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TBR News August 28, 2019

Aug 28 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 28, 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 28:  “The word is out that the Chinese are, and have been for some time, faking all kinds of rare gold and silver coins as well as official bank and government gold bars. These are made of tungsten, close to gold in weight, and then plated. The Chinese government is well aware of this practice and has done nothing to stop it. Rare gold Russian and American coins, Morgan dollars, gold bars pour into the United States like an army of immingrants and the result is a total loss of confidence on the part of investors. Gold is no longer considered a good or safe investment.”

 

Table of Contents 

  • Deutsche Bank says records sought in Trump congressional probe include tax returns
  • Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?   
  • Exclusive: Fake-branded bars slip dirty gold into world markets
  • The Chinese fake gold coins and bars
  • In 2019, Bombings And Explosions Up 45% In Sweden
  • Proroguing Parliament: What does it mean?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

Bank says records sought in Trump congressional probe include tax returns

August 27, 2019

by Brendan Pierson

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial records related to U.S. President Donald Trump and three of his children that congressional Democrats have requested from Deutsche Bank AG include tax returns, the bank disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday.

Two committees in the U.S. House of Representatives subpoenaed Deutsche Bank in April to provide financial records belonging to the president and his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

Deutsche Bank’s filing, in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, revealed that it had tax returns that it would need to hand over if it complied with the subpoenas, which the Trumps are seeking to block. It was not clear whose tax returns it had, because names were redacted from the filing.

A lawyer for the Trumps could not immediately be reached for comment. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

The disclosure comes as Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are seeking to obtain Trump’s personal and business tax returns, which the president has refused to turn over, from the Treasury Department.

Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.

The subpoenas on Deutsche Bank, issued by the House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee, seek records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump and the three named children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities, including records of possible ties to foreign entities.

Deutsche Bank said in Tuesday’s filing that it also had tax returns for people who “may constitute ‘immediate family’” as defined by the subpoenas, without giving any names.

A lawyer for the Trumps last week urged the 2nd Circuit to block the bank from handing over the records, saying Congress did not have the authority to demand them. The court has not yet ruled on the case.

The Trumps are also seeking to block a separate subpoena served by the Financial Services Committee on Capital One Financial Corp seeks records related to the Trump Organization’s hotel business.

Capital One said in a court filing on Tuesday that it did not have any tax returns related to the subpoena. The bank did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

2nd Circuit judges had ordered both banks to disclose whether they had tax returns last week.

Before Trump, the custom for modern U.S. presidential candidates was to reveal their income tax returns during their campaigns.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

 

Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War? 

August 27, 2019

by Patrick J. Buchanan

President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran, after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone, to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a U.S. war with Iran. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu.

Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to fly “killer drones” into Israel, an act of war.

Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon.

Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month’s attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria’s civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Understandably, Israel’s weekend actions have brought threats of retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned of vengeance for the death of his people in the Syria strike.

Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani reportedly tweeted from Tehran, “These insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attack on Beirut a “declaration of war.”

Last Friday, in the 71st week of the “Great March of Return” protests on Gaza’s border, 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire. In 16 months, 200 have died from gunshots, with thousands wounded.

America’s reaction to Israel’s weekend attacks? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Netanyahu to assure him of U.S. support of Israel’s actions. Some Iraqi leaders are now calling for the expulsion of Americans.

Why is Netanyahu now admitting to Israel’s role in the strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Why has he begun threatening Iran itself and even the Houthi rebels in Yemen?

Because this longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, having surpassed David Ben-Gurion, is in the battle of his life, with elections just three weeks off. And if Netanyahu falls short – or fails to put together a coalition after winning, as he failed earlier this year – his career would be over, and he could be facing prosecution for corruption.

Netanyahu has a compelling motive for widening the war against Israel’s main enemy, its allies and its proxies and taking credit for military strikes.

But America has a stake in what Israel is doing as well.

We are not simply observers. For if Hezbollah retaliates against Israel or Iranian-backed militias in Syria retaliate against Israel – or against us for enabling Israel – a new war could erupt, and there would be a clamor for deeper American intervention.

Yet, Americans have no desire for a new war, which could cost Trump the presidency, as the war in Iraq cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

The United States has taken pains to avoid a military clash with Iran for compelling reasons. With only 5,000 troops left in Iraq, U.S. forces are massively outmanned by an estimated 150,000 fighters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, which played a critical role in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad during the days of the caliphate.

And, for good reason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its crew of 5,600, which Trump sent to deter Iran, has yet to enter the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf but remains in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, and, at times, some 600 nautical miles away from Iran.

Why is this mighty warship keeping its distance?

We don’t want a confrontation in the Gulf, and, as ex-Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, says:

“Anytime a carrier moves close to shore, and especially into confined waters, the danger to the ship goes up significantly. … It becomes vulnerable to diesel submarines, shore-launched cruise missiles and swarming attacks by small boats armed with missiles.”

Which is a pretty good description of the coastal defenses and naval forces of Iran.

Netanyahu’s widening of Israel’s war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq – and perhaps beyond – and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both of us.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

 

Exclusive: Fake-branded bars slip dirty gold into world markets

August 28, 2019

by Peter Hobson

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – A forgery crisis is quietly roiling the world’s gold industry

Gold bars fraudulently stamped with the logos of major refineries are being inserted into the global market to launder smuggled or illegal gold, refining and banking executives tell Reuters. The fakes are hard to detect, making them an ideal fund-runner for narcotics dealers or warlords.

In the last three years, bars worth at least $50 million stamped with Swiss refinery logos, but not actually produced by those facilities, have been identified by all four of Switzerland’s leading gold refiners and found in the vaults of JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the major banks at the heart of the market in bullion, said senior executives at gold refineries, banks and other industry sources.

Four of the executives said at least 1,000 of the bars, of a standard size known as a kilobar for their weight, have been found. That is a small share of output from the gold industry, which produces roughly 2 million to 2.5 million such bars each year. But the forgeries are sophisticated, so thousands more may have gone undetected, according to the head of Switzerland’s biggest refinery.

“The latest fake bars … are highly professionally done,” said Michael Mesaric, the chief executive of refinery Valcambi. He said maybe a couple of thousand have been found, but the likelihood is that there are “way, way, way more still in circulation. And it still exists, and it still works.”

Fake gold bars – blocks of cheaper metal plated with gold – are relatively common in the gold industry and often easy to detect.

The counterfeits in these cases are subtler: The gold is real, and very high purity, with only the markings faked. Fake-branded bars are a relatively new way to flout global measures to block conflict minerals and prevent money-laundering. Such forgeries pose a problem for international refiners, financiers and regulators as they attempt to purge the world of illicit trade in bullion.

High gold prices have triggered a boom in informal and illegal mining since the mid-2000s. Without the stamp of a prestigious refinery, such gold would be forced into underground networks, or priced at a discount. By pirating Swiss and other major brands, metal that has been mined or processed in places that would not otherwise be legal or acceptable in the West – for example in parts of Africa, Venezuela or North Korea – can be injected into the market, channeling funds to criminals or regimes that are sanctioned.

It is not clear who is making the bars found so far, but executives and bankers told Reuters they think most originate in China, the world’s largest gold producer and importer, and have entered the market via dealers and trading houses in Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand. Once accepted by a mainstream gold dealer in these places, they can quickly spread into supply chains worldwide.

Word of the forged bars began to circulate quietly in gold industry circles after the first half of 2017, when J.P. Morgan, one of five banks which finalize trades in the $10 trillion-a-year London gold market, found that its vaults contained at least two gold kilobars stamped with the same identification number, 10 people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Reuters couldn’t determine exactly where the vaults were.

J.P. Morgan declined to directly address questions about the fraudulent bullion, or comment on any of the details in this story. “It’s our standard practice to immediately alert the appropriate authorities and refineries should we discover mismarked gold kilobars during routine checks and procedures,” the bank said in a statement. “Fortunately, we have yet to have an incident resulting in a loss to the firm or a client.”

The Shanghai Gold Exchange, which regulates China’s gold market, said in a statement it was not aware of counterfeit bars being made in or transported through China. “The Shanghai Gold Exchange has established a thorough delivery and storage system. The process for gold (material) to enter the warehouse is strictly managed and in compliance with the regulations,” it said.

When others who store and trade such gold found forged bars, they returned them to the refiner concerned, some of whom have operations in Asia. Bars returned to Switzerland have been reported by refiners to the Swiss authorities who impounded them, refiners said.

Swiss Customs said 655 forged bars were reported in 2017 and 2018 to local prosecutors in Ticino, a region bordering Italy that contains three of Switzerland’s four large refineries. “In all cases the marking of the 1 kg bars were fake,” a Customs official said by email, without commenting further.

The public prosecutor in Ticino confirmed it had received three reports of gold bars with suspect serial numbers, but said it could not disclose more information. The police in Neuchatel, where Switzerland’s other large refinery is located, said neither it nor local prosecutors there had received reports of any forged bars. Switzerland’s Attorney General said its office was not concerned with the topic at present.

Refinery executives said forged bars had also been reported in other countries.

HANDY FORMAT    

Kilobars are small – around the size and thickness of a cellphone – unlike the roughly 12.5-kilo gold ingots typically stored in the vaults of the world’s central banks. Kilobars are the most common form of gold in circulation around the world, passing fluidly between banks, refineries, dealers and individuals. The identifying features stamped onto a bar’s surface include the logo of the refinery that made it, its purity, weight, and a unique identification number. Each one is worth around $50,000 at current prices.

In parts of Southeast Asia, it’s not uncommon for individuals to use gold instead of cash for big purchases such as real estate, bankers and analysts said. “It’s the only investment tool that goes from institutional investors like banks to the public and back again,” said an executive at a Swiss refinery.

In China, almost all exports of gold are banned as part of the country’s strict, longstanding controls on capital movements. That, market analysts say, has spurred demand among well-to-do Chinese who want to send money out of the country to find ways to smuggle it.

An estimated 400 to 600 tonnes of gold are snuck every year across the border from mainland China to Hong Kong in car boots and delivery vans, most of it in kilobars, said Cameron Alexander, head of precious metals research at consultants GFMS Refinitiv, which conducts detailed studies of global gold flows. Hong Kong Customs said it had received no complaints in the past decade about kilobars with forged trademarks.

Japan also has a long-established problem of gold smuggling in which the forged brands could be put to use, refinery executives said.

Swiss brands are not the only ones to have been pirated, but are the most targeted due to their global reach, executives said. Switzerland’s four largest refineries – Valcambi, PAMP, Argor-Heraeus and Metalor – process around 2,000-2,500 tonnes of gold a year, worth around $100 billion. Their trademarks are among the most common and trusted in the industry. PAMP and Metalor declined to comment on the record; Argor said there was always a risk brands would be counterfeited, and recommended people buy bars only from trusted distributors.

For recipients, the pirated bars pose a compliance threat: Anyone who holds such metal – including jewelers, banks and electronics firms – risks inadvertently violating global rules designed to keep metal of unknown or criminal origin out of circulation. The rules aim to staunch gold supplies that fund conflict, terrorism or organized crime, damage the environment or undermine national governments.

Governments in America and Europe are legislating to force banks and manufacturers of items such as jewelry and electronics to take more responsibility for their mineral suppliers. For example, a clause in the Dodd-Frank Act adopted by the United States obliges U.S. companies to disclose whether gold they use has come from countries in central Africa where it could have been mined to fund conflict.

Richard Hayes, chief executive of the Perth Mint in Australia, one of the world’s largest refiners, said his company had not encountered fraudulently branded Perth Mint kilobars. But, given the experience of other refiners, he has no doubt they are circulating.

“It’s a wonderful way of laundering conflict gold,” he said. “The gold is genuine, but it’s not ethically sourced … They look completely genuine, they assay correctly, and they weigh correctly as well.”

The perfect appearance makes the bars highly effective. “Because gold is completely fungible,” Hayes said, “you can bleed it into genuine production. It’s very, very hard to control.”

J.P. Morgan supplies gold from major refiners for many of the world’s biggest banks, jewelers and investors, and the discovery of the forged bars in its vaults triggered a full review of the gold it held, market sources said. One said this sweep unearthed around 50 fraudulently-branded bars. Another said it found several hundred. J.P. Morgan did not comment.

People in the industry familiar with the matter said the number of forged bars, and their high quality, meant their production must be well organized. An analysis of the bars’ movements suggested they had been made in Asia, probably China, they said. But the gold in them could have been melted and re-melted after being mined anywhere.

J.P. Morgan responded to its discovery by deciding to stop buying any gold in Asia that had not come freshly made from a small clutch of refineries it trusted, five people familiar with the decision said. J.P. Morgan declined to comment.

Other banks have also restricted gold purchases in Asia, 15 people in the industry said. “Anything that has even the chance of being iffy they are not going to be involved in,” said Alexander, the analyst at GFMS Refinitiv.

Reuters approached five large banks that trade gold in Asia, several of which have vaulting facilities. HSBC declined to comment in detail but a spokesman said it only bought bars directly from a small group of refiners accredited, like the Swiss, by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). It said it had found no counterfeits. UBS did not comment on counterfeit bars, but said it only sells gold processed by LBMA-accredited refiners. Standard Chartered declined comment, saying “this is not an issue that affects us.” ANZ said it buys previously cast bars from “a select group of counterparties” and its policy, which had not been changed by the counterfeits, was to re-melt and recast them before selling them on. No one from ICBC Standard was available to comment.

THREE NINES

The number of fake bars being found has dropped since 2017. But refiners say the forgeries are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so the problem may have grown.

In 2017, Valcambi’s Mesaric said, hundreds of bars were found stamped with the same identification number. The bars’ markings also had spelling errors, flaws in logo images, or print that was too deep or shallow, other refiners said.

Today, the forgeries are more precisely made, using what appears to be sophisticated machinery, Mesaric said. There can still be giveaways, such as indentations from a robotic gripper or repeated imperfections in a cast mould. But these are easy to miss.

The most reliable way to identify the fakes is to test their purity. Gold is available on world markets in varying levels of purity: For professionally produced kilobars, the most common standard is 99.99% – known in the trade as “four nines.” An analysis of three counterfeit-branded bars by one Swiss refinery showed that two of them were 99.98% pure, and the third 99.90%.

Though short of legitimate professional standards, even that level of purity is difficult to achieve, and takes advanced equipment to detect.

Swiss Customs said of the 655 bars reported to local prosecutors in Ticino, the purity fell slightly below 99.99% in some cases.

“The level of counterfeit is becoming really good. Even for us it is hard to tell,” said a Swiss refinery executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are, however, slightly less pure because the people doing the counterfeits don’t have the equipment we have.”

TAPEMR-PROOF INK, MICROSURFACE SCANS

The refineries are responding to the problem with technology.

Metalor this year began to put spots of tamper-proof ink on its bars. Like the security features on banknotes, these display different features when viewed under certain light or through filters. PAMP and Valcambi perform a microsurface scan of their bars and supply machines or phone apps that can scan each one and verify whether their surfaces match the refinery’s records. Argor said its bars had various security features, but declined to elaborate for security reasons.

The LBMA, which accredits global refineries to vouch for the quality of their output, is drawing up standards for security features. It has also proposed a global database containing information about every kilobar produced, as a way of cross-checking the products to add an extra layer of security. “Any security feature can be duplicated that’s on the bar itself,” said the LBMA’s chief executive, Ruth Crowell.

But most of the refiners’ security features have only been introduced recently, and no database is planned until 2020 at the earliest.

Edited by Sara Ledwith

 

The Chinese fake gold coins and bars

August 28, 2019

by Christian Jürs

It would appear that the Chinese, with full consent of their government, have been faking literally hundreds of gold and silver coins; some bullion and some numismatic, and been dumping them, in huge numbers, on the public.

I have a list of the mints or firms in China that make these coins and oficial gold bars, which coins and bars  they make, how these coins and bars are sent into the United States, who the middlemen are, who the retail outlets are and so on.

The Chinese government is a partner in all of this, getting gold and silver to the counterfeiters and easing any export problems because they are furious that President Trump dared to raise the interest rates on American T-bills. As this act effectively diminished the value of the Chinese massive holdings and as they demanded that Obama not raise the interest rate, something he refused to consider, they are now finding a way to profit from the coin and bar sales.

To date, fake US Treasury gold bars, Credit Suisse gold bars, various Swiss bank bars have appeared on the world market. These bars are made of tungsten, which is almost identical in weight as gold, and then gold plated. There are devices on the market that detect tungsten and a light on the machines indicates this. Also, when the Chinese faked the US Treasury bars, they made serious errors in the official numbering and the Swiss banks spotted this and had to return literally tons of fakes to various countries who had received these fakes in payment for needed resources.

 

In 2019, Bombings And Explosions Up 45% In Sweden

August 27, 2019

by Jon Hall

Investment Watch

Compared to the same period from January to July in 2018, the occurrence of explosive incidents and bombings in Sweden sky-rocketed 45 percent this year.

Statistics revealed by authorities show that Sweden saw 120 explosive events, whereas that same number from 2018 was only 83. Different sources report different numbers for the entire length of 2018, however. According to paper Dagens Nyheter, 157 explosions took place across the country in 2018 while the Crime Prevention Council BRÅ reported 108 instances of destruction via explosion last year.

The numbers differ but all of the organizations agree that 2019 has seen a rise in bombings.

Criminologist Sven Granath detailed on the explosions, explaining:

Yes, unfortunately, it has increased. Why we do not know, this may be due to the increase in gun violence at the national level. In individual locations, there may be one or more conflicts between criminal networks, but it is very difficult to know.

“You can really only speculate. It may be stolen from a building site and sold, or maybe smuggled in,” Granath continued, noting that investigators never know for certain what materials were used in the explosions or what their origins were.

According to police, the nature of explosions have shifted in recent years. At one point, hand grenades were more common in Swedish bombings but now dynamite, stolen from construction sites, has become the new norm.

Experts claim that the explosions are likely linked to organized crime and could be increasing due to stricter regulations on firearms in Sweden.

Sweden’s southern city of Malmö has been faced with a high number of explosion cases in the last several years with 58 cases in 2017, 45 last year, and 23 so far this year. Notably, the city saw three explosions in the span of just 24 hours earlier this year.

It seems that authorities willingly bury their head in the sand regarding the similar correlation of an increase in migrants and refugees as bombings and explosions also rise. Experts and officials can call it “organized crime” if it makes them feel better, but it is wholly ignoring the true problem at hand.

The reality of the situation is that the importation of third-world invaders into a once prosperous and stable first-world country has turned it into an unsafe and tumultuous battle zone where the threat of explosions place high in the minds of citizens.

After all, you reap what you sow – and Sweden is doing that, tenfold.

 

Proroguing Parliament: What does it mean?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrown down the gauntlet to MPs and announced that he’s seeking Parliament’s prorogation. So how does it work?

August 28, 2019

by Rob Mudge

DW

What is proroguing?

Prorogation is the formal term for the end of a current parliamentary session. Parliament is normally suspended — or prorogued — for a short period before the next session begins. This is formally carried out by the Queen, who acts on the advice of the prime minister.

Parliamentary sessions normally last a year, but the current one has been running ever since the June 2017 election. Once the Commons has been prorogued, all motions that have not been addressed, or bills that have not been passed, don’t go any further. They can be reintroduced in the next session by an MP or be carried over if a motion to that end has been passed.

Historically, proroguing Parliament has been used by English monarchs to stop it from interfering with their plans. Indeed, Charles I thought it was a great idea and made use of this prerogative twice.

This is not the same as “dissolving” Parliament, which happens before a general election.

Can MPs stop Johnson?

A number of high-profile figures, including former Prime Minister John Major, have threatened to go to the courts to stop it.

A Scottish judge has fast-tracked a cross-party legal challenge to prevent Johnson from shutting down Parliament. The group of parliamentarians includes Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry and independent MP Heidi Allen.

Could the Queen refuse to prorogue Parliament?

Technically, yes, constitutionally no. Under Britain’s parliamentary democracy, the Queen acts on the advice of her prime minister. That means that decisions over when Parliament sits are decided by the government, and merely rubber-stamped by Buckingham Palace.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 28, 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. 42

Date: Monday, October 14, 1996

Commenced: 9:45 AM CST

Concluded: 10:21 AM CST

 

GD: Robert.

RTC: Good morning, Gregory.

GD: Have you heard anything more from Critchfield?

RTC: Yes, I have. He’s calmed down some and is now blaming me for blindsiding him.

GD: Well, actually you did. Telling him I was one of his boys.

RTC: I implied, Gregory. Only implied. And Jim is trying to dig up more information for his stupid book and he went for it. It worked out fine, but he cursed at me and said I got him in over his head.

GD: Pompous asshole. One of these days, I’ll get out the story about him and Atwood selling Russian atomic shells to the Pakis. You know Jim was the arms dealer and Critchfield was building a retirement nest egg so they went ahead with this. Jim’s people had been supplying the Afghan rebels with weapons to use against the Russians and the connections are there. Just think, Robert. They sold thirty shells to potential lunatic enemies. Oh, they might be thankful we helped them but in the end, they are religious fanatics and they will prove to be a real crown of thorns to us. Just an opinion, of course.

RTC: Well, Jim would like to find some way to shut you up, short of killing you. He’s not in power anymore so maybe he’ll bribe you.

GD: In my experience, Robert, those people never bribe anyone. They threaten them and yell at them, but never resort to an actual bribe. Unless, of course, they are bribing a Russian military person to get them some atomic shells. Then, they bribe.

RTC: Not to offend you, Gregory, but would you take a bribe?

GD: Depends on how much and what the issue is. Generally, people don’t try to bribe me. Threaten me, of course, or insult me, certainly, but no bribes. I wonder what would happen to Critchfield’s precious image if it ever came out? Atwood is known as a piece of worthless shit and he has no reputation to lose.

RTC: Jim is very incensed about Atwood at this point.

GD: Remember, we have a bet.

RTC: Not a real bet.

GD: I have been reading over some of this ZIPPER business, Robert. Very interesting to say the least.

RTC: Now, Gregory, we are not specific on the phone.

GD: No, no, I’m aware of that. You know, what with all the strange stories about that incident, I might have an uphill fight to get the book accepted.

RTC: Ah yes, the nut fringe. Highly entertaining material.

GD: Yes, but rather misleading.

RTC: Oh that’s why we support them, Gregory. Muddy the waters. Keep the public eye elsewhere. Away from dangerous subjects. The public loves conspiracies so we supply them. A real conspiracy is difficult to conceal, Gregory. Too many people, too many chances for leaks. Joe gets drunk and tells his brother and so on. Sometimes, we’ve had to remove people like that, but not very often. Johnson was in the know but I doubt if he’d tell Lady Bird, let alone a reporter. And officially, don’t forget that Hoover was also on board. His people can shut you down very quickly. They’ll find a machine gun under the front seat of your car and off you go, screaming innocence all the way to the big house.

GD: But what happens if an FBI man says something?

RTC: Well, they aren’t bulletproof. Bill Sullivan found that out.

GD: Oh yes, I saw the name in the ZIPPER papers.

RTC: He was Hoover’s man in that. And other projects as well. Bill and Hoover had a falling out and Hoover sacked him. Not only did he sack him, Hoover began to threaten him. I guess Bill got terminated finally because he had begun to grumble too much and to the wrong people.

GD: What happened? A car accident?

RTC: No, he went out for a walk one morning and some young hunter thought he was a deer and shot him in the head.

GD: Oh my, what a tragedy.

RTC: Bill thought that because J. Edgar was dead, he could mouth off. He was a bitter man, Gregory, and then he was a dead one. With all his baggage, Bill should have stayed in New Hampshire and enjoyed his retirement.

GD: Baggage?

RTC: You don’t know any of this, of course, but Sullivan was up to his neck in business that would have put him away for life if it ever came out. He was top man in the Bureau and Hoover’s hatchet man. Besides being involved up to his neck in the ZIPPER business, Bill also took out King and Bobby Kennedy.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert.

RTC: Well, we get the blame for all kinds of shit and it’s comforting to spread it around. Certainly. Old Hoover hated both King and Bobby. Why? Hoover has been suspected of being a high yellow…

GD: What?

RTC: Part black. True or not, it’d gotten around and he knew about it. Hoover also was probably a queer but again, not proven. He had his areas of great sensitivity, let’s say. No, he hated King because J. Edgar hated blacks. I mean really hated them. Wouldn’t let them in the Bureau and persecuted any black leaders he could. Like Marcus Garvey.

GD: And King.

RTC: Hoover was outraged that King had a white girlfriend and did everything he and his Bureau did to slam him. Finally, as he got older, Hoover got nuttier and decided to have him killed. Sullivan ran that operation. First they tried to tap his phones and plant stories about him and when that didn’t work, they offed him.

GD: What about James Earl Ray?

RTC: Another Oswald. You see, the Bureau has a very small group of miscreants who do jobs on people. Sullivan ran them for Hoover. Ray was a very minor and very low class crook. A smash and grab type. Bust a window in an appliance store and run off with an iron or a toaster. Break into a laundromat, jimmy open the coin boxes on the machines, steal the coins and then cut his bare feet on the broken glass he left breaking the window. Hardly sophisticated enough to shoot King, escape to Canada, get a fake Canadian passport in the name of a Montreal police officer and flee to England. Not likely, Gregory. If Ray knew who put him up to being a front, they would have killed him just like they shot Oswald. Ray didn’t know, although he probably guessed at one point, and off he went for the rest of his life. He can scream innocent until he dies and no one will listen.

GD: And Bobby?

RTC: Bobby was a nasty piece of shit who made enemies whenever he went for a walk. He was his brother’s hit man, in a figurative sense, his pimp. He was the AG, put in there by Joe so Joe could get back his confiscated Farben stock and also go after the mob. Back in Prohibition, I can tell you, Joe was a partner of Capone’s and Joe was stupid enough to rip Al off. Al put out a contract on Joe and Joe had to pay Al to cancel it. And from then on, Joe was out to get anyone in the Mob. Pathological shit, Joe was.

GD: My grandfather told me all about him.

RTC: Well, when Bobby got to be AG, he harassed old Hoover, trying to make him quit. Not a very good idea, but then Bobby thought he was safe. His father was very rich, his brother was President and he thought he couldn’t be touched. For example, Hoover used to take a nap on his office couch every day and Bobby would bang into his office and wake him up. And worse, Bobby would tell his friends, at parties where there were many ears, that Hoover was an old faggot.

GD: Some people seem to have a death wish. This reminds me of the street freak who climbed over the wall at the San Francisco zoo once, climbed right into the outdoor tiger rest area, walked up to a sleeping male tiger and kicked him in the balls. Tiger was very angry, got up in a rage, smacked the intruder, killed him and was eating him, right in front of the horrified zoo visitors. That kind of a thing, right?

RTC: A good analogy. You grasp the situation, Hoover stayed in power because he had files on all the men in power, to include JFK and his father. Not a man to antagonize is it?

GD: I would think not.

RTC: Johnson was terrified of Hoover and kissed his ass on every occasion, but Bobby was running for president and it looked like he might make it. That’s when Hoover talked to Sullivan and we know the rest. Just some background here. This Arab….

GD: Sirhan.

RTC: Yes. Note that Kennedy had come down from his suite in the Ambassador Hotel to give a victory speech. Came into the hall from the front door with all his happy staff. Big crowd. One of his aides, Lowenstein, I believe, told him they should go out through the kitchen exit. And there was what’s-his-name waiting. But he shot at Kennedy without question, with a dinky .22 but never got to within five feet of him. The official autopsy report said Kennedy was shot behind the ear at a distance of two inches. Now that sounded to me like a very inside job. They steered him into an area where an assassin was known to be waiting and made sure he bought the farm. In all the screaming and confusion, just a little bit of work by a trusted aide or bodyguard and Bobby was fatally shot. That was the second one of Hoover’s pet hates. The first one reminded him of the nigger relationship and the other had called him a faggot. Hoover had his moments but if you stepped on his toes, off came your head. But Hoover was afraid of Sullivan so he left him alone.

GD: Then…

RTC: We decided that Sullivan, freed of the spirit of Hoover, who had died some years before, Sullivan began to talk just a little. We didn’t care about the King or the Bobby business but if he talked about ZIPPER, we would be in the soup, so Sullivan had to go.

GD: Someone persuaded him to put on a deer suit?

RTC: No, he was walking in the woods and some kid, armed with a rifle and a telescopic sight, blew him away. Terribly remorseful. Severe punishment for him. Lost his hunting license for a year. Think of that, Gregory. For a whole year. A terrible tragedy and that was the end of that.

GD: Can I use that?

RTC: If you want. It’s partially public record. If you can dig it out on your own…

GD: I’ll try. Thanks for the road map.

RTC: Why, think nothing of it.

GD: But back to the ZIPPER thesis. I was saying about the proliferation of conspiracy books that I would have trouble.

RTC: Of course, Gregory. We paid most of those people to put out nut stuff. Why the Farrell woman, one of the conspiracy theme people, is one of ours. We have others. We have a stable of well-paid writers whose sole orders are to produce pieces that excite the public and keep them away from uncomfortable truths. I imagine if and when you publish, an army of these finks will roar like your angry tiger and we won’t have to pay them a dime. They’ve carved out a territory and if you don’t agree with them, they will shit all over you. I wish you luck, Gregory. And I can guarantee that the press will either keep very, very quiet about you or will make a fool out of you. We still do control the press and if we say to trash an enemy, they will do it. And if the editor won’t, we always talk to the publishers. Or, more effective, one of my business friends threatens to pull advertising from the rag. That’s their Achilles heel, Gregory. No paper can survive on subscription income alone. The ads keep it going. In the old days, a word from me about ad-pulling made even the most righteous editor back down in a heartbeat. We bribe the reporters and terrify their bosses. They talk about the free press who know nothing about the realities.

GD: Nicely put, Robert.

RTC: We should have you come back here one of these days for a sit-down. Bill wants to do this. Are you game?

GD: Will men in black suits meet me at the airport?

RTC: I don’t think so, Gregory.

GD: Maybe one of them will hit me with their purse.

RTC: Now, Gregory, that isn’t kind.

GD: I’m sure Hoover wouldn’t have thought so.

 

(Concluded at 10:21 AM 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

Stephanie Seneff

Stephanie Seneff is a real senior research scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, specializing in human–computer interaction and algorithms for language understanding and speech recognition. She is also a crackpot, pseudoscientist and conspiracy theorist trying to write about issues in biology and medicine, fields she demonstrably doesn’t understand. She has also managed to become something of an authority in the antivaccine and anti-GMO movements since people in these movements don’t notice or care that she has no competence in those fields as long as her credentials in completely unrelated fields give her crackpot rantings a sheen of authority. Not that Seneff herself would recognize the limits of her competence: “So basically what I do is I read papers and I process them with the computer to help me understand them and interpret them and generalize and build a story […]. Mostly what I do now is study, and then write. Trying to understand biology. I have an undergraduate degree from MIT in biology, and I also spent one year in graduate school in biology before switching over to computer science. And my PhD was on an auditory model for the human processing of speech. So that also involved biology, neurology. I’m not a complete ignoramus in the field of biology.” Actually, she is worse than an ignoramus; her description brilliantly illustrates a serious case of Dunning-Kruger and someone who is confidently scaling mount stupid.

So in 2011, Seneff began publishing articles on topics in biology and medicine, areas where she has no relevant qualifications or expertise, in low-impact or predatory open access journals, such as Interdisciplinary Toxicology, including eight papers in the journal Entropy between 2011 and 2015. It is rather important to emphasize, as Seneff herself admits in the above quote about how she does “research”, that Seneff “has published only speculations and gives many presentations, but has not created any new data” – there is no actual research going on; just manipulations of data from fields she doesn’t have any competence in; basically, her studies are review articles that just cherry-pick the results she wants to use and disregard the rest (some glaring examples are discussed here). Of course, her reviews have also been criticized for misrepresenting the results and conclusions of other researchers’ work, and for extensively relying on pseudoscientific studies and studies that have later been refuted – just to reach home base when even cherry-picking won’t suffice to get her where she wanted. And of course the “peer review process” isn’t going to notice given her choice of journals; the journals in question are pay-to-publish journals of the kind most serious researchers would classify as “predatory”, and the publisher of Entropy, MDPI, has a known history of publishing articles without merit.

Glyphosate and anti-GMO insanity

Seneff and her regular coauthor Anthony Samsel – a “long time contributor to the Mercola.com Vital Votes Forum” (yes, that description was apparently intended to convey an air of authority) – have coauthored a series of, well, comments that associate glyphosate with a wide variety of diseases, including “gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease”. The comments have received quite a bit of media attention given her and her coauthors’ marketing of the results (one Carey Gilliam seems in particular to be a repeat offender when it comes to pushing Seneff’s conspiracy theories masked as “research” for various newspapers). The paper(s), of course, have no scientific merit – indeed, they have been characterized as “not even wrong” for instance due to “word salads about toxicology and biology that might as well be magic” – which is of course also why they were published in pseudojournals. Seneff and Samsel’s “results” are discussed in some detail here; a good primer on glyphosate is here. Seneff herself claimed that glyphosate is a major cause of autism and largely responsible for the current autism epidemic: “At today’s rates, by 2025, half the kids born will be diagnosed with autism,” Seneff said (the claim was picked up by Snopes after making its ways in the usual conspiracy-and-pseudoscience circles); indeed, she has gained some infamy for using a graph in her Powerpoint presentations that shows that 100% of all children born in 2050 will be born with autism. In other words, according to Seneff GMOs are going to make everyoneautistic. Yes, that’s the level of density we are talking about (for the record: there is no autism epidemic; increasing rates are probably exclusively due to changes in diagnostic practices). Real studies have also found no evidence that glyphosate is associated with adverse development outcomes, nor any of the other adverse outcomes Seneff asserts it is the cause of; indeed, glyphosate is probably among the least toxic herbicides there is. A 2017 Review Article in Frontiers in Public Health characterized Seneff’s glyphosate health-risk research claims as “at best unsubstantiated theories, speculations or simply incorrect.”

It is worth pointing out that infamous anti-GMO activist Michael Hansen of Consumers Union, who is himself no stranger to spouting insane conspiracy theories about science, thinks Anthony Samsel is so crazy that he should be avoided lest his side lose their credibility among the public (his side has precariously little credibility among scientists as it is).

Much of Seneff and Samsel’s work in these papers are simple applications of post-hoc fallacies, for instance when they suggest that “[t]he incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases such as juvenile onset Crohn’s disease has increased substantially in the last decade in Western Europe and the United States. It is reasonable to suspect that glyphosate’s impact on gut bacteria may be contributing to these diseases and conditions.” It really isn’t reasonable, any more than blaming increased consumption of organic products. (And the connection to gut conditions matters, because they also adhere to the at best extremely controversial idea that gastrointestinal issues are a causal factor in autism – another correlation/causation failure, really). They make similarly ridiculous correlation/causation mistakes when trying to tie glyphosate to obesity; in fact, had they been careful, they would have seen that they don’t even actually have a correlation to mistake for causation in this case (further discussion here). They are not careful. Seneff also notes a correlation between deaths from senile dementia due to an aging population and … well, she doesn’t notice that association.

The proposed association between glyphosate and autism is further discussed here. According to Seneff, there is of course a correlation between the use of glyphosate and, well, really the expansion of diagnostic criteria and practices for autism (not the number of incidences); therefore, there must be a causal connection. “Is there a toxic substance that is currently in our environment on the rise in step with increasing rates of Autism that could explain this?… The answer is yes, I’m quite sure that I’m right, and the answer is glyphosate.” The evidence-free convictions of an electrical engineer with a history of pseudoscience really isn’t going to cut it in any context where truth, accuracy and evidence matter. And she really, really doesn’t get the correlation/causation thing; nor is she very careful about identifying actual correlation from which one could actually fallaciously derive causal claims.

And as mentioned above, it isn’t just autism, obesity, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimers. According to Seneff glyphosate exposure causes arthritis, concussions, Celiac disease, food allergies, and Parkinsons as well. Indeed, in an interview with anti-GMO activist, yogic flying instructor and conspiracy theorist Jeffrey Smith, Seneff upped her game even further: “I believe that glyphosate may be a contributor to all the – this epidemic that we have in school shootings and the thing that just happened in Boston (the Boston Bombing).”

Wait, was concussions on that list? Oh, yes. According to Seneff, glyphosate causes concussions (her coauthor on that rant was Wendy Morely, who is a “Registered Holistic Nutritionist” specializing in the nutrition of concussion; Morely has no neurology background either, of course). And yes, it’s just as insanely dumb as you would imagine. Their tortured reasoning process is discussed here, and the basic idea is a proposed “diminished brain resilience syndrome”: according to Seneff and Morely, concussions are on the increase because the general population has poor nutrition, disordered gut microbiota, and increased exposure to toxins like glyphosate and GMOs, which render the brain less resilient to injury and less able to repair itself after injury. There is a long road of fallacies and confusions to travel to make that connection look like it works even to those who know nothing about any of the relevant fields (notice how although Seneff and Morely add references behind some of the central figures in their arguments, the sources cited don’t actually contain those figures, and the suggested figures do, entirely unsurprisingly, contradict the figures actually found in the scientific literature.) Of course, the proposal collapses on the starting block, since there is no evidence at all for the claim that concussions are on the rise. In short: Seneff and Morely propose, without evidence, a nonsensical hypothesis to explain – something it couldn’t have done even if it were coherent – a phenomenon that don’t actually exist. The whole attempt is roughly as intelligent or credible as one that tried to use chi vibrations to explain how unicorns fly.

Anti-vaccine

Though Seneff has her own, wrong idea about the causes of autism, she has nevertheless thrown her lot in with the antivaccine movement. Indeed, according to Seneff, Alzheimer’s, which she has claimed is also caused by glyphosate – and sunscreen – is also caused by vaccines: “The elderly are greatly encouraged to renew their flu shots every single year, and I think this is another major factor that is steadily increasing their risk to Alzheimer’s disease. This is mainly due to the aluminum contained in the flu shot.” She doesn’t have any evidence of course; she just thinksthere is a connection. Some might even consider her claim to think vaccines are a factor in Alzheimer’s is false, due to a legitimate hesitancy to characterize what she is doing as thinking.

In 2012 Seneff was a coauthor with Jingjing Liu (from Seneff’s lab) and one Robert M. Davidson on “Empirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure”, published in their standard pay-to-publish journal Entropy (in fact, they also blame autism on mercury in the article, but probably didn’t dare put it in the title in case even the editors of Entropy, whom we suspect do not read beyond the title, would have noticed). There is a good review of the article here (“Rarely have I seen so much antivaccine pseudoscience packed into a single paper”). You get a feel for the contents of the paper from the way they frame their study: “The ASD community has maintained a long-standing conviction that vaccination plays a causative role in ASD, an idea that has been vehemently denied by the vaccine industry, but nonetheless is still hotly debated,” which must count as one of the most egregious manufactroversy gambits in the history of the Internet (it really isn’t hotly debated, the ASD community is not in general antivaccine, and refutations of the proposed link have not come from the vaccine industry). And yes, they cite celebrity fraud Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent and retracted 1998 paper as evidence. They also cite Gayle DeLong, Mark Geier, Boyd Haley, Helen Ratajczak and really a whole cornucopia of antivaccine conspiracy theories published in bottom-feeding or predatory journals, while systematically of course neglecting the overwhelming amount of large, real, serious and extensive studies that consistently yield results that don’t fit their narrative. It is actually not entirely clear what their thesis is; the antivaccine movement has blamed everything from thimerosal to aluminum adjuvants, and Seneff et al. seem to cite it all equally approvingly despite the fact that the claims contradict each other. Of course, the MMR vaccine has never contained either aluminum or thimerosal, but Seneff et al. don’t seem to have gotten the memo and blithely go from blaming “heavy metals” like mercury and aluminum for the “autism epidemic” to blaming the MMR vaccine. They also blame vaccines for SIDS, despite vaccines being negatively correlated with SIDS. Then they dumpster-dive in the VAERS database. (And no, they apparently don’t really have the faintest idea what the VAERS database actually is, but nevertheless went on to “torture the data until it confessed”) And that’s just the start. At least their paper provides an illuminating illustration of how anti-vaccine “researchers” work.

Despite Because of her lack of expertise or knowledge in the fields she is writing about Seneff has become a central character in the antivaccine movement, and she participated in the antivaccine film Vaxxed, for instance, as well as in the antivaccine series The Truth about Vaccines.

Cholesterol denialism and more

Seneff has also put her degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to work in dreaming up theories that ADHD is caused by eating too many low fat foods, that autism is caused by a cholesterol/vitamin D deficiency syndrome because mothers eat too many low fat foods and use too much sunscreen (her 2008 essay “Sunscreen and Low-fat Diet: A Recipe for Disaster”), that sulfur deficiency causes obesity (sulfur deficiency is of course not actually a thing, but Seneff knows nothing about chemistry, biology or medicine), and that a low fat diet and statin drugs (for high cholesterol) can cause Alzheimer’s.

Yes, Seneff (and colleagues) have also aligned themselves with the conspiracy theorists in the cholesterol denialist group THINC (yes, cholesterol denialism is of course a thing) and garbage-published on the health impacts of fat and cholesterol consumption in America. According to Seneff Americans are suffering from a cholesterol deficiency; this is, to put it diplomatically, incorrect. In 2014–2016 Seneff was accordingly proposed as an expert witness for litigators seeking damages from Pfizer associated with their cholesterol drug Lipitor, but the court dismissed the suggestion, of course, since Seneff has no expertise in the field and failed to provide credible evidence linking Lipitor to any specific harm.

Oh, and she has also blamed low fat diets and statins on autism. So, just to tally up: thus far Seneff has blamed autism on low fat diets and statins, GMOs and glyphosate, sulfate deficiency, vaccines, aluminium and painkillers. That’s what happens when you don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation and is also really bad at actually identifying correlations, we suppose. Her regular coauthor Anthony Samsel, meanwhile, has even proposed that water dynamics are responsible for autism.

As a result of her stalwart efforts on behalf of dangerous nonsense, Stephanie Seneff is currently on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI). She has no relevant qualifications to assess the medical safety of anything whatsoever, of course, but that probably makes her a fine match for the CMSRI, which is a conspiracy-mongering pseudoscience organization.

Diagnosis: It is worth emphasizing again: Stephanie Seneff has no expertise, background or competence in anything related to medicine, biology or how to use population studies. And she has done no research whatsoever on the topics she writes about. Her output isn’t studies, but conspiracy rants superficially structured like research papers and published in pay-to-publish journals. Seneff is a pseudoscientist and a tragic case of Dunning-Kruger. But she has also found a receptive audience, and even mainstream media isn’t always able to distinguish her writings from science. Dangerous.

 

 

 

 

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