TBR News April 9, 2019

Apr 09 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April  8, 2019: “Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary for April 8: Trump is mad as hell because the courts blocked one of his neo-Nazi rules about shipping immigrants back to Mexico. He fired the head of the Secret Service because he thinks their agents are spying on him and writing negative things about his weird activities. He sacked the totally useless head of the Department of Hopeless Security and is now demanding that agency “crack down” on legal Central American immigrants loving inside the US. Trump, according to the staff people who have to listen to his daily rantings, wants a pure white and Christian United States. If he had his way, blacks and Latinos would all be shipped out of the country. Illegal Canadians could stay because they are white. He has a big screen TV in all the rooms around where he works so he can watch the media for mention of his name.

He loves to see his name mentioned and points at the screen like a small kid watching two dogs humping on the front porch. And he loves to take important guests into the toilet and show them around.

Some prankster put a large plastic turd on the floor of his private outhouse and he screamed for about an hour.

What if someone stuffed a baby doll into the toilet and poured red ink all over the place? You could hear him screaming two blocks away with the windows shut!”



The Table of Contents

  • Spare us the self-serving excuses, Kirstjen Nielsen.
  • San Francisco judge blocks Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy
  • Trump: Court defeat on asylum policy ‘unfair to US’
  • Cameras Linked to Chinese Government Stir Alarm in U.K. Parliament
  • New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fueling outbreak
  • New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fueling outbreak
  • Can We Stop Pretending Now?
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Rand Paul
  • Mensur Omerbashich
  • Pam Olsen
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations


Spare us the self-serving excuses, Kirstjen Nielsen.

  • You were the worst The former homeland security secretary deployed the skills of a careerist technocrat in the cause of Trump’s inhumanity
  • Trump tweeted Nielsen’s exit before she could release letter

April 8, 2019

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

Of all the charlatans, sycophants and moral sellouts surrounding Donald Trump, no one comes close to Kirstjen Nielsen.

Not Steve Bannon, the neo-fascist strategist who glued a thin veneer of ideology on top of the particle board flakes that fill the cranium of a bankrupt property developer.

Not Paul Manafort, the ostrich jacket-loving former campaign chairman now serving seven years for being a liar and fraud after servicing a motley crew of tyrants.

Not even Mike Pence, the “evangelical Catholic” vice-president who set a new land-speed record for praising this genital-grabbing, porn star hush money president.

No, there is no one quite like the departing secretary of homeland security, who forced some of the world’s most vulnerable people to pay any price and bear any burden to assure the survival of her own career.

In Trump’s ninth circle of hell, there may be more ideological hardliners than Nielsen and there certainly are more wingnut sociopaths.

But Nielsen has deployed all the skills of a careerist technocrat to oversee the two greatest scandals of the entire human misfortune that is the Trump presidency: a death toll of more than 3,000 in the criminally negligent aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and tens of thousands of children illegally imprisoned and forcibly separated from their parents at the southern border.

Long after we have forgotten how to spell her name, there will be children suffering from the permanent separation from their parents because Nielsen was too incompetent and inhuman to track them or their parents.

Those children are just the collateral damage of someone pretending to be tough enough to be part of Trump’s band of bullies.

Perhaps Nielsen’s only skill was a doggedly determined drive to lie at every downward spiral of her own career. That continued on Sunday afternoon, as news emerged of her long-anticipated departure, when she successfully spun her firing/resignation as a principled stand against even more illegal and repressive policies at the border.

This may be the kind of lie Nielsen tells herself to fall asleep at night after reading all those emails about the victims of sex abuse in the child prisons she built at vast expense.

No doubt the officials who built the Japanese American internment camps also believed they were protecting America with a gulag that was nowhere near as bad as Stalin’s.

But the lies, big and small, are the giveaway that all this talk about protecting America is really just a cover for the political punishment of the weak and voiceless. “I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse,” Nielsen wrote in her resignation letter

If you locked Nielsen in one of her own Ice iceboxes, the hieleras where her officers detain immigrant men, women and children for hours on end, she would admit within minutes that the “discord in our nation’s discourse” is in fact the product of one man and a team enabling his racist fantasies.

What is the point of securing the nation’s borders if you think the legal and legislative checks and balances – established by the constitution – are to blame for so much of the unpleasantness in our national conversation?

That is not to say that Nielsen has entirely failed in her quest to fool a gullible proportion of the nation about Trump’s fake border crisis, and the foundation for an entire industry of human suffering.

As border crossings have spiked in the last few months, the media has swallowed every deceiving word from every overworked official about the supposed flood of people that must – by implication – be drowning the entire border in their foreign culture and lawlessness.

This requires a certain amnesia and implicit bias in reporting that for some reason propagates the notion that it is normal to lock up tens of thousands of undocumented migrants.

According to Nielsen’s official numbers, there were 76,103 apprehensions at the south-west border in February. That was about 25% higher than the previous three months. But it was also 80% lower than the peak of apprehensions in 2000. If this “crisis” continued every month for the rest of the year, the total would still be far lower than the regular levels through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Yet somehow America survived all those floods of migrants. Somehow undocumented immigration sharply declined after the Great Recession and never really picked up again in the same way. Somehow all those draconian anti-migrant laws passed in the anti-terror psychosis after 9/11 never stopped all those Mexican terrorists because there never were any.

Which brings us to the essential madness at the heart of Nielsen’s old department: homeland security. We now spend more on border security than the combined budgets of all the major criminal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the DEA and the Secret Service. Locking families up in prisons costs 10 times more than keeping them monitored in the community, and family caseworkers have a 100% track record in court appearances.

A fraction of that money could be spent on programs to stabilize the Central American countries whose children are fleeing the gangs that represent the only law and order on the ground. Instead, Trump wants to cancel that aid, which includes the Mueller-like investigation of a corrupt president’s family in Guatemala.

The Department of Homeland Security is a vastly expensive and vastly immoral catastrophe. Its Fema agency botched Puerto Rico’s recovery from Maria to the point where thousands died needlessly for lack of power, food, water and medicine. Its anti-immigration forces are a self-sustaining prison-industrial complex of more officers, more apprehensions and more prisons, supplying judges who are barely worthy of the name, some of them with deportation rates of more than 90%.

All in the service of a self-sustaining “crisis” fabricated by a delusional demagogue. The only reason the numbers are spiking now is because desperate Central Americans fear Trump really will close the border entirely. Trump’s supposedly deterrent policies of hurting families, or militarizing the border, have been a colossal failure.

So spare us your self-serving excuses, Kirstjen Nielsen. You lied to Congress and the nation by saying repeatedly there was no family separation policy, when you knew full well there was. You kept the policy secret for months before it became public just in time for an election your party lost. And you sustained it for months after you pretended it ended.

You may well pick up lucrative contracts as a pundit, lobbyist and speaker. But you sold your soul so long ago that you can never claim a refund.


San Francisco judge blocks Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy

Judge Richard Seeborg held off on enforcing his decision until Friday to give the administration the chance to request a review

April 8, 2019


A US judge has blocked the Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for an immigration court to hear their cases, but the order will not immediately go into effect.

On Monday, Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco granted a request on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward, but he held off on enforcing his decision until Friday to give the government a chance to ask an appeals court for a review.

The policy lacks sufficient protections to ensure migrants don’t face “undue risk to their lives or freedom” in Mexico, the judge said. Seeborg also said a law that Donald Trump’s administration cited as its authority to send back migrants does not apply to asylum seekers such as those in the lawsuit.

It was not immediately clear whether the administration would ask an appeals court to put the ruling on hold. The US Department of Justice declined to comment.

The ruling came a day after the Department of Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resigned and as the administration faces repeated court setbacks on strict anti-immigration measures that were a signature campaign promise for Trump, including losses on such policies as separating families at the border and ending protections for young immigrants.

Launched in January, the Trump administration’s policy to send asylum seekers back to Mexico while their cases were being processed marked an unprecedented change to the US asylum system, government officials and asylum experts said, since families seeking asylum typically had been released in the US with notices to appear in court.

The Trump administration says the policy responds to a crisis at the southern border that has overwhelmed the ability of immigration officials to detain migrants. Growing numbers of families are fleeing poverty and gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The lawsuit argues the Trump administration is violating US law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants face in Mexico.

Under the new policy, asylum seekers are not guaranteed interpreters or lawyers and don’t get to argue to a judge that they face the potential of persecution or torture if they are sent back to Mexico, Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said at a March court hearing.

The justice department attorney Scott Stewart argued at the March hearing that there was a process to protect immigrants who could face harm in Mexico.

Seeborg said in his ruling that “further procedural protections would be required to conform to the government’s acknowledged obligation to ensure aliens are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances”.

The ACLU and other groups also argue in the lawsuit that a law allowing the return of some immigrants to Mexico does not apply to asylum seekers who cross the border illegally or arrive at a border crossing without proper documents.

Seeborg agreed, saying the “plain language” of the law supported that interpretation.

“Try as it may, the Trump administration cannot simply ignore our laws in order to accomplish its goal of preventing people from seeking asylum in the United States,” Rabinovitz said in a statement after the ruling.

Immigrant rights groups celebrated Monday’s decision.

Archi Pyati, chief of policy for Tahirih Justice Center, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, said the policy “leaves individuals and families fleeing persecution stranded on the other side of the border, when what they need and deserve under our laws is protection in America”.

Pyati continued: “Tahirih represents asylum seekers who have experienced domestic and sexual violence, and we know that they need legal and social services to effectively make their claims before an immigration judge. This policy goes against basic tenets of fairness, and makes it all but impossible for us to do our jobs. We are glad to see justice served.”

Charanya Krishnaswami, of Amnesty International USA, called the policy “cruel and irresponsible” in a statement.

“Asylum seekers passing through Mexico have already endured dangerous journeys to flee desperate situations. Returning them to Mexico and forcing them to wait there would put them at real risk of serious human rights violations.”

The administration hopes that making asylum seekers wait in Mexico will discourage weak claims and help reduce an immigration court backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

Border patrol arrests, the most widely used gauge of illegal crossings, have risen sharply over the last year but are relatively low in historical terms after hitting a 46-year low in 2017.

The launch of the policy followed months of delicate talks between the US and Mexico. Mexicans and children traveling alone are exempt from it.


Trump: Court defeat on asylum policy ‘unfair to US’

April 9, 2019

BBC News

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at a federal judge for blocking his policy of sending migrants awaiting US asylum hearings back to Mexico.

“A 9th Circuit judge just ruled that Mexico is too dangerous for migrants,” he tweeted. “So unfair to the US.”

His policy would have returned migrant families to Mexico to await court bids for the right to stay in the US.

It comes as numbers of migrants stopped at the US-Mexico border have surged to the highest level in over a decade.

US immigration officials have estimated border apprehensions in March topped 100,000.

The San Francisco ninth district judge’s order against the migrant policy is not due to go into effect until 12 April, giving US officials a chance to appeal the ruling.

Monday’s court ruling comes as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which implements Mr Trump’s immigration directives, is in turmoil following a major shake-up by the administration.

The agency’s Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen quit on Sunday after being summoned to the White House by the president.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley called on Mr Trump on Monday to halt the leadership purge at the agency.

The senior senator told the Washington Post he is “very, very concerned” about reports of possible further DHS dismissals.

The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign,” Mr Grassley said.

“He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.”

There are rumours that DHS management undersecretary Claire Grady, now the senior-most Senate-confirmed official in the agency, as well as director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Lee Francis Cissna, and DHS general counsel, John Mitnick, could be next to go.

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said: “It’s time to do things a little differently.

The president’s looking around to reshape his team so he can have the people in place to carry out his agenda.”

There are also reports that the president is preparing to toughen his stance on immigration.

According to the New York Times, Mr Trump is also looking to implement further limits on who can seek asylum, end birthright citizenship and close ports of entry at the Mexican border.

Part of Mr Trump’s new agenda will reportedly include implementing a “binary choice” policy.

This would give migrant parents awaiting immigration hearings a choice: agree for their child to be held separately, or be detained together, possibly indefinitely, until their court date.

The White House reportedly envisages the policy as a way to way to end “catch and release”, the longstanding US practice of allowing undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border to continue on their way into the US while they await court hearings.

A 1997 court decision known as the Flores agreement states that immigrant children are only allowed to be held for 20 days.

The Trump administration has reportedly drafted a regulation to change these rules, an official told Axios, so that the government could detain children for longer periods of time.

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller is said to be egging on the president to adopt an increasingly hardline stance on immigration.

Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Monday called Mr Miller “a white nationalist” on Twitter.

Meanwhile, amid an ongoing debate about immigration on both sides of the Atlantic, former President Barack Obama told young people at a town hall meeting in Berlin, Germany: “We can’t label everybody disturbed by immigration as racist.”

He also said immigrants should be encouraged to learn the language of their adopted country.


Cameras Linked to Chinese Government Stir Alarm in U.K. Parliament

April 9, 2019

by Ryan Gallagher

The Intercept

It is a Chinese state-owned company that is implicated in disturbing human rights violations. But that has not stopped Hikvision from gaining a major foothold in the United Kingdom. Through a network of corporate partners, the Hangzhou-based security firm has supplied its surveillance cameras for use on the British parliamentary estate, as well as to police, hospitals, schools, and universities throughout the country, according to sources and procurement records.

Hikvision, whose technology the U.S. government recently banned federal agencies from purchasing, is generating millions of dollars in annual revenue selling its technology to British companies and organizations. At the same time, it has been helping to establish an oppressive surveillance state in the Xinjiang region of China, where the Uighur ethnic minorities have been held in secret internment camps.

British politicians are raising concerns about the technology — and are calling for an embargo on further purchases of it — on the grounds that Hikvision is complicit in human rights abuses and also represents a national security risk, as it is feared that Chinese intelligence agencies could potentially tap into camera feeds in sensitive locations. Some of the company’s cameras record audio and are connected to the internet, meaning that they can be monitored from anywhere in the world.

In January, the cameras were scheduled to be installed inside London’s Portcullis House, according to Adm. Lord Alan West, a member of the U.K. Parliament’s second chamber, the House of Lords. Portcullis House is an office building in Westminster used by more than 200 members of Parliament and 400 of their staff to carry out their daily work, which routinely involves discussion of confidential national security, economic, and foreign policy issues.

West told The Intercept that someone who was “concerned that this was happening” tipped him off about a contract that would equip the building with Hikvision surveillance equipment. He said he subsequently complained about the matter to authorities within the parliamentary estate.

“It seems to me to be extremely worrying — it’s rather like being able to get a Mata Hari into each office,” he said, referring to the Dutch exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I. “Are we sure we are happy with Chinese CCTV in members of Parliament’s offices, listening to what they say to their constituents, listening to what ministers say, filming the documents on their desks?”

A Parliament spokesperson denied the existence of a contract involving Hikvision and said that there was no plan to “install any additional cameras at Portcullis House this year.”

A source familiar with security on parts of the parliamentary estate, which, in addition to Portcullis House, consists of the Palace of Westminster, the Norman Shaw buildings, and Big Ben, told The Intercept that Hikvision’s equipment had “absolutely” been used there in the past. The source said they could not confirm whether any Hikvision cameras were currently active, as there are hundreds of cameras fitted both in and around all parliamentary and government buildings in the area.

It has previously been estimated that, throughout the U.K., there are more than 1.2 million Hikvision cameras. Procurement records and government contracts reviewed by The Intercept show that the company — which was 40% owned by China’s authoritarian Communist Party regime, as of June 2018 — has supplied its surveillance systems to a wide range of organizations and companies across the country.

The cameras have been installed widely in London, in boroughs including Hackney, Kensington, Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham. They have been purchased by local government authorities in Guildford, South Kesteven, Thurrock, Stockton, North Tyneside, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk, West Suffolk, and Kent.

In Wales last year, police began placing the Chinese cameras in 17 towns. In Northern Ireland, Hikvision’s surveillance equipment has been installed inside more than 300 buses. The cameras have been fitted inside hospitals in Hampshire, Lancashire, Kent, Northampton, Cornwall, Cumbria, and Yorkshire. They have been set up at schools in Surrey, Devon, Birmingham, and at a university in Plymouth. The cameras have also been deployed commercially: in the Southgate shopping center in Bath, the Gallions Reach shopping park in London, and at Tesco supermarkets and Burger King fast food restaurants.

Hikvision’s marketing materials say that its cameras can be used with facial recognition software and linked to a centralized database of photographs. The technology can distinguish between known faces and strangers, and trigger alerts when an unknown person enters a building or office, the company claims. It says its corporate mission is to “work together to enhance safety and advance sustainable development around the world.”

In China, Hikvision has been helping the government implement a nationwide surveillance network named Skynet. In recent years, the effort has aggressively focused on the Xinjiang region, where the Communist Party is implementing a crackdown on ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim minority, under the pretext of countering terrorism.

In Xinjiang, an estimated 1 million Uighurs — including children, pregnant women, the elderly, and disabled people — have been held in internment camps. Within these secretive facilities, Uighurs are forced to undergo a “re-education” process that includes mandatory recitals of Communist Party political songs and speeches. Those who resist are said to face punishments, such as beatings and solitary confinement.

According to Human Rights Watch, Chinese authorities are “committing human rights abuses in Xinjiang on a scale unseen in the country in decades.” The group said in a 2018 report that one of the most disturbing aspects of the repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang involves mass surveillance systems.

“Xinjiang authorities conduct compulsory mass collection of biometric data, such as voice samples and DNA, and use artificial intelligence and big data to identify, profile, and track everyone in Xinjiang,” the report said. “The authorities have envisioned these systems as a series of ‘filters,’ picking out people with certain behavior or characteristics that they believe indicate a threat to the Communist Party’s rule.”

Since at least 2010, Hikvision has been helping to establish a massive network of cameras in Xinjiang that police are using to spy on ethnic minorities. In 2013, Hikvision’s public security manager, Qian Hao, boasted that the company’s technology had enabled security forces to track and profile people. “We can help preserve stability by seeing which family someone comes from, then persuading their relatives to stop them from harmful behavior, like with Falun Gong,” a banned spiritual group, Qian said.

As China has ramped up its crackdown in Xinjiang, Hikvision has reaped the financial rewards.

The company is reported to have have a stake in more than $1 billion in business in the region, including five contracts in 2017 alone that were worth about $277 million. Among those contracts were deals to provide surveillance systems to state agencies for use in the internment camps, as well as on Xinjiang’s streets and inside its mosques, schools, and offices.

Hikvision declined to comment for this story. The company has in the past tried to downplay its connection to the Chinese regime, portraying itself as an independent corporation. However, the company’s own financial records disclose that its controlling shareholder is a Chinese government-owned entity called the China Electronics Technology HIK Group.

In September 2018, Chinese government official Weng Jieming declared that Communist Party leadership “is integrated into the corporate governance structure” at Hikvision, according to a government press release translated by IPVM, a video surveillance trade publication. Weng praised the company, saying that it had “resolutely implemented the spirit of the important instructions” from the country’s president, Xi Jinping.

In the U.K., Hikvision does not supply its cameras directly to its customers; instead, it sells the equipment through a network of wholesalers and subcontractors. The company’s latest U.K. accounts, from 2017, show a gross annual profit of $2.62 million and a turnover of $6.55 million. Its total global sales revenue for the same year totaled $6.65 billion, according to its promotional materials.

Hikvision has three offices across the U.K. and last year announced a plan to launch a new research and development hub within its British headquarters, near London’s Heathrow airport. The research and development division is headed by Pu Shiliang, who is based in China, where he has also reportedly worked for the government’s Ministry of Public Security, a feared agency known for targeting activists and political opponents.

The U.K. is an attractive prospect for any company working in the security industry. It is one of the most surveilled countries in the world, with up to an estimated 6 million cameras, one for every 11 people, throughout its towns and cities. Hikvision has managed to tap into the lucrative British market by undercutting its European competitors by a substantial margin. According to government procurement documents, a basic Hikvision surveillance system could be purchased for £1,000 ($1,310). In contrast, the cost was £3,000 ($3,930) for a system of similar specification made by Germany’s Bosch.

The British government has expressed concerns about the Chinese government’s involvement in the country’s critical infrastructure. In December, defense secretary Gavin Williamson said he would be looking “very closely” at the role of Chinese firm Huawei in upgrading the U.K.’s mobile networks from 4G to 5G. “We’ve got to recognize the fact … that the Chinese state does sometimes act in a malign way,” he said. However, Hikvision’s growing presence in the U.K. has not attracted the same level of scrutiny.

In the U.S., Hikvision has not had such an easy ride. In August of last year, an amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act that banned the U.S. military and government from purchasing Hikvision technology. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., who authored the amendment, stated that the Chinese government was trying to “target the United States” by expanding the role of Chinese companies in the U.S. domestic communications and public safety sectors. “Video surveillance and security equipment sold by Chinese companies exposes the U.S. government to significant vulnerabilities,” she said, “and my amendment will ensure that China cannot create a video surveillance network within federal agencies.” The ban was eventually signed into U.S. law.

Karen Lee, a member of Parliament for the U.K.’s Labour Party, told The Intercept that she was urging the British government to consider boycotting Hikvision products, especially for use in publicly owned buildings. “At a time when digital interference in foreign political processes is increasingly being used to destabilize other countries, we must be vigilant of any risk that Hikvision or any company may pose to U.K. national security,” Lee said.

More evidence is needed to prove that Hikvision is implicated in Chinese government espionage, Lee added. “Regardless, it is unacceptable that a company which has been instrumental in human rights abuses is providing equipment to publicly owned U.K. agencies,” she said. “Divestment has a proud history at the center of civil rights campaigns, from apartheid South Africa to the American civil rights movement. The U.K. must send a clear message that we will do no business with any company that facilitates mass human rights abuse and ethnic repression.”


New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fueling outbreak

April 9, 2019

by Jonathan Allen and Gina Cherelus


NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn on Tuesday in response to a measles outbreak, requiring unvaccinated people living in the affected areas to get the vaccine or face fines. The city’s largest measles outbreak since 1991 has mainly been confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, with 285 cases confirmed since October, de Blasio said at a news conference. That compares to only two reported cases in 2017.

“This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately,” de Blasio said. He was joined by health officials who decried what they called “misinformation” spread by opponents of vaccination.

The disease is easily spread and can be fatal. While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care, officials said. All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.

The outbreak is part of a broader resurgence in the United States, with 465 cases reported in 19 states so far this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with a measles outbreak, according to New York City’s Department of Health.

Officials from the Department of Health will check vaccination records of anyone who has been in contact with infected patients in certain parts of Brooklyn, officials said.

Those who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and cannot give other evidence of immunity, such as having previously had the measles, will face a fine of up to $1,000.

It is the first time New York City has ordered mandatory vaccinations in recent history, according to health officials.

The mandatory vaccination order follows an order from the Health Department last week requiring yeshivas and day-care programs serving Williamsburg’s Orthodox Jewish community to exclude unvaccinated children or face fines or closure.

Another outbreak has hit Orthodox Jewish families in New York’s Rockland County. Officials there banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces last month.

That order was overturned by a state judge on Friday, who said the reported number of cases fell short of an epidemic, local media reported.

A growing and vocal fringe of parents oppose vaccinations, believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.

“There is a campaign with very intentional efforts to give misinformation,” Herminia Palacio, the city’s deputy mayor for public health, said at the news conference.

Health officials also expressed alarm at reports of parents in the city holding so-called “measles parties,” where they intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to an infected child in the mistaken belief doing so is a safe means to create immunity.

“I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated,” New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said at the news conference. “I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles.”

Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Gina Cherelus; Editing by Bill Berkrot


Can We Stop Pretending Now?

The Trump Era as an Occasion for Truth Telling

by Andrew J. Bacevich

Tom Dispatch

Irony, paradox, contradiction, consternation — these define the times in which we live. On the one hand, the 45th president of the United States is a shameless liar. On the other hand, his presidency offers an open invitation to Americans to confront myths about the way their country actually works. Donald Trump is a bullshit artist of the first order. Yet all art reflects the time in which it’s produced and Trump’s art is no exception. Within all the excrement lie nuggets of truth.

Well before Trump rode the down escalator to the center of American politics, there were indicators aplenty that things had gone fundamentally awry. Yet only with the presidential election of 2016 did the chickens come home to roost. And with their arrival, it became apparent that more than a few propositions hitherto accepted as true are anything but.

Let me offer seven illustrative examples of myths that the Trump presidency has once-and-for-all demolished.

Myth #1: The purpose of government is to advance the common good. In modern American politics, the concept of the common good no longer has any practical meaning. It hasn’t for decades. The phrase might work for ceremonial occasions — inaugural addresses, prayer breakfasts, that sort of thing — but finds little application in the actual business of governing.

When did politics at the national level become a zero-sum game? Was it during Richard Nixon’s presidency? Bill Clinton’s? While the question may be of academic interest, more pertinent is the fact that, with Trump in the White House, there is no need to pretend otherwise. Indeed, Trump’s popularity with his “base” stems in part from his candid depiction of his political adversaries not as a loyal opposition but an enemy force. Trump’s critics return the favor: their loathing for the president and — now that Trump’s generals are gone — anyone in his employ knows no bounds.

It’s the Mitch McConnell Rule elevated to the status of dogma: If your side wins, mine loses. Therefore, nothing is more important than my side winning. Compromise is for wusses.

Myth #2: Good governance entails fiscal responsibility. This is one of the hoariest shibboleths of modern American politics: feckless Democrats tax and spend; sober Republicans stand for balanced budgets. So President Ronald Reagan claimed, en route to racking up the massive deficits that transformed the United States from the world’s number one creditor into its biggest debtor. George W. Bush doubled down on Reagan’s promise. Yet during his presidency, deficits skyrocketed, eventually exceeding a trillion dollars per annum. No apologies were forthcoming. “Deficits don’t matter,” his vice president announced.

Then along came Trump. Reciting the standard Republican catechism, he vowed not only to balance the budget but to pay off the entire national debt within eight years. It was going to be a cinch. Instead, the projected deficit in the current fiscal year will once again top a cool trillion dollars while heading skywards. The media took brief note — and moved on.

Here’s the naked truth that Trump invites us to contemplate: both parties are more than comfortable with red ink. As charged, the Democrats are indeed the party of tax and spend. Yet the GOP is the party of spend-at-least-as-much (especially on the Pentagon) while offering massive tax cuts to the rich.

Myth #3: Justice is blind. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the controversies surrounding his confirmation affirmed in unmistakable terms what had been hidden in plain sight since at least 1987 when Robert Bork was denied a seat on the court. The Supreme Court has become a venue for advancing a partisan agenda. It serves, in effect, as a third legislative body, consisting of unelected members with lifelong tenure, answerable only to itself. So politically active Americans of whatever stripe believe. Justice impartially administered is for people who still believe in the Tooth Fairy.

As a result, the Supremes now wear invisible labels on their black robes, identifying members as either liberal or conservative, aligned, in effect, with Democratic or Republican positions. On hot-button issues — gun rights and abortion rights are two examples — their job is to act accordingly. Hence, the consternation caused when a member violates those expectations, as was the case when Chief Justice John Roberts voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

So both parties engage in unapologetic court packing. In recent years, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans, who blocked dozens of Obama appointees to the federal bench and prevented Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court from even being considered, have done so with considerable skill. But Democrats are merely biding their time. Hence, the imperative of ensuring that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now 86 and ailing, won’t retire until a Democrat once again sits in the Oval Office.

Crucially, neither the left nor the right acknowledges the possibility that a politicized judiciary, however useful in advancing a partisan agenda, might not serve the nation’s long-term interests.

Myth #4: The “wise men” are truly wise. To keep America safe, protect core U.S. interests, and promote peace, presidents since World War II have sought advice and counsel from a small self-perpetuating group of foreign policy insiders claiming specialized knowledge about how the world works and America’s proper role atop that world. In the 1960s, thanks to the disastrous war in Vietnam, the reputation of this cadre of “wise men” cratered. Yet they weren’t finished, not by a long shot. Their ranks now including women, they staged a remarkable comeback in the wake of 9/11. Among the ensuing catastrophes were the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

As a candidate, Trump made his contempt for this elite clear. Yet fool that he is, the president now employs a bargain-basement version of the “best and brightest”: a national security advisor who believes that “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”; a secretary of state whose conception of history derives from the Bible; an acting defense secretary on loan from Boeing who reportedly spends time trashing his former employer’s competitors; and a CIA director who earned her stripes supervising secret torture chambers.

Members of this posse may carry all the requisite security clearances, but sound thinking or foresight? One might do at least as well and perhaps better consulting a class full of college sophomores. Thanks to Trump, only the truly gullible will persist in thinking that the foreign policy establishment has a lock on wisdom.

Myth #5: The Persian Gulf is a vital U.S. national security interest. For decades now, Americans have been fed this line with unhappy results. Dominating the Persian Gulf, we’ve been told, is essential to preserving our way of life. Stripped to its essentials, here’s the gist of the argument: They have the oil and we need it.

In fact, we don’t need their oil. There’s plenty right here in our own hemisphere — in, that is, “Saudi America.” Moreover, burning all that oil accelerates climate change, which poses a greater proximate threat to the well-being of the American people than anything likely to happen in the Gulf. Meanwhile, several decades of U.S. meddling in that region have produced the inverse of what policymakers promised. Instead of order, there is instability; instead of democracy, illiberalism; instead of peace, death and destruction. In terms of lives lost and damaged and treasure wasted, the cost to the United States has been immense

To his credit, Trump has now explained the actual basis for the continuing U.S. interest in this part of the world: the Saudis, as well as other Gulf states, have an insatiable appetite for made-in-the-USA armaments. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby, and we can’t allow Russia or China to horn in on our market. Only to the military-industrial complex and its co-conspirators is the Persian Gulf a vital interest. Trump relieves us of the burden of having to pretend otherwise. Thank you, Mr. President.

Myth #6: Prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace depend on Washington playing the role of honest broker. Here, too, let’s give President Trump his due. He has definitively exposed the entire peace process as a fiction and a fraud. In fulfilling the promise made by previous presidents to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and by endorsing the Israeli claim to the Golan Heights, Trump has stripped away the last vestiges of pretense: Washington favors just one side in this festering dispute, as it has since at least the 1960s.

Why this should even qualify as news is a bit of a mystery. After all, for decades, the United States has been providing Israel with diplomatic cover at the U.N. Security Council and elsewhere, along with an annual gift of billions of dollars in weaponry — other customers pay cash — even as droves of non-Jewish politicians compete with one another to profess their undying love for and devotion to a country other than their own. Talk about dual loyalty!

Yes, of course, son-in-law Jared is busily hammering out what Trump himself has called “the toughest of all deals.” Perhaps there is genius in turning to an amateur when the professionals have failed. If Kushner pulls this off, we’ll wonder why Richard Nixon didn’t send daughter Tricia to Paris to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War and why Jimmy Carter didn’t dispatch wife Rosalynn to Tehran to sort out the hostage crisis. Yet whether Jared succeeds or not, thanks to Trump, we can now say definitively that when it comes to Israel, the United States is all in, now and forever.

Myth #7: War is the continuation of policy by other means. So, in a riff on Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz’s famous maxim, generations of American statesmen and military officers have professed to believe. Yet, in the present century, the challenge of making armed force politically purposeful has turned out to be daunting. Nothing illustrates the point more clearly than America’s never-ending war in Afghanistan.

Like the clutter of online ads that our eyes automatically ignore, Americans have learned to tune out this longest war in our history. Originally styled Operation Enduring Freedom, the war itself has certainly endured. It began when this year’s crop of high school graduates were just leaving the womb. In terms of total length, it’s on track to outlast the Civil War (1861-1865), U.S. participation in the two world wars (1917-1918, 1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the Vietnam War (1965-1973) combined.

The Pentagon has never demonstrated more than minimal interest in calculating the war’s cumulative costs. While researchers do their best to keep up with the mounting tally, their numbers possess almost no political salience. Congressional Democrats get exercised about the handful of billions of dollars that Donald Trump wants to waste on building his wall, but few members of either party attend to the hundreds of billions wasted in Afghanistan. So like the Energizer Bunny, the war there just keeps on going, while going nowhere in particular.

In his State of the Union Address earlier this year, the president opined that “Great nations do not fight endless wars.” It was a commendable declaration. Indeed, Trump has made it unmistakably clear that he wants out of Afghanistan as well as Syria, and the sooner the better. The boss has spoken: We’re leaving, pronto, sayonara, gone for good.

Yet as is so often the case with this president, words have not translated into action. So, contrary to Trump’s clearly expressed intentions, the Pentagon is planning on keeping 7,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another three to five years while also sustaining an active presence in Syria. In other words, the endless wars won’t be ending any time soon.

There’s a lesson to be learned here and the lesson is this: while senior military officers will never overtly disobey their president — heaven forbid! – they have evolved a repertoire of tricks over the decades to frustrate any president’s intentions. On the eve of his retirement from office in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower went on national television to tell the American people how it’s done.

Credit the present generation of generals with having gone one further. Remarkably enough, they have inverted Clausewitz. No longer does discernible political purpose serve as a necessary precondition for perpetuating a war. If generals (and militarized civilians) don’t want a war to end, that suffices as a rationale for its continuation. The boss will comply.

We can therefore thank Trump for inadvertently laying bare the reality of civil-military relations in twenty-first-century Washington: The commander-in-chief isn’t really in command.

Historians are never going to rate Trump as a great or even mediocre president. Even so, they may one day come to appreciate the Trump era as the moment when things long hidden became plain to see, when hitherto widely accepted falsehoods, fabrications, and obsolete assumptions about American democracy finally became untenable. For that, if for nothing else, we may yet have reason to thank our 45th president for services rendered

Encyclopedia of American Loons

  • Rand Paul

He probably needs no introduction, but Rand Paul is in any case the junior United States Senator from Kentucky, serving since 2011. Son of Ron, Rand Paul’s main qualification for an entry here is the fact that he is one of DC’s most prominent antivaccine apologists (after Congressman Bill Posey). NowPaul is in fact arguably an MD (ophthalmologist), but he is also a member of the deranged crank organization the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which sort of negates any credentials he might (perhaps) have on paper.

With regard to vaccines, Paul has bought heavily into the antivaccine propaganda, claiming in 2011 that “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” There is, of course, no link between vaccines and “profound mental disorders”. In fact, Paul clarified his comment a few days later, saying that “I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related … I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated.” Indeed, for all we know, Paul may, in fact, not believe that vaccines cause “profound mental disorders” (though the evidence is at best inconclusive and may have made the first comment just to appease the conspiracy theorists that tend to flock his events; it doesn’t matter – the mere willingness to cater to the antivaccine crowd in this manner makes you a serious loon. (In fact, the “temporal relation” claim is dubious, too.) In any case, Paul subsequently tried to frame his point, in typical antivaccine fashion, as a “health freedom” issue – what he opposes is really state- og government-mandated vaccines: “I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children.” Parents do not own their children. More recently, Paul has come out in support of conspiracy theorist and antivaxxer Michael Snyder’s run for Congress.

An opponent of rights to health care, Paul has stated that a right to health care equals slavery for health care workers, since you would in that case “have a right to come to my house and conscript me” and “have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you.” This is not how having a right to something works, but the description may be instructive when it comes to understanding how Paul conceives of e.g. constitutionally enshrined rights. He seems to have some serious difficulties with ownership-slavery relations, to the extent that normal people should be a bit concerned about putting him in any position of power.

As you’d expect Paul has also voiced support for a number of crank wingnut conspiracy theories related to the North American Union, such as the NAFTA Superhighway and the Amero. He has also toyed with religiously motivated historical revisionism, including claiming that the US is a Christian nation whose laws must be based on the Bible; in fact, we wouldn’t need laws if everyone were Christian, said Paul, which is demonstrably idiotic unless intended – we suspect it is – as a no-true-Scotsman gambit. Like David Barton’s books, Paul’s books are riddled with fake “quotes” by the founding fathers to support his agenda.

On climate change, Paul’s position is that “while I do think that man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role,” which is such a feeble attempt at waffling that it justifies chalking him up as a denialist. In 2011, Paul chastised President Obama – not BP – for BP’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; apparently Obama’s criticism was “anti-business” and “un-American”. Then he thought that people should stop playing the blame game because shit just happens.

Diagnosis: Conspiracy theorist and, more significantly, conspiracy theorist enabler. And Paul has a significant following (even though he seems to lack his father’s charisma) and as such quite a bit of power to realize the deranged aims of such conspiracy theorists. Extremely dangerous.


  • Mensur Omerbashich


Mensur Omerbashich is a crackpot and conspiracy theorist who received some attention when the Comet Elenin silliness took off in conspiracy circles. He has subsequently spent a lot of pretty quixotic efforts trying to have criticism of his nonsense removed from the Internet. Thing is, Omerbashich actually has genuine credentials; he’s got a PhD in theoretical geophysics from the University of New Brunswick, and has published a couple of real papers. (His more plentiful ArXiv papers count for significantly less) Apparently getting his degree was an ordeal involving for instance the resignation of several committee members, something Omerbashich blames on a conspiracy, presumably by the same shadowy cabal that controls the US patent office, with which he is engaged in combat over efforts to patent his ideas. His website, much of it written in ALL CAPS, reads as if it is trying to set some sort of world record in paranoia (there’s a lot about Jesuits allegedly assassinating people and mind control).

Omerbashich claims that there exists tidal “resonance” between comet Elenin and Earth, as shown by increased levels of earthquakes at specific times that are purportedly caused by the comet. He even provides “predictions” on his website about earthquake severity to test his hypothesis – rarely in advanceof those earthquakes, of course – but the explanations of how the data are supposed to fit his hypothesis are a bit unclear. Nor do the data align with data from the US Geological Survey or similar groups (more on his predictions and data here). In other words, from the perspective of facts and science, his hypotheses, needless to say, fail rather miserably. There are substantial critiques of his ideas here and here.

Like so many cranks, Omerbashich is a huge fan of Tesla. On the other hand, he has no love for Einstein, and appears, at least, to be a relativity denier.

Omerbashich’s idiosyncratic beliefs, usually presented in long, dense screeds, concern a wide range of issues going far beyond astronomy, however (although it is apparently all linked in some way). Much of his writing is focused on New World Order conspiracies, in particular freemasonry, insofar as Omerbashich has gotten himself to think that more or less everyone who disagrees with him is a Freemason trying to suppress his ideas (criticism = attempts to suppress, of course); he even has helpful lists of traits that will enable you to identify a Freemason, such as being politeand using Oxford English. And his website prominently states that “[n]o member of ‘Freemasonry’ or another deceptions organization that plagued sciences (Illuminati, Trilaterals, Bilderbergs, Committees on this and that, etc.) may use in any way, as in by citing or/and referencing or/and profiteering from, any of the publications, discoveries, expressions, laws/relationships, inventions or any other intellectual property that came into existence by intellectual activity of Dr. Mensur Omerbashich.” I don’t think it works quite like that.

As for himself, Omerbashich claims to be a direct descendent of a range of royal families, and to be “pretender to the thrones of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.” His ancestors were unfortunately removed from their rightful places as tyrants by the New World Order because they had deep knowledge of the evils of freemasonry encoded in their genes (or something). He currently seems to prefer to go by the title HM the King of Bosnia. So it goes

Note: Omerbashich seems to be currently residing in Europe, but he is – at least according to himself – an American citizen, so we judge him eligible for an entry.

Diagnosis: Paranoid crank magnet, but for the most part responsible more for color than for harm on the Internet.

  • Pam Olsen

A.k.a. Prayer Woman

Pam Olsen is a deranged religious fundamentalist of the Florida Prayer Network, creator of the group Bound4Life, founder of the Tallahassee branch of the International House of Prayer and an associate of people like IHoP founder Mike Bickle and Cindy Jacobs – indeed, according to herself she opened her branch of the International House of Prayer after she “received a prophetic word through Cindy Jacobs that God was going to use her as a mighty weapon against the enemy through the prayer movement and that He was going to raise up a physical location that would be a place of refuge for people, pastors and missionaries to come and pray.” Here you can find a video of Olsen talking about seven mountains dominionism and her desire to take over the government – as well as how she soon (during the End Times) is going to be given the power to raise the dead since she’s a prophet.

Indeed, Olsen seems occasionally to view herself as something of a superhero, with the superpower of intercessory prayer: “I have been a governmental intercessor for 25 years, standing in the gap for our country. I began to truly intercede for the nation when I had my fourth child; today, with four grandchildren, I am still standing in the gap for America and training young intercessors.” Though she admits that her efforts, often conducted in non-existent languages, aren’t always successful (some of her moves in the culture wars seem to have backfired rather spectacularly, for instance), she does claim that her stats are pretty good: “Many battles have been won and some lost,” says Olsen, though “[w]hen you watch the news and it seems like you’re losing, you have to learn to declare the Word of the Lord, realize you’re in a long-term battle and not grow weary.” Her superpowers seem to have less effect against natural disasters, where her efforts are counteracted by the Satanic power of homosexuals; yes, Olsen is one of those who think that gay rights are responsible for natural disasters like fires, tornadoes and floods (actually, such disasters are, more precisely, God’s just judgment on America and the church, which would presumably make it immoral for Olsen to try to prevent them with prayers; things quickly get tricky here): “You know what, God is not one that’s gonna wink at sin, He will come and shake at everything that can be shaken. God is a God of judgment, He is. If we think we’re not gonna be judged…He judged Israel? Are we better than that? And sometimes I think we think we are, but we’re not. And God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what’s been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes.” The old I-don’t-like-gay-rights-and-my-Strong-Friend-Henchman-will-beat-you-up-if-you-don’t-do-as-I-want gambit, in other words.

On the other hand, she seems to take partial credit for the election of George Bush, who opened the White House for such prayers: “We asked God to give our president great wisdom.” One may wonder if thatone is assigned to the success column of her scorecard.

Now, in her dominionist efforts Olsen has, in fact, managed to become a rather influential player on the religious right, first (at least insofar as we noticed) as part of the leadership team for Rick Perry’s presidential campaign in Florida in 2011. (She later switched her allegiance to Rick Santorum).

Diagnosis: Not a particularly pleasant person – hatred and anger combined with paranoia, delusions and poor reasoning skills tend to make you a bit unsavory – but an up-and-coming figure of non-negligible influence on the religious right sideshow. Worrisome.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 9, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Conversation No. 118

Date: Tuesday, December 16,  1997

Commenced:  1:17 PM CST

Concluded: 1:50 PM CST


RTC:  It really is amazing, Gregory, the number of my old friends, and I put quotes around that phrase, who somehow forget to call me or stop by.

GD: But you aren’t in power any more, Robert, are you? The moment you left the CIA, they forgot about you and rushed to embrace your successor. It’s always been that way. Some person asked me recently how they could be more popular and have more friends.

RTC: And you told them…?

GD: Why, I said to tell everyone their uncle Waldo had died and the lawyers said they inherited all of his estate. I said that this ought to be a hundred thousand dollars or more. Then, I said, they would flock to your door, waving their hands and reminding you they had shared a sandwich with you in Kindergarten. Oh yes, armies of the eager, the worshipful, seeking the warmth of your presence and hopeful of your generosity. There is the matter of little Timmy and his earwax problem. The doctors said that after the delicate operation, Timmy could hear again. Of course all it would really take to clean out the wax and the spiderwebs would be a five dollar little bulb with a bit of liquid, available from any drug store for less than ten dollars, but no, according to your new friends, a delicate operation. Possibly at the Mayo Clinic. Modestly turned down eyes and a brief, tragic, snort into a handkerchief while thinking of poor, deaf, Timmy once again able to hear the morning song of the birdies or his Grandma’s cries of pain as she sits down on Timmy’s toy fire engine on the couch. And just think, Robert, you could prevent all of that and bring joy into their home once again!

RTC: Joy who, Gregory?

GD: Joy Pavelic, the social worker, Robert. The one who comes by to make sure they are feeding little Timmy. Social workers do not approve of feeding deaf little angels on a diet of moldy cat food. And as others join in the chorus of supplications, and as your bank account shrinks accordingly, so also does your popularity. And when the account is empty, your front porch is also empty again and the horde of leeches is seen scampering down the street to the home of the next inheritor.

RTC: Are people really that obvious? Yes, they are. Greedy and stupid.

GD: Don’t forget vicious while you’re at it.

RTC: If Hitler had done away with idiots, eastern Europe would be a desert. My God, as a Chicago boy, I learned to love the Polacks, believe me.

GD: You heard about the Russian woman who recently gave birth to a wooden baby?

RTC: No, actually I didn’t. Won’t you tell me?

GD: Certainly. She had been raped by a Pole.

RTC: (laughter) Point well taken.

GD: And Hitler never did away with people.

RTC: The Jews certainly want you to believe he did.

GD: Do you know how Hitler actually died? No? He had a heart attack when he got the gas bill.

RTC: (laughter) Well, after all, didn’t they gas a hundred million Jews?

GD: Of course they did. And they also got the cats and the parrots at the same time.

Out in LA, in a really expensive art gallery in Beverly Hills, I can just her some old cow braying to her husband, ‘Myron, let’s buy the Picasso. It matches the drapes.’

RTC: The art market is pretty much filled with phonies.

GD: Oh my God, it is. Jackson Pollack used to get up on a ladder with cans of paint, toss the contents all over a big canvas he spread out on the floor of his garage and then the paint dribblings dried, cut up the canvas and made many pictures out of it. Jesus, the idiot people actually pay money for them. Their taste is obviously up their ass along with a dead baby, a beach sandal and two cans of sauerkraut.

RTC: But the art dealers must be happy.

GD: Yes, and rich.

RTC: Gregory, when you are in Washington, be careful with anti Jewish remarks. The city is packed with Hebrews.

GD: So is Beverly Hills.

RTC: No, they have power there so watch what you say. It never used to be that way but ever since Roosevelt’s long reign, the Hebrews have made a home inside the Beltway. And don’t forget that Roosevelt himself was Jewish. His biographers, most of whom are also Hebrews, speak of an aristocratic Dutch background but Franklin’s forebears came from Holland second. In Germany, where they had been living in the Rhineland, they were the Rosenfeld familiy and then when they ran to Holland with the local police after them, they changed the name to ‘Roosevelt.’ That name is not Dutch and when one of them came to New Amsterdam, he married a Samuels whose papa was in the fur trade. Why when old Franklin croaked in ’45, he had a cousin who was an Orthodox rabbi. And the Delano famlly were Italian Jews. And Franklin’s material grandfather was an opium smuggler.

GD: But Eleanor was of the same family.

RTC: Oh Jesus, don’t bring up that ugly old dyke. Crazy as a bedbug and had a face that would curdle milk.

GD: My, the Jews must have had a field day then.

RTC: Oh, they did indeed. Franklin’s top people were either rabid Jews or Communist spies. Or both. Why Harry Hopkins and Wallace were both taking money from Joe Stalin. And Morgenthau and Harry White were out to kill all the Germans and turn the country over to Stalin.

GD: Quite a few Jewish spies, weren’t there?

RTC: Many.

GD: Would you consider them traitors, Robert?

RTC: They should have hung the lot of them from trees in Rock Creek park when Franklin hit the floor.


(Concluded at 1:50 PM CST)






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