When Arab streets exploded with fury, from Tunis to Sanaa, pan-Arabism seemed, then, like a nominal notion. Neither did the so-called “Jasmine Revolution” use slogans that affirmed its Arab identity, nor did angry Egyptian youth raise the banner proclaiming Arab unity atop the high buildings adjacent to Tahrir Square.

Oddly, the Arabism of the “Arab Spring” was almost as if a result of convenience. It was politically convenient for western governments to stereotype Arab nations as if they are exact duplicates of one another, and that national sentiments, identities, expectations and popular revolts are all rooted in the same past and correspond with a precise reality in the present. Thus, many in the west expected that the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, especially since it was followed by the abdication of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, would lead to a domino effect. “Who’s next?” was a pretentious question that many asked, some with no understanding of the region and its complexity.

After initial hesitation, the US, along with its western allies, moved quickly to influence the outcome in some Arab countries. Their mission was to ensure a smooth transition in countries whose fate had been decided by the impulsive revolts, to speed up the toppling of their enemies and to prop up their allies so that they would not suffer a similar fate.

The outcome was real devastation. Countries where the west and their allies – and, expectedly enemies were involved – became infernos, not of revolutionary fervor, but of militant chaos, terrorism and unabated wars. Libya, Syria and Yemen are the obvious examples.

In a way, the west, its media and allies assigned themselves as gatekeepers of determining, not only the fate of the Arabs, but in molding their identities as well. Coupled with the collapse of the whole notion of nationhood in some Arab countries – Libya, for example – the US is now taking upon itself the responsibility of devising future scenarios of broken down Arab states.

In his testimony before a US Senate committee to discuss the Syria ceasefire, Secretary of State, John Kerry revealed that his country is preparing a “Plan B” should the ceasefire fail. Kerry refrained from offering specifics; however, he offered clues. It may be “too late to keep Syria as a whole, if we wait much longer,” he indicated.

The possibility of dividing Syria was not a random warning, but situated in a large and growing edifice of intellectual and media text in the US and other western countries. It was articulated by Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institute in a Reuter’s op-ed last October. He called for the US to find a “common purpose with Russia”, while keeping in mind the “Bosnia model.”

“In similar fashion, a future Syria could be a confederation of several sectors: one largely Alawite – another Kurdish – a third, primarily Druse – a fourth, largely made up of Sunni Muslims; and then a central zone of intermixed groups in the country’s main population belt from Damascus to Aleppo.”

What is dangerous about O’Hanlon’s solution for Syria is not the complete disregard of Syria’s national identity. Frankly, many western intellectuals never even subscribed to the notion that Arabs were nations in the western definition of nationhood, in the first place. (Read Aaron David Miller article: Tribes with Flags) No, the real danger lies in the fact that such a divisive dismantling of Arab nations is very much plausible, and historical precedents abound.

It is no secret that the modern formation of Arab countries are largely the outcome of dividing the Arab region within the Ottoman Empire into mini-states. That was the result of political necessities and compromises that arose from the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916. The US, then, was more consumed with its South American environs, and the rest of the world was largely a Great Game that was mastered by Britain and France.

The British-French agreement, with the consent of Russia, was entirely motivated by sheer power, economic interests, political hegemony and little else. This explains why most of the borders of Arab countries were perfect straight lines. Indeed, they were charted by a pencil and ruler, not organic evolution of geography based on multiple factors and protracted history of conflict or concord.

It has been almost one hundred years since colonial powers divided the Arabs, although they are yet to respect the very boundaries that they have created. Moreover, they have invested much time, energy, resources and, at times, all out wars to ensure that the arbitrary division never truly ends.

Not only does the west loathe the term “Arab unity”, it also loathes whoever dares infuse what they deem to be hostile, radical terminology. Egypt’s second President, Jamal Abdel Nasser, argued that true liberation and freedom of Arab nations was intrinsically linked to Arab unity.

Thus, it was no surprise that the struggle for Palestine occupied a central stage in the rhetoric of Arab nationalism throughout the 1950s and 60s. Abdel Nasser was raised to the status of a national hero in the eyes of most Arabs, and a pariah in the eyes of the west and Israel.

To ensure that Arabs are never to unite, the west invested in their further disunity. In 2006/07, former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, made it clear that the US would cease its support of the Palestinian Authority shall Fatah and Hamas unite. Earlier, when, resistance in Iraq reached a point that the American occupiers found unbearable, they invested in dividing the ranks of the Iraqis based on sectarian lines. Their intellectuals pondered the possibility of dividing Iraq into three autonomous states: Shia, Sunni and Kurdish.

Libya was too broken up after NATO’s intervention turned a regional uprising into a bloody war. Since then, France, Britain, the US and others have backed some parties against others. Whatever sense of nationhood that existed after the end of Italian colonization of that country has been decimated as Libyans reverted to their regions and tribes to survive the upheaval.

A rumored “Plan B” to divide Libya to three separate protectorates of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan was recently rejected by the Libyan Ambassador to Rome. However, Libyans presently seem to be the least relevant party in determining the future of their own country.

The Arab world has always been seen in western eyes as a place of conquest, to be exploited, controlled and tamed. That mindset continues to define the relationship. While Arab unity is to be dreaded, further divisions often appear as “Plan B”, when the current status quo, call it “Plan A”, seems impossible to sustain.

What is truly interesting is that, despite the lack of a pan-Arab vision in Arab countries that experienced popular revolts five years ago, few events in modern history has brought the Arabs together like the chants of freedom in Tunis, the cries of victories in Egypt and screams of pain in Yemen and Syria. It is that very collective identity, often unspoken but felt, that drives millions of Arabs to hold on to however faint a hope that their nations will survive the ongoing onslaught and prospective western division.

Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when Donald Trump demanded his execution for a crime he did not commit.

Nearly three decades before the rambunctious billionaire began his run for president – before he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, for the expulsion of all undocumented migrants, before he branded Mexicans as “rapists” and was accused of mocking the disabled – Trump called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following a horrific rape case in which five teenagers were wrongly convicted.

The miscarriage of justice is widely remembered as a definitive moment in New York’s fractured race relations. But Trump’s intervention – he signed full-page newspaper advertisements implicitly calling for the boys to die – has been gradually overlooked as the businessman’s chances of winning the Republican nomination have rapidly increased. Now those involved in the case of the so-called Central Park Five and its aftermath say Trump’s rhetoric served as an unlikely precursor to a unique brand of divisive populism that has powered his rise to political prominence in 2016.

  Media outlets dare to call Donald Trump a liar, racist and misogynist

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Roy Greenslade

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“He was the fire starter,” Salaam said of Trump, in his first extended interview since Trump announced his run for the White House. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”

It was 1989. The crack epidemic had torn through New York as poverty soared to 25% and the city’s elites reaped the rewards of a booming Wall Street. The murder rate had risen to 1,896 killings a year; 3,254 rapes would be reported in the five boroughs, but only one captured the city’s extended attention and later exposed bias in its criminal justice system and media establishment.

On the evening of 19 April, as 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili, who was white, jogged across the northern, dilapidated section of Central Park, she was brutally attacked – bludgeoned with a rock, gagged, tied and raped. She was left for dead but discovered hours later, unconscious and suffering from hypothermia and severe brain damage.

The New York police department believed they already had the culprits in custody.

That same night, a group of more than 30 youths had entered the park from East Harlem. Some engaged in a rampage of random criminality, hurling rocks at cars, assaulting and mugging passersby. Among the group was Salaam, along with 14-year-olds Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, 15-year-old Antron McCray and 16-year-old Korey Wise. The teenagers – four African American and one Hispanic – would become known collectively as the Central Park Five.

but it was spoiled by amerikkkas pimp isreahell.
In the early days of President Obama’s administration, thousands of American military and intelligence officers worked to develop a plan that could feasibly take down critical infrastructure in Iran, according to a new documentary called Zero Days, which premieres tomorrow. The plan was codenamed Nitro Zeus, and if it had ever been deployed, it would have taken down parts of Iran’s civilian infrastructure, including its power grid, phone lines, and air defenses. The plan cost tens of millions of dollars to design and involved the placement of electronic implants in Iranian computer networks, in case it were ever decided to be implemented.

The New York Times and BuzzFeed News independently investigated the documentary’s claims. The reports claim Nitro Zeus was created as a contingency plan if the US / Iran nuclear negotiations never came to fruition; the US worried Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear arsenal and drag the US into a conflict. The plan was intended to render a conventional conflict unnecessary, or at least minimize it.

Nitro Zeus was reportedly created as a contingency plan


The US also developed a narrower plan that would have taken down Iran's Fordo nuclear enrichment site, the Times reports. The nuclear facility was apparently high on the priority list for the US and Israel after the Stuxnet virus destroyed 1,000 centrifuges and halted activities at the separate Natanz nuclear facility. Fordo would have been more difficult to attack. The US’s plan would have involved the insertion of a malicious worm into the facility’s computer system to cut its power.

The government has yet to clarify its prior offensive efforts or expand on its ability to conduct them. In the wake of the Sony attack, for example, Obama alluded to having retaliation possibilities at his disposal, but didn't elaborate on what exactly the US was capable of carrying out. This reported plan offers one of the most thorough looks at US cyberattack endeavors.

The New York Times reports that all aspects of Nitro Zeus have been shelved for the time being. Iran has already removed two-thirds of the centrifuges in Fordo since an agreement was reached this summer, and it’s banned from conducting nuclear work there for the next 15 years.

#death2thaoppressors #utilluralldead


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the memebers here have jumped from about four to over a hundred lol so go ahead post some news stories and let's interact.

The “Islamic State” is stronger than it was when it was first proclaimed on 29 June last year, shortly after Isis fighters captured much of northern and western Iraq. Its ability to go on winning victories was confirmed on 17 May this year in Iraq, when it seized Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and again four days later in Syria, when it took Palmyra, one of the most famous cities of antiquity and at the centre of modern transport routes.

The twin victories show how Isis has grown in strength: it can now simultaneously attack on multiple fronts, hundreds of miles apart, a capacity it did not have a year ago. In swift succession, its forces defeated the Iraqi and Syrian armies and, equally telling, neither army was able to respond with an effective counter-attack.

Supposedly these successes, achieved by Isis during its summer offensive in 2014, should no longer be feasible in the face of air strikes by the US-led coalition. These began last August in Iraq and were extended to Syria in October, with US officials recently claiming that 4,000 air strikes had killed 10,000 Isis fighters. Certainly, the air campaign has inflicted heavy losses on Isis, but it has made up for these casualties by conscripting recruits within the self-declared caliphate, an area the size of Great Britain with a population of five or six million.

What makes the loss of Ramadi and Palmyra so significant is that they did not fall to surprise attacks, the means by which a few thousand Isis fighters unexpectedly captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in 2014.

That city had a garrison estimated to number about 20,000 men, though nobody knows the exact figure because the Iraqi armed forces were full of “virtual” soldiers, who did not physically exist but whose pay was pocketed by officers and government officials. Baghdad later admitted to 50,000 of these. There were, in addition, many soldiers who did exist, but kicked back at least half their salary to officers on the condition that they perform no military duties.

Yet the outcome of the fighting at Ramadi, a Sunni Arab city which once had a population of 600,000, should have been different than at Mosul. The Isis assault in mid-May was the wholly predictable culmination of attacks that had been continuous in the eight months since October 2014. What was unexpected was a retreat that was close to flight by government forces and, in the longer term, the same old fatal disparity between the nominal size of the Iraqi armed forces and their real combat strength.

A crucial feature of the political and military landscape in Iraq is that the Iraqi army never recovered from its defeats of 2014. To meet Isis attacks on many fronts it had fewer than five brigades, or between 10,000 and 12,000 soldiers, capable of fighting while “the rest of the army are only good for manning checkpoints” – in the words of a senior Iraqi security official. Even so, many of these elite units, including the so-called Golden Division, were in Ramadi, though their men complained of exhaustion and of suffering serious casualties without receiving replacements.

In the event, even the presence of experienced troops was not enough. Just why the government forces were defeated is partly explained in an interview with The Independent by Colonel Hamid Shandoukh, who was the police commander in the southern sector of Ramadi during the final battle. Speaking of what happened to his detachment, the colonel says: “In three days of fighting, 76 of our men were killed and 180 wounded.” Isis commanders used a lethal cocktail of well-tried tactics, sending fanatical foreign volunteers driving vehicles packed with explosives to blow themselves up and demolish government fortifications. Suicide bombing on a mass scale, with explosions capable of destroying a city block, was followed by assaults by well-trained infantry, including snipers and mortar teams.

Col Shandoukh, himself a Sunni Arab, says the root of the problem is simply that neither the Iraqi security forces nor pro-government tribal forces received reinforcements or adequate equipment. He says that the central failure is sectarian and happened “because of [government] fear that, as the people of Anbar are Sunni, mobilising them will threaten the government later”.

He complains that sophisticated weapons are reserved for Shia militias and specialised counter-terrorism units, while the predominantly Sunni Arab police in Anbar received only seven Humvees, far fewer than the number captured by Isis in Mosul.

I am a little wary of Colonel Shandoukh’s explanation that Isis’s victory was thanks to superior weapons denied to his own troops by the Shia-dominated Baghdad government. Lack of heavy arms is an excuse invariably used by Iraqi and Kurdish leaders to explain reverses inflicted on them by inferior forces. But this claim is frequently contradicted by pictures and videos shot by Isis after it has captured positions, showing heaps of abandoned weaponry.

At Mosul last year and again at Ramadi almost a year later, there was the same breakdown in morale among government commanders leading to a panicky and unnecessary withdrawal. In the sour words of General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff “the Iraqi security forces weren’t “driven from” Ramadi, they “drove out of Ramadi”.

Colonel Shandoukh regards distrust between Sunni and Shia as the main cause of the rout. He argues that the people of Anbar, a vast province that makes up at a quarter of Iraq, are “looked at as terrorists by the government; even the Sunni military staff and their detachments are not given full support”. Others blame the corruption and overall dysfunctional nature of the Iraqi state in a country in which people’s primary loyalty is to their sectarian or ethnic community. Iraqi nationalism is at a discount.

A more precise reason for the military disintegration may be that Iraqi army, and this also applies to the Kurdish Peshmerga, have become over-dependent on US air strikes. In Iraqi Kurdistan, Peshmerga respond to Isis attacks by giving their exact location to the US-Kurdish Joint Operations headquarters in Erbil which calls in air strikes. Significantly, it was an impending sandstorm that would blind US aircraft and drones and prevent their use that was apparently the reason why the order was given for Iraqi forces to abandon Ramadi. Colonel Shandoukh says that “without US-led airstrikes, Ramadi will not be recaptured”.

General Dempsey’s ill-concealed anger at the debacle at Ramadi may stem from his understanding that the disaster involves more than just the loss of a single city, but discredits the whole American strategy towards Islamic State. The aim was to use US air power in combination with local ground forces to weaken and ultimately eliminate Isis. It was a policy that Washington had persuaded itself was working effectively right up to the moment it fell apart on 17 May.

Proof of this is a spectacularly ill-timed and over-optimistic briefing given on 15 May by Brigadier General Thomas D Weidley, the chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, as the US-led air campaign to defeat Islamic State is known. “We firmly believe [Isis] is on the defensive throughout Iraq and Syria, attempting to hold previous gains, while conducting small-scale, localised harassing attacks [and] occasionally complex or high-profile attacks to feed their information and propaganda apparatus,” he said.

Gen Weidley revealed that the coalition had launched 165 air strikes in Ramadi over the previous month and 420 in the Fallujah-Ramadi area since the air campaign started, and sounded fully confident that these had stopped Isis’s run of victories.

Keep in mind that on the very day the General was making his upbeat remarks, Isis was over-running the last government strongholds in Ramadi. In other words, whatever the Pentagon thought was happening on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria was wrong. As in Korea in 1950 and South Vietnam in 1968, an enemy that the US military was convinced was on the run had suddenly struck back with devastating impact. The air strikes in the Ramadi area, and a further 330 in and around the Baiji refinery and town, did not prevent Isis concentrating its forces and launching a successful offensive.

The US generals were not alone in their over-optimism. The capture of Tikrit, the home city of Saddam Hussein, by the Iraqi army and Shia militias led to exaggerated assumptions worldwide that Islamic State was on the retreat. On 1 April the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, walked down the main street of Tikrit, basking in the plaudits of his triumphant troops. He later announced that “the next battle” would be for Anbar, a forecast that turned out to correct though not in the sense Mr Abadi intended – since it was a battle decisively won by Isis.

The loss of Ramadi has exposed Western policy for defeating Isis in Iraq as a failure and no new policy has been devised to take its place. If the same thing has not happened in Syria, it is simply because the West never had a policy there to begin with or, put more charitably, in so far as there was a policy, it was so crippled by contradictions as to rob it of any coherence or chance of success (something I will explore in a later article in this series).

The West would like to weaken President Bashar al-Assad, but is frightened that, if he goes, his regime will collapse with him and thereby create a vacuum which would be filled by Islamic State and by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, which leads a coalition of fundamentalist Sunni Arab rebel groups supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Western-backed moderates play only a marginal role among the Syrian opposition fighters. Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, and a long-time supporter of the rebel moderates, changed his stance earlier this year announcing that the reality in Syria is that “the people we have backed have not been strong enough to hold their ground against the Nusra Front”.

Nevertheless, Western policy is to pretend that there is still a “moderate” alternative to Assad, whose forces are ebbing in strength. Both Assad, Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra benefit from the total militarisation of Syrian politics whereby no compromise is possible between the contending sides. A state of permanent war seems to be in their interests, since disaffected members of their own side have no alternative but to fight.

After capturing Palmyra, Islamic State is now threatening Deir Ezzor, a Sunni Arab tribal city, one of the few strongholds still held by the government in eastern Syria. Isis is getting closer to Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, and probably hopes to take it at some point in the future. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Islamic State “has seized more than 50 per cent of Syria and is now present in 10 of its 14 provinces”. It adds that Isis now holds the majority of Syria’s oil and gas fields.

This calculation gives a slightly exaggerated idea of Islamic state control in Syria since its dominance is mostly in the scantily-populated regions of the east. It is under pressure from the well-organised Syrian Kurds, fighting against whom it suffered its biggest defeat when it failed to take the city of Kobani despite a four-and-a-half month siege. On 16 June, Isis lost the important border crossing into Turkey at Tal Abyad after an attack by the Kurds backed by US air power. Earlier this week they were reportedly driven out of the town of Ayn Isa and a nearby military base, just 30 miles north of Raqqa, the Syrian city that is the Isis capital.

Once again, this led to over-optimistic talk of Isis weakening, though it did not try very hard to hold either town as they were encircled by Kurdish troops. As in Iraq, Kurdish willingness and ability to advance into Sunni Arab majority areas is limited so the Kurds will not inflict a decisive defeat on Islamic State. Yesterday there were reports of Isis advancing in other areas.

Isis has more long-term opportunities in Syria than Iraq because some 60 per cent of Syrians are Sunni Arabs, compared to only 20 per cent in Iraq. It has yet to dominate the Sunni opposition in Syria to the extent it does in Iraq, but this may come. As sectarian warfare escalates, Isis’s combination of fanatical Sunni ideology and military expertise will be difficult to overcome.

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and what’s known as the P-5 + 1 group of nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) are scheduled to conclude on 30 June. A ‘framework agreement’ was set out in April, but still at issue is what kind of access inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will have. Iran has agreed to inspections of all the sites it has declared are being used to develop its nuclear power programme. The US insists that any agreement must also address what it calls ‘possible military dimensions’ – that is, allegations that Iran has pursued an undeclared nuclear weapons capability – and is demanding the right to conduct ‘no notice’ inspections of nuclear sites, and to interview Iranian nuclear scientists. ‘It’s critical for us to know going forward,’ the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said in June, that ‘those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way.’ France has said that any agreement that doesn’t include inspections of military sites would be ‘useless’. Iran has been adamant that it won’t allow them and that its nuclear scientists are off-limits. These positions seem irreconcilable and unless something changes a nuclear accord is unlikely.

My first experience as a weapons inspector was in implementing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the US and the former Soviet Union, and I’m a firm believer that on-site inspections should be part of any arms control agreement. As a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, I worked closely with the IAEA to investigate Iraq’s past nuclear weapons programme, and I have confidence in the IAEA’s ability to implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The provisions of the NPT are at the heart of the framework agreement with Iran, and the measures contained in it – which include sophisticated remote monitoring, and environmental sampling at undeclared facilities – should be more than adequate to establish whether or not it has diverted any nuclear material to a weapons programme. The framework agreement also calls for a range of verification measures beyond those required by the NPT. These cover centrifuge production and aspects of the uranium fuel cycle such as mining and processing, and are needed to verify that Iran isn’t engaged in covert uranium enrichment using a secret cache of centrifuges and unaccounted-for stocks of uranium ore. No notice inspections to investigate ‘possible military dimensions’, however, go far beyond anything required by the NPT. The question is whether such an intrusive measure is warranted or whether, as Iran argues, the inspections would infringe its legitimate security interests.

The facts appear to support Iran’s position. Countries subjected to intrusive no notice inspections have to be confident that the process isn’t actually an intelligence-led operation aimed at undermining their legitimate interests. The nuclear framework agreement with Iran doesn’t require the IAEA to accept anything Iran declares at face value, but none of its protocols justifies no notice inspections of military sites. Iran signed the Joint Plan of Action in 2013, and has abided by the verification conditions it required without incident. This track record should count in its favour, especially when you consider the dubious results of no notice inspections since they were first carried out in 1991.


Until the late 1980s, on-site inspections hadn’t been included in any postwar arms control agreements. For decades, negotiators from the US and the Soviet Union discussed different verification measures, including remote sensor monitoring, overflights and ‘national technical means’ (a euphemism for spy satellites). But whenever the US raised the possibility of on-site inspections, the Soviet Union would protest, believing that teams of inspectors visiting sensitive sites would be used as a cover for intelligence-gathering. For the Americans, on-site inspections became a litmus test for judging how serious the USSR was about a particular arms control issue. In July 1987, when the Soviet Union accepted a US plan for verification of disarmament that included an intensive programme of on-site inspections, many American negotiators were taken by surprise. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed that December, and on-site inspections became an essential part of disarmament agreements.

By ratifying the INF treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed that teams of inspectors would supervise the destruction of missiles, conduct ‘baseline’ inspections of all declared facilities and regular monitoring inspections at each country’s largest missile production facility: the Hercules Plant in Utah, and the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant in the foothills of the Urals. Provisions for short-notice ‘challenge’ inspections – which could be at any declared site and could not be refused – were agreed on and implemented without any serious disputes. Mutual fears over the ‘inspector-spy’ gaining access to sensitive military installations soon gave way to mutual respect for the professionalism of the inspectors and the inspected.

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During the 13 years that on-site inspections were in force, both parties were serious about keeping to the provisions of the INF treaty. Proposals – I know of two – to expand intelligence collection by US inspectors beyond what could be observed through serendipity were immediately rejected by the CIA. This didn’t mean there wasn’t any controversy: there was a crisis, for example, over the US installation of an X-ray imaging system known as CargoScan at Votkinsk in the spring of 1990: the Soviet Union was concerned that it might damage the propellant in its non-treaty-limited missiles. But rather than allow their differences to undermine the treaty, both parties continued to refer back to its terms when seeking a solution for any problems. The INF treaty became the template for subsequent arms control and disarmament agreements, whether bilateral (such as the US-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START) or multilateral, such as the Security Council resolutions calling for the disarmament of Iraq in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War. With START, the INF model worked. In Iraq it didn’t.

In the INF model, all inspection procedures were spelled out in the treaty, and what was inspected was determined by data provided by the inspected party. Intelligence played a minor role: the CIA operated two ‘gateway’ facilities – one in Frankfurt and the other at Yokota Air Base in Japan – which provided support for INF inspections. This support was logistical – equipping and arranging transport for the inspection teams – and it was never the intention that CIA intelligence should alter the course of the inspections themselves. Inspections in Iraq were initially supposed to operate in the same way, with Security Council resolutions and Iraqi declarations setting the parameters for on-site inspections. But incomplete data submissions and active concealment by Iraq made the INF model hard to follow. For Unscom, the UN programme to inspect Iraqi weapons, on which I served between 1991 and 1998, the CIA set up a ‘gateway’ operation in Bahrain, with the assistance of the British, Canadian and Australian intelligence services. Intelligence support was available only to those four countries. This led to friction within the inspection teams, and concerns about American influence over what was supposed to be a UN operation.

Two senior Americans at Unscom with considerable experience in INF inspections, the director of operations and a ballistic missile chief inspector, did their best to strike a balance between the UN’s need to maintain its independence and the CIA’s sensitivities over information security. But Iraqi obstruction made it possible for the CIA to criticise both men for being too soft on the Iraqis and having an anti-American bias. In October 1991 Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, demanded that they respond to the CIA’s allegations. The charges against them were refuted, and Powell dropped his inquiry, but by the summer of 1992 both men had been pushed out of Unscom.

The CIA was in a position to make demands because intelligence provided by the US played such an important role in the Unscom inspections. A pair of Iraqi defectors had provided the CIA with information about locations in Baghdad used to hide sensitive documents from the inspectors. A joint Unscom-IAEA inspection team was put together in a rush, the critical mission planning done not by the director of operations or the veteran INF chief inspector but by the CIA. The result was what’s known as the ‘parking lot incident’: in September 1991, the inspection team seized thousands of documents, including some that provided clear evidence that Iraq had an undeclared nuclear weapons programme. The team was led by an aggressive IAEA inspector called David Kay, though it was not really an IAEA operation but a US one: the deputy chief inspector, the American diplomat Bob Gallucci, called most of the shots. ‘The team,’ Gallucci said in 2001, ‘was very, very special … we had a lot of team members with special skills, especially people who knew how to search buildings.’ Gallucci recalled sitting with another inspector, who ‘looked at the fellow who was driving the vehicle, who was one of our “special people”, and he said to me: “He does not look like a physicist.” And I said: “It’s just because he has a really thick neck. Is that what you’re thinking?” And he said: “Yes, that … and the crew cut. Where did you get him?” I answered: “Well, there was an ad in the New York Times.”’ In fact, these ‘special’ team members, trained in ‘close target reconnaissance’ and ‘surreptitious entry’, worked for the Combat Applications Group and the Special Activities Division, better known as Delta Force and the CIA. And after the success of the parking lot incident the US relied on them to conduct all no notice inspections in Iraq. From the American perspective, Unscom now had a model of on-site inspection that worked.


I got my first taste of the realities of no notice inspections in December 1991 at a US-run briefing in an aircraft hangar in Bahrain. My notes from that day: ‘The inspection is like a raid. Surprise, speed and decisive action will carry the day.’ The instructor was a man of military bearing with a non-regulation haircut and facial hair, an expert in what he called ‘sensitive site exploitation’ – the art of rapidly entering and evaluating a room or structure for persons and materials of interest, and securing anything worthwhile. Other members of the team included a number of US paramilitary types, French Marine commandos, various British soldiers of fortune, and the odd rocket scientist, chemist, biologist and nuclear physicist. It could have been a casting call for Mad Max.

When we arrived in Iraq, our convoys of four-wheel-drive vehicles raced through city streets or across the desert, with sensor-laden helicopters and U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft above and high-resolution spy satellites providing further imagery. Later inspections included covert operators whose task was to intercept sensitive Iraqi communications, as well as networks of agents who reported on what was happening in and around the targeted areas. The parking lot incident was the template for these raid-like inspections: highly sensitive intelligence was released by the US on condition that the inspectors would protect the source and make sure they surprised their targets.

But in the summer of 1996, the CIA used paramilitaries assigned to an Unscom inspection team to assist in a failed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein – an action which Unscom had no knowledge of, and would never have permitted – and from then on Bob Gallucci’s special people were no longer made available by the US government. By this time, however, Unscom had significant experience in no notice inspections. By 1997 I had started to run a five-day Inspector Operations Course before each major inspection round. The techniques used in the raids themselves remained fundamentally unchanged, although some new tactics, such as the use of remote cameras, had been added. Team members were instructed in subjects ranging from cultural sensitivity (‘Your behaviour must be beyond reproach at all times’) to attitude (‘You are the Alpha Dog’), along with training in site exploitation, document processing and tactical convoy driving.

Inspectors’ résumés no longer listed work in places like Mogadishu, Khartoum or San Salvador, but rather involvement in Unscom missions that had often turned into intense confrontations between inspector and inspected. The change led to a new ‘inspector culture’ that was alien to all who weren’t part of the tribe. A reporter from Le Monde observed this in action at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which served as the headquarters of the United Nations in Iraq: ‘One lot wore jeans, knocked back cans of beer, played darts and put on deafening disco music. The other group wore ties, sipped gin and tonics, watched CNN news and tried to turn down the volume of the music.’ Inspectors were derided by their humanitarian colleagues as ‘cowboys’, and the humanitarian workers were referred to by inspectors as ‘bunny huggers’.

There’s no doubt that the Unscom cowboys had a bit of an attitude, but it sprang from unfulfilled expectations, not arrogance. Each inspection began like a cup final, only to lose its excitement because of Iraqi obstructionism, external political interference (usually from the US) or Security Council ambivalence – sometimes all three. Team morale remained high, but cynicism crept in: our theme song was U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, and every laptop had a copy of a clip from the movie Spaceballs (‘Find anything yet? We ain’t found shit!’) that was played at the end of each day, as we returned empty-handed to prepare our daily reports.


During my seven years as an Unscom inspector, I worked with the CIA, the Israeli Aman, the Dutch BVD and the German BND. But my closest relationship was with British intelligence. From 1991 to 1996, our dealings were managed through Operation Rockingham, a Defence Intelligence Service organisation that served as a clearing-house for all the intelligence support provided to Unscom by the UK. By 1996 most of Unscom’s leads had dried up and my need for actionable information was such that the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) agreed to deal with me directly. The SIS assigned me a codename – Dark Knight – for use in our correspondence (Richard Butler, Unscom’s executive chairman, was Dark Prince).

The sites for Unscom inspections were originally determined by declarations made by Iraq. In the first statements it provided to the UN, in April 1991, it underestimated its holdings of chemical weapons and ballistic missiles, and failed to acknowledge either a biological or nuclear weapons programme. Unscom was forced to turn to member governments for new intelligence to make up for the information shortfall. The inspection process temporarily revived: information from a defector led to the parking lot incident, which exposed the existence of the country’s nuclear weapons programme; satellite imagery detected a still existing covert missile force; and contracts that documented the purchase of complex growth media for propagating bacteria compelled Iraq to admit it had a biological weapons programme. But even this intelligence had a ‘use by’ date. What was lacking was a source inside Iraq who could update the information provided by defectors. The CIA refused to discuss the agents it might be controlling inside Iraq and how they might be able to help Unscom. SIS was much more accommodating, especially after a meeting I attended at its headquarters in Vauxhall in August 1997. Debriefing reports coming out of the gateway office in Bahrain had highlighted the name of a Special Republican Guard officer who had had contact with the inspection team. It happened that this officer had been in contact with relatives in England, and had expressed dissatisfaction with life in Iraq. SIS had assigned him the codename Ultimate Goal, but since it no longer had a presence inside Iraq, the recruitment effort had gone nowhere.

Enter Unscom. At Vauxhall the SIS official responsible for the Middle East (I’ll call him ‘the Don’) approached me about a matter of great sensitivity. It was my inspection team that had made contact with Ultimate Goal, and I’d spent a significant amount of time questioning him about his role in concealing material from Unscom. ‘Could you arrange for another inspection of his office?’ the Don asked. I told him that I could. The Don then introduced me to an Arabic-speaking junior officer (the Junior Executive), and we hatched a plan. I would get the Junior Executive into Ultimate Goal’s office, and then create a distraction while the Junior Executive conducted a quick assessment of the situation before deciding whether or not to place in Ultimate Goal’s desk instructions on how to make contact with SIS. I ran this by my boss, Richard Butler, when I returned to New York, and to my surprise he signed off on the proposal without any debate. The next month, the Junior Executive gained access to Ultimate Goal while I kept his colleagues busy. I don’t know what the result of the mission was. ‘We won’t be able to tell you if this worked or not,’ the Don had told me. ‘What I can promise you is that if and when we get information that is of use to you and your team, you will get it.’

The continued failure of Unscom to uncover significant proscribed activities and material in Iraq, combined with the political fallout from the no notice inspections, caused Unscom’s collapse in 1998. SIS played a role in the final drama: an agent in Iraq provided information about ballistic missile components hidden in a Baath Party property in Baghdad. The site was due to be inspected in August 1998, but the mission was aborted after the Iraqis ceased all co-operation with Unscom. In December 1998 Unscom tried again to inspect it, prompting a confrontation with Iraq that led to the withdrawal of Unscom and to Operation Desert Fox, a 72-hour aerial assault by the US and the UK. Unscom inspectors never returned. In September 2002, I went back to Iraq to film a documentary about disarmament and visited the Baath Party property in question. The SIS report contained errors in critical details about its layout, bringing into question the source’s credibility; it’s unlikely anything would have been found had an inspection gone ahead.


Unmovic, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, was created by the UN Security Council in December 1999. It was designed to be different from its predecessor, staffed by employees paid by, and ostensibly loyal to, the UN; Unscom had used ‘experts on mission’ loaned from its member governments. Each inspector was required to attend a month-long course of instruction; in February 2003 Unmovic’s executive chairman, Hans Blix, told attendees at one such course that there would be ‘detailed lectures about various Iraqi weapons programmes, about the result of past inspections, about the craft and tools of inspection, the rights and duties of inspectors in Iraq and about the history, culture and religions of Iraq’. An Unmovic inspector, he said, should be ‘driving and dynamic – but not angry and aggressive’; ‘ingenious – but not deceptive’; ‘keeping some distance – but not arrogant or pompous’. Between its creation and the return of inspectors to Iraq in November 2002 Unmovic had nearly three years to prepare. Once on the ground, it conducted 750 inspections at 550 sites. Most of them were routine, familiarising Unmovic inspectors to sites already inspected by Unscom. But there were also no notice inspections of sites that hadn’t been inspected before, based on intelligence provided by supporting governments. The vast majority of these inspections produced no results: the intelligence was either wrong or out of date. But on one occasion it was dead-on: the inspection of the home of Fahel Hassan Hamza, a scientist who in the 1980s had conducted work related to the laser separation of radioisotopes. A cache of three thousand documents was discovered, most of which related directly to Hamza’s work with lasers. It looked as if the Unmovic model had succeeded where Unscom had failed.

Inspectors have remained tight-lipped about the tip that led to the inspection of Hamza’s house. The British government’s ‘Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction’ (better known as the Butler Review), published in July 2004, attributes the intelligence to the UK, and most likely to SIS. According to the Butler Review, SIS had six agents in Iraq at the time. (I can’t ascertain if one of them was Ultimate Goal.) The nuclear-related reporting appeared to come from two of these sources, both termed ‘new’, neither of whom had direct experience in current WMD programmes. The British were more reticent about sharing human intelligence sources with Unmovic than they had been with Unscom. Unmovic’s new ‘independent’ profile meant it was willing only to receive information.

Unmovic’s point of contact for receiving foreign intelligence, the Canadian ex-intelligence officer Jim Corcoran, was cleared to handle sensitive information, but SIS was less confident about the rest of the Unmovic staff or its procedures for transmitting sensitive data into Iraq. When Corcoran met with SIS, they insisted that intelligence had to be carried into Iraq by hand, and that knowledge of each report had to be limited to as few people as possible. Two inspectors – Kay Mereish, a retired US colonel who had worked at the Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland, and Martin Fosbrook, a British biologist – flew back to New York so that Corcoran could brief them, along with Dimitri Perricos, a veteran IAEA inspector who served as chief inspector for this mission, in a secure space, precluding any need for conversation in Iraq of a sort that shouldn’t be overheard. On 14 January the three inspectors returned to Baghdad. Two days later they inspected Faleh Hamza’s house.

On the morning of 16 January 2003 a convoy of white UN vehicles left the Canal Hotel, accompanied by their Iraqi minders in a hotchpotch of civilian vehicles. The convoy crossed the Tigris and arrived in Ghazaliyah, a neighbourhood in west Baghdad, just after nine in the morning. As well as Hamza’s house, the inspectors raided the house of his next-door neighbour, Shakir al-Jibouri, another Iraqi nuclear scientist. Both men were at work, and only their wives and children were at home. The inspectors waited outside for hours while their Iraqi minders tracked down the two scientists and brought them home. Then the inspections began. The documents were found in a wooden box in a cupboard upstairs in Hamza’s house, and Perricos ordered Mereish to take them into Unmovic custody. The Iraqi government protested and a compromise was struck: Hamza would accompany the documents to the Canal Hotel, where they would be copied by the inspectors in his presence, and he would receive a complete copy. The process took hours, and Hamza claims that at one point he was separated from his Iraqi minder and approached by a female Unmovic inspector who offered to take him and his wife out of Iraq so that he could talk to the inspectors without fear of reprisal. Hamza refused, and later complained to the press about the inspectors’ ‘mafia tactics’.

Blix used the seized documents to remonstrate with the Iraqis; he said that they represented ‘a sign that not everything has been declared’. Colin Powell, then secretary of state, cited the documents as ‘dramatic confirmation’ that Saddam was concealing evidence and not co-operating with the inspections. Unnamed Western diplomats went further, and said the documents showed there was ‘ongoing work taking place in Iraq to develop nuclear weapons’. The Iraqi government publicly criticised Unmovic for inspecting a private residence, called the seized documents ‘private papers’, and claimed that their contents were already known to the inspectors, and had nothing to do with the Iraqi nuclear programme. On 14 February Mohammed ElBaradei, then the director general of the IAEA, said that the Hamza documents ‘provided some additional details about Iraq’s laser enrichment development efforts’, but ‘refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq’s laser enrichment programme.’ In short, the Unmovic version of the no notice inspection accomplished nothing of significance but contributed to an already confused story. On the eve of an American-led war that used Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as its raison d’être, the results of the inspections proved disastrous.


The history of no notice inspections in Iraq does not bode well for their use in Iran. Such inspections are intelligence-based exercises. The bulk of the intelligence underpinning the US concerns over ‘possible military dimensions’ comes from the ‘alleged studies’ documents – a series of files the IAEA obtained in 2008 which appear to show that Iran had conducted some nuclear weapons development in 2002 and 2003. Their credibility has often been called into question and the Iranians declare they are fake. There’s good cause, too, to believe that much of the remaining intelligence buttressing the CIA’s case against Iran is flawed. The strange tale of the Iranian physicist Shahram Amiri, whose defection the CIA facilitated in the spring of 2009, serves as a case in point. Amiri was for several years before his defection an American agent-in-place whose reporting was used by the CIA in formulating its assessments on Iran. But his re-defection to Iran in 2010 suggests that he may have been a double agent, calling into question all his reporting to the CIA, before and after his defection. Operation Merlin, in which the CIA attempted to pass on to Iran flawed designs for a nuclear weapon, further undermines the CIA’s credibility as a source of information about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

If they were permitted, where would no notice inspections in Iran take place? There are two sites that the IAEA has publicly declared to be of interest. The first is Parchin, a military facility associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command. The IAEA was granted a ‘managed access’ inspection of the facility in 2005, and found nothing. In 2007, the IAEA claimed to have received new information linking Parchin to a test of a neutron initiator, the device which starts fission in a nuclear warhead, and asked to visit the site again. Iran has refused on the grounds that the basis for such an inspection is flawed. Robert Kelley, a former IAEA inspector, agreed: ‘The allegations that Iran carried out hydrodynamic experiments related to nuclear explosives in a large steel containment vessel [at Parchin] have questionable technical credibility.’ Parchin is a sensitive military facility, and Iran fears that giving inspectors access would lead to an intelligence-driven fishing expedition. The other site of interest is in Marivan, where the IAEA contends that Iran conducted large-scale explosive tests of a multi-point initiation system, which is used to initiate nuclear fission, and in doing so to activate the neutron initiator, in a weapon. The source of this allegation appears to be what Iran justifiably claims is a set of forged documents. In 2014, Iran offered to let the IAEA conduct another ‘managed access’ on-site inspection of Marivan; the IAEA declined.

‘You can’t hang your hat on a single issue,’ Garry Dillon, the former head of the IAEA’s Action Team in Iraq, told me in October 1998. ‘By insisting on investigating every minor discrepancy, regardless of the bigger picture, you’re putting process ahead of substance. In the end, all you’ll be doing is chasing ghosts.’ He was right. In Iraq, the inspection process became a vehicle for creating confrontations that undermined international confidence in Baghdad’s willingness to abide by its disarmament obligation. When Iraq finally told the truth about its weapons programmes, no one believed it. We used to joke about how often we came back from an inspection empty-handed, repeating the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The intelligence about the ‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s nuclear programme is of questionable provenance and most of it is more than a dozen years old. The consequences of failure to reach a nuclear accord with Iran today are too serious for the world to embrace a process that has been so controversial while having so little impact on legitimate disarmament. This is especially true when the inspected party, as is the case with Iran, has agreed to implement stringent verification measures and has a proven track record of abiding by them. Iran has been put in the impossible position of having to prove a negative. If it accepts inspections based on allegations it knows to be baseless, then it’s opening itself up to an endless cycle of foreign intrusion into its military and security infrastructure, and the inability of inspectors to discover something of relevance will only reinforce the belief that something is being hidden. We saw this happen before in Iraq, and the end result was a war based on flawed intelligence and baseless accusations that left many thousands dead and a region in turmoil.

The think tank New America issued a report today documenting “the lethal terrorist incidents in the United States since 9/11.” It found that a total of 26 Americans have been killed by “deadly jihadist attacks” in the last 14 years, while almost double that number — 48 — have been killed by “deadly right wing attacks.” The significance of that finding was well-captured by the New York Times’s online home page caption today, promoting the paper’s article that included this quote from Terrorism Professor John Horgan: “There’s an acceptance now of the idea that the threat from jihadi terrorism in the United States has been overblown.”

That the U.S. government, media and various anti-Muslim polemicists relentlessly, aggressively exaggerate “the terror threat” generally and the menace of Muslims specifically requires no studies to see. It’s confirmed by people’s everyday experiences. On the list of threats that Americans wake up and worry about every morning, is there anyone beyond hypnotic Sean Hannity viewers for whom “terrorism by radical Islam” is high on the list?

To believe the prevailing U.S. government/media narrative is to believe that radical Islam poses some sort of grave threat to the safety of American families. The fearmongering works not because it resonates in people’s daily experiences and observations: it plainly does not. It works because it’s grounded in tribalistic appeals (our tribe is better than that one over there) and the Otherizing of the marginalized (those people over there are not just different but inferior): historically very potent tactics of manipulation and propaganda. Add to that all the pragmatic benefits from maintaining this Scary Muslim mythology — the power, profit and policy advancement it enables for numerous factions — and it’s not hard to see why it’s been so easily sustained despite being so patently false.
It’s literally hard to overstate how trivial the risk of “radical Islam” is to the average American. So consider this:

(Sources: deaths from traffic accidents; deaths from bees; deaths from lightning; deaths from furniture; deaths from right-wing extremists)

If anything, the chart severely understates how exaggerated the threat is, since it compares the total number of deaths caused by “Muslim extremists” over the past 14 years to the number of deaths caused daily or annually by threats widely regarded as insignificant. This is the “threat” in whose name the U.S. and its Western allies have radically reduced basic legal protections; created all sorts of dangerous precedents for invasions, detentions and targeted killings; and generally driven themselves to a state of collective hysteria and manipulation.


The mindset that is common to U.S. troops serving overseas is that they are all doing it for America, for us, for our rights and  freedoms, for our safety and security. They’ll all tell you that they are doing it because they love their country.

There’s one big problem with that mindset, however. The truth is that the troops, through what they’re doing over there, are indirectly destroying our country, our rights and freedoms, our safety and security, and our economic well-being.

Ever since 9/11 and even before, the troops have been killing and maiming people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The numbers of people killed and maimed reach into the hundreds of thousands. Only a very tiny minority of those who have been killed or maimed had anything to do with 9/11 attacks. Most of the people killed or maimed just wanted to rid their lands of U.S. troops and U.S. bureaucrats or just happened to be near someone who was being targeted by the troops.

All that killing, maiming, torture, humiliation, and destruction has made people in that part of the world angry at the United States. A certain percentage of them have decided to respond with violence in the form of terrorism.

The hope of U.S. officials has always been that in the process of killing and maiming all those people, the troops would end up killing all those who wished to respond to the violence being inflicted on them with retaliatory violence.

That hasn’t worked out as U.S. officials had hoped, which is why the U.S. government’s war on terrorism is described as perpetual — or at least much longer than the national-security state’s 45-year-old war on communism. The more people the troops killed and maimed, the greater the number of people within that sector of society who desired to respond with terrorist violence. One might say that the troops, by virtue of what they do over there, have become the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history.

So, given the ongoing, perpetual terrorist threat from people who became angry over what the troops were doing, U.S. officials felt that they needed to take steps to keep us “safe and secure” here at home.

And that’s where the destruction of our rights and freedoms comes into play. In the process of “keeping us safe” from the terrorist threat that the troops have created through their killing and maiming people over there, U.S. officials embarked on a program that destroys the freedom, privacy, and well-being of the American people.

Consider the mass surveillance scheme that the NSA has been secretly conducting on the American people ever since 9/11. There is no way to reconcile such a scheme with the principles of a genuinely free society. The NSA’s secret surveillance scheme is what communist regimes have. Just look at North Korea, Cuba, China, and Vietnam. They all spy on their citizens and secretly monitor their activities.

So, why does America have a communist-like program here in our country? The NSA will be the first to tell you: in order to ferret out the terrorists before they can come and do us harm. Those would be the people who are filled with rage over the killing, maiming, and destroying that U.S. troops are engaged in over there.

Thus, notice the critical relationship between the troops over there and the NSA’s destruction of liberty and privacy here at home.

Consider the president’s, Pentagon’s, and CIA’s extraordinary post-9/11 authority to round up Americans as suspected terrorists, cart them away to a military dungeon or concentration camp for indefinite detention, torture them, deny them trial by jury and other procedural guarantees, and even assassinate or execute them, all with immunity and impunity.

Once again, those are all features of a communist-run society, not a free society.

So, how is that that the United States has come to adopt such communist-like programs?

Once again, the justification is to “keep us safe.” Safe from what? From the people over there who are angry over what the troops are doing over there. The more people the troops kill and maim, the angrier people get, the greater the threat of terrorist retaliation, the greater the need to keep us safe, and the greater the infringements on our freedom and well-being.

The troops have convinced themselves that they’re over there killing the people who would otherwise be coming over here to kill us. That’s ridiculous. If people wanted to come over here to kill us, they could easily circumvent the troops and come over here and kill us. The fact is that ever since 9/11 and even before, the troops, through their killing, torturing, maiming, and destroying, have been creating the very danger that U.S. officials have been using to destroy our freedom and well-being here at home.

I’ve got an idea. Let’s bring all the troops home from overseas and see what happens. After all, isn’t “defense” supposed to be defense? Switzerland believes in defense and their troops remain home defending the Swiss people. Interestingly, they also aren’t been attacked by angry terrorists.

I say: Let’s copy the Swiss model on defense. Let’s bring all the troops right home and have them defend America from the people that U.S. officials claim are coming to get us.

The troops would end up being totally bored. Americans would quickly learn that no one is coming to get them, any more than anyone is going to Switzerland to get the Swiss. That would mean that there would be no more justification for the NSA, the CIA, the military-industrial complex, and the entire national-security state and their destruction of American liberty through their embrace of communist-like apparatuses and programs. Indeed, there would be no more reason for out-of-control warfare-state spending, borrowing, and taxing, all of which are also destroying our country.

Pentagon denies US strategy to defeat Isis is unravelling

The Pentagon has denied that the US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) is in disarray after a series of setbacks as the war known as Operation Inherent Resolve stretches into its fourth month.

“I don’t believe that we view current events as a major setback to the goals that we’ve set with respect to training and equipping the moderate opposition” in Syria, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman.

Kirby’s remarks came days after an al-Qaida-aligned faction routed one of the Syrian resistance groups on which the US has been depending to anchor an anti-Isis proxy force. The Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, appears now to be allying with Isis, an indication that the Islamist extremist group’s fortunes are rising.

“Obviously, these kinds of developments are certainly not helpful to the security situation writ large, but we don’t view it as a major setback or a major blow to our ultimate objectives,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

Kirby said no decision had yet been made on launching airstrikes against Nusra directly, which would expand the US war against another enemy.

Syrian rebel groups that the US had hoped to align with are criticizing the Obama administration for a de facto alliance with Bashar al-Assad, the dictator whose brutality sparked the gruesome civil war in Syria that is nearing its fifth year. The moderate rebels’ battlefield setbacks and their prioritization of Assad has created an open question about the viability of the planned US proxy force.

The administration insists its opposition to Assad remains ironclad. But Chuck Hagel, the US defense secretary, conceded last week that Assad “derives some benefit” from Washington’s emphasis on Isis. Hagel reportedly urged the White House to clarify its intentions with regard to Assad, which analysts warn is a self-imposed obstacle to building its Syrian proxy force.
Kurdish fighters defend a position against encroaching Isis militants. Photograph: Jacob Simkin/NurPhoto/Rex
Isis has faced stiffer resistance than expected in taking the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, where the US military commander has boasted of taking advantage of the “opportunity” the jihadist army presented. US airstrikes on Isis positions in Kobani occur daily despite the Obama administration’s portrayal of the city as peripheral to its strategy. Yet military officials still caution that Isis may prevail there.

Beyond Kobani, the US war effort, which has already morphed from its initial summer formations, has begun to look dire.

On Tuesday Kirby confirmed that the “vetting process has not yet begun” for the desired proxy Syrian rebel force. While the US has secured facilities to host the training outside Syria, the military has yet to even announce an officer tasked with leading the vetting. Once the training gets underway, the Pentagon anticipates that an initial cohort of Syrian proxy units will take the better part of a year to field, and will total approximately 5,000 fighters, against an Isis force that may command as many as 31,000.

US military officials frequently describe their strategy as “Iraq first”, reflecting what some in the administration suggest is a more realistic ambition, compared to the complexity of the neighbouring Syria conflict. The US has renewed its mentorship of the Iraqi military it built during the 2003-2011 occupation. But the administration is signaling that a counteroffensive to oust Isis from Iraq, led by the Iraqis and backed by US airpower and Iranian-supported Shia militias, will not proceed until spring 2015.
Chuck Hagel, the US defense secretary, conceded last week that Assad ‘derives some benefit’ from Washington’s emphasis on Isis. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
In the interim, Isis appears to be consolidating its control over the western Sunni Anbar province. It has executed over 300 members of the Albu Nimr tribe in and near Hit, an apparent warning to the Sunni tribes that rebelled against its former incarnation, al-Qaida in Iraq, against rejecting Isis rule. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, last week advocated arming the tribes, but suggested that the Iraqi government, still dominated by the Shia, remains hesitant of taking that step.

Election may affect strategy


Tuesday’s congressional elections are likely to have implications for the course of the war. Hagel postponed a planned trip to Asia on Tuesday, partly out of anticipation of testifying about the war and other issues during the lame-duck congressional session that will last through December.

Should Republicans gain control of the Senate, Arizona Republican John McCain will probably become chairman of the influential armed services committee.

A vociferous critic of Obama’s foreign policy generally and his campaign against Isis in particular, McCain favors expanding the war’s aims to overthrowing Assad as a gambit to convince Syrians to back the US against Isis in return. Obama has resisted that step, fearing subsequent US responsibility for a fractured Syria reminiscent of the painful post-Saddam occupation of Iraq.

Other critics of the war effort urge Obama to refine his goals against Isis even further. Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a right-leaning thinktank, wrote in a new paper that the US ought to “define down success” as a marginalized Isis that can no longer conquer or hold territory. Eisenstadt conceded that even that narrowed endgame, which “could take years to accomplish”, would see Isis persisting as a terrorist group.

“The US needs to be forcing an outcome, and we’re not,” said Christopher Harmer, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War.

Harmer said Obama was constrained by the public’s “disinterest in frontline involvement”, but lamented that the US was reacting to crises sparked by Isis tactical initiatives ranging from the siege of Yazidis at Mount Sinjar to the fight for the Mosul Dam to Kobani.

“It’s tactically momentarily relevant and strategically incoherent,” said Harmer, a former US navy aviator.

In what has become a refrain at Pentagon press briefings, Kirby pled for public patience with the war. “I know of no military strategy in history that can be judged after only 90 days,” Kirby said.

In all, nine members of the Islamic State’s top command did time at Bucca, according to the terrorism research firm Soufan Group. Apart from Baghdadi himself, who spent five years there, his deputy, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, as well as senior military leader Haji Bakr, now deceased, and the leader of foreign fighters, Abu Qasim, were incarcerated there, Soufan said. Though it’s likely that the men were extremists when they entered Bucca, the group added, it’s certain they were when they left.

“Before their detention, Mr. al-Baghdadi and others were violent radicals, intent on attacking America,” wrote military veteran Andrew Thompson and academic Jeremi Suri in the New York Times this month. “Their time in prison deepened their extremism and gave them opportunities to broaden their following. … The prisons became virtual terrorist universities: The hardened radicals were the professors, the other detainees were the students, and the prison authorities played the role of absent custodian.”

Many inmates at Camp Bucca were guilty of attacking U.S. soldiers. But many more were not.

It’s a scenario that has long confounded law enforcement: How do you crack down on extremism without creating more of it? From the radicalization of white supremacists in U.S. prisons to Britain’s disastrous bid in the 1970s to incarcerate Irish Republican Army members, the problem is nothing new: Prisons are pools of explosive extremism awaiting a spark.

And at Camp Bucca, there was no shortage of sparks. As news of Baghdadi’s tenure at Bucca emerged, former prison commander James Skylar Gerrond remembered many of them. “Re: Badghadi,” he wrote on Twitter in July, “Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism.” He worked at the prison between 2006 and 2007, when it was glutted with tens of thousands of radicals, including Baghdadi.

Many were guilty of attacking American soldiers. But many more were not — “simply being a ‘suspicious looking’ military-aged male in the vicinity of an attack was enough to land one behind bars,” according to the Times opinion piece. Shadid reported as much in 2009, confirming that many viewed it “as an appalling miscarriage of justice where prisoners were not charged or permitted to see evidence against them [and] freed detainees may end up swelling the ranks of a subdued insurgency.”

In all, nine members of the Islamic State’s top command did time at Camp Bucca, according to the terrorism research firm Soufan Group.

That this subdued insurgency eventually caught fire isn’t much of a surprise. At the height of the Iraq troop “surge” in 2007, when the prison was glutted with 24,000 inmates, it seethed with extremism. Inhabitants were divided along sectarian lines to ameliorate tension, a military report said, and inmates settled their disputes according to Islamic law. “Inside the wire at these compounds are Islamic extremists who will maim or kill fellow detainees for behavior they consider against Islam,” the military report said.

“Sharia courts enforce a lot of rules inside the compounds,’” one soldier quoted in the report said. “‘Anyone who takes part in behavior which is seen as ‘Western’ is severely punished by the extremist elements of the compound…. It’s quite appalling sometimes.’”

Prison commanders such as Gerrond observed the growing extremism. “There was a huge amount of collective pressure exerted on detainees to become more radical in their beliefs,” he told Mother Jones. “… Detainees turn[ed] to each other for support. If there were radical elements within this support network, there was always the potential that detainees would become more radical.”

Camp Bucca provided a unique setting for both prisoner radicalization and inmate collaboration.

But the unique setting at Bucca, which thrust together Saddam Hussein’s Baathist secularists and Islamist fundamentalists, set the stage for something perhaps worse: collaboration. At the prison, the two seemingly incongruous groups joined to form a union “more than a marriage of convenience,” Soufan reported.

Soufan found that each group offered the other something it lacked. In the ex-Baathists, jihadists found organizational skills and military discipline. In the jihadists, ex-Baathists found purpose. “In Bucca, the math changed as ideologues adopted military and bureaucratic traits and as bureaucrats became violent extremists,” the Soufan report said.

From the ashes of what former inmates called an “al-Qaeda school” rose the Islamic State. Indeed, when those inhabitants freed in 2009 returned to Baghdad, The Post reported, they spoke of two things: their conversion to radicalism — and revenge.

As the tide of war rises again in the Middle East, the military’s rank and file are mostly opposed to expanding the new mission in Iraq and Syria to include sending a large number of U.S. ground troops into combat, according to a Military Times survey of active-duty members.

On the surface, troops appear to support President Obama’s repeated vows not to let the U.S. military get “dragged into another ground war” in Iraq. Yet at the same time, the views of many service members are shaped by a deep ambivalence about this commander in chief and questions about his ability to lead the nation through a major war, according to the survey and interviews.

The reader survey asked more than 2,200 active-duty troops this question: “In your opinion, do you think the U.S. military should send a substantial number of combat troops to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces?” Slightly more than 70 percent responded: “No.”

“It’s their country, it’s their business. I don’t think major ‘boots on the ground’ is the right answer,” said one Army infantry officer and prior-enlisted soldier who deployed to Iraq three times. He responded to the survey and an interview request but, like several other service members in this story, asked not to be named because he is not authorized to discuss high-level military policy.

The Military Times survey was conducted online this summer and concluded in August just as President Obama was ramping up the air campaign against the Islamic State group.

As the U.S. expands that air war into Syria and increases the number of U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq — topping more than 1,700 total — service members say their feelings about the crisis and the U.S. response to it haveintensified.

In barracks and staff offices, on smoke breaks and over after-hours beers, troops’ conversations about Iraq have shifted abruptly from reflections on the past to questions about the future that are fraught with concerns about the wisdom and scope of new missions. Troops are raising new questions about why the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011, what went wrong and why.

Many simply wonder why anyone should think the long-term outcome will be any different this time.

“It’s kind of futile in the end — regardless of how well we do our job, the Iraqi government isn’t going to be able to hold up,” Marine 2nd Lt. Christopher Fox said.

Related: Families question loss as new Mideast crisis emerges

And many share the views of one Navy hospital corpsman second class at Camp Pendleton, California, who said his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll on him mentally, physically and personally.

“We’re burned out,” he said.

New pessimism
The dire headlines this summer about the near-collapse of the Iraqi army have fueled a new level of pessimism about the eight-year Iraq War that concluded almost three years ago.

Only 30 percent of active-duty troops surveyed say the Iraq War was “very successful” or “somewhat successful.” That’s down from about 64 percent who expressed positive views in a similarly worded question in 2011 as the war was winding down.

“It’s a kick in the rear because [the Iraqi extremists] are making a comeback and everything I did was for naught. ... Those are some of the thoughts that go through my head,” said Marine Sgt. Darrell Priestley, 39, a combat engineer who deployed to Iraq in 2009.

Related: As airstrikes roll on, Army division HQ will deploy to Iraq

Questions about the value of the eight-year mission in Iraq are reaching the highest levels of the military command.

Responding to a question about morale in a recent interview, Marine Gen. John Kelly said, “It’s certainly an emotional moment for anyone who has ever been there. I’d say to Marines: ‘We don’t get a vote. We go where the nation sends us. Our job is to win — we won.’ ”

To some degree, military opinions track those of the broader civilian world, which also reflect an increasingly negative view of the war. Yet service members are unlikely to question the reasons for invading Iraq in 2003 or the execution of the eight-year combat operation. Instead, they focus their pessimism on the stewardship of Iraq after U.S. troops withdrew in 2011 — both by the Iraqi government as well as the Obama administration, which has essentially taken a hands-off approach to Iraq for nearly three years.

“If you piece all of those together, what you get is a military viewpoint something like the following: We left something like success behind, and since then events since then have wrecked that,” said Peter Feaver, a professor and military expert at Duke University.

“The majority of the military would probably reject the interpretation that, ‘Oh, this was a chimera in 2011, this was fake success.’ I think they would say ‘No, it was real, but it was undone.’ ”

At the center of those debates is the commander in chief, and renewed criticism of Obama for his decision to withdraw completely in 2011. Some military leaders wanted to keep a residual force of 10,000 to 20,000 troops.

At the time, that decision was driven by the Iraq parliament’s refusal to approve a status of forces agreement granting legal protections to U.S. troops. Nevertheless, many service members believe the current crisis in Iraq may have been avoided if Obama was more aggressive about securing approval for a substantive residual U.S. force beyond 2011.

“I know there are other political issues, but for our job, we should have stayed until it was secure,” said Army Capt. Eric Hatch, a logistics officer at Fort Bliss, Texas. “I think we were close to being done [in 2011], but I think we could have stayed another year or two. If you’re going to commit troops to do a mission, you should stay until the mission is complete.”

Go big or not at all
Opponents of an expanded mission fall into two camps. Some troops think the U.S. should simply stay out of the conflagration engulfing the Middle East. But others take a more nuanced view.

One Air Force lieutenant colonel said he supports taking the fight to the Islamic State militants, even if that involves a large number of U.S. combat troops. But he worries that the country’s leadership will not completely see the mission through.

“If we do it halfheartedly, we shouldn’t do it at all,” he said, adding that America should expand its military mission in Iraq “only if we’re committed to complete victory.”

“I’m not hearing that now,” he said. “There’s political fear of blowback for making such a declaration. War, as ugly as it is, should be done in a very overwhelming and clear fashion.”

Troops intuitively understand that final decisions ultimately land on Obama’s desk. And support for Obama within the military — never especially high — has dropped significantly since he took office, according to the Military Times survey. In 2009, 35 percent of service members approved of the way Obama was “handling of his job as commander in chief.” This year, that figure dropped below 15 percent.

That lack of support for Obama may underpin some service members’ views on Iraq today, Feaver said.

“It’s very hard to mobilize the military to follow an uncertain trumpet,” he said in an interview after reviewing the results of the Military Times poll. “If they have doubts about the commander in chief, they are going to have doubts about a major military operation.

“It is possible that the military is making a judgment that while a different president might be committed to a major operation, this president is not — so there is no reason to do one,” Feaver said.

Related: Survey methodology: How we did it

Active-duty members may be more opposed to sending troops back to Iraq compared with veterans of the Iraq War who have left the military, said Yinon Weiss, founder of Rally Point, an online military community where hundreds of members are involved in various discussions about the U.S. military action in Iraq and now Syria.

“Most veterans we see on [Rally Point] are very supportive of boots on the ground,” said Weiss, a former Army Special Forces officer. “I would say with service members, it is much more mixed, in that many question whether the U.S. military has the endurance to potentially open up a new ground front.”

“But [for] those who were in Iraq ... there’s this kind of notion of, ‘We don’t want our previous gains and losses to be in vain.’ ”

That logic doesn’t hold water for Fox, a junior officer and prior-enlisted Marine who deployed twice to Iraq.

“A lot of people have that ‘sunken cost’ mentality — ‘Since we put so much into it, we can’t pull out right now,’ ” he said. “That is not a good argument for anything.”

A Marine four-star general who lost a son in Afghanistan said the renewed crisis in Iraq has led some anguished Gold Star families to ask him a heart-wrenching question: Was their loss worth it?

Gen. John Kelly, the chief of U.S. Southern Command, said he has only recently been asked by those who lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan whether those missions were in vain.

Kelly, whose own son, Robert, died in Afghanistan’s Sangin district nearly four years ago, said the question offers a glimpse into what Gold Star families think about the way the conflicts have played out.

“I think they probably have more right to question what’s going on than any other person in the country,” Kelly told Marine Corps Times in a September interview.

He said military families have done a magnificent job shouldering the incredible burden of war over the past 13 years. He has been to many funerals for the fallen and has visited hundreds of wounded troops in military hospitals. He said the families are always so proud, regardless of the horrific circumstances.

“I never, ever walked into a room with some mom saying, ‘You did this to my kid,’ ” he said. “They always say, ‘We’ll be all right, we’re a good family.’ ”

When Kelly and his son visited wounded troops in a hospital after Robert’s first tour in Iraq, the father of a severely injured Marine went so far as to ask Kelly how he should pay his son’s hospital bill.

“He said, ‘It sure must’ve cost a lot of money to save his life and cut his leg off and move him all the way from Iraq to Germany and then Germany to Bethesda,’ ” Kelly recalled. “I said, ‘There is no bill,’ ” Kelly recalled. “Still he said, ‘No, no, I don’t take charity. I have good coverage from the railroad.’ ”

Now as reports emerge about atrocities committed by the Islamic State group in the Middle East or the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, Kelly said families are pulling him aside at Gold Star events to talk quietly about their concerns.

“Of course, for any parent, it’s not worth it — ever,” he said. “But what do you say?”

Kathleen Cardona, communications director of Gold Star Wives of America, lost her husband in Vietnam over 40 years ago. She said she often addresses questions about whether a loss was worth it.

“Of course this a country worth fighting for,” she said. “It may sound cliché, but we are free because of our warriors. I’m sad mine didn’t come home, but I am so glad there are still those who will try to keep this terror far away from our homes and our children.”

Kelly said his advice for families is to remember that their child chose to join the military for a reason. Many signed up in the wake of 9/11 because they felt compelled to defend their nation when it came under attack.

They weren’t drafted — they chose to do it, he said, noting that even parents should not question one’s commitment to country.

“It’s worth it because he or she decided to join the armed forces,” Kelly said. “I think the message there is that it was worth it to him or her. And we have no right to pass judgment on them. That tells you that none of this has been in vain because it was all entirely up to the child.”

Hi everyone, my name is Roger Ver. I have a feeling I’m going to be preaching to the choir for the most part here, but can I see a real quick show of hands? Who here has wondered and is kind of interested in learning about Bitcoin, but doesn’t know a whole lot about it? Is there anybody that fits into that category? Okay, that makes it real easy for me. I see one guy that maybe was halfway raising a hand. Okay, don’t be shy. But basically I’m going to be talking about Bitcoin, as you may have guessed, and I’ve been saying it for years and years now, and I’m saying it because I don’t think it’s an exaggeration that Bitcoin is really one of the most important inventions ever. It’s really that important.

Bitcoin: Getting Started

It’s easy. There are all sorts of free wallets. The one I recommend is Blockchain.info. It’s easy to buy Bitcoins. There’s all sorts of places you can do that. If you’re from the U.S. or live in the U.S. or have a U.S. bank account, Coinbase.com, again, is fantastic. There are all sorts of places that you can use to spend your Bitcoins. In fact, I even bought my plane tickets to come here to Singapore with Bitcoins. You can buy just about anything at this point. A real question is what can’t you buy with Bitcoins at this point? And there aren’t too many things on that list.

Why it’s so important

Bitcoin, is the first time in the entire history of the world in which anyone can transact with anyone else anywhere in the world, and without asking for permission from any bank or government or politician or any other human being, for that matter. Two people can interact with each other anywhere on the planet without requiring permission from anybody else, and that’s really revolutionary. That’s never existed before, ever.

And the way it works is through this revolutionary invention called the Bitcoin Blockchain or the Blockchain in general, which is a public ledger that allows anybody to see what’s going on and make sure that people aren’t spending the same Bitcoins twice. It’s in an open, decentralized network. Anybody with programming skills can read the software code. If you can’t read it, you can read what all sorts of other people who can have to say about it. So you don’t have to just believe me or any one corporation or entity. It’s out there for the entire world to look at and audit and check. And the same is true of lots of the different Bitcoin clients as well.

I got so excited once I realized the characteristics of Bitcoin make it the best form of money the world has ever seen. And the characteristics of good money are that it’s harder – in Bitcoins’ case, basically impossible – to counterfeit. It’s scarce. There’s a limited supply. We cannot say that about the U.S. dollar or Euros or Yen. Governments can print them at will any time for any reason. Bitcoins are easily divisible. Currently, they can be divided down to a one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin. Homogeneous. All Bitcoins are the same. Each one is tracked individually, but at this point no Bitcoin is considered really to be worth more than any other Bitcoin, which is a characteristic that’s shared with gold.

Durable. Bitcoins are, I guess, more durable than pieces of paper in your wallet or even precious metals for that point. Bitcoins last forever, as long as you keep the information stored somewhere. Talk about easy to transport. You can send a million dollars worth of Bitcoin from Singapore to Moscow or London or South America or absolutely anywhere instantly for free, and it’s impossible for anyone to block you from sending or receiving that payment. Try doing that with a wire transfer or a suitcase full of pieces of paper or gold. You can’t do it. But with Bitcoin, you absolutely can. And with Bitcoin, it’s easy to store. You can keep any amount of Bitcoin right there in your pocket or on any other computing device, or you can even print them out onto pieces of paper. So all of those things together just make Bitcoin really, it’s the best form of money the world has ever seen.

But don’t lose your money

Be safe with your Bitcoins. All that’s required to spend a Bitcoin is the private key. So when you have Bitcoins, make sure that you’re storing that private key yourself. Don’t trust that to somebody else to store for you, unless you feel that you are not capable of doing that and you’re absolutely horrible at computer security, I suppose, or even physical security with pieces of paper. But the big problem, for those of you that are aware, with Mt. Gox recently was a Bitcoin exchange that lost somewhere around 600,000 to 800,000 Bitcoins of other people’s money. The reason that was possible is because other people entrusted them to hold their Bitcoins for them. With wallets like Blockchain.info – the one I recommend – nobody but you has access to the private keys to spend your Bitcoins. So use a wallet like Blockchain.info or Electrum or the Satoshi QT client or Armory or any of these in which you’re storing the private key. If you have any significant amount of Bitcoins, that’s definitely the way to go. Don’t trust other people to hold your Bitcoins is the short version there.

Regulation is changing

I think we saw a real similar picture a presentation or two ago. We’ll see what happens in the future, but at the end of the day, Bitcoin is simply a peer-to-peer protocol. There’s no central office. There’s no central server. There’s no central place that even if all of these countries listed on the map here turn red and didn’t like Bitcoin at all, that wouldn’t stop Bitcoin. The only way to stop Bitcoin would be to shut down the entire internet in the entire world. And lots of people, we hear speculating, “Oh, Bitcoin’s going to be $10,000 or $100,000 or maybe even $1 million for one single Bitcoin. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what price Bitcoin is. You can still use it to send money anywhere in the world instantly basically for free, whether one Bitcoin is worth one penny or $1 million. It still works the same.

The rate of growth of Bitcoin

This is just the stats from one particular website. But you can see just over two years ago there were basically no users of this website. Today, there are over 1.6 million users, and just even a year ago, there was less than half a million users. So we’ve added over a million users in just the last year, and we’re adding new users at the rate of somewhere between 5,000 and 20,000 new users per day, depending on the day of the week.

The Bitcoin price

This is an interesting chart here. I remember back when last year Bitcoin hit around $266. Everybody was saying, “It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble.” They said it again when Bitcoin bumped up over $1,000. They said, “It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble.” And that makes the people that were saying, “Bitcoin’s a bubble at $260 something a Bitcoin,” seem a little bit silly. What unfortunately this picture doesn’t show is if we go way back to 2011 when I first got into Bitcoin, Bitcoins had a similar spike that looked similar to this, but they went from $2 to $32 in the course of about two weeks. And at that point everybody was saying, “It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble.” And before that, Bitcoins jumped up from about 10 cents to $1, and everyone was saying, “It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble.” And I wasn’t involved in Bitcoin even before that though, but you can read the forum posts on the internet when Bitcoins jumped up from around a penny a Bitcoin up to 10 cents a Bitcoin. Everyone was saying, “It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It’s a bubble. It can’t last.”

But the reason we see these price increases all the time are because more and more people around the world are realizing just how incredible of a currency Bitcoin is and how incredibly useful it is for people all over the planet to use to conduct commerce. So I’m sure in another few months or a few years from now, all the people that were saying that Bitcoin was in a bubble when it hit $1,100 a Bitcoin are going to look just as silly as the people who said Bitcoin was in a bubble when it hit 10 cents a Bitcoin. And part of the reason for that is because all of the merchants all over the world that are starting to accept Bitcoin. Some of the most popular shopping websites in the entire United States are accepting Bitcoins. Incredibly, popular shopping websites in Europe are accepting Bitcoins, and probably in Asia as well.

I hear there’s a number of restaurants and shops here in Singapore that accept Bitcoin already. A real interesting website to find places near you that accept Bitcoin is Coinmap.org. You can find physical shops that are near you that’ll accept Bitcoin as well. This graph really is starting to show that Bitcoin isn’t just kind of a curiosity or a technological interesting thing for people to look at, but if we look at it here, Bitcoin is starting to transfer a similar amount of money to some major major payment companies that we’re all aware of. You can see on the particular day that this picture was taken, Bitcoin was between Western Union and Discover for the amount of money sent that day. On some days, you’ll see Bitcoin transfer even more money than PayPal or similar to Discover. And the number of transactions per day too is just increasing, and this picture’s probably a month or so old now since this was put together, but it’s growing over time. And it’s just amazing to see how many more people around the world are starting to use Bitcoin for real payments.

This is taken from Bitcoincharts.com. 1, 2, 3: a list of a number of Bitcoin exchanges around the world. Just a few years ago, when I got started in Bitcoin, when I first found this website, there were maybe three or four exchanges listed on it. Now, we couldn’t even fit all the exchanges in one slide. There’s literally hundreds of exchanges listed here and more and more are coming online every week. So it’s just becoming easier and easier to convert Bitcoins to and from traditional government-issued Fiat currency. And here’s an example of some additional ones. It’s really sad and horrible what happened with Mt. Gox, but I think the whole world is using that as a learning experience and better and more trustworthy and more reliable exchanges are coming on board. And the Bitcoins Blockchain technology allows them to prove that yes, they do actually have their customers’ money, and hopefully people will pay attention.

And my other advice for you is if you’re using a Bitcoin exchange, send your fiat in, get your Bitcoins out, or send your Bitcoins in and take you fiat out. Do not use a Bitcoin exchange as a wallet. You’re asking for trouble in the long term. The amazing part about Bitcoin is that you don’t have to let anybody hold it for you. So if you have Bitcoins, hold them yourself. And the ecosystem is just growing by leaps and bounds. I do Bitcoin full-time every day for over three years now, and every day I’m hearing about more and more new things, and it would be absolutely impossible for any single human being to keep up with all the amazing things that are going on. New clients are coming out all the time. New block explorers, new exchanges, new payment processors. It’s hard to even count – in fact, it’s impossible to count – how many things are just happening all the time, and we’re hearing about some of them here at this conference. And there’s an entire internet filled with people doing additional exciting things and really really exciting things.

Mastercoin, ColorCoins, Ethereum are all based on Bitcoin technology. Incredibly exciting, interesting stuff. If you have time, Google those and read about those as well. And Bitcoin isn’t the only one. There’s a whole slew of Blockchain based related currencies. Here’s a partial list. Obviously, Bitcoin is by far and away the most popular one, but there’s all sorts of interesting other things that people are doing out there. At this point, Bitcoin has a huge, huge, huge lead over the others, but we’ll see which one winds up winning over time. But at this point, Bitcoin definitely seems to be the one with the most momentum and developers and enthusiasm behind it, although the Dogecoin people do have a lot of enthusiasm as well.

The number of start-ups related to Bitcoin

It’s just innumerable at this point. This one particular page lists over 300 start-ups. To be honest, there probably over 3,000 and maybe even more than 30,000. There’s just so many people getting so excited about Bitcoin all over the world because it allows so many things that were never possible previously. And you can see, there’s just a list of all sorts of things. And it’s not just from the U.S. or Singapore or any one country. It’s all the people from all over the world. When they hear about Bitcoin and they understand the properties of Bitcoin, they realize that this is a fundamental world-changing technology. It’s going to change the way human beings interact with each other.

Previously, you needed to get permission from a government or from a bank or some other payment processing company in order to be able to send and receive money with somebody else. Bitcoin totally destroys that system. Now you can send and receive any amount of money with anyone else anywhere on the planet and you do not require permission from somebody else. That’s a really, really fundamental change in the nature of human relationships on the planet. And here’s another list of more companies that you can shake a stick at that are getting involved in Bitcoin. And we don’t know which ones are going to wind up being popular or safe, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that with this much activity, there’s going to be some real exciting things that are going to come of it all including ATM machines are popping up all over the world. I hear there’s quite a number already here in Singapore as well.

Banks are starting to pay attention and actually work with some Bitcoin companies. A number of banks still aren’t that friendly, but Fidor bank in Germany seems to be very friendly towards Bitcoin related things, and Coinbase makes it incredibly easy in the United States. You just link your traditional bank account with Coinbase and you can have Bitcoins right away. My advice is to transfer your Bitcoins from coin base to a wallet in which you control the private keys, but Coinbase is an absolutely fantastic way to buy or sell Bitcoins.

Mobile wallets

It’s hard to imagine or even describe just how quickly things are moving in the Bitcoin space. When I got involved three years ago, there were no mobile wallets. There were none. You could only use it in the core client on your computer. Today, there’s more wallets than any one person could even study or learn about. And if you go on the Android App Store, there are so many Bitcoin wallets there. Take a pick. The most popular one is Blockchain, but Coinbase has wallets. There’s the Andre Chauvin Beguin wallet. Mycelium is another incredibly interesting one. There’s just so many fantastic wallets and developers out there working on that sort of thing that makes it really easy for people to use Bitcoin in their day-to-day lives.

And people are using Bitcoin to send and receive money all over the world. I’m using a PowerPoint slide here, but for anybody who has your computer open at some point, go over to Blockchain.info and it’s mesmerizing. You can see the transactions on the Bitcoin Blockchain happening in real time. And as they scroll by, you realize that these are real people, real human beings, that are sending and receiving money with people all over the world. And there’s a little bit more than one Bitcoin transaction happening every single second to the tune of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars worth of value every single day.

And people just absolutely love to use Bitcoin for philanthropy. People are donating Bitcoins to all sorts of causes all over the world, and it makes it incredibly easy to do so. It makes it incredible safe to do so also. Lots of people in this room are probably fans of organizations like WikiLeaks. Lots of government agencies are not necessarily fans of WikiLeaks. Bitcoin makes it incredibly safe to give to organizations like WikiLeaks without having to be living in fear of a reprisal from whatever government you happen to live under. And I think that’s another fantastic thing that we can thank Bitcoin for allowing.

It allows micropayments

With previous forms of payment, you can’t send and receive small amounts of money with other people. With Bitcoin, you can send very small amounts of money, both on and off the Blockchain. And that sort of thing wasn’t possible previously. Game companies. We’re here at a game conference. Pretty much every single person I’ve talked to that wasn’t here specifically for the Bitcoin conference already knows all about Bitcoin, and they’re already actively considering implementing it into their games, or already are actually implementing it into their games. So it’s just such a natural fit for games, and people who play these games are already used to dealing with online points and credits so Bitcoin doesn’t necessarily feel like anything new to them, even if they don’t understand the underlying technology behind Bitcoin.

And people are placing bets for their Starcraft games in Bitcoin as to who’s going to win. I think that’s really interesting, because you sure can’t place bets as to who’s going to win a Starcraft game with your credit card company or PayPal or any of these other things. But with Bitcoin, anybody can engage in any sort of transaction they want, and they don’t need to ask for permission from anybody. And if you believe people own their own money and should be allowed to do what they want with it, then you should think Bitcoin is great because of that. And lots and lots of people apparently do. It’s getting lots of attention in the media. There’s even a Bitcoin magazine now that’s being sold. Lots of documentaries on Bitcoin. Just a huge amount of attention.

The most important thing

And that leads me to I have just a couple of minutes left, but I want to rant a little bit about the thing that has me the most excited about how Bitcoin is going to change the world for the better. And I’m pretty open about my philosophy. I consider myself a voluntaryist. And that means that I think that human beings should be allowed to do absolutely anything they want, so long as it’s peaceful, and they shouldn’t be allowed to use aggressive violence against anybody else. And I don’t make exceptions for groups of people, and especially not for groups of people who get together and put on uniforms and work in buildings that happen to have flags out in front of them.

And one of the things that really upsets me the most about the world that I live in is I see governments and they have this thing called fiat currency that they completely control. And not only do they control it, but they can print as much of it as they want at any time. And I would be annoyed by that in general if they were using it only for building schools or roads and bridges and things like that. But I’m someone who’s born in the United States and I see the United States government printing money like crazy. And then they use that money to build all sorts of tanks and bombs and airplanes and murder people all over the world. And if you think about it, that’s what war is. It’s a group of people who go and murder other people who they’ve never met and don’t know anything about because another group of strangers in Washington, D.C. or some other capitol told them to do it.

And all that’s being paid for by printing money. And with Bitcoin, because there’s a limited supply, that sort of thing can’t happen in the world if the world is using Bitcoin. And that’s what has me so incredibly excited about Bitcoin, is it’ll prevent governments from being able to just print money at will and then use that to buy tanks and guns and bombs to murder people around the world. And so I see a world in which everybody is using Bitcoin and interacting with each other on a voluntary basis as just a much, much, much happier and peaceful and safer world for every single human being on the planet. And when I realized that Bitcoin has the potential that to become the currency used all around the world, and would have the ability to basically undermine every government on the entire planet’s ability to wage war, I knew I had to get involved and start promoting Bitcoin full-time. And that’s what I’ve been doing for three years, and that’s what has me so excited.

And I think maybe I have one or two minutes left. If anybody has any questions, I’d be happy to answer questions about that. But that’s why I think Bitcoin is going to change the world for the better.


Love Roger. Keep doing what you do. So Roger is also referred to as Bitcoin Jesus for his evangelism, but also his gifting of Bitcoin. When were you given that name?

To be honest, I don’t remember when it first started. I think it happened, I was at a barbeque party and there were a whole bunch of high school kids from the house next door that came over, and I was telling them all about Bitcoin, and they were all excited. And kids understand Bitcoin right away. And I was helping them all set up Bitcoin wallets on their phone, and I gave each of them, I don’t know, a dollar or two worth of Bitcoin. And another person looking on said, “It’s like you’re a Bitcoin Jesus, and you have all your disciples around you,” because these kids were so excited about Bitcoin. I think that’s probably where it started. So thank you all.

Roger Ver has served as the full time CEO of MemoryDealers.com, directly employing about 30 people, and serving happy customers around the world. Over the last decade, under Roger’s leadership, Memory Dealers has grown to become a world leader in the used Cisco memory and networking equipment industry. In early 2011 Roger discovered Bitcoin. MemoryDealers became the first mainstream business to accept bitcoins as payment, and Roger has since become the most prolific Bitcoin related startup investor. Roger has funded the seed rounds for such Bitcoin startups as: Bitcoin Foundation, Coin Lab, Blockchain, Ripple, Kraken.com, Coinapult, OGRR, BitcoinStore, Bitcoin Chipin, and several more.


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I don’t bleed like normal people. *Heres a face you can eat*
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Revenge, Trouble , And Madness. Snakes can no longer move.



Bipartisan duo wants to cut NSA's utilities, ban research at state schools and impose sanctions on contractors

By Steven Nelson
January 7, 2014 RSS Feed Print

    Comment (41)

A bill introduced in California would deny NSA facilities access to water and electricity from public utilities and outlaw NSA research partnerships with state universities.

A bill introduced in California would deny NSA facilities access to water and electricity from public utilities and outlaw NSA research partnerships with state universities.

A bipartisan team of California state senators introduced legislation Monday that would prohibit the state and its localities from providing "material support" to the National Security Agency.

If the bill becomes law, it would deny NSA facilities access to water and electricity from public utilities, impose sanctions on companies trying to fill the resulting void and outlaw NSA research partnerships with state universities.

Companies with state contracts also would be banned from working with the NSA.

"I agree with the NSA that the world is a dangerous place," state Sen. Ted Lieu, the bill's Democratic co-author, said in a statement. "That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government."

[RELATED: New Legislation Would Ban NSA From Arizona]

Lieu said the NSA's surveillance programs pose "a clear and present danger to our liberties."

"The last time the federal government massively violated the U.S. Constitution," he said, "over 100,000 innocent Americans were rounded up and interned."

State Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican, is Lieu's co-author. The California state senate has 40 members.

"I support this bill because I support the Constitution, our Fourth Amendment rights and our freedoms to live in the United States of America," Anderson said.

The bill's intent is largely symbolic. Universities might be affected, but the NSA does not currently operate a large data facility in the state.

A similar bill was introduced in Arizona by state Sen. Kelli Ward, a Republican, in December. Ward described her bill as a preventive strike and a way "to back our neighbors [in Utah] up."

The OffNow coalition of advocacy groups is urging Utah lawmakers to pass their own version of the legislation to override the city of Bluffdale's water contract with the NSA's $1.5 billion Utah Data Center. No legislator has publicly announced they will sponsor the bill.

[READ: Paul's Lawsuit May Be Heard 'In Tandem' With Case That Won Injunction]

The NSA is based in Fort Meade, Md. Its massive phone and Internet surveillance programs – secretly authorized for years by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – were revealed in June by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. A federal judge ruled Dec. 16 the bulk collection of phone records almost certainly violates the Fourth Amendment, but another judge disagreed. As court challenges pend, any substantial federal legislation curbing the NSA likely would be vetoed by President Barack Obama, a supporter of the NSA programs.

The Arizona and California bills are based on model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center, which organized the OffNow coalition with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

"Violations of our basic civil liberties impact us all – Democrats, Republicans and independents alike," Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center said. "For all of our political bickering, Americans rally around certain core principles enshrined in our Constitution. It's fitting that Lieu and Anderson are standing together to defend these values."

The California bill would specifically ban the state and its political subdivisions from "[p]roviding material support, participation or assistance in any form to a federal agency that claims the power, by virtue of any federal law, rule, regulation or order, to collect electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized."

Poll: United States Seen As Greatest Threat To World Peace In 2013
By: DSWright Tuesday December 31, 2013 9:25 am    

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Once again the United States has topped the list in a world opinion poll as the biggest threat to world peace. Apparently the War On Terror has succeeded in making people terrified of us. The disclosures of NSA’s plan for global information awareness by whistleblower Edward Snowden probably did not help things much either.

The poll was conducted by Win/Gallup International which started the global survey in 1977, this year national probability samples of around 1,000 people were surveyed in each of the 65 countries polled, a total of 66,806 respondents.

    The survey of opinions across 65 countries by pollster Win/Gallup International recorded some of the strongest anti-American sentiment, predictably, in countries widely regarded as rivals, led by Russia (where 54 percent of respondents said the U.S. was the greatest threat to peace) and China (49 percent).

    But the view that the U.S. poses the greatest threat to peace was also strongly held in some purported U.S. allies – such as NATO partners Greece and Turkey (45 percent each), and Pakistan (44 percent), which is also a top recipient of U.S. aid.

Pakistan was listed as a distant second among country’s posing the greatest threat to peace overall though it did win top spot among those surveyed in India.
The US also doesn’t have many fans in Latin America and a very mixed impression in the European Union.

    Elsewhere in Latin America the U.S. topped the list of threats to peace for a significant number of respondents in Mexico (37 percent), Brazil (26 percent) and Peru (24 percent)…
    Ukraine, which is often described as being deeply divided between pro-Russian and pro-Western camps, the U.S. did not fare well – 33 percent of respondents choose the U.S. as the greatest danger, compared to just five percent who picked Russia… Germans were more ambivalent, with the U.S. selected as the greatest threat (17 percent), just ahead of Iran (16 percent); as were British respondents, who put the U.S. and Iran in joint first place among threats to peace (15 percent each).

Americans themselves view Iran as the biggest threat to world peace (20%) followed by Afghanistan, North Korea, with 13% agreeing with world opinion that America itself is the greatest threat.
Drone strikes, illegal wars, assassination programs, hacking units – what’s so scary? We’re here to help, promise.
comment on this 26 Comments
Tags: America, World Opinion, United States, peace, Fear, Polls   
26 Responses to “Poll: United States Seen As Greatest Threat To World Peace In 2013”
Alice X December 31st, 2013 at 10:50 am

The (secret) government of the United States is the greatest terrorist organization in the world. It has been so for a very long time.

And it has hardly been a secret to its victims worldwide.

Yet its own citizens are still mostly in the dark.
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eCAHNomics December 31st, 2013 at 10:51 am
In response to Alice X @ 1

U.S. also controls 90% of worldwide narcotics trade.
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newcarguy December 31st, 2013 at 10:56 am

Everybody who is surprised raise their hand………..
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
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newcarguy December 31st, 2013 at 10:56 am
In response to eCAHNomics @ 2

We should. Aren’t we 90% of the customers?????
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kafka December 31st, 2013 at 11:08 am

And the “Greatest Threat to World Peace” is led by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
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Twain December 31st, 2013 at 11:10 am

We are the the world’s bully which has been greatly increased during this administration. I can’t see the future of this but I don’t think it will end well. If we don’t fix this someone else, or maybe lots of nations, will fix it.
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OldFatGuy December 31st, 2013 at 11:23 am
In response to newcarguy @ 4


But actually, no, we are nowhere near 90% of the customers…
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onitgoes December 31st, 2013 at 11:30 am

US citizens are too lazy or too stupid to smell the coffee, and no I don’t give them any slack for being “just too busy.” We’re ALL busy, but it doesn’t take much of an effort to be better informed.

That the USA is the biggest threat to World Peace should come as no surprise to almost any citizen, yet sadly many – from both sides of the aisle – would howl & scream & say it’s not true.

Until USians start seeing the FACTS and TRUTH before their eyes, not much will change unless or until other nations do something… which easily could happen, for better or worse.

I think the Nobel Peace Prize Committee was very very naive & misguided, but I think they awarded that prize to Obomber in the naive belief that perhaps it would guide him to be a better world leader. Sadly, it did not have that effect. Nice try… but: fahgeddaboudit.
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OldFatGuy December 31st, 2013 at 11:32 am

Only 13% of Americans realize the truth. Kinda puts the effectiveness of turning the MSM into a propaganda machine for the state into focus, doesn’t it?

So sad…

But then again, it shouldn’t be surprising when such a large segment of this country doesn’t even realize other much more stark realities like evolution and global warming.

Like I said, it really shows the effectiveness of propaganda.
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onitgoes December 31st, 2013 at 11:39 am
In response to OldFatGuy @ 9

Indeed. For better or worse, the propoganda is very effective, and I see it even with trad-Dem voter friends who don’t own TVs. It’s quite something to behold.

I’m not even sure how to counteract it. Most of my trad-Dem voter friends who are Obamabots refuse to have discussions with me anymore, and believe me, I have tred very very cautiously with them in any type of conversation about the “state” of affairs in the USA. They simply do NOT want to have to believe anything other than their fantasies about how “great” things are and how Obama is vastly “improving” everything… and if there’s anything wrong at all, it’s only the fault of Republicans. It’s pretty pervasive, I’m sad to say.
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gdavidbrown December 31st, 2013 at 11:40 am
In response to onitgoes @ 8

Yeah… I think they awarded him the prize based on his speeches like we awarded him the Presidency. By their fruits you will know them, not by the CO2 they give off.
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gdavidbrown December 31st, 2013 at 11:44 am
In response to onitgoes @ 10

Pretty much the same as the majority of Republican voters. The only difference I see is in the lies each believes.
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OldFatGuy December 31st, 2013 at 11:45 am
In response to onitgoes @ 10

    I’m not even sure how to counteract it.

Yeah, I know. It’s so damn discouraging.

The only think I know (and try) is to just keep on yelling the truth. Yes, some don’t want to hear it to the point of pissing them off, but it still needs to be repeated and repeated.

But it is daunting, and I get so discouraged sometimes, actually most times, that I just give up. But yeah, I don’t know how to counteract it either. Wish I did, or someone did.
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cwaltz December 31st, 2013 at 12:17 pm
In response to Alice X @ 1

I don’t know. 20% of the US responders said Iran but to our credit a good 13% were capable enough to realize that we’re way more of a threat than a country that basically has avoided invasion because it borders Russia(and Russia could and would shock and awe us right back.)
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Cujo359 December 31st, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Clearly, President Obama needs to form a Department Of Public Relations right away. We seem to be getting a lot of bad press lately…
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Cujo359 December 31st, 2013 at 12:37 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 8

    US citizens are too lazy or too stupid to smell the coffee, and no I don’t give them any slack for being “just too busy.” We’re ALL busy, but it doesn’t take much of an effort to be better informed.

There are several reasons I disagree:

- It takes a lot of time when you don’t have much time. People with jobs, kids, and other family obligations don’t have much spare time. Do they have to spend it all becoming “informed”?

- It’s not easy to be informed when you aren’t trained to reason and apply skepticism to what you see and hear, even with access to the best journalism.

- So much of what’s readily available as news these days is either badly reported, or just plain wrong. It’s hard to blame people who only have time to watch TV news for not knowing what’s going on. FI, ABC News did a wrapup of the year’s events of Edward Snowden, though someone called “Batkid” got several seconds.
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tellmewhy December 31st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I know that President Obama has increased the drone strikes, but the US is not even a small threat world peace. What you’re really seeing is jealousy from Country that don’t know the difference between good and evil.

North Korean is by far the biggest threat to world peace, followed closely by Iran. Terrorism is also a threat to world peace, as is antisemitism.
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sapphirebulletsofpurelove December 31st, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Right. We’re out of our fucking minds.

Biggest threats to world peace: a nation that has never attacked any other and two very inward-looking regimes, one run by druglords that we prop up, the other by Uncle Joe wannabes stuck in the 50s and doing all they can to control their own population.
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sapphirebulletsofpurelove December 31st, 2013 at 1:17 pm
In response to Cujo359 @ 16

Seconded. We have to stop seeing our class compatriots as enemies, the problem, to be despised. I’m all Zinn-y lately, being in the middle of a re-read of his stuff.

In his introduction to a chapter on the Carter-Reagan-Bush (I) years:

    Electoral politics dominated the press and television screens, and the doings of presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and other officials were treated as if they constituted the history of the country.
    The distance between politics and the peiople was reflected clearly in the culture. In what was supposed to be the best of the media, uncontrolled by corporate interest-that is, in public television, the public was largely invisible. On the leading political forum on public television, the nightly “MacNeil-Lehrer Report,” the public was uninvited, except as viewer of an endless parade of Congressmen, Senators, government bureaucrats, experts of various kinds.

    On commercial radio, the usual narrow band of consensus, excluding fundamental criticism, was especially apparent. In the mid-1980s, with Ronald Reagan as President, the “fairness doctrine” of the Federal Communications Commission, requiring air time for dissenting views, was eliminated. By the 1990s, “talk radio” had perhaps 20 million listeners, treated to daily tirades from right-wing talk-show “hosts,” with left-wing guests uninvited.

    A citizenry disillusioned with politics and with what pretended to be intelligent discussions of politics turned its attention (or had its attention turned) to entertainment, to gossip, to ten thousand schemes for self-help.

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

This hollowing out of American political discourse didn’t just happen. It’s something we need to find a way to oppose, reverse and correct.
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eCAHNomics December 31st, 2013 at 1:27 pm
In response to tellmewhy @ 17

Cass, is that you? If so, you need to hone your writing skills.

U.S. has used nukes, threatened to nuke Russia on 9/11/01, and almost nuked Iran in 7 or 8/07. Some Smedley Butler type(s) stopped the last one.

There probably are plenty more times when the U.S. came close. Senator Graham even warned of a nuke headed toward SC earlier this year, September.

Not counting the 50+ overthrows of foreign govts since WWII, mucking about in their elections, …

Oh well, list is too long but you understand the point.
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GlenJo December 31st, 2013 at 2:01 pm

So if the world views the US as the greatest threat to world peace, does this mean we “won” the “War on Terror”?

All things being equal, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t make us any safer, has cost us a whole lotta blood and money, and isn’t any good for our economy (in multiple ways).

So can we just stop this whole “War on Terror” BS and do something productive rather than destructive?
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nap66 December 31st, 2013 at 2:32 pm
In response to Cujo359 @ 15

    Clearly, President Obama needs to form a Department Of Public Relations right away. We seem to be getting a lot of bad press lately…

Isn’t the Department of Public Relations the Press?
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stevelaudig December 31st, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Why stop at 2013? Let’s go back to say 1890 and do each year. Sometimes the US wouldn’t be the greatest threat to peace.
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sadlyyes December 31st, 2013 at 8:42 pm

agreed,well mebbe Leopold in the Congo,had us for a little stretch,and the creepy Brits with their German royal family
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sadlyyes December 31st, 2013 at 8:43 pm

just read that more than 1/3 Merkins do not believe in evolution,guess they dont believe in mitosis either
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Alice X December 31st, 2013 at 10:45 pm

History is just one damn thing after another…

timelines to the present noted

US Getting Its Cyber-Ass Handed to It
Posted on November 6, 2013 by emptywheel   

David Sanger has early reporting on a report that will be sure to affect the NSA debate, though it has nothing to do with Edward Snowden. The National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, which has been reviewing our cybercapabilities for two years, has found that we’re losing any edge we have.

The problems?

    [In-Q-Tel founder Gilman] Louie also said the intelligence agencies were heavily focused on the development of offensive cyberweapons because “it is easier and more intellectually interesting to play offense than defense.” “Defense is where we are losing the ballgame,” he said.
    The leader of science and technology for [the Director of National Intelligence] office, commission members said Tuesday, was not aware of some of the most classified research and development programs. They also found that intelligence agencies were duplicating efforts by pursuing similar projects at the same time, but because operations were compartmentalized, few researchers were aware of their colleagues’ work.
    Shirley Ann Jackson, the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found particular fault with the intelligence agencies’ approach, “which involves gathering more data than you need.”

Again, these panel members have come to this conclusion completely independent of the Snowden revelations, but they should well fuel the very questions his disclosures have been driving, because they, like Snowden, show that aggressive Big Data badly organized  won’t keep our country safe.

In related news, there are reports that NSA will be reorganized with Keith Alexander’s departure, by splitting of CYBERCOM from NSA.

    Senior military officials are leaning toward removing the National Security Agency director’s authority over U.S. Cyber Command, according to a former high-ranking administration official familiar with internal discussions.


    No formal decision has been made yet, but the Pentagon has already drawn up a list of possible civilian candidates for the next NSA director, the former official told The Hill. A separate military officer would head up Cyber Command, a team of military hackers that trains for offensive cyberattacks and protects U.S. computer systems.

I think this is the wrong solution (and the anonymous leaks here sound as much like Generals trying to make a bid for turf as it does a real decision).

One of several big problems with our cyber stature is that there is no champion for defending (rather than policing) the US. That means we’ve committed to the same kind of approach we use with terrorists, trying to inflame terrorists we’ve found hints of so we can demobilize them, rather than just trying to harden our vulnerabilities to make it very difficult or unrewarding to attack.

And in inflaming and spying, we’ve been relying on weakening security, so we can see them, which makes the cyberattackers’ job easier.

Moreover there are a lot more real cyberattackers than real terrorists out there, and they can do far more damage than any but the very lucky 9/11 team could pull off. Which means if you miss here, you miss big. Whereas if we spent money on defense, we might be better able to withstand these attacks.

So I still say we need a very well-funded cyberdefense entity (I said put it in DHS, not because DHS is functional, but because that agency should but doesn’t operate under a different paradigm) that will be held responsible for successful attacks.

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This entry was posted in Cybersecurity and tagged Ketih Alexander by emptywheel. Bookmark the permalink.
3 thoughts on “US Getting Its Cyber-Ass Handed to It”

    Rayne on November 6, 2013 at 10:36 am said:

    Louie’s comments are hilarious; either he’s particularly adept at saying we’re fuckups in a politically correct fashion, or he’s ignorant about the risk of blowback due to our concentration on offensive cyberweapons.

    Given his background, I suspect the former, and perhaps he’s gentle because some of the fault lies with folks with his capabilities, but any sting in his comments that might encourage constructive response is either highly sanitized or altogether missing.

    Sanger’s entire article comes across like a rebuke of a poorly-run business rather than the compelling call to immediate action to prevent what I perceive to be a likely catastrophic assault due to our lack of systemic forethought in strategic and tactical cyber warfare.
    C on November 6, 2013 at 11:21 am said:

        Senior military officials are leaning toward removing the National Security Agency director’s authority over U.S. Cyber Command, according to a former high-ranking administration official familiar with internal discussions.

    That is interesting because the shift of many Cyber Command responsibilities to the IC was a major initiative of Gates when he was SOD. Indeed much of the cost savings he “found” in the DOD budget came from simply transferring operations to the DNI control and thus to their budget. At the time the NY Times I believe wrote a glowing report about it but otherwise it was largely ignored. I wonder how contentious it was internally.
    TarheelDem on November 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm said:

        One of several big problems with our cyber stature is that there is no champion for defending (rather than policing) the US.

    There is also the issue, speaking of policing the US, of the FBI and DHS both having defensive cyber missions relative to defending the US, its corporations, and its citizens. And in all of these agencies, the push to see inside communications and to police them winds up creating the very vulnerabilities that can be exploited by others.

    But there is a larger issue of defense that goes to minimizing the incentives of attack. And that is very much a matter of foreign and commercial policy. And of policies that have the effect of forcing large numbers of people into the informal economic sector exactly as those policies make the informal sector highly lucrative. Those who are thinking about cyber policy, like those who are thinking about counter-terrorism policy have institutional agendas that promote high-budget solutions and avoid critical thinking about the larger picture.

    A culture devoted to the value of screwing over people should not be surprised that it is attacked. And every “reform” or “reorganization” seems to want to preserve the ability to continue to screw over people without retaliation. That is the way to very, very expensive solutions.

- See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/11/06/us … HFavS.dpuf

Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. McGovern now works for "Tell the Word," a ministry of the inner-city/Washington Church of the Saviour.

In a recent episode of Reality Asserts Itself, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and TRNN Senior Editor Paul Jay discussed the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and the suppression of domestic dissent.

“What I'm saying is you cannot disconnect the two; that if you seek hegemony abroad, you will violate people's rights at home,” said Jay.  “And if you really want to deal with this issue of the development of a security state that violates people's constitutional rights at home, then people have to also take a stand against this kind of superpower activities abroad.”

“And you're right to point out that some repression internally is often a companion, a handmaiden of what's going on abroad,” said McGovern.  “But I don't see that it needs to be that way.  And I see that with all this that's been happening, you know, if people can unshackle themselves from party affiliation…”
Hegemony Abroad Requires a Security State at Home - McGovern Pt2PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to Reality Asserts Itself.

We are continuing our interview with Ray McGovern, who now joins us in the studio.

Thanks for joining us again, Ray.


JAY: So Ray, in case you don't know, is a former CIA analyst. He's now a political activist. He's--was instrumental in founding the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. He's a cofounder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Thank you. And I know you actually have found some veterans and professionals with some sanity. It's somewhat of a--.

MCGOVERN: And with some conscience.

JAY: You have. I've actually been quite impressed. You know, I got politicized during Vietnam days, and then we had no idea there actually were anyone like you in the CIA.

MCGOVERN: Thanks a lot.

JAY: You were all the bad guys.

I'm going to pick up--part one of the interview I suggest you watch, 'cause I'm going to kind of pick up on something we talked about in part one. You said that the Constitution defends people's rights at home and that should be respected in an ironclad way--my words, but that's what you meant. But you understand the need for adult intelligence abroad, meaning don't do something stupid like spy on Merkel, but you might do something else that's required.

MCGOVERN: That's correct. Yeah.

JAY: I want to push back a little bit on that, which is, with U.S. foreign policy as it is, with the basic mindset of the American elite, whether it's represented by Republicans or Democrats in terms of their leadership, that you will necessarily violate the Constitution at home if you have this mindset abroad.

And let me just quickly--from right after World War II, with the development of Truman and the national security state and the fighting of the Cold War and the beginnings of the fight against national liberation movements and anything that smelled anything like socialism anywhere in the world, you have at home the House Un-American Activities Committee. You have McCarthyism, which, if they had had the NSA kind of spying in those days--and I'm sure they did as much as they could in terms of listening to phones, but they were going after everybody. I mean, they were going--ordinary teachers and union members and actors. And let me emphasize how much it was directed against trade unions to get rid of militants.

Jump ahead. The Vietnam War creates the conditions at home for the criminalizing of dissent, and even to the point of shooting students on university campuses. You know.

Jump ahead. And, of course, I'm missing all kinds of stuff in between. The ambition, objective, which actually gets enunciated most clearly by Zbigniew Brzezinski--if you want to, you know, run the world, you'd better dominate Eurasia, and Brzezinski works for Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. And I'm not saying that Brzezinski was saying anything that a Kissinger wouldn't, a Republican, but the desire to dominate the world, dominate Eurasia, leads to the arming of jihadists in Afghanistan and gives rise to bin Laden, gives rise to 9/11, you know, in terms of not just that thread but the whole issue of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and attitude towards Israel and so on and so on, you wind up getting 9/11, which becomes a whole new rationale for spying on Americans at home.

What I'm saying is you cannot disconnect the two, that if you seek hegemony abroad, you will violate people's rights at home. And if you really want to deal with this issue of the development of a security state that violates people's constitutional rights at home, then people have to also take a stand against this kind of superpower activities abroad.

MCGOVERN: Paul, you don't understand. America is the sole exceptional country in the world, the soul indispensable country in the world. Now, if you know the antonym for indispensable, it's dispensable. Okay? So the rest of you Canadians, everybody else, are dispensible by definition. Okay? The president said that. He said that as recently as just a couple of months ago. And Putin of all places--of all persons says, you know, you ought to be careful giving the impression that your country is so exceptional that it can do what it wants around the world.

Now, the answer to this is that after World War II, that's when we became the sole remaining superpower in the world. Russia was decimated, 30 million people killed. You know, Europe was in ashes. We had to devise a policy. And what did we do? George Kennan, who used to be my hero, George Kennan, head of the policy planning staff at State Department, policy planning paper number one, we comprise--we dominate 50 percent of the world's national resources but comprise only 6.3 percent of its population. Therefore our policy has to be devised in such a way as to maintain this equilibrium. We can't be diverted by thoughts about soft power or democracy or civil rights. The time will come when we have to exert hard straight power.

JAY: Yeah, if you want to consume 50 percent of the world's resources, then you do what it takes.

MCGOVERN: That's right. So that's the policy, okay? And that's 1948. First policy.

Now, what happened? He's instrumental in setting up an intelligence agency that is far from what President Truman wanted, an analysis shop to tell him what was going on in the world, with a clandestine collection part, which would give us some spies to tell us that kind of information. And Kennan says, no, let's put these OSS guys, these people that overturn governments, these people that, you know, can really operate abroad, let's put them in with these analysts. What happens? Well, these operators get all the money and all the attention, and when this upstart, Mosaddegh, in Iran gets this weird notion that the oil underneath the sands of Iran should be--you know, should go to the benefit of the Iranian people at least, and he doesn't realize it all belongs to British Petroleum, well, the British take this by the--you know, MI6 says, okay, you fledgling CIA, you're only six years old; this is what you do. So we--.

Now, was that a smart thing?

JAY: Overthrew Mosaddegh.

MCGOVERN: Overthrow Mosaddegh, yeah. And, you know, BP emerge.

Now, what were the results of that? Well, we know what--the results of that. We can see them today.

So what we have is a sort of myopic view of what the world is like. It goes in four-year cycles, or two-year cycles if you talk about Congress, four-year cycles about what would be good for politicians. And it hinders the achievement of a broad policy that could be based, despite George Tenet's disavowal of this, on a certain degree of altruism. You know? On a certain degree of recognition that we're all in this together. And, God, if we don't come to that now with, what, 7 billion people in the world and resources going down the drain, we'll never do that. But the political cycle makes that very different.

Now, with respect to the intelligence services, you know, this goes in waves as well. After Vietnam, after all those abuses, after Bill Colby, the head of the CIA, to his credit, decided he would be a lawyer and obey the law and testify to Congress about the incredible abuses that took place in the '50s and '60s by the CIA, after the FISA law was put it in in '78, this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibited precisely the kinds of things that NSA is doing now--.

JAY: And it has become a kind of rubberstamp for the NSA.

MCGOVERN: Yeah, now it's become a complete--. So these things do go in circle--in cycles. And I'm hopeful that out of all this, with the help of some of our allies that know what it's like to live under a different kind of regime, you know, know what it's like to live under fascism--let's say the word--that we can come to our senses, and maybe some leadership will come to the top and say, well, you know, President Obama, you know, you think you can't deal with these security types, you don't have the backbone or you don't want to risk the political costs it would take, but you really can, because the American people are fed up with this kind of stuff.

JAY: But there's no reason to think President Obama doesn't share the same mindset. In fact, there's every reason to think he does.

MCGOVERN: Well, share the same mindset of--.

JAY: Which--that the United States needs to project power abroad, and to do so, if you have to curtail rights at home, you do so.

MCGOVERN: Well, you know, I don't know. It doesn't really matter, because even if he thought that, even if he thought the better of that, he doesn't seem to have the backbone implant that he needs to stand up to those.

JAY: Doesn't even articulated anything, any--. He more or less justifies it.

MCGOVERN: Well, his--well, in some of his speeches he does. But the point is that as far as Obama is concerned, he is intimidated.

JAY: But I guess what I'm saying is I'm kind of less speaking to the elites here, 'cause I don't think the elites are going to change much, except for one thing. There are sections of the elites that don't want to get spied on by other sections of the elite. I mean, I saw Hayden on TV a couple of months ago, and Hayden was--Hayden's the former head of the CIA and is right in the--.




JAY: Both. Yeah. And Hayden was defending all this. But all of a sudden he was upset about something, and he says, who exactly authorized the spying on Petraeus? Now he's concerned, 'cause, like, one of his guys actually got, you know, listened to. So, I mean, there are fractures in the elite who don't like this 'cause they may be on it. And I'm sure, you know, Congress, there's a lot of congressmen who don't want to be listened to, 'cause what if some of that leaks, some of the stuff they're up to, both in terms of their personal life and what--all the money they get in the connection between policy and receiving money? So within the elite there's fractures.

But I'm kind of talking to more ordinary people who find foreign policy abstract, who think what happens over there doesn't affect me. And what I'm saying, I guess, is, number one, not only are you paying for it, and as a result--. Like, in an ordinary worker in the United States pays about the same taxes a Canadian worker does. You know, Canadian workers get a health care policy, and here you get a Pentagon that spends almost $1 trillion a year. But to speak to what's happening now, the issue of people's constitutional rights, it is affecting you, because it's--that foreign policy creates the condition and the rationale for violating all these rights that people consider at the core of what it is to be an American.

MCGOVERN: You're right. And one of the major problems is the military leadership and the way it gets to be--gets to the top. When Hayden was told by Dick Cheney very early--before 9/11, mind you--forget about that first commandment out of NSA, okay, forget about the commandment that says thou shalt not eavesdrop on Americans without a court warrant, forget about it, okay, before 9/11, okay, Hayden said, okay, I'll do that, despite his constitutional oath to defend the Fourth Amendment and everything else.

Now, earlier heads of the NSA, Bill Odom, for example, said, as soon as he realized that, that Hayden should be court-martialed. Okay? And Bobby Ray Inman, who was sort of the father of the NSA, who helped actually with the wording of the FISA act, said what Hayden did was clearly illegal, was clearly beyond what FISA, what the FISA law--.

Okay. Now, I heard Inman say that one Thursday. And the next Thursday, I'm in with Lou Dobbs's blue room, okay, and I'm going to talk about my little debate with Rumsfeld. And in rushes Bobby Ray Inman. You know, he's got no tie on. So they put it on. And they say, what are you talking about? Hayden's nomination. He's just been nominated to be the CIA director. I said, oh! I said, great. Tell them what you told the New York Library folks there a week ago when Bobby Ray Inman said, look, what Hayden did was beyond the law, it's illegal, and I know, and I even put wording in that FISA law saying you can't do anything else that's not expressly put in this law! [incompr.] go at it! So I'm watching a monitor. Lou Dobbs: Admiral Inman, what do you think of Michael Hayden becoming the head of the CIA? He said, I couldn't pick a more qualified person. He's an excellent--he's very bright and he's devoted to our country. And he comes out, and I say, what the hell happened there? And he just--he's out of there. [incompr.]

Well, that's how it works. You know, they were all in this together [incompr.] except people like Bill Odom, who was really furious. He said, Hayden, you know, we take this oath to the Constitution. I take that seriously. Every other NSA director before me, Bill Odom says, did. And to watch that happen, that's not a trivial thing. Okay? That's the Fourth Amendment. And that's what, you know, the Third Reich just--they had a similar provision in their Constitution in 1933. All that went by the board.

So this is important stuff. And you're right to point out that some repression internally is often a companion, a handmaiden of what's going on abroad. But I don't see that it needs to be that way. And I see that with all this that's been happening, you know, if people can unshackle themselves from party affiliation--.

You know, I'm a Bronx Irish Catholic. Okay? When I was baptized, I had membership in the Democratic Party, as well as the union, automatically. Okay? And I am incredibly ashamed for what's happened to the Democratic Party. I don't want any part of it anymore. When people come canvassing, I say, are you in favor of targeted assassination? Oh, what's that about? And I says, well, you know, look what the Democratic president is tolerating or even approving before he has lunch with Michelle every Tuesday at noon time. Hello? First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment. You know, I'm a Virginian now. And when those folks said that we're going to risk their--pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to this enterprise, they meant it. And it was just as likely they would end up on the end of a rope as they would emerge as new leaders of a wonderful country. Okay? Well, the latter happened. And we have an obligation to safeguard those freedoms.

JAY: And let's not forget the NDAA amendment, because it's kind of--you know, there was a lot of fuss about it, and it's now not being talked about, 'cause everything's on the intelligence gathering, but President Obama signs this thing, right? It's become law. Did I miss something? The military can arrest you if they can just somehow--like, we were talking in part one how the British can call Glenn Greenwald's partner, Dave Miranda, call him a terrorist, well, if you can start using language like that, then you got the NDAA amendment, which has been passed, which is if you can be defined as a terrorist or some sort of ally of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, you can be arrested by the army, never mind the FBI. You can be put into military detention.

MCGOVERN: Right, come in here right now, Paul, pluck me out, and--. No, they wouldn't detain me forever; just so long as there are no terrorists around in the world. Okay?

Now, I thought that that was John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the Senate. You know? That came out of the Senate, okay? And when the bill came back and indicated that American citizens could be wrapped up this way, there was a hue and cry by some progressive senators. And they asked Carl Levin, the head of the Armed Services [Committee], well, what about this [incompr.]? And he said, and I quote, well, it wasn't that way when we sent it over to the White House, but that's the way it came back.

JAY: Actually, we're going to run the tape right now that has Levin doing that.


MCGOVERN: Two questions. Since when does Carl Levin, one of the most powerful members of Congress, have to take legislation that's changed by the White House and enact it into law? 'Cause they're all afraid. And you and I had a little dispute about this two years ago. I said it was because of Occupy. I still think it was because of Occupy. They want to protect themselves against a mass movement, which is, you know, fledgling right now, but they want to be able to arrest people off the streets. They have the capability the NSA provides. They're going to do it real easy.

JAY: Oh, I never said it wasn't about fear of a mass movement. I'm just said Occupy wasn't going to be that mass movement. It wasn't Occupy they were afraid of.

MCGOVERN: Yeah, but Occupy was a symptom of what they're afraid of, yeah. So, yeah.

So it's really kind of--we're at a crossroads now, and I feel it, I feel it in my bones. And for some reason I think that the people who feel violated, you know, in that sense of the word, in Western Europe and others of our allies, the Brazilians and other--you know, maybe, maybe they will be able to stop their servile, their supine posture towards the U.S. and say, look, enough of this stuff. This is the way the new world is. You're losing your clout. We've got all kinds of movements that are exceeding your power to dictate to people. And maybe, just maybe enlightened leadership will come along and say, oh, you know, read the signs of the times and say, well, we need really not to think that we can do what George Kennan advocated in 1948, that we're no longer the sole remaining superpower in the world, that we have to deal with these other countries in a more mutually beneficial and--what's the word?--respectful way.

JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, Ray.

On October 12, 2013, ABC’s Dianne Sawyer brought us a video of a 9th, yes 9th, General fired from the military this week. It’s even reaching some of the more liberal stations and begging them to ask the question, “What is going on?” It seems President Obama is preparing what he calls “my military” for his version of the final solution. With all the documentation we have, it looks as though he is purging the military for the next step.

Obama Preparing “My Military” For Next Step

We have now seen this official President Obama temper-tantrum in action this week. But is it a temper-tantrum or is there a method to his madness?

We have been warned by a Pentagon Official to expect radical changes. You heard of our dire warnings of Chinese Economists planning to foreclose and forming the TPP Treaty that could set a global economy in motion. We have the very real possibility of 16 U.S. States being shutdown and handed over due to debt in this mess. We even have a CIA whistle blower warning us that President Obama wants to radically take over power. People are crying out, where is our military in this mess?

Well, there seems to be some very credible evidence that since last year and through this year that there has been a “litmus test” given to American Military Officers. The Main point of that test, “Would you fire on an American Citizen?” If you say no, then as Donald Trump would say, “Your fired!” Since the beginning of the year these retired officer’s have came forward with ““President Obama is preparing for war against the U.S.”.  We even know Dr. Garrow and others confirmed this litmus test. Then we have heard President Obama himself talk about “My Military”.

And this isn’t all. This strange chain of firings from the Military is so bizarre and so unheard of that even Dianne Sawyer of ABC news reached out to cover it when the 9th, yes 9th, Military Commanding Officer was relieved of duty in less than a year. This doesn’t include the long list last year, this is just the nine individuals this year alone.
General Carter Hamm, United States Army-Served as head of the United States African Command. Was in charge of the US African command during the fateful night of September 11, 2012 when the lives of four American citizens was taken in the Embassy in Benghazi. Hamm was extremely critical  of our Commander and Chief and stated he lied about not having reinforcements in the area on that night. Hamm “resigned and retired” on April of 2013.

Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette/United States Navy-Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three. His most recent activity served as Deputy Commander of the US Naval Forces, US Central Command. He was in charge of Air Craft Carriers in the Mediterranean Sea the night of September 11, 2012. He testified before the hearing committee and said that there may not have been time to get the flight crews there but left the door open on if told when the events took place if that he could have had the aircraft launched upon cross-examination by Rep. Tray Gowdey. Recently fired from the Administrative post and relieved of Duty by the Obama Administration for “utterance of a racial slur”.
Major General Ralph Baker, United States Army- Major General Baker served as the Commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar, Djibouti, Africa. Was also involved in some aspect with the incident September 11, 2012, being under the African Command. Had said he believed attack helicopters could have made it in time. Relieved of command and fired for groping a civilian (no assault charges or sexual misconduct charges filed with JAG)
Brigadier General Bryan Roberts, United States Army-General Roberts took command of  Fort Jackson in 2011. Was considered a rising star in his field. He served in Iraq during his service as the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and was the Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY. Relieved of Duty and Fired for Adultery. While this is still on the books in the United States Code of Military Justice, it has rarely been used since President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.
Major General Gregg A. Sturdevant, United States Marine Corps-Director of Strategic Planning and Policy of  for the United States Pacific Command and Commander of the aviation wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. Highly decorated soldier with two Naval and Marine Commendations and two Naval and Marine Good Conduct medals. He also has an Air Medal with a gold star. He served honorably and distinctively. He had asked about supplies to his command. He was one of two commanding officers suddenly relieved of command and fired from the military for failure of proper force protection.
Major General Charles M.M. Gurganus, United States Marine Corps- Regional Commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force (a forward or frontal division) in Afghanistan. Also Highly decorated with a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merritt w/Valor, and three Meritorious Service Commendations. Major General C.M.M.Gurganus had questioned the use of Afghanistan patrols along side American patrols after two officers were executed at their desk and a platoon was lead into an ambush on the front lines. Was the other commander relieved of duty for failure of proper force protection.
Lieutenant General David Holmes Huntoon Jr, United States Army-Served as the 58th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY.   He had graduated from the same academy in 1973 and had served in Senior Planning and Education Services through the majority of his career. He was “censored” for “an investigation” into an “improper relationship” according to The Department of Defense.  Nothing was released to the nature of the improper relationship. Nothing was even mentioned if an actual investigation even took place.
Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, United States Navy-Deputy Commander of the United States Strategic Command. Commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10, where every single one of the 18 Nuclear Submarines with Nuclear Trident Missiles of those three groups were in his command. This commander earned six Legions of Merit, Two Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and several other medals, ribbons and decorations in his illustrious career. He was removed from service and fired from the military for the charge of using counterfeit poker chips (not making that up).
Last on the list, Major General Michael Carry, United States Air Force-Commander 20th Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) at three operational wings and served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He was Fired October 11, 2013, for “Personal Misbehavior” is what was told to ABC News. He and Giardina were both the two top Commanders over the United States Nuclear Arsenal before their dismissal within 48 hours of each other.

As ABC News reports, this is an extremely alarming rate and one of the biggest and fastest purges of military personnel ever recorded.  It apparently is such a shock at the rate even for a long time veteran of reporting the news as Dianne Sawyer, because at one point she gets heated saying two Commanders of the Nuclear Command.

You don’t put people who are not very intelligent and without a squeaky clean record over that area of the Military.  It is enough to make the hardest and staunchest of supporters as the ABC news crew to pause and ask themselves, “what step is he planning?”.

You can watch the ABC interview here:


Retired Army Captain Takes To Facebook Warning DHS Preparing For War!
truther November 1, 2013 18

Brandon Walker

This comes as dire news. A retired Army Captain has got to the point that he is going viral with information of the gravest nature. He states that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing for war against the American People.

Retired Army Captain Takes To Facebook Warning DHS Preparing For War!

This is not a something to take lightly. He points to all the ammunition being bought up by DHS. He has been reposting this letter since March 2013 and it hit my wall. I went to look and it is indeed a live link Facebook Account.  He has updated the status quite often and the last post he commented on was October 31, 2013.

    Re: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that agencies preparation for war against citizens of the United States of Americ

    Dear friends, the following is a copy of my correspondence with Senator Cornyn concerning the arming of the DHS for war against the citizens of our nation.  You are each encouraged to copy and properly amend this letter to send to your own senators and members of the U.S. House.  Further, I am somewhat overwhelmed at the response to my posts leading up to this letter on this issue.  At this point almost 3,000 of you have shared my original post, I have 994 new friends requests, 61 messages, and 70 new comments to process.  Please be patient with me and pray that this window of communication remains open to all of us as we respond to this threat against our Constitution and our people.  I am awed by you, by your positive response, and your wonderful support.  We each have a role to play in standing against this present tyranny.  Part of that proper response is sending them a letter like this from YOU, and following it up to make sure it remains a “hot button” issue that must be resolved.  God bless you as you honor your oaths and your obligations as citizens of this free nation.  May we once again know honorable leadership and peace at home.  With all sincerity and respect–Resolved, Captain Terry M. Hestilow, United States Army, Retired.

    The Honorable Senator John Cornyn, State of Texas

    United States Senate

    517 Hart Senate Office Building

    Washington, D.C.  20510

    Re:  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that agencies preparation for war against citizens of the United States of America.

    Dear Senator Cornyn,

    It is with gravest concern that I write to you today concerning the recent appropriation of weapons by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that can only be understood as a bold threat of war by that agency, and the Obama administration, against the citizens of the United States of America.  To date, DHS has been unwilling to provide to you, the elected representatives of the People, justification for recent purchases of almost 3,000 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) armored personnel carriers, 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (with associated weapons), and other weapons systems, when, in fact, the DHS has no war mission or war making authority within the limits of the United States of America.

    Significant is the fact that at the same time the Obama administration is arming his DHS for war within the limits of the United States against the People of the United States in accordance with his 2008 campaign speech claiming,

    “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve gotta (sic) have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the United States military]”–Candidate Barack Obama, 2008.

    the Obama administration is deliberately defunding, overextending, and hollowing the Department of Defense; the only legitimate agency of the U.S. government with a war mission.

    This act of the Obama administration stands as a glaring threat of war against our nation’s citizens!  This act of the Obama administration can only be understood as a tyrannical threat against the Constitution of the United States of America!  If left unresolved, the peace loving citizens who have sworn to defend the United States Constitution “against all enemies, both foreign and domestic” are left no option except to prepare to defend themselves, and the U.S. Constitution, against this Administration’s “coup” against the People and the foundations of liberty fought for and defended for the past 238 years.  We have no choice if we honor our oaths.

    The only proper response to this threat against the American people is for the representatives of the People, the members of the U.S. House and Senate, to demand in clear terms that the Administration cannot ignore, that the Department of Homeland Security immediately surrender their newly appropriated weapons of war to the Department of Defense (DoD).  Further, since the DHS has assumed a position in the Administration to enforce the tyrannical acts of this president against the People of the United States against the limits of the United States Constitution, it remains for the United States Congress to exercise its limiting power in the balancing of powers established by our founding fathers, to disestablish and dissolve the DHS as soon as possible.  One needs only to look to the rise of Adolf Hitler, and his associated DHS organizations, the SA and the SS, of 1932-1934, to see the outcome of allowing an agency of government this kind of control over the free citizens of a nation.  The people of Germany could not have imagined, until it was too late, the danger of allowing a tyrant this kind of power.  We must not be so naïve as to think it will not happen to us as well if we remain passive toward this power grab by the Marxist Obama administration!

    Finally, for more than two centuries the nation has lived in peace at home because of the protections of our legitimate military and the many appropriate state and federal law enforcement agencies, supported by Constitutional courts.  We stand today at a cross-road.  Will we allow this present Administration to overthrow our United States Constitution and its legal processes to amend injustices, or, will we honor our obligations to defend the Constitution against a “domestic” enemy?  Our Constitution lays out the proper methods of resolving our differences; and it does not include its overthrow by a rogue agency of a Marxist leadership at home.  You, sir, are our constitutionally elected agent to defend our Constitution at home.  We are counting upon you.  We remain aware, however, of this present threat and will not expose ourselves as an easy prey to the authors of the destruction of our nation.

    I know that this letter demands much of you.  We elected you because we, the citizens of the State of Texas, believe that you are up to the task at hand and will, against all threats, honor your oath and office.  We are also writing to your fellow members of the House and Senate to stand in integrity with the Constitution and against this present threat by the Obama administration and his DHS.

    We refuse to surrender our Constitution or our nation!


    Captain Terry M. Hestilow

    United States Army, Retired

    Fort Worth, Texas~Facebook.com

Writing in Foreign Affairs, two George Washington University professors note the strange inability of “the U.S. establishment” to substantiate their claims that leakers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning pose an enormous threat to national security.

The reason the establishment hasn’t been able to back that up is because there is a “deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose [that] is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it.”

The inability to get away with our own hypocrisy and double standards presents a dire threat to U.S. hegemony, write Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore:

    Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power — its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions — yet few Americans appreciate its role. Liberals tend to believe that other countries cooperate with the United States because American ideals are attractive and the U.S.-led international system is fair. Realists may be more cynical, yet if they think about Washington’s hypocrisy at all, they consider it irrelevant. For them, it is Washington’s cold, hard power, not its ideals, that encourages other countries to partner with the United States.

    …This system needs the lubricating oil of hypocrisy to keep its gears turning. To ensure that the world order continues to be seen as legitimate, U.S. officials must regularly promote and claim fealty to its core liberal principles; the United States cannot impose its hegemony through force alone. But as the recent leaks have shown, Washington is also unable to consistently abide by the values that it trumpets. This disconnect creates the risk that other states might decide that the U.S.-led order is fundamentally illegitimate.

    Of course, the United States has gotten away with hypocrisy for some time now. It has long preached the virtues of nuclear nonproliferation, for example, and has coerced some states into abandoning their atomic ambitions. At the same time, it tacitly accepted Israel’s nuclearization and, in 2004, signed a formal deal affirming India’s right to civilian nuclear energy despite its having flouted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by acquiring nuclear weapons. In a similar vein, Washington talks a good game on democracy, yet it stood by as the Egyptian military overthrew an elected government in July, refusing to call a coup a coup. Then there’s the “war on terror”: Washington pushes foreign governments hard on human rights but claims sweeping exceptions for its own behavior when it feels its safety is threatened.

    The reason the United States has until now suffered few consequences for such hypocrisy is that other states have a strong interest in turning a blind eye. Given how much they benefit from the global public goods Washington provides, they have little interest in calling the hegemon on its bad behavior. Public criticism risks pushing the U.S. government toward self-interested positions that would undermine the larger world order. Moreover, the United States can punish those who point out the inconsistency in its actions by downgrading trade relations or through other forms of direct retaliation. Allies thus usually air their concerns in private. Adversaries may point fingers, but few can convincingly occupy the moral high ground. Complaints by China and Russia hardly inspire admiration for their purer policies.

    The ease with which the United States has been able to act inconsistently has bred complacency among its leaders. Since few countries ever point out the nakedness of U.S. hypocrisy, and since those that do can usually be ignored, American politicians have become desensitized to their country’s double standards. But thanks to Manning and Snowden, such double standards are getting harder and harder to ignore.

So, while not even the most vicious government agent has been able to substantiate any claims of an actual threat to Americans’ safety resulting from the Manning and Snowden disclosures, it is certainly true that their leaks have weakened Washington’s ability to act in ways that are contrary to self-serving propaganda about freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

And that is the kind of threat that power hates the most.

Case Study: U.S. Military Killed 130,000 People In Nuclear Tests During a 12-Year Span
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By Shepard Ambellas | October 20, 2013 | 2:43am EST | Editorial
Words can’t describe the pain and suffering endured by survivors of the tragic 12-year wave of terror unleashed by the U.S. Government.

Nuclear weapon test Bravo (yield 15 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. The test was part of the Operation Castle. The Bravo event was an experimental thermonuclear device surface event. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Nuclear weapon test Bravo (yield 15 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. The test was part of the Operation Castle. The Bravo event was an experimental thermonuclear device surface event. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

MICRONESIA, THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS  (INTELLIHUB) – 67 nuclear tests took place starting in 1946 and many living things, including humans, have been affected by the aftermath of radiation plumes released both undersea and in the earth’s atmosphere by the U.S. Government. In fact at the time it was unknown if any of the test explosions would actually fully ignite the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere, possibly even decimating the entire surface of the planet.

“The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ),is an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia, with the population of 68,480 people spread out over 24 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the south-east, and Nauru to the south. The most populous atoll is Majuro, which also acts as the capital.”, reads Wikipedia.org’s opening paragraph on the region.[1] Nonetheless, testing ensued.

Later on after the U.S. military used up and experimented with some 11,000 personnel throughout the 12-year testing process, the side-effects of the surrounding areas and areas downwind became evident. There was major collateral damage, damage that affected many living things in and around the region and damage that’s still is affecting living things to this day. An excerpt from a case study entitled U.S. Nuclear Testing on the Marshall Islands: 1946 – 1958[2] reads:

Marshall Island Case Study 1

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Marshall Islands Case Study 2

I myself have met a survivor of the blast who was born with defects from the radiation and have seen first hand how sinister the U.S. Government is as they have actually offered the individual and others no financial assistance. Survivors and victims of the nuclear testing are currently planning to ban together in the near future to file a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. military for the experimental testing on human beings. Some lawsuits have already been filed.
Updated 2:57pm EST

I also wanted to add that my source for this information whom was indeed affected by the nuclear tests pointed out that still to this day, the entire area is highly contaminated with nuclear fallout. In fact my source stated that “flies will not even land on the fish” that you catch and told me how the fish actually “change color” when you pull them out of the water. My source also said that even coconut water in the area is contaminated and highly poisonous.