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TBR News December 22, 2018

Dec 22 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. December 22, 2018:”Israel, highly concerned about the enormous and potentially deadly missile holdings of the southern Lebanon-based Hezbollah, has been making what they believe are secret contacts with the United States to allow them to obliterate the menace with Czech-obtained nerve gas.

Trump, it is reported, is all in favor of this project but others inside the Beltway are not. In the recent past, Trump has been informed that certain of his Israel-originating plans for violent action against Israeli enemies in the Middle East are not possible.

One of these is an attack by American bombers using bunker bombs against all of Tehran and another is to bomb potential Iraninian naval bases on the Indian Ocean.

Trump may love Israel but aside from creatures like Bolton and Crystal, he has little Washington support, and leakage of these murderous capers is growing daily.

 

The Table of Contents

  • Israel attacks on Iran
  • Wall Street stocks suffer worst week in a decade
  • The Whoppers of 2018: Once again, Trump steals the show
  • Five big things from Trump’s head-spinning week
  • Trump’s Syria move pleases dictators and hands initiative to Isis
  • The Neo-Nazi Renaissance
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 Israel attacks on Iran

December 22, 2018

by Christian Jürs

Israel is now planning to attack Iran from Georgian airfields. Of course, since this would imply that the United States would be complicit in such an attack, the usual supporters of the government (generally employees) have expressed their shopworn objections to any negativity about Israel or the United States. ‘Shopworn’ is probably too mild a word  The neocons and garbage like Bolton jump up and down and squeal like outraged pigs if anyone dares to question not only the right of Israel to exist but to torment and kill large numbers of the detested Palestinians; and make every effort to control American foreign policy. And loot the U.S.  Treasury.

Israel has supplied arms to Georgia, delivering weapons systems including eight types of unmanned aircraft and about 100 anti-tank mines. The Israeli presence consisted of  IDF special forces, Israeli Air Force personnel, detachments of the Mossad and other Israeli groups, to include mercenaries, were all working, in complete cooperation with American forces, to train and equip the new Georgian armed forces. At the same time, Israel is preparing to move some of its attack aircraft into Georgia, base them on Israeli-controlled airfields in southern Georgia and arm and equip them for a strike on Tehran.

It should be noted that the distance from Tel Aviv to Tehran is 1,600km  one way, and the  distance from Southern Georgia is  1,149 km one way. Slip tanks add 600-800 miles to the overall range

The aircraft designated for the attack are the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) F-16I Sufa (Storm), a two seater, designed and built solely for Israel by Lockheed Martin. The F-16I has a 23,600-kilogram [52,000 pound] take-off weight, considerably more than the earlier F-16s in IAF service, and may be is armed with the AMRAAM air-to-air missile. The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, and the AIM-9 Sidewinder or the AGM-65 Maverick which are air-to-ground tactical missile (AGM) designed for close air support. These missiles are effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation, and fuel storage facilities. There were to be twelve units belonging to the Israeli Air Force 107 Squadron, the so-called ‘Knights of the Orange Tail’ which was nominaly stationed at Hatzerin AFP (LLHB)  .

The air strike is to be aimed at Iranian government buildings with one Israeli group striking where top Iranian officials are known to be working, at housing for the top leadership, at any identified laboratory where nuclear work was being carried on and a second flight is to strike at Iranian oil wells, pipelines and Persian Gulf oil terminals. Once the dual strike is completed, the aircraft will head towards Israel and are slated to be refueled in mid-air by an American tanker aircraft.

That Putin is aware of the pending Georgian-based Israeli attack on Iran is certain and the strong probability is that someone connected with the CIA’s Russia desk gave sensitive material on this subject to the Russians and an Israeli IDF member is positively known to have given very specific information to the Russian GRU.

The incredible earlier security leaks from both U.S. and Israeli sources, were sent to Moscow for evaluation and eventually, Putin then saw an excellent chance to wreak havoc on his Georgian enemies, crush their military, capture the vast stocks of American military equipment stored in Georgia, force both the Americans and the detested Israelis out of the country under humiliating circumstances. Russian units also took over a part of the vital trans-Caucasus pipeline, secured the former Russian break-away province of the Crimea with its enormous offshore oil deposits and drew a strong line in the sand.

Following the total debacle in Georgia, which resulted in the hasty withdrawal of all American and Israeli military and intelligence units and the subsequent capture by the Russians of huge quantities of American weapons, technical signals equipment, unmanned drones and trucks full of secret documents, the American press was filled with statements of ‘stunned shock’ by American military personnel, denying they had any knowledge of the Georgian attack but common sense would dictate that with over two thousand active American military personnel closely involved with each and every Georgian army unit, the preparations for, and the actual logistics of, the massed Georgian army artillery attack on South Ossetia could simply not have passed totally unnoticed.

Iran knows its navy is no match for the ubiquitous and powerful U.S. Navy. So any credibility Iran may have in its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz rests on its asymmetric assets like small speedboats and more conventional weapons like anti-ship missiles and naval mines.

In addition to its fast attack missile boats, which are part of the conventional navy, Iran also has much smaller speedboats employed by the naval arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These vessels gained some notoriety in January 2008 when they were used to harass U.S. warships in the strait.

There are many ways these boats can be employed against tanker traffic in the strait, but most involve massing them in swarms to overwhelm any shipboard defenses. Scenarios include using these small, highly maneuverable vessels to launch rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and other ordnance at larger vessels or packing them with explosives for use in suicide attacks. Although an RPG peppering is unlikely to do more than irritate a conventional warship that displaces nearly 10,000 tons, U.S. war-gaming has suggested that suicide tactics could present a danger to warships as well as tankers trying to maneuver in the cramped waters of the strait.

Modern warships — though hardly as agile or maneuverable as small boats — are heavily armed. U.S. surface combatants not only employ five-inch naval guns but also generally have multiple .50-caliber heavy machine guns arranged to cover all quadrants and often 25 mm Bushmaster cannons. Indeed, a potential attacker can now find a Bushmaster mounted amidships not far from where the USS Cole was struck on any Arleigh Burke-class destroyer it encounters in the strait.

In addition, the U.S. Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, designed as a final line of defense against anti-ship missiles, is being upgraded to include optical and infrared sensors for use against surface targets.

In addition, the size of the small IRGC boats significantly limits the amount of explosives they can effectively deliver. A single strike could be managed by effective damage control on the targeted ship, as was the case with the Cole, where a small boat packed with explosives detonated against the warship’s hull on the water line. Such a strike could well achieve a “mission kill” (scoring enough damage to prevent the ship from continuing to carry out its mission), but it would not likely sink the ship.

Also, the distance between the shoreline where such boats would lurk and the shipping lanes where ships transit the strait is considerable (on the order of 10 nautical miles), and even with suboptimal visibility, the armaments on a modern U.S. warship give it a substantial range advantage. Once hostilities commenced, swarms of small boats approaching alert warships would likely suffer considerable losses while closing the distance to the point where they could inflict damage themselves.

While a large tanker would lack the defensive and damage-control capabilities of a U.S. warship, its size would provide it with its own sort of protection. The bow wave alone would make it difficult for small craft to make contact with the hull. The flow of surface water along the hull of such a large, moving ship creates strong currents toward the ship’s stern. This would not necessarily prevent a small boat from making contact with the hull, but it would certainly complicate the effort. Indeed, though these small boats are maneuverable, they are not designed to operate a dozen miles from shore; the sea state itself in the middle of the strait could present its own challenges.

This would not necessarily prevent a small boat from making contact with the hull, but it would certainly complicate the effort. Indeed, though these small boats are maneuverable, they are not designed to operate a dozen miles from shore; the sea state itself in the middle of the strait could present its own challenges. In addition, crude oil does not easily ignite, so a supertanker’s load can actually serve to absorb explosions if such contact does take place.

Indeed, tankers’ compartments for crude have long been segmented, limiting the damage from any one point of impact. Double hulls have been standard in new construction for nearly a decade now and will be required for all tankers by next year. This combination of design features and sheer size further limits the effectiveness of not only small boats but also anti-ship missiles and naval mines.

Though crude oil could certainly be spilled if both hulls were breached, even a series of impacts by small boats would have trouble doing more than bringing a large tanker to a slow halt. It is worth noting that when the French oil tanker Limburg was attacked by a small boat filled with explosives in 2002 in the more open waters of the Gulf of Aden, it burned for several days before being towed to port for expensive repairs.

Iran is also known to have a considerable arsenal of shore-based anti-ship missiles. Some of these missiles are U.S.-made, predating the Iranian revolution and fall of the Shah, and many were used in the Iran-Iraq War. Even in those days, Iran had begun to field Chinese missiles like Beijing’s copy of the Soviet SS-N-2 “Styx,” known as the “Silkworm.” A number of improved variants have been spun off from this basic design, including one reportedly built in Iran. Although slower and “dumber” than more modern anti-ship missiles, this class of weapons carries a bigger punch: a warhead weighing about 1,000 pounds. Warheads on Iran’s newer and smarter anti-ship missiles are one-half to one-third of that weight. These newer weapons include a considerable quantity of Chinese C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles (including indigenously built copies). The C-801 is a derivative of the widely proliferated French Exocet and U.S. Harpoon, while the C-802 is an improved version of the C-801. It was one of these missiles — almost certainly provided by Tehran — that struck the Israeli warship INS Hanit off the Lebanese coast during the conflict in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006

Missiles like the C-801/802 also have improved range and guidance systems. Even the shortest-range models (about 25 miles for the oldest Silkworms) have the reach to cover the strait’s designated shipping lanes from the islands of Qeshm and Larak. Longer-range variants put much of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman at risk from Iranian shores.

Iran has elements of its anti-ship missile arsenal deployed in batteries not only along its coast but also on key islands within the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz — with the islands of Qeshm, Sirri and Abu Musa most likely harboring significant quantities of anti-ship missiles. As a general rule, Iranian anti-ship missiles are launched from trucks and the batteries are mobile. Hence, they can be quickly repositioned as needed in a time of crisis. Fired from the coast, these missiles would emerge from the clutter of the shoreline and have very short flight times before impacting ships in the strait, leaving little time for defensive systems to react.

But the anti-ship missile option also presents fundamental challenges for Iran. Iran has only so many launch vehicles for its arsenal, so only a fraction of its anti-ship missile stockpile can be brought to bear at any given time. These batteries are not useful hidden in hills dozens of miles from shore. Most anti-ship missiles — including Iran’s — do not have a terrain-following capability, so they must have a relatively straight, clear shot at the ocean, with no major obstructions. This limits the depth within Iran from which launchers can threaten the strait, and it increases their vulnerability to American naval and air power.

Iran can also use air-launched anti-ship missiles of similar capability (and with similar payload limitations) in targeting vessels in the strait and the Persian Gulf. But fighter aircraft are much larger than anti-ship missiles and would provide additional warning when spotted by powerful American ship-borne radars.

Moreover, Iran’s air force would be subject to rapid attrition at the beginning of any air campaign, and the United States would be able to quickly establish air superiority. Iran’s air force is in such a poor state of readiness that even in the early hours of a conflict it would not likely be able to sustain a high sortie rate for any significant length of time.

Thus, Iran must anticipate significant attrition of its anti-ship missiles once hostilities commenced, and it would certainly see an erosion of its ability to fully exploit the remaining missiles over time. So while Iran’s anti-ship missile arsenal could play a role in interdicting commercial traffic in the strait — and it would probably be an effective tool for a limited or controlled escalation — it would not be able to sustain anything more than a short-term campaign to close the choke point.

 

Wall Street stocks suffer worst week in a decade

After another day of volatile trading, the Nasdaq, Dow and S&P 500 are on pace for their worst month since 2009

December 21, 2018

by Dominic Rushe and wires

The Guardian

Wall Street stocks fell in volatile trading on Friday, with the Nasdaq, Dow and S&P 500 on pace for their worst month since 2009.

After another day of highly volatile trading the tech-heavy Nasdaq sank to a 15-month low, falling as much as 21.5% from its 29 August high. The benchmark S&P 500 index, already on pace for its biggest percentage decline in December since the Great Depression, hit its lowest level since August 2017. The Dow Industrials fell to the lowest level since October 2017.

All three indexes swung between losses and gains of more than 1%. They received a momentary boost after the New York Fed president, John Williams, said on CNBC that the Fed is open to reassessing its views and monitoring market signals that economic growth could fall short of expectations.

That news helped drive shares higher overseas. In London the FTSE closed 9 points higher at 6,721.

But those gains soon evaporated as economic worries again prevailed. Williams’ dovish comments could point to hidden concerns among some Fed policymakers, said Tim Ghriskey, the investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“(Williams’ comments) helped the markets for a while early on, and then it was just a sell-off after that,” Ghriskey said. “Part of that is when the Fed says something like they’re re-looking at things, there’s a concern that maybe the Fed knows something that we don’t know.”

Technology and communication services stocks bore the brunt of the sell-off, falling 2.3% and 2.7%, respectively.

The so-called Faang group – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – fared poorly. Facebook shares tumbled 5.4%, Amazon shares slid 4.8% and Netflix shares sank 5%. Shares of both Apple and Google parent Alphabet dropped more than 2%.

Turmoil in Washington injected further pessimism into US stock markets. Donald Trump said there was a very good chance a government funding bill, which included funding for a wall along Mexico border, would not pass the Senate.

“The market continues to react to the possibility of a government shutdown, fear of a domestic and global slowdown and general displeasure about the direction of Fed policy,” said Ryan Larson, the head of US equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

 

The Whoppers of 2018: Once again, Trump steals the show.

December 20, 2018

by Lori Robertson and Eugene Kiely

FactCheck.org

Summary

For the fourth year in a row, Donald Trump dominates our list of the whoppers of the year.

Before he entered politics as a presidential candidate in 2015, we had never singled out one person as the most egregious teller-of-falsehoods in these year-end wrapups. But he continues to force our hand. We can’t ignore the evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming.

We selected 10 of Trump’s whoppers, and there were many more that could have made the cut.

The president exhibits a penchant not only for making inaccurate claims, but for adding new embellishments when he repeats them. For instance, his frequent false claim that “U.S. Steel is opening and expanding seven different plants,” became “eight or nine” in one retelling.

Trump also makes claims for which he offers no evidence, and the White House declines to provide any. One example: Trump claims an Uzbekistan national who was arrested for a deadly terrorist attack in New York City brought 22 people with him into the U.S. through “chain migration.” There’s no evidence that the man brought even one relative, and it would be impossible under the immigration system to bring “his uncle, his aunt, his brother, his nephew,” as the president claims.

Among his most newsworthy falsehoods were his denial that he knew anything about a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign and his claim that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”

Trump may have stood apart in 2018, but he, of course, wasn’t the only politician making false claims. Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Adam Schiff, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, and Democratic midterm ads all made false and distorted claims about the unemployment rate, tax cuts, payments by the government to the Trump Organization and rising sea levels.

The Russian president rounds out our list this year. Putin falsely asserted that business associates of a man who had lobbied for a U.S. law sanctioning Russians had given $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Those affiliated with the firm donated just $17,700.

We give more detail on these whoppers and others in the video and analysis below.

Analysis

The Payment to Stormy Daniels

In August, a guilty plea by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen exposed a string of falsehoods and contradictory statements from the president and his staff.

Cohen admitted that he arranged — “at the direction of” Trump — payments totaling $280,000 during the 2016 campaign to silence two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump. One payment was $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Yet in an exchange with reporters on Air Force One on April 5, Trump denied knowing anything about it, saying, “No. No. What else?” when asked if he knew about the payment to Daniels.

For months, the White House had denied the allegations about the affair and payment. In January, when the Wall Street Journal first broke the story, the White House said in a statement: “These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.”

In early May, Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani acknowledged that the payment was made to Daniels, but both claimed that Trump had repaid Cohen through a monthly retainer that wealthy clients typically have with lawyers. Trump claimed he had no knowledge of how Cohen used the retainer. The Justice Department, however, in announcing the plea agreement with Cohen, cited internal company emails and invoices that show “there was no such retainer agreement, and the monthly invoices COHEN submitted were not in connection with any legal services he had provided in 2017.”

Cohen admitted to receiving $420,000 from the Trump Organization to reimburse him for the payment to Daniels, plus expenses and a bonus, and to arranging for a $150,000 payment to a second woman, Karen McDougal, who claimed to have an affair with Trump. Cohen said in court that the payments were made to the two women “for the purpose of influencing the election.”

Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations.

On Twitter the week of Dec. 10, Trump called the hush-money, “a simple private transaction,” and said he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law.”

In a Dec. 16 interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Giuliani accused Cohen of changing his story on the hush-money payments over time. When told “so has the president,” Giuliani responded: “The president’s not under oath.”

Hurricane Maria

On Twitter in September, Trump rejected Puerto Rico’s official estimate of 2,975 hurricane-related deaths after Hurricane Maria, saying the death toll was “6 to 18 deaths.” He falsely claimed Democrats had produced the higher estimate “to make me look as bad as possible.”

Puerto Rico initially estimated there were 64 deaths caused by the hurricane, which hit the island in September 2017, but it later accepted an independent estimate of 2,975 hurricane-related deaths over about six months. Puerto Rico had commissioned the study, which was done by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

The study took into account the usual number of deaths that could be expected during the six-month period after the hurricane, and estimated the number of “excess” hurricane-related deaths. Trump misrepresented that methodology, too, wrongly saying the study counted deaths “for any reason, like old age.”

Revisionist Remarks on Russia

In one tweet in February — among many concerning the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election — Trump falsely claimed that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”

He has repeatedly denied or doubted Russia’s involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers from the first day it became public in June 2016.

The day after the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had gained access to the DNC’s servers, Trump issued a statement saying, “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”

Months later, Trump told Time magazine in a Nov. 28, 2016, interview: “I don’t believe they interfered.”

In a Jan. 3, 2017, tweet, Trump dismissed the cyberattack as the “so-called ‘Russian hacking.’”

Three days later, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified intelligence report that said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “ordered an influence campaign in 2016” and that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC computers and released material to WikiLeaks “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

But Trump continued to cast doubt on Russia’s involvement.

On April 29, 2017, he told CBS News that “if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking.”

See our February story for more examples. Trump’s denial tweet came two days after the special counsel’s office issued an indictment charging 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations with illegally interfering in the election.

Months later, in a July 16 joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Trump declined to directly respond when a reporter asked whether he believed U.S. intelligence agencies or Putin on whether Russia meddled. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said in his answer.

Pushing a Conspiracy Theory

In that same response in the Helsinki press conference, Trump repeated a discredited conspiracy theory about the DNC computer hack when he falsely claimed there were “missing” servers associated with a “Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC.” His own Justice Department had shot down that conspiracy theory, saying there was “no evidence” to allegations of stolen equipment or documents.

Trump had referenced these bogus allegations before, saying in an April tweet that there were “Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man.”

By the time Trump made his remarks in Helsinki, the DOJ had already struck a plea deal on July 3 with former congressional IT staffer Imran Awan, who pleaded guilty to a false statement on an application for a home equity line of credit. U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, who was nominated by Trump, wrote the plea document, which debunked the theories about Awan.

News broke in February 2017 that U.S. Capitol Police were investigating allegations that Awan had stolen equipment and violated House IT policies. Awan worked partly for the offices of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2011 to the summer of 2016. This sparked conspiracies — floated even by Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera — alleging Awan had something to do with the hacking of DNC computer systems and the release of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Yet, after the DOJ investigated and dismissed such allegations of stolen materials — “interviewing approximately 40 witnesses” and examining various electronic devices, it said — the president, in part, answered a question on a world stage about Russian interference in the election by citing the conspiracy theory.

A Fanciful Immigration Tale

Throughout the year, Trump repeatedly claimed, with no proof, that Sayfullo Saipov — the Uzbekistan national who was arrested for a deadly terrorist attack in New York City in 2017 — brought 22 people with him into the United States through “chain migration.” There’s no evidence that Saipov brought even one relative to the country.

Princeton University professor Marta Tienda, a demographer who has studied “chain migration,” told us Trump’s 22 figure was “an implausible exaggeration given the current visa system.”

Saipov came to the U.S. in 2010 through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Such visa holders may bring a spouse and children, but there’s no indication that happened in Saipov’s case. He married in the United States in 2013.

When he drove a truck into a crowd of pedestrians and bicyclists in New York City, Saipov was a legal permanent resident, a status that is also limited to sponsoring only a spouse and children.

At his midterm campaign rallies, however, Trump would rattle off various family members that he claimed Saipov had brought to the country, including Saipov’s mother and father. That’s false. They were living in Uzbekistan at the time of the attack, as reported by the Daily Mail and the Wall Street Journal.

A Fanciful War Story, Too

In his campaign rallies, the president made false claims about statements he said Sen. Richard Blumenthal had made about the Vietnam War.

Trump claimed Blumenthal “went around telling war stories,” saying he “fought in Da Nang Province” and talked of “soldiers dying left and right as we battled up the hill.” There’s no record of Blumenthal ever saying any of those things.

What’s true is that Blumenthal, a Marine Corps reservist during (but not in) the Vietnam War, wrongly claimed years ago that he “served in Vietnam” and once spoke of the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans “when we returned.” He apologized, saying he had not been “as clear or precise as I should have been.”

But Trump stretched the public record on this incident beyond recognition. As if he were playing his own personal game of telephone, the president added new embellishments as he repeated his tale.

He told a crowd in Kansas on Oct. 6 that Blumenthal “talked about” making rescue attempts during the war. “I went back and I got them, and then I made a second attempt, and bullets are going left and right and over my shoulders and they’re hitting my men,” Trump claimed the senator had said. Again, there’s no record that Blumenthal ever said such things.

Ghost Factories?

The president has shown a pattern for claiming new manufacturing plants were opening, despite no evidence to support his statements:

  • “U.S. Steel is opening and expanding seven different plants,” Trump frequently has claimed, once upping the number to “eight or nine.” A U.S. Steel spokeswoman referred us to the company’s website, where all operational changes had been posted, she said. We found announcements for a new galvanizing line and the restarting of operations at two blast furnaces and steel-making facilities at an existing plant in Illinois. That’s not “seven different plants.”
  • Weeks after Trump imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and panels, he claimed: “A lot of places are opening up” to “make solar panels again.” Later, he claimed, “We’re opening up at least five plants,” and then the figure grew to “seven or eight.” Experts told us they knew of one announced facility since the tariffs were implemented.
  • After General Motors announced in February that it would close a plant in South Korea, Trump falsely claimed, “and they’re going to move back to Detroit. You don’t hear these things, except for the fact that Trump became president.” GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey told us: “That was not part of the announcement.”

Shifting Responsibility

The president wrongly blamed the Democrats for his own administration’s policy that led to the controversial separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough,” he said at the White House on May 16. “But those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing. We have to break up families.”

In April, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration, and the following month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen directed her department to refer all unauthorized immigrants who cross the U.S. border to federal prosecutors.

That decision — to criminally prosecute immigrants for illegal entry, as opposed to using a civil removal process — led to parents being placed in detention centers and their children being separated from them. Children can’t be housed in detention centers for adults.

“It is the government’s choice whether to criminally prosecute someone for illegal entry or reentry,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., told us.

The Trump administration’s policy caused nearly 3,000 children to be separated from their parents and sparked several public protests. Trump backed down on June 20, signing an executive order directing DHS to keep families in custody together “to the extent permitted by law” and the availability of appropriations. According to a Dec. 12 court filing in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, there are still 131 children in custody separated from their parents; however, in more than 90 percent of those cases either the parents have indicated they won’t reunify with their children or officials have found the parents are unfit.

Taking Undue Credit

Politicians are known for taking some undue credit for perceived successes, but Trump brought the practice to a new level when he repeatedly claimed that the 2014 Veterans Choice law was “the greatest idea I think I’ve ever had.”

In his detailed anecdotes, Trump claimed he “came back to my group” with the “brilliant” idea to allow veterans facing a long wait for care to see private doctors. “Who else would think of that?” he told a crowd in Pennsylvania on Oct. 10. Ten days later in Nevada, he said, “What a genius — I said, I said, how good is that? They said, ‘Sir, we’ve been trying to get it passed for 44 years.’ So I was good at getting things passed. That’s what I did.”

In fact, the Veterans Choice Program was created by the bipartisan Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, signed by President Barack Obama on Aug. 7, 2014. It allowed veterans with long wait times or travel burdens to get care from eligible health care providers outside the Veterans Affairs system.

Trump signed legislation to continue funding the program, and in June, he signed the bipartisan VA MISSION Act, which calls for consolidating Veterans Choice and other private-care options next year into a new Veterans Community Care Program.

Taking Undue Credit, Part II

The president began the year by suggesting he deserved credit for zero commercial passenger jet deaths in 2017 worldwide. On Jan. 2, he tweeted: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

There have been no deaths from U.S. commercial airline accidents since 2009, and no deaths from accidents of foreign air carriers in the U.S. since 2013.

The Aviation Safety Network had reported there were no commercial passenger jet deaths in 2017 worldwide, and a low number of deaths from turbo-prop plane or cargo plane accidents. It said 2017 was “the safest year ever for commercial aviation,” which was also “no surprise.”

“Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline,” ASN President Harro Ranter said in a press release.

 

Five big things from Trump’s head-spinning week

December 21, 2018

by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

BBC News

This week in Washington has distilled all the chaos, upheaval, drama and conflict of the first two years of the Donald Trump presidency down to its purest form.

It’s been a bungee jump from high to low, then careening everywhere in between – and it’s not altogether clear that it won’t end with the loud and final thud of an impact on the ground.

Here’s a look at the crises – plural – that have unfolded in the past few days.

Most, if not all, are of the president’s own making. Mr Trump campaigned as a disrupter, and this week has been disruption in the extreme.

The shutdown fight

At the end of last week it appeared that Congress was on a glide path toward avoiding a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Then, on Thursday, everything went haywire. After the White House had signalled it would support the stopgap funding measure, hard-core conservative media outlets and politicians demanded the president draw a line in the sand over building his much-promised border wall.

Mr Trump abruptly changed course, announcing that “any measure that funds the government must include border security”. The fact he’s stopped calling for a wall and instead asked for border security and “metal slats” – fencing – is a concession that might have meant something if it was made weeks ago, and not under the shadow of a shutdown.

The great withdrawal

If Mr Trump’s pivot on budget funding was surprising, his unexpected announcement that he’s pulling the 2,000 US troops out of Syria – and reports of plans for thousands more coming home from Afghanistan – was an electric shock through the US foreign policy establishment.

The fact that the president, who campaigned in part on drawing down US involvement obligations abroad, might contemplate such a move is not unexpected. The manner in which the announcement was made, with little apparent consultation with senior government officials or US allies abroad, is the primary source of upheaval – and the cause for concern among even those who might otherwise support the decision.

Then came the exclamatory punctuation mark at the end of the drawdown drama. Defence Secretary James Mattis, perhaps the most universally respected member of Mr Trump’s Cabinet, announced he was resigning because of differences of opinion he has with the president. In his announcement, he offered full-throated support for the US alliance structure and a warning that the US must serve as a counterweight to authoritarian rivals.

Then came his parting shot.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defence whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” he wrote.

It was one of the most direct suggestions of disapproval from any of Mr Trump’s ever-expanding list of former advisers and Cabinet secretaries.

All of this raises the question, why did the president act now? There has been some speculation that it may be tied the budget fight over the Mexican border wall. If people tell the president there’s not enough money, then he’ll reduce US commitments abroad. Others have suggested the move was a distraction in the midst of an unpleasant news cycle. Or perhaps it was a move to placate Turkey or – an evergreen explanation – Russia.

Whatever the reason, Mr Trump has roiled his supporters in the US Senate at a time when he needs them most. In the past, Republican politicians have managed to walk the line between offering tuts of disapproval for presidential actions they don’t like, while still voting lockstep for conservative policy priorities.

In the coming days, however, this straddling effort will be tested like never before.

Mueller’s circling army

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Benjamin Wittes and Mikhaila Fogel compare Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation of possible Russian ties to the Trump presidential campaign to a siege on a walled city.

If the investigation is “a campaign of degradation over a substantial period of time”, this week brought a number of new volleys that could hasten the eventual collapse.

There was Michael Flynn’s sentencing fiasco, in which Mr Trump’s former national security adviser admitted in open court that he knowingly lied to the FBI and wasn’t tricked or trapped into it. The judge, Emmet Sullivan, then suggested he sold his country out.

Facing the prospect of an angry judge threatening jail time, Flynn’s lawyers asked for a sentencing delay – dangling the possibility of more co-operation by Flynn and guaranteeing this portion of the Mueller investigation will stretch on until at least March.

Meanwhile, the Senate released two investigations into Russian social media campaigns to influence the 2016 presidential election.

They indicated the scope of the attack was much wider than previously known. The efforts reached hundreds of millions of people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other services, engaging conservatives and discouraging key voting blocs on the left, all in an attempt to help Mr Trump’s presidential bid.

The president and his supporters have dismissed evidence of Russian meddling as blame-shifting by Democrats seeking an excuse for their 2016 defeat. With these reports, that becomes a more difficult case to make.

What’s still not known is if there are any direct links between the Russians and the Trump team. Rumours swirl of new Mueller indictments on the horizon, however, perhaps of Trump confidant Roger Stone, who had contacts with WikiLeaks, the group that released hacked Democratic documents.

Then there’s the NBC News report that Mr Mueller could release his findings and conclusions in mid-February – which, although it seems like an eternity in US politics these days, is just two months away.

The clock is ticking – providing a possible explanation for Mr Trump’s dyspeptic attitude of late.

A crumbling foundation

There was evidence as early as 2016, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, that Donald Trump frequently used his family’s charitable foundation – funded in large part by donations from other people – to settle business lawsuits, buy baubles at auctions and, during the presidential campaign, advance his political interests.

Any of this could qualify as “self-dealing” and put the charity’s tax status at risk.

The controversies swirling around the foundation attracted the attention of the Democrat-run attorney general’s office in New York, which launched an investigation. On Tuesday, they negotiated the dismantling of the charity.

Trump’s troubled charity to shut down

Mr Trump and his lawyers explained that they wanted this all along, and that the entire inquiry was the result of “sleazy Democrats”. But this is another dark cloud that won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

Barbara Underwood, in a statement heralding the action, called the foundation “little more than a chequebook” for the Trumps, with activity that displayed “a shocking pattern of illegality”.

What’s more, she said, the state would continue to seek millions of dollars in back taxes and fines from the Trump Organization, and sanctions against the president and his three oldest children.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly criticised Hillary Clinton and her family’s much-larger operating foundation. Two years later, however, it’s the president’s charity that remains in the headlines.

Mr Trump has spent much of his presidency touting the seemingly endless ascent of the US stock market.

“The Stock Market just reached an All-Time High during my Administration for the 102nd Time, a presidential record, by far, for less than two years,” he tweeted in early October.

Politicians who hitch their star to the stock market, however, can be in for a bumpy ride. Since Mr Trump wrote that tweet, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen more than 4,300 points – a 16% decline.

Due to a combination of rising interest rates, the president’s trade wars, the impending government shutdown and indications of slower economic growth, the now long-in-the-tooth bull market may be coming to an end. December has seen the biggest market decline since the Great Depression and the largest drop in any month since 2009.

Larger economic indicators, such as GDP growth, unemployment and consumer confidence, are still strong. The current economic expansion is now entering its 13th year, however, and no one has yet discovered how to outwit the business cycle.

What goes up eventually comes down (at least a bit), and the timing may not be good for the president.

 

Trump’s Syria move pleases dictators and hands initiative to Isis

The president’s surprise decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan has weakened allies and given a fillip to jihadists

December 22, 2018

by Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull US troops out of Syria, and slash the numbers deployed in Afghanistan, came as a nasty shock to Britain, regional allies such as Israel, and to many in his own administration and Republican party. Although he had threatened such action in the past, his wiser, more experienced advisers had succeeded in restraining him – until last week, when the president finally got away from the White House “grown-ups” and went rogue.

Trump’s move proved the final straw for James Mattis, the defence secretary and last of the old guard, whose relationship with the president was already strained. In his resignation letter, Mattis did not specifically mention Syria and Afghanistan but he warned that Trump was placing US security at risk by letting down and denigrating America’s friends and allies.

“While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies,” Mattis wrote pointedly.

Pro-western Kurdish forces in north-east Syria share that sentiment. They have been stalwart allies of the US and its European partners in the largely successful fight to degrade and destroy Islamic State. Now they face the prospect of a cross-border attack by the Turkish military, which regards them as a threat to national security, without US air support or ground protection.

Kurdish cries of betrayal seem wholly justified. Having been abandoned by Trump, they can be expected, in their turn, to abandon the struggle against Isis as they concentrate on their own survival.

Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, the priority for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, has been combating moves towards Kurdish self-determination, which he fears could spread to south-east Turkey. He has repeatedly threatened a new incursion into Syria in recent days, similar to the one launched in Afrin earlier this year.

When Erdoğan spoke to the White House by telephone last week, US officials said they expected Trump to tell him to back off. Instead, Trump caved in, informed Erdoğan of the US withdrawal, and effectively gave him a green light to invade.

There is a suspicion that Trump is in awe of tough, authoritarian “strongman” leaders such as Erdoğan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and would emulate them if he dared. As it is, he kowtows and seeks their approval. Naturally, both Putin and Erdoğan welcomed the pullout, giving Trump the praise he craves.

Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, will be gratified too, as will his allies in Iran. US Republican senators quickly pointed out that, by his decision, Trump has effectively “lost Syria” for the west and confirmed the victory of the pro-Assad forces. Assad may now feel emboldened to launch an assault on Idlib, Syria’s last holdout province.

Less happy are the Saudis, who rely on US support in their proxy wars with Iran in Yemen and elsewhere. They will fear further American disengagement. Another ally, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, refrained from criticism but said he would escalate Israeli military action against Iranian-aligned forces in Syria and Lebanon following the US decision.

The prospect of new fighting spreading along Syria’s northern and south-western borders is alarming humanitarian agencies and could undermine fragile peace talks. “It doesn’t take much imagination to see how relative stability could be replaced by chaos. Thousands could be displaced if the wrong decisions are taken,” David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, said.

Trump’s troop withdrawals also pose a conundrum for Britain and France, which both have military units engaged in Syria and Iraq. Downing Street said it had been consulted in advance and opposed it, but was clearly not listened to.

Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, will be gratified too, as will his allies in Iran. US Republican senators quickly pointed out that, by his decision, Trump has effectively “lost Syria” for the west and confirmed the victory of the pro-Assad forces. Assad may now feel emboldened to launch an assault on Idlib, Syria’s last holdout province.

Less happy are the Saudis, who rely on US support in their proxy wars with Iran in Yemen and elsewhere. They will fear further American disengagement. Another ally, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, refrained from criticism but said he would escalate Israeli military action against Iranian-aligned forces in Syria and Lebanon following the US decision.

The prospect of new fighting spreading along Syria’s northern and south-western borders is alarming humanitarian agencies and could undermine fragile peace talks. “It doesn’t take much imagination to see how relative stability could be replaced by chaos. Thousands could be displaced if the wrong decisions are taken,” David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, said.

Trump’s troop withdrawals also pose a conundrum for Britain and France, which both have military units engaged in Syria and Iraq. Downing Street said it had been consulted in advance and opposed it, but was clearly not listened to.

 

The Neo-Nazi Renaissance

December 22, 2018

Dr. Ernst Gause

In the main, fraud, counterfeiting and deceit are certainly immoral and very often felonious but in some instances, the essential ludicrous nature of some frauds manages to overcome the gravity.

Such is the case of the enormous industry devoted to the creation, manufacture and sale of faked items of German militaria and elevated personality items from the Third Reich period, purporting to belong to such people as Hitler and Hermann Goering.

There is an abiding fascination with the trappings of the Third Reich but the number of actual and original relics is much smaller than a burgeoning demand. Nature abhors a vacuum and if original pieces are no longer available, the vacuum is filled with creations to satisfy the demand.

Not only are legitimate pieces of German militaria copied and marketed, a number of outrageous fantasy pieces have also been created and merchandised like the Reverend Ernie’s Holy Healing Cloths on Christian television stations.

There is an interesting parallel here between the manufacture and sale of Nazi relics and the manufacture or misidentification of relics of the Catholic Church.

In the latter we can find the knuckle bones of a pig being passed off as having once been a part of Saint Rosa of Compostella or the ever-popular St. Nicholas. Expert study has proven that the notorious Shroud of Turin is a 13th Century fake and it has been said that there are enough pieces of the True Cross around to build a small hotel.

Fraud and chicanery are the hallmarks of any marketplace, be it Wall Street, Carnaby Street or the Internet auctions.

It is amazing that so many of these neo-Nazi fraud merchants are able to find either end of themselves in a dark room or, as the author’s sainted Granny used to say, ‘Too lazy to work, too stupid to steal and completely unable to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

The hallmark of the German military and personality collectors is, in the main, a fascination with a period they are constantly reminded is the very essence of terrible evil. In spite of countless reams of utter nonsense produced about German wickedness (as opposed to American, British or Russian asocial behavior) German items are far more in demand that anything else and of all the items most sought after and commanding the highest prices are relics of the awful SS.

So much for failed propaganda which has only made its sworn enemy so attractive.

One dealer bought the iron gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp from a Polish scrap dealer and tried to sell them to the American Holocaust Museum. They were most eager to obtain this dubious relic but on principle (or perhaps because of a lack of it) absolutely refused to pay for the massive entrance to the netherworld.. A tax-free gift would be much more to their liking but the greedy and uncharitable dealer merely cut the gates into small pieces and sold these off like souvenirs of the Berlin Wall (or fragments of the True Cross).

The author once spoke with a very wealthy dealer in Nazi fakes and he said, with some humor, that when he has had occasion to visit various highly prestigious military collections in the past as he walks down the line of glass cases filled with the cream of Third Reich militaria, such as Hitler’s dinnerware or Goering’s swords, he keeps hearing tiny voices that say, “Papa, papa!” as he passes.

Items which are purported to have belonged to Adolf Hitler are quite naturally, worth a great deal of money and Hitler fakes abound in the market place. It should be noted that Hitler wrote very few personal letters and signed almost nothing at all after the outbreak of the war. Such items as original caps, uniforms and the like are non-existent because Hitler ordered their destruction at the end of the war and in the main, this order was faithfully executed.

Hitler was 5 foot, 8.5 inches in height and weighed in the vicinity of 150 pounds. Any uniform alleged to be the property of Hitler would conform to these requirements. On the Party uniforms, the buttons on all items were silvered, but on the post-1939 uniforms, the buttons were gold.

Until 1938 Hitler wore the Iron Cross First Class and the black wound badge on the left hand pocket and, on some occasions (such as the ceremonial march in Munich on 9 November of each year) the Blutorden on the flap of the right breast pocket. After 1938, Hitler discarded the Blood Order ribbon and medal and added the Gold Party Badge on the left breast pocket, above the Iron Cross.

Hitler’s visor cap had a long, brown leather visor (worn because he was very sensitive to light) and the top piping of the cap was twisted gold cord. The lower two pipings were white, the cap band brown velvet and the cap cords in gold. The eagle was always embroidered directly into the cap as was the wreath, which was added after 1938.

Hitler’s uniforms were made by the Berlin military tailoring firm of Wilhelm Holters and his caps were made by Robert Lubstein of Berlin under the trade name of eReL. Contrary to amusing myths circulating after the war, Hitler did not wear a bullet-proof vest nor was there a steel liner in his cap.In the First World War, Hitler won the Iron Crosses 1st and 2nd Classes, the Bavarian service medal, fourth class, and the wound badge in black. As a member of the Bavarian army, Hitler did not wear any Austrian army decorations.

Hitler wore French-cuff shirts with gold links depicting the civic arms of the city of Danzig, the swastika motiv picked out in diamonds. Before the war, he wore a party eagle on his tie in solid gold, no wristwatch and no other jewelry.

Occasionally, gaudy pictures of Hitler’s mother, grotesque «ruby” rings and the like show up, allegedly Hitler’s property but all of these were birthday gifts and in all probability, never even seen by him. An alleged suicide pistol which has appeared in several publications is a fake. The Walther with the ivory grips once had the maker’s name, Carl Walther, and their post-war address in Ulm/Donau on the slide but this has since been replaced with the proper wartime address in Zella-Mehlis. This piece was made by the Walther factory for Colonel James Atwood in the early 1960s as the still-extant serial number proves. It has been seen in many post-war militaria publications but its present whereabouts is unknown.

Hitler carried a Belgian Browning 7.65mm pistol in his pant’s pocket and the right hand pocket of all of his trousers had a leather lining to hold the gun.

There are no surviving original Hitler paintings and sketches “from veterans.” Everyone from Konrad Kujau to Alfred Speer took a hand at copying Hitler’s style, with various degrees of success. Speer’s sketches come much closer to the mark as he was an architect and very familiar with Hitler’s style.

An example of the Speer drawings can be seen in a biography of Hitler by British writer, David Irving.

A book edited by Billy Price of Texas on Hitler’s artwork (Hitler as Maler und Zeichner) is crammed to the plimsoll line with fakes but is quite valuable in that it shows a very few known original Hitler pieces (those he himself authenticated before the war and marked as being from the NS archives. In the Price book, original Hitler pieces have the BA or Bundesarchiv numbers) with fakes. Hitler’s style is most distinctive and anyone with an eye for design can easily spot the hundreds of fakes.

Aside from some items held by the U.S. Army, no known original Hitler pieces exist in the United States and one of the largest collections in England is stuffed with fakes.

When Hitler joined the D.A.P. in 1919, his party number was 555, there being fifty five members and the numbers starting at 500 for propaganda reasons. When the Party was reorganized in later years, Hitler carried the number one and no medal or pin with the number seven is original.

In “Mein Kampf” Hitler indicates that he was the seventh member of the central committee and stupid forgers have seized on this to assume that he carried the party number of seven.

“Hitler silverware” was made up in some quantity and exists in two patterns; so-called formal and informal. This silver, which bears the state eagle and the letters A H was actually state silver and was used in governmental cafeterias. Reichskanzelei silver was marked R K.

It should be noted that all manner of State silver existed. One dealer in militaria claims to possess “Adolf Hitler’s” silver cigarette case. The price for this relic is somewhat less than the national debt of Mexico but since Hitler was a vehement non-smoker, the attribution is sadly in error.

Aside from personality items, yards of fake tapestries are offered, claimed to be from Hitler’s house or from Heinrich Himmler’s office and huge eagle and swastika bronze table decorations, jostle the auction house catalogs, cheek by jowl with oil paintings made in China of top level Nazi officials, fake dinnerware, honorary citizens awards, napkin rings engraved with Eva Braun’s initials, lavishly embroidered Hitler standards, copies of Mein Kampf with fake dedications and on and on.

Jewish holocaust professionals and other left-wingers spend a good deal of time informing anyone bored enough to listen, that Hitler was an evil monster. And in spite of these fulminations, dealers and auction houses worldwide, many of which are Jewish-owned and operated, are reaping a huge profit from selling his counterfeit possessions

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

December 22, 2018

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 publications.

 

Conversation No. 110

Date: Monday, October 27, 1997

Commenced: 2;:29 PM CST

Concluded: 2:45 PM CST

 

GD: Good morning, Robert. I have just about finished your manuscript on the Vietnam war and I was wondering about what could be done?

RTC: Well, for one thing, Gregory, it can’t be printed as long as I am alive. I had to sign the obligatory document years ago stating that I would write nothing about my work with the Company unless and until I had them vet it first. No exceptions. Wait until I am dead and gone and then publish. What do you think about it?

GD: Explosive. The poor sheep-like public only know what the press and the paid court historians tell them. The Pearl harbor business is typical. Now all the paid hacks claim that Roosevelt knew nothing at all. Of course he knew. He pushed the Japanese until they attacked us and we broke their diplomatic codes so we knew what was coming. Now, all is denied by the likes of Stephen Ambrose and Bruce Lee and so on. Of course by now, no one cares anymore. I mean other than the Kimmel family. Now, the idiots are just beginning to forget about Kennedy. My God, what a bunch of airheads have been feasting on that one for years. And your people, Mrs, Farrell as I recall, are all pushinig the twits off on blind alleys. And in the end, we both you know your people did it but there is so much garbage afloat on the seas of indifference that it really does not matter. And if the public ever got wind of the butcheries and torture chambers in Vietman, probably they would not be too interested because our media would be telling them about a cat up in a tree somewhere. Charlie Burdick was there and he told me he still had nightmares over the screaming and the smell of burning flesh and that was in the interrogation centers. He said that thousands of perfectly innocent Vietnamese women and children were rounded up and machine gunned. Is that true?

RTC: Yes, it is but the Army did it. We wouldn’t. Nixon told the Army to get rid of the civilian population in certain areas where the Cong was known to be operating and they did it. Calley was the only one who got caught and Nixon in essence pardoned him. Don’t worry about this, Gregory. No one will never find out and if they do, they won’t care.

GD: You don’t murder civilians. They hanged Germans for doing that.

RTC: Ah, but the Germans lost their war, didn’t they?

GD: They did but we established a precedent at Nuremberg, don’t forget and we lost in Vietnam, didn’t we?

RTC: There are various ways of looking at that one. Yes, we lost.

GD: And we lost 60,000 dead and God knows how many wounded and permanently crippled. Oh, and let us not forget the dead Vietnamese. Johnson was such an asshole.

RTC: Nixon was far worse. Nixon was intelligent and knew better and Johnson was a thug with a Southern accent. Nixon got run out of Washington, partly because of things like his orders to kill civilians. Of course, he never put it in writing but he did order it. These things shouldn’t bother you, Gregory

GD: I think that the time is coming when the whole structure your people, and the others, have built up with the media will collapse. If the public realizes how badly they have been tricked over the years, there will be some kind of an explosion. I know the public are stupid but if you poke, prod and lie to stupid people long enough, they have the tendency to get mad and look for farm implements and matches, not to mention rope and ammunition.

RTC: Now, Gregory, too much coffee in the morning.

GD: No, just astonished at all that goes on. So obvious.

RTC: To you, perhaps, but not to others. We like to keep the public happy and quiet. Lost of news stories about your cat up in a tree. What difference does it make in the long run? You eat, sleep, piss regularly, hopefully when awake, and on we go to the end of the road. Why should you care about such things? We’ll both be dead when the deluge comes.

GD: I suppose so, probably you’re right but there are times when any kind of idealism is dangerous.

 

(Concluded at 2:45 PM CST)

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