July 29, 2014

Senior U.S. Intelligence Officers: Obama Should Release Ukraine Evidence

Preface:  With the July 17 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine turning a local civil war into a U.S. confrontation with Russia, former U.S. intelligence veterans urge President Obama to release what evidence he has about the tragedy and silence the hyperbole.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane

Executive Summary

U.S.–Russian intensions are building in a precarious way over Ukraine, and we are far from certain that your advisers fully appreciate the danger of escalation. The New York Times and other media outlets are treating sensitive issues in dispute as flat-fact, taking their cue from U.S. government sources.

Twelve days after the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, your administration still has issued no coordinated intelligence assessment summarizing what evidence exists to determine who was responsible – much less to convincingly support repeated claims that the plane was downed by a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of Ukrainian separatists.

Your administration has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other “dogs that have not barked.” Washington’s credibility, and your own, will continue to erode, should you be unwilling – or unable – to present more tangible evidence behind administration claims. In what follows, we put this in the perspective of former intelligence professionals with a cumulative total of 260 years in various parts of U.S. intelligence:

We, the undersigned former intelligence officers want to share with you our concern about the evidence adduced so far to blame Russia for the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. We are retired from government service and none of us is on the payroll of CNN, Fox News, or any other outlet. We intend this memorandum to provide a fresh, different perspective.

As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some it via “social media.”

As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to “poison the jury pool.”

Painting Russia Black

We see an eerie resemblance to an earlier exercise in U.S. “public diplomacy” from which valuable lessons can be learned by those more interested in the truth than in exploiting tragic incidents for propaganda advantage. We refer to the behavior of the Reagan administration in the immediate aftermath of the shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983. We sketch out below a short summary of that tragic affair, since we suspect you have not been adequately briefed on it. The parallels will be obvious to you.

An advantage of our long tenure as intelligence officers is that we remember what we have witnessed first hand; seldom do we forget key events in which we played an analyst or other role. To put it another way, most of us “know exactly where we were” when a Soviet fighter aircraft shot down Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983, over 30 years ago. At the time, we were intelligence officers on “active duty.” You were 21; many of those around you today were still younger.

Thus, it seems possible that you may be learning how the KAL007 affair went down, so to speak, for the first time; that you may now become more aware of the serious implications for U.S.-Russian relations regarding how the downing of Flight 17 goes down; and that you will come to see merit in preventing ties with Moscow from falling into a state of complete disrepair. In our view, the strategic danger here dwarfs all other considerations.

Hours after the tragic shoot-down on Aug. 30, 1983, the Reagan administration used its very accomplished propaganda machine to twist the available intelligence on Soviet culpability for the killing of all 269 people aboard KAL007. The airliner was shot down after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated Russia’s airspace over sensitive military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity – a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier – Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire.

The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan dismissively explained as an “understandable accident”).

To make the very blackest case against Moscow for shooting down the KAL airliner, the Reagan administration suppressed exculpatory evidence from U.S. electronic intercepts. Washington’s mantra became “Moscow’s deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.” (Apparently, not much has changed; Time’s cover this week features “Cold War II” and “Putin’s dangerous game.” The cover story by Simon Shuster, “In Russia, Crime Without Punishment,” would merit an A-plus in William Randolph Hearst’s course “Yellow Journalism 101.”)

When KAL007 was shot down, Alvin A. Snyder, director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, was enlisted in a concerted effort to “heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” as Snyder writes in his 1995 book, “Warriors of Disinformation.”

He and his colleagues also earned an A-plus for bringing the “mainstream media” along. For example, ABC’s Ted Koppel noted with patriotic pride, “This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.”

“Fixing” the Intelligence Around the Policy

“The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” wrote Snyder, adding that the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council on September 6, 1983.

Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.

The intercepts showed that the Soviet fighter pilot believed he was pursuing a U.S. spy aircraft and that he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. Per instructions from ground control, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to order the aircraft to land. The pilot said he fired warning shots, as well. This information “was not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.

It became abundantly clear to Snyder that, in smearing the Soviets, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. In his book, Snyder acknowledged his own role in the deception, but drew a cynical conclusion. He wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”

The tortured attempts by your administration and stenographers in the media to blame Russia for the downing of Flight 17, together with John Kerry’s unenviable record for credibility, lead us to the reluctant conclusion that the syndrome Snyder describes may also be at work in your own administration; that is, that an ethos of “getting your own lie out first” has replaced “ye shall know the truth.” At a minimum, we believe Secretary Kerry displayed unseemly haste in his determination to be first out of the starting gate.

Both Sides Cannot Be Telling the Truth

We have always taken pride in not shooting from the hip, but rather in doing intelligence analysis that is evidence-based. The evidence released to date does not bear close scrutiny; it does not permit a judgment as to which side is lying about the shoot-down of Flight 17. Our entire professional experience would incline us to suspect the Russians – almost instinctively. Our more recent experience, particularly observing Secretary Kerry injudiciousness in latching onto one spurious report after another as “evidence,” has gone a long way toward balancing our earlier predispositions.

It seems that whenever Kerry does cite supposed “evidence” that can be checked – like the forged anti-Semitic fliers distributed in eastern Ukraine or the photos of alleged Russian special forces soldiers who allegedly slipped into Ukraine – the “proof” goes “poof” as Kerry once said in a different context. Still, these misrepresentations seem small peccadillos compared with bigger whoppers like the claim Kerry made on Aug. 30, 2013, no fewer than 35 times, that “we know” the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical incidents near Damascus nine days before.

On September 3, 2013 – following your decision to call off the attack on Syria in order to await Congressional authorization – Kerry was still pushing for an attack in testimony before a thoroughly sympathetic Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. On the following day Kerry drew highly unusual personal criticism from President Putin, who said: “He is lying, and he knows he is lying. It is sad.”

Equally serious, during the first week of September 2013, as you and President Vladimir Putin were putting the final touches to the deal whereby Syrian chemical weapons would be given up for destruction, John Kerry said something that puzzles us to this day. On September 9, 2013, Kerry was in London, still promoting a U.S. attack on Syria for having crossed the “Red Line” you had set against Syria’s using chemical weapons.

At a formal press conference, Kerry abruptly dismissed the possibility that Bashar al-Assad would ever give up his chemical weapons, saying, “He isn’t about to do that; it can’t be done.” Just a few hours later, the Russians and Syrians announced Syria’s agreement to do precisely what Kerry had ruled out as impossible. You sent him back to Geneva to sign the agreement, and it was formally concluded on September 14.

Regarding the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down of July 17, we believe Kerry has typically rushed to judgment and that his incredible record for credibility poses a huge disadvantage in the diplomatic and propaganda maneuvering vis-a-vis Russia. We suggest you call a halt to this misbegotten “public diplomacy” offensive. If, however, you decide to press on anyway, we suggest you try to find a less tarnished statesman or woman.

A Choice Between Two

If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to “sources and methods.” Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs.

There have been critical junctures in the past in which presidents have recognized the need to waive secrecy in order to show what one might call “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” or even to justify military action.

As senior CIA veteran Milton Bearden has put it, there are occasions when more damage is done to U.S. national security by “protecting” sources and methods than by revealing them. For instance, Bearden noted that Ronald Reagan exposed a sensitive intelligence source in showing a skeptical world the reason for the U.S. attack on Libya in retaliation for the April 5, 1986 bombing at the La Belle Disco in West Berlin. That bombing killed two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman, and injured over 200 people, including 79 U.S. servicemen.

Intercepted messages between Tripoli and agents in Europe made it clear that Libya was behind the attack. Here’s an excerpt: “At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.”

Ten days after the bombing the U.S. retaliated, sending over 60 Air Force fighters to strike the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the city of Benghazi. The operation was widely seen as an attempt to kill Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who survived, but his adopted 15-month-old daughter was killed in the bombing, along with at least 15 other civilians.

Three decades ago, there was more shame attached to the killing of children. As world abhorrence grew after the U.S. bombing strikes, the Reagan administration produced the intercepted, decoded message sent by the Libyan Peoples Bureau in East Berlin acknowledging the “success” of the attack on the disco, and adding the ironically inaccurate boast “without leaving a trace behind.”

The Reagan administration made the decision to give up a highly sensitive intelligence source, its ability to intercept and decipher Libyan communications. But once the rest of the world absorbed this evidence, international grumbling subsided and many considered the retaliation against Tripoli justified.

If You’ve Got the Goods…

If the U.S. has more convincing evidence than what has so far been adduced concerning responsibility for shooting down Flight 17, we believe it would be best to find a way to make that intelligence public – even at the risk of compromising “sources and methods.” Moreover, we suggest you instruct your subordinates not to cheapen U.S. credibility by releasing key information via social media like Twitter and Facebook.

The reputation of the messenger for credibility is also key in this area of “public diplomacy.” As is by now clear to you, in our view Secretary Kerry is more liability than asset in this regard. Similarly, with regard to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, his March 12, 2013 Congressional testimony under oath to what he later admitted were “clearly erroneous” things regarding NSA collection should disqualify him. Clapper should be kept at far remove from the Flight 17 affair.

What is needed, if you’ve got the goods, is an Interagency Intelligence Assessment – the genre used in the past to lay out the intelligence. We are hearing indirectly from some of our former colleagues that what Secretary Kerry is peddling does not square with the real intelligence. Such was the case late last August, when Kerry created a unique vehicle he called a “Government (not Intelligence) Assessment” blaming, with no verifiable evidence, Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attacks near Damascus, as honest intelligence analysts refused to go along and, instead, held their noses.

We believe you need to seek out honest intelligence analysts now and hear them out. Then, you may be persuaded to take steps to curb the risk that relations with Russia might escalate from “Cold War II” into an armed confrontation. In all candor, we see little reason to believe that Secretary Kerry and your other advisers appreciate the enormity of that danger.

In our most recent (May 4) memorandum to you, Mr. President, we cautioned that if the U.S. wished “to stop a bloody civil war between east and west Ukraine and avert Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine, you may be able to do so before the violence hurtles completely out of control.” On July 17, you joined the top leaders of Germany, France, and Russia in calling for a ceasefire. Most informed observers believe you have it in your power to get Ukrainian leaders to agree. The longer Kiev continues its offensive against separatists in eastern Ukraine, the more such U.S. statements appear hypocritical.

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties. The suggestion of an early summit got extraordinary resonance in controlled and independent Russian media. Not so in “mainstream” media in the U.S. Nor did we hear back from you.

The courtesy of a reply is requested.

Prepared by VIPS Steering Group

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

h/t Washingtonsblog.com

July 24, 2014

“The Israeli army used ten families as human shields. They took over their homes and wouldn’t let them escape.”

Who is it exactly using Gazan’s as human shields? Any who are believing a word out of any official gov spokesperson’s mouth needs to read the firsthand account, posted below, of a Gazan who lived through pure hell today just trying to get him and his family to safety. No part of me can imagine the depth of the fear he, his family, his friends, his neighbors experienced.  All I can do is bear witness via social media to the most abominable, horrific, intentional, evil destruction of a people, entire families mind you, and their teeny sliver of a life. That is if you can call it a life – imagine a million plus people living in a cage barely 25 miles in length, two miles wide everyday, every single fucking day of their existence.

Bother yourself and read Mohammad Alsaafin’s eyewitness account to the slaughter of his family, neighbors and friends today, July 24, 2014 -

Eyewitness acct of Israeli Massacre in Khuza July 23, 2014_1

 

Eyewitness acct of Israeli Massacre in Khuza_2 July 23, 2014

 

July 10, 2014

BUSTED: Germany’s Chairman of NSA Inquiry Phone Tapped by NSA

TRANSLATED: http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell/bw/ulm/kiesewetter-offenbar-abgehoert/-/id=1612/did=13735756/nid=1612/1hqz7ou/index.html

Chairman of the NSA Committee of Inquiry Kiesewetter apparently bugged

The Aalen Member of Parliament Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU) has apparently been spied by intelligence services. Brisant: He is also Coordinator of the NSA investigation committee. In SWR he has now demanded by the Bundestag better protection for MPs.

Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU), Unions Coordinator on the NSA committee of inquiry is on 08.05.2014 before the meeting of the NSA investigation committee of the Bundestag in Berlin a statement from.

Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU) has been apparently bugged

Russian and U.S. intelligence agencies would certain MPs who have “interesting work” a watch, Roderich Kiesewetter said SWR. Technicians of the Bundestag have found that third parties have access to his mobile phone. However, it was not clear what exactly foreign services skim.

Kiesewetter since April chairman of the Union Group in the NSA investigation committee. The committee will examine the eavesdropping activities of the United States and Britain as well as the role of the federal government there.
Kiesewetter for better protection of MPs

The Bundestag must finally make better arrangements for MPs. Kiesewetter was particularly critical that the U.S. company Verizon was commissioned as provider by the Bundestag - although it is known that Verizon was working closely with the NSA.
Spying may all Stewards

He therefore called for, that the Bundestag touting the new telecommunications services. Not only the cheapest supplier might come into play, and data security must be ensured. Kiesewetter said he had evidence that the chairmen of all four parties had been intercepted on the NSA investigation committee.

The Bundestag has set up a Committee of NSA affair on March 20, 2014. The Committee, chaired by Mr Prof. Dr. Patrick Sensburg (CDU / CSU) to clarify the extent and background of the Ausspähungen by foreign secret services in Germany. The Committee has eight members of the Bundestag: Four of the CDU / CSU, the SPD and two each from the left and from the Greens.

June 16, 2014

UPDATE #NET NEUTRALITY: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Promises He’s Not a Dingo

Following HBO’s John Oliver’s spectacular takedown of the FCC’s proposed changes to internet access aka #Net Neutrality a couple of weeks ago, Tom Wheeler, former President of National Cable and Telecommunications Association now FCC Chairman, wants “to state for the record” he is not a dingo -

ICYMI here is the full episode of Oliver’s #Net Neutrality clip -

June 12, 2014

UPDATE: Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors: Tell Us What’s In Your Beer!

UPDATE X1: Jay Brooks over at Brookston Beer Bulletin has posted a lengthy response to Foodbabe’s petition demanding Anheuser-Bushch and Miller Coors list ingredients they use in making there beer. Brooks article is a solid read and raises several valid points related to Foodbabe’s potentially misleading campaign. The T-Room encourages folks to read his article so as to gain a balanced perspective on what appears to be a growing concern in internet advocacy journalism, especially related to listing food/beverage ingredients -

Her first salvo was last year when she sensationally claimed to expose The Shocking Ingredients in Beer. Almost every one was as un-shocking as it gets, especially if you understand the brewing process. But that’s the new yellow journalism, and unfortunately you see it all over the internet. A provocative headline to grab page views, link bait or something just overly sensational is all you need. It’s happened so many times since I’ve been writing online that I’ve lost count. And it works. The beer community rushes in to correct egregious mistakes, faulty reasoning, uninformed opinion while the hit count spikes, advertisers smile and websites raise their advertising rates. It rarely matters that what’s written is often wrong, sometimes so utterly wrong that it should be embarrassing for not only the author, but the publication, too. And yet curiously, it’s not. And for me, that’s why it’s yellow journalism. It’s not intended to be factual, or well-researched or reasoned. It’s sole purpose is to get eyeballs on the page. And facts apparently are boring. The truth is somnambulistic. Controversy, even the manufactured kind, is what brings the traffic.

We’re keeping the petition up and linking to her site only because The T-Room is a staunch supporter of all food and beverage labeling no matter who is making the request or how they are making it.

The T-Room encourages our readers to support Foodbabe’s  petition  asking “Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors, America’s largest beer brands to disclose their full set of ingredients online for all consumers to see.”

“Nearly every other food and beverage provider is legally required to make this information available—yet these two companies, which collectively sell more than $75 billion in beers each year, have not. I grew concerned about the beer after discovering there is a long list of additives the government has approved for use in beer during an investigation last fall. High fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers that are linked to intestinal inflammation, artificial colors – like caramel coloring, ingredients found in airplane deicing liquid, genetically modified ingredients, and even fish swim bladders are allowed in beer. ”

Beer Petition

 

Read more – http://foodbabe.com/2014/06/11/anheuser-busch-miller-coors-tell-us-whats-beer/#more-16950

 

June 10, 2014

WHO IN THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE???? (Updated)

Tonight, my husband and I went to vote in the [Virginia] primary and were SHOCKED by the fact we were only allowed, ALLOWED, geesh, unfathomable, allowed, to vote in either the a) federal primary or b) city primary due to Party (24.2-530 – going on memory here).

We were told, as well as other voters disgusted at the process at the same time we were at the precinct, we could not vote in BOTH, which, quite frankly, infringes upon our constitutional right to cast a vote for the candidates who we believe will best represent us on BOTH the federal and city level, AND the respective candidates right to muster votes to secure their Fall election ballot. We were FORCED to cast our vote in either NOT or. Thus, our primary concern is to kick the bum out of congress who represents AIPAC and Israel rather than the constituents in the 7th Congressional District.

But I digress. We are furious with said choices. My right as a Virginian is and should always, and I mean ALWAYS, be to vote for any candidate no matter the Party affiliation and office i.e., federal, state or city should be ours to make NOT the Virginia General Assembly.

Tonight, the candidate for the city primary got totally screwed by 24.2-530 (note: if I’m citing the correct code it says “party” not office or federal vs state primary). We had every intention of voting in both the federal and city primaries, but, like I said above, we were totally robbed of that opportunity. We, along with others, immediately filed official complaints which were either left with the SBE volunteers at our precinct or, those who trust the political system even less than we do, chose to send there’s in. I spoke with many of the volunteers about this ABSURDITY and they freely informed me that they had received such complaints ALL DAY. They too felt helpless. Why on earth would the state put these volunteers in such a position?

Please know, if the Virginia GA passed a law that infringes on Virginian’s voting rights then trust I, along with a plethora of others, are utterly unaware.

Exactly when did the Virginia General Assembly pass such an authoritarian law? We want to know. We do not believe they did, but rather the Sec’y of the SBE has been terribly counseled. However, if they did, pass such a stupid ass statute, you damned well better know we will use every tool available to ensure said archaic election laws are rescinded in their entirety. Dumb. Dumb. Dumber.

Candidates who worked their tail ends off to convince us to vote for them, challenger or sitting, were absolutely, one-hundred percent robbed of our votes today. This is wrong, wrong, wrong and must be in violation of federal election laws, if not, state election laws or just plain old common sense.

We want answers and we want them now. Yes, we’re furious. ALL VIRGINIAN’S DESERVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR WHOMEVER THEY WISH. ALL!

Helen

UPDATE x1 -  We just learned Cantor’s challenger won tonight’s primary. NEWS FLASH, Cantor got screwed by the Va SBE just like the city treasurer position did. We have no love for Cantor, trust us, but when someone gets royally screwed like Cantor just did then hell YES we’re going to speak up. Wrong is Wrong no matter the party or stupid ass policies they put forward!

UPDATE x2 – The two votes were for either congress OR City clerk not Treasurer.

 

May 29, 2014

Reaction, Insight, Opinion and Clips from Snowden’s Interview You Didn’t See #Patriot #Traitor

NBC News is steering those who missed last night’s interview with Snowden over to their site. They’ve taken down YT vids that cut out all of the ads leaving only the interview. If you missed the interview and want to watch or re watch it click here.

One more item worth noting following the Snowden interview. NBC asked folks on Twitter to weigh in on whether they believe Snowden to be a “#Patriot” or “#Traitor.” Well, the vote tally is in with 59% #Patriot v 41% #Traitor.

Here are some additional articles you may want to read. They take on various pieces of the interview with the first link leading you to portions of the interview that didn’t make the final cut.

The Edward Snowden clips NBC didn’t broadcast on TV

NBC Censors Snowden’s Critical 9/11 Comments from Prime Time Audience

Not Snowden but *Keith Alexander*: Hero or Traitor (the debate we should be having)

Kerry To Snowden: “Man Up and Come Back to the United States.”

And the NSA just released this slightly redacted email from Snowden making an inquiry to NSA General Counsel on the hierarchy laid out in a training he attended -

Edward J. Snowden email inquiry to the NSA Office of General Counsel<br /><br />
May 29, 2014<br /><br />
NSA has now explained that they have found one email inquiry by Edward Snowden to the Office of General Counsel asking for an explanation of some material that was in a training course he had just completed. The e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed.<br /><br />
There was not additional follow-up noted. The e-mail will be released later today. There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.

May 12, 2014

State Dept. cable highlighted Ukrainian civil war threat in 2008

May 10, 2014

by Wayne Madsen
Wayne Madsen Report

One of the classified State Department cables released by WikiLeaks confirms that the U.S. State Department knew of the fascist threat to Ukraine as early as 2008. The cable, sent from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, also expressed the legitimate concerns of the Russian government, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, over plans to extent NATO membership to Ukraine. The cable also states that NATO membership for Ukraine could lead to “violence or even, some claim, civil war.” Lavrov also told the United States of attempts of some new [NATO] member countries to “rewrite history and glorify fascists.”

The cable, sent from U.S. ambassador William Burns, is evidence that the George W. Bush administration was more acutely aware of the sensitivity of Ukrainian membership in NATO than the Obama administration has been. This difference has led some to believe that the Obama administration has, because of incompetence and failure to curb the influence of several noted Zionist neo-conservatives, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, brought on the crisis with Russia over Ukraine for other purposes, including forcing sanctions against Russia.

Neo-con financial backers, including George Soros, would like nothing more than to get their hands on Russia’s natural resources, including gold and palladium. Russia possesses over 40 percent of the world’s palladium resources. Palladium is a key component in solar batteries.

The cable also states that Russia did not want to face the possibility of intervening in a Ukrainian civil war brought about by a split in the country over a Ukrainian decision to join NATO.

The cable, just as with National Security Agency surveillance, is yet another example of Obama being worse than Bush in a major policy area.

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHMO #0265/01 0321425
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 011425Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6368
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000265
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PREL [External Political Relations], NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], UP [Ukraine], RS [Russia; Wrangel Islands]
SUBJECT: NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT
REDLINES
REF: A. MOSCOW 147 B. MOSCOW 182
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).1. (C) Summary. Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains “an emotional and neuralgic” issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the GOR and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally. In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability and “provocative acts” in the separatist regions. End summary.

MFA: NATO Enlargement “Potential Military Threat to Russia”

2. (U) During his annual review of Russia’s foreign policy January 22-23 (ref B), Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that Russia had to view continued eastward expansion of NATO, particularly to Ukraine and Georgia, as a potential military threat. While Russia might believe statements from the West that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at recent military activities in NATO countries (establishment of U.S. forward operating locations, etc. they had to be evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential. Lavrov stressed that maintaining Russia’s “sphere of influence” in the neighborhood was anachronistic, and acknowledged that the U.S. and Europe had “legitimate interests” in the region. But, he argued, while countries were free to make their own decisions about their security and which political-military structures to join, they needed to keep in mind the impact on their neighbors.

3. (U) Lavrov emphasized that Russia was convinced that enlargement was not based on security reasons, but was a legacy of the Cold War. He disputed arguments that NATO was an appropriate mechanism for helping to strengthen democratic governments. He said that Russia understood that NATO was in search of a new mission, but there was a growing tendency for new members to do and say whatever they wanted simply because they were under the NATO umbrella (e.g. attempts of some new member countries to “rewrite history and glorify fascists”).

4. (U) During a press briefing January 22 in response to a question about Ukraine’s request for a MAP, the MFA said “a radical new expansion of NATO may bring about a serious political-military shift that will inevitably affect the security interests of Russia.” The spokesman went on to stress that Russia was bound with Ukraine by bilateral obligations set forth in the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership in which both parties undertook to “refrain from participation in or support of any actions capable of prejudicing the security of the other Side.” The spokesman noted that Ukraine’s “likely integration into NATO would seriously complicate the many-sided Russian-Ukrainian relations,” and that Russia would “have to take appropriate measures.” The spokesman added that “one has the impression that the present Ukrainian leadership regards rapprochement with NATO largely as an alternative to good-neighborly ties with the Russian Federation.”

Russian Opposition Neuralgic and Concrete

5. (C) Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests. Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.

6. (C) Dmitriy Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, expressed concern that Ukraine was, in the long-term, the most potentially destabilizing factor in U.S.-Russian relations, given the level of emotion and neuralgia triggered by its quest for NATO membership. The letter requesting MAP consideration had come as a “bad surprise” to Russian officials, who calculated that Ukraine’s NATO aspirations were safely on the backburner. With its public letter, the issue had been “sharpened.” Because membership remained divisive in Ukrainian domestic politics, it created an opening for Russian intervention. Trenin expressed concern that elements within the Russian establishment would be encouraged to meddle, stimulating U.S. overt encouragement of opposing political forces, and leaving the U.S. and Russia in a classic confrontational posture. The irony, Trenin professed, was that Ukraine’s membership would defang NATO, but neither the Russian public nor elite opinion was ready for that argument. Ukraine’s gradual shift towards the West was one thing, its preemptive status as a de jure U.S. military ally another. Trenin cautioned strongly against letting an internal Ukrainian fight for power, where MAP was merely a lever in domestic politics, further complicate U.S.-Russian relations now.

7. (C) Another issue driving Russian opposition to Ukrainian membership is the significant defense industry cooperation the two countries share, including a number of plants where Russian weapons are made. While efforts are underway to shut down or move most of these plants to Russia, and to move the Black Sea fleet from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk earlier than the 2017 deadline, the GOR has made clear that Ukraine’s joining NATO would require Russia to make major (costly) changes to its defense industrial cooperation.

8. (C) Similarly, the GOR and experts note that there would also be a significant impact on Russian-Ukrainian economic and labor relations, including the effect on thousands of Ukrainians living and working in Russia and vice versa, due to the necessity of imposing a new visa regime. This, Aleksandr Konovalov, Director of the Institute for Strategic Assessment, argued, would become a boiling cauldron of anger and resentment among the local population.

9. (C) With respect to Georgia, most experts said that while not as neuralgic to Russia as Ukraine, the GOR viewed the situation there as too unstable to withstand the divisiveness NATO membership could cause. Aleksey Arbatov, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, argued that Georgia’s NATO aspirations were simply a way to solve its problems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and warned that Russia would be put in a difficult situation were that to ensue.

Russia’s Response

10. (C) The GOR has made it clear that it would have to “seriously review” its entire relationship with Ukraine and Georgia in the event of NATO inviting them to join. This could include major impacts on energy, economic, and political-military engagement, with possible repercussions throughout the region and into Central and Western Europe. Russia would also likely revisit its own relationship with the Alliance and activities in the NATO-Russia Council, and consider further actions in the arms control arena, including the possibility of complete withdrawal from the CFE and INF Treaties, and more direct threats against U.S. missile defense plans.

11. (C) Isabelle Francois, Director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow (protect), said she believed that Russia had accepted that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually join NATO and was engaged in long-term planning to reconfigure its relations with both countries, and with the Alliance. However, Russia was not yet ready to deal with the consequences of further NATO enlargement to its south. She added that while Russia liked the cooperation with NATO in the NATO-Russia Council, Russia would feel it necessary to insist on recasting the NATO-Russia relationship, if not withdraw completely from the NRC, in the event of Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO. C

Comment

12. (C) Russia’s opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia is both emotional and based on perceived strategic concerns about the impact on Russia’s interests in the region. It is also politically popular to paint the U.S. and NATO as Russia’s adversaries and to use NATO’s outreach to Ukraine and Georgia as a means of generating support from Russian nationalists. While Russian opposition to the first round of NATO enlargement in the mid-1990′s was strong, Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully to what it perceives as actions contrary to its national interests. BURNS

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May 6, 2014

It’s hight time for all who use the internet to learn about Net Neutrality

Following are two short videos detailing what Net Neutrality means – treating all data equally – and why it is in everyone’s  best interest to make sure the net remains neutral.

This first vid does a great job explaining what net neutrality is, how data currently works on the net and argues why we need to keep it this way -

This second vid also explains net neutrality but offers additional insight into the financial benefits to internet GIANTS if they are successful in getting the FCC to approve ‘fast lanes’ which we will all end up paying for with few deriving substantial benefit -

However, if you don’t have time to watch either one understand currently net neutrality insures ‘data’ such as songs, movies, articles, games, blogs and shows all receive equal treatment no matter who they are or how much money they can throw around, whereas if the Comcast’s and Verizon’s of the world get their way you’ll soon be paying a lot more to watch and/or read your fav’s because they will likely upgrade services to ‘fast lanes’ which will result in a tiered internet system – slow lane v fast lane. Once they add the first “fast lane” there will be no limits on adding “high frequency lanes” or an “Audubon” or … in the end our wallets will be lighter and the level playing field destroyed.

Let’s agree to keep the net neutral. After all, we are painfully learning what division has cost our nation, so let’s keep the web a 100% level so anyone and everyone has an equal opportunity to take advantage of all the web has to offer.

Please make a public comment here!
http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/begin…

Tell the FCC that they should reclassify broadband internet as a Title II  “Common carrier” telecommunications service. Right now broadband is regulated like TV or radio, which doesn’t make sense.

This is a public comment for the public record…official government stuff… so you’ll have to include your actual name and address.

You can also email the FCC directly here: http://dft.ba/-tell_the_FCC

If you want to help some organizations that work their butts off trying to fight the telecoms, check out:

Save The Internet (from FreePress) http://www.savetheinternet.com/sti-home

Public Knowledge: http://www.publicknowledge.org/

And contact your congress people: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

May 2, 2014

Obama’s sanctions on Russia triggering global recession

April 30, 2014

by Wayne Madsen
Wayne Madsen Report

The White House media spinmeisters and the talking heads of Bloomberg News and CNBC dare not say it but the sanctions on Russia being crafted by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s team at the Department of Treasury are beginning to take their toll: on the economies of the United States and western Europe.

Once, we were told that Russia, as a member of the G8 and World Trade Organization, was a sign of the financial interdependency of the world. Now, we are told by the very same people who came up with all the “free trade” and “new world order” contrivances that imposing economic sanctions on energy-exporting Russia will have no effect on the global economy.

The report card on the adoption by the Obama administration of neoconservative-developed sanctions on Russia is now in. The U.S. economy has slowed dramatically since the Obama administration first began drawing up contingency sanctions on Russia as U.S.-financed rioters first began assembling on Kiev’s Maidan Square in January with the intent of violently ousting the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Nothing that occurs within the Obama administration, even that which is done in secret, escapes the notice of international hedge fund mogul George Soros, without whose support Obama would have never become president, let alone a U.S. senator from Illinois.

With the inside knowledge of contingency sanctions against Russia being formulated in January, Soros began doing what Soros does best: betting for or against certain currencies and bonds based on his inside knowledge of White House plans.

During January, February, and March, the U.S. economy dramatically decelerated. The energy crisis in Europe brought about by U.S. destabilization of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia resulted in sudden increases in the price of gasoline in the United States as anyone owning an automobile witnessed at the pump.

Many key indicators on the strength of the U.S. economy have plunged as a result of what are not merely sanctions against Russia but a neocon-instituted trade war against one of the world’s largest economies. Not only have inventories fallen in America but so too have exports.

And why would U.S. exports suffer? Because U.S. sanctions are affecting the ability of U.S. firms to operate in Russia. McDonald’s imports over half of its products sold in over 400 restaurants in Russia. Much of those products come from the United States. The weaker ruble resulting from targeted U.S. sanctions has had an adverse effect on McDonald’s sales in Russia and, thus, its supply purchases from the United States. McDonald’s is not the only U.S. restaurant chain operating in Russia that is facing falling profits and a cut-back in exports from the United States.

Pepsico sells a number of food and soft drink products in Russia. Growing anti-American consumer backlash in Russia, coupled with a falling ruble, has placed in jeopardy the company’s profits in the Russian market.

Ford Motors is also being affected by the sanctions with the scaling back of its joint venture with Russian car manufacturer Sollers. With Ford Sollers operations being halted in Russia, there is no demand for car parts imported from Ford and third party manufacturers in the United States. Hence, we have the problem with weak inventories and lower exports now being reported in the United States.

Another key U.S. company operating in Russia is Caterpillar, a firm with a 100-year legacy in Russia and the Soviet Union. It’s CEO, Doug Oberhelman, is quoted by Reuters as issuing a dire warning for U.S. sanctions against Russia. Oberhelman said, “We are hoping for a peaceful resolution, but business confidence around the world could dampen, and trade and world GDP could slow should the situation deteriorate.”

So far, the Obama administration has shown every indication that it is prepared to go the distance in levying sanctions on Russia. There are already plans to increase sanctions to the level of those imposed on Iran. If that occurs, not only will the U.S. target every financial transaction involving Russian banks or corporations but also countries, such as the BRICS allies of Russia — Brazil, India, China, and South Africa — that refuse to abide by sanctions imposed by the U.S., Canada, European Union, Australia, and Japan. Sanctions and a trade war between the West and BRICS would be all that is needed to not only bring about a worldwide recession but a depression and history has shown us how countries facing such a calamity crawl out of their dilemmas. War — global war.

dr-evil-soros-ecomomy-soros-dollar-evil-new-world-order-one-political-poster-1289584678
As usual, the same villain is behind the sanctions on Russia.

Not only are the BRICS potentially facing the curled wringing hands of the Treasury Department’s sanction planners but countries almost totally dependent on trade via Russia are feeling the economic doldrums. These include Russia’s two Eurasian Economic Union partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan.  The BRICS countries are now shedding their dependency on the U.S. dollar as a trading and reserve currency, thus making the U.S. fiat currency backed by the manipulative practices of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, even more worthless than it already is. Russia and China are already trading in the ruble and the yuan and there are plans for the Eurasian Economic Union to adopt a dollar- and euro-free monetary unit called the“altyn” by 2025.

A number of U.S. energy companies are active in Kazakhstan and all face problems with Obama’s sanctions on Russia. Russia is a gateway country for foreign oil and natural gas operations in Kazakhstan. U.S. sanctions on Rossiya Bank and the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, both of which are active in Kazakhstan, are merely intended to help exiled Russian Jewish tax scofflaw Mikhail Khodorkovsky attempt to get back some of his nationalized Yukos and other assets from Russian state-owned firms like Rosneft and banks like Rossiya Bank. After being freed from prison in an amnesty authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Khodorkovsky immediately reneged on his promise to avoid politics, showing up in Kiev to support the usurper coup government that took power with the help of some of Khodorkovsky’s fellow travelers, individuals like State Department envoy chief diplomat for Europe Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.

Russia’s cutback on the natural gas supply to Ukraine has affected Russia’s supply of gas to fragile economies in southern Europe, especially Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. These nations, already squeezed economically by the austerity vultures of the EU and International Monetary Fund, are seeing their teetering economies further hurt by the sanctioneers of Washington, London, and Frankfurt. The rise of nationalist parties opposed to the EU and sanctions on Russia is a direct result of the globalists putting the economies of Italy, Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, and Bulgaria on the chopping block for the sole interests of a group of coup leaders in Kiev. The election for the EU Parliament on May 22 will have some nasty surprises in store for the globalists, bankers, and neocons like Nuland, Pyatt, and their friends in Kiev.

Further sanctions on Russia stand to harm farmers already beset by EU austerity policies. Farmers in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Bulgaria who export fruit to Russia, which is 80 percent dependent on foreign imports of fruit and berries, stand to lose their livelihoods from further EU sanctions on Russia.

If U.S. imposes sanctions on the Russian energy giant Gazprom, nationals of third countries, like former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the chairman of Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline operation and friend of Putin, would likely see their foreign accounts frozen and a travel ban imposed by the United States. It is unlikely that real Germans, not the half-Polish hausfrau from the former East Germany who is the current chancellor, would object to a former chancellor being treated like a common criminal, especially after revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has conducted wide scale surveillance of Germans’ communications.

Israel will have nothing to do with supporting the U.S. on sanctions on Russia because its floating natural gas platform, Tamar, has a deal with Gazprom to export liquefied natural gas.

Regardless of whether sanctions are increased on Russia or not, Soros has already made his killing by his speculative billion-fold “pump and dump” investing and short selling of currencies. His unique insight into what occurs inside the Obama White House, something that would not be possible without the connivance of Obama, himself, and his closest aides like Valerie Jarrett and Jacob Lew, have already made Soros an even wealthier man.

May 1, 2014

Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Secret

Published March 28, 2014

by Paul H. Rosenberg and Foreign Policy in Focus
The Nation

An interview with Russ Bellant, author of “Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party.”

The Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda holds a rally in Kiev, January 1, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

The Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda holds a rally in Kiev, January 1, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

This article is a joint publication of TheNation.com and Foreign Policy In Focus.

As the Ukrainian crisis has unfolded over the past few weeks, it’s hard for Americans not to see Vladimir Putin as the big villain. But the history of the region is a history of competing villains vying against one another; and one school of villains—the Nazis—have a long history of engagement with the US, mostly below the radar, but occasionally exposed, as they were by Russ Bellant in his book Old Nazis, The New Right And The Republican Party (South End Press, 1991). Bellant’s exposure of Nazi leaders from German allies in the 1988 Bush presidential campaign was the driving force in the announced resignation of nine individuals, two of them from the Ukraine, which is why he was the logical choice to turn to illuminate the scattered mentions of Nazi and fascist elements amongst the Ukrainian nationalists, which somehow never seems to warrant further comment or explanation. Of course most Ukranians aren’t Nazis or fascists—all the more reason to illuminate those who would hide their true natures in the shadows…or even behind the momentary glare of the spotlight.

Your book, Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party exposed the deep involvement in the Republican Party of Nazi elements from Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukrainian, dating back to World War II and even before. As the Ukrainian crisis unfolded in the last few weeks there have been scattered mentions of a fascist or neo-fascist element, but somehow that never seems to warrant further comment or explanation. I can’t think of anyone better to shed light on what’s not being said about that element. The danger of Russian belligerence is increasingly obvious, but this unexamined fascist element poses dangers of its own. What can you tell us about this element and those dangers?

The element has a long history, of a long record that speaks for itself, when that record is actually known and elaborated on. The key organization in the coup that took place here recently was the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [OUN], or a specific branch of it known as the Banderas [OUN-B]. They’re the group behind the Svoboda party, which got a number of key positions in the new interim regime. The OUN goes back to the 1920s, when they split off from other groups, and, especially in the 1930s began a campaign of assassinating and otherwise terrorizing people who didn’t agree with them.

As World War II approached, they made an alliance with the Nazi powers, they formed several military formations, so that when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, they had several battalions that went into the main city at the time, where their base was, Lvov, or Lwow, it has a variety of spellings [also 'Lviv']. They went in, and there’s a documented history of them participating in the identification and rounding up Jews in that city, and assisting in executing several thousand citizens almost immediately. There were also involved in liquidating Polish group populations in other parts of Ukraine during the war.

Without getting deeply involved in that whole history, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists to this day defend their wartime role, they were backers of forming the 14th Waffen SS Division, which was the all-Ukrainian division that became an armed element on behalf of the Germans, and under overall German control. They helped encourage its formation, and after the war, right at the end of the war, it was called the First Ukrainian division and they still glorify that history of that SS division, and they have a veterans organization, that obviously doesn’t have too many of members left but they formed a veterans division of that.

If you look insignia being worn in Kiev in the street demonstrations and marches to the SS division insignia still being worn. In fact I was looking at photographs last night of it and there was a whole formation marching, not with 14th Division, but with the Second Division, it was a large division that did major battle around the Ukraine, and these marchers were wearing the insignia on the armbands of the Second Division.

So this is a very clear record, and the OUN, even in its postwar publications has called for ethno-genetically pure Ukrainian territory, which of course is simply calling for purging Jews, and Poles, and Russians from what they consider Ukrainian territory. Also, current leaders of Svoboda have made blatantly anti-Semitic remarks that call for getting rid of Muscovite Jews and so forth. They use this very coarse threatening language that anybody knowing the history of World War II would tremble at. If they were living here, it would seem like they would start worrying about it.

Obviously these people don’t hold monopoly power in Ukraine, but they stepped up and the United States has been behind the Svoboda party and these Ukrainian nationalists. In fact the US connections to them go back to World War II and the United States has had a long-standing tie to the OUN, through the intelligence agencies, initially military intelligence, and later the CIA.

Your book discusses a central figure in the OUN, Yaroslav Stetsko, who was politically active for decades here in America. What can you tell us about his history?

Yaroslav Stetsko was the number two leader of the OUN during World War II and thereafter. In 1959, Stefan Bandera, who was head of the OUN, was killed and that’s when Stetsko assumed the leadership. Stetsko in 1941 was the guy who actually marched into Lvov with the German army June 30, 1941 and the OUN issued a proclamation at that time under his name praising and calling for glory to the German leader Adolf Hitler and how they’re going to march arm in arm for the Ukraine and so forth. After the war, he was part of the key leadership that got picked up by the Americans.

There’s a number of accounts I’ve seen, at least three credible up reports, on how they were in the displaced person camp, the Allied forces set up displaced persons camp and picked up tens of thousands of these former allies of Hitler from countries all over the East, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania – there weren’t Polish collaborators I think most people know the Germans heavily persecuted and murdered millions of Polish residents – but Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, and so forth, Belorussia. They had them in these camps they built and organized them, where the Ukrainians were assassinating their Ukrainian nationalist rival so that they would be the undisputed leaders of Ukrainian nationalist movement, so they would get the sponsorship of the United States to continue their political operation, and they were successful in that regard. So when Bandera was out of the picture, Stetsko became the undisputed leader of Ukrainian nationalists.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1943 under German sponsorship organized a multinational force to fight on behalf of the retreating German army. After the battle of Stalingrad in ’43 the Germans felt a heightened need to get more allies, and so the Romanian Iron Guard, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and others with military formations in place to assist came together and formed the united front called the Committee of Subjugated Nations and again worked on behalf of of the German military. In 1946, they renamed it the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, ABN. Stetsko was the leader of that until he died in 1986.

I mention this in part because the OUN tries to say well during the war we fought the Germans and the communists. The fact of the matter is that they were the leadership of this whole multinational alliance on behalf of the German the last two years of the war and in the war thereafter. All the postwar leaders of the unrepentant Nazi allies were all under the leadership of Yaroslav Stetsko.

What happened when Stetsko, and others like him from other German allied forces came to the United States?

In the United States, when they came, his groups organized ‘captive nations’ committees, they became, supposedly, the representatives of people who are being oppressed in Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries, by the Soviet. But they were, in fact, being given an uncritical blank check to represent the voices of all these nations that were part of the Warsaw Pact when in fact they represented the most extreme elements of each of the national communities.

The Captive Nations Committee in Washington DC for instance was run by the person who headed the Ukrainian organization of nationalists, that was true in a number of places. In my hometown area near Detroit as well, they played a major role. In the early 50s, when they were resettled in the United States, there was at least 10,000 of them that were resettled, when you look at all the nationalities. They became politically active through the Republican national committee, because it was really the Eisenhower administration that made the policy decision in the early 1950s, and brought them in. They set up these campaign organizations, every four years they would mobilize for the Republican candidate, whoever it would be, and some of them like Richard Nixon, in 1960, actually had close direct ties to some of the leaders like the Romanian Iron Guard, and some of these other groups.

When Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, he made a promise to these leaders that they would if he won the presidency he would make them the ethnic outreach arm of the Republican National Committee on a permanent basis, so they wouldn’t be a quadrennial presence, but a continuing presence in the Republican Party. And he made that promise through a guy named Laszlo Pasztor, who served five years in prison after World War II for crimes against humanity. He was prosecuted in 1946 by non-Communist government that actually had control of Hungary at the time. There was a period from ’45 to ’48 when the Hungarian Communist Party didn’t run Hungary. They were the ones who prosecuted him. He had served as a liaison between the Hungarian Nazi party and Berlin; he served in the Berlin embassy of the Hungarian Arrow Cross movement. This is the guy that got picked to organize all the ethnic groups, and the only people that got brought in were the Nazi collaborators.

They didn’t have a Russian affiliate because they hated all Russians of all political stripes. There were no African Americans or Jewish affiliates either. It was just composed of these elements, and for a while they had a German affiliate but some exposure of the Nazi character of the German affiliate caused it to be quietly removed, but other [Nazi] elements were retained.

Your book was researched and published in the 1980s. What was happening by that point in time, after these groups had been established for more than a decade?

I went to their meetings in the 1980s, and they put out material that really make clear who they were there 1984, one of their 1984 booklets praised the pro-Nazi Ustashi regime in Croatia, and these Ustashi killed an estimated 750,000 people and burned them alive in their own camp in Croatia. And here they are praising the founding of this regime, and acknowledging that it was associated with the Nazis, and it was signed by the chairman of the Republican National Committee. You couldn’t make this stuff up. It was just crazy.

I interviewed the Kossack guy, he showed me his pension from service in the SS in World War II, and how he was affiliated with free Nazi groups in the United States, and he was just very unrepentant. These are the umbrellas that were called ‘Captive Nations Committees’ by these people that Stetsko was over, and was part of, too. The Reagan White House brought him in, and promoted him as a major leader and did a big dinner—[UN Ambassador] Jeane Kirkpatrick was part of it, George Bush as Vice President, of course Reagan—and Stetsko was held up as a great leader., And proclamations were issued on his behalf.

When Bush was running for president in 1988, Bush Senior, he came to these basically one of the leading locations of the Ukrainian nationalists in North America, which is in just outside of Detroit, a suburb of Detroit to their cultural center, and one of their foremost leaders in the world is headquartered out of their, at the time, he got Bush to come there and they denounced the OSI and Bush just shook his head, he wouldn’t say anything about it.

The OSI was the Offices of Special Investigations, it was investigating the presence of Nazi war criminals in the United States, and deporting those that were found to have lied on their history when they applied to come into the United States after the war. They had deported a number of people from all over the United States. They had a lot of open investigations, and all these émigré Nazis were trying to bring all the political pressure they could to stop these investigations, including the Ukrainian nationalists ones.

So they denounced them, the OSI investigations, in front of Bush, Bush nodded his head, but he wouldn’t say anything because he didn’t want to sound like he was sympathetic to the Nazi war criminals, but at the same time he didn’t want to offend his hosts by disputing the issue with them. So, the issue of World War II was still being played out over four decades later, in the politics of the presidency, and unfortunately Bush and Reagan continued to be on the side that we tried to defeat in World War II.

What was the response when your book came out, with all this information? How was the information received, and what was the political reaction?

Prior to the book’s publication, Washington Jewish Week had done a story about some of the ethnic leaders of the Bush campaign and their history, like denying the Holocaust, or being involved with these émigré Nazi groups. They named a couple of them that weren’t part of the Heritage Groups Council, but they were part of the Bush campaign.

Then when I published the book, it brought out a lot more names, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe did stories on them. It got to the point where when reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer would call them about one of their ethnic leaders of the Bush campaign the standard response was he’s no longer part of the campaign, and they’d say that almost as soon as the name would get mentioned. So that they would call that person, and I’ll give the example of Florian Galdau, he was, he ran the Rumanian Iron Guard in New York City. He had wartime record. [Romanian Archbishop Valerian] Trifa himself was implicated in the mass killing of Jews in Bucharest in 1941, I believe. Galdau’s record is clear, because when Trifa was prosecuted he was one of the people targeted by the Office of Special Investigations, and he was forced into deportation in the 1980s, but in those records, they identify Florian Galdau is one of his operatives, so his history is known, except apparently to the Bush campaign.

So when he was identified by the Philadelphia Inquirer, they immediately said he wasn’t part of it, so the Philadelphia Inquirer called Florian Galdau, and he said, “No, I’m part of it. They never said anything to me. As far as I know I’m still part of the campaign.” And that was the pattern.

The Republican National Committee said after the election that they were going to put a blue ribbon committee together and do an investigation of the charges in my book. I was never contacted, nobody affiliated with the book project, the publisher wasn’t contacted none, none of the sources I worked with was contacted. And after about a year, with nobody raising any issues or questions about it they just folded it up and they said well we have not had the resources to investigate this matter.

I did publish an op-ed in the New York Times about two weeks after the election was over, and I think that was the last time anybody said anything publicly about it that got any kind of forum. I think they were allowed to just die and wither away, that is those leaders. The Republican idea was probably to bring in another generation of people who were born in the United States as these émigré’s died off, but they never did anything about this history that Richard Nixon had bequeathed them with. The Reagan White House had really made deep political commitments and alliances with them, they didn’t want to look like they turned their back on them; and Bush wanted them for his reelection campaign, so he wasn’t going to turn his back on them either.

If you want an anecdote, I know that 60 Minutes was working on a piece that Bradley’s team was working on, and Nancy Reagan herself called the executive producer and said that we would really like it if you would wouldn’t do this story, and they killed it. Because, basically, it’s not just about Nazis and the Republican national committee were Nazis in the White House, it inevitably raises the question of who are they how did they get here, who sponsored them and it goes back to the intelligence agencies at that point. And some people don’t like treading there, if it’s tied to an intelligence agency, they prefer to just stay away from the subject. So, some people at 60 Minutes were frustrated by it, but that’s what happened. I think that they were able to effectively kill the story when people tried to cover it. They were able to persuade news managers to not delve into it too much.

What’s happened since you wrote your book, and most of the World War II generation died off? What have the OUN and its allies been up to since then that we should be aware of?

Once the OUN got sponsored by the American security establishment intelligence agencies, they were embedded in a variety of ways in Europe as well, like Radio Free Europe which is headquartered in Munich. A lot of these groups, in the ABN were headquartered in Munich under the sponsorship of Radio Free Europe. From there they ran various kinds of operations where they were trying to do work inside the Warsaw Pact countries. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a number of them moved back into the Ukraine as well as the other respective countries, and began setting up operations there, and organizing political parties. They reconstituted the veterans group of the Waffen SS, they held marches in the 1990s in the Ukraine, and organized political parties, in alliance with the United States, and became part of what was called the Orange Revolution in 2004, when they won the election there.

The prime minister was closely allied with them. They worked with the new government to get veterans benefits for the Ukrainian SS division veterans, and they started establishing the statues and memorials and museums for Stepan Bandera, who was the leader of the OUN, and who I should say was despised by other Ukrainian nationalists because of their methods, because they were extreme and violent toward other rival Ukrainian nationalist groups as well. So Bandera wasn’t a universal hero, but this group was so influential, in part because of its US connections, that if you go online and you Google ‘Lviv’ and the word ‘Bandera’ you’ll see monuments and statues and large posters and banners of Bandera’s likeness and large monuments permanent erected monuments on behalf of Bandera so they made this guy like he’s the George Washington of the Ukraine.

That government was in power until 2010, when there was another election, and a new regime was elected with a lot of support from the East. Ukrainian nationalist groupings around the Orange Revolution were sharply divided against each other, and there was rampant corruption, and people voted them out. The United States was very aggressive in trying to keep the nationalists in power, but they lost the election. The United States was spending money through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was pumping money into various Ukrainian organizations, and they were doing the same thing in Russia and many other countries around the world as well. We’re talking about many millions of dollars a year to affect the politics of these countries.

When the occupations came in Independence Square in Kiev late last year, you can see Svoboda’s supporters and you can hear their leaders in the parliament making blatant anti-semitic remarks. The leader of the Svoboda party went to Germany to protest the prosecution of John Demjanjuk, who was the Ukrainian who was settled in the United States, who was implicated as a concentration camp guard in the killing of innocent people. The German courts found him guilty and Svoboda leadership went to Germany to complain about convicting this guy. The reason they said they didn’t want any Ukrainian tainted with it because they live a lie that no Ukrainian had anything to do with the German Nazi regime, when history betrays them, and their own affiliations betray them. But they don’t like that being out there publicly, so they always protest their innocence of any Ukrainian being charged with anything, regardless of what the evidence is.

Your book was an important revelation but was not alone. Your book notes that Jack Anderson reported on the pro-Nazi backgrounds of some of the ethnic advisors as far back as 1971, yet when your report came out almost two decades later, everyone responded with shock, surprise, and even denial. What lessons should we draw from this history of buried history? And how should it influence our thinking about the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine?

I don’t believe it’s ever too late to become familiarized and educated about the history of this phenomenon both the wartime history and our postwar collaboration with these folks. There were a number of exposés written about the émigré Nazis. There was a 1979 book called Wanted and it did a number of case stories of these people being brought in to the United States, including the Trifa story. Christopher Simpson did a book called Blowback that discussed the policy decisions, it’s an incredible book. He’s a professor at American University and he did years of research through the Freedom of Information Act and archives, and got the policy documents under which the decisions were made to bring these folks together, and not just into the United States but to deploy them around the world.

Like my book, it didn’t get the attention it deserved. The New York Times book reviewer was negative toward the book. There are people that really don’t want to touch this stuff. There’s a lot of people who don’t want it touched. I think it’s really important for people who believe in openness and transparency and democratic values, who don’t want to see hate groups come back to power in other parts of the world to know what happened.

There’s not very many Americans that really even know that the Waffen SS was a multinational force. That’s been kind of kept out of the received history. Otherwise people would know that there were Ukrainian Nazis, Hungarian Nazis, Latvian Nazis, and they were all involved in the mass murder of their fellow citizens, if they were Jewish, or even if they were co-nationalists that were on the other side of the issue of the war. They were just mass murderers, across Eastern Europe. And that history, those facts aren’t even well-known. A lot of people didn’t even know this phenomenon even existed.

I think all Americans have a responsibility to know what their government is doing in the foreign policy in Europe as well as elsewhere around the world, as well as Latin America as well as Africa. Since our policy was to uphold apartheid in South Africa why weren’t Americans challenging that more? They began challenging that in the 80s, but the apartheid regime was run by the Nazi party. They were allied with Germany in World War II, they were the Nationalist party and they took power in 1948 and the United States backed that for decades. We backed the death squads in Latin America, even though they massacred tens of thousands of people – 30,000 people in Chile alone. Americans aren’t being attentive to what their government is doing abroad, even though it’s been doing done with their tax dollars and in their name, and I think we just have a general responsibility.

I went to these meetings, I went to these conferences, I went over a period of years. I met with them directly, most of the people I wrote about, I met with them personally or in group meetings. People can’t afford to do that on their own, timewise, but there’s enough literature out there they can read and pursue it, they will get enough enough of a handle to get what the real picture is, to demand change. I’m not totally partisan in this, but I think the Republican Party was extreme on this, but the Democrats folded and didn’t challenge this when they knew it was going on.

There is an old Roman poet that once said truth does not say one thing and wisdom another. I’m a believer in that. Tell the truth and wisdom will follow.

Paul H. Rosenberg is a columnist for Al Jazeera English and Senior Editor for Random Lengths News

# # #

April 29, 2014

Who Owes Who an Apology Here?

by Helen Tansey
The T-Room

These dual American-Zionist windbags pouncing like rabid cats on Kerry’s apartheid statement owe him a public apology.

Yesterday, the mainstream media gleefully handed over their bullhorns to these zealots to once again slam Sec. Kerry for daring to speak the truth about what could become of the state of Israel if a peace accord isn’t hammered out and agreed to posthaste -

“In a fit of candor, Kerry told the commissioners (if that’s what you call them) that a one-state solution (so-called) for the Israel-Palestine conundrum either leads to “an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.” (A full report on Kerry’s remarks can be found at the Daily Beast, whose reporter apparently taped the remarks.)” Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, “Is Israel an Apartheid State?”

Goldberg goes onto say -

“In a 2004 New Yorker article I described how the settlement movement was slowly destroying the idea of a Jewish democratic state of Israel:

[Ariel] Sharon seems to have recognized — belatedly — Israel’s stark demographic future: the number of Jews and Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will be roughly equal by the end of the decade. By 2020, the Israeli demographer Sergio Della Pergola has predicted, Jews will make up less than forty-seven per cent of the population. If a self-sustaining Palestinian state — one that is territorially contiguous within the West Bank — does not emerge, the Jews of Israel will be faced with two choices: a binational state with an Arab majority, which would be the end of the idea of Zionism, or an apartheid state, in which the Arab majority would be ruled by a Jewish minority.

A de-facto apartheid already exists in the West Bank. Inside the borders of Israel proper, Arabs and Jews are judged by the same set of laws in the same courtrooms; across the Green Line, Jews live under Israeli civil law as well, but their Arab neighbors — people who live, in some cases, just yards away — fall under a different, and substantially undemocratic, set of laws, administered by the Israeli Army. The system is neither as elaborate nor as pervasive as South African apartheid, and it is, officially, temporary. It is nevertheless a form of apartheid, because two different ethnic groups living in the same territory are judged by two separate sets of laws.

Goldberg then asks -

“I suppose this passage makes me an enemy of Israel, in the same way Kerry is an enemy of Israel, and in the same way that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (who is also Israel’s most decorated soldier) is an enemy of Israel, because Barak has also warned about the dangers of the status quo: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel,” he said in 2010, “it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Mondoweiss is reporting that the infamous Naftali Bennett, leader of Israel’s religious and far right-winged party, used the same exact language in a 2012 ad promoting his “Stability Initiative” -

“In a 2012 ad, featured in his YouTube page and titled “Naftali Bennett’s stability initiative”, the narrator calls for the partial annexation of the West Bank to Israel and for allowing the Palestinians “self-rule” (though not a state) over what is left. This plan also entails granting Israeli citizenship to those Palestinians living in the would-be annexed territory and building overpasses between the islets of Palestinian self-rule which the plan would create.”

“The video (above below) claims that this plan, although not utopian, will “greatly improve the situation.” What is wrong with the situation today? According to the video (1:27), if Israel does nothing then the arena is left open for Palestinian initiatives such as Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. (Notice that even Bennett believes BDS is not a form of anti-Semitism but rather a logical political strategy derived from Israel’s politics.) Then the video goes on to tell us (2:47) that this plan will “take the wind out of the sails of those who accuse us (Israelis) of being an Apartheid state.”

“One logical conclusion from this last statement is that if the current legal status of the West Bank and its residents does not change, then the claims of Israel being an Apartheid state will have merit. Even right-wing politicians such as Bennett understand that as many differences one can find between post-1967 Israel and Apartheid South-Africa, the analogy between the two regimes will be reasonable so long as Israel holds within its sovereign territories a population which has no access to equal citizenship due to it being of non-Jewish faith and/or ethnicity.”

Is Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Naftali Bennett, Jeffrey Goldberg and now Sec. Kerry all enemies of the Zionist State of Israel? I think not and neither do you.

You tired, old, shrill windbags – ADL, AIPAC, Eric Cantor, Barbara Boxer and et al – owe Sec Kerry a public apology for demonizing him and bastardizing the facts – the current trajectory of the Zionist State of Israel is creeping ever so closer, although many argue it’s already there, toward an APARTHEID state.

Now issue a public apology and take those loud mouths of yours and do something meaningful with them, like start to work toward a fair and peaceful resolution to the appalling Palestinian – Israel plight once and for all.

Oh, and any who hold the belief that Israel is a democracy has spent way too much time in Colorado.

Naftali Bennett’s Stability Initiative -

April 24, 2014

Here’s Why This Best-Selling Book Is Freaking Out the Super-Wealthy

(Ed Note: Great book review of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century. The book is loaded on The T-Room’s Recommended Reading carousel on the home page. Buying it through The T-Room helps us with our costs. h)

by Rana Foroohar
Time

There are many reasons why French academic Thomas Piketty’s 685-page tome, “Capital in the 21st Century,” has vaulted to the top of the Amazon.com best seller list and is being discussed with equal fervor by the world’s top economic policy makers and middle class Americans who wonder why they haven’t gotten a raise in years. The main reason is that it proves, irrefutably and clearly, what we’ve all suspected for some time now—the rich ARE getting richer compared to everyone else, and their wealth isn’t trickling down. In fact, it’s trickling up.

Piketty’s 15 years of painstaking data collection—he poured over centuries worth of tax records in places like France, the U.S., Germany, Japan and the U.K—provides clear proof that in lieu of major events like World Wars or government interventions like the New Deal, the rich take a greater and greater share of the world’s economic pie. That’s because the gains on capital (meaning, investments) outpace those on GDP. Result: people with lots of investments take a bigger chunk of the world’s wealth, relative to everyone else, with every passing year. The only time that really changes is when the rich lose a bundle (as they often do in times of global conflict) or growth gets jump started via rebuilding (as it sometimes does after wars).

This is particularly true in times of slow growth like what we’ve seen over the last few years. I’ve written any number of columns and blogs about how quantitative easing has buoyed the stock market, but not really provided the kind of kick that we needed to boost wage growth in the real economy, because it mostly benefits people who hold stocks–that’s the wealthiest 25 % of us. Meanwhile, consumption and wage growth remain stagnant. And as Piketty’s book makes so uncomfortably clear, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. No wonder I saw an advertisement for a storage company on the subway the other day that read, “The French aristocracy didn’t see it coming, either.”

That’s one of Piketty’s biggest messages–inequality will slowly but surely undermine the population’s faith in the system. He doesn’t believe, as Marx did, that capitalism would simply burn itself out over time. In fact, he says that the more perfect and advanced markets become (at least, in economic terms), the better they work and the more fully they serve the rich. But he does believe that rising inequality leads to a less perfect union, and a likelihood of major social unrest that mirrors the sort that his native France went through in the late 1700s. Indeed, the subsequent detailed collection of wealth data in the form of elaborate income and tax records made France a particularly rich data collection ground for his book. (Bureaucracy is good for something!)

READ MORE

April 12, 2014

A Rancher from SW Utah Tells All

B Hunt wrote:

I live in SW Utah. I grew up on a ranch less than 100 miles from the Bundy’s ranch. My father knows Cliven Bundy. I know Cliven’s son Ryan. This is not a hoax, it is an action of force by the BLM.

The BLM was going to sell the cattle at one of the smallest cattle markets in Utah. No cattle markets in Nevada would take the cattle without a properly signed brand inspection (which the BLM cannot obtain without Cliven Bundy’s signature). The BLM paid the owner of the Utah cattle market $300,000 to do the sale (‘R’ Livestock Connection in Monroe, Utah, owned by one Scott G. Robbins, according to the Utah Business Entity Search). Utah Governor Herbert stepped in and forbid them from bringing the cattle into Utah without the legally required health and brand inspections (which again, require Bundy’s signature) and that no feral cattle are allowed to be imported at all (per Utah statute). Because Bundy claims ownership over maybe 350-500 head of branded cattle, the other 500-700 estimated head of cattle would all be considered feral. BLM officially backed off, but we suspect they are still secretly shipping them through Utah without any permission to do so, to “private” buyers in Colorado. The contract cowboys that the BLM hired to do the roundup are from Sampson Livestock in Meadow, Utah (traitors one and all).

From what I understand, Cliven Bundy owns both the Water Rights and Grazing Rights to all of the land where his cattle run. If Bundy failed to use them, the Grazing Rights would revert to the BLM and would be retired, while the Water Rights would revert to the State of Nevada, likely to be sold to the highest bidder (which would probably be a bidding war between mineral companies that are behind this action with the BLM and the City of Las Vegas which is thirsty for water and has had multiple attempts to buy water–through eminent domain from Utah farmers and ranchers–from Utah, which were all blocked by the Utah Legislature and Utah Governor Herbert). Chances are, the BLM has already filed a claim on the water rights so that they can sell to the highest bidder (instead of the state) and are trying to get the cattle off to show that Bundy cannot use the water beneficially (much like what the US Forest Service and BLM both tried to do to Wayne Hage).

Now, for Cliven Bundy, he’s not fighting this for his cattle or his own livelihood. He recognizes that he will probably die before this fight is over. He has said multiple times that he is fighting this to wake people up about the tyranny of the Federal Government and also to help wake up the western states about getting the rights to their own land back from the federal government, which has repeatedly shut down ranchers and closed off land. (MO = 1st, get all the ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, and foresters that use the land for positive, sustainable production off of the land; 2nd, grab up all the resources; 3rd, close off the lands to public access including camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, boating, shooting, etc; 4th, sell off the resources to the highest bidder regardless of what that will do to the land, the local environment, or the economy; 5th, collect royalties on the resources in perpetuity; 6th, reduce and eliminate all SLS and PILT payments to the states, impoverishing them beyond belief.)

Anyway, thanks for posting about this. It is important for us to be able to raise the appropriate resistance.

h/t Judy

April 10, 2014

Sheriff Mack Responds to Governor Sandoval’s Statement & Sheriff Gillespie’s Lack of Enforcement

Clark County, Nev., April 10, 2014- Yesterday Nevada Governor Sandoval released a statement condemning some of the actions of the Bureau of Land Management in the Bundy Ranch standoff, but this is of little consolation to constitutional Sheriff Mack.

Sheriff Mack says that actions speak louder than words and that Sandoval , while speaking about support, is doing virtually nothing within his power to assist the Bundy family. He goes on to admonish the local county Sheriff for not using his power to stand up to the feds in support of the Bundys. Sheriff Mack will be flying into Nevada to stand in solidarity with the Bundy family, as will Oath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes. Oath Keepers has also put out a call to all able-bodied members to come to the Bundy ranch in Clark County, Nevada to assist in supporting the family and keep the peace.

Oath Keepers Issue the Following Message RE: The Nevada Bundy Ranch

Sent 10 April 2014 @ 06:35:37-0700 (PDT)

Oath Keepers,

We need a presence there immediately to help prevent the feds sparking another Ruby Ridge or Waco incident in the Bundy stand-off.

Nevada State Rep. Michele Fiore (a strong patriot who has attended many of our meetings) is on site right now at the protest site outside the Bundy ranch, and she is helping us assemble a coalition of Nevada state legislators. We are also working with WA State Rep Matt Shea to put together a delegation of other Western State Representatives to go there to support Rep. Fiore and her coalition, and we are working with Sheriff Mack to bring a delegation of current serving CSPOA Sheriffs to stand vigil there. We need Oath Keepers to also show up and stand vigil and support this family and the patriot legislators and sheriffs who are taking the lead in defending them. This is critical. The goal is to stand vigil to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge, and to put pressure on the Nevada Governor to honor the oath he took by standing up for this family and for the state of Nevada.

I fly to Vegas tomorrow. Sheriff Mack is coming too, along with the current serving Sheriffs he is rallying to the cause.

All who can make it, need to be there. We need numbers – boots on the ground. The more the better.

For those who are coming, please rally at the public protest site near the ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. To get there, take I-15 North, toward Mesquite, and get off at exit 112. Go right two miles (you can only go right). You will see tall flag poles and signs. Can’t miss it.

Per Ammon Bundy, here are some rules:

First, NO MILITARY CAMMO. This is a protest by rural Americans. Dress accordingly. (from me: Oath Keepers can wear Oath Keepers polos if you have them, or OK T shirts, but please no cammo. Let’s respect the Bundy family request).

No open carry of rifles. Any rifles people may have with them need to stay in the vehicles.

When you arrive at the protest rally point, ask for Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy’s son, to check in. If he is not there, he will have designated another family rep for you to check in with. DO NOT go past that first rally point/protest site with the flags that the family has set up on private land. Beyond that is the road to their ranch, and no one is to drive to the ranch without express permission and escort by Cliven Bundy or his sons. Please respect their need for security and privacy.

No volunteer is to give any media interviews. Refer all media first and foremost to the Bundy family members present, in particular Cliven Bundy, Ammon, or one of the other sons. And/or refer them to one of the current serving Nevada State legislators who will be there, such as Michele Fiore (she is gathering a coalition of Nevada representatives), or one of the current serving Sheriff’s who will be coming. We are there to support them, and let them handle the media.

If any media ask to interview Oath Keepers, please refer them to me, but I will likely just refer them to the family until we do a press conference once Sheriff Mack arrives – and even then, the focus will be on the coalition of current serving Western State Legislators and Sheriffs that we are helping to gather. They and the family will be the main effort, and we are there as support.

BRING CAMERAS. Film everything. The more cameras, the better. Bring relevant signs about honoring the oath, respecting property rights and free speech rights. We are there to stand up for rural Americans who are under attack and to pressure the Governor and the Clark County Sheriff to do their duty.
Ammon said volunteers can camp on private property that is on the side of the road at the main protest site the family has set up (the first gathering place you will come to with signs and flags once you get off I-15 at exit 112 and go about two miles). Again, please ask the family members present where to park and where to camp if you want to camp.

Stewart

April 3, 2014

What if secrecy, NSA trump the Constitution?

Spying on Americans Elicits many questions but few answers

by Andrew P. Napolitano

What if the National Security Agency (NSA) knows it is violating the Constitution by spying on all Americans without showing a judge probable cause of wrongdoing or identifying the persons it wishes to spy upon, as the Constitution requires? What if this massive spying has come about because the NSA found it too difficult to follow the Constitution?

What if the Constitution was written to keep the government off the people’s backs, but the NSA, the president and some members of Congress have put the NSA not only on our backs, but in our bedrooms, kitchens, telephones and computers? What if when you look at your computer screen, the NSA is looking right back at you?

What if the NSA really thought it could keep the fact that it is spying on all Americans and many others throughout the world secret from American voters? What if Congress enacted laws that actually delegate some congressional powers to elite congressional committees — one in the Senate and one in the House? What if this delegation of power is unconstitutional because the Constitution gives all legislative powers to Congress as a whole, and Congress itself is powerless to give some of its power away to two of its secret committees? What if the members of these elite committees who hear and see secrets from the NSA, the CIA and other federal intelligence agencies are themselves sworn to secrecy?

What if the secrets they hear are so terrifying that some of these members of Congress don’t know what to do about it? What if the secrecy prohibits these congressional committee members from telling anyone what they know and seeking advice about these awful truths? What if they can’t tell a spouse at home, a lawyer in her office, a priest in confessional, a judge when under oath in a courtroom, other members of Congress or the voters who sent them to Congress?

What if this system of secrets, with its promises not to reveal them, has led to a government whose spies have intimidated and terrified some members of Congress? What if one member of Congress — Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat — wrote to then-Vice President Dick Cheney and voiced fears that totalitarianism is creeping into our democracy? What if he wrote that letter in his own hand because he feared he might be prosecuted if he dictated it to a secretary or gave it to his secretary for typing? What if he was terrified to learn what the spies told him because he knew he could not share it with anyone or do anything about it?

What if the NSA’s chief apologist in Congress — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat — took to the only safe place in the world where she could reveal what she learned from the spies and not be prosecuted for violating her oath of secrecy and there revealed a secret? What if that place is the Senate floor, and what if, while there, she revealed that she approved of the NSA spying on all Americans but disapproved of the CIA spying on her staff? What if it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the CIA to spy on anyone in the United States — whether private citizen, illegal alien or member of a Senate staff?

What if the equality of the branches of government is destroyed when one of them spies on the other? What kind of a president spies on Congress? What kind of members of Congress sit back and let themselves become victims of spying? What if Congress could stop all spying on all Americans by a simple vote? What if Congress could stop the president from spying on its own members with a simple vote? What if Congress is afraid to take these votes?

What if secret government is unaccountable precisely because it is secret? What if the people’s representatives in government have a moral obligation to reveal to their constituents that the president’s spies are spying on all of us, and they — members of Congress — have not lifted a finger to stop it? Would we all vote differently if we knew the secrets the government has shared with a select few but kept from the rest of us? What if your own representatives in the House and the Senate are lying to you because of fear of the consequences of revealing secrets?

What if the NSA chief claimed to a congressional committee — one of those with which he secretly shares secrets — — that all this spying has stopped 57 terrorist plots? What if the next day he changed that number to three plots? What if he has declined to say what those three plots were? What if a federal judge found that all this spying has not prevented any identifiable plots?

What if all this spying doesn’t work? What if the NSA has too much data about all of us? What if the president knowingly declined to uphold the Constitution and instructed his spies to do the same? What if the NSA is so accustomed to spying on all of us all the time that it lacks the ability to obtain probable cause and to identify the persons upon whom it needs to spy? What if the government’s culture of secrecy and spying has taken on a life of its own? What if even those who started it are afraid to stop it?

What if the NSA missed the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Fort Hood massacre, the Times Square bomber, the Boston Marathon bombers, the coup in Kiev and the Russian invasion of Ukraine? What if the NSA wasted its time spying on Aunt Tillie in Des Moines, Iowa, and the pope in Rome and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, instead of Vladimir Putin in Moscow?

What if secrecy has replaced the rule of law? What if that replacement has left us in the dark about what the government knows and what it is doing? What if few in government believe in transparency? What if few in government believe in the Constitution?

What do we do about it?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is an analyst for the Fox News Channel. He has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution.

March 28, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN NEW YORK STATE FROM THE OATH KEEPERS

As you know, the New York Safe Act was passed in the middle of the night by the New York City dominated New York State Legislature and signed by a Governor who would be president, without any input from the people. Who will be safer under this unconstitutional law? It definitely will not be the law-abiding citizens of New York who, if we comply, would have some of our ability to defend ourselves taken away. The law might be better named the NY SAFE ACT FOR CRIMINALS because violent criminals who carry illegal guns will never comply. They have never complied with any gun control laws and they will continue to use all banned weapons with the largest capacity magazines they can get their hands on. Only the law-abiding citizens like us and police officers like you, will now be at a disadvantage, not the criminals.

The origin of gun control in New York State goes back to 1911 when a Democrat State Senator from New York City named “Big Tim Sullivan” pushed for gun control in New York City. He was a Tammany Hall crook and a criminal overseer of gangs in New York City. Sullivan sponsored the gun-control law (later called the Sullivan Act) that mandated police-issued licenses for handguns and made it a felony to carry an unlicensed concealed weapon in NYC. When it passed, ordinary law-abiding citizens were disarmed, which solved another problem for the NYC criminals. It seems that gangsters had been bitterly complaining to State Senator Sullivan and NYC politicians that the victims of their criminal attacks sometimes shot back at them. In other words, the good guys were shooting the bad guys and State Senator Sullivan and other political crooks could not let that happen.

We know that Governor Cuomo and the Democrat controlled legislature arbitrarily came up with their own definitions of what so called ‘Assault Weapons’ are. The definitions were concocted out of thin air by a group of New York City socialists who obviously know nothing about guns. One of the things they identified that makes certain rifles ‘assault weapons’ was if a rifle had a lug on it for a bayonet. Never mind the fact that no person in New York State has been murdered or even assaulted by a person using a rifle with a bayonet attached to it in well over a hundred years. It doesn’t matter to these socialists because they will say and do anything to take our guns. That is and always has been their ultimate goal.

Certain rifles legally purchased in the past by American citizens, who happen to reside in New York State, are now illegal to purchase or sell to another state resident. Why has the New York State legislature concentrated their efforts on turning hundreds of thousands of your fellow New Yorkers into criminals?

The New York State Sheriffs Association and the County Clerks Association have taken positions opposing the NY SAFE Act as unconstitutional, as have 52 county legislatures and over 150 towns and villages in the State. In addition, there are at least 4 lawsuits currently working their way through the court system. All of these lawsuits have identified specific sections of the NY SAFE Act that are violations of both the New York State Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. All of these organizations have called for either amending the bill or called for the outright repeal of the law in order to start over with some input from the people.

Unfortunately, the Governor and the socialist leaders in the state legislature do not seem to have taken any notice of the growing opposition to this unconstitutional legislation by law-abiding gun owners in New York State. Even before the passage of this horrendous piece of unconstitutional law, members of our OATH KEEPERS organization had been in contact with individual active duty police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers and other law enforcement professionals like yourself throughout New York asking them to remember their Oaths to the U.S. and New York State Constitutions and to “Stand Down” if they are ever asked to enforce any unconstitutional laws. Our contacts have been very positive and we now count many active duty police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers and correction officers among our ranks.

Back in 2013, the Obama Administration sent out the Metropolitan DC and federal police to forcefully remove or arrest aging WWII military veterans from their own monuments. The police were out in force wearing riot helmets. When the veterans and their supporters refused orders from the police to disperse or to discontinue their dismantling of park service barricades, the police officers honored their oaths to the constitution and simply “stood down” and allowed the veterans to visit the memorials.

First and foremost, the veterans were peaceful and did not represent a public safety threat. They simply made a strong First Amendment constitutional stand against the decision of a socialist American president. In a stunning display of disobedience to their department superiors, the police honored their oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and made a conscious decision to stand down rather than use physical force against their fellow American citizens.

Recently in Connecticut, the state notified gun owners who have not complied with their unconstitutional gun registration laws that they must surrender their semi-automatic rifles or risk being arrested for a felony. How does turning 300,000 plus law-abiding citizens into criminals overnight, happen in America?

Here in New York, our socialist Governor who would be president finally made the overt move to start taking our guns. We know that it is our guns that are the only things standing in the way of these anti-Liberty political thugs ultimately taking all of our unalienable rights. Remember our rights come from God, not from any government. Our rights existed long before the constitution was written and our rights are supposed to be protected by the Constitution and our elected officials, not taken away by them. New York State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Barack Hussein Obama are following in the footsteps of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Mussolini and Hitler who all used gun registration to eventually confiscate the guns of people who disagreed with their political philosophies. The socialist “Enemies within America” have wanted to confiscate our guns for a long time.

New York’s own socialist U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has said: “We’re going to hammer guns on the anvil of relentless legislative strategy! We’re going to beat guns into submission!” Senator Diane Feinstein has said: “If I could ban all guns, I would do it.” A little over a week after the Sandy Hook Shooting in Connecticut, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told an Albany radio show audience that “gun confiscation is an option being considered” as part of the NY SAFE ACT legislation. These are just three examples clearly showing the mindset of some current socialist political leaders in America.

The justification used for banning certain types of weapons in New York and several other states has no basis in facts or statistics. In 2011, there were 12,664 murders in the United States. Rifles of all kinds were used in only 323 of these murders. More people were murdered with knives, with blunt weapons like baseball bats and tire irons, or beaten to death with hands and feet, than were killed with rifles. Assault rifles are used so infrequently in homicides that many police departments almost never see them; in 2011, there were nine states that did not have a single murder committed with any rifle. (Source: FBI – Crime in the United States – 2011).

Why didn’t Governor Cuomo and the state legislature ban baseball bats or tire irons because they kill more people in New York than rifles? The facts and the truth mean nothing to these socialists because their overall plan is to take all of our guns, just like Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot.

Taking advantage of any crisis, including the horrendous slaughter of 20 innocent children and 6 of their teachers in Connecticut by a mentally unstable individual who was being treated with mind-altering psychotropic drugs and who stole the weapons he used, is standard operating procedure for the anti-Second Amendment crowd. The socialist politicians in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado decided to use this crisis to advance their anti-Second Amendment agenda. The common denominator in all mass murder incidents that have occurred in our country over the past 50 years are not law-abiding gun owners shooting innocent people. The common denominator is mentally disturbed individuals, wacked out on psychotropic drugs, who are killing people in “Gun Free Zones.”

It’s not that the American socialists like Governor Cuomo want to ban all guns in America. No, they just want to ban those guns owned by those that Adolph Hitler called the “not reliable people.” That means they want to take the guns away from average Americans like you and me. The President, a couple of Governors, Senator Feinstein, former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Ron Emanuel, the Hollywood elite, corporate executives, and all high ranking government officials will still have their guns. They are protected 24×7 by law enforcement officers like you or by private security with guns. Only the average American citizens will be disarmed and defenseless. Taking away our guns will accomplish the ‘political elites’ goal of eliminating our ability to resist their socialist takeover of America and the subsequent loss of all of our individual freedoms and Liberty.

Infringing on the Second Amendment Constitutional rights of law-abiding American citizens is not the answer and these types of gun control measures must be met with serious resistance by the American people. With guns, we are a ‘free people’. Without guns, we will become nothing more than ‘subjects and slaves.’

The rights of the American people, as enumerated in the Bill of Rights, including the right to bear arms, are unalienable. That means that they cannot be taken away by any government, state or federal. The Bill of Rights was included specifically to protect the citizens from their own government. We live in a Republic and as such, it is the people who give the federal and state government their power, not the other way around, and it is the federal and state governments that are supposed to protect our rights, not whittle away at our rights until we have none.

This is not the first time a government tried to take our guns. Back in April 19, 1775, British Troops tried to take weapons from the Massachusetts militiamen and were met with armed resistance by the people. In the years that followed, our Founders made their individual decisions to stand together and take an oath to fight for Liberty and Freedom. They put their lives and fortunes on the line and declared their freedom and independence from the chains and shackles of servitude to the King of England.

Two ancient Greek words, ‘Molon Labe!’ (mo-lone lah-veh) meaning “Come and get them” was the reply of the Spartan General-King Leonidas to Xerxes, the Persian Emperor who came with more than 100,000 of some of the best fighting troops in the world to conquer and invade the little city states of Greece. When Xerxes offered to spare the lives of Leonidas, his 300 personal bodyguards, and a handful of Thebans and others who volunteered to defend their country, if they would only lay down their arms, Leonidas shouted these two words back: Molon Labe! It is the classic example of courage, valor, and defiance of determined individuals in the face of overwhelming odds.

The OATH KEEPERS have adopted this defiant utterance as a battle cry in our war against oppression because it expresses so clearly and simply our defiance of those who would take our arms and our liberty. It signifies our determination to not strike the first blow, but also to not stand mute and allow our loved ones, and all that we believe in and stand for, to be trampled by men who would deprive us of our God-given or natural rights to defend ourselves to suit their own socialist ends.

As stated very clearly in our ‘’Molon Labe!’ pledge, when dealing with the unconstitutional NY SAFE Act, active-duty OATH KEEPERS :

“Will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people or compel registration. The attempt to disarm the people on April 19, 1775 was the spark of open conflict in the American Revolution. It was an act of war, and our forefathers fought back in justified, righteous self-defense of their natural rights. Any such order today would also be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason. Those of us who are still currently serving will not enforce any attempt to register either gun owners or guns, or to ban the sale, possession, or transfer of any semi-automatic rifles, handguns, or full capacity ammunition magazines, which are precisely the kinds of weapons the American people need to defend their lives and liberty.”

New York, like Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado, is now facing a very dangerous time that can flash to bloody conflict in an instant if someone, anyone, does something stupid. So please pay attention, for Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYC controlled state legislature are placing law enforcement officers of New York State in the middle, between free-born American citizens like us on one side and the socialist, political elite on the other.

Please remember that an unconstitutional act of a legislature is void and invalid from inception. It is a legal concept that has been upheld by centuries of American law. An unconstitutional “law” is illegal and thus no law at all and does not have to be obeyed. The people have a right to resist any unconstitutional acts, and it is up to you, the law enforcement officers in New York State, to take every option to avoid inciting unwanted and unnecessary violence by “standing down” and refusing to enforce the unconstitutional NY SAFE ACT. We do not condone violence, but are well aware that something could happen, even by accident, that could turn a NY SAFE Act enforcement incident into a repeat of what happened on the Lexington Green on April 19, 1775 all over again.

Unfortunately for the socialist politicians currently in power, most law-abiding gun owners in New York State ‘WILL NOT COMPLY” with the latest unconstitutional gun grab. The vast majority of gun owners will not register themselves or their guns. We know from experience that registration is the prerequisite to confiscation, which is the prerequisite to dictatorship. We will NOT be treated like convicted sex-offenders just for owning semi-automatic rifles. To comply with this unconstitutional “law” would, in itself, be an act of surrender and submission.

Let us remember that at critical times in the 238 year history of this great country, certain generations of Americans have been called upon to defend Liberty in its maximum hour of danger and need. In 1775, our Founders’ generation was given that honor and privilege as were the generations of Americans who lived through World War I and World War II.

At these and other critical times in our history, brave Americans have taken an oath and stood as one united force against foreign aggressors and our Liberty was preserved. Today in America, our Liberty is once again under attack. This time, however, the attack is not coming from some foreign power – from foreign enemies, but rather it is coming from an enemy within – domestic enemies; from oath-breakers within our own Federal and State governments and from those traitorous individuals and special interest groups who pull the strings of the politicians and the media, like puppet masters from behind a curtain of secrecy, bribery and deception. Make no mistake; the danger to our Liberty is as real today as it was in 1775, 1917 and 1941.

Our Founders repeatedly warned us of the dangers that a free America would face in the future and that the most serious danger to our Liberty would come from within. They also told us that it is not only an honor and a privilege to defend our Liberty, but that it is also our sacred duty to do so, not just for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children. Just as those brave generations of Americans have done before us, OUR generation must be prepared to stand up, take the oath and join together as one united force to defend Liberty in America.

We want to remind all Law Enforcement officers in New York State that you are the last peaceful line of defense for your fellow Americans against the growing socialist tyranny of our own state and federal government. Should the time ever come when you find yourselves in the streets of our cities or in the countryside facing your fellow American citizens who are simply exercising their God-given and constitutionally guaranteed rights to demand their Freedom and Liberty, we ask you to remember and honor your oath!

Please remember that we are your fellow law enforcement officers. We are you and you are us. We are also retired law enforcement officers, active duty members of the military and military veterans, as well as first-responders. We are your brothers and sisters, your fathers and mothers, your relatives, your friends, your neighbors down the street, local firefighters, your local small business owners and millions of other New Yorkers who have never been arrested for a crime, nor have we ever been in any kind of trouble. Now, Governor Cuomo and the state legislature have turned hundreds of thousands of your fellow peaceable and law-abiding New Yorkers into criminal Felons with the stroke of a pen.

We are asking you to honor your oath to the U.S. Constitution. It will be up to you, the rank and file police officer, deputy sheriff and state trooper, to protect the constitutional rights of your fellow New Yorkers. By the time the NY SAFE Act lawsuits work their way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, the war against your fellow citizens might already have begun, unless police officers like you honor your oaths by refusing to enforce this unconstitutional law. We need you to intercede on behalf of your fellow citizens to prevent violence while the courts consider those cases. You need to understand that our socialist Governor and his fellow travelers are sending you into this conflict against honorable men and women who simply will not submit to the tyrannical lust for power by the political oath-breakers.

We sincerely hope that you will do the right thing so that both sides can prevent any injuries and bloodshed, while also preserving our Bill of Rights and our natural right of self-defense that is among the liberties it preserves. We also feel obligated, and honor bound, to warn you, in the strongest terms possible, of the hornet’s nest you may be ordered to whack with a “stick” and the fact that it is now up to you to take the lead in order to avoid violence by putting on the brakes when asked to enforce the NY SAFE Act.

The OATH KEEPERS have also heard from many of your fellow law enforcement officers who tell us they will not go along with the enforcement of this unconstitutional law. They tell us that they will find a way to stand with the people and not to take part in the illegal confiscation of their guns. Hopefully, there will be enough of you to keep your fellow officers from opening the gates of Hell.

The OATH KEEPERS stand shoulder to shoulder with the free people of New York State in defense of Liberty and in opposition to the NY SAFE Act. The OATH KEEPERS are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with all law enforcement officers in the State of New York who are prepared to honor their individual oaths to the New York and U.S. Constitution in defense of Liberty and to protect all New Yorkers’ unalienable right of self-defense for themselves and their families.

The OATH KEEPERS are ready to stand with you and the free people of New York State. Are you ready to stand with us?

For the Republic and the New York Oath Keepers,

William Cooper – NY Oath Keepers President (former US Air Force)

John Wallace – NY Oath Keepers Vice President (Lt. Col. NYSP Ret & US Army-NYARNG)

Dan Devlin, NY Oath Keepers Vice President (Arizona PD Ret & MP US Army)

John Mahoney – NY Oath Keepers Vice President (Sgt NYPD Ret, USMC & Special Forces US Army, Ret)

This open letter was posted on March 27, 2014 and can be found here – http://www.LibertyNewsOnLine.com/article_301_35130.php

March 27, 2014

Outing Turkey’s ‘false flag’ operation by attacking the historic ‘Tomb of Suleyman Shah’

Why would Turkey execute a ‘false flag’ operation on the ‘Tomb of Suleyman Shah?’

To better understand the leaked high level conversations coming out of Turkey today, one needs context; especially me.

First, who the hell is talking in these recorded conversations?

Ahmet Davutoğlu – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hakan Fidan – Head Of Turkish Intelligence Agency
Feridun Sinirlioğlu – Foreign Ministry Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs
Yaşar Güler – Deputy Chief of General Staff

Second, is this new or old information? There does not appear to be any timeline regarding these conversations. So, after a wee bit of research I’ve learned there has been no such attack to date, but, and this is a big but, there has been some recent ‘chatter’ about such an attack via Turkish mouthpieces. So, I’m thinking it is safe to assume these leaked conversations happened recently, let’s say in the last six or so months.

Why? Because, the article below mentioning an attack on the “Tomb of Suleyman Shah,” the grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman, has only happened recently. The article is dated 14 March 2014 –

Turkey warns to retaliate if historic tomb in Syria attacked

It has been three year that the war on Syria has started but it is thought- provoking that the damage to Tomb of Suleyman Shah happened nowadays… It it an excuse for intervention? Why now? At the time of Israeli agression on Gaza and Lebanon…

Turkey warned Friday to retaliate “in kind” if a historic tomb that it controls inside war-torn Syria came under attack. “Any kind of attack, be it from radical groups … will be retaliated in kind and Turkey will take any measures to defend its homeland without any hesitation,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

The Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman, is located in the city of Aleppo.

The area is 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Turkish/Syria border remains Turkish territory under a 1921 treaty signed between France and Turkey. It is guarded by Turkish soldiers and flies the Turkish flag.

The foreign minister’s comments came after local media reported that Turkey put its military on alert against any threat from foreign backed terrorist groups to the tomb.

Approximately 25 Turkish soldiers on guard around the Tomb of Suleyman Shah were ordered to retaliate in case of any attack by the terrorist group of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

“That land is Turkish territory in compliance with international law and under the 1921 treaty, and it is the only Turkish land overseas,” Davutoglu said.

“Turkey has the right to take any kind of measures for its security and stability,” he added.

“The risk has been there since the Syrian crisis first erupted,” a Turkish official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We are prepared for any scenario as always,” the official said, without elaborating.

Another official said: “We are following the issue in its entirety and we are in coordination with the relevant institutions.” http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2014/03/14/is-the-tomb-of-suleyman-shah-an-excuse-for-intervention-to-syria/

Obviously, these leaked conversations catch these Turkish leaders executing a plan to attack their own guarded Tomb, and if attacked would then give them legal grounds to enter into the Syrian proxy war.

With this background, I’m hopeful you will now better understand why these leaked conversations are so critical to the security of both the people of Turkey and Syria. Having Turkey enter the Syrian war under their own orchestrated ‘false flag’ event would serve no one’s purpose other than….hhhmmm. Just guessing, but Saudi Arabia? Possibly Israel?

Below is the video of the Turkish officials conversation along with a full transcript of the call –

Bugünkü Suriye tapelerinin ilk partının İngilizcesi.

ELECTION DRIVEN WAR PLANS – I
PART 1

Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fidan: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”

Yaşar Güler: “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
——–
FIRST SCREEN:

Ahmet Davutoğlu: I couldn’t entirely understand the other thing; what exactly does our foreign ministry supposed to do? No, I’m not talking about the thing. There are other things we’re supposed to do. If we decide on this, we are to notify the United Nations, the Istanbul Consulate of the Syrian regime, right?

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: But if we decide on an operation in there, it should create a shocking effect. I mean, if we are going to do so. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but regardless of what we decide, I don’t think it’d be appropriate to notify anyone beforehand.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: OK, but we’re gonna have to prepare somehow. To avoid any shorts on regarding international law. I just realized when I was talking to the president (Abdullah Gül), if the Turkish tanks go in there, it means we’re in there in any case, right?

Yaşar Güler: It means we’re in, yes.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Yeah, but there’s a difference between going in with aircraft and going in with tanks…

SECOND SCREEN:

Yaşar Güler: Maybe we can tell the Syrian consulate general that, ISIL is currently working alongside the regime, and that place is Turkish land. We should definitely…

Ahmet Davutoğlu: But we have already said that, sent them several diplomatic notes.

Yaşar Güler: To Syria…

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: That’s right.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Yes, we’ve sent them countless times. Therefore, I’d like to know what our Chief of Staff’s expectations from our ministry.

Yaşar Güler: Maybe his intent was to say that, I don’t really know, he met with Mr. Fidan.

Hakan Fidan: Well, he did mention that part but we didn’t go into any further details.

Yaşar Güler: Maybe that was what he meant… A diplomatic note to Syria?

Hakan Fidan: Maybe the Foreign Ministry is assigned with coordination…

THIRD SCREEN:

Ahmet Davutoğlu: I mean, I could coordinate the diplomacy but civil war, the military…

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: That’s what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We’re going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there’s no distress there if it’s a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that’s a matter of protecting our land.

Yaşar Güler: We don’t have any problems with that.

Hakan Fidan: Second after it happens, it’ll cause a great internal commotion (several bombing events is bound to happen within). The border is not under control…

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: I mean, yes, the bombings are of course going to happen. But I remember our talk from 3 years ago…

Yaşar Güler: Mr. Fidan should urgently receive back-up and we need to help him supply guns and ammo to rebels. We need to speak with the minister. Our Interior Minister, our Defense Minister. We need to talk about this and reach a resolution sir.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: How did we get specials forces into action when there was a threat in Northern Iraq? We should have done so in there, too. We should have trained those men. We should have sent men. Anyway, we can’t do that, we can only do what diplomacy…

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: I told you back then, for God’s sake, general, you know how we managed to get those tanks in, you were there.

Yaşar Güler: What, you mean our stuff?

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: Yes, how do you think we’ve managed to rally our tanks into Iraq? How? How did manage to get special forces, the battalions in? I was involved in that. Let me be clear, there was no government decision on that, we have managed that just with a single order.

FOURTH SCREEN:

Yaşar Güler: Well, I agree with you. For one thing, we’re not even discussing that. But there are different things that Syria can do right now.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: General, the reason we’re saying no this operation is because we know about the capacity of those men.

Yaşar Güler: Look, sir, isn’t MKE (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation) at minister’s bidding? Sir, I mean, Qatar is looking for ammo to buy in cash. Ready cash. So, why don’t they just get it done? It’s at Mr. Minister’s command.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: But there’s the spot we can’t act integratedly, we can’t coordinate.

Yaşar Güler: Then, our Prime Minister can summon both Mr. Defence Minister and Mr. Minister at the same time. Then he can directly talk to them.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: We, Mr. Siniroğlu and I, have literally begged Mr. Prime Minster for a private meeting, we said that things were not looking so bright.

FIFTH SCREEN:

Yaşar Güler: Also, it doesn’t have to be crowded meeting. Yourself, Mr. Defence Minister, Mr. Interior Minister and our Chief of Staff, the four of you are enough. There’s no need for a crowd. Because, sir, the main need there is guns and ammo. Not even guns, mainly ammo. We’ve just talked about this, sir. Let’s say we’re building an army down there, 1000 strong. If we get them into that war without previously storing a minimum of 6-months’ worth of ammo, these men will return to us after two months.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: They’re back already.

Yaşar Güler: They’ll return to us, sir.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: They’ve came back from… What was it? Çobanbey.

Yaşar Güler: Yes, indeed, sir. This matter can’t be just a burden on Mr. Fidan’s shoulders as it is now. It’s unacceptable. I mean, we can’t understand this. Why?

SIXTH SCREEN:

Ahmet Davutoğlu: That evening we’d reached a resolution. And I thought that things were taking a turn for the good. Our…

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: We issued the MGK (National Security Council) resolution the day after. Then we talked with the general…

Ahmet Davutoğlu: And the other forces really do a good follow up on this weakness of ours. You say that you’re going to capture this place, and that men being there constitutes a risk factor. You pull them back. You capture the place. You reinforce it and send in your troops again.

Yaşar Güler: Exactly, sir. You’re absolutely right.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Right? That’s how I interpret it. But after the evacuation, this is not a military necessity. It’s a whole other thing.

SEVENTH SCREEN

Feridun Siniroğlu: There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places. You said it yourself today, and others agreed… We’re headed to a different game now. We should be able to see those. That ISIL and all that jazz, all those organizations are extremely open to manipulation. Having a region made up of organizations of similar nature will constitute a vital security risk for us. And when we first went into Northern Iraq, there was always the risk of PKK blowing up the place. If we thoroughly consider the risks and substantiate… As the general just said…

Yaşar Güler: Sir, when you were inside a moment ago, we were discussing just that. Openly. I mean, armed forces are a “tool” necessary for you in every turn.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Of course. I always tell the Prime Minister, in your absence, the same thing in academic jargon, you can’t stay in those lands without hard power. Without hard power, there can be no soft power.

EIGTH SCREEN

Yaşar Güler: Sir.

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: The national security has been politicized. I don’t remember anything like this in Turkish political history. It has become a matter of domestic policy. All talks we’ve done on defending our lands, our border security, our sovereign lands in there, they’ve all become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.

Yaşar Güler: Exactly.

Feridun Siniroğlu: That has never happened before. Unfortunately but…

Yaşar Güler: I mean, do even one of the opposition parties support you in such a high point of national security? Sir, is this a justifiable sense of national security?

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: I don’t even remember such a period.

NINTH SCREEN:

Yaşar Güler: In what matter can we be unified, if not a matter of national security of such importance? None.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: The year 2012, we didn’t do it 2011. If only we’d took serious action back then, even in the summer of 2012.

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: They were at their lowest back in 2012.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Internally, they were just like Libya. Who comes in and goes from power is not of any importance to us. But some things…

Yaşar Güler: Sir, to avoid any confusion, our need in 2011 was guns and ammo. In 2012, 2013 and today also. We’re in the exact same point. We absolutely need to find this and secure that place.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Guns and ammo are not a big need for that place. Because we couldn’t get the human factor in order…

http://tl.gd/n_1s15hj6

March 26, 2014

Crisis in Ukraine : Kiev’s government risks a civil war

Below is a translation from an article over at der Spiegel discussing the current make up of the Ukrainian ‘provisional’ governing body and suggestive signs of pending civil war — The T-Room.

Ukraines Ministerpräsident Jazenjuk: "Meine Frau spricht meist Russisch"

By Uwe Klußmann

Right-wing extremists in the coalition , protests in the East : The Provisional Government has the situation in Ukraine is not under control. The experts confirm the input from the federal government. But Premier Yatsenyuk refuses to draw conclusions from his failed policies .

The gesture of the incumbent Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk should act conciliatory . In Russian , the prime minister turned in the past week on television to the residents of the Russian-speaking regions in the south and east.

” My wife speaks mostly Russian ,” said Yatsenyuk and promised the preservation of the annulled by Parliament Language Act , which regulates the use of Russian . The Prime Minister offered a vague ” decentralization of power ” with elections of mayors and city councils ” in the coming year .”

However, the appeal faded effect. On the weekend demonstrated in eastern and southern Ukraine again thousands against the Kiev government and for referenda on the status of their regions. Most people in the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine simply do not believe the promises of the government.

Here, the Cabinet in Kiev has just been appointed a deputy Jazenjuks for those responsible for the ” protection of national minorities.” The flaw: Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Sytsch belongs to Swoboda . At the same extreme right party so their Member of Parliament Igor Miroshnichenko the chief of state television in the past week forced with blows to resign.

With such personnel , the reconciliation of the National Ukrainian West and Russia-friendly East can not succeed. However, does the Prime Minister not one – he holds fast to the coalition with the nationalists. Yatsenyuk assesses the situation also unrealistic : He speaks in the message to the East Ukrainians thereof, in them there is only “artificial conflicts ” that would fomented by ” external forces ” – is meant Russia.

Government against federalism

In fact – the leadership in Moscow encourages doubt about the state television , the Russian forces. But there are Ukrainians who go to tens of thousands against the government on the road.

To the east, ever louder call for a new federal system of the country is from the perspective Jazenjuks only a move Moscow : “More federalism is the first step to destroy the Ukrainian sovereignty ,” he told the ” Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

The problem is the premier but : federalist system on the German model he could even if he wanted to , not enforce his right-wing coalition partners Swoboda . The new “National Guard ” to the Yatsenyuk calls the young Ukrainians , divided the nation . Because the Guard is a rallying from nationalists , especially from the west of the country . In Odessa Russian-speaking young protesters greeted the troops with the cry of ” Traitor ! ”

So drives the leadership in Kiev , the country on the path to civil war . In the Federal Chancellery and the Foreign Office , we now know what risks does the policy of the Ukrainian transitional government in itself. There is circulating an eight-page dossier from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP ), entitled “Ukraine in the midst of crisis.” The analysis determines the total loss of confidence in the leadership in Kiev in the east of the country and warns that “there is hardly representative of the government, with which the majority of the population can identify the eastern and southern regions”.

Presidential elections questionable

The government , according to the dossier had ” devastating message to the residents of eastern regions ” sent and as a consequence in these parts ” little influence ” . The appointment of oligarchs to governors in the east , the analysis , the government undermines their credibility and ability .

The study’s authors doubt whether the 25 for the Can take place in May announced presidential elections. They consider it questionable whether it would succeed in the government “to ensure a level of stability that is sufficient to be able to properly run the election .”

The dossier of the co-financed by the Federal Chancellery foundation is formulated diplomatically. But it concludes a fiasco . The authors analyze aptly that Russian President Vladimir Putin “at any price a consolidation of a Ukrainian government seeks to prevent .”

Only the authors spare their readers the logical conclusion : That the government in Kiev, a conglomerate of pragmatic amateurs , dubious oligarchs and unbridled ultra-nationalists , Ukraine can not stabilize . And that it is so inevitably doomed to failure.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/ukraine-kiews-regierung-ist-zum-scheitern-verurteilt-a-960461.html

March 24, 2014

The Military Industrial Complex Needs a War

America’s corporate media is at it again…stoking fear among the populous. These talking heads live in such a bubble at this point that they don’t get the fact few bother to watch let alone read their propaganda anymore.

You see, they know incessant fearmongering leads to incessant warmongering which then feeds the greedy beast known as the American military industrial (AMI) complex. The AMI complex needs war to justify the trillions spent on staff, weaponry, contractors, research and more. Without war, the trillion dollar machine would shrivel up and all those retired military officers and congress critters would lose their ‘private’ taxpayer funded million dollar jobs.

Of course, losing yours and my hard earned money would be catastrophic for these pariahs so they are more than willing to sacrifice American treasure to satisfy their insatiable greed.

Trust the AMI complex will do whatever it takes to get your attention including staging some sort of horrendous attack on American assets. When this happens, as it most assuredly will, corporate media will go into overdrive and ‘sell, sell, sell war’ but maybe, just maybe, this time they will over play their hands and the American people won’t buy what they are selling. Maybe.

The enemy is shaping up to be Russia with the ground plan currently being laid by NATO to start WWIII. Pay close attention to what is happening in this region including Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. This is where it all starts -

StormCloudsGathering YT link

March 22, 2014

Whew!

Populating this new format from scratch took a wee bit more time than we thought, but we gotter done! Hope you like the new format. We’ve wanted to move toward aggregating for some time now, but didn’t want to do until we felt ready. We’re ready.

Feel free to post or send us links to stories, primarily stories written by alternative news folks, although we will post links from corporate media from time to time. But The T-Room’s primary goal is to turn you, the alt news reader, onto news sites that deliver solid, factually based, first sourced material so you can put those critical thinking skills to work. We don’t know about you but we find it rather condescending to our intellect when corporate media either regurgitates first source material and/or when they simply take a press release distributed by XYZ and try to make it their own. We call that ‘babble’ journalism.

Our goal is to turn the masses onto to solid journalism and as we all know that is happening more and more by independent writers. Help us give them the support they need…send or post links!

We’re ready to roll…

March 21, 2014

The T-Room will be launching our new format Saturday, March 15 ~ We will be down from 8 am till 3 pm EST

Tomorrow is a big day for The T-Room. After five years of studying, researching and learning from so many who thrive in the alternative news world, The T-Room is taking its next logical step toward ensuring you, our reader, receives the most current, factually based and first source news tomorrow, March 15, 2014.

We will be down from 8 am to 3 pm to finish the migration from the soon to be old T-Room format to the new T-Room. We trust you will come to value the new format and share our work with your friends, colleagues, neighbors and family.

See you after 3 pm tomorrow.

The T-Room Management

March 19, 2014

How to rob a bank: William Black at TEDxUMKC

William ‘Bill’ Black is an associate professor of economics and law at UMKC. He has held many prestigious positions, including executive director for Fraud Prevention. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae’s former senior management. He is a criminologist and former financial regulator. [Read more...]

March 17, 2014

The T-Room May Be Down Tuesday from 6 am – 12 pm EST

Due to the number of programming changes being made to The T-Room, there is a chance we’ll be down tomorrow, Tuesday, March 18, between 6 am – noon EST.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but trust when we go ‘live’ with the new format you’ll agree the interruption will have been worth it.

Stay Tuned!

The T-Room management

March 16, 2014

Putin Readout Following Talks w/Obama – 3/16/2014

TRANSLATED: Link to Putin Statement: http://www.kremlin.ru/news/20593

Telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama

March 17, 2014 , 00:30

Tags: foreign policy, United States

At the initiative of the American side had a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Continued discussion of the various aspects of the crisis in Ukraine. Putin drew attention to the inability and unwillingness of the current Kiev authorities to curb rampant ultra-nationalist and radical groups , destabilizing and terrorizing civilians , including Russian-speaking population and our compatriots.

In this context, consider sending to Ukraine OSCE monitoring mission . According to the President of Russia , the activity of such a mission should be extended to all Ukrainian regions .

In connection with the referendum held in Crimea, Putin stressed that its holding is fully consistent with international law and the UN Charter and take into account , in particular, the famous Kosovo precedent . At the same time the inhabitants of the peninsula were guaranteed the possibility of free will and self-determination.

Heads of State noted that, despite the differences in the estimates should work together to seek ways to help stabilize the situation in Ukraine .

U.S. President congratulated the President of Russia on the success of the Paralympic Winter Games and asked to convey greetings to the participants of the competition.

March 17, 2014 , 00:30

March 14, 2014

UPDATE: The T-Room will be off-line today, March 16, from 2:00 – 9:00 pm EST

UPDATE X2: The T-Room will be down today, Sunday, March 16, between 2 pm – 9ish pm. Thank you for your patience. h

UPDATE: We had planned to be down today and tomorrow but need to delay the date for now. Stay tuned. h

The T-Room is making several changes to the current layout of the site. To begin programming the site will be down Saturday from 2:00 – 9:00 pm EST tomorrow, March 15, and again Sunday, March 16, from 2:00 – 9:00 pm EST.

We thank you for your patience in advance while we begin our conversion. We will post a full update next week detailing the changes we will be making to current platform. Stay tuned!

With warmest regards,
Helen Tansey

The T-Room Management

March 6, 2014

The American Political System is About to Implode

Artwork by Jon McNaughton

by Lawrence Sellin

The Obama Administration is in a death spiral, mortally wounded by its own messianic left-wing ideology, naiveté, incompetence, lawlessness and persistent lying. [Read more...]

February 27, 2014

Wikipedia Caught Altering Investigative Journalist Wayne Madsen’s Bio

Editor’s note: Wikipedia recently got caught altering investigative journalist Wayne Madsen’s bio. Wikipedia, the encyclopedic on-line source for many researchers, writers and the curious, is  not living up to the editorial standards they themselves established.  I’ve read more than one account over the years where their editors have been caught altering [Read more...]

February 21, 2014

Venezuelan Protests: Another Attempt by U.S.-Backed Right-Wing Groups to Oust Elected Government?

The Obama administration isn’t only stoking senseless violence in Ukraine but he’s at it, again, in Venezuela. And his administration is backing a right, right, right wing fascist who’s hellbent on returning the country to the oligarchs.

Read the full transcript by clicking – http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/20/venezuelan_protests_another_attempt_by_us

There’s more to the Nuland’s “F@*# the EU” recording American’s need to here

ukraine-protests-feb-19-5

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University spoke with DemocracyNow! to discuss the volatility in Ukraine while re visiting the recording between the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe – [Read more...]

February 18, 2014

Obama’s Eligibility: The Final Word

February 14, 2014

by Paul R. Hollrah

In recent days I have been drawn into yet another debate over presidential eligibility, as specified in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.  Given that Barack Obama has occupied the Oval Office illegally for more than five years, without so much as a whimper of protest from most American voters or the mainstream media, some may feel [Read more...]

February 14, 2014

ENOUGH ALREADY! Police Shoot 80-Year Old Man In His Own Bed!

Militarizing the police who are ‘sworn to serve and PROTECT’ the citizens in their locale is the dumbest damned policy ever known to Americans. They are out of control! Killing an 80 year old man in his own bed is NOT America. What in the hell has happened to our police force?

[Read more...]

February 10, 2014

Willem Middlekoop interview – The Big Reset: War on Gold & the Financial Endgame

Willem Middlekoop is a trader and author of The Big Reset: War on Gold & the Financial Endgame. RTLZ recently interviewed him to discuss both his book and his observations about the current state of world economies, the IMF and the endgame of the US dollar as the world’s currency. [Read more...]

SDRs and the New Bretton Woods, Part 4 – Archaic America and Oil Wars

by JC Collins
Philosophy of Metrics

This is really an old lesson for a new era. At such a momentous time as this, we need to choose the ethos of 1944 over 1914. We need to rekindle the Bretton Woods spirit that has served us so well.- Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the I.M.F. Feb 3, 2014.

[Read more...]

Rubio forewarns of taxpayer bailout for Obamacare

Sen. Rubio recently testified before Issa’s Oversight Committee to highlight Section 1342 of Obamacare, which deals with risk corridors. According to Kaiser Health a risk corridor is

“part of this three-pronged approach to help insurers manage the financial risk of taking all comers, taking everyone who applies for insurance no matter what their health status, while at the same time keeping premiums affordable. The corridors allow insurance companies and the government to share higher than expected costs or profits. Actual claims are compared to the claims that insurers anticipated when they set up their premiums.”

Rubio states in his testimony that the problem with Obamacare’s risk corridors is they are “not a normal circumstance.” [Read more...]

So you don’t believe in chemtrails…

Chemtrails: Raw and uncut with Michael Murphy (Video)

Realizing the powers that be have the wherewithal to listen to your calls or read your emails or the same powers that be are gleefully thumbing their noses at not arresting and putting the the Wall Street cretins on trial who purposely and knowingly crashed not only America’s economy but the entire Western worlds, why would you not believe they are chemtrailing our skies? Because they are and have been for some time now. [Read more...]