TBR News November 21, 2019

Nov 21 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. November 21, 2019:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for November 21:”The White House staff is packed with feeble-minded types who are so thrilled to be working around Really Important People that they overlook the growingly obvious fact that Trump is an outrageous mental case and that much of the Senate is packed with the sort of cheap crooks you might find doing time in an Arkansas county jail for stealing pumpkins from a neighbor’s garden. I have encountered some of these here and I wouldn’t let them into my house because they would leave stains on the furniture and steal the ashtrays. One day the American voting public will become aware of the bobbery running their country and great will be the fury.”

The Table of Contents
• Sondland’s bombshell testimony blows holes in Trump’s Ukraine defence
• Trump hosted Mark Zuckerberg for private White House dinner
• Innovation Should Be Made in the U.S.A.
• Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg’s Fake Accounts Ponzi Scheme
• Senators Press Amazon for Answers on Ring’s Sloppy Security Practices
• American Military actions 1950-present
• US Military Casualties 1950-present
• The Season of Evil
• The Crooked Cross

Sondland’s bombshell testimony blows holes in Trump’s Ukraine defence
Ambassador to EU testifies as House impeachment hearing
• Sondland: ‘We followed the president’s orders’
November 20, 2019
by David Smith in Washington
The Guardian
A star witness at the impeachment inquiry has delivered a devastating blow to Donald Trump, testifying about the existence of a quid pro quo with Ukraine and insisting: “We followed the president’s orders.”
Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, stunned Washington with bombshell evidence that blew a hole in the White House’s defences, implicated numerous senior officials and left the US president facing probable impeachment.
Before a rapt congressional committee and a TV audience of millions, Sondland told how Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, sought to condition an Oval Office meeting with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in exchange for politically motivated investigations of Trump’s rivals.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” the ambassador said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Nondland, a wealthy hotelier and Trump donor, has been described as one of the so-called “three amigos” the administration used to bypass usual state department channels to Ukraine. He had been billed as the witness who most alarmed officials at the White House – fears that rapidly proved to be well founded.
Wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red patterned tie, Sondland took his seat in a cavernous, ornate committee room on Capitol Hill just after 9am and offered the most explosive testimony of the inquiry so far.
He asserted that an Oval Office meeting with Trump was dependent on Ukraine announcing investigations into Burisma, a gas company linked to the son of former vice-president Joe Biden, and a widely discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine planted evidence on a server of the Democratic party to show Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
“Mr Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelenskiy,” Sondland said. “Mr Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”
Sondland acknowledged he never heard directly from Trump that the security assistance hinged on an announcement of investigations, adding that the conclusion was his “own personal guess”. But by early September, he added, “it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link”.
And he concluded the optics of Zelenskiy announcing investigations were more important than them actually taking place. “He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.”
The 19-page opening statement was a potential death blow to Trump’s fight against impeachment, demolishing talking points made by House Republicans and conservative media. The president himself, however, attempted to downplay its significance, noting that Sondland testified about a conversation in which Trump had denied to him there was a quid pro quo.
“I said to the ambassador in response, I want nothing,” Trump told reporters, reading from notes scrawled with a Sharpie in big capital letters before boarding the Marine One helicopter at the White House. “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelenskiy, President Zelenskiy to do the right thing.”
Trump’s impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House would put him on trial in the Senate, but a Republican majority there seems likely to acquit him and keep him in office.
Sondland’s evidence also raises questions over the future of Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, who pushed hard for the investigations in Ukraine despite having no official diplomatic role. Giuliani, who had business interests of his own in Ukraine, has refused to testify or hand over documents to the impeachment investigation despite a subpoena.
Trump told him to “talk with Rudy” about Ukraine, Sondland recalled, and he reluctantly agreed, even though it did not seem appropriate to go through the president’s personal lawyer.
“We did not want to work with Mr Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt … So we followed the president’s orders.”
The Brussels-based ambassador, who has no previous foreign policy experience, defended his own conduct and said he acted in good faith. He also said he was always opposed to the suspension of aid to Ukraine because of the country’s need to fight against Russian aggression.
Sondland adamantly denied involvement in “some irregular or rogue diplomacy” that departed from White House policy, claiming that he kept state department and National Security Council officials informed of his activities.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland told the hearing. “It was no secret.”
This included the vice-president, Mike Pence, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. There was a swift response from Pence’s office. Marc Short, his chief of staff, said: “The vice-president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.”
Morgan Ortagus, a state department spokesperson, denied that Sondland ever told Pompeo he believed Trump was linking Ukraine aid to investigations of political opponents.
Sondland also testified about a phone call he had with Trump from a restaurant in Kyiv. Previous witnesses have testified they overheard Trump asking, “So he’s going to do the investigation?” and Sondland replying, “He’s going to do it” because Zelenskiy will “do anything you ask him to”.
On Wednesday, Sondland told the committee: “While I cannot remember the precise details – again, the White House has not allowed me to see any readouts of that call – the July 26 call did not strike me as significant at the time.
“Actually, I would have been more surprised if President Trump had not mentioned investigations … However, I have no recollection of discussing Vice-President Biden or his son on that call or after the call ended.”
Asked by Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman whether he told Trump that Zelenskiy “loves your ass”, as has been relayed to the inquiry, Sondland replied in a moment of levity: “Sounds like something I would say. That’s how President Trump and I communicate. A lot of four-letter words. In this case a three-letter.”
Sondland appeared relaxed despite the high stakes, cracking jokes at various moments. Told that another witness called him “the Gordon problem”, Sondland shot back: “That’s what my wife calls me.”
But there was tense moments too. Sondland had already changed his closed-door testimony to admit the existence of a quid pro quo. When he told Congressman Sean Maloney of New York that he resented his tone, Maloney snapped back: “We appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear what it took to get it out of you.”
Despite the onslaught, Republicans stood firm in defence of Trump. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, dismissed “supposed bombshells” in Sondland’s testimony and repeated his complaint that Democrats refuse to call Biden’s son, Hunter, as a witness. “In their mania to attack the president, no conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats,” he said.
But their coordinated effort did little to stem the bleeding. Democrat Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, told Sondland, who looked restlessly around the room: “This is a seminal moment in our investigation and the evidence you have brought forward is deeply significant and troubling.”
George Conway, a lawyer and Trump critic married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, drew comparison with a crucial figure in the Watergate hearings that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation. “This is a John Dean moment,” he wrote. “It will live forever in American political history.”

Trump hosted Mark Zuckerberg for private White House dinner
Meeting took place as Facebook chief was being grilled by the House, NBC News reports, with Peter Thiel also in attendance
November 21, 2019
by Adam Gabbatt in New York
The Guardian
Donald Trump hosted the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for a private dinner at the White House in October.
NBC News revealed that the meeting, which had not previously been disclosed, took place when Zuckerberg was in Washington being grilled by Congress over topics including Facebook’s limited steps to ban to misinformation in political advertising
According to NBC News, the billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, a conservative who donated to Trump’s 2016 campaign and sits on Facebook’s board, was also present at the meeting.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the meeting to NBC News.
Zuckerberg and Facebook have been strongly criticized for allowing politicians to make misleading or false claims in adverts on the site. Facebook had previously banned ads containing “deceptive, false or misleading content”, but it has lifted that ban when it applies to political advertising.
The October meeting represented the second time Zuckerberg, who has privately criticized the anti-corporation proposals of Trump rival Elizabeth Warren, met the president in two months.
The pair also held a meeting at the White House in September – a summit announced by Trump on Twitter.
“As is normal for a CEO of a major US company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the president and first lady at the White House,” a Facebook spokesperson told NBC News in a statement.
Trump has been a major advertiser on Facebook. According to a Guardian analysis, his campaign has launched 5,883 different ads since news of the Ukraine-call whistleblower broke on 18 September, 40% of which mention impeachment.
One of the ads raised concern for being deliberately misleading. It claimed, wrongly, that Biden “promised Ukraine a billion dollars if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company”. CNN declined to run the ad, saying its assertions were “demonstrably false”.
Thiel, who is the chairman of private data technology company Palantir, donated $1.25m to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In August a report by Mijente, a Latinx organizing not-for-profit, found that Palantir has more than $1.5bn in federal government contracts.

Innovation Should Be Made in the U.S.A.
Offshoring by American companies has destroyed our manufacturing base and our capacity to develop new products and processes. It’s time for a national industrial policy.
November 15, 2019
by Sridhar Kota and Tom Mahoney
In 1987, as the Reagan administration was nearing its end, the economists Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman issued a prophetic warning: “If high-tech is to sustain a scale of activity sufficient to matter to the prosperity of our economy…America must control the production of those high-tech products it invents and designs.” Production, they continued, is “where the lion’s share of the value added is realized.”
Amid the offshoring frenzy that began in the late 1980s, this was heterodox thinking. In many quarters, it still is. Even as trade tensions with China have deepened, many U.S. political and economic leaders continue to believe that offshoring is not only profitable but also sound economic strategy. Manufacturing in China is cheaper, quicker and more flexible, they argue.
With China’s networks of suppliers, engineers and production experts growing larger and more sophisticated, many believe that locating production there is a better bet in terms of quality and efficiency. Instead of manufacturing domestically, the thinking goes, U.S. firms should focus on higher-value work:”innovate here, manufacture there.”
Today many Americans are rightly questioning this perspective. From the White House to Congress, from union halls to university laboratories, there is a growing recognition that we can no lnger afford the outsourcing paradigm. Once manufacturing departs from a country’s shores, engineering and production now-how leave as well, and innovation ultimately follows. It’s become increasingly clear that “manufacture there” not means “innovate there.”
What’s the solution? It’s time for the U.S. to adopt an industrial policy for the century ahead- not a throwback to the old ideas of state planning but a program for helping Americans to compete with foreign manufacturers and maintain our ever more precarious edge in innovation.
Consider the results of the original offshoring craze of the 1960’s, which centered on consumer electronics. The development of modern transistors, the establishment of standardized shipping containers and creation of inexpensive assembly lines in East Asia cut costs for consumers and created huge markets for televisions and radios; it also catalyzed the Asian manufacturing miracle. Though American federal research investment in the decades that followed enabled the invention of game-changing technologies such as the magnetic storage drive, the lithium-ion battery and the liquid crystal display, the country had, by then, already let go of consumer electronics manufacturing. Asia dominated.
Since the turn of the millennium, the off-shoring trend has accelerated, thanks to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and major investments in workforce and production capacity by other Asian nations. U.S.-based companies began to contract out both design and product-development work. A 2015 study by the consulting firms Strategy& and PwC found that U.S. companies across sectors have been moving R&D to China to be closer to production, suppliers and engineering talent- not just to reap lower costs and more dynamic markets. An estimated 50% of overseas-backed R&D centers in China have been established by U.S. companies.
Innovation in manufacturing gravitates to where the factories are. American manufacturers have learned that the applied research and engineering necessary to introduce new products, enhance existing designs and improve production processes are best done near the factories themselves. As more engineering and design work has shifted to China, many U.S. companies have a diminished capability to perform those tasks here.
Manufacturing matters- especially for a high-tech economy. While it’s still possible to argue that the offshoring of parts assembly and final production has worked well for multinational companies focused on quarterly earnings, it is increasingly clear that offshoring has devastated the small and medium-sized manufacturers that make up the nation’s supply chains and geographically diverse industrial clusters. While the share of such companies in the total population of U.S. manufacturers has risen, their absolute numbers have dropped by nearly 100,000 since the 1990’s and by 40,000 just in the last decade. Numbers have fallen in relatively high-technology industries such as computers, electronics, electrical equipment and machinery.
The loss of America’s industrial commons-the ecosystem of engineering skills, production know-how and comprehensive supply chains- has not just devastated industrial areas. It has also underined a core responsibility of government: providing for national defense. Recent Pentagon analyses of the defense industrial base have identified specific risks to weapons production, including fragile domestic suppliers, dependence on imports, counterfeit parts and material shortages. Meanwhile despite tariffs, manufacturing imports continue to set records, especially in advanced technology products. Dependence on imports had virtually eliminated the nation’s ability to manufacture large flat-screen displays, smartphones, many advanced materials and packaged semiconductors. The U.S. now lacks the capacity to manufacture many next-generation and emerging technologies.
This is to say nothing of the human suffering and sociopolitical upheaval that have resulted from the hollowing out of entire regional economies. Once vibrant communities in the so-called Rust Belt have lost population and income as large factories and their many supporting suppliers have closed. The shuttering last March of the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio- resulting in the loss of some 1,400 high-paying manufacturing jobs- is just the latest example. It joins a list that includes most of the long-established furniture industry in North Carolina, large steel mills in places like Bethlehem, Penn., and Weirton, W.Va. and the machine tool industry that once clustered around Cincinnati. Real wages across the country have been stagnant for decades, and though the causes are debatable, he loss of manufacturing jobs and the dramatic decline in manufacturing productivity growth have certainly played major roles.
In terms of long-term competitiveness, the biggest strategic consequence of this profound decline in American manufacturing might be the loss of our ability to innovate- that is, to translate inventions into production. We have lost much of our capacity to physically build what results from out world-leading investments in research and development. A study of 150 production-related hardware startups that emerged from research at MIT found that most of them scaled up production offshore to get access to production capabilities, suppliers and lead customers. As for foreign multinationals, many participate in federally funded university research centers and then use what they learn in their factories abroad. LG, Sharp and Auo, for example, were partners in the flexible display research center at Arizona State University funded by the U.S. Army, but they do not manufacture displays here.
The slow destruction of the U.S. industrial eco-system is a clear case of market failure, and the government has an important role to play in remedying it. Thanks to continued federal funding in the sciences, the U.S. is still the best in the world in groundbreaking scientific discoveries and inventions. But the federal government must do more than invest in basic research; it must also fill the innovation deficit by creating a new infrastructure for R&D in engineering and manufacturing.
The American government invests about $150 billion annually in science and technology, significantly more than other advanced industrial nations. Yet relatively little of this is devoted to the translational R&D in engineering and manufacturing needed to turn basic research results into successful commercial products. Germany, Japan and South Korea spend three to six times as much as the U.S. on industrial and production technologies. These three advanced nations have high wages and strict regulations, and their energy costs and levels of automation are higher that in the U.S.
Historically, American companies have performed this essential translational research, but in the past two decades of cost cutting to maximize quarterly earnings, corporate R&D labs at GE,IBM, Xerox, AT&T and other industrial giants invented new products and production processes, ranging from semiconduictors and lasers to MRI machines and industrial robots. In too many industries, this translational R&D capability has been lost, or at least seriously downsized, and the U.S. has lost its leadership position.
Aerospace is the main counter example, where the U.S. continues to lead in advanced technology. It is the last major industry that has maintained a strong trade surplus. Not surprisingly, it is also more dependent on government customers- mostly the Department of Defense- and the beneficiary of substantial government R&D investments in basic and translational research. Though few would call it such, this amounts to a successful industrial policy to support an industry deemed critical to national defense. It’s an example that needs to be replicated.
Unless something is done, the weak U.S. industrial commons will continue to create incentives for American companies to manufacture offshore, innovate offshore and weaken national competitiveness. A strategic and coordinated national effort is needed that moves beyond tax and trade policy, which, so far at least, has not resulted in an American manufacturing resurgence.
This national effort- call it Industrial Policy 2.0- should focus on ensuring that hardware innovations are manufactured in this country. The idea is not to recover lost industries but to rebuild lost capabilities. The U.S. needs to leverage its dominance in science and technology to create future industries to provide us with first-mover advantages in reclaim American leadership in manufacturing.
The first step would be to create a new federal agency responsible for the health of U.S. manufacturing. A number of agencies currently have manufacturing-related programs, but there is little or no coordination or strategy. Defense alone cannot solve this challenge because defense procurement needs are dwarfed by commercial markets, and defense-specific technologies may have few commercial applications.
A new agency is needed to signal new priorities. This National Manufacturing Foundation, as it could be called, would be a cabinet-level agency focused on rebuilding America’s industrial commons and translating our scientific knowledge into new products and processes. What policies might it promote?
• To maximize the wealth and jobs created from our national R&D investments, the
results must be manufactured in the U.S. Any licensee of federally funded research resuts should be required to manufacture at least 75% of the value added in this country, with no exceptions and no waivers.
• An additional 5% of the federal science and technology budget should be invested in engineering and manufacturing R&D and process technologies. This included creating translational research centers as innovation hubs around the country. Affiliated with major research universities and institutions, these centers would take promising basic research results and perform the translational R&D necessary to demonstrate the viability of large-scale commercial production.
• Developing hardware typically requires more resources and time than developing software. Public-private partnerships could provide the needed patient capital. State-level programs in Massachusetts, Georgia and other states already provide encouraging examples, The South Carolina Research Authority, for example, provides grants, loans and didrect investments to a portfolio of companies, roug.ly 40% of which are manufacturers. Leveraging defense procurement and other federal spending would help too, as would the targeted use of Small Business Administration loans.
• Restoring innovation in domestic manufacturing will require much greater investments in human capital. The country needs significantly more graduate fellowships in engineering for qualified domestic students and many more four-year engineering technology programs that focus on application and implementation rather than concepts and theory. American multinationals need to do their part by revamping internship and apprenticeship probfams to fill the skills gap.
Industrial Policy 2.0 would not be the industrial policy discussed and often criticized in past decades, it would not pick winners and losers but would keep other countries from taking advantage of our winners; it would make sure the U.S., not its economic rivals, benefits from American know-how. The goal would be to maximize innovations in hardware technologies and, in doing so, to create high-value products, well-paying jobs, national wealth and national security.
Such steps are essential to generating a strong return on the U.S. taxpayer’s enormous investments in science and technology. For too long Americans have suffered from the self-inflicted wound of hollowing out our industrial capacity. Other countries have moved quickly to take our place, It’s time for the U.S. to act.

Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg’s Fake Accounts Ponzi Scheme
by Aaron Greenspan, founder of the Think Computer Corporation1
Facebook now has a market capitalization approaching $600 billion, making it nominally one of the most valuable companies on earth. It’s a true business miracle: a company that was out of users in 2012 managed to find a wellspring of nearly infinite and sustained growth that has lasted it, so far, half of the way through 2019.
So what is that magical ingredient, that secret sauce, that “genius” trade secret, that turned an over-funded money-losing startup into one of America’s greatest business success stories? It’s one that Bernie Madoff would recognize instantly: fraud, in the form of fake accounts.
Old money goes out, and new money comes in to replace it. That’s how a traditional Ponzi scheme works. Madoff kept his going for decades, managing to attain the rank of Chairman of the NASDAQ while he was at it.
Zuckerberg’s version is slightly different, but only slightly: old users leave after getting bored, disgusted and distrustful, and new users come in to replace them. Except that as Mark’s friend and lieutenant, Sam Lessin told us, the “new users” part of the equation was already getting to be a problem in 2012. On October 26, Lessin, wrote, “we are running out of humans (and have run-out of valuable humans from an advertiser perspective).” At the time, it was far from clear that Facebook even had a viable business model, and according to Frontline, Sheryl Sandberg was panicking due to the company’s poor revenue numbers.
To balance it out and keep “growth” on the rise, all Facebook had to do was turn a blind eye. And did it ever.
In Singer v. Facebook, Inc.—a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California alleging that Facebook has been telling advertisers that it can “reach” more people than actually exist in basically every major metropolitan area—the plaintiffs quote former Facebook employees, understandably identified only as Confidential Witnesses, as stating that Facebook’s “Potential Reach” statistic was a “made-up PR number” and “fluff.” Also, that “those who were responsible for ensuring the accuracy ‘did not give a shit.’” Another individual, “a former Operations Contractor with Facebook, stated that Facebook was not concerned with stopping duplicate or fake accounts.”
That’s probably because according to its last investor slide deck and basic subtraction, Facebook is not growing anymore in the United States, with zero million new accounts in Q1 2019, and only four million new accounts since Q1 2017. That leaves the rest of the world, where Facebook is growing fastest “in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” according to Facebook CFO David Wehner.
Wehner didn’t mention the fine print on page 18 of the slide deck, which highlights the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam as countries where there are “meaningfully higher” percentages of, and “episodic spikes” in, fake accounts. In other words, Facebook is growing the fastest in the locations worldwide where one finds the most fraud. In other other words, Facebook isn’t growing anymore at all—it’s shrinking. Even India, Indonesia and the Philippines don’t register as many searches for Facebook as they used to. Many of the “new” users on Instagram are actually old users from the core platform looking to escape the deluge of fakery.
The last time Mark suggested that Facebook’s growth heyday might be behind it, in July 2018, the stock took a nosedive that ended up being the single largest one-day fall of any company’s stock in the history of the United States. In about an hour, it plunged 20% from around $220 per share to about $165. Needless to day, the loss of about $120 billion in market capitalization in an hour provided a sufficient disincentive for Mark to avoid a repeat performance.
Having narrowly escaped the ire of Wall Street, Mark knows he cannot get off the growth treadmill he set in motion years ago. The only solution: lying to investors about growth in an attempt to convince them that everything is fine.
Yet signs that Mark’s fake account problem is no different than Madoff’s fake account statement problem are everywhere. Google Trends shows worldwide “Facebook” queries down 80% from their November 2012 peak. (Instagram doesn’t even come close to making up for the loss.) Mobile metrics measuring use of the Facebook mobile app are down.
And the company’s own disclosures about fake accounts stand out mostly for their internal inconsistency—one set of numbers, measured in percentages, is disclosed to the SEC, while another, with absolute figures, appears on its “transparency portal.” While they reveal a problem escalating at an alarming rate and are constantly being revised upward—Facebook claims that false accounts are at 5% and duplicate accounts at 11%, up from 1% and 6% respectively in Q2 2017—they don’t measure quite the same things, and are impossible to reconcile. At the end of 2017, Facebook decided to stop releasing those percentages on a quarterly basis, opting for an annual basis instead. Out of sight, out of mind.
One could argue that SEC disclosures are subject to strict regulations under the Securities Exchange Act and that Facebook would never be so bold as to lie to investors in black and white. That’s true: it qualifies its fake account disclosures with the quizzical legal phrase “significant judgment” and it chose the color orange instead of black (insert Netflix joke here) for its transparency portal graph disclaimers that read, “These metrics are in development.” And one could further argue that the transparency portal metrics are reviewed by a team of academics, known as the Data Transparency Advisory Group (DTAG), who are supposed to vouch for their validity. But the DTAG academics—not one of whom is a statistician, despite Facebook’s direct claim to the contrary, now erased—fully admit that they are paid by Facebook, and even after months of hard work, their final report released in April mentioned fake accounts only three times, and all three were in passing. On the accuracy or validity of Facebook’s fake account numbers, the DTAG oddly had absolutely nothing to say.
What Facebook does say is this: its measurements, the ones subject to “significant judgment,” are taken from an undisclosed “limited sample of accounts.” How limited? That doesn’t matter, because “[w]e believe fake accounts are measured correctly within the limitations to our measurement systems” and “reporting fake accounts…may be a bad way to look at things.”
And how many fake accounts did Facebook report being created in Q2 2019? Only 2.2 billion, with a “B,” which is approximately the same as the number of active users Facebook would like us to believe that it has.
A comprehensive look back at Facebook’s disclosures suggests that of the company’s 12 billion total accounts ever created, about 10 billion are fake. And as many as 1 billion are probably active, if not more. (Facebook says that this estimate is “not based on any facts,” but much like the false statistics it provided to advertisers on video viewership, that too is a lie.)
So, fake accounts may be a bad way to look at things, as Facebook suggests—or they may be the key to the largest corporate fraud in history.
Advertisers pay Facebook on the assumption that the people viewing and clicking their ads are real. But that’s often not the case. Facebook has absolutely no incentive to solve the problem, it’s already in court over it, and its former employees are talking. From Mark’s vantage point, it’s raining free money. All he has to do to get advertisers to spend is convince the world that Facebook is huge and it’s only getting huger.
No one in the media, let alone Congress, dares to ask potentially embarrassing questions, and few understand the minutiae of real-time pricing auctions, cookies and user disambiguation anyway. Everyone would rather talk about the company’s dedication to “innovation” and the laughably remote chance that Libra, a needlessly complex pseudo-cryptocurrency system will disrupt central banking. In fact, Libra is best described as Facebook’s Business Model Plan C (Plan A having been “no privacy at all” and Plan B being “encrypt everything”), which may actually be necessary as the scheme is starting to unravel.
Mark is smart, but he’s never been smart enough to listen to those with experience. Instead, he has prioritized growth at any cost, pulling all of the control rods out of the reactor to achieve it, and now that those costs have caught up with him—namely, genocide, a role in putting a fascist, white supremacist in the White House, and severe reputational damage—he literally has no idea what to do. His usual go-to acronyms—VR? AI?—aren’t quite cutting it, and much like Chernobyl, the resulting fallout is everywhere, impossible to clean up, and there are dead bodies on the ground. Even his co-founder and former roommate can’t fully support him anymore, though Chris Hughes did still obsequiously refer to Mark as a “good, kind person” engaged in “nothing more nefarious than the virtuous hustle of a talented entrepreneur.”
That’s obviously false. Mark is not a good, kind person, as I have written for years . The only hustle he is engaged in is the usual kind: the fraudulent kind. And if I’m wrong about any or all of this, and Facebook releases the data and methodology it is using to reach the conclusions that it has about the strength of its platform, then I will gladly admit that I’m wrong.
But I’m not wrong. Facebook is a real product, but like Enron, it’s also a scam, now the largest corporate scandal ever. It won’t release its data about the 2016 election, about fake accounts, or about anything material—and because Mark knows it’s a scam, he won’t agree to testify before the British parliament in a way that could require him to actually answer any substantive questions, as I did in June. And because Facebook is also a component of the S&P 500, countless people have an incentive to maintain the status quo.
So should we break up the tech companies and Facebook in particular? It’s already a campaign issue for the next presidential election. Elizabeth Warren says yes. Beto O’Rourke wants “stronger regulations.” Kamala Harris would rather talk about privacy. Everyone else—even Donald Trump—generally agrees that something needs to be done. Yet the unspoken issue at the center of it all remains: Mark is running a Ponzi scheme, but Wall Street, Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the think tanks, and their associates haven’t figured it out.
At this point it should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention that Mark is a bad-faith actor. He has no appreciation for the rule of law, or the role of a free press, and he has a dangerous tendency to view himself as infallible. After discovering a gaping security flaw in his product that revealed bulk information about friends of friends, exactly like Cambridge Analytica, I warned Mark in writing about the way his sloppy code would inevitably lead him to cross paths with the FTC and cause massive privacy and security concerns—in April 2005. His response: problems with the “Mark Zuckerberg production” were actually someone else’s responsibility and “not worth arguing about.”
Clearly, Mark can no longer argue that his decisions as Facebook’s CEO are immaterial (though he has tried). Many have already lost their lives, whether through avoidable suicides or avoidable genocidal acts in Myanmar, due to his string of increasingly tone-deaf and spectacularly dishonest decisions.
Now, fifteen years and approximately as many false apologizes after my classmate started a grand social experiment that first captivated the media, then locked it in a profitless box, and then played a major supporting role in bringing fascism to America, the general consensus is that the best way to handle Mark and his tech brethren is through the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. But the consensus is wrong, based on a mountain of misapprehension.
In a nutshell, the argument in favor of anti-trust action is that in the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, it’s the Progressive Era all over again. A recent New York Times op-ed penned by Mark’s co-founder, Chris Hughes, made essentially this point, relying heavily on input from the Roosevelt Institute. The Open Markets Institute agrees. In a talk at Harvard Law School, Matt Stoller argued that Facebook, Google and Amazon were “born as monopolists.”
It’s a compelling story, so long as one is willing to ignore the reality on the ground. For one thing, software products are not railroads, which require significant physical capital and labor to establish. Were he determined to do so, it would take Mark a few weeks to re-build Instagram and WhatsApp, and there really isn’t any way the government could stop him. For another, I know that on this particular issue, Stoller is incorrect, because I was there when The Facebook was born on my hard drive on September 19, 2003, in Lowell House. It hardly resembled a monopoly. Monopolies are what happen as the result of prolonged neglect by law enforcement. They’re not born; they’re nourished by years and years of perverse incentives.
The biggest problem with treating Facebook as a monopoly, as opposed to the byproduct of what Jesse Eisenger calls “The Chickenshit Club,” is that it wrongly affirms Mark’s infallibility and fails to see through him and his scheme, let alone the reality that he’s not even in control anymore because no one is.
Would it have helped to separate Madoff Securities LLC into one company per floor, or split up Enron by division? Probably not, but talking about it is Facebook’s dream come true. Because the question we should really be discussing is “How many years should Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg ultimately serve in prison?”

Senators Press Amazon for Answers on Ring’s Sloppy Security Practices
by Sam Biddle
November 20, 2019
The Intercept
This past year has been chock full of uncomfortable revelations about Ring, the surveillance social network and home security hardware company acquired by Amazon for a reported $800 million, including reports of potentially disastrous internal security practices, an apparent disregard for user privacy, and wave after wave of detail on secret partnerships with local police. Today, in a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, five Democratic senators are asking for an explanation, citing potential threats to U.S. national security.
Much of the letter focuses on allegations that Ring’s Ukrainian office, where it conducts much of its research and development operation, allowed employees across the company to access customer video data whether they had any real need to or not. In January, The Intercept reported that this loose security atmosphere at Ring meant “if [someone] knew a reporter or competitor’s email address, [they] could view all their cameras,” per one source, who also recalled Ring engineers casually spying on and “teasing each other about who they brought home” after dates. “If hackers or foreign agents were to gain access to this data,” the letter states, “it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten U.S. national security.”
The letter is signed by Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Gary Peters of Michigan.
Ring’s public relations team has generally responded to worrying reports about its corporate plans to “declare war” on the “dirtbag criminals that steal our packages” with a combination of denials and assurances that the company’s crime-fighting mission is one unequivocally in the public’s interest. But getting concrete answers from the horse’s mouth on how exactly the company handles data — and who else may be handling it — has proven difficult, despite the growing privacy and civil liberties implications of Ring’s bread-and-butter surveillance business.
Markey made some progress when Amazon earlier this month responded to a letter he sent previously, asking about the company’s controversial partnerships with local police departments. Amazon revealed that video funneled to police under the arrangements comes with few restrictions on use or retention.
Now, the Democratic senators are hoping Ring will provide them with additional information the company has thus far refused the public, including hard numbers on how many people have access to Ring customer camera footage, the company’s policies regarding requests from foreign governments, and whether the company has discovered any “security incidents” in recent years. “Americans who make the choice to install to install Ring products in and outside their homes do so under the assumption that they are — as your website proclaims — ‘making the neighborhood safer,’” the letter states. “As such, the American people have a right to know who else is looking at the data they provide to Ring, and if that data is secure from hackers.”

American Military actions 1950-present
1950–1959– Korean War. The United States responded to North Korean invasion of South Korea by going to its assistance, pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions. US forces deployed in Korea exceeded 300,000 during the last year of the conflict. Over 36,600 US military were killed in action.
1950–55 – Formosa (Taiwan). In June 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War, President Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet to prevent Chinese Communist attacks upon Formosa and Chinese Nationalist operations against mainland China.
1954–55 – China. Naval units evacuated U.S. civilians and military personnel from the Tachen Islands.
1955–64 – Vietnam. First military advisors sent to Vietnam on 12 Feb 1955. By 1964, US troop levels had grown to 21,000. On 7 August 1964, US Congress approved Gulf of Tonkin resolution affirming “All necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States. . .to prevent further aggression. . . (and) assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asian Collective Defense Treaty (SEATO) requesting assistance. . .”
1956 – Egypt. A marine battalion evacuated US nationals and other persons from Alexandria during the Suez crisis.
1958 – Lebanon. Lebanon crisis of 1958 Marines were landed in Lebanon at the invitation of President Camille Chamoun to help protect against threatened insurrection supported from the outside. The President’s action was supported by a Congressional resolution passed in 1957 that authorized such actions in that area of the world.
1959–60 – The Caribbean. Second Marine Ground Task Force was deployed to protect U.S. nationals following the Cuban revolution.
1959–75 – Vietnam War. U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam for a decade, and their numbers had been increased as the military position of the Saigon government became weaker. After citing what he termed were attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Johnson asked in August 1964 for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, expressing support for “all necessary measures” the President might take to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression. Following this resolution, and following a communist attack on a U.S. installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation in the war to a peak of 543,000 military personnel by April 1969
1960–1969 1962 – Thailand. The Third Marine Expeditionary Unit landed on May 17, 1962 to support that country during the threat of Communist pressure from outside; by July 30, the 5,000 marines had been withdrawn.
1962 – Cuba. Cuban Missile Crisis On October 22, President Kennedy instituted a “quarantine” on the shipment of offensive missiles to Cuba from the Soviet Union. He also warned Soviet Union that the launching of any missile from Cuba against nations in the Western Hemisphere would bring about U.S. nuclear retaliation on the Soviet Union. A negotiated settlement was achieved in a few days
1962–75 – Laos. From October 1962 until 1975, the United States played an important role in military support of anti-Communist forces in Laos.
1964 – Congo (Zaire). The United States sent four transport planes to provide airlift for Congolese troops during a rebellion and to transport Belgian paratroopers to rescue foreigners.
1965 – Invasion of Dominican Republic. Operation Power Pack. The United States intervened to protect lives and property during a Dominican revolt and sent 20,000 U.S. troops as fears grew that the revolutionary forces were coming increasingly under Communist control. A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.
1967 – Israel. The USS Liberty incident, whereupon a United States Navy Technical Research Ship (CIA)was attacked June 8, 1967 by Israeli armed forces, killing 34 and wounding more than 170 U.S. crew members.
1967 – Congo (Zaire). The United States sent three military transport aircraft with crews to provide the Congo central government with logistical support during a revolt.
1968 – Laos & Cambodia. U.S. starts secret bombing campaign against targets along the Ho Chi Minh trail in the sovereign nations of Cambodia and Laos. The bombings last at least two years.
1970–1979 1970 – Cambodian Campaign. U.S. troops were ordered into Cambodia to clean out Communist sanctuaries from which Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked U.S. and South Vietnamese forces in Vietnam. The object of this attack, which lasted from April 30 to June 30, was to ensure the continuing safe withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam and to assist the program of Vietnamization.
1972 – North Vietnam – Christmas bombing Operation Linebacker II . The operation was conducted from 18–29 December 1972. It was a bombing of the cities Hanoi and Haiphong by B-52 bombers.
1973 – Operation Nickel Grass, a strategic airlift operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
1974 – Evacuation from Cyprus. United States naval forces evacuated U.S. civilians during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
1975 – Evacuation from Vietnam. Operation Frequent Wind. On April 3, 1975, President Ford reported U.S. naval vessels, helicopters, and Marines had been sent to assist in evacuation of refugees and US nationals from Vietnam.
1975 – Evacuation from Cambodia. Operation Eagle Pull. On April 12, 1975, President Ford reported that he had ordered U.S. military forces to proceed with the planned evacuation of U.S. citizens from Cambodia.
1975 – South Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70 evacuation helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens and 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones in and around the U.S. Embassy, Saigon and Tan Son Nhut Airport.
1975 – Cambodia. Mayagüez Incident. On May 15, 1975, President Ford reported he had ordered military forces to retake the SS Mayagüez, a merchant vessel which was seized from Cambodian naval patrol boats in international waters and forced to proceed to a nearby island.
1976 – Lebanon. On July 22 and 23, 1976, helicopters from five U.S. naval vessels evacuated approximately 250 Americans and Europeans from Lebanon during fighting between Lebanese factions after an overland convoy evacuation had been blocked by hostilities.
1976 – Korea. Additional forces were sent to Korea after two American soldiers were killed by North Korean soldiers in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea while cutting down a tree.
1978 – Zaire (Congo). From May 19 through June 1978, the United States utilized military transport aircraft to provide logistical support to Belgian and French rescue operations in Zaire.
1980–1989 1980 – Iran. Operation Eagle Claw. On April 26, 1980, President Carter reported the use of six U.S. transport planes and eight helicopters in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran.
1980 – U.S. Army and Air Force units arrive in the Sinai in September as part of “Operation Bright Star”. They are there to train with Egyptians armed forces as part of the Camp David peace accords signed in 1979. Elements of the 101st Airborne Division, ( 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry) and Air Force MAC (Military Airlift Command) units are in theater for four months and are the first U.S. military forces in the region since World War II.
1981 – El Salvador. After a guerrilla offensive against the government of El Salvador, additional U.S. military advisers were sent to El Salvador, bringing the total to approximately 55, to assist in training government forces in counterinsurgency.
1981 – Libya. First Gulf of Sidra Incident On August 19, 1981, U.S. planes based on the carrier USS Nimitz shot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of Sidra after one of the Libyan jets had fired a heat-seeking missile. The United States periodically held freedom of navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra, claimed by Libya as territorial waters but considered international waters by the United States.
1982 – Sinai. On March 19, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of military personnel and equipment to participate in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Participation had been authorized by the Multinational Force and Observers Resolution, Public Law 97-132.
1982 – Lebanon. Multinational Force in Lebanon. On August 21, 1982, President Reagan reported the dispatch of 800 Marines to serve in the multinational force to assist in the withdrawal of members of the Palestine Liberation force from Beirut. The Marines left September 20, 1982.1982–83 – Lebanon. On September 29, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of 1200 marines to serve in a temporary multinational force to facilitate the restoration of Lebanese government sovereignty. On September 29, 1983, Congress passed the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution (P.L. 98-119) authorizing the continued participation for eighteen months.
1983 – Egypt. After a Libyan plane bombed a city in Sudan on March 18, 1983, and Sudan and Egypt appealed for assistance, the United States dispatched an AWACS electronic surveillance plane to Egypt.
1983 – Grenada. Operation Urgent Fury. Citing the increased threat of Soviet and Cuban influence and noting the development of an international airport following a coup d’état and alignment with the Soviets and Cuba, the U.S. invades the island nation of Grenada.
1983–89 – Honduras. In July 1983, the United States undertook a series of exercises in Honduras that some believed might lead to conflict with Nicaragua. On March 25, 1986, unarmed U.S. military helicopters and crewmen ferried Honduran troops to the Nicaraguan border to repel Nicaraguan troops.
1983 – Chad. On August 8, 1983, President Reagan reported the deployment of two AWACS electronic surveillance planes and eight F-15 fighter planes and ground logistical support forces to assist Chad against Libyan and rebel forces.
1984 – Persian Gulf. On June 5, 1984, Saudi Arabian jet fighter planes, aided by intelligence from a U.S. AWACS electronic surveillance aircraft and fueled by a U.S. KC-10 tanker, shot down two Iranian fighter planes over an area of the Persian Gulf proclaimed as a protected zone for shipping.
1985 – Italy. On October 10, 1985, U.S. Navy pilots intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Sicily. The airliner was carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro who had killed an American citizen during the hijacking.
1986 – Libya. Action in the Gulf of Sidra (1986) On March 26, 1986, President Reagan reported on March 24 and 25, U.S. forces, while engaged in freedom of navigation exercises around the Gulf of Sidra, had been attacked by Libyan missiles and the United States had responded with missiles.
1986 – Libya. Operation El Dorado Canyon. On April 16, 1986, President Reagan reported that U.S. air and naval forces had conducted bombing strikes on terrorist facilities and military installations in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli, claiming that Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi was responsible for a bomb attack at a German disco that killed two U.S. soldiers.
1986 – Bolivia. U.S. Army personnel and aircraft assisted Bolivia in anti-drug operations.
1987 – Persian Gulf. USS Stark was struck on May 17 by two Exocet antiship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during the Iran-Iraq War, killing 37 U.S. Navy sailors.
1987 – Persian Gulf. Operation Nimble Archer. Attacks on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf by United States Navy forces on October 19. The attack was a response to Iran’s October 16, 1987 attack on the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait, with a Silkworm missile.
1987–88 – Persian Gulf. Operation Earnest Will – After the Iran-Iraq War (the Tanker War phase) resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States increased U.S. joint military forces operations in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of reflagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf to protect them from Iraqi and Iranian attacks. President Reagan reported that U.S. ships had been fired upon or struck mines or taken other military action on September 21 (Iran Ajr), October 8, and October 19, 1987 and April 18 (Operation Praying Mantis), July 3, and July 14, 1988. The United States gradually reduced its forces after a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq on August 20, 1988. It was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II.
1987–88 – Persian Gulf. Operation Prime Chance was a United States Special Operations Command operation intended to protect U.S.-flagged oil tankers from Iranian attack during the Iran-Iraq War. The operation took place roughly at the same time as Operation Earnest Will.
1988 – Persian Gulf. Operation Praying Mantis was the April 18, 1988 action waged by U.S. naval forces in retaliation for the Iranian mining of the Persian Gulf and the subsequent damage to an American warship.
1988 – Honduras. Operation Golden Pheasant was an emergency deployment of U.S. troops to Honduras in 1988, as a result of threatening actions by the forces of the (then socialist) Nicaraguans.
1988 – USS Vincennes shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655
1988 – Panama. In mid-March and April 1988, during a period of instability in Panama and as the United States increased pressure on Panamanian head of state General Manuel Noriega to resign, the United States sent 1,000 troops to Panama, to “further safeguard the canal, US lives, property and interests in the area.” The forces supplemented 10,000 U.S. military personnel already in the Panama Canal Zone.
1989 – Libya. Second Gulf of Sidra Incident On January 4, 1989, two U.S. Navy F-14 aircraft based on the USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Libyan jet fighters over the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles north of Libya. The U.S. pilots said the Libyan planes had demonstrated hostile intentions.
1989 – Panama. On May 11, 1989, in response to General Noriega’s disregard of the results of the Panamanian election, President Bush ordered a brigade-sized force of approximately 1,900 troops to augment the estimated 1,000 U.S. forces already in the area.
1989 – Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Andean Initiative in War on Drugs. On September 15, 1989, President Bush announced that military and law enforcement assistance would be sent to help the Andean nations of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru combat illicit drug producers and traffickers. By mid-September there were 50–100 U.S. military advisers in Colombia in connection with transport and training in the use of military equipment, plus seven Special Forces teams of 2–12 persons to train troops in the three countries.
1989 – Philippines. Operation Classic Resolve. On December 2, 1989, President Bush reported that on December 1, Air Force fighters from Clark Air Base in Luzon had assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay to protect the United States Embassy in Manila.
1989–90 – Panama. Operation Just Cause. On December 21, 1989, President Bush reported that he had ordered U.S. military forces to Panama to protect the lives of American citizens and bring General Noriega to justice. By February 13, 1990, all the invasion forces had been withdrawn. Around 200 Panamanian civilians were reported killed. The Panamanian head of state, General Manuel Noriega, was captured and brought to the U.S.
1990–1999 1990 – Liberia: On August 6, 1990, President Bush reported that a reinforced rifle company had been sent to provide additional security to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, and that helicopter teams had evacuated U.S. citizens from Liberia.
1990 – Saudi Arabia: On August 9, 1990, President Bush reported that he launched Operation Desert Shield by ordering the forward deployment of substantial elements of the U.S. armed forces into the Persian Gulf region to help defend Saudi Arabia after the August 2 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. On November 16, 1990, he reported the continued buildup of the forces to ensure an adequate offensive military option.American hostages being held in Iran. Staging point for the troops was primarily Bagram air field.
1991 – Iraq and Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm: On January 16, 1991, in response to the refusal by Iraq to leave Kuwait, U.S. and Coalition aircraft attacked Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait in conjunction with a coalition of allies and under United Nations Security Council resolutions. In February 24, 1991, U.S.-led United Nation (UN) forces launched a ground offensive that finally drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait within 100 hours. Combat operations ended on February 28, 1991, when President Bush declared a ceasefire.
1991–1996 – Iraq. Operation Provide Comfort: Delivery of humanitarian relief and military protection for Kurds fleeing their homes in northern Iraq during the 1991 uprising, by a small Allied ground force based in Turkey which began in April 1991.
1991 – Iraq: On May 17, 1991, President Bush stated that the Iraqi repression of the Kurdish people had necessitated a limited introduction of U.S. forces into northern Iraq for emergency relief purposes.
1991 – Zaire: On September 25–27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. American planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and hauled evacuated American citizens.
1992 – Sierra Leone. Operation Silver Anvil: Following the April 29 coup that overthrew President Joseph Saidu Momoh, a United States European Command (USEUCOM) Joint Special Operations Task Force evacuated 438 people (including 42 Third Country nationals) on May 3. Two Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-141s flew 136 people from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to the Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany and nine C-130 sorties carried another 302 people to Dakar, Senegal.
1992–1996 – Bosnia and Herzegovina: Operation Provide Promise was a humanitarian relief operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars, from July 2, 1992, to January 9, 1996, which made it the longest running humanitarian airlift in history.
1992 – Kuwait: On August 3, 1992, the United States began a series of military exercises in Kuwait, following Iraqi refusal to recognize a new border drawn up by the United Nations and refusal to cooperate with UN inspection teams.
1992–2003 – Iraq. Iraqi no-fly zones: The U.S., United Kingdom, and its Gulf War allies declared and enforced “no-fly zones” over the majority of sovereign Iraqi airspace, prohibiting Iraqi flights in zones in southern Iraq and northern Iraq, and conducting aerial reconnaissance and bombings. Often, Iraqi forces continued throughout a decade by firing on U.S. and British aircraft patrolling no-fly zones.(See also Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch)
1992–1995 – Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Somali Civil War: On December 10, 1992, President Bush reported that he had deployed U.S. armed forces to Somalia in response to a humanitarian crisis and a UN Security Council Resolution in support for UNITAF. The operation came to an end on May 4, 1993. U.S. forces continued to participate in the successor United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II).(See also Battle of Mogadishu)
1993-1995 – Bosnia. Operation Deny Flight: On April 12, 1993, in response to a United Nations Security Council passage of Resolution 816, U.S. and NATO enforced the no-fly zone over the Bosnian airspace, prohibited all unauthorized flights and allowed to “take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with [the no-fly zone restrictions].”
1993 – Macedonia: On July 9, 1993, President Clinton reported the deployment of 350 U.S. soldiers to the Republic of Macedonia to participate in the UN Protection Force to help maintain stability in the area of former Yugoslavia.
1994: Bosnia. Banja Luka incident: NATO become involved in the first combat situation when NATO U.S. Air Force F-16 jets shot down four of the six Bosnian Serb J-21 Jastreb single-seat light attack jets for violating UN-mandated no-fly zone.
1994–1995 – Haiti. Operation Uphold Democracy: U.S. ships had begun embargo against Haiti. Up to 20,000 U.S. military troops were later deployed to Haiti to restore democratically-elected Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from a military regime which came into power in 1991 after a major coup.
1994 – Macedonia: On April 19, 1994, President Clinton reported that the U.S. contingent in Macedonia had been increased by a reinforced company of 200 personnel.
1995 – Bosnia. Operation Deliberate Force: In August 30, 1995, U.S. and NATO aircraft began a major bombing campaign of Bosnian Serb Army in response to a Bosnian Serb mortar attack on a Sarajevo market that killed 37 people in August 28, 1995. This operation lasted until September 20, 1995. The air campaign along with a combined allied ground force of Muslim and Croatian Army against Serb positions led to a Dayton agreement in December 1995 with the signing of warring factions of the war. As part of Operation Joint Endeavor, U.S. and NATO dispatched the Implementation Force (IFOR) peacekeepers to Bosnia to uphold the Dayton agreement.
1996 – Liberia. Operation Assured Response: On April 11, 1996, President Clinton reported that on April 9, 1996 due to the “deterioration of the security situation and the resulting threat to American citizens” in Liberia he had ordered U.S. military forces to evacuate from that country “private U.S. citizens and certain third-country nationals who had taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy compound….”
1996 – Central African Republic. Operation Quick Response: On May 23, 1996, President Clinton reported the deployment of U.S. military personnel to Bangui, Central African Republic, to conduct the evacuation from that country of “private U.S. citizens and certain U.S. government employees”, and to provide “enhanced security for the American Embassy in Bangui.” United States Marine Corps elements of Joint Task Force Assured Response, responding in nearby Liberia, provided security to the embassy and evacuated 448 people, including between 190 and 208 Americans. The last Marines left Bangui on June 22.
1996-Kuwait. Operation Desert Strike: American Air Strikes in the north to protect the Kurdish population against the Iraqi Army attacks. U.S. deploys 5,000 soldiers from the 1ST Cavalry Division at Ft Hood Texas in response to Iraqi attacks on the Kurdish people.
1996 – Bosnia. Operation Joint Guard: In December 21, 1996, U.S. and NATO established the SFOR peacekeepers to replace the IFOR in enforcing the peace under the Dayton agreement.
1997 – Albania. Operation Silver Wake: On March 13, 1997, U.S. military forces were used to evacuate certain U.S. government employees and private U.S. citizens from Tirana, Albania.
1997 – Congo and Gabon: On March 27, 1997, President Clinton reported on March 25, 1997, a standby evacuation force of U.S. military personnel had been deployed to Congo and Gabon to provide enhanced security and to be available for any necessary evacuation operation.
1997 – Sierra Leone: On May 29 and May 30, 1997, U.S. military personnel were deployed to Freetown, Sierra Leone, to prepare for and undertake the evacuation of certain U.S. government employees and private U.S. citizens.
1997 – Cambodia: On July 11, 1997, In an effort to ensure the security of American citizens in Cambodia during a period of domestic conflict there, a Task Force of about 550 U.S. military personnel were deployed at Utapao Air Base in Thailand for possible evacuations.
1998 – Iraq. Operation Desert Fox: U.S. and British forces conduct a major four-day bombing campaign from December 16–19, 1998 on Iraqi targets.
1998 – Guinea-Bissau. Operation Shepherd Venture: On June 10, 1998, in response to an army mutiny in Guinea-Bissau endangering the U.S. Embassy, President Clinton deployed a standby evacuation force of U.S. military personnel to Dakar, Senegal, to evacuate from the city of Bissau.
1998–1999 – Kenya and Tanzania: U.S. military personnel were deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, to coordinate the medical and disaster assistance related to the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
1998 – Afghanistan and Sudan. Operation Infinite Reach: On August 20, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack against two suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical factory in Sudan.
1998 – Liberia: On September 27, 1998, America deployed a stand-by response and evacuation force of 30 U.S. military personnel to increase the security force at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.
1999–2001 – East Timor: Limited number of U.S. military forces deployed with the United Nations-mandated International Force for East Timor restore peace to East Timor.
1999 – Serbia. Operation Allied Force: U.S. and NATO aircraft began a major bombing of Serbia and Serb positions in Kosovo in March 24, 1999, during the Kosovo War due to the refusal by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to end repression against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. This operation ended in June 10, 1999, when Milosevic agreed to pull out his troops out of Kosovo. In response to the situation in Kosovo, NATO dispatched the KFOR peacekeepers to secure the peace under UNSC Resolution 1244.
2000–2009 – Sierra Leone. On May 12, 2000 a U.S. Navy patrol craft deployed to Sierra Leone to support evacuation operations from that country if needed.
2000 – Nigeria. Special Forces troops are sent to Nigeria to lead a training mission in the county
2000 – Yemen. On October 12, 2000, after the USS Cole attack in the port of Aden, Yemen, military personnel were deployed to Aden.
2000 – East Timor. On February 25, 2000, a small number of U.S. military personnel were deployed to support the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).
2001 – On April 1, 2001, a mid-air collision between a United States Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals surveillance aircraft and a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) J-8II interceptor fighter jet resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People’s Republic of China called the Hainan Island incident.
2001 – War in Afghanistan. The War on Terrorism begins with Operation Enduring Freedom. On October 7, 2001, U.S. Armed Forces invade Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks and “begin combat action in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban supporters.”
2002 – Yemen. On November 3, 2002, an American MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile at a car in Yemen killing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, an al-Qaeda leader thought to be responsible for the USS Cole bombing.
2002 – Philippines. OEF-Philippines. January 2002 U.S. “combat-equipped and combat support forces” have been deployed to the Philippines to train with, assist and advise the Philippines’ Armed Forces in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities.”
2002 – Côte d’Ivoire. On September 25, 2002, in response to a rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire, U.S. military personnel went into Côte d’Ivoire to assist in the evacuation of American citizens from Bouake.
2003–2011 – War in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom. March 20, 2003. The United States leads a coalition that includes Britain, Australia and Spain to invade Iraq with the stated goal being “to disarm Iraq in pursuit of peace, stability, and security both in the Gulf region and in the United States.”
2003 – Liberia. Second Liberian Civil War. On June 9, 2003, President Bush reported that on June 8 he had sent about 35 U.S. Marines into Monrovia, Liberia, to help secure the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and to aid in any necessary evacuation from either Liberia or Mauritania.
2003 – Georgia and Djibouti. “US combat equipped and support forces” had been deployed to Georgia and Djibouti to help in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities.”
2004 – Haiti. 2004 Haïti rebellion occurs. The US first sent 55 combat equipped military personnel to augment the U.S. Embassy security forces there and to protect American citizens and property in light. Later 200 additional US combat-equipped, military personnel were sent to prepare the way for a UN Multinational Interim Force, MINUSTAH.
2004 – War on Terrorism: U.S. anti-terror related activities were underway in Georgia, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Eritrea.
2004–present: Drone attacks in Pakistan
2005–06 – Pakistan. President Bush deploys troops from US Army Air Cav Brigades to provide humanitarian relief to far remote villages in the Kashmir mountain ranges of Pakistan stricken by a massive earthquake.
2006 – Lebanon. U.S. Marine Detachment, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, begins evacuation of U.S. citizens willing to leave the country in the face of a likely ground invasion by Israel and continued fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.
2007 – Somalia. Battle of Ras Kamboni. On January 8, 2007, while the conflict between the Islamic Courts Union and the Transitional Federal Government continues, an AC-130 gunship conducts an aerial strike on a suspected al-Qaeda operative, along with other Islamist fighters, on Badmadow Island near Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia.
2008 – South Ossetia, Georgia. Helped Georgia humanitarian aid, helped to transport Georgian forces from Iraq during the conflict. In the past, the US has provided training and weapons to Georgia.
2010-11 War in Iraq. Operation New Dawn. On February 17, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that as of September 1, 2010, the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” would be replaced by “Operation New Dawn”. This coincides with the reduction of American troops to 50,000.
2011 – Libya. Operation Odyssey Dawn. Coalition forces enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 with bombings of Libyan forces.
2011 – War on Terrorism. Osama Bin Laden is alleged to have been killed by U.S. military forces in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear.
2011 – Drone strikes on al-Shabab militants begin in Somalia. This marks the 6th nation in which such strikes have been carried out, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
2011 – Uganda. US Combat troops sent in as advisers to Uganda
2012 – Jordan. 150 US troops deployed to Jordan to help it contain the Syrian Civil War within Syria’s borders.
2012 – Turkey. 400 troops and two batteries of Patriot missiles sent to Turkey to prevent any missile strikes from Syria.
2012 – Chad. 50 U.S. troops have deployed to the African country of Chad to help evacuate U.S. citizens and embassy personnel from the neighboring Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the face of rebel advances toward the city.
2013 – Mali. US forces assisted the French in Operation Serval with air refueling and transport aircraft.
2013 – Somalia. US Air Force planes supported the French in the Bulo Marer hostage rescue attempt. However, they did not use any weapons.
2013 – North Korea crisis

US Military Casualties 1950-present

Korean War 1950–1953 128,650
U.S.S.R. Cold War 1947–1991 44
China Cold War 1950–1972 16
Vietnam War 1955–1975 211,454
1958 Lebanon crisis 1958 7+
Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961 4
Dominican Republic 1965–1966 330
Iran 1980 12
El Salvador Civil War 1980–1992 0
Beirut deployment 1982–1984 0
Persian Gulf escorts 1987–1988 0
Invasion of Grenada 1983 0
1986 Bombing of Libya 2
Invasion of Panama 1989 0
Gulf War 1990–1991 1,143
‘Operation Provide Comfort’ 1991-1996 23
Somalia 1992–1993 0
Haiti 1994–1995 0
Colombia 1994–present 0
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995–2004 0
NATO bombing of Yugoslavia 1999 22+
Afghanistan War 2001–present 39,874
Iraq War 2003–2011 36,710

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 4

Back in the guest room, they wrenched off the closet doors, broke the clothes pole and slashed swatches out of the rug before amusing themselves playing tic-tac-toe with linoleum knives on a large colored picture of an Aryan Jesus. This sacrilege was thrown down onto the floor into the vale of tears caused by the hemorrhaging waterbed and they sloshed through the flooding bathroom and into the office.
The office was three steps below the floor level of the bathroom and water from the shower was beginning to run down into an area that caused Chuck great excitement.
“My God, Lars, we’ve hit the jackpot! Never mind teddy bears and Jerusalem Slim, we have all of Art and Estelle’s business records. Quickly, before we get flooded, help me haul the papers downstairs. And don’t forget the computer, fax and printer. And that television can come too.”
The main stairway was indeed wet, water from the master bathroom spilling down its carpeted risers in a most artistic and soothing way. The pair splashed through the growing stream, carrying armfuls of old tax returns, purchase orders, invoices, computer disks, office machinery and an award to Art for playing eighteen holes of golf at a Palm Springs course without once falling into a sand trap.
All of this ended up in the laundry room where Chuck shoved the paper work down into the large washing machine. He poured an entire container of ‘Mr. Sunshine’ laundry detergent into the maw of the machine, closed the lid and turned it on.
There was no point, he thought, to put on hot water because all of that was now soaking the rugs and floor above them but he did have the consideration to pull out the drain screen before he turned on the water. This would allow the waterlogged, pulped contents to flow down into the sewer system with more ease and less chance of survival.
His next act was to open the dryer and in it he put Waterford crystal, silver bowls, the Lladro treasures, two steam irons, a heavy bowling trophy and an imitation marble head of the Virgin Mary. When Chuck turned on the drier, its rotation produced loud crashings, an atonal screeching of metal and irregular thumpings.
It was now growing late and the next order of business was to take all of the various possessions stacked by the doors outside to the pool area.
The Winrods had never used the pool, which had come with the house, and Pierre had fallen into it once and nearly drowned, so it was carefully fenced.
Down into the black depths of the dark pool slid telephones, books, a wedding dress, bronzed baby shoes, computers, faxes, toaster ovens, television sets, waffle irons, electric shoe brushes, two stereo sets, clocks, an antique armchair minus its legs, another statue of Jesus, a collection of spices and a portable barbecue. These objects, lowered carefully into the water lest the splashing alert the neighbors, vanished in streams of bubbles. Chuck broke into the pool house and immediately turned on the pool heater full force and added three fifty-pound sacks of fertilizer to the load in the pool along with a power lawnmower, electric hedge clippers and a dog blanket.
The laundry room was half-full of detergent suds as the final spin cycle was draining all of the records away. The interesting noises originally heard from inside the dryer had diminished to a series of irregular thumping noises that sounded like someone beating their wife with a ball bat. Chuck lifted the lid of the washer, noted the faint traces of gray sludge at the bottom of the still-rotating drum and then added all the family photo albums, old school year books full of signatures of dead and vanished friends, two boxes of greeting cards from holidays long past, diplomas that had been wrenched from their frames, a good conduct discharge certificate for Art, a flag that had covered his father’s casket at a military funeral and a small china vase that had belonged to Estelle’s grandmother.
‘Mr. Sunshine’ had nothing more to give so he dumped in a box of powdered bleach, some dishwashing soap and the contents of a bottle of beet juice.
When the machine was churning, he returned to the dining room where Lars was prying large pieces of wallboard off of the studs with his crowbar. Aside from the torn wallpaper, destroyed clock and rat-eaten portrait, the room now looked as if giants had been playing squash in it. The floor, covered with plaster dust, red dye, broken chair parts and the bent remains of the big clock would have given pause to the last dinner guests of the Winrods had they seen it.
There was a sudden loud, wet crash from the vicinity of the kitchen and the pair rushed to the door only to discover that the great weight of water in the office had finally soaked through the flooring and collapsed the ceiling below. Great streamers of white insulation hung down and sheets of water drenched the floor. They did not wish to explore the scenic marvel any closer because the stench of slowly roasting tapes and CDs in the electric oven made the air unbreathable.
Lars clapped his hands together in delight.
“Oh look, Chuck! It’s just like Santa’s cave at the North Pole! Little Doreen would really love to see that. She just loves Santa.”
“Who’s Doreen, Osvald? Another niece from hicksville? Do you stuff her stockings while wearing a Santa suit? You’re so lovely to look at.”
“You are really repulsive sometimes, Chuck, and I think there is about six inches of water in here now and we better go outside or we might be electrocuted.”
“A good point there. Well, I think we have brought enough happiness into their lives for tonight, Lars. Outside you norske prevert, and let’s take a little break by the pool before we leave.”
Chuck poured glue into all the outside door locks and a bucket full of rock salt all over Estelle’s prize flower beds before sitting down on one of the pair of pool chairs he had carefully saved from destruction. They sat there for some time, resting from their efforts and Lars pointed to the ribbons of water flowing out from under the door next to the pool.
“I like that, Chuck. It reminds me of the stream on my grandfather’s farm in Minnesota.”
“You and your farm. I’ll bet the stream you had in mind ran out from the cow barn and I can guarantee you wouldn’t want to drink out of it.”
“Why do you make fun of the farm, Chuck? I had a happy childhood on the farm. What kind of childhood did you have?”
Chuck drank another bottle of the last remnants of Art’s imported beer and belched.
“I had a really rotten childhood, unlike yours what with you running around raping chickens and boning the occasional slow dog. My early childhood, I must say, was pleasant but it began to come apart somewhere along the line. We moved away from where I grew up and things became really bad. My dad died when I was fifteen and my mother humped anything with a fairly stiff pecker. She thought she was discreet but kids know more than adults think. I ran away when I was sixteen, trying to find the lost life and all I ever found were very nasty people. The only person I really loved when I was a kid was my grandfather but he died. Rats, I think, are better than people, Lars. And then I became a burglar but we can talk about that some other time.”
The heated pool was now starting to steam and bubble and leaning back, Chuck could almost hear the chatter of monkeys in the mangy palm trees or the cries of jungle birds. Above them was the illuminated dome of smog that covered the city and asphyxiated small birds and those with weak lungs.
On the outside wall of the garage, the electric meter was spinning like a drunken roulette wheel as the water heater tried vainly to keep up with the demand.
Lars was staring down at the small box with his erotic tapes and smiling a secret, private smile.
“Chuck, can we find another house tonight? I really did enjoy myself here, I really did.”
“Once a night is enough, as the fat man said to the dwarf. Now you see, you’ve got me talking like a degenerate. I think we ought to go now, Lars. The sun is going to come up very soon.”
And a faint, rosy glow showed through the trees as the pair carefully closed the splintered gate behind them and walked quietly down the alley towards the next street.
“I ruined my shoes in there,” Lars said as he squished towards the car.
Chuck, who was riffling through a thick stack of large denomination bills that a tax-dodging Art had hidden in a cheap statue of the Virgin Mary, sighed.
“I’ve wrecked mine too, Lars. Since we’re still on vacation for the next couple of weeks, we can go out later today and buy us some new shoes, courtesy of Art and his wonderful wife.”
On their way to the freeway, the car drove down streets that were empty except for the occasional whore returning from a night on the tiles.
Chuck turned on the car radio and found a classical music station.
“Do you like Bach, Lars? Do you like to listen to good music?”
“I like to watch, Chuck,” he said, drooling into the box of tapes.
“Oh Osvald, what would little Doreen say about that nasty habit?”
“Fuck Doreen. I can watch these tapes whenever I want and I don’t have to worry about Child Protective Services.”
As they neared the freeway entrance, they suddenly ran over a screeching cat that was looking for love but found death instead.
“I do like Bach. So soothing but so stimulating. I recommend the Goldberg Variations when you’ve had a bad day. Today has been a good day, Lars, and I won’t be needing to soothe my soul at all. And if you don’t stop drooling into that box, you’ll totally destroy your new love life.”
And they left behind them a situation that eventually gave a great deal of gainful employment to the police, contractors, morticians and social workers.
Although they would never understand the concept, Art and Estelle would learn in good time that from the seeds of discontent they had sown, a great rainforest would soon grow.
Especially in the living room.


This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Crooked Cross
by Arthur D. Royster and Ben Dova
Murder is murder, Voltaire once said, and punishable with execution….unless it is carried out in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
In the main, fraud, counterfeiting and deceit are certrainly immoral and very often felonious but in some instances, the essential ludicrous nature of some frauds manages to overcome the gravity.
Such is the case of the enormous industry devoted to the creation, manufacture and sale of faked items of German militaria from the Third Reich period.
Fraud and deceit are certainly not limited to this area and the marketplace in fine art is awash in a sea of swindlers but at least an art forger is not apt to paint a medieval prince wearing a modern baseball hat and standing in front of a McDonalds’ restaurant.
There is an abiding fascination with the trapping of the Third Reich but the number of actual relics is much smaller than a burgeoning demand. Nature abhors a vacuum and if original pieces are no longer available, the vacuum is filled with creations to satisfy the demand.
Not only are legitimate pieces of German militaria copied and marketed, a number of outrageous fantasy pieces have also been created and merchandised like the Reverend Ernie’s Holy Healing Cloths on Christian television stations.
There is an interesting parallel here between the manufacture and sale of Nazi relics and the manufacture or misidentification of relics of the Catholic church.
In the latter we can find the knuckle bones of a pig being passed off as having once been a part of Saint Rosa of Compostella or the ever-popular St. Nicholas. Expert study has proven that the notorious Shroud of Turin is a 13th Century fake and it has been said that there are enough pieces of the True Cross around to build a small hotel.
The author of this work is a pragmatist, not a moralist. Fraud and chicanery are the hallmarks of any marketplace, be it Wall Street, Carnaby Street or the Intenet auctions. The information in this study did not come to the author second-handed. It reflects, in small measure, his own personal experiences.
Adolf Hitler has been the target of so many enterprising and creative dealers. A veritable flood of paintings, desk sets, engraved hand guns, uniforms, caps and even pen and pencil sets has engulfed the more reputable and elegant auctions.
Eager collectors, mouths agape, stare with covetous envy at the multitude of glittering historical items and struggle to find the cash to own an investment in history for the discriminating collector.
Items which belonged to Adolf Hitler are quite naturally, worth a great deal of money and Hitler fakes abound ‘in the market place. It should be noted that Hitler wrote very few personal letters and signed almost nothing at all after the outbreak of the war. There are many legitimate Hitler items available to the collector, mainly silverware, linen, visiting cards and the like and printed Führer standards in one meter configuration were quite common as they were issued to various military installations and ships in the event of a visit by Hitler.
Such items as caps, uniforms and the like are nearly non-existent because Hitler ordered their destruction at the end of the war and in the main, this order was faithfully executed.
Known to exist in a private German collection are one brown pre-1938 visored cap (in damaged condition), one brown jacket/shirt, pre-1938, one field-gray visored cap post 1939, one double-breasted field-gray jacket, one single-breasted jacket and one pair of long, black trousers, all post 1939.
Hitler was 5 foot, 8.5 inches in height and weighed in the vicinity of 150 pounds. Any uniform alleged to be the property of Hitler would conform to these requirements. On the Party uniforms, the buttons on all items were silvered, but on the post-1939 military uniforms, the buttons were gold.
Until 1938 Hitler wore the Iron Cross First Class and the black wound badge on the left hand pocket and, on some occasions (such as the ceremonial march in Munich on 9 November of each year) the Blutorden on the flap of the right breast pocket. After 1938, Hitler discarded the Blood Order ribbon and medal and added the Gold Party Badge on the left breast pocket, above the Iron Cross.
Hitler’s visored cap had a long, brown leather visor (worn because he was very sensitive to light) and the top piping of the cap was twisted gold cord. The lower two pipings were white, the cap band brown velvet and the cap cords in gold. The eagle was always embroidered directly into the cap as was the wreath, which was added after 1938.
Hitler’s uniforms were made by the Berlin military tailoring firm of Wilhelm Holters and his caps were made by Robert Lubstein of Berlin under the trade name of eReL. Contrary to amusing myths circulating after the war, Hitler did not wear a bullet-proof vest nor was there a steel liner in his cap.
In the First World War, Hitler won the Iron Crosses 1st and 2nd Classes, the Bavarian service medal, fourth class, the wound badge in black. As a member of the Bavarian army, did not wear any Austrian army decorations.
Hitler wore French-cuff shirts with gold links depicting the civic arms of the city of Danzig, the swastika motif picked out in diamonds. Before the war, he wore a party eagle on his tie in solid gold, no wristwatch and no other jewelry.
Occasionally, gaudy pictures of Hitler’s mother, gaudy rings and the like show up, allegedly Hitler’s property but all of these were birthday gifts and in all probability, never even seen by him. An alleged suicide pistol which has appeared in several publications is a fake. The Walther with the ivory grips once had the maker’s name, Carl Walther, and their post-war address in Ulm/Donau on the slide but this has since been replaced with the proper wartime address. in Zella-Mehlis. This piece was made by the Walther factory for Colonel Atwood, a CIA operator in Berlin, in the early 1960s as the still-extant serial number proves. It has been seen in many post-war militaria publications but its present whereabouts is unknown.
Hitler carried a Belgian Browning 7.65mm pistol in his pant’s pocket and the right hand pocket of all of his trousers had a leather lining to hold the gun.
The subject of Hitler documents has been covered elsewhere in this work so we will consider Hitler paintings.
There are very few surviving original Hitler paintings and sketches. Everyone from Konrad Kujau to Alfred Speer took a hand at copying Hitler’s style, with various degrees of success. Speer’s sketches come much closer to the mark as he was an architect and very familiar with Hitler’s style.
An example of the Speer drawings can be seen in a biography of Hitler by British writer, David Irving.
A book edited by Billy Price of Texas on Hitler’s artwork (Hitler as Maler und Zeichner) is crammed to the Plimsoll line with fakes but is quite valuable in that it shows known original Hitler pieces (those he himself authenticated before the war and marked as being from the NS archives. In this book, original Hitler pieces have the BA or Bundesarchiv numbers) with fakes. Hitler’s style is most distinctive and anyone with an eye for design can easily spot the hundreds of fakes.
Aside from some items held by the U.S. Army, no known original Hitler pieces exist in the United States and one of the largest collections in England is stuffed with fakes.
When Hitler joined the D.A.P. in 1919, his party number was 555, there being fifty five members and the numbers starting at 500 for propaganda reasons. When the Party was reorganized in later years, Hitler carried the number one and no medal or pin with the number seven is original.
In “Mein Kampf” Hitler indicates that he was the seventh member of the central committee and stupid forgers have seized on this to assume that he carried the party number of seven.
“Hitler silverware” was made up in some quantity and exists in two patterns; so-called formal and informal. This silver, which bears the state eagle and the letters A H was actually state silver and was used at the Berghof, the Führerbau in Munich, his apartment in Munich, on his special train and other places such as the Olympic village in Berlin in 1936. Reichskanzelei silver was marked R K. A large set in gold was made up and delivered to Hitler before the war but vanished in Berlin in the chaos of 1945.
It should be noted that all manner of State silver existed. One dealer in militaria claims to possess “Adolf Hitler’s” silver cigarette case. The price for this relic is somewhat less than the national debt of Mexico but since Hitler was a vehement non-smoker, the attribution is sadly in error.
A great deal is known about Hitler artifacts but very little is known about Hitler as an individual. His disappearance in Berlin in April of 1945 is one of the great mysteries of the 20th century and various invented stories about dental records and burned bodies have merely muddied the issue.
The book by H.R. Trevor-Roper, the “Last Days of Hitler” is by no means accurate, was written by a. British intelligence officer in four weeks at the specific request of his superiors and by someone who did not read, write or speak German. The author’s subsequent shabby performance over his positive authentication of the very obviously fake Hitler diaries reduces his credibility to the level of William Shirer (whose books should be carried in the fiction section of libraries).
The subject of Hitler documents has been covered elsewhere in this work so we will consider Hitler paintings. Very little accurate has been written about Hitler, each hack writer copying the gross errors of those who have gone before. The U.S. government is sitting on very valuable information and until they see fit to release it to the general public, the most accurate work is that of Dr. Werner Maser of Germany
The subject of Hitler artwork is far too complex to cover in a work of this nature but suffice it to say, Hitler himself complained that his works had been faked extensively long before the war and no one but a deluded fool would ever buy an “original” Hitler painting unless it has been authenticated by the NS Archiv prior to the war.

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