TBR News October 28, 2017

Oct 28 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 28, 2017:”Here is a thoughtful commentary from a reader that is well-worth repeating for a larger audience: ’ Conspiracy theories are entertaining. They may be more entertaining than facts. Some people like the emotional appeal. Some people like to solve puzzles. When the Aurora theater shooting happened I have to admit I was skeptical.

A brilliant researcher with a 3.9 GPA and full-ride scholarship to get a Ph.D in neuroscience suddenly deciding he was going to kill lots of people? It seemed implausible. I thought, he must have been a patsy.

Today, now that we have more information, I don’t think that way anymore. He had a history of schizophrenia and weird problems.

I don’t entertain conspiracy ideas much at all anymore.

I know some happen, but it does me no good to go hunting for them. If I were to find out that the Federal Reserve was run by an alien force with ties to the bloodline of King Henry VIII, how will that help me in my life?

Would I suddenly get elevated to the status of benevolent world dictator and get lots of money and an immortality elixir?

Would I gain immeasurable power?’”

Table of Contents

  • Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars
  • The Military/Industrial Complex Triumphant
  • German-Russian rapprochement is timely… and crucial
  • How the U.K. Prosecuted a Student on Terrorism Charges for Downloading a Book
  • How Twitter Killed the First Amendment


Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars

In fact, history suggests just the opposite.

October 27, 2017

by Brian O’Brien

The American Conservative

Every now and then the old argument that the draft should be reinstated pops back up. Most recently it appeared here at The American Conservative in a piece by Dennis Laich and Lawrence Wilkerson that contended America’s all-volunteer force is deeply unfair. Without directly stating it, they implied that the draft should be brought back.

“Said more explicitly,” they write, “if the sons and daughters of members of Congress, of the corporate leadership, of the billionaire class, of the Ivy Leagues, of the elite in general, were exposed to the possibility of combat, would we have less war?”

It seems like a reasonable question. Fortunately, history gives us the answer: No, we would not have less war. In fact, when we’ve had a draft we’ve actually had more war and more Americans killed in battle by several orders of magnitude.

In one 33-year period from 1940 to 1973 when conscription was in effect, we had three of the largest wars in American history, resulting in 497,271 Americans killed. In the 44 years since the end of the draft, we’ve engaged in a series of small overseas conflicts and three undeclared wars with about 7,000 Americans killed. About as many of our countrymen were killed in the Normandy landings than in all the wars since the end of the draft.

America has never fought a war with volunteers in which more than 10,000 Americans were killed in action. America has never fought a war with draftees in which there were fewer than 30,000 KIAs. There is no question about it: our biggest and highest-casualty wars have been fought with drafted troops.

The Korean War had the lowest body count of our conflicts fought with draftees, with 33,686 Americans killed in combat. Of our wars fought with volunteers, the Revolutionary War had the highest body count with about 8,000 Americans killed in combat. If you include the 17,000 deaths by disease and other causes, the total dead in the Revolutionary War are still fewer than combat deaths alone in the Korean War.

American combat deaths in all our wars fought with draftees total 641,007. This does not include the hundreds of thousands of servicemembers who died of disease. All American combat deaths in wars fought with volunteers totals 25,434. This includes the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Indian wars, the Spanish-American War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the conflicts and skirmishes in between.

Wars fought with draftees have resulted in 25 times more combat deaths than in all our wars fought with volunteers. Not twice as many. Not three times as many. Twenty-five times the number of KIAs.

The line of argument from Laich and Wilkerson goes like this: A volunteer military places the burden of war on Americans who opt for military service, often out of economic necessity. The government is thus more likely to go to war because a volunteer has given his consent and knows that combat was part of the deal. Our elites have no skin in the game, and neither does the 99 percent of our population that doesn’t serve. Thus, people will not protest in the streets to prevent wars from occurring, or stop them once they start, because the burden falls on the often invisible 1 percent.

This reasoning arose during the Iraq War when it was proposed that a draft might have stopped the invasion because young people would have felt personally at risk of being deployed and would have protested. Because there was no draft, that fear wasn’t there and there was no uprising as during the Vietnam War when massive demonstrations were held across the nation.

Consider those claims for a moment. In Vietnam, we lost 58,220 American lives. In Iraq, we lost 4,424 American lives. The Vietnam War lasted 19 years with 13 times the number of American casualties in the Iraq War, which lasted eight years.

Yet by 2005, the Iraq War had broken the U.S. Army. Young people had stopped enlisting. Captains and junior NCOs, the leaders most needed in the fight on the ground, were leaving the ranks for good rather than face another combat deployment. Our leaders knew that each new American death was a liability and that tactics needed to change. Concern for casualties was high, unlike in Vietnam where conscripted troops were thrown into the meat grinder by the hundreds of thousands.

In 1968 and 1969, more than 500 Americans were killed a month in Vietnam. The U.S. Army’s volunteer force could not have sustained anywhere near that kind of death rate and still continued the war in Iraq. Americans have different reasons for volunteering to serve, but going overseas to be used as cannon fodder is not one of them. It takes a draftee for that.

Most of the protests against Vietnam didn’t occur until tens of thousands of Americans had been killed after nearly two decades of war. If the Vietnam War or the Korean War had been fought with volunteers rather than draftees, it is unlikely the body counts would have reached the numbers they did. It was the draft that allowed our government to plow hundreds of thousands of young Americans into those conflicts, as well as into the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

The draft never brought fairness to any of our wars either. If anyone believes conscription would result in Eric Trump or Malia Obama carrying a rifle in the infantry, he is sorely mistaken. The rich and the connected have always found ways to avoid the front lines. Years ago, the journalist and Rhodes Scholar James Fallows documented in Washington Monthly how his draft number came up after he graduated from Harvard while the Vietnam War was still raging. He then proceeded to lose enough weight as to not meet the Army’s height and weight standards. A skeptical doctor marked him down as unqualified for military service.

Fallows wrote:

I was overcome by a wave of relief, which for the first time revealed to me how great my terror had been, and by the beginning of the sense of shame which remains with me to this day. It was, initially, a generalized shame at having gotten away with my deception, but it came into sharper focus later in the day. Even as the last of the Cambridge contingent was throwing its urine and deliberately failing its color-blindness tests, buses from the next board began to arrive. These bore the boys from Chelsea, thick, dark-haired young men, the white proles of Boston. Most of them were younger than us, since they had just left high school, and it had clearly never occurred to them that there might be a way around the draft. They walked through the examination lines like so many cattle off to slaughter. I tried to avoid noticing, but the results were inescapable. While perhaps four out of five of my friends from Harvard were being deferred, just the opposite was happening to the Chelsea boys. … We returned to Cambridge that afternoon, not in government buses but as free individuals, liberated and victorious. The talk was high-spirited, but there was something close to the surface that none of us wanted to mention. We knew now who would be killed.

The rich and the connected will never be sent to the front lines if they don’t want to go. They will fake illnesses or get plush appointments to staff jobs. They will stay in school or fling urine at the draft board. They will find a way out.

There are other arguments for conscription, such as providing direction and employment for young people—that through compulsory service to their country they will be instilled with discipline and patriotism.

All those reasons are smokescreens. The true purpose of the draft is to provide large numbers of young bodies for overseas invasions—invasions in which tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Americans have been killed.

We do not need a draft for the defense of the United States. If Americans believe their nation is worth fighting for, they will choose to protect their homes and communities of their own free will and self-interest. The Revolutionary War was fought by volunteers who defeated the most powerful empire of their day. Not a single draftee was among them.

In 2017, the number of Americans serving in the active-duty component of our armed forces is 1,281,900, with another 801,200 in our reserve components. Every last one is a volunteer. Our volunteer military is professional and certainly large enough to defend our nation from attack from any enemy. We are in a much stronger position today than we were in Washington’s time.

What we really need to do is drastically reduce our military spending and the size of our armed forces. In this age of nuclear weapons, the possibility of America being militarily conquered is zero. Giving up our role as a global police force and instead concentrating on the defense of the North American continent would enhance our safety and security while also increasing our prosperity and domestic tranquility.


The Military/Industrial Complex Triumphant

October 28, 2017

by Christian Jürs

The text of the new draft bill now being secretly considered by Congress

To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.



(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Universal National Service Act of 2017′.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. National service obligation.

Sec. 3. Two-year period of national service.

Sec. 4. Implementation by the President.

Sec. 5. Induction.

Sec. 6. Deferments and postponements.

Sec. 7. Induction exemptions.

Sec. 8. Conscientious objection.

Sec. 9. Discharge following national service.

Sec. 10. Registration of females under the Military Selective Service Act.

Sec. 11. Relation of Act to registration and induction authority of Military Selective Service Act.

Sec. 12. Definitions.


(a) OBLIGATION FOR YOUNG PERSONS- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act.

(b) FORM OF NATIONAL SERVICE- National service under this Act shall be performed either–

(1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or

(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and homeland security.

(c) INDUCTION REQUIREMENTS- The President shall provide for the induction of persons covered by subsection (a) to perform national service under this Act.

(d) SELECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE- Based upon the needs of the uniformed services, the President shall–

(1) determine the number of persons covered by subsection (a) whose service is to be performed as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; and

(2) select the individuals among those persons who are to be inducted for military service under this Act.

(e) CIVILIAN SERVICE- Persons covered by subsection (a) who are not selected for military service under subsection (d) shall perform their national service obligation under this Act in a civilian capacity pursuant to subsection (b)(2).


(a) GENERAL RULE- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this Act shall be two years.

(b) GROUNDS FOR EXTENSION- At the discretion of the President, the period of military service for a member of the uniformed services under this Act may be extended–

(1) with the consent of the member, for the purpose of furnishing hospitalization, medical, or surgical care for injury or illness incurred in line of duty; or

(2) for the purpose of requiring the member to compensate for any time lost to training for any cause.

(c) EARLY TERMINATION- The period of national service for a person under this Act shall be terminated before the end of such period under the following circumstances:

(1) The voluntary enlistment and active service of the person in an active or reserve component of the uniformed services for a period of at least two years, in which case the period of basic military training and education actually served by the person shall be counted toward the term of enlistment.

(2) The admission and service of the person as a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

(3) The enrollment and service of the person in an officer candidate program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Reserve commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve on active duty if such a commission is offered upon completion of the program.

(4) Such other grounds as the President may establish.


(a) IN GENERAL- The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act.

(b) MATTER TO BE COVERED BY REGULATIONS- Such regulations shall include specification of the following:

(1) The types of civilian service that may be performed for a person’s national service obligation under this Act.

(2) Standards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily.

(3) The manner in which persons shall be selected for induction under this Act, including the manner in which those selected will be notified of such selection.

(4) All other administrative matters in connection with the induction of persons under this Act and the registration, examination, and classification of such persons.

(5) A means to determine questions or claims with respect to inclusion for, or exemption or deferment from induction under this Act, including questions of conscientious objection.

(6) Standards for compensation and benefits for persons performing their national service obligation under this Act through civilian service.

(7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary to carry out this Act.

(c) USE OF PRIOR ACT- To the extent determined appropriate by the President, the President may use for purposes of this Act the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration, selection, and induction.


(a) IN GENERAL- Every person subject to induction for national service under this Act, except those whose training is deferred or postponed in accordance with this Act, shall be called and inducted by the President for such service at the time and place specified by the President.

(b) AGE LIMITS- A person may be inducted under this Act only if the person has attained the age of 18 and has not attained the age of 26.

(c) VOLUNTARY INDUCTION- A person subject to induction under this Act may volunteer for induction at a time other than the time at which the person is otherwise called for induction.

(d) EXAMINATION; CLASSIFICATION- Every person subject to induction under this Act shall, before induction, be physically and mentally examined and shall be classified as to fitness to perform national service. The President may apply different classification standards for fitness for military service and fitness for civilian service.


(a) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS- A person who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis, in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall be entitled to have induction under this Act postponed until the person–

(1) obtains a high school diploma;

(2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or

(3) attains the age of 20.

(b) HARDSHIP AND DISABILITY- Deferments from national service under this Act may be made for–

(1) extreme hardship; or

(2) physical or mental disability.

(c) TRAINING CAPACITY- The President may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military service under this Act as necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately trained.

(d) TERMINATION- No deferment or postponement of induction under this Act shall continue after the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.


(a) QUALIFICATIONS- No person may be inducted for military service under this Act unless the person is acceptable to the Secretary concerned for training and meets the same health and physical qualifications applicable under section 505 of title 10, United States Code, to persons seeking original enlistment in a regular component of the Armed Forces.

(b) OTHER MILITARY SERVICE- No person shall be liable for induction under this Act who–

(1) is serving, or has served honorably for at least six months, in any component of the uniformed services on active duty; or

(2) is or becomes a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the United States

Merchant Marine Academy, a midshipman of a Navy accredited State maritime academy, a member of the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or the naval aviation college program, so long as that person satisfactorily continues in and completes two years training therein.


(a) CLAIMS AS CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR- Any person selected under this Act for induction into the uniformed services who claims, because of religious training and belief (as defined in section 6(j) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 456(j))), exemption from combatant training included as part of that military service and whose claim is sustained under such procedures as the President may prescribe, shall, when inducted, participate in military service that does not include any combatant training component.

(b) TRANSFER TO CIVILIAN SERVICE- Any such person whose claim is sustained may, at the discretion of the President, be transferred to a national service program for performance of such person’s national service obligation under this Act.


(a) DISCHARGE- Upon completion or termination of the obligation to perform national service under this Act, a person shall be discharged from the uniformed services or from civilian service, as the case may be, and shall not be subject to any further service under this Act.

(b) COORDINATION WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES- Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit the call to active service in the uniformed services of any person who is a member of a regular or reserve component of the uniformed services.


(a) REGISTRATION REQUIRED- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended–

(1) by striking `male’ both places it appears;

(2) by inserting `or herself’ after `himself’; and

(3) by striking `he’ and inserting `the person’.

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 16(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 466(a)) is amended by striking `men’ and inserting `persons’.


(a) REGISTRATION- Section 4 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 454) is amended by inserting after subsection (g) the following new subsection:

`(h) This section does not apply with respect to the induction of persons into the Armed Forces pursuant to the Universal National Service Act of 2003.’.

(b) INDUCTION- Section 17(c) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 467(c)) is amended by striking `now or hereafter’ and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting `inducted pursuant to the Universal National Service Act of 2003.’.


In this Act:

(1) The term `military service’ means service performed as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services.

(2) The term `Secretary concerned’ means the Secretary of Defense with respect to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, the Secretary of Commerce, with respect to matters concerning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with respect to matters concerning the Public Health Service.

(3) The term `United States’, when used in a geographical sense, means the several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

(4) The term `uniformed services’ means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.



German-Russian rapprochement is timely… and crucial

October 21, 2017

by Finian Cunningham


The visit to Moscow this week by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier heralds a growing rapprochement between the two countries. That’s not just good news for bilateral business ties. It is key to unlocking the dangerous East-West crisis.

“I‘m convinced we need to resist the alienation that has grown up between our countries in recent years,” said Steinmeier at the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders held wide-ranging discussions beyond narrow bilateral interests. Both reportedly exchanged views on “pressing global issues” including Syria, Ukraine, North Korea and Iran

Putin said of his meeting with Steinmeier: “I want to voice hope that your visit will help us to make a contribution to developing our bilateral relations and strengthening our interstate ties.” The German president’s role as head of state is largely ceremonial. Formally, he doesn’t have political power, which rests with the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, the symbolism of Steinmeier’s visit to Moscow carries enormous significance.

This week was the first visit to Russia by a German president since 2010. Steinmeier’s predecessor, Joachim Gauck who was in office from 2012 until this year, was renowned for having a “frosty” view of Russia. Under Steinmeier the relationship is not just thawing, it is warming rapidly.

Previously, Steinmeier served as Germany’s foreign minister in the Social Democrat (SPD) coalition government with Merkel’s Christian Democrats. He worked with Moscow on forging the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and on trying to resolve the ongoing conflict in Ukraine through the Minsk peace accords.

Thorny issues remain, said Steinmeier, over the Ukraine crisis and Crimea’s decision to join the Russian Federation, which the German president insisted on characterizing as “annexation” by Moscow. Still, there is a definite change underway due in no small part to Steinmeier’s evident willingness to engage Russia diplomatically. It was obvious from his public remarks that the German president has a keen sense of historic links between the two countries.

Steinmeier’s urgency to restore bilateral relations is no doubt based on the two countries having battled during two world wars, “whose victims must remind us of the need to preserve peace,” he said. The sharp and protracted deterioration in East-West relations must be resolved through earnest dialogue, mutual understanding and diplomacy said Steinmeier.

The Social Democrats are now an opposition party in the German Bundestag following recent elections. However, the party seems more in tune with the nation’s strategic interests when it comes to calling for an easing of Western economic sanctions against Russia.

Despite those sanctions, German-Russian bilateral trade is booming again this year, recovering from a downturn due to the sanctions imposed in 2014 over the Ukraine conflict. Germany’s Chamber of Commerce is predicting 2017 to be a turning point in improving relations.

There seems to be a growing awareness in Germany that the US-led new Cold War against Russia is harming German and Europe interests far more than American. Earlier this month, Gerhard Schroeder, the former SPD chancellor (1998-2005) delivered a scathing analysis of the fundamental divergence between Europe and the US.

Schroeder told the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona: “I see the United States is interested in a weaker Russia, [but] the interest of Europe and Germany is that Russia will prosper.” The former chancellor, who is now chairman at Russian oil major Rosneft, said there were two fundamental reasons why an economically strong Russia was important for Germany and Europe. “We need a [export] market, especially Germany, [and] we need resources for our industry,” he said.

This strategic economic relationship is what lay behind the delegation of German business leaders to Sochi earlier this month where the head of Siemens and other companies met with President Putin to discuss future prospects. Political economist Peter Koenig, who previously worked as a senior analyst for the World Bank, says German industry increasingly realizes that future development depends on the country reorienting its economy toward Russia, China and the rest of Eurasia.

Germany’s export-driven economy is relying on expanding into new markets. “Russia and Germany are natural partners,” says Koenig. “Germany can bring capital investment and technology which Russia needs, while Russia can offer energy, raw materials, workforce and a vast consumer market for German commodities. It’s a win-win situation.”

The problem is that the Cold War-type deterioration in East-West relations is placing a major constraint on Germany’s economic prospects. That explains why German business delegations are lobbying for sanctions to be lifted. It also explains why politically in-tune President Steinmeier and former chancellor Schroeder are calling for an urgent re-set in bilateral relations between Berlin and Moscow.

Chancellor Merkel is hawkish about keeping sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine dispute. However, even she will be feeling pressure from German industry to change tack. As she forms a coalition government with the pro-business Free Democrats, Merkel may find herself having to compromise on the sanctions issue.

The other factor is the growing awareness in Germany, France, and the European Union that as US President Donald Trump pursues his “America First” policy, the Europeans are being made to pay a hefty price for their strategic interests. A new round of sanctions imposed on Russia earlier this year by the Trump administration took aim at European energy companies doing business with Gazprom and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. That sparked anger in Berlin and other European capitals as an outrageous interference in EU affairs.

The same can be said for Trump’s threats to ax the international nuclear accord with Iran, which could have harmful repercussions on European trade and investment projects. Peter Koenig, the political economist, says Washington’s bullish conduct in foreign policy is compelling a profound shift in Europe’s global outlook.

Germany and the EU’s long-term interests are definitely in the East with Russia and China. Eurasian economic integration under Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping will be the future of global economic development for the next few centuries,” says Koenig.

“Germany and the EU could definitely do it alone without Washington. Actually, eventually, they will have to since the US is now rapidly and visibly declining. For Europe to survive in the medium and long run, there is no other way than to align with Eurasia.”

Koenig warned, however, that Washington will try to scupper this global realignment. “US economic sanctions may hurt Europe for a while, but the benefits from breaking loose are infinitely more important than these short-lived sanctions. The best example is Russia. As Putin said two years ago, the US sanctions were the best thing that could happen to Russia, because they have forced Russia to become autonomous again, rebuilding its agriculture and industry.”

Another danger apart from the US using financial penalties is that Washington may step up political and military conflicts to thwart Germany and European interests growing with Russia and Eurasia. Watch out for US-led NATO expansion in the Baltic, Ukraine and the Balkans as a way to destabilize German-Russian relations. Grim echoes of history there.

On that note, President Steinmeier’s push this week in Moscow to strengthen diplomatic ties with Russia takes on even more urgency. Steinmeier’s emphasis on Germany and Russia’s historic obligation to seek peace and prevent war could not be more timely or crucial.


How the U.K. Prosecuted a Student on Terrorism Charges for Downloading a Book

October 28, 2017,

by Ryan Gallagher

The Intercept

On the first day of the trial, Josh Walker wore a long navy jacket, a white shirt, beige pants, and black shoes. He stood outside the courthouse clutching a cigarette and shivering slightly in the cold morning air. “I’m beginning to feel nervous now,” he said, glancing toward the entrance of the court building.

Last summer, Walker traveled from London to Syria, where he joined the Kurdish-led YPG militia in its fight against the so-called Islamic State. After serving with the group for some six months, Walker returned to England, where he was charged under an anti-terrorism law.

Police had arrested Walker when he arrived at the airport. They later searched his apartment, turning up a copy of the infamous “Anarchist Cookbook,” which contains bomb-making instructions along with information about how to eavesdrop on phone calls and commit credit card fraud. Walker was accused of violating the Terrorism Act because he possessed information “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.” He faced the possibility of a 10-year jail sentence.

This week, Walker went on trial. After hearing four days of evidence, a 12-person jury at Birmingham Crown Court in England’s West Midlands found him not guilty. But questions remain about why the highly unusual case — which took months to prepare and cost large sums of taxpayer money — proceeded at all.

The week before the trial, 27-year-old Walker was in London visiting his lawyers. He was feeling optimistic. “I’m pretty confident that it’s going to go my way,” he said as he waited to board a train from Paddington Station back to Bristol in the southwest of England, where he has been living with his mother, Adele, while on bail.

But an element of doubt had crept into his mind by the time he arrived at the court on Monday morning. Before the trial began, Walker’s lawyer Joel Bennathan tried to get the judge to throw out the case. Bennathan called the prosecution “grossly disproportionate,” an “abuse of process,” and a breach of Walker’s right to “receive and impart information and ideas” under Article 10 of the U.K.’s Human Rights Act.

The judge, Mark Wall, nevertheless decided to proceed with the trial. It was an early blow for Walker, and not how he’d hoped the week would begin. In the dock, locked in a secure room behind a glass screen, he shook his head in disappointment.

As the case moved forward, the prosecution acknowledged that Walker was not suspected of plotting any kind of terrorist atrocity. The government was instead arguing that his mere possession of the book was a violation of the Terrorism Act’s Section 58 because it contained information that could have been useful to a terrorist if discovered. The book is freely available to anyone on the internet, and versions of it can even be purchased on Amazon. Regardless, prosecution lawyer Robin Sellers said it was possible a “radicalized” person could find Walker’s copy of the book and use it to prepare an attack.

The prosecution’s argument seemed bizarre and without precedent. People in the U.K. have been prosecuted before under the Terrorism Act for possessing the “Anarchist Cookbook,” but usually the defendants have been involved in some other kind of nefarious activity as well. In 2010, for example, a member of a violent neo-Nazi group called the “Wolf Pack” was convicted of a terrorism offense for possessing the book. He was linked, through his father, to a plot to overthrow the government and poison people. In another case, in 2011, a man was sentenced to three years in prison for selling the “Cookbook” and Al Qaeda training manuals, pocketing $113,000 in the process. Walker’s case was different: He was being prosecuted solely because he downloaded and stored a copy of the book.

The court was told that Walker had downloaded the book in May 2015, from the library at Aberystwyth University in Wales, where he was studying international politics and strategic studies. Walker had printed the book to use it for a role-playing “crisis game” group he was part of, in which students would act out dangerous world events to better understand how government officials make decisions during volatile, high-pressure situations. On this occasion, Walker was helping to organize a game that was going to simulate a terrorists-versus-security-services scenario, and he wanted to use the “Cookbook” as a reference for the kinds of weapons, bombs, and other criminal tactics the terrorist team would be allowed to deploy.

During the trial, three students who participated in the game corroborated Walker’s account. One of the former students, Samantha Barlow, said she was concerned at the time about Walker printing the book, as she thought it could get him in trouble. Nevertheless, she did not think that possession of the book itself was illegal, or that it was a “restricted document,” as police later told her. “I didn’t know we still had those in this country,” she told the court.

The crisis games had inadvertently caused trouble at the university in the past. After a previous game involving a terrorist scenario, students had left behind notes and papers that contained information about a phony terror plot that had been simulated as part of the game. A cleaner found the notes and, not realizing their purpose, reported them. Police officers were called in.

To avoid a similar mishap, Walker and his fellow students planned to destroy all their notes and documents after the game. They had a party at Aberystwyth’s South Beach, a 10-minute walk from the university’s Old College, and threw all the papers from the game onto a barbecue. But Walker — who told the court he had been drinking whiskey and smoking cannabis heavily that night — forgot to burn the “Cookbook.”

The prosecution claimed Walker had deliberately retained his copy of the “Cookbook” because he was “curious” about its contents. Walker denied this, saying he could not remember what he’d done with it after the game. Sellers, the prosecution lawyer, suggested Walker had endangered public safety by taking the book home and storing it in a drawer under his bed.

The anti-terrorism law Walker was charged under includes a defense for possessing documents that are likely to be useful to a terrorist. If you have a “reasonable excuse” for having the information, the law states, you have not committed a crime.

Walker had two “reasonable excuses” that his lawyer presented to the court. The first was that the document had an academic purpose: It helped inform his university game, educating students about terrorism and counterterrorism. The second was that after the game had finished, he forgot that the document was in his possession.

Walker’s case seemed to strengthen on Wednesday, when Sharon Marie Broome, an explosives expert with the British Ministry of Defence, told the court that while the makeshift explosive instructions in the “Anarchist Cookbook” were “credible,” much of the same information could be obtained from freely available books and academic literature.

Broome said that she had worked for 25 years assessing explosives, sometimes forensically analyzing devices used in real terrorist attacks perpetrated in the U.K. and overseas. Bennathan, Walker’s lawyer, pressed her on whether she had ever encountered a terrorist case that involved the use of the “Anarchist Cookbook.” She could not provide any examples.

Later on Wednesday, the pendulum appeared to swing back in the other direction, when Walker was called to the stand for the first time. He looked relaxed and assured at first, but as Sellers, the prosecution lawyer, pressed Walker on why he had not destroyed the “Cookbook” after the game, Walker grew agitated.

Sellers told Walker he never needed to download it in the first place.

“I am not suggesting you intended to follow any of the instructions in the book,” Sellers said.

“So why I am here then?” Walker snapped.

The judge reprimanded Walker for arguing with Sellers.

“I’m sorry, Your Honor,” Walker said, glancing up toward the judge. “I am just trying to defend myself.”

By the end of the session, Walker slumped in his seat, exhausted and deflated. He stepped down from the witness box and walked across the small courtroom to the public gallery, where his father was waiting.

Because of his affiliation with the YPG in Syria, Walker has gained the backing of the U.K.’s Kurdish community. On the first day of his trial, a group of local Kurdish men and women, plus a small group of activists, stood outside the court for hours holding supportive banners. Several carried signs with a simple message: “We are proud of you Josh Walker.”

Among them was Chris Scurfield, whose son Kosta was killed in March 2015, the first Briton to die fighting against the Islamic State in Syria. Like Walker, Kosta was a volunteer with the YPG. “The government and the police really need to get their act together and work out who their friends are,” said Scurfield, who wore a small pin with a picture of his son on the lapel of his jacket.

Although Walker’s possession of the “Anarchist Cookbook” was the focus of the case, his trip to Syria loomed over the proceedings. In the end, his effort to help fight the Islamic State in that country — risking his own life in the process — probably benefited his case. His defense team used it to show that he was of good character and to emphasize that he did not deserve the harsh punishment the government sought.

During closing arguments on Thursday, the prosecution reiterated its claim that Walker had no reasonable excuse to possess a copy of the “Cookbook,” which could “help someone planning to build a bomb.” That the book is freely available on the internet did not matter, argued Sellers, the prosecution lawyer. It was an issue of “personal responsibility,” he said, and it was the government’s view that possessing the book was unlawful, because it could be useful to terrorists.

Bennathan countered that we would be living in a “mad world” if a student were convicted of a terror crime for downloading a book. He told the jury they could choose not to live in that “mad world” by acquitting Walker of the alleged Terrorism Act offense. “Take your freedoms for granted and you will lose them somewhere down the line,” he said.

He also pointed out that Walker was probably the only person in the courtroom who had actually fought against terrorism by going to Syria and joining the YPG. “Back he comes, despite that background, and they choose to prosecute him,” Bennathan said.

In a lobby area outside the courtroom, Walker’s parents anxiously awaited the jury’s verdict. Neither was confident enough to predict the outcome one way or the other. It was difficult to read the jury and gauge their responses to the evidence. Were they sympathetic?

Walker’s father, Dennis, 47, works as a carpenter and lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales. He had brought a copy of Charles Dickens’s novel “Hard Times,” which he was reading in an effort to take his mind off the proceedings. Wearing blue jeans and a green jumper, he was sitting on a bench outside the courtroom, hoping his son would not be jailed. “He hasn’t acted dishonorably as far as I am concerned,” the elder Walker said. “It’s shame that it’s come to this, … but it is what it is. We’ve just got to deal with it.”

After about an hour, a tinny-sounding announcement emanated from the court’s speakers: The jury had reached its verdict. The 12 jurors — eight men and four women — filed in and took their seats. Asked for their decision, the jury foreman stood: “Not guilty.”

There were gasps and cheers in the public gallery. Walker rose to his feet and, from behind the glass screen in the dock, clasped his hands and mouthed the words “thank you” to the jury across the room. A security guard standing inside the secure room with Walker pulled the keys from his pocket and unlocked the door. His mother, weeping, leapt from the public gallery and embraced him.

Walker almost sprinted down the courthouse steps. He was greeted outside by a small handful of Kurdish supporters, who shouted in celebration when they heard the result.

“I’m elated,” Walker said. “I’m just glad this is all over.”

“There are times in history and society when the law is wrong, when policy is wrong,” he said. “And it is up to us as citizens to put that right.”

He said he was not bitter about how he had been treated by the government, but he reserved some sharp criticism for the prosecutors. They “could have made much better use of their resources,” he said. “We’ve wasted a lot of taxpayers’ money on this.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that its decision to pursue the case against Walker was made “following detailed consideration of the evidence and in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.” The spokesperson added: “We acknowledge and respect the decision the jury has reached.”

As a free man, Walker can now make plans. He will soon return to work in Bristol, where he has a job as a kitchen porter in a restaurant; next year, he hopes to resume his university studies. In the immediate aftermath of his acquittal, however, there was only one thing on his mind. “I think we’re going for a drink,” he said, smiling.


Comment: Here is a selection from the Anarchists Cookbook:

Title: Jam Police Radar Date: 7/16/87 Time: 5:28 pm L HIGHWAY RADAR JAMMING Most drivers wanting to make better time on the open road will arm themselves with an expensive radar detector. However this device will not work against a gun type radar unit in which the radar signal is not present until the cop has your car in his sights and pull the trigger. Then it is too late to slow down. A better method is to continuously jam any signal with a radar signal of your own. I have tested this idea with the cooperation of a local cop and found that his unit reads random numbers when your car approached him.

It is surprisingly easy to make a low power radar transmitter. A nifty little semiconductor called a Gunn diode will generate microwaves when supplied with 5 to 10 vdc and enclosed in the correct size cavity (resonator). An 8 to 3 terminal regulator can be used to get this voltage from a car’s system . However the correct construction and tuning of the cavity is difficult without good microwave measurement equipment. Police radars commonly operate on the K band at 22 ghz. or more often on the X band at 10.525 ghz.

Most microwave intruder alarms and motion detectors (mounted over automatic doors in supermarkets, etc. ) contain a Gunn type transmitter/receiver combination that transmits about 10 milliwatts at 10.525 ghz. These units work perfectly as jammers. If you can’t get one locally write to Microwave Associates in Burlington, Mass. and ask for info on “Gunnplexers” for ham radio use.

When you get the unit it may be mounted in a plastic box on the dash or in a weatherproof enclosure behind the plastic grille. Switch on the power when on the open highway. The unit will not jam radar to the side of behind the car so don’t go speeding past the radar trap.

An interesting phenomena you will notice is that drivers in front of you who are using detectors will hit their brakes as you approach large metal signs or bridges. Your signal is bouncing off these objects and triggering their detectors. Have fun…

Ben Piper Typed by: Pirates of Puget Sound Reprinted from: TAP magazine, November 1983, Issue 88 Confiscated From The Executive Inn 915/581-5145


How To Create A New Indentity                   

by The Walking Glitch

Courtesy of the Jolly Roger!          

You might be saying, “Hey Glitch, what do I need a new identity for?”

The answer is simple. You might want to go buy liquor somewhere, right?

You might want to go give the cops the false name when you get busted so you keep your good name, eh?  You might even want to use the new identity for getting a P.O. Box for carding. Sure! You might even want the stuff for renting yourself a VCR at some dickless loser of a convenience store. Here we go:

Getting a new ID isn’t always easy, no one said it would be. By following these steps, any bozo can become a new bozo in a coupla weeks.


The first step is to find out who exactly you’ll become. The most secure way is to use someone’s ID who doesn’t use it themselves.

The people who fit that bill the best are dead. As an added bonus they don’t go complaining one bit. Go to the library and look through old death notices. You have to find someone who was born about the same time as you were, or better yet, a year or two older so you can buy booze, etc. You should go back as far as you can for the death because most states now cross index deaths to births so people can’t do this in the future. The cutoff date in Wisconsin is 1979, folks in this grand state gotta look in 1978 or earlier. Anything earlier there is cool. Now, this is the hardest part if you’re younger. Brats that young happen to be quite resilient, takin’ falls out of three story windows and eating rat poison like its Easter candy, and not a scratch or dent. There ain’t many that die, so ya gotta look your ass off. Go down to the library and look up all the death notices you can, if it’s on microfilm so much the better. You might have to go through months of death notices though, but the results are well worth it.

You gotta get someone who died locally in most instances: the death certificate is filed only in the county of death. Now you go down to the county courthouse in the county where he died and get the death certificate, this will cost you around $3-$5 depending on the state you’re in. Look at this hunk of paper, it could be your way to vanish in a cloud of smoke when the right time comes, like right after that big scam. If you’re lucky, the slobs parents signed him up with social security when he was a snot nosed brat. That’ll be another piece of ID you can get. If not, thats ok too. It’ll be listed on the death certificate if he has one. If you’re lucky, the stiff was born locally and you can get his birth certificate right away.


Now check the place of birth on the death certificate, if it’s in the same place you standing now you’re all set. If not, you can mail away for one from that county but it’s a minor pain and it might  take a while to get, the librarian at the desk has listings of where to write for this stuff and exactly how much it costs. Get the Birth certificate, it’s worth the extra money to get it certified because that’s the only way some people will accept it for ID. When you’re getting this stuff the little forms ask for the reason you want it, instead of writing in “Fuck you”, try putting in the word “Genealogy“.

They get this all the time.  If the Death certificate looks good for you, wait a day or so before getting the certified birth certificate in case they recognize someone wanting it for a dead guy.


Now you’re cooking! You got your start and the next part’s easy.

Crank out your old Dot matrix printer and run off some mailing labels addressed to you at some phony address. Take the time to check your phony address that there is such a place. Hotels that rent by the month or large apartment buildings are good, be sure to get the right zip code for the area. These are things that the cops might notice that will trip you up.  Grab some old junk mail and paste your new labels on them. Now take them along with the birth certificate down to the library.

Get a new library card. If they ask you if you had one before say that you really aren’t sure because your family moved around a lot when you were a kid. Most libraries will allow you to use letters as a form of ID when you get your card. If they want more give them a sob story about how you were mugged and got your wallet stolen with all your identification. Your card should be waiting for you in about two weeks.

Most libraries ask for two forms of ID, one can be your trusty Birth Certificate, and they do allow letters addressed to you as a second form.


Now you got a start, it isn’t perfect yet, so let’s continue. You should have two forms of ID now. Throw away the old letters, or better yet stuff them inside the wallet you intend to use with this stuff.

Go to the county courthouse and show them what nice ID you got and get a state ID card. Now you got a picture ID. This will take about two weeks and cost about $5, its well worth it.


If the death certificate had a social security number on it you can go out and buy one of those metal SS# cards that they sell.

If it didn’t, then you got all kinds of pretty ID that shows exactly who you are. If you don’t yet have an SS#, Go down and apply for one, these are free but they could take five or six weeks to get, Bureaucrats you know… You can invent a SS# too if you like, but the motto of ‘THE WALKING GLITCH’ has always been “Why not excellence?”.


If you want to go whole hog you can now get a bank account in your new name.  If you plan to do a lot of traveling then you can put a lot of money in the account and then say you lost the account book.  After you get the new book you take out all the cash. They’ll hit you with a slight charge and maybe tie-up your money some, but if you’re ever broke in some small town that bank book will keep you from being thrown in jail as a vagrant.


So kiddies, you got ID for buying booze, but what else? In some towns (the larger the more likely) the cops if they catch you for something petty like shoplifting stuff under a certain dollar amount, will just give you a ticket, same thing for pissing in the street. That’s it!

No fingerprints or nothing, just pay the fine (almost always over $100) or appear in court.  Of course they run a radio check on your ID, you’ll be clean and your alter-ego gets a blot on his record.

You’re free and clear.  That’s worth the price of the trouble you’ve gone through right there.  If you’re smart, you’ll toss that ID away if this happens, or better yet, tear off your picture and give the ID to someone you don’t like, maybe they’ll get busted with it.

If you’re a working stiff, here’s a way to stretch your dollar. Go to work for as long as it takes to get unemployment and then get yourself fired.

Go to work under the other name while your getting the unemployment.

With a couple of sets of ID, you can live like a king.  These concepts for survival in the new age come to you compliments of THE WALKING GLITCH.


How Twitter Killed the First Amendment

October 27, 2017

by Tim Wu

The New York Times

You need not be a media historian to notice that we live in a golden age of press harassment, domestic propaganda and coercive efforts to control political debate. The Trump White House repeatedly seeks to discredit the press, threatens to strip broadcasters of their licenses and calls for the firing of journalists and football players for speaking their minds. A foreign government tries to hack our elections, and journalists and public speakers are regularly attacked by vicious, online troll armies whose aim is to silence opponents.

In this age of “new” censorship and blunt manipulation of political speech, where is the First Amendment? Americans like to think of it as the great protector of the press and of public debate. Yet it seems to have become a bit player, confined to a narrow and often irrelevant role. It is time to ask: Is the First Amendment obsolete? If so, what can be done?

These questions arise because the jurisprudence of the First Amendment was written for a different set of problems in a very different world. The First Amendment was ignored for much of American history, coming to life only in the 1920s thanks to the courage of judges like Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courts and civil libertarians used the amendment to protect speakers from government prosecution and censorship as it was practiced in the 20th century, such as the arrest of pamphleteers and the seizure of anarchist newspapers by the Postal Service.

But in the 21st century, censorship works differently, as the writer and academic Zeynep Tufekci has illustrated. The complete suppression of dissenting speech isn’t feasible in our “cheap speech” era. Instead, the world’s most sophisticated censors, including Russia and China, have spent a decade pioneering tools and techniques that are better suited to the internet age. Unfortunately, those new censorship tools have become unwelcome imports in the United States, with catastrophic results for our democracy.

The Russian government was among the first to recognize that speech itself could be used as a tool of suppression and control. The agents of its “web brigade,” often called the “troll army,” disseminate pro-government news, generate false stories and coordinate swarm attacks on critics of the government. The Chinese government has perfected “reverse censorship,” whereby disfavored speech is drowned out by “floods” of distraction or pro-government sentiment. As the journalist Peter Pomerantsev writes, these techniques employ information “in weaponized terms, as a tool to confuse, blackmail, demoralize, subvert and paralyze.”

Our distressing state of public discourse stems from the widespread use of these new tools of censorship and speech control, including by the White House. The administration habitually crosses the line between fact and propaganda. Instead of taking action itself, it demands that others punish its supposed enemies. To add to the mess, it is apparent that the Russian government and possibly others hope to manipulate American political debate, as its exploitation of Facebook and Twitter in the last election shows.

What can be done? It is time to recognize that the American political process and marketplace for ideas are under attack, and that reinvigorating the First Amendment is vital. First, it is an imperative that law enforcement and lawmakers do more to protect journalists and other public speakers from harassment and threats. Cyberstalking is a crime. And as the Supreme Court has made clear, threats of violence are not protected speech. A country where speaking one’s mind always results in death threats is not a country that can be said to be truly free.

Second, too little is being done to protect American politics from foreign attack. The Russian efforts to use Facebook, YouTube and other social media to influence American politics should compel Congress to act. Social media has as much impact as broadcasting on elections, yet unlike broadcasting it is unregulated and has proved easy to manipulate. At a minimum, new rules should bar social media companies from accepting money for political advertising by foreign governments or their agents. And more aggressive anti-bot laws are needed to fight impersonation of humans for propaganda purposes.

Finally, the White House needs to be held accountable when it tries to use private parties to circumvent First Amendment protections. When it encourages others to punish its critics — as when it demanded that the N.F.L., on pain of tax penalties, censor players — it is wielding state power to punish disfavored speech. There is precedent for such abuses to be challenged in court.

Some might argue, based on the sophomoric premise that “more speech is always better,” that the current state of chaos is what the First Amendment intended. But no defensible free-speech tradition accepts harassment and threats as speech, treats foreign propaganda campaigns as legitimate debate or thinks that social-media bots ought to enjoy constitutional protectionA robust and unfiltered debate is one thing; corruption of debate itself is another. We have entered a far more dangerous place for the republic; its defense requires stronger protections for what we once called the public sphere.




No responses yet

Leave a Reply