrested a New York man and charged him with aggravated assault, while a Fairfax, Va., man was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer.

NBC News reported earlier Wednesday that the men who beat up demonstrators on Tuesday were bodyguards of visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was returning from speaking with President Trump at the White House when the violence broke out.

 

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