Archive for June, 2019

TBR News June 26, 2019

Jun 26 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 25, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 26:” People wishing to kill themselves ought, in my view, to show some consideration for others. If a man wants to blow whatever brains he has out of his head, wouldn’t it be better if he did it out in the woods somewhere instead of splattering his sleeping wife, the bedding and the opposite wall? The wall can be cleaned but the bedding is forever ruined and the wife traumatized…until she meets another man.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump’s toadyism to Saudi Arabia: a new moral low
  • Donald Trump’s Russian Connections
  • The Government-Approved Rip-Off
  • The Attack on Iran: Israel’s Plans for a US Action
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings
  • Europe heatwave: record high of 45C expected in France 
  • U.S. House passes border aid bill, Trump vows veto
  • Video appears to show man dumping water on homeless woman in San Francisco
  • The Empire in Collapse
  • Jockpocalypse

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TBR News June 25, 2019

Jun 25 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 25, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 25:”I see another woman has come forth with stories about Fat Donald trying to rape her. With what? Among those who know, he is known as Shrimp Dick Don. Men who go around groping and fondling women in public and bragging about it are very often Closet Queens and enough said on that subject.The Iranians say they won’t deal with Trump because he lies. What a shock! Really? Tomorrow, he will be threatening Portugal with sanctions and possible invasion and the day after that, Madagascar or Malta. Depends on what sort of bovine feces the lunatic Bolton feeds him for breakfast.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • NATO calls on Russia to destroy new missile, warns of response
  • Iran says U.S. sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy
  • Trump: War President or Anti-Interventionist?
  • Iran Denies US Cyber-Attacks Had Any Effect
  • Intense heat wave hits northern Europe
  • Spy-Satellite Images Reveal How Climate Change Is Rapidly Melting the Himalayan Glaciers
  • Report Looks at Himalayan Glaciers and Water Supply
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings

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TBR News June 24, 2019

Jun 24 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 24, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 24:”The searched of staff member’s computers seeking persons who were downloading and distributing confidential information produced one staunch Trump supporter who had a computer packed with Ukrainian porn involving small children. There was also a number of X-Hamster items, this time involving oiled weight-lifters and fat minorities. Naturally, the evil one has resigned to spend more time with his family, no doubt in the bathtub.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • All eyes on Erdoğan after opposition’s historic win in Istanbul
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • When China Leads the World
  • Forget China – it’s America’s own economic system that’s broken
  • An Official Overview of Global Terrorism
  • The Sabotage Column: Revenge is sweet and flavors all our dealings

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TBR News June 23, 2019

Jun 23 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 23, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 23:”Trump is being very firmly advised by both military and civilian prominents that many of his edicts would result in highly negative reactions and he has now backed down on his mass arrest of immigrants and a nice Bolton-advanced military attack on Iran in response to an obviously faked attack on oil tankers. He has lost out on his enormous Mexican border wall and is waffeling on plastering tariffs on the Chinese. This is the man who bragged about having a Rodin oil painting but as the original was hanging in a Chicago art gallery, he was told to stop talking about it. Trump has never told the truth when a lie would suffice.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump delays mass deportation raids, seeks deal with Democrats
  • Great game in Arctic: US eyes military port to counter Russia & China at North Pole
  • The Background to Probable Oil Wars in the Arctic
  • Official and Actual Casualties of the Iraqi/Afghanistan War
  • The Root Causes of the Mid-East Conflicts
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News June 22, 2019

Jun 22 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 22, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 22:”We see pictures of the damage to a tanker, allegedly from ‘limpit mines’ that are actually very clearly damage from an internal, not an exernal, explosion. And shrapnel from an explosion, on the upper deck, of a Japanese tanker show that the explosive device was a mortar shell, not a ‘limpet mine’ Of course the DoD people who made the films are not intelligent enough to realize what they are showing. Who fired a mortar at a tanker headed for the Hormuz Strait? Three perps are possible” The US, Israel or the Saudis. The Iranians? No, not the Iranians. Trump is being told the danger in attacking Iran and he is moving away from the lunatic Bolton/Pompeo warmongers. If the Gulf is closed or the scene of dangerous (to shipping) fighting, the price of the world’s oil will skyrocket. Bad for politics, very bad. This allowed Fat Donald the chance to appear kindly disposed. And then the new rape charged in public and the psych report in private. We do not need creeps like Fat Donald in the White House or anywhere near the levers of power. How about setting a domestic sewage treatment plant aside for personages like Fat Donald and Bolton the Mustache? A fitting occupation indeed.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Tanker attacks in the Gulf — evidence or warmongering?
  • The rise of the deepfake and the threat to democracy
  • Able Danger
  • Donald Trump accused of sexually assaulting writer E Jean Carroll
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News June 21, 2019

Jun 21 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 21, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 21:”The strong rumor spreading around the White House offices is that someone has laid their hands on a psychiatrist’s report on Donald Trump that shows him in a very bad light. He was sent by his parents  to upstate New York and put in a military academy but kept sneaking back to New York. What he was doing there makes interesting reading and if this ever gets into the hands of the pubic, there will be problems for Donald. The dates, the name of the doctor and such like are all authentic. I wouldn’t publish this but I am afraid there are those who will.”

The Table of Contents

  • Russia will help Iran with oil if payment channel not launched: Ryabkov
  • Republican-controlled Senate votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudis
  • UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia declared unlawful by court of appeal
  • Have You Heard of the CIA’s Iran Mission Center?
  • Facebook usage falling after privacy scandals, data suggests
  • Truth-twisters target teens with tailored misinformation
  • A Typical Example of False News
  • The 6 Reasons People Believe in Conspiracy Theories
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

 

Russia will help Iran with oil if payment channel not launched: Ryabkov

June 21, 2019

Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is ready to help Iran with oil exports and its banking sector if the Instex European payment system is not launched, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday.

The Instex mechanism was created by European countries in an attempt to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with six global powers after the United States pulled out.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Kevin Liffey

 

 

Republican-controlled Senate votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudis

President vows to veto the measures after seven Republicans broke with him to reject at least some of the arms sales

June 20, 2019

The Guardian

The Republican-controlled US Senate has voted to block the Trump administration from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, launching a new challenge to Donald Trump’s alliance with the country amid rising tensions in the Middle East.

Trump had already promised to veto the measures. The White House said stopping the sales “would send a message that the United States is abandoning its partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing”.

While all the resolutions of disapproval voted on in the Senate on Thursday will probably pass the Democratic-controlled House, supporters fell well short of a veto-proof margin.

Two of the resolutions passed with 53 votes, while another group was approved narrowly, with 51 votes. Overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.

Seven Republicans broke with Trump to reject at least some of the arms sales. Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana all supported at least some of the votes to block weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

The votes came against the backdrop of heightened US tensions with Iran, further stoked after Iran, regarded as an enemy by Saudi Arabia, shot down a US drone in the region in the early hours of Thursday, a move Trump declared “a very big mistake”.

Congressional leaders received a closed-door briefing on the situation at the Capitol and were invited to the White House in the afternoon to meet with Trump.

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, cited threats from Iran when declaring an emergency in May to justify a major weapons sale. The Saudis have recently faced a number of attacks from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“To reject these sales at this time and under these circumstances is to reward recent Iranian aggression and to encourage further Iranian escalation,” said the Idaho senator Jim Risch, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Risch added that blocking the sale would also “encourage miscalculation on the part of Iranians which will be disastrous”.

The latest arms sales, worth an estimated $8bn, included precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition and aircraft maintenance support.

Opposition in Congress to close US Saudi ties escalated after the killing of US-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi, regarded as a dissident by Saudi leadership, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, by agents of the Saudi kingdom last year. But a small group of lawmakers has been voicing concern about the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen for years.

New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, said the war in Yemen was one reason for his opposition to the arms sales.

“These are bombs that we know have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen, patients in hospitals, children on school buses,” Menendez said. The conflict in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and left millions more are on the brink of starvation.

Menendez called the humanitarian situation “an incomprehensible moral tragedy”.

Graham, a Republican of South Carolina and, of late, a staunch Trump ally, nevertheless delivered an impassioned speech from the Senate floor criticizing Saudi Arabia’s behavior as personally “disrespectful”.

“My relationship with Saudi Arabia is forever changed,” he said, accusing the kingdom of taking their relationship with the US “for granted” and caring more about “maintaining power at all costs” than their alliance.

British arms sales to Saudi Arabia were declared unlawful earlier this year by a House of Lords committee.

 

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia declared unlawful by court of appeal

Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed disappointment over the court’s ruling and said her government would seek permission to appeal. Campaigners say the UK-Saudi arms deal violates international humanitarian law.

June 20, 2019

by Shamil Shams

DW

A court of appeal in London on Thursday declared the sale of weapons by the UK to Saudi Arabia unlawful because of the Yemen conflict.

The court accepted the challenge brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) that accused the UK government of licensing the arms sale when there is a clear risk that the weapons use could breach international humanitarian law.

In its judgment, the court ruled that “the process of decision-making by the government was wrong in law in one significant respect.”

Judges said licenses must be reviewed but would not be immediately suspended.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was disappointed and that her government would appeal.

“This judgement is not about whether the decisions themselves were right or wrong, but whether the process in reaching those decisions was correct,” a spokeswoman for the Department for Trade said.

“We disagree with the judgment and will be seeking permission to appeal.”

Humanitarian breaches

In its legal challenge against the UK-Saudi arms deal, CAAT argued that British bombs and fighter jets are fueling violence in Yemen.

Yemen has been torn apart by a protracted civil war between the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Shiite Houthi rebels.

In support of the Hadi government, Riyadh launched an air campaign against the Houthis in March 2015. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of backing the rebels, who have made significant territorial gains in the impoverished Middle Eastern country.

In their Thursday judgment, three senior judges said the British government had “made no attempt” to find out whether the Saudi-led coalition had breached international law.

The court said that the government must assess future risks of humanitarian law breaches when deciding whether to allow arms sales.

Arms worth billions

The UK has licensed more than GBP 4.7 billion ($5.9 million, €5.28 billion) of arms exports to Riyadh since the start of the Saudi military campaign in Yemen in March 2015.

According to British media, weapons sold to Saudi Arabia include Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, as well as precision-guided bombs.

Andrew Smith, a CAAT spokesman, hailed the judgment, saying the regime in Saudi Arabia is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world.

“No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK,” he said.

“The bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” he added.

 

Have You Heard of the CIA’s Iran Mission Center?

These are men who are reckless with violence, willing to do anything if it means provoking a war against Iran

June 18, 2019

by Vijay Prashad

Common Dreams

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was adamant—just hours after it happened—that the explosions on two Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers were the responsibility of Iran. Iran did this, he said, and Iran would have to pay the price. The United States government offered no evidence for this claim, apart from a grainy video that showed little that seemed conclusive. Pompeo took no questions.

It is important to know that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Tehran at that time. Abe, who has been trying to maintain the Iran nuclear deal, made no belligerent comments, nor did he storm out of the country. The head of the Japanese shipping company said that there was no evidence that this event had been conducted by Iran. In fact, he disputed the claim that a limpet mine had been attached to his ship. He said that “flying objects” had struck the ship.

The Norwegian shipping company did not make any kind of statement about the events either, certainly not anything that blamed Iran for the incident. The Norwegian government remained silent as well—no threats of any kind from Oslo. The shipping company said an investigation would be conducted in due course.

The crew from both the vessels had been rescued by U.S. and Iranian boats and taken to safety.

Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said that his military will not try to close the Strait of Hormuz by deceit. If they want to close the strait, he said, it will be an open military operation. He fully denies that Iran hit those two tankers.

No U.S. ship was assaulted. These incidents took place in international waters—in the Strait of Hormuz, off the coasts of Iran and Oman. Not on U.S. territory, nor on a U.S. military base or on U.S. government property. Yet, it was the U.S. government that made the claims and made the threats. This has become an ugly habit.

It has also become impossible for the region, where there remains an electric sense of foreboding. Will Trump be mad enough to launch missiles? Will the United States of America want to open wider the doors of hell in West Asia, doors that the United States opened wide with its illegal war on Iraq?

Iran Mission Center

In 2017, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) created a special unit—the Iran Mission Center—to focus attention on the U.S. plans against Iran. The initiative for this unit came from CIA director John Brennan, who left his post as the Trump administration came into office. Brennan believed that the CIA needed to focus attention on what the United States sees as problem areas—North Korea and Iran, for instance. This predated the Trump administration.

Brennan’s successor—Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director for just over a year (until he was appointed U.S. Secretary of State)—continued this policy. The CIA’s Iran-related activity had been conducted in the Iran Operations Division (Persia House). This was a section with Iran specialists who built up knowledge about political and economic developments inside Iran and in the Iranian diaspora.

It bothered the hawks in Washington—as one official told me—that Persia House was filled with Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran. Some of them, due to their long concentration on Iran, had developed sensitivity to the country. Trump’s people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group that would provide the kind of intelligence that tickled the fancy of his National Security Adviser John Bolton.

To head the Iran Mission Center, the CIA appointed Michael D’Andrea. D’Andrea was central to the post-9/11 interrogation program, and he ran the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were central to his approach.

It was D’Andrea who expanded the CIA’s drone strike program, in particular the signature strike. The signature strike is a particularly controversial instrument. The CIA was given the allowance to kill anyone who fit a certain profile—a man of a certain age, for instance, with a phone that had been used to call someone on a list. The dark arts of the CIA are precisely those of D’Andrea.

What is germane to his post at the Iran Mission Center is that D’Andrea is close to the Gulf Arabs, a former CIA analyst told me. The Gulf Arabs have been pushing hard for action against Iran, a view shared by D’Andrea and parts of his team. For his hard-nosed attitude toward Iran, D’Andrea is known—ironically—as “Ayatollah Mike.”

D’Andrea and people like Bolton are part of an ecosystem of men who have a visceral hatred for Iran and who are close to the worldview of the Saudi royal family. These are men who are reckless with violence, willing to do anything if it means provoking a war against Iran. Nothing should be put past them.

D’Andrea and the hawks edged out several Iran experts from the Iran Mission Center, people like Margaret Stromecki—who had been head of analysis. Others who want to offer an alternative to the Pompeo-Bolton view of things either have also moved on or remain silent. There is no space in the Trump administration, a former official told me, for dissent on the Iran policy.

Saudi Arabia’s War

D’Andrea’s twin outside the White House is Thomas Kaplan, the billionaire who set up two groups that are blindingly for regime change in Iran. The two groups are United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and Counter Extremism Project. There is nothing subtle here. These groups—and Kaplan himself—promote an agenda of great disparagement of Muslims in general and of Iran in particular.

Kaplan blamed Iran for the creation of ISIS, for it was Iran—Kaplan said—that “used a terrible Sunni movement” to expand its reach from “Persia to the Mediterranean.” Such absurdity followed from a fundamental misreading of Shia concepts such as taqiya, which means prudence and not—as Kaplan and others argue—deceit. Kaplan, bizarrely, shares more with ISIS than Iran does with that group—since both Kaplan and ISIS are driven by their hatred of those who follow the Shia traditions of Islam.

It is fitting that Kaplan’s anti-Iran groups bring together the CIA and money. The head of UANI is Mark Wallace, who is the chief executive of Kaplan’s Tigris Financial Group, a financial firm with investments—which it admits—would benefit from “instability in the Middle East.” Working with UANI and the Counter Extremism Project is Norman Roule, a former national intelligence manager for Iran in the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Roule has offered his support to the efforts of the Arabia Foundation, run by Ali Shihabi—a man with close links to the Saudi monarchy. The Arabia Foundation was set up to do more effective public relations work for the Saudis than the Saudi diplomats are capable of doing. Shihabi is the son of one of Saudi Arabia’s most well-regarded diplomats, Samir al-Shihabi, who played an important role as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan during the war that created al-Qaeda.

These men—Kaplan and Bolton, D’Andrea and Shihabi—are eager to use the full force of the U.S. military to further the dangerous goals of the Gulf Arab royals (of both Saudi Arabia and of the UAE). When Pompeo walked before cameras, he carried their water for them. These are men on a mission. They want war against Iran.

Evidence, reason. None of this is important to them. They will not stop until the U.S. bombers deposit their deadly payload on Tehran and Qom, Isfahan and Shiraz. They will do anything to make that our terrible reality.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

 

 

Facebook usage falling after privacy scandals, data suggests

Actions such as shares and likes down nearly 20%, though user numbers still growing

June 20, 2019

by Alex Hern Technology editor

The Guardian

Facebook usage has plummeted over the last year, according to data seen by the Guardian, though the company says usage by other measures continues to grow.

Since April 2018, the first full month after news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in the Observer, actions on Facebook such as likes, shares and posts have dropped by almost 20%, according to the business analytics firm Mixpanel.

Taking that month as a baseline, total actions fell by more that 10% within a month, recovered a bit over the summer and then fell again over the autumn and winter of 2018, except for a brief rally over the period of the US midterm elections.

The decline coincided with a series of data, privacy and hate speech scandals. In September the company discovered a breach affecting 50m accounts, in November it admitted that an executive hired a PR firm to attack the philanthropist George Soros, and it has been repeatedly criticised for allowing its platform to be used to fuel ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

Facebook’s own statistics show increases in daily and monthly active users (DAUs and MAUs), the numbers logging on to the site at least once in the respective periods, during the year ending March 2019.

In the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, published in April, it said it averaged 1.56bn DAUs in March up 8% on March 2018, and MAUs were also up 8% year on year.

The two sets of numbers can be reconciled. Anecdotal reports over the past year have suggested that while few users have deleted their Facebook accounts or stopped logging on since the scandals, many have reduced their usage.

This month a market research firm, eMarketer, reported a decline in Facebook usage in the US, saying the typical Facebook user spent 38 minutes a day on the site, down from 41 minutes in 2017.

“On top of that, Facebook has continued to lose younger users, who are spreading their time and attention across other social platforms and digital activities,” eMarketer said.

Facebook has been asked for comment.

 

Truth-twisters target teens with tailored misinformation

A “vaccination” against disinformation? DW’s Teri Schultz reports on creative educational efforts to help young media consumers fend off fake news.

June 20, 2019

by Teri Schultz

DW

Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck thought it was a bit odd the German 13-year-old she was quizzing about politics had such strong opinions about the then-upcoming United States presidential election — and particularly why she said her classmates were so enthusiastic about Donald Trump. So von Reppert-Bismarck asked the student where they were getting their information about the American candidates. “Instagram” was the answer.

“I said: ‘That’s not a source, that’s a photo app!'” von Reppert-Bismarck recalls, and she asked the student to share the post. “There it was, a screenshot of some text that would have been copied from Instagram and was now circulating within a private WhatsApp chat group.”

It wasn’t so much the technology that struck her, though, it was the content. “It was the most crazy ‘Russian bot’ text in very bad German,” she said. “But basically what it was saying was … it’s all rubbish what you’re seeing [in mainstream media].  I’ll tell you something that’s really happening. Hillary Clinton is assassinating all these CIA agents. Think about how you would feel if your parents had been assassinated by Hillary Clinton. Compared to that, what Trump has done is absolutely nothing.”

Propagandists play the long game

But why spread that message among non-voting, non-American teenagers? It’s one of the basic tactics of disinformers. They don’t need to prove the claims about their targets, just to plant seeds of doubt about them. Using a photo of text on Instagram also bypasses automated fact-check functions that might catch incendiary language if it were written openly on Facebook or Twitter. But in a private WhatsApp group, no one is watching. It’s a place fact-checkers can’t find.

The experience was a watershed for von Reppert-Bismarck, who’d been a reporter for two decades. She thought: “What on earth am I doing making beautiful journalism if people can’t tell the difference between beautiful journalism and total fiction and aren’t even asking the questions of what is the source, where is this coming from?”

It wasn’t so much the technology that struck her, though, it was the content. “It was the most crazy ‘Russian bot’ text in very bad German,” she said. “But basically what it was saying was … it’s all rubbish what you’re seeing [in mainstream media].  I’ll tell you something that’s really happening. Hillary Clinton is assassinating all these CIA agents. Think about how you would feel if your parents had been assassinated by Hillary Clinton. Compared to that, what Trump has done is absolutely nothing.”

Encouraging skepticism in schools

DW tagged along to one of these sessions at an international school in Brussels, where veteran American journalist Anna Mulrine Grobe was brainstorming with a room full of 15-year-olds about what kinds of information may be bombarding them on social media. She brings up satire, asking if they’ve heard of the American satirical publication The Onion. A couple of hands go up. “What else would you call some of this stuff?” Grobee queries. “Propaganda?” suggests Ioanna Kakomyta. “Yes,” Grobe confirms.

Afterwards, Kakomyta said she always double-checks what she reads but confided she’s worried about her teenage counterparts. “[With] social media we don’t really know what to believe,” she said. “I see a lot of people expressing their opinions without knowing what’s actually happening and they’re just creating a false point of view.”

Her classmate Johannes Wehrheim said he only gets his information from trusted news sites, but he, too, is concerned about people who don’t. “For example, the [far-right] AfD (Alternative for Germany), in Germany, people really follow their Twitter account and trust them on climate change, on whatever news they post,” he said. “So that worries me, for other people to believe them.

‘Bad news’ does good

For those who won’t be able to learn lie detection in the classroom but still want to gain some skills, there are other ways. While “getbadnews.com” sounds like bad advice, it’s actually an online game created by a Netherlands-based group called DROG, made up of academics, journalists and media experts. Marije Arentze explains they are working to decrease the impact of disinformation by using the “inoculation theory,” which suggests that exposing people to disinformation in a controlled environment can help them recognize and build resistance to it, a “mental antibody” against fake news.

Users of “getbadnews.com” role play ethically challenged “journalists” trying to spread fake stories, gain as many followers as possible and still maintain credibility as a source of information. “The idea is that by inviting them to cross their own mental borders, this triggers a thought process that helps them build resistance,” explained Arentze, who says facts indicate their game is working.

“We are actually doing research into the existence of so-called vaccines in cooperation with the University of Cambridge,” Arentze said. “And the first results suggest that, after playing our game, people do get better at spotting fake news and at the same time there’s no decrease in how much they trust the real news.”

Arentze compares it to teaching people martial arts. It’s not so they can go attack others, she points out, but to defend themselves if necessary.

And in the disinformation arena, defenses are definitely still needed. Juliane Von Reppert-Bismarck says wistfully that she hopes she can get back to journalism again one day, but right now her initiative unfortunately has too much ground to cover. Lie Detectors is approaching its 700th classroom visit across Belgium, Germany and Austria, making plans to expand to other countries and languages, trying to get ahead of the bad actors and make sure there’s no market for their misinformation.

 

A Typical Example of False News

June 21, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Whenever a disaster happens that, unlike a volcanic eruption or a huge forest fire, cannot be immediately explained, a great gathering of self-serving individuals begin to spout forth theories, plans, tales of “secret documents,’ and “confidential communications” with unnamed “experts.” The purpose of expounding these weird tales generally is to draw attention to the expounder. That no reputable segment of any media bothers with discussing these theories is always attributed to control by an irate Government who are furious at the brilliance of the theorist and who spend endless hours spying on them, opening their solicitations from NAMBLA and installing microphones in their desks at the local Humane Society.

As a case in point, let us consider a well-known tragedy. First come the actual facts and then the actual fictions.

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747-131 registered as N93119, took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) enroute to Charles De Gaulle International Airport (Paris).

The aircraft was flying more than eight miles off the cost of East Moriches, New York (part of Long Island) when the fuel tank exploded. The aircraft banked and the front part of the aircraft broke off. The wind pushed the aircraft into a climb. Then, the aircraft went into a dive, causing the wings to break off the aircraft. Pieces of the aircraft plummeted down into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 passengers on board.

After what has been billed as the longest and most expensive accident investigation in American aviation history, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board  (NTSB) investigation found that the flammable fuel/air mixture of the center wing fuel tank probably ignited due to electrical failure in the center fuel tank, causing the plane to explode in flight. The FBI agreed that there had been no criminal act after examining all the plane’s wreckage that had been recovered. In May of 1997, mechanics discovered a fuel leak in a Boeing 737-200 that they believed was caused by the kind of electrical arcing suspected of causing the TWA Flight 800 fatal explosion. NTSB investigators believed that the same kind of arcing from the wiring in the center fuel tank of TWA Flight 800 sparked the explosion that brought the plane down. As a result of extensive and very through testing, the NTSB issued an “airworthiness directive” requiring the immediate inspection of the wiring of older 747s. In April, it recommended further inspections and design changes in the wiring of 747s and in Boeing 707s and C-130 transport planes, as well.

Eight years after the crash, in February 2004, the FAA indicated that it would start the process of ordering airlines to install a fuel tank inerting system in most of their aircraft. It was stated that the order would probably actually be issued within two years, and then the airlines would be required to install the devices over the subsequent seven years. The FAA stated that, including the TWA Flight 800 crash, there had been three fuel tank explosions in airliners over the previous 14 years (the two others having occurred on the ground),

Various groups and individuals continue to maintain that the plane was downed by a bomb or missile, and that there was a subsequent cover-up to disguise the real cause of the crash.

The “terrorist theory” was, as usual, one of the first to be mentioned, especially due to the fact that the accident happened during the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, where a bomb exploded ten days later. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, these alternate explanations have been revisited, as some officials and commentators have mentioned this disaster among lists of terrorist attacks. Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, a retired Naval officer who conducted an independent investigation, disagrees with the official theory. According to Commander Donaldson, “jet airliners built by the American aerospace industry have logged at least 150 thousand years of flight time. Not once has there ever been a spontaneous fuel tank explosion on any fuel tank while airborne” (Letter to NTSB 11-14-97).

Donaldson concluded that the airplane was “shot down by missiles.” He interviewed hundreds of witnesses and said he reconstructed the flight paths of these missiles by triangulating the eyewitness accounts. Soon after, a photo that a passenger of a North American Airlines plane arriving at JFK supposedly took, seemed to support the missile theory because the “photo” showed a “missile” missing the NA Airlines jet narrowly.

Pierre Salinger, a former White House press secretary to President John F. Kennedy and ABC News journalist, prominently and repeatedly claimed he had proof that the flight was downed by a missile from a U.S. Navy ship. The documents on which he relied were later found to be vague rumors that had been distributed over Usenet, with attributions only to many “unnamed experts”. Some people briefly gave the name of Pierre Salinger Syndrome to the tendency to believe things that one reads on the bloggers of the Internet.

One such theory has the US Navy conducting tests of submarine-to-air missiles, accidentally hitting Flight 800, and then covering up the fatal error. After initial denials, the U.S. Navy later admitted that USS Wyoming (SSBN-742), commissioned only days before, was conducting sea trials in the area, and that USS Trepang (SSN-674) and USS Albuquerque (SSN-706) were conducting unspecified operations in the area. It should be noted that all three of these submarines lacked any surface to air missile armament as part of their standard munitions loadout (as do all submarines). It is possible that any of the three subs could have been carrying MANPADS missiles. However all three subs were more than 50 miles (80 km) away from the crash site, very far outside the range of any MANPADS missile in the world. One suggested possibility is that the type of missile involved may be classified.

Another possible alternate theory involving the US Navy is that a missile was fired from the USS Normandy (CG-60), operating 185 nautical miles (340 km) south of the TWA 800 crash site. This is well outside of the range of currently deployed Standard Missiles carried by US ships, almost double the range of the current Block IIIB versions, and just within the future Block IV ER versions. Even if this were a test of a Block IV version, although there is no evidence for this, at the extreme range in question the engine would have long burned out and the warhead would be gliding. This contradicts the main claim that a missile was involved, which is a number of eyewitness accounts claiming to have seen “a missile trail almost vertical under the explosion site.” Furthermore, inventories of USS Normandy’s missile complement immediately following the crash of TWA 800 showed no missiles missing from the inventory, according to the US Navy

Regardless of the very faint possibility of any number of missiles and missile launch platforms being in the vicinity of TWA 800 at the time of the accident, no evidence of any kind of a missile impact exists within the recovered wreckage, according to a study conducted by the Department of Defense’s Office of Special Technology

However, at least one individual involved at higher levels with the FBI’s portion of the recovery operations has stated publicly that he saw during his involvement predominant evidence in the state of the wreckage, the form of the wreckage field, the state of the victim’s remains, public and confidential actions by the airlines, investigation officials, and the Navy following the event, and other factors that convinced him the crash was the result of an “accidental missile strike.” Unfortunately, they have neglected to produce their evidence, claiming that the FBI and the CIA broke into their apartment and stole it, along with certain magazines, a picture of Matt Drudge in a leather thong and a six pack of warm beer.

One of the usual “reliable eyewitnesses” was a Malvina Tidwell of Long Island who claimed she and her husband, Oscar, (since desceaed) “positively identified” an Arab submarine, firing rockets, from their vantage point of the beach where they were looking for driftwood. “I knew it was an Arab sub,” Tidwell said, “because they had men with beards running around the deck and a green flag with Arab writing on it.” Mrs Tidwell is legally blind and her husband, who also gave a long interview to the alternative media, was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and believed that he was the illigetimate son of Harry Truman.

For instance, the following affidavit, dated January 2003 (and which looks very much like blogger information that was passed around the internet shortly after the crash), is being listed as one of the “articles of evidence” in recent FOIA suits pressed by Captain Ray Lahr against the National Transportation Safety Board: This document states he viewed “radar tapes” and took part in “phone conversations” which convinced him Flight 800 was a victim of friendly fire, and that he later passed on this information to Pierre Salinger (Note such anomalies as the doubling of every statement in the affidavit, the second half being a reworded version of the first half).

Elaine Scarry, in a number of articles in the New York Review of Books, has raised the possibility of electromagnetic interference being responsible for the accident. It has also been suggested that an electronic death ray developed by the brilliant Nicholas Tesla and utilized by a mysterious group calling itself the Hidden Hand brought down the plane in furtherance of a plan that no one seems to know about. The Hidden Hand was supposed to have  detonated an atomic bomb over Houston, Texas on Christmas Day of 2004 but apparently was unsuccessful as Houston, unfortunately, is still intact.

A number of strange “alternate theories” surrounding TWA 800 relied on so-called eye witness accounts as collected by the FBI. However, very few of the witnesses were within five miles (8 km) of TWA 800 at the time of the accident, according to a witness map provided by the NTSB. The vast majority of the witnesses were too far away from the accident scene to discern any significant details, and some witnesses describe events that are well beyond the visual acuity of humans

Ex- CBS Investigator Kristina Borjesson, (email: FKLB@aol.com) and co-workers (including Oliver Stone) were on a documentary project for ABC, until it was aborted. Ms. Borjesson’s “documentary” involved the scores of the usual “eyewitnesses” who were desperate for their fifteen minutes of fame and who claimed they saw “something streaking from the ocean toward the plane.” This documentary was for a show, Declassified, that was being produced by Oliver Stone and slated to air on ABC. But the Stone connection grew controversial, and ABC canceled the program. CBS also immediately dissociated itself from Ms. Borjesson. Josh Howard, a senior producer at 60 Minutes, said, “Her official relationship with CBS ended before she pitched that story. (About mythic ‘rocket fuel’ being found on a strip of cloth alleged to have come from one of the passenger seats on Flight 800) She had maybe a month to go on her contract. She was anxiously looking around for other projects to prolong her employment.”

The 800 flight number was retired and replaced with flight 924 after the crash, although TWA continued to operate flights between New York and Paris. In spring 2001, TWA merged with American Airlines. Of the exposers of the Real Truth, throughly discredited Pierre Salinger has since died and Ms Borjesson has slipped into professional oblivion, along with many others.

And always remember that when you see the words; ‘Scientists have proven it!’ there is no doubt you are reading false news.

And on another similar subject, there are many “theories” about the destruction of the WTC buildings.

The facts are simple: Commercial aircraft were hijacked by Muslim terrorists and crashed into the two buildings and another one crashed into the Pentagon. The buildings were subject to intense fires which weakened the support beams, causing the upper floors to collapse downwards, destroying both buildings.

Stories about “plasmoid clouds,” “rockets,” streets carpeted with aircraft parts that could not have come from commercial aircraft, Jewish moving van operators jumping up and down on top of their truck, US Army explosive experts rushing into the burning buildings to lay explosive charges are all interesting and very entertaining fantasies.

Not one of these “theories” has any more subjective value than a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. These stories make the round of the silly “blogs” and are augmented with “authoritative reports” of the atomic destruction of the city of by evil Zionists.

All of these things are fantasy, designed to impress others with the self-importance of the reporter, have no basis in reality and are well worth a good satire.

 

The 6 Reasons People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

May 24, 2019

by Bob Strauss

liveaboutdotcom

Some widely held conspiracy theories seem so absurd on their face that you wonder how they ever gained any traction: All the Jewish people who worked in the World Trade Center were warned in advance of the 9/11 attacks? The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was perpetrated by gun-control advocates, or was invented by the media for its own nefarious purposes? Hillary Clinton masterminded a child-sex ring that operated out of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor? But the unnerving fact is that some people not only believe in these theories, but cling to them with such tenaciousness that other, equally gullible folks find them extremely convincing. So why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories in the first place? Here are the likeliest explanations.

1 The Psychological Explanation 

When Homo sapiens first started walking the savannahs of Africa, a hundred thousand years ago, alertness was an important trait: if you were the first member of your tribe to glimpse a hungry saber-toothed tiger, or to hear a distant clap of thunder, you were more likely to survive the day and go on to have children. In our modern age, though, hyper-alertness can be more a deficit than an advantage. At its most extreme it manifests itself as clinical paranoia (why did that streetlight outside my window flicker when I picked up my coffee mug? Is the CIA watching me?), and in its more moderate forms, it often leads to the tendency of conspiracy theorists to “over-interpret” visual and auditory evidence and connect dots that simply aren’t there (for example, watching and re-watching grainy footage of the Kennedy assassination). This is simply the way the brains of some people are structured; there’s not much you can do except calmly point out alternative (and more sensible) explanations!

2 Political Disaffection 

Granted, it did not rise to the level of a full-fledged conspiracy theory, but millions of starving peasants in late 18th century France really believed that Queen Marie-Antoinette dismissed their plight by saying, “Let them eat cake!” By the same token, there are millions of people in this country who believe that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim who helped plan the attacks on 9/11, and comparable millions of equally disadvantaged people who believe that Donald Trump plans to build concentration camps and fill them with minorities who disapprove of his policies. What all these millions, then and now, share in common is a sense of the lack of their own power—and when you feel you don’t have any political clout, you tend to overestimate what real political clout can actually accomplish (at least, in a functioning democracy).

3 Lack of Education 

Studies have shown that there’s a direct correlation between a person’s education level and his or her tendency to subscribe to conspiracy theories (don’t pat yourself on the back, though: a significant number of people with postdoctoral degrees still believe them). It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but individuals who finish high school, college, or graduate programs are better versed in science, math, and logical argument than those who drop out of the system in the 10th grade. For example, a person with only rudimentary knowledge of physics may be tempted to conclude that “cold fusion” is a genuine phenomenon, and that this cheap, inexhaustible source of energy has been deliberately suppressed for decades by the fossil-fuel industry.

4 An Inability to Deal With Bad News 

Sometimes you shouldn’t ascribe the worst motives to people who believe in outlandish conspiracy theories: not everyone is equally capable of accepting, and processing, unpleasant facts. There are millions of parents across the U.S. to whom the Sandy Hook massacre was an inconceivable nightmare (this writer among them), and it’s at least understandable that a person’s defense mechanisms might make it impossible for him to accept the truth of this event. However, one shouldn’t take this empathy too far: there’s no moral principle that states that a person has to accept the fact of the murder of 20 grade-schoolers, but ethical considerations do come into play when that person harasses the parents of the deceased and accuses them of making the event up from whole cloth, with the collaboration of politicians and news writers.

5 A Misunderstanding of the Law of Probability 

Whenever any semi-important person in Washington, D.C. dies young, there is inevitably speculation on the far fringes that he was “targeted” for “knowing too much,” or that the details of his demise were eerily similar to what happened to that other guy a few years ago, you remember, the one with the hat? The fact is, of course, that people die all the time, even relatively young people who seemed relatively healthy at the time, and in a city as big as Washington reason dictates that there will be many such deaths each year, each of which is completely unrelated to the others. This type of conspiracy theory has existed for as long as civilization has, and can be chalked up to ignorance of actuarial tables and the laws of probability. One amusing example from a hundred years ago is the supposed “curse” of King Tut’s Tomb; whenever anyone died, of natural causes or otherwise, associated with that expedition, conspiracy theorists invoked the supernatural malice of mummies.

6 Ironic Amusement 

This is one of the more unpleasant motivations that drive certain conspiracy theorists. You can hardly blame a disbeliever in fluoridated water for the way her brain is wired, and some people have no choice but to drop out of high school, but it’s not as easy to excuse educated hipsters who “ironically” subscribe to conspiracy theories and, when challenged, profess to “not really” believe in them. The trouble here is that there’s a fine line between making fun of an idea and presenting yourself (to those not well-versed in the art of irony) as the proponent of an idea. True subscribers to conspiracy theories aren’t attuned to that type of nuance; they are just as likely to interpret your sarcasm as support, and go on spouting their line to gullible friends and colleagues.

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Andrew Saul

A.k.a. the MegaVitaminMan

Andrew Saul is a self-proclaimed expert in nutrition and proud holder of a PhD from a “non-traditional PhD program”, the non-accredited diploma mill mail order program Greenwich University. (It never ceases to surprise us that those who defend people like Saul so rarely stop to consider why he would feel the need to mislead his audience by claiming such expertise.) Saul has written several books with titles like Doctor Yourself and Fire Your Doctor; his website takes its name from the title of the former, whereas Fire Your Doctor refers to how important it is that you, his reader, doesn’t consult anyone except him about the contents his advice, and especially not anyone who might have any real competence in any of it, since they’ll only disagree with him and tell you things he doesn’t want you to know. On his website – which Saul refers to as “his peer-reviewed website” and claims to be “one of the largest non-commercial natural health resources on the internet” – and in his books, Saul will tell you what they don’t want you to know and why “a grandmother is worth two doctors” (probably relevant to understanding his claim about his website being “peer-reviewed”), and he promotes a range of demonstrably useless dietary supplements. One reason you need supplements is apparently that much of today’s food is crappy and much of it GMO. No, Saul really doesn’t like doctors: “Doctors command far more respect than they’ve earned. It amounts to a religion, almost a perverse opposite of Christian Science, when we have so much faith in people.” Moreover, medical science was wrong about much in the past, so it is clearly not to be trusted. Instead, you should trust him, whose degree is at least not from a real medical school.

Also known as the MegaVitamin Man, Saul is best known for promoting huge doses (at least 15,000 mg, but he has also mentioned “½ million to 2 million milligrams”) of Vitamin C as a miracle cure; “[n]ow, I don’t believe in ‘miracle cures’ or silver bullets,” says Saul, “but high-dose Vitamins sure come close”: apparently megadoses of vitamin C are effective for anything from scorpion bites (according entirely to himself, Saul detoxed himself from a venomous scorpion bite using vitamin C, “which acts as a potent anti-toxin;” it most assuredly does not) to chronic disease to compromised immune systems to the flu; vitamin C ostensibly works as an “antibiotic, antihistamine, antitoxin, antipyretic, antidepressant and will even curb your appetite.” Indeed, Saul “personally worked with a woman who had HIV, drug addiction, alcoholism, you name it. I told her to consider really shoveling in the Vitamin C, quit drugs and drinking, and clean up her diet. Well, she got off of drugs and eventually the alcohol. She tried to clean up her diet, and she took an awful lot of vitamin C. I ran into her 20 years later and she told me that the last three times she was tested for HIV they couldn’t find any.” In short, C vitamins clearly fits the definition of “miracle cure”, but for marketing purposes it is probably strategically advantageous to give a more modest first impression lest people think Saul is as ridiculous as he is. “Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor would teach you how to use common Vitamins for healing chronic illness, reversing disease and injury, or just for maintaining health? But most can’t … or won’t – and there’s a surprising reason why.” It is not very surprising. The reason is of course that Vitamin C demonstrably does none of what Saul claims it does. This is not the answer Saul gives.

Indeed, according to Saul, “medical doctors have been using high doses of vitamins to cure disease for over 70 years”; in fact, they “have been stopping and curing Polio with high doses of Vitamin C since the 1930’s. In the 1860’s and 70’s they were curing pneumonia with Vitamin C therapy” (it probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that these claims have nothing to do with reality). Elsewhere he claims that doctors don’t use vitamins to cure disease because “doctors are pretty indoctrinated by the time they finish med school” and will never even consider any alternatives, even though researchers according to him constantly publish on the almost magical efficacy of vitamins; in any case “[i]t could have something to do with money” because doctors are “basically funded by the pharmaceutical industry from the moment they enter med school to the moment they hang up their stethoscope”, and the pharmaceutical – unlike himself and the supplement industry – cannot make money off of vitamins.

Of course, the evidence Saul is talking about is studies published in things like the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine is of course one of the more deranged branches of dangerous pseudoscience out there. In fact, Saul has managed to become one of the more, uh, recognized figures in orthomolecular medicine – he is editor of the “peer-reviewed” Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (he keeps using that expression; I do not think it means what he thinks it means) and was “inducted into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame in 2013” – and according to the grand old man of orthomolecular medicine, Abram Hoffer: “Andrew Saul’s website is great. And it’s accurate. I read it all and it’s very accurate.” Hoffer, who died in 2009, was also Saul’s co-author on the book The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, one in a series of books that also include The Vitamin Cure for Depression (with one Bo Jonsson), The Vitamin Cure for Children’s Health Problemsand The Vitamin Cure for Infant and Toddler Health Problems (both with Ralph Campbell). Saul’s website, which is certainly not accurate by any stretch of the imagination (you should, for instance, emphatically not trust Saul’s advice on niacin), is mostly a series of links to various articles from a wide variety of quacks and crackpots claiming things that fit Saul’s narrative.

Saul has also branched out a bit and written Vegetable Juicing for Everyone (with Helen Saul Case) and I have cancer, What should I do: Your orthomolecular guide for cancer management (with Michael González & Jorge Miranda-Massari). What you should is to listen to your doctor and stay as far away as possible from Saul’s book.

Diagnosis: Certainly a crackpot and pseudoscientist, but his own promotion of his fake degree makes it hard to maintain the position that he is merely a true believer. Dangerous.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 21, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

Conversation No. 48

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 1996

Commenced:  1:45 PM CST

Concluded:  2:16 PM CST

 

GD: Good morning, Robert. Well, I have all my reservations lined up and we should be getting together on the 9th of December. I have hotel reservations and it isn’t too far to the University Club, but I’ll take a cab. About noon?

RTC: Yes, that’s the drill. Now, look, Gregory, if you get there early and then Kimmel and Bill are there, be polite but non-committal with both of them. I should be on time but one never knows. Kimmel is looking for any way to discredit you so be very careful with him. Have you ever met him before?

GD: No, just talked on the phone.

RTC: A tall blonde fellow, a little past his prime but an impressive type. Has a deep, well-regulated voice and likes to overawe people. You won’t be overawed, will you?

GD: I doubt it. I am sure Mueller was twice the man Kimmel is and Heini never overawed me. We got along fine on those grounds.

RTC: Look, can you tell me the name of your hotel?

GD: Certainly. It’s the Capitol Hill Suites. The phone number there is…just a second….202 543-6000 and my reservation number is C 1820CE8. I’ll be checking in on Saturday afternoon and I have a lunch date with Willis Carto on Sunday. He is doing a piece in his paper on the Mueller books and wants to do an interview.

RTC: Fine. OK, here’s what I have in mind. I have all the Warren Commission books, all 26 or so volumes. I have gone through every one of them and made notes all over the pages. You can read my writing very clearly. I have marked up all the irrelevant material, the fake material and the factual material. I think when you come to write about the ZIPPER business, this will be of great help to you. I will have them delivered to you in a sealed box over the weekend. And whatever you do, do not mention this to either Tom or Bill. Just leave the box sealed and take it back with you on the plane. When are you leaving to go back?

GD: The 10th.

RTC: Fine. And I have put together a big packet of material on the ZIPPER business that I will put into a briefcase and bring with me to the Club. After lunch, we can go somewhere and I can give it to you. Everything you want is in there, all original papers, notes, transcriptions and so on. But remember your promise to keep this under your hat until after I’m gone. For some odd reason, Bill and Trento think they are going to get their hands on all this. I never made any concrete promises but when people pester me, I give satisfactory but non-binding comments. None of them would dare to publish a word of any of this and I know you will. I did give Bill a copy, but only a copy, of the Driscoll report and he thinks he has the world by the balls. Anyway, talk about Pearl Harbor and keep Tom happy. Also, try to keep your discussion of Mueller to a bare minimum. Tom is hot on Pearl, but everyone else wants to find out about Mueller. What can you prove, what evidence, if any, do you have of his working for us and so on. I’ve warned you before on all of this but just be vague and go off on a story. But for God’s sake, don’t tell them stories about soap in the soup or things like that. Kimmel has no sense of humor and would try to accuse you of mass poisonings or something. Bill just talks too much.

GD: I appreciate the confidence but since the Mueller book came out, I’ve been bombarded with requests from broken down academics to stop by with their friend, Willy, just to look at my precious documents. I don’t know where they find these people, Robert, but they do not engender any confidence in our precious government. They should really keep their mouths closed or all the flies will get out. No, childish games like that go nowhere. What about the Kennedy buffs, as they call them?

RTC: Almost all of that is in the package for you. You see, we set up a disinformation group to spread confusion and to distract anyone from digging too deeply. You know, the man with the umbrella, the man in the storm drains, the wandering people in the train yards, the third figure on the sixth floor of the book building, Hoover on the roof of a building along with Nixon and the Hunt brothers. And a fake Oswald renting a car or buying a gun. Not to mention the really bad stories, which Hunt made up, of Oswald in Mexico City. God, reams of paper with no end. The truth, which is all there, is much more simple.

GD: Question, Robert. This business with Ruby. Was he involved?

RTC: Well, yes. The Chicago mob, with whom I have family connections, got him to do a job on Oswald. That was a setup. You see, Oswald had nothing to do with the business but was involved in other things for us. If he came to trial, very ugly things could have come out and we couldn’t control a courtroom scene. Better to insure it never went that far.

GD: And Ruby?

RTC: The locals were going to try him and he was starting to sweat the electric chair so he threatened to talk.

GD: But he died in jail. Did you get to him in there?

RTC: Certainly. Ruby died of rampant cancer. As you are aware, Gregory, we can give people fatal heart attacks and cancer is only a little more difficult and problematical. A medical examination, an injection with cells and so on. Ask a good oncologist. It is possible to do this. It takes more time but what did Ruby have? There was no immediate danger of him blabbing, so we pacified him with stories of last minute rescues and let him die.

GD: I was watching the telly and I saw them bring out the rifle. I know a great deal about guns, Robert, and they showed very clear shots of it. Besides, the local cop who found it ran a gun shop and he must have known it was an Argentine Mauser and not a worthless Carcano 6.5mm. Why did they make the change?

RTC: As I recall it, they had ordered the smaller piece through the mail to a fake PO box in Oswald’s fake name. Oswald worked for ONI and used several names.

GD: Not the FBI?

RTC: Oh, no, the ONI. These people won’t allow their people to work for another agency.

GD: Just a point or two. These fake stories….how many of them are yours?

RTC: Gregory, when such things happen and cannot be instantly clarified, the lunatic fringe leaps up waving their arms with all kinds of strange stories. We have the Farrell woman who is their top librarian and we can plant any kind of a distraction we want, but actually, most of the distractions are from the fertile imaginations of self-important people. The Russians must have had a wonderful time with all of this smoke and mirrors. After all, we used Oswald solely because of his Russian connections. We felt it would point right back to them again. We got two birds with one stone. But then the nuts were more interested in people with umbrellas and so on so we stopped pushing the Russian connection. Yes, Lee was in Russia and yes, he was working for the ONI. The Atsugi connection was what got their attention. Oswald was very smart but very abrasive and I notice his wife was the niece of a top MVD man. Figure that one out. Anyway, they are relieved. And besides, if they ever got their hands on ZIPPER, they would make hay. We have to be a little careful here because of the Stalin business. You see, L.P. Beria, their intelligence chief, had come over to our side in the early ‘50s. He built their atomic program, but Stalin was getting senile and very dangerous. Beria knew his days were numbered so he made contact with us and agreed to work with us. Shutting off the cold war, getting Russian troops out of the DDR and so on. This progressed and as he grew more desperate with his sinking star, we hit on the idea of getting rid of Comrade Stalin and setting Beria up in his place. Old L.P. was a sex fiend and loved little girls and boys so it was no problem to keep him line. And of course the Jewish business cropped up. Stalin used Jews but he hated them and was, in his increasing madness, planning to exterminate them like he had exterminated so many others. Beria was Jewish as was Molotov’s wife so there was general fear that the axe could fall on all of them.

GD: Fouche used this ploy to bring down Robespierre. ‘Oh, you are on the death list’ and so on.

RTC: I didn’t know about that.

GD: There is no new thing under the sun, Robert. How did they kill Stalin? I assume he was well guarded.

RTC: Oh yes, and paranoid as hell. We got some rat poison that works on the blood. What…

GD: Wafrarin.

RTC: Something like that. Got it from people in Wisconsin. Anyway, Beria slipped it into Joe’s booze and off he went with a stroke. Of course he started bleeding from the mouth but no one noticed that and then Beria got in. Did you know that Stalin was going to transport all the Jews in Moscow off to Siberia in the middle of winter and freeze the lot of them to death? Oh yes, and they all joined forces to save themselves. I think rat poison was apt. Stalin was a terrible monster.

GD: He did thin out the Russian population. Did anyone here, besides your people, know about this?

RTC: Eisenhower was noticed on this and jumped at it. Thought it was a wonderful idea. You know, when I told you about the Army plan to attack American targets like aircraft and blowing up buildings and use this as a basis for attacking Castro, old Ike jumped for joy. Kennedy stopped it.

GD: Do you have anything on this?

RTC: The Stalin business? Yes, I do. The Army plan? No, I do not.

GD: Well, at least I know about it. Can I get the Stalin material?

RTC: I can put it into the packet for you. Now getting this to you might be a problem. Kimmel does not like the idea of me taking with you and at the lunch, will watch both of us like a hawk. I think after the lunch, we might go into the Club library.

GD: I have a better idea. I looked at a DC map and I see the National Portrait Gallery is nearby. I have an ancestor whose picture is up there and I always wanted to see it. We could take a cab over there because of your leg and leave Tom and Bill behind.

RTC: Might I ask who the ancestor was?

GD: Certainly. Robert Morris. He was a Philadelphia banker…Weller and Morris…and he financed Washington. They call him ‘Robert the Signer’ because there were other Morris people and he signed the Declaration of Independence.

RTC: That’s impressive. Be sure you mention this to Tom. That’ll get him ever more upset. His ancestors were farmers about the time yours was making history. Oh, yes, that will excite him. Just think, the evil Gregory Douglas is descended from an American hero, a founding father. I’d love to watch his face when you spring this one on him.

GD: It means less than nothing to me what people care about. Yes, and then you can give me your packet away from prying and jealous eyes.

RTC: We can push them into the Club bar, get them started…do you drink, by the way?

GD: No.

RTC: Well, I’ll tell them my doctor said I couldn’t, so off we can go to look at your ancestor. My basic reason, Gregory, for getting you to do this is because it might come out in the future and I really want the American people to know that we had very good reasons for putting ZIPPER in action. It wasn’t just a South American junta. We had very good reasons and I only hope you make it clear that this had a real and solid basis for action. I don’t regret our actions for a minute but in the future, historians ought to have all the facts before they judge. You do see my point?

GD: Of course, and there would be no reason to write this unless I explained why you and your friends undertook such a drastic action. That has to be part of the whole package. An interesting microcosm, Robert, a history of a major assassination plot, capturing world attention, all in a small book and very accurate. Instead of speculating on the sinking of the Maine or who told what to whom before Pearl Harbor, we have it all down nice and crisp and accurate.

RTC: Ah, there, you have the crux of it, Gregory. Now, let us return to our daily lives and look forward to our meeting.

(Concluded at 2:16 PM CST)

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

 

 

 

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TBR News June 20, 2019

Jun 20 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 20, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 20:” The local war party is playing with fire when they threaten Iran. Shiite Iran is in control of the well-trained and armed Hezbollah militia and Iran is hated by Sunni Saudi Arabia. The attack on the oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz was done by the Saudis with a mortar, not mines and the US intelligence knows this. If the Strait ever gets blocked, the price of oil, and gas, will skyrocket so both the Saudis and the US are playing with serious economic fire.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Hicks told House panel Trump is serious about foreign help in elections
  • Iran shoots down US drone
  • The Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis
  • Bret Stephens, Warmonger
  • A Russian Base on the Indian Ocean
  • DHS to Move Biometric Data on Hundreds of Millions of People to Amazon Cloud
  • Total US Mail surveillance
  • Downing of US drone a ‘clear message’ to Washington — Iran’s IRGC commander
  • US joins four rogue countries seen as likely forces for bad, poll finds
  • 2019 is a very bad year for measles
  • Himalayan ice melting at ‘scary’ levels
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Turning Blood Into Gold

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TBR News June `19, 2019

Jun 19 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 19, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 19:” Trump obviously has never heard about the concept of the Lone Wolf.

His repeated threats to deport all Mexicans from the United States will resonate in that community and here is where the Lone Wolf concept arises.

A Lone Wolf is a person who is totally unknown to all authorities.

He lives a solitary life and has never had contact with any kind of intelligence or law enforcement agency.

He hears Trump threatening to deport him and others and broods about it.

Then he arms himself, easy to do in America, and sets out to remove Trump from the political scene.

If he is successful, and there is no reason to think he might not be, there will be great roarings in the press and all the lunatic bloggers will emerge from under damp rocks and for years we will hear about “secret plans” conducted by various “secret organizations” and many noble trees will be cut down to provide the pulp for thousands of lunatic books.

The Lone Wolf? I doubt if he will escape unharmed but it would be impossible to defend against him.

The misuse of the mouth can lead to terminal problems indeed.”

The Table of Contents

  • Trump sets stage for 2020 fight with false claims and recycled attacks
  • Why stop at promising the moon? Trump vows to cure cancer & AIDS, go to Mars in 2nd term
  • Trump vows removal of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week
  • What You Need to Know About Trump’s Mass Deportation Threat
  • Rising vaccination mistrust worldwide is undermining fight against deadly diseases – research
  • Overpopulation problems: The Calhoun rat experiments
  • Evidence suggests Saudi crown prince liable for Khashoggi murder: U.N. expert
  • Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News June 18, 2019

Jun 18 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 18, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 18:Trump has gotten it into his bald head that staff members in the White House are “betraying” him by leaking confidentical and highly negative documents to the media. The FBI is now inspecting computers on the sly, mostly at night when most everyone has gone home. That there are ways to send sensitive information around without fear of spying by government agencies has escaped these people. There are no secrets safe in the White House, the Pentagon, the NSA, Langley or the FBI files but the inmates of these institutions are in blissful ignorance. For ecample, there are many Israelis working at Langley and the leaks there are phenomical but everything goes to Tel Aviv. But what goes to Tel Aviv also goes to Moscow!”

 

The Table of Contents

  • The Trump administration’s dangerous fever dream about Iran
  • War With Iran Would Become ‘Trump’s War’
  • Reducing U.S. Dependence on Middle Eastern Oil
  • US Sanctions: Economic Sabotage That Is Deadly, Illegal, and Ineffective
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

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TBR News June 17, 2019

Jun 17 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 16, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for June 17:It is now believed, off the record, that the fires on the tankers were rigged by the Saudis to give the US the excuse to bomb and invade their religious enemy, Iran. Trump and Pompos are making noises but the bet is they will calm down and find some excuse for calming the Saudi rodents down. When the Saudis run out of oil fairly soon, see how fast the US ditches them.”

The Table of Contents

  • Turning Blood Into Gold
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Donald Trump’s Russian Connections
  • Trump accuses New York Times of ‘virtual treason’ over Russia cyber warfare report
  • Turkey threatens to retaliate to US sanctions over S-400 purchase
  • Here’s how many nuclear warheads exist, and which countries own them
  • Virginia Republicans lose in U.S. Supreme Court racial gerrymandering case

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