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TBR News November 30, 2019

Nov 29 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. November 30, 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 30: “Here is a copy of a nasty bit of racisism that has been circulating in the White House. I am told that Trump laughed for some time when it was shown to him:”
‘A golfer walks into the clubhouse of the local country club. He tells the golf pro behind the counter that he wants to do 18 and he is going to need a caddy. The golf pro informs him that the country club is running a promotion and if he tries out one of their experimental robot caddies, he can golf for free. The golfer agrees and takes out the robot. While on the golf course the robot caddy tells the golfer the wind speed, distance, even how hard to hit which club. He has the best game of his life.
The next time the golfer goes to the country club, he tells the golf pro that he wants to do 18 holes and that he wants to get one of the robot caddies.
He informs the golfer that they don’t have the robot caddies anymore. The golfer, all upset, tells him how great they were and asks him what happened.
The golf pro tells him that members were complaining that the sun would reflect of their metallic material and into their eyes.
The golfer asks him why they didn’t just paint the robots black?
The golf pro said that they did, but the next day, three of them didn’t show up and the other three robbed the pro shop.’

The Table of Contents
• Fingerprint Analysis Is High-Stakes Work — but It Doesn’t Take Much to Qualify as an Expert
• Descent into the next Glacial Period perhaps within our lifetimes
• The Coming Ice Age
• The Broken Encirclement Plan: Nato in Eastern Europe
• The Neo-Nazi Renaissance
• The Season of Evil

Fingerprint Analysis Is High-Stakes Work — but It Doesn’t Take Much to Qualify as an Expert
November 29, 2019
by Jordan Smith
The Intercept
Brendan Max and two of his colleagues in the Cook County, Illinois, public defender’s office got some good news and some bad news in the spring of 2018. Actually, it was the same news: The three lawyers had nearly aced a proficiency test designed for fingerprint examiners.
None of them had any training or real expertise in latent fingerprint analysis — the practice of trying to match a fingerprint collected from a crime scene to the known print of a suspect — aside from what they’d learned during their years working criminal defense.
So, nominally, it was good news: Each of them had correctly identified all but one of the fingerprints contained in the test. But they were certain this was not a good thing. If they could so easily pass the test with zero training to guide their analysis, what did that say about the test’s ability to accurately assess the competency of any fingerprint examiner, including the six employed by the Chicago Police Department, whose work they regularly had to vet when defending clients?
Acing the tests, which the CPD examiners regularly did, allowed them to bolster their credibility in court regarding their conclusions about matches between a crime scene print and a criminal defendant. But the lawyers also knew from cross-examinations that these same analysts appeared to know frighteningly little about their discipline, and they worked in a lab setting that had none of the written policies or quality assurance practices designed to keep forensic work well-documented and reliable.
As proficiency testing has become ubiquitous in the forensic sciences — according to federal data, 98 percent of practitioners working in accredited public crime labs are proficiency tested — the disconnect Max and his colleagues face in Chicago raises a series of sobering questions. Not least among them: What, if anything, do proficiency tests say about the abilities of the forensic examiners taking them?
Startling False Positive Rates
The release of a groundbreaking report from the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 threw a harsh light on the state of forensic science. Aside from DNA analysis, the majority of the forensic disciplines lacked meaningful scientific underpinning, the report concluded. This was true for all of the so-called pattern-matching disciplines, where a practitioner takes a piece of crime scene evidence and attempts to match it to a pattern known to be associated with a suspect, a process that is highly subjective. This includes fingerprint, or friction ridge, analysis, along with things like handwriting analysis and bite-mark matching.
Friction ridge analysis rests on a deceptively simple foundation: that human fingerprints are unique — an individuality that persists — and that this uniqueness can be transferred with fidelity to a substrate, like glass or paper. While experts have long said that no two prints are the same, there’s no proof that is the case. Moreover, crime scene prints are often distorted — or, “noisy” — partial prints that may be smudged or otherwise degraded, which is where errors occur, as in the infamous case of Brandon Mayfield, the Oregon lawyer who was wrongly suspected of being involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombing based on the FBI’s faulty fingerprint analysis.
Implicated in the Mayfield fiasco was a common issue in fingerprint analysis known as a “close non-match.” This is particularly problematic with analyses aided by the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, a database of millions of prints maintained by the FBI. When a latent print is pulled off a piece of evidence — in the Mayfield case, it was lifted from a bag of detonators — but there is no suspect already identified for comparison purposes, an examiner can feed the crime scene print into the system, which generates a list of potential matches based on similar characteristics. While it may or may not be true that no two prints are exactly alike, there are plenty of very similar prints.
The National Academy of Sciences report made a host of recommendations for shoring up the validity and reliability of forensic practices. While some practitioners have effectively stuck their heads in the sand, a number in the fingerprint community have heeded the calls for reform by investigating what leads to errors, trying to devise error rates for the discipline, and conducting research into objective techniques for doing their work. Meanwhile, the academy also made a series of broader recommendations, including that crime labs be accredited and practitioners certified and regularly tested for proficiency.
It was amid this broad sweep toward reform that Max, chief of the public defender’s forensic science division, and his colleagues Joseph Cavise and Richard Gutierrez started to get interested in the research on fingerprint analysis. There was the 2012 human factors report, which delved into causes of error in the field, and the 2016 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which included details on two studies that had produced startlingly high false-positive rates for latent print examiners; one revealed an error rate as high as 1 in 24. The council concluded that juries should be told about the results of such studies.
“We started reading that research and we thought, ‘Wow, fingerprint evidence is not nearly as strong as has been testified to in the past,’” Max recalls. “We started expecting that our local lab would be aware of this — the groundbreaking research in the field — and that they would start altering how they explained fingerprints.” Chicago police examiners were regularly testifying to things that Max and his colleagues knew were scientifically unsupportable, including that a fingerprint match inculpated a suspect to the “exclusion of all others” in the world. Perhaps, they thought, this would change.
But as they continued probing the analysts during cross-examination, they realized that the analysts still believed this kind of categorical testimony was legitimate. In one case, in October 2017, Max questioned a CPD examiner named Thurston Daniels about whether the common method for analyzing prints, known as the ACE-V process, had been scientifically vetted for reliability. “It’s the methodology used by all latent print examiners, so I guess they would assess it as pretty reliable if everybody uses it,” Daniels replied.
But where the examiners seemed to know so little about the scientific underpinning of their discipline and the myriad advances in practice, they had at least one accomplishment with which to tout their expertise: They annually aced their proficiency exams.
This is a common point on which to build credibility, says Heidi Eldridge, a latent print examiner who is a research scientist at RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research organization. “When you’re trained how to testify, you’re supposed to talk about your degree, you’re supposed to talk about your in-house training, you’re supposed to talk about your proficiency test record,” she said. “It’s the national sort of standard operating way of testifying.”
And this is crucial, says Max. Judges are supposed to ensure that examiners qualify as experts before allowing their testimony into evidence. “The testimony … in that regard is usually pretty brief, but the one objective thing that examiners offer, usually the only objective indicator that they’re at all qualified … is that they pass proficiency tests.”
Suspicious Proficiency Rates
The disconnect got Max, Cavise, and Gutierrez wondering what these proficiency tests were all about. They went to the website for Collaborative Testing Systems, a Virginia-based company that is the nation’s leader in providing testing materials for forensic practitioners. CTS publicly posts the results of its proficiency exams, including for latent print examiners. Looking through years of results, the lawyers discovered that it wasn’t just the CPD examiners who were acing the tests, it was nearly everyone who took them. The whole situation “made us really suspicious,” Max said. “We looked at the passage rates year in and year out, and they’re all in the mid to high 90s.”
They came up with two hypotheses: one, print examiners “are uniformly amazing,” or two, “the tests are really easy.” They decided to take the test themselves. And they each did really well, getting 11 out of 12 questions right. (All three got the same question wrong.) It was the second hypothesis, they concluded, that was the correct one.
At issue, it seemed, was the type of sample prints contained in the test. They were fairly pristine with lots of details making them suitable for analysis, not the noisy or bloody partial prints one might expect to find at a crime scene. And there were no close non-matches, the kind that confused the experienced FBI examiners in the Mayfield case.
In fact, the lawyers had to go back to 1995 to find a test that had tripped up a lot of examiners. That year, CTS had included not only a bloody print and one with “tonal reversal” — which can make print furrows appear as ridges — but also an example of a close non-match, in the form of prints from identical twins. Less than half of the people who took the test got all seven questions correct. The results caused an uproar, recalls Eldridge, and the next time around the tougher comparison questions disappeared.
Of course, it isn’t true that everyone in the community is satisfied with the status quo. Quite the opposite, says Eldridge, who notes that for years practitioners have complained to CTS about the questions being too easy. What Brendan Max and his colleagues did with their experiment was to demonstrate that to the entire field. “If the purpose of the proficiency test is to say, ‘Everyone who took this can meet a very low level of the minimum expectation of what someone should be able to do to work in this job at the lowest level,’ then game on; that’s exactly what it measures,” she said. “If they’re trying to test a certain level of competence, it’s not testing that.”
“The problem that Brendan brought up is that we use this as a shield when we go to court,” Eldridge added. “The moment we make that claim and we use the proficiency tests as evidence of expertise, now we’re claiming it’s measuring something that it’s not measuring.”
Part of the problem is that, by and large, crime lab directors pay for the tests, which are expensive. For U.S. practitioners, CTS’s current latent print exam costs up to $340 per person. “It’s the lab directors who don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to purchase a test that half their staff will fail,” said Eldridge.
Indeed, the tests are supposed to function not only as a check on individual examiners, but also as a means of interlaboratory comparison — looking at whether examiners across labs have come to a consensus decision about a given print examination. Finding the right balance of questions to achieve a meaningful result is a challenge, says Chris Czyryca, president of CTS. Where practitioners complain about the tests not containing “case-like samples,” for example, CTS is already at a disadvantage: It wouldn’t be possible to ink or lift a print exactly the same way hundreds of times in order to supply one to every test taker, he said, so they have to use photos of prints instead. “It’s not really like casework.”
Czyryca says CTS walks a “knife’s edge” in creating the tests. “There are prints that are controversial. The ones that are easy, they tend to get called out as easy,” he told The Intercept. “There are ones that are more difficult and sometimes you have people saying that ‘It’s too difficult.’ Sometimes, ‘You’re trying to trick us.’”
And, of course, there’s also market pressure to contend with. Although CTS is dominant, it competes with two other testing companies for crime lab business. “There is a commercial pressure to produce tests that are not burdensome and not too complex,” Czyryca explained back in 2015.
But he also takes exception to the idea that missing just one answer means a test-taker did well. “I’m not sure you understand that implication of just nine out of 10 and thinking, ‘Hey, 90 percent. That’s an A, right?’ No. That’s not the way this works.” Indeed, in the forensic lab, getting just one print match wrong can have serious real-world consequences — a false positive could send an innocent person to prison; an incorrect exclusion could see a killer go free. And missing answers on a proficiency test can trigger an extensive work review within the lab, particularly in accredited labs with meaningful quality assurance programs. “If you want to tell me they’re too hard or they’re too easy by a little bit, I’ll accept that. If you’re a defense attorney who’ll say, ‘This is trivial, it means nothing,’ I don’t accept that.”
On the test Max, Cavise, and Gutierrez took, just 12 out of 360 people missed one or more answers.
The Benefits of Blind Testing
While Eldridge agrees that there are consequences for examiners who don’t ace their proficiency tests, “I wouldn’t use that as an argument that we should, therefore, keep the tests really easy,” she said. “If you can’t pass the test then that should be an alert to someone. We should be looking at what we need to do to make you better at your job.”
In fact, some of her research could meaningfully change the way proficiency is tested. Eldridge is working on a tool that can objectively measure the quality of individual prints. That tool could then be used to build a test with scaled information. “You took this test, you got all the easy ones right, you got all the medium ones right; you got a few of the hard ones and then you missed some of those hard ones,” she said. “So now I have a better idea of about where you are on the scale, how good you are. And then we can say something meaningful about somebody’s skill level that can be taken into court. And we can take away the stigma of, ‘Oh, gosh, I failed my proficiency test and I’m going to be fired,’ because it would be expected that nobody would get 100.”
Eldridge argues that this would be a better way to test the strength of individual examiners and the greater system — a way to find the limits of ability. “But it would be a big paradigm shift.”
There are some labs that are pushing things forward in new and interesting ways, including the Houston Forensic Science Center in Texas. The lab is something of an anomaly: It is completely independent and overseen by a board of directors, meaning that, unlike the bulk of crime labs, it is untethered from police or prosecutor agencies. Among the recommendations put forward by the National Academy of Sciences was that all crime labs be independent, free from the potential bias of law enforcers and their budgets. It remains one of the report’s most hotly debated recommendations.
Among the 409 publicly funded crime labs identified by the federal government, only a handful aside from the Houston Forensic Science Center are truly independent. The Houston lab is also big. And that scale gives it a distinct advantage.
Peter Stout is the CEO of the Houston lab, which has 200 employees and receives about 30,000 requests for forensic analysis per year. Among the advantages this offers is an ability to devise and incorporate an extensive internal proficiency testing program.
Like Eldridge, Stout says that the current proficiency tests aren’t exactly robust, but that isn’t necessarily CTS’s fault. “I very much have a philosophy of ‘test to the failure.’ You make tests for the system that look for where the system breaks,” he said. But that hasn’t been the philosophy of the forensics world writ large. “There’s not been a real press from the practitioner community to make proficiency materials that are more representative, harder, challenge the system more. So that’s part of why CTS is what it is. There’s just been no demand.”
Since 2015, Stout’s lab has incorporated a different kind of proficiency testing into the examiners’ workflow: blind testing. The lab’s quality assurance staff devise case-like samples that are slipped into the system, amid the regular work, in order to test examiners’ skills — and the broader health of the lab’s protocols — without alerting anyone working with the faked evidence. It’s the kind of proficiency testing that forensics reformers have said is important to shoring up the nation’s system. But it comes at a price — both in terms of money and manpower — that most labs don’t believe they can handle.
While the Houston lab has a quality assurance division with a staff of six, the majority of crime labs simply don’t have the resources to separately staff such an operation, meaning that lab employees often play a dual role — a lab director may also serve as head of quality assurance, or practitioners may do some of that assessment. Where that’s the case, blind testing doesn’t work. Half of the nation’s publicly funded labs have fewer than 24 employees, notes Stout. “There is no separation to manage a blind system.” Then there is the matter of backlogs, which are a constant headache for crime labs. Where there’s an extensive backlog, “it’s much more difficult to slip these things in because they’ve already got stuff in queue.”
Because the Houston lab enjoys robust staffing, significant funding, and a moderate backlog, “it creates an obligation for us to do some of these things,” Stout says. “We have the privilege of being able to set this stuff up and show, here’s what works, here’s what the limitations are, so those who don’t have as much ability to take those risks can then tell their administrative hierarchies, ‘No, look, Houston did it. The sky didn’t fall.’”
Stout made a deal with his staff: If they can accurately spot a blind test coming through the system, they get a Starbucks gift card; if they’re wrong, they owe Stout $1. The examiners have demonstrated some pretty amazing powers of observation, he said. One examiner in firearms spotted a blind because the gun “smelled familiar,” Stout said, the way an old gun does — so, not like one used in a recent crime. “And they were right.” A fingerprint analyst examining a crowbar allegedly used in a smash-and-grab spotted the blind based on the way the fingerprint appeared on the metal: No one, the examiner reported, would hold a crowbar that way.
To date, Stout has given out a couple dozen gift cards and has about $3-4 in his pocket. Eventually, he hopes the data gathered from blind testing will help formulate error rates for the lab.
The whole goal is to design a system that better minimizes the risk of an error. And for now, at least, part of the process is continuing with the cross-lab proficiency tests like CTS offers. “Right now, our blinds give us … a comparative test of our system — but I still need the comparative performance of our lab to other labs. So open proficiency testing is still very much a necessary tool.” But, he says, “there still needs to be more rigor in them.”
Operating Without Oversight
Back in Chicago, as far as Max and his colleagues have been able to determine, the police department’s latent print examiners work in a lab that doesn’t have any quality assurance plan. They subpoenaed the department on this matter and were told it had “no responsive documents.” Under cross-examination in March 2016, Cavise asked latent print examiner Daniels about the CPD’s protocols. Did the department have an error management system? No, Daniels told him — “other than the public defender’s office checking my work.”
“Your unit has nothing that you know of in place to deal with what would happen if an error occurred?” Cavise followed up.
“No, not from the Chicago Police Department.”
As it stands, the CPD unit has no documented quality assurance program, or any other written protocols regarding the process for conducting fingerprint examinations. The unit is not accredited and just three of its six examiners are certified; they’re all police officers without a forensics background. As Stout points out, there is no data on the number of forensic operations that are housed in law enforcement agencies or employ examiners without a science background. There isn’t a nationwide standard for how these operations should be organized, so various cop-shops like CPD may have a latent print unit, or a unit of crime scene investigators who are also doing latent print work, for example. Put simply, the scope of the problem of examiners operating with little oversight is unclear. Although the feds haven’t traditionally collected this information, Stout says a pending survey administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics includes a question to try to better capture that additional information. “They’re trying to get a handle on how many birds-in-the-back-room in law enforcement agencies are out there,” he said. “Nobody really knows.”
In the meantime, Max and his team say that their efforts to try to keep the CPD fingerprint evidence out of cases altogether have been stymied by judges who have failed to exclude it even after being briefed on the department’s failings. Despite the fact that judges are supposed to act as “gatekeepers,” tasked with rejecting inherently unreliable forensic evidence, to date they’ve chosen to allow it to go forward. Nonetheless, the public defenders’ consistent challenges to the evidence at trial have been successful. They’ve won acquittals in four cases where fingerprints were the primary evidence of guilt. In one case, the jury convicted but said they did not believe the fingerprint evidence. In about a dozen cases, Max wrote in an email, charges “were reduced or dismissed once we started challenging the fingerprint evidence in pretrial motions.”
Given their success, a confounding question remains: Why would the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office continue to use the CPD examiners on its cases? If they really believe they’re prosecuting the guilty party, why would they want to compromise a case with questionable forensic evidence? The majority of forensic evidence used in local prosecutions is done by the Illinois State Police crime lab, which is accredited. According to a statement given to The Intercept by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, the prosecutors aren’t involved in determining where evidence goes for analysis, but the office works “closely” with the CPD “and all law enforcement agencies to ensure that we receive the most comprehensive evidence before and during the prosecution of a case.” The office is not aware, the statement continued, of any cases where “the court has made a finding to dismiss a case solely contingent upon the misidentification of a CPD analysis or the work of an individual examiner.”
For its part, the CPD stands by its work. In an email, spokesperson Luis Agostini wrote that the department’s print unit is an “integral part of the investigative process” and that without it, “case investigations would suffer, and our detectives would be waiting months for results.” The examiners undergo annual training and professional development, he wrote, adding that “all identifications and comparisons” made by the unit are peer-reviewed by colleagues. Still, he noted that the latent print unit is in the process of “updating” policies and procedures to bring it in line with best practices articulated by various expert organizations, including the FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
In the meantime, “the fingerprints examiners are scheduled to take an annual proficiency exam,” he wrote, “further assuring quality control of their work product.”

Comment: Some time ago, an informant discussed a subject close to this one and with uproarious consequences. He had somehow bought, at a gun show, a stack of old U.S. prison documents featuring the fingerprints and pictures of convicts. By photocopying the fingerprints and making a reverse image of them, he produced a zinc reverse plate (easily done in almost any print shop.) He then painted the plate with liquid latex and when gently peeled these off of the zinc, carefully affixed them to the tips of surgical gloves that were easily available. He used rubber cement for this. Then, he said, if one put on the very flexible gloves and touched items, like windows or perhaps a pistol, he left behind very clear fingerprints. The law enforcement experts who lifted these prints from various objects were later totally bewildered when they were informed that the prints matched those of someone who had died in Federal prison in 1938! Ed

Descent into the next Glacial Period perhaps within our lifetimes
The effects of global cooling will be far more devastating than global warming.
November 13, 2019
by Gregory F. Fegel
Unlike the current CO2-caused Global Warming hysteria, the threat of an approaching “Ice Age” Glacial Period that was presented in the 1970s was based on solid science — including the combined evidence of the geologic record, ice cores, sea sediments, and pollens, all of which matched the cyclical insolation (amount of sunlight) pattern caused by the orbital Milankovitch cycles. In the 1970s, it was confirmed that the Milankovitch cycles cause the Ice Age cycle — which is taught in earth-science textbooks.
In the 1970s, the media emphasized the fact that a large change in the Earth’s mean global temperature could happen within decades — in that way the media promoted “global cooling hysteria” in the 1970s. In spite of the fact that the climate in the 1980s and 90s became warmer, the scientific evidence for an approaching Glacial Period was valid, and it remains valid. Some scientists claim that our current warm interglacial (the Holocene) will be different from the previous interglacials by lasting twice as long — giving us another 15,000 years of a warm climate. However, that theory of a warm 15,000-year extension is speculative.
Based on the regularity and timing of the Ice Age cycle so far, we should expect the descent into the next Glacial Period to begin (approximately) within hundreds of years, or perhaps within our own lifetimes. The idea that either natural or anthropogenic causes will intercede to prevent the next Glacial Period from returning within its usual time-frame is speculative — and it is perhaps a result of wishful thinking.
If planners and governments want to prepare for a substantial “climate change” in the future, it’s global cooling they should be concerned about, not global warming. Firstly, because severe global cooling is more likely to happen (eventually). Secondly, because the effects of global cooling will be far more devastating than global warming. A global sea-level rise caused by global warming would be easier to cope with than arctic conditions in Northern Europe, Russia, Canada, and Alaska caused by global cooling. A warmer global climate would be a net benefit for all life on Earth.

The Coming Ice Age
A true scientific detective story
November 29, 2019
by Betty Friedan
Harpers Magazine
How a rising of the ocean waters may flood most of our port cities within the foreseeable future — and why it will be followed by the growth of a vast glacier which may eventually cover much of Europe and North America.
This is the story of two scientists, who started five years ago — with a single radiocarbon clue from the ocean bottom and a wild hunch — to track down one of the earth’s great unsolved mysteries: What caused the ancient ice ages? Their search led over many continents and seas, to drowned rivers and abandoned mountain caves, into far-removed branches of science. It took them down through recorded history, from the stone tablets of primitive man to contemporary newspaper headlines.
These two serious, careful scientists — geophysicist Maurice Ewing, director of Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory, and geologist-meteorologist William Donn believe they have finally found the explanation for the giant glaciers, which four times during the past million years have advanced and retreated over the earth. If they are right, the world is now heading into another Ice Age. It will come not as sudden catastrophe, but as the inevitable culmination of a process that has already begun in northern oceans.
As Ewing and Donn read the evidence, an Ice Age will result from a slow warming and rising of the ocean that is now taking place. They believe that this ocean flood — which may submerge large coastal areas of the eastern United States and western Europe — is going to melt the ice sheet which has covered the Arctic Ocean through all recorded history. Calculations based on the independent observations of other scientists indicate this melting could begin, within roughly one hundred years.
It is this melting of Arctic ice which Ewing and Donn believe will set off another Ice Age on earth. They predict that it will cause great snows to fall in the north — perennial unmelting snows which the world has not seen since the last Ice Age thousands of years ago. These snows will make the Arctic glaciers grow again, until their towering height forces them forward. The advance south will be slow, but if it follows the route of previous ice ages, it will encase in ice large parts of North America and Europe. It would, of course, take many centuries for that wall of ice to reach New York and Chicago, London and Paris. But its coming is an inevitable consequence of the cycle which Ewing and Donn believe is now taking place.
The coming of another Ice Age is an event serious scientists have never been able to predict from observable Earth phenomena. For until Ewing and Donn postulated their new Theory of Ice Ages (it was first published in Science in June 1956 and a second report appeared in May 1958) the very nature of the problem seemed to defy the kind of scientific understanding which makes prediction possible.
Scientists know that the glaciers which stand quiet in the Arctic today once covered America with a wall of ice up to two miles thick — its southern boundary extending from Long Island across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas to the Missouri River, with extensions into the western mountain country . . . that it covered northern Europe, England, large parts of France and Germany . . . that it created the Great Lakes, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers . . . that it moved mountains, crashed down forests, destroyed whole species of life.
They also know that it is cold enough at the Arctic for glaciers to grow today, but almost no snow has fallen there in modern times. What caused those snows that built the Ice Age glaciers until their own height forced them to march, and what caused them finally to retreat? And why has the earth been swinging back and forth between Ice Ages and climate like today’s for a million years, when before then the entire planet enjoyed a temperate climate with no extremes of hot or cold? Scientists could answer these questions only in terms of sudden catastrophe — a volcanic eruption, the earth’s movement into a cloud of cosmic dust — and unpredictable catastrophes are not the concern of contemporary science. Few scientists had even worked on the problem in recent years.
It was only by a combination of lucky circumstance and persistent curiosity that Ewing and Donn as a team began working steadily on the Ice Age Mystery. As Director of Lamont Geological Observatory, located on top of the New York Palisades over the Hudson River, Ewing teaches theoretical geophysics and directs research in earthquake seismology, marine geology and biology, and oceanography. Donn teaches geology at Brooklyn College and directs the research in meteorology at Lamont. Since the two men live twenty miles apart and were occupied all day, they would often meet at eleven at night in a deserted laboratory at Columbia University — midway between their homes — and work into the morning on the Ice Age trail.
CLUES FROM SEA FOSSILS
The two men share the scientist’s passion for pure search, no matter where it leads. Ewing, a tall and powerful Texan who speaks in a gentle voice, was white-haired before he was fifty, a fact his friends attribute to the pace at which he has lived his life as a scientist. For a quarter-century he has been leading expeditions over the ocean, often risking his life while pioneering new methods of investigating its secrets. In the early 1930s he founded a new science by dropping charges from a whale boat and using a seismograph to identify the different layers of earth beneath the ocean. In 1955 he was given the Navy Distinguished Service Award for devising the SOFAR (Sound Fixing and Ranging) method for rescuing men from ships and planes lost at sea.
Donn, New York City bred, is a slight, wiry meteorologist, who tames tidal waves with logarithms. His mastery of the complex relationship between sea and weather complemented Ewing’s knowledge of the depths of the oceans.
The original bits of information which set the two scientists onto the trail of the Ice Age Mystery first came to light on the decks of the three-masted schooner Vema which Lamont Observatory uses for scientific exploration. In the summer of 1953, the ship traced a puzzling pattern on the ocean bottom which led from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico and into the Caribbean Sea. The Columbia-Lamont crew were working with their newly perfected “deep sea corer,” a device which can bring up primeval sediment undisturbed through as much as 4,000 fathoms of water (24,000 feet) — just as it was deposited thousands of years ago.
This “corer” is a sharp-edged steel tube, two-and-a-half inches in diameter and up to 70 feet in length. When it has been lowered from the ship to within 15 feet of the sea bottom, a trigger trips the holding mechanism and the tube is punched by a weight into the sediment. The Lamont ocean expeditions have brought up cores as long as 60 feet — nearly 2,000 of them — representing the successive deposits of thousands of years. As Ewing describes it,
“The entire record of the earth is there in the most undisturbed form it is possible to find anywhere — traces of the animals, rocks, and plants of successive ages preserved in the order in which they filtered down from the surface of the sea.”
Only recently, radioactive isotope techniques have made if possible to deduce when the sediment was deposited, and other things about the world from which it came. Scientists can now measure the radiocarbon in a sample of ocean-bottom mud — and know how long it has lain there. Radioactive carbon ceases to be replenished when removed from the atmosphere, and decays at a known rate. Chemists therefore calculate from the ratio of radiocarbon to ordinary carbon in a fossil shell whether it has been decaying for a thousand, five, or ten thousand years.
In these cores of mud from the Caribbean, the equatorial Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico that summer, the Lamont expedition kept seeing a strange sharp line. “About a foot below the floor of the ocean the sediment suddenly changed from salmon pink to gray,” Ewing said. “You could see it sharp as a razor when the cores were opened on the ship’s deck. Others had reported this same line in the North Atlantic.
“When we put these cores to paleontological laboratory tests back at Lamont, we found out what that razor-sharp line meant: at a certain time the ocean suddenly changed from cold to warm. The pink sediment contained shells of minute warm-water animals; the gray sediment, cold-water animals.”
Back at Lamont, measurement of radiocarbon showed that this sudden warming took place throughout the length and breadth of the vast Atlantic Ocean — 11,000 years ago. The cores showed virtually no change in temperature for 90,000 years — except for this one sudden increase. Donn, Lamont’s meteorological expert, was as mystified as Ewing.
“What happened 11,000 years ago to heat the ocean?” they kept asking themselves at odd moments over the next year or so. “What could change the climate of the whole ocean so abruptly?”
A JACKPOT IN ICE
Neither Ewing nor Donn can say precisely when the hunch came. The problem continued to tantalize them, as they traveled about the country attending meetings and doing field work. On the way back from Chicago, they may have watched the ice break up in the Delaware River. They recall reading a newspaper item about a big gambling jackpot on which day the ice would go out in the Yukon. The chain of thought seems obvious now: water freezing — ice going out — this is a sharp, abrupt change, the only sudden change that can happen to a body of water.
But oceans don’t freeze. Ocean currents dissipate the cold — except, of course, in the small Arctic Ocean which is almost entirely surrounded by land.
“What would happen if the ice went out of the Arctic Ocean as it does in the Yukon or the Delaware?” Ewing and Donn remember wondering, as they went over the problem again, one day at Lamont.
“Well, we figured, the Arctic Ocean would get warmer. Because water would flow more freely between it and the Atlantic, dissipating the cold. And of course, the Atlantic Ocean would get colder. But wait a minute . . . we saw it simultaneously. If the Arctic Ocean were open water, warmed by the Atlantic, warmer than the land around it, water would evaporate and fall as snow on the land. More snow on Greenland and northern Canada would make glaciers grow. Glaciers don’t grow now because there is no open water in the Arctic to provide the moisture for snow.
“And suddenly we had the startling hunch that the Arctic Ocean was open during the Ice Age. And that it froze over only 11,000 years ago. It was this freezing over of the Arctic Ocean which so suddenly warmed the Atlantic — and ended the Ice Age.”
“That rather exciting ten minutes,” they told me, “contradicted a whole lot of things we’d always taken for granted. Everyone has assumed that the Arctic Ocean, so covered with ice today, would be even colder and more completely frozen during an Ice Age.
“You get a lot of these wild ideas in our business. If one lasts five minutes you begin to take it seriously. The more we thought about this one, the more it added up. It explained so many things that have always puzzled us.
“For once you accept the radical idea that the Arctic was a warm open ocean at the time of the great continental glaciers, you can reconstruct a completely different weather pattern from the one we know today. As we worked it out, we could see a startling chain of cause and effect between the oceans and the glaciers themselves. We could see how the oceans would work as an actual ‘thermostat’ to keep the earth alternating between glacial ice ages and interglacial periods such as today.
“It all hinges on the fact that the North Pole is where it is — in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, which is almost completely surrounded by land except for a shallow ‘sill’ between Norway and Greenland opening into the Atlantic, and the insignificant Bering Strait. If the cold waters of the Arctic interchanged freely over this sill with the warm Atlantic water, the Arctic Ocean would not freeze over. Its moisture would build glaciers. (In the cold temperatures of the north, the moisture that evaporates from the open Arctic would all fall as snow — too much snow to melt in the short Arctic summer. When the rate at which snow accumulates exceeds the rate at which it melts, glaciers grow.) But as those glaciers grew, they would lock up so much ocean water that sea level would fall.
“We know that sea level was lowered between 300 and 400 feet at the peak of the last Ice Age. Now, most of that sill between Norway and Greenland is less than 300 feet deep. At a certain point the glaciers would lower the sea level so much that the Arctic Ocean would be virtually cut off from the warmer Atlantic. The Arctic Ocean would then freeze over. And the glaciers, no longer led by snow, would melt under the Arctic summer sun, restoring their water to the oceans. Then sea level would rise, until enough warm Atlantic water again flowed over that sill to melt the Arctic ice sheet, and start another glacial cycle.”
Donn worked out a weather map of the world, with an open Arctic Ocean, warmer than surrounding lands. It showed a completely different storm pattern than exists today; more rain and snow in the Arctic, a wind pattern carrying more ocean moisture inland generally. It showed violent blizzards over eastern North America which would spread more snow on the glaciers. Summers would become more like winters as the glacial wall advanced southward. Donn’s weather map with the open Arctic even showed that there would be rain in today’s deserts.
But they needed more proof for their theory. They had to track down the circumstantial evidence of what happened 11,000 years ago; they had to find geological witnesses to confirm their reconstruction of the crime.
CLUES FROM A DROWNED RIVER
They embarked on the painstaking examination of the records of past Arctic explorers. There was little relevant data. One day, going through dusty old volumes of the National Geographic, they found a photograph of an Arctic beach — a beach that could have been made only by long years of pounding waves. There must have been open sea in the Arctic to make that beach.
Ewing took to sea in the Vema again. In the Gulf of Mexico, the Ice Age trail seemed to peter out altogether in a bottomless plain of flat gray silt. The Vema took core after core below the Mississippi Delta without finding the crucial fossil lines.
“We couldn’t even get to the bottom of it with our corers,” Ewing recalls. “We were sure the Gulf must have changed from cold to warm just as the other oceans, but how could we prove it when there seemed to be no fossils at all in that endless gray layer? We suspected that the gray silt had come from the Mississippi and had spread over the floor of the Gulf by creeping along the bottom. If we could find a hill that stood well above the Gulf floor, the sediment on top of it would have come down undisturbed from the surface of the water and might contain the record of those temperature changes.”
They nearly sailed over them — a cluster of hills rising a thousand feet off the ocean floor. There, instead of puzzling gray silt, they finally found the familiar, razor-sharp layers of glacial and interglacial fossils.
And that very gray silt which had obscured their trail turned out to be further proof that 11,000 years ago was the date the Ice Age ended.
For back at Lamont, radiocarbon measurement showed that the silt stopped sliding from the Mississippi just 11,000 years ago. This meant that a great rise in sea level must have taken place at just that time. Drowned by the rising sea, the lower channels of the Mississippi River would retain their own sediment, losing the power to take it out to the deep central part of the Gulf, it was, almost certainly, the rise in sea level caused by the melting of the glaciers.
AND THE FISHBONE CAVES
As the Lamont crew were pursuing this mystery in the sea, other scientists were unearthing new Ice Age clues on land. Atomic Energy Commissioner Willard F. Libby, the scientist who originated radiocarbon dating, found fossils of a forest at Two Creeks, Wisconsin, that had been first flooded and then overridden by the advancing ice. Radiocarbon dating proved that those trees, at one of the southern fingertips of the last glacial advance, were pushed over about 11,000 years ago. (Previously, geologists thought the ice had disappeared long before that time.)
Then a series of dramatic clues were brought in by other geologists from caves in the cliffs above the dry Great Basin of Nevada and Utah. Several thousand feet above the basin are rock niches worn by the waves of glacial lakes — lakes created by the great rains that fell south of the Ice Age snows. Far below are caves, also worn by those waves, that were inhabited by man: the famous Fishbone Cave above the dry Winnemucca Lake in western Nevada and the Danger Cave above glacial Lake Bonneville in Utah.
The evidence showed that men moved into those caves shortly after the lake level suddenly dropped and exposed them. Remains were found of the nets and baskets they used to catch the fish of the now vanished glacial lakes. Radiocarbon dating showed that men were living in those caves — brought above the water when the great glacial rains and snows stopped — approximately 11,000 years ago. And the time during which the glacial lakes dropped from those niches thousands of feet above on the cliffs, to the level of the lower caves, was dramatically short — only several hundred years. It was like the sudden change Ewing and Donn had observed in the ocean. The date was now established: 11,000 years ago, plus or minus a few hundred years, the last Ice Age suddenly ended.
At the time the theory was constructed, there was no actual evidence from the Arctic Ocean itself to indicate it had ever been ice-free. Some months later Dr. A. P. Crary came back from the Arctic Ocean and sent his cores to Lamont. These cores indicated there had been minute animal life for thousands of years in the Arctic Ocean, which suddenly stopped — eleven millenniums ago. They also showed evidence of icebergs free to move in open water at the time Ewing and Donn think the Arctic was open.
BEYOND THE NORTH WIND
Could men have lived on the shores of this ocean during the Ice Age? Were there human witnesses to the open Arctic sea?
“It was only by accident that we stumbled on a vital clue in a completely different branch of science,’’ they told me. “We might have missed it altogether because of the compartmentalization of science.”
One day a colleague of Donn’s happened to remark over coffee that he’d overheard an anthropologist in the faculty room talking about some traces that had just been discovered of an ancient civilization around the Arctic.
Donn and Ewing started calling anthropologists. The evidence was uncertain, they learned, but some of it pointed strongly to well-established communities of man around the Arctic many thousands of years ago. In fact, the oldest flints showing man in America had been found recently in a band around the Arctic Circle, seldom straying south.
Anthropologists had been mystified. Even if a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska had existed then, why would man choose to use it to settle in the Arctic Circle, in the very heart of the intense polar cold, at temperature which was assumed to be even lower than today? Around that frozen Arctic Ocean, where would man have found the fish and game those flints suggested? Why would men have stayed there for centuries — unless, as Ewing and Donn now believe, the Arctic Ocean was open then, and its shores were a warm oasis compared with the glaciers to the South?
Ewing and Donn got another anthropologist out of bed late at night to question him further. He told them that, while anthropologists are still uncertain as to how and when man first came to America, they are pretty sure he suddenly started migrating south, in an explosive wave, about 11,000 years ago.
Here, perhaps, were their human witnesses to the end of the Ice Age! The people who lived “beyond the north wind’’ on Arctic shores, behind the towering wall of ice, using their flint-tipped weapons on big game and fish that could not survive in the cold Arctic temperatures of today. These men evidently came to America from Siberia when the glaciers had taken enough water from the sea to uncover the Siberian land bridge. They stayed for some centuries around the warm Arctic because the glaciers kept them from straying south. Then, 11,000 years ago, they suddenly fled. If the Arctic Ocean suddenly froze over, they couldn’t eat. Nor could they go back to Siberia because the great rise in sea level at the end of the Ice Age would once more submerge the land bridge.
And just at the time when they could no longer stay in the Arctic, paths opened in the great ice wall south of them. The melting glaciers permitted men to go south at last — in such a rapid wave that they reached the tip of South America in a few thousand years.
So anthropologists are now reconstructing their own mysteries in the light of Ewing and Donn’s Theory of Ice Ages — which California’s authority on early man, Carl Sauer, calls “a major contribution to our understanding. . . . The old, simple belief that man waited at the threshold of the New World until the last ice sheet was gone has been proved wrong.”
And, finally, human witnesses were tracked down in southern deserts. During this past year archaeologists have brought back new evidence that the Sahara desert was green and fertile and thriving with civilization when glaciers froze life in America and Europe. Ewing and Donn had deduced that an open Arctic Ocean would have caused rain in today’s deserts. Now, from the caves of the Sahara, came ancient man’s vivid drawings of the animals that he hunted on the once grassy desert.
BENEATH THE EARTH’S CRUST
One big question remained which the new theory did not seem to answer: What started off the first Ice Age cycle?
“We know that during the past million years, the world has swung back and forth between ice ages and weather like today’s,” Ewing and Donn told me. “Before then, the whole earth was much warmer. There were no zones of extreme heat or cold; palms and magnolias grew in Greenland, and coral around Iceland; subtropical plants thrived within eleven degrees of the North Pole. Why didn’t the Arctic Ocean-glacier ‘thermostat’ work then? What suddenly turned it on one million years ago?
“The answer, we believe, is chat until a million years ago, the North Pole was not in that landlocked Arctic Ocean at all, but in the middle of the open Pacific, where there was no land on which snow and ice could accumulate, and ocean currents dissipated the cold.
“The idea of wandering poles may seem fantastic. But recently-discovered magnetic evidence leads to the geological inference that the whole earth can shift its surface crust with respect to the interior. As the earth’s crustal zone ‘slides’ over the interior, different points on the surface can be at the North or South Pole.
“Such a shift in the earth’s crust, it is now believed, did take place before the first Pleistocene fee Age which began a million years ago. Before then, the magnetic record shows the North Pole in the middle of the Pacific, and the South Pole in the open southern Atlantic.
“An abrupt shift in the earth’s crust carried the North Pole into the small and virtually landlocked Arctic, and the South Pole to the Antarctic continent, where the polar cold could not be dissipated by free ocean currents. That started the greatly contrasting zones of climate we know today — and the concentration of cold which finally froze the Arctic Ocean, to start the Ice Age cycles.”
This would explain why the Ice Age glaciers have always marched from the Arctic. No ocean thermostat exists to turn on drastic glacial-interglacial cycles in the Antarctic. There, according to the theory, the Antarctic ice cap has been building up continually since the South Pole shifted to that continent a million years ago, with only minor changes caused by the slight warming and cooling of the Atlantic in the glacial-interglacial cycles. This is confirmed by evidence from elevated beaches, which seems to indicate that maximum sea level has been dropping successively lower in each glacial era.
And as long as the poles stay where they are, the Ice Age cycles must continue.
WHEN WILL IT COME AGAIN?
Ewing and Donn realized that their theory had startling implications for the future. They have the scientist’s distaste for the sensational and carefully worked out the wording of the theory’s formal conclusion: “The recent epoch can be considered as another interglacial stage.” A number of scientists have tried to disprove their theory; so far they have been unsuccessful.
As Ewing and Donn read the glacial thermostat, the present interglacial stage is well advanced; the earth is now heading into another Ice Age. Certain signs, some of them visible to the layman as well as the scientist, indicate we may have been watching an Ice Age approach for some time without realizing what we were seeing.
Although scientists do not agree on its significance, they have observed an increasingly rapid warming and rising of the ocean in recent years. Warm water flowing north has driven the codfish off Cape Cod to Newfoundland; annual temperature has risen ten degrees in Iceland and Greenland; down here winters are warmer; the Hudson River no longer freezes over as it used to. It is part of the Ewing-Donn paradox that the next Ice Age will be preceded by such a warming of climate.
“We suspect that the ocean is already warm enough to melt the Arctic ice sheet,” Ewing and Donn told me. “For some time it has remained at the highest temperature ever reached in the four previous interglacial stages.” As climate becomes warmer, more and more glacial melt-water pours into the sea. The Atlantic has already risen 300 feet since the glaciers of the last Ice Age started to melt away. Up until twenty-five years ago the U.S. Geodetic Surveys indicated that sea level was rising six inches a century; in the past twenty-five years that rate has increased to two feet a century.
As sea level rises, more and more warm water pours over the Norway-Greenland sill, under the Arctic ice sheet. American, Russian, and Scandinavian scientists have observed a definite warming of the Arctic Ocean over the past fifty years, and a consequent thinning of the ice sheet. At an international conference on Arctic sea ice in March 1958, scientists estimated that Arctic ice covers an area 12 per cent smaller than it did fifteen years ago, and is 40 per cent thinner. A layman might surmise that if this trend continues the Arctic Ocean will be open and the Ice Age begin in another twenty years. Ewing and Dunn are much more cautious about predictions.
“The rate at which our weather has been warming in recent years could be temporarily slowed down,” they told me. “We don’t know the exact rate at which the sea is now rising. We need long-term world-wide evidence which the International Geophysical Year may give us to assess accurately the changes that seem to be taking place in the ocean and the ice.”
If the ocean continues to warm up at the present rate, Ewing and Donn think it is conceivable that there will be open water in the Arctic within about a hundred years. If they are right, tor the first time in the history of the world, the victims of an Ice Age are going to see it coming. Television cameramen will be raging all over the far north, covering the break-up of the Arctic ice sheet, looking for the first dirty summer slush. For the Ice Age will dawn, not in crashing glacial terror but in slush; as Ewing and Donn describe it, on a summer vacation up north, you will simply see a lot of dirty slush, winter’s snow that for the first time in thousands of years didn’t quite melt.
In many parts of America, at that time, the worry may not be ice, but water. Many scientists have speculated on the ocean flood that will be caused if the melting of glacial icecaps continues. Antarctic scientist Laurence Gould recently warned that “the return of only a few feet of thickness of ice as melt-water to the oceans would have serious effects in many places; and if all the ice were melted into the sea, its level would rise from 150 to 200 feet. All the world’s seaports and some of its most densely populated areas would be submerged.”
Ewing and Donn don’t know how much higher the sea is going to rise before it melts the Arctic ice sheet. They say the ocean has already risen to the point where, if certain recent storms had occurred at high tide, it would have flooded New York and Boston subways. Donn is now working at Lamont on studies of long and short period changes in world sea level.
The ocean flood that brings about the Ice Age will not resemble the flash floods that have caused havoc in the cast in recent years. It will build up slowly, and it will not flow away. The cities, industries, and military bases that are concentrated on both sides of the Atlantic may have to be evacuated. (Fortunately, Pacific coastlines are higher.)
It will probably be possible to protect New York and Washington by levees. Parts or all of New Orleans, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other cities are now protected by levees from high water, Ewing and Donn point out. Evidently, New York is in no danger of becoming a lost Atlantis, drowned under the sea. If low-lying Brooklyn, Miami, Washington, New Orleans, or Amsterdam should become ghost cities, it will be because a decision will have been made long in advance of this slow-creeping flood to evacuate rather than build levees.
“According to our theory, with the melting of the Arctic ice sheet, the rise in sea level will stop,” Ewing and Donn explained. Instead of adding water to the sea, the glaciers will begin taking it out.
For a long time after the ocean flood subsides, the only effect the Ice Age will have on us down here will be more rain. The new Arctic moisture that falls as snow on the glaciers will increase both rain and snow here, swelling rivers and watering deserts. Then, gradually, our weather will cool. Icy winds will blow from the advancing glaciers; the great snows will fall farther and farther south. In several thousand years a two-mile ice sheet may cover the United States and Europe. If man finds no way to switch the glacial thermostat, there may well be a real estate boom in the Sahara.”

The Broken Encirclement Plan: Nato in Eastern Europe
The first serious, and successful, U.S. direct interference in Russian leadership policies was in 1953.
An ageing Josef Stalin, suffering from arteriosclerosis and becoming increasingly hostile to his subordinates, was poisoned by Laverenti P. Beria, head of his secret police.
Beria, a Mingrelian Jew, very ruthless and a man who ordered and often supervised the executions of people Stalin suspected of plotting against him, had fallen out of favor with Stalin and had come to believe that he was on the list of those Stalin wished to remove.
With his intelligence connections, Beria was contacted by Colonel Boris Pash, of the American CIA through one of his trusted agents in Helskinki and through this contact, Beria was supplied dosages of warfarin
The first drug in the class to be widely commercialized was dicoumarol itself, patented in 1941 and later used as a pharmaceutical. potent coumarin-based anticoagulants for use as rodent poisons, resulting in warfarin in 1948. The name warfarin stems from the acronym WARF, for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation + the ending -arin indicating its link with coumarin. Warfarin was first registered for use as a rodenticide in the US in 1948, and was immediately popular; although it was developed by Link, the WARF financially supported the research and was assigned the patent.
Warfarin was used by a Lavrenti Beria to poison Stalin. Stalin’s cooks and personal bodyguards were all under the direct control of Beria. He acknowledged to other top Soviet leaders that he had poisoned Stalin, according to Molotov’s memoirs, Nikita Khrushchev and others.
Warfarin is tasteless and colorless, and produces symptoms similar to those that Stalin exhibited.
Stalin collapsed during the night after a dinner with Beria and other Soviet leaders, and died four days later on March 5, 1953.
Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in his political memoirs (published posthumously in 1993), claimed that Beria told him that he had poisoned Stalin. “I took him out,” Beria supposedly boasted. And after Stalin was found unconscious, medical care was not provided for many hours. Other evidence of the murder of Stalin by Beria associates was presented by Edvard Radzinsky in his biography of Stalin. It has been suggested that warfarin was used; it would have produced the symptoms reported.
After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.
By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.
The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.
The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.
The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.
Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.
The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.
The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.
This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries.
The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.
The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.
On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.
The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.
Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism
The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikhail Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.
During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia.
Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.
When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.
Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent stationed in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy.
British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.
The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.
The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.
On September 6, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s state limousine, travelling on a Moscow highway, was slammed into by a car which jumped the median strip.
Putin’s driver was killed but Putin was not in the car at the time.
Shortly after this incident, a WikiLeaks release disclosed the CIA’s ability to get control of a car’s computer system and cause it to go out of control

The Neo-Nazi Renaissance
In the main, fraud, counterfeiting and deceit are certainly 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 and elevated personality items from the Third Reich period, purporting to belong to such people as Hitler and Hermann Goering.
There is an abiding fascination with the trappings of the Third Reich but the number of actual and original 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.
Fraud and chicanery are the hallmarks of any marketplace, be it Wall Street, Carnaby Street or the Internet auctions.
It is amazing that so many of these neo-Nazi fraud merchants are able to find either end of themselves in a dark room or, as the author’s sainted Granny used to say, ‘Too lazy to work, too stupid to steal and completely unable to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
The hallmark of the German military and personality collectors is, in the main, a fascination with a period they are constantly reminded is the very essence of terrible evil. In spite of countless reams of utter nonsense produced about German wickedness (as opposed to American, British or Russian asocial behavior) German items are far more in demand that anything else and of all the items most sought after and commanding the highest prices are relics of the awful SS.
So much for failed propaganda which has only made its sworn enemy so attractive.
One dealer bought the iron gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp from a Polish scrap dealer and tried to sell them to the American Holocaust Museum. They were most eager to obtain this dubious relic but on principle (or perhaps because of a lack of it) absolutely refused to pay for the massive entrance to the netherworld.. A tax-free gift would be much more to their liking but the greedy and uncharitable dealer merely cut the gates into small pieces and sold these off like souvenirs of the Berlin Wall (or fragments of the True Cross).
The author once spoke with a very wealthy dealer in Nazi fakes and he said, with some humor, that when he has had occasion to visit various highly prestigious military collections in the past as he walks down the line of glass cases filled with the cream of Third Reich militaria, such as Hitler’s dinnerware or Goering’s swords, he keeps hearing tiny voices that say, “Papa, papa!” as he passes.
Items which are purported to have 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. Such items as original caps, uniforms and the like are non-existent because Hitler ordered their destruction at the end of the war and in the main, this order was faithfully executed.
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 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 visor 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, and the wound badge in black. As a member of the Bavarian army, Hitler 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 motiv 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, grotesque «ruby” 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 James Atwood 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.
There are no surviving original Hitler paintings and sketches “from veterans.” 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 a very few known original Hitler pieces (those he himself authenticated before the war and marked as being from the NS archives. In the Price 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 in governmental cafeterias. Reichskanzelei silver was marked R K.
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.
Aside from personality items, yards of fake tapestries are offered, claimed to be from Hitler’s house or from Heinrich Himmler’s office and huge eagle and swastika bronze table decorations, jostle the auction house catalogs, cheek by jowl with oil paintings made in China of top level Nazi officials, fake dinnerware, honorary citizens awards, napkin rings engraved with Eva Braun’s initials, lavishly embroidered Hitler standards, copies of Mein Kampf with fake dedications and on and on.
Jewish holocaust professionals and other left-wingers spend a good deal of time informing anyone bored enough to listen, that Hitler was an evil monster. And in spite of these fulminations, dealers and auction houses worldwide, many of which are Jewish-owned and operated, are reaping a huge profit from selling his counterfeit possessions

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
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 13
.

The lesson commenced about three thirty in the morning. The beach had been cleared by the police of drunks, drug addicts in a state of bliss, people engaged in various kinds of fornication and late swimmers, at one. The concessions had closed down at two and by three thirty, the pair had the beach entirely to themselves.
At a point about thirty feet from the edge of the boardwalk and toward its northern end, they dug a shallow trench in the sand with their hands. When this was finished, they filled it with a glittering heap of fake rings, pearls, cheap but elegant watches, bracelets, necklaces and hundreds of other pieces. This pile of delusion was carefully covered with sand, and a beach towel that Chuck had stolen from the deck of the motel was laid across a portion of it and the pair retreated under the edge of the boardwalk to await the coming day.
It was damp and confined in their hiding place and it smelt of urine and stale beer but they sat through the remains of the evening until a lightening sky proclaimed the coming dawn.
Chuck had given Lars very explicit instructions and Lars followed them to the letter. He was wearing a pair of cutoffs, a holed T-shirt with the fading printing “Shit Happens” and he lay down on the towel and tried to look like a typical beach person.
A few minutes later, the first of the legitimate visitors began to arrive and by the time the sun was fully up and roasting the occupants of the cluttered sand, Lars was very hot and was now wearing only the shorts, displaying a well-defined, muscular anatomy.
No one paid much attention to him, except for a small boy with a harelip who made weird noises in his direction and finally went away and urinated extensively on an elderly woman who was sitting with her back against an aluminum beach chair. She was entirely oblivious to her damp and warming back and continued an interminable conversation with her long dead husband and her equally deceased cousin, Winnie.
When Chuck, who was wandering around the beach and walking up and down the boardwalk, decided that the beach was as full of the holiday crowd as it was going to get, he made a signal to Lars by pulling on his ear.
Lars then sat up, blinked at the large clots of sweaty and noisy humanity and began to dig about him in the sand. Very quickly, he pulled up a rope of faux pearls, exclaiming in a loud voice, “Jesus, look at this! Is this yours, lady?”
This was addressed to an overweight woman who was lying on her back about five feet away. As soon as she saw the pearls, she lurched to her feet.
“Yeah, I dropped those!”
Before she could close with him, Eric got up and ran off, dragging the towel with him. This act disclosed several other valuable pieces which were lying on top of the sand.
The woman let out a shriek and gave up her lumbering pursuit of Eric, preferring instead to root in the sand like some kind of a bloated badger.
She pulled up two necklaces before the people in the vicinity noticed what was happening and then the fun commenced.
Lars joined Chuck on the boardwalk and they watched, entranced, at the high drama being enacted before their very eyes.
It was as if a great magnet in the sand had somehow been activated and all the greased, sweating humanity on the dirty beach was slowly being drawn into its field. In the center of the vortex was a screaming, writhing mass of people, digging in the sand, attacking each other, trying to stuff the sandy loot down into their clothing and then being assaulted by a dozen people at once.
Elderly visitors were punched and kicked, screaming children thrown through the air, beefy males hurled themselves on top of anyone who looked like a finder and ripped off their minimal beach wear to see what they could discover. They, in turn, were assaulted by other beefy males and, even more entertaining, screaming women who clawed and bit at anything and everything in their path in their frenzied search for loot.
Bloody nudity was the rule, not the exception and while Lars was waiting to see naked children, Chuck turned his attention away from the Walpurgis on the sand and towards the businesses along the boardwalk.
He rushed into the first one, waving a gold watch.
“My God,” he shouted, “look what I found on the beach! A solid gold Rolex! Jesus, the beach is full of this stuff!”
And without further let or hindrance, the entire shop emptied with the sole exception of a young girl behind the counter. She looked undecided until Chuck waved to her.
“Quick, get some of this while you can!”
And out she went, leaving him in sole possession of the store. In a few moments, he was also in full possession of all the money in the cash registers at which point he moved on to the next store.
The uproar on the beach below them was enough to get the attention of the occupants of the various concessions and Chuck’s appearance with various specimens of fake jewelry was always enough to empty out the shop, workers and all.
He worked his way calmly down the line, stuffing his pockets and his underpants with wads of money. He always left the silver and the checks behind, then went on his way, heading away from the turmoil. The last place of business was the fast food chain that he had found so interesting earlier.
There was no problem emptying this one either and the take from the six cash registers was more than gratifying.
Picking up a hamburger from the counter, he went out the rear door and onto the service walk behind. Directly overhead he heard the rumblings of the roller coaster and the big, timbered structure rattled and shook as the cars passed a few yards over his head.
There was a large pile of empty cardboard boxes stacked neatly against the wooden wall of the back of the concession and with great swiftness, Chuck set fire to three of them.
Just to create a diversion he thought as he exited the area, munching on his hamburger.
A few minutes later, Lars saw him emerge from the edge of the boardwalk, just finishing the last of his impromptu meal, a billowing cloud of black smoke rolling up from somewhere behind him.
“Hey buddy, enjoying the fun?” Chuck said, a thin piece of shredded lettuce plastered to his chin.
Lars pointed at the thick column of black smoke that was now enveloping a good part of the roller coaster.
“Oh Chuck, the place is on fire!”
His companion turned around, a bemused look on his face.
“Why so it is, Lars, so it is. Lucky I got out of there before I was cooked.”
The beach now resembled nothing more than a riot at a Puerto Rican rock and roll concert and eventually, the police arrived in force and were clubbing anyone who moved. More than a few of the upholders of law and order joined the mad hunt for treasure and no one at all paid any attention to the huge fire now raging out of control only a few yards above their heads.
The fire department arrived but with so many people fighting in the parking lot they had great difficulty in finding the fireplugs.
Chuck tapped Lars on the shoulder, just as paramedics dragged two-wheeled stretchers past them with very bloody rioters heaped high up on them. The scene reminded Chuck of old drawings of the progression of the Dead Carts through a town visited by the plague.
“Lars, let’s go back to the motel and watch this from the window. OK?”
That was easier said than done because the word of the great treasure had spread throughout the land due to the actions of a dimwitted local disk jockey and half of Santa Cruz was arriving, abandoning their cars in the middle of the roadways in order to miss neither fun nor profit.
Chuck and Lars had to shove their way through the crowds and Chuck was not above jamming his knee with great force into the crotches of men or slamming his fist into the breasts of women. By this means, he quickly cleared a path through the surging humanity and they eventually gained the safety of their room.
Lars had lost his shorts, displaying briefs with roses imprinted, and one tennis shoe.
Chuck’s sunglasses, which he adopted as a disguise, had been knocked off and trampled underfoot when some woman vainly tried to punch him back after having her sagging breasts savagely wrenched.
They were breathing very hard in hoarse gasps but the scene on the beach in front of them produced so much screaming and shouting that they could both have been eaten by rabid lions and no one would have heard them screaming from an adjoining room. Of course there were no guests in any of the rooms. They were all out on the deck watching the inferno to the south and wondering why the beach was filled with crazed people.
Chuck leisurely stripped off all of his clothes, shoes and socks and then threw piles of damp money onto one of the beds.
When Lars turned to look at him, he saw the money and blinked.
“Chuck, is that the money from your Chinese friend?”
“No,” replied Chuck, wrapping a towel around his midsection, “I left that at the apartment, locked up. That’s money from the shops down there.”
He pointed to the boardwalk, which was now totally enveloped in flames.
“I imagine, Lars, that Hell looks more or less like that.”
“Ooh Chuck, look there!” Lars shouted as a roller coaster string of cars suddenly rocketed off into space when a portion of the supporting timbers collapsed. The cars, filled with screeching occupants, described a graceful arc as they descended rapidly to the ground, landing squarely in the center of a large group of local citizens pressing towards the beach.
Chuck watched the descent with detached interest.
“Well now there is something you just don’t see anymore, Lars. Try to remember all of this so you can tell it to your children when you’re teaching them CPR.”
The fire had reached a storage area where the roller coaster maintenance people kept lubricating oil and the 55-gallon drums began to ignite. Flaming like rockets, the drums shot up into the air in great, blazing curves only to succumb to gravity and plunge to earth again, generally landing on the roofs of older buildings in the neighborhood, occasional cars, parked and moving, and several spectators.
“Well, Eric, it looks like the fireworks started a little early today. I’m glad we didn’t miss any of it. You know I’m very patriotic and I love nothing better than fireworks on the Fourth of July.”
The entire area was enveloped in smoke, shot through with occasional flashes of bright orange and yellow flames. A number of cars in the parking lots caught on fire and added the stench of burning rubber and plastic upholstery to the thoroughly unsanitized environment. Fire equipment came from as far away as San Jose and Monterey and it was not until late in the evening that the blazes were finally brought under control.
By then, the entire beach area was a charred disaster, over sixty private cars were destroyed as were twenty-seven buildings, the roller coaster, twenty-three businesses and a small hotel.
Two hundred and fifteen people were injured, some seriously, and one hundred and seventeen were dead at the scene or died later in hospitals.
The damage was estimated by gasping television commentators as being in the hundreds of millions of dollars. When it was discovered that the purported treasure was composed entirely of costume jewelry, the media suddenly fell very silent and the story ceased to have any interest to the stations, the reporters or the executives. It was their collective attitude that the viewing public likes neat, reasonable and prompt final solutions to problems. The exposure of the Great Treasure Hunt as a hoax with such enormous consequences would be most unwise. The public would demand answers that might take weeks to arrive at and there was always was the very distinct possibility that the carnage was the result of anti-social actions on the part of disgruntled minorities.
Should this have proven to be the case, no television network in the country would dare to air it or make even the slightest hint that America’s minorities were anything but intelligent, productive and honest. That this concept was a reverse image of the truth was something that would never be even thought of in private, let alone aired in public.
College students were privately blamed for a terrible joke that backfired but a new Congressional scandal involving the looting of Social Security and the long-vanished Federal Employees Pension funds quickly took pride of place on the evening news.
Earlier, looking down on the surreal scene from the motel, Chuck was still wearing only his towel while Lars was in the bathroom taking the third shower that afternoon. It was his way of ignoring the disaster on their doorstep.
Finally, Lars emerged, pink and damp, from the bathroom. Clouds of steam poured out into the room, making it a miniature of the scenes outside.
“How much money did you get, anyway, Chuck?”
Chuck turned his gaze away from the ruins of the boardwalk.
“Well, we can count it, can’t we?”
They had taken in over fifteen thousand dollars which would never be missed.

(Continued)

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