pgtruspace's blog

about things that interest me.

Senate votes to ban taxes on internet

Senate votes to permanently ban taxes on internet services

By Jon Martindale — February 12, 2016

Running in line with some people’s thinking that Internet access should be a basic right, the U.S. Senate has voted to ban taxes levied on Internet access from ever being enacted. Known as the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, it replaces and extends an already existing 18-year ban on Internet-related taxes that came to an end in October last year.
Although Internet access is a major component of the legislation, it also covers other aspects of the Internet. It prevents, for example, anyone from levying taxes that could target Internet-based services which are not otherwise available.
Several organizations have praised the legislation, with the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in particular voicing its approval. It called it a “taxpayer victory,” suggesting that it would help prevent overbearing charges placed unfairly on consumers (as per PCWorld).
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/senate-votes-to-permanently-ban-internet-access-taxes

California, Drought or poor management

Victor Davis Hanson
The Scorching of California
How Green extremists made a bad drought worse
Winter 2015

MICAH ALBERT/REDUX
The drought has threatened to turn large tracts of farmland into dust.

In mid-December, the first large storms in three years drenched California. No one knows whether the rain and snow will continue—only that it must last for weeks if a record three-year drought, both natural and man-made, is to end. In the 1970s, coastal elites squelched California’s near-century-long commitment to building dams, reservoirs, and canals, even as the Golden State’s population ballooned. Court-ordered drainage of man-made lakes, meant to restore fish to the 1,100-square-mile Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, partly caused central California’s reservoir water to dry up. Not content with preventing construction of new water infrastructure, environmentalists reverse-engineered existing projects to divert precious water away from agriculture, privileging the needs of fish over the needs of people. Then they alleged that global warming, not their own foolish policies, had caused the current crisis.    For the rest of the article

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Very good but long read for the history of the present California water shortages.

Our main problem is politically directed bad management and not an unprecedented water shortage. California historically is very wet or very dry and the paradise that people here expect to enjoy is the creation of man and not god. The natural California is one of swamp or desert often in the same place during the same year.

Lake Sacramento the book pdf. History of the major floods 1700s though 1900s in the Central Valley.

Friends of Governor Brown plan to create two new cities in the south state, connected by the fast rail line. They need water for those cities and are establishing the legal system to take that water from Central Valley farmers that own those rights.
Follow the money! And the taxpayers of the state will PAY vast billions into the pockets of these developers.
Ecoloons and Federal Judges are just convenient tools…pg

Another Planet?

 Another ninth planet

planet-nine-160120b-02

On Jan. 20, scientists announced that a planet about 10 times more massive than Earth likely lurks in the distant outer solar system, orbiting perhaps 600 times farther from the sun than Earth does on average.

The evidence for the existence of this “Planet Nine” is indirect at the moment; computer models suggest a big, undiscovered world has shaped the strange orbits of multiple objects in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune. But direct evidence could come relatively soon, in the form of a telescope observation, Planet Nine’s proposers say.

Scientists believe they may have found a giant planet in our distant solar system, possibly the long-sought after Planet X.

It is believed to have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the Sun on average than does Neptune. As a result, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the Sun.

This may or may not be the giant planet that the Ancients speak of. One that orbits as close to the sun as the asteroid belt and then out again for 3600 years. This one is not a part of the 8 planet elliptical group, but orbits above and below the solar elliptic nearly 90 degrees.

At this point this is just an educated guess on where to look and what to expect.

The better our tools, the more we can surmise and see…pg

For the full article

Aether or Quanta ?

 

Aether has been in favor and out, for hundreds of years. About 100 years at a time for or against.  As we progress into the 21st century, once more it progresses back into consideration. In the early days of the study of electrical /electronic phenomenon it was posited that the propagation of Electro-Motive Force or EMF required a medium, Aether or ether,  for the radiation waves to effect and travel in. Maxwell proposed that light is an undulation in the same medium that is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena. At the end of the 19th century Quantum particles became the latest thing as new atomic energy theories were promulgated. At the same time, a definitive experiment was conducted with much fanfare to prove the existence and flow of Aether as the Earth traveled in its’ orbit. The experiment failed to find any proof of Aether existence. This was declared by proponents of Quantum Physics that theirs’ was the only way and that Aether DID NOT EXIST! They claimed that they had no need for Aether to calculate their physics but their formulas all included “fudge factors” constants that supplant for that need.

In my opinion the failure was due to an incorrect understanding of fluid dynamics involved and gravitational effects of the Earth, Sun and the Solar System traveling within this medium. A number of later experiments detected indications of the existence of “Something” where there should be nothing. Astrophysicists of the last of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st have determined that over 84% of the apparent mass of the Universe can not be accounted for within the visible and projected not visible matter that makes up the Universe. Where is this mass hidden? What is this hidden mass? So called Dark matter or dark mass, what is it? Along with Dark Energy, these things constitute over 95% of the total constituents of the Universe. This thing that we do not detect but can only infer from the the behavior of things that we can observe.

Much like Einstein, I began my investigation into mass/inertia and gravity with light. How does light travel through space? How can light travel through Trillions of miles of space without change or loss of speed? How can this thing exhibit characteristics of both wave and particle? And just how can it exhibit one speed only, regardless of the speed and direction of its’ creation and detection. What is this thing, wave or particle? To the good, I do have an additional 100 years of scientific research to draw on during my examinations.

The model that I have come up with is that Aether is charge bubbles in chaos. As long as that charge is in chaos there is no signature to detect. That chaos is aligned or organized under EMF influence. While organized there is an EMF field that can be detected, That EMF travels in/on the highly compressed minute charge bubbles of the Aether. Research claimed that the speed of light travel through the vacuum of space as if were in an atmosphere compressed to 10,000psi. Remember charge pushes, repels charge.

Quanta energy transfer ; electrons, photons, neutrinos are just energy information traveling through these bubbles. Every EMF action causes an equal and opposite reaction from the neighboring bubbles, a perfect elastic that tends to concentrate the energy to the center of its’ path. If you drain that energy with a detection you “see” a particle that behaves as if it were a wave, but really only the energy is delivered. So if you had an Electron or Photon in your hand it actually would be a charge bubble or Quanta of charge that has a particular charge signature. All detection requires a Quanta of energy to create a signal in the detector because that is how much is required to make a valance change in an atom in the detector. We “see” particles because we “see” units of energy. Without a Quanta of energy there is no signal of detection. Imagine if you will, a long rod of copper or glass, wire or fiber. If you poke a quanta of energy into one end, a quanta of energy must jump out at the other end. This is because the electronic stress within the conductor must maintain balance. The energy information is transferred not a particle. The quanta that jumped out of the conductor is not the one that went in. That movement of energy information moves at the conduction speed of that material.
Electrons, photons, neutrinos, etc. are all Aether with different electronic signatures caused by differences in the 3 dimensions of charge in motion.

Mass/inertia of matter is an external effect in the Aether caused by the internal low or lack of charge of protons and high charge of electron shells. The charge of Aether and the resistance of change in retaliative motion of charges in the Aether. Charge in motion resists changes in its’ velocity, strength, in all 3 dimensions. Just like mass/inertia of matter. They are interchangeable.

Gravity is caused by the difference of charge between Aether and Matter. These causes a linear warpage in the atomic dielectric or position of the nucleus within the Electron shell or atomic surface of matter.  This electronic linear deflection of the atomic center of gravity is the cause of the apparent acceleration of Gravity caused by the matter attempting to center its’ mass within its’ physical shell….pg

Survay of peaceful Muslims

Another Email from Keith:
The Clarion Project video is the most succinct explanation of proportionate Islamist risk and clarity of numbers that I have ever seen. It is and well worth the time to view and help in future conversations.
Many Thanks, Keith
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This is very, very informative. It’s not left wing or right wing. It’s just an accounting told by a Muslim woman and basically reveals the percentages and numbers of jihadists, Islamists, and Fundamentalist groups amongst the Muslim population. It’ll make you ponder.

The President insists that 99.9% of the Muslims in the world are “just like you and me” and should not be feared. And, yet, Trump wants a temporary ban on allowing all Muslims entering the country until we can figure out a way to determine which ones are radical. The argument against his proposal is that it would prevent the 99.9% of peaceful Muslims from entering our country.
Some have wondered why those 99.9% of peace loving Muslims have never spoken out to denounce all the worldwide carnage rendered by the .01% of the radical Muslims who they claim have “hijacked” their religion. This excellent video, produced by a Muslim woman, explains why no one has spoken up. After you watch it you might have reason to believe that Trumps proposal just may not be so outlandish after all.

http://go.clarionproject.org/numbers-full-film/

Support for Suicide Bombing
An average of 14% of Muslims surveyed believes suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets in defense of Islam can be often justified or sometimes justified. This
translates to 119 million people.
Based on actual
population sizes (i.e., the sum of the Muslim populations of each country surveyed by Pew multiplied by the average for that particular country), the number is 136 million.

Among young, Western Muslims aged 18-29, the percentages who believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be justified are as follows:
42% of French Muslims
35% of British Muslims
and 26% of American Muslims.

Honor Killings
An average of
39% of Muslims surveyed think it is often, sometimes or rarely justified to kill a woman if she engages in premarital sex or adultery.
This translates to 345 million people.

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OMG!…pg

In Search of the‘Ultimate’ Battery

Storage of electrical energy is a serious problem. The requirement to provide power on demand in short bursts, directly by generation, forces us to size the generation capability larger then the greatest projected demand. Chemical generation requires the same sizing problem along with recharging or renewing the device. Super capacitors and ionic batteries may provide storage of electricity and supply it directly without efficiency robbing conversion in and out of chemical solutions.

Paper like electrical energy storage in super capacitor – batteries

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University researchers have developed a paper-like material for lithium-ion batteries that has the potential to boost by several times the specific energy—or amount of energy—that can be delivered by the battery. The new material produced by researchers at the University of California-Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering is composed of sponge-like silicon nanofibers. The research team used a technique known as electrospinning, in which 20,000 to 40,000 volts are applied between a rotating drum and a nozzle to emit a chemical compound. The compound is composed mainly of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), frequently used in the semiconductor industry. The nanofibers are then exposed to magnesium vapor to produce the sponge-like silicon fiber structure.
The material could be used in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and personal electronics, according to the researchers.
Conventionally produced lithium-ion battery anodes are made using copper foil coated with a mixture of graphite, a conductive additive and a polymer binder. However, the performance of graphite has been nearly tapped out, according to the UC Riverside researchers, so they are experimenting with silicon, which has a specific capacity that is nearly 10 times higher than graphite.
Silicon has a downside: it suffers from significant volume expansion, which can quickly degrade the battery. The silicon nanofiber structure created in the lab of Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Riverside, circumvents this issue and allows the battery to be cycled hundreds of times without significant degradation, according to the researchers. The researchers contend that eliminating the need for metal current collectors and inactive polymer binders while switching to an energy dense material such as silicon will significantly boost the range capabilities of electric vehicles.
Free-standing materials grown using chemical vapor deposition, such as carbon nanotubes or silicon nanowires, can only be produced in very small quantities (micrograms). By contrast, the UC Riverside researchers were able to produce several grams of silicon nanofibers at a time even at the lab scale.The researchers’ next step is to implement the silicon nanofibers into a pouch cell format lithium-ion battery, which is still a larger scale battery format that can be used in EVs and portable electronics.
The UC Riverside Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for inventions reported in the research paper. The paper, “Towards Scalable Binderless Electrodes: Carbon Coated Silicon Nanofiber Paper via Mg Reduction of Electrospun SiO2 Nanofibers,” has been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. The research was supported by Temiz Energy Technologies.
The paper describing the research was authored by Mihri Ozkan along with Cengiz S. Ozkan, a professor of mechanical engineering, and six of their graduate students: Zach Favors, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zafer Mutlu, Kazi Ahmed, Robert Ionescu and Rachel Ye.
1 Farad is a serious hand full
Researchers at LinköpingUniversity’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Sweden, have developed what they call “power paper” – a new material that consists of nanocellulose and conductive polymer, capable of storing energy.
One sheet of power paper is 15 cm in diameter, a few tenths of a millimeter thick, and capable of storing as much as 1 farad, similar to that of supercapacitors currently on the market. The team’s material takes a few seconds to re-charge and can be re-charged up to hundreds of times. The material the researchers used to create the power paper, looks and feels like a strong sheet of plastic paper.

This piece of power paper can store 1 farad. (Source: Thor Balkhed)
“Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time. What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets,” says Xavier Crispin, professor of organic electronics and co-author of the team’s article.
The paper is based on nanocellulose, cellulose fibers that are broken down into fibers about 20 nm in diameter once in contact with high-pressure water. With the cellulose fibers in a solution of water, an electrically charged polymer that is also in a water solution is added to the mix which is when the polymer forms a thin coating around the fibers.
“The covered fibers are in tangles, where the liquid in the spaces between them functions as an electrolyte,” says Jesper Edberg, a doctoral student who conducted the experiments.
The new cellulose-polymer material has set a new world record in simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons, part of the reason why the team feels it is contains a high capacity for energy storage.
Unlike batteries and capacitors on the market today, power paper is constructed with simple and readily available materials, is waterproof, and does not require the use of harmful chemicals.
The team will face its next challenge in the development process – figuring out how to develop an industrial-scale process for this. Linköping University has just received funding to work on a paper machine that will produce power paper.

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Another fast-charging battery promises longer life.

The automotive industry is eager to see an electric vehicle (EV) battery that can be fully charged within five minutes, about the time it takes to fill a conventional vehicle’s gas tank. Actual charging time for an EV is over four hours.
Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed such a battery. In tests at the university labs, the researchers demonstrated that the new battery could be charged up to 70% of its total charge in just two minutes, while enduring 20 times more charging cycles than today’s batteries. The team of researchers, led by Professor Chen Xiaodong from the School of Material Science and Engineering at NTU, developed this battery by replacing the traditional lithium-graphite anode in lithium-ion batteries with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide. This compound is very abundant, cheap and safe for human handling. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreens to absorb UV rays.
To enhance the speed of the charging process, Professor Chen developed a method to convert the titanium dioxide particles into nanotubes. These nanotubes help to speed up the charging process by triggering a chemical reaction in the anode of the battery. “Manufacturing this new nanotube gel is very easy. Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are mixed together and stirred under a certain temperature. Battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate our new gel into their current production processes,” Professor Chen said.
Professor Rachid Yazami, the scientist who 34 years ago invented the graphite anode used in lithium-ion batteries today, said that Chen’s invention is the next big leap the scientific community was waiting for. “While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and their performance improved since Sony commercialized it in 1991, the market is expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage,” said Professor Yazami. “There is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in electric vehicles should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen’s nanostructured anode has proven to do,” he adds.
A paper published in the journal Advanced Materials describe the invention. The technology invented by Chen is being licensed to a company. It is expected that in two years’ time a new generation of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries will be available. “With our nanotechnology, electric cars would be able to increase their range dramatically with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” added Prof Chen. “Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries,” he adds.

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In search of Functional 90% More Efficient, ‘Ultimate’ Battery

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated how many of the obstacles standing in the way of developing the “ultimate” battery can be overcome.
What is the “ultimate” battery?
Lithium-oxygen, or lithium-air batteries have been referred to as the “ultimate” battery due to their theoretical energy density, which is 10 times that of a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. Such a high-energy density would be comparable to that of gasoline—and would enable an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive about 400 miles on a single charge.
Challenges
As with many other next-generation batteries, there are several challenges that need to be addressed before lithium-air batteries become a viable alternative to gasoline.
Previous attempts at working demonstrators have had low efficiency, poor rate performance, unwanted chemical reactions and can only be cycled in pure oxygen.
Creating the “ultimate” battery
What the researchers created is a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery that has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient and can even be recharged more than 2000 times, showing how several of the problems holding back the development of these devices could be solved.
The demonstrator has a higher capacity, increased energy efficiency and improved stability over previous attempts.
It relies on a highly porous, ‘fluffy’ carbon electrode made from graphene and additives that alter the chemical reactions at work in the battery, making it more stable and more efficient.
‘Fluffy’ Carbon Electrode Made from Graphene and Additives. Image Credit: University of Cambridge“What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research—we haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device,” says Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry.
There is a constant effort to achieve a smaller, more efficient battery among researchers. Apart from the possibility of a smartphone, which lasts for days without needing to be charged, the challenges associated with making a better battery could be damaging the take-off of electric cars and grid-scale solar power.
“In their simplest form, batteries are made of three components: a positive electrode, a negative electrode and an electrolyte,’’ says Dr Tao Liu, also from the Department of Chemistry, and the paper’s first author.
In the traditional Li-ion batteries we use in our laptops and electronics, the negative electrode is composed of graphite, the positive electrode is made of a metal oxide, such as lithium cobalt oxide, while the electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent. The action of the battery depends on the movement of lithium ions between the electrodes. Li-ion batteries are light, but their capacity deteriorates with age, and their relatively low-energy densities mean that they need to be recharged frequently.
The team’s method uses a very different chemistry than the earlier attempts at a non-aqueous lithium-air battery. It relies on lithium hydroxide instead of lithium peroxide. With the addition of water and the use of lithium iodide as a ‘mediator’, the battery showed less of the chemical reactions, which can cause cells to die, making it more stable after multiple charge and discharge cycles.
The researchers’ method reduced the ‘voltage gap’ between charge and discharge to 0.2 V. A small voltage gap means a more efficient battery.
Other issues that still have to be addressed include finding a way to protect the metal electrode so that it does not form spindly lithium metal fibers, as this can cause batteries to explode if they grow too much and short-circuit the battery.
Additionally, the demonstrator can only be cycled in pure oxygen, while the air around us also contains carbon dioxide, nitrogen and moisture, all of which are generally harmful to the metal electrode.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” says Liu. “But what we’ve seen here suggests that there are ways to solve these problems—maybe we’ve just got to look at things a little differently.”
“While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done, to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting—we are still very much at the development stage, but we’ve shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology,” says Grey.
The results were reported in the journal Science, and although they are making strides in the right direction, the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.
For more information, visit the University of Cambridge website.

Origins Of Jihadi Terrorism

If you are confused by the seeming cross purposes of the war on Radical Islam it would be best if you had some idea of how we got into this mess. Remember that this is a “Game of Thrones” that has been under way for 1,500 years. Today is just a point along the script line. Most people only play for their apparent best interest at any one time without understanding the whole thing and the players that are involved.

It is unfortunate that the Central Intelligence Agency has been rogue since it’s first week of operations. They presume to operate “Under the HIGHEST Authority” on a need to know basis. Even the president “For his own good” is often kept in the dark as to their operations. Much of their funding is hidden in other agencies budgets, “for National Security”, so even Congress is unsure as to their actual reach. Any attempt to investigate them is dropped in the best interest of all involved. The below is just about the C.I.A. operations in the Middle East over the last 35 years.

A Short History Of The CIA’s Bloody Hands

By Andrew Cockburn at Harper’s Magazine
One morning early in 1988, Ed McWilliams, a foreign-service officer posted to the American Embassy in Kabul, heard the thump of a massive explosion from somewhere on the other side of the city. It was more than eight years after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and the embassy was a tiny enclave with only a handful of diplomats. McWilliams, a former Army intelligence operative, had made it his business to venture as much as possible into the Soviet-occupied capital. Now he set out to see what had happened.
It was obviously something big: although the explosion had taken place on the other side of Sher Darwaza, a mountain in the center of Kabul, McWilliams had heard it clearly. After negotiating a maze of narrow streets on the south side of the city, he found the site. A massive car bomb, designed to kill as many civilians as possible, had been detonated in a neighborhood full of Hazaras, a much-persecuted minority.
McWilliams took pictures of the devastation, headed back to the embassy, and sent a report to Washington. It was very badly received — not because someone had launched a terrorist attack against Afghan civilians, but because McWilliams had reported it. The bomb, it turned out, had been the work of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahedeen commander who received more CIA money and support than any other leader of the Afghan rebellion. The attack, the first of many, was part of a CIA-blessed scheme to “put pressure” on the Soviet presence in Kabul. Informing the Washington bureaucracy that Hekmatyar’s explosives were being deployed to kill civilians was therefore entirely unwelcome.
“Those were Gulbuddin’s bombs,” McWilliams, a Rhode Islander with a gift for laconic understatement, told me recently. “He was supposed to get the credit for this.” In the meantime, the former diplomat recalled, the CIA pressured him to “report a little less specifically about the humanitarian consequences of those vehicle bombs.”
I tracked down McWilliams, now retired to the remote mountains of southern New Mexico, because the extremist Islamist groups currently operating in Syria and Iraq called to mind the extremist Islamist groups whom we lavishly supported in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Hekmatyar, with his documented fondness for throwing acid in women’s faces, would have had nothing to learn from Al Qaeda. When a courageous ABC News team led by my wife, Leslie Cockburn, interviewed him in 1993, he had beheaded half a dozen people earlier that day. Later, he killed their translator.
In the wake of 9/11, the story of U.S. support for militant Islamists against the Soviets became something of a touchy subject. Former CIA and intelligence officials like to suggest that the agency simply played the roles of financier and quartermaster. In this version of events, the dirty work — the actual management of the campaign and the dealings with rebel groups — was left to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It was Pakistan’s fault that at least 70 percent of total U.S. aid went to the fundamentalists, even if the CIA demanded audited accounts on a regular basis.
The beneficiaries, however, have not always been content to play along with the official story. Asked by the ABC News team whether he remembered Charlie Wilson, the Texas congressman later immortalized in print and onscreen as the patron saint of the mujahedeen, Hekmatyar fondly recalled that “he was a good friend. He was all the time supporting our jihad.” Others expressed the same point in a different way. Abdul Haq, a mujahedeen commander who might today be described as a “moderate rebel,” complained loudly during and after the Soviet war in Afghanistan about American policy. The CIA “would come with a big load of ammunition and money and supplies to these [fundamentalist] groups. We would tell them, ‘What the hell is going on? You are creating a monster in this country.’ ”
American veterans of the operation, at the time the largest in CIA history, have mostly stuck to the mantra that it was a Pakistani show. Only occasionally have officials let slip that the support for fundamentalists was a matter of cold-blooded calculation. Robert Oakley, a leading player in the Afghan effort as ambassador to Pakistan from 1988 to 1991, later remarked, “If you mix Islam with politics, you have a much more potent explosive brew, and that was quite successful in getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan.”
In fact, the CIA had been backing Afghan Islamists well before the Russians invaded the country in December 1979. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser, later boasted to Le Nouvel Observateur that the president had “signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul” six monthsprior to the invasion. “And that very day,” Brzezinski recalled, “I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” The war that inevitably followed killed a million Afghans.
Other presumptions proved to be less accurate, including a misplaced faith in the martial prowess of our fundamentalist clients. As it turned out, the Islamists were really not the ferocious anti-Soviet warriors their backers claimed them to be. McWilliams, who left Kabul in 1988 to become special envoy to the Afghan rebels, recalled that Hekmatyar was more interested in using his U.S.-supplied arsenal on rival warlords. (On occasion, he tortured them as well — another fact the envoy was “discouraged” from reporting.) “Hekmatyar was a great fighter,” McWilliams remembered, “but not necessarily with the Soviets.”
Even after the Russians left, in February 1989, the agency’s favorite Afghan showed himself incapable of toppling the Soviet-supported regime of Mohammad Najibullah. Hekmatyar’s attack on the key city of Jalalabad, for example, was an embarrassing failure. “Oakley bragged in the weeks leading up to this offensive [that] it was going to be a great success,” said McWilliams, who had passed on warnings from Abdul Haq and others that the plan was foolhardy, only to be told, “We got this locked up.” To his disgust, the Pakistani and American intelligence officials overseeing the operation swelled its ranks with youthful cannon fodder. “What they wound up doing was emptying the refugee camps,” McWilliams told me. “It was a last-ditch effort to throw these sixteen-year-old boys into the fight in order to keep this thing going. It did not work.” Thousands died.
Anxious as they might have been to obscure the true nature of their relationship with unappealing Afghans like Hekmatyar, U.S. officials were even more careful when it came to the Arab fundamentalists who flocked to the war in Afghanistan and later embarked on global jihad as Al Qaeda. No one could deny that they had been there, but their possible connection to the CIA became an increasingly delicate subject as Al Qaeda made its presence felt in the 1990s. The official line — that the United States had kept its distance from the Arab mujahedeen — was best expressed by Robert Gates, who became director of the CIA in 1991. When the agency first learned of the jihadi recruits pouring into Afghanistan from across the Arab world, he later wrote, “We examined ways to increase their participation, perhaps in the form of some sort of ‘international brigade,’ but nothing came of it.”
The reality was otherwise. The United States was intimately involved in the enlistment of these volunteers — indeed, many of them were signed up through a network of recruiting offices in this country. The guiding light in this effort was a charismatic Palestinian cleric, Abdullah Azzam, who founded Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), also known as the Afghan Services Bureau, in 1984, to raise money and recruits for jihad. He was assisted by a wealthy young Saudi, Osama bin Laden. The headquarters for the U.S. arm of the operation was in Brooklyn, at the Al-Kifah Refugee Center on Atlantic Avenue, which Azzam invariably visited when touring mosques and universities across the country.
“You have to put it in context,” argued Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert who has done much to expose the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. “Throughout most of the 1980s, the jihad in Afghanistan was something supported by this country. The recruitment among Muslims here in America was in the open. Azzam officially visited the United States, and he went from mosque to mosque — they recruited many people to fight in Afghanistan under that banner.”
American involvement with Azzam’s organization went well beyond laissez-faire indulgence. “We encouraged the recruitment of not only Saudis but Palestinians and Lebanese and a great variety of combatants, who would basically go to Afghanistan to perform jihad,” McWilliams insisted. “This was part of the CIA plan. This was part of the game.”
The Saudis, of course, had been an integral part of the anti-Soviet campaign from the beginning. According to one former CIA official closely involved in the Afghanistan operation, Saudi Arabia supplied 40 percent of the budget for the rebels. The official said that William Casey, who ran the CIA under Ronald Reagan, “would fly to Riyadh every year for what he called his ‘annual hajj’ to ask for the money. Eventually, after a lot of talk, the king would say okay, but then we would have to sit and listen politely to all their incredibly stupid ideas about how to fight the war.”
Despite such comments, it would seem that the U.S. and Saudi strategies did not differ all that much, especially when it came to routing money to the most extreme fundamentalist factions. Fighting the Soviets was only part of the ultimate goal. The Egyptian preacher Abu Hamza, now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges, visited Saudi Arabia in 1986, and later recalled the constant public injunctions to join the jihad: “You have to go, you have to join, leave your schools, leave your family.” The whole Afghanistan enterprise, he explained, “was meant to actually divert people from the problems in their own country.” It was “like a pressure-cooker vent. If you keep [the cooker] all sealed up, it will blow up in your face, so you have to design a vent, and this Afghan jihad was the vent.”
Soufan agreed with this analysis. “I think it’s not fair to only blame the CIA,” he told me. “Egypt was happy to get rid of a lot of these guys and have them go to Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia was very happy to do that, too.” As he pointed out, Islamic fundamentalists were already striking these regimes at home: in November 1979, for example, Wahhabi extremists had stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The subsequent siege left hundreds dead.
Within a few short years, however, the sponsoring governments began to recognize a flaw in the scheme: the vent was two-way. I heard this point most vividly expressed in 1994, at a dinner party on a yacht cruising down the Nile. The wealthy host had deemed it safer to be waterborne owing to a vigorous terror campaign by Egyptian jihadists. At the party, this defensive tactic elicited a vehement comment from Osama El-Baz, a senior security adviser to Hosni Mubarak. “It’s all the fault of those stupid bastards at the CIA,” he said, as the lights of Cairo drifted by. “They trained these people, kept them in being after the Russians left, and now we get this.”
According to El-Baz, MAK had been maintained after the Afghan conflict for future deployment against Iran. Its funding, he insisted, came from the Saudis and the CIA. A portion of that money had been parked at the Al-Kifah office in Brooklyn, under the supervision of one of Azzam’s acolytes — until the custodian was himself murdered, possibly by adherents of a rival jihadi. (Soufan confirmed the murder story, stating that the sum in question was about $100,000.)*
A year before my conversation with El-Baz, in fact, the United States had already been confronted with the two-way vent. In 1993, a bomb in the basement of one of the World Trade Center towers killed six people. (The bombers had hoped to bring down both structures and kill many thousands.) A leading member of the plot was Mahmud Abouhalima, an Afghanistan veteran who had worked for years at the recruiting center in Brooklyn. Another of Azzam’s disciples, however, proved to be a much bigger problem: Osama bin Laden, who now commanded the loyalty of the Arab mujahedeen recruited by his mentor.
In 1996, the CIA set up a special unit to track down bin Laden, led by the counterterrorism expert Michael Scheuer. Now settled in Afghanistan, the Al Qaeda chief had at least theoretically fallen out with the Saudi regime that once supported him and other anti-Soviet jihadis. Nevertheless, bin Laden seemed to have maintained links with his homeland — and some in the CIA were sensitive to that fact. When I interviewed Scheuer in 2014 for my book Kill Chain, he told me that one of his first requests to the Saudis was for routine information about his quarry: birth certificate, financial records, and so forth. There was no response. Repeated requests produced nothing. Ultimately, a message arrived from the CIA station chief in Riyadh, John Brennan, who ordered the requests to stop — they were “upsetting the Saudis.”
Five years later, Al Qaeda, employing a largely Saudi suicide squad, destroyed the World Trade Center. In a sane world, this disaster might have permanently ended Washington’s long-standing taste for mixing Islam with politics. But old habits die hard.
In the spring and summer of last year, a coalition of Syrian rebel groups calling itself Jaish al-Fatah — the Army of Conquest — swept through the northwestern province of Idlib, posing a serious threat to the Assad regime. Leading the charge was Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, known locally as Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front). The other major component of the coalition was Ahrar al-Sham, a group that had formed early in the anti-Assad uprising and looked for inspiration to none other than Abdullah Azzam. Following the victory, Nusra massacred twenty members of the Druze faith, considered heretical by fundamentalists, and forced the remaining Druze to convert to Sunni Islam. (The Christian population of the area had wisely fled.) Ahrar al-Sham meanwhile posted videos of the public floggings it administered to those caught skipping Friday prayers.
This potent alliance of jihadi militias had been formed under the auspices of the rebellion’s major backers: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar. But it also enjoyed the endorsement of two other major players. At the beginning of the year, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had ordered his followers to cooperate with other groups. In March, according to several sources, a U.S.-Turkish-Saudi “coordination room” in southern Turkey had also ordered the rebel groups it was supplying to cooperate with Jaish al-Fatah. The groups, in other words, would be embedded within the Al Qaeda coalition.
A few months before the Idlib offensive, a member of one CIA-backed group had explained the true nature of its relationship to the Al Qaeda franchise. Nusra, he told the New York Times, allowed militias vetted by the United States to appear independent, so that they would continue to receive American supplies. When I asked a former White House official involved in Syria policy if this was not a de facto alliance, he put it this way: “I would not say that Al Qaeda is our ally, but a turnover of weapons is probably unavoidable. I’m fatalistic about that. It’s going to happen.”
Earlier in the Syrian war, U.S. officials had at least maintained the pretense that weapons were being funneled only to so-called moderate opposition groups. But in 2014, in a speech at Harvard, Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that we were arming extremists once again, although he was careful to pin the blame on America’s allies in the region, whom he denounced as “our largest problem in Syria.” In response to a student’s question, he volunteered that our allies
were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.
Biden’s explanation was entirely reminiscent of official excuses for the arming of fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the 1980s, which maintained that the Pakistanis had total control of the distribution of U.S.-supplied weapons and that the CIA was incapable of intervening when most of those weapons ended up with the likes of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Asked why the United States of America was supposedly powerless to stop nations like Qatar, population 2.19 million, from pouring arms into the arsenals of Nusra and similar groups, a former adviser to one of the Gulf States replied softly: “They didn’t want to.”
The Syrian war, which has to date killed upwards of 200,000 people, grew out of peaceful protests in March 2011, a time when similar movements were sweeping other Arab countries. For the Obama Administration, the tumultuous upsurge was welcome. It appeared to represent the final defeat of Al Qaeda and radical jihadism, a view duly reflected in a New York Times headline from that February: as regimes fall in arab world, al qaeda sees history fly by. The president viewed the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 as his crowning victory. Peter Bergen, CNN’s terrorism pundit, concurred, certifying the Arab Spring and the death of bin Laden as the “final bookends” of the global war on terror.
Al Qaeda, on the other hand, had a different interpretation of the Arab Spring, hailing it as entirely positive for the jihadist cause. Far from obsessing about his own safety, as Obama had suggested, Zawahiri was brimful of optimism. The “tyrants” supported by the United States, he crowed from his unknown headquarters, were seeing their thrones crumble at the same time as “their master” was being defeated. “The Islamic project,” declared Hamid bin Abdullah al-Ali, a Kuwait-based Al Qaeda fund-raiser, would be “the greatest beneficiary from the environment of freedom.”
While the revolutions were ongoing, the Obama Administration settled on “moderate Islam” as the most suitable political option for the emerging Arab democracies — and concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood fitted the bill. This venerable Islamist organization had originally been fostered by the British as a means of countering leftist and nationalist movements in the empire. As British power waned, others, including the CIA and the Saudis, were happy to sponsor the group for the same purpose, unmindful of its long-term agenda. (The Saudis, however, always took care to prevent it from operating within their kingdom.)
The Brotherhood was in fact the ideological ancestor of the most violent Islamist movements of the modern era. Sayyid Qutb, the organization’s moving spirit until he was hanged in Egypt in 1966, served as an inspiration to the young Zawahiri as he embarked on his career in terrorism. Extremists have followed Qutb’s lead in calling for a resurrected caliphate across the Muslim world, along with a return to the premodern customs prescribed by the Prophet.
None of which stopped the Obama Administration from viewing the Brotherhood as a relatively benign purveyor of moderate Islam, not so different from the type on display in Turkey, where the Brotherhood-linked AKP party had presided over what seemed to be a flourishing democracy and a buoyant economy, even if the country’s secular tradition was being rolled back. As Mubarak’s autocracy crumbled in Egypt, American officials actively promoted the local Brotherhood; the U.S. ambassador, Anne Patterson, reportedly held regular meetings with the group’s leadership. “The administration was motivated to show that the U.S. would deal with Islamists,” the former White House official told me, “even though the downside of the Brotherhood was pretty well understood.”
At the same time that it was being cautiously courted by the United States, the Brotherhood enjoyed a firm bond with the stupendously rich ruling clique in Qatar. The tiny country was ever eager to assert its independence in a neighborhood dominated by Saudi Arabia and Iran. While hosting the American military at the vast Al Udeid Air Base outside Doha, the Qataris put decisive financial weight behind what they viewed as the coming force in Arab politics. They were certain, the former White House official told me, “that the future really lay in the hands of the Islamists,” and saw themselves “on the right side of history.”
The Syrian opposition seemed like an ideal candidate for such assistance, especially since Assad had been in the U.S. crosshairs for some time. (The country’s first and only democratically elected government was overthrown by a CIA-instigated coup in 1949 at the behest of American oil interests irked at Syria’s request for better terms on a pipeline deal.) In December 2006, William Roebuck, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Damascus, sent a classified cable to Washington, later released by WikiLeaks, proposing “actions, statements, and signals” that could help destabilize Assad’s regime. Among other recommended initiatives was a campaign, coordinated with the Egyptian and Saudi governments, to pump up existing alarm among Syrian Sunnis about Iranian influence in the country.
Roebuck could count on a receptive audience. A month earlier, Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, testified on Capitol Hill that there was a “new strategic alignment” in the Middle East, separating “extremists” (Iran and Syria) and “reformers” (Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states). Undergirding these diplomatic euphemisms was something more fundamental. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who returned to Riyadh in 2005 after many years as Saudi ambassador in Washington, had put it bluntly in an earlier conversation with Richard Dearlove, the longtime head of Britain’s MI6. “The time is not far off in the Middle East,” Bandar said, “when it will be literally God help the Shia. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough.” The implications were clear. Bandar was talking about destroying the Shiite states of Iran and Iraq, as well as the Alawite (which is to say, Shia-derived) leadership in Syria.
Yet the Saudi rulers were acutely aware of their exposure to reverse-vent syndrome. Their corruption and other irreligious practices repelled the jihadis, who had more than once declared their eagerness to clean house back home. Such fears were obvious to Dearlove when he visited Riyadh with Tony Blair soon after 9/11. As he later recalled, the head of Saudi intelligence shouted at him that the recent attacks in Manhattan and Washington were a “mere pinprick” compared with the havoc the extremists planned to unleash in their own region: “What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and to remake the Middle East!”
From these statements, Dearlove discerned two powerful (and complementary) impulses in the thinking of the Saudi leadership. First, there could be “no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam’s holiest shrines.” (Their record on head-chopping and the oppression of women was, after all, second to none.) In addition, they were “deeply attracted toward any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom.” Responding to both impulses, Saudi Arabia would reopen the vent. This time, however, the jihad would no longer be against godless Communists but against fellow Muslims, in Syria.
By the beginning of 2012, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United States were all heavily involved in supporting the armed rebellion against Assad. In theory, American support for the Free Syrian Army was limited to “nonlethal supplies” from both the State Department and the CIA. Qatar, which had successfully packed the opposition Syrian National Council with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, operated under no such restrictions. A stream of loaded Qatari transport planes took off from Al Udeid and headed to Turkey, whence their lethal cargo was moved into Syria.
“The Qataris were not at all discriminating in who they gave arms to,” the former White House official told me. “They were just dumping stuff to lucky recipients.” Chief among the lucky ones were Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, both of which had benefited from a rebranding strategy instituted by Osama bin Laden. The year before he was killed, bin Laden had complained about the damage that offshoots such as Al Qaeda in Iraq, with its taste for beheadings and similar atrocities, had done to his organization’s image. He directed his media staff to prepare a new strategy that would avoid “everything that would have a negative impact on the perception” of Al Qaeda. Among the rebranding proposals discussed at his Abbottabad compound was the simple expedient of changing the organization’s name. This strategy was gradually implemented for the group’s newer offshoots, allowing Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham to present themselves to the credulous as kinder, gentler Islamists.
The rebranding program was paradoxically assisted by the rise of the Islamic State, a group that had split off from the Al Qaeda organization partly in disagreement over the image-softening exercise enjoined by Zawahiri. Although the Islamic State attracted many defectors and gained territory at the expense of its former Nusra partners, its assiduously cultivated reputation for extreme cruelty made the other groups look humane by comparison. (According to Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, many Nusra members suspect that the Islamic State was created by the Americans “to discredit jihad.”)
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, driven principally by its virulent enmity toward Iran, Assad’s main supporter, was eager to throw its weight behind the anti-Assad crusade. By December 2012, the CIA was arranging for large quantities of weapons, paid for by the Saudis, to move from Croatia to Jordan to Syria.
“The Saudis preferred to work through us,” explained the former White House official. “They didn’t have an autonomous capability to find weapons. We were the intermediaries, with some control over the distribution. There was an implicit illusion on the part of the U.S. that Saudi weapons were going to groups with some potential for a pro-Western attitude.” This was a curious illusion to entertain, given Saudi Arabia’s grim culture of Wahhabi austerity as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s flat declaration, in a classified cable from 2009, that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
Some in intelligence circles suspect that such funding is ongoing. “How much Saudi and Qatari money — and I’m not suggesting direct government funding, but I am suggesting maybe a blind eye being turned — is being channeled towards ISIS and reaching it?” Dearlove asked in July 2014. “For ISIS to be able to surge into the Sunni areas of Iraq in the way that it’s done recently has to be the consequence of substantial and sustained funding. Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” Those on the receiving end of Islamic State attacks tend to agree. Asked what could be done to help Iraq following the group’s lightning assaults in the summer of 2014, an Iraqi diplomat replied: “Bomb Saudi Arabia.”
However the money was flowing, the Saudis certainly ended up crafting their own Islamist coalition. “The Saudis never armed al-Nusra,” recalled the Gulf State adviser. “They made the calculation that there’s going to be an appetite for Islamist-leaning militias. So they formed a rival umbrella army called Jaish al-Islam. That was the Saudi alternative — still Islamist, but not Muslim Brotherhood.”
Given that Jaish al-Islam ultimately answered to Prince Bandar, who became the head of Saudi intelligence in 2012, there did not appear to be a lot of room for Western values in the group’s agenda. Its leader, Zahran Alloush, was the son of a Syrian religious scholar. He talked dutifully about the merits of tolerance to Western reporters, but would revert to such politically incorrect themes as the mass expulsion of Alawites from Damascus when addressing his fellow jihadis. At the same time, Saudi youths have poured into Syria, ready to fight for any extremist group that would have them, even when those groups started fighting among themselves. Noting the huge numbers of young Saudis on the battle lines in Syria, a Saudi talk-show host lamented that “our children are fighting on both sides” — meaning Nusra and the Islamic State. “The Saudis,” he exclaimed, “are killing one another!”
The determination of Turkey (a NATO ally) and Qatar (the host of the biggest American base in the Middle East) to support extreme jihadi groups became starkly evident in late 2013. On December 6, armed fighters from Ahrar al-Sham and other militias raided warehouses at Bab al-Hawa, on the Turkish border, and seized supplies belonging to the Free Syrian Army. As it happened, a meeting of an international coordination group on Syria, the so-called London Eleven, was scheduled for the following week. Delegates from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East were bent on issuing a stern condemnation of the offending jihadi group.
The Turks and Qataris, however, adamantly refused to sign on. As one of the participants told me later, “All the countries in the room [understood] that Turkey’s opposition to listing Ahrar al-Sham was because they were providing support to them.” The Qatari representative insisted that it was counterproductive to condemn such groups as terrorist. If the other countries did so, he made clear, Qatar would stop cooperating on Syria. “Basically, they were saying that if you name terrorists, we’re going to pick up our ball and go home,” the source told me. The U.S. delegate said that the Islamic Front, an umbrella organization, would be welcome at the negotiating table — but Ahrar al-Sham, which happened to be its leading member, would not. The diplomats mulled over their communiqué, traded concessions, adjusted language. The final version contained no condemnation, or even mention, of Ahrar al-Sham.
Two years later, Washington’s capacity for denial in the face of inconvenient facts remains undiminished. Addressing the dominance of extremists in the Syrian opposition, Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, has blamed our earlier failure to arm those elusive moderates. The catastrophic consequences of this very approach in Libya are seldom mentioned. “If we had intervened more swiftly in Syria,” Gartenstein-Ross says, “the best-case scenario probably would have been another Libya. Meaning that we would still be dealing with a collapsed state and spillover into other Middle Eastern states and Europe.”
Even as we have continued our desultory bombing campaign against the Islamic State, Ahrar al-Sham and Nusra are creeping closer and closer to international respectability. A month after the London Eleven meeting, a group of scholars from the Brookings Institution published an op-ed making the case for Ahrar al-Sham: “Designating [the] group as a terrorist organization might backfire by pushing it completely into Al Qaeda’s camp.” (The think tank’s recent receipt of a multiyear, $15 million grant from Qatar was doubtless coincidental.)
Over the past year, other distinguished figures have voiced support for a closer relationship with Al Qaeda’s rebranded extensions. David Petraeus, another former head of the CIA, has argued for arming at least the “more moderate” parts of Nusra. Robert Ford, a former ambassador to Syria and a vociferous supporter of the rebel cause, called on America to “open channels for dialogue” with Ahrar al-Sham, even if its members had on occasion slaughtered some Alawites and desecrated Christian sites. Even Foreign Affairs, an Establishment sounding board, has echoed these notions, suggesting that it was time for the United States to “rethink its policy toward al-Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri.”
“Let’s be fair to the CIA,” said Benazir Bhutto, the once and future prime minister of Pakistan, back in 1993, when the consequences of fostering jihad were already becoming painfully clear to its sponsors. “They never knew that these people that they were training to fight Soviets in Afghanistan were one day going to bite the hand that fed them.”
Things are clearer on the ground. Not long ago, far away from the think tanks and briefing rooms where policies are formulated and spun, a small boy in the heart of Nusra territory was telling a filmmaker for Vice News about Osama bin Laden. “He terrified and fought the Americans,” he said reverently. Beside him, his brother, an even smaller child, described his future: “To become a suicide fighter for the sake of God.” A busload of older boys was asked which group they belonged to. “Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda,” they responded cheerfully.
Source: A Special Relationship – Harper’s Magazine

 

As you can see we have been sucked into this war between Sunni of the Arabic House of Saud and Persian Shia in the Saudi drive to rule the world.  E.M.Smith’s Middle East Program  Churchill warned the British back during WWI, that the Saudis could not be trusted . At the end of that war the Allies turned over control of most of the defeated Ottoman Empire, mostly Shia, to members of the House of Saud. During early WWII the Persians became Iranians and sided with the Axis. Iran…Ayran…Nazi, ring any bells. Russian Soviets and Persian Iranians began WWII as part of the Axis against the western world. They changed sides as their interests changed, just as France and Spain did.

Nostradamus said “Beware of those of the Orient (middle east), they are no ones friends.”

For a hundred years they have been taking our money, smiling to our faces and waging war against us behind our backs. Fomenting war against all others is now coming home to them in the form of an all out war AMONG them. Only the smell of their own children’s blood will bring an end to this madness. Middle East Refugee Solution

The Game of Thrones is a game of long term Strategic planning and short term tactical execution. Everyone is suspect!  …pg

A night before Christmas

Christmas is derived from the Christ Mass, a Catholic high mass celebrated at the midnight beginning of December 25 to mark the beginning of the new year during the Yule or winter solstice. The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by humans for thousands of years by all people and all religions.  Modern Christmas is a creation of late 1800s American media and Madison Avenue and contains many customs from all over the world. Part of the reason for the “Puritans” to move from Europe to the Americas was to escape persecution over the way they wished to celebrate the season with beer and party, some thing the Church wished to end.

The old year was composed of 360 days followed by 5 days or more of Yule party until the priests or shaman or Astrologer said the New Year had begun and killed the Yule Log fire. Trees, Decorations, Gifts,Visiting, feasting and partying were the rule, Not the exception!

The holiday season brings to mind a parody from the 1960 radio “Twas a night before Christmas and all through the pad not a critter was stirring not even old dad.”

The last entry is as close as I could find to my memories.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Attributed to Clement Clarke Moore


Illustration by F.O.C. Darley

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

clipart

Twas The Night Before Christmas (Texas Style)

'Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.  
 Way out on the prairie, without any snow.  
 Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,  
 A dreamin' of Christmas, like me and you.  
   
 Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,  
 For this was Texas, what more need be said,  
 When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,  
 There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.  
   
 And I saw 'cross the prairie, like a shot from a gun,  
 A loaded up buckboard, come on at a run,  
 The driver was "Geein" and "Hawin", with a will,  
 The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.  
   
 "Come on there Buck, Poncho, & Prince, to the right,  
 There'll be plenty of travelin' for you all tonight."  
 The driver in Levi's and a shirt that was red,  
 Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.  
   
 As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,  
 With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.  
 As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,  
 And were so astonished, that neither one spoke.  
   
 And he filled up their boots with such presents galore,  
 That neither could think of a single thing more.  
 When Buddy recovered the use of his jaws,  
 He asked in a whisper, "Are you really Santa Claus?"  
   
 "Am I the real Santa? Well, what do you think?"  
 And he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.  
 Then he leaped in his buckboard, and called back in his drawl,  
 "To all the children in Texas, Merry Christmas, You-all"


clipart

The Night Before Festivus

(A viral parody of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”)

‘Twas the night before Festivus and all through Queens,
Not a Costanza was yelling…as strange as it seems.
The family was sleeping, just waiting for light.
Saving their strength for the upcoming fight.

At the crack of dawn on December twenty-three,
Frank put up the pole… instead of a tree.
Estelle prepared the meal that would start the rite,
Not a laugh or a smile was anywhere in sight.

George dreaded this hour that came every year,
The airing of grievances would soon be here.
Frank stood at the table and bellowed out loud,
“So who’s got a complaint amongst this crowd?”

“You two are crazy and have wrecked my life!”
Cried George at his parents who mocked him for spite.
“A Lloyd Braun you’ll never be ” was Estelle’s refrain,
“Why should I try,ma?… the guy’s insane!”

“Enough with the grievances,” Frank said with some glee,
“Now which one of you two is wrestling me?”
“So feats of strength you want? Let them begin here,
“It’s your turn to fight him, mom… he beat me last year.”

The battle was started, the screaming was lyrical,
The fact no one got hurt was ….

ANOTHER FESTIVUS MIRACLE!!!!

The Night Before Chanukah

‘Twas the night before Chanukah, boichiks and maidels
Not a sound could be heard, not even the dreidels
The menorah was set by the chimney alight
In the kitchen, the Bubbie was hopping a bite
Salami, Pastrami, a glaisele tay
And zoyere pickles mit bagels– Oy vay!
Gezint and geschmock the kinderlach felt
While dreaming of taiglach and Chanukah gelt
The alarm clock was sitting, a kloppin’ and tickin’
And Bubbie was carving a shtickele chicken
A tummel arose, like the wildest k’duchas
Santa had fallen right on his tuchas!

I put on my slippers, ains, tzvay, drei
While Bubbie was eating herring on rye
I grabbed for my bathrobe and buttoned my gottkes
And Bubbie was just devouring the latkes
To the window I ran, and to my surprise
A little red yarmulka greeted my eyes.
When he got to the door and saw the menorah
“Yiddishe kinder,” he cried, “Kenahorah!”
I thought I was in a Goyishe hoise!
As long as I’m here, I’ll leave a few toys.”
“Come into the kitchen, I’ll get you a dish
Mit a gupel, a leffel, and a shtickele fish.”
With smacks of delight he started his fressen
Chopped liver, knaidlach, and kreplach gegessen
Along with his meal he had a few schnapps
When it came to eating, this boy sure was tops
He asked for some knishes with pepper and salt
But they were so hot he yelled out “Gevalt!”
He loosened his hoysen and ran from the tish
“Your koshereh meals are simply delish!”
As he went through the door he said “See y’all later
I’ll be back next Pesach in time for the seder!”
So, hutzmir and zeitzmir and “Bleibtz mir gezint”
he called out cheerily into the wind.
More rapid than eagles, his prancers they came
As he whistled and shouted and called them by name
“Come, Izzie, now Moishe, now Yossel and Sammy!
On Oyving, and Maxie, and Hymie and Manny!”
He gave a geshrai, as he drove out of sight
“A gut yontiff to all, and to all a good night!”
Anon

Twas a Hip
Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the pad
Not a hip cat was swinging and that’s nowhere, dad
The stove was hung up in the stocking routine
In hopes that the fat man would soon make the scene.The kids had all had it so they hit their sacks
And me and the bride had just begun to relax
When there started a rumble that came on real frantic
So I opened the window to figure the panic.I saw a square short that was makin’ fat tracks
Bein’ pulled by eight dogs who were wearing hat racks
And a funny old geezer was flippin’ his lid
He told ’em to “make it,” and man, like, they did!

I couldn’t help diggin’ the scene on the roof
As I stood there just waiting for chubby to goof.
They stood by the chimney in bunches and clusters
‘Till chubby slid down coming on like gang busters.

His threads were the squarest and I just had to chuckle
In front (not in back) was his Ivy League buckle.
The mop on his chin hid his button-down collar
And with that red nose, man, he looked like a baller.

Like, he was the squarest, the most absolute
But face it, who cares when he left all that loot?
He laid the jazz on me and fled from the gig
Wailin’ “Have a cool Yule and man, later, like, dig!”

 These were found at urbanlegends.com …pg

 

Hope you enjoy….pg

New US space mining law

Will the New US space mining law spark interplanetary gold rush?
December 8, 2015 by Luc Oling
A new US law legalizes the extraction of minerals and other materials, including water,

In a first, President Barack Obama signed legislation at the end of November that allows commercial extraction of minerals and other materials, including water, from asteroids and the moon.

The US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 says that any materials American individuals or companies find on an asteroid or the moon is theirs to keep and do with as they please. That could kick off an extraterrestrial gold rush, backed by a private aeronautics industry that is growing quickly and cutting the price of commercial space flight. While the Space Act breaks with the concept that space should be shared by everyone on Earth for scientific research and exploration, it establishes the rights of investors to profit from their efforts, at least under US law.

Christopher Johnson, a lawyer at the Secure World Foundation, which focuses on the long-term sustainable use of outer space, said the law sets the basis for the next century of activity in space.
“Now it is permissible to interact with space. Exploring and using space’s resources has begun,” he said.

The US move conjured visions of the great opening of the United States’ Western frontier in the 19th century, which led to the California Gold Rush of 1849. But for the moment, the costs of pioneering the economic exploitation of space remain exorbitant and the risks high.

Large companies are still studying their options, but smaller startups are impatient to get going, like Planetary Resources, launched in 2012 by Google co-founder Larry Page. Water particles have been detected on the surface of the Moon by three missions, including an Indian probe. “It has often been a question as to whether a commercial company will be able to go out and develop a resource,” said Chris Lewicki, president of Planetary Resources, which bills itself as “The Asteroid Mining Company.”
But now, the Space Act “allows us to give assurances to our customers and investors as we build a resource business in space,” Lewicki told AFP. “Since the passage of the law, we’ve been getting a lot of support messages and our current investors are very excited,” he added. Meagan Crawford, vice president at another ambitious asteroid miner, Deep Space Industries, said that with the law’s passage investors are no longer fretting that they are wasting their money. “This is absolutely a big win for us. We don’t seem crazy any more. We don’t have to work very hard to convince investors.”

According to NASA research, of some 1,500 asteroids within easy reach from Earth, possibly 10 percent have valuable mineral resources. Both companies see great possibilities in space: deposits of nickel, iron ore, gold and platinum that could support the space industry in the same way that the huge deposits of iron ore in the US upper Midwest laid the foundations for the Detroit auto industry. But their first target is water frozen in substantial deposits on relatively close asteroids. The water’s value, more than just to drink, is in providing hydrogen fuel for space vehicles. It could supply a refueling station for the rockets, for instance, destined to explore Mars. And it could be used to refuel satellites in orbit.

The Arkyd Seris I satellite created by Planetary Resources, which was established in 2012 to mine asteroids. Lewicki says an in-space fueling station could save hundreds of millions of dollars in water transport costs. “If we can store that water there, we can refuel rockets, satellites—it will be a huge opportunity. “You can refuel your rocket in orbit; that makes it easier to get it there, and cheaper. “The first space prospecting missions could be launched from 2017, the companies say, and extracting minerals could begin as early as 2020. For its part Planetary Resources has already identified asteroids for exploitation using space telescopes place in orbit last year. It plans to launch a small exploration satellite early next year, Lewicki said.

Deep Space Industries is planning the deployment of 25-32 kilogram (55-70 pound) mini-satellites to asteroids with good prospects to better assess their resources and bring back samples.
The two companies estimate that the new space gold rush could need around $3 trillion dollars over the next 10-15 years. For that, they need global support for their operations, and need to begin pressing other governments to adopt laws similar to the US Space Act that will recognize a company’s rights to any space mineral riches it can harvest.

Lithium-oxygen battery advances

Researchers have successfully demonstrated how several of the problems impeding the practical development of the so-called ‘ultimate’ battery could be overcome.

What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research

Clare Grey

Scientists have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can be recharged more than 2000 times, showing how several of the problems holding back the development of these devices could be solved.

Lithium-oxygen, or lithium-air, batteries have been touted as the ‘ultimate’ battery due to their theoretical energy density, which is ten times that of a lithium-ion battery. Such a high energy density would be comparable to that of gasoline – and would enable an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive from London to Edinburgh on a single charge.

However, as is the case with other next-generation batteries, there are several practical challenges that need to be addressed before lithium-air batteries become a viable alternative to gasoline.

Now, researchers from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated how some of these obstacles may be overcome, and developed a lab-based demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has higher capacity, increased energy efficiency and improved stability over previous attempts.

Their demonstrator relies on a highly porous, ‘fluffy’ carbon electrode made from graphene (comprising one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms), and additives that alter the chemical reactions at work in the battery, making it more stable and more efficient. While the results, reported in the journal Science, are promising, the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.

“What we’ve achieved is a significant advance for this technology and suggests whole new areas for research – we haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry, but our results do show routes forward towards a practical device,” said Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry, the paper’s senior author.

Many of the technologies we use every day have been getting smaller, faster and cheaper each year – with the notable exception of batteries. Apart from the possibility of a smartphone which lasts for days without needing to be charged, the challenges associated with making a better battery are holding back the widespread adoption of two major clean technologies: electric cars and grid-scale storage for solar power.

“In their simplest form, batteries are made of three components: a positive electrode, a negative electrode and an electrolyte,’’ said Dr Tao Liu, also from the Department of Chemistry, and the paper’s first author.

In the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries we use in our laptops and smartphones, the negative electrode is made of graphite (a form of carbon), the positive electrode is made of a metal oxide, such as lithium cobalt oxide, and the electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent. The action of the battery depends on the movement of lithium ions between the electrodes. Li-ion batteries are light, but their capacity deteriorates with age, and their relatively low energy densities mean that they need to be recharged frequently.

Over the past decade, researchers have been developing various alternatives to Li-ion batteries, and lithium-air batteries are considered the ultimate in next-generation energy storage, because of their extremely high energy density. However, previous attempts at working demonstrators have had low efficiency, poor rate performance, unwanted chemical reactions, and can only be cycled in pure oxygen.

What Liu, Grey and their colleagues have developed uses a very different chemistry than earlier attempts at a non-aqueous lithium-air battery, relying on lithium hydroxide (LiOH) instead of lithium peroxide (Li2O2). With the addition of water and the use of lithium iodide as a ‘mediator’, their battery showed far less of the chemical reactions which can cause cells to die, making it far more stable after multiple charge and discharge cycles.

By precisely engineering the structure of the electrode, changing it to a highly porous form of graphene, adding lithium iodide, and changing the chemical makeup of the electrolyte, the researchers were able to reduce the ‘voltage gap’ between charge and discharge to 0.2 volts. A small voltage gap equals a more efficient battery – previous versions of a lithium-air battery have only managed to get the gap down to 0.5 – 1.0 volts, whereas 0.2 volts is closer to that of a Li-ion battery, and equates to an energy efficiency of 93%.

The highly porous graphene electrode also greatly increases the capacity of the demonstrator, although only at certain rates of charge and discharge. Other issues that still have to be addressed include finding a way to protect the metal electrode so that it doesn’t form spindly lithium metal fibres known as dendrites, which can cause batteries to explode if they grow too much and short-circuit the battery.

Additionally, the demonstrator can only be cycled in pure oxygen, while the air around us also contains carbon dioxide, nitrogen and moisture, all of which are generally harmful to the metal electrode.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” said Liu. “But what we’ve seen here suggests that there are ways to solve these problems – maybe we’ve just got to look at things a little differently.”

“While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done, to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting – we are still very much at the development stage, but we’ve shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology,” said Grey.

The authors acknowledge support from the US Department of Energy, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Johnson Matthey and the European Union via Marie Curie Actions and the Graphene Flagship. The technology has been patented and is being commercialised through Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm.

Reference:
Liu, T et. al. ‘Cycling Li-O2 Batteries via LiOH Formation and Decomposition.’ Science (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7730

– See more at: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/new-design-points-a-path-to-the-ultimate-battery#sthash.Uolil6o5.dpuf

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