The Center for Intelligence Studies
RESPONDING TO TERROR
On May 22nd a suicide bomber attacked a concert arena in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. The bomber has been identified as Salman Abedi, a second generation immigrant born to Libyan refugees. The Telegraph reports his parents moved to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime though they have since returned to Libya with their other children. Abedi’s neighbors and acquaintances claim they reported him several times to the British authorities over the past five years for his extremist views, but they may be lying: officials at his mosque made similar claims, which turned out to be false. Still, the fact that he traveled to Libya and Syria during this period should have raised a red flag. It’s possible the authorities did monitor Abedi – 14 people connected with him were arrested in the week that followed – but if they did one has to ask why he wasn’t stopped and what else his alleged network may have done.
Then on June 3rd, three men in a rented van carried out yet another “bridge attack” in London, killing seven people and wounding 48 by running over pedestrians or, having exited the vehicle, stabbing them with knives.
These attacks share certain commonalities with other acts of Islamic terrorism such as the 2013 Boston Marathon and the 2016 Orlando nightclub attacks, in that the attackers were known to the authorities but not deemed dangerous. In each case, the Mainstream Media (MSM) intensively covers what’s known about the attackers and the victims, but focus on mourning the dead and the need to pull together – sidestepping or ignoring altogether why the police failed to stop them. For their part, politicians urge the public to continue with their everyday lives and to accept that terror attacks are now part of daily life. But there is a curious difference between British and American coverage: the Brits take pains to show Muslim residents grieving with other residents and assisting survivors, an implicit endorsement of the official policy of multiculturalism. In contrast, the American MSM largely ignore Muslim residents to push a more martial line: support the government and allow your rights to continue eroding, so the emerging police state can better protect you from the foreign terrorist threat. But strangely, on both sides of the Pond the British and American media emphasize the need to maintain current policies without protest – anything else is “Islamophobic.”
The pattern has not gone unnoticed in social media, where various theories are bruited to account for it. Some commentators have argued the attacks are false flags carried out by the intelligence services to justify the continual expansion of the police state; others claim the false flags use crisis actors pretending to be victims and cite photos purportedly showing the same people as victims of different attacks. Part of this may be due to paranoia, but false reports deliberately circulated on the Internet after terror attacks certainly play a role as well. According to The Guardian, posting hoaxes claiming uninvolved people are victims or perpetrators is a growing trend. Some photos are of minor celebrities while other photos are randomly taken from other social media accounts. Sometimes it’s done to harass the individual in the photo, sometimes it’s a prank to see how many people can be fooled. One prankster told The Guardian that if anyone had bothered to check his profile they would have seen his posts were hoaxes. Instead far too many people share the fakes without question.
It’s worth noting that a common excuse for failing to stop terrorist attacks is the claim that they lack the manpower. But Business Insider reported in 2013 that the British police were arresting people for making anti-Muslim statements on Facebook and Twitter, and those arrests continue. Here the recent attacks in Manchester and London provide recent examples: in the days following each, more Brits were arrested for “hate speech” than for terrorism or suspicion of terrorism. Clearly the authorities have set a higher priority on suppressing free speech than public safety.
POLITICAL MURDER, AMERICAN STYLE
It seems that people are dropping dead all over. Three years ago, scores of European bankers died under curious circumstances, amidst dark rumors they’d funded the 2014 Maidan Revolution in the Ukraine. More recently, scores of Russian dissidents and Russian officials have died under equally odd circumstances, and a few months ago a one-time banker turned NATO official investigating corruption within the Alliance died under circumstances that can only be described as bizarre.
Although official investigations have most often ruled suicide or freak accident as the cause of these deaths, the statistical probability that so many people clustered in sensitive occupations would die under similarly odd circumstances in such a short period of time is somewhere between slim and none. A simpler and far more plausible explanation is that police and security services prefer not to delve into politically motivated murders.
That sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen in free societies, but politically motivated murder is the most likely explanation for several high-profile deaths in the United States. In 1996 former CIA director William Colby was found in the Wicomico River. The official account maintains that after spending an afternoon working on his sailboat, he left his dinner and wine unfinished to go canoeing in the dark. The canoe was found the next day – inexplicably filled with sand – but it took another eight days to find his body, despite a massive search effort by experienced personnel. The autopsy report suggested – without evidence – that Colby had a heart attack, fell into the water, and drowned, but it failed to offer a plausible explanation for why the body was too well preserved to have been submerged for nine days. Predictably, the MSM chose not to pry into the matter – they never mentioned that after his retirement, Colby had once again fallen under suspicion as a Soviet agent.*
Another curious killing occurred in 1964, when Washington socialite and artist Mary Pinchot Meyer was shot to death on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. An associate and disciple of Timothy Leary, Harvard University’s psychedelic drug researcher and advocate, Meyer had a history of criticizing the CIA that dated to her marriage to Agency official Cord Meyer, and was known by friends to have kept a diary detailing her affair with John F. Kennedy – including their use of hallucinogenic drugs at the White House. She was also said to have challenged the Warren Commission report, which had been released a few weeks before her death. Due to her close association with senior CIA counterintelligence officers, she may have been aware of the defection of KGB Captain Yuri Nosenko which – for maddeningly complex reasons – ultimately discredited key findings of the Warren Commission’s report on Kennedy’s assassination. Whatever the actual case, the Washington, DC police performed what can only be described as a pro forma investigation of her murder, and their only suspect was acquitted on lack of evidence.
Meyer’s killing is reminiscent of the July 2016 murder of Seth Rich. The official story is that the young Democratic National Committee staffer was fatally shot in the back during a robbery attempt, but the killer or killers didn’t take Rich’s wallet, cell phone, keys, watch or necklace. Also curious is the fact that the Gateway Pundit reported that three of the responding police officers wore body cameras, but their video recordings have somehow gone missing.
Soon after Rich’s killing, Wikileaks published a trove of DNC emails, and Julian Assange strongly implied he was the leaker. The Democrats insisted the leak was the work of Russian hackers, and a media war ensued with the MSM labeling reports on Rich as Fake News. For a time Fox News reported that a private investigator hired by the Rich family had uncovered proof from the FBI that Rich had indeed given information to Wikileaks, but Fox has since retracted those stories. Alternative media sites such as Infowars continue to press the story that Rich was the leaker, driven by his disgust with DNC corruption. When some Reddit users announced they had found an account used by Seth Rich to support Bernie Sanders, Reddit closed the discussion and banned at least one moderator. Twitter temporarily suspended the account of World Net Daily (WND) for posting a link to its story about former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile calling the police to complain that the private investigator hired by the Rich family was “snooping” into the case. The MSM’s moves to silence questions about Seth Rich’s death have been both ferocious and relentless – hardly surprising, for if Rich was in fact the source of the Wikileaks emails it destroys their narrative that Russian intervention robbed Hillary of the election.
Another mysterious death is that of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Black woman to be appointed to the New York Court of Appeals. She was found in the Hudson River on April 12th. Her death initially drew attention in the media partly because of a false assumption that she was Muslim. According to NPR and Los Angeles Times, in the 1980’s she married a man who was a Muslim convert and continued to use his name professionally after their divorce. The police first viewed her death as a suicide, then – under pressure from her family and friends – investigated it as a suspicious death. Absent evidence to the contrary, the NYPD returned to their earlier conclusion of likely suicide. Oddly enough, the possibility of accidental death apparently wasn’t even considered.
Then on May 24th the body of federal prosecutor Beranton J. Whisenant Jr. was found in the water at a beach in Hollywood, Florida. CBS News reports he might have died as the result of a gunshot or other trauma to the head, but failed to mention possible motives. Whisenant had joined the Miami US Attorney’s office in January and “had been handling several visa and passport fraud cases” but no further details were forthcoming. In fact, many of the reports on his death were so sketchy they didn’t even mention that Whisenant was Black. As with Colby, Meyer, Rich and Abdus-Salaam, both the authorities and the MSM seem to believe the less said the better.
*Colby had been investigated at least twice before by US Counterintelligence, and cleared each time.
AN INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN DISARRAY
Since President Trump took office, senior members of the US Intelligence community have sought to undermine him by leaking raw or unsubstantiated intelligence reports pertaining to his person, his campaign and/or his Administration. At first glance, their behavior seems more reminiscent of adolescent gossips than professional intelligence officers, but the leaks also seem intended to divert attention from recent and embarrassing intelligence failures. CNN recently revealed that an FBI translator with a top secret security clearance traveled to Syria where she married an Islamic State recruiter. Daniela Greene joined the FBI in 2011 as a linguist, and in January 2014 she was assigned to the Detroit field office. There she was given the task of investigating Denis Cuspert, a German rapper turned terrorist. Six months later she told the Bureau she was going to Germany to visit her parents, but flew to Turkey instead, where she contacted her target and arranged to meet him in Syria. Despite the fact that she was still married to her American husband, she married Cuspert there before returning to the US. Arrested after her return, she cooperated with the authorities and was allowed to plead guilty to a comparatively minor charge of making false statements about international terrorism. After serving two years she was released in August 2016. Since some of the information pertaining to the case remains sealed, it’s not known how much she told Cuspert about FBI operations or why she got off so lightly. But from a counterintelligence standpoint, the case is mindboggling: that the FBI failed to detect the fact that Greene was illegally communicating with her target, and intended to meet him abroad is beyond belief. But yet, not entirely surprising…
The Bureau has a long and inglorious history of ignoring hostile penetrations and misconduct within its own ranks: for decades, it boasted that it had never been penetrated, even though there was clear evidence that it had; it refused to require FBI personnel to submit to polygraphs – and in the notorious 2001 case of Special Agent Robert Hanssen, senior Bureau officials conspired to pin his treason on an innocent CIA officer in order to avoid the embarrassment of arresting one of their own.
Unfortunately, other agencies are having problems as well. According to a New York Times report, China rolled up a CIA network between 2010 and 2012, killing or imprisoning between 18 and 20 CIA assets. The Agency reportedly doesn’t know how China identified them, but for those familiar with the miserable state of American counterintelligence the most likely explanation is the Chinese have penetrated the CIA’s ranks. More recently, during the first week in June, a NSA contractor improbably named Reality Winner accessed a top secret NSA report on Russian meddling in last November’s election and anonymously mailed it to a “New Media” news outlet – which, unlike The Washington Post and The New York Times, acted responsibly and notified the FBI. Ms. Winner was promptly arrested, but what’s truly jaw dropping about this case is Ms. Winner had posted hyper-partisan, vitriolic comments about President Trump online, expressed a desire to burn down the White House and even pledged her loyalty to Iran in the event of war – which should have identified her as a clear security risk. The fact that NSA security officers failed to peruse her online rants is literally beyond belief.
Even more incredible is her defense strategy. In a recorded phone call to her mother, Ms. Winner confidently predicted she would beat the rap because she’s “cute, white and pretty.”
A MORTAL THREAT
The Sun reports that North Korea appears to be testing a missile with a range of 4500 miles. If successfully developed, it would be capable of striking the US territory of Guam and the states of Hawaii and Alaska – and the many and large US military installations there. The US does have a limited anti-ballistic missile defense that could cover these potential targets, but it has never been tested under combat conditions – no one knows for sure if it will work.
Another danger is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack directed against the US Mainland. The EMP threat has been known since the 1960’s, when scientists realized that the Electro-magnetic Pulse emitted by a nuclear blast rearranged the molecular structure of copper, rendering it incapable of carrying an electrical current. Most critical military systems have been hardened against EMP bursts but the civilian infrastructure remains acutely vulnerable, and much of it could be permanently disabled by even a small high altitude nuclear detonation.
Should that happen, vast areas of the US would be thrust back into the Age of Steam – without the supporting steam infrastructure. According to some experts, an EMP attack might ultimately kill 90 percent of our total population through starvation and disease. And in addition to the nuclear-capable missiles in development, North Korea has two small satellites currently in orbit thought to be capable of executing an EMP attack.
The power grid could also be crashed with cyberattacks. On May 11th, President Trump signed an executive order requiring government agencies to perform an assessment of the dangers posed by cyberattacks and the prolonged blackouts that would follow, with recommendations on how to protect American systems. The executive order specifically references cyberattacks, not EMP attacks, but it’s a start. Previous administrations ignored both dangers due to the staggering costs of defense.
ISLAMIC STATE ATTACKS RUSSIA
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, successor to the KGB) has been busy since the April 3rd explosion in the St. Petersburg subway system. RT reports that 6 suspected recruiters for the Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front were detained in St. Petersburg. The suspects are described as Central Asians who came to Russia on the pretext of looking for work; two more have been subsequently been detained. Aleksandr Bortnikov, the head of the FSB, says that “the core of the terrorist groups operating in Russia comprises citizens of former Soviet republics, who arrive amidst the flows of guest workers.” The terrorists are recruited to fight in Syria and Iraq, and then sent to carry out attacks in Russia. A similar pattern prevails in Europe – but unlike the European countries, Russia is fighting back with determination. On April 19th it was reported that two suspected terrorists were killed in the Vladimir Region when they showed “active armed resistance” to arrest.
On April 21st a gunman attacked the FSB office in Khabarovsk, an area close to China. An FSB officer and a visitor were killed by the gunman, and the gunman himself was killed by security guards. RT cites an FSB statement that the attacker was an eighteen year old resident of the region with links to a neo-Nazi group. The attacker is said to have killed an instructor at a local shooting club where he stole a rifle and two pistols to carry out the attack. However, France 24 reported that Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killings through their propaganda arm, the Amaq News Agency. The contradiction is odd, but since the attack happened the day after an IS terrorist attacked French policemen in central Paris, killing one and wounding two others, it’s possible the IS presumed the Russian attack was inspired by it. It’s also possible the alleged neo-Nazi actually was inspired by Islamic State tactics. Historically, terrorists have often helped and learned from each other.
Later that day Russian security services killed two militants from an Islamic State sleeper cell in the Stavropol Region, located in southwestern Russia. RT reports the militants were travelling in a car when officers attempted to stop the vehicle. The militants opened fire with an automatic weapon and were killed by return fire from the police, who later found bomb components in the car.
That Russia has come under terrorist attack is ironic, given the Soviet Union’s role in fomenting terrorism: during the 1970’s and 1980’s, the KGB ran over 900 terrorist training facilities and Soviet military intelligence (GRU) ran a similar number. The two Soviet intelligence services trained members of Marxist-Leninist groups to foment revolutions around the world or – failing in that – cause as much social and economic disruption as possible in Western or Western-oriented countries. Long before the US armed the Mujahideen to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, the Soviets trained the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Arab groups to wreak havoc upon Israel and friendly states in Europe. The PLO didn’t have a realistic chance of actually defeating Israel or targeted European states, but they demonstrated that terrorist groups are capable of destabilizing societies. One goal of such groups is to provoke the authorities to engage in such heavy handed repressive measures that they will provoke more violence; another is to undermine democratic systems by forcing their governments to become de facto police states – much as the United States has become in recent years.
NORTH KOREA HEATS UP
The Sun reports that Russia is moving troops and military equipment to the border it shares with North Korea. Russian military spokesmen declined to comment on the troop movements, but since Russia has officially stressed the need for diplomatic negotiations they’re probably intended to remind the US where N. Korea stops and Russian territory begins. China has also massed troops along the N. Korean border, but for different reasons: If war breaks out, the Chinese fear as many as 20 million N. Koreans will attempt to flee to China.
N. Korea is the most important piece of real estate in North East Asia; it is the region’s geopolitical hinge, and it is dominated by a Stalinist regime that justifies its existence through a combination of imaginary threats and a mythical history that’s so far divorced from reality that many observers describe it as insane. But unfortunately, N. Korea is armed to the teeth, possesses a large and capable military and has rudimentary nuclear weapons. It is also pursuing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States, and had openly declared its intention to launch a devastating first strike against America.
Making a very bad situation worse, N. Korea may already have an asymmetric first strike capability in the form of short range submarine launched ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads – which if detonated at high altitude over the West Coast, would generate an Electromagnetic Pulse capable of permanently “frying” every electrical wire and every electrical and electronic device then carrying a current. At least a third of the US would be instantly plunged back into the Steam Age – but without the steam-based infrastructure to support it.
The past four presidents all tried and failed to stop the N. Korean nuclear program. The task now falls to President Trump, who has far fewer options available to him than his predecessors. War may be inevitable.
SPEAKING OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Washington State’s $7.5 billion agricultural industry has become dependent on illegal immigrants to harvest crops. The industry claims that since older pickers are retiring and younger people aren’t stepping forward to replace them, they need Mexican workers to take up the slack regardless of their legal status. But given the Trump administration’s tough stance on immigration, farmers in Washington and elsewhere will have to increase their level of high-tech mechanization instead. New robotic harvesters capable of picking delicate fruit are expected to hit the market by 2019 – which will solve one problem while creating another: robots don’t rent apartments, wash their clothes at laundrymats or buy groceries, clothes or even candy for their kids. As a result, those who make their living supplying goods and services to the ever-decreasing number of seasonal farm workers will see their market shrink and their profits slump.
Given the accelerating economic upheaval brought about by the marriage of robotics and Artificial Intelligence, one would think that political leaders and policymakers would be focused on this problem – but in actuality, they seem to be intent upon ignoring it. One recent reason may be the Trump Administration’s commitment to bringing jobs back to America, which is heavily focused on the blue collar, high-wage and labor intensive sectors most likely to be dominated by “Smart Bots” over the next decade or so. Trump has thus far achieved dramatic success in retaining or even bringing back manufacturing jobs, but even the mid-term outlook for employment in these sectors is bleak.
Another and probably more important reason for the silence is no one seems to have the slightest idea of how to handle the emerging high-tech, high-production, low employment economy. But flummoxed or not, there are two critically important reasons that political leaders and policymakers must address the challenge: one is that business profits depend on paying customers; another is that government revenues depend on working taxpayers.
ASSIMILATION OR COLONIZATION?
Detroit Free Press reports the first federal prosecution for female genital mutilation began in April: two doctors, and the wife of one, have been charged with female genital mutilation (FGM) for performing the unlawful procedure on two seven year old girls. FGM involves the surgical removal of the clitoris or the clitoral hood, and is intended to curb sexuality in girls. Widely practiced by Muslims in several areas of the Islamic World, this barbaric practice has been brought to the US by immigrants.
Although people have been previously convicted in state courts on charges related to FGM – aggravated battery and cruelty to children – the Michigan case is notable for two reasons: first, because the prosecutions are being carried out by the federal government for the specific crime; and second, because two of the defendants are medical doctors who, presumably, took the Physician’s Oath to “do no harm.”
Those who either perform or endorse this savage act claim it serves religious and/or hygienic purposes. The reality is that girls subjected to such mutilation are physically and mentally scarred for life – a fact that many Muslim religious leaders have recognized, and condemned. FGM is permitted but not mandated by Islam; instead, it is an ancient tribal custom that has, in some Muslim countries, been conflated with Islamic teachings.
The doctors charged last month are said to belong to an Indian Muslim community called the Dawoodi Bohra. Leaders of that community have condemned the practice and claim they instruct community members to obey local laws. Most Muslim immigrants recognize American law – so far – but there’s a large but unknown percentage that do not. Here the British experience may be instructive: as far back as the 1990’s, Muslim organizations in that country openly asserted that Muslims are only obliged to obey British laws which do not conflict with Sharia Law – and have consistently urged British Muslims to disregard those laws that do.
As one British analyst recently observed on One America News, settlement without assimilation is colonization – which is precisely what has happened in Britain, and throughout Europe. One suggestion advanced by the Center for Intelligence Studies to deal with this problem here in the United States is to require all prospective immigrants to undergo sophisticated psychological testing to make sure they have both the ability and the willingness to assimilate to American society, and to require all approved immigrants to sign a legally binding contract with the United States pledging that they will accept and support American laws and customs.
FAUST, FRANKENSTEIN AND SCIENTIFIC SECULARIZATION
A prominent feature of Greek tragedy is hubris, an excessive pride that leads to a character’s downfall. Such pride often propels characters in Greek plays to great heights but – inevitably – tempts them to self-destructive folly. Something similar is found in the ancient Germanic story best known today as Doctor Faustus, which centers on a Renaissance scholar-turned-wizard who sold his soul to Satan in exchange for the service of the demon Mephistopheles and 24 years of magical powers. A more recent variant is Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, in which a fictional doctor assembled a body from parts of corpses and then brought the abomination to life using science instead rather than magic. Fittingly, the monster kills him.
It seems that life is now imitating art: in May 2016 The Telegraph reported that BioQuark Inc., planned to bring brain dead individuals back to life by regenerating cells in their brain stems. The trials were to take place in India, but in November Science Magazine reported that the Indian Council of Medical Research stopped the ReAnima experiment, officially due to regulatory lapses. BioQuark and its Indian partners then stated they were not giving up and wanted to try again in the future.
Other scientists are attempting to develop techniques for transplanting heads and brains. The Telegraph reports that Prof. Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, plans to carry out the first human head transplant “no later than 2018” before attempting to reanimate people who have been cryogenically frozen. The first human head transplant, however, appears likely to be carried out by Chinese surgeon Dr. Xiaoping Ren, according to The Mirror and The New York Times. Last year Ren transplanted a monkey’s head onto another monkey’s body, but without attempting to connect the spinal cord. The monkey is said to have lived for 20 hours after the operation. Dr. Ren does not say when he expects to conduct the transplant on a living human, but he is experimenting with his team on human corpses. His stated goal is to enable paralyzed people to live a normal life by transplanting their heads onto functioning bodies. The source of the donor bodies – and the corpses used in his experiments – is not explained, but are likely the bodies of criminals and political prisoners executed by the regime, as China has long used the organs of prisoners for both research and medical transplants.
At this stage, Dr. Ren is not yet attempting to bring back the dead – but like Frankenstein, he embraces the view that humans are no more than interchangeable body parts. But Prof. Canavero in Italy has a much more ambitious goal. He hopes his research and experiments will yield proof of life after death, thereby making all religions obsolete. He apparently views religion as a superstition intended to ameliorate the fear of death, a view that has become increasingly common in the West over the past two hundred years or so.
But for the more spiritually inclined, religion is understood as a framework for our relationship to the Divine, and to that which the Deity has created – especially, other people. Most of the Ten Commandments instruct us to live harmonious lives, while other, more specific instructions and rituals are intended to bring individuals closer to God in their daily lives.
In the West, the decline of religious faith accelerated after the horror of the First World War and even more so after the Second. Having witnessed incomprehensible horrors on the battlefield – and even worse in Nazi extermination camps, and the Japanese POW facilities that often rivaled them in barbarism – many veterans who returned home were no longer able to believe in a loving and merciful God. The left wing secular governments that arose in Europe after the war encouraged this turn from faith – as did the left in America – smug in their conceit that science and socialism could solve the ills of mankind.
But regardless of God’s existence or lack thereof, this was precisely the mistake that Oswald Spengler warned against in his majestic tome, The Decline of the West. For the alternative to Christianity is not the scientific secularism embraced by the intellectual and political elites, but what Spengler described as Faustianism – the false belief that mankind can, through scientific cleverness, recreate humanity and the world.
As evidenced by the research pursued by BioQuark, Prof. Canavero and Dr. Ren, Faustianism has by now become deeply entrenched in Western and Western-influenced societies, and it may well spell their doom. For as Spengler warned, it doesn’t matter if God exists or doesn’t, or if the Gospels are true or not – they are structural elements of our civilization, and for that reason one cannot take the Christ out of Christian cultures without collapsing them, any more than one can take Mohammed out of an Islamic culture, or the Law out of a Jewish culture, without collapsing them as well.
AIN’T NO SUCH THING AS A LONE WOLF
On March 22nd, a terrorist drove a rented car at high speed over Westminster Bridge in London, England, intentionally striking pedestrians. He then crashed the car into the railings in front of Parliament Yard and ran through the gate to stab an unarmed policeman. Altogether, four people were killed and at least fifty others were injured in the attack. According to The Telegraph, the terrorist was shot by a protection officer attached to Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and later died. Although no information has been provided about his family’s roots, the attacker was born in Britain, converted to Islam after years of criminal activity, and went by the legally assumed name of Khalid Masood. The Guardian quotes investigators as saying they found no evidence the terrorist discussed or planned the attack with others, despite reports that his phone connected with the messaging platform WhatsApp just before the attack. This may be significant, as WhatsApp was used by Turkish mutineers to coordinate their July effort to overthrow President Erdogan.
Two days later a gunman fired several shots outside a train station in Lille, France, injuring three people. According to sources cited by The Sun, the attack may have been drug related – and like the Westminster incident, it is considered the work of a lone attacker. But credible intelligence sources have scoffed at such claims, informing Nightwatch that these and other “Lone Wolf” attacks are in fact carefully planned and coordinated. The same sources state that the mechanism used to orchestrate the attacks is highly classified and declined to provide any other information. The Mirror reports that Islamists used the encrypted messaging site Telegram to call for attacks in Britain – and on Parliament – a few weeks before Masood acted, but when asked about this report, Nightwatch’s sources stated, “The presumed coordination mechanism in this case is just one of several. There are others that are far more important.” When asked what those others might be, they declined to comment. According to our sources in the Intelligence Community, the Lone Wolf narrative is a fairly tail that persists because it serves two useful functions: one is that it allows the media to pretend they are reporting the full story, knowing full well they are not; the other is to hide “Deep Black” national security programs, technologies and techniques from public view.
The Establishment’s war against President Trump continues. Having forced the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn and narrowly failed in their effort to take down Attorney General Jeff Sessions, they’ve turned their guns on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Due to an absurd and wholly unsubstantiated article published by The Washington Post, false stories are circulating about staff being instructed to avoid eye contact with Tillerson, and other stories that the Secretary refuses to speak with anyone outside his inner circle. AP reporter Matt Lee, who has covered The State Department since 1999, has attacked these falsehoods on Twitter from his @APDiploWriter account, and with good reason: character assassination is a cheap yet insidious way of undermining officials and delegitimizing the Trump administration as a whole.
Establishment-supported extremists have also been vocal on the social media, calling for “resistance” to Trump, depicting themselves as freedom fighters and tarring President Trump and his appointees as traitors. Some have even called for President Trump’s assassination, and posted graphic, computer-modified images of his killing online.
With such sentiments running high, one would expect the Secret Service to be on its guard. Instead the Service appears to be in serious disarray. Yahoo News and AFP report that just before midnight on March 10th a man climbed three barriers at the White House and walked around the grounds for sixteen or seventeen minutes before being arrested. The man was able to look through a White House window and rattle a door handle. President Trump was inside the White House at the time.
Perhaps even more serious are reports from the New York Daily News that a Secret Service issued laptop was stolen from Special Agent Marie Argentieri’s car at her home in Brooklyn, at about 3 am on March 16th. Surveillance video shows the thief getting out of a dark sedan, running to Argentieri’s car, and running away with the laptop and other goods, including a backpack, agency issued radio, and “sensitive” documents. The thief left on foot, not in the car he arrived in, which has lead to speculation the car was an Uber. The backpack and documents were quickly recovered in other neighborhoods. But the still missing laptop contains floor plans of Trump Tower, information about the Clinton email investigation, and other national security information described as “highly sensitive” but not classified – although the laptop can be used to access a server that does contain classified information. Unfortunately, the portable computer cannot be erased or disabled by remote command.
A neighbor shown the video by police said of the thief, “They knew what they were doing, absolutely. They knew what they were hitting.” The target was undoubtedly the laptop with other items taken to make it look like a random burglary – detailed floor plans of Trump Tower would be an essential prerequisite for an assassin planning to attack the President there, or for an organized, high intensity assault by terrorists.
Why a Secret Service agent would leave a laptop containing sensitive information in her apparently unlocked car poses one serious question; how the thief knew it was there poses another that is even more troubling. But setting aside the likelihood of hostile penetration and/or agent collusion, it seems that Secret Service agents no longer take their mission seriously. Mother Jones reported on March 16th that two Special Agents assigned to protect Donald Trump III, one of President Trump’s grandchildren, are under investigation for abandoning their post. The agents drove the eight year old boy from a family estate in Westchester County, New York to Manhattan and took selfies with him while he slept in the car. When the boy awoke, he reportedly “freaked out.” More recently, on April 5th CNN reported that a Secret Service agent assigned to the Vice President’s protective detail has been placed under investigation for cavorting with a prostitute at a Maryland hotel – an unlawful indiscretion which, if true, rendered the Special Agent vulnerable to blackmail and recruitment by hostile intelligence services, organized crime or even locals involved in the sex trade.
FAUSTUS, MEN AND MACHINES
No one is quite sure where the story we know as Dr. Faustus came from, but Third Century Roman travelers who ventured beyond the walls first reported a popular Germanic myth – similar in all essential details – that warned against the lust for God-like powers. More recently, the spectacularly successful 1984 film The Terminator dealt with disastrous consequences of permitting the Faustian impulse to drive technology, as did the re-imagined 2004 TV series Battlestar Galactica. In both the film and the TV series, Artificial Intelligence turned upon humanity and tried to destroy it. AI research and development is proceeding so rapidly that many prominent scientists – including renowned physicist Stephen Hawking – have expressed genuine alarm: if AI is not brought under tight control, they fear that will be our future.
Unfortunately, Washington hasn’t been paying attention: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Axios that joblessness caused by AI (Artificial Intelligence) was so far away it wasn’t even on his radar. When pressed for a time frame, Mnuchin guessed it was “50 to 100 years” off. But robots have already put a great many Americans out of work, and with versatile robots equipped with AI that trend is accelerating. Recode reports the National Bureau of Economic Research found that between 1990 and 2007 each new industrial robot led to the loss of six jobs within the local commuting area – a total of some 670,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs. The report estimates the number of industrial robots around the world could triple or quadruple by the year 2025, creating massive unemployment. A bit more aware than Sec. Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that technological advance can’t be held back if American business is to be competitive with the rest of the world. Ross favors improving education and retraining for displaced workers, but was unable to explain how to increase the number of jobs for them.
The Atlantic reported last July that 35% of young men aged between 18 and 34 now live with their parents. As labor force participation rates drop, these young men are not going back to school. Instead they are spending more time in leisure activities – and 75% of that leisure time is video games. On the surface this is nothing new: Couch Potatoes have been the butt of jokes for decades. But Video games actively engage the players, are more satisfying than TV and vastly more satisfying than low paying, dead-end jobs or educational programs that cannot guarantee employment. The technology also becomes cheaper each year, which has made it easily affordable for even the unemployed – and that’s not good. Last August The New York Post referred to digital screens as analogous to heroin, and for good reason: brain imaging has revealed that digital tech affects the brain’s frontal cortex – which handles executive functions such as impulse control – in much the same way cocaine does, and produces a rise in dopamine levels comparable to sex. Simply put, digital phones, screens, and games are as addictive as drugs so even if better training was available for the unemployed, and workers at risk of being replaced by machines, many would prefer to stay home, collect welfare and play with their tech.
If isomorphic addiction isn’t bad enough, AI researchers are actively exploring the technology required to create cyborgs – that is, humans linked with computers. Even Elon Musk, who has publicly warned that AI could end up destroying humanity, talks about creating a “neural lace” or a mesh that would interface human brains with computers. As reported by Vanity Fair, Musk thinks this partial merging of man and machine could keep humans from becoming obsolete by making them more competitive with AI. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that by the 2030’s people will be immortal cyborgs with nanobots inside them to repair their bodies and to interface with cloud computing. Others go even further, hoping to achieve immortality by uploading human consciousness into a robot and leaving the human body behind forever.
It should be noted the latter view is held by materialists who scoff at the existence of the soul or an Afterlife; to them consciousness is merely an electrochemical process. As Stuart Russell told Vanity Fair, it’s “As if somehow intelligence was the thing that mattered and not the quality of human experience… There are people who believe that if the machines are more intelligent than we are, then they should just have the planet and we should go away.”
But Russell’s emphasis on the “quality of human experience” is in short supply these days. More and more experiments are being conducted in which human tissues are treated as mechanical parts. Geneticists have been experimenting with chimeras, animals that have been implanted with human cells or organs, and there have been credible reports that Planned Parenthood is selling aborted fetuses and fetal body parts out the back door to research scientists. The ghoulish contraband may have assisted in the development of bio-bots, as they’re called, which have been able to walk using muscle cells. Now The Sun and NPR (National Public Radio) report that researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois have used human cells to create a biological device that mimics a human female’s reproductive cycle – and that the book sized bio-bot has completed its first menstrual cycle. The researchers are also working on another bio-bot to study male reproductive tissues. The stated purpose of these synthetic creations is to study the effects of new drugs, but the overall technology of synthetic life is advancing so quickly that some AI researchers hope to turn themselves into a new type of life form. Since they regard the human body as a defective machine, why not upgrade to “Human 2.0”?
DEPORTATION: IT TAKES TWO
According to The Daily Caller, approximately thirty countries refuse to accept the repatriation of citizens who entered the US illegally and committed serious crimes. As a result, they’re eventually released onto America’s streets because the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants cannot be held indefinitely.
But according to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) an existing law permits the U.S. to withhold visas from countries that won’t take back their criminals, although it is not currently enforced because the State Department doesn’t want to upset its foreign partners. Cuellar wants to enforce that law, and to also use his position on the House Committee on Appropriations to withhold aid for those countries.
Another option, mentioned by President Trump, is to slap punitive tariffs on products they export to the US. The Washington Times reports that five of the seven countries President Trump is targeting with his extreme vetting executive orders are also on the “Uncooperative” list: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. These countries provide an excellent starting point for enforcing the existing law, slashing aid and imposing retaliatory tariffs.