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TBR News August 4, 2019

Aug 04 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. August 4, 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 4 :”The mainline American print media is now beginning to come to the uncomfortable realization that President Trump is a racist through and through and is deliberately stirring up racial hatred in Americas to bolster his election campaign and to give him more power with Congress.

It is true that he who touches pitch shall be defiled and also that he who sits on a hot wood stove will have his buttocks burnt.

The stench of burning fat will not, on the other hand, overcome the stench of burning buildings.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Iran seizes ‘foreign’ vessel in Persian Gulf
  • Germany will not join US naval mission in Strait of Hormuz
  • Japan won’t contribute ships to U.S. Middle East maritime force – Mainichi
  • US Ambassador Richard Grenell threatens German firms over Russian pipeline
  • Last Pipe Leaves Port of Karlshamn
  • Nord Stream 2 abandons quest to lay pipeline in Danish territorial waters
  • Behind Nord Stream 2: The Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline that fueled Trump’s anger at NATO meeting
  • Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online
  • After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role in Inspiring Mass Shootings
  • The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity
  • Democrats target Trump rhetoric after deadly mass shootings
  • American gun laws: Why the issues are not as clear-cut as they first appear
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

 

Iran seizes ‘foreign’ vessel in Persian Gulf

Iran says it has captured an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and claims it was smuggling fuel to some Arab states. The seizure puts Tehran on a fresh collision course with the West over security in the key shipping route.

August 4, 2019

by Nik Martin

DW

Iran has impounded another foreign ship in the Persian Gulf, the country’s state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday, the third such seizure in a month.

Citing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the agency said the oil tanker was smuggling fuel to some Arab states.

A Guards commander was cited as saying that the ship was carrying 700,000 liters (185,000 gallons) of fuel when it was seized, close to the barren Farsi island.

The Fars news agency said the tanker was captured on Wednesday.

IRNA said 7 crew on board were detained. No further details on the ship or the nationalities of the crew were given.

Tensions between Washington, Iran and its neighbors have hit new highs in recent months after the Islamic Republic threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transportation route out of the Gulf.

Several tankers detained

On July 18, Iranian commandos seized a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker, smuggling some 1 million liters of fuel from Iran to foreign customers.

A day later, the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker was impounded, in retaliation for the UK’s capture of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, which Britain accused of violating sanctions on Syria.

The US has also blamed Tehran for sabotage attacks on several other tankers in and around the Gulf during a standoff that saw Washington almost launch airstrikes on Iranian territory.

US President Doald Trump reimposed biting sanctions on Tehran after he pulled the country out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year, blaming the Islamic Republic for destabilizing the region.

Germany is considering proposals for a European-led maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf after Berlin rejected efforts for a US-led mission.

 

Germany will not join US naval mission in Strait of Hormuz

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany will not be taking part in a US-led mission to secure oil tanker ships sailing near Iran. The US ambassador in Berlin slammed the decision, saying Germany has responsibilities.

July 31, 2019

DW

Germany will not participate in a naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz that is led by the United States, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday.

“Germany will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States,” Maas told reporters during a trip to Poland.

The German government said it remains in close consultation with France and the UK over a European approach to the freedom of navigation crisis in the Persian Gulf.

But US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell condemned the decision and called on Berlin to step up.

“Germany is the biggest economic power in Europe,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. “This success brings global responsibilities.”‘There is no military solution’

In explaining the decision not to join the mission, Maas said that the German government believes the US strategy of exercising “maximum pressure” against Iran “is wrong.”

He added that Berlin wants to avoid further escalating the situation in the region and that the government wants to focus on a diplomatic solution to tensions with Iran, emphasizing that “there is no military solution.”

Germany and its European allies are trying to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact and reimposed sanctions last year.

“America has sacrificed a lot to help Germany remain part of the West,” Grenell said, adding that Americans were paying billions of dollars to keep 34,000 soldiers stationed in Germany.

The US had formally requested Germany and other European allies take part in the naval mission, which it says is needed to protect shipping routes in the Strait of Hormuz.

Almost a third of all oil exports pass through the strait, which is located between Iran and Oman.

Washington proposed the mission earlier this month, saying it was trying to get a coalition together to offer military escorts to commercial ships in the Gulf.

Last week, the UK said it wanted to create a European-led mission in the Gulf to ensure the safe travel of cargo. Several EU states showed interest in the British proposal, which could potentially compliment US efforts.

Tensions on rise

The move came in response to Iran seizing the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker and its 23 crew members as it passed through the Strait on July 19.

Tensions between Iran and Europe have been increasing over Tehran’s decision to abandon parts of the 2015 deal that restricted its nuclear program.

Relations between the US and Iran have also worsened in recent months. Washington has blamed Tehran over a string of tanker attacks in the Strait of Hormuz, while both countries claim to have shot down drones belonging to the other state in the past several weeks.

 

Japan won’t contribute ships to U.S. Middle East maritime force – Mainichi

August 1, 2019

by Tim Kelly and Kaori Kaneko

Reuters

Tokyo (Reuters) – Japan will not send warships to join a U.S.-led maritime force to guard oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz fearing a military response from Iran, but it may send patrol aircraft, said the Mainichi newspaper, citing unidentified government sources.

But Japan may send warships independently to protect Japanese ships in the world’s most important oil artery, the newspaper said on Friday.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and continue to collect information while working closely with the United States and other countries,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, when asked about the report.

As its key Asian ally and a major regional naval power, Washington is keen for Japan, which is the world’s fourth-biggest oil buyer, to play a major role in its proposed maritime force.

Japan’s government would likely face opposition at home to any military venture that could put its Self Defense Forces in harms way or threaten the well being of Japanese living in Iran. Japan’s military has not fought overseas since World War Two.

The United States has blamed Iran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz, including one on a tanker operated by a Japanese shipping company. Tehran rejects the allegations.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week called on Japan, Britain, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and other nations to join a maritime force to guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Reporting by Tim Kelly and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Michael Perry

 

US Ambassador Richard Grenell threatens German firms over Russian pipeline

The US ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has sent threatening letters to German companies working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a German newspaper. Grenell reportedly warns of possible sanctions.

by Darko Janjevic

DW

German companies building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia received letters from US Ambassador Richard Grenell warning them of “a significant risk of sanctions” if they did not pull out of the project, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag has reported.

The large pipeline is set to deliver gas from northwestern Russia to northern Germany under the Baltic Sea and effectively double the amount of gas Germany imports from the country.

The US opposes the project over fears that the gas link would tighten Russia’s control of Europe’s energy supply and diminish the importance of gas transit countries such as Ukraine. US companies are also keen to sell gas obtained by fracking to many European countries.

‘Clear message’ from Washington

In the letter cited by Bild am Sonntag, Grenell wrote that the pipeline would make Europe dependent on Moscow and increase the threat of Russian interventions.

“We emphasize that companies involved in Russian energy exports are taking part in something that could prompt a significant risk of sanctions,” the ambassador wrote.

The paper also quoted a Grenell spokesman who said that the letter should not be seen as a threat, but as a “clear message of US policy.”

In November, the US ambassador to the EU had warned that US President Donald Trump has “many, many other tools” to “curb and stop the project” if Berlin stayed adamant.

“We have not deployed the full set of tools yet that could significantly undermine if not outright stop the project,” Ambassador Gordon Sondland said, according to the Reuters news agency.

No ‘excuses’

However, Grenell’s latest move remains highly unusual and is likely to prompt fresh tensions between Washington and Berlin.

Grenell managed to prompt irritation in Berlin on the day of he took office in May 2018 by tweeting that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

Less than a month later, Grenell told the far-right Breitbart news website that he saw his tasks as one of “empowering” Europe’s right-wing governments and budding leaders. He also said that NATO members should back US interventions abroad.

“The US should no longer come to accept any excuses for not taking part in military intervention,” he said.

Last month, Grenell accused Germany’s Spiegel magazine of having an anti-American bias and demanded an investigation into stories written by its disgraced reporter, Claas Relotius.

 

Last Pipe Leaves Port of Karlshamn

Some 39,000 pipes have transited through port since October 2017

August 3, 2019

Karlshamn, Sweden  The last Nord Stream 2 pipe stored within the premises of the port of Karlshamn left the storage area earlier today. Nearly 39,000 pipes have transited through the port since October 7, 2017. Out of these, almost 37,000 pipes have been shipped to the pipelay vessels working on the Swedish section of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. The surplus has been transported back to the port of Mukran in northern Germany. Wasco Coating Germany GmbH was in charge of the logistics operations in the port of Karlshamn during this 23-month long period.

Up to 140 people worked for the Nord Stream 2 project during the peak period in the port of Karlshamn, when operations went on around the clock. A majority of the workers employed by the port were locals. “We are very pleased with the effort and dedication shown by the workers. Not a single LTI (Lost Time Injury) – an indicator of safety in the gas industry – was reported during the 23 months of operations in the port of Karlshamn, despite difficult conditions at times,” said Stig Holgersen, Nord Stream 2’s site representative for Coating and Logistics in Karlshamn.

“Trucks with heavy pipe loads had to share the quays with the port’s other clients and pipes had to be washed around the clock before being shipped out to the pipelay vessels, even on the coldest winter days,” he cited as examples.

Pipelay in the 510-kilometre long Swedish section of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is almost over: One line has been completed in this section, while the construction of the second line will resume on September 1, 2019. The second line is scheduled to be completed during October in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Overall, more than 1,700 km of the pipelines have been constructed so far in accordance with existing permits in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Russia

 

 

Nord Stream 2 abandons quest to lay pipeline in Danish territorial waters

July 2, 2019

GCR staff

After the approval process dragged on for more than two years, Nord Stream 2 AG, the company building a €9.5bn pipeline to carry natural gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany, has withdrawn its application to lay pipe in Danish territorial waters.

Of the four European countries whose approval is needed for it to cross their territory – Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany – only Denmark has so far withheld permission.

The company, owned by Russia’s Gazprom, will now press for two other routes that are within Denmark’s economic exclusion zone but outside its territorial waters.

The obstacle is the Danish island of Bornholm, which lies roughly halfway between the coasts of Sweden and Poland. Nord Stream 2 AG’s two back-up routes, already submitted to Denmark for approval, give the island a wider birth to the north and south.

Because they skirt Danish territorial waters, these routes do not need the assent of Denmark’s foreign affairs minister and Denmark would be obliged to give approval under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, provided the pipeline meets environmental and ship safety standards, the company contends.

“We felt obliged to take this step because in more than two years since we filed this application, the former Danish government has not given any indication of coming to a decision,” said Matthias Warnig, Nord Stream 2’s chief executive.

“But both Nord Stream 2 and our investors need legal certainty and protection of legitimate expectations, which means a transparent and predictable decision-making process, especially against the backdrop of the advanced construction progress in the waters of the four other countries through which the pipeline stretches.”

The €9.5bn cost of the 1,230km pipeline is split 50:50 between Gazprom and European investors Royal Dutch Shell, Austrian energy group OMV, French energy firm Engie, and German companies Uniper and Wintershall Dea.

When complete, possibly by the end of next year, the line is expected to transport 55 billion cubic metres of gas to the EU, doubling the amount of Russian gas in Europe and providing enough energy to run 26 million homes. This will compensate for continuing declines in North Sea production, which Nord Stream says will halve by 2035.

The project has been one of the most controversial in recent European history, with Germany joining Russia to promote the line, whereas the US, the Ukraine and European countries such as Poland and Lithuania are against it, arguing that it will make Europe more vulnerable to Russian pressure.

To date, about 60% of the pipeline has been laid.

 

Behind Nord Stream 2: The Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline that fueled Trump’s anger at NATO meeting

  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted a planned natural gas pipeline link between Russia and Germany.
  • The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has split European nations, with some saying it increases Europe’s dependence on Russia and poses national security threats.
  • Germany relied on Russia for 50 percent to 75 percent of its natural gas imports in 2017.

July 12 2018

by Tom DiChristopher

CNBC

President Donald Trump may have just made Nord Stream 2 a household name.

Ahead of a NATO meeting, the president blasted the German government on Wednesday for backing the new natural gas pipeline link from Russia to Germany.

The president’s point is that the United States is shouldering much of the budget for NATO, which was designed to counter the former Soviet Union and still acts as a bulwark against Russian aggression. In that light, Trump said Germany’s support for the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline is “inappropriate.”

He took his complaint to his Twitter account on Wednesday:

Donald J. Trump

✔  @realDonaldTrump

What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.

In launching the fresh attack against Germany, Trump waded into a long-running debate about energy security that has split the European Union. Here’s a primer on the controversial Nord Stream 2 project.

What is Nord Stream 2?

Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline project slated to transport natural gas from eastern Russia to northern Germany, where it would link up with infrastructure that carries fuel to Western Europe. It would run 1,200 kilometers, mostly under the Baltic Sea along the existing Nord Stream pipeline — hence the name Nord Stream 2.

The second line would double the system’s capacity to 110 billion cubic meters.

Russian gas giant Gazprom is building Nord Stream 2. Five European companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Wintershall, are shouldering half the cost of financing the project.

Why is Nord Stream 2 controversial?

Some European countries oppose Nord Stream 2, arguing that it increases Europe’s dependence on Russia and poses threats to their national security. The opposition comes primarily from the Baltic States and former Soviet satellite nations, including Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

They argue Europe should not be filling Moscow’s coffers after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and in light of its broader efforts to destabilize the European Union.

Nord Stream 2 also reduces Europe’s reliance on Russian gas that runs through Ukraine’s pipeline system, opponents say. That makes it easier for the Kremlin to punish its Eastern European neighbors by cutting off gas supplies while minimizing damage to its lucrative markets in the broader EU.

Where does the United States stand?

President Barack Obama opposed Nord Stream 2 and President George W. Bush came out against the original Nord Stream prior to its completion in 2011. Like the central and eastern European countries, they worried it increased Russian influence over the Continent.

That policy has carried over into the Trump administration. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan summed up the U.S. position during a trip to Kiev earlier this year

We advocate for a strong, independent, self-sufficient energy future for Ukraine. One that is not dependent on Russia and subject to being an instrument of Russian aggression. We are against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for that very reason, which would for the European continent undermine our goals of energy diversification and energy independence but at least as significantly it would undermine Ukraine.

In May, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy Sandra Oudkirk told reporters the United States could sanction Nord Stream 2, using a law passed in 2017 that targets Russian energy projects around the world.

Does Germany need the supplies via Nord Stream?

Germany is Europe’s biggest natural gas consumer, and its demand is expected to rise by about 1 percent over the next five years as it phases out its fleet of nuclear power plants by 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.

Germany is heavily reliant on Russia for natural gas. Russia provided between 50 percent and 75 percent of Germany’s gas imports in 2017, according to Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics arm. Germany turned to Russia for roughly half of its oil imports last year.

Earlier this year, Ukraine’s Naftogaz claimed Gazprom could utilize spare capacity in the Ukrainian transit system to supply the 55 billion cubic meters of gas to Germany that it plans to ship through Nord Stream 2.

In the longer term, Germany is trying to generate most of its power from renewable energy. It’s uncertain how large a role natural gas will play past 2050.

 

Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online

August 3, 2019

by Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Benner

New York Times

Nineteen minutes before the first 911 call alerted the authorities to a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Tex., a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared online.

It spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” It detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race. It warned that white people were being replaced by foreigners.

The authorities were scrutinizing the 2,300-word screed on Saturday and attempting to determine whether it was written by the same man who killed 20 people and injured more than two dozen others near the Mexican border.

Police officers were interviewing the suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Tex., a roughly 10-hour drive to the Walmart. What brought him to a crowded shopping center in El Paso is one of the many questions on the minds of investigators.

The manifesto that may be linked to Mr. Crusius described an imminent attack and railed against immigrants, saying, “if we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can be more sustainable.”

From New Zealand to Pittsburgh to a synagogue in Poway, Calif., aggrieved white men over the last several months have turned to mass murder in service of hatred against immigrants, Jews and others they perceive as threats to the white race.

The unsigned manifesto, titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” draws direct inspiration from the mass murder of Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand in March that left 51 people dead. In that attack, the alleged killer published a manifesto online promoting a white supremacist theory called “the great replacement.” The theory has been promoted by a French writer named Renaud Camus, and argues that elites in Europe have been working to replace white Europeans with immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

Christchurch has become a rallying cry for extremists the world over. The manifesto potentially linked to the El Paso killings begins, “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

The gunman who opened fire in April at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., near San Diego, posted an anti-Semitic diatribe on 8chan, the same online message board where the El Paso document surfaced. The Poway manifesto echoed the words of the Christchurch suspect, and also drew inspiration from a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. In that mass shooting, the suspect railed against immigrants, Jews and other groups.

The El Paso shooting, if the manifesto is linked to the gunman, potentially underscored the global spread of white supremacist ideology in the age of social media and at a time when immigration in America and elsewhere has become a divisive political topic.

Shortly after the mass shooting Saturday, Mr. Crusius’ LinkedIn and Facebook accounts were shut down. A LinkedIn page that circulated online after the account was closed down appeared to be several years old, and Mr. Crusius seemed to be a lost young man.

He wrote on LinkedIn while in high school, “I’m not really motivated to do anything more than what’s necessary to get by. Working in general sucks, but I guess a career in Software Development suits me well. I spend about 8 hours every day on the computer so that counts toward technology experience I guess.”

The posting concluded: “Pretty much just gonna see what technology careers present themselves to me; go with the wind.”

If the manifesto is conclusively linked to Mr. Crusius, the federal authorities may treat Saturday’s attack as a hate crime or an incident of domestic terrorism.

The F.B.I. has said that more Americans have died in domestic terrorist attacks than international ones since Sept. 11, and that domestic terrorism is increasingly motivated by white supremacist ideology.

Christopher Wray, the director of the F.B.I., told Congress last month that the bureau had made about 100 domestic terrorism arrests in the first three quarters of the year, roughly the same number of international arrests over that time period.

No United States government agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations, and there is no criminal charge of domestic terrorism. Individuals who are considered domestic terrorists are charged under other existing laws, such as hate crime, gun and conspiracy statutes.

Officials have said that domestic terrorists continue to be radicalized online, where individuals are able to align with other extremists, become inspired and find the resources they need to act.

The investigation is currently being led by the state of Texas, with assistance from the local sheriff’s department, the F.B.I., Border Patrol and others. During a news conference Saturday afternoon, law enforcement officials said that they were exploring potential capital murder charges.

“Not speaking about this particular instance, which is still under investigation, the manifesto narrative is fueled by hate, and it is fueled by racism and bigotry and division,” said Veronica Escobar, the congresswoman who represents El Paso. “El Paso has historically been a very safe community. We’ve been safe for decades. We will continue to be safe.”

She added, “This is someone who came from outside of our community to do us harm.”

Once again on Saturday, America’s epidemic of mass shootings intersected with the divisive issues of race and immigration.

The words of the manifesto, in citing the “great replacement” theory, echo the slogan that was chanted during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017: “Jews will not replace us.”

The writer of the manifesto also suggested that Democrats in the United States have a strategy to gain a permanent majority by embracing the growing Hispanic population, a notion that has gained currency on right-wing radio shows for years.

The manifesto said the gunman planned to use an AK-47-style rifle, which has been frequently used in mass shootings. The four-page document said politicians of both parties were to blame for the United States “rotting from the inside out,” and that “the heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democrat stronghold.”

The manifesto also railed against automation and embraced an argument familiar in anti-immigrant circles: that immigrants are taking jobs from “natives.”

“My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president,” the document says.

 

After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role in Inspiring Mass Shootings

August 4, 2019

by Mehdi Hasan

The Intercept

On Saturday morning, a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, shot and killed at least 20 people before surrendering to the police. By all accounts, Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old alleged shooter, is a fan of President Donald Trump and his policies. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “a Twitter account bearing the suspect’s name contains liked tweets that include a ‘BuildTheWall’ hashtag” and “a photo using guns to spell out ‘Trump.’”

Incredibly, the nation woke up to more grim news on Sunday, with reports that a man suited up in body armor and bearing a rifle with high-capacity magazines had carried out a rampage in Dayton, Ohio, killing at least nine people and injuring 26.

Little is known yet about the Dayton shooter, but a four-page manifesto authorities believe was written by Crusius and posted shortly before the El Paso attack is full of the kind of hateful rhetoric and ideas that have flourished under Trump.

The manifesto declares the imminent attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion,” accuses Democrats of “pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc,” rails against “traitors,” and condemns “race mixing” and “interracial unions.” “Yet another reason to send them back,” it says

Sound familiar? The President of the United States — who condemned the El Paso attack on Twitter — has repeatedly referred to an “invasion” at the southern border; condemned Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and Syrian refugees as “snakes;” accused his critics of treason on at least two dozen occasions; and told four elected women of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” (It is worth noting that Crusius, in his alleged manifesto, claims his views “predate” and are unrelated to Trump, but then goes on to attack “fake news.”)

That there could be a link between the attacker and the president should come as no surprise. But it might. Over the past four years, both mainstream media organizations and leading Democrats have failed to draw a clear line between Trump’s racist rhetoric and the steadily multiplying acts of domestic terror across the United States. Some of us tried to sound the alarm — but to no avail.

“Cesar Sayoc was not the first Trump supporter who allegedly tried to kill and maim those on the receiving end of Trump’s demonizing rhetoric,” I wrote last October, in the concluding lines of my column on the arrest of the so-called #MAGAbomber. “And, sadly, he won’t be the last.”

How I wish I could have been proven wrong. Yet since the publication of that piece almost a year ago, which listed the names of more than a dozen Trump supporters accused of horrific violence, from the neo-Nazi murderer of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville to the Quebec City mosque shooter, there have been more and more MAGA-inspired attacks. In January, four men were arrested for a plot to attack a small Muslim community in upstate New York — one of them, according to the Daily Beast, “was an avid Trump supporter online, frequently calling for ‘Crooked Hillary’ Clinton to be arrested and urging his followers to watch out for Democratic voter fraud schemes when they cast their ballots for Trump in 2016.”

In March, a far right gunman murdered 51 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand — and left behind a document describing Muslim immigrants as “invaders” and Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

And now, this latest massacre in El Paso. Let’s be clear: in an age of rising domestic terrorism cases — the majority of which are motivated by “white supremacist violence,” according to FBI Director Christopher Wray — Trump is nothing less than a threat to our collective security. More and more commentators now refer, for example, to the phenomenon of “stochastic terrorism” — originally defined by an anonymous blogger back in 2011 as “the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

Sounds pretty Trumpian, right? As I wrote in October: “The president may not be pulling the trigger or planting the bomb, but he is enabling much of the hatred behind those acts. He is giving aid and comfort to angry white men by offering them clear targets — and then failing to fully denounce their violence.”

And as I pointed out on CNN earlier this year, there is a simple way for Trump to distance himself from all this. Give a speech denouncing white nationalism and the violence it has produced. Declare it a threat to national security. Loudly disown those who act in his name. Tone down the incendiary rhetoric on race, immigration, and Islam.

Trump, however, has done the exact opposite. In March, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre, the president said he did not consider white nationalism to be a rising threat, dismissing it as a “small group of people.” A month earlier, in February, Trump was asked whether he would moderate his language after a white nationalist Coast Guard officer was arrested over a plot to assassinate leading journalists and Democrats. “I think my language is very nice,” he replied

In recent weeks, the president has again launched nakedly racist and demagogic attacks on a number of black and brown members of Congress, not to mention the black-majority city of Baltimore. When his cultish supporters responded to his attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., with chants of “send her back,” Trump stood and watched and later referred to them as “patriots.”

So we’re supposed to be surprised or shocked that white nationalist violence is rising on his watch? That hate crimes against almost every minority group have increased since his election to the White House in 2016?

On Tuesday, just days before this latest act of terror in El Paso, the leaders of the Washington National Cathedral issued a scathing, and startlingly prescient, rebuke of Trump:

Make no mistake about it, words matter. And, Mr. Trump’s words are dangerous.

These words are more than a “dog-whistle.” When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation. Violent words lead to violent actions.

Thanks to his hate-filled rhetoric, his relentless incitement of violence, and his refusal to acknowledge the surge in white nationalist terrorism, the president poses a clear and present danger to the people, and especially the minorities, of the United States.

 

Democrats target Trump rhetoric after deadly mass shootings

August 4, 2019

by Julio Cesar Chavez, Pete Schroeder

Reuters

EL PASO, Texas/ WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two mass shootings that killed 30 people in Texas and Ohio reverberated across the United States’ political arena on Sunday as Democratic presidential candidates called for stricter gun laws and accused President Donald Trump of stoking racial tensions.

Dozens were also wounded Saturday and early Sunday in shootings within just 13 hours of each other in carnage that shocked a country that has become grimly accustomed to mass shootings and heightened concerns about domestic terrorism.

The first massacre occurred on Saturday morning in the heavily Hispanic border city of El Paso, where a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store before surrendering. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the rampage appeared to be a hate crime, and police said they believed the suspect, a 21-year-old white man, may have been racially motivated.

Across the country, a gunman opened fire in a downtown district of Dayton, Ohio, early on Sunday, killing nine people and wounding at least 26 others, police and the city mayor said. The assailant was shot dead by police.

The El Paso shooting reverberated on the campaign trail for next year’s U.S. presidential election, with several Democratic candidates repeating calls for tighter gun control measures and others drawing connections to a resurgence in white nationalism and xenophobic politics in the United States.

Several candidates pointed a finger at Trump.

“Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” U.S. Senator Cory Booker, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump branded the El Paso shooting “an act of cowardice” in a Twitter post on Saturday. On Sunday he said state and local authorities were working together to investigate both attacks.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney rebutted the Democrats’ allegations and attributed the shootings to “sick” individuals.

“There’s no benefit here in trying to make this a political issue, this is a social issue and we need to address it as that,” he said.

Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, said he believed Trump was a white nationalist whose anti-immigrant rhetoric stoked divisions.

“Let’s be very clear about what is causing this and who the president is,” O’Rourke said on CNN. “He is an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country.”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders also took Trump to task. “We must come together as a nation to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies,” he said late on Saturday.

A hallmark of Trump’s presidency has been his determination to curb illegal immigration. The Republican president has drawn criticism for comments disparaging Mexican immigrants and referring to the flood of migrants trying to enter through the U.S. southern border as an “invasion.”

In recent weeks, critics accused Trump of racism after his attacks on members of Congress who are members of racial or ethnic minorities.

The White House cannot shirk its responsibility in shaping the public discourse, said Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. “There’s no question that white nationalism is condoned at the highest levels of our government,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

“He’s spoken about immigrants as being invaders. He’s given license for this toxic brew of white supremacy to fester more and more in this country, and we’re seeing the results of that,” presidential candidate Julian Castro, the former Democratic mayor of San Antonio, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

While authorities were still investigating the motive of the El Paso shooter, Police Chief Greg Allen said a “manifesto” from the suspect indicated “there is a potential nexus to a hate crime.”

The online statement, believed to have been authored by the suspect, called the Walmart attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

The manifesto also expressed support for the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

‘DEFENSELESS PEOPLE’

Pope Francis condemned the spate of attacks on “defenseless people” in the United States, including a rampage last Sunday in which a gunman killed three people and wounded about a dozen at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California.

In Texas, police and FBI investigators searched for clues as to what motivated the suspect, who is from Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb some 650 miles (1,046 km) east of El Paso, which lies on Rio Grande across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juarez.

Multiple news media outlets, citing law enforcement officials, named him as Patrick Crusius.

Police said the suspect opened fire with a rifle on shoppers, many of them bargain-hunting for back-to-school supplies, then surrendered to officers who confronted him outside the store.

The FBI had opened a domestic terrorism investigation, according to CNN.

El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, together with the neighboring city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, form a metropolitan border area of some 2.5 million residents constituting the largest bilingual, binational population in North America.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said three Mexican nationals were among the 20 people killed in the shooting, and six others were among 26 victims who were wounded.

The carnage ranked as the eighth-deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, after a 1984 shooting in San Ysidro, California, in which 21 people died

RAPID POLICE ACTION

In Dayton, a riverfront city of about 140,000 people in southwestern Ohio, a gunman dressed in body armor opened fire in a downtown district, unleashing carnage that could have been much worse if not for the rapid intervention of police.

Officers who were on routine patrol nearby were on the scene in less than a minute and shot the attacker dead, likely preventing a much higher casualty toll in the historic downtown neighborhood, police and the city’s mayor said.

The motive was not immediately clear, Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper said.

Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez in El Paso, Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, Roberta Rampton in Bedminister, N.J., Pete Schroeder, Doina Chiacu, Michelle Price in Washington, Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Writing by Doina Chiacu Frances Kerry, Editing by Nick Zieminski

 

American gun laws: Why the issues are not as clear-cut as they first appear

August 4, 2019

by George Galloway

RT

Apart from offering heartfelt condolences to the families of the slain in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, there is little that foreigners can do or helpfully say about the mass slaughter. It is a domestic internal affair.

The constitutional right to bear arms and constitute well-organized militia were revolutionary rights afforded the citizenry by the founding fathers as a bulwark against oppressive government like the one the colonists had recently overthrown.

While America seems like a “normal” state with a functioning internal democracy and the rule of law, for millions of Americans – there are 88.8 guns for every 100 citizens in the US – the notion of yielding a “monopoly of violence” does not sit easily with what remains in many respects a wild-west frontier land.

After all, the Supreme Court of the United States can bend and twist the laws, a court appointed by politicians in their own image. Despite the sound and fury at election times, there is really only one party in the United States – the corporate and war party. Largely, only millionaires – or those in hock to them – need apply to sit in the US Congress and only billionaires to sit in the White House

The state forces – localized police – are riven with racial hatred. The pictures of the gentleman arrests of the El Paso shooter and other white-supremacist killers contrast sharply with the daily choking and shooting of minor black and other minority miscreants.

In those circumstances many – myself included – would be loath to let go except from their “cold dead hands” the means of self-defense against a cancerously sick local and federal state.

The ease with which the mentally unhinged and the dangerously deluded can obtain weapons remains a mystery to many around the world, however. And the ease with which they appear to be able to carry them into crowded places even more so. Given that all cops and most security guards are themselves armed, it is remarkable how often these mass killers get a clear line of fire.

Instead of forever investing trillions of dollars in anti-ballistic missile defenses, Star Wars, and thousands of foreign military bases – with the omnipresent threat and often actuality of overwhelming American state violence – one would think there would be votes, and money, in investing in turnstiles at the entrance to public places!

Instead of much-trumpeted tax-cuts for the already rich in America, you’d again think there would be votes in a proper mental health system.

Instead of allowing Walmart to sell weapons to folks who then turn them on their own customers, perhaps the state might consider taking a monopoly on the sale of weapons at least?

Much is already being made of President Trump’s rhetoric in fueling gun violence in America. But this crisis did not begin three years ago. The achingly liberal Barack Obama presided over a fair few mass shootings of his own. And it was during the Kennedy-Johnson Civil Rights and Great Society eras that the Kennedys themselves as well as Dr King and others were cut down.

There can be little doubt, however, that Trump’s rampage like a drunken sailor across the American electoral cycle at Nuremberg-style rallies is whipping up racial hatred in America. His hype over border issues, his targeting of prominent women of color and of Muslims has undoubtedly energized the far-right in America – and beyond.

Trump’s strategy of driving wedges into the American body politic may or may not work in the forthcoming elections, but it is surely widening the fissures in US society in a dangerous way.

But he didn’t create them.

A society built on a hundred million corpses of Native Americans and two centuries of slavery, Jim Crow apartheid, and continuing racial segregation, bigotry, and discrimination was never going to turn out nice.

I say all of the above without hatred of America for I have none. I do not hate America and wish her only success in dealing with her myriad problems.

But I don’t want to be an American, to be led by America, still less do I consider America to be my father. I had my own father, my own country, my own leaders, whom I retain the right to remove.

The childishness of those around the world who continue to believe that they need this giant with the collective mind of a child to hold their hand and lead them to the promised land is perhaps the deepest sickness of them all.

 

The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity

Support for Trump comes at a high cost for Christian witness.David Brooks’s Journey Toward Faith

July 5, 2019

by Peter Wehner

The Atlantic

Last week, Ralph Reed, the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s founder and chairman, told the group, “There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!”

Reed is partially right; for many evangelical Christians, there is no political figure whom they have loved more than Donald Trump

I recently exchanged emails with a pro-Trump figure who attended the president’s reelection rally in Orlando, Florida, on June 18. (He spoke to me on the condition of anonymity, so as to avoid personal or professional repercussions.) He had interviewed scores of people, many of them evangelical Christians. “I have never witnessed the kind of excitement and enthusiasm for a political figure in my life,” he told me. “I honestly couldn’t believe the unwavering support they have. And to a person, it was all about ‘the fight.’ There is a very strong sense (I believe justified, you disagree) that he has been wronged. Wronged by Mueller, wronged by the media, wronged by the anti-Trump forces. A passionate belief that he never gets credit for anything.”

The rallygoers, he said, told him that Trump’s era “is spiritually driven.” When I asked whether he meant by this that Trump’s supporters believe God’s hand is on Trump, this moment and at the election—that Donald Trump is God’s man, in effect—he told me, “Yes—a number of people said they believe there is no other way to explain his victories. Starting with the election and continuing with the conclusion of the Mueller report. Many said God has chosen him and is protecting him.”

The data seem to bear this out. Approval for President Trump among white evangelical Protestants is 25 points higher than the national average. And according to a Pew Research Center survey, “White evangelical Protestants who regularly attend church (that is, once a week or more) approve of Trump at rates matching or exceeding those of white evangelicals who attend church less often.” Indeed, during the period from July 2018 to January 2019, 70 percent of white evangelicals who attend church at least once a week approved of Trump, versus 65 percent of those who attend religious services less often.

The enthusiastic, uncritical embrace of President Trump by white evangelicals is among the most mind-blowing developments of the Trump era. How can a group that for decades—and especially during the Bill Clinton presidency—insisted that character counts and that personal integrity is an essential component of presidential leadership not only turn a blind eye to the ethical and moral transgressions of Donald Trump, but also constantly defend him? Why are those who have been on the vanguard of “family values” so eager to give a man with a sordid personal and sexual history a mulligan?

Part of the answer is their belief that they are engaged in an existential struggle against a wicked enemy—not Russia, not North Korea, not Iran, but rather American liberals and the left. If you listen to Trump supporters who are evangelical (and non-evangelicals, like the radio talk-show host Mark Levin), you will hear adjectives applied to those on the left that could easily be used to describe a Stalinist regime. (Ask yourself how many evangelicals have publicly criticized Trump for his lavish praise of Kim Jong Un, the leader of perhaps the most savage regime in the world and the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.)

Many white evangelical Christians, then, are deeply fearful of what a Trump loss would mean for America, American culture, and American Christianity. If a Democrat is elected president, they believe, it might all come crashing down around us. During the 2016 election, for example, the influential evangelical author and radio talk-show host Eric Metaxas said, “In all of our years, we faced all kinds of struggles. The only time we faced an existential struggle like this was in the Civil War and in the Revolution when the nation began … We are on the verge of losing it as we could have lost it in the Civil War.” A friend of mine described that outlook to me this way: “It’s the Flight 93 election. FOREVER.”

Many evangelical Christians are also filled with grievances and resentments because they feel they have been mocked, scorned, and dishonored by the elite culture over the years. (Some of those feelings are understandable and warranted.) For them, Trump is a man who will not only push their agenda on issues such as the courts and abortion; he will be ruthless against those they view as threats to all they know and love. For a growing number of evangelicals, Trump’s dehumanizing tactics and cruelty aren’t a bug; they are a feature. Trump “owns the libs,” and they love it. He’ll bring a Glock to a cultural knife fight, and they relish that.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, one of the largest Christian universities in the world, put it this way: “Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing ‘nice guys.’ They might make great Christian leaders but the United States needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!”

There’s a very high cost to our politics for celebrating the Trump style, but what is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness. Nonchalantly jettisoning the ethic of Jesus in favor of a political leader who embraces the ethic of Thrasymachus and Nietzsche—might makes right, the strong should rule over the weak, justice has no intrinsic worth, moral values are socially constructed and subjective—is troubling enough.

But there is also the undeniable hypocrisy of people who once made moral character, and especially sexual fidelity, central to their political calculus and who are now embracing a man of boundless corruptions. Don’t forget: Trump was essentially named an unindicted co-conspirator (“Individual 1”) in a scheme to make hush-money payments to a porn star who alleged she’d had an affair with him while he was married to his third wife, who had just given birth to their son.

While on the Pacific Coast last week, I had lunch with Karel Coppock, whom I have known for many years and who has played an important role in my Christian pilgrimage. In speaking about the widespread, reflexive evangelical support for the president, Coppock—who is theologically orthodox and generally sympathetic to conservatism—lamented the effect this moral freak show is having, especially on the younger generation. With unusual passion, he told me, “We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.”

Coppock mentioned to me the powerful example of St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who was willing to rebuke the Roman Emperor Theodosius for the latter’s role in massacring civilians as punishment for the murder of one of his generals. Ambrose refused to allow the Church to become a political prop, despite concerns that doing so might endanger him. Ambrose spoke truth to power. (Theodosius ended up seeking penance, and Ambrose went on to teach, convert, and baptize St. Augustine.) Proximity to power is fine for Christians, Coppock told me, but only so long as it does not corrupt their moral sense, only so long as they don’t allow their faith to become politically weaponized. Yet that is precisely what’s happening today.

Evangelical Christians need another model for cultural and political engagement, and one of the best I am aware of has been articulated by the artist Makoto Fujimura, who speaks about “culture care” instead of “culture war.”

According to Fujimura, “Culture care is an act of generosity to our neighbors and culture. Culture care is to see our world not as a battle zone in which we’re all vying for limited resources, but to see the world of abundant possibilities and promise.” What Fujimura is talking about is a set of sensibilities and dispositions that are fundamentally different from what we see embodied in many white evangelical leaders who frequently speak out on culture and politics. The sensibilities and dispositions Fujimura is describing are characterized by a commitment to grace, beauty, and creativity, not antipathy, disdain, and pulsating anger. It’s the difference between an open hand and a mailed fist.

Building on this theme, Mark Labberton, a colleague of Fujimura’s and the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, the largest multidenominational seminary in the world, has spoken about a distinct way for Christians to conceive of their calling, from seeing themselves as living in a Promised Land and “demanding it back” to living a “faithful, exilic life.”

Labberton speaks about what it means to live as people in exile, trying to find the capacity to love in unexpected ways; to see the enemy, the foreigner, the stranger, and the alien, and to go toward rather than away from them. He asks what a life of faithfulness looks like while one lives in a world of fear.

He adds, “The Church is in one of its deepest moments of crisis—not because of some election result or not, but because of what has been exposed to be the poverty of the American Church in its capacity to be able to see and love and serve and engage in ways in which we simply fail to do. And that vocation is the vocation that must be recovered and must be made real in tangible action.”

There are countless examples of how such tangible action can be manifest. But as a starting point, evangelical Christians should acknowledge the profound damage that’s being done to their movement by its braided political relationship—its love affair, to bring us back to the words of Ralph Reed—with a president who is an ethical and moral wreck. Until that is undone—until followers of Jesus are once again willing to speak truth to power rather than act like court pastors—the crisis in American Christianity will only deepen, its public testimony only dim, its effort to be a healing agent in a broken world only weaken.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether that really matters to many of Donald Trump’s besotted evangelical supporters.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 4, 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. 49

Date: Thursday, November 28, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:22 AM CST

RTC: How are you today, Gregory?

GD: Been up since six working on the next Mueller book. Working on the concentration camp business.

RTC: A sensitive and profitable subject. For the same people. My God, what a money-maker that one is!

GD: Tell me about it. An established writer like Irving could never approach it. If he did, the Jews would go for his throat. Or his back more like it. Did you have many dealings with them?

RTC: As individuals or as professional agents?

GD: Either.

RTC: I have to tell you, Gregory, that I do not like Jews very much and I do not trust any of them. I know a few as individuals and some as agents. Jim loved them and spent half his time sucking up to the Mossad creeps. It bothered me because they were using him, but Jim loved flattery and ate it up. I don’t and I’m an Irish Catholic boy from Chicago. Jim was part Mexican and maybe that was part of it. Anyway, with Jews, it’s take, take and never give. You can’t trust any of them to the corner for a pound of soft soap.

GD: I don’t get involved but I have had bad experiences with them. Always watch your back around them has been my experience.

RTC: I have a report for you made for the UN in ’48 listing all their crimes against the Palestinian. The abused child becomes the abusing parent. My God, those filthy Polacks did terrible, vicious things to the Arabs. Murdered them, poisoned their farm wells, killed their animals and finally slaughtered whole villages of them, women and children. The Jews claim they own the Holy Land but these are Polack Jews and had nothing to do with Palestine. The Russian Jews are the same breed and Stalin, who really hated Jews, used them to butcher Russian Christians whom they hated. And then Josef planned to kill off all the Jews in Moscow.

GD: What about that?

RTC: Round them all up, put them in boxcars and ship them off to Siberia in mid-winter. He planned to slaughter all of them. And after all the filthy work they did for him, too! An ungrateful but realistic man.

GD: Why was this turn-about? He loved Jews, didn’t he?

RTC: No, he did not. Josef was far-sighted and knew, and said, that Jews had no loyalty to anyone except themselves. They hate all other people and feel that anything they do to them is justified. They claim centuries of persecution as their excuse.

GD: Yes, isn’t it odd that over thousands of years, everyone has persecuted the poor Jews. One wonders why.

RTC: Why? They burrow into the machinery of the state and the banking system and eventually take it over. And then, always, the locals get after them and either set them on fire or drive them out of their area or country. This has been going on for many centuries. One could say that the Jews of the world have been very unlucky or people know what they’re doing when they pile up wood for the burning pyres or set up camps.

GD: The stories about gassed millions is hysterically funny. Puts me in mind of the stories about the Easter Bunny or the Second Coming. Useful lies for children on one hand and a means to get money out of the suckers who actually believe the silliness about the Rapture, the Battle of Armageddon and other idiotic legends. Barnum was right.

RTC: Yes, he was. And I once looked into the camp story just because I could. There is much on this issue at the National Archives but most people can’t see it.

GD: Why not?

RTC: The Jews don’t want you see this. It would destroy the myth of vast gas chambers and soap factories. My God, Gregory, the Jews make vast sums of money off these made-up stories. I can just hear some raddled Jewess moaning in a furniture store about how her whole family was gassed and can she get 50% off on that chair? Oh yes, I know all about such creatures. And now, the Mossad wants us to hunt down people they don’t like, or send them confidential files on people they want to blackmail. They robbed and murdered the Arabs, so they have to hate them to justify their filthy behavior. The Arabs outnumber them 20 to 1 but the Israelis have us behind them so they literally can get away with murder. And how do they have our support? By working their way into the system, by owning most of the media, by bribery and blackmail, by political pressure. I could go on for days but I just ate breakfast and I don’t want to vomit onto my lap.

GD: I knew the Polish Jews in Munich after the war. Jesus H. Christ, Robert, I have never seen such really terrible people in my life. They were all up on the Muehl Strasse and going there to buy cheap butter for my friends was quite an experience. It was like tiptoeing into a den of circling hyenas. I was always neutral as far as Jews were concerned, but my experiences there radically altered my views. They were DPs. Displaced Persons. Couldn’t go back to Poland where the locals would have shoved them into barns and set them on fire. The Germans got blamed for much of that, but it was the local Poles who snuffed all the Jews in the neighborhood once their central government fell apart in ’39. A friend of mine was a Major in the thirty seventh infantry and he said the Poles would round up all the Jews and barbecue them. Said some of the villages smelt like a badly-vented crematorium. And of course they got the blame for it. Well, they lost so they can expect this. I once bought a German steel helmet at a flea market in Germany and I was carrying it down the street under my arm and some old hag came up behind me, screeching like a wet pea hen. There was no one around so I bashed her on the head with the pot until she shut up. Had to wash the helmet off later. It looked like pink oatmeal on part of it.

RTC: Bravo. I suppose she was dead, Gregory?

GD: I didn’t stop to examine her but she had certainly shut up.

RTC: I suppose she was a Jew.

GD: I didn’t care who she was. She could have been anyone and I would have shut her up regardless.

RTC: You are certainly not a nice person at times.

GD: Oh, I love that, Robert. If I were in your house for dinner, I assure you my manners would be impeccable. But we digress. Can we find out more about that business you people had with the French getting us into Vietnam?

RTC: I wrote on that, Gregory. I ought to send you my manuscript some day. I can’t publish it because I signed a pledge to never publish without permission and I am sure it would never be given. I know all about that slaughterhouse, believe me. A nation steeped in blood. Terrible business. Wars for nothing and when Kennedy tried to get out, that was one of the reasons he got killed. Too much money to be made in a war. It ruined Johnson. No chance of getting reelected. McNamara thought he could apply business norms to a military business and he went as well. Probably be made the head of a think tank. My God, what a misnomer. ‘Think tank’ my ass. Bunch of loud-mouthed idiots running around babbling as if anyone cared what they thought about unimportant things. “I think…” is one of the worst openings for any kind of a conversation. Run into these congenital assholes at any Beltway social function and especially in the CIA circles. I say, who gives a damn what you think?

GD: I’ve been to Beltway functions, Robert. My God, if we could somehow trap all the hot air these methane monsters create, we could heat New York for ten years. Don’t light any matches and breathe very shortly but the gas is tremendous. “I think…?” I doubt it. Most of these self-important cow anuses should join hands and jump off the Key Bridge in the middle of winter. Right through the ice and then blessed silence. Downriver, however, all the marine life dies a terrible death.

RTC: (Laughter) Ah, well, it won’t happen. One day a Jew will sit in the Oval Office and on that day, we will drop atom bombs on anyone Tel Aviv doesn’t like.

GD: Where is Genghis Kahn now that we need him?

RTC: Lee Harvey Oswald would be more to the point.

 

(Concluded at 9:22 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

Wayne Rohde

Wayne Rohde is an antivaccine activist, and the founder of the antivaccine group the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, occasional blogger for the antivaccine conspiracy website Age of Autism, and a rich source of trite, endlessly repeated and falsified (and repeated again) antivaccine tropes. Rohde is an attorney, and has, as far as we can tell, no background in science or research. He is nevertheless an active figure at antivaccine conferences and was in 2019 asked to serve on the new Minnesota state council on autism together with fellow antivaccine conspiracy theorist and health freedom advocate Patti Carroll; that state council was initiated by state senator Jim Abeler, a chiropractor and fellow anti-vaccine activist, who justified the appointment of Rohde and Carroll by invoking the balance fallacy. Rohde himself is an executive for the group Health Choice, which advocates that chronic health conditions in children are caused by “unhealthy choices” including “side effects of vaccine choices.” This is not true.

To people like Rohde, vaccines are to blame for most ills. Here, for instance, is (a discussion of) Rohde trying to connect Harold Ramis’s death to vaccines through desperately bizarre speculation. Then he refers to some garbage studies by Shaw and Tomljenovic, websites that say the opposite of what he says that they say, and vaccine court cases. (Indeed, Rohde has written a book about vaccine courts: The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which seems to be mostly an instance of Badger’s Law). Of course, Rohde is mostly JAQing off. But it was the vaccines. Nothing in what he says has anything to do with facts, truth and evidence, but if you start with an idea, stick to it dogmatically, and don’t care about what is actually the case, you can connect almost anything to it with enough ingenuity.

Of course, Rohde denies being antivaccine; instead, he is – when it suits him – an advocate for health freedom. By claiming to be pro-freedom, he gets to call his opponents “fascists”, or “medical fascists”. He likes that. He also likes questioning the motivations of those who disagree with him.

Diagnosis: crackpot conspiracy theorist. He is quite vocal, however, and seems to have some influence in the antivaccine movement. Dangerous.

Jeffrey M. Schwartz

Jeffrey M. Schwartz is a psychiatrist with a genuine research background. He is also a religious fundamentalist, signatory to the Discovery Institute’s nonsense petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, and featured in the 2008 creationist promotion “documentary” Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, where he told Ben Stein that science should not be separated from religion, that is, that dogma should be allowed to overrule empirical research if you don’t like what the data tell you. As for evolution, Schwartz seems to accept evolution in general, but thinks that humans are exempt and able to transcend their origins for reasons that seem to lay closer to Deepak Chopra than to Kent Hovind.

Schwartz is, however, most famous as a proponent of non-materialist neuroscience. Schwartz’s argument for dualism is basically a combination of an argument from incredulity, and a (handwaving) appeal to quantum theory and the New Age (and false) notion that quantum physics somehow demonstrates that a “mind” is a necessary component for anything to happen (Schwartz’s coauthor is Henry Stapp, who is a defender of this, shall we say, non-standard  – though “refuted” would be more accurate – interpretation of quantum mechanics, which would, if true, be evidence for classical idealism, not dualism); there is a concise discussion of their silliness here. Schwartz provides no actual alternative dualist hypothesis that has been worked out in any detail, such as testable predictions, whatsoever, of course, preferring to handwave about a “mental force” that he argues solely by assertion is a natural feature of the universe and not magic. And no: neuroplasticity and what Schwartz calls “reprogramming the brain” is of course not evidence for dualism, insofar as nothing can be evidence for a hypothesis that has not even been coherently defined.

Jeffrey M. Schwartz must not be confused with Jeffrey H. Schwartz, who is also something of a crackpot but does, as a physical anthropologist, at least have a rudimentary understanding of the basics of evolution (and whose writings have been a source of quote mining among creationists like Ray Comfort).

Diagnosis: Pseudophilosophy in the service of religion. Schwartz is a real scientist and has done some real science; but his reframing of his research in handwavy mumbo-jumbo has nothing to do with science. Now, some might say that Schwartz’s views are arguably not that radically silly; still, he has aligned himself with the anti-science movement and stalwartly supports their campaigns against science, reason and civilization

Sam Rohrer

Sam Rohrer is the president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, a branch of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (128th District, 1993–2010). Rohrer is an alumnus of Bob Jones University, South Carolina’s attempt to out-madrassa the Taliban, and it shows. Indeed, Rohrer was awarded the 2013 “Alumnus of the Year” at the annual Bob Jones University Bible Conference, which he probably richly deserved.

Rohrer is the kind of person who tries to argue that a literal reading of the Bible reveals that gun rights come directly from God, and that Jesus’ teachings on non-violence should not be taken literally; it’s apparently the only part of the Bible that shouldn’t. Meanwhile, gun control is part of an Agenda 21 depopulation plot that the government – at least Obama’s government – tried to set in motion. Indeed, Rohrer is heavily into Agenda 21 conspiracies, and thinks that the nonbinding framework for sustainable development “is a control of our property, it’s a control of our legal system to the local level” (the hows matter less than the grand, paranoid narrative, apparently).

It is also a sin for the government to be compassionate, says Sam Rohrer.

Politically, Rohrer is a full-blown theocrat who claims that “God’s law must always reign supreme” over man’s law. “No court has the authority to overturn what God says and what God defines to be a matter of marriage in this case, so that’s the clearest example where man’s law counters what God has said is what something ought to be.” Purely for political reasons, he also claims to love the Constitution, of course. To back up his claims, Rohrer asserts that if you don’t do as Rohrer thinks God says (i.e. that Rohrer says) that you should do, then the nation will fall under God’s judgment, in which case  “you go nowhere but down.” Accordingly “politicians and everyone who serves in any capacity in any level of civil government is automatically also a minister of God,” and should recognize this obligation. Apparently it’s all about liberty. People like the sound of “freedom”, “liberty” and “the Constitution”, but Rohrer’s fans don’t seem to have the faintest idea what those words could possibly mean (which is why Rohrer ends up, in all earnestness, saying things like “if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with biblical correction.”) Rohrer is apparently a fan of David Barton, whom Rohrer explicitly thinks is a pillar of honesty, which to him then means that the extensively documented dishonesty in Barton’s works can easily be dismissed as a malicious conspiracy.

Threats to his vision I: Immigrants

There are ample threats to Rohrer’s vision for America, though. Islam, for instance. Rohrer was quite shocked by the 2018 elections, when two “devout Muslim women who hold to a view of God and law and morality that is completely opposite to our Constitution” were elected. The lack of self-awareness is pretty intense, even by fundie theocrat standards. At least his stance on immigration follows the same lines of lack of reasoning; as Rohrer sees it, America has “changed the historic biblical rules” (?) regarding immigration, and “this is a reason why God must discipline our country.” As a consequence, we have now “millions of people” who “have no respect for our God, they serve primarily the god of Allah and they embrace Sharia law,” which permits them to engage in terrorism. Until the US endorses the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and realizes that it cannot tolerate “two competing Gods … we’re going to find ourselves in increasing trouble.” As a solution to the ills, Rohrer suggested that we should require immigrants to “accept the God of the Bible,” just like the Constitution prescribes. It is probably worth mentioning, in this context, that “progressive Christians” aren’t really Christians either.

Indeed, Muslim jihadists had by 2016 infiltrated the Obama administration at the highest levels, and (then-)CIA Director John Brennan is, as Rohrer sees it, a Muslim convert who is on the side of the terrorists.

When push comes to show, however, the main problem is immigrants in general, not really their religious convictions. The recent refugee caravan, for instance, is a “fight against God himself”. Rohrer’s reasoning is … weak, but it ends with concluding that those who favor immigration are on the side of the Antichrist. Of course it does.

Threats to his vision 2: The gays (of course)

Another threat is, of course, the gays. It was obvious to Rohrer gay marriage could not be legalized since judges should rule according to “moral law” established by God, and having, in fact, been legalized, it is threatening to “destroy the very fabric of our nation” and, like everything else that is not working according to Rohrer’s convictions, will “invite God’s judgment on the nation” (mass shootings, for instance, are part of said judgment). Gay marriage will apparently lead to “tyranny” as well, for good measure, and the judges responsible for legalizing it are “activist judges” and “ideological idealists” that “may have been motivated by an intentional defiance of God.” The legalization of gay marriage also means that “the moral position leadership of our country has been forfeited,” says Rohrer; apparently the new moral leader of the world – here Rohrer agrees with many religious right leaders – is Russia.

He also lamented that gay rights activists don’t realize that they, too, have lost a “great, great freedom” with the legalization of same-sex marriage. His reasoning behind the conclusion isn’t really reasoning.

Threats to his vision 3: Women

And then there are women. Apparently having women in power is a sign of God’s judgment. When making the claim, Rohrer hastened to add that “the real condemnation is not the women in office, the condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it,” so that he wouldn’t come across as sexist.

Miscellaneous Trumpisms

Shocked by the “lack of respect” shown by some people toward President Trump, Rohrer promptly and predictably declared that opposition to Trump “creates the circumstances … out of which will come the Antichrist,” explaining (or whatever you prefer to call it) that the “enemies of Christ” (globalists, Islam and the cultural “establishment”) are “all working together” because “they hate God, they hate the Constitution, they despise Jesus Christ, they want to destroy Israel and the United States.” And those who don’t support Trump’s immigration policies are definitely on the side of the Antichrist.

After all, as Rohrer sees it, it was God who put Trump in office, no less. Rohrer didn’t explain how God did that (without committing voter fraud).

There is a decent Sam Rohrer resource here. Rohrer is not to fond of rightwingwatch, and has said that if civil war breaks out, it will be because of groups like Rightwingwatch and others who don’t think what he thinks they should think.

Diagnosis: As deranged, confused and fanatical as they come, and unfit for any audience. He’s got one, though, and must be considered moderately dangerous.

 

 

 

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