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TBR News February 16. 2019

Feb 16 2019

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

Washington, D.C. February 16, 2019 :” In 1996, the FBI set up an organization they called the Infragard, which very closely followed the German Gestapo’s ‘V-Leute’ program:

, ….” the protection of our nation’s infrastructure cannot be accomplished by the federal government alone. It requires coordinated action from numerous stakeholders – including government, the private sector, law enforcement and concerned citizens.” And that: “Each InfraGard chapter is geographically linked with an FBI Field Office, providing all stakeholders immediate access to experts from law enforcement, industry, academic institutions and other federal, state and local government agencies”.

One of the publicly stated aims of this project is that:  “(b)y utilizing the talents and expertise of the InfraGard network, information is shared to mitigate threats to our nation’s critical infrastructures.” This is nearly identical in wording to Müller’s own description of his national informers program and what follows here was lifted, almost verbatim, from his own period analysis: “An InfraGard member is a private-sector volunteer with an inherent concern for national security. Driven to protect their own industry and further motivated to share their professional and personal knowledge to safeguard the country, InfraGard members connect to a national network of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) communicate with federal law enforcement and government agencies through their local InfraGard chapters, and contribute to the security and protection of our national infrastructure from threats and attacks.”

“Critical infrastructures are physical and cyber-based systems that are essential to the minimum operations of the economy and the government (as defined in Presidential Decision Directive/NSC 63, May 1998) Key resources are individual targets whose destruction would not endanger security on a national scales, but would create local disaster or profoundly damage national morale (as defined in Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, December 2003) Together, critical infrastructures and key resources are so vital that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on the defense, economic security, public health or national confidence of the United States.

“InfraGard has SMEs around the country in each of the following 17 categories of critical infrastructures and key resources, as recognized by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan:”


The Table of Contents

  • What is a national emergency – and does it mean Trump can build his wall?
  • Trump and the Numbers Game
  • What is a national emergency – and does it mean Trump can build his wall?
  • Trump wall non-deal requires scraping for funds
  • Trump Declared a Border Emergency. Here’s How It Could Be Undone in Court.
  • Roger Stone: Mueller discloses evidence Trump adviser communicated with Wikileaks
  • ‘Islamic State’ in Syria shrunk to half a square kilometer: commander
  • Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attac
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 What is a national emergency – and does it mean Trump can build his wall?

Trump said he will declare a national emergency to build a border wall. Here are key questions answered on what that means

February 15, 2019

by Tom McCarthy in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump will sign a spending bill to avert a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his controversial border wall.

Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in an effort to secure resources to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Here are key questions answered on what this means:

What is a national emergency?

A president can declare a national emergency under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the Watergate crisis in an attempt to limit, not expand, executive power. The act does not define what constitutes a “national emergency.” But it does require the White House to put forward a legal justification for any emergency declaration and requires a congressional review every six months.

Presidents have declared 59 national emergencies since the law went into effect, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Separate laws govern various emergency powers that a president might invoke, from deploying troops inside the United States to restricting electronic communications. Trump reportedly wants to activate emergency military construction under a 1980s-era law that explicitly awards the defense department such power in the event of a national emergency declared by the president “that requires use of the armed forces.”

Is this a big deal?

The analysis flies in both directions on this question. Some legal experts say the emergency declaration is deeply alarming because it represents an aggressive power-grab by the president on funding issues. The constitution allots the power of the purse uniquely to Congress. Here, Congress has refused to pay for Trump’s border wall, and now it appears that Trump is trying to usurp the appropriations power.

But it might not be a big deal?

Many legal analysts take a more sanguine attitude about the emergency declaration. They point out that any declaration built on shaky legal ground is likely to collapse in court. They point out that Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi has the power to force the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on a resolution to rescind the declaration. If that fails, it could extract a potentially large political cost from Republicans.?

Finally, voices counseling calm in the face of the emergency declaration point to the 59 emergency declarations made by presidents since the 1976 National Emergencies Act. It emerges that presidents declare national emergencies with fair regularity. The most recent such declaration, in November of last year, is described as blocking the “property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Nicaragua”.

Will the ‘emergency’ get Trump his wall?

In theory it could. Following the declaration of a national emergency, military officials are empowered to divert funding and resources “essential to the national defense” including the “use of the armed forces”.

So Trump could order the military to move money and troops around to address the emergency – in this case, Trump imagines, by building a wall.

But many analysts believe that the emergency declaration will not produce a wall, owing to the aforementioned anticipated challenges in the courts and Congress. Or it will fail due to public outcry or perhaps to a breakdown in compliance somewhere in the chain of command, either on the part of military officials or Trump’s own legal team.

What are the political implications?

A CNN poll conducted 30 January through 2 February found that a strong majority of the public was opposed to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency to build his wall. In response to the question, “Should Trump Declare Emergency to Build Wall?”, 31% said yes while 66% said no.

The national emergency declaration seems particularly to pose political hazards for Republicans in Congress. If they are forced to vote in support of the president, they risk being tied to a potentially unpopular policy and eroding their credentials as devotees to the US constitution, whose checks on the presidency were sermonized gospel among Republicans during the Barack Obama years.

But as bad as that could get for Republicans, Mitch McConnell might have decided that the political risks of a national emergency were smaller than those of a second government shutdown in 2019, which Trump had also threatened but many saw as a likely political disaster.


Trump and the Numbers Game

There were 56.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2015, accounting for 17.6% of the total U.S. population.

The Hispanic Mexican population of the United States is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065.

The share of the U.S. population that is Hispanic has been steadily rising over the past half century. In 2015, Hispanics made up 17.6% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960, the origins of the nation’s Hispanic population have diversified as growing numbers of immigrants from other Latin American nations and Puerto Rico settled in the U.S.

For example, between 1930 and 1980, Hispanics from places other than Mexico nearly doubled their representation among U.S. Hispanics, from 22.4% to 40.6%. But with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, the Mexican share among Hispanics grew, rising to a recent peak of 65.7%.

California has the largest legal poplation of Mexicans, 14,013,719. And  California is also home to almost 25% of the country’s undocumented population. California is followed by Texas where 31.14%,(8,500,000) are Mexican, Florida has 4,223,806 Mexicans, Illinois 2,153,000, Arizona,1,895,149, Colorado, 1,136,000 Georgia, 923,000, North Carolina, 890,000, and Washington, 858,000 Mexicans.

Given the fact that President Trump has strong personal dislikes for both Blacks and Latinos, manifest in his recent vicious treatment of Mexican immigrants in their legal attempts to immigrate to the United States, the sheer number of Mexicans now resident in the United States ought to give him, and his far-right Republican Congressional supporters serious pause in their denial of entrance for legal immigrant attempts and the subsequent brutal maltreatment of small children of these immigrants.

If the Mexican voting population of the United States were to organize, like the recent organizing of the black voting population of Alabma in opposition to the fanatical Judge Moore, the results in the November elections could well prove to be a stunning disaster for both Trump and the Republicans.

Numbers certainly count but Trump is obviously unaware of their potential danger, both to him and his right-wing radical supporters.


Trump wall non-deal requires scraping for funds

February 15, 2019

by Gina Chon


WASHINGTON Reuters – Donald Trump has started another war of sorts – this time at home. Congress rejected the U.S. president’s demands to fund a southern border barrier, so on Friday he declared a national emergency, a move that will face an array of legal challenges. It’s a messy non-deal considering Trump turned down a compromise providing $25 billion for his wall in 2018.

The wall on the border with Mexico was a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign and he has been searching for the money since he took office. Last March, Democrats were willing to cover the entire cost. But the president rejected the idea of providing a path to citizenship for 1.8 million so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to America as children, which was part of that deal.

Then in December his failure to get Congress to approve $5.7 billion in funding led to a 35-day partial government shutdown. To avoid another closure, Congress on Thursday approved a spending bill that included $1.4 billion for border security. Trump will sign that bill but also declared a national emergency. That in theory will allow him to divert some $6.7 billion from the Defense Department’s anti-narcotics programs and other sources.

Democratic congressional leaders called the move lawless and an abuse of presidential power, and some Republicans worry about the precedent, too. Furthermore, the emergency designation is questionable. For one thing, most illegal drugs come through legal ports of entry, which a wall wouldn’t stop. For another, the long-running political saga is hardly consistent with the implied urgency of Trump’s action.

Trump, whose name is on a book called “The Art of the Deal,” has had a tough time negotiating in other areas, like trade. He alienated Canada and Mexico by threatening to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, eventually finalizing a new deal with only minor changes. The administration’s tough stance and the imposition of tariffs on trade with China could also lead to a deal that lacks substantive changes from the situation before Trump took office.

In the meantime small businesses, consumers and corporations have been hurt by the additional costs and disrupted supply chains. The wall effort will surely create legal and political disruption, too. Trump’s dealmaking is looking far from artful.


Trump Declared a Border Emergency. Here’s How It Could Be Undone in Court.

February 15, 2019

by Simon Romero

New York Times

ALBUQUERQUE — Almost immediately after President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday so he could proceed with his ambition to build a wall along the border with Mexico, some of his opponents announced their next move: We’ll see you in court.

Citing a dearth of evidence for a border crisis and fears over what is shaping into a colossal seizure of private property by the federal government, the Texas county of El Paso, together with human rights and pro-democracy groups, said on Friday that they planned to file a lawsuit almost immediately seeking to block the declaration.

The groups argue that communities along the border would be harmed, not saved, by the construction of the wall, and that Mr. Trump had no legal basis for declaring an emergency. Theirs would be the first in an array of legal challenges already coalescing in an effort to thwart Mr. Trump’s plan.

“There is zero factual support for the existence of a national emergency at the border,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, one of the groups preparing to challenge Mr. Trump in court. The declaration, Mr. Saenz added, “would be a laughable object of ridicule were it not so dangerous.”

The brewing legal battles are likely to focus on such issues as the rights of private property owners; tribal sovereignty of Native Americans living along the border; and how far presidential powers extend.

Mr. Trump predicted during his declaration of the emergency that he would face legal obstacles. “Sadly we’ll be sued, and sadly it will go through a process, and happily we’ll win,” he said.

Courts have been grappling for at least a decade with lawsuits involving the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation passed under former President George W. Bush that authorized the construction of about 700 miles of barriers and fencing along the border with Mexico. Dozens of lawsuits filed by property owners challenging that project are still unresolved.

The emergency declaration stands in contrast to that previous construction initiative because Congress this week refused in its bipartisan budget deal to allocate the funds needed to build the kind of wall the president wants. With Mr. Trump determined to go forward, these are just some of the legal battles that are expected

Private Property Owners

If the festering tension in South Texas over the last decade is any indication, some of the most strident opposition to Mr. Trump’s wall is expected to come from owners of land along the border who face seizure of their property by the federal government to build it.

Landowners in Texas, largely in the Rio Grande Valley, filed hundreds of lawsuits aiming to block the Bush administration from building fencing along the border. Some property owners opposed the government’s seizure of their land, while others said the compensation offered by federal authorities was too low.

Attention may now shift farther west to El Paso. Broad criticism of Mr. Trump in that city, a Democratic bastion in a state otherwise largely dominated by Republicans, emerged in recent days over the president’s widely discredited claim that border fencing had reduced crime there.

El Paso County, which encompasses the city of El Paso and is home to about 800,000 people, joined the Border Network for Human Rights; Protect Democracy, a group aiming to curb authoritarian-style politics; and the Niskanen Center, a nonpartisan think tank, in preparing a lawsuit over Mr. Trump’s declaration.

Ricardo Samaniego, who heads the governing county court of commissioners, said that Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration “will further damage El Paso County’s reputation and economy, and we are determined to stop this from happening.”

Precedent suggests that those living in the path of the planned wall may have a difficult time challenging it in court: Landowners have lost nearly all of the earlier cases aimed at preventing the federal government from seizing their property, though some ended up securing more compensation than initially offered.

Political Opponents

Democratic leaders in Congress have vowed to overturn the emergency declaration. “This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed president, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said in a joint statement.

The U.S.-Mexico border is a daily headline. A political football. And also home to millions of people. Every week for the next few months, we’ll bring you their stories, far from the tug-of-war of Washington policy

California officials announced on Friday that they planned to sue and said they hoped other states would join. “The president is exploiting a serious law,” the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said at a news conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom. “There is no emergency here for the nation.”

Mr. Newsom said that California would be affected by construction of a wall more than any other state. “Fortunately Donald Trump is not the last word,” he said. “The courts will be the last word.”

Tribal Sovereignty

Another legal battle already underway involves the sovereignty of Native Americans living along the border.

Leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose land in Arizona runs along 75 miles of the border, have already announced opposition to the border wall by taking their fight to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a part of the Organization of American States aimed at preventing rights abuses.

Tohono leaders say that a wall infringes on the right to freedom of movement among the tribe’s members, who live on both sides of the border. Verlon M. Jose, vice chairman of the Tohono nation, has said that the Trump administration would have to build the wall “over my dead body.”

The Tohono O’odham’s petition at the human rights commission seeks to impede more wall construction. Other tribes along the border, including the Kickapoo in Texas, the Kumeyaay in California and the Cocopah in Arizona, are examining how to proceed after Mr. Trump’s declaration.

Still, the Trump administration has been loath to respond to claims of rights abuses, and it has stopped cooperating with United Nations human rights investigators.

That could mean that tribes need to rely on the legal system in the United States to resolve differences over the wall.

Environmental Resistance

Environmental groups are also mobilizing to fight the wall in court, but recent legal decisions raise doubts about their ability to successfully argue that federal authorities are circumventing environmental laws.

The Supreme Court declined in December to hear a challenge by conservation groups to the proposed wall construction in California, leaving in place a ruling by a federal judge in San Diego that allowed construction to proceed.

The plaintiffs in that case argued that the wall would violate environmental laws and imperil habitats for some animals. They unsuccessfully challenged a 1996 law that allows the Department of Homeland Security to waive other laws in order to build walls or barriers on the border.

Even if an environmental challenge might have an uphill climb in the courts, it could have the effect of delaying wall construction in parts of the border, potentially for months or years.

“I expect legal challenges to tie this up for a long time,” said Cristina Rodriguez, a professor at Yale Law School. “The president and his people are aware of this, but they may care more about the optics of the wall than what actually happens on the border.”


Roger Stone: Mueller discloses evidence Trump adviser communicated with Wikileaks

Stone says evidence is ‘innocuous Twitter direct messages’ that prove ‘absolutely nothing’

February 15, 2019


The US special counsel, Robert Mueller, disclosed for the first time on Friday that his office has evidence of communications between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks related to the release of hacked Democratic party emails.

In a court filing on Friday, Mueller’s office said it had gathered that evidence in a separate inquiry into Russian intelligence officers who were charged by Mueller with hacking the emails during the 2016 US presidential campaign and staging their release.

In an email criticising media coverage of Mueller’s filing on Friday, Stone, a longtime associate of Donald Trump, said the evidence was “innocuous Twitter direct messages” that have already been disclosed to the House Intelligence Committee and “prove absolutely nothing”.

Also on Friday, a federal judge placed some limits on what Stone and his lawyers can say publicly about his criminal case brought by the special counsel in the Russia investigation.

But the US district judge, Amy Berman Jackson, stopped short of imposing a broad ban on public comments by the outspoken political operative, issuing a limited gag order she said was necessary to ensure Stone’s right to a fair trial and “to maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings”.

Stone was indicted last month for lying to Congress about his communications with others about the hacked emails. Mueller did not say at the time that he had evidence of communications with WikiLeaks. Stone, an ally of Trump for 40 years, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Stone has previously acknowledged brief exchanges with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 but maintains he never had advance knowledge about the release of hacked emails.

But Friday marked the first time Mueller indicated he had obtained related evidence, although it remained unclear if the evidence is more substantial than what is publicly known.

“The government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release,” Mueller’s team wrote in a filing to the US district court in Washington DC.

“Several of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.”

Organization 1 is a reference to WikiLeaks, while Guccifer 2.0 is a hacker persona US intelligence agencies say was a cover name used by Russian military intelligence.

WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 each published emails and other documents from the Democratic party in 2016 in an operation that Mueller alleges was part of a Kremlin-backed effort to tip the election in favour of then Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

WikiLeaks has previously denied any ties to or cooperation with Russia. Stone, 66, was arrested in an FBI raid at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home last month. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. The charges stem from conversations he had during the 2016 election about WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released material stolen from Democratic groups, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

US intelligence agencies have said that Russia was the source of the hacked material, and last year Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officers in the hacking. But Stone is not accused of directly coordinating with WikiLeaks.


‘Islamic State’ in Syria shrunk to half a square kilometer: commander

The jihadis remain trapped in a tiny area of eastern Syria, a top commander of the US-backed forces says. The use of civilians as human shields is holding up efforts to wipe out IS’s self-declared caliphate altogether.

February 16, 2019


The commander of the operation led by US-backed forces to expel the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) group from its last remaining territory in Syria says the extremists have been encircled in an area of little more than half a square kilometer.

“We want to confirm that Baghouz [Al-Baghouz Fawqani] is within firing range and is besieged,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Jia Furat told reporters on Saturday.

“These days, IS is surrounded in a neighborhood estimated to be 700 meters (840 yards) long and 700 meters wide,” he added.

Furat said the end of IS’s self-declared caliphate in Syria would be announced in days, but the final push would be slow because the extremists were using civilians as human shields.

“In a very short time, not longer than a few days, we will officially announce the end of IS’s existence,” he said.

Washington keen to declare victory

The final hurdle means an announcement of an ultimate victory against the jihadis, which US President Donald Trump hoped would be made as early as Saturday, will now almost certainly be delayed.

IS, which captured large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014 and administered millions of people in an area the size of Britain, has been expunged by successive offensives by a US-led international military alliance.

Since late 2017, the extremist group has been confined to its heartland in the Euphrates Valley.

With the help of US airstrikes and special forces, the SDF, led by the Kurdish YPG militia, has marched into the last IS pocket near the Iraqi border.

Advancing SDF fighters have been met by “large numbers” of civilians, to the surprise of commanders who had thought the exodus of recent days had emptied the remaining IS pocket of all but die-hard fighters, an SDF spokesman said.

Residents who had endured appalling conditions were seen emerging from tunnels and foxholes beneath the battlefield.

Humanitarian needs ‘must come first’

Human Rights Watch, in response, has warned SDF commanders not to try to accelerate the offensive to suit Trump’s timetable.

“The tempo of battle must not be dictated by political imperatives — it must, first of all, protect civilians and possible hostages,” HRW’s director of counterterrorism, Nadim Houry, told the AFP news agency.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 240 IS fighters had surrendered to the advancing SDF fighters on Thursday and another 200 on Friday night.

Despite preparations to declare the final defeat of IS, Washington is facing criticism for its plan to swiftly pull its soldiers out of Syria, with some 2,000 troops expected to be pulled out within weeks rather than months, according to European diplomats.

US pullout will aid foes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday warned the move would allow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s allies to boost their role in the region.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), Merkel said: “Is it a good idea for the Americans to suddenly and quickly withdraw from Syria? Or will it once more strengthen the capacity of Iran and Russia to exert their influence?”

US Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, told the MSC that Washington would continue to “hunt down the remnants of ISIS wherever and whenever they rear their ugly heads.”

Despite the expected defeat on the ground, IS is believed to have sleeper cells in Syria and Iraq, which are laying the groundwork for an insurgency.

mm/ng (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)


Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack

February 16, 2019

by Vanessa Beeley


In an extraordinary turn of events, corporate media appears to have been exposed again as an extension of state foreign policy, by a member of the establishment media cabal, manufacturing consent for regime change in Syria.

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an “esteemed colleague” of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent. Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that “after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

The scenes in question are those manufactured by the White Helmet pseudo-humanitarian group and activists affiliated to Jaish al-Islam, the extremist armed group in charge of Douma at the time of the alleged chemical weapon attack on April 7, 2018. The scenes of children being hosed down, following a “chemical attack” were immediately accepted as credible and appeared alongside sensationalist headlines in most Western media outlets, including the BBC, CNN and Channel 4. Simon Tisdall of the Guardian wrote an opinion piece, with the headline ‘After Douma the West’s response to Syria regime must be military’ – only two days after Douma, effectively calling for all out war.While Dalati’s tweets have clearly distressed some notables in the establishment camp, Dalati is no stranger to such controversy. Almost immediately after the alleged incident in Douma, he tweeted out his frustration that “activists and rebels” had used “corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.” The emotive wording of Dalati’s tweet, he was “sick and tired” of such manipulation of events, suggested that this was not the first time children had been used as props in a macabre war theatre designed to elicit public sympathy for escalated military intervention in Syria disguised as a necessary “humanitarian” crack down on “Assad’s gassing of his own people.”

Dalati had been referring to the arranging of two children’s corpses into a “last hug” still life composition, a photo that went viral, rocketed into the social media sphere by activists who had collaborated with the brutal Jaish al-Islam regime while it tortured and abused the Syrian civilians under its control.

Perhaps Dalati’s apparent outburst could be explained by his participation in the production of the controversial September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary, ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. An independent researcher, Robert Stuart, has made it his life’s work to present a compelling argument that “sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on August 26, 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.” Perhaps Dalati had witnessed one too many stagings of events that would precipitate the potential for war in Syria between the US and Russia.

Whatever the reason for Dalati’s exasperation, the tweet was deleted before a watered down version appeared. Dalati claimed that a “breach of editorial policy” and lack of context was behind this alteration. Apparently BBC employees are not allowed to be “sick and tired” of the exploitation of children to promote a war that will inevitably kill more children. Simultaneously, Dalati’s account was protected, making tweets visible only to approved followers.

On two significant occasions to date, Dalati appears to deviate from the BBC narrative road map in Syria. However, Dalati had participated in the corporate media lynching of journalists and academics who had dared to question the dominant “chemical attack” narrative, at the time of the alleged incident in Douma, dismissing them as conspiracy theorists. These “conspiracy theorists” included acclaimed journalist, Robert Fisk and Uli Gack, an experienced war correspondent with ZDF, a German public media outlet. Independent journalist, Eva Bartlett, and Pearson Sharpe of One American News Network also reported evidence of staging and mainstream media distortion of events in Douma.

I visited Douma shortly after the alleged attack. I interviewed medical staff and civilians who were adamant that a chemical attack had not taken place. Doctors and nurses, some of whom were on duty on the night in question, told me that adults and children were suffering the effects of smoke inhalation. They described the panic generated by the activists and White Helmet operatives who arrived crying “chemical attack” before they hosed down the traumatised patients.

20-year-old Suleiman Saour told me: “At 7pm we had been receiving wounded people all day long. At 7pm someone came in carrying a little boy, he laid him on a bed and said he had been hit with chemical weapons. Basically I checked the boy […] he was suffering from smoke inhalation [..] we washed his face, used a spray and Ventolin. Later on we found out the child had asthma and it got worse because of the smoke.”

Academics, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, came under concerted attack as did other members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media when they analysed the events and questioned the veracity of it being a chemical attack. In the UK, the Times published no less than four articles labeling myself and the “rogue” academics as “Assad’s useful idiots,” timed to perfection on the day that the UK, US and France launched their unlawful bombing campaign against Syria. A bombing campaign that was fully enabled by the ignominious rush to judgement by corporate media in the West.

It has taken Dalati six months to arrive at the same conclusion as those he condemned as compromised “conspiracy theorists,” therefore we must question his motives for suddenly releasing these conclusions. Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria, gave me his opinion on Dalati’s revelations.

“The UK joined Trump and Macron in illegally bombing Syria largely on the basis of a video clip shown ad nauseam on the BBC, which a BBC Syria producer has now said he has evidence was staged. The BBC in their statement are not denying the claim. The implications are shattering: firstly that the state broadcaster effectively connived at a manipulation of public opinion, and secondly that the British government launched its attack on Syria on a false and fabricated premise. This demands a public enquiry.”

Ford’s statement highlights the seriousness of Dalati’s statement which must surely raise questions about the possibility of previous “chemical attack” narratives also being manipulated, staged or fabricated. Swedish Doctors for Human Rights investigated the alleged chlorine gas attack in Sarmin, March 2015 and found the medical procedures conducted by doctors at the scene to be extremely questionable.

Dr Leif Elinder, a Swedish medical doctor and paediatric specialist, found that “after examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children.” This video, produced and presented by the White Helmets and their colleagues at the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), was shown during a UN Security Council “closed door” session to promote a no-fly zone which translates to protection for the US coalition-backed terrorist forces on the ground in Syria.

As BBC producer has stated publicly that the hospital scenes during the Douma “attack” are staged, the BBC has distanced itself by stating that these are the personal claims of an employee which do not mean an attack did not take place. The July 2018 OPCW interim report has already discredited the early sensationalism of western media reporting. “No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties,” it stated. No Sarin

The OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) has not yet reached a conclusion that a chemical attack of any kind took place in Douma. The environmental samples were reported to contain chlorinated organic molecules such as trichloroacetic acid and chloral hydrate, which could be attributed to something as basic as chlorinated drinking water. Despite this ambiguity, the BBC initially ran with the headline that ‘Chlorine was used’ in the Douma attack before altering to ‘Possible Chlorine at Douma Attack Site’. Another mistake? Or another deliberate attempt to mislead and shore up the UK FCO regime change storyline in Syria?

Dalati’s revelations must also be viewed in context. They follow similar conclusions arrived at by corporate media colleague and journalist, James Harkin, a Guardian contributor who published a long-winded Douma investigation in the Intercept. Harkin also conceded that the Douma hospital scenes were likely staged and that the Sarin canard was a non-starter.

It is very unlikely, despite the BBC protestation, that Dalati would risk publishing his claims without approval from BBC hierarchy. Timing is always crucial when examining events that have the potential to expose colonial media, particularly the BBC, as the refined state PR agencies they are in reality.

Based on an informed and intelligent interpretation of events with historical context, we could speculate that the OPCW is about to release its final findings on the Douma attack. A report which has the potential to lay bare the full extent of the BBC’s deception and falsification of facts in Douma. A report which could raise unpleasant questions about corporate media reporting, particularly on alleged chemical weapon use by the Syrian government, throughout the 8 year conflict in Syria. Was Dalati’s shock information release nothing more than a damage limitation tactic by the BBC or is Dalati genuinely a rogue truth-teller? Only time will tell.

What Dalati has done is highlight the hypocrisy and bias of Western media and government officials. The BBC report on the Russian “production” of Douma-chemical-attack-denying witnesses at the HQ of the OPCW in the Hague emphasises the dismissal of the event as a “despicable stunt” by the UK, US and France who boycotted the proceedings. French ambassador to the Netherlands described the Syrian civilian testimonies as an “obscene masquerade.” The Guardian ran with this statement as its headline, reducing Russia’s attempt to bring some clarity to the Douma attack to the unveiling of “supposed witnesses” in order to discredit such attempts to derail their preferred narrative.

Now, it appears that the real obscene masquerade took place in the Medical Point in Douma, was constructed by the UK FCO-financed White Helmets, and was adopted by the BBC and other state stenographers as gospel in order to further criminalise the Syrian Arab Army just as the final liberation of Douma from Jaish al-Islam brutal rule was fast approaching. This obscene masquerade resulted in the unlawful bombing of Syria by the US, France and the UK. As Peter Ford stated, “this demands a public enquiry.”


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

February 16, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication


Conversation No. 11 b

Date:  Monday, April 29, 1996

Commenced: 2:09 PM  CST

Concluded:  2:28  PM CST


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GD: I won’t say a word.

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

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

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

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

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

GD: This explains Kimmel’s agitation.

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

GD: Two days ago.

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

GD: I suppose I ought to be careful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTC: (Laughter) Not nice at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTC: How do you cope with the assholes?

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

RTC: And how do you accomplish those worthy goals?

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

RTC: Sweet Jesus.

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

RTC: (Laughter)

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

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

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

(Concluded at 2:28 PM CST)






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