TBR News April 5, 2011

Apr 05 2011

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 5, 2010: “The nut fringe wing of the GOP is now committing suicide by its attempts to get rid of Medicade and later, Social Security. These are two very important, and very popular, programs and tampering with them is leading to political disaster. The weird Tea Party people are not doing the GOP’s reputation any good, either. We haven’t heard much from Crazy Sarah lately because she has become a distinct liability. The very strange Bachmann creature is now being pushed forward. Why? Is she saner than Sarah? No, she is not but she does have bigger tits! Can’t you see Bachmann on the trail? Jumping up and down, as she does on her Prayer Breakfast tape and shrieking  ‘Jesus! Jesus!’ in a voice like a fishwife. And now we have some equally crazy minister in Florida burning the Koran! Why don’t we burn the preacher while we’re at it? There might be some air pollution but in the end, it would be worth it. And now we read horrifying stories about giant radioactive beasts, huge clouds of deadly radiation covering Sioux Falls, SD and turning beets into giant caterpillars. And behind all of this, naturally, the dread Illuminati wearing their black cloaks and pointed hats while HAARP people rush to do their bidding. Reagan let all the nuts out of the clown houses while he was governor of California and now look at the mess they’re making!”

Did a Quran burning really cause Afghan violence?

Many blame a Florida pastor’s desecration for dozens of deaths in Afghanistan. Is it more complicated than that?

April 4. 2011

by Peter Finocchiaro


A little more than two weeks ago, Florida pastor Terry Jones orchestrated a bizarre mock-trial against the Quran in his Gainesville church. At its conclusion, Jones set fire to the holy book. In a different era, the episode would probably have been little more than an afterthought. And, to be sure, it’s just one example among many acts of fringe Islamaphobia in a post-9/11 America. However — driven in large part by the power of the Internet — video of the burning has triggered days of mass protests across Afghanistan. Thus far, at least 20 people — including several United Nations officials — have been killed.

The reports of violence have triggered a strong U.S. response. Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday that Jones’ actions have compromised U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle have suggested that formal action be taken against Jones.

There’s certainly no denying that Jones’ Quran-burning stunt has begotten anger. Nor is it a surprise. Similarities abound to the deadly protests in 2006 that followed in the wake of a series of Danish political cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad. However, the widely reported narrative about the  protests — particularly the idea that a straight line can be drawn from Terry Jones to this weekend’s violence — may be too simple. The Los Angeles Times reported today that while the demonstrations themselves were an organic response to the Quran burning, the acts of violence might actually have been instigated by Taliban operatives with the express purpose of subverting otherwise-peaceful protests

Both Afghan and Western officials cited mounting evidence that insurgents had seized the opportunity to infiltrate crowds of demonstrators in both Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif, concealing themselves among those who otherwise might have marched relatively peacefully.

[One U.N. official] said the three Europeans who died in the Mazar-i-Sharif compound were not victims of random mob violence but were hunted down in the bunker where they had taken refuge. Afghan officials, who have made dozens of arrests in connection with the assault, said evidence so far suggested that the main instigators were allied with the insurgency.

None of the several Afghan citizens interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor supported acts of violence against U.N. officials. However, the story of Jones’ desecration has caught on like wildfire in the conflict-battered country. The Taliban, it appears, have successfully used the incident as a springboard for an invigorated wave of anti-Western sentiment and violent retribution against occupying forces.

In a place like Afghanistan, where the vast majority of the populace is illiterate and many lack regular access to reliable news outlets, perception and rumors often become more important than facts. Now that the story of the Quran burning has spread, it almost does not matter how strongly US officials – from President Barack Obama to Gen. David Petraeus – condemn Jones’s actions. The damage has been done.

Muslims in the United States
by Dr. Phillip L. Kushner

The earliest documented case of a Muslim to come to the United States is Dutchman Anthony Janszoon van Salee, who came to New Amsterdam around 1630 and was referred to as ‘Turk’. The oldest Muslim community to establish in the country was the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in 1921however, like the Nation of Islam, this sect is considered heretical by the mainstream Muslim community.

Once very small, the Muslim population of the US increased greatly in the twentieth century, with much of the growth driven by rising immigration and conversion. In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.

Recent immigrant Muslims make up the majority of the total Muslim population. South Asians Muslims from India and Pakistan and Arabs make up the biggest group of Muslims in America at 60-65% of the population. Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in prison, and in large urban areas has also contributed to its growth over the years. American Muslims come from various backgrounds, and are one of the most racially diverse religious group in the United States according to a 2009 Gallup poll.

A Pew report released in 2009 noted that nearly six-in-ten American adults see Muslims as being subject to discrimination, more than Mormons, Atheists, or Jews. Modern immigration

There is no accurate count of the number of Muslims in the United States, as the U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious identification. There is an ongoing debate as to the true size of the Muslim population in the US. Various institutions and organizations have given widely varying estimates about how many Muslims live in the U.S. These estimates have been controversial, with a number of researchers being explicitly critical of the survey methodologies that have led to the higher estimates.

Others claim that no scientific count of Muslims in the U.S. has been done, but that the larger figures should be considered accurate. Some journalists have also alleged that the higher numbers have been inflated for political purposes.[62] On the other hand, some Muslim groups blame Islamophobia and the fact that many Muslims identify themselves as Muslims, but do not attend mosques for the lower estimates.

According to a 2007 religious survey, 72% of Muslims believe religion is very important, which is higher in comparison to the overall population of the United States at 59%. The frequency of receiving answers to prayers among Muslims was, 31% at least once a week and 12% once or twice a month. Nearly a quarter of the Muslims are converts to Islam (23%), mainly native-born. Of the total who have converted, 59% are African American and 34% white. Previous religions of those converted was Protestantism (67%), Roman Catholicism (10%) and 15% no religion.

Mosques are usually explicitly Sunni or Shia. There are 1,209 mosques in the United States and the nation’s largest mosque, the Islamic Center of America, is in Dearborn, Michigan. It caters mainly to the Shi’a Muslim congregation; however, all Muslims may attend this mosque. It was rebuilt in 2005 to accommodate over 3,000 people for the increasing Muslim population in the region.

In many areas, a mosque may be dominated by whatever group of immigrants is the largest. Sometimes the Friday sermons, or khutbas, are given in languages like Urdu or Arabic along with English. Areas with large Muslim populations may support a number of mosques serving different immigrant groups or varieties of belief within Sunni or Shi’a traditions. At present, many mosques are served by imams who immigrate from overseas, as only these imams have certificates from Muslim seminaries. The influence of the Wahhabi movement in the US has caused concern.

Muslim Americans are racially diverse communities in the United States, two-thirds are foreign-born. The majority, about three-fifths of Muslim Americans are of South Asian and Arab origin, a quarter of the population are recent converts of whites and indigenous African Americans, while the remaining are other ethnic groups which  includes Turks, Iranians, Bosnians, Malays, Indonesians, West Africans, Somalis, Kenyans, with also small but growing numbers of white and Hispanic converts.

A survey of ethnic comprehension by the Pew Forum survey in 2007 showed that 37% respondents viewed themselves white(mainly of Arab and South Asian origin), 24% were Africans and White converts in the ratio 2:1, 20% Asian (mainly South Asian origin), 15% other race (includes mixed Arabs or Asians) and 4% were of Hispanic descent. Since the arrival of South Asian and Arab communities during the 1990s there has been divisions with the African Americans due to the racial and cultural differences, however since post 9/11, the two groups joined together when the immigrant communities looked towards the African Americans for advice on civil rights.

Remembering the fact that Arabs are generally counted among Whites and majority of Arabs in U.S. are Christians; the more accurate figure would be 65-70% South Asians and Arabs in the ratio 1:1 to 2:1 (includes mixed Arabs and Asians which comprise a significant 25% of the total Asian population) 20-25% Blacks belonging to traditional and Nations Of Islam sect and 4% were of Hispanic descent. Only about a quarter of the Arab American population is Muslim. The 2000 census reported about 1.25 million Americans of Arab ancestry. Contrary to popular perceptions the condition of Muslims in U.S. is very good. Among South Asians in this country, the large Indian American community stands out as particularly well educated and prosperous, with education and income levels that exceed those of U.S.-born whites. Many are professionals, especially doctors, scientists, engineers, and financial analysts, and there are also a large number of entrepreneurs. The five urban areas with the largest Indian populations include the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area as well as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The 10 states with the largest Muslim populations are California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, and Maryland. 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earners, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world.

Approximately half (50%) of the religious affiliations of Muslims is Sunni, 16% Shia, 22% non-affiliated and 16% other/non-response. Muslims of Arab descent are mostly Sunni (56%) with minorities who are Shia (19%). Pakistanis (62%) and Indians (82%) are mainly Sunni, while Iranians are mainly Shia (91%).Of African American Muslims, 48% are Sunni, 34% are unaffiliated, 2% Shia, the remaining are others.

In 2005, according to the New York Times, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades. In addition to immigration, the state, federal and local prisons of the United States may be a contributor to the growth of Islam in the country. J. Michael Waller claims that Muslim inmates comprise 17-20% of the prison population, or roughly 350,000 inmates in 2003. He also claims that 80% of the prisoners who “find faith” while in prison convert to Islam. These converted inmates are mostly African American, with a small but growing Hispanic minority. Waller also asserts that many converts are radicalized by outside Islamist groups linked to terrorism, but other experts suggest that when radicalization does occur it has little to no connection with these outside interests.

U.S. Muslim population estimates

5 million+ U.S. News and World Report

7 million Council on American-Islam Relations

There is no accurate count of the number of Muslims in the United States, as the U.S. Historically, Muslim Americans tended to support the Republican Party.

Some Muslim Americans have been criticized for letting their religious beliefs affect their ability to act within mainstream American value systems. Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis, Minnesota have been criticized for allegedly refusing passengers for carrying alcoholic beverages or dogs. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport authority has threatened to revoke the operating authority of any driver caught discriminating in this manner. There are reported incidents in which Muslim cashiers have refused to sell pork products to their clientèle.

Public institutions in the U.S. have also been criticized for accommodating Islam at the expense of taxpayers. The University of Michigan–Dearborn and a public college in Minnesota have been criticized for accommodating Islamic prayer rituals by constructing footbaths for Muslim students using tax-payers’ money. Critics claim this special accommodation, which is made only to satisfy Muslims’ needs, is a violation of Constitutional provisions separating church and stateAlong the same constitutional lines, a San Diego public elementary school is being criticized for making special accommodations specifically for American Muslims by adding Arabic to its curriculum and giving breaks for Muslim prayers. Since these exceptions have not been made for any religious group in the past, some critics see this as an endorsement of Islam.

The first American Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, created controversy when he compared President George W. Bush’s actions after the September 11, 2001 attacks to Adolf Hitler‘s actions after the Nazi-sparked Reichstag fire, saying that Bush was exploiting the aftermath of 9/11 for political gain, as Hitler had exploited the Reichstag fire to suspend constitutional liberties. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anti-Defamation League condemned Ellison’s remarks. The congressman later retracted the statement, saying that it was “inappropriate” for him to have made the comparison.

At Columbus Manor School, a suburban Chicago elementary school with a student body nearly half Arab American, school board officials have considered eliminating holiday celebrations after Muslim parents complained that their culture’s holidays were not included. Local parent Elizabeth Zahdan said broader inclusion, not elimination, was the group’s goal. “I only wanted them modified to represent everyone,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted her as saying. “Now the kids are not being educated about other people.” However, the district’s superintendent, Tom Smyth, said too much school time was being taken to celebrate holidays already, and he sent a directive to his principals requesting that they “tone down” activities unrelated to the curriculum, such as holiday parties.

The 2007 Pew poll reported that 15% of American Muslims under the age of 30 supported suicide bombings against civilian targets in at least some circumstances, while a further 11 percent said it could be “rarely justified.” Among those over the age of 30, just 6% expressed their support for the same. (9% of Muslims over 30 and 5% under 30 chose not to answer). Only 5% of American Muslims had a favorable view of al-Qaeda

Some Muslims in the U.S. have adopted the strong anti-American opinions common in many Muslim-majority countries. In some cases, these are recent immigrants who have carried their anti-American sentiments with them. The Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel-Rahman is now serving a jail sentence for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had a long history of involvement with Islamist and jihadi groups before arriving in the US.

There is an openly anti-American Muslim group in the U.S. The Islamic Thinkers Society found only in New York City, engages in leafleting and picketing to spread their viewpoint.

Young, immigrant Muslims feel more frustrated and exposed to prejudice than their parents are. Because most U.S. Muslims are raised conservatively, and won’t consider rebelling through sex or drugs, many experiment with their faith shows a poll, dated June 7, 2007.

At least one non-immigrant American, John Walker Lindh, has also been imprisoned or convicted on charges of serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons against U.S. soldiers. He had converted to Islam in the U.S., moved to Yemen to study Arabic, and thence went to Pakistan where he was recruited by the Taliban.

Other notable cases include:

The Buffalo Six: Shafal Mosed, Yahya Goba, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar Al-Bakri, Yasein Taher, Elbaneh Jaber. Six Muslims from the Lackawanna, N.Y. area were charged and convicted for providing material support to al Qaeda.

Iyman Faris In October 2003 Iyman Faris was sentenced to 20 years in prison for providing material support and resources to al Qaeda and conspiracy for providing the terrorist organization with information about possible U.S. targets for attack.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali In November 2005 he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for providing material support and resources to al Qaeda, conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States, conspiracy to commit air piracy and conspiracy to destroy aircraft

Ali al-Tamimi was convicted and sentenced in April 2005 to life in prison for recruiting Muslims in the US to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson and Robert Spencer have suggested that a segment of the U.S. Muslim population exhibit hate and a wish for violence towards the United States.

Muslim convert journalist Stephen Schwartz, American Jewish Committee terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky, and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have all separately testified to a growing radical Islamist Wahhabi influence in U.S. mosques, financed by extremist groups. According to Barsky, 80% of U.S. mosques are so radicalized. In an effort to address this extremist influence, ISNA has implemented assorted programs and guidelines in order to help mosques identify and counter any such individuals.

The Solution: Expulsion

The international communities with large Muslim populations have been secretly meeting to agree upon corrective steps to deal with this problem. The commission is called ‘Energy Control Commission’  and its members are: The United States, India, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. This commission has been meeting on a monthly basis in Copenhagen since July of 2006. Its sole purpose is to address the flood of potentially dangerous Muslims into Western countries. A good deal of intelligence material has surfaced in which telephone and internet communications between various Muslim activist groups point very clearly to deliberate infiltration of non-Muslim countries with the double goal of overwhelming the native populations with numbers and threats of physical violence, Muslim groups are strongly anti-Christian and are most especially vindictive towards any country that has engaged in military action against any Muslim country. The United States is considered a prime target for infiltration and domestic terrorism while Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and France are also high on activist terrorist lists. The general agreement between all parties is that Muslims cannot remain in basically Christian countries because of their often-stated desire to not only take over these countries by population increase but also by the on-going threat of terrorism. At this time, the Commission is awaiting what is felt to be the imminent death of Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, When this event occurs, either naturally of from outside implementation, Libya will then be opened up as a designated ‘Country of Welcome’ and when this happens, mass deportations of Europe, and America’s, Muslims will begin. This Islamic Diaspora will be implemented by a joint and shipping that has already been allotted.   team of multi-national military personnel using aircraft

Why the Republicans can’t find a candidate
April 5, 2011

by Spengler

Asia Times

Never before in American politics have so few offered so little to so many. I refer to the prospective Republican candidates for next year’s presidential elections, not a single one of whom elicits a response that might be mistaken for enthusiasm from the voters, the pundits, or the party’s elder statesmen.

There are a couple of generic governor types like Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota or Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and a long list of has-beens and never was’s. But the Republicans despair of finding the man or woman who can define an alternative to a weak and waffling President Barack Obama.

Something deeper is at work than the luck of the draw. Former president Ronald Reagan defined his part for a quarter a century, and it is worth remembering how he did so. During the 1979 primaries when Reagan trounced his establishment competitors – Texas governor John Connally and the elder George Bush – he was told during a strategy session that not one Fortune 500 chief executive officer had endorsed him. America’s big corporations, the pillars of the party during the Dwight D Eisenhower and Richard Nixon administrations, backed Connally or Bush.

“Then I will be the candidate of the small businessman, the farmer, and the entrepreneur,” Reagan told his staff. The late Jude Wanniski, who preached what became Reaganonomics from the Wall Street Journal editorial page through the 1970s, told me this story 10 years later, when I became his partner in an economic consulting firm.

Reagan unleashed a wave of entrepreneurship such as post-depression America had never seen, and transformed the Republicans from a party of country-club conservatism to the party of boot-strapping creative destruction.

Where are the entrepreneurs?

Judging from recent economic data they are an endangered species. The stock market has recovered, but not the commitment of new venture capital. Venture capitalists were investing nearly $40 billion a quarter back in 2001, the year the Internet bubble burst. Commitments in the last quarter of 2010 were barely over half that number. And that, as I have argued for two years explains why employment recovery has remained so sluggish.

If the entrepreneurs are not there, then who shall be the constituency of the Republican Party? The Tea Party forms an important constituency, but not broad enough to govern. It is above all a savers’ and pensioners’ party; the glue that holds it together is the rational fear that free-spending governments will cause inflation, which transfers wealth from creditors to debtors. Its constituency of reasonably affluent middle-aged Americans is important, but it has only a proscription, not a real program, as I wrote in this space last December

Without entrepreneurs, the Republicans face an enduring identity crisis. Republicans are wont to say that they won the economic battle but lost the cultural war. That is true, but as it turns out, one cannot win the economic battle for long without winning the cultural war as well. One explanation for the absence of entrepreneurs is the fact that the last wave of entrepreneurship went wrong. The high-tech investments of the 1990s still remain underwater.

Although the S&P Index has struggled above its December 2000 close, the computer sub-index of the NASDAQ remains at a third of its bubble valuation. There are a few success stories in the tech world, for example Apple, but its achievement stem from style and marketing rather than any groundbreaking changes in technology. In retrospect it is hard to characterize the Internet bubble as anything but a mass delusion, or what we would otherwise call a “cultural phenomenon”. As the bubble burst in 2000, I wrote in this space, “If Internet stocks were indeed fairly valued, we would have to conclude that the population of the world would have to spend the next century buying pornography, popular music and sundry items on line. Underlying the (then) generous valuations of technology stock was a futuristic vision of a world of mental insects drawn helplessly to the cyberspheric beacon, and plunging into the flames of a globalized youth culture.”

The most successful Internet entrepreneurs of the 1990s came from the youth culture, which explains why so much of the new money funded liberal causes and candidates. If not for the collapse of Internet stock prices in 2000, then Vice President Al Gore almost certainly would have raised sufficient funds to beat George Bush in an improbably close election.

The bubble that replaced the Internet was in home prices. In retrospect, again, America seems the victim of a mass delusion, in this case the belief that unlimited amounts of global capital would provide unlimited cheap financing for an unlimited extension of loans to dodgy borrowers. Because the beneficiaries were older Americans who owned homes, and because the whole apparatus of the federal government under George W Bush supported it, the home-price bubble benefited the Republicans. The shopping-mall developer in the exurbs and the small business owner whose modest commercial building suddenly acquired a seven-figure price tag were the stalwarts of the Republican organization.

Yesterday’s creation becomes tomorrow’s destruction. After the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market, it almost seems indecent to point out that the Reagan financial reforms three decades earlier set the quarter-century expansion in motion. Cash-rich banks in Florida could use the savings of retirees to buy mortgages in Arizona or Georgia. The collapse of the savings and loan industry shifted deposits from crony lenders in the provinces to the emerging national banks. American small businesses could use their home equity for business expansion. The enormous virtue of the real estate boom is that it allowed individuals with no particular skill except for salesmanship (and sometimes political lobbying) to become very rich very quickly. There wasn’t any home price bubble during the Reagan years, nor indeed until the early 2000s, when home prices doubled in just six years.

Out of the Reagan years came a host of universally-adopted technologies: personal computing, cable television, cellular communications, and so forth. The Fortune 500 as it was constituted in 1980 shed jobs during the 1980s and 1990s, but startups created a vast number of new jobs. More than two-thirds of all new jobs created between 1970 and 2010 came from new businesses – not necessarily small businesses, but new businesses that started small and got big.

Where will the new businesses of the next century emerge? Probably where the cleverest and best-trained individuals are, which means Asia. The chart below shows the number of doctoral degrees earned at American versus Asian universities (including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan). The Asian number is an underestimated due to fragmentary data (it does not include doctorates in computer science from Indian universities, for example). There are a billion people in Asia who have leapt from destitution to prosperity in a single generation, and another two billion poised to do so. This has to be one of history’s great wells of profitability. Even this comparison understates the Asian advantage. In 1985, American citizens earned 70% of all science and engineering doctorates against just over half today.

Part of explanation for the absent entrepreneur is that it is easier to get a high-tech education and find financing overseas than it used to be, and it is harder for a bright foreign student to enter the US and find capital than it used to be. Immigrants played a decisive role in America’s high-tech boom. According to a recent paper by VivekWadhwa, Ben Rissing and Gary Gereffi of Duke University, “There was at least one immigrant key founder in 25.3% of all engineering and technology companies established in the US between 1995 and 2005 inclusive. We estimate that together, this pool of immigrant-founded companies was responsible for generating more than $52 billion in 2005 sales and creating just under 450,000 jobs as of 2005.”
The youth-culture delusion won’t easily return; we have learned to tell a slacker from a silver mine. The housing bubble won’t return. Demographics are against it. As the baby boomers retire, the excess supply of large-lot single family homes may rise to 40% of the total stock in the next dozen years.

America needs to change its culture; it requires fewer bond salesmen and mortgage brokers, and more chemical engineers. Even if federal mandates could change the educational system today, the impact would be felt a generation from now. Americans are not prepared to compete with Asian teenagers who spent their afternoons at cram schools or practicing piano instead of playing sports or hanging out.

America has lost its monopoly as the prime venue for entrepreneurship. As Reuven Brenner of McGill University writes, “Until the 1990s the large industrial democracies enjoyed a monopoly on both kinds of capital. Money and top talent, the latter often nurtured in the global south, had only the industrial north as a prospective destination, and the Unites States stood out as having the most democratized capital markets.”

To get entrepreneurs, America will have to get talented immigrants. That is hard to sell politically in hard times, for two reasons. One is that Hispanics are gaining rapidly as a percentage of the voters, and a shift in immigration policy towards Asians with PhDs must come at the expense of poor Hispanics. Unlike Canada and Australia, which favor skills and wealth, American immigration policy favors family members, even if they are indigent. The second reason is the residual American belief that merely because they have taken the trouble to be born in this country, they deserve a higher living standard than the rest of the world.

Americans have become the wrong sort of people. That is easy to remedy, at least in principle, for Americans are an immigration nation, and it is possible to dissolve the people and elect a new one, as Bertolt Brecht quipped during the East German workers’ revolt of 1951.

The bumptious and ambitious 20-to-30-year-olds of the Reagan era have become the cramped and fearful 50-to-60-year-olds of today’s Tea Party. As long as Americans remain wrong-footed as a people, the Republican Party will search in vain for a charismatic candidate. There are several prospective contenders who could emulate Ronald Reagan with a fair degree of credibility – Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum all come to mind. Unlike Reagan, they cannot simply turn the tax switch and unleash the latent entrepreneurial energies of the world’s lone venue for creative capitalism.

Americans are older, the competition is tougher, and America’s home advantage is long since gone. The message Americans need to hear – study harder, save more, and bring in foreign talent – is a harder sell. No wonder that it’s hard to find the right salesman.

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

April 3, 2011

by Ed Vulliamy

The Observer

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year’s “deferred prosecution” has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4bn – a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico’s gross national product – into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse. “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”

Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash, just as Wells Fargo became a beneficiary of $25bn in taxpayers’ money. Wachovia’s prosecutors were clear, however, that there was no suggestion Wells Fargo had behaved improperly; it had co-operated fully with the investigation. Mexico is the US’s third largest international trading partner and Wachovia was understandably interested in this volume of legitimate trade.

José Luis Marmolejo, who prosecuted those running one of the casas de cambio at the Mexican end, said: “Wachovia handled all the transfers. They never reported any as suspicious.”

“As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,” the bank admitted in the statement of settlement with the federal government, but, “despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business”. There is, of course, the legitimate use of CDCs as a way into the Hispanic market. In 2005 the World Bank said that Mexico was receiving $8.1bn in remittances.

During research into the Wachovia Mexican case, the Observer obtained documents previously provided to financial regulators. It emerged that the alarm that was ignored came from, among other places, London, as a result of the diligence of one of the most important whistleblowers of our time. A man who, in a series of interviews with the Observer, adds detail to the documents, laying bare the story of how Wachovia was at the centre of one of the world’s biggest money-laundering operations.

Martin Woods, a Liverpudlian in his mid-40s, joined the London office of Wachovia Bank in February 2005 as a senior anti-money laundering officer. He had previously served with the Metropolitan police drug squad. As a detective he joined the money-laundering investigation team of the National Crime Squad, where he worked on the British end of the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal in the late 1990s.

Woods talks like a police officer – in the best sense of the word: punctilious, exact, with a roguish humour, but moral at the core. He was an ideal appointment for any bank eager to operate a diligent and effective risk management policy against the lucrative scourge of high finance: laundering, knowing or otherwise, the vast proceeds of criminality, tax-evasion, and dealing in arms and drugs.

Woods had a police officer’s eye and a police officer’s instincts – not those of a banker. And this influenced not only his methods, but his mentality. “I think that a lot of things matter more than money – and that marks you out in a culture which appears to prevail in many of the banks in the world,” he says.

Woods was set apart by his modus operandi. His speciality, he explains, was his application of a “know your client”, or KYC, policing strategy to identifying dirty money. “KYC is a fundamental approach to anti-money laundering, going after tax evasion or counter-terrorist financing. Who are your clients? Is the documentation right? Good, responsible banking involved always knowing your customer and it still does.”

When he looked at Wachovia, the first thing Woods noticed was a deficiency in KYC information. And among his first reports to his superiors at the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, were observations on a shortfall in KYC at Wachovia’s operation in London, which he set about correcting, while at the same time implementing what was known as an enhanced transaction monitoring programme, gathering more information on clients whose money came through the bank’s offices in the City, in sterling or euros. By August 2006, Woods had identified a number of suspicious transactions relating to casas de cambio customers in Mexico.

Primarily, these involved deposits of traveller’s cheques in euros. They had sequential numbers and deposited larger amounts of money than any innocent travelling person would need, with inadequate or no KYC information on them and what seemed to a trained eye to be dubious signatures. “It was basic work,” he says. “They didn’t answer the obvious questions: ‘Is the transaction real, or does it look synthetic? Does the traveller’s cheque meet the protocols? Is it all there, and if not, why not?'”

Woods discussed the matter with Wachovia’s global head of anti-money laundering for correspondent banking, who believed the cheques could signify tax evasion. He then undertook what banks call a “look back” at previous transactions and saw fit to submit a series of SARs, or suspicious activity reports, to the authorities in the UK and his superiors in Charlotte, urging the blocking of named parties and large series of sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques from Mexico. He issued a number of SARs in 2006, of which 50 related to the casas de cambio in Mexico. To his amazement, the response from Wachovia’s Miami office, the centre for Latin American business, was anything but supportive – he felt it was quite the reverse.

As it turned out, however, Woods was on the right track. Wachovia’s business in Mexico was coming under closer and closer scrutiny by US federal law enforcement. Wachovia was issued with a number of subpoenas for information on its Mexican operation. Woods has subsequently been informed that Wachovia had six or seven thousand subpoenas. He says this was “An absurd number. So at what point does someone at the highest level not get the feeling that something is very, very wrong?”

In April and May 2007, Wachovia – as a result of increasing interest and pressure from the US attorney’s office – began to close its relationship with some of the casas de cambio. But rather than launch an internal investigation into Woods’s alerts over Mexico, Woods claims Wachovia hung its own money-laundering expert out to dry. The records show that during 2007 Woods “continued to submit more SARs related to the casas de cambio“.

In July 2007, all of Wachovia’s remaining 10 Mexican casa de cambio clients operating through London suddenly stopped doing so. Later in 2007, after the investigation of Wachovia was reported in the US financial media, the bank decided to end its remaining relationships with the Mexican casas de cambio globally. By this time, Woods says, he found his personal situation within the bank untenable; while the bank acted on one level to protect itself from the federal investigation into its shortcomings, on another, it rounded on the man who had been among the first to spot them.

On 16 June Woods was told by Wachovia’s head of compliance that his latest SAR need not have been filed, that he had no legal requirement to investigate an overseas case and no right of access to documents held overseas from Britain, even if they were held by Wachovia.

Woods’s life went into freefall. He went to hospital with a prolapsed disc, reported sick and was told by the bank that he not done so in the appropriate manner, as directed by the employees’ handbook. He was off work for three weeks, returning in August 2007 to find a letter from the bank’s compliance managing director, which was unrelenting in its tone and words of warning.

The letter addressed itself to what the manager called “specific examples of your failure to perform at an acceptable standard”. Woods, on the edge of a breakdown, was put on sick leave by his GP; he was later given psychiatric treatment, enrolled on a stress management course and put on medication.

Late in 2007, Woods attended a function at Scotland Yard where colleagues from the US were being entertained. There, he sought out a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration and told him about the casas de cambio, the SARs and his employer’s reaction. The Federal Reserve and officials of the office of comptroller of currency in Washington DC then “spent a lot of time examining the SARs” that had been sent by Woods to Charlotte from London.

“They got back in touch with me a while afterwards and we began to put the pieces of the jigsaw together,” says Woods. What they found was – as Costa says – the tip of the iceberg of what was happening to drug money in the banking industry, but at least it was visible and it had a name: Wachovia.

In June 2005, the DEA, the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service and the US attorney’s office in southern Florida began investigating wire transfers from Mexico to the US. They were traced back to correspondent bank accounts held by casas de cambio at Wachovia. The CDC accounts were supervised and managed by a business unit of Wachovia in the bank’s Miami offices.

“Through CDCs,” said the court document, “persons in Mexico can use hard currency and … wire transfer the value of that currency to US bank accounts to purchase items in the United States or other countries. The nature of the CDC business allows money launderers the opportunity to move drug dollars that are in Mexico into CDCs and ultimately into the US banking system.

“On numerous occasions,” say the court papers, “monies were deposited into a CDC by a drug-trafficking organisation. Using false identities, the CDC then wired that money through its Wachovia correspondent bank accounts for the purchase of airplanes for drug-trafficking organisations.” The court settlement of 2010 would detail that “nearly $13m went through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia for the purchase of aircraft to be used in the illegal narcotics trade. From these aircraft, more than 20,000kg of cocaine were seized.”

All this occurred despite the fact that Wachovia’s office was in Miami, designated by the US government as a “high-intensity money laundering and related financial crime area”, and a “high-intensity drug trafficking area”. Since the drug cartel war began in 2005, Mexico had been designated a high-risk source of money laundering.

“As early as 2004,” the court settlement would read, “Wachovia understood the risk that was associated with doing business with the Mexican CDCs. Wachovia was aware of the general industry warnings. As early as July 2005, Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the CDC business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns … despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business.”

On 16 March 2010, Douglas Edwards, senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank, put his signature to page 10 of a 25-page settlement, in which the bank admitted its role as outlined by the prosecutors. On page 11, he signed again, as senior vice-president of Wells Fargo. The documents show Wachovia providing three services to 22 CDCs in Mexico: wire transfers, a “bulk cash service” and a “pouch deposit service”, to accept “deposit items drawn on US banks, eg cheques and traveller’s cheques”, as spotted by Woods.

“For the time period of 1 May 2004 through 31 May 2007, Wachovia processed at least $$373.6bn in CDCs, $4.7bn in bulk cash” – a total of more than $378.3bn, a sum that dwarfs the budgets debated by US state and UK local authorities to provide services to citizens.

The document gives a fascinating insight into how the laundering of drug money works. It details how investigators “found readily identifiable evidence of red flags of large-scale money laundering”. There were “structured wire transfers” whereby “it was commonplace in the CDC accounts for round-number wire transfers to be made on the same day or in close succession, by the same wire senders, for the … same account”.

Over two days, 10 wire transfers by four individuals “went though Wachovia for deposit into an aircraft broker’s account. All of the transfers were in round numbers. None of the individuals of business that wired money had any connection to the aircraft or the entity that allegedly owned the aircraft. The investigation has further revealed that the identities of the individuals who sent the money were false and that the business was a shell entity. That plane was subsequently seized with approximately 2,000kg of cocaine on board.”

Many of the sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques, of the kind dealt with by Woods, contained “unusual markings” or “lacked any legible signature”. Also, “many of the CDCs that used Wachovia’s bulk cash service sent significantly more cash to Wachovia than what Wachovia had expected. More specifically, many of the CDCs exceeded their monthly activity by at least 50%.”

Recognising these “red flags”, the US attorney’s office in Miami, the IRS and the DEA began investigating Wachovia, later joined by FinCEN, one of the US Treasury’s agencies to fight money laundering, while the office of the comptroller of the currency carried out a parallel investigation. The violations they found were, says the document, “serious and systemic and allowed certain Wachovia customers to launder millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics through Wachovia accounts over an extended time period. The investigation has identified that at least $110m in drug proceeds were funnelled through the CDC accounts held at Wachovia.”

The settlement concludes by discussing Wachovia’s “considerable co-operation and remedial actions” since the prosecution was initiated, after the bank was bought by Wells Fargo. “In consideration of Wachovia’s remedial actions,” concludes the prosecutor, “the United States shall recommend to the court … that prosecution of Wachovia on the information filed … be deferred for a period of 12 months.”

But while the federal prosecution proceeded, Woods had remained out in the cold. On Christmas Eve 2008, his lawyers filed tribunal proceedings against Wachovia for bullying and detrimental treatment of a whistleblower. The case was settled in May 2009, by which time Woods felt as though he was “the most toxic person in the bank”. Wachovia agreed to pay an undisclosed amount, in return for which Woods left the bank and said he would not make public the terms of the settlement.

After years of tribulation, Woods was finally formally vindicated, though not by Wachovia: a letter arrived from John Dugan, the comptroller of the currency in Washington DC, dated 19 March 2010 – three days after the settlement in Miami. Dugan said he was “writing to personally recognise and express my appreciation for the role you played in the actions brought against Wachovia Bank for violations of the bank secrecy act … Not only did the information that you provided facilitate our investigation, but you demonstrated great personal courage and integrity by speaking up. Without the efforts of individuals like you, actions such as the one taken against Wachovia would not be possible.”

The so-called “deferred prosecution” detailed in the Miami document is a form of probation whereby if the bank abides by the law for a year, charges are dropped. So this March the bank was in the clear. The week that the deferred prosecution expired, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said the parent bank had no comment to make on the documentation pertaining to Woods’s case, or his allegations. She added that there was no comment on Sloman’s remarks to the court; a provision in the settlement stipulated Wachovia was not allowed to issue public statements that contradicted it.

But the settlement leaves a sour taste in many mouths – and certainly in Woods’s. The deferred prosecution is part of this “cop-out all round”, he says. “The regulatory authorities do not have to spend any more time on it, and they don’t have to push it as far as a criminal trial. They just issue criminal proceedings, and settle. The law enforcement people do what they are supposed to do, but what’s the point? All those people dealing with all that money from drug-trafficking and murder, and no one goes to jail?”

One of the foremost figures in the training of anti-money laundering officers is Robert Mazur, lead infiltrator for US law enforcement of the Colombian Medellín cartel during the epic prosecution and collapse of the BCCI banking business in 1991 (his story was made famous by his memoir, The Infiltrator, which became a movie).

Mazur, whose firm Chase and Associates works closely with law enforcement agencies and trains officers for bank anti-money laundering, cast a keen eye over the case against Wachovia, and he says now that “the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom”.

Mazur said that “a lot of the law enforcement people were disappointed to see a settlement” between the administration and Wachovia. “But I know there were external circumstances that worked to Wachovia’s benefit, not least that the US banking system was on the edge of collapse.”

What concerns Mazur is that what law enforcement agencies and politicians hope to achieve against the cartels is limited, and falls short of the obvious attack the US could make in its war on drugs: go after the money. “We’re thinking way too small,” Mazur says. “I train law enforcement officers, thousands of them every year, and they say to me that if they tried to do half of what I did, they’d be arrested. But I tell them: ‘You got to think big. The headlines you will be reading in seven years’ time will be the result of the work you begin now.’ With BCCI, we had to spend two years setting it up, two years doing undercover work, and another two years getting it to trial. If they want to do something big, like go after the money, that’s how long it takes.”

But Mazur warns: “If you look at the career ladders of law enforcement, there’s no incentive to go after the big money. People move every two to three years. The DEA is focused on drug trafficking rather than money laundering. You get a quicker result that way – they want to get the traffickers and seize their assets. But this is like treating a sick plant by cutting off a few branches – it just grows new ones. Going after the big money is cutting down the plant – it’s a harder door to knock on, it’s a longer haul, and it won’t get you the short-term riches.”

The office of the comptroller of the currency is still examining whether individuals in Wachovia are criminally liable. Sources at FinCEN say that a so-called “look-back” is in process, as directed by the settlement and agreed to by Wachovia, into the $378.4bn that was not directly associated with the aircraft purchases and cocaine hauls, but neither was it subject to the proper anti-laundering checks. A FinCEN source says that $20bn already examined appears to have “suspicious origins”. But this is just the beginning.

Antonio Maria Costa, who was executive director of the UN’s office on drugs and crime from May 2002 to August 2010, charts the history of the contamination of the global banking industry by drug and criminal money since his first initiatives to try to curb it from the European commission during the 1990s. “The connection between organised crime and financial institutions started in the late 1970s, early 1980s,” he says, “when the mafia became globalised.”

Until then, criminal money had circulated largely in cash, with the authorities making the occasional, spectacular “sting” or haul. During Costa’s time as director for economics and finance at the EC in Brussels, from 1987, inroads were made against penetration of banks by criminal laundering, and “criminal money started moving back to cash, out of the financial institutions and banks. Then two things happened: the financial crisis in Russia, after the emergence of the Russian mafia, and the crises of 2003 and 2007-08.

“With these crises,” says Costa, “the banking sector was short of liquidity, the banks exposed themselves to the criminal syndicates, who had cash in hand.”

Costa questions the readiness of governments and their regulatory structures to challenge this large-scale corruption of the global economy: “Government regulators showed what they were capable of when the issue suddenly changed to laundering money for terrorism – on that, they suddenly became serious and changed their attitude.”

Hardly surprising, then, that Wachovia does not appear to be the end of the line. In August 2010, it emerged in quarterly disclosures by HSBC that the US justice department was seeking to fine it for anti-money laundering compliance problems reported to include dealings with Mexico.

“Wachovia had my résumé, they knew who I was,” says Woods. “But they did not want to know – their attitude was, ‘Why are you doing this?’ They should have been on my side, because they were compliance people, not commercial people. But really they were commercial people all along. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the biggest money-laundering scandal of our time.

“These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world,” he says. “All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail. “What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn’t make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where’s the risk? There is none.

“Is it in the interest of the American people to encourage both the drug cartels and the banks in this way? Is it in the interest of the Mexican people? It’s simple: if you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point.”

Woods feels unable to rest on his laurels. He tours the world for a consultancy he now runs, Hermes Forensic Solutions, counselling and speaking to banks on the dangers of laundering criminal money, and how to spot and stop it. “New York and London,” says Woods, “have become the world’s two biggest laundries of criminal and drug money, and offshore tax havens. Not the Cayman Islands, not the Isle of Man or Jersey. The big laundering is right through the City of London and Wall Street.

“After the Wachovia case, no one in the regulatory community has sat down with me and asked, ‘What happened?’ or ‘What can we do to avoid this happening to other banks?’ They are not interested. They are the same people who attack the whistleblowers and this is a position the [British] Financial Services Authority at least has adopted on legal advice: it has been advised that the confidentiality of banking and bankers takes primacy over the public information disclosure act. That is how the priorities work: secrecy first, public interest second.

“Meanwhile, the drug industry has two products: money and suffering. On one hand, you have massive profits and enrichment. On the other, you have massive suffering, misery and death. You cannot separate one from the other.

“What happened at Wachovia was symptomatic of the failure of the entire regulatory system to apply the kind of proper governance and adequate risk management which would have prevented not just the laundering of blood money, but the global crisis.”

The Fiction Section

Could this be the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scrolls?

March 30, 2011

by Fiona Macrea –

Daily Mail

For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price.

This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity.

Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947

On pages not much bigger than a credit card, are images, symbols and words that appear to refer to the Messiah and, possibly even, to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Adding to the intrigue, many of the books are sealed, prompting academics to speculate they are actually the lost collection of codices mentioned in the Bible’s Book Of Revelation

The books were discovered five years ago in a cave in a remote part of Jordan to which Christian refugees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Important documents from the same period have previously been found there.

Initial metallurgical tests indicate that some of the books could date from the first century AD

This estimate is based on the form of corrosion which has taken place, which experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially.

If the dating is verified, the books would be among the earliest Christian documents, predating the writings of St Paul.

The prospect that they could contain contemporary accounts of the final years of Jesus’s life has excited scholars – although their enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that experts have previously been fooled by sophisticated fakes.

David Elkington, a British scholar of ancient religious history and archeology, and one of the few to have examined the books, says they could be ‘the major discovery of Christian history’.

‘It is a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church,’ he said.

But the mysteries between their ancient pages are not the books’ only riddle. Today, their whereabouts are also something of a mystery. After their discovery by a Jordanian Bedouin, the hoard was subsequently acquired by an Israeli Bedouin, who is said to have illegally smuggled them across the border into Israel, where they remain.

However, the Jordanian Government is now working at the highest levels to repatriate and safeguard the collection. Philip Davies, emeritus professor of biblical studies at Sheffield University, said there was powerful evidence that the books have a Christian origin in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.

‘As soon as I saw that, I was dumbstruck,’ he said. ‘That struck me as so obviously a Christian image. There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city.

‘There are walls depicted on other pages of these books too and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem. It is a Christian crucifixion taking place outside the city walls.’

The British team leading the work on the discovery fears that the present Israeli ‘keeper’ may be looking to sell some of the books on to the black market, or worse – destroy them.

But the man who holds the books denies the charge and claims they have been in his family for 100 years.

Dr Margaret Barker, a former president of the Society for Old Testament Study, said: ‘The Book of Revelation tells of a sealed book that was opened only by the Messiah.

‘Other texts from the period tell of sealed books of wisdom and of a secret tradition passed on by Jesus to his closest disciples. That is the context for this discovery.’

Professor Davies said: ‘The possibility of a Hebrew-Christian origin is certainly suggested by the imagery and, if so, these codices are likely to bring dramatic new light to our understanding of a very significant but so far little understood period of history.’

Mr Elkington, who is leading British efforts to have the books returned to Jordan, said: ‘It is vital that the collection can be recovered intact and secured in the best possible circumstances, both for the benefit of its owners and for a potentially fascinated international audience.’


Fukushima creating monster-mutated animals

April 4. 2011

Before Its News

As frantic nuclear workers battle melting reactors and plutonium radiation in Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima reactors a new fear has surfaced…

Radioactive nuclear monsters may soon appear

No, the mutated animals will not be giant radioactive ants or grasshoppers like 1950s monster movies. But they can be terribly mutated monstrosities with DNA horribly twisted by nuclear poisoning.

Things of horror emerged from the southwestern desert after the early atomic tests by the U.S. military. Although much was hushed up, some of the mutated terrors leaked into scientific reports of the time.

Lurid news articles about mutated plants and animals encouraged Hollywood studios like Warner Brothers to give the nod to such atomic doomsday thrillers like Them!–a scary tale of humanity’s war against giant ants that invade Los Angeles. Other B-movies had Chicago attacked by hordes of 12-foot locusts and a titanic preying mantis terrifying Manhattan Island.

Although atomic bombs can affect DNA, the affect is short term. Long term radioactive contamination from nuclear reactor accidents is much worse and has a greater impact on surrounding plants and animals.

Chernobyl’s nightmares

Russian scientists discovered first hand the nuclear nightmare world of mutants in the months following the Chernobyl disaster. Although the radioactive plume drifted around the world, the most severe impact was seen in the region of the reactor and adjacent countryside. Not only plants and animals, but humans too were mutated.

As authorities desperately evacuated people, animals roamed into the highly radioactive land. Plants soaked up Strontium-90 and Caesium-137. They also absorbed deadly plutonium that leached into the soil and ground water. Rogue neutron rays swept the countryside.

Animals drank from rivers and streams; the water glowed a faint blue at night.

The surrounding forest turned rust-colored red and the biodiversity mutated radically. Some observed gigantism appearing in animals and trees grew weird, gnarled branches, some grew roots at their top instead of in the ground.

As the radiation spread and humans abandoned it, the area became a refuge for mutant plants and animals–a living zoo of Twilight Zone proportions that some in Kiev, the nearest major city to the site of the disaster, have called a Forest of Wonders. Naturalists have coined the three square miles around the former facility–the most radioactive region on Earth–a Radiological Reserve.

Misshapen birds roost inside the partially destroyed reactor housing. Some have stunted tail feathers and leathery bodies. Others have multiple legs and stumps for feet.

Weirdly massive and mutated tailess wolves, fanged beavers, one-legged storks and giant-beaked eagles have been reported by frightened hikers.

Some shocked campers have seen cyclopean animals outside the danger region that only have tiny slits for mouths.

Now botanists and zoologists fear for the plant and animal life surrounding the breached Japanese TEPCO reactors and nearby sea life.

What monstrosities might emerge? No one knows.

Only time will tell!

Comment: The first story about the Tiny Jesus Book is a howler, in the same league as the even faker ‘Shroud of Turin.’ The second story has certainly been confirmed because yesterday a friend of mine crashed his SUV into a giant cockroach just outside of Arlington! The whole front of the vehicle was mashed in and there was slime all over the road. Instead of Illuminati mind-altering anti-constipation powder, why don’t the air fleets of ChemTrail dumpers turn to roach powder and save the country? Ed

Wisconsin Election Is Referendum on Governor

April 4, 2011
by Monica Davey
New York Times

MEQUON, Wis. — Until a few weeks ago, this state’s election on Tuesday for a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court was widely expected to be dull and predictable.

But fights over the agenda of Wisconsin’s newly powerful Republicans, including cuts to collective bargaining rights, have turned this quiet judicial match into a bitter, expensive, highly personal and politicized battle, inflamed with advertising dollars expected to reach into the millions from outside liberal and conservative groups, including the Tea Party Express.

The race has turned into a referendum on Wisconsin’s new Republican governor, Scott Walker, his collective bargaining bill, and, more broadly, the Republican politicians who now control the Capitol.

“This has really become a proxy battle for the governor’s positions and much less a fight about the court itself,” said Charles H. Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The candidates, who raced through a series of frenzied last-minute appeals to voters, including a stop at the Milwaukee Brewers’ home opener on Monday, were not particularly well known before the election.

The battle is over the seat now held by David T. Prosser, a justice for 12 years who some consider to be part of a 4-to-3 conservative-leaning majority bloc on the court. His opponent is JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general. Though the election is technically a nonpartisan affair, voters are seeing each candidate as a way to advance their own agendas.

“The notion that’s been conveyed is that a vote for Prosser is a vote for Walker,” Professor Franklin said.

A victory by Ms. Kloppenburg could alter Wisconsin’s political landscape by possibly shifting the court as it considers legal issues surrounding the collective bargaining bill. It would send a signal about voter unrest to state senators, both Republicans and Democrats, who have been the targets of recall efforts since the collective bargaining cuts were passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last month.

The election is drawing national attention (Sarah Palin, in a Twitter message, gave her support to Justice Prosser on Friday), in part because it offers an early gauge of public reaction to the shift last November, when Republicans swept into state legislatures and governorships in Wisconsin and elsewhere and began pressing for changes to bargaining rights for labor unions.

On the bruising campaign trail here, both candidates have insisted that they would pursue a nonpartisan, impartial approach to every case while accusing each other of likely doing the exact opposite.

Ms. Kloppenburg regularly points to a release issued months ago by a campaign aide to Justice Prosser (since disavowed by the justice) suggesting that he would complement the new political leadership in Madison. Campaign ads from outside groups have denounced Justice Prosser, who was once a Republican speaker of the State Assembly, as a “rubber stamp” for Governor Walker.

For his part, Justice Prosser contends that Ms. Kloppenburg has become the darling of union leaders, protesters and others who opposed Mr. Walker’s collective bargaining cuts. He said he saw protest signs in Madison that read: “Stop the Bill; Vote Kloppenburg.”

“I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting,” Justice Prosser, 68, said in an interview in which he described his record on the court as moderate. “Here I am, I’m walking along, I should win this race going away. But I mean, not if people aren’t thinking about what they’re doing.”

In a primary election on Feb. 15, Mr. Prosser won 55 percent of the vote, compared with 25 percent for Ms. Kloppenburg. The balance went to two other candidates.

But that was before much was known about Mr. Walker’s “budget repair bill” — he announced it on Feb. 11 — to solve the state’s budget deficit, in part by cutting collective bargaining rights and benefits for public workers.

Nothing about this race has been low key of late. Although the candidates have agreed to accept public financing (which means they can each spend only $300,000 on Tuesday’s election and must skip fund-raising), outside groups have spent more on local television and radio ads.

Last week, a former Democratic governor, Patrick J. Lucey, who had served as Mr. Prosser’s honorary campaign co-chairman, announced that he was dropping his endorsement and supporting Ms. Kloppenburg.

And not long ago, Justice Prosser had to publicly acknowledge a conversation with other justices in which he referred to the chief justice, Shirley S. Abrahamson, whom some view as part of the liberal minority, with a vulgarity. (He apologized.)

Critics of Ms. Kloppenburg, 57, who like Mr. Prosser received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin, have been fierce. They have suggested she is unqualified for the job (she has never been a judge and has been turned down for earlier such posts she sought).

They contend that her years as an assistant attorney general for the state were mainly spent handling mundane matters like violations of state rules about dock sizes. (Not so, she says.) Mostly, though, they say she has explicitly fashioned herself as a liberal — a notion that she vehemently denies, repeatedly promising at campaign events to stand for independence and impartiality.

“She has hitched her wagon to the partisan star by deliberately fostering the idea that she will work against everything that Scott Walker proposes, especially when it comes to the budget repair bill,” Michael J. Gableman, another of the justices, said during a testy campaign event on Friday at which he spoke in support of Justice Prosser, who could not attend.

Neither candidate has publicly expressed views about Governor Walker’s cuts to collective bargaining rights. But many voters are filling in the blanks.

Justice Prosser served as a Republican in the State Legislature for years. He has acknowledged that he and Mr. Walker, also a former legislator, voted alike on many issues.

But after Justice Prosser was appointed to the State Supreme Court by Tommy G. Thompson, the former Republican governor, he said he had put partisanship aside, and considered himself a “judicial conservative” with a middle-of-the-road record.

“Literally the number of times that I spoke with Scott Walker after I left the Legislature is not more than the fingers on one hand,” Justice Prosser said. (Mr. Walker has said he will vote for Justice Prosser, though he has not appeared on the campaign trail on his behalf.)

Ms. Kloppenburg said Justice Prosser was the one who had injected so much partisanship into the picture. “You can take the man out of the Legislature,” she said, in a reference, her campaign said, to a comment Mr. Prosser had once made, “but you can’t take the Legislature out of the man.”

Authorities in Awe of Drug Runners’ Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Supersubs

March 29, 2011

by Jim Popkin


The clatter of helicopter blades echoed across the jungles of northwestern Ecuador. Antinarcotics commandos in three choppers peered at the mangroves below, scanning for any sign of activity. The police had received a tip that a gang of Colombian drug smugglers had set up a clandestine work site here, in a dense swamp 5 miles south of Colombia’s border. And whatever the traffickers were building, the tipster had warned, was truly enormous.

For decades, Colombian drug runners have pursued their trade with diabolical ingenuity, staying a step ahead of authorities by coming up with one innovation after another. When false-paneled pickups and tractor-trailers began drawing suspicion at US checkpoints, the cartels and their Mexican partners built air-conditioned tunnels under the border. When border agents started rounding up too many human mules, one group of Colombian smugglers surgically implanted heroin into purebred puppies. But the drug runners’ most persistently effective method has also been one of the crudest—semisubmersible vessels that cruise or are towed just below the ocean’s surface and can hold a ton or more of cocaine.

Assembled in secret shipyards along the Pacific coast, they’ve been dubbed drug subs by the press, but they’re incapable of diving or maneuvering like real submarines. In fact, they’re often just cigarette boats encased in wood and fiberglass that are scuttled after a single mission. Yet despite their limitations, these semisubmersibles are notoriously difficult to track. US and Colombian officials estimate that the cartels have used them to ship hundreds of tons of cocaine from Colombia over the past five years alone.

But several years ago, intelligence agencies began hearing that the cartels had made a technological breakthrough: They were constructing some kind of supersub in the jungle. According to the persistent rumors, the phantom vessel was an honest-to-goodness, fully functioning submarine with vastly improved range—nothing like the disposable water coffins the Colombians had been using since the ’90s. US law enforcement officials began to think of it as a sort of Loch Ness Monster, says one agent: “Never seen one before, never seized one before. But we knew it was out there.”

Finally, the Ecuadoreans had enough information to launch a full-fledged raid. On July 2, 2010, a search party—including those three police helicopters, an armada of Ecuadorean navy patrol boats, and 150 well-armed police and sailors—scoured the coastline near the Colombian border. When a patrol boat happened on some abandoned barrels in a clearing off the Río Molina, the posse moved in to find an astillero, or jungle shipyard, complete with spacious workshops, kitchens, and sleeping quarters for 40. The raid had clearly interrupted the workday—rice pots from breakfast were still on the stove.

And there was something else hastily abandoned in a narrow estuary: a 74-foot camouflaged submarine—nearly twice as long as a city bus—with twin propellers and a 5-foot conning tower, beached on its side at low tide. “It was incredible to find a submarine like that,” says rear admiral Carlos Albuja, who oversees Ecuadorean naval operations along the northwest coast. “I’m not sure who built it, but they knew what they were doing.”

Four hundred miles away at the US embassy in Bogotá, Jay Bergman received the news with a sense of vindication. As the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s top official in South America, Bergman had followed the chatter about a rumored supersub for years—even as his colleagues remained deeply skeptical. But any satisfaction he felt was undercut by the implications of the discovery. The drug cartels continued to grow more sophisticated. If the DEA and other agencies hoped to keep up, they’d have to figure out how the traffickers built the sub, how to prevent them from building more, and—most important—how to detect others that might already be out there. “This is a quantum leap in technology,” Bergman says over a breakfast of eggs and strong Colombian coffee at a Bogotá hotel. “It poses some formidable challenges.”

The US government’s first step was a stern-to-snorkel assessment. Agents from the Farragut Technical Analysis Center—a branch of the US Office of Naval Intelligence that helps the Pentagon assess the capabilities of North Korean battleships and Russian nuclear subs—went down to Ecuador. Over two days, the team broke down every aspect of the vessel’s construction. They examined the hull with an electron microscope and energy-dispersive x-ray to determine its composition. They pored over the technical capabilities of the sub’s Chinese engines to calculate its range. And they studied the maximum amount of breathing time the crew would have underwater, without the aid of CO2 scrubbers, before they’d be forced to surface.

The group summed up its findings in a 70-page white paper—marked FOUO, for official use only—that conveys a grudging respect for the engineers and craftsmen who were able to build something so seaworthy in the middle of a swamp. “The streamlined hull, diesel-electric propulsion system, and fuel ballast system design all show a significant level of technical expertise and knowledge of submersible operations,” it states. The hull, they discovered, was made from a costly and exotic mixture of Kevlar and carbon fiber, tough enough to withstand modest ocean pressures but difficult to trace at sea. Like a classic German U-boat, the drug-running submarine uses diesel engines on the surface and battery-powered electric motors when submerged. With a crew of four to six, it has a maximum operational range of 6,800 nautical miles on the surface and can go 10 days without refueling. Packed with 249 lead-acid batteries, the behemoth can also travel silently underwater for up to 18 hours before recharging.

The most valuable feature, though, is the cargo bay, capable of holding up to 9 tons of cocaine—a street value of about $250 million. The vessel ferries that precious payload using a GPS chart plotter with side-scan capabilities and a high-frequency radio—essential gadgetry to ensure on-time deliveries. There’s also an electro-optical periscope and an infrared camera mounted on the conning tower—visual aids that supplement two miniature windows in the makeshift cockpit.

Today the supersub sits propped on a pedestal like a trophy at Ecuador’s naval command headquarters in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city and main port. Fresh air is piped in to keep investigators cool, and a tin roof protects it from the elements. Inside, the captured sub looks like the garage of a failed inventor; exposed PVC pipe hangs from the ceiling, batteries and plastic tubing are littered throughout the cabin, electrical wires are patched to the walls without any apparent logic. Old go-kart steering wheels control flippers on the sub’s exterior, helping it to dive and surface. Crew comfort seems to have been an afterthought. Standing room is precious, and there are no visible seats or bunks. During a recent tour, diesel fumes barely masked the powerful combination of urine and man-stink lingering months after the sub’s discovery.

Smuggling huge rolls of Kevlar, four engines, 249 back-breaking batteries, and thousands of obscure marine parts to a remote equatorial shipyard takes patience, money, and cojones. But does building a homemade submarine also take real smarts? The American and Colombian sub hunters seem to think so, but what do big government institutions know about hacking together a custom sub in a poorly equipped workshop? When powerful navies want a new submarine, they call defense contractors. To truly understand the complexities of building a sub from scratch, the real experts are a band of irrepressible hobbyists who build personal submarines in their backyards.

Jon Wallace, a Unix software programmer for Hewlett-Packard, has headed the Personal Submersibles Organization, or Psubs, for 15 years. The group promotes the safe design, construction, and operation of personal submarines. It has 53 active members, mostly middle-aged American men “with their mortgage and kids under control,” Wallace says. They’re the kind of guys who are willing to spend every weekend in their suburban garages hand-welding custom vessels, the better to explore the bottoms of nearby lakes. Construction can require years and a masterful sales pitch. “It’s not that easy to say, ‘Honey, I just need $25,000 and the driveway for the next two years,” Wallace says.

Psubs members have been tracking the development of the drug runners’ semisubmersible creations for years. And they haven’t been very impressed. “Five hundred grand for a snorkel semisub. Ha!” reads a typical posting on the Psubs website from 2009. “These guys may have a lot of money, but they are not the sharpest tools in the shed!” snorts another.

But the towel-snapping ended with last summer’s discovery of the submarine in Ecuador. “This is the most sophisticated sub we’ve seen to date,” Wallace says. “It’s a very good design in terms of shape and controls.”

The vessel, which never had a chance to take its maiden voyage, is by no means perfect. Its steel-free hull can’t withstand depths of more than 62 feet, according to the US Navy’s technical assessment, a limitation that gives the pilot an incredibly narrow comfort zone. In other words, the slightest miscalculation in ballast—the amount of seawater a sub takes in to dive—could spell disaster for the unwieldy, 16-foot-high vessel.

Still, while they don’t approve of its purpose, the Psubs members confirm that the craft is an impressive piece of work. “Something like that would have taken a year or so in a modern shop,” says Vance Bradley, a member of the group’s advisory council and a former professional submarine fabricator. “Imagine doing it out in the boonies with the mosquitoes and vermin!”

That gets at one of the most vexing questions surrounding the sub: How was the beast actually built? According to Bergman’s calculations, it must have cost at least $5 million to construct. Which drug gang would devote that kind of money to this black-market engineering project? Did they design it themselves, or did they recruit disaffected Russians or other foreign naval specialists? Were professional submarine pilots used to manage the tedious construction and begin underwater testing? Was it just a coincidence that so many of the parts were from China?

Some answers can probably be deduced from the nearly three dozen old-school semisubmersibles that US and Colombian forces have confiscated since 2006—or from the 83 crew members who have been captured and prosecuted in that time, many of whom have traded information about the boats and their makers in exchange for reduced prison time. If their experience is an accurate guide, the supersub was likely built in sections in the backwoods Ecuadorean shipyard and then assembled at an adjacent estuary during low tide. Skilled engineers likely called the shots, directing teams of impoverished local laborers. Gas-powered generators may have been used, but the yearlong project would have been done mostly by hand without the help of electricity. Every bolt, pipe, and engine part would have been imported and laboriously smuggled in on small, canoe-like boats.

The Columbian cartels may be impressive and resourceful engineers today, but Miguel Angel Montoya knows that just a decade ago they were hopeless amateurs. A former drug-cartel associate who says he designed some of the early semisubmersibles, Montoya quit the business in 2001 and wrote a tell-all book (Yesterday a Doctor, Today a Narco-Trafficker). He’s understandably cautious about his security and would agree to be interviewed only via email.

In the early ’90s, Montoya explains, his bosses had begun launching cocaine-smuggling vessels from the Colombian coast. At the time, most of the contraptions were laughable—like something out of those black-and-white newsreels of early flying machines that piteously crash into barns. Some looked like oversize bathtubs. Others resembled sea monsters with jutting pipes for necks. Montoya and his partners made their bosses a daring proposal: Let us help you design a new way to ferry cocaine underwater to Mexico.

In 1999, Montoya and his associates began designing a finned, dart-shaped tube that could be crammed with cocaine and towed underwater by fishing trawlers to evade detection. His “narco torpedo” was unmanned and carried radio transponders to locate it if traffickers had to ditch it on the open seas. When the torpedoes were ready to begin field-testing, Montoya says, he was escorted to a clandestine camp in Colombia’s remote coastal region south of Buenaventura. He recalls riding for hours through a labyrinth of rivers and unnamed tributaries. “The place was practically invisible from the air, and the jungle was impenetrable. We walked on planks set on swampland,” Montoya says. “The air was thick with chemical fumes from resins. Hundreds of workers lived there, and the roar of motorboats was always present. They’d come and go by the dozens.”

Laborers were converting boats into precarious semisubmersibles that local fishing boat captains would pilot to Mexico for a quick payoff. “Only poor people live in the area. They’re in the Stone Age. They’ll give anything a go for very little money or food,” Montoya says.

Montoya conducted practice runs with his makeshift torpedo in desolate local rivers and videotaped the launches. His bosses were enthusiastic and decided to give it a try. Montoya’s capsules carried loads up the Pacific coast for at least three years without a problem, delivering cocaine to Mexico for eventual sale in the US. When the Colombian navy finally confiscated one of the torpedoes, they marveled at the design and reverse-engineered it to better understand how it was built—much as they’ve done to the 54 other drug-toting semisubmersibles they’ve captured. Montoya ultimately left the cartel in disillusionment. “I lost my family, my profession. I fell into drug and alcohol use,” he says. “My friends died or were in jail, and my head had a price on it. This is simply no way to earn a living, however glamorous and attractive it may seem.” Looking back, he says the Colombian cartels were honing their skills in preparation for their ultimate goal—the construction of long-distance vessels that could dive and surface on command. What the drug lords have always wanted, he says, was their own fleet of fully functioning submarines.

The D.E.A.’s Bergman thinks the drug lords may have finally achieved that dream. Immediately after the raid in Ecuador, Bergman publicly stated that he had to assume there were other such submarines operating throughout the region. About seven months later, on Valentine’s Day of 2011, he was proven correct when the Colombian navy announced that it had seized a second drug-running supersub. This one had also been built in the jungle. It was 101 feet long, could hold up to 8 tons of cocaine, and could withstand ocean depths of about 30 feet, Colombian officials said. “One is an aberration,” Bergman says. “Two is an emerging trend.” He presumes there are more.

The prospect of Colombian drug traffickers running their own private navy poses problems that won’t be solved with a few arrests. “This is one of those cases we’re not going to divert our attention from. It has implications that go beyond law enforcement. It has national security implications,” Bergman says. After all, there is no reason the subs have to be limited to the drug trade. They could carry illegal immigrants or even terrorists, or be sold to the highest bidder for any number of nefarious purposes.

Consequently, the supersubs are garnering high-level attention. Ecuadorean military brass briefed US defense secretary Robert Gates. And Bergman’s DEA agents gave a lengthy presentation to Coast Guard and Pentagon officials with the Joint Interagency Task Force South, the Florida-based intelligence unit responsible for detecting drug-running semisubmersibles on the open sea. The task force works with law enforcement agencies—which have unmanned aerial drones, Coast Guard cutters, and warships at their disposal—but they wouldn’t comment on how they might try to locate the new long-range narco subs. Given the Navy’s recent 70-page assessment, however, tracking them won’t be so easy. “The vessel is assessed to be quiet, while operating under electric power, and potentially difficult to detect acoustically or by radar,” the Navy concludes.

In the meantime, Montoya predicts that the jungle shipbuilders will continue to perfect their craft. “These efforts have been in the making for at least 17 years, since the time of Escobar,” he says. “It would be realistic to assume that there is a sub en route to Mexico or Europe at this very moment.”

Conversations with the Crow

When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

Crowley did not listen to them (no one else ever does, either) and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:


Here is the sixty-eighth  chapter

Conversation No. 68

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 1997

Commenced: 8:46 AM CST

Concluded: 9:30 AM CST

GD: You called me, Robert. Role reversal here. Is something up back there?

RTC: Yes, in a way. I’ve been keeping my eye on a growing negative situation here that directly affects you and indirectly affects me. This is going to be a little prolix, so I was wondering if you had a tape recorder handy and might hook it up so you can make some sense of all this later. You ought to listen to it, make notes at your convenience and then we can talk about things after you do this. Is this possible? The recorder?

GD: Yes, I have one over on the shelf. I’ll just go and get it.

RTC: Well, I’m not going anywhere.


GD: I got it and put a tape in it. Let me hook the mike up to the phone here….OK now fire away.

RTC: Very well, let’s get started. I begin by telling you something we both know and this is that you are most unpopular back here, at least in certain circles. For example, Wolfe hates you and keeps telling me I ought not to talk to you. How odd that Kimmel tells me the same thing and so does Joe Trento. Do you have any dealings with him, by the way?

GD: No. I’ve heard the name. He wrote a book with you once if I recall.

RTC: Yes, Joe and his wife.

GD: Not very deep writers, are they?

RTC: No, Trento is like Bill. So eager to be part of a larger picture, so desperate to be noticed, so unimportant. Wolfe is only a government librarian but he, too, had delusions of grandeur. And Tom…Poor Tom was once the golden boy and now he is getting older and he is going to have to retire.

GD: I talk to him quite often, Robert, and I’ve been of help to him and his family over the Pearl Harbor business.

RTC: Yes, I know that, but you are not on his good side for several reasons. In the first place, he views you as subhuman and only puts up with you for the same reason the others do…They want something from you. What they want is to get any papers Mueller might have given you and in the end, they want you to be quiet about him. Now Jim Critchfield wants you dead.

GD: Why so?

RTC: It’s all about Mueller. Now let me go on for a time here. I know and you know that Mueller worked for the CIA. Critchfield’s SS boys recruited him in ’48 and he came here. We hired him, in spite of the fact he ran the evil Gestapo, because he was a genuine expert on Soviet intelligence and very effective. Russia, officially, is our convenient enemy. Convenient, because everyone makes money because they threaten to invade us or atom bomb New York. Of course, they were going to do no such thing, but a frightened public is generous with funds to its protectors. So we hired Mueller. That, in and of itself, is a major scandal. The left wing, the Jews and anyone the Gestapo arrested would howl the house down if they ever found out about this. The other little problem is that no one alive, aside from myself and you, knows the name Mueller was given when he came over to us. This was a large secret and only a few knew. Harry Truman knew, Beetle Smith[1] knew and so did Jim Critchfield and myself. And, of course, Mueller and his wife, who worked for us, too. So we have a situation that could prove to be very, very embarrassing for many people. Mueller is dead and his wife will say nothing but then we have you in the equation. You met him in California and his wife knows you. Apparently, you two hit it off. His wife, who doesn’t approve of you because she is afraid of you, tells us you two were thick as thieves. So much for that. You used your entrée to write a book on him. My dear sweet Jesus, what a stink you made. Mueller was dead and forgotten and along came you, a loose cannon, and tore off the scabs of time. It takes bureaucracies a long time to react. But to save their collective asses, they do react. Initially, Bill was all gung ho about you because your book supported his ‘Widows’ book and he clearly identified Mueller’s Swiss-based CIA interrogator…

GD: Kronthal.

RTC: Absolutely, and when Bill talked with you about this after reading the book, you gave him some inside information on Kronthal you got from Mueller. This was private information and you could never have made it up. Bill was sold and got me involved in this. Of course, I didn’t tell them that we had known each other previously, albeit rather casually. You know, the Costello business.

GD: I recall.

RTC: And suddenly it began to dawn on certain elevated people in our organization that you might know far more than you should. And your book, which was interesting, but not too revealing about our methods and activities, got out, you became a person of real interest. A question here, Gregory. Did Mueller ever mention the Kennedy business to you?

GD: Yes. I was having lunch with him when it happened. As I recall, we were having a late lunch at Stickney’s Hickory House in Palo Alto when Mueller started staring at the restaurant television set which was behind and above me. He said, ‘I see they shot your President in Dallas.’ I turned around and watched the uproar for a minute and then the food came. At one point, a little later, Mueller called me and asked me if I had been watching television and I said I had. He asked me if I had noticed Oswald being walked through crowded corridors in the Dallas police station and I said I had. He said that Oswald was not guilty, and those who did it were trying to get him killed by exposing him to strangers. And he did get shot in the same surroundings the next day. Mueller said that the business was now over and that Ruby would also either hang himself in his cell or be knifed in jail by an inmate wanting fame and fortune. When I told him much later that Ruby died of cancer, Mueller only laughed and said that he preferred the heart attack and that cancer took too long to work.

RTC: Astute. Anything else?

GD: Nothing that I remember.

RTC: You see, Gregory, Mueller was involved in the business.

GD: I was having lunch with him when it happened and I had known him for some time before, Robert. Was he?

RTC: Mueller was hired by us as probably the best expert on Soviet intelligence alive. When Jim Angleton learned that the most important secrets, the President’s Daily Briefing material was all over Moscow, he went over the edge. Only a very few people ever saw that paper. I suggested that he have these salted with different information prior to distribution. This bit of fiction in one report and that in another. That way, Jim found out that the leaks came from the White House. That’s when we dragged Mueller out of retirement and he pinpointed Bolshakov, the top KGB operative in this country, as the conduit. And a little bit of snooping discovered that Bobby Kennedy was in regular touch with Bolshakov. Obviously, the material went from JFK to RFK to Bolshakov to Nikita in Moscow. That’s when it was decided to remove Kennedy, in fact, both Kennedys. We got the President and Hoover got Bobby. The latter was more in the line of revenge, but the President had to be stopped. And of course, he was. Mueller knew this and we, or rather they, are terrified as to what else he might have told you.

GD: He never told me any of this.

RTC: But of course we don’t know that, do we? So the plan has been to gain your confidence, promise you much, get even closer to you and then find out if you have any papers or tapes on any of this, but especially the Kennedy business.

GD: And then they’ll shoot me.

RTC: Oh no, not that. With Critchfield in play, I told him that if any harm came to you, he would suffer terribly, so I doubt if anyone would shoot you. They would lie to you, con you, trick you and maybe break into your house and steal anything that might make trouble. Did you get anything from Mueller?

GD: Oh yes, much.

RTC: And safe? And by safe, I don’t mean cunningly hidden in the attic or cellar or, worse, in a local storage facility under your name. You know what I mean.

GD: Oh, I do indeed. I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, Robert. Very safe.

RTC: After Mueller died, we talked to his widow and went through all his papers, but they were very thin and there were a lot of things missing that she had remembered seeing. Most important were documents with Mueller’s new name. I told you, they don’t know that name…

GD: But they know his wife, so they must know the name.

RTC: Good chap here, but he had a number of names and his married name was not the same as our cover. Anyway, old papers were missing and then after we found out about you and your friend Laegel, we became very concerned. Laegel died in ’66 and you had vanished into thin air.

GD: I went to Europe under a false identity. I have dozens of them.

RTC: Vanished and so on. And then the book. That got everyone’s bowels in a ferment, Gregory and that’s why Bill got a hold of you.

GD: But you got me earlier.

RTC: That was on another matter entirely, but fortunate for both of us in the end.

GD: All this over Kennedy?

RTC: Kennedy’s demise and our employment of the Gestapo head and some very sensitive things he knew and had been involved in. And what he might have told you and, most important, what he might have given to you such as papers, files or the like. You can understand why you began to hear from Tom Kimmel of the FBI and others, can’t you? And weren’t they so pleasant and jovial with you?

GD: Certainly.

RTC: Of course, they were. And invitations to come to Washington to talk at historical conferences where you met all kinds of interesting people. And how many of these nice, attentive people have asked you about what Mueller might have given to you, or told you about really interesting historical happenings?

GD: Kimmel and Andrew Grey…

RTC: Yes, one of ours. You obviously didn’t oblige them, but then they got Bob Wolfe into the act. A fellow historian with, very important for your future researches, because he had access to government files.

GD: I always wondered why a professional Jew with strong ties to the Holocaust industry would be so smarmy with me. It figures.

RTC: And were you overwhelmed by the attention? By the free hotel rooms? By the dinners for you?

GD: I take what I can get, Robert.

RTC: And give?

GD: I give nothing, Robert, that I don’t want to give. Oh, yes, many little questions about Mueller and who he might have been and did I have his address in California and so on. But they knew where he was living after all.

RTC: They wanted to know what you knew. Kimmel told me, and Bill confirmed it and I learned myself first hand, that you can get on the phone and talk for three hours. Very interesting, very much in the know, but you never, ever let anything slip. This drives them all crazy, Gregory.

GD: Oh, yes, I am aware. For example, someone, whose name is not your business, would give me the name of a very sensitive government operation, and I mean very sensitive. But just the name and nothing else. I would casually drop it into a conversation with Wolfe, Andrew or Tom but just a drop, not a discussion. No response, of course. It was too new and too important for them to know about it. Then I would wait a few weeks and guess what? I would get a smarmy call from Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, or sometimes all three, with a query. Say, one or all of them would say, last week you mentioned Operation Bunghole. That’s really interesting because just yesterday someone was talking about it to me. What more do you know about it? I mean just between the two of us?

RTC: How did you get out from under that one?

GD: I would say, Oh yes, Operation Bunghole! Yes, well, it’s…oh, excuse me Robert, Andrew or Tom, but the UPS man is at the door with some packages and I have to get off. Let me get back to you on this. And of course I don’t and the next time they call on this, I say, Oh that thing. Such cold coffee. Let me tell you about the giant eagles we have around here. They just grabbed some small kid out of the parking lot and flew off with him! Is that what I should have done, Robert?

RTC: You are a very evil person, Gregory, causing so much trouble. I love it.

GD: But they obviously didn’t, did they?

RTC: No, you drove them crazy. Your natural arrogance coupled with the confusion you sowed among them has not made you a popular person.

GD: Good. Mueller would have loved it as much as we both do.

RTC: Well, that’s some background. You are beginning to get some of these people very annoyed.

GD: The Wolfe and Kimmel people?

RTC: No, the people they work for. There will, I think, be some intense efforts to get their hands on you. Someone said getting anything from you was like trying to pick up some mercury from a table top. You slide this way and that and nothing can be done. They know you have something, but just what is a mystery. Keep it that way, Gregory. It’s insurance. And on that subject, I have been going through all of my files and I am going to ship you some really interesting material. Some of it, as I promised, has to do with the Kennedy business, but the rest covers sundry other matters. I’m going to have my son ship these to you, because I am long past dragging heavy boxes to the post office. Now when you get these papers, be very sure to put them in a very safe place and tell no one about them. And here is more information for you. Do not trust your son in any way.

GD: Are you serious? My son?

RTC: Yes, because of the name. They can use his name at one point. I have to tell you this and I realize it may have an adverse effect on you, but it’s important. Bill told me that he has approached your son and offered him a job with the CIA.

GD: You really must be joking. He has no academic background and would never pass a security clearance.

RTC: It doesn’t matter. He has been offered a consultant job at forty thousand a year and has more or less accepted. Bill said he was more than willing to work with him, and through him, the Company. They want cooperation in the event you start to push them or they even suspect you are about to pull off their covers. He is not too friendly to you and, of course, the money matters. Once he served his purpose, naturally, the job would disconnect. Tell him nothing and never let him know that you got anything from me. If he quizzes you about your relationship with me or gets interested in specifics, be on your guard and do not trust him. I don’t say you should walk away from him, but just watch yourself.

GD: Not surprising. He’s clever but a coward and would never come at me from the front. But he has had so much trouble with the law such as having fake driver’s licenses, huge bills and the like that I doubt if any government agency would hire him if he used standard employment techniques. He never mentioned Bill or his offer and I did not know he had talked with Corson. He talked with Kimmel and Wolfe, but not Bill. Well, it’s a disappointment, considering what it cost me to raise him and pay his bills, but not a surprise. His favorite game is to knock up his girl friends, walk off and then expect me to pay for the abortion. Or the bill I knew nothing about. Or the car he ran into the week before. That sort of thing. He’s very clever, but totally amoral and I don’t trust him to the corner, Robert, but I thank you for the input. Now, I can stuff him with disinformation which, as it comes from the inside, just has to be right. I should be able to squeeze a few dollars out of the swine, if I play it right, and I can always find ways to get them after people I don’t like. I mean I can tell my kid that so and so has the papers and plans to blackmail Langley with them. Then we can read the paper about a terrible gas explosion or a car wreck somewhere, and another enemy is crisped.

RTC: Yes, well, you know the game.

GD: Of course I do. What did they say during our Glorious Revolution? Trust in God but keep your powder dry? Trust in no one, not even God, and keep your knife sharp. I don’t suppose you’d like to fill me in on your surprise?

RTC: Not on the phone, Gregory.

GD: They might be listening, but I doubt it. I’m using a special phone. But they might be listening to you. If they are, Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, kiss my royal ass.

RTC: Don’t do that, Gregory. They might.

(Concluded at 9:30 AM CST)

Dramatis personae:

James Jesus Angleton: Once head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence division, later fired because of his obsessive and illegal behavior, tapping the phones of many important government officials in search of elusive Soviet spies. A good friend of Robert Crowley and a co-conspirator with him in the assassination of President Kennedy

James P. Atwood: (April 16, 1930-April 20, 1997) A CIA employee, located in Berlin, Atwood had a most interesting career. He worked for any other intelligence agency, domestic or foreign, that would pay him, was involved in selling surplus Russian atomic artillery shells to the Pakistan government and was also most successful in the manufacturing of counterfeit German dress daggers. Too talkative, Atwood eventually had a sudden, and fatal, “seizure” while lunching with CIA associates.

William Corson: A Marine Corps Colonel and President Carter’s representative to the CIA. A friend of Crowley and Kimmel, Corson was an intelligent man whose main failing was a frantic desire to be seen as an important person. This led to his making fictional or highly exaggerated claims.

John Costello: A British historian who was popular with revisionist circles. Died of AIDS on a trans-Atlantic flight to the United States.

James Critchfield: Former U.S. Army Colonel who worked for the CIA and organizaed the Cehlen Org. at Pullach, Germany. This organization was filled to the Plimsoll line with former Gestapo and SD personnel, many of whom were wanted for various purported crimes. He hired Heinrich Müller in 1948 and went on to represent the CIA in the Persian Gulf.

Robert T. Crowley: Once the deputy director of Clandestine Operations and head of the group that interacted with corporate America. A former West Point football player who was one of the founders of the original CIA. Crowley was involved at a very high level with many of the machinations of the CIA.

Gregory Douglas: A retired newspaperman, onetime friend of Heinrich Müller and latterly, of Robert Crowley. Inherited stacks of files from the former (along with many interesting works of art acquired during the war and even more papers from Robert Crowley.) Lives comfortably in a nice house overlooking the Mediterranean.

Reinhard Gehlen: A retired German general who had once been in charge of the intelligence for the German high command on Russian military activities. Fired by Hitler for incompetence, he was therefore naturally hired by first, the U.S. Army and then, as his level of incompetence rose, with the CIA. His Nazi-stuffed organizaion eventually became the current German Bundes Nachrichten Dienst.

Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr: A grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel, Naval commander at Pearl Harbor who was scapegoated after the Japanese attack. Kimmel was a senior FBI official who knew both Gregory Douglas and Robert Crowley and made a number of attempts to discourage Crowley from talking with Douglas. He was singularly unsuccessful. Kimmel subsequently retired, lives in Florida, and works for the CIA as an “advisor.”

Willi Krichbaum: A Senior Colonel (Oberführer) in the SS, head of the wartime Secret Field Police of the German Army and Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. After the war, Krichbaum went to work for the Critchfield organization and was their chief recruiter and hired many of his former SS friends. Krichbaum put Critchfield in touch with Müller in 1948.

Heinrich Müller: A former military pilot in the Bavarian Army in WWI, Müller  became a political police officer in Munich and was later made the head of the Secret State Police or Gestapo. After the war, Müller escaped to Switzerland where he worked for Swiss intelligence as a specialist on Communist espionage and was hired by James Critchfield, head of the Gehlen Organization, in 1948. Müller subsequently was moved to Washington where he worked for the CIA until he retired.

Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this. Neither were his employers.

Frank Wisner: A Founding Father of the CIA who promised much to the Hungarian and then failed them. First, a raging lunatic who was removed from Langley, screaming, in a strait jacket and later, blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun.

Robert Wolfe: A retired librarian from the National Archives who worked closely with the CIA on covering up embarrassing historical material in the files of the Archives. A strong supporter of holocaust writers

[1] General Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith GBE KCB (October 5, 1895 – August 9, 1961) was Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s Chief of Staff during Eisenhower’s tenure at SHAEF and Director of the CIA from 1950 to 1953. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1948.

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