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TBR News August 26, 2019

Aug 26 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 26, 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 26:

‘Now that vaping is found to rot out the lungs of users, what, I ask, little “advanced cultural manifestation” will the dim-bulb Milleneals use next as props for their weak egos?

They wear clothes bagged from Goodwill boxes, have all kinds of juvenile electronic toys such as cell phones and tablets and in general display the intellectual level of a chicken.

But the saving grace is that they Text Message!

Cubic amounts of mindless garbled nonsense pour into the world on a daily basis.

And please note that most of this motley crew have PhDs from ‘Universities’!

Most of the latter are elevated agricultural junior colleges and their degrees are only of use as place mats but the holder can strut his stuff like a Mongoloid on speed.

Of course the only work they can find pays $2.10 an hour but they don’t need much more, living as they do in Mom’s garage and eating once a day with a piece of salt pork on a long cord.

And then there is Fat Donald the Groper.

Now it is emerging that Fat Donald was involved, heavily, with Russian drug dealers, con-men and former prison inmates.

He is supported by legions of strange people with pointed heads and tiny red hats.

The men wear stained bib-overalls, have beards studded with former dinners, wear black rubber boots and carry various versions of the AK 47.

Their wives have faces like the north end of a southbound horse, sagging breasts encased in American flag bras and their bowed, hairy legs are covered with Precious Donald stickers.

Varicose veins lend a delightfully plastic effect but always stand upwind from them.

And note that they Vote, especially for mindless bombasticos like chubby Donald.

But negativity aside, one of Donald’s best efforts is to get Federal grants so his followers can all buy pencil sharpeners and get their own haircuts.

Then they can all join hands with legions of other chicken-brained millennials and sing ‘Kumbaya’ while engaging in harmonic flatulence.’

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump seems to think he’s an emperor – but we are not entertained
  • So what happens when Donald Trump refuses to leave office? The nightmare scenario could happen
  • Deutsche Bank, the Bayrock Group, Donald Trump and Drug Money Laundering
  • Giving Government Permanent Authority To Spy on Everyone in America
  • Hackers could have breached US bioterrorism defenses for years, records show. We’ll never know if they did
  • Israel plans to attack Iran: Precis of an official report
  • Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine
  • A neo-Nazi battalion in the heart of Europe
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Trump seems to think he’s an emperor – but we are not entertained

Commodus was mad and, at least the way Russell Crowe told it, it took a gladiator to bring him down. America has the polls

August 25, 2019

by Lloyd Green

The Guardian

Hail the imperial cult: ancient Rome is reborn on the Potomac.

This week, Donald Trump ascribed to himself the roles of deity and the Chosen One, a first for an American president but definitely not for an emperor. Then, on Friday, he “ordered” US companies “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China”.

The president cited no authority for his directive, but then again it looks like Trump thinks the law and he are one and the same and that Article II of the constitution is a limitless font of power, Congress and the courts be damned. To quote him: “Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

None of this should come as a surprise. From the moment Trump became president, he sought to graft upon the office a patina and degree of authority antithetical to America’s foundational documents. When those were being written, Alexander Hamilton lost the battle over whether the president would serve for a lifetime.

But who can forget the spectacle over crowd size less than 36 hours after Trump had placed his right hand on the Bible? Poor Sean Spicer, we hardly knew you.

Then, this 4 July, Trump figuratively parachuted into the middle of America’s birthday party, putting himself front and center at the Lincoln Memorial in a scene reminiscent of Gladiator, Ridley Scott’s Academy Award-winning tale of Commodus, a debauched and self-venerating emperor.

Trump sought to hijack Independence Day and turn it into a taxpayer-subsidized celebration of self. But this is not just about visuals. It is about substance too. Trump has teased that he just might attempt to stay ensconced in the Oval Office beyond the legal duration of his term.

In May, echoing Jerry Falwell Jr’s contention that the Mueller investigation was a “corrupt failed coup”, Trump posted a now deleted tweet: “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.”

Months later, in the same breath as he proclaimed that he was “the least racist person”, Trump mused about keeping his job for another 10 or 14 years.

To think George Washington set a deliberate example of staying around for only two terms, and that was before the 22nd amendment and official term limits. As Washington framed things in his farewell message: “The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.”

To be sure, some of Trump’s supporters appear to have welcomed the possibility. During the 2016 campaign, Paul LePage, then governor of Maine, thought Trump needed to show some “authoritarian power”. LePage backtracked but the bell had been rung.

Also in May, William Consovoy, the president’s personal lawyer, told a federal judge Congress was powerless to hold the president’s feet to the fire, and that Watergate and Whitewater were examples of congressional overreach. Regarding a House committee’s subpoena to Trump’s accountants, the Oval Office was claimed to be out of bounds.

Hail Caesar! Hello praetorian. As Consovoy saw things: “That is law enforcement … Are you complying with federal law? … I don’t think that’s the proper subject of investigation as to the president.”

Fortunately, the district court didn’t buy what Team Trump was selling. The decision is on appeal to the DC circuit.

Before Trump’s election, Mike Pompeo, then a Kansas congressman, now Trump’s secretary of state, lumped his boss and Barack Obama together. Pompeo warned that Trump, like his predecessor, would be “an authoritarian president who ignored our constitution”. Understandably, Pompeo has now developed a case of selective amnesia. In hindsight he got one thing very wrong: Obama doesn’t hold a candle to Trump when it comes to encroachment by the executive.

In Gladiator, Maximus, the hero played by Russell Crowe, hacks and cleaves his opponents in the arena then shouts to the crowd: “Are you not entertained?”

In Trump’s case, the American public appears to be answering: “No!”

On Friday, the markets also gave a thumbs-down to his equation of Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. The Dow plummeted by more than 600 points.

The president’s numbers are under water and he consistently trails Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner, in hypothetical match-ups.

As Maximus tells Commodus: “The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end … ‘Highness.’”

Election day is less than 15 months away.

 

So what happens when Donald Trump refuses to leave office? The nightmare scenario could happen

Does anyone still believe Donald Trump will leave office voluntarily? The real question is what we do about it

by Amanda Marcotte

Salon

Polls currently show that all the major Democratic presidential candidates are pulling way ahead of Donald Trump, and while Democrats should take nothing for granted — Trump will run a campaign so nasty it will likely put 2016 to shame — there is at least some reason hope that Americans will turn out in large numbers and that Trump will be soundly defeated in 2020. That victory would be both exciting and an enormous relief, a moment when we all collectively begin to believe that the national nightmare is ending.

But as soon as that happens, if it happens, the next nightmare will begin. It may be minutes, hours, days or even weeks, but at some point between Election Day in November 2020 and Inauguration Day in January 2021, odds are strong that Trump will declare that the election was “fake news” and refuse to leave the White House.

This possibility has lingered in the “if” column since he was first elected, largely because Trump is a terminal narcissist whose inability to admit to his own mediocrity caused him to lie his way onto the Forbes 400 list and pretend to be his own publicist in an pathetic effort to generate tabloid coverage of his personal life. Now the prospect that Trump will simply declare the election null and void and refuse to relinquish power to the 2020 victor is better understood to be in the “when” column.

The past weekend was not a good one, in terms of Trump’s signaling that he will refuse to accept the results of any election he loses. After internal polls commissioned by the Trump campaign were leaked, showing that the president is trailing badly in several battleground states, Trump angrily called the polls “fake” and fired the pollsters working for him. He also suggested on Twitter that it was possible “the people would demand that I stay longer” than two terms of office, using his joking-not-joking strategy to suggest that he’s not hemmed in by laws or the Constitution when it comes to retaining power.

One principal talking point of Democrats who are reluctant to begin an impeachment inquiry is that Trump needs to be removed at the ballot box, not by impeachment. The argument is that Trump can’t be removed from office through impeachment since Republicans, who control the Senate, will refuse to convict him no matter how much damning evidence there is. Depressingly, that argument has merit. With vanishingly  rare exceptions like Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Republicans have shown that there is no level of criminality Trump could display that they are unwilling to accept, so long as it allows them to retain power.

But that’s also why there’s a real danger that, if and when Trump refuses to leave office after an electoral defeat, Republicans will go along with it. And why not? They haven’t drawn any visible line yet when it comes to Trump cheating or breaking the law. On the contrary, Republicans were already flouting the law in their attempts to retain control over the government even though a majority of Americans have clearly rejected them at the polls. So far, there appears to be no limits to what Republicans will allow, so long as it entrenches their power.

Think about what Republicans were doing even before Trump came along. Gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts predated his candidacy, taking off in earnest after the Republican-controlled Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also flatly refused to hold a hearing for Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, violating all norms and traditions to hold the seat open so a possible Republican president could fill it. This trend goes clear back to the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, in which the Supreme Court’s conservative majority handed George W. Bush the presidency rather than allowing a fair and complete vote count in Florida.

Under Trump, Republicans have only become bolder. Robert Mueller’s report documented Trump’s extensive efforts to collude with a Russian criminal conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election, as well as Trump’s extensive cover-up of that conspiracy. Instead of doing anything about it, Republicans have persistently made excuses for Trump, either lying about what’s actually in the Mueller report or drawing false equivalences to legal and transparent choices made by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

McConnell’s response to the Russian criminal conspiracy to undermine the last election, in fact, has been to reject any effort to prevent such conspiracies in the future. Congressional bills have been written to shore up election security and McConnell simply refuses to bring them for a vote. Trump made clear, in his interview last week with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, that he fully intends to cheat in 2020 the same way he cheated in 2016. McConnell’s response has basically been, “Bring it on.”

Again, Republicans are so complicit with Trump’s criminality that it is simply a statement of fact to note there is no chance that the Senate would vote to convict Trump in an impeachment trial, no matter how serious his crimes are. (A two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, is required, which would require all the Democrats, and aligned independents, plus at least 20 Republicans.) If they refuse to throw him out for being a criminal, why on earth would they throw him out just because he lost an election

As the saying goes, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Based on that, we must presume that Trump and the Republicans will not be hemmed in by law or custom when it comes to holding onto power they haven’t earned. It would be deeply unwise for Democrats to pin their hopes on the possibility that Trump suddenly, after all this time, becomes the kind of man who would admit he lost an election — or that Republicans will finally decide that there’s such thing as “going too far” when it comes to taking power in defiance of democratic will.

How do we deal with it when Trump simply declares the election null and void and Republicans back his play? The time to plan for that is right now. Being caught flat-footed and scrambling to catch up will simply make it easier for Trump to entrench the idea that his hold on the White House is immovable, just as he and Republicans have entrenched the idea that it’s normal and acceptable for the Senate to refuse to convict him, no matter what.

Unless Democrats move swiftly and forcefully when Trump refuses to leave the White House — and they need to plan for “when,” not “if” — Republicans will be able to make forever-Trump feel inevitable and indeed almost normal, as they’ve done with their other successful efforts at gutting American democracy.

 

Deutsche Bank, the Bayrock Group, Donald Trump and Drug Money Laundering                                          

 

Deutsche Bank AG is a German multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.

The bank is operational in 58 countries with a large presence in Europe, the Americas and Asia. As of April 2018, Deutsche Bank is the 15th largest bank in the world by total assets. As the largest German banking institution in the world, it is a component of the DAX stock market index.

The company is a universal bank resting on three pillars – the Private & Commercial Bank, the Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB) and Asset Management (DWS). Its investment banking operations often command substantial deal flow and maintain different “sell side” and “buy side” departments.

Relationship with Donald Trump

The bank kept writing checks even after Trump defaulted on loans worth hundreds of millions and sued it. Now Congressional investigators are going to court to uncover the financial records behind their relationship.

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.

The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.” VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.

An issue was a very large sum of money that Trump borrowed from the German bank in 2005 to fund the construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump had personally guaranteed to repay the $US640 million ($828.7 million) debt.

Since then, a global financial crash had arrived. Trump had defaulted on payment, with $US330 million still outstanding. In late November 2008, Deutsche was seeking an immediate $US40 million from the tycoon, plus interest, legal fees and costs.

In 2010 Trump settled his feud with Deutsche. This was done, extraordinarily, by borrowing more money from … Deutsche Bank.

Shut out from its real estate division, Trump turned to another part of the same institution – Deutsche’s private wealth division, which typically deals with high net worth individuals. It doesn’t normally do property. Still, the unit lent him the money.

And later gave him another $US25 to $US50 million in credit.

According to one estimate, Deutsche Bank’s Moscow subsidiary began notching up profits of $US500 million to $US1 billion a year, with VTB generating somewhere between 50 and 80 per cent of all revenue. In Moscow, a Russian client bought blue-chip Russian stocks from Deutsche Bank Moscow in companies like Gazprom or Sberbank. The payment was in roubles. The size of a typical order was $US2 million to $US3 million. Shortly afterwards a non-Russian “customer” sold exactly the same number of securities to Deutsche Bank in London, paying in dollars.

These “mirror trades” were fake and had no economic logic. The selling parties were based in offshore territories like Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands. Billions were moved out of one Deutsche Bank, from its modern glass office at Building 2, 82 Sadovnicheskaya Street, to another Deutsche Bank, at 60 Wall Street. There were nearly 6000 transactions. Nobody in New York or London or Frankfurt or any of the international financial centres really noticed.the chairman of Trump and his companies’ estimated $360 million in outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank.

Trump’s assets manager at Deutsche, Rosemary Vrablic, specialized in real estate and is close enough to Trump and his family — both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are clients — that she was invited to attend the inauguration. In the past decade, the Deutsche Bank private wealth unit helped finance three of Trump’s properties, including a golf resort near Miami (Doral), a new hotel in Washington DC and Trump Tower in Chicago, all of which include personal guarantees by Trump. He and his organization currently owe Deutsche Bank over $300,000,000

“Deutsche Bank is our long-standing partner and has been working in Russia since 1881 … It would take ages to describe everything that Deutsche Bank is doing in Russia,” Putin said at the time.

The bank kept writing checks even after Trump defaulted on loans worth hundreds of millions and sued it. Now Congressional investigators are going to court to uncover the financial records behind their relationship.

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Trump began doing business with the Bayrock Group, a real estate development organization with its headquarters in the Trump Tower. He met founder Tevfik Arif, a Russian born in then-Soviet Kazakhstan, and Russian-born American businessman Felix Sater 1, COO of Bayrock and a convicted felon, through a Trump Tower leasing agent. Bayrock arranged for the Trump Organization to become involved in multiple developments that were marketed under the Trump name.

The first Trump-Bayrock deal, a 19-story condominium tower and hotel complex in Phoenix, fell through in 2005 after organized resistance from residents. A follow-up project in Fort Lauderdale also collapsed after lawsuits and claims of criminal fraud tarnished the project’s reputation. Trump dodged the lawsuit by asserting he was not the developer and bore no responsibility for the problems.

Eventually, Trump and Bayrock engaged in a series of deals leading to the construction of the Trump SoHo in New York, which became the centerpiece of a RICO investigation. The firm’s organizational structure was deliberately designed to make it difficult to determine how it worked, or who profited from what business dealing.

Trump had turned to Bayrock after a series of six straight corporate bankruptcies devastated his portfolio; he was now essentially an entertainer portraying himself as a business mogul who was actually struggling to re-establish himself and his brand. “[T]he massive illicit outflows from Russia and oil-rich [former Soviet Union states] like Kazahkstan and Azerbaijan from the mid-1990s provided precisely the kind of undiscriminating investors that he needed. These outflows arrived at just the right time to fund several of Trump’s post-2000 high-risk real estate and casino ventures – most of which failed.”

His financing opportunities were severely limited, as most of the banks he previously did business with wanted no further dealings with him.

 

Giving Government Permanent Authority To Spy on Everyone in America

August 26, 2019

by Andrew P. Napolitano

AntiWar

While most of us have been thinking about the end of summer and while the political class frets over the Democratic presidential debates and the aborted visit of two members of Congress to Israel, the Trump administration has quietly moved to extend and make permanent the government’s authority to spy on all persons in America.

The president, never at a loss for words, must have been asked by the intelligence community he once reviled not to address these matters in public.

These matters include the very means and the very secret court about which he complained loud and long during the Mueller investigation. Now, he wants to be able to unleash permanently on all of us the evils he claims were visited upon him by the Obama-era FBI and by his own FBI. What’s going on?

Here is the backstory.

After the lawlessness of Watergate had been exposed – a president spying on his political adversaries without warrants in the name of national security – Congress enacted in 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It prescribed a means for surveillance other than that which the Constitution requires.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution – written in the aftermath of British soldiers and agents using general warrants obtained from a secret court in London to spy on whomever in the colonies they wished and to seize whatever they found – was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights to limit the government’s ability to intrude upon the privacy of all persons, thereby prohibiting those procedures used by the British.

Thus, we have the constitutional requirements that no searches and seizures can occur without a warrant issued by a judge based on a showing, under oath, of probable cause of crime. The courts have uniformly characterized electronic surveillance as a search.

I am not addressing eyesight surveillance on a public street. I am addressing electronic surveillance wherever one is when one sends or receives digital communications. FISA is an unconstitutional congressional effort to lower the standards required by the Fourth Amendment from probable cause of crime to probable cause of foreign agency.

Can Congress do that? Can it change a provision of the Constitution? Of course not. If it could, we wouldn’t have a Constitution.

It gets worse.

The court established by FISA – that’s the same court that President Donald Trump asserts authorized spying on him in 2015 and 2016 – has morphed the requirement of probable cause of being a foreign agent to probable cause of communicating with a foreign person as the standard for authorizing surveillance.

What was initially aimed at foreign agents physically present in the United States has secretly become a means to spy on innocent Americans. In Trump’s case, the FISA court used the foreign and irrelevant communications of two part-time campaign workers to justify surveillance on the campaign.

Add to all this the 2002 secret order of President George W. Bush directing the National Security Agency to spy on all in America all the time without warrants – this is what Edward Snowden exposed in 2013 – and one can see what has happened.

What happened?

What happened was the creation of a surveillance state in America that came about by secret court rulings and a once-secret presidential order. As a result of this, part of the government goes to the secret FISA court and obtains search warrants on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds and part of the government bypasses FISA altogether and spies on everyone in America and denies it and lies about it.

Bill Binney, the genius mathematician who once worked for the NSA and now is its harshest critic, has stated many times that, as unconstitutional as FISA is, it is a pretext to NSA spying on all persons in America all the time.

How pervasive is this unlawful spying? According to Binney, the NSA’s 60,000 domestic spies capture the content and the keystrokes of every communication transmitted on fiber optic cables into or out of or wholly within the United States. And they do so 24/7 – without warrants.

Now, back to that quiet late summer proposal by the Trump administration. Some of the statutes that govern who can go to the FISA court and under what circumstances they can go are about to expire. Inexplicably, the president once victimized by FISA wants to make these statutes permanent. And he wants to do so knowing that they are essentially a facade for spying. That would institutionalize the now decades-long federal assault on privacy and evasion of constitutional norms.

It would also place Trump in the same category as his two immediate predecessors, who regularly ordered government agents to violate the Fourth Amendment and then denied they had done so.

Some of my Fox colleagues joke with me that I am shoveling against the tide when it comes to defending the right to privacy. They claim that there is no more privacy. I disagree with them. As long as we still have a Constitution, it must be taken seriously and must mean what it says. And its intentionally stringent requirements for enabling the government to invade privacy remain the law of the land. The president has sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the NSA.

The late Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland once wrote that we cannot pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to follow and which to ignore. If we could, the Constitution would be meaningless.

Did he foresee our present woes when he wrote, “If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned”?

Is that where we are headed?

 

Hackers could have breached US bioterrorism defenses for years, records show. We’ll never know if they did

August 25, 2019

by Emily Baumgaertner,

Los Angeles Times

The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation’s bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.

The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.

Internal Homeland Security emails and other documents show the issue set off a bitter clash within the department over whether keeping the information on the dot-org website posed a threat to national security. A former BioWatch security manager filed a whistleblower complaint alleging he was targeted for retaliation after criticizing the program’s lax security.

The website shared information among local, state and federal officials. It was easily identifiable through online search engines, but a user name and password were required to access sensitive data.

A security audit completed in January 2017 found “critical” and “high risk” vulnerabilities, including weak encryption that made the website “extremely prone” to online attacks. The audit concluded that there “does not seem to be any protective monitoring of the site,” according to a Homeland Security report summarizing the findings.

An inspector general’s report published later that year said sensitive information had been housed on the BioWatch portal since 2007 and was vulnerable to hackers. The report recommended moving the data behind the government’s firewall and said Homeland Security officials had agreed to do so.

It is unclear how valuable the data would have been to a terrorist group or enemy state. Scientists have warned that the BioWatch technology is unreliable. The system recognizes only a narrow range of microbes, and it struggles to differentiate between typical environmental bacteria and dangerous threats.

Still, several biodefense experts said it was disturbing that Homeland Security officials failed to adequately secure sensitive information from one of the nation’s anti-terrorism programs.

“Advertising your vulnerabilities is never a good thing. Letting your adversaries readily access your vulnerabilities — that’s a national security risk, in my judgment,” said Tom Ridge, who as the nation’s first secretary of Homeland Security oversaw the 2003 launch of BioWatch but has since denounced the program as ineffective. “Every American citizen would wonder, ‘What else is so easily accessible by the rest of the world?'”

James F. McDonnell, an assistant secretary appointed by President Trump to oversee Homeland Security’s new Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, which includes BioWatch, said the data that were housed outside the secure government firewall were not important enough to cause a national security threat, but he said officials have taken steps to strengthen cybersecurity across the department. He noted that the problem predated his appointment.

“What happened before, happened before. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” he said. “There’s been a real ramping-up on concerns about cybersecurity.”

Long list of troubles

The security problems add to a long list of troubles for BioWatch.

The program, which has cost taxpayers more than $1.6 billion, was launched two years after letters laced with anthrax spores killed five people and sickened 17 others shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. BioWatch became part of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs in 2007.

A 2012 Times investigation identified serious shortcomings, including false alarms and doubts about whether BioWatch could be relied on to identify a bioterrorism event. In 2015, a Government Accountability Office study concluded that the program could not be counted on to detect an attack and said BioWatch generated 149 false alarms from 2003 through 2014.

Each day, public health workers across the country collect filters from the air samplers and run tests on the contents, searching for signs of dangerous pathogens in the air. In some cases, reports of suspicious lab findings are uploaded to the BioWatch portal for review by other officials.

Some local officials objected to storing these and other sensitive documents on a federal server that other government officials could access without their knowledge or consent, according to the inspector general’s report. As a result, the report said, the Office of Health Affairs decided against moving the portal inside the Department of Homeland Security’s firewall.

Alarms over security

In August 2016, Harry Jackson, who worked for a branch of Homeland Security that deals with information security, was assigned to the BioWatch program. Three months later, he said in an interview with The Times, he learned about biowatchportal.org and demanded the agency stop using it, arguing that it housed classified information and that the portal’s security measures were inadequate.

Two other department officials tasked with monitoring how sensitive information is handled echoed the concerns in emails to BioWatch managers, according to records reviewed by The Times.

BioWatch officials pushed back. Michael Walter, the program’s manager, said in a conference call with other Homeland Security officials that information about the location of the network’s air samplers would not undermine its effectiveness since it was designed to detect a massive biological warfare attack. The samplers are in plain sight, he said, according to a recording of the call made by Jackson and reviewed by The Times.

Larry “Dave” Fluty, then Health Affairs’ principal deputy assistant secretary, argued during the same call that the agency had previously decided that treating the information as classified — and therefore triggering stricter access guidelines — would require security clearances for some 1,000 local officials who are involved in gathering and analyzing data from the air-collection units.

“It was determined from a policy standpoint that that can’t happen,” he said.

Weeks after the conference call, Steven Lynch, then chief of Homeland Security’s special security programs division, wrote in a memo reviewed by The Times that the agency planned to move the portal onto a dot-gov site behind the secure federal firewall. Still, he said, experts concluded there was “no evidence of criminal or suspicious activity” involving the dot-org portal and “minimal to no risk of unauthorized access.”

But a complaint made to the inspector general hotline had already triggered an internal audit of biowatchportal.org.

The audit turned up 41 vulnerabilities, and a scan detected a possible attempt by a hacker to access the portal. The auditing team was unable to validate the scan’s finding, and the team recommended that the contractor overseeing the site investigate. It is unclear whether that was done.

The contractor, Logistics Management Institute, declined to provide a comment.

Walter, Fluty and Lynch did not respond to emails or phone calls from The Times.

‘DHS will never know’

In January 2017, Jackson published his concerns about the portal in the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense. His article detailed what he called “negligent” security that required only single-factor authentication to access the website.

Department of Homeland Security officials removed BioWatch from Jackson’s portfolio, then suspended his security clearance and later placed him on administrative leave. They notified him that he had not sought the proper approval to publish his article and that it included information that should not have been made public. They also cited his recent conviction for drunk driving.

Jackson filed whistleblower complaints with several federal agencies, alleging he was the victim of retaliation for criticizing the program’s security. In one, he wrote that a successful hacker could “monitor the system, manipulate data, and create false flags so as to stake out federal, state and local response to a possible incident.”

The complaint continued: “To this date, DHS will never know the harm that has resulted from this because there is no intrusion detection capability.”

The inspector general’s report published later that year said no classified information was found on the BioWatch portal, but it confirmed that “critical and high risk vulnerabilities” could allow an attacker to access sensitive information on the site.

In October 2017, Homeland Security reinstated Jackson’s security clearance but issued him a warning. A letter notifying him of the decision did not address his whistleblower claim. He left the agency a few weeks later.

No federal agency has agreed to investigate Jackson’s complaints. In May, he filed an appeal with the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General. He is awaiting a response.

 

 

Israel plans to attack Iran: Precis of an official report

August 26, 2019

by Christian Jürs

 

A 1.The problem under consideration here is that Iran has, or will have, a nuclear weapon within a two year time span. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Israelis are afraid Iran will use it on them.

2.Israel would have logistical problems attacking Iran. Any attack would have to be an aerial attack, using fighter-bombers to pin-point known Iranian nuclear facilities.at some point in the next 12 months, the imposition of devastating economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran will persuade its leaders to cease their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is also possible that Iran’s reform-minded Green Movement will somehow replace the mullah-led regime, or at least discover the means to temper the regime’s ideological extremism. It is possible, as well, that “foiling operations” conducted by the intelligence agencies of Israel, the United States, Great Britain, and other Western powers—programs designed to subvert the Iranian nuclear effort through sabotage and, on occasion, the carefully engineered disappearances of nuclear scientists—will have hindered Iran’s progress in some significant way.

It is now planned for senior Israeli officials, representing both their political and military establishments, will come to Washington for conferences both with their American counterparts and, eventually, with President Trump. These conversations, which have been carefully planned and scripted will have the Israelis advising their American counterparts that they are planning an attack, nuclear or non-nuclear as the situation develops, , because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years. They will tell their American colleagues that Israel is now being left with no choice. They will not be asking for permission, because it will soon be too late to ask for permission. Insofar as President Trump is concerned, the Israelis are struggling to answer what is for them the most pressing question: are there any circumstances under which President Trump would deploy force to stop Iran from going nuclear? Everything depends on the answer. And if the President were to agree fully with Israeli wishes, i.e., use American aircraft to obliterate the perceived Iranian threat by bombing specific targets, could an Israeli-sponsored domestic campaign to encourage sections of the American public, outside of the fully-cooperative Jewish community, to support an American attack. At the present time, it is well-established that Israeli agents, Mossad and others, have inserted themselves into all the instruments of power and propaganda in the United States where they have sent any pertinent information to Israel and kept up a steady offensive against the minds, and wills, of the American people. Also, many of the more prominent American newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post are entirely Jewish-owned, the former is stated to be the most receptive to the needs of both Washington and Tel Aviv. Israel is fully prepared to take a chance on permanently alienating American affection in order to make a high-risk attempt at stopping Iran. If Iran retaliates against American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, the consequences for Israel’s relationship with America’s military leadership could be catastrophic.

It has been seriously discussed in Tel Aviv and in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, that probably the best way to compel the American public and through them, the President, to launch an attack on Tehran is through a false-flag operation. This would consist of a believable attack, or attempted attack, on a major American target a la the 9/11 Saudi-supported attacks.

The most current plan would be for a known militant Arab anti-Israel group, Hizbollah, to actually deliver an atomic device to the city of New York, or, alternatively, to Washington.

The American Central Intelligence Agency, now seeking to reshape its negative image, would report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation the exact details of the arrival and placement of the bomb.

The actual bomb would be genuine but would have a part that was malfunctioning, thus rendering the weapon impossible to detonate. The Arabs involved in this delivery would have in their number, a Yemeni Jew, such as the ones that instigated the 9/11 Saudi attacks, and this sleeper would carry numerous forged documents “proving” that Tehran was directly behind this planned attack.

Revelation of these documents by the fully-supportive New York Times and Washington Post would immediately swing a significant bulk of the American public behind an immediate attack on Tehran with the purpose of neutralizing its atomic weapons capacity.

This program is now on the table and undercover Israeli agents, posing as top-level Iranian operatives, have located a small group of Hizbollah in Lebanon who would be willing to deliver and prepare this device in New York or, as an alternative, Washington itself. Israeli intelligence feels that the use of Hizbollah personnel would entirely justify their obliterating Hizbollah territory in southern Lebanon that now house many thousands of long-range surface to surface missiles that could easily reach Tel Aviv and other vital Israeli targets.

This action, which has already been planned in detail, would be conducted by Israel alone and would compliment the projected American attack on Tehran. Israel stresses the fact that both attacks must be simultaneous lest a forewarned  Hezbollah launch rocket attacks on Israel upon hearing of the American attack. Timing here is considered to be absolutely vital.

Israel would in the future invade Lebanon and continue attacking until Hezbollah’s system of tunnels and bunkers was completely destroyed, as Israel would not tolerate a “zone of invulnerability” occupied by a sworn enemy, or a double threat posed by Hezbollah and Hamas rockets, and that Israel might first attack the Gaza Strip.

And there is also the vital necessity that these Israeli military aircraft would be under great pressure to return to base at once because Israeli intelligence believes that Iran would immediately order Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli air-force resources would be needed to hunt Hezbollah rocket teams.

Israel’s Northern Command, at his headquarters near the Lebanese border, is ordered that in the event of a unilateral Israeli or American strike on Iran, their mission would be to attack and completely destroy any and all identified Hezbollah rocket forces. At the present time the Iranians are keeping their  Hezbollah firm ally  in reserve until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.

During  the years since the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon Hezbollah has greatly increased its surface-to-surface missile capability, and an American/Israeli strike on Iran, could provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 surface-to-surface rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel. It is known that Russia has sent large numbers of longer range surface-to-surface missiles to Syria which has, in turn, shipped them to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. These missiles have the capacity to easily reach Tel Aviv and Israelis are very concerned that a massive rocket barrage deep into Israel could not only do serious damage to their infrastructure but could easily provoke a mass immigration of Israelis to other areas, thus depriving Israel of both civilian and military personnel it would certainly need in the event of increased military actions against Israel.

Even if Israel’s Northern Command successfully combated Hezbollah rocket attacks in the wake of an Israeli strike, which American experts have deemed to be “nearly impossible, ”political limitations would not allow Israel to make repeated sorties over Iran. “America, too, would look complicit in an Israeli attack, even if it had not been forewarned. The assumption—often, but not always, correct—that Israel acts only with the, at least tacit, approval of the United States is a feature of life in the Middle East, and it is one the Israelis say they are taking into account. But what if American intelligence learns about Israeli intentions hours before the scheduled launch of an attack? “It is a nightmare for us,” one of these officials told me. “What if President Trump calls up Bibi and says, ‘We know what you’re doing. Stop immediately.’ Do we stop? We might have to. A decision has been made that we can’t lie to the Americans about our plans. We don’t want to inform them beforehand. This is for their sake and for ours. So what do we do? These are the hard questions.” (Two officials suggested that Israel may go on pre-attack alert a number of times before actually striking: “After the fifth or sixth time, maybe no one would believe that we’re really going,” one official said.)

At this time, the Israelis have drawn up specific plans to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and the Bushehr reactor, along with four other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program that have been identified by joint past and present Israeli-American aerial surveillance.  —If Israeli aircraft succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, all well and good but even if  they fail to damage or destroy these targets ,such an attack is feared by American and other nations as risking a devastating change in the Middle East. Such an attack could initiate immediate reprisals such as a massed rocket attack by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon as well as other actions from neighboring Muslim states.  This could become a major diplomatic crisis for Trump that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of seriously endangering Jewish groups around the world, and especially in the United States by making them the targets of Muslim-originated terror attacks and most certainly accelerating the growing immigration of many Israelis to what they felt might be much safer areas.

Tehran, both everyone would answer this question, but a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by July of 2019. (Of course, it is in the Israeli interest to let it be known that the country is considering military action, if for no other reason than to concentrate the attention of the Trump administration. The Netanyahu government is already intensifying its analytic efforts not just on Iran, but on a subject many Israelis have difficulty understanding: President Trump.

The Israelis argue that Iran demands the urgent attention of the entire international community, and in particular the United States, with its unparalleled ability to project military force. This is the position of many moderate Arab leaders as well. if America allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold, the small Arab countries of the Gulf would have no choice but to leave the American orbit and ally themselves with Iran, out of self-protection. Several Arab leaders have suggested that America’s standing in the Middle East depends on its willingness to confront Iran. They argue self-interestedly that an aerial attack on a handful of Iranian facilities would not be as complicated or as messy as, say, invading Iraq. “This is not a discussion about the invasion of Iran,” one Arab foreign minister told me. “We are hoping for the pinpoint striking of several dangerous facilities. America could do this very easily.”

—why the Jewish state should trust the non-Jewish president of the United States to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.

For more than a year, these White House officials have parried the charge that their president is unwilling to face the potential consequences of a nuclear Iran, and they are frustrated by what they believe to be a caricature of his position. It is undeniably true, however, that the administration has appeared on occasion less than stalwart on the issue.

One question no administration official seems eager to answer is this: what will the United States do if sanctions fail?

In Israel, of course, officials expend enormous amounts of energy to understand President Trump, despite the assurances they have received from Emanuel, Ross, and others. Delegations from Netanyahu’s bureau, from the defense and foreign ministries, and from the Israeli intelligence community have been arriving in Washington lately with great regularity. “We pack our thermometers and go to Washington and take everyone’s temperature,”

 

Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine

Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant.

by Lev Golinkin

The Nation

Five years ago, Ukraine’s Maidan uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, to the cheers and support of the West. Politicians and analysts in the United States and Europe not only celebrated the uprising as a triumph of democracy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultranationalism, smearing those who warned about the dark side of the uprising as Moscow puppets and useful idiots. Freedom was on the march in Ukraine.

Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultranationalism, and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators.

These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity.

Five years after Maidan, the beacon of democracy is looking more like a torchlight march

 

A neo-Nazi battalion in the heart of Europe

“Volunteer Ukrainian Unit Includes Nazis.”—

USA Today,

The DC establishment’s standard defense of Kiev is to point out that Ukraine’s far right has a smaller percentage of seats in the parliament than their counterparts in places like France. That’s a spurious argument: What Ukraine’s far right lacks in polls numbers, it makes up for with things Marine Le Pen could only dream of—paramilitary units and free rein on the streets.

Post-Maidan Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces. The Azov Battalion was initially formed out of the neo-Nazi gang Patriot of Ukraine. Andriy Biletsky, the gang’s leader who became Azov’s commander, once wrote that Ukraine’s mission is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade…against the Semite-led Untermenschen.” Biletsky is now a deputy in Ukraine’s parliament.

In the fall of 2014, Azov—which is accused of human-rights abuses, including torture, by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations—was incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard.

While the group officially denies any neo-Nazi connections, Azov’s nature has been confirmed by multiple Western outlets: The New York Times called the battalion “openly neo-Nazi,” while USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Telegraph, and Haaretz documented group members’ proclivity for swastikas, salutes, and other Nazi symbols, and individual fighters have also acknowledged being neo-Nazis.

In January 2018, Azov rolled out its National Druzhina street patrol unit whose members swore personal fealty to Biletsky and pledged to “restore Ukrainian order” to the streets. The Druzhina quickly distinguished itself by carrying out pogroms against the Roma and LGBT organizations and storming a municipal council. Earlier this year, Kiev announced the neo-Nazi unit will be monitoring polls in next month’s presidential election.

In 2017, Congressman Ro Khanna led the effort to ban Azov from receiving U.S. arms and training. But the damage has already been done: The research group Bellingcat proved that Azov had already received access to American grenade launchers, while a Daily Beast investigation showed that US trainers are unable to prevent aid from reaching white supremacists. And Azov itself had proudly posted a video of the unit welcoming NATO representatives.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 26, 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. 11 b

Date:  Monday, April 29, 1996

Commenced: 2:09 PM  CST

Concluded:  2:28  PM CST

 

GD: Back again, Robert. Are you OK for time?

RTC: I have enough time, Gregory. What is it?

GD: I had a chat with Kimmel today and I made a mistake. I had read something once about forged evidence and innocently mentioned faked fingerprint evidence used in a Federal case. He got very testy about this and tried to lecture me about minding my own business.

RTC: That would be a very sore spot with Kimmel. He has to defend his turf. Faked evidence? The Bureau has been known to stoop to that on a number of occasions. If they know, or believe you did something but can’t quite get you, why lo and behold they find your fingerprints all over something. Possibly a gun used in icing Martin Luther King or a blood stained print at the scene of a mob killing. Faking evidence and suborning perjury is nothing new for the Bureau. No one likes to talk about it because of the uproar it would cause. All kinds of lawsuits by innocent and framed convicts would follow. Kimmel is very protective of the Bureau but I think he spends more time trying to rehabilitate the Admiral. Still, I don’t know if he dirties his hands with such goings on but he surely knows about them. I certainly do

GD: Tell me something, Robert. Do you think Kimmel hooked up with you to spy on you?

RTC: Probably but I never tell him, or Bill, anything.

GD: Kimmel was mad I am talking to you. He said you were an old man and to leave you alone.

RTC: Tom can fuck himself. I’ll talk to anyone I wish, whenever I wish. All Tom thinks about is getting his grandfather the Admiral pardoned.

GD: I know. I tried to help the family out on that because of some of the documents Mueller had. I told him the Roosevelt/Churchill conversation papers came from Mueller, not you.

RTC: Thank you for that. Tom has been running around, all over Washington, trying frantically to prove you faked them. They tested the paper and checked on the typing and everything was fine but Tom won’t accept that you might be right, even though it would help his futile quest. They’re all a bunch of treacherous assholes there, believe me.

GD: Why would he get so upset about the question of fingerprints? I don’t see how you can fake these seriously.

RTC: Fingerprints? A piece of cake for the FBI. They know just how to put someone’s prints just where they want them. I could tell you about this if you kept quiet about it. If it ever got out how they fake evidence, as I just said, the appellate courts would be jammed up for years.

GD: I won’t say a word.

RTC: For your own sake, don’t. All right, here goes. If the FBI has a copy of your fingerprints, they can make molds of them and put them onto a rubber glove. It goes this way: They make a photographic negative of the prints , make a reverse negative and…do you know what a zinc is?

GD: Yes, I do. It is a metal copy of a negative. I learned this when I was getting some of my earlier books printed. They use this for rubber stamps.

RTC: Oh yes, just so. And then they get a pair of thin rubber surgeon’s gloves and paint liquid latex onto the zinc. When you peel the very thin, dried latex off of the zinc, you glue the prints down on each finger by using spirit gum. You can buy both the liquid latex and the spirit gum in any theatrical supply house right over the counter.

GD: Jesus, how simple, Robert. And you can go into a murder scene in private, say as an FBI technician, put on the gloves and touch things.

RTC:I know for a certainty that there are a significant number of people now incarcerated who are entirely innocent of a crime but whose fingerprints were found at the scene of a crime or on otherwise damning evidence. Many. Now do you see why I don’t want you talking about this?

GD: This explains Kimmel’s agitation.

RTC: Interesting because…when did he tell you this?

GD: Two days ago.

RTC: And he called me the next day to tell me you had been in a lunatic asylum and I should really stop talking to you. Makes sense. You were asking question about the prints and he knows you dig so he decided to head you off at the pass as far as I was concerned. Doing that with faked prints is easier than getting the usual perjured testimony from people facing Federal criminal charges.

GD: I suppose I ought to be careful.

RTC: Yes, what with Critchfield wanting your head because you are outing him on the subject of his hiring the head of the Gestapo and many other SS men and now Kimmel in an uproar, I would be a little careful, my boy.

GD: I thought you were going to say Kimmel had his balls in an uproar.

RTC: Strictly speaking, that would not be accurate. He lost them some time ago to cancer.

GD: Well, he can always sing soprano in his choir at church. I never discuss religion with him because he spouts Proverbs at me all the time. What is he?

RTC: Tom? I think the family is Episcopalian. His wife is Mormon but Tom hates Mormons. He probably doesn’t want to wear the hairshirt underwear.

GD: Well, old Brigham Young had about fifty wives and most of them were very, very young. Do you know what he once said? No? ‘I don’t care how you bring’em but bring’em young.’

RTC: (Laughter) Not nice at all.

GD: Did I tell you about the big bronze statue of Young and its official unveiling in Salt Lake City? God, the whole Young family was there, senators, congressmen and half the town. There were speeches made, the choir sung and then an elderly daughter pulled the rope to drop the bunting. During the night, some evil soul had hung a huge salami and two cocoanuts on the crotch of the figure.

RTC: (Laughter) Do tell that to Kimmel. I mean, really do tell him. He loathes you anyway so why not tromp on his corns?

GD: Not a bad idea at all. Anyway you filled me in on the Kimmel anger. And these people are supposed to be protecting all of us poor sheep.

RTC: One can dream. And one can look out the dining room window and see the Easter Bunny doing hopscotch in the back yard.

GD: And the Baby Jesus riding his tricycle over your cat.

RTC: Now, now, let’s keep religion out of this. Who knows, some Mormon FBI agent might be listening to this.

GD: One hopes. Ah the trials and tribulations of being a successful author. The chorus of outraged petty academics, and I guess, furious Jews and angry civil servants.

RTC: How do you cope with the assholes?

GD: Well, I do. I attack them, Robert, gut them and leave their stinking carcasses to rot in the sunlight. Methodology? I do not get into pissing matches with skunks. I look deeply into the personas of my detractors and when I am ready, I strike. Not always in print, either. You see, Robert, they are all very vulnerable. The can be fired from jobs, have their wives and children vanish into the night, disgusted with Daddy’s pranks, have the neighbors dump garbage on their lawns or into their swimming pools and generally have a terrible life.

RTC: And how do you accomplish those worthy goals?

GD: Oh, by various means.  An old newspaper clipping, well circulated in their circles, attributing an earlier arrest for pedophilia or torture of neighbor’s pets is a good start. A company owned by a friend turns them into a collection agency for a very large  unpaid bill is also a good move. There are literally dozens of ways to teach lessons to the small of mind and the large of mouth. People, Robert, are stuck in their very small and shabby castles. They have employers, friends, neighbors and so on. That is where you can get at any of them. How can they respond to the mass distribution of that newspaper clipping exposing their activities in that Florida motel room?  Or the earlier arrest of their mother for exposing herself at a Fourth of July parade? Oh, the permutations are endless and the victim, or the evil-does, can not respond. Colonel X a militant transvestite, arrested in drag on a turnpike in New Jersey and slugging a policemen with his purse. Funny indeed and humorous enough for a neighbor to show to his friends. Stalin once said that no matter where you toss the stone into the pond, the ripples spread. No one, and I mean no one, except perhaps for a bag lady or a nut living in a cabin deep in the woods, is safe from me when I take down my creative rifle and go out for a morning hunt. I once got a stack of terrible, pornographic magazines and I mean terrible, printed up some fake address labels and stuck them on the covers. The next step was to take a few of them down to the office of a local dentist who was making trouble for me. I stuck the magazines into the piles of old magazines in his office….

RTC: Sweet Jesus.

GD: Oh yes indeed. And I sat there reading an old Geographic and was intensely gratified when a mommy and child came in for a dental checkup. A little while later, while I was enthralled looking at the huge sagging tits of native women, I heard the small child say, ’Mommy, what is the doggy doing to the lady?’

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: Oh, and the mommy looked at the magazine and shrieked. And when she saw the one about the fat woman and the dwarf, she really let loose. And she saw the dentist’s name and address on these and I can assure you, he was soon out of practice, to make a pun.

RTC: Creative nastiness, Gregory. I observe that Wolfe is making noises about you. What would you do to him?

GD: Wolfe? What? A retired librarian, friend of the CIA? Subscribe to Playgirl magazine and send it either to his former office or, better, to his home. If his wife ever saw the naked men with large joints waving around, there would be stressful moments in the living room, believe me.

 

(Concluded at 2:28 PM CST)

 

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

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Judy Seeger

Judy Seeger is an ND. Naturopathy is, of course, little else than a rich array of woo, pseudoscience and quackery, and what Seeger advocates is no exception. Her website, Colon Cleanse Camp, describes her as having been “involved in the alternative medicine field for over 33 years [per 2012]”, starting out “as a nutritionist, herbalist, consultant, workshop leader” before becoming “a traditional naturopathic physician and Natural Health Counselor, then continued learning from world renowned healers like Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr. John Christopher, Dr. Joel Robbins, and many others.” In other words, she went back to school to learn how to more effectively market crackpottery she had already convinced herself of, not to learn anything about how anything actually works.

Seeger has written a lot about her own take on cancer, and even calls herself a “Natural Cancer Cure Researcher”. Her results, apparently obtained through the time-honored methods of intuition, free association, powerful anecdote and wishful thinking, seem mostly to have been published as posts on her website, various webinars and some youtube videos, since youtube videos trump rigorous research published in research journals every time – after all, those journals focus so much on details; Seeger’s ilk want to paint bigger pictures, without having to get bogged down in details, careful research, evidence, facts or accuracy. Among her webinars are the “ultimate cancer detox secrets,” where she promises to “eliminate deadly poisons … in less than 30 days.” Yes, toxins. Those.

One of her videos/blogposts is “5 Cancer Cures That Alternative Medicine Can Guarantee”. One question that should strike you when reading that title is: guarantee what? Well, according to Seeger, the advantages of using Alternative Medicine include

  1. i) “guaranteed safe NO side effects – no harm done” [which is easily demonstrably false]

ii)“guaranteed immune boosters” [presumably since she cannot be held legally accountable for claims that are medically meaningless]

iii)“guaranteed easy to use – comfort of your own home, no doc waits.” [See below.]

  1. iv) “guaranteed more control of your health – can talk to practioners longer than 10 min.”
  2. v) “guaranteed less invasive” [see below]

Notice what she does not guarantee? That’s right.

Then she lists therapies she uses: hyperbaric oxygen therapy, colon hydrotherapy, ozone therapy, massage therapy, herbal medicine, enzyme therapy, and nutrition/juice therapy. Perceptive readers might wonder how she squares hyperbaric oxygen therapy and colon hydrotherapy with guarantees iii) and v) above. Her target audience does not include perceptive readers.

Elsewhere she does claim that vitamin B12 will shrink your tumor (but only “natural B12,” not synthetic B12), as will apparently vitamin C (not at all, but the definition of dogmatism is the unwillingness to change one’s mind in the face of evidence, and altmed is dogma, not science), vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and several other substances. There is no evidence that any of them will affect existing malignant tumor in humans or have any impact on cancer in any measurable, positive way (indeed, there is some evidence some of them might be harmful), but when Seeger’s customers discover that it will probably be to late to try to claim their money back anyways. Seeger does claim to have “worked with thousands of people just like you” but does of course not even provide survival statistics. She does state that she only works with those who are “serious” and “ready for their healing.” Skeptics will probably cause too much trouble here. The demand for total commitment to her plan from potential patients serves another purpose, too, and one very familiar from cults everywhere: if things don’t improve, Seeger can always tell you to blame yourself for not being sufficiently committed. Worst of all, however, Seeger provides strategies for convincing family members with cancer to buy into the quackery.

At one point she also manages to claim that “[c]omplementary medicine is based on scientific knowledge whereas alternative medicine is based on clinical or anecdotal evidence.” Of course, complementary medicine is alternative medicine under a different marketing strategy (it is integrated with real medicine), and no: complementary medicine is not even remotely based on scientific knowledge; the scientific foundation for the real medicine with which the bullshit is supposedly “integrated” doesn’t magically rub off.

She does have a number of fans, however.

Diagnosis: Dangerous crackpot; nothing she does has any foundation in science, evidence or research, but many of her techniques and strategies bear striking similarities to how you build a successful cult. Avoid at all costs.

 

 

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