The NSA Is Still Spying On All Americans … | Zero Hedge

The man who designed the NSA’s electronic intelligence gathering system (Bill Binney) sent us an affidavit which he signed on the Fourth of July explaining that the NSA is still spying on normal, every day Americans … and not focused on stopping terror attacks (I’ve added links to provide some background):

The attacks on September 11, 2001 completely changed how the NSA conducted surveillance …. the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. In October 2001, the NSA began to implement a group of intelligence activities now known as the “President’s Surveillance Program.”

The President’s Surveillance Program involved the collection of the full content of domestic e-mail traffic without any of the privacy protections built into [the program that Binney had designed]. This was done under the authorization of Executive Order 12333. This meant that the nation’s e-mail could be read by NSA staff members without the approval of any court or judge.

***

The NSA is still collecting the full content of U.S. domestic e-mail, without a warrant. We know this because of the highly-detailed information contained in the documents

leaked by former NSA-contractor, Edward Snowden. I have personally reviewed many of these documents.

I can authenticate these documents because they relate to programs that I created and supervised during my years at the NSA.

[U.S. government officials] have also admitted the authenticity of these documents.

***

The documents provided by Mr. Snowden are the type of data that experts in the intelligence community would typically and reasonably rely upon to form an opinion as to the conduct of the intelligence community.

[The Snowden documents prove that the NSA is still spying on most Americans.]

When Mr. Snowden said that he could read the e-mail of a federal judge if he had that judge’s e­mail address, he was not exaggerating.

***

The NSA is creating a program that shows the real-time location of all cell phones, tablets and computers in the world, at any time. To have a state-actor engaging in this sort of behavior, without any court supervision, is troubling.

***

In their public statements, [government officials] claim that collection of information is limited, and is being done pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). FBI Director James Comey recently described Section 702 of FISA as the “crown jewel” of the intelligence community.

Defendants, however, are not being candid with the Court. Collection is actually being done pursuant to Executive Order 12333(2)(3)(c), which — to my knowledge — has never been subject to judicial review. This order allows the intelligence community to collect incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate  federal, state, local or foreign laws.” Any lawyer can appreciate the scope of this broad language.   [Background.]

***

According to media reports, President Obama’s former National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, requested e­mail and phone records on President Trump and various members of his political campaign during and after the 2016 election.

According to these reports, the National Security Council (“NSC”) has computer logs showing when Rice requested and viewed such records. The requests were made from July 2016 through January 2017, and included President Trump and various members of his campaign staff According to an internal NSC report, the accessed information contained “valuable political information on the Trump transition.” Rice’s requests into Trump-related conversations increased following the presidential election last November. None of the requests were reviewed by any independent court.

***

We also know that certain NSA staffers have used their access to e-mail and phone calls to conduct surveillance on current and former significant others. The NSA has referred to this sort of action as “LOVEINT,” a phrase taken from other internal-NSA terms of art, such as “SIGINT” for signals intelligence.

***

Bulk collection makes it impossible for the NSA to actually do its job.

For example, consider the Pinwale program, discussed above, in which the NSA searches the collected data based on certain pre-defined keywords, known as the “dictionary.” The results from the dictionary search are known as the “daily pull.”

Eighty percent of the NSA’s resources go towards review of the daily pull. The problem is that the daily pull is enormous. It is simply not possible for one analyst to review all questionable communications made by millions of people generating e-mail, text messages, web search queries, and visits to websites. Every person making a joke about a gun, bomb or a terrorist incident theoretically gets reviewed by a live person. This is not possible. When I was at the NSA, each analyst was theoretically required to review 40,000 to 50,000 questionable records each day. The analyst gets overwhelmed, and the actual known targets — from the metadata analysis — get ignored.

This is clear from some of the internal NSA memos released by Edward Snowden and published by the Intercept. In these memos, NSA analysts say:

“NSA is gathering too much data. . . . It’s making it impossible to focus.”

“Analysis Paralysis.”

“Data Is Not Intelligence.”

“Overcome by Overload.”

Bulk collection is making it difficult for the NSA to find the real threats. [Indeed.]  The net effect from the current approach is that people die first. The NSA has missed repeated terrorist incidents over the last few years, despite its mass monitoring efforts. The NSA cannot identify future terrorism because 99.9999% of what it collects and analyzes is foreseeably irrelevantThis is swamping the intelligence community, while creating the moral hazards and risks to the republic ….

After a terrorist incident occurs, only then do analysts and law enforcement go into their vast data, and focus on the perpetrators of the crime. This is exactly the reverse of what they should be doing. If the NSA wants to predict intentions and capabilities prior to the crime, then it must focus on known subversive relationships, giving decision-makers time to react and influence events.

There is a second reason why data mining bulk collected data is a waste of time and resources: the professional terrorists know that we are looking at their e-mail and telephonic communications. As a result, they use code words that are not in the dictionary, and will not come up in the daily pull.

***

Thus, collecting mass amounts of data and searching it to find the proverbial needle in a haystack doesn’t work. It is fishing in the empty ocean, where the fish are scientifically and foreseeably not present.

 

Read More: www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-07/nsa-still-spying-all-americans

Dad rescues ‘brain dead’ son from doctors wishing to harvest his organs – boy recovers completely | News | LifeSite

LEICESTER, England, April 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a young British man owes his life to an insistent father who would not allow his son’s organs to be removed from his body, despite assurances from four doctors that his son could not recover from the wounds he had suffered in a recent car accident.

The Mail reports that Stephen Thorpe, then 17, was placed in a medically-induced coma following a multi-car pileup that had already taken the life of his friend Matthew, who was driving the vehicle.

Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity.  The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

Today, the 21-year-old with “brain damage” is studying accounting at a local university. “‘My impression is maybe the hospital weren’t very happy that my father wanted a second opinion,” he told the Mail.

Read More: www.lifesitenews.com/news/dad-rescues-brain-dead-son-from-doctors-wishing-to-harvest-his-organs-boy-r

The End of the (Petro)Dollar: What the Federal Reserve Doesn’t Want You to Know

(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) — The United States’ ability to maintain its influence over the rest of the world has been slowly diminishing. Since the petrodollar was established in 1971, U.S. currency has monopolized international trade through oil deals with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and continuous military interventions. There is, however, growing opposition to the American standard, and it gained more support recently when several Gulf states suddenly blockaded Qatar, which they accused of funding terrorism.

Despite the mainstream narrative, there are several other reasons why Qatar is in the crosshairs. Over the past two years, it conducted over $86 billion worth of transactions in Chinese yuan and has signed other agreements with China that encourage further economic cooperation. Qatar also shares the world’s largest natural gas field with Iran, giving the two countries significant regional influence to expand their own trade deals.

Read More: theantimedia.org/end-of-petrodollar/

Seattle Mayor Colluded with UC-Berkeley to Preempt Minimum Wage Law Study

Government Lies

Seattle’s experiment in raising the minimum wage to help low-income workers was a disastrous failure. Many went from low income to no income after losing their jobs, and the prices in the city have risen so much to combat the law’s inflation that the remaining workers actually are taking home less income.

Anyone with a minute understanding of economics knew exactly what would happen. Government interference in the private market is always a disaster, but socialists insist on butting in and using force to “help” those they think are beneath them. All they end up doing is more harm. But that isn’t all. Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray knew the law was making life worse for people in Seattle. He was caught red-handed colluding with UC Berkeley in an attempt to hide and lie about the economically disastrous new $15/hr minimum wage law.

The timeline seems to have gone like this:

The UW (University of Washington) shares with City Hall an early draft of its study showing the minimum wage law is hurting the workers it was meant to help; the mayor’s office shares the study with researchers known to be sympathetic toward minimum wage laws, asking for feedback; those researchers release a report that’s high on Seattle’s minimum wage law just a week before the negative report comes out. – Seattle Weekley

America Rising Squared, a right-leaning super PAC, filed a FOIA request for documents relating to possible collusion between Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office and Berkeley, after noticing the fishy timing of UC-Berkeley’s “report.” On June 20, 2017, the University of California-Berkeley’s Institute For Research And Labor Employment released a poorly conducted study claiming that Seattle’s minimum wage hike has increased pay for workers without eliminating jobs. The study claims that it “was prepared at the request of the Mayor of Seattle,” and was immediately criticized for having a partisan agenda and ignoring key factsForbes pointed out most of the major flaws in the falsified study which paid little attention to actual facts and data and was prepared specifically for the Mayor to make his policies look effective.

Read More: www.dcclothesline.com/2017/07/06/seattle-mayor-colluded-with-uc-berkeley-to-preempt-minimum-wage-law-study/

CO2: Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata | Watts Up With That?

Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata

DISCUSSION

Ice cores and GEOCARB provide continuous long-term records; while plant stomata records are discontinuous and limited to fossil stomata that can be accurately aged and calibrated to extant plant taxa. GEOCARB yields a very low frequency record, ice cores have better resolution and stomata can yield very high frequency data. Modern CO2 levels are unspectacular according to GEOCARB, unprecedented according to the ice cores and not anomalous according to plant stomata. So which method provides the most accurate reconstruction of past atmospheric CO2?

The problems with the ice core data are 1) the air-age vs. ice-age delta and 2) the effects of burial depth on gas concentrations.

The age of the layers of ice can be fairly easily and accurately determined. The age of the air trapped in the ice is not so easily or accurately determined. Currently the most common method for aging the air is through the use of “firn densification models” (FDM). Firn is more dense than snow; but less dense than ice. As the layers of snow and ice are buried, they are compressed into firn and then ice. The depth at which the pore space in the firn closes off and traps gas can vary greatly… So the delta between the age of the ice and the ago of the air can vary from as little as 30 years to more than 2,000 years.

The EPICA C core has a delta of over 2,000 years. The pores don’t close off until a depth of 99 m, where the ice is 2,424 years old. According to the firn densification model, last year’s air is trapped at that depth in ice that was deposited over 2,000 years ago.

I have a lot of doubts about the accuracy of the FDM method. I somehow doubt that the air at a depth of 99 meters is last year’s air. Gas doesn’t tend to migrate downward through sediment… Being less dense than rock and water, it migrates upward. That’s why oil and gas are almost always a lot older than the rock formations in which they are trapped. I do realize that the contemporaneous atmosphere will permeate down into the ice… But it seems to me that at depth, there would be a mixture of air permeating downward, in situ air, and older air that had migrated upward before the ice fully “lithified”.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Ice core data provide a low-frequency estimate of atmospheric CO2 variations of the glacial/interglacial cycles of the Pleistocene. However, the ice cores seriously underestimate the variability of interglacial CO2 levels.
  • GEOCARB shows that ice cores underestimate the long-term average Pleistocene CO2 level by 36ppmv.
  • Modern satellite data show that atmospheric CO2 levels in Antarctica are 20 to 30ppmv less than lower latitudes.
  • Plant stomata data show that ice cores do not resolve past decadal and century scale CO2 variations that were of comparable amplitude and frequency to the rise since 1860.

Thus it is concluded that:

  • CO2 levels from the Early Holocene through pre-industrial times were highly variable and not stable as the Antarctic ice cores suggest.
  • The carbon and climate cycles are coupled in a consistent manner from the Early Holocene to the present day.
  • The carbon cycle lags behind the climate cycle and thus does not drive the climate cycle.
  • The lag time is consistent with the hypothesis of a temperature-driven carbon cycle.
  • The anthropogenic contribution to the carbon cycle since 1860 is minimal and inconsequential.

Read More: wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/26/co2-ice-cores-vs-plant-stomata/

’60 Minutes’ Australia report on VIP pedophile network in UK and Australia

Posted on June 28, 2017 by Dr. Eowyn
60 Minutes (Australia) is an Australian current affairs program based on the U.S. 60 Minutes of the CBS network.

On July 14, 2015, Australia’s 60 Minutes TV program broadcasted the first episode of a stunning exposé of a global VIP pedophile network involving the highest government officials of the UK and Australia, including members of the British Parliament, cabinet ministers, judges, diplomats and spies.

And yet, nearly two years later, the broadcast caused nary a ripple. Certainly, we in the U.S. did not know about it. Heaven forbid that CBS’ 60 Minutes or any other network would actually report this or rebroadcast the Australia 60 Minutes report.

 

Landmark Study Shows Half of Cancer Patients are Killed by Chemo — NOT Cancer

Sickness Is Health, Big Brother looks over a patient and doctor

Posted on September 4, 2016 by Claire Bernish

No matter how much doctors push the treatment, chemotherapy might not be the best option in the fight against cancer, as a new study shows up to 50 percent of patients are killed by the drugs — not the disease, itself.

Researchers from Public Health England and Cancer Research UK performed a groundbreaking study examining for the first time the numbers of cancer patients who died within 30 days of beginning chemotherapy — indicating the treatment, not the cancer, was the cause of death.

Looking at those death rates in hospitals across the U.K., researchers found an alarming mortality rate associated with chemotherapy.

Across “England around 8.4 per cent of patients with lung cancer, and 2.4 per cent of breast cancer patients died within a month,” the Telegraph reported.

“But in some hospitals the figure was far higher. In Milton Keynes the death rate for lung cancer treatment was 50.9 per cent, although it was based on a very small number of patients.”

Alarmingly, the one-month mortality rate at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals for those undergoing palliative, rather than curative, chemotherapy for lung cancer was a full 28 percent. One in five breast cancer patients receiving palliative care at Cambridge University Hospitals died from treatment.

In certain areas — Blackpool, Coventry, Derby, South Tyneside, and Surrey and Sussex — deaths of lung cancer patients by chemotherapy were ‘far higher’ than the national average.

Dr. Jem Rashbass, Cancer Lead for Public Health England — the national health care service, which requested the study — said, as quoted by the Telegraph:

“Chemotherapy is a vital part of cancer treatment and is a large reason behind the improved survival rates over the last four decades.

“However, it is powerful medication with significant side effects and often getting the balance right on which patients to treat aggressively can be hard.

“Those hospitals whose death rates are outside the expected range have had the findings shared with them and we have asked them to review their practice and data.”

For the analysis, researchers “included all women with breast cancer and all men and women with lung cancer residing in England, who were 24 years or older and who started a cycle” of chemotherapy in 2014.

Long the mainstay for treating various cancers, chemotherapy has finally drawn criticism in recent years, as the medicine does not differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. Now, this study — published in the Lancet — shows how that powerful cell-destroying property can mean the demise for patients as well.

Researchers have advised physicians to exercise more caution in vetting which patients should ideally receive chemotherapy. Older and more infirm patients, in particular, might be better off without receiving palliative care, which is designed to offer relief instead of curing the disease.

“The statistics don’t suggest bad practice overall but there are some outliers,” noted Professor David Dodwell of the Institute of Oncology at St. James Hospital in Leeds.

“It could be data problems, and figures skewed because of just a few deaths, but nevertheless it could also be down to problems with clinical practice,” he continued.

“I think it’s important to make patients aware that there are potentially life threatening downsides to chemotherapy. And doctors should be more careful about who they treat with chemotherapy.”

All hospitals involved said they reviewed the information and remain certain chemotherapy is safe — with the caveat patient selection for the treatment may need to be more discretionary.

Professor David Cameron of the Edinburgh Cancer Centre at West General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, noted, “The concern is that with some of the patients dying within 30 days of being given chemo probably shouldn’t have been given the chemo. But how many? There is no easy way to answer that, but perhaps looking at those places/hospitals where the death rate was higher might help.

“Furthermore, if we give less chemo then some patients will die because they didn’t get chemo. It’s a fine balance and the more data we have the better we can be at making sure we get the balance right.”

Meanwhile, doctors in the United States should probably take note, considering the sheer number of patients forced to undergo chemotherapy at the State’s behest despite objections from those patients and their families.

In one example, a 17-year-old diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma decided to seek alternatives to chemotherapy, but her doctors — so inculcated in state and Big Pharma propaganda — contacted family services, who then kidnapped the young adult and placed her in foster care.

She was finally allowed to return home once she agreed to undergo the often debilitating treatment — but ran away once doctors informed her she’d have to endure surgery for the implantation of a chemo port. In an incredible act of Orwellian Big Government, the Supreme Court ruled the State was in the right in this case — and after being kidnapped and forced into treatment against her will, was denied contact with her own family.

As unfathomably invasive as that was, it isn’t isolated.

Alternative treatments do, in fact, exist — the most promising among them for many cancers are various formulations of CBD oil, a cannabis derivative. But, thanks to the phenomenally failed war on drugs, cancer patients in most areas of the U.S. are unable to procure much needed medicine or are forced to receive treatment on the sly — risking time behind bars simply for wanting to cure themselves.

Courtesy of The Free Thought Project

Bayer Accidentally Funds Study Showing Its Pesticide is Killing Bees, Promptly Denies Conclusions

A large-scale study on neonicotinoid pesticides is adding to the growing body of evidence that these agricultural chemicals are indeed harming bee populations. Carried out at 33 sites in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary, the study found that exposure to neonicotinoids “left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.”

Bayer and Syngenta, makers of “neonic” pesticides who stand to reap massive profits if Europe lifts the neonic ban, promptly disputed the researchers’ conclusions—even though they partially funded the study.

The authors note that this is the first real-world experiment demonstrating direct causation between neonics and reduced bee populations, and is consistent with other findings.

Read More: thefreethoughtproject.com/bayer-funds-study-showing-pesticide-killing-bees/

How America Armed Terrorists in Syria | The American Conservative

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism”—the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi. CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo. That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from October 2011 through August 2012. More likely it was a multiple of that figure.

The CIA’s covert arms shipments from Libya came to an abrupt halt in September 2012 when Libyan militants attacked and burned the embassy annex in Benghazi that had been used to support the operation. By then, however, a much larger channel for arming anti-government forces was opening up. The CIA put the Saudis in touch with a senior Croatian official who had offered to sell large quantities of arms left over from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. And the CIA helped them shop for weapons from arms dealers and governments in several other former Soviet bloc countries.

Flush with weapons acquired from both the CIA Libya program and from the Croatians, the Saudis and Qataris dramatically increased the number of flights by military cargo planes to Turkey in December 2012 and continued that intensive pace for the next two and a half months. The New York Times reported a total 160 such flights through mid-March 2013. The most common cargo plane in use in the Gulf, the Ilyushin IL-76, can carry roughly 50 tons of cargo on a flight, which would indicate that as much as 8,000 tons of weapons poured across the Turkish border into Syria just in late 2012 and in 2013.

One U.S. official called the new level of arms deliveries to Syrian rebels a “cataract of weaponry.” And a year-long investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed that the Saudis were intent on building up a powerful conventional army in Syria. The “end-use certificate” for weapons purchased from an arms company in Belgrade, Serbia, in May 2013 includes 500 Soviet-designed PG-7VR rocket launchers that can penetrate even heavily-armored tanks, along with two million rounds; 50 Konkurs anti-tank missile launchers and 500 missiles, 50 anti-aircraft guns mounted on armored vehicles, 10,000 fragmentation rounds for OG-7 rocket launchers capable of piercing heavy body armor; four truck-mounted BM-21 GRAD multiple rocket launchers, each of which fires 40 rockets at a time with a range of 12 to 19 miles, along with 20,000 GRAD rockets.

The end user document for another Saudi order from the same Serbian company listed 300 tanks, 2,000 RPG launchers, and 16,500 other rocket launchers, one million rounds for ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, and 315 million cartridges for various other guns.

Those two purchases were only a fraction of the totality of the arms obtained by the Saudis over the next few years from eight Balkan nations. Investigators found that the Saudis made their biggest arms deals with former Soviet bloc states in 2015, and that the weapons included many that had just come off factory production lines. Nearly 40 percent of the arms the Saudis purchased from those countries, moreover, still had not been delivered by early 2017. So the Saudis had already contracted for enough weaponry to keep a large-scale conventional war in Syria going for several more years.

By far the most consequential single Saudi arms purchase was not from the Balkans, however, but from the United States. It was the December 2013 U.S. sale of 15,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the Saudis at a cost of about $1 billion—the result of Obama’s decision earlier that year to reverse his ban on lethal assistance to anti-Assad armed groups. The Saudis had agreed, moreover, that those anti-tank missiles would be doled out to Syrian groups only at U.S. discretion. The TOW missiles began to arrive in Syria in 2014 and soon had a major impact on the military balance.

This flood of weapons into Syria, along with the entry of 20,000 foreign fighters into the country—primarily through Turkey—largely defined the nature of the conflict. These armaments helped make al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra Front (now renamed Tahrir al-Sham or Levant Liberation Organization) and its close allies by far the most powerful anti-Assad forces in Syria—and gave rise to the Islamic State.

By late 2012, it became clear to U.S. officials that the largest share of the arms that began flowing into Syria early in the year were going to the rapidly growing al Qaeda presence in the country. In October 2012, U.S. officials acknowledged off the record for the first time to the New York Times that  “most” of the arms that had been shipped to armed opposition groups in Syria with U.S. logistical assistance during the previous year had gone to “hardline Islamic jihadists”— obviously meaning al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra.

Al Nusra Front and its allies became the main recipients of the weapons because the Saudis, Turks, and Qataris wanted the arms to go to the military units that were most successful in attacking government targets. And by the summer of 2012, al Nusra Front, buttressed by the thousands of foreign jihadists pouring into the country across the Turkish border, was already taking the lead in attacks on the Syrian government in coordination with “Free Syrian Army” brigades.

In November and December 2012, al Nusra Front began establishing formal “joint operations rooms” with those calling themselves “Free Syrian Army” on several battlefronts, as Charles Lister chronicles in his book The Syrian Jihad. One such commander favored by Washington was Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, a former Syrian army officer who headed something called the Aleppo Revolutionary Military Council. Ambassador Robert Ford, who continued to hold that position even after he had been withdrawn from Syria, publicly visited Oqaidi in May 2013 to express U.S. support for him and the FSA.

But Oqaidi and his troops were junior partners in a coalition in Aleppo in which al Nusra was by far the strongest element. That reality is clearly reflected in a video in which Oqaidi describes his good relations with officials of the “Islamic State” and is shown joining the main jihadist commander in the Aleppo region celebrating the capture of the Syrian government’s Menagh Air Base in September 2013.

By early 2013, in fact, the “Free Syrian Army,” which had never actually been a military organization with any troops, had ceased to have any real significance in the Syria conflict. New anti-Assad armed groups had stopped using the name even as a “brand” to identify themselves, as a leading specialist on the conflict observed.

So, when weapons from Turkey arrived at the various battlefronts, it was understood by all the non-jihadist groups that they would be shared with al Nusra Front and its close allies. A report by McClatchy in early 2013, on a town in north central Syria, showed how the military arrangements between al Nusra and those brigades calling themselves “Free Syrian Army” governed the distribution of weapons. One of those units, the Victory Brigade, had participated in a “joint operations room” with al Qaeda’s most important military ally, Ahrar al Sham, in a successful attack on a strategic town a few weeks earlier. A visiting reporter watched that brigade and Ahrar al Sham show off new sophisticated weapons that included Russian-made RPG27 shoulder-fired rocket-propelled anti-tank grenades and RG6 grenade launchers.

When asked if the Victory Brigade had shared its new weapons with Ahrar al Sham, the latter’s spokesman responded, “Of course they share their weapons with us. We fight together.”

Turkey and Qatar consciously chose al Qaeda and its closest ally, Ahrar al Sham, as the recipients of weapons systems. In late 2013 and early 2014, several truckloads of arms bound for the province of Hatay, just south of the Turkish border, were intercepted by Turkish police. They had Turkish intelligence personnel on board,according to later Turkish police court testimony. The province was controlled by Ahrar al Sham. In fact Turkey soon began to treat Ahrar al Sham as its primary client in Syria, according to Faysal Itani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

A Qatari intelligence operative who had been involved in shipping arms to extremist groups in Libya was a key figure in directing the flow of arms from Turkey into Syria. An Arab intelligence source familiar with the discussions among the external suppliers near the Syrian border in Turkey during those years told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius that when one of the participants warned that the outside powers were building up the jihadists while the non-Islamist groups were withering away, the Qatari operative responded, “I will send weapons to al Qaeda if it will help.”

The Qataris did funnel arms to both al Nusra Front and Ahrar al Sham, according to a Middle Eastern diplomatic source. The Obama administration’s National Security Council staff proposed in 2013 that the United States signal U.S. displeasure with Qatar over its arming of extremists in both Syria and Libya by withdrawing a squadron of fighter planes from the U.S. airbase at al-Udeid, Qatar. The Pentagon vetoed that mild form of pressure, however, to protect its access to its base in Qatar.

President Obama himself confronted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his government’s support for the jihadists at a private White House dinner in May 2013, as recounted by Hersh. “We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria,” he quotes Obama as saying to Erdogan.

The administration addressed Turkey’s cooperation with the al Nusra publicly, however, only fleetingly in late 2014. Shortly after leaving Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2011 through mid-2014, told The Daily Telegraph  of London that Turkey had “worked with groups, frankly, for a period, including al Nusra.”

The closest Washington came to a public reprimand of its allies over the arming of terrorists in Syria was when Vice President Joe Biden criticized their role in October 2014. In impromptu remarks at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Biden complained that “our biggest problem is our allies.”  The forces they had supplied with arms, he said, were “al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

Biden quickly apologized for the remarks, explaining that he didn’t mean that U.S. allies had deliberately helped the jihadists. But Ambassador Ford confirmed his complaint, telling BBC, “What Biden said about the allies aggravating the problem of extremism is true.”

In June 2013 Obama approved the first direct U.S. lethal military aid to rebel brigades that had been vetted by the CIA. By spring 2014, the U.S.-made BGM-71E anti-tank missiles from the 15,000 transferred to the Saudis began to appear in the hands of selected anti-Assad groups. But the CIA imposed the condition that the group receiving them would not cooperate with the al Nusra Front or its allies.

That condition implied that Washington was supplying military groups that were strong enough to maintain their independence from al Nusra Front. But the groups on the CIA’s list of vetted “relatively moderate” armed groups were all highly vulnerable to takeover by the al Qaeda affiliate. In November 2014, al Nusra Front troops struck the two strongest CIA-supported armed groups, Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front on successive days and seized their heavy weapons, including both TOW anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets.

In early March 2015, the Harakat Hazm Aleppo branch dissolved itself, and al Nusra Front promptly showed off photos of the TOW missiles and other equipment they had captured from it. And in March 2016, al Nusra Front troops attacked the headquarters of the 13th Division in northwestern Idlib province and seized all of its TOW missiles.  Later that month, al Nusra Front released a video of its troops using the TOW missiles it had captured.

But that wasn’t the only way for al Nusra Front to benefit from the CIA’s largesse. Along with its close ally Ahrar al Sham, the terrorist organization began planningfor a campaign to take complete control of Idlib province in the winter of 2014-15. Abandoning any pretense of distance from al Qaeda, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar worked with al Nusra on the creation of a new military formation for Idlib called the “Army of Conquest,” consisting of the al Qaeda affiliate and its closest allies. Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided more weapons for the campaign, while Turkey facilitated their passage. On March 28, just four days after launching the campaign, the Army of Conquest successfully gained control of Idlib City.

The non-jihadist armed groups getting advanced weapons from the CIA assistance were not part of the initial assault on Idlib City. After the capture of Idlib the U.S.-led operations room for Syria in southern Turkey signaled to the CIA-supported groups in Idlib that they could now participate in the campaign to consolidate control over the rest of the province. According to Lister, the British researcher on jihadists in Syria who maintains contacts with both jihadist and other armed groups, recipients of CIA weapons, such as the Fursan al haq brigade and Division 13, did join the Idlib campaign alongside al Nusra Front without any move by the CIA to cut them off.

As the Idlib offensive began, the CIA-supported groups were getting TOW missiles in larger numbers, and they now used them with great effectiveness against the Syrian army tanks. That was the beginning of a new phase of the war, in which U.S. policy was to support an alliance between “relatively moderate” groups and the al Nusra Front.

The new alliance was carried over to Aleppo, where jihadist groups close to Nusra Front formed a new command called Fateh Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”) with nine armed groups in Aleppo province which were getting CIA assistance. The CIA-supported groups could claim that they weren’t cooperating with al Nusra Front because the al Qaeda franchise was not officially on the list of participants in the command. But as the report on the new command clearly implied, this was merely a way of allowing the CIA to continue providing weapons to its clients, despite their de facto alliance with al Qaeda.

The significance of all this is clear: by helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to al Nusra Front and its allies and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapons that were bound to fall into al Nusra hands or strengthen their overall military position, U.S. policy has been largely responsible for having extended al Qaeda’s power across a significant part of Syrian territory. The CIA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to tolerate such a betrayal of America’s stated counter-terrorism mission. Unless either Congress or the White House confronts that betrayal explicitly, as Tulsi Gabbard’s legislation would force them to do, U.S. policy will continue to be complicit in the consolidation of power by al Qaeda in Syria, even if the Islamic State is defeated there.

Gareth Porter is an independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of numerous books, including   Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014).

Read More: www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-armed-terrorists-in-syria/

A War On Globalism

Have you ever wondered why Donald Trump is so deeply hated by the elite?  It isn’t because he is a Republican.  In fact, there are lots of Republicans out there that the elite absolutely love.  The truth is that the reason the elite have such deep animosity toward Trump is because he is fighting their globalist agenda.  When Trump talks about a border wall or a travel ban, the elite hate that because they ultimately want a world where national borders have been made meaningless.  And when Trump talks about tearing up trade agreements that really freaks them out because they have been working very hard to try to merge the economies of the planet into a single global economic system.  Worst of all for the globalists was when Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.  For decades the elite have been using such international agreements to impose their values on the entire planet, and now the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is standing up to them.

Read More: www.dcclothesline.com/2017/07/02/a-war-on-globalism/