The Center for Intelligence Studies
THE ENERGY WAR
The New American reports the Russian troll farm, Internet Research Agency, has been pushing pseudo-environmentalist propaganda on social media to stir up controversy about US energy production. An investigation by the US House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology found almost 10,000 social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aimed at disrupting domestic energy markets, suppressing development of fossil fuels, and quashing the expansion of natural gas use. The motive is not a mystery: As described in last month’s Nightwatch, the US is outpacing both Saudi Arabia and Russia in energy production and is increasing energy exports to Europe. Since Russia depends on its own energy exports for more than half of its revenue, losing European market share is a heavy blow. The Trump Administration’s efforts to help America dominate global energy markets is a clear threat to Russian interests, yet mainstream media continues to push its false narrative of Trump being a Russian tool.
It should be noted that Russian efforts are not limited to social media. New American also mentioned a 2014 Senate investigation found that Putin cronies and Russian energy interests used a shell company in Bermuda to transfer money to the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation, which then distributed the money to American groups promoting the man-made climate change narrative and opposing the use of fossil fuels. Here again, the intent is to cripple US energy production not to protect the environment – and is part and parcel of a multigenerational Russian effort to exploit environmentalism for nefarious ends. Credible intelligence sources tell Nightwatch that Russia has been manipulating environmental groups since the KGB funded the Club of Rome in 1968. Founded by Italian industrialist Aurelio Peccei and Scottish scientist Alexander King to discuss global problems and to educate its members, the KGB saw the organization and the movement it spawned as a way to slow Western economic growth. The Club is still around, boasting National Associations in 34 countries and pushing the same pseudo-environmental agenda. Most members are probably unaware of the KGB’s long-time involvement, just as many people sharing Russian social media propaganda are unaware of its origins.
The Grand Irony here is the Russian effort to exploit the environmental movement has the (likely) unintended effect of supporting the New World Order Elites’ effort to cripple US industry and sovereignty. This does not mean that every environmental group out there is a sock puppet, but it does mean that individuals need to critically examine claims made by environment groups and consider carefully their donations.
CALIFORNIA APPOINTS ILLEGAL ALIEN TO STATE POST
Newsweek reports that California has achieved a new first: Lizbeth Mateo is the first “undocumented resident” (i.e., illegal immigrant) to be appointed to a statewide post. She is serving on a committee “that helps increase college access for students from low-income or underserved communities.” California Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León said in a statement to the press, “While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities. Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.” Ms. Mateo came to the US as a teenager with her parents, became an immigration activist, received a degree from Santa Clara University law school in 2016, and passed the California state bar in 2017. Newsweek did not explain how illegal aliens manage to gain admittance to universities, but it did explain that in 2014 California became the first state to allow illegals to practice law with Florida following soon after.
Ms. Mateo’s appointment is a clear violation of federal law prohibiting the employment of people who do not have the right to work in the US. Allowing people who are in this country illegally – people who are criminals by definition – to practice law makes a mockery of that law.
It is also a slap in the face to immigrants who followed the rules to come to the US legally, but that doesn’t matter to those working to erase the distinction between legal and illegal immigration in the public’s mind. Nightwatch readers might be aware that approximately 40 jurisdictions in California have declared themselves Sanctuary Cities, places that do not cooperate with the federal government’s immigration enforcement efforts. There are an estimated 400 of these areas across the US, and many are actually counties, not cities. Sanctuary jurisdictions typically don’t block ICE from operating within their boundaries; they simply do not provide ICE with information and refuse to hold illegals for ICE to pick up. California’s appointment of Ms. Mateo has upped the provocation ante considerably.
The Mainstream Media’s coverage of such events needs to also be seen as a part of the Sanctuary movement, as it habitually portrays illegal immigration in a positive light and fails to disclose locals’ opposition to it. Breitbart reports that 74% of Californians in a poll conducted by UC Berkeley actually want to see Sanctuary Cities ended. Respondents included Democrats, Republicans, Independents, whites, and Hispanics alike – something studiously ignored in most MSM coverage. It remains to be seen how long Ms. Mateo’s appointment will stand or if the Department of Justice will follow through on its threat to withhold federal law enforcement grants from Sanctuary Cities.
At this point the federal government needs to take strong action to remain credible. Democratic influencers are becoming increasingly bolder in their attempts to make everyone who crosses the border an automatic citizen. They presume – and it is a reasonable presumption – that the people they extend benefits to will vote Democrat in order to keep those benefits coming. Hispanics are currently the largest minority group in the US (about 17%) as well as the second fastest growing group. Asians overtook them as the fastest growing group in 2013, but that could swing back if the southern border isn’t sealed. Sustaining the massive influx is a central element of the Elite’s plan for a global society, as a nation that surrenders its borders surrenders its sovereignty as well. It’s worth noting that NAFTA was specifically designed to ensure that the North American continent would eventually become a single economic unit. Break America’s southern border, then break the northern border, and voilà! The reality is that drug traffickers and other violent criminals are already crossing the border, and their numbers are surging. But public safety is of no interest to the Elite; their sole concern is for bank and corporate profits.
US AIR FORCE IN CRISIS
War on the Rocks reports the Air Force is hemorrhaging pilots: It has not met its pilot retention goals for 4 years and is currently 2,000 pilots short, with 1,300 fighter pilot slots unfilled. There were previous pilot crises in the 1970s and the 1990s, which were mitigated in part by the Air Force downsizing as a whole, but the current crisis is by far the worst. The Air Force is now too small, under-resourced, over-tasked, and facing serious culture problems. The retention goal is 65%; the actual retention rate has dropped to 35% and is still trending downward. The Air Force does have plans to increase pilot training programs, but it does little good to keep churning out new pilots who leave the service as soon as they’re eligible to depart, because experience is key to maintaining combat readiness. Currently less than half of all active duty squadrons have a healthy experience ratio. There is also the cost factor. Since it now costs over $11 million to develop an experienced fighter pilot, retaining more pilots would mean tremendous savings.
The pilots are mostly leaving to work for civilian airlines. In the next 10 years, 42% of commercial airline pilots will reach mandatory retirement age, so the airlines are hiring in record numbers. The last year the Air Force met its retention goal – 2013 – was also the year the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act required the FAA to increase the flight training requirements for commercial pilots from 250 hours to 1,500 hours. That put the education cost out of reach of many civilians, creating a commercial pilot shortage that made military pilots the primary recruiting pool. Commercial airline salaries are tempting, but War on the Rocks casts it as a culture and morale problem that can’t be solved by merely raising bonuses. The commercial airlines are not creating the morale problem; they merely giving frustrated pilots somewhere else to go.
The Air Force downsized too much, stretching the remaining personnel to the breaking point. The public has largely grown inured to the country’s perpetual war, but the Air Force has reached 27 years of continuous combat rotations with no sign of letting up. The 1990s had 90-day rotations. Those became 120-day deployments in 2004. In 2010 those became 6-month deployments to support the Afghanistan troop surge, and that is still the norm today for the active duty force. The Air National Guard norm is a deployment of 4 months or less. War on the Rocks recommends cutting the active duty force deployment to match the National Guard’s, citing the Guard’s superior readiness and reduced family stress. The justification for keeping the 6-month deployment is that it reduces costs. If that sounds more like a corporation talking than the military, it’s a symptom of the culture shift. Even when not on a combat deployment, 62% of fighter pilots say they work over 60 hours a week, but they still lack proper training time. Pilots feel they are working two full time jobs: one as a pilot and one as an office worker. Add in the fact that non-flying officers are promoted more than aviators, and the message received by pilots is that their primary job is not a priority for the service. This a decidedly weird cultural shift for a military service engaged in active combat in several countries.
One reason for that may be the widespread belief that the era of piloted warplanes is fast coming to a close. The Pentagon believes the new F-35 Lightning will probably be the last manned fighter; smaller, cheaper and far more lethal remotely piloted aircraft are in development and autonomous warplanes equipped with artificial intelligence are said to be right over the horizon. Given these realities, the Air Force Brass may have decided to just muddle through the present crisis.
They may be right about the demise of piloted aircraft, but a strategy of muddling through is not reassuring – especially when there are other easily implemented alternatives. One is extending the service contracts of candidates accepted for flight school, either by adding 18 months to two years to their term of service or by requiring them to serve as a reservist or Guardsman for four years after separating from the regular service. Another option is to resurrect the Flying Sergeants program which has been used intermittently since the founding of the air service in 1912. Although not commonplace, Non-Commissioned Officers flew throughout the Second World War and Korea and a few may have flown in Vietnam. Another close alternative would be to copy the Army’s program of designating graduates of rotary flight school as Warrant Officers (officers who serve fixed enlistments). For more than a century the majority of Royal Air Force and other Allied service pilots have been Non-Commissioned Officers, and it has worked well for them. One reason for that is NCO and Warrant Officer pilots generally lack college degrees and for that reason are considered less desirable by the commercial airlines. As a result, their retention rate has been traditionally higher.
MORE FBI CORRUPTION REVEALED
The Daily Caller reports that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied four times – twice while under oath to the Inspector General – about his authorization of leaks to the media. It was for that reason the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended McCabe be fired, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions did March 16th, two days before McCabe was scheduled to retire. It was widely reported at the time, that McCabe had lost his pension, but that turns out not to be the case. As Forbes points out, McCabe actually lost the right to collect benefits at age 50. He can still collect benefits when he turns 57. His pension is under the Federal Employees Retirement System, which is vested at five years and cannot be taken away after that point.
At any rate, the fact that McCabe was dismissed gives hope that action will be taken on other FBI abuses. The report on the email server investigation has not yet been made public, but the IG’s office announced March 28th that it will undertake a review of the FBI’s “compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person” and may include other issues that turn up in the review.
As the public waits for more details, insiders are telling the media of other shady behavior at the FBI. The Bureau was plagued by scandals during the 1990s, which included faking evidence in over 200 federal cases, the use of training funds for parties for senior FBI officials and – incredibly – FBI complicity in a mob hit that may have been authorized by now-Special Counsel Robert Mueller! Although these scandals leaked to the public, nothing was done and no one was ever punished. The new millennium did not bring an improvement: An FBI surveillance van packed with sophisticated electronic equipment and deployed against Russian intelligence was stolen when the two FBI agents manning it went on lunch break, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 laptop computers containing classified information went missing along with an equal number of FBI issued sidearms during the first ten years. More recently, senior FBI officials conspired to throw the 2018 presidential election to Hillary Clinton and, when that failed, to drive President Trump from power using the phony Russia Dossier.
FBI corruption and incompetence has been an open secret in Washington for decades, and Former Director James Comey is said to have promised to clean up it up in 2014. Instead, he packed the upper levels of the Bureau with sycophants and political hacks like Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok – the latter of whom was, arguably, the worst counterintelligence officer in history.
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
On February 14th, a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 dead and 16 wounded. The gunman was quickly identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school a year earlier. The media has made much of his troubled childhood and law enforcement’s familiarity with him: the Broward Sheriff’s office was called to his home 39 times over a seven year period, and even the FBI had received calls recounting his threatening behavior. The media has also made much of Stoneman Douglas students calling for stricter gun control and associated classroom boycotts and walkout protests, while ignoring students who advocate placing armed guards at schools instead. Mass shootings are always followed by gun control demands, but the media circus around this one was particularly obscene. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel used a CNN televised town hall to criticize the NRA, and many news outlets repeated an extremely misleading Associated Press claim that Cruz had belonged to an NRA-funded rifle team. The reality is that Cruz had been in the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp program and had participated on a marksmanship team that competed against other schools; the program had received donations from the NRA, but Junior ROTC has always been sponsored and taught by the US Armed Forces. The circus worsened even more when it was reported that the school’s armed resource officer and three other deputies who arrived during the shooting all took up defensive positions outside the school instead of entering to go after the shooter. Gun control supporters attempted to defend them by pointing out differences in weaponry – apparently unaware that after the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting, standard police procedures were changed so that first responders to an active shooter situation were to immediately enter and engage the shooter without waiting for backup. (They are apparently also unaware of the many cases in which responders who were technically outgunned successfully took out the shooter as well as cases in which the shooter killed himself as soon as he realized the police had located him.) The resource officer’s attorney has claimed to CNN that his client believed the shots were outside the building, while the deputies say they were ordered not to enter the building unless their bodycams were turned on – and none of them had bodycams. Coral Springs police arrived and entered the school, reportedly disgusted with what they perceived as the Broward deputies’ dereliction of duty. Cruz was actually apprehended by an officer from a third police department over an hour later about three miles away. He reportedly abandoned his rifle when it jammed and fled the school with students.
The circus shows no sign of packing up. Several corporations have announced they will cut promotional ties with the NRA, while people who don’t even own guns are publicizing their new NRA memberships on social media. Broward County is widely reported to be investigating the law enforcement response to the incident as well as possible corruption in the sheriff’s department – but not, apparently, eyewitness reports that contradict the official story. One girl who said she saw Cruz and spoke to him as they fled the school insisted there were still shots being fired from another direction as they ran. Two teachers who saw a gunman initially took him for a cop because he was wearing full body armor with metal helmet. As of this writing, no internal surveillance video of the gunman has been released even though external footage of the school has been shown. The policeman who apprehended Cruz reportedly noticed his clothing matched a description of what the gunman was wearing -- jeans and a burgundy shirt, not body armor. So far no explanation of the second gunman in body armor has been given. Lest anyone dismiss him as part of a drill scheduled for that day, he was definitely firing live rounds because the teacher who spoke to Good Morning America was grazed by a bullet, and the glass in her classroom door was shattered. She said the same armored gunman also fired into another classroom in which the teacher and several students were later declared dead.
The gun control debate rages on despite these anomalies. Overlooked in the heated exchange is the Center for Intelligence Studies’ twenty-year old proposal to regulate the sort of military-capable firearms used in this attack and others – most recently, Las Vegas – through the strict application of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
There are currently 22 states with active militias or State Defense Forces. These militias are under the control of the state governor and assist National Guard and law enforcement units in disaster recovery efforts, search and rescue missions, and Homeland Security operations. The CFIS recommends that practice be adopted by all 50 states and territories and that they require – with common-sense exceptions – active membership in a state or territorial militia as a prerequisite for purchasing and/or possessing military-capable firearms.
The advantages of this proposal are many: organized militias could require background checks; they could carefully screen applicants for signs of mental illness or instability; they could require professional firearm and safety training, and their members would be supervised by officers and non-commissioned officers. In this way, militias would provide dual benefits: in addition to providing a deep reservoir of adequately trained and organized personnel for emergencies, they would restrict military-capable weapons in a precisely constitutional manner. Other firearms, such as shotguns, bolt action hunting rifles and sidearms would not be restricted.
The Grand Irony here is the Left has no real interest in preventing mass shootings. Ninety-eight per cent of all deaths caused by firearms are inflicted by hand guns, and bolt action rifles can almost equal the rate of semi-automatic fire: in World War II, for example, British soldiers armed with Lee-Enfield rifles were able to put almost as many rounds on target per minute as American soldiers could with M1 semi-automatics. But the Left lives in a Post-factual World, and the prevention of mass shootings is simply a convenient pretext for banning military-capable weapons such as AR-15’s. This they regard as the essential first step toward the complete and total disarmament of the American people – because military-capable firearms are precisely the type of weapons that would best enable honest citizens to resist federal tyranny.
AI JOINS THE MILITARY
Digital Trends reports that Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has transferred a prototype autonomous ship to the US Navy. Christened Sea Hunter, the robotic trans-oceanic-capable ship is 127 feet long and can reach speeds of up to 27 knots. It is currently outfitted with surveillance equipment to track foreign submarines but not with weapons. A Navy spokesman emphasized that if weapons were ever placed on this type of ship, the weapons would always be under the control of humans. It is hoped that Sea Hunter will join active naval operations this year and that flotillas of such ships will be deployed within five years.
The sooner they’re in operation, the better. The Washington Times reports that Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic and Arctic is approaching levels not seen since the Cold War. In fact, Russia has acquired 13 subs since 2013, in a clear bid to challenge NATO’s naval supremacy. NATO’s Secretary-General admits the organization has let its underwater capabilities lag, practicing less and losing skills, so the US can’t expect much help from them. Unfortunately, the US has also been neglecting the Atlantic – due to a lopsided focus on the Middle East and the South China Sea – leaving vulnerable the underwater fiber optic cables that carry 95% of the global internet traffic. The US Navy badly needs to expand its fleet operations to counter Russian activity, and the new Sea Hunter class of ships can help bridge the gap in a cost efficient manner.
The US Army is progressing with its own robots. Defense One reports that the Army has deployed armed robots since 2003 with mixed results. A mini-tank bot was deployed in Iraq for a few years, but it was grounded after incidents in which the bot moved its guns without being given a command to do so. (Fortunately, no one was hurt.) The Army is now conducting live fire exercises with a remote controlled, unmanned M113 armored personnel carrier tasked with providing suppressive fire for combat engineers clearing a minefield. Top brass want more of these exercises with bigger guns, and the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is working to comply.
South China Morning Post reports that the Chinese military is also investing in AI, developing what it calls a decision support system for submarine commanders. Past sub computers tended to be out of date and sacrificed computing speed to better withstand the shocks, heat, and electromagnetic disturbances that could be encountered in use. But new advances made in machine learning and neural networks have made it more practical to integrate AI with submarine combat systems. Because it’s intended to help commanders assess the threat environment as well as the risks of various combat maneuvers, the Chinese view AI as a safety feature rather than a mechanism for reducing personnel requirements.
This is only one part of China’s plan to catch up with the US and become the world’s military-technological superpower. China is also recruiting PhDs in quantum technology to develop superior communications and sensor capabilities. One known project is a new satellite that will be able track stealth bombers taking off at night and other targets that are currently invisible from space. Clearly the US needs to stay alert and not fall behind here.
AMERICAN OIL BOOM!
Last year the Trump Administration announced it wanted the US to become energy dominant, not merely energy independent. There was much scoffing, and just two months ago the Los Angeles Times detailed how the plan appeared to be foundering: environmentalists protesting offshore oil drilling, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission torpedoing subsidies to keep old coal and nuclear power plants operating, coal mines shutting down, and erratic oil markets preventing companies from getting needed financing. Sounding the death knell for Trump’s vision, however, was decidedly premature. Bloomberg and Breitbart now report that US oil production is at its highest level in 50 years and is surpassing that of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Readers might recall that a couple years ago the Saudis glutted the oil market to depress the price in an attempt to drive American shale oil producers out of business. American companies were hit hard, but ultimately the Saudis couldn’t bear the self-inflicted financial pain and worked with OPEC and Russia to cut back oil production and raise the price again, bringing it up to a three-year high. That put the surviving American companies in a better position than ever. It may be hard to believe for people who lived through the oil shocks and gas pump lines of the seventies, but America is now the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas.
Apparently the Saudis have decided to give in and roll with it. Fortune reports Saudi Arabia plans to take its state-owned Aramco public this year and use part of the IPO proceeds to invest in American shale companies to acquire natural gas supplies. Aramco already owns some US oil refineries, but it hasn’t imported energy before; bringing in American natural gas to produce electricity will be more cost efficient than using its own oil, which can be better used for other purposes or exported.
The Doomsday Scenario of Peak Oil that haunted the world for decades has been almost forgotten. The once common notion that oil formed from prehistoric plant and animal materials hasn’t been taken seriously by geologists in years. Since the 1950’s Russian scientists have theorized that oil forms naturally deep inside the earth from non-biological sources. This abiotic or abiogenic theory hasn’t been fully proven as yet, but it’s gaining wider acceptance due to its ability to better predict where previously unknown oil and gas fields may be found. This doesn’t mean that renewable energy will be kicked to the curb – a wide range of energy sources is needed to cut pollution and to fuel developing nations efficiently, and American technology can and should take the lead in renewable energies as well.
Dominating energy production will also help the US dollar remain the world’s most important reserve currency. The value of the dollar cratered after President Nixon took it off the gold standard and ended its convertibility in 1971. But it recovered sharply after Henry Kissinger negotiated a series of agreements with Saudi Arabia between 1974 and 1975, in which the US extended open-ended support for the regimes survival in exchange for a Saudi-imposed OPEC requirement that all international oil sales be paid for in US dollars. The resulting strength of the dollar has permitted the US to run staggering deficits year after year – at the cost of embroiling the US in the Mid East quagmire.
The Washington Times reports the Trump Administration also wants to secure supplies of strategic minerals by opening public lands for mining and streamlining procedures for permits. These minerals are needed by today’s technology for both civilian and military use, e.g. cell phones, satellite imaging equipment, GPS systems, flat screens, and permanent magnets. Relying on hostile countries such as Russia and China to supply strategic minerals for American technology is absurd, especially since the US has an estimated $6 trillion under its own soil. It is possible to mine in ways that does not destroy the environment; if anything, the US is more conscientious in this regard than the current mineral exporters are. From a national security standpoint it is common sense to be able to provide for our nation’s own needs. If the US can also produce surplus minerals for export, that would enhance America’s international influence and help keep China and Russia in check – and the estimated $50 billion that domestic strategic mineral mining would add to America’s GDP would be welcome, as well.
Zerohedge reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has belatedly acknowledged to the German press that migrant criminals have indeed established no-go zones in what was once their country. The police are powerless in these zones because they’re outnumbered and likely outgunned by ruthless killers who have no respect for German law. Merkel stated that the government must provide security for its citizens and eliminate the no-go zones, but failed to explain how she proposes to do that.
It’s probably too late anyway. Germany’s embrace of Multiculturalism has proven to be in practice cultural and national suicide. Like Sweden, Germany has destroyed itself.
THE REAL RUSSIAGATE
True Pundit reports that no less than six US agencies conspired to surveil Trump campaign insiders both before and after the election in an attempt to prevent Trump from assuming office. The agencies are: FBI, NSA, CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury financial crimes division under DHS, and the Justice Department. The FISA Court denied two FBI applications to wiretap Trump associates, so the conspirators got the British GCHQ to perform the surveillance after certain Russians met with Manafort, Kushner, and Trump, Jr., at Trump Tower. That meeting was, in effect, covertly sponsored by the FBI and the Justice Department, because Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya – who led the Russian delegation – had been barred from entering the US by the State Department and needed special permission for her visa. This comes perilously close to entrapment.
GCHQ personnel worked out of NSA’s Maryland headquarters, apparently without the knowledge or consent of NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers. The FBI then used intelligence gleaned from that surveillance to obtain a FISA warrant around September 2016. Due to the illicit scheming, information derived from the surveillance should have been deemed “fruit of the poisoned tree” and discarded – yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller is said to be relying upon it in his probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Importantly, the scheming began months before Fusion GPS used Clinton and DNC money to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to compile his now infamous dossier. On top of all that, the FBI paid Steele additional money to “confirm” the contents of his own dossier – the contents of which remain still unproven despite the furor it caused.
“This would make for an incredible string of Senate hearings,” a True Pundit source said. “I don’t think they ever thought he [Trump] would win and [any] information would come out about how they manipulated evidence.” A reasonable person might think this would prompt serious charges against senior officials of the six above-mentioned agencies, for they unquestionably engaged in seditious conspiracy. Yet as of this writing no formal charges have been filed and the political grandstanding continues. Comparisons to Watergate abound in social media, but this conspiracy is much grander in scale than that, in which an FBI Acting Director leaked sometimes false, often misleading and always incriminating investigation details to the press because he was angry that President Nixon refused to make him the Bureau’s permanent Director.
If anything, Congressional leaders are focusing public attention on the FBI’s abuse of surveillance to gloss over the fact that top members of the US Intelligence Community and federal law enforcement attempted to subvert the Constitution and remove a legally elected President. The most innocent explanation for this is timing – with the midterm elections looming, both parties seem to believe the controversy will favor their candidates. And to no one’s surprise, they seem entirely disinterested in examining British GCHQ involvement in the attempted coup – and still less, as to what actions should be taken to ensure our ostensibly loyal ally isn’t tempted to intervene again.
THE REAL RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE
Like many conspiracy theories, the Democrats’ hysteria over Russian meddling in the 2016 election has a grain of truth while still missing the mark by country miles. Putin has repeatedly told interviewers that he – and Russia – didn’t care which candidate won the election because American policy continues on the same track regardless of the party in power.
Those with suspicious minds may attribute that continuity to the Deep State; others, such as the late Georgetown University historian Carroll Quigley, attributed it to the now-expanded Anglo-American Elite. In reality, the remarkable consistency of American foreign policy stems from the grandiose and bloody National Policy of Global Dominion via Oil Control, and the supporting Grand Strategy of Armed Mid East Intervention – both of which were quietly adopted in 1967. The Russians find that National Policy offensive – and its ultimate objective of Global Government unacceptable. They will fight to maintain their sovereign independence.
The Washington Times reports that Russian analysts believe Putin should be taken at his word: Russia really didn’t care who won. Their goal was to destabilize the US political system and delegitimize the winner by deliberately exposing what appeared to be a Political Influence Operation, consisting of Facebook ads, Twitter bots, dossiers, and clandestine meetings. They succeeded: we’re now witnessing the spectacle of Democrats colluding with Russia to expose Russia’s non-existent collusion with Trump, as both political parties point fingers at each other. The world is watching the circus in disbelief; America’s image is in tatters.
The spread of disinformation and fake news through social media is part of the new hybrid warfare, now employed around the globe. Sometimes the culprits are local, such as the ones responsible for the bogus reports of street violence during Kenya’s presidential election last August; sometimes the culprits are international, such as the debacle in the US. Russia has also been accused of similar interference in German, Danish, and French elections plus England’s Brexit referendum. To be clear, meddling in other countries’ elections is nothing new – and in this, the US ranks high among the offenders. Social media simply provides a new space for battle, a battle the US is woefully unprepared for.
Part of that unpreparedness stems from the Obama Administration’s refusal to take Russia’s resurgence under Putin seriously. According to The Nation, Obama called Russia a regional power. Putin has been in power for eighteen years, working to re-establish Russia as a world power – not merely a regional one – and to ensure that Russia does not collapse the way the Soviet Union did. This does not mean recreating the Soviet Union per se, but it does mean rebuilding Russia’s traditional buffer zones and its military capabilities for the 21st century. That’s where hybrid warfare comes in.
Several reports by The Washington Times trace the 2016 interference to Obama Administration taking actions that Putin viewed as provocative. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the 2011 Russian legislative elections and called for an investigation. Putin countered by accusing Washington of supporting opposition protesters – or put more directly, of meddling in Russia’s elections. In January 2012 Michael McFaul arrived in Moscow as the new ambassador and promptly began meeting with Russian opposition leaders and human rights activists. Putin was not merely angry: he was convinced the US was trying to oust him. McFaul was a political appointee who had never been an ambassador before and apparently did not understand the ramifications of his actions. That an inexperienced diplomat was sent to such a sensitive post underscores the Administration’s fumbling, and follows hard on the heels of the deeply suspect Uranium One deal that gave a Russian company control of 20% of American uranium production. The string of Obama Administration’s missteps and blunders was inexcusable and continued right up to the 2016 US election. President Obama initially ignored intelligence reports of Russian meddling, and when the Administration finally did act its response was weak and indecisive, consisting of a few back-channel warnings. After Obama met Putin in early September, at the Group of 20 economic summit in China, he told reporters that he had convinced Putin to stop the disruption. The accuracy of that claim is strongly disputed by Washington Times sources. Obama supporters have claimed the Administration did not warn the American public out of fears the warning would itself influence the election.
Maybe so, but that fails to explain why the US failed to counterattack and shut the Russian hackers and bots down. Former intelligence officers say the Intelligence Community’s hyperfocus on the Mideast resulted in the atrophy of Cold War information/counter-disinformation capabilities that could and should have been employed in retaliation. Unfortunately, that atrophy wasn’t limited to information/counter-disinformation: it seems to have spread throughout almost everything except counterterrorism. US intelligence, for example, still hasn’t figured out how Mikhail Lesin – Moscow oligarch, Putin chum and founder of the RT television network – in 2015 managed to die in a Washington, DC, hotel room through blunt force traumas while intoxicated, even though he was under federal investigation for multiple crimes and should have been under close surveillance. Apparently, the Bureau was too busy spying on Trump to keep tabs on Russian Oligarchs.
SCHOOLS WELCOMING CHINESE PROPAGANDA
China has come a long way since the heavy handed personality cult of Chairman Mao. These days China makes good use of soft power, emphasizing investing opportunities and its cultural traditions. Liberty Blitzkrieg reports a highly successful Chinese initiative is the Confucius Institute. In a nutshell the Institute provides universities with teachers and materials for Chinese studies programs – and Confucius foots the bill. There are now over 500 Confucius Institutes worldwide with 100 of them in the US, and more are on the way. On the surface it looks like a great way for cash-strapped schools to expand their offerings, and universities are accustomed to program endowments from philanthropists. The Chinese, however, are not motivated by philanthropy. The Confucius Institute is overseen by the Chinese Ministry of Education, which thoroughly vets the teachers. No discussion of politically controversial issues – such as human rights or the Tiananmen Square massacre – is allowed. Teachers must toe the party line at all times and present a favorable picture of China. Any negative aspects of Chinese life are ignored or glossed over. For example, a student asking about the terrible air pollution there was told those reports were “misinformation promoted in the US media.” Questions about the Chinese occupation of Tibet are deflected to refocus on Tibet’s natural beauty or native culture, sidestepping the fact that China has spent decades trying to stamp out that culture. It is propaganda, plain and simple, and it has no place in American universities. A university that has outsourced its curriculum to the Chinese government has surrendered its academic integrity by allowing truth to be quashed. At least some of the universities appear aware of that betrayal. When Rachelle Peterson of the National Association of Scholars contacted schools for a report on the Confucius Institute, she found many officials were unwilling to talk to her. One university provost went so far as to remove her from a classroom even though she had received permission from a teacher to sit in on a language class. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along...
Even more disturbing is the initiative to infiltrate American primary and secondary schools with Confucius Classrooms. American education certainly needs an overhaul, but subcontracting education to a foreign government is not the answer. Students need to learn about other cultures in ways that encourage intellectual development, not brainwashing. Given the circumstances, parents need to monitor what their children are actually being taught – as opposed to what the schools claim is being taught – and provide accurate information as appropriate.
It’s also worth noting that China routinely debriefs its citizens returning from abroad for scraps of information – including the names of educators who might be promising targets for recruitment.
EX-CIA OFFICER ARRESTED
Speaking of Chinese intelligence, The New York Times reported that former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee was arrested in January and charged with a single count of unlawfully possessing national defense information. He is suspected of giving information to China, leading to the execution or imprisonment of about twenty agents between 2010 and 2012 and crippling American intelligence operations, but American officials say he will probably not be charged with espionage. Those officials are saying very little about the case either because they don’t want to reveal why Lee is suspected or because they don’t have the evidence needed for an espionage conviction. Lee is a naturalized US citizen who worked for the CIA from 1994 until 2007 when he became unhappy about his career prospects. He lived in Hong Kong for awhile then moved back to Virginia in 2012. At that time he was interviewed several times by the FBI but not arrested. He returned to Hong Kong in 2013, and it is not known why he decided to travel back to the US last month or why the FBI waited so long to charge him: the classified information he allegedly retained after leaving the Agency is said to have been discovered during a 2012 search of his hotel room.
Some believe China identified the agents by hacking communications. But if Lee did identify CIA assets to China, his treachery highlights the danger of ethnic espionage and the downside of diversity. Many immigrants retain a strong connection to their roots, an affinity that is often passed along to the second generation. Contrary to post-war mythology, German, Italian and Japanese intelligence maintained large networks of ethnic and/or nationality based spies in the United States during World War II, and even more supporters: on the West Coast, some 10,000 Japanese-Americans renounced their citizenship and refused to support the war. According to Raymond W. Wannall, former FBI Assistant Director for National Security, acts of sabotage in war plants “were common.” Rather than arrest the culprits and expose the problem in open court, the Bureau contacted their draft boards and the Army instead. Spies and saboteurs suddenly found themselves in the infantry, fighting for their lives in the most dangerous sectors and under the worst possible circumstances against the very enemy they had served. By accident or design, few survived.
More recently, Zionists have posed a similar problem. One notorious example is Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel. But according to former US intelligence officers, Pollard was and remains the tip of the iceberg: every year, the Bureau “encourages” substantial numbers of Jewish-Americans to move to Israel – or face arrest for espionage.
Unfortunately, the latest wave of immigrants from Muslim lands poses an even bigger problem: in addition to espionage – of which there have been multiple examples to date – they’re also prone to terrorism.
In public, American intelligence officers will say that spies are recruited by MICE – Money, Ideology, Compromise or Ego. But privately, they’ll acknowledge that ethnicity works, too.
DRUGS, TERRORISTS AND BARACK OBAMA
It’s no secret that the Obama Administration regularly leaked classified information to burnish his image or to tarnish those of his political opponents: the president’s image was deemed more important than anything else. But the former President’s public persona took a terrific hit after Politico reported his Administration protected the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah from a drug trafficking task force, in an effort to improve relations with Iran.
The task force, known as Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration learned that Hezbollah had evolved from a Middle-Eastern terror group into an international crime syndicate collecting a billion dollars a year from drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, money laundering, and other criminal activities. The task force spent eight years tracking literal tons of cocaine shipments into the US and the associated flow of cash, which revealed Hezbollah connections in the Syrian, Venezuelan, and Russian governments as well as Iran. Cassandra members say the Administration repeatedly blocked efforts to arrest top Hezbollah operatives and refused to block Hezbollah’s access to US financial markets. Incredibly, while Hezbollah smuggled explosive devices capable of destroying M1 Abrams tanks to Shiite militias in neighboring Iraq, the Obama Administration spoke of encouraging Hezbollah’s political wing to become more active in the Lebanese government.
As the Administration moved closer to lifting sanctions against Iran as part of the deal to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons research, Project Cassandra encountered more and more roadblocks, losing both resources and personnel. Even when the task force uncovered an Iranian Quds Force network operating in the US to smuggle Bell military helicopters, the Justice Department rejected important indictments. Former national security officials denied to Politico that the Iran nuclear deal had any effect on law enforcement efforts, but a former Treasury official testified in writing to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in February 2017 that “these investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.” That same official also recommended reactivating Project Cassandra in order to prosecute Hezbollah facilitators.
Despite the denials noted above, a former CIA officer told Politico that the White House had pressured the CIA to halt covert operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon after complaints from Iranian negotiators, angering the CIA officers who knew Hezbollah operatives were still carrying out killings and other terrorist activities. Giving a free pass to terrorists and drug traffickers to put a feather in Obama’s foreign policy cap represents a new low in American foreign policy – demonstrating, again, Mr. Obama’s utter disregard for the safety and security of the American people.
HEZBOLLAH ON THE HILL?
It’s worth noting that a Hezbollah money laundering method mentioned by Politico involved buying American used cars to be resold in West Africa. Nightwatch readers will recall our discussion of Imran Awan, a Pakistani hired by House Democrats to provide IT services along with several family members who were all later banned from the Capitol computer systems because of security breaches.
The Awans also ran a used car dealership that received a loan from a man with Hezbollah connections. As reported by The Daily Caller, the car dealership kept poor records, frequently borrowed inventory from other dealers, did not pay its bills, and wound up declaring bankruptcy. And yet, somehow, the Awans managed to send large sums of money to Pakistan – raising questions about where the money came from and who actually received it. Despite the fact that all the Awan family were involved in Congressional data breaches, missing computer equipment and questionable real estate deals, only Imran and his wife have been arrested as of this writing, and the only charges brought so far involve lying first to the government, and then to the Congressional credit union in a scheme to move money from the US to Pakistan. Why none of the Awans have been charged for unlawfully downloading data from Congressional systems has not been explained. Given that they repeatedly accessed Congressional accounts, it’s hard to escape the conclusion they were working for a foreign intelligence service – or an international criminal organization with political objectives.
The fact that Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz went to great lengths to defend the Awans – even keeping Imran on her IT payroll for months after he was banned from Capitol Hill – raises serious security questions. Was she recruited by a foreign intelligence service? Was she being blackmailed by parties unknown? Did the Awans cut her in on the action? Or was something even more sinister going on?
CHINA RULES SUPERCOMPUTERS
Quartz Media reports that China has taken the lead in advanced computation, with 202 of the world’s 500 fastest computers, including the machine holding the number one slot on the list. The US has 143 supercomputers, Japan has 35 and assorted allies have another handful – so don’t count on America’s friends to help recapture the lead.
China didn’t have a single computer on the list sixteen years ago, but their determination to become a global leader of innovation is clearly paying off. The Washington Times reports that the National Security Agency and Department of Energy consider the Chinese drive a threat to US national security because supercomputers are vital in the development of modern weapons systems – including amongst other things, China’s R & D program to develop hypersonic missiles capable of maneuvering past US defenses with both conventional and nuclear payloads. The computing gap also means the US can’t even be sure it’s estimating Chinese military capabilities correctly, making it difficult to prepare for conflict or to respond appropriately to Chinese challenges below the threshold of armed force. The gap also threatens American cyber security: the electric grid, banking, email, social media, and the Internet of Things all become more vulnerable when foreign countries have the upper hand in computing. Even if a military conflict is avoided, superior computational power would provide China with a distinct edge in scientific research and development and industrial applications that could erode or even erase America’s remaining advantages.
But computational power isn’t the only area in which the United States lags: the Pentagon is two years late in supplying Congress with a study on countering the most recently emerged types of Unconventional Warfare (UW) threats – e.g., cyber war and information and media manipulation – posed by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. This apparently isn’t due to bureaucratic foot dragging, but rather to the fact that the Pentagon is
having to develop countermeasures from scratch. Pentagon officials admitted to the House Armed Services subcommittee that their counterterrorism focus has been on low-intensity military conflict, letting (emergent) UW capabilities atrophy over the years. The Pentagon has had to shift resources to rebuild UW efforts and to catch up with new techniques developing from 21st-century technology. The Pentagon promised that after the Russian UW study is completed, it will look at Chinese and Iranian threats. The Washington Times did not mention the expected time frame.
RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA
By now much of the American public is tired of the Democrats blaming their election loss, the high price of beer, and bad weather on Russia. Social media has certainly gotten some amusing memes out of it, but this could lead to a dangerous complacency. As in the old folk tale of the boy who cried wolf to get attention only to find the tired villagers ignored his cries when a wolf actually did attack, the public is beginning to tune out any mention of Russian threats. This is a serious mistake because Russia does in fact still target the US, just not quite as described by hysterical Democrats.
When the Trump Administration announced last August the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco, there were a few raised eyebrows about the choice of location. Foreign Policy reports that the San Francisco consulate was a hotbed of espionage activity, much more so than Russia’s other consulates in the US. Part of this is due to the proximity of Silicon Valley and a large number of defense contractors, including two nuclear weapons laboratories; however, about a decade ago Russia’s efforts intensified. To wit, Russian officers with technical intelligence backgrounds quickly outnumbered the officers with human intelligence backgrounds, and when not otherwise preoccupied discussing cryptology and blockchain technology they began visiting places where underground nodes connect fiber optic cable networks – especially nodes near military bases. Being able to manipulate or shut down fiber optic communication grids would cripple the US.
According to Foreign Policy, their sources also noted that the consulate’s San Francisco location is especially good for communicating with Russian ships or subs in international waters off the California coast and for monitoring US nuclear subs patrolling the Pacific. The article’s sources agreed that the intelligence “take” from San Francisco is far too valuable for Russian intelligence to abandon, so their efforts will continue in different guises. One possibility not mentioned by Foreign Policy is that Russian spooks may – literally – go underground.
As in Washington, DC, San Francisco residents are almost entirely unaware of the fact that their city sits atop a maze of tunnels. In Washington, the first tunnels were built by the Union Army during the Civil War so the Grand Army of the Potomac could shuttle troops and supplies up and down the banks of the river without being observed by Confederate spies in Arlington and Alexandria. A second set was dug by a commercial firm during the late 19th Century in a failed effort to construct a subway system. And while the paperwork has been lost, a third set of tunnels appears to have been dug during World War II and extended during the Cold War. Altogether, there are about 1000 miles of passages under the nation’s capital, most of which feature paved, two lane roads capable of accommodating two and a half ton trucks. But these are well charted and their relatively few entrances are sealed and easily guarded.
San Francisco is an entirely different matter. There are hundreds and perhaps thousands of miles of tunnels underneath, dug by pirates, smugglers, human traffickers and gold miners at various points from the 17th through the late 19th centuries. No plans for these tunnels were ever filed, they’ve never been charted and their entrances have long since been sealed and forgotten. But they are, theoretically, subject to discovery by ground penetrating radar – and given their extraordinary numbers and extent, it’s entirely possible that they could provide surreptitious access to critically important fiber optic hubs. Tapping into Silicon Valley’s corporate secrets would be a dream come true for Russian tech spooks.
RUSSIA AND URANIUM ONE REDUX
It was recently confirmed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered prosecutors at the Department of Justice to review connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One sale, although some outlets maintain that his prosecutors are merely reviewing evidence gathered by the FBI during an investigation of Uranium One’s buyer. As reported in the last Nightwatch, Uranium One is a Canadian company with American mining operations, which was bought by Rosatom, a Russian state controlled company. The deal gave Russia control of about 20% of American uranium production – a serious matter because the US does not produce enough uranium to meet its own needs. The sale required approval from nine US government agencies, including the State Department. At the time, Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation received sizable donations from Russia, and the FBI kept quiet about its ongoing investigation into racketeering by Rosatom in the US.
Since strong evidence suggests that Clinton ran the State Department as a pay-to-play scheme, many people see Sessions’ move as an indirect probe into the Clintons’ roles in the sale. Hillary Clinton has told reporters that any investigation of her by the Trump Administration would be an “abuse of power” simply because she ran against Trump for the presidency – but in a democracy, the rule of law is supposed to apply to everyone.
It is too soon to tell if Sessions’ order is anything more than a public relations move intended to placate conservative critics, but if it is indeed a serious probe into corruption, then the Justice Department should cast a wider net to include officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC assured Congress before the sale that the uranium could not be exported due to licensing restrictions, but after the sale the NRC approved a third party trucking firm to transport the uranium to Canada – a firm that may have been one of the companies compromised by Rosatom’s extortion and bribery schemes. Why the NRC allowed the uranium export after assuring Congress and others that exporting was not possible and would not happen is a question that needs to be answered. It should also be kept in mind that then President Obama could have vetoed the sale, but he chose not to.
Another item of note is that the FBI’s investigation of Rosatom began when Robert Mueller was the head of the FBI – the same Robert Mueller who is now leading the investigation into the Trump campaign team’s alleged collusion with Russia. Given the FBI’s decision to downplay the Rosatom racketeering investigation and to permit those eventually charged to plead guilty to lesser offenses, a reasonable person might question Mueller’s motives – especially in light of his close association with former FBI Director James Comey, who has allegedly obstructed justice on three different occasions to protect Bill and Hillary Clinton.
November / December 2017
ARSON AS TERRORISM
Lacking bombers with the range to reach North America, in late 1944 Japan began launching thousands of balloon-carrying bombs into the jet stream. Carrying both incendiary and anti-personnel fragmentation bombs, the balloons were intended to create havoc in the United States by detonating upon crash landings. The Japanese hoped the balloon-bombs would ignite wildfires throughout the Pacific Northwest, and in this they were partially successful: a total news blackout was imposed at the time to prevent the Japanese from evaluating the effectiveness of the attacks, but documents released by the Pentagon many years later revealed that 50,000 troops had to be diverted from training or embarkation to fight the forest fires set by the balloon bombs. Thankfully, civilian casualties were light: an Oregon woman and five children were killed in May of 1945.
Although the Japanese balloon-bomb offensive was a case of too little, too late – and was hobbled by bad luck – the potential devastation was truly alarming. Under different weather conditions and aided by better fortune, they might have burned hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of acres of American forests. As it was, the US military was forced to devote significant resources spotting and intercepting the balloon-bombs and putting out the fires caused by the ones that slipped through. Some balloons made it as far south as Arizona and others as far east as Michigan. Incredibly, they still turn up now and then: NPR reported one was found in British Columbia in October of 2015, and had to be blown up as it was deemed too dangerous to move.
Fire has been used as a devastating weapon throughout history, but was never more widely used than in World War II: the Germans attempted to burn London during the Blitz and in retaliation British and American bombers set German cities ablaze. On the other side of the world, Gen. Curtis Lemay incinerated scores of Japanese cities in a desperate attempt to force the Japanese government to surrender. Although mass incendiary bombing is probably a thing of the past, the likelihood that fire will be used as a weapon in the present asymmetric war with Islamic terrorists is very high: a single terrorist armed with a pack of matches is capable of setting a devastating wildfire that could kills scores or even hundreds and inflict damage running into the billions of dollars.
That fact has not passed unnoticed. PJ Media reports the ISIS is exhorting its followers to start fires – buildings, cars, wildfires, you name it – and has published instructions on how to set blazes. To drive the point home, the ISIS touted the devastation caused by the California wildfires last October as an example of the damage fires can do, although they have not – so far – taken credit for either that inferno or the one that followed in December. We have no estimate of the damage caused by the December blazes, but according to the Los Angeles Times the California fires killed at least 40 people and destroyed or damaged over 14,000 homes last October. Insurance claims have topped $3 billion and are still rising. The causes of the wildfires have not been established at this writing, but thanks to Islamic State’s embrace of arson we can expect future attempts by ISIS adherents to set our forests ablaze. Indeed, they may have done so in Spain and Portugal: it was widely reported that the mid-October wildfires in those countries that killed 44 people were the work of terrorists, as the number, intensity and the unusual timing of the fires – which came at the very end of the annual wildfire season – strongly suggest arson.
Since there is no way to prevent attacks of that sort, our only realistic option is to limit the number of potential attackers entering the United States – which is precisely the point of President Trump’s “Extreme Vetting.”
GOTHAM TO DEFEND AGAINST DIRTY BOMBS
Another dangerous threat comes in the form of a radiological dispersal device, colloquially known as a dirty bomb. These devices use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material. Somewhat counter intuitively, the greatest danger posed by these weapons is the explosion, because most of these devices would not have enough radioactive material to kill or even cause serious illness.
Nonetheless, they are ideal terrorist weapons because of the chaos and panic they would unleash – primary objectives of terrorist attacks – and they could easily release enough radioactive material to require a lengthy and expensive cleanup. Those exposed to the radiation might also require long term health monitoring as a precaution.
Radioactive materials in the US are licensed and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the sheer amount of it used by hospitals and research facilities makes them inviting targets for theft. In order to prevent that, the Wall Street Journal reports that New York City has made a deal with the US Department of Energy to remove 28 cesium-based radiological devices from hospitals by the year 2023 and replace them with newer machines that provide comparable services with lower risk materials.
That’s a major step in the right direction, but with an open and unsecured border it may prove ineffectual: criminal gangs in Mexico have begun targeting radioactive waste generated by hospitals. Thus far, at least two large containers of radioactive materials have been hijacked, although one was later recovered.
During the ‘40s and ‘50s both American and Soviet scientists examined ways to change the weather for civilian and military applications, and it was openly discussed in the news media of the day. The scientists were not just conducting thought experiments either: in 1947 Irving Langmuir and the US Air Force seeded a hurricane with dry ice in an attempt to weaken it – or so they said. According to AccuWeather, the hurricane had already made landfall and damaged Miami, Florida. It had moved back out to sea and was drifting away to the northeast when the Air Force seeded it. After the seeding, the hurricane picked up speed and turned back to the Atlantic coast, making landfall a second time near Savannah, Georgia as a Category 1 storm and tracking well inland. It was not clear that the change of direction was caused by the seeding, but Georgia residents were furious. Meteorologists later decided the fault lay with prevailing winds, and they’ve stuck to that story ever since.
Although talk of “Weather War” is confined to conspiracy theorists these days, the reality is that at least 50 governments around the world conduct such research. According to The Telegraph, Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates, created at least 50 rainstorms from clear skies in 2010 using giant ionizers, so some degree of control is clearly possible. Rain can provide potable water for drinking and farming, but it can also be used as a weapon: during the Vietnam War the US military unleashed an astonishing deluge upon the Ho Chi Minh Trail system by seeding the clouds over eastern Laos and western Vietnam. More advanced weather control could flood coastal areas, direct lightning bolts, or steer hurricanes. Indeed, the fact that this year’s hurricane season was so much worse than usual sparked speculation in some quarters that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria might have been artificially influenced. To be clear, the number of storms is not unusual, but three storms of category 4 and 5 so close together definitely is.
Although most would place such speculation somewhere between science fiction and paranoia, the possibility cannot be ruled out: in 1987 Dr. Bernard Eastlund received a patent for an apparatus to alter “a region in the earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and/or magnetosphere.” The invention was said to be able to disrupt communications, deflect missile attacks, or change the weather. CBC News (Canada) reported that Dr. Eastlund’s patent and company went through a series of buyouts that ended with a Department of Defense contractor involved in building a massive electronic array for the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in Alaska. The HAARP project spokesman interviewed by CBC denied they were using Eastlund’s patent, but he appeared to be familiar with it and confirmed that Eastlund’s system probably could affect the weather.
FBI STILL COVERING FOR HILLARY AND OBAMA
The Hill reports the FBI rolled up a Russian spy ring in 2010 that targeted the Clintons. Since Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and was presumed to be the next Democratic presidential candidate, the Russians naturally wanted to penetrate her circle. When one of the spies managed to get an accounting job with a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, the FBI decided enough was enough and made arrests. The Bureau stressed that there was no sign of Americans doing anything illegal and that even some of the Russian activity consisted of open and above board lobbying. But the FBI did admit it was “surprised” by Bill Clinton receiving $500,000 from a bank linked to the Kremlin for making one speech a few weeks after Hillary helped arrange for American executives to visit Moscow to support Russian efforts to create a local version of Silicon Valley.
Their surprise seems a bit naive. The bank in question was promoting the Uranium One deal in which a Russian state controlled company (Rosatom) purchased a controlling interest in a Canadian company (Uranium One) with American mining operations, giving Russia control of about 20% of American uranium production. The deal required permission from the Obama administration, which was granted. At the time the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assured Congress and the public the uranium could not be exported due to licensing restrictions on the nuclear reactor fuel. However, The Hill has uncovered NRC memos showing that uranium was in fact exported to Canada and on to Europe through a third party in 2012 – an arrangement approved by the NRC. The NRC still insists there’s no evidence the uranium went “directly” to Russia, but it’s quite possible the uranium ended up in Iran where Russia is building nuclear reactors for the Iranian government. The licensing sleight of hand has raised questions why a US government agency allowed strategic nuclear materials to fall into Russian hands. Since the US does not produce enough uranium to meet its own nuclear energy needs, this is a double strike against national security.
As this was going on, Russia was pouring money into the Clinton Foundation – while at the same time, National Review reports the FBI was investigating a Rosatom subsidiary in the US for extortion, fraud, and money laundering. Thanks to an informant, the FBI monitored the racketeering almost from the start, yet it took no action until Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. It was only after Hillary Clinton’s much vaunted reset in relations with Russia failed that the Bureau finally made arrests and quietly negotiated guilty pleas to a lesser charge of conspiracy. Interestingly, the guilty plea appears to violate Justice Department standard instructions prohibiting the use of a section 371 conspiracy charge when a federal offense has its own conspiracy provision carrying a higher sentence (e.g., racketeering and money laundering).
It’s also worth noting that Robert Mueller was head of the FBI during the racketeering investigation – the same Robert Mueller who is now the special counsel investigating President Trump and his campaign team for alleged collusion with Russia. At this point, one has to wonder why Trump is under investigation and Clinton is not: had the Congress or the media paid attention, the scandal could have rocked the entire Obama administration. For while the media is currently focusing on Hillary Clinton, the fact is that she could not have pulled off the uranium transfer on her own: President Obama implicitly approved the deal by failing to halt it.
The FBI’s silence in this matter brings to mind James Comey’s 2016 announcement that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of an unauthorized private email server to handle classified information. That wasn’t true, but it helped shield President Obama: Hillary had sent the President hundreds of e-mails from her “secret server,” a fact that made him complicit in her crime.
ARE HILLARY’S DAYS FINALLY NUMBERED?
Hillary Clinton has remained in the public eye since she lost the 2016 presidential election, claiming Donald Trump stole the White House from her by colluding with Russia and making other, increasingly strange excuses for her loss. By July, she’d offered no fewer than 24, and the number has since risen to over 30. Perhaps the most outrageous of these was that women who didn’t vote for her must have been brainwashed by their husbands.
The Mainstream Media – which abandoned all pretense of objectivity during the campaign to support her – played along for most of the year, by insisting their heroine could not possibly have lost a fair election. But she’s been such a sore loser that they’ve begun to lose patience with her, as has the Democrat Establishment. As stories pile up about the Clinton Foundation charity scams and Hillary’s pay-to-play schemes during her tenure as Secretary of State, senior Democrats have sought to distance themselves from her – and to derail her rumored decision to run again in 2020.
Former interim head of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile has written a tell all book entitled Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House. An excerpt published by Politico reveals that the Clinton campaign hijacked the DNC apparatus even before she received the nomination. It seems that Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign had left the DNC $24 million in the red, and his campaign was paying down the debt very slowly. And according to Brazile, her predecessor – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – compounded the problem with poor management: she carried too many highly paid consultants on the payroll and neglected fundraising. The Clinton campaign provided the DNC with enough money to function, in exchange for control over DNC operations. It was a poor bargain, says Brazile: Clinton used the DNC as an unacknowledged fundraising clearinghouse and siphoned off newly raised money that should have been spent on down-ballot races in contested states – all of which was laid out in a written agreement nearly a year before Clinton received the actual nomination.
Brazile stressed that she believes the agreement was legal, but acknowledged that it gives the appearance of being unethical. Her explanation – or excuse – for first honoring the agreement, and then for asking Senator Bernie Sanders to support Clinton, is the “alternative was a person who would put the very future of the country in peril.”
A reasonable person might think it was Hillary Clinton who would put the country in peril, but Brazile is a dedicated partisan who wrote with an eye to her future as a major Democrat operative – and for that reason, her account should be read with skepticism. Nonetheless, she has done the public an important service by exposing Clinton’s machinations and by confirming long-held suspicions that she stole the Democrat nomination from rival Bernie Sanders.
Mrs. Clinton seems to believe that since she won the nomination by cheating, Donald Trump must have done the same to win the general election. Psychologists call that “Projection” – but for the lay public, it seems more like paranoia.
THE CONGRESS-PAKISTAN CONNECTION
Nightwatch reported last March that three Pakistani brothers named Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were fired from their IT positions on Capitol Hill after they fell under suspicion of stealing equipment and accessing without authorization computers belonging to members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, whose members have access to a wealth of classified information. The brothers were IT contractors for several Democratic members of Congress and were paid triple the standard rate. Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi, was also a contractor. But it turns out that not all their clients fired them: The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that after the House Sergeant at Arms banned them from accessing Congressional computers, Imran Awan and Hina Alvi remained on the payroll of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Awan was seen in the House office building several times after the February ban, and payroll records through March 31st do not show any other IT staffers for her office. Alvi was terminated by Wasserman Schultz’s office in March after Alvi returned to Pakistan with her children, but Awan remained on the payroll until he was arrested for bank fraud on July 24th at Dulles Airport.
Daily Caller reports that over the years the Awans were employed by an estimated 80 House Democrats, no Republicans, and no Independents. Imran and Jamal did most of the work; Abid and Hina were rarely seen. Imran reportedly helped only the Congressional members and routinely ignored help requests from their staff members. A staffer who threatened to not pay Imran’s invoices until his own computer was fixed was promptly fired. The work that was performed was shoddy: an IT contractor who took over an Awan office claimed that there was no equipment inventory and that the office was paying for phone lines that hadn’t been used in years. Yet despite the poor customer service, Awan clients refused to replace them with less expensive vendors until they were banned. IT workers who replaced the Awans discovered that some offices had computer “thin clients” that sent data to an offsite server in violation of House policies. Authorities are investigating where the data was sent and to whom it might have been sold. There has been speculation by The Gateway Pundit and Frontpage that data was sold to the Muslim Brotherhood, as the Awans were employed by Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), who has received funding from Islamist organizations thought to be front groups for the MB. But Carson did fire the Awans after they were banned, and has criticized Wasserman Schultz for blocking the police investigation.
The Awans have other dubious connections as well – their car dealership, Cars International A, took a loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar, an Iraqi dissident leader agitating for the 2003 US invasion against Saddam Hussein, who is also acquainted with officials of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. The curiously named CIA, LLC dealership was allegedly unable to repay the loan and wound up discharging its debts in bankruptcy – during which Abid Awan made statements to the court that have since been shown to be false. The bank and mortgage fraud charges stem from the Awan family’s allegedly buying and selling each other rental properties financed with multiple mortgages obtained by giving false information to lenders. Some tenants say the Awans required rent payments in cash or blank money orders while other tenants say they were instructed to pay the Awans’ friends. The real estate income and liabilities were not listed on the Awans’ financial disclosure statements to Congress. The Awans themselves lived modestly and are said to have regularly wired large amounts of money to Pakistan. At the time of his arrest, Imran Awan was in the process of selling two properties valued at over $800,000. When those deals close, that money could also be wired to his wife in Pakistan as she is the nominal owner. At this writing, the authorities have confiscated Imran’s passport and released him with a GPS monitor. His attorney is Chris Gowen, a long-time associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton. No surprise, then, that Gowen has claimed the charges against Awan are simply part of a vendetta by right wingers.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has gone to incredible lengths for Imran Awan. Her explanation for keeping him on her payroll is that she thought the accusations against him stemmed from Islamophobia. Her office’s explanation for his physical presence after the ban is that he acted as an adviser “on technology issues.” When Capitol Police found a laptop computer used by Awan hidden in the Rayburn House Office Building, Wasserman Schultz claimed the laptop was hers and warned the Capitol police chief during the annual police budget hearing that if he didn’t return it he “should expect there will be consequences.” Curiously, her office is located in the Longworth House Office Building rather than the Rayburn. How her supposed lost property ended up where it did has not been explained.
To keep authorities from examining the laptop’s contents, she invoked the Constitution’s Speech and Debate clause. She has also refused to answer Daily Caller’s questions on why she wants that laptop so badly and why she refuses to let the police see the contents. She – and her office – has further refused to answer if she had planned to continue paying Awan after he returned to Pakistan. This is a legitimate question, given the fact that her office insists he was only terminated because of his arrest – an arrest that took place at an airport while he was leaving for Pakistan, carrying a return trip ticket for six months later. That Wasserman Schultz continues to display such uncharacteristic loyalty to Awan has raised serious questions and sparked lurid rumors on Capitol Hill: some suggest she’s being blackmailed by him, or that they were co-conspirators in a kickback scheme or perhaps espionage, or that they were engaged in an illicit love affair.
For those with suspicious minds or a background in counterintelligence, it’s worth noting that her connection to Imran Awan began in 2005. After hiring him, she encouraged other Congressional members to hire him as well, and those clients in turn recommended him to others. Interestingly, Wasserman Schultz was the chair of the Democratic National Committee at the time of the famous security breach prior to the 2016 presidential election, and Awan had the password to the iPad she used for both Congressional and DNC work. Her office did not respond when asked if the stolen DNC emails could have come from Awan, but the fact that the DNC refused to allow the FBI to examine its computer system is suspiciously similar to Wasserman Schultz’s refusal to let the Capitol police to examine her laptop.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Congressional leaders are pressing to conduct their own investigation, helmed by the House Committee on Administration. Wasserman Schultz’s payments to the banned contractors could be construed as “gross misapplication of public funds that could merit resignation.” Such an investigation is long overdue.
One might think the Mainstream Media could turn away from Russian collusion fantasies long enough to notice a genuine hack by Pakistanis, but that doesn’t seem likely. After all, the MSM have largely ignored the estimated 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and at least 15,000 recruited agents operating in the US. That should be front page news, as the Chinese are conducting a massive operation against the United States aimed at obtaining military technology, cultivating senior US officials to facilitate favorable trade deals, cultivating family members of US political and business elites to secure favor, and penetrating the US internet and critical infrastructure with malware. According to well informed sources, China has “successfully penetrated all the major defense weapons suppliers of the US government” on a “mind boggling” scale. If MSM can ignore that, who cares if a handful of Pakistanis are hacking Congress and the DNC?
Russia gets better ratings – and as far as the MSM is concerned, that’s what really matters.
THOSE PESKY MUSLIM RADICALS
Nightwatch readers might remember that in June 2016 we reported that France planned to open “deradicalization centers” – or re-education camps – to combat the spread of Islamist extremism. The plan smacked of Orwellian mental conditioning, and was so poorly conceived that it seemed likely that innocents would be swept up for Thoughtcrime along with the radicals. As a result, a watered-down version of the plan was adopted instead, and a single center was opened last year. But on July 28th the French government announced it would be closed as a failure. Due to controversy over the re-education proposal, the program was made voluntary: only nine people enrolled, none completed the course and one dropout was later caught trying to travel to Syria. Le Parisien adds the center has been empty since February – empty, that is, except for the thirty employees with no one to re-educate. Evidently radicalized people aren’t interested in reintegrating with society. French news outlets never described the center’s curriculum, but the failed program is estimated to have cost 2.5 million euros or about 2.9 million US dollars. Given the French Army’s mastery of psychological warfare – obtained at bitter cost in Algeria – the failure is stunning.
According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Italy’s having much better success with a preventive program. Since Islamists have been recruiting in European prisons, the Italian government formed a partnership with the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (UCOII) to send moderate Muslim clerics to teach in the prisons and counter any radical indoctrination happening there. The UCOII says it works for Islamic pluralism and stresses that members are Italians of Muslim faith with the full rights – and full responsibilities – of citizens. This approach, combined with a no-nonsense policy of deporting aggressive troublemakers, has spared Italy from the type of terrorist attacks seen in France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Germany. Note that over a third of Italian prisoners are foreigners, and of that group 42% come from predominantly Muslim countries.
THE SOCIAL ENGINEERS SCREWED UP AGAIN
The mass migrations aren’t going to stop because the Elites cling to the delusion that it will solve the economic problems that bedevil the West. Zerohedge reports that the global population of infants and preschoolers outside of Africa has been declining since 1990, while the same age group in Africa is steadily growing. Both trends are expected to continue through at least the year 2050. Since population growth accounts for the majority of GDP growth – and a declining population causes GDP to shrink because fewer goods and services are consumed – developed nations face the possibility of a sustained business recession that could last for decades. The correlation between population growth and economic health was deliberately ignored by the environmentalists who championed Zero Population Growth from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s for ideological reasons: a stagnant or declining population requires massive government intervention – that is, socialist or statist policies – to prevent an economic implosion. But as the failure of centrally-planned and socialist economics became clear in the mid-1980’s, the left-leaning Financial Elite reconsidered the population problem. The United Nations released a report in March 2000 that called for increasing immigration to maintain the levels of “working-age populations” in the developed countries and stated that “Maintaining potential support ratios would in all cases entail volumes of immigration entirely out of line with both past experience and reasonable expectations.” The point was that social welfare systems require a pyramid-like demographic structure, in which taxes paid by large numbers of young workers support a much smaller number of retired workers.
But the idea of importing masses of Third World bodies to sustain the welfare state was, unfortunately, based on two false assumptions: first, that they would be willing to work; and second, there would be jobs for them. In reality, few of the migrants have the skills or the inclination to join the workforce – they prefer to subsist off the welfare system they were intended to support – and the staggering costs of supporting and policing them have become an impediment to growth. Compounding the problem, there are few low-skill jobs available for them. According to Armstrong Economics, Italy is in particular danger of being bankrupted by the migrant crisis. Aside from the fact that the migrants are a net negative for the economy, prospects in Italy are so bleak that young, native-born Italians are leaving the country in search of a better life abroad. Other European countries are also overwhelmed, and the few that have resisted accepting migrants would be better off leaving the EU than succumbing to the economic, social and cultural disaster its Open Door policy has wrought.
Mass migration cannot solve the basic problem of demographic decline in developed countries because it doesn’t address the reasons for it. Effective and widespread birth control is one factor, and abortion is another. But there are far more troubling trends at work. In some countries fewer people are having sexual relationships – The Independent reports that 31% of Japanese aged 18-34 are virgins. Of Japanese who are 50 years old, nearly 1 out of 4 men and 1 out of 7 women had yet to marry. Reasons given include money worries, men being too shy or afraid to ask women out, and that it’s simply easier to watch porn or to have an electronic “significant other” than to forge an inevitably challenging relationship with the opposite sex. Similar concerns have been raised in South Korea and elsewhere, but the decline in male fertility is even more troubling: The Mirror reports that sperm counts among men in Western countries have plunged by more than 50% in 40 years. Since no significant decline was seen in the less developed countries of South America, Asia, and Africa, researchers suspect the heavy use of chemicals by the West in everyday products and farming may be the cause.
AND THE ROBOTS KEEP COMING
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Simbe Robotics has developed a robot to roam a store, checking for low stock items on shelves. The robot has sensors to avoid bumping into customers and carts, and it can check shelf tags for pricing errors and take itself to its charging dock when it’s low on power. The robots have been placed in mass merchandisers, grocers, and dollar stores around the US. New client Schnuck Markets – a major grocery chain – insists the robot is not intended to cut human jobs because humans still need to order merchandise and stock the shelves. But the reality is that whenever robots free human workers from a task, fewer human workers are needed to accomplish those tasks that remain – and it’s simply a matter of time before ordering and stocking are automated as well. Simbe’s Tally is also part of the growing trend for robots moving into real world situations.
But on the bright side, robots may solve the demographic problem: by taxing robot labor at the same rate that a human worker’s wages would be taxed for doing the same job, it should be possible to fund basic social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Given the dramatic failure of migration to achieve those ends, substituting tax paying robots for migrants makes a great deal of sense.
THE FAKE NEWS KEEPS GETTING FAKIER
For months the Mainstream Media (MSM) has hounded the Trump administration with accusations of collusion with Russia. But Project Veritas has released recordings of CNN producers admitting they have no proof and that the coverage could indeed be described as a witch hunt. Much as supermarket tabloids focus on celebrities to boost sales, they’re focusing on Russiagate because the sensational stories generate higher ratings. One Veritas recording belittles journalism ethics as “adorable” because cable news is a business, and the bottom line is what matters. Another recording belittles American voters as “stupid as [s-expletive].” P.T. Barnum is famously said to have observed “A sucker is born every minute,” and CNN has apparently adopted his philosophy: smearing the President and his administration is fair game as long as it wins ratings from a gullible public.
Speaking of gullible: the New York Post reports that Fusion GPS, the Washington firm that commissioned the error-ridden “intelligence dossier” on President Trump, composed by former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, is refusing to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on its connections to the Democratic Party. The dossier has no credible sourcing and has been shown to contain outright falsehoods. For example, Steele claimed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met in Prague with Kremlin officials, yet Cohen’s passport indicates he was not abroad at the time and witnesses have substantiated his presence in the US. According to the Post, other pieces in the dossier appear to be taken from Wikipedia and news articles filled out with lurid gossip from anonymous sources. No one would take the dossier seriously, unless they believe that repeating lurid tales over and over will somehow make them true. One of Fusion’s founding partners, Peter Fritsch, contributed to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Another founding partner is said to have negative views of both Putin and Trump. In 2012 Democrats hired Fusion GPS to investigate GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and in 2015 Planned Parenthood hired Fusion to investigate pro-life activists who were protesting against them. Fusion GPS and its partners clearly have an agenda that is pro-Democrat. The Senate investigators want to see records of communication between Fusion GPS, the Justice Department, and the FBI – because for reasons that remain obscure, the FBI reportedly paid Steele $50,000 to help corroborate his own report! The only plausible explanation that comes to mind is the $50 K was a disguised subsidy from the Bureau for the hit piece. Thus in what can only be described as one of history’s great understatements, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said this “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the FBI’s investigation of Trump. Deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe is reportedly the one who negotiated the payoff with Steele; his wife is a Democratic activist, and the couple had financial and political connections to the Clinton campaign.
Perhaps for that reason, the FBI is also refusing to answer questions from the Senate. Forbes and The Federalist report that Senator Grassley also wants to know if Fusion GPS has worked on behalf of Russian principals to undermine US sanctions against Russia. Since Fusion is not registered as a Russian agent, such work would be a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The alleged work by Fusion for Russia, conducted with a former Russian intelligence operative named Rinat Akhmetshin, appears to have coincided with Fusion’s work with Steele on the dossier. The simultaneity of the two works raises obvious questions about Steele’s dossier and the possibility that it was actually prepared by Russian intelligence as part of its efforts to undermine the election. Experienced American intelligence officers have expressed skepticism on the grounds that Russian intelligence does “quality work” but the astonishing gullibility of Fusion’s clients and the resulting chaos the dossier caused shows that it doesn’t take much these days to undermine the credibility of American elections. Forbes points out that Team Clinton put together the Russiagate narrative of election interference within 24 hours of her defeat and that the Steele dossier formed a major part of that narrative. Given the Democrats’ support of Fusion GPS and its contractor Steele, it appears any collusion with Russia was by Team Clinton not by Team Trump.
According to CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar – who has some experience in this area – “If anyone’s a Russian agent, it’s Hillary.”
THE COUP D’ETAT ROLLS ON
Yahoo News reports that House Democrats have introduced a bill to create a Congressional commission that could declare the president incapacitated and remove him from office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Democrats don’t like President Trump’s use of Twitter to attack his critics and claim that his behavior forms a pattern of mental illness. Section 4 of the 25th Amendment allows the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet or another body provided by Congress to determine that the president is unable to discharge his duties. The procedure requires the approval of the vice president, but Vice President Pence is very much a member of the Establishment and might not support President Trump if push comes to shove. Even if this measure does not succeed, Zerohedge points out that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice is highly unlikely to be fair and impartial. Mueller was FBI director during 9-11 and oversaw the dismantling of civil liberties and constitutional rights that accompanied the massive increase in surveillance that followed from that tragedy. According to critics, Mueller is very much a part of the Deep State/Neocon/Media Alliance that relies on a demonized enemy to keep a cowed public compliant. After 9-11 the enemy was Islamist terrorism; now the Enemy du Jour is Russia. Trump’s stated wish for better relations with Russia and his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” amounts to a declaration of war against the Deep State, and its denizens intend to get rid of him one way or another. Unfortunately, Trump’s political inexperience has made it all the easier for them – and Republicans in Congress have provided him with little support.
Threats of physical violence against President Trump and the GOP are also on the rise. Breitbart compiled a list of 15 celebrities who have called for violence against him, and political street violence is increasing. Antifa (short for anti-fascist) groups composed of far left radicals and anarchists have violently attacked populists, conservatives, and anyone else they decide is a “Nazi” – while smashing business storefront windows and burning cars. An “Official Antifa” Twitter account even stated they were responsible for “Kill Cops” graffiti in Olympia, Washington. Polizette explains that Antifa was formed in Germany in the 1980s and now has active cells in Germany, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the Czech Republic, and France. Most US media coverage gives the impression Antifa spontaneously arose in America as opposition to Trump, but a search with the engine of your choice shows this is not the case. One America News Network traces Antifa’s origin to the early 20th century in Europe and says they also have affiliates in the Mideast. Antifa is widely rumored to be funded by George Soros as part of his efforts to destabilize countries to further globalization. Antifa and their supporters in the US style themselves as part of the “Resistance” – resistance to the elected President of the US and his Administration – and are engaging in a destabilization campaign strikingly similar to the “color revolution” that ousted the lawfully elected president of the Ukraine in February of 2014. If they get their way, it will mean the end of American democracy.
AMERICAN HEALTHCARE – IN MEXICO
The constant carping on Russiagate distracts from real problems facing the country. According to The Keiser Report, 6000 Americans visit Los Algodones, Mexico, every day for dental care they can’t afford in the US. The city has a website at molarcity.com and a Facebook page touting world-class dentistry at a fraction of the cost paid in America, and offering pharmacies and “optical services” that are equally inexpensive. Molar City also boasts inexpensive shopping, great food, and a casino. Who knew visiting a dentist could be so much fun? Many Americans are visiting Molar City to take advantage of quality care at discount prices – demonstrating, incidentally, the larger point that ObamaCare has failed catastrophically.
Republicans have promised for years to repeal and replace ObamaCare with something better, but for reasons they are unwilling to explain, they never came up with an actual plan. The one currently being crafted in Congress has been described by President Trump as “mean,” and The Los Angeles Times reports it could double the number of uninsured by 2026. ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion would be stopped, resulting in de facto cuts of billions of dollars, and subsidies to help people pay for insurance would be substantially reduced. Insurers could also drop some of the benefits currently offered, so the public should be prepared to pay even more for even less coverage. But if nothing is done, ObamaCare will implode: it is not sustainable and insurers are leaving the marketplace exchanges. Still, it is difficult to see how the GOP’s still-forming plan will be an improvement for most consumers.
The Robot Revolution is upon us. According to the Las Vegas Sun, a new bar named the Tipsy Robot features two robot bartenders. Customers order drinks through tablet stations at the bar or through a smartphone app. The robots have access to more than 60 kinds of liquor and can mix drinks within 70 seconds without spills or other mistakes. The robots also steam clean their hands between each drink to keep everything hygienic. But for now, at least, the bar also maintains a human staff of bartenders, hostesses, and technicians.
The Daily Mail reports that engineers at the Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain) have developed a robot that can iron clothes. The robot is humanoid shaped and previously learned to walk up stairs and open doors. The team plans to teach the TEO robot other household tasks as well. The goal is to create a robot that can learn to do any chore by watching humans do it. No word yet on when robot maids will be available for purchase or whether they will have cute uniforms like Rosie in The Jetsons.
Driverless flying cars are also becoming reality. Engadget reports that Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency expects the Chinese EHang 184 single passenger drone to begin regular operations this month around the city. Since the drone is autonomous, passengers simply enter their destinations and fasten their seat belts. Officials in Nevada are said to be seeking FAA approval on the same drone, so perhaps they will arrive in the US soon as well.
Dubai is also deploying robot cops. Engadget reports the Dubai Police Department have unveiled a robot with a touch screen interface people can use to report crimes and pay traffic fines. Eventually upgrades will make the robots capable of acting as full-fledged police officers. In addition Gulf News reports that autonomous mini police cars are expected to patrol the streets by the end of this year. The vehicles will monitor for unusual activity while using facial recognition technology to scan the area for wanted criminals and persons of interest.
National security has traditionally been defined in terms of military capability. But in recent years, the definition has been expanded to include cyber defense, information warfare, and esoteric threats like rogue asteroids, comets, Global Warming and – when that fizzled – Climate Change. But other natural phenomenon that pose greater and more immediate threats to the safety and survival of the United States have been curiously ignored – the most ominous of which is the Yellowstone Caldera. Zerohedge reports that over 800 earthquakes were recorded at the Caldera during a two week period in June. Most of the quakes had a very low magnitude, so the US Geological Survey has not raised the risk level of a supervolcanic eruption. But some scientists estimate there’s a 10% chance that a Supervolcanic Category 7 Eruption will happen this century, and the British news outlet Express reported in 2016 that experts thought it “likely to go off within 80 years.” But since none of the scientists have explained how they made their calculations, their estimates may be no more than educated guesses based on the fact that the last eruption was 640,000 years ago. Despite the disagreements on timing, however, they concur that the volcano is dormant – not extinct – and is long overdue for an eruption.
That would be a “nation killer” – virtually everyone within 100 miles would die within minutes of the eruption and an estimated 90% of the population within 600 miles of Yellowstone would perish from the hot volcanic ash, rock, and dust that would rain down for weeks. Molten rocks would start firestorms, and volcanic ash would kill untold millions: once inhaled, moisture inside the victims’ lungs would turn it into a substance resembling cement. The eruption could also dump a layer of ash at least 10 feet deep up to 1000 miles away, rendering two-thirds of the US uninhabitable for decades or even generations. Temperatures around the world could fall by up to 20 degrees, leading to crop failures and global famine – a much bigger temperature drop than the world experienced in 1816 after the explosion of Mount Tambora the previous year, in Indonesia. Known as the Year Without Summer – or in the US, “1816 and Froze to Death” – the world as a whole experienced an average temperature drop of between 0.7-1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, but the cold was far more severe in the Northern Hemisphere. The result was sporadic frost and snow all spring and through the summer in North America, killing over half the crops. Crops failed in Europe and Asia as well, due to cold temperatures and heavy rains. The price of food skyrocketed, and the poor rioted in many cities. Large scale famine in Europe was averted only by the massive importation of grain from South America, which was less affected.
A similar catastrophe was noted in chronicles from 536 AD. That cold snap lasted for about a decade and resulted in widespread famine, abandoned settlements in Scandinavia, a plague which began in Egypt and spread by ships throughout the Mediterranean Basin (apparently the Black Death, in the form of the Yersinia pestis bacterium), and the massive invasion of China by tribes from the Eurasian Steppe. It also seems to have produced a devastating drought in what is now Mexico, leading to the collapse of Teotihuacan, but apparently increased rainfall on the Arabian Peninsula. The increase in scrub vegetation there presumably supported larger human and animal populations, and may have contributed to the growth of the early Arab-Islamic Empire.
The Yellowstone Caldera presents two enormous threats. First, most scientists agree that an eruption could be triggered by even a small nuclear detonation – meaning the United States could be effectively destroyed by a single missile or even a “suitcase nuke.” Second, absent an as yet undreamt of technological solution, there is a universal consensus that the Caldera will eventually blow and produce the same result.
But as far as the Center for Intelligence Studies has been able to ascertain, the United States Government hasn’t even acknowledged the threat. As of this writing, no research has been undertaken to determine if there is a way to defuse the ticking time bomb, no contingency plan has been developed and no preparations made for the catastrophe.
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.