TBR News May 30, 2017

May 29 2017

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C. May 30, 2017:”Self-denial is a hallmark of stupid people.

As an example, we have the muted controversy about the rising sea levels along the east coast of the United States.

There is absolutely no question, whatsoever, that the melting Greenland and Antarctic glaciers are dumping millions of square feet of water into the oceans.

But as usual, those with vested interests claim that either this is not happening or that it is happening but the sea level rises will only be a few centimeters in a hundred years.

The government does not want to discuss this because millions of residents will be forced to relocate and the government would rather spend tax payer’s monies on new tanks and rockets than helping the same tax payer’s move to higher ground..

And the precious banks will not forgive mortgages on homes with sea water flooding their basements.

Any attempt on the part of the government to assist these flooded people by passing laws to forgive mortgages would be met with very firm resistance on the part of the banking community.

What bankers want, bankers get so even if someone has to wear a wet suit to go into his living room, he still has to pay.

That’s the American way, after all.

‘Not (hopefully) on my watch!’ is the cry inside the Beltway and the press obediently discusses Korean rockets instead of flooded basements.”


Table of Contents


  • The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners
  • This Dystopian Device Warns You When AI Is Trying to Impersonate Actual Humans
  • Israel’s economy heading for disaster, experts warn
  • Military’s clout at White House could shift U.S. foreign policy
  • The CIA: An overdue overview
  • U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels
  • Manufacturing the Cold War in 1948
  • China’s Top 6 Environmental Concerns
  • EU Commissioner Malmström:’Millions of U.S. Jobs Depend On Trade with EU’


The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners

Demand and financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house.

April‎ ‎19‎, ‎2017‎

by Christopher Flavelle

Bloomberg News

On a predictably gorgeous South Florida afternoon, Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason sat in his office overlooking the white-linen restaurants of this affluent seaside community and wondered when climate change would bring it all to an end. He figured it would involve a boat.When Cason first started worrying about sea-level rise, he asked his staff to count not just how much coastline the city had (47 miles) or value of the property along that coast ($3.5 billion). He also told them to find out how many boats dock inland from the bridges that span the city’s canals (302). What matters, he guessed, will be the first time a mast fails to clear the bottom of one of those bridges because the water level had risen too far.

“These boats are going to be the canary in the mine,” said Cason, who became mayor in 2011 after retiring from the U.S. foreign service. “When the boats can’t go out, the property values go down.”

If property values start to fall, Cason said, banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending prices lower still. Those properties make up a quarter of the city’s tax base; if that revenue fell, the city would struggle to provide the services that make it such a desirable place to live, causing more sales and another drop in revenue.

And all of that could happen before the rising sea consumes a single home.

As President Donald Trump proposes dismantling federal programs aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, officials and residents in South Florida are grappling with the risk that climate change could drag down housing markets. Relative sea levels in South Florida are roughly four inches higher now than in 1992. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea levels will rise as much as three feet in Miami by 2060. By the end of the century, according to projections by Zillow, some 934,000 existing Florida properties, worth more than $400 billion, are at risk of being submerged.

The impact is already being felt in South Florida. Tidal flooding now predictably drenches inland streets, even when the sun is out, thanks to the region’s porous limestone bedrock. Saltwater is creeping into the drinking water supply. The area’s drainage canals rely on gravity; as oceans rise, the water utility has had to install giant pumps to push water out to the ocean.

The effects of climate-driven price drops could ripple across the economy, and eventually force the federal government to decide what is owed to people whose home values are ruined by climate change.

Sean Becketti, the chief economist at Freddie Mac, warned in a report last year of a housing crisis for coastal areas more severe than the Great Recession, one that could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values.

Citing Florida as a chief example, he wondered if values would decline gradually or precipitously. Will the catalyst be a bank refusing to issue a mortgage? Will it be an insurer refusing to issue a policy? Or, he asked, “Will the trigger be one or two homeowners who decide to sell defensively?”

“Nobody thinks it’s coming as fast as it is,” said Dan Kipnis, the chairman of Miami Beach’s Marine and Waterfront Protection Authority, who has been trying to find a buyer for his home in Miami Beach for almost a year, and has already lowered his asking price twice.

Some South Florida homeowners, stuck in a twist on the prisoner’s dilemma, are deciding to sell now—not necessarily because they want to move, but because they’re worried their neighbors will sell first.

When Nancy Lee sold her house last summer in Aventura, halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it wasn’t because she was worried about sea-level rise, rising insurance costs, nuisance impacts or any of the other risks associated with climate change. Rather, she worried those risks would soon push other people to sell their homes, crashing the region’s property values. So she decided to pull the trigger

“I didn’t want to be there when prices fell,” said Lee, an environmental writer.

Ross Hancock has the same worry, and sold his four-bedroom house in Coral Gables three years ago. He described South Florida’s real estate market as “pessimists selling to optimists,” and said he wanted to cash out while the latter still outnumbered the former.

“I was just worried about my life’s savings,” Hancock said. “You can’t fight Mother Nature.”

Lee and Hancock are outliers. When it comes to buying homes on the coast, most Floridians are still optimists.

Since the end of 2010, median home prices in and around Miami rose 120 percent, almost twice the statewide average and three times the national rate. In January, a building in Palm Beach County called The Bristol topped $300 million in units sold, achieving the distinction of the most-expensive condominium in that county’s history. A flyer for the building boasted its hurricane-resistant glass doors; it didn’t note that if seas rise three feet, the road to the front entrance could be underwater.

Marla Martin, a spokeswoman for Florida’s association of realtors, said that while “of course climate change is on the radar for our members,” she hadn’t heard of clients selling homes because of sea-level rise.

“I think the scientists are still trying to get a handle on it,” she wrote in an email.

A short drive through mangrove trees off Highway 1 in Key Largo, Stephanie Russo’s house backs onto a canal that opens into Blackwater Sound, and from there to the ocean; her neighbors lounge in shorts and flip-flops beside their boats.

A few months after Russo, a partner at a law firm in Miami, moved to Key Largo in 2015, the big fall tides brought 18 inches of water onto the road in front of their house. Unlike previous tidal floods, this one lasted 34 days.

“When we bought, there hadn’t been a flood like that for years,” said Russo, who was sitting at a table between the home’s outdoor bar and its pool.

“Ever,” interjected her husband Frank, who was working on the grill.

The saltwater ruined cars around the neighborhood, destroyed landscaping and sparked a mosquito infestation.

But the worst part might have been the trash.

“When people would drive, it creates a wake,” said Russo. “That knocks over all the garbage cans, and then everybody’s garbage is floating in the streets, and in the mangroves. It’s just disgusting.”

Officials in Monroe County agree there’s a problem, and plan to raise some roads in an attempt to reduce future flooding.

Russo says if she knew in 2015 what she knows now, she wouldn’t have purchased the house. People buying in her neighborhood today are probably just as clueless as she once was, she guesses. “I would bet money that the realtors are not telling them.”

Realtors in Florida face no legal requirement to warn potential buyers about those flood risks. Albert Slap, president of Coastal Risk Consulting, which helps homeowners and governments measure their exposure to flooding, said he thinks that will soon change: Just as the public demanded mandatory disclosure of asbestos and lead paint, people will insist on the same disclosure if a house suffers regular floods.

And when that happens, Slap said, many Florida home prices will tumble.

“Anybody in these floody areas, if they disclose to a buyer, the buyer probably won’t buy that property,” said Slap, whose company is doing work for the city of Miami Beach. “That’s going to drive the value down to zero, well before water is up to their front door.”

Slap said the answer isn’t a mass retreat from the coast, at least not yet, but rather a version of battlefield triage: figuring out which homes are worth saving, through elevation or other means, and which can’t be helped.

“The next black swan is the failure of housing finance to take climate change into account,” he said. “There will be a large number of homes that will lose substantial value, and will default on mortgages, if nothing is done to help them.”

In an ornate lecture hall at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture last month, Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami, sat through a presentation about the history of federal programs to purchase homes threatened by climate change, and whether those programs were likely to expand.

Afterward, he invited the room to consider the sheer number of homes at risk in South Florida alone. Stoddard’s message: The government simply won’t be able rescue homeowners who wait too long to sell. “There isn’t enough money,” he said.

There is as yet no federal policy on buying out properties that will be lost to sea-level rise. Last January, President Barack Obama’s administration awarded $48 million to relocate a small Louisiana town sinking into the Gulf of Mexico, the first such project funded by the federal government. But the administration made clear the project wasn’t intended to be a precedent, and it rejected a request from an Alaska village in the same situation.

South Florida has likewise failed to get federal help for more modest relocations. In 2013, officials in Miami-Dade County requested $2.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a project that included buying out a handful of homes in a low-income neighborhood called Arch Creek, far from the glamor—and tax base—of Miami Beach.

“Most of those homes had 8 to 10 inches in the house,” said Terry Parker, the county official in charge of the request. The plan was to tear them down and let the land revert to creek bed. But the county never got the money and hasn’t asked for a federal buyout since.

Cason, the Coral Gables mayor, said Congress ought to create what he called a “resilience fund” for homes threatened by the water—but he doesn’t think it will.

The National Flood Insurance Program is up for reauthorization this year; fiscal conservatives have said they want to use that opportunity to reduce the program’s subsidies, so that people are paying something closer to the full cost of their risk.

A cut in federal subsidies would particularly hurt Florida, which despite its exposure pays the lowest average flood-insurance premiums in the country, according to FEMA data.

Laura Reynolds is the former executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society, Miami’s oldest environmental group; she’s lived in her house in Cutler Bay, an hour’s drive south of Miami, for 13 years. She said she had once hoped to pass it on to her niece or nephew, but now plans to sell.

“The future of our coastline is completely doomed,” Reynolds said. “The question is, how long will we have?”


This Dystopian Device Warns You When AI Is Trying to Impersonate Actual Humans

AI is turning against itself.

May 29, 2017

by Peter Dockrill

Science Alert

Scared of a future where you can no longer discern if you’re dealing with a human or a computer? A team of Australian researchers have come up with what they call the Anti-AI AI.

The wearable prototype device is designed to identify synthetic speech and alert the user that the voice they’re listening doesn’t belong to a flesh-and-blood individual. Developed as a proof of concept in just five days, the prototype makes use of a neural network powered by Google’s Tensorflow machine learning software.

As artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technology rapidly evolve, we’re facing an uncertain future where machines can seemingly do all sorts of things better than people can – from mastering games to working our jobs, and even making new, more powerful forms of AI.

While the gravest concerns envision a future dystopia where unregulated, super-powerful AIs threaten humanity’s very existence, the truth is we’re already entering a new, unsettling era in which machines can deceive humans by impersonating the ways we speak and look.

As this technology gets even more sophisticated, it’s becoming easier to imagine a world where soon it may be difficult or even impossible to tell when a ‘person’ you’re talking to on the phone – or watching on TV – is or isn’t a real human being.

But while AI is what empowers this nightmare scenario, it could also be what helps us reveal these synthetic impostors for what they are.

A team at Australian creative technology agency DT trained its AI up on a database of synthetic voices, teaching the offline network to recognise artificial speech patterns.

When the wearable prototype operates, it captures audio spoken in the device’s presence and sends it to this neural network in the cloud. If the AI detects an actual human voice (code green), all is fine:

But if the system picks up on synthetic speech, it has a unique way of subtly letting the human know that they’re talking to a digital clone.

Rather than using light, sound, or vibration to alert the user, the prototype includes a miniature thermoelectric cooling element to reinforce that the voice they’re hearing is coming from a “a cold, lifeless machine”.

“We wanted the device to give the wearer a unique sensation that matched what they were experiencing when a synthetic voice is detected,” the team explains on DT’s R&D blog.

“By using a 4×4 mm thermoelectric Peltier plate, we were able to create a noticeable chill on the skin near the back of the neck without drawing too much current.”

That’s right, guys, this device literally sends a chill down your spine when you’re talking to a digital doppelgänger made up of 0s and 1s, and we can’t think of a more fitting example of UI feedback.

Of course, because the Anti-AI AI is just a work-in-progress concept piece for now, it’s unlikely the device will actually be released any time soon.

But the researchers behind it say that they’re still refining their prototype and intend to improve the neural net with more synthetic content in the future.

Is this something you and I might need in the future? It’s possible.

After all, in a post-truth world dominated by fake news misinformation – where world leaders can so easily be manipulated to say things they never actually said – nothing’s for certain.


Israel’s economy heading for disaster, experts warn

May 29, 2017


A report released by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel shows the country has the highest poverty rates among OECD countries and faces “worrisome trends” that could have disastrous effects on its growing population.

According to the Picture of the Nation 2017 report, with Israel’s aging population and rising costs across the board, its “current sources of economic growth are not sustainable.”

The country ranks 22nd out of 34 of the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) regarding GDP and takes the 24th spot within the market income poverty rate. Among developed countries, Israel has the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line.

“The past year has seen a decline in unemployment and a large rise in GDP,” but “unfortunately, it appears that this positive trend will not continue and new sources of growth must be found,” said the report.

The Taub Center also described Israel’s four percent GDP growth as an “outlier and not a trend.”

A separate report which was released earlier this month by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research looked at economic trends over the entire 69-year history of the country. It concluded the economy shows deep-seated and long-term shortcomings that threaten to weaken the army and constitute an “existential threat” to the country’s future.

In terms of GDP, Israel has been falling further and further behind the G7 average since the mid-1970s, with a more than threefold increase having developed in the gap between them. This, according to the report, “reflects steadily widening disparity between what an employed person living in Israel can attain and what that person could attain in the countries that are pulling away from Israel.”

Professor Dan Ben-David, founder and chair of the Shoresh Institution and co-author of the report, has warned if Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “continues to ignore the future” the country could be facing a catastrophe of massive proportions.

Netanyahu has recently held some meetings with Israeli media outlets, claiming the reports do not reflect “what the public feels.”

“It is an industry of despair. Where they see unemployment, I see full employment. Where they see an economy in ruin, I see a flourishing economy. Where they see traffic jams, I see junctions, trains, and bridges. Where they see a crumbling state nearing collapse, I see Israel as a rising global power,” he was cited as saying by the Times of Israel.


Military’s clout at White House could shift U.S. foreign policy

May 28, 2017

by Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe

The Washington Post

When President Trump’s top foreign policy advisers gathered ­recently at the White House to discuss plans to revamp the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, the makeup of those in the room was indicative of a significant turn in U.S. foreign policy.

Seated front and center at the Situation Room table were four current or retired generals who dominate just about every big national security decision Trump makes.

The debate, however, was most notable for the voices that were absent.

Intended as a crucial final debate session before the plan went to the president, the meeting took place on a day in which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the president’s top diplomat, was in New York. His acting deputy attended in his place.

The generals at the table were Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser; Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and two retired four-star generals, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. Most of those in attendance emerged believing that the Afghanistan plan was ready to go to the president for final approval, U.S. officials who took part in the session said.

Unbeknown to the White House, America’s top diplomat was not on board: Tillerson, who heads a department that some White House officials described as “AWOL” during the review process, didn’t think the plan did enough to address other countries in the region with a stake in Afghanistan, such as Pakistan, Iran and India, a person familiar with his thinking said. Tillerson also was concerned that the plan called for beefing up the State Department’s presence in dangerous locations outside Kabul.

Even though the State Department remains understaffed at its top ranks, department officials said it had been an active participant in the review and insisted that a final decision on the emerging plan was probably weeks away. A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the ongoing discussions until “the group arrives at a decision point.”

The disconnect over a major policy shift, with big implications for the Pentagon, the State Department and the federal budget, illustrates the sway military officers hold in the Trump administration. Current and retired military officers not only hold positions at the highest ranks of government but also fill senior staff jobs in the White House that have traditionally been the purview of civilians or experienced diplomats.

According to a review by The Washington Post, at least 10 out of 25 senior policy and leadership positions on the National Security Council (NSC) are held by current or retired military officials, up from two at the end of the Obama administration.

The shift in staffing reflects Trump’s faith in the nation’s warriors and his delight in shows of military force. On the campaign trail and in office, he has promised to “knock the hell” out of the Islamic State and take a harder line against an array of adversaries, including North Korea to Iran.

Since January, that attitude has rippled across U.S. foreign policy and the NSC itself. In the Middle East, Trump has emphasized support for Arab allies, prioritizing a desire to contain Iran and pound extremist groups over the Obama administration’s advocacy for human rights and changes designed to improve life in closed and repressive societies. That shift is one that has long been advocated by the U.S. military.

In Yemen and Somalia, the president has given the military greater rein to launch raids and fire missiles, empowering on-the-ground commanders to make ­decisions that were tightly managed by the previous White House.

In Afghanistan, the administration seems poised to accede to a troop surge, despite resistance from the State Department and some within the White House — including senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon — who fear the costly plan won’t work. The request by successive ground commanders for more forces and latitude to strike the Taliban dates back more than a year.

To some analysts, the heavy presence of military officers on the NSC, many of whom helped forge the Bush administration’s do-or-die response to a spiraling insurgency in Iraq, is a much-needed corrective inside the White House. They say that a stable and sustainable outcome in such places as Iraq, Yemen and Syria cannot be achieved quickly or on the cheap.

Other experts worry that the officers’ immersion in the wars of the past 15 years have made it hard for them to take a broad view of U.S. power and influence in the world that extends beyond armed conflict in the Middle East and South Asia.

“It would take a remarkable individual to stand back from those experiences and think critically of them,” said Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel and history professor at Boston University. “It would be hard for them to consider that the path they had taken [in the wars] might have been a wrong one.”

The NSC was created after World War II to harmonize national security decision-making amid competing departments with different agendas. It was set inside the White House, and not the Pentagon, to ensure that the military, with its massive resources and personnel, would not dominate foreign policy planning.

“There needed to be a civilian mechanism to help guide strategy and decision-making,” said Derek Chollet, a top official in the Obama White House and Pentagon. Although there is a long tradition of military personnel serving on the NSC, Chollet said the staff has typically been dominated by career civil servants and experts from outside of government.

The heavy military component to the current NSC is a product of a cascade of events that began with a presidential election in which much of the Republican foreign policy establishment in Washington actively opposed Trump. The president-elect chose Michael ­Flynn, a retired three-star general steeped in intelligence and counter­terrorism operations, as his first national security adviser.

Flynn resigned after less than a month in office, but before he left he filled top NSC positions with people he knew from his time as a senior intelligence analyst in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those selections included Derek Harvey, a retired colonel who coordinates Middle East policy, and Matthew Pottinger, a former journalist who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now senior director for Asia.

McMaster, who succeeded ­Flynn, has similarly leaned heavily on the military for expertise. He chose Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Ricky Waddell as his deputy national security adviser and, more recently, tapped Rudolph Attalah, a retired lieutenant colonel, as senior director for Africa.

At the same time, the State Department is in talks with the White House to reduce the number of diplomatic staff who serve temporary assignments at the NSC, a move that would cut costs but could intensify the militarization of the White House.       The effort is driven by cost-cutting at State and a desire at the White House to pare back an NSC seen as bloated and micromanaging.

One worry among some current and former White House officials is that the heavy military presence might make it harder for the Trump administration to effectively oversee the vast swath of nonmilitary agencies involved in foreign policy. Others fret that the military officers might go easy on the Pentagon. “You have a harder time critiquing your own institution to which you owe your future livelihood,” said a former White House official. “It’s a tough balance to strike, but when you have a concentration of military officers, I think they have a tendency to be very deferential” to superiors.

The concentration of military officers is highest in the section of the NSC focused on the Middle East and Iran. For many of those officers, the defining experience of their career was service in Iraq, when President George W. Bush ordered a surge of more than 30,000 troops to stave off near-certain defeat.

It was the war’s most dramatic period, when a force of more than 160,000 U.S. troops was locked in a deadly battle with both Sunni insurgents and Iranian proxies for control of the country.

“The thing that worries me most is that a lot of these officers really forged their view of the world and the Middle East at a particular moment in our occupation of Iraq,” said Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon and White House official who focused on the Middle East.

Today the United States faces a vastly different situation in the region. U.S. troop levels are a small fraction of their Iraq War peak, and chaos and civil war have spread throughout the region.

Kahl said the military-heavy White House could overestimate its ability to influence events in the region or needlessly provoke Iran, leading to more conflict and bloodshed.

It’s also possible that military officers, chastened by the losses in Iraq, will take a more cautious view.

“The conventional wisdom on this is probably wrong,” said Peter Feaver, a senior official in George W. Bush’s White House and professor at Duke University. “Empirically, the military is more reluctant to use force . . . but if force is used, then they want it to be used without restraint.”


The CIA: An overdue overview

May 30, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

At its inception, this agency strove to be the official foreign policy arm of the U.S. government. By cloaking its clandestine activities behind the slogan of national security, the CIA has been directly responsible for thousands of deaths, political assassinations, revolutions, economic disasters, and gross and repeated violations of international law. If these actions had succeeded, all would be forgiven. But if one considers the cynical dictum that the end always justifies the means, then in the towering majority of its clandestine activities, the CIA has failed in its goals disastrously.

They fomented and launched the Hungarian revolt in 1956 which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and was an utter fiasco, accomplishing nothing except the consolidation of power by Moscow over their puppet Hungarian government.

There were their private wars against Cuba and several nations in Central and South America which resulted in terrible regional bloodbaths which had no appreciable laurels for American foreign policy. Those ill-advised policies had the added effect of making the United States a hated entity in many countries which might otherwise have been more friendly.

The wave of terrorism which has arisen at the end of the twentieth century has its roots, not in the theoretical evils of Marxism, but in the concrete evils promulgated by the renegade socialites of Langley. Their attempts at inflicting their ill-informed and short-sighted will on those whom they perceived to be their personal enemies (to include the Congress of the United States and the office of the President), has sown a crop of hatred and complete distrust which is still bearing bitter fruit.

There were also the uprisings in Indonesia, the removal of Philippine President Marcos, and many bloody wars on the African continent which are still in progress. The CIA has, by its own admission, interfered with legitimate elections in foreign countries, assassinated inconvenient people whom they disliked, including heads of state and military leaders.

Although Canada was, and is, considered an ally and a friendly neighbor, CIA officials clandestinely supported the Quebec separatist movement, a support which consisted of supplying the movement with explosives and money.

At one point, although England was once considered to be a valuable ally, they supported the Irish Republican Army with explosives and money in order to protect U.S. business investments in England from IRA attack. If the provo wing of the IRA blew up Lord Mountbatten or a building in the City of London, the primary concern was that neither the lord nor the building were connected to Standard Oil.

When the legitimately elected leader of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbanez Guzmán, who was certainly not a communist, attempted after his election in November of 1950 to nationalize United Fruit Company holdings in his country, it took only a call from the directors of that company to launch a CIA-controlled internal revolt by the usual well-bribed military dissidents to topple the government. The reason given for this action was that the government was now in the hands of the dreaded communists and no doubt Mexico would fall next. The nationalization projects immediately stopped but when the CIA-designate government head, Castillo Armas, began to view them with some favor, he was immediately assassinated and the matter was permanently shelved.

While United Fruit Company was secure, the same could not be said of the general population of Guatemala which was subsequently plunged into a state of virtual anarchy. Units of the CIA-supported Guatemalan armed forces spent decades slaughtering anyone who even looked as if they could disagree with them. The legions of slaughtered peasants, which included women and children, were listed as communist agents in official reports to Congress which was then asked to vote higher appropriations to continue protecting the lives and sacred honor of their constituents.

An identical CIA-paid rebellion was fomented against legally-elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende Goosens in 1973. During the course of this campaign, the Chilean economy was wrecked, unions and military factions bribed and on September 11 of that year, Allende was machine-gunned to death in his office. This was later termed a suicide in recently-released official CIA reports, so there cannot be any reason to doubt its accuracy.

Neither of these two illegal interferences with legitimate foreign governments was due to a threat of communism, although unlike the Guatemalan, Allende was an intellectual Marxist. They were instituted and executed solely because both governments had nationalized, or threatened to nationalize, American businesses in their country.

The business community, which had long suffered under the reign of Franklin Roosevelt, was delighted to finally find an ally in a government agency which could be completely relied upon to defend their foreign investments and with the added pleasure of knowing that the costs of this defense would be entirely borne by the American taxpayers.

When the CIA wanted information on Swiss bank accounts, information which the Swiss authorities were legally forbidden to reveal, one of their leading bankers was seized at the New York airport when arriving for a conference and locked up in a remote precinct jail until he was willing to cooperate.

There has been much pointless speculation on the reasons for American involvement in Vietnam, an ill-advised war which cost over 50,000 American lives. The expression “domino theory” has seriously been put forward as the best description why the United States became involved in a bloody and useless war which it ultimately lost. This bit of fatuous nonsense held that if only one country fell under communist influence, all its neighboring countries would be at terrible risk and would likely fall into the hands of the Soviets.

The actual history behind American involvement in Vietnam, as in so many other global razzias, has its roots in business, not politics. French Indo-China had long been a very profitable colony for France. After World War II, France was not able to maintain control over the country and fought an exhausting and ultimately futile campaign to keep this control. When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was being developed, America wished the support of France. General DeGaulle, then head of state, disliked and distrusted Americans based on his personal experiences with them during World War II and refused to cooperate unless, and until, America agreed to support and protect their economic holdings in their former colony.

Aside from huge, untapped offshore oil fields, the rubber plantations alone were of great value and it was then that the vested interest theory mutated into the domino theory. After all, there were a number of American firms who also had interests in Vietnam and who would enjoy substantial profits if the offshore oil fields could be developed, preferably by American interests instead of French.

The methods used by a mixture of elite American military units and CIA specialists to remove any suspect Communists from the population of Vietnam, the so-called Operation Phoenix, is of such a nature as to preclude its being published in a work that might be accessible to women or children. And somewhat earlier, there was the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company business which cannot really be called a scandal at this point in time because American involvement has not yet been disclosed. That hitherto unacknowledged business will receive detailed coverage in the following volume of Müller¹s journals and should give a much clearer reason why the people of Iran are so anti-American.

One of his associates once said to Hitler, knowing his detestation of them, that it was too bad that any Jews existed in the world at all. Hitler¹s purported response was that if the Jews, whom he saw as a unifying force for German opinion, did not exist, he would have to invent them.

Instead of heaping further indignities on the long-persecuted Jews, the CIA chose as its pet devil, the Soviet Union, its allies and the communist parties which existed throughout the world in the immediate postwar period. These entities, who were quite as rapacious and bloodthirsty as their American opponents, were credited with every inherently evil design on an innocent world.

When communism finally imploded, its most sincere mourners were its former enemies who now had to find other reasons for their existence, and more important, justification to Congressional fiscal committees for their enormous operational budgets. It was a well-founded fear of prosecution, not seeming modesty, which precluded full, or any, disclosure of the actual use of these budgetary fundings.

A vague, serious mention of national security was always good for a billion or more added to the previous year¹s bloated allowance, but now with Moscow reduced to rattling a cup full of pencils in Red Square, other justifications needed to be found.

It can be noted that the once-mighty, self-proclaimed skill of the CIA as the eternal watchdog of American liberties seems to have become chipped and broken in recent years. Amazingly, their multi-billion dollar satellites, paid for by the American public, and smugly touted as the ultimate defense of the same public, were somehow unable to observe a number of atomic explosions on the Indian sub-continent and we have also been treated to the destruction, by long range rockets, of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan which the CIA said was producing deadly components for chemical warfare. Subsequent to the attack, which killed a number of people and wrecked the complex, an investigation was begun by outsiders which has disclosed that this plant was certainly not involved in making any chemicals of mass destruction.

In spite of the fact that the investigators were from a reputable American professional organization, the CIA still states that one of their secret agents had discovered positive proof of their contentions which led to their advice to the U.S. government to launch a surprise attack. No evidence has ever been produced in support of their thesis or likely ever will be. In this matter, as in so many others, the CIA counts on the short attention span of the American public and the fact that a new crisis will hopefully bury it in the print media.

Such activities, promulgated obviously for the purposes of image-enhancing, have had a negative impact on the population of a large part of the world and should they continue, as they obviously will, the prophets of doom who see clandestine chemical warfare attacks on the United States will live to see their prophecies materialize.

More cynical observers have noted that this attack happened just as President Clinton was involved in serious legal and media problems in Washington and the question has been asked if in this case, the tail did not wag the dog.


U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels

January 23, 2016

by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzojan

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.

The support for the Syrian rebels is only the latest chapter in the decadeslong relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States, an alliance that has endured through the Iran-contra scandal, support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and proxy fights in Africa. Sometimes, as in Syria, the two countries have worked in concert. In others, Saudi Arabia has simply written checks underwriting American covert activities.

The joint arming and training program, which other Middle East nations contribute money to, continues as America’s relations with Saudi Arabia — and the kingdom’s place in the region — are in flux. The old ties of cheap oil and geopolitics that have long bound the countries together have loosened as America’s dependence on foreign oil declines and the Obama administration tiptoes toward a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran.

And yet the alliance persists, kept afloat on a sea of Saudi money and a recognition of mutual self-interest. In addition to Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves and role as the spiritual anchor of the Sunni Muslim world, the long intelligence relationship helps explain why the United States has been reluctant to openly criticize Saudi Arabia for its human rights abuses, its treatment of women and its support for the extreme strain of Islam, Wahhabism, that has inspired many of the very terrorist groups the United States is fighting. The Obama administration did not publicly condemn Saudi Arabia’s beheading this month of a dissident Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who had challenged the royal family.

Although the Saudis have been public about their help arming rebel groups in Syria, the extent of their partnership with the C.I.A.’s covert action campaign and their direct financial support had not been disclosed. Details were pieced together in interviews with a half-dozen current and former American officials and sources from several Persian Gulf countries. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.

From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it.

“They understand that they have to have us, and we understand that we have to have them,” said Mike Rogers, the former Republican congressman from Michigan who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when the C.I.A. operation began. Mr. Rogers declined to discuss details of the classified program.

American officials have not disclosed the amount of the Saudi contribution, which is by far the largest from another nation to the program to arm the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad’s military. But estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars.

The White House has embraced the covert financing from Saudi Arabia — and from Qatar, Jordan and Turkey — at a time when Mr. Obama has pushed gulf nations to take a greater security role in the region

Spokesmen for both the C.I.A. and the Saudi Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

When Mr. Obama signed off on arming the rebels in the spring of 2013, it was partly to try to gain control of the apparent free-for-all in the region. The Qataris and the Saudis had been funneling weapons into Syria for more than a year. The Qataris had even smuggled in shipments of Chinese-made FN-6 shoulder-fired missiles over the border from Turkey.

The Saudi efforts were led by the flamboyant Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at the time the intelligence chief, who directed Saudi spies to buy thousands of AK-47s and millions of rounds of ammunition in Eastern Europe for the Syrian rebels. The C.I.A. helped arrange some of the arms purchases for the Saudis, including a large deal in Croatia in 2012.

By the summer of 2012, a freewheeling feel had taken hold along Turkey’s border with Syria as the gulf nations funneled cash and weapons to rebel groups — even some that American officials were concerned had ties to radical groups like Al Qaeda.

The C.I.A. was mostly on the sidelines during this period, authorized by the White House under the Timber Sycamore training program to deliver nonlethal aid to the rebels but not weapons. In late 2012, according to two former senior American officials, David H. Petraeus, then the C.I.A. director, delivered a stern lecture to intelligence officials of several gulf nations at a meeting near the Dead Sea in Jordan. He chastised them for sending arms into Syria without coordinating with one another or with C.I.A. officers in Jordan and Turkey.

Months later, Mr. Obama gave his approval for the C.I.A. to begin directly arming and training the rebels from a base in Jordan, amending the Timber Sycamore program to allow lethal assistance. Under the new arrangement, the C.I.A. took the lead in training, while Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate, provided money and weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles.

The Qataris have also helped finance the training and allowed a Qatari base to be used as an additional training location. But American officials said Saudi Arabia was by far the largest contributor to the operation.

While the Obama administration saw this coalition as a selling point in Congress, some, including Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, raised questions about why the C.I.A. needed Saudi money for the operation, according to one former American official. Mr. Wyden declined to be interviewed, but his office released a statement calling for more transparency. “Senior officials have said publicly that the U.S. is trying to build up the battlefield capabilities of the anti-Assad opposition, but they haven’t provided the public with details about how this is being done, which U.S. agencies are involved, or which foreign partners those agencies are working with,” the statement said.

When relations among the countries involved in the training program are strained, it often falls to the United States to broker solutions. As the host, Jordan expects regular payments from the Saudis and the Americans. When the Saudis pay late, according to a former senior intelligence official, the Jordanians complain to C.I.A. officials.

While the Saudis have financed previous C.I.A. missions with no strings attached, the money for Syria comes with expectations, current and former officials said. “They want a seat at the table, and a say in what the agenda of the table is going to be,” said Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The C.I.A. training program is separate from another program to arm Syrian rebels, one the Pentagon ran that has since ended. That program was designed to train rebels to combat Islamic State fighters in Syria, unlike the C.I.A.’s program, which focuses on rebel groups fighting the Syrian military.

While the intelligence alliance is central to the Syria fight and has been important in the war against Al Qaeda, a constant irritant in American-Saudi relations is just how much Saudi citizens continue to support terrorist groups, analysts said.

“The more that the argument becomes, ‘We need them as a counterterrorism partner,’ the less persuasive it is,” said William McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism adviser and the author of a book on the Islamic State. “If this is purely a conversation about counterterrorism cooperation, and if the Saudis are a big part of the problem in creating terrorism in the first place, then how persuasive of an argument is it?”

In the near term, the alliance remains solid, strengthened by a bond between spy masters. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi interior minister who took over the effort to arm the Syrian rebels from Prince Bandar, has known the C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, from the time Mr. Brennan was the agency’s Riyadh station chief in the 1990s. Former colleagues say the two men remain close, and Prince Mohammed has won friends in Washington with his aggressive moves to dismantle terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador’s, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief.

Current and former intelligence officials say there is a benefit to this communication channel: The Saudis are far more responsive to American criticism when it is done in private, and this secret channel has done more to steer Saudi behavior toward America’s interests than any public chastising could have.

The roots of the relationship run deep. In the late 1970s, the Saudis organized what was known as the “Safari Club” — a coalition of nations including Morocco, Egypt and France — that ran covert operations around Africa at a time when Congress had clipped the C.I.A.’s wings over years of abuses.

“And so the kingdom, with these countries, helped in some way, I believe, to keep the world safe at a time when the United States was not able to do that,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence, recalled in a speech at Georgetown University in 2002.

In the 1980s, the Saudis helped finance C.I.A. operations in Angola, where the United States backed rebels against the Soviet-allied government. While the Saudis were staunchly anticommunist, Riyadh’s primary incentive seemed to be to solidify its C.I.A. ties. “They were buying good will,” recalled one former senior intelligence officer who was involved in the operation.

In perhaps the most consequential episode, the Saudis helped arm the mujahedeen rebels to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The United States committed hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the mission, and the Saudis matched it, dollar for dollar.

The money flowed through a C.I.A.-run Swiss bank account. In the book “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the journalist George Crile III describes how the C.I.A. arranged for the account to earn no interest, in keeping with the Islamic ban on usury.

In 1984, when the Reagan administration sought help with its secret plan to sell arms to Iran to finance the contra rebels in Nicaragua, Robert C. McFarlane, the national security adviser, met with Prince Bandar, who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington at the time. The White House made it clear that the Saudis would “gain a considerable amount of favor” by cooperating, Mr. McFarlane later recalled.

Prince Bandar pledged $1 million per month to help fund the contras, in recognition of the administration’s past support to the Saudis. The contributions continued after Congress cut off funding to the contras. By the end, the Saudis had contributed $32 million, paid through a Cayman Islands bank account.

When the Iran-contra scandal broke, and questions arose about the Saudi role, the kingdom kept its secrets. Prince Bandar refused to cooperate with the investigation l

In a letter, the prince declined to testify, explaining that his country’s “confidences and commitments, like our friendship, are given not just for the moment but the long run.”

C .J. Chivers contributed reporting.


Manufacturing the Cold War in 1948


In 1948, Stalin sent troops into Czechoslovakia after a minority but efficient communist coup which overthrew the Western-oriented government. This act, in February of 1948, combined with the blockade of West Berlin, then occupied by the British, French and Americans in June of the same year, gave a group of senior American military leaders a heaven-sent opportunity to identify a new and dangerous military enemy—an enemy which could and would attack Western Europe and the United States in the immediate future.

To facilitate the acceptance of this theory, Gehlen was requested to produce intelligence material that would bolster it in as authoritative a manner as possible. This Gehlen did and to set the parameters of this report, Gehlen, General Stephen Chamberlain, Chief of Intelligence of the US Army General Staff, and General Lucius D. Clay, US commander in occupied Germany met in Berlin in February of 1948, immediately after the Czech occupation but before the blockade.

After this meeting, Gehlen drew up a lengthy and detailed intelligence report which categorically stated that 175 fully-equipped Soviet divisions, many armored, were poised to attack. General Clay forwarded this alarming example of creative writing to Washington and followed up with frantic messages indicating his fear that the Soviets were about to launch an all-out land war on the United States.

Although the sequence of events might indicate that Clay was involved in an attempt to mislead US leaders, in actuality, he was misled by Chamberlain and Gehlen. They managed to thoroughly frighten General Clay and used him as a conduit to Washington. He was not the last to fall victim to the machinations of the war party.

The Gehlen papers were deliberately leaked to Congress and the President. This resulted in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. This was not a historical first by any means. Elements in England at the beginning of the 20th century, alarmed at the growing economic threat of a united Germany, commenced a long public campaign designed to frighten the British public and their leaders into adopting a bellicose re-armament program based on a fictional German military threat.

Gehlen and his organization were considered vital to US interests. As long as the General was able to feed the re-armament frenzy in Washington with supportive, inflammatory secret reports, then his success was assured.

The only drawback to this deadly farce was that the General did not have knowledge of current Soviet situations in the military or political fields. He could only bluff his way for a short time. To enhance his military staffs, Gehlen developed the use of former SS Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Gestapo people, brought to him by Krichbaum, his chief recruiter.

At the same time, a joint British-American project called “Operation Applepie” was launched with the sole purpose of locating and employing as many of the former Gestapo and SD types now being employed by Gehlen. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. During the course of this hunt, the prize was considered to be former SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, then in Switzerland. Contact with the former Gestapo Chief was through Krichbaum, acting on Müller’s specific instructions.

In the resulting bidding war, the Americans easily defeated the British, and the British public was spared the possible discovery of Müller appearing, under a new name, on their New Year’s Honors List instead of being made a Brigadier General of Reserve in the United States Army under a new name.

The recently uncovered files on “Applepie” are of such interest that they will be the subject of a further in-depth publication. Other document series of equal importance will include the so-called Robinson papers and a series of reports on the British use of certain former Gestapo and SD personnel in Damascus, Syria by John Marriott of the Security Intelligence Middle East (SIME). Robinson (or Robinsohn as he was known to the Gestapo officials) was a high-level Soviet agent captured in France as a result of the Rote Kapelle investigations. Robinson’s files came into Müller’s possession and reveal an extensive Soviet spy ring in Great Britain. Such highly interesting and valuable historical records should also encompass the more significant intercepts made of Soviet messages by the Gestapo from Ottawa, Canada to Moscow throughout the war. These parallel the so-called Venona intercepts which have been fully translated and are extraordinarily lengthy.

In 1948, control of the Gehlen organization was assumed by the new CIA and put under the direction of Colonel James Critchfield, formerly an armored unit commander and now a CIA section chief.

At this point, Gehlen had a number of powerful sponsors in the US military and intelligence communities. These included General Walter Bedell Smith, former Chief of Staff to General Eisenhower and later head of the CIA; General William Donovan, former head of the OSS; Allen Welch Dulles, former Swiss station chief of the OSS and later head of the CIA; Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, first head of the CIA; General Edwin Sibert of US Army military intelligence and Generals Chamberlain and Clay.

American military intelligence officers were well aware that the Soviet Army threat was hollow and that the Soviets’ act of dismantling the eastern German railroad system was strong proof that an attack was not in the offing, but they were strongly discouraged by their superiors from expressing their views.

In 1954, General Arthur Trudeau, chief of US military intelligence, received a copy of a lengthy report prepared by retired Lt. Colonel Hermann Baun of Gehlen’s staff. Baun, who had originally been assigned to the German High Command (OKW) as an Abwehr specialist on Russia, eventually ended up working for Gehlen’s Foreign Armies East which was under the control of the Army High Command (OKH). Baun was an extremely competent, professional General Staff officer who, by 1953, had taken a dim view, indeed, of the creatures foisted on him by Gehlen. Baun detested Gehlen who had forced him out of his post-war intelligence position with the West. Baun’s annoyance was revealed in a lengthy complaint of Gehlen’s Nazi staff members which set forth, in detail, their names and backgrounds.

General Trudeau was so annoyed with this report that in October of 1954, he took West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer aside as Adenauer was making an official visit to Washington, Trudeau passed much of this information to the horrified Adenauer, who had spent time in a concentration camp during the war. Adenauer, in turn, raised this issue with American authorities and the matter was leaked to the press. Allen Dulles, a strong Gehlen backer and now head of the CIA, used his own connections and those of his brother, John, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, to effectively silence Trudeau by transferring him to the remote Far East.

Trudeau’s warning to Adenauer did not have a lasting effect and on April 1, 1956, former General Reinhard Gehlen was appointed as head of the new West German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendiesnt or BND. Today, this German agency has the “closest ties” with the CIA and what the BND knows, the CIA knows. In this case, as in so many other similar ones, virtue is certainly not its own reward.

Who, then, were the Gehlen organization people Colonel Baun took exception to working with?

The first person on the list was former SS-Oberführer or Senior Colonel, Willi Krichbaum whom we have met before. Krichbaum was an associate of Müller1 and later the Deputy Chief of the Gestapo. Krichbaum was in charge of the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in 1944—a deportation that took nearly 300,000 lives. According to Müller’s files, Krichbaum is also the man who shot Raoul Wallenberg. The Geheime Feld Polizei or the Secret Field Police which Krichbaum had commanded2 was responsible for all manner of atrocities, including the killing of Soviet prisoners of war. Although Russia was not a member of the Geneva Convention, Germany was a signator and this Convention forbade the execution of prisoners of war. Krichbaum, of whom Müller once said, “war mit Blut verschmiert” (was smeared with blood) was not only Gehlen’s chief recruiter, mostly of former Gestapo and SD people, but also informed Müller of the inner workings of the Gehlen organization which was considered a highly secret American CIA intelligence resource. Krichbaum continued to work for Gehlen, according to an interview with Colonel Critchfield, until at least 1956 when the West German government took over control of the group.

The second name on the list was SS-Standartenführer or Colonel Walter Rauff who had a most interesting career. In 1942, Walter Rauff was chief of the SD units attached to the AOK Afrika, Rommels’ Afrikakorps. In  1943, after the collapse of the DAK, Rauff worked in Italy as the chief of the SD in Milan. In this capacity, Rauff was involved with SS General Karl Wolff’s negotiations to surrender the German troops in Italy in 1945. This was a pet project of Allen Dulles and was called “Operation Sunrise.” During the course of the negotiations, Dulles became very friendly with Rauff. Consequently, as the new Gehlen organization was formed, Dulles was instrumental in acquiring Rauff for an advisory position with them.

In 1941, Rauff had been involved with the SD anti-partisan activities in the captured areas of the Soviet Union. Rauff conceived, constructed and personally supervised the use of gas vans. These vans had the exhaust pipes vented inside the rear compartments which were then filled with Jews who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. While it spared some SD men from the guilt associated with murdering large numbers of civilians, it did have certain negative aspects—the collection of bodies in the back of the van. When the rear door was opened to remove the dead, the stench proved to be a serious occupational hazard. An ingenious man, Rauff had a special fitting constructed that helped alleviate this unfortunate problem. A lengthy file on Rauff’s gas vans is stored at the National Archives.

At the end of the war, Rauff was imprisoned in Italy. He later emerged in Germany, happily working for the Gehlen group. Unfortunately for him, his presence became known to the wrong people, and he found it necessary to move to Syria where he continued to represent Gehlen’s interests. As the stress of discovery there became too much for Gehlen to bear, it was decided that Rauff should move to Chile. His friend and later protector, Allen Dulles, ordered that he be given new identity papers and funds for travel and relocation. While in Chile, the loyal Rauff continued to provide intelligence reports to Gehlen and his other protectors.

Another senior Gehlen aide was former SS-Oberführer Dr. Franz Six. Six was an intellectual academic, Professor of Political Science at Königsberg University. Six joined the SS on April 20, 1935 and became a member of the SD. In 1941, Six was in command of an Einsatzgruppe and was directly responsible for the murder of the Jews in the Russian city of Smolensk. Following this military triumph, Six was made the head of Section VII of the RSHA. In 1943 he was sent to the Foreign Ministry where he was in charge of the Cultural Division. In 1946, Dr. Six was an early member of the Gehlen/CIA organization but was eventually tracked down and his supporters were unable to prevent his standing trial in April of 1948 for his actions. He received a sentence of 25 years. However, US authorities interceded on his behalf and on September 30, 1952, Six was released and at once returned to his duties with Gehlen.

SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Alois Brunner was a Gestapo official who worked directly under Adolf Eichmann in the deportation department. Ambitious and energetic, Brunner was an instigator of the notorious razzia carried out in France in 1942 against the Jews of Paris. So outraged was his putative chief, Müller, that Brunner was transferred to Sofia in Bulgaria. He was sentenced to death by a French court, in absentia because Brunner had gone to Damascus, Syria, as Gehlen’s resident agent. He used a number of names including “Georg Fischer” and “Waldo Munk.” Brunner was later made a part of a CIA-directed program to train the security forces of Abdel Nasser and Israeli agents attempted to blow him up with a letter bomb but failed. In addition to the French death sentence, Brunner was also on the wanted list of the CIC.

Probably the worst offender of all was SS-Gruppenführer Odlio Globocnik, once the Gauleiter of Vienna until fired by Hitler for theft and pillage. Globocnik went on to run the Lublin camps in Poland where he stole millions more and was responsible for the gassing of large numbers of Jews and Poles. His stolen millions, mostly in gold coins later buried around an Austrian mountain lake, saved him from prosecution. After working for a time for the British, he eventually ended up as an American resource, also in Damascus. The name of the program that sent him there was called “Argos.”

Like its Biblical counterpart, the 20th century road to Damascus was traveled by converts to the new religion of the West.

There were many more individuals connected with the Gestapo or SD who openly worked for Gehlen including SS-Standartenführer Frederich Panziger, another old friend of Müller’s who had married into his family. Panziger was not responsible for wartime atrocities but was a key player in the break-up of the Rote Kapelle, a Russian spy ring considered to be of great value to Gehlen.

If retired Lt. Colonel Hermann Baun had thought to damage his nemesis Gehlen, he was in error. His lengthy and detailed report only made Gehlen more popular with the US intelligence agency that ran him and, through them, with the US-controlled puppet government of West Germany—a government that did exactly what it was told and clicked its heels together while doing it.

What did the CIA and those in the more elevated US positions of command know about the flawed membership of their prize German possession? Was the quickly suppressed Baun report the only indicator that had surfaced between 1948 and 1956? If there was any substantive material on this subject, it certainly would never be made available to anyone and would, undoubtedly, be sequestered in some remote place in Arizona or perhaps even somewhere on the grounds of an academic institution closer to hand.

Critchfield initially acknowledged awareness of the use by the CIA-run Gehlen agency of a number of the individuals encountered earlier in this chapter. However, the Colonel, now living in comfortable retirement in Williamsburg, Virginia, stated that aside from Dr. Six, he had no knowledge of any of the allegations of war crimes against his former employees, which he termed “outrageous.” He stated finally that Krichbaum, whom he had earlier claimed to have played a “very important role in our history” was certainly not a member of the SS, not Müller’s Deputy Chief of the Gestapo, not involved with the deportation and deaths of the Hungarian Jews, and could never have shot Raoul Wallenberg. The question of the Wallenberg killing comes solely from Müller’s statements and no corroboration of it can be found though it is unlikely that Müller would admit on the record that he had ordered such a potentially damaging act unless he actually had. The membership of Krichbaum in the SS, his rank, and his position inside the Gestapo organization is absolutely beyond doubt. All of Willi Krichbaum’s official history, as that of the others included in this study is presently available for public inspection in the US National Archives records in Washington.

Also beyond doubt is the participation of a significant number of unsavory individuals in the CIA-controlled Gehlen organization and no question whatsoever as to the atrocities they committed while members of the SD and Gestapo.

From 1945 on, the US had control of the Berlin Document Center, which was the repository for all SS, Gestapo and SD personnel files. US investigators were required to check the backgrounds of all potential German employees against their records. In addition, CROWCASS (Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects) files contained the names of suspected or wanted war criminals. The CROWCASS information was widely circulated to American agencies, including the CIA, which were in a position to hire or come into contact with such people. These files, which contained a great deal of potentially damaging information on German nationals, were turned over to Gehlen in 1948, no doubt to assist his recruitment drives.

When pressed, Colonel Critchfield acknowledged the existence of the background and personal history files and dossiers but averred that the investigation of his employees had been a matter for the Central Registry of the CIC. When asked if he had ever been advised by this agency that many of his senior functionaries were on the wanted lists, Critchfield gave no response.

Intelligence agencies have a tendency to place former military personnel in positions of responsibility precisely because they are trained to obey, without questioning, orders from superiors.

Reinhard Gehlen is not the actual focus of this study. The actual focus is the use by American intelligence agencies of persons who had no particular substantive intelligence value and whose employment by them was then and is now, indefensible. The knowing employment of the CIA of Krichbaum, Dr. Franz Six, and many others whose names can be found in the Baun report and the fact that this specifically led US intelligence to depend heavily on these badly flawed individuals is the issue.

By their dependence on these people, the US agencies permitted ideological Germans with a strong and pervasive detestation of the Soviet Union and an overriding urge to seek revenge for their defeat by this country to promote, often with great success, their own agendas which in most cases were self-serving and certainly not in the best interests of the American public.

China’s Top 6 Environmental Concerns

by Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor


China’s environmental crises seem to arise on a scale as sweeping and epic as the vast nation itself:

Thousands of dead, bloated pigs floating down the river that supplies Shanghai with its drinking water. Air pollution in Beijing so impenetrable the U.S. Embassy’s air quality measuring station can only call it “beyond index.” Industrial towns where rates of cancer are so high they’re known as “cancer villages.”

Compounding these problems is the Chinese government’s stony silence about anything that might imperil the country’s economic development — including environmental regulation.

But China’s increasingly restive population of 1.3 billion people is now starting to demand government action to combat the deadly plagues of pollution and disease that are stalking the 21st century’s economic powerhouse.

Chinese officials, however, have barely started to acknowledge the problem. In the meantime, the people of China are forced to face the following environmental catastrophes on a daily basis:

Air pollution

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality scale, any pollution rating above 300 means the air is unsafe to breathe. Under these conditions, people should stay indoors with an air purifier running and remain as motionless as possible, according to U.S. Embassy Beijing guidelines.

In January alone, there were 19 days when the index in Beijing surpassed that 300 threshold, according to the Washington Post, and readings above 500 are no longer unusual. On Jan. 12, the reading reached an eye-bleeding 886, comparable to living inside a smoking lounge.

Manufacturing industries and Beijing’s 5 million-plus cars all contribute to the city’s crippling air pollution, but most experts primarily blame the coal-burning electrical plants that power China’s breakneck economic growth.

China now burns 47 percent of the world’s coal, roughly equal to the amount used by all other countries of the world combined, the New York Times reports. And Beijing is surrounded by a vast network of coal-burning power plants.

But as foul as it is, Beijing’s air isn’t even China’s worst: That dubious honor goes to Ürümqi in the country’s far west, which frequently joins other Chinese cities like Lanzhou and Linfen on lists of the world’s most polluted places.

Water pollution

Thousands of dead pigs floating past Shanghai, dramatic though they are, may be the least of China’s water pollution worries.

In January, a chemical accident leaked benzene, a known cancer-causing agent, into a tributary of the Huangpu River (where the dead pigs were discovered). More than 20 people were hospitalized as a result, according to the Wall Street Journal, and area residents were forced to rely on fire trucks to deliver safe drinking water.

More than half of China’s surface water is so polluted it cannot be treated to make it drinkable, the Economist reports, and one-quarter of it is so dangerous it can’t even be used for industrial purposes.

Groundwater isn’t any safer: About 40 percent of China’s farmland relies on underground water for irrigation, and an estimated 90 percent is polluted, Reuters reports. About 60 percent of the groundwater beneath Chinese cities is described as “severely polluted” by the Economist.

Last December — shortly after his sister died of lung cancer at age 35 — businessman Jin Zengmin from Zhejiang province offered a 200,000-yuan ($32,000) reward to any local environmental official who would swim in a nearby river, where Jin once swam as a boy, Time.com reports. The river is now black with sludge from an upstream shoe factory.

His reward remains uncollected.


China has a history of intensive agriculture going back millennia, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that much of the nation’s 3.7 million square-mile (9.6 million square kilometers) territory has been subject to deforestation.

Population pressure, the conversion of forests to farmland, and hydroelectric and other infrastructure projects have placed China’s remaining forests at risk. This prompted the United Nations Environment Programme to list the country’s forests as threatened and in need of protection.

Following closely on the heels of deforestation and agricultural development is desertification, the destruction of vegetative land cover that results in a landscape defined by bare soil and rock. About 1 million square miles (2.6 million sq km) of China is now under desertification — that’s about one-quarter of the country’s total land surface, spread across 18 provinces, according to IPS News Agency.

Blinding dust storms, mud-choked rivers and eroded topsoil are often the result of desertification. Despite recent gains in reforestation and grasslands restoration, the desert continues to expand each year by about 950 square miles (2,460 sq km), according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The resulting loss of arable land has created a generation of “eco-migrants,” the Guardian reports, who are forced to leave their homelands, because their traditional agricultural lifestyle is no longer an option.

“We’ve made progress, but we face a daunting challenge,” Liu Tuo, Chinese desertification control officer, told the Guardian. “It may take China 300 years.”


Closely related to deforestation and desertification is the issue of habitat loss and the resulting drop in biodiversity. As vast areas of forest are cleared for farmland, bamboo plantations, timber and fuel wood, endangered animals like pandas struggle to survive.

China’s issues with species loss extend far beyond its borders: The slaughter of elephants for ivory, the killing of rhinos for their horns, and the culling of tigers for their bones (as medicine) and penises (as aphrodisiacs) have one primary source: the Chinese market.

Sharks are endangered worldwide, largely because of shark finning — the removal of dorsal fins from still-living sharks — for the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup.

Cancer villages

Perhaps no other issue underscores China’s reckless disregard for environmental and public health more than the existence of “cancer villages,” entire towns that have been written off as so polluted that simply living there is a cancer risk.

For years, individuals and groups have waged a desperate campaign to force the government to address — or even acknowledge — the high rates of stomach, liver, kidney and colon cancer in certain areas, usually adjacent to heavy industrial complexes, the BBC reports.

In Shangba, a city in southern Guangdong province, the river that flows through town changes from white to a startling shade of orange because of varying types of industrial effluent, Reuters reports. Many of the river’s contaminants, like cadmium and zinc, are known to cause cancer.

“All the fish died, even chickens and ducks that drank from the river died. If you put your leg in the water, you’ll get rashes and a terrible itch,” He Shuncai, a 34-year-old farmer from Shangba, told Reuters. “Last year alone, six people in our village died from cancer and they were in their 30s and 40s.”

In February of this year, a report from China’s environment ministry noted that chemicals and heavy metals banned in other countries are found throughout China. The report went on to state that there are “some serious cases of health and social problems like the emergence of cancer villages in individual regions,” marking the first official admission of the problem that has plagued the country for decades.

Population growth

China’s “one-child” policy is universally acknowledged as having effectively kept the country’s population in check. Nonetheless, China is home to about 1.3 billion people — over one-seventh of the planet’s people live in the nation.

What’s more of a concern to environmental advocates is the growing affluence of China’s middle class, who are now adopting Western-style consumer patterns. While items like red meat, liquor and automobiles were once considered forbidden luxuries, more and more families are driving their car to a market to buy tenderloin beef, 120-proof baijiu liquor and other consumer goods.

The health risks associated with these kinds of purchases have not gone unnoticed: Binge drinking and alcohol-related hospitalizations have now reached “epidemic proportions,” the Guardian reports, and the Chinese — who once enjoyed a relatively healthy diet and low rates of cancer — now dine on twice as much meat as Americans, consuming one-quarter of the world’s supply, according to the Telegraph.

These consumer trends, multiplied across a large and heavily populated country, have a global reach that affects everything from sugar prices in Europe to climate change in Greenland: Most climate experts agree that China’s industrial growth, and its dependence on coal-burning, are significant drivers of climate change, Scientific American reports.

Can China change course?

While China’s traditionally obdurate government hierarchy has seemed to value economic development at any cost, including the health of its citizens and wholesale eco-destruction, there are signs of a thaw in the icy silence that shrouds much environmental action in the country.

The government’s recent admission that cancer villages exist “shows that the environment ministry has acknowledged that pollution has led to people getting cancer,” environmental lawyer Wang Canfa told Agence Frence-Presse. “It shows that this issue, of environmental pollution leading to health damages, has drawn attention.”

Coupled with the public outcry over the thick blanket of toxic smog that covered Beijing earlier this year, there are glimmers of hope that the Chinese people may succeed in wresting some measure of control over their environment — and their lives — back from government and industry leaders.

Whether they will succeed remains to be seen.


EU Commissioner Malmström:’Millions of U.S. Jobs Depend On Trade with EU’

In an interview, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström of Sweden discusses the best way of dealing with free trade foe Donald Trump, unfair Chinese business practices and why it will likely take a “number of years” before the EU reaches a deal on future ties with post-Brexit Britain.

May 29, 2017

Interview Conducted by Peter Müller and Christoph Pauly


SPIEGEL: Ms. Malmström, you can actually be happy that Donald Trump was elected U.S. president.

Malmström: What makes you say that? The American people have elected their president

SPIEGEL: Demonstrating against free trade agreements like TTIP and CETA no longer appears to be so cool when you suddenly have the unpopular American president on your side …

Malmström: You have a point. Trump’s election has opened many people’s eyes in Europe to how valuable the European Union and international cooperation are.

SPIEGEL: That is apparently also true for many countries. Now that the U.S. has dropped its role as the vanguard of free trade, they are looking for a new partner: the EU.

Malmström: Already this year, we are well on our way to signing free trade agreements with Japan, Mexico and the Mercosur countries in South America. Many countries have the same instinctive reaction as the Europeans: If the U.S. turns away from the international system, then we will simply have to look after it ourselves. Together, we can demonstrate that, even in the Trump era, free trade is not a thing of the past.

SPIEGEL: President Trump has said that he wants to review all trade agreements to see whether they benefit America’s growth and bolster U.S. industry. What’s your reaction to this?

Malmström: Even though we still don’t know any precise details, we’re already making it clear that some proposals like a border tax or “buy-American” regulations are heading in a protectionist direction. The Americans’ sudden proposal to classify certain steel products as national security-related is also something that we find highly problematic.

SPIEGEL: German steel exporters are already complaining about obstacles.

Malmström: Germany and other countries have protested to the U.S. We have to make it clear again and again that millions of jobs in the U.S. depend on trade with the EU.

SPIEGEL: You recently said in Mexico: “Building walls does not make any country great again.” Do you think that Trump will eventually come around and recognize the advantages of free trade?

Malmström: I actually do not believe that Trump is anti-trade as such. He himself was a life-long trader in his own area, the real estate sector. And hasn’t he just closed an arms deal with the Saudis valuing over $100 billion? The difference is that Trump sees trade as something with a winner and a loser. This seems to be a theme of his, and that makes us different. For us, trade is something where both sides win.

SPIEGEL: How do you explain the fact that many Europeans, just like Trump’s voters, see themselves on the losing end of free trade and globalization? Recent strategy papers written by the Commission emphasize that the fears of the population have to be taken seriously. Is this a bit of self-criticism after the TTIP disaster?

Malmström: We have worked to make our trade negotiations more transparent and to negotiate value-based agreements. We have listened to concerns, for example by carrying out a reform of the investment protection system and setting out to create a multilateral investment court. Our world is rapidly changing and this creates a multitude of concerns. In a changing world, some jobs disappear and new ones are created. That’s how it has been for hundreds of years. When jobs disappear, the vast majority is not because of global trade, but because of technical advances, robotization and so on. So, we – and in particular, EU member states – have to invest more in training and education so that people will have new opportunities if their jobs are cut. The EU can also better utilize its investment and social funds to protect its citizens from swift changes. Perhaps we also have to make it clearer that we are not abandoning our standards in environmental protection, food safety or our values when we conclude a trade agreement.

SPIEGEL: The European Court of Justice is also demanding greater democratic control of EU trade policies. According to a new legal opinion, in the future — unlike the present — national parliaments will have to give their approval to, for example, the controversial arbitration courts.

Malmström: We had asked the court to give us clarity on the matter: What is within the competence of the EU and what is not? We recently had debates over a number of trade agreements. The European Commission was of the opinion that agreements should be ratified by the 28 governments and the European Parliament, while the member states said that this was also a matter for the national parliaments. Now the competencies have been clarified: The key components, the most important parts, of the agreements will be democratically decided at the EU level, while the part concerning investments will be ratified nationally. Now we have to discuss within the Commission and with the member states: Are we going to split up agreements in the future? Are we no longer negotiating at the EU level about the protection of investments?

SPIEGEL: Member states’ parliaments will have to be involved at an earlier date.

Malmström: That is true, and therein lies an opportunity. If the EU member states want us to negotiate trade agreements for them that include a reformed investment tribunal, for instance, then they will have to make sure that their parliaments are on board. This way, we ensure that the agreements that we negotiate over a period of up to 10 years have democratic legitimacy right from the start.

SPIEGEL: This week, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will make an official visit to Brussels. China’s President Xi Jinping said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that his country will assume America’s role of championing free trade. How credible is this pronouncement?

Malmström: The speech was very good. In reality, however, we have unfortunately seen very little action. On the contrary, many European companies have the impression that things have become even more difficult. They increasingly complain in China about corruption, legal uncertainty and poor internet connections. It is time for the Chinese to make good on their word.

SPIEGEL: You’ve suggested a number of anti-dumping measures like punitive tariffs to take action against unfair trade practices. Aren’t these coming too late?

Malmström: Our hope is that the European Parliament will now quickly pass our proposals. We need these instruments so that we can better protect ourselves, when necessary, against unfair practices. But that is only one side. It is just as important that we enter into a dialogue with China like the current one in the global steel forum. Russia, Korea, Turkey and the United States — we all have exactly the same agenda. The Chinese have promised to take part, as have the Americans.

SPIEGEL: German solar panel producer Solarworld has just gone bankrupt. Your ideas have apparently come too late for that company.

Malmström: The problem with trade defense instruments is that there are always two sides, even in Germany. Some companies, like Solarworld, suffer from unfair practices, while others that import Chinese components for their manufacturing operations profit when Chinese products become cheaper.

SPIEGEL: With all due respect, the result is fairly clear: There isn’t much of a solar manufacturing industry in Europe anymore.

Malmström: There are admittedly only very few firms. We have to find out more quickly and efficiently than we have in the past where the market price is for certain products. The Americans are faster at this (Ed’s note: addressing Chinese developments), that is true. But our analysis appears to be more thorough. Let me put it this way: When it comes to disputes before the World Trade Organization, we generally win.

SPIEGEL: After the solar industry, the Chinese are now having a field day with takeovers in the high-tech industry. How can Europe better protect strategic key industries?

Malmström: On the one hand, we need investments for our prosperity, also from China, and that is something we actually do not want to limit. But there is also this massive wave of takeovers that you mentioned, and that can hurt us. People are saying that Europe must take action. But how? We are looking into the legal options. Some countries are able, already today, to prevent takeovers, at least when national security is concerned.

SPIEGEL: The British now want to handle all of this on their own and have decided in favor of Brexit. Will there be a free trade agreement with Britain after it leaves the EU?

Malmström: The British will, of course, remain our friends and partners. But after Britain leaves, it will become a third country — and no longer be part of the EU. We can talk about the contours of such an agreement. But it will take a number of years to negotiate the details. I think it is unrealistic to think that we will already have a trade agreement in place by April 1, 2019.


















3 responses so far

  1. “There is absolutely no question, whatsoever, that the melting Greenland and Antarctic glaciers are dumping millions of square feet of water into the oceans.”

    Neither the Greenland nor the Antarctic ice sheets is melting. They are only melting in the gullible minds of impressionable fools such as yourself. The Antarctic ice sheet has been increasing yearly over the last forty years. Sea levels are not rising.
    The Global Warming meme is a favored child of the intelligence agencies which spawned it. It has no basis in science.

    I love correcting know-it-alls who know little or nothing.

  2. Aside from the lunatic bloggers, the NOAA’s satellite pictures plus many other aspects of legitimate oceanography show, very clearly, that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are very rapidly melting.

    The Chinese, who depend on its waters, are frantically denying that the Himalayan glaciers are melting at all.

    They claim, like the ‘True Science Today’ dorks that they are actually growing.

    And there are people who believe in Jesus, the Easter Bunny, chem trails, the Illuminati, Planet X, the Bilderburgers, the Loch Ness monster, Atlantis and the destruction of the WTC buildings by invented ‘thermeet’ carried on the backs of mechanical rats, controlled by the Skull and Bones Society.

    Since the few remaining newspapers in this country have done away with the comics section, many of us find our high humor in the blogs and the periodic manic eruptions of the Texas Jesus Freaks.

    And did you know that the magnetic North Pole flips around many times a day and we are all actually living in Peru?

    ‘Scientists’ have proven it!

    If you don’t believe it, ask them.

  3. @Chaz

    It is foolish to deny what others think, but wise to discuss it when they are open for it. At least try, next time you open your browser.

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