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TBR News November 7, 2016

Nov 07 2016

A Compendium of Various Official Lies, Business Scandals, Small Murders, Frauds, and Other Gross Defects of Our Current Political, Business and Religious Moral Lepers.

“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes… Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.”- Napoleon Bonaparte, 1815

 

“Corrupted by wealth and power, your government is like a restaurant with only one dish. They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side. But no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen”. – Huey Long

 

“I fired [General MacArthur] because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. That’s the answer to that. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail “- Harry S Truman

 

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson.

 

“Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage”

– H.L. Mencken

 

 “For a quarter of a century the CIA has been repeatedly wrong about every major political and economic question entrusted to its analysis.” 

-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The New York Times, 1991.

 

Don’t tell a lie! Some men I’ve known
Commit the most appalling acts,
Because they happen to be prone
To an economy of facts;
And if to lie is bad, no doubt
’Tis even worse to get found out!

 

My children, never, never steal!
To know their offspring is a thief
Will often make a father feel
Annoyed and cause a mother grief;
So never steal, but, when you do,
Be sure there’s no one watching you.

 

The Wicked flourish like the bay,
At Cards or Love they always win,
Good Fortune dogs their steps all day,
They fatten while the Good grow thin.
The Righteous Man has much to bear;

                              The Bad becomes a Bullionaire!

 

 

 

The Voice of the White House  

Washington, D.C.  November 7, 2016: “The Internet and the media are overrun by a legion of mental defectives, pseudo-experts, pathological liars and semi-literate creative writers.

Along with genuine news, the Internet viewers have to put up with bizarre stories about the Illuminati controlling the peanut butter industry, evil Jews responsible for hurricanes, Russian plots to sieze control of the Federal Reserve and turning it into a dormitory for winos and more silliness than one could conceive drinking cheap TJ Swan wine mixed with mothballs.

And in reading the Internet edition of the front page of the once-reputable New York Times, one is struck with the strong semblance to supermarket tabloids.

The British have to put up with the weird babblings of the Daily Mail and Americans with the chatter, babble and outright CIA- encouraged lies in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

It is no wonder that both papers have lost most of their paid subscribers and half their news staffs and one finds their Internet pages jammed with all manner of unwelcome and tasteless advertising.

The public education system in the United States is so bad that even graduates from what are presented as ‘universities’ have trouble reading the labels on food cans and whose lips move when reading street signs.

However, that having been said, all of them can text message.

And they do, endlessly.

We see such literate examples as ‘R U koming?’ surging through the ether to another PhD in goat breeding from Bad Seepage State University.

A politician who would advocate forcing all these brainless innates into caves and dynamiting them shut would achieve the White House overnight.

The new cave-dwellers could take their cell phones with them for consolation when cannibalism broke out.”

Did Robert Caruso Con The Washington Press—Or Is That What The Russians Want You To Think?

November 5, 2016

by Brenden James

The Concourse

How hard is it to con people in Washington, D.C.? Easier than you might think, considering it’s the place where things like nuclear war get decided. The national-security circuit in particular, with its think tank fellowships and massive government contracts, is one of the juiciest rackets around.

There was Wayne Simmons, a longtime Fox News contributor, who got caught this summer lying about a multi-decade job in the CIA—but not before he’d snagged a couple of defense contractor jobs. In 2014, there was A.J. Dicken, who also scored a lucrative security contract after lying about his record as a SEAL. In 2013, you had Elizabeth O’Bagy, whose research on the extremely moderate Syrian rebels launched her into foreign policy fame at the age of 26, complete with cable news hits and citations by John Kerry and John McCain on the Senate floor. She turned out to have been lying about her PhD.

Which brings us to the strange case of Robert Caruso, a young, intense, and charismatic wannabe warmaker. He touts an impressive résumé for a 31-year-old: Per his bio at the Guardian and elsewhere, Caruso shops himself as a Navy veteran who “served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense” and “in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the Department of State and as a contractor for the Department of the Army.”

These days he lists himself on LinkedIn as a “political consultant” and a “Fellow” with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He’s a longtime and prolific member of natsec Twitter, well-liked and oft-cited by both “no-fly-zones-can-work” liberals and “let’s-nuke-China” conservatives. Since coming on the scene around 2013, he’s racked up press clips in Reuters, MSNBC, Fox News, Politico, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, the Daily Beast, and many more.

People who know Caruso describe him as a smooth talker, a quote-machine eager to brag about his security clearance and access to the political and military elite. Multiple editors recall him aggressively pitching himself as an expert in intelligence, ordnance, and cyberwar, and generally as a top-brass military consigliere. From early on, that attitude got Caruso into the right parties, packed full of young journalists to whom he’d pitch and plant stories.

And what are those stories like? Well, like most anyone looking to get ahead in natsec punditry, the guy is a big fan of going to war. In the Guardian, the Globe, the Beast, and on MSNBC, he urged Obama to ratchet up airstrikes in Iraq. At Business Insider, he explained “Why Boots On The Ground Might Actually Be Obama’s Best Option In Iraq.” He’s less enthusiastic about the Iran deal, and that nation in general. Despite being #WithHer now, last year Caruso favorably quoted Donald Trump’s top Army advocate, Gen. Michael Flynn, in an opinion piece entitled, “If Nuclear Talks Fail, We Must Consider the Military Option.”

Over the past month, he’s graced the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations website, the Atlantic’s Defense One, and blogged regularly for The Huffington Post, zeroing in on the latest obsession of centrist hawks and armchair generals: the Russian bear and its supposed Manchurian Candidate, Trump himself.

Unfortunately for the readers who get jazzed by this kind of stuff, there’s a problem with Caruso’s wunderkind image: His résumé is, at best, exaggerated. He’s not the well-connected operator he presents himself as. He may seem like a frothing parody of a Russia-obsessed centrist national security grifter, dreamed up by a left-wing satirist looking to skewer the dim and dangerous foreign-policy consensus class, but Robert Caruso is very real—even if portions of his impressive-looking author bio aren’t.

Let’s begin with his résumé. Several sources close to Caruso say they never heard of him holding a job that went beyond an administrative assistant. “His opinions should not be taken seriously,” said a onetime military colleague, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation from Caruso. (As you’ll see, this is not an unreasonable fear). “His opinion on Kit Kat bars should not be taken seriously.”

The Clinton campaign told me they have no record of Caruso ever working as a “fellow” for them. Caruso provided me a reference, an unpaid volunteer in Dade City, Florida, who could not confirm his status as a fellow. A field organizer in Florida said there was no record of him on file as a fellow, and that the position is an informal, unpaid, intern-like gig in any case.

Caruso’s first stop after the Navy, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told me they had no employee by that name on file. Caruso told me he worked for SIGAR as a contractor, which SIGAR later confirmed, but neither the Office of the Secretary of Defense nor the State Department would confirm that he worked for them. Caruso told me all his work for those departments was as a contractor—something he does not note in his media bios—and he refused to describe his work, provide any references, or name any companies he worked for, saying he was bound by nondisclosure agreements. Alternatively, he said he was refusing to provide references “because I feel like it.”

A copy of his personal résumé, obtained from a source who was helping Caruso find work earlier this year, is vague about his work for the government from 2009 to 2015, though most of his duties seem secretarial and administrative: “responsible for managing correspondence, scheduling, and travel arrangements,” “[p]rovided administrative support to program and policy support offices” and “ensured travel arrangements for guests, honorariums, expenses, and appropriate administrative support.”

That’s not how Caruso has been selling his “expert” credentials. MSNBC actually introduced him as a “Defense Department official” in a segment about how best to solve the Syrian civil war, as Caruso sat opposite a four-star general. (A screenshot of this TV coup is now his Twitter avatar.) Eli Lake, formerly of the Daily Beast, now at Bloomberg, once quoted him as an “official at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.”

When asked if these were accurate descriptions of his credentials, Caruso declined to comment.

Business Insider’s Armin Rosen once quoted him as a “former US Navy intelligence officer.” Caruso’s Naval records show he was a yeoman, typically an enlistee in charge of clerical work. His discharge papers show that he began his service in November 15, 2005 and ended up on the the USS Harry S. Truman, attached to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His reason for discharge in March 2009 is redacted.

His résumé says he was an “administrative assistant” who “[p]repared correspondence and travel arrangements for a C-level executive, their office, and personal staff.” Two sources familiar with Caruso’s time on the Truman, including an ex-shipmate, Ryan Baxter, say that he was a “paper pusher” who never saw combat, despite his remarks on Twitter about facing danger in “Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf, and the Horn [of Africa].”

 

***

At first blush, Caruso just seems like latest in a long line of natsec grifters, guilty of embellishing résumés in search of bigger scores. But in looking into Caruso’s background, I learned that his story is bleaker and more disturbing than that of a simple would-be warhawk.

Eventually, Baxter and others say, the yeoman landed in unspecified trouble and got sent to the galleys for menial work. Not long before his discharge Caruso started beefing with a fellow worker down there. Their mutual grudge escalated until one day, Caruso, supposedly having discovered his rival’s shellfish allergy, threw a tray of shrimp on her.

Caruso said his discharge was “under honorable conditions” and that he received an honorable discharge. He denied any fights or any disciplinary action taken against him. Asked specifically about the shrimp incident, he said: “That is not an accurate account and I have no further comment.”

His reputation for volatile and bizarre behavior followed him out of the Navy. A messy breakup in fall of 2015 led his ex-girlfriend to file to a restraining order against him in Loudoun County, Va., which he violated at least six times this year, according to public court documents. Another onetime friend filed an emergency protective order in Alexandria, Va. Yet another person filed a restraining order—which I saw a copy of—this week, while another tells me they are filing a police report for harassment.

Even as his press portfolio grew, people who know him say, things degenerated for Caruso after the breakup. He crashed for months at a time with different friends and acquaintances, often without paying rent, until one by one they asked him to move out. Others tried to help him get on his feet. But once anyone began to question or challenge his behavior, they discovered Caruso’s tendency to call them, stalk them, and make threats on their family.

“They all realized they needed to get away from this guy ASAP,” said a former friend and roommate, including himself in the bunch.

Things took a stranger turn this fall, when several of those former friends say they received emails from a journalist, Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria, who was ostensibly pitching a critical story on Caruso which would reveal that he had been hired by the Clinton camp with the rather cinematic task of “infiltrating conservative media organizations and progressive political organizations opposed to a Hillary Clinton candidacy.” (It should be reiterated that the Clinton campaign has no record of Caruso doing any work for them.) The author reached out asking for any other dirt on Caruso.

The story never happened, and probably never existed: Romeyn-Sanabria, according to several sources and text messages apparently from her, turned out to be in a personal relationship with Caruso at the time and appeared to be fishing for information as to who was willing to rat him out to the media. When I reached out to her, Romeyn-Sanabria refused to confirm or deny whether she knew Caruso personally at the time. She simply said she began writing the story but never finished it. She eventually denied ever sending the email and abruptly ended the call. Caruso called me about five minutes later.

When I asked him about her article, he repeatedly boasted, “I contacted her editor and I killed the story.” I asked him if he knew Romeyn-Sanabria. “No, I don’t.” In July, an ex-friend alleged over email that Caruso and the reporter were in cahoots; Caruso wrote back, “we are writing the story and now, you will be in it.” In texts apparently sent from Romeyn-Sabanria to one of Caruso’s former friends, she refers to Caruso as her “boyfriend.”

“What I do know is that at the conclusion of this call, I’m going to contact federal law enforcement and warn them.”

During our phone call, Caruso repeatedly told me that I was being manipulated by unsavory characters connected with a “federal investigation into Russian influence on the US electoral process.” He suggested his ex-girlfriend was at the root of it.

“I’m not following what you’re laying down here,” I said.

“I am not concerned about whatever anybody has told you. What I do know is that at the conclusion of this call, I’m going to contact federal law enforcement and warn them.” He also said that any article I wrote would be perceived as a racially motivated. “I will ensure that that is how it’s perceived.”

Kremlin psyops are the least of it, according to a slew of harassing, paranoid, and bizarre communications from Caruso to his friends and acquaintances that were provided to me while reporting this piece. I have seen screenshots or copies of every text and email quoted in this story, as well as listened to the quoted voicemails, and while it is impossible to completely verify the authenticity of them, and the identity of the sender, without confirmation from Caruso himself, I have no reason to doubt their legitimacy.

In one voicemail I listened to, sent to a Caruso confidant-turned-nemesis, a man who seems to be Caruso informs her that he has been following her around that day and sardonically thanks her for “exposing the treachery” of two of his ex-roommates. He urges her to stop associating with them, convinced they are all part of a conspiracy against him. “You are going to stop, or I am going to go after them, and they don’t have protective orders,” he warns, “and they have families with children.”

“You will cease and desist, immediately,” he goes on. “Or I will commit a crime.” In another voicemail: “You don’t know where I am. Does that make you feel safer? Or less safe?”

In texts to the same woman, appearing to be from Caruso, he repeatedly calls her a “wetback”—an odd choice of slur for someone who publicly lists himself as cofounder of “Keep America Open dba Latino Veterans for America.” In one email, again apparently from Caruso, he actually threatens to turn her family over to ICE: “I’m reporting your entire family to INS. You’ve been a wetback for a long time, so you may not know they changed their name to ICE.” He ends the email in an ominous flourish:

I consider you the enemy and you will pay for what you’ve done. say hi to ____, your cokehead sloppy spy because his day is coming soon too. I have something special and torturous planned for him.

you chose this path. now we play.

oh yeah—we both know this isn’t enough for any police involvement. you lose. again.

Robert Andrew Caruso

1:44am

all of the above statements are mine, written on this date, and true and accurate.

Caruso also allegedly peppers ex-friends’ inboxes and voicemails with threats to expose a supposed drug ring they all run, according to multiple sources I spoke with. “You are now the target of a Loudoun County and DEA investigation,” he says in one voicemail to the woman above. “If you speak to ____ again, [the DEA] will be provided with more evidence.” One former friend says Caruso threatened to murder his family, and videotape it. For a while he circulated articles about drug busts, implying to friends that his ex-girlfriend and nemeses were connected to the news.

Another choice text, from the same number, once again threatening people’s families:

Good morning traitors! I finally tracked down your family members. So here’s what is going to happen. You will cease and desist. You will cease cooperation with ___. Every action ___ takes, I will punish your families. Both of you know I am willing to break the law … Failure to comply means I go after your family. Very simple. Consider this a sworn statement. I’ve gotten away with much, much worse.

The paranoia reached its apex this May. Caruso apparently wrote a long email to the FBI’s Washington Field office fingering several people, including his ex, as malicious actors in a plot devised by “a hostile foreign intelligence service.” Russia, again. The Jack D. Ripper-style letter goes on to report that he suspects he had been under “physical and technical surveillance” while staying with his roommates-turned-spies. (Caruso forwarded the sent email to his targets, which is how I obtained it.)

“You will cease and desist, immediately,” he goes on. “Or I will commit a crime.”

Needless to say, this apparently delusional paranoia, whether genuine or exaggerated for effect, is not exactly a reassuring tendency from someone who just published “To Counter Russian Disinformation, Look to Cold War Tactics,” for the Council On Foreign Relations. The apparent vulgar threats to people in his life echo his cigar-chomping swagger about international relations, like now-deleted tweets telling trolls that he will “enjoy seeing your beloved Syria torn apart.” (This kind of sentiment once got him banned as a contributor for citizen-journalist website Bellingcat.)

The question at the heart of all this: how did Caruso get this far? Some hucksterism, for sure; an aggressive, alpha posture; the fact that most of his audience was a collection of pasty, egg-shaped, lanyard-wearing wonks.

But beyond that surface level bravado, Caruso is fluent in the language of natsec tough guys. Plenty of defense reporters will tell you that this crowd’s got a fair dose of paranoia running through their brain chemistry, often compensated by maniac swagger. Some of them end up totally losing the plot, like Caruso. Others stumble into more comedic personal humiliations, like ex-Naval War College and NSA ogre John Schindler, who shares Caruso’s penchant for spy-talk and Twitter bluster, and got in trouble for allegedly sending photos of his junk to young women.

The guys who make it to the very top spout off exactly the kind of deranged bullshit Caruso has thus far built his career on. Look no further than Gen. Flynn, by all accounts a respected military intelligence officer his entire career, overseeing the Trump rally chants, ranting about socialists. There’s a reason Flynn’s words made it into Caruso’s op-eds.

Ultimately, Caruso’s problem is one of degree, not substance. If he had saved the death threats for Iranians, rather than his friends—if he channeled a just little bit more of his pathology into his work, rather than his personal life—who knows how far he could have gone?

Thinking Like an Intelligence Officer: Anthony Weiner and Russian Spies

November 5, 2016

by Peter Van Buren

AntiWar

There are many reasons why Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey is interested in the emails on Anthony Weiner’s home computer, emails which may include United States government information pertinent to Hillary Clinton or those communicating with her.

The majority of those reasons for Comey’s involvement, for good or for bad depending on your political position, have been laid out across the media spectrum.

But there may be one more reason not yet discussed. Since we seem to be spending so much time this election cycle on the Russians this year, let’s think like Russian intelligence officers. Comey may be looking at an intelligence operation.

Professional intelligence officers do not risk international incidents to play the equivalent of pranks on nation states, say by embarrassing the Democratic National Committee with leaked documents months before the election. That’s WikiLeaks level stuff. No, when you want to rig an election, you rig an election. Have a look at the way the CIA historically manipulated elections — assassinations, massive demonstrations, paid off protesters and journalists, serious stuff that directly affected leaders and votes. You don’t mess around with half-measures.

Now have a look at the Edward Snowden documents, and the incredible efforts the National Security Agency went to to gather information, and then let’s think like intelligence officers. The world of real “spies” is all about “the take,” information. Putin (or Obama, or…) doesn’t likely have on his desk a proposal to risk cyberwar to expose a CNN contributor for handing over debate questions. He wants more of hard information he can use to make decisions about his adversary. What is Obama (or Putin, et al) thinking, what are his plans, what are his negotiating points ahead of the next summit… information at a global strategic level.

That’s worth risking retaliation, maybe even a confrontation, for. So let’s think like intelligence officers. How do you get to that kind of stuff?

How the great game of intelligence gathering works is in the end very basic: who has access to the information you want, what are their vulnerabilities, and how do you exploit those vulnerabilities to get to the information. What do they want and how can you give it to them?

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had access to extraordinarily sensitive information, both classified and unclassified. Huma Abedin is arguably the most powerful person in Clinton’s circle, and had access to much or all of that pool of information. What Huma knows would be of great interest to Moscow.

How to get the info? Huma’s husband is a publicly outed sexual predator. Everyone in the world knows he sexts, trolls online message boards, and seemingly does little to hide his identity while doing it all. He is a target, the kind of dream package of vulnerabilities an intelligence officer waits a whole career to have fall into their lap.

Baiting the trap appears to be easy. As recently as August Weiner was in a flirty chat with someone he thought was a young woman named Nikki, but was actually Nikki’s male, Republican friend using the account in order to manipulate him (Weiner later claimed he knew he was being set up.)

So perhaps for the Russians, contacting Weiner would have been as easy as posting a few fake sexy photos and waiting for him to take a bite. Placing malware on his computer to see what was there was as easy as trading a few more sexy photos with him. He clicks, he loads the malware, NSA 101 level stuff. An intelligence officer then has access to Weiner’s computer, as well as his home wireless network, and who knows what else. An Internet-enabled nanny cam? A smartphone camera? Huma’s own devices?

To be fair, I doubt any intelligence agent could have believed their own eyes when they realized Weiner’s computer was laden with (presumably unencrypted) official U.S. government documents. Depending on the time period the documents covered, it is possible the Russian intelligence could have been reading Clinton’s mail in near-real time. Somebody in Moscow may have gotten a helluva promotion this year.

If I was a sloppy journalist these days, I guess I could package all this for you by claiming it came from “several anonymous government officials.” Instead, you know it’s all made up. Just like a spy novel. Because no real intelligence agent could have put these pieces together like this.

Right?

SECRECY NEWS

From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 90

November 7, 2016

FOIA EXEMPTION FOR CIA “OPERATIONAL FILES” AT ISSUE

Last March, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency seeking a copy of “all pornographic material” collected during the May 2011 military operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

In opposition, CIA argued that “responsive records, if any, would be contained in operational files,” and that “the CIA Information Act exempts the CIA’s operational files from FOIA’s search and disclosure requirements.”

There is indeed an exemption from FOIA for CIA operational files, but the scope and the proper application of the exemption are in dispute. If the requested pornographic records do qualify for the “operational files” designation, as CIA holds, then they do not need to be assembled, reviewed or released in response to Judicial Watch’s request.

But whether they do so qualify is not a perfectly simple question, since the operational files exemption has various technical limitations and exceptions.

Judicial Watch said the bin Laden pornography falls within the “special activity” exception to the operational files exemption. “The ‘special activity’ exception applies to records concerning a specific covert action that has been publicly disclosed or acknowledged,” wrote attorney Michael Bekesha of Judicial Watch.

As evidence that the bin Laden raid was in fact a covert action that has been publicly disclosed, Judicial Watch cited a quotation from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, who described it on the PBS Newshour, saying that “this was what’s called a ‘title 50’ operation, which is a covert operation, and it comes directly from the president of the United States who made the decision to conduct this operation in a covert way.”

Remarkably, however, CIA insisted that Panetta “did not acknowledge that the operation was conducted under covert action authorities.”

“The term ‘covert operation’ [used by Panetta] is not synonymous with a ‘covert action,’ nor is Mr. Panetta’s description of the raid as ‘covert’ an acknowledgement of a ‘covert action’,” said CIA’s Antoinette B. Shiner in a declaration last month.

Judicial Watch moved to strike that CIA declaration as improper, particularly since it was not based on personal knowledge of Panetta’s intent.

That particular issue, and the case as a whole, now await resolution by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the DC District Court.

In an aside, attorneys for CIA questioned the plaintiff’s motivation for filing the lawsuit. “It is hard to imagine how dissemination of pornographic materials allegedly seized during the Bin Laden raid could inform the public in any meaningful way about what the United States government is up to — the core, animating purpose of FOIA — much less advance Judicial Watch’s professed mission ‘to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law’.”

But the Freedom of Information Act does not require that requesters be motivated by some constructive purpose. Under FOIA, any person may request any government record for any reason, or for no reason at all. The bar to entry and the costs of participation are practically non-existent.

For its part, Judicial Watch defended its approach. “We’re filling multiple roles here in a Washington where the traditional vehicles for government accountability have broken down,” said Tom Fitton, president of the organization, in a recent profile in the New York Times. (“Group’s Tactic on Hillary Clinton: Sue Her Again and Again” by Jonathan Mahler, October 12.)

*    *    *

Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency released the conclusions of its 2015 “decennial review” of operational file designations, as required by the CIA Information Act of 1984. The exercise is supposed to refine and revalidate the use of the operational files category as an exemption from FOIA.

But although CIA went through the motions of requesting public comments on the matter last year, the Agency did not directly respond to any of those comments in its April 2016 report to Congress. For the most part, the results of the third decennial review track closely with those of the second decennial review in 2005. The new report does not explicitly reference Clandestine Service History Program Files, however, among a few other changes in wording. The significance of that is unclear.

The latest review did not identify any categories of records that were to be removed from the operational files category, as was done in report on the first decennial review in 1995.

Bringing Down the Globalist Monster

Those peasants with pitchforks are on the march

November 7, 2016

by Justin Raimondo

AntiWar

The main issue in the world today is globalism versus national sovereignty, and it is playing out in the politics of countries on every continent.

In the United States, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s critique of globalism – encapsulated in his campaign theme of “America First” – has galvanized a mass movement opposed to the internationalism of the regnant elites, their transnational allegiances and their foreign wars.

In Britain, the opposition to the European Union culminated in a referendum which – against all odds, and against all the Powers That Be – repudiated the EU in a stunning blow to the political class.

As the refugees from globalist wars in the Middle East stream into Europe, Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban declares war on the “fanatical internationalism” of the European Union – and is denounced as a “fascist” by those he calls “today’s enemies of freedom.” These new authoritarians, he avers, “are cut from a different cloth than the royal and imperial rulers of old, or those who ran the Soviet system.” Sounding like Trump, Orban sets his sights on the enemy:

“They use a different set of tools to force us into submission. Today they do not imprison us, they do not transport us to concentration camps, and they do not send in tanks to occupy countries loyal to freedom. Today the international media’s artillery bombardments, denunciations, threats and blackmail are enough – or rather, have been enough so far.”

To be sure, nationalism has often been the instrument of authoritarians, and warmongers, but what we are seeing today is a reaction to an aggressive anti-democratic internationalism that doesn’t care about the consent of the governed. That’s why a British court has effectively overturned the results of the Brexit vote – in a lawsuit brought by a hedge fund manager and former model – and thrown the fate of the country into the hands of pro-EU Tories, and their Labor and Liberal Democrat collaborators.

This stunning reversal was baked in to the legislation that enabled the referendum to begin with, and is par for the course as far as EU referenda are concerned: in 1992, Danish voters rejected the EU, only to have the Euro-crats demand a rematch with a “modified” EU treaty which won narrowly. There have been repeated attempts to modify the modifications, which have all failed. Ireland voted against both the Lisbon Treaty and the Nice Treaty, only to have the issue brought up again until the “right” result was achieved.

“Remainers” accuse Brexiters of being economic “isolationists,” and yet there is nothing to prevent the free flow of trade between a sovereign Britain and the continent except the trade-bloc mentality of the EU. The globalist agenda makes use of “free trade” propaganda, but in reality their trade policies amount to managed trade: real free trade doesn’t require thousand-page treaties. The result of such treaties has been the creation of trade blocs, i.e. a form of regional protectionism married to outright imperialism. Take the cases of Japan and South Korea: in exchange for allowing the de facto military occupation of their respective counties, both US satellites are given a free pass for their goods to cross our borders unimpeded. So in exchange for the “benefit” of having our industrial core hollowed out by cheap overseas products, we are required to not only pay billions for the defense of these countries, but also must risk the prospect of having to go to war to fulfill our “obligations.”

Aside from the economic effects, the legal effects are deleterious: these trade agreements have led to the creation of supranational agencies staffed by transnational bureaucrats, which slowly but surely have expanded their power over our domestic affairs. The World Trade Organization, the adjudication apparatus accompanying NAFTA, the Trans Pacific Partnership, etc., all these establish a web of treaty “obligations’ that, according to our own Constitution, override laws passed by Congress. In this way, the fate of a nation is cut off from the will of its citizens and passes into the hands of a distant elite – distant geographically and in every other way.

Such terms as “globalism” and “nationalism” are useful up to a certain point, but they also tend to muddy the essential issue, which is the devaluation of individual and local autonomy. In predicting the rise of this conflict in 2008, I wrote:

“Gigantism is the handmaiden of modernity,or so we have been led to believe. In literature, future utopias are almost always characterized by a world government, on the grounds that presumably the people of earth have evolved beyond the narrow confines of nationalism and ethno-cultural particularities. Everybody wears a white tunic or body-stocking and flies around on jet-packs. Conversely, literary dystopias habitually depict a world riven by savagery and decentralized politico-economic units, e.g.,The Shape of Things to Come, by H.G. Wells, in which an aspiring world government of technocrats battles the medieval remnants of local warlords. ‘We are the world’-ism is rife in liberal circles, and World Federalism has long been a cult, albeit a very small and uninfluential one, on the Left.

“However, the world government idea is – I predict – going to gain new traction in the coming years, and this is especially on account of the economic crisis currently roiling world markets. The problem, they’ll tell us, is global: world markets need to be regulated (for our own good, of course), and therefore what we need is ‘global governance,’ the catch phrase that has been coined by the policy wonks pushing this project.”

In short, gargantuan bureaucracies now rule our lives: the “little guy” doesn’t stand a chance.

What the reaction to globalism is all about is that people are angry that they no longer have control over their own lives: it’s a rebellion against the fact that we’re all being buffeted about by forces and interests indifferent to the fate of ordinary people, and that there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. And behind this rising resentment is the suspicion that the people manipulating these forces are having one over on us: that they have rigged the game in their favor, are profiting from our misery, and are laughing all the way to the bank.

One of the more dramatic features of the globalist agenda is a foreign policy of perpetual war: after all, recalcitrants must be punished if they choose to defy the guardians of the “international order.” Any nation that dares step out of line must be made an example of, lest a “rogue” state succeed in its defiance and inspire a mad rush for the exits.

Yet it isn’t just about imperialism: it’s also a socio-economic phenomenon, as can be seen in the class composition of the two opposing camps. On the one hand, we have the plebeian masses who are flocking to Trump’s rallies and cheering on his jeremiads against international banking interests and foreign wars. On the other side of the barricades we have Gina Miller, the wealthy Guyanese-born immigrant who launched the lawsuit that brought down the Brexiters: she who lives in an $8 million townhouse in the Chelsea district. In spite of her fancy London digs, her mediocre hedge fund, SCM Private, hasn’t done that well: Miller has had more success running the “True and Fair” lobbying effort, which is a “transparency” campaign to regulate her competitors out of business.

As every libertarian knows, the real conflict in the world is liberty versus power: this collision occurs in every country, in all eras, albeit in different forms and guises. What is happening today is that this battle is being internationalized, with the political elites of the West taking up the banner of “internationalism” and seeking to impose the globalist agenda not only on their own long-suffering citizens, but also on the rest of the world. The resistance is being attacked and demonized, pilloried as “reactionary,” “racist,” and even “fascist” by the corporate media – and still the populist upsurge grows.

Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, this international rebellion will continue to grow. The peasants with pitchforks are on the march – and they will not rest until they have brought the monster down.

US to support new temple 

November 7, 2016

by Jacob Spielberg

dnb agancy

TEL AVIV, Israel– American officials confirmed on Monday that American Presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton has very strongly indicated that she “fully supported” the projected rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem

The first Temple, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians and the second, by Herod Agrippa, was destroyed by the Romans after the collapse of the revolt of 67 AD.

“The Temple Mount will first have to be cleared off to make way for the new construction,” Jakob Weissberg of the Temple Commission said earlier today, “and the beginning of the new edifice can then commence.”

Plans for the new Temple have already been approved and construction is expected as soon as all the existing buildings on the site of the former Temples have been demolished and the site prepared.

Geological reports on the condition of the underlying stone have long been completed and all that was remaining for work to commence was the right political atmosphere and the moral support of the United States.

Mrs. Clinton has personally expressed his satisfaction with this culturally and religiously significant project and indicated that he would be “deeply honored” to attend services when the new Temple was completed.

Clinton has long been seen as a strong and active supporter of Israel and a firm friend of Mr. Netanhau.

Weissberg has stated that construction is expected not to exceed seven months.

Comment: The surplus “existing” buildings that are mentioned in this article include the Dome of the Rock mosque and other historically and religiously important Arab constructions. Why not tear down the Vatican while they are at it and erect a bagel stand in its place?

ISIS hunters: SAS to track & kill British citizens in Iraq

November 7, 2016

RT

British citizens affiliated to jihadist groups in Iraq will be hunted down as part of a new kill or capture strategy, according to senior defense sources.

A list of UK citizens that features around 200 jihadists currently at large in Iraq has been compiled by the UK’s intelligence agencies, the sources told the Times.

“A kill list has been drawn up containing the names of hundreds of very bad people. A lot of them are from the UK. The hunt is now on for British Islamists who have effectively gone off-grid,” one anonymous figure told the paper.

“This is a multinational special forces operation. The SAS have their own part of the plan and they will be going after British nationals. This is a kill or capture mission and it has already begun.”

While the figures are approximate, the source said a significant number are likely to be operating in Iraq.

“That’s the challenge we face. There is a lot of international co-operation because it’s regarded as a global problem,” the source added.

The launch of the operation contrasts sharply with recent claims that UK special forces have been effectively crippled by concerns over legal action down the line.

“We just can’t do things the old way,” said an SAS source quoted by the Sunday Express last week.

“The Americans are seeing a reticence that did not exist before. We have always stayed within the box, but we used to work things out as we went along.”

The source also expressed fears that “each and every one of us can suddenly come back to find our names on an investigations list. Or it could happen many months, or even years later.”

The concerns are compelling troops to “check and double check orders, work things out to the smallest detail … the delay is causing impatience with the Americans,” the source said.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told RT that they “do not comment on special forces activities.”

We Almost Have Riots’: Tensions Flare in Silicon Valley Over Growth

November 4, 2016

by David Streitfeld

New York Times

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Silicon Valley is bent on disrupting the world. Its products affect how millions upon millions of people live and work. But when it comes to the physical space that many technologists call home, there are increasing demands to leave things alone.

The heart of Silicon Valley is a 75-mile strip of land anchored by San Francisco at one end and San Jose at the other. In between is a suburbia strewn with corporate campuses and the estates of those who run them. Congested and forbiddingly expensive, it is a region choking on its own success.

“Silicon Valley has been flashing a ‘vacancy’ sign for decades — come here and build a company,” said Larry A. Rosenthal, a specialist in land use and urban policy at the University of California, Berkeley. “Now some people are saying, ‘We’ve hit our limit.’ They may be reaching their threshold tolerance for pain.”

On Tuesday, voters across Silicon Valley will vote on a slew of initiatives intended to rein in that growth. In one community, they can keep houses off the surrounding hills for 20 years; in another, they will have the option to reduce an already low annual cap on housing construction; in a third, there is a measure to restrict sprawl.

Beyond the ballot box, battles have been breaking out over growth in courtrooms and City Council meetings, with skirmishes over rent control and other issues. Beyond cost, there are fears that growth is changing the region’s culture and demographics, pushing minorities even farther out. Cities in the valley are going to war with their neighbors, saying they are not doing enough — and sometimes going to war with themselves.

“We’re going from suburban to urban, with nothing in between,” said Lisa M. Gillmor, the mayor of Santa Clara, a hub for tech companies. “The community is reacting in a hugely negative way. We almost have riots.”

Here in Cupertino, the hometown of Apple, voters will decide the fate of a ghost mall called Vallco, once home to Macy’s, Sears and J.C. Penney. The developers promise a futuristic remake that includes the world’s largest green roof, 800 apartments and two million square feet of office space. The architect Rafael Viñoly said it was the most important project of his career.

All those offices will add up to at least 10,000 jobs, say opponents who wonder where all those people are going to live. Only a few will be able to afford Cupertino, a city of 60,000 where the median home price is $1.6 million. But traveling a long distance to cheaper communities will further stress the area’s jammed roads, and some of those communities do not want to house large numbers of commuters in the first place.

A dozen miles northwest of the Vallco mall is Palo Alto, with a small-town atmosphere that many residents cherish but that also serves as an incubator for many start-ups.

“We have a pretty insatiable demand for whatever office space we construct until there’s 24-hour gridlock and people say, ‘What’s the point?’ ” said Mayor Pat Burt, who is a start-up entrepreneur himself. His instinct is for moderation: “A glass of wine at dinner is good. Chugging a gallon is not.”

In Palo Alto’s recent survey of registered voters, 30 percent said too much growth and development was either a very or an extremely serious problem. Such sentiments are reshaping the political landscape, powering what are called locally “the residentialists.”

Eleven candidates are vying on Tuesday for four slots on Palo Alto’s City Council. Nearly all say they support an annual cap of 50,000 square feet of new office space, a limit enacted last year. Several endorsed an outright moratorium on new construction.

That makes Leonard Ely, a candidate who is a third-generation Palo Altan, something of an anomaly. Mr. Ely is a commercial real estate broker, but his advocacy for growth goes beyond his profession.

“People always want to keep everything the way it is,” he said. “If my grandmother had been a residentialist, a lot of these people wouldn’t be here. There would still be orchards.”

He favors more expansive height limits in the low-slung downtown. But this, he knows, is extremely unlikely. “A lot of people say I’m crazy for running,” he said.

Yet another growth battle is being fought between San Jose and Santa Clara to the west. The winner will be determined not by voters but by a judge.

Santa Clara, population 120,000, has plans for a world-class mall and office complex, called CityPlace, to be built on what was once a waste landfill in San Francisco Bay. It will include 5.7 million square feet of office space and 1.1 million square feet for shopping.

In July, San Jose sued to stop the project, saying it would create 25,000 jobs but provide 1,350 apartments at most. That would shift “the environmental burden and expense to support that economic development onto neighboring cities and counties,” the suit said.

Richard Doyle, the city attorney for San Jose, said: “It’s very unusual for us to be doing this. Public entities don’t like to sue other public entities.”

But he said San Jose had little choice since the objections it made to Santa Clara’s planning commission and City Council “pretty much fell on deaf ears.”

Ms. Gillmor, Santa Clara’s mayor, said San Jose was playing a dangerous game.

“There are a lot of projects happening in San Jose right on its borders with Santa Clara, and they are not getting the sort of scrutiny they should,” she said. “We’re going to start looking, and other cities are going to start looking, even if that takes us down a road we don’t want to go.”

The trial was supposed to begin last month, but Santa Clara petitioned to have it moved from the local courthouse to a more neutral spot. It will now be held in San Mateo, in the northern part of the region.

In Cupertino, anti-growth sentiment has been rising even as Apple finishes a new campus, which will put 12,000 employees in one spot. This year, the City Council voted 4 to 1 to stop an effort to revitalize another mall, the Oaks, that would have included 280,000 square feet of office space. Another project, to replace a tire store with a nine-story hotel, also got knocked down.

If Apple’s giant new spaceship-shaped headquarters is a symbol of Silicon Valley’s ascendance, the Vallco mall just down the street is poised between a bleak present and a contested future. It is largely emptied out, a showcase for nothing. Its developer, Sand Hill Property Co., envisions it becoming “a vibrant new town center for our community.”

Reed Moulds, a managing director for Sand Hill, acknowledged the emotional aspects of the issue. “Retail gets a pass on generating traffic, because people like retail,” he said. “It’s harder for people who are gainfully employed and happy in their lives to find the good in more office buildings.”

A measure to restrict Cupertino development, including Vallco, quickly gathered enough signatures to win a place on Tuesday’s ballot. So did another measure that would let Vallco go forward and legally mandate what benefits Sand Hill would have to provide for the city.

If Cupertino votes down growth, Mr. Moulds said, there will be widespread regrets during the next recession. “How willing are people to plan for the long term, past the priorities in their life today?” he asked.

His opponents say that is exactly what they are doing.

“This is such a huge project, with so much office space so close to the new Apple campus,” said Steven Scharf, one of the residents behind the ballot measure that would curb Sand Hill’s plans for the mall. “What people are upset about is uncontrolled hyper-growth. No one ever wants to look at the long term.”

 Comment: In all of this furor, no one seems to take into account that all of the land to the east of Bayshore Freeway (US 101) that runs from San Jose to San Francisco is all basicially mud. This means that in the event of an earthquake, to which the area is prone, lying as it does atop the San Andraes Fault, the land liquefies and obliterates any buildings on it. Also, no one seems to pay attention to the rising sea levels. All of this land is almost at sea level and as the water levels slowly rise, this area will once again be turned into regularly flooded marshland. Multi-million dollar buildings planted on it will have salt water in their parking lots and inside the buildings themselves. This is not a speculation but a fact but then real estate developers and the highly intellectual electronic industry leaders seldom deal in facts.ed)

 Mosul Is Being Destroyed By, as Well as ‘liberated’ from, Isis

November 6, 2016

by Patrick Cockburn

Unz Review

As the Iraqi army advanced further into east Mosul today, Isis fighters responded by firing mortar shells into the Gogjali district that had been freed earlier in the week. We met the families fleeing the mortar barrage crammed into their battered cars and pick-ups at an army checkpoint at Bartella a dozen miles down the road. We had been told we could not go any further because it was too dangerous and Isis fighters were firing at the road not far ahead between Bartella and Mosul.

“We thought we had got rid of Daesh [Isis] and then they started firing mortars at us,” said one middle-aged woman in black robes. She added that a rocket had landed on her neighbour’s house in the morning and killed him and three women. She expressed hatred for Isis and said that when Iraqi soldiers had knocked at her door and asked for information about Isis positions, her small son Yusuf, who looked about eight, had gone to show them the nearest Isis headquarters.

The people escaping from the eastern side of Mosul give a convincing picture of what is happening there as the army moves forward. Mehdi, a former metal worker but jobless since Isis captured Mosul in June 2014, said that the shelling had started at 8am and had gone on for an hour. He had put his wife and seven children into their car and driven out of the city without much idea of where they were going, so long as it was safe.

Mehdi confirmed reports that Isis were withdrawing from the eastern side of Mosul, which is separated from the western side by the Tigris River. “They are leaving some two or three fighting positions behind in every district and the fighters there are being killed,” he said. All the local Iraqi fighters were leaving and those who stayed behind were foreign members of Isis. Asked about their nationality, Mehdi said he did not know because he never went near them. He pointed to a cigarette packet in his shirt pocket and said: “We cannot talk to the foreigners because as soon as they smell cigarette smoke from you, they send you off to be whipped.”

There is no doubt that the great majority of people in Mosul will be glad to get rid of Isis with its cruelty, violence, subjugation of women and religious bigotry. But it is not at all clear what comes next. Isis is likely to lose Mosul, but it will not go wholly out of business in Iraq or anywhere else. It is already resorting to guerrilla raids such as one today when a group of Isis fighters took over a mosque and part of the town of Shirqat, 60 miles south of Mosul, and were resisting counter-attack. They did the same in Kirkuk last month when 100 Isis fighters mysteriously invaded the centre of the oil city.

But the effect of the recapture of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, on the morale and war-making capacity of Isis should be great. Isis will no longer have the human and financial resources of the self-declared Caliphate, at its peak a powerful administrative machine, to support its campaign of slaughter at home and abroad. The very fact of defeat is likely to be damaging for a movement that claimed its victories were divinely inspired.

Another point seldom noticed will make it difficult for Isis to revert to guerrilla warfare of the type that it has waged in the past. The secret network of supporters and helpers that once sustained al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Isis in its early days, no longer exists. When Isis became the ruler of the area where it had previously had a hidden presence, its local activists came out of hiding and became the new rulers. But with Isis on the retreat and losing its territory, its old guerrilla networks are paying a price for becoming too visible during their day of triumph.

Isis may be weaker, but this does not mean that it is no longer to be feared. Security may be greater for the minorities living in the Nineveh Plain, the flat land east of Mosul city that was once home to half a million people who might be Christians, Sunni Arabs, Shabak (who speak their own language and mostly Shia), Yazidis or Kakai. The security for these people has improved, but only by comparison with what went before when they were persecuted and driven out by Isis.

The television pictures since the anti-Isis offensive began on 17 October are deceptively similar to newsreel of French villagers greeting allied armies in France in 1944. “The media is full of talk of the ‘liberation’ of Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh villages,” comments one expert on the area. “I will not speak about ‘liberation’ until the displaced civilians, and especially the powerless minorities, are able to go back to their homes and live in peace and dignity, with a credible guarantee of security.”

There were no signs of any such guarantee being given anywhere on the Nineveh Plain today. People who wanted to go back to Bartella, for the first time in two years, were being held back at army checkpoints and those who were hoping to welcome relatives trapped in Mosul for two years were left staring at an empty road. There were only a few vehicles with frightened drivers and poles bearing ragged white flags sticking out of the windows.

Not far from Bartella, there is the empty Syrian Catholic town of Qaraqosh which once had a population of 44,000 who fled in 2014. Yohanna Towara, a local community leader, explains that when they come back they will find that their homes have been destroyed. He says that “my brother’s house was destroyed by an airstrike [by the US-led coalition] and my house was damaged. Daesh [Isis] burned the other houses before they left and they have all been looted a long time ago.” Even where houses are still standing, there is no water or electricity or likelihood of it being restored any time soon. Many of the former residents have already migrated to Australia, France and other parts of the world.

The chances of restoring any form of security to the Nineveh Plain depends on first of all capturing Mosul from which Isis has destabilised the whole of northern Iraq. It will take time to discover if Mosul is going to be destroyed as well as “liberated”, as has already happened to the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani in Syria and the Sunni Arab city of Ramadi in Iraq. It is also unclear if Isis will be able to revert to guerrilla warfare, to which its tactics of using suicide bombers alongside well-trained and fanatical infantry, are well-suited.

It was difficult not to wonder today how soon the Sunni Arabs, who were fleeing Mosul because of a mortar barrage, would be able to go back. It may be that the conflict in Iraq is not going to end with any form of power-sharing, as so often recommended by foreign powers, but because the wwar has finally produced winners and losers – and the people of Mosul will be among the latter.

 

 

 

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