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TBR News August 10, 2019

Aug 10 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 10, 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 August 10: There is a persistent rumor about a nazi-style putsch in the United States. Someone here got a report on it but they are high-level and so far, no one has seen it. Sooner or later, it will get out and I can comment on it. This is not surprising at all. Tensions are building and no one is doing anything about it so an explosion would be no surprise at all.”

The Table of Contents

  • The Enormous American Mortgage Fraud
  • 2013-2015: Trump Tower Surveilled by FBI as Part of Effort to Catch Russian  Drug Mobsters
  • Texas shooting suspect told police he targeted ‘Mexicans
  • Groundwork for a putsch
  • Iran Has Hundreds of Naval Mines. U.S. Navy Minesweepers Find Old Dishwashers and Car Parts.
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons


The Enormous American Mortgage Fraud

August 10, 2019

by Christian jürs

Although only bankers are aware of it, there is a second wave of economic disaster starting to build up that will make the earlier one pale into insignificance. Let us start out with MERS, shall we?

MERS = Mortgage Electronic Registration Inc.holds approximately 60 million Amerrican mortgages and is a Delaware corporation whose sole shareholder is Mers Corp. MersCorp and its specified members have agreed to include the MERS corporate name on any mortgage that was executed in conjunction with any mortgage loan made by any member of MersCorp. Thus in place of the original lender being named as the mortgagee on the mortgage that is supposed to secure their loan, MERS is named as the “nominee” for the lender who actually loaned the money to the borrower. In other words MERS is really nothing more than a name that is used on the mortgage instrument in place of the actual lender. MERS’ primary function, therefore, is to act as a document custodian. MERS was created solely to simplify the process of transferring mortgages by avoiding the need to re-record liens – and pay county recorder filing fees – each time a loan is assigned. Instead, servicers record loans only once and MERS’ electronic system monitors transfers and facilitates the trading of notes. It has very conserbatively estimated that as of February, 2010, over half of all new residential mortgage loans in the United States are registered with MERS and recorded in county recording offices in MERS’ nam

MersCorp was the created in the early 1990’s by the former C.E.O.’s of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Indy Mac, Countrywide, Stewart Title Insurance and the American Land Title Association. The executives of these companies lined their pockets with billions of dollars of unearned bonuses and free stock by creating so-called mortgage backed securities using bogus mortgage loans to unqualified borrowers thereby creating a huge false demand for residential homes and thereby falsely inflating the value of those homes. MERS marketing claims that its “paperless systems fit within the legal framework of the laws of all fifty states” are now being vetted by courts and legal commentators throughout the country.

The MERS paperless system is the type of crooked rip-off scheme that is has been seen for generations past in the crooked financial world. In this present case, MERS was created in the boardrooms of the most powerful and controlling members of the American financial institutions. This gigantic scheme completely ignored long standing law of commerce relating to mortgage lending and did so for its own prsonal gain. That the inevitable collapse of the crooked mortgage swindles would lead to terrible national reprecussions was a matter of little or no interest to the upper levels of America’s banking and financial world because the only interest of these entities was to grab the money of suckers, keep it in the form of ficticious bonuses, real estate and very large accounts in foreign banks.. The effect of this system has led to catastrophic metldown on both the American and global economy.

MERS, it has clearly been proven in many civil cases, does not hold any promissory notes of any kind.. A party must have possession of a promissory note in order to have standing to enforce and/or otherwise collect a debt that is owed to another party. Given this clear-cut legal definition,  MERS does not have legal standing to enforce or collect on the over 60 million mortgages it controls and no member of MERS has any standing in an American civil court.

MERS has been taken to civil courts across the country and charged with a lack of standing in reprossion issues. When the mortgage debacle initially, and invevitably, began, MERS always rotinely broght actions against defauilting mortgage holders purporting to represent the owners of the defaulted mortgages but once the courts discovered that MERS was only a front organization that did not hold any deed nor was aware of who or what agencies might hold a deed, they have been routinely been denied in their attempts to force foreclosure.  In the past, persons alleging they were officials of MERS in foreclosure motions, purported to be the holders of the mortgage, when, in fact, they nor only were not the holder of the mortgage but, under a court order, could not produce the identity of the actual holder. These so-called MERS officers have usually been just employees of entities who are servicing the loan for the actual lender. MERS, it is now widely acknowledged by the courty, has no legal right to foreclose or otherwise collect debt which are evidenced by promissory notes held by someone else.

The American media routinely identifies MERS as a mortgage lender, creditor, and mortgage company, when in point of fact MERS has never loaned so much as a dollar to anyone, is not a creditor and is not a mortgage company. MERS is merely a name that is printed on mortgages, purporting to give MERS some sort of legal status, in the matter of a loan made by a completely different and almost always,a totally unknown enitity.

The infamous collapse of the American housing bubble originated, in the main, with one Angelo Mozilo, CEO of the later failed Countrywide Mortgage

Mozilo started working in his father’s butcher shop, in the Bronx, when he was ten years old. He graduated from Fordham in 1960, and that year he met David Loeb.. In 1968, Mozilo and Loeb created a new mortgage company, Countrywide, together. Mozilo believed the company should make special efforts to lower the barrier for minorities and others who had been excluded from homeownership. Loeb died in 2003

In 1996, Countrywide created a new subsidiary for subprime loans

The standard Countrywide procedure was to openly solicit persons who either had no credit or could not obtain it, and, by the use of false credit reports drawn up in their offices, arrange mortgages. The new home owners were barely able to meet the minimum interest only payments and when, as always happens, the mortgage payments are increased to far, far more than could be paid, defaults and repossessions were inevitable. Countrywide sold these mortgages to lower-tier banks which in turn, put them together in packages and sold them to the large American banks. These so-called “bundled mortgages” were quickly sold these major banking houses to many foreign investors with the comments that when the payments increased, so also would the income from the original mortgage. In 1996, Countrywide created a new subsidiary for subprime loans..

At one point in time, Countrywide Financial Corporation was regarded with awe in the business world. In 2003, Fortune observed that Countrywide was expected to write $400 billion in home loans and earn $1.9 billion. Countrywide’s chairman and C.E.O., Angelo Mozilo, did rather well himself. In 2003, he received nearly $33 million in compensation. By that same year, Wall Street had become addicted to home loans, which bankers used to create immensely lucrative mortgage-backed securities and, later, collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.s—and Countrywide was their biggest supplier. Under Mozilo’s leadership, Countrywide’s growth had been astonishing.

He was aiming to achieve a market share—thirty to forty per cent—that was far greater than anyone in the financial-services industry had ever attained. For several years, Countrywide continued to thrive. Then, inevitably, in 2007, subprime defaults began to rocket upwards, forcing the top American bankers to abandoned the mortgage-backed securities they had previously prized. It was obvious to them that the fraudulent mortgages engendered by Countrywide had been highly suceessful as a marketinig program but it was obvious to eveyone concerned, at all levels, that the mortgages based entirely on false and misleading credit information were bound to eventually default. In August of 2007, the top American bankers cut off

Countrywide’s short-term funding, which seriously hindered its ability to operate, and in just a few months following this abandonment,  Mozilo was forced to choose between bankruptcy orselling out to the best bidder.. In January, 2008, Bank of America announced that it would buy the company for a fraction of what Countrywide was worth at its peak. Mozilo was subsequently named a defendant in more than a hundred civil lawsuits and a target of a criminal investigation. On June 4th, 2007 the S.E.C., in a civil suit, charged Mozilo, David Sambol, and Eric Sieracki with securities fraud; Mozilo was also charged with insider trading. The complaint formalized a public indictment of Mozilo as an icon of corporate malfeasance and greed.

In essence, not only bad credit risks were used to create and sell mortgages on American homes that were essentially worthless. By grouping all of these together and selling them abroad, the banks all made huge profits. When the kissing had to stop, there were two major groups holding the financial bag. The first were the investors and the second were, not those with weak credit, but those who had excellent credit and who were able, and willing to pay off their mortgages.

Unfortunately, as no one knows who owns the title to any home, when the legitimate mortgage holder finally pays off his mortgage, or tries to sell his house, a clear title to said house or property cannot ever be found so, in essence, the innocent mortgage payer can never own or sell his house. This is a terrible economic time bomb quietly ticking away under the feet of the Bank of America and if, and when, it explodes, another bank is but a fond memory.


2013-2015: Trump Tower Surveilled by FBI as Part of Effort to Catch Russian  Drug Mobsters

The FBI conducted a lengthy surveillance operation at Trump Tower, including wiretapping and other methods, in an attempt to gain information on a Russian organized crime money-laundering network operating out of Unit 63A in the building.

The opulent apartment was owned by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (or Tokhtakhounav), a notorious Russian mafia boss.

The surveillance was successful and used to arrest and prosecute over 30 people.

Tokhtakhounov is the only one to escape arrest, and in 2017 was considered a fugitive by American law enforcement officials. Seven months after the April 2013 indictment and after being named in an Interpol “red notice,” Tokhtakhounov appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

FBO agent Mike Gaeta, who ran the initial FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his money-laundering and gambling ring, told a reporter: “He is a major player. He is prominent. He has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”

Gaeta and the FBI believed Tokhtakhounov and his ring moved over $50 million in illegal money into the US. He noted: “Because of his status, we have kept tabs on his activities and particularly as his activities truly enter New York City. Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus and then ultimately here to the United States.”

Donald Trump himself was not a subject of the investigation, but Trump Tower was under close watch. Another member of Tokhtakhounov’s ring, Vadim Trincher, also lived in Trump Tower. He was convicted of racketeering and was sentenced to a five-year prison term.

Former FBI official Rich Frankel said of Trump Tower: “Everything was moving in and out of there. [Trincher] would have people come in and meet with them. He would use the phones. He would also communicate, whether it was through e-mail or other communications through there. His base of operations was in the Trump Tower.”

One recording by the FBI had Trincher threatening to have a debtor tortured and murdered. One tenant, Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan, was gunned down in broad daylight on Sixth Avenue in a gang-related assassination.

Nektalov was cooperating with federal investigators at the time of his murder. Trump Organization spokespersons denied that unusually large numbers of Russian citizens have been living spaces in Trump properties, but property records show that is a lie. ABC will report: “Trump-branded developments catered to large numbers of Russian buyers, including several who had brushes with the law. Russian buyers were particularly drawn to Trump licensed condo towers in Hollywood, Florida, and Sunny Isles. Local real estate agents credited the Russian migration for turning the coastal Miami-area community into what they called Little Moscow.” Tokhtakhounov is enjoying a life of luxury in Moscow, and is regularly observed in public.

Daily Kos writer Mark Sumner will note that the three floors between Tokhtakhounov’s apartment and Trump’s penthouse suite was occupied by Bayrock, a shady company “owned by post-Soviet oligarchs and operated by securities fraudster Felix Sater.” Sumner will write: “It looks like Trump Tower was a one-size fits all money-laundering superstore. … Was there a wiretap at Trump Tower? Damn right there was. Because Trump Tower is a hotbed of illegal activity, and it’s just part of the ‘open for business’ sign Trump hung out for Russian mobsters.”

Broidy and his wife, attorney Robin Rosenzweig, engaged in a year-long email exchange with Malaysian businessman Jho Low to arrange a consulting contract.

Low was at the center of the investment scandal that also involved, among others, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The couple proposed a $75 million fee from Low if their company could ensure that the DOJ would drop its investigation into the investment scandal. Broidy also prepared talking points for Najib before the prime minister met with Trump in 2017; Broidy advised Najib to emphasize Malaysia’s committment to standing with the US against North Korea. Lawyer Chris Clark sends a statement on behalf of Broidy and Rosenzweig, saying that they were asked to provide advice to Low “as part of a broader team.”

The statement continues, “At no time did Mr. Broidy or Ms. Rosenzweig, or anyone acting on their behalf, discuss Mr. Low’s case with President Trump, any member of his staff, or anyone at the US Department of Justice.” In July 2016, the DOJ filed civil forfeiture complaints seeking to recover over $2 billion in assets illegally acquired with funds misappropriated from 1MDB. The DOJ identified Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) as someone who laundered over $400 million stolen from the firm.

A Malaysian investigation cleared Najib and 1MDB of wrongdoing. 1MDB says it is cooperating with the investigation, but also asserts that no money is missing from its coffers. The department says Low and other high-level officials at 1MDB stole over $4.5 billion from a sovereign wealth fund administered by the firm. Najib was the recipient of some $681 million of the stolen funds, according to the DOJ, though both Low and Najib have denied any wrongdoing in the scandal.

The money apparently was sunk into, among other things, buying artwork by Monet and Van Gogh, a private jet, a $250 million yacht (later seized by Indonesian authorities on behalf of the US), real estate, and investments in the American film The Wolf of Wall Street. After the Wall Street Journal publishes some of the emails, both Rosenzweig and Broidy’s assistant say that their email account was hacked.

“It’s definitely a hack,” Rosenzweig says. “They’ve hacked attorney-client privileged documents.” The Journal initially received the emails from an anonymous group using the nickname “L.A. Confidential,” who describes itself as a group dedicated to “expos[ing] people associated with Hollywood.”

Rosenzweig says she does not recognize some of the emails published by the Journal. She says she and her husband are conducting a “personal investigation.” Clark says: “We are concerned that the Wall Street Journal is in possession of internal drafts of documents that were never used, and that were never intended to be shared with third parties. We question the legality and propriety of the manner in which the documents were obtained.”


Sequence of Events


In March 2017, Rosenzweig, after she, her husband, or both had engaged in discussions with Low, wrote up a draft agreement for a contractual hire of her and her firm, the Colfax Law Office.

She demanded $8 million upfront, with a promise of another $50 million from Low if the firm “settled the matter” of the DOJ investigation within a year. The firm demanded $75 million if it could persuade the DOJ to terminate the investigation within 180 days. After she learned that “success fees” and “non-refundable retainer fees” are not legal in New York, Rosenzweig adjusted the contract to require a stiff flat fee from Low. In May 2017, Rosenzweig informed Low that her firm would need to enter into a contract with Pras Michel, a friend of Low’s and a member of the hip-hop group The Fugees.

She said that Low would need to pay her firm through Michel, who is a friend of Low’s. While Rosenzweig negotiated with Low, Broidy worked with his contacts at the DOJ, circulating talking points that were designed to convince the department to drop the Malaysia investigation. In August, Broidy sent an assistant from his investment firm an email entitled “Malaysia Talking Points *Final,*” apparently drafted for delivery by a Malaysian official who would soon meet with a US official. Two days after the email was sent, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went to Malaysia as part of a larger Southeast Asia tour; in September, Trump met with Najib at the White House.

Najib also met with Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump subsequently appeared in public with Najib, and said: “He does not do business with North Korea any longer. We find that to be very important.” Najib reportedly did not bring up the 1MDB case with Trump. The talking points concerning the investigation emphasized that the investigation is being competently handled by Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Malaysia; no Americans were harmed by any 1MDB transaction; the investigation could chill relations between the US and Malaysia and cause unrest among ordinary Malaysians; and no investors were harmed by the illegal transactions.

The email reads in part: “Finally, I will send [the] Malaysian Attorney General ahead of my visit to the US in September to meet President Trump. I would like an introduction to Attorney General Sessions. … Secretary Tillerson may mention Elliott Broidy’s name. If he does, I will confirm that I know Elliot [sic] and that he wants a closer relationship between the USA and Malaysia.” The talking points were ineffective, as the DOJ intensified its investigation. In January 2018, less than three weeks before the Trump inauguration, Broidy sent himself an email with talking points apparently to be directed to Trump aide Rick Gates. Broidy’s intent seemed to be to convince Gates to help persuade the DOJ to terminate the investigation.

Gates, according to the memo, was to say that he was working with the DOJ and National Security Council to resolve the situation, that he would consult with (possibly) Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, that Trump is supposedly committed to resolving the 1MDB situation, and that Trump is deeply invested in seeing Najib re-elected. Another document reads in part: “I am in the process of scheduling a meeting with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand who has the oversight for the Malaysia case.

She is a Trump appointee and viewed as the only true Trump appointee currently at DoJ. … In addition, the National Security Division of DoJ is involved and President Trump has appointed John Demers (formerly of Boeing) to that position.” Demers became the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division in February 2018. “He is awaiting his confirmation but will be confirmed shortly. I will also meet with John. He will be an instrumental figure in the resolution of the Malaysia issues.” Both Broidy and Rosenzweig deny writing the documents describing interactions with Trump and Justice Department officials

Texas shooting suspect told police he targeted ‘Mexicans

August 9, 2019

by Julio Cesar-Chavez


EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – The suspected gunman accused of killing 22 people in a shooting rampage at Walmart in El Paso, Texas last weekend confessed while surrendering and told police he was targeting “Mexicans,” according to an El Paso police affidavit released on Friday . The suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, came out of his vehicle, stopped at an intersection, “and stated out loud ‘I’m the shooter’”, Detective Adrian Garcia said in the affidavit on Sunday, a day after the shooting.

Crusius has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.

The affidavit said Crusius waived his right to remain silent after he was taken into custody and told detectives he entered the Walmart with an AK47 and multiple magazines.

“The defendant stated his target (was) Mexicans,” the affidavit said.

Crusius is accused of shooting and killing 22 people and wounding two dozen more on Saturday, shortly after a manifesto appeared online explaining his motivation and decrying a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States.

Most of those listed as dead had Hispanic names.


Just hours later, a gunman wearing body armor and a mask opened fire in a crowded neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people, including his own sister.

President Donald Trump visited both communities on Thursday and was met with chanting protesters who accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

Authorities said Crusius drove 11 hours from his hometown of Allen, Tex., near Dallas, to perpetrate a massacre in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso. Authorities say the mass shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and act of domestic terrorism.

Democratic presidential candidates have accused Trump of fanning racist, white nationalist sentiments with anti-immigrant, racially charged language at rallies and on Twitter. They said he has created political climate conducive to hate-based violence.

Trump suggested on Friday he could persuade the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group to drop its strong opposition to gun restrictions after recent mass shootings that have reignited the gun control debate.

Nearly half of all Americans believe another mass shooting in the United States is highly likely soon, according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Friday.

White House officials and big social media companies met on Friday to talk about how to curb extremism online after the shootings but the White House declined to comment on who took part in the closed-door session.

Reporting by Julio Cesar-Chave; additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Cynthia Osterman


Groundwork for a putsch

August 10, 2019

by Benjamin Dova

Postmodern militarism is not marked by overt military dominance or even a societal embrace of martial values. Rather, it is characterized by a growing willingness of an increasingly militarily-naive society to charge those in uniform with responsibilities that a democracy ought to leave to civilians. It is a product of America’s deep frustration and disgust with elected government’s inability to work effectively, or to even labor honestly. The reason the military’s approval rating far exceeds that of every other institution in American society–including, significantly, the ones expected to exercise civilian control–is quite simple: it gets good things done.

Embattled politicians are ever more frequently turning to the military for quick-fixes: Can’t stop drugs? Call in the Navy. FEMA overwhelmed? Deploy the Airborne. Crime out of control? Put Guardsmen on the streets. Troubled youths? Marine role models and military boot camps. Need health care? Military medics to the rescue. Diplomats stumble again? Another Air Force mercy mission on the way. The unapologetically authoritarian military can “make the trains run on time,” but at what price?

That question was never answered; the national discussion we needed in the 1990s never took place. This was especially unfortunate because the civilian institutions that were supposed to control the military were weakening. Congress’ partisanship made it vulnerable to manipulation by politically astute military operatives who became expert at playing congressional factions against each other. The executive branch didn’t fare much better. At the beginning of the Clinton administration, for example, there were numerous reports of open contempt by military personnel for their commander in chief. Although many observers believed the initial hostility later dissipated, President Clinton’s continued vulnerability was illustrated by the uproar that followed an attempt by his lawyers to characterize him as a member of the armed forces to delay a lawsuit. Moreover, analysts were still asserting in 1996 that Clinton had not yet been able to “command” the Pentagon.

Instead, the military had become, as one commentator put it, “the most powerful individual actor in Washington politics.” Part of the reason lay with the fact that the executive and legislative branches both labored under the shadow of Vietnam. Writing in May 1996, A.J. Bacevich of Johns Hopkins University observed the following:

Thirty years later, now elected to positions of prominence, those who evaded service now truckle and fawn to demonstrate the depth of their regard for men in uniform. . . . The military itself is only too happy to play along. The moral leverage embedded in “the troops” . . . provides the Pentagon with enormous political clout. Senior military leaders do not hesitate to exploit that clout for their own purposes.

Among military leaders, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is most senior. By the mid-1990s it was clear, as Defense News contended, that the chairman’s “rising clout threaten[ed] civilian leaders.” With his power dramatically increased by the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act, politicization became a charge levied at every chairman. Admiral Crowe was a self-described “political animal,” and General Powell was similarly characterized. General Shalikashvili also was accused of partisanship when he challenged the views of then-Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and later voiced opposition to the Defend America Act, a cornerstone of Republican Robert Dole’s presidential campaign.

The highly politicized office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wasn’t converted into the all-powerful Military Plenipotentiary until 2005, but we were already slipping toward that in the 1990s. Although prohibited by law from acting as a commander, the chairman was engaged in the command-like function of directing adherence to joint doctrine. Likewise, the Joint Staff was behaving as if it were the military’s senior headquarters, even though U.S. law denied it executive power and prohibited it from functioning as a general staff.


Iran Has Hundreds of Naval Mines. U.S. Navy Minesweepers Find Old Dishwashers and Car Parts.

As tensions heat up in the Persian Gulf, the Navy’s minesweeping fleet may once again be called into action, but its sailors say the ships are too old and broken to do the job. “We are essentially the ships that the Navy forgot.”

August 5, 2019

by Robert Faturechi, Megan Rose and T. Christian Miller


The U.S. Navy officer was eager to talk.

He’d seen his ship, one of the Navy’s fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training — how to identify and defuse underwater mines — for fewer than 10 days the entire next year. During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship’s faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.The officer, hoping that by speaking out he could provoke needed change, wound up delaying the scheduled interview. He apologized. His ship had broken down again.

“We are essentially the ships that the Navy forgot,” he said of the minesweepers.

Thousands of miles away in the Persian Gulf, another officer, this one assigned to a minesweeper in the Navy’s 5th Fleet, offered much the same account. While tensions with Iran seem to escalate by the day, the officer said the four minesweepers based in the Gulf were so physically unreliable that he doubted his superiors would actually send them into action in a crisis.

The ships are one of the Navy’s primary tools for finding and neutralizing mines. They use sonar to hunt for them. The bombs are then disabled by divers, underwater drones or towing equipment dragged behind the stern.

But the aging minesweepers routinely need repairs, the officer in the Persian Gulf said, and the companies that used to make a variety of spare parts no longer exist. A sailor recently aboard one ship said the sonar meant to detect mines was so imprecise that in training exercises it flagged dishwashers, crab traps and cars on the ocean floor as potential bombs.

Clearing mines from the Persian Gulf effectively would require multiple ships underway for a sustained period. A Navy spokesman acknowledged that the service has struggled to put a “fully mission-capable” squad to sea. Only a quarter of the time over the last year did more than one ship meet that definition — although he said the ships could still be sent out.

“We are eager to operate if called upon,” the officer aboard one of the Persian Gulf ships said. “We’ll operate the systems as best as they can operate. My concern is the ships are old and, like any old ship, they break.”

The Avenger-class ships were built in the late 1980s and early ’90s and slated for retirement years ago. But their retirement date has been continually delayed because the service still doesn’t have a working replacement. The Navy’s latest estimate is that the ships will all be decommissioned by fiscal year 2023.

Senior Navy officials have called their mine warfare fleet in the Persian Gulf — a mix of aging ships, high-tech drones and helicopters —

“the best and the brightest around,” and a Navy spokesman recently said the minesweeper fleet was “fully capable” of fulfilling its mission of finding and neutralizing mines. The Navy’s underwater drones, the spokesman said, “have a high rate of success,” and the sonar systems on the ships “are very accurate at detecting mines.”

While the spokesman conceded “there are challenges with all older ships, including maintenance and repair” that might make it take longer for the ships to accomplish their mission, he said maintenance problems have “dramatically improved” of late. He noted that as recently as July 6, all four of the older minesweepers based in the Persian Gulf had been at sea at the same time. (An officer aboard one of the ships called it a “photo exercise” and said it was “extraordinarily rare” to see all four out at once.)

Pro Publica has spent this year examining the Navy’s state of readiness, including its response to known vulnerabilities in its ranks and arsenal. As part of that effort, ProPublica spoke with a dozen Navy officers, sailors, contractors and experts about the mine warfare unit. Those interviewed asked for anonymity so they could candidly discuss what they allege is neglect in the unit. The weakness they describe is in a relatively modest and unglamorous division of the Navy — 11 ships with a limited mission — but they nonetheless feel the problems have become more pressing given the United States’ volatile relationships with Iran and North Korea.

Those interviewed said Navy brass had made damaging budget decisions that have kept them from having a well-functioning mine warfare fleet.

“It’s not that they don’t want it, it’s that they want other things more,” one officer said. “Every dollar you’re spending on [mine countermeasures] is a dollar you’re not spending on some cool new submarine.”

To make matters worse, efforts to replace the aging ships with newer ones have met with repeated costly delays. And the quality of the training given to the sailors in the unit had suffered.

A defense contractor who has worked with the ships in recent years said the minesweepers suffered the highest rate of mechanical problems of any Navy ship. (A Navy spokesman declined to comment on that assessment, but he said that “recent metrics show that there has been substantial improvement.”) The USS Devastator, or MCM 6, was recently out of commission because the Navy couldn’t fix a key part, according to a sailor who recently served a long tour on the ship. The ship was out of the water so long the sailors started jokingly referring to it as “Building 6,” since it never actually moved.

Another military contractor who has worked with the minesweepers said the Navy has historically relied too heavily on computer-based training instead of hands-on exercises. Sailors on the ships, he said, often do not know how to use their equipment.

“I’m telling you they can’t do it, not with any degree of operational proficiency,” the contractor said.

The Navy built its first modern minesweeper during the 1940s. The fleet proved critical during World War II for clearing heavily mined waters in the Pacific for warships to pass and ahead of large amphibious assaults, such as the war-defining Battle of Okinawa. Some of those ships were then recommissioned to do the same job during the Korean War after hundreds of Soviet-made mines were dropped by the North Koreans.

Decades later, the Korea-era ships were part of an international effort led by the British in the Persian Gulf to try to keep the shipping lanes safe during the mining campaigns of the Iran-Iraq War. And then again in 1991, those old minesweepers, along with the first commissioned Avenger ship, were in the same waters struggling to clear a path for U.S. warships to approach the coast of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. Two U.S. vessels had been damaged by mines. After the war ended, the minesweeper units trolled the waters off Kuwait to find and disarm the more than 1,000 mines Iraq had dropped in concentric arcs for miles.

As the rest of the new class of minesweepers were commissioned, they deployed to the region and became a regular fixture there. The Avenger-class ships were called into service during the 2003 invasion of Iraq to stand ready for any mining near an Iraqi port that would be key for getting supplies and humanitarian aid into the country during the war.

Iran, which is also believed to have thousands of naval mines, has stepped up its aggressiveness in the Persian Gulf in recent weeks.

The mines are dropped into the sea and explode when ships pass. Iran’s arsenal includes a mix of cheaper, older ones that float and blow up on impact, and more sophisticated ones that can be dropped from planes. They sit on the ocean floor and explode after detecting nearby ships.

“We certainly have the ability to do it,” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last month about closing the Strait of Hormuz, a critical commercial passageway. “But we certainly don’t want to do it because the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are our lifeline.”

Sailors in the 5th Fleet’s minesweeping operations said they have watched the escalation of hostility in the Persian Gulf — the downing of drones by Iran and the U.S., masked gunmen rappelling from an Iranian helicopter to seize a British-flagged oil tanker — with a mix of excitement and pessimism. They are eager to contribute but doubt their ability to do so.

Asked if the ships could effectively find and remove mines in the Gulf if they had to, one officer was blunt: “No.”

The Bahrain-based minesweepers, more than two times the length of a basketball court, are made of wood so they can more safely approach magnetic naval mines. Sailors have to be cautious about bringing anything made of metal on board, mindful even of where they store canned foods.

The Bahrain-based minesweepers, more than two times the length of a basketball court, are made of wood so they can more safely approach magnetic naval mines. Sailors have to be cautious about bringing anything made of metal on board, mindful even of where they store canned foods.

Like all ships deployed abroad, the minesweepers operate on a cycle: a planned ship maintenance phase, followed by basic training when the crew practices finding and disarming dummy mines, and finally underway periods, which include shows of force and joint exercises with allied navies. Those interviewed said the four ships do receive all of their allotted maintenance time, but the ships frequently require their crews to cannibalize working parts from other minesweepers — a challenge considering how few of them there are — or wait for new replacements.

“It takes a long time,” one officer said. “Many, many months.”

As a result, the officer said each of the four ships are typically underway only 15% of the time. Sometimes, those interviewed said, the training missions that get done prove as frustrating as being stuck in drydock. The sailor who’d been on the Devastator said the underwater drones are successful in finding mines only about 20% of the time. He knew of only one time when the crew was able to find a mine, and that was during a training exercise when it had the GPS coordinates for it.

“We joke about it all the time,” said the officer who is based in Japan. “It seems like somebody’s doing a social experiment. They take 80 or 90 well-intentioned, talented or motivated people and put us on ship with broken and unreliable equipment and give them an impossible task and see how they handle it mentally and emotionally.”

That there are problems with the mine warfare unit is well known to the Navy.

The Navy’s former top officer, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told ProPublica that when he took command in 2011, he was immediately notified of the deteriorating mine warfare units in the Persian Gulf by the combatant commander in the Middle East at the time, Gen. Jim Mattis.

Greenert said he responded by putting more of an emphasis on the use of newly developed unmanned vehicles that could be dispatched to find and detonate mines. And he ramped up mine-clearing exercises with other navies, including those of the British and Gulf states.

The effort didn’t resolve some of the unit’s issues, however.

In 2013, the USS Guardian, a minesweeper, accidentally ran into a sensitive coral reef in the Philippines. No one was injured, but the $212 million ship had to be decommissioned, and the U.S. ambassador was forced to apologize for the damage to the World Heritage site.

Three years later, the Navy’s Sea Dragon helicopters, which stream cables that dislodge mines moored to the ocean floor, came under damning scrutiny. In a lengthy examination in The Virginian-Pilot, the Sea Dragons were found to have been used long after they were supposed to be retired. Over a three-year period, they had crashed at a higher rate than any other military aircraft, including a 2014 crash that killed three service members.

The Navy’s plan to replace the minesweepers with a new class of vessels, known as Littoral Combat Ships, has been repeatedly delayed by cost overruns and technical deficiencies. The push to develop the new line of ships has been a financial drain on the minesweeping budget and the maintenance of the existing fleet.

Congress, concerned about resources being diverted, has required the Navy not to decommission the ships or reduce how many sailors are assigned to them until there’s a replacement that would “meet or exceed” their capabilities. The Navy, in the shipbuilding plan it submitted to Congress this year, said that in the next year it would begin retiring three of its 11 minesweepers — the ones based in the U.S., in San Diego — and harvest their parts to service the eight ships based in Japan and Bahrain.

An officer briefed on the planning said top Navy officials were reluctant to pump more money into maintaining the older minesweepers and were taking a gamble that the new ships would finally be ready just as the legacy minesweepers were decommissioned.

“We’d be extremely lucky if those lined up,” the officer said. “There has been a conscious decision by Navy leadership to assume risk in the present.”

Asked whether the Navy was taking a risk assuming the new line of ships would be ready to take over before the Avengers were decommissioned, the Navy’s spokesman would only say that the Navy is constantly reviewing its capacity for the mission.

In the Persian Gulf now, one officer described the difficulties of instilling a sense of urgency and mission in sailors who doubt the senior ranks of the Navy will ever trust their prowess if Iran were to deploy mines.

“I have to tell them, ‘We always have to be ready,’” the officer said. “But it is tough to put your people through very hard conditions when you privately think you’re not going to go out.”


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 10, 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. 109

Date: Thursday, October 23, 1997

Commenced: 11:45 AM CST

Concluded: 12:15 PM CST

RTC: Gregory, good day to you.

GD: And to you. Rare that you call me, Robert.

RTC: Well, you usually call me so I can save a dime. You know, some time ago, we were talking about Hitler and his disposition at the end of the war. I think we both know he got clean away, along with his mistress and a few trusted people.

GD: Bormann not included.

RTC: No, Bormann not included. The point is, I think it would be greatly appreciated here if you kept strictly away from this theme.

GD: Well, first off, why?

RTC: First off, even hinting at this is going to make more trouble for everyone than you can imagine. Oh yes, Hitler would be dead by now but there are tremendous implications. Everyone wants Hitler to be dead, a suicide in the ruins of Berlin. He will have expiated all of his sins in this way.

GD: What sins? Rebuilding his country? Breaking the Communist cells in Germany?

RTC: No, we are looking at the Jewish problem mainly but do not forget the immense wave of propaganda unleashed during the war about the evil Hitler was doing. The residues of this are still with us, coupled with Jewish rage.

GD: Of course Jews would hate Hitler but actually, Hitler did not hate the Jews but used them as a unifying factor in his drive for political control. Hitler was not talking about the German Jews, who were well-integrated into Germany society in the ranks of the professionals…doctors, lawyers, judges and university people. Imperial Germany was very tolerant of Jews. No, Hitler had the flood of really nasty Polish Jews that descended on his country after the Poles chased them out after the First War. I mean these were grasping, nasty, dirty and very vulgar people who were easily identified as aliens others and so a wonderful target for Hitler to blame everything on. And besides, most of the leaders of the Communist grabs for power in Germany after the war were all Russian Jews. No, the Polish Jews were a perfect patsy for Hitler. And he never, ever, spoke of gassing or killing them off. Force them all out of the country. Müller often talked about this with me and he was in charge of the expulsion program. The gassing stories were invented after the war when our people found delousing rooms in the camps and could not read the signs that explained the delousing schedules. And this was for clothes, not people. Most Americans have a problem reading anything but basic English so the German escaped them completely. I have the complete records, or at least microfilms of them, of the German camp systems and gassing inmates was not done. A number were shot or hanged for various crimes, such as murder of other inmates, sodomy, escape attempts, assaults on German guards and so on. The Hungarian Jews that were deported to Auschwitz in ’44 mostly were transferred from the camp before it was evacuated in ’45. Interesting to note that about ten thousand were left behind because they were too sick or weak to make the march to the west so the guards, who were conscripted local Poles, went in and shot most of them to death before the Russians got there. I think Ivan killed off the rest. Understand that both the Poles and the Russians hate Jews with a passion and do love to kill them. Well, I guess the Jews of the present era have discovered how to make gold out of blood.

RTC: Not that I disagree with your unacceptable views, no matter how accurate they may be, the Jews are a political power in this country now and as I said a minute ago, the thought that Hitler was not burned up in his garden is not acceptable. Yes, for financial reasons but also because they don’t want to blame themselves for being a hated minority and want to blame the evil Nazis for throwing fat, screaming babies into huge fires. No, and we don’t want it put around that Müller and his friends all came to work for us. Jesus, Gregory, can you imagine the wailing and the threats of vengeance against the Company? I think you have done enough damage here. Didn’t the Army make a deal with you over this? As I recall, they gave you secret documents about Müller as long as you dumped him onto us and not them? Am I not right here?

GD: Yes, but I should point out that your people always have social misfits contact me with grotesque efforts to buy me out. My God, Robert, where do you find such bottom-feeders? Under the boardwalks at Atlantic City? New York’s drunk tanks on a Sunday morning? Jesus H. Christ, you send me broken down soup kitchen executives or whining, insignificant retired librarians instead of real men who talk like same.

RTC: You are very unkind, but I think you’re talking about Wolfe and you know my views on him. I’ve even cut down my visits to the National Archives to avoid his constant picking and whining. And I don’t know about the soup kitchen person but I’m sure you knew how to deal with him.

GD: I did. I sandbagged him and he had to part with many thousands of your tax-free dollars trying to buy me off. Such perambulating cunts, Robert. Anyway, we both know that Hitler did not die in Berlin and both you and Müller have basically confirmed Central America as the final resting place. Probably later, like Napoleon, there will be a triumphal return to Berlin and a state burial amidst much pomp and splendor. Then, I suppose, your people will strut around taking credit for helping to save the dead great leader. The Jews here will eventually go too far, as they always do, and the public will go after them as the various peoples of the world have done for thousands of years. Yes, a triumphal return, Robert. But you will be dead by then and I will be a good deal older. Unless, of course, one of the notorious CIA hit teams corners me in a public lavatory and beats me to death with their purses. But I personally think that the reason the Jews howl about Hitler, or the Gestapo or whatever is because they have been busy making horrible legends to sell to the goyim and to convince the world that the world owes them a living. Also, Hitler is sol because he lost. Personally, if I were Hitler and my country and my citizens were being bombed and strafed to death, and I had tons of nerve gas, believe it that I would have used it without any qualms. They had the ability to deliver at least one load to either Washington or New York, let alone London or Moscow during the May Day parade. The world can rest easy that I wasn’t in Hitler’s seat because he was basically decent but I am not.

RTC: I have gathered that, Gregory. And I am certain you would have done just what you said. Well, Harry was not a bad man but he dropped the bombs on civilian Japan, didn’t he?

GD: Yes, and back in the 1850s, one of my ancestors married into the Truman family. Could these things be passed down? Who knows? Actually, who cares…”

(Concluded at 12:15 PM CST)




Encyclopedia of American Loons

Glenn Spencer

Glenn Spencer is a white supremacist known, in particular, for his anti-immigration activism. Though he used to be a standard KKK-style guy he seems to have realized, at some point, that wearing a sign saying “stupid bigot” wasn’t conducive to public sympathy – yet his current groups, American Border Patrol, Ranch Rescue, the Minutemen Project, and Voices of Citizens Together (VCT) have all been designated as hate groups as welSpencer is probably most famous for having bought a ranch a thousand feet from the Mexico/Arizona border, converting it to a hi-tech security zone complete with infrared cameras, aerial drones and motion detectors. The idea seems to have been to show the American federal government how easy it is to halt illegal immigration. Currently it serves as a base for American Border Patrol’s armed vigilante activities, which ostensibly take place on “private grounds”. There is a fine portrait of Spencer here.

According to Spencer he is countering what he seems to take to be Mexican plans to (literally) “reconquer” the U.S. Indeed, Spencer is (together with people such as Barbara Coe, who leads the hate group California Coalition for Immigration Reform), one of the main proponents of the Aztlan conspiracy theory, according to which there is a bona fide conspiracy endorsed and backed by Mexico and, in some versions, by most Mexican Americans to forcibly take over the US (“The dream of conquering Aztlan lies deep in the heart of the Mexican psyche,” says Spencer; “[t]his explains why some are willing to risk death. Their goal is more than jobs, it is conquest”

And, oh, he has also written the article “Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?” Just to prove to people that he is an insane, paranoid conspiracy theorist. In the article, he assured readers that he had Jewish friends but added that he featred that “this small handful of patriotic Americans are far outnumbered by liberal Jews who now have total control over our media.” Obama isn’t doing a particularly good job either (“brainwashed Americans have just voted to commit national suicide” was his comment on the 2008 election).

Diagnosis: He does at least follow a rather standard pattern of rationality-related morbidity associated with paranoia and conspiracy theories, and there is little risk that his views will become mainstream anytime soon. But he has enough followers to make him dangerous.

Sophia Shafquat

A.k.a. Sofia/Monica Smallstorm

Sofia Shafquat is another ridiculous Internet cult-celebrity of the Nancy Lieder type. She made her name for her movie “9/11 Mysteries Part 1: Demolition”, a truther pseudo-documentary intended to be the first installment in a series of three. Though it apparently looked convincing to many of those already committed to trutherism and uninterested in applying any kind of critical approach to claims purportedly supporting claims they are already committed to, Shafquat’s flick received some criticism when it was discovered that she had a edited the footage, erasing sounds and adding her own background noises, in particular explosions before and after the towers fell. Apparently she also got sued for copyright infringement by the guy who had taken the footage used in the movie. Shafquat subsequently disappeared from the web for a while in 2009.

With regard to the quality of Shafquat’s investigations, it is perhaps worth quoting her: “Right, people want me to be absolutely precise. Umm, I say that the demolition wave is moving faster than gravity itself. It is making the path for the demolition, which is falling at free fall speed. Virtual free fall speed. Again it is hard to determine how long did it take for the towers to fall visually, and I know there is seismic data that pegs it, you know, a little more accurately. Regardless, I tell people, these buildings fell in 10 seconds, they’re 110 stories. Now let’s just use our mouth to demonstrate this. If a pancake collapse can be described as ‘clunkity clunk’. How many times can you say that in 10 seconds? And if one floor is ‘clunkity clunk clunkity clunk’ you cannot say that 110 times in 10 seconds. So let’s even give it the benefit of the doubt, let’s just take off the ‘clunk’. Let’s just say ‘clunkity’. You can’t say that in 10 seconds, 110 times.” No, it’s not a parody. There were idiots nodding sagely in agreement with this kind of reasoning.

Around 2013 Shafquat reappeared, however; this time as an “expert” on chemtrails, as well as engaging in Sandy Hook conspiracies – her powerpoint presentation “Unraveling Sandy Hook in 2, 3, 4 and 5 Dimensions” is apparently on youtube. Not particularly surprising, really – even back in her truther days, she would market Holocaust denial material on her website.

Diagnosis: Worthy of comparison with legendary Internet kooks such as Nancy Lieder, Nancy Luft and Gene Ray himself. No, really: This is kook gold.

Lew Rockwell

We generally avoid writing directly about politics, and the writings of Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell, Jr., usually concern politics – Rockwell is a libertarian writer, activist, and founder and former president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, who currently runs a rather (in)famous website. Still, Rockwell is in many ways a rightwing mirror of Arianna Huffington, and just like the latter promotes all sort of fluffy moonbat pseudoscience, Rockwell promotes a range of pseudoscientific bullshit usually associated with wingnuttery.

Thus, his site offers a plethora of cargo cult science and denialism in the service of global warming denialism (often of the “environmentalists are racists” type), and Rockwell is a staunch promoter of the paleo diet, raw milk, barefoot running, and coconut oil, and the site often runs articles by none other than quack supreme Joe Mercola. Indeed, Rockwell.com even has a history of offering articles on AIDS denialism – not to speak of Rockwell’s own advocacy of eliminating of drunk driving laws, claiming that they persecute people solely for having a particular chemical in their bloodstream. The site has also served as a platform for dominionists like Gary North, exemplifying once again the uneasy and peculiar connection between American libertarianism and Taliban-style theocrats.

Diagnosis: Given his ample demonstration of poor reasoning skills and shitty ability to assess evidence when it comes to pseudoscience, woo and denialism, you may be excused for questioning his reasoning ability concerning politics as well (which, by the way, would be one of very few applications of ad hominem reasoning that would not be fallacious). Influential.

Gail Riplinger

“King James Only” denotes the idea that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible from 1611 is the best or only genuine translation, and in the case of some – such as Gail Riplinger – that it possesses special magical properties. Whereas modern translations are made by a conspiracy of Bible-denying satanists, liberals and secular humanists, the KJV was genuinely dictated by Jesus, who obviously wanted a translation into God’s own language, 17th century English.

Riplinger, a trained interior decorator, has written a textual analysis – New Age Bible Versions – comparing various contemporary translations side by side with the King James, which, given her tortured logic, quote-mining, fake quotes, lies, numerology and fallacious reasoning, ends up identifying a modern conspiracy among, well, Satan, secularists (Satanists), New Agers (Satanists) and child molesters to remove the name of God from the Bible and prepare the apostate church of these last days to accept the Antichrist, his mark, his image, and religion. “Watch out,” she says, “for the letter ‘s’ – sin, Satan, Sodom, Saul (had to be changed to Paul). The added ‘s’ here is the hiss of the serpent,” which is an interesting start of an approach to accuracy in translation. She also notices that the “Five Points” of Calvinism form a Satanic pentagram – which shows that Bible translations made by Calvinists are Satanic (she is unaware that the KJV was procured in part by Puritans, who were Calvinists themselves) – and identifies Henry Kissinger as the anti-Christ. Particular scholarly praise goes to her acrostic algebra to reveal “the ashy residue on which the NIV and NASV [newer Bible translations] rest”:

  • Step 1: (NASV – NIV) – AV = X
  • Step 2: (NASV – NIV) – AV = X
  • Step 3: (ASI + NV) – AV = X
  • Step 4: ASI + NV – AV = X
  • Step 5: SIN = X

Indeed. Of course, “NISV” stands for the New American Standard Bible, which is usually abbreviated (also in Riplinger’s work) as NASB, but that abbreviation wouldn’t have “worked”. The NIV, on the other hand, is rejected because one of the translators, Herbert Wolf, is called “wolf”, therefore Satan (“they have devoured souls”). Her webpage is here.

Riplinger has of course received her share of criticism from people who know language, history, or just the basics of critical thinking, as well as from those who claim that Riplinger is a woman and should therefore not be teaching the Bible at all Related KJV-only ideas have been promoted by Jack Chick’s resident Biblical “scholar” David Daniels here, and by Peter Ruckman, who believes that the Septuagint, the Tanakh of Hellenistic Judaism and the Old Testament of Eastern Christianity, was a hoax.

Diagnosis: Even after so many loons, they still have the power to come up with something fresh and exciting. Beautiful.





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