Friday, January 30, 2015

A strange story

I'm not sure what to make of this. (Also see here.) Yesterday, a well-dressed, 19 year-old self-proclaimed "hacker" used a fake gun to commandeer a major television station in the Netherlands. His name has not been released as of this writing. He said that he wanted to use that night's news broadcast to address the nation, and that secreted bombs would go off if he did not get a chance to speak on television.

A security guard tricked him into entering a different studio, one that was nearly empty. The channel went off the air for a while. Then, in what can only be described as a remarkable bit of theater, broadcasting resumed just before the cops showed up to make the arrest, as captured in the video embedded above.

At this writing, the man's name has not been released. His motive also remains unclear, although he said the following words before arrest:
"The things that are going to be said -- those are very large world affairs. We were hired by the security service.”
It is reported that he also carried a letter, which read as follows:
”Realise that I am not on my own. Furthermore, eight high explosives have been planted that contain radioactive material. If you don't take me to studio 8 to make my broadcast, we will be forced to step into action.”
One wonders why he did not include the gist of his message to the nation within that letter. One also wonders why the cops felt certain that they could make the arrest without fear of setting off the explosions. Perhaps they had good reason to believe that this man's confederates were imaginary.

I honestly do not know what to make of all of this. Perhaps it is a measure of my cynicism that what surprises me most is that the cops didn't just shoot the guy.

Can you imagine American policemen doing what these Dutch cops did? Inconceivable.

Although I'm pretty sure that this fellow was just a lone oddball, here are the main intelligence agencies in The Netherlands:

AIVD -- the Dutch CIA
MIVD -- Dutch military intelligence
NSO -- the Dutch NSA
NCTB -- the Dutch Homeland Security (sort of)

If this guy really is a hacker, then it is possible that he has some connection to the NSO. AIVD does tap phones and trace internet usage, though they supposedly do so only after they have procured a court order. The agency has a reputation for concentrating on leftists and ignoring right-wing extremism.

I suspect that our would-be TV star was simply a fantasist with no actual spooky connections. However, I could be wrong. Perhaps he really did have a story to tell.

Dutch intelligence certainly has secrets that deserve airing.

For example, there was the strange case of that little-old bomb-maker Abdul Q. Kahn, father of the Pakistani nuclear program. He acquired secret information from sources in the Netherlands. Dutch authorities caught him, and then they let him go. According to former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, they did so at the insistence of a certain foreign power which he (Lubbers) did not care to name. In other words, the CIA. 
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dershowitz, the underaged, smears and lies

Damn. I'm actually kind of ticked off at Electronic Intifada for publishing this, because I was sketching up a somewhat similar piece. Just as well: My take would not have been as good.

Once again, we are looking at the allegations which Virginia Roberts ("Jane Doe #3") has made against Alan Dershowitz -- allegations which Roberts has repeated in a recent filing. Here's a juicy tidbit:
“Dershowitz was so comfortable with the sex that was going on that he would even come and chat with Epstein while I was giving oral sex to Epstein.”
Dershowitz calls Roberts a "serial prostitute" -- and please note that he always uses the present tense, even though there is no evidence that she has ever practiced that trade except (arguably) when she was a young victim of the heinous Jeffrey Epstein.
When Local 10 News reporter Bob Norman pushed backed against Dershowitz’s characterization of a child molestation victim of Jeffrey Epstein as a “prostitute,” Dershowitz responded, “She was not victimized … she made her own decisions in life.”
This, of a woman who was used as a "sex slave" from the age of 15 by Dershowitz' friend and client, Jeffrey Epstein. Remember, Epstein is a man who, according to published reports, has molested girls who were younger still.

(Some of them came from Eastern Europe, and one wonders about the legality of their travel arrangements. Incidentally, the Mann Act is still in force -- and I have no idea how Epstein managed to escape prosecution on that score, since he moved his underaged harem around constantly.)

The first -- and weakest -- section of the Electronic Intifada article deals with Dershowitz on what we may call "men's rights" issues. The stronger arguments come further on. I distinctly recall being quite appalled by Dershowitz' attitude toward child pornography when he first started to discuss the matter in public.
In 2002 — a time when, according to Jeffrey Epstein’s housekeeper, Dershowitz frequently stayed at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion where the rape of children was taking place daily and in his presence — Dershowitz took up the cause of child pornography viewers. In his column for the magazine Penthouse, Dershowitz invoked the language of individual rights to argue that watching “kiddie porn” doesn’t make one a bad person and therefore should not be a punishable offense.

In 2005, after three teenage boys were convicted of statutory rape for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl at the Milton Academy, a ritzy Massachusetts boarding school attended by Dershowitz’s daughter, Dershowitz slammed Massachusetts’s statutory rape laws, a fair argument considering the close ages between the boys and the girl (the boys were between the ages of sixteen and seventeen and the sex was consensual). But that wasn’t all. Dershowitz went even further, agitating for the state to “considerably” lower the age of consent, which was sixteen years, The Boston Globe reported at the time.
In the weeks leading up to the 30 December 2014 court filing that named him as a rapist in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave scheme, Dershowitz was trying to overturn the guilty verdict of convicted child rapist and award-winning Hollywood director Roman Polanski. It was one of the few times he failed.

Before that, Dershowitz was busy protecting Hasidic Brooklyn cantor and child molester Baruch Lebovits from punishment by defaming the father of one of Lebovits’s victims.

Lebovits was convicted in 2010 on eight of ten counts of child molestation and faced up to 32 years in prison. That conviction was overturned on a technicality after Alan Dershowitz joined his legal team. Dershowitz declared at the time, “our client was a victim of an extortion plot,” a foreshadowing of his response to rape allegations against himself. “I’m an innocent victim of an extortion conspiracy,” Dershowitz has insisted.

In Lebovits’ case, the extortion claims advanced by Dershowitz turned out to be a lie.
Near as I can tell, the "extortion" charge against Roberts is also a lie. There can be no extortion without a demand for money, goods or services. If Roberts has made such a demand, Dershowitz has not revealed it.

In the Lebowitz case, there was an allegation that Sam Kellner, a father of one of the victims, made a demand for money. Though the charge was completely false, Kellner was indicted.
Alan Dershowitz played a central role in spreading the smear against Kellner, which was crucial to Lebovits’ defense. Though the charges against Kellner were eventually dismissed after it was determined that the accusation was fabricated, Dershowitz has continued to promote the wild falsehood against Kellner, whose reputation and family life were nearly destroyed by the episode.
The article then discusses Dershowitz' work on the Epstein case, in which the famed lawyer assiduously dug up every possible speck of dirt on the young girls victimized by that very sick billionaire.
In a letter from Dershowitz to the Palm Beach police chief, obtained by The Guardian, Dershowitz attached a copy of the girl’s MySpace page, noting “her apparent fascination with marijuana,” and expressed fears “that she, an accomplished drama student, might try to mislead [the private investigators] as successfully as she had misled others.”
I'd like to add one more thing.

Many people forget that the court documents which describe Dershowitz as having sex with "Jane Doe #3" do not constitute any kind of legal charge against Alan Dershowitz.

The case was filed against the U.S. government.

The government stands accused of offering Epstein an extraordinarily lenient plea deal and making sure that the details of this deal were kept secret from the victims. This secret deal was not only unethical, I believe that it violated a law called the Crime Victims Rights Act.

Although the government is the party being sued, it must be understood that the "secret deal" was worked out between Dershowitz and some all-too-compliant government officials. Thus, Dershowitz bears no small amount of moral responsibility for that deal.

In all of his fulminations against Virginia Roberts, not once (to my knowledge) has Alan Dershowitz addressed the substance of her claim that her rights as a victim were violated. Roberts says that Dershowitz' secret deal violated the CVRA. I have not heard him say one word to the contrary.

His silence on that issue says much.
"Serial prostitute"? As opposed to what - a concubine, a slave, a wife? Or is Dershowitz threatening to name other abusers (lessees, part owners, clients)?
I'm not completely sure what the phrase "serial prostitute" is supposed to mean, but I think that it is meant to refer to someone who keeps falling into and out of and back into that life.

There's no evidence that Roberts has turned tricks.
I think you've misquoted the article. he cals her a "serial liar" and "prostitute". Though if he's claiming that her period of prostitution was when she was underage he's only diggng himself in deeper.

Regardless of whether they receive money for the transaction victims of human trafficking are (in right-minded states) exactly that 'victims' and as such will not be proescuted as perpetrators of a crime. An underage child will, quite obviously, have the same guidelines applied. I would think that unless he has evidence she acted as a prostitute outside of any period _that did not begin_ when she was underage, by calling her a prostitute he has opened himself up to very clear slander charges. Though perhaps the US is less stringent about such things than other countries. mistake, I see elsewhere in the article he also used the phrase "serial prostitute". Apologies, though that would seem to be an even harder allegation to substantiate, requring evidence that she repeatedly left and entered prostitution (again, barring the time when she was underage).
There's a good case against Dershowitz, none of which is even hinted at in that awful article. You see, you make a case against someone with evidence of wrongdoing, all that article provides is evidence that he disagrees with some feminist dogma and that he, as a defence brief, associates with some unpleasant people. None of that tittle-tattle has any sort of probative value or provides any further information on the accusations made.
Bran, if you Google the phrase "serial prostitute" in quotes along with Dershowitz' name, you'll many examples.

Stephen, I intentionally left out what you call the "feminist dogma" part of the article, because things like the Kanin story do open up huge areas of controversy. I've wandered into that particular controversy in a previous post.

But I do distinctly recall Dershowitz taking a weirdly accepting view of child porn in several older pieces, including an opinion piece of his which was published in the L.A. Times.
Bran, if you Google the phrase "serial prostitute" in quotes along with Dershowitz' name, you'll see many examples.

Stephen, I intentionally left out what you call the "feminist dogma" part of the article, because things like the Kanin study do open up huge areas of controversy. I've wandered into that particular controversy in a previous post.

But I did distinctly recall reading an LA Times opinion piece in which Dershowitz took a weirdly accepting view of kiddie porn (as long as everything was photoshopped). It disturbed me at the time.
I'd never heard of Alan Dershowitz when he walked into a bookstore where I was reading in the winter of 2001-2002 and he started expounding very articulately on the need for extraordinary measures to keep us safe from terrorists. I regret to say that at the time, he was very persuasive to me.

Later, looking back, I was shocked to realize that already at that early date he was invoking the "ticking time bomb" scenario.
Anon -- and I hope you can offer up some kind of nick next time -- I'm with you. I used to admire Dershowitz. And I still agree with his basic take on the OJ case. (Dersh has hinted, without baldly stating, the the OJ case may have been a case in which the cops framed a guilty man. Seems about right to me.)

But the guy has definitely turned, like overripe milk, and I'm not just talking about his writings on Israel. Something seems to have happened there, and I'm not sure what.
By photoshopped do you mean child porn that wasn't made by actually abusing children, but just by drawings and photoshopping pictures of children onto pictures of porn stars and the like? I don't mind that. Disgusting, of course, but I don't see any reason why it ought to be prohibited.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

War: Made in USA

In its secret places, our government contains many Civil War re-enactors. Trouble is, they like to create Civil Wars in other countries, with live ammunition.

Ukraine. The above video comes from 2013, before the coup, when a Ukrainian Deputy named Oleg Tsarov revealed what he knew about American involvement in destabilizing that country.
The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility of the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

After the conversation with the organisation "Volya“ I have learned that they succeeded to access Facilities in the project "TechCamp“ disguising as a team of IT specialists.

To their surprise, briefings on peculiarities of modern media were held.

American instructors explained how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate protest potential to provoke violent unrest on the territory of Ukraine Radicalisation of the population and triggering of infighting.

American instructors show examples of successful use of social networks used to organise protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Same story in Syria. Yousaf al Salafi, a commander of the so-called Islamic State, has confessed that ISIS has been receiving funds from the United States.
“During the investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source privy to the investigations revealed to Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.
“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organisations, which is being routed through the US,” a source said.

“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organisation in Iraq but not in Syria,” he added.

There are reports that citizens from Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India besides other countries are being recruited by the IS to fight in Syria. Posters and wall chalking in favour of the IS have also been seen in various cities in Pakistan.
When are Americans going to wake up?

At this moment, Congress is debating an authorization for the use of military force, allegedly to fight against ISIS. Make no mistake: There will be no anti-ISIS effort, at least not in Syria.

We created ISIS. The piece quoted above is but one of many pieces of evidence proving the point. Even if you can assail the credibility of the article cited above, you cannot dismiss all of the evidence, which we have presented in many previous posts.

Why did we create ISIS? The situation is really quite simple.

Many Americans are such dunderheaded Islamophobes that they simply cannot comprehend the division between Sunni and Shiite, even though that divide is of paramount importance. Some time ago, the Israelis chose sides. They decided that they could live with the Sunnis. Even the most fanatical Sunnis -- al Qaeda and their brethren -- were considered tolerable and potentially useful.

At the same time, the Israelis decided that the great Shiite powers must go.

Many American Middle East experts have been taught that Shia Islam is "the terrorist branch" of Islam. This absurd contention flies in the face of all evidence: ISIS is Sunni, Al Qaeda is Sunni, all of the 9/11 hijackers were Sunni.

Nevertheless, the Americans -- like the Israelis -- have picked sides in a conflict that is many centuries old, and which has nothing to do with our society. We are against the Shiites, and thus we have decided to support (covertly) the worst elements on the Sunni side of the line. Now matter how extreme their beliefs, no matter how obnoxious their behavior, young Sunni jihadists will get funding from Uncle Sam, as long as they function as our proxy warriors.

Iran has a Shiite government.

It's ally, Syria, is headed by Bashar Assad. He is a Shiite -- or, rather, an Alawite, which, for present purposes, comes to the same thing.

Thus, Iran and Syria have been targeted for Balkanization and generalized ruin. We want those countries to be reduced to rubble and rendered ungovernable. That's what neocons really mean when they speak of "liberation."

The United States created a massive and fanatical Sunni army -- Al Qaeda, ISIS, Nusra -- to do that job. Most of these fighters don't come from Syria. They are disaffected young fools from in Europe, Pakistan and other areas who feel that they have a God-given right to skulk into Syria and take over the place.

We secretly sponsored jihadist preachers who told these young fools to go to Syria. We let these proxy warriors travel unimpeded. We let them cross the border unimpeded.

We created a monster that we no longer can control.

Obama seeks the authorization of military force for the sole purpose of making sure that ISIS gets back in line. We want them to forego Iraq and focus on bringing down the Assad government in Syria.

We don't need to authorize the use of American military force against ISIS. We need to support the one and only legitimate military force doing combat with ISIS -- the Syrian army.

And we need to stop letting Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia direct our behavior in the region.
Wrong. Bong. Sunnies and shits don't matter one whit.

All. All. All. fucking Patriarchal CRAP, utter explosive diarrhea.

Pathetic. Seriously. You don't get it?

Azerbaijan is Shi-ite.

Syria - what's the heroin angle?

There is such enormous disinformation, it's difficult to read.

It still amazes me how so many 'leftwing' people just couldn't understand that the Arab Spring was just 'colour revolution' updated and applied in the Arab area. It's as if the CIA means absolutely fuck-all to them.

They're unlikely to get a handle on the ongoing organisation of society around permanent war.

As for US 'soft power' exercised through Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., there is a power not under US 'funding' (i.e. control): the KGB. This is what makes the troubles in the Russian sphere of influence, including the Zionist role, of geopolitical importance.

The fucking media. The fucking media! Takes a couple of hours now to make progress on the internet towards finding contemporary news reports telling of how Boris Berezovsky submitted to the Litvinenko inquest (the inquest, not the inquiry) that British and Russian intelligence services were covering stuff up. (Litvinenko's widow is saying something very similar.) You can read articles by the BBC that supposedly give a background chronology to the Litvinenko affair that don't even mention Berezovsky.

Berezovsky was murdered before he could say any more.

He had Mossad bodyguards, by the way. His own inquest resulted in an open verdict.

There is a Spanish (possibly also Gibraltar) connection with Litvinenko.

Where did the polonium come from?
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The opening of "2001: A Space Odyssey" (original temp track)

People who are just beginning to appreciate classical music sometimes ask me if performance really matters as much as music critics lead one to believe. Is Carlos Kleiber's version of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony really that different from, say, Leonard Bernstein's?

The video embedded above provides an excellent answer to this question. I recently discovered an early print of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in which we hear what editors call "the temp track," which differs in some ways from the soundtrack of the release prints of the film. This print features the original performance of Richard Strauss's famous opening fanfare from "Also Sprach Zarathustra," as heard during the title sequence. I do not know the name of the conductor. (I believe that the theatrical prints used a performance conducted by Herbert Von Karajan, leading the Berlin Philharmonic.)

Even if you are not a seasoned classical music aficionado, I think you will agree that this alternative performance makes a subtle, but discernible, difference in the overall aesthetic impact.
This track sounds like my high school band taking a whack at the piece! I pulled up the Strauss performance--eerie, majestic.

Damn. To my deafened and infected ears that was anything but subtle-- it sounded like howler monkeys just spotted werewolves.
Horrible. Sounds like a junior high school orchestra on its first try at this composition.
Friends, it was just a joke. There's a band called the Portsmouth Sinfonia which specializes in creating the worst possible performances of famous pieces.
Bernstein and Von Karajan would both be hanging themselves if they had to listen to more than 10 seconds of this.
Correction: There WAS a band called the Portsmouth Sinfonia. They stopped doing things like this years ago.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In the preceding post, we dealt with some idle chit-chat. Time to address a real issue: Why is it that fortune cookies no longer contain fortunes? Dammit, I don't want to see any more puerile descriptions of my character. I want predictions, and I want them to be agonizingly specific.

Examples: "Within the next three days, you will meet a man who will suggest a way to make millions by appealing to the basest instincts of humanity. His name will be Randolph and he will wear a hideous green tie." Or: "Full-scale nuclear war will break out on your next birthday." Or: "In a short while, those men behind the bar will try to kill you. If you survive, meet me on a ship called the Joyita, berth 27. Nice to have met you, Mr. Bond." Or: "You thought Palin's last speech was hilarious? Wait'll you see the next one! The guy sending her messages through her earpiece will suddenly start reciting dirty limericks in Mandarin."

Why don't fortune cookies do that any more? I don't care if the message is accurate. I just want to cap off my evening with a bit of mystery and intrigue.
You want mystery and intrigue after eating moo goo gai pan and egg foo young?

Take a laxative and you'll be rewarded with all the Chinese fortunes, mystery and intrigue your stool can't handle. lol
I got one once that wasn't so much a prediction as an unexpected side order of cynicism: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
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Greek civilization vs. American snipers & the Kochtopus. (Plus: The Kwisatz Haderach vs. ISIS!)

On behalf of the city Baltimore, I apologize to the rest of the northeastern coast of the United States. The blizzard that hit you so hard seems to be treating us rather gently.

Elsewhere, things are happening...  

Great news from Greece! Congratulations to the Greek people for putting Syriza (the lefty party led by Alexis Tsipras) into power. Watch out for American spooks, my Greek friends -- they've screwed you over in the past, and you can bet the Parthenon that right now, at this very moment, they are planning to do it again.

I hope that everyone in Syriza understands that the NSA will log their every text, every phone call, and every email. The spooks will seize upon anything that they can use to undermine this new government. The success of Syriza would undermine the plans of neoliberals everywhere, and could even un-ossify economic thinking in this country. If there's one thing that scares our Establishment, it's the threat of a successful alternative.

Go here for an amazing interview with the fellow charged with putting the economy together again.

Paul Krugman offers some worthwhile observations about the triumph of Syriza here.
So now that Mr. Tsipras has won, and won big, European officials would be well advised to skip the lectures calling on him to act responsibly and to go along with their program. The fact is they have no credibility; the program they imposed on Greece never made sense. It had no chance of working.

If anything, the problem with Syriza’s plans may be that they’re not radical enough. Debt relief and an easing of austerity would reduce the economic pain, but it’s doubtful whether they are sufficient to produce a strong recovery. On the other hand, it’s not clear what more any Greek government can do unless it’s prepared to abandon the euro, and the Greek public isn’t ready for that.
Maybe they should bloody well get ready. It may be necessary to ditch the euro and to fundamentally rebuild the Greek nation -- with BRICS.

Jeffrey Sterling convicted. You may recall our previous post about Jeffrey Sterling, the former CIA whistleblower who gave reporter James Risen information about the potentially disastrous Operation Merlin -- a bizarre covert op designed to give nuclear information to the Iranians.

(Why on earth did the CIA want to do that? Because certain parties want war with Iran, that's why. Can't have a war without a casus belli.)

Naturally, this administration decided to hurl the book at Sterling, as it does with all whistleblowers. Marcy Wheeler, who has been covering the Sterling trial, gives us this sad report...
After having deliberated for slightly over 2 days, the jury today found Jeffrey Sterling guilty of all nine counts today.
The jury even found Sterling guilty of obstructing justice because he deleted an email (with unclassified info) that he sent to Risen in 2003! (There may be grounds for appeal here, since the trial was held in Virginia, and the deletion did not occur there.)

One of Marcy's readers draws what I consider an instructive comparison:
So Sterling is convicted and Aipac’s Rosen and Weissman totally let off the hook. The investigation into their espionage activities and charges did not even make it into the court room . All just dropped. No double standards there.
American Sniper. You want the truth behind the hype? Max Bumenthal gives some important background here. (Or here.) I would embed the video -- a Real News interview -- but embedding has been disabled for this item.
When I pointed out on Twitter that this film was basically a vehicle to help America overcome Iraq war syndrome, that it portrayed an unrepentant, sadistic killer as an anguished figure who was deeply reflective as he mowed down faceless Iraqis and I attempted to de-exceptionalize the portrayal of American troops in this film, I was daily reached with death threats and hate tweets from the bowels of white America.
The billion-dollar Kochtopus. The Koch brothers will put roughly $900 million into the next election. That's more than double the amount that the RNC put into the last election cycle -- yet that number is only about one percent of what the Kochs are worth.

My response: This turn of events makes electing a Democratic president -- any Democratic president, however depressing -- imperative in 2016, even if one must C-clamp one's nose shut while casting one's ballot.

The reason? The Supreme Court.

The Citizens United Decision is what allows the Kochs to commandeer the system, and only a new Supreme Court can change that decision. The next president may get the chance to appoint one or two justices -- Scalia is nearly 79, Ginsburg is nearly 82. I'm sorry, but whatever else you may say about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, their four appointees have been better than the five chosen by the Republican presidents.

Cops can see into your home. Walls are becoming transparent; high tech is giving The Man x-ray vision.
Agents' use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that "the government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions."
Strangely enough, this matter has already been adjudicated. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that the cops can't use thermal cameras without a warrant.

Does ISIS have an Air Force? Yes it does, according to Bashar Assad...
So what do you think Israel’s agenda is? They are supporting the rebels in Syria. It’s very clear. Because whenever we make advances in some place, they make an attack in order to undermine the army. It’s very clear. That’s why some in Syria joke: “How can you say that al Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force.”
As for the role of the United States...
The question that we have is, how much will does the United States have to really fight terrorism on the ground? So far, we haven’t seen anything concrete in spite of the attacks on ISIS in northern Syria. There’s nothing concrete. What we’ve seen so far is just, let’s say, window-dressing, nothing real. Since the beginning of these attacks, ISIS has gained more land in Syria and Iraq.
The Turks are the real issue here. If the US were serious about stopping ISIS, Obama would not be seeking an authorization for military force -- he would be pressuring the Turks to stop the flow of ISIS fighters into Syria.
It’s not about greater involvement by the military, because it’s not only about the military; it’s about politics. It’s about how much the United States wants to influence the Turks. Because if the terrorists can withstand the air strikes for this period, it means that the Turks keep sending them armaments and money. Did the United States put any pressure on Turkey to stop the support of al Qaeda? They didn’t; they haven’t.
And while we're on the topic...

SHE SPEAKS JAPANESE TOO?!? Okay, I'm starting to think that Maram Susli (Syrian Girl) really is the Kwisatz Haderach. In the following video, she discusses the Syrian civil war with a Japanese friend, with a particular focus on the Japanese hostages who were recently murdered by the fiends of ISIS.

Yes, they converse in Japanese, with excellent subtitles. Seriously, is there anything Maram Susli can't do?

Maybe her very name will soon become a killing word. Maybe the soldiers in the Syrian Army can disintegrate their enemies by chanting "Maaaaaaaa-RAM!" And then she'll triumphantly enter Aleppo while riding a gigantic sand worm that has risen from the Syro-Arabian desert.

Syrian Girl reminds me of the new movie "Lucy". Just saw a coming attractions clip (that's all I ever see). In the clip a Black man of authority is saying, "we only use 10 percent of our brain", and then Lucy comes walking down the hallway and the authority figure is saying " what happens when she reaches 100 percent?"
Jospeh, I do hope when you type the repugnant name Koch you're pronouncing it correctly. Neither epoch, loch (Ness)nor even Molloch ryme with Coke. It's time America gets of the Koch.
Kwisatz Haderach was the male Reverend Mother, and can see the place where the Reverend Mothers fear to look.

Without a weener, she's ineligible for the title.
Anon, there are those who say that Paul and his sister jointly held the title.

At any rate, when you're the Kwisatz, you can make your rules.
The Greek Election is:HUGE. And yet what I've been hearing all day and night and day again is: the mega storm that wasn't. Not to dismiss the discomfort of Long Island or Rhode Island and points north but . . .the snow will melt, the power will be restored and we'll move on to other things.

The Greek election is here to stay with enormous ramifications, hopefully positive change for Greece herself and a big fat raspberry to the troika's attempt to starve and pulverize an entire nation.

And yet, what do I read? Well, of course, the Marxist tag, the danger of a radical left government working for the population rather than the oligarchs. Oooo, scary. To it's shame, the NYT is still peddling the myth that 'austerity' in a country suffering its worst and longest Depression in 80 years is the cure to Greece's problems. This is not economic advice, it's quackery, the same sort that's peddled by the austerity choir in the US--bleed the patient, pain will set you free--completely dismissing the misery of the population. Greece has finally said: Enough! Throw the quacks and greed heads out!

It's likely Spain will follow suit. The tide could include Portugal, Italy and Ireland, all the EU's periphery countries who have had to listen to the comfortable sitting bankers and financiers preach the Sermon on the Anthill.

Huge news conveniently downplayed by the US press! This will slowly become the howling season, propaganda galore because Greece will demand a renegotiation on their debt load. Or default. And the bankers and investment class? I can hear the neoliberal screeches now.

This isn't an end. It's a beginning.

Alia was the Abomination, who was a Reverend Mother before birth, but she was not the Kwisatz Halderach: She could not look in the male place, no woman could.

The Bene Gesserit hated her because Jessica allowed her to undertake the ritual and absorb the ancestral memories of the other Reverend Mothers.

She also had limited access to the prescience that Paul had, but that had more to do with the intake of the spice melange and nothing to do with special powers. It was the same thing that allowed Third Stage Navigators access to the future to plot the jump point of the heighliners.

And, if you allow the extended books in it turns out Paul wasn't the Kwisatz Haderach, either. It was Duncan's ghola. But that's just silliness.
There are other theories of Alia. My point came from the official Dune Wiki, which you should not sneer at because it's like all official and stuff.

At any rate, the Kwisatz is as the Kwisatz does, and a Kwisats is recognized by ACTING like a Kwisatz. Who is like unto Maram Susli? When she stands at the gate of Aleppo, I, her prophet, shall shout to the multitudes: "And how can this BE? For she IS the..."

Well, you know the rest.

By the way, did you ever hear the tale of how I single-handedly destroyed the David Lynch film version of Dune? This is serious...

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Be evil: Google and the military/intelligence complex

This is the big one: The massive, juicy, overstuffed, ground-breaking investigation we've all been waiting for. (Part two is here.) I haven't read it all yet -- was on the go yesterday, little time to read -- but what I've seen looks very, very good.

Google, as many of you know, was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. What many of you don't know is this:
Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.
Thuraisingham’s account therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a “significant” amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.
Some of you will flatter yourself by pretending that you were completely aware of all of this from the start. In truth, we were told nothing about the powers behind Brin and Page during the years when Google rose to ubiquity. Remember "Don't be evil"? Google was born evil.

The second part of the article deals with the great justification for the militarization of Google -- the threat of terrorism. This section gives us many details -- from the military's own publications! -- about the American government's deliberate creation of terrorist threats.

In the following, "Arquilla" is John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, who is perhaps the most important proponent of mass data-mining. Arquilla believes that terror is best fought with pseudo-terror:
“When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists. These ‘pseudo gangs’, as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists’ camps.”
As we've noted in previous posts, the pseudo-gang strategy was developed by the notorious British counterinsurgency theorist Frank Kitson.
Arquilla went on to advocate that western intelligence services should use the British case as a model for creating new “pseudo gang” terrorist groups, as a way of undermining “real” terror networks:
“What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today’s terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult.”
Of course, the great long-term tactical problem of the Kitsonian strategy (when seen from the government's point of view) is that operations are inevitably blown. As a result, a cynical populace soon learns to see every new development as a false-flag scenario, even when such is not the case. That's pretty much where we are right now. If you tell two lies in succession, and if those lies are exposed, then your third statement, even if true, will not be believed.

Hence the overwhelming need for plausible deniability...
Official corroboration that this strategy is now operational came with the leak of a 2008 US Army special operations field manual. The US military, the manual said, can conduct irregular and unconventional warfare by using surrogate non-state groups such as “paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political ‘undesirables.’” Shockingly, the manual specifically acknowledged that US special operations can involve both counterterrorism and “Terrorism,” as well as: “Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions.” The purpose of such covert operations is, essentially, population control — they are “specifically focused on leveraging some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo,” or to accept “whatever political outcome” is being imposed or negotiated.
How does this relate to Google? For these tactics to work, the state needs as much information as it can possibly acquire about mass psychology...
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the ‘Neurobiology of Narrative Framing’ project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman’s emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy “empathetic influence,” the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal “to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response,” but in different ways across different cultures. The most disturbing element of the research is its focus on trying to understand how to increase the Pentagon’s capacity to deploy narratives that influence listeners in a way that overrides conventional reasoning in the context of morally-questionable actions.

The project description explains that the psychological reaction to narrated events is “influenced by how the narrator frames the events, appealing to different values, knowledge, and experiences of the listener.” Narrative framing that “targets the sacred values of the listener, including core personal, nationalistic, and/or religious values, is particularly effective at influencing the listener’s interpretation of narrated events,” because such “sacred values” are closely tied with “the psychology of identity, emotion, moral decision making, and social cognition.” By applying sacred framing to even mundane issues, such issues “can gain properties of sacred values and result in a strong aversion to using conventional reasoning to interpret them.” The two Damasios and their team are exploring what role “linguistic and neuropsychological mechanisms” play in determining “the effectiveness of narrative framing using sacred values in influencing a listener’s interpretation of events.”

The research is based on extracting narratives from millions of American, Iranian and Chinese weblogs, and subjecting them to automated discourse analysis to compare them quantitatively across the three languages...
Why is the Pentagon funding research investigating how to exploit people’s “sacred values” to extinguish their capacity for logical reasoning, and enhance their emotional openness to “morally-questionable behavior”?
Let's repeat the most important point here: This material isn't coming from wackos like Alex Jones. It's coming from the military/intelligence establishment's own publications and think tanks.

To paraphrase something Lily Tomlin once said: No matter how paranoid you get, you can't keep up.

How can the people doing this research sleep at night? Somewhere deep down, they must understand one obvious fact: A decent government would have no need for data mining, psy-war, manipulation, and "narrative extraction." There would be no need to discover how to use our most deeply-held values to compel us to commit immoral acts. 
They must not want us talking about this, the links are not working...
The enterprise of "narrative framing using sacred values in influencing a listener’s interpretation of events” brings to mind the field of study of Dr. Philip Zelikow when he was at Harvard: the political utility of "public presumptions" in shaping a society's attitudes about contemporary history.

Dr. Zelikow's expertise in effective "public myth" made him supremely qualified to serve as Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission.
It's really good and it's long but is worth the time. I find interesting is all the so-called self made billionaires in the silly valley are just welfare queens. What a surprise.
I'm reminded of the excellent blogger Tom Burghardt, from Antifascist Calling...

Which by the way Joseph, I've missed his reporting/research for more than a year now and I'm wondering if you or any of your readers know whats happened to him and his static blog?
Shadow: I don't know what happened to Antifascist. You may not be aware that his blogging career began on this very blog. He separated off because I was writing some very controversial stuff, and he apparently did not want his own material to be judged by my own forays into oddness. This decision was, in my view, quite sensible. Frankly, his site was better than mine, and I would not have wanted his writings to be subjected to the usual ludicrous guilt-by-association tactics.

So. Where did he go? I know not.
I wasn't aware of this and understand a little better with zero research and energy expended. Thank you. Your site does have my attention. I've learned a thing or two from you and comments made to keep coming back for more jewels. ;)
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Is Jeffrey Epstein another Madoff? Or...something else?

There have been interesting developments on the Jeff Epstein front, including some indications that Alan Dershowitz is not telling the truth. We'll talk about those developments very soon. Right now, I'd like to address a fascinating question which most writers have overlooked...

How did Epstein make his billions? We're talking about a guy who is not just wealthy but fabulously wealthy. The most elaborate home in New York City. The largest house in New Mexico. Another home in West Palm Beach. His own damned island.

He says that he manages money for billionaires, and only for billionaires. He also says that he does what he does in complete secrecy, which means that we have no way to double-check his assertions. If you read this all-important 2003 profile by Vicky Ward, published by Vanity Fair, you'll see that these claims are problematical.

First, the guy leaves little or no trace of his business activities. How can anyone be that invisible, even to fellow members of the elite?

Second, the number of billionaires in this world is limited, and most members of that club seem quite able to chart their courses without using the services of Jeffrey Epstein. Given the man's rep -- and there have been disturbing whispers about the guy since his departure from Bear Stearns -- I'm not sure that there are a whole lot of affluent people would would trust this guy with their money.

Third, his company seems to employ no actual portfolio managers or analysts.

Fourth, Ward's profile proves that Epstein has made claims in interviews that do not match what he says in legal depositions, or which do not match other evidence. In other words, we should take what he says with a chunk of salt so sizable as to test Morton's granulating capabilities.

There's one thing you have to understand about Epstein: He didn't start to make it big -- as in big big -- until he left Bear Stearns and joined forces with Steven Jude Hoffenberg. And the thing you have to understand about Hoffenberg is this:
He is currently incarcerated in the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, serving a 20-year sentence for bilking investors out of more than $450 million in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history.
Hoffenberg's business was, officially, a collection agency. Yes, you can use debt as the basis for a ponzi operation.

It's hard to avoid the suspicion that Epstein followed in the footsteps of his mentor, doing the same thing, but bigger and better. Someone who manages the money of a billionaire may have a lot of capital to play with, and could keep the ponzi-party going for an indefinite amount of time. Vicky Ward's profile gives the impression that Epstein knows a lot about getting hold of other people's money and using it to further his own interests.

I'm hardly the first to think these thoughts. In 2009, Business Insider asked some remarkably pertinent questions.
The way Epstein is compensated is also a bit suspicious. Last year in the New York Times, Landon Thomas reported that Epstein charges a flat fee on the assets entrusted to him, anywhere from $25 million to $100 million, but doesn't collect any portion of the profits. This is oddly reminiscent of Bernie Madoff's compensation scheme.

Here's something else: how could Epstein's one-man show not fall apart while he was in jail during one of the most volatile years in history? We don't know for sure that Epstein's business has kept humming along.
This next bit is particularly telling:
On the other hand, there are no SEC filings disclosing Epstein's holdings. Not one. It's hard to see how he could be managing billions without ever tripping a disclosure trigger, unless he avoids the stock market altogether and only invests in private deals. This is another red flag.
You may also want to take a look at Vicky Ward's most recent piece on Epstein, published a couple of weeks ago in The Daily Beast. She tells us that Hoffenberg is out of jail now, and has been "pestering" Ward to write a movie. I'm not sure what to make of that development, but I'd like to learn more.

There's another side to this story. The Epstein sex scandal figures in the tale of yet another ponzi schemer, a lawyer named Scott Rothstein. Brad Edwards (one of the lawyers that Alan Dershowitz hopes to disbar) was a lawyer at Rothstein's firm in those days.

Basically, Rothstein's scam was selling "interests" in confidential lawsuit settlements. Until very recently, I had no idea that one could sell such a thing, but apparently one can.

Then as now, crusading lawyer Brad Edwards represented various women in the Epstein scandal. Rothstein led his investors to believe that Epstein would soon be making huge settlement payments to these women. To "sell" this story, Rothstein apparently relied on flight logs and other evidence that Brad Edwards had acquired.

As it turned out, Brad Edwards knew nothing about Scott Rothstein's activities. Nevertheless, Jeff Epstein filed three lawsuits against Edwards in 2009. Near as I can tell, these cases went nowhere. During the legal back-and-forth, the name of none other than Alan Dershowitz arose; even then, it seems, Brad Edwards was very keen to depose him. 

The Rothstein story is very intriguing, but it doesn't tell us anything about the question of how Jeff Epstein made his money -- although it does establish that ponzi schemes are rather more common than many might think.

The Israel connection. To be frank, I do not enjoy writing about this aspect of the story, because I don't want to be classified as one of those writers who sees the dark hand of Mossad everywhere. But there is -- how to put it? -- a disturbing recurrent motif in the saga of Jeff Epstein, who is a strong supporter of Israeli causes.

First and foremost, we must note Epstein's close relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, alleged to have played a role in procuring young women. She is the daughter of the late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, now universally acknowledged to have functioned as a Mossad asset. Ghislaine was his favorite child, the proverbial chip off the old block.

Second, we must note that Jeff Epstein forged extremely close links to retail magate Leslie Wexner -- chairman of The Limited, the man behind Victoria's Secret and other famous clothing stores. After his days of running with Hoffenberg, Epstein linked up with Wexner, mysteriously insinuating himself into every aspect of his business. This pro-Zionist website tells us the following:
Les Wexner is a Zionist. He is on the board of directors of Emet, the Pro-Israel Media 'War Room' whose function is to ensure that all media in the US stays biased in favor of Israel . In 1984, Les Wexner who is one of the world's 200 wealthiest people created the Wexner Foundation. Its mission statement is 'strengthening Jewish Leadership in North America and Israel .' One of the programs the Foundation runs is the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program which annually brings up to ten Israeli have participated thus far. The Wexner Foundation sponsors 'Birthright Israel ' - a program that pays for young American Jews to take free indoctrination trips to Israel . It is also a long-standing supporter of Hillel - the bastion of Zionism on campus.
Alan Dershowitz is, of course, Israel's most prominent defender in intellectual circles. Although Dershowitz now tries to distance himself from Epstein, the two men were quite close. Dershowitz used to brag about sending the pre-publication manuscripts of all of his books to Epstein for comment. Epstein was the only non-family member so privileged.

Finally, we have the most recent statement made by Virginia Roberts. I hope to discuss in a subsequent post her claims about Dershowitz. For now, let's concentrate on the following:
"In addition to constantly finding underage girls to satisfy their personal desires, Epstein and Maxwell also got girls for Epstein’s friends and acquaintances. Epstein specifically told me that the reason for him doing this was so that they would “owe him,” they would “be in his pocket,” and he would “have something on them.” I understood him to mean that when someone was in his pocket, they owed him favors. I also understood that Epstein thought he could get leniency if he was ever caught doing anything illegal, or more so that he could escape trouble altogether."
If this is true, then what do have? Simply this: The daughter of a known Mossad agent used underaged girls in a scheme to procur what can only be described as blackmail information on powerful people. That's not interpretation, that's not surmise, that's not reading-between-the-lines: That's what Roberts is saying.

Would Maxwell go to such lengths for the sole reason of aiding Jeff Epstein (who was not her employer) in his quest for the ideal orgasm? Or was she motivated by some other cause...?

I leave the reader to ponder the possibilities.
What is it about Rothstein's scheme that makes it Ponzi? Where were the initially high returns and their dependence on attracting ever more investment?

Or is the term 'Ponzi' undergoing some meaning creep?

It's true, though, that Ponzi schemes come up everywhere nowadays. E.g. I know of a wind-power one in a rural area of Scotland in which local residents are encouraged to buy shares in a venture run by an outfit that is supposedly community-owned, on the promise that they'll get a much better return than if they left the money in their bank accounts. (Ding dong!) They probably do get high-percentage dividends for a while, especially if new mugs keep buying shares faster than the lawyers and 'enterprise' scammers hoik the money out the other end. The problem will come when they want their capital back, for there's no actual market in the shares.
"the only book he’d left out for me to see was a paperback by the Marquis de Sade" ~Vicky Ward

What was it he was intimating to her that he took the time to fashion this decoration in a cheesy paperback and not hardcover?

Wikipedia says the words sadism and sadist are derived from his name. It also points to a cheesy 1988 remake? of Waxwork, which parenthetically can't spell fascism on a schoolroom chalkboard, yet includes an expensive looking hardcover Epstein could afford and the Jack The Ripper character you like to write about.

A quick search of this right-wing free-market libertine on vimeo borders on the absurd. It's an eye full. I'm sure you and your readers know a lot more than I can share on this historical figure.

What if Jeff Epstein's billions weren't earned in traditional sense, but were endowed to him by a powerful - and obviously wealthy - group with the understanding that he would use those funds to advance a narrow agenda?

What if Jeff Epstein and his co-conspirators, including Alan Dershowitz, Les Wexler, and Ghislaine Maxwell, were in fact agents operating in unison to create situations in which evidence of criminal behavior could be captured?

We know that Jeff Epstein's black book contains the names of a thorough cross-section of the global elite and is by no means limited to just one party or even just one nation. This likely explains why the corporate media is paying so little attention; because there's no way that can demonize just one element of their control system. This scandal is deep enough, and if anyone ever started peeling back the layers of this onion it would likely go all the way to the top.

Which is why there will be no public investigation. Settlements will be paid, perhaps a few defendants will go into the witness protection program, and Alan Dershowitz's career and status will effectively be destroyed.

The powers-that-be are probably holding extremely high-level discussions right now as to how exactly to contain this damage. Unfortunately for them, the cat is out of the proverbial bag so to speak so they can't just pretend it didn't happen. People will have to go down here, and Hillary Clinton's political aspirations have taken a huge hit, which I consider to be a good thing.

What this saga is really demonstrating in remarkably clear relief is that we really do lack a free press in this country and that our two-party government is either a complete sham or there are forces of darkness who utilize the threat of blackmail, and obviously of violence, to prevent our government from enacting the will of the people.

I have no idea where this situation will go but I'm extremely interested to watch. Get your popcorn ready because it's going to be a wild ride. I just hope we're not being set up with the old Texas Air National Guard ploy.
"It Takes a Village" keeps going through my mind.
So many people on so many levels of business and government in so many countries are aware of this.

In a sane world the political aspirations of Hillary, Jeb, Richardson (and on and on it goes) would be effectively destroyed by this association.

I'm also Interested in all of the science that the Especially Creepy Epstein has funded. Mostly robots and artificial intelligence. I guess if you're that far gone about the only thing left in life for you is robots and artificial intelligence. He's surrounded by it, and we, by extension are too.

Thanks for keeping up with the story. I see that not only the mass media but alternative media and the conspiracy media are pretty silent. Kudos to you Joseph.
"I don't want to be classified as one of those writers who sees the dark hand of Mossad everywhere."

Too late.
Am I the only one who's alarmed by the total media blackout this story is receiving? I would be willing to bet it's because this story has the potential to snowball into the global scandal of the century, showing how one rogue state uses a well-funded global child trafficking/prostitution ring to ensnare, entrap, blackmail, and control powerful figures in media, industry, military, and government in countries said rogue state wishes to annex and/or co-opt to do its bidding.

Then again, maybe the media blackout isn't so surprising.
Not quite a total media blackout.

If you want a blackout, try the BBC's summary of the background to the Litvinenko inquiry. They don't mention the name Boris Berezovsky once, let alone what he said at the inquest. He said that the British and Russian intelligence services were working together to cover shit up.

Oh and then he died.
I meant to give a link to the BBC article: here it is. No mention of Berezovsky whatsoever.
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Jon Stewart must be nearing orgasm

As you know, Lindsey Graham recently announced that he is kinda sorta seeking the Republican presidential nomination. This announcement was a gift to comedians everywhere.

Today, we were given two such gifts. 

Sarah Palin is "seriously interested." One would think that she might have been deterred by the release of Game Change, a marvelous film derived from the revelations of Republican insiders, a film which pictures her as having the IQ of a jar of mayonnaise. You'd think that she would seek no further public humiliation. But no. Palin still has presidential ambitions, and she is intent on pursuing them.

The Divine Mrs. P made this announcement while serving boar chili at a homeless shelter, while insisting that she has "service" in her heart. Remember Paul Ryan in 2012? He too had service in his heart, as long as the cameras were on.

On the same day -- the same day -- Donald Trump decided to make presidential noises, saying that he is "strongly inclined" to hop in the race. He also says that he would have beaten Obama in 2012:
"I was leading in every poll. ... I regret that I didn't stay in," he said in an interview...
This is shaping up to be a wonderful election. I know that many of my readers pretend to disdain horserace politics. But this ain't no horserace: It's "crash to pass" with clown cars.

Or may be it's a remake of Wacky Races, with Mike Huckabee as Blubber Bear, Jeb Bush as the leader of the Ant Hill mob, Donald Trump as Big Gruesome... and either Sarah Palin or Lindsey Graham as Penelope Pitstop.

If you were a Democratic strategist, which of the above candidacies would you secretly fund?
To quote Ms. Palin's answer to Glenn Beck's question, "Who among America's founding fathers do you admire most?" "All of 'em."

(No Santorum or Gingrich? Is Sheldon Adelson broke now?)
Huckabee is the most dangerous.
Scott Walker, Governor of my state of Wisconsin, is almost certain to run, given his proximity to the Iowa primaries. He is a complete sociopath, more Nixonian than Nixon, but manages to give the appearance of a moderate. He claims that God wants him to run for President and has the backing of the Koch brothers, after having laid waste to our state at their behest. As an added bonus, his buddy Reince Priebus is the Republican national chairman.

I would fund Huckabee so that he and Walker can argue about who God really wants in the White House. Bobby Jindal would make it a three-way Jesus channeling competition.
God save us all!
I saw Game Change more than once because it became my husband's favorite movie and he would watch it any time it was on cable.
I saw the book at a used book store a while back and bought it. It is no surprise that the book is a lot better than the movie.
As for candidates, it is too early on both sides, but I think we are in for some laughs.
Lord help us, Gareth.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Did King Abdullah make a sex tape?

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is dead. I cannot mourn the man, but I can take this opportunity to tell a story that we have touched on in a number of previous posts.

Many have wondered: Just how did Saudi Arabia become such a close partner of the United States? Why, for example, did the Saudis agree to drastic cuts in the price of oil, a move which helps the US wage economic war against Russia?

The answer is long and complex. One small part of it, I suspect, involves a "happy hooker" named Xaviera Hollander.

In 1972, she wrote an extremely popular book about her career. It was called, naturally enough, The Happy Hooker. At the time it came out, there were whispers that the book had something to do with then-current scandals involving the Nixon administrations.

(If you think I'm straying far from the topic of Saudi Arabia, bear with me. All will soon be made clear.)

Xaviera's co-writer, or ghost writer, was a guy named Robin Moore, who died in 2008. Surprisingly, nobody has bothered to ask one key question: How the hell did Moore -- best known for writing The French Connection, and for his insider's account of the Green Berets -- become involved in such a project? All of his other works had some link to the world of covert ops and special forces. Take a look at Moore's Wikipedia page and I think you'll agree: The guy was spooky, or at least spook-friendly.

(There's definitely a spooky side to the story of the French Connection, although you won't read about it in Moore's famous book of that name. Therein lieth a tale for another time.)

So. Why did a writer linked to the covert world write a sensationalistic book about a prostitute? When did Robin meet Xaviera?

I don't have a copy of her book to hand, but I seem to recall that the text tended to vary between editions. In at least one edition, toward the end of her narrative, Xaviera tells a strange and incomplete tale about the placement of recording equipment in her bedroom, hidden behind a mirror. This equipment captured her in action with VIPs and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Many years after the first publication of The Happy Hooker, Anthony Summers took the story further in his Nixon Bio, The Arrogance of Power.
In fall of 1971 Charles Colson had received a tip from a Life magazine contact about a breaking story in New York. Bugs installed in a Manhattan brothel had led to a exposure of a police protection scam. Now political scandal also loomed.

In a note to Colson, the Life reporter summarized what he had heard from the electronics man who had installed the bugs: "He said: 'I know a lot about that operation. There were a lot of politicians mixed up in it, even the White House.' I said: 'What are you talking about?' And then he brought up Mosbacher's name..."

Emil Mosbacher was Nixon's chief of protocol, and the allegation was that he had taken prostitutes from the brothel by limousine to service clients elsewhere. The Life reporter believed his source was telling the truth. 

Alerted by Colson, John Dean began making inquiries. Even before they were completed, however, the New York Times featured a story with an ominous headline headline: POSSIBLE BLACKMAIL OF NIXON OFFICIAL CHECKED HERE. "At least two high-ranking officials in the Nixon administration," ran the lead, "are among the people the Manhattan District Attorney's Office intends to question about the possibility that they were blackmailed because of their association with an East Side brothel.
Hollander's book did not delve very far into the very intriguing issues raised by that headline. One wonders why.

(Patience. We're getting to the Saudi connection.)
The woman who had run the brothel, Xaviera Hollander, surfaced soon afterward with her book The Happy Hooker, an instant worldwide best seller. It contained no revelations about the Nixon White House, but allegations got into the press again, this time about "one of the hierarchy of the White House." In the spring of 1972, just weeks before the first Watergate break-in, Hollander was deported to Europe. The wiretapper who claimed his tapes proved a White House connection also left the country.

"Thank you, Tricky Dicky," Hollander wrote in the next edition of her book," for the pressure to deport her had apparently come from the top levels of the government. "The White House got her kicked out to stop her making a noise," said the author Robin Moore, who listened to the brothel tapes and worked with Hollander in ghosting her book. "The Nixon administration had been using the Hollander outfit to entertain foreign dignitaries, especially Arabs. It was organized by Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler. It was taped..."
Emphasis added. Now do you see the connection?

I have been told that the encounters were filmed as well as audio taped -- and that Moore himself played a role in setting up the operation. Not only that: Xaviera herself entertained these leaders. She didn't delegate this task to the other girls.

Summers goes on to recount a story about the time a prominent lawyer asked Mosbacher's assistant, one Nick Ruwe, "What do you do as deputy protocol chief?"

Ruwe's answer: "We have ten Arabs coming to town, and they've ordered twenty prostitutes -- none of them Jewish." (Emphasis added.)

This last point is of paramount importance, because Xaviera Hollander is Jewish. (Technically, she is half-Jewish, on her father's side.)

At the time, few people knew this fact, and nobody meeting her would have guessed it.

You must have the picture by now. The American government makes sure that Arab leaders are "entertained" by a Jewish hooker, although they do not know that she is Jewish. These Arabs are secretly photographed and taped in the act. Spooky Robin Moore controls both the hooker in question and the level of detail published in her memoirs. Just enough detail slips out to make the unnamed "Arabs" anxious -- but not enough to get them into serious trouble.

Put it all together and it spells blackmail.

How did this operation impact US-Saudi relations? Come to your own conclusions.

Was the recently-deceased King Abdullah -- then Prince Abdullah -- one of the "johns" who was caught up in this trap? I don't know. I've been asking myself that question for years now, but I still do not know. (King Hussein of Jordan is the only Arab leader who has been named as one of Xaviera Hollander's clients.)

At the time, Abdullah was 50 years old and was the leader of the Saudi National Guard. I don't know with any certainty the year  of his first trip to the United States. The earliest trip mentioned by internet sources occurred in 1974, at which point Xaviera was out of the country and Nixon was segueing into history. But it seems very possible that he might have been one of the "ten Arabs" referenced by Ruwe.

For what it is worth: There was an inane movie called The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington in which a CIA agent cajoles Xaviera into seducing an Arab Shiekh. I have not seen this film. I have been told that it is so bad as to be nearly unwatchable.

(Before you say it: Yes, I am well aware that someone is "officially" Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish. This technicality probably would not have mattered much in the Arab world, had those secret recordings been made public.)
Well, Xavier puts a new twist on the story of the petrodollar!
About ten years later in 1981, my company, which ran computer literacy seminars for corporations, was subcontracted by a very large bank. They were to be bringing over several groups of Saudi princes for a week's worth of education in banking and investment along with computer lit.

The princes were all between 20-40, arrogant as hell, and not interested in learning a thing. We quickly came to understand the classes were window dressing. The bank's main goal was to show them a good time, wining and dining and whoring every night. When they came to the seminar (and they rarely did, after the first day) they were hungover and often as not, slept.
I can only hope it's better than the movie.

Thanks for this.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Briefing on Bibi and beyond...

I haven't much time, so let's bustle...

Bibi to address Congress? Boehner wants him; the WH says it's a breach of protocol. If Bibi does come, I wouldn't mind joining a protest (if I have $$ enough for fare to DC). Mondoweiss argues (persuasively) that this move is in response to Obama's SOTU statement about vetoing any further moves on Iran.
Obama was warning the Israel lobby; bug out of these negotiations. That’s the line he drew in the sand in the New York Times last week, criticizing donor pressure on Democratic senators.

Well, Congress has responded. This morning it invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session in the House chamber on February 11– a month before the Israeli elections (as Haaretz noted).
As Boehner aides pointed out to the Hill “there is bipartisan support for Iran sanctions legislation.” That’s true: Netanyahu met two days ago with a bipartisan group of seven senators.
Just to make things really weird, Mossad is making an end run around Bibi...
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Israeli intelligence officials have been briefing both Obama administration officials and visiting U.S. senators about their concerns on the Kirk-Menendez bill, which would increase sanctions on Iran only if the Iranian government can't strike a deal with the so-called P5+1 countries by a June 30 deadline or fails to live up to its commitments. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister’s office has been supporting the Kirk-Menendez bill, as does the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, ahead of what will be a major foreign policy confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in coming weeks.

Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said the new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.” But an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation...
You have to admit, this is unusual.

Norman Finkelstein on the Charlie Hebdo affair. I'm not sure I agree with what he says here. He says that the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were "sadism, not satire," and he compares them to the kind of cartoons that appeared in Der Sturmer.

Well, yes, let's make that comparison. But let's also compare them to the Leo Taxil illustrations published here a week or so ago. And while we're at it, let's compare them to the work of the Robert Crumb and the other great -- and utterly outrageous -- underground comics artists who came to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s.

(As always, let us keep in mind the dictionary definition of the word "compare." Comparison does not imply equivalence.)

Finkelstein makes one excellent point which deserves to be repeated...
Finkelstein pointed to the contradictions in the Western world’s perception of the freedom of the press by giving the example of the pornographic magazine Hustler, whose publisher, Larry Flynt, was shot and left paralyzed in 1978 by a white supremacist serial killer for printing a cartoon depicting interracial sex.

“I don’t remember everyone celebrating ‘We are Larry Flynt’ or ‘We are Hustler,'” he said. “Should he have been attacked? Of course not. But nobody suddenly turned this into a political principle of one side or the other.”
As I recall, people reacted to the Flynt shooting in a rather unusual way. Obviously, nobody approved of it; the act was outrageous and horrifying. But I spoke to a few people who seemed to feel that Flynt was so addicted to shock that he almost courted a violent reaction. I don't recall speaking to anyone who seemed utterly surprised.

William Blum. Blum's response to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is quite informative...
I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:
“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev … Do I need to continue?

“Strangely enough, the magazine was considered to be ‘leftist’. It’s difficult for me to criticize them now because they weren’t ‘bad people’, just a bunch of funny cartoonists, yes, but intellectual freewheelers without any particular agenda and who actually didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”
My take? Well, I've noticed that neo-cons have skulked into places where one normally would not expect to see them -- such as the Slate website. (Or, for that matter, the Obama White House.)

If neocons were content to appear on Fox News and similar venues, they would speak only to the converted. To control the policy debate, they need to persuade people outside the conservative media bubble. So they craftily look for ways to get their message out to people who would never watch Fox.

That's what has been going on here in America; something similar may be happening in France.
Comparing Robert Crumb to Charlie Hebdo, I don't remember any of Crumb's cartoons being viciously mean-spirited, or mocking the suffering of exploited minorities, such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoon which depicted the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram as pregnant welfare mothers, or the one mocking Egyptian protesters as complaining that their Korans were shit because they couldn't stop the bullets of the army. Finkelstein in right, there was a terrific amount of sadism on their front pages.

As for the Larry Flynt shooting, I wasn't surprised by it, only because violence by religiously-minded white supremacists was hitting a peak at the time, as psychopaths such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell fanned the flames. As a lefty political organizer, I had already learned to live with death threats. Maybe they would actually follow through and shoot me or more likely, they were just trying to frighten me. Who knew?
Well, Crumb himself has something to say about it....and apparently he lives in France. Ignore
disinfo's typical clickbait headline.
As I recall, it was not a cartoon, but a pictorial spread depicting "Peaches" and a black man that triggered the attack on Flynt.
Gareth, you really think Crumb's work could not be mean-spirited? Have you SEEN the way he drew black people? Not to mention what he did with women...!

When anyone complained, he would simply say "It's all ink on paper, folks."

I was always of two minds about this. One one hand, Crumb is brilliant, and Crumb would not be Crumb if he wore fetters. On the other hand -- well, some of the stuff he drew back in the day WAS offensive as hell.

Actually, I think his cartoon of Mohammed's ass is pretty brilliant.
Also, it was several years before Flynt's shooter was identified. At the time the most common assumption was Flynt had been shot by someone offended at his publishing of pornography in general, rather than a specific kind of pornography.

For that matter, the porn industry in the late 70s was still heavily controlled by the thuggier side of organized crime.* A little over a month after Flynt was shot, Michael Thevis, who at one point controlled roughly 40% of the porn sold in the U.S.,** escaped from prison where he was serving 8-1/2 years for burning down the factory of the inventor of the peepshow booth.*** (Urban Industries founder Nat Bailen had created the peepshow as a kind of automated babysitter where Mom could park the kids while she shopped. Angered his brainchild had been co-opted by smut peddlars, Bailen publicly denounced Thevis -- who by this time was manufacturing his own booths.) That October, Thevis tracked down and killed the associate whose testimony put him behind bars, arrested the following month, and currently serving 28-to-life. It was far from far-fetched that Flynt could have been taken out by a competitor, backer, or former partner.
* As opposed to today, when the business is controlled by the children of mobsters.

** Thevis was also responsible -- through legit businesses set up to launder funds -- for giving the world 'Poor Pretty Eddie,' one of the strangest allegedly commercial movies ever made, and the multi-million hit single, "Chevy Van."

*** In 1995, the SoCal sex toy factory owned by Doc Johnson burned to the ground. Ruled an accident, the blaze has long been rumored to have been arson. For that matter, Doc Johnson itself has long been rumored to have been secretly owned by Reuben Sturman, who is said to have controlled 80% of the US porn market...****

**** ...pretty much at the same time that Thevis was said to control 40%. That's 120%, with only two of a number of players mentioned. I guess after the DOJ largely stopped going after obscenity convictions, the surplussed agents were put to work calculating the alleged street value of drug seizures.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Penny and Jack

This is hilarious. After explicitly saying in a tweet (notable for its garbled grammar) that she is not a feminist and that the world would be worse if women had more power, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting later backtracked and said that her words were taken out of context.
The 29-year-old actress said she simply meant that she feels lucky “to have a career, really build myself as an independent woman..."
In other news: I've kept an eye on the Jack the Ripper case for a number of years. In one of his letters, Jack wrote:
I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games.
That message is quite well-known. Fewer people are aware that Jack wrote a follow-up statement:
My previous letter was taken out of context. What I meant to say was that I feel lucky to have a career, and to really build myself as an independent ripper.
Have the feminists got to you? Her original statement was quite clear that she doesn't see the point of feminist because she's never been oppressed and sees the movement as outdated and anachronistic.
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