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TBR News February 5, 202

Feb 05 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. February 5, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose

Commentary for February 5: “Washington has been a well-established entity long before a raging egotist like Trump, and it will be a well-established entity long after he has gone, unless of course, another established entity should replace them. Could this happen? Is the Pope Catholic? Trump has so enraged almost everyone except gun nuts and Jesus freaks that like the snake winding itself around a tree, the end is in sight. Watch and learn and remember, morals and ethics are excellent norms but not effective techniques.”

The Table of Contents
Nadler says it’s ‘likely’ House will subpoena Bolton
• Taunts, groans and walkouts: Trump stokes division with cascade of lies
• The Military/Industrial Complex Takeover
• Assassination as State Policy
• Counterfeiting as a political/economic weapon
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Nadler says it’s ‘likely’ House will subpoena Bolton
February 5, 2020
by Cristina Marcos
The Hill
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that it is “likely” that the House will issue a subpoena to President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton.
Nadler said that a final decision had not been made yet, but that the odds were that House Democrats would issue a subpoena after the Senate voted last week not to call any witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial.
“I think it’s likely, yes,” Nadler told reporters. “We’ll want to call Bolton.”
Nadler elaborated that Democrats would continue their investigations even after the Senate’s expected vote later Wednesday to acquit Trump on the two articles of impeachment passed by the House.
Nadler defended pursuing further investigations into the White House in an election year.
“First of all, I think when you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore and you have to spotlight that. You have to protect the Constitution, whatever the political consequences. Second of all, no, as more and more lawlessness comes out, I presume the public will understand that,” Nadler told reporters outside a Democratic caucus meeting.
But a decision on the House issuing a subpoena to Bolton is not set in stone.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the Democratic caucus chairman and one of the seven impeachment managers, said that subpoenaing Bolton would be a “question for further discussion” that would be decided by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Bolton’s upcoming book reportedly will claim that Trump wanted to withhold nearly $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine until its government agreed to open investigations into his political opponents.
House Democrats asked Bolton to testify last fall but did not issue a subpoena. Bolton declined to testify because the White House didn’t authorize him to appear as a witness in the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats opted against trying to force Bolton to testify out of concerns that the fight would take months to resolve in the courts.
But in January, Bolton announced that he would be willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if he were subpoenaed. Senators, however, narrowly voted last week against calling any witnesses.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested on Wednesday that there is value in hearing from Bolton, even after the Senate impeachment trial has ended. But he deferred the decision to the committee leaders, like Nadler, who have been examining Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“I don’t think they’re going to be precluded by any vote of the Senate on that,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “But the committees will make that decision.”
Hoyer acknowledged that there are some moderate Democrats facing tough reelections who are ready to put the whole saga behind them and turn their focus to legislation. But, he predicted voters will understand if Democrats frame the ongoing investigation as routine oversight, rather than a second stab at impeachment.
“The committees … will be making a determination whether that information is useful to get for their oversight responsibilities, not necessarily for the impeachment process, but for … closing the book, finding out the information,” he said. “I think that they may well do that, but they’re going to make that decision.”
–Mike Lillis contributed to this report,

Taunts, groans and walkouts: Trump stokes division with cascade of lies
The president’s State of the Union address was the speech of a man who thinks he can get away with anything
February 5, 2020
by David Smith in Washington
The Guardian
Nancy Pelosi’s hands told the story of a nauseating night in Washington.
As Donald Trump took his place at the front of the House chamber for his third and possibly final State of the Union address, the House speaker and most senior Democrat in Congress reached out for a handshake, only to be rebuffed.
Seventy-eight minutes later, Pelosi, as she often tends to, got her revenge by ripping up her copy of the president’s speech while still in her position on the dais.
You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Pelosi was the mastermind of Trump’s impeachment in this very chamber just weeks ago, staining his record in future school textbooks for all time.
But somehow, with seven of the Democrats who had pressed the impeachment case against him as impeachment managers glaring up at him from a prominent position, the president, like Bill Clinton before him, managed to resist using the “i” word throughout his speech. That, at least, was a departure from his gloves-off campaign rallies.
Yet Trump being forced to suppress his id was somehow even worse. The tension, grievance and resentment seething below the surface was almost palpable. The president’s tissue of lies and partisan swipes left Democrats heckling, throwing up their hands or walking out of the chamber in despair.
The Democratic side contained a sea of women wearing white suit jackets in honour of the suffragist movement. The Republican side was a sea of dark suits and white faces. It has been like this since Trump first addressed a joint session of Congress in 2017. But each year feels progressively worse and more hopelessly polarised than the one before.
Tuesday felt worse than ever. Poison was in the air.
After all, Democrats had just deployed the ultimate constitutional weapon, impeachment. But in less than 24 hours, Trump is set to be acquitted by the Senate after a “trial” with no witnesses. Both sides have come to believe that defeat in the 2020 election will be an existential catastrophe. The president, meanwhile, has come to believe he is indestructible.
Critics said moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would end in disaster but he believes he got away with it. They said killing Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, would end in disaster but he believes he got away with it – and he turned it into a State of the Union applause line.
Above all, he pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival if it wanted US military aid and, in less than 24 hours, is about to get away with that too when the Senate acquits him. A former White House official told the Axios website recently: “I swear to God, this guy is the luckiest SOB that’s ever lived.”
Now, more than ever, Trump can throw caution to the winds and act with impunity, fearless of retribution.
This is always the busiest night of the year for the nation’s factcheckers, but Trump delivered a State of the Union address overflowing with untruths, for example promising to protect patients with pre-existing conditions at the very moment his administration is in court trying to take those protections away,
He also pulled off a stunt that even the Trump of three years ago might have hesitated over. Right there, in front of the hallowed chamber packed with senators, representatives, supreme court justices and guests including Nigel Farage, he announced the presidential medal of freedom – America’s highest civilian honour – for talkshow host Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh, who revealed this week that he is suffering from advanced lung cancer, is notorious for countless sexist, racist and homophobic comments. His song “Barack the Magic Negro” claimed that President Obama “makes guilty whites feel good” and that Obama is “black, but not authentically”. Limbaugh once described a woman who wanted her university to alter its health insurance to cover contraception as a “slut” and “prostitute”.
Yet Trump, a regular on Limbaugh’s show, declared: “Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor.”
When the president asked his wife, Melania, to hang the medal around Limbaugh’s neck there and then, Democrats audibly gasped and groaned in disbelief. Katie Hill, a former congresswoman who had returned to the chamber, tweeted: “Oh FFS Rush Limbaugh getting the Medal of Honor is a low I sure wasn’t expecting.”
Not for the first time, they remained riveted to their seats, stony-faced, as Republicans rose, cheered laddishly and applauded long and hard. “Thank you, Rush!” shouted one man. Here it was, impeachment revenge: not so much about honouring Limbaugh as goading liberals. Trump is the master of finding a wedge issue and hammering it like a tent peg.
Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, recently published a book titled Triggered. It’s all about “owning the libs”. No tweet caught it better than Republican strategist Andrew Surabian: “Forcing a room full of Democrats to have to watch Rush Limbaugh receive the medal of honor is the greatest own the libs moment in American history and I loved every second of it.”
But perhaps the hero of the night was Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Forced to listen as Trump promised to defend gun rights and offered nothing to curtail future massacres, Guttenberg yelled out from the public gallery and was forcibly removed by a plainclothes police officer.
As the presidential cascade of lies continued, it was a sobering reminder of all that is at stake in November’s election.

The Military/Industrial Complex Takeover
Translation of an in-house Russian classified evaluation of political/military trends present currently in the United States

The growing politicization of the American military leadership is accelerated by a number of factors, which include the military’s institutional drift from direct combat to a complex array of military operations other than war. It should be evident that senior military officers who concentrate on activities other than war eventually become far more political than military and substitute their dedication to the military ethic with a commerce-oriented attitude towards total quality management.
This attitudinal shift is leading the current senior military officer reject combat-oriented activities as too costly given their notion of an acceptable “bottom line.” Indeed, the Pentagon’s aversion to casualties is currently leading the Pentagon to an increasingly heavy reliance on unmanned systems which, in turn, will eliminate the rationale (and the need) for a separate pilot-based air service. This will clearly lead to the Air Force’s disestablishment as a separate military entity. Potentially serious combat operations that could require military personnel on the ground are being were outsourced to private corporations. This is a move that potentially that would prove to be disastrous.
Just as the military’s politicization is increasing, the United States is rapidly moving to a situation that is characterized by the growing willingness of a militarily naive society to charge those in uniform with responsibilities that a democracy ought to leave to civilian leadership.
The current American military is assuming a number of noncombat activities ranging from drug interdiction at home to nation-building abroad, thereby leading to further politicization as the military is specifically moving itself into areas that were previously the exclusive province of civilian policymakers.
All of this is occurring as the hitherto formal institutions of civilian control–Congress and the executive branch–are losing the American public trust and confidence.
These institutions are being further weakened by political partisan warfare and this perceived disruption allows the professional military to accumulate enormous political clout.
Despite its growing popularity and political power, the professional American military views civilian society as irresponsibly chaotic, crime-ridden, and morally corrupt. The professional military leadership is also strongly moving to the belief that it is superior to the current leadership of American society.
An increasingly self-important American professional military leadership sees itself as a superior entity and sees itself reforming America as its responsibility.
It should be noted that effective civilian control of a large professional military in a democracy requires pervasive transparency, especially in peacetime. The necessary oversight can only occur when what the military is doing and thinking is made plain to the society it serves.
Unfortunately, opaqueness, not transparency, is the hallmark of current perceptions. The professionall military has come to regard the American media, and informational entities such as the Internet, as simply things to be manipulated for its own purposes.
The growing politicization of the American military leadership is accelerated by a number of factors, whiich include the military’s institutional drift from direct combat to a complex array of military operations other than war. It should be evident that senior military officers who concentrate on activities other than war eventually become far more political than military and substitute their dedication to the military ethic with a commerce-oriented attitude towards total quality management.
This attitudinal shift is leading the current senior military officers to reject combat-oriented activities as too costly. The Pentagon’s growing aversion to casualties is currently leading the Pentagon to an increasingly heavy reliance on unmanned systems which, in turn, will eliminate the rationale (and the need) for a separate pilot-based air service. This will clearly lead to the Air Force’s disestablishment as a separate military entity. Potentially serious combat operations that could require military personnel on the ground are being were outsourced to private corporations. This is a move that potentially that could prove to be disastrous.
Just as the military’s politicization is increasing, the United States is rapidly moving to a situation that is characterized by the growing willingness of a militarily naive society to charge those in uniform with responsibilities that a democracy ought to leave to civilian leadership.
The current American military is assuming a number of noncombat activities ranging from drug interdiction at home to nation-building abroad, thereby leading to further politicization as the military is specifically moving itself into areas that were previously the exclusive province of civilian policymakers.
All of this is occurring as the hitherto formal institutions of civilian control–Congress and the executive branch–are losing the American public trust and confidence.
These institutions are being further weakened by political partisan warfare and this perceived disruption allows the professional military to accumulate enormous political clout.
Despite its growing popularity and political power, the professional American military views civilian society as irresponsibly chaotic, crime-ridden, and morally corrupt. The professional military leadership is also strongly moving to the belief that it is superior to the current leadership of American society.
An increasingly self-important American professional military leadership sees itself as a superior factor now begins to see reforming America as its responsibility.
It should be noted that effective civilian control of a large professional military in a democracy requires pervasive transparency, especially in peacetime. The necessary oversight can only occur when what the military is doing and thinking is made plain to the society it serves.
Unfortunately, opaqueness, not transparency, is the hallmark of current perceptions. The professional military has come to regard the American media and informational entities such as the Internet as simply things to be manipulated for its own purposes.
Historically, the United States organized large forces to fight specific wars and quickly demobilized those forces at the end of a conflict. After World War II, the exigencies of an internally created anti-Russian Cold War required maintaining a sizable peacetime defense establishment.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. military’s principal raison d’être for over 40 years disappeared. While it was clear the world remained a violent and dangerous place, the absence of a superpower adversary disconcerted a defense/industrial establishment still possessing enormous resources and, more important, popular support.
There are now, in the military leadership of America, deeply held beliefs that much of the blame for the United States’ defeat in Vietnam lay at the feet of inept and mendacious civilians. Officers at every level, therefore, believed it was necessary to become far more assertive in the political process than ever before if “another Vietnam” was to be avoided. To facilitate doing so, our war colleges have given increased emphasis to domestic politics, economics, and international relations. Of particular interest was the emphasis they placed on Clausewitzian theory that war is a continuation of politics by other means.
For this rationale, hundreds of mid-level officers were placed in congressional offices to study political techniques. As should have been expected, they inevitably became entangled in partisan activities, reportedly as early as 1996. In another politicizing move, Congress turned the promotion process into a political football. Back in 1996, for example, the Senate delayed the confirmation of thousands of officers’ promotions to exact cooperation from the Defense Department for a plan to reorganize the intelligence community.
Predictably, this kind of activity has encouraged uniformed officers to become partisans in political battles.
One
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research program ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar program is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Continued….

Assassination as State Policy

During the Cold War, the United States attempted several times to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333, which codified a policy first laid down in 1976 by the Ford administration. It stated, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”
In 1986, the American air strikes against Libya included an attack on the barracks where Muammar Qaddafi was known to be sleeping. The attack resulted in the death of Qaddafi’s infant daughter.[ During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States struck many of Iraq’s most important command bunkers with bunker-busting bombs in hopes of killing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Since the rise of al-Qaeda, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have backed “targeted killings.” In 1998, in retaliation for the al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa, the Clinton administration launched cruise missiles against a training camp in Afghanistan where bin Laden had been hours before. Reportedly, the United States nearly killed the leader of Taliban, Mullah Omar, with a Predator-launched Hellfire missile on the first night of Operation Enduring Freedom. In May 2002, the CIA launched a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in an effort to kill the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
On November 3, 2002, a US Central Intelligence Agency-operated MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired a Hellfire missile that destroyed a car carrying six suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The target of the attack was Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, the top al-Qaeda operative in Yemen. Among those killed in the attack was a US citizen, Yemeni-American Ahmed Hijazi
According to Bush administration, the killing of an American in this fashion was legal. “I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here. There are authorities that the president can give to officials. He’s well within the balance of accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority,” said Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser.
The key technique was infiltration, either physical concealment and stealthy movement or the attempt to gain access to a person’s guard or staff with the aim of replacing or subverting them. The actual assassination would be the same close-contact stabbing, quieter smothering or strangulation, poisons and poisonous creatures were also used, and disembowelment was also relished. The mushroom death cap has been the traditional choice of assassins: it cannot be distinguished as poisonous by taste, and the symptoms of the poisoning show out only after some days or a week
Assassination can also imitate suicide. If the hit is thought out correctly and the assassin is skilled enough to prepare for all possible out comes, he/she can make a murder look like a suicide. For example: If a Handgun was used, it can be deployed correctly by leaving the mark’s hand at the correct angle to complete the suicide illusion. Pushing someone from a great height can also have the same effect, a mark being thrown off a balcony can be posed as a “jumper” situation.

EMPLOYMENT
Assassination is an extreme measure not normally used in clandestine operations. It should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service. This reticence is partly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper. No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Consequently, the decision to employ this technique must nearly always be reached in the field, at the area where the act will take place. Decision and instructions should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. Ideally, only one person will be involved. No report may be made, but usually the act will be properly covered by normal news services, whose output is available to all concerned.

JUSTIFICATION
Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim has knowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged. Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may be regarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoning career is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be held necessary.
But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.

CLASSIFICATIONS
The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject is unaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also be affected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed “simple”; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase”; those where the victim is guarded will be termed “guarded.”
If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the adjective will be “safe.” It should be noted that no compromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.
A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident or natural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called “secret” ;; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open”; while if the assassination requires publicity to be effective it will be termed “terroristic.”
Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassination at all. [Illeg] o f Thailand and Augustus Caesar may have been the victims of safe, guarded and secret assassination. Chase assassinations usually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations.
THE ASSASSIN
In safe assassinations, the assassin needs the usual qualities of a clandestine agent. He should be determined, courageous, intelligent, resourceful, and physically active. If special equipment is to be used, such as firearms or drugs, it is clear that he must have outstanding skill with such equipment.
Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin be transient in the area. He should have an absolute minimum of contact with the rest of the organization and his instructions should be given orally by one person only. His safe evacuation after the act is absolutely essential, but here again contact should be as limited as possible. It is preferable that the person issuing instructions also conduct any withdrawal or covering action which may be necessary.
In lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care. He must not know the identities of the other members of the organization, for although it is intended that he die in the act, something may go wrong. While the Assassin of Trotsky has never revealed any significant information, it was unsound to depend on this when the act was planned.

PLANNING
When the decision to assassinate has been reached, the tactics of the operation must be planned, based upon an estimate of the situation similar to that used in military operations. The preliminary estimate will reveal gaps in information and possibly indicate a need for special equipment which must be procured or constructed. When all necessary data has been collected, an effective tactical plan can be prepared. All planning must be mental; no papers should ever contain evidence of the operation.
In resistance situations, assassination may be used as a counter-reprisal. Since this requires advertising to be effective, the resistance organization must be in a position to warn high officials publicly that their lives will be the price of reprisal action against innocent people. Such a threat is of no value unless it can be carried out, so it may be necessary to plan the assassination of various responsible officers of the oppressive regime and hold such plans in readiness to be used only if provoked by excessive brutality. Such plans must be modified frequently to meet changes in the tactical situation.
TECHNIQUES
The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention.
Techniques may be considered as follows:
1. Manual.
It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well. Even a highly trained Judo expert will hesitate to risk killing by hand unless he has absolutely no alternative. However, the simplest local tools a re often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice. A length of rope or wire or a belt will do if the assassin is strong and agile. All such improvised weapons have the important advantage of availability and apparent innocence. The obviously lethal machine gun failed to kill Trotsky where an item of sporting goods succeeded.
In all safe cases where the assassin may be subject to search, either before or after the act, specialized weapons should not be used. Even in the lost case, the assassin may accidentally be searched before the act and should not carry an incriminating device if any sort of lethal weapon can be improvised at or near the site. If the assassin normally carries weapons because of the nature of his job, it may still be desirable to improvise and implement at the scene to avoid disclosure of his identity.
2. Accidents.
(‘It is not difficult to arrange a killing but arraigning a suicide is much more difficult’ ..J.V. Stalin)
For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.
The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stairwells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous interdiction of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified witness”, no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.
Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject’s death and at the same time establish a workable alibi.
If the subject’s personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used in quantity to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind.
Falls before trains or subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.
Automobile accidents are a less satisfactory means of assassination. If the subject is deliberately run down, very exact timing is necessary and investigation is likely to be thorough. If the subject’s car is tampered with, reliability is very lo w. The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.
Arson can cause accidental death if the subject is drugged and left in a burning building. Reliability is not satisfactory unless the building is isolated and highly combustible.
3. Drugs.
In all types of assassination except terroristic, drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and rare method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice.
If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected at the passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism.
Specific poisons, such as arsenic or strychine, are effective but their possession or procurement is incriminating, and accurate dosage is problematical. Poison was used unsuccessfully in the assassination of Rasputin and Kolohan, though the latter case is more accurately described as a murder.
Also, to discredit a target, getting them to (unknowingly) injest LSD in a significant amount will cause the target to behave, in public, in a very irrational manner. This will serve to impact on their public image in a highly negative manner.
4. Edged Weapons
Any locally obtained edged device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability.
Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate.
Abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.
Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet.
Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid blood vessels on both sides of the windpipe.
If the subject has been rendered unconscious by other wounds or drugs, either of the above methods can be used to insure death.
5. Blunt Weapons
As with edge weapons, blunt weapons require some anatomical knowledge for effective use. Their main advantage is their universal availability. A hammer may be picked up almost anywhere in the world. Baseball and [illeg] bats are very widely distributed. Even a rock or a heavy stick will do, and nothing resembling a weapon need be procured, carried or subsequently disposed of.
Blows should be directed to the temple, the area just below and behind the ear, and the lower, rear portion of the skull. Of course, if the blow is very heavy, any portion of the upper skull will do. The lower frontal portion of the head, from th e eyes to the throat, can withstand enormous blows without fatal consequences.
6. Firearms
Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively. The assassin usually has insufficient technical knowledge of the limitations of weapons, and expects more range, accuracy and killing power than can be provided with reliability. Since certainty of death is the major requirement, firearms should be used which can provide destructive power at least 100% in excess of that thought to be necessary, and ranges should be half that considered practical for the weapon.
Firearms have other drawbacks. Their possession is often incriminating. They may be difficult to obtain. They require a degree of experience from the user. They are overly obvious. Their use is consistently over-rated.
However, there are many cases in which firearms are probably more efficient than any other means. These cases usually involve distance between the assassin and the subject, or comparative physical weakness of the assassin, as with a woman.
(a) The precision rifle. In guarded assassination, a good hunting or target rifle should always be considered as a possibility. Absolute reliability can nearly always be achieved at a distance of one hundred yards. In ideal circumstances, t he range may be extended to 250 yards. The rifle should be a well made bolt or falling block action type, handling a powerful long-range cartridge. The .300 F.A.B. Magnum is probably the best cartridge readily available. Other excellent calibers are . 375 M.. Magnum, .270 Winchester, .30 – 106 p.s., 8 x 60 MM Magnum, 9.3 x 62 kk and others of this type. These are preferable to ordinary military calibers, since ammunition available for them is usually of the expanding bullet type, whereas most ammunition for military rifles is full jacketed and hence not sufficiently lethal. Military ammunition should not be altered by filing or drilling bullets, as this will adversely affect accuracy.
The rifle may be of the “bull gun” variety, with extra heavy barrel and set triggers, but in any case should be capable of maximum precision. Ideally, the weapon should be able to group in one inch at one hundred yards, but 21/2″ groups are adequate. The sight should be telescopic, not only for accuracy, but because such a sight is much better in dim light or near darkness. As long as the bare outline of the target is discernable, a telescope sight will work, even if the rifle and shooter are in total darkness.
An expanding, hunting bullet of such calibers as described above will produce extravagant laceration and shock at short or mid-range. If a man is struck just once in the body cavity, his death is almost entirely certain .A projectile can be drilled out, top to bottom, and mercury put into the opening. The tip of the projectile is then sealed. When the projectile impacts with its human target, the mercury expands and causes the projectile to explode with violence.
Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.
7. Explosives.
Bombs and demolition charges of various sorts have been used frequently in assassination. Such devices, in terroristic and open assassination, can provide safety and overcome guard barriers, but it is curious that bombs have often been the implement of lost assassinations.
The major factor which affects reliability is the use of explosives for assassination. the charge must be very large and the detonation must be controlled exactly as to time by the assassin who can observe the subject. A small or moderate explosive charge is highly unreliable as a cause of death, and time delay or booby-trap devices are extremely prone to kill the wrong man. In addition to the moral aspects of indiscriminate killing, the death of casual bystanders can often produce public reactions unfavorable to the cause for which the assassination is carried out.
Bombs or grenades should never be thrown at a subject. While this will always cause a commotion and may even result in the subject’s death, it is sloppy, unreliable, and bad propaganda. The charge must be too small and the assassin is never sure of:
(1) reaching his attack position,
(2) placing the charge close enough to the target and
(3) firing the charge at the right time.
Placing the charge surreptitiously in advance permits a charge of proper size to be employed, but requires accurate prediction of the subject’s movements.
Ten pounds of high explosive should normally be regarded as a minimum, and this is explosive of fragmentation material. The latter can consist of any hard, [illeg] material as long as the fragments are large enough. Metal or rock fragments should be walnut-size rather than pen-size. If solid plates are used, to be ruptured by the explosion, cast iron, 1″ thick, gives excellent fragmentation. Military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Anti-personnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Anti-personnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100 and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.
The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.
Continued…..

Counterfeiting as a political/economic weapon

The root cause of all warfare is economics. Whether it is the seizure of a weaker tribe’s grazing land or the destruction of a rival power’s production capacity, war, to elaborate on Clausewitz, is a logical extension of political and economic aims. War launched against an unpopular head of state or a political system is war commenced solely for economic gains; the common rationale of a holy crusade is merely window dressing for popular historians to postulate.
The hatred engendered against Hitler by the American and British official propaganda machinery before the outset of World War II was due more to the success of Hitler’s barter system than to his personal dislike of Jews or threats to putative democracies in Central Europe.
Stripped of her colonies and gold reserves after the First World War, Germany had to incur massive, interest-bearing loans with both the United States and England to pay for needed imports. When Hitler came to power, he paid off the existing loans and instituted a barter system in which, for example, Germany would trade locomotives to Argentina for their beef and wheat. Previously, both countries had borrowed money from international banks at high-interest rates to pay for their respective imports.
The barter system, therefore, represented a serious threat to international banking interests that complained loudly and effectively to their respective governments, demanding intervention and relief. Many economists referred to a boycott of German products, which was instituted in the United States and England as economic warfare, as indeed it was. The British were past-masters in creating economic warfare and experts in ruining the currency of their rivals by flooding the marketplace with counterfeit currency. During the American Revolutionary War, the British dumped so many counterfeit Continental notes into the economy that American currency became virtually worthless, and the phrase, “not worth a Continental” became common. Angered by French support of the American Revolution, the British counterfeited adulterated gold French Louis coins.
As a means of economic retaliation against Napoleon for his support of a French-dominated continental system which excluded England, the British counterfeited French assignats and franc notes. Napoleon retaliated by forging British currency. Later in the same century, the US federal government forged Confederate money in huge quantities.
The Soviet forgery of American currency in the 1930s, on the other hand, was not designed to destroy the US economy. Rather, the counterfeit gold certificates were manufactured to pay their agents. Since many of these agents were highly placed and expensive members of the Roosevelt Administration, Stalin’s experts concentrated on the manufacture of $100 gold certificates. As the duplication of official US banknote paper was a problem, smaller denomination bills were bleached and over-printed.
At the outbreak of World War II, economic advisors to the leaders of England and the United States urged their respective governments to forge German marks and flood the international market which would cause a collapse of confidence in that currency and, therefore, create tremendous inflation in Germany. The British did counterfeit German military scrip but used the blank reverse for propaganda messages. These were scattered by aircraft over Germany where their impact on the population was nil, but the impact on German leadership was considerable.
Exactly who in the Third Reich initiated the program for the counterfeiting of British currency is not known. One man, Alfred Naujocks, an SS-Sturmbannführer (or Major) in the SD, has taken credit for the inception of the plan in 1940. Naujocks was a longtime acquaintance of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SD and it was Heydrich who initially authorized the reproduction of British pound notes. The initial code name for the operation was “Andreas.”
It has been stated that the original purpose of “Andreas” was to falsify pound notes and drop them over England to create economic havoc. However, a more believable scenario, and one supported by period documents, is that the SS leadership envisioned the possibility of raising funds for their organization.
The SS was an official branch of the NSDAP and its funding came from the Party coffers, although the Waffen-SS drew on government funding for much of its military requirements. One of Himmler’s best assets in this economic struggle was his complete control of the KZ (or concentration camp system). Based on the institutions introduced by Lord Kitchener in South Africa during the Boer War to control the civil population, the KZ system encompassed a wide spectrum of inmates, ranging from professional criminals, communists, and political opponents of the government, including Jews and other ethnic and religious groups.
At the beginning of the war, there were 21,300 concentration camp inmates, housed in six camps. During the course of the war, the total number of inmates rose to over 400,000 lodged in an enormous network of camps scattered throughout Europe and the East. SS General Oswald Pohl and his deputy Richard Glücks organized a huge, free labor pool which would provide a major source of revenue for the SS. It was this system of forced labor that the SD turned to when “Andreas” was superseded by “Bernhard.” The “Andreas” attempts to forge British notes floundered in technical problems and contributed to personality conflicts within the RSHA.
The proper paper was nearly impossible to initially produce since, unlike the original, it did not properly fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Also, a proper numbering system proved extremely difficult to develop. In 18 months, “Andreas” had only produced a half-million pounds worth of counterfeit notes, many of which, however, were authenticated by the Bank of England when submitted by unsuspecting Swiss banks. Personal rivalry between Heydrich and Naujocks created so many problems that “Andreas” was eventually terminated
“Bernhard” was named for the new head of the scheme, SS-Hauptsturmführer Bernhard Krüger of the SD. Krüger, born in Reise, Saxony on November 26, 1904, was a specialist in forging documents and was assigned to Section VI F4 of the RSHA where his section assembled a large library of foreign documents of all kinds which were copied for intelligence operations.
The second project, “Bernhard,” began only after Heydrich was assassinated by British agents in the summer of 1942. At that time, SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Dörner of the RSHA began to assemble a team of specialists from the ranks of concentration camp inmates. This initial cadre was originally constituted at Oranienburg concentration camp north of Berlin, and on August 23, 1942, it was permanently established at Blocks 18 and 19 at nearby Sachsenhausen camp.
Major Krüger promised his inmate workers good housing, better and regularly served meals, no physical abuse, tobacco, newspapers, good clothing, and packages from outside sources. Most importantly, he assured them of survival. In return, he required full cooperation in the counterfeiting projects and the maintenance of strict security.
By the end of 1942, the 200-pound-pressure Stentz Monopel Type 4 press was moved to Sachsenhausen from its former location in the Berlin forgery center. Aside from the manufacture of the highest quality intaglio plates, the most important factor in the production of undetectable counterfeit pound notes was reproduction paper. British notes were printed on a high rag content paper and manufactured by the Portal, England firm of Laverstoke, which had been producing this paper for the Bank of England since the first quarter of the 18th century.
Paper used in the production of American currency was a 17- pound bond manufactured for the U.S. Treasury by the Crane Company. As the SD turned its attention to the counterfeiting of American currency in 1943, the same German firms that duplicated the Portal paper, Spechthausen and Schlichter, and Schall, successfully duplicated the Crane paper.
The counterfeit paper for pounds had to have not only the correct texture and appearance, but had to be properly and exactly watermarked and fluoresce with the exact shade as the original paper. The Germans solved the latter problem by a careful analysis of water used in the preparation of the original British paper.
The actual manufacturing of the pound note plates was preceded by a thorough study of thousands of original examples of the British pound in German hands. The Bank of England had 156 identifying points on their plates and the forgers were able to duplicate every one of them.
Copying the lettering and numbering of the original currency presented few serious problems to Krüger’s experts, but the vignette of Britannia, common to all denomination pound notes, proved to be extremely difficult to copy—a similar problem which had occurred with the portraits on American currency. On the pound notes, the vignette consisted of a crown-surmounted wreath enclosing a seated Britannia holding a spear in her left hand and a floral spray in her right. However, constant reworking eventually produced an exact copy. The correct numbering system for the pound notes was developed by German mathematicians, and the numbering system for the U.S. bills came from American published sources. As the British used German-made ink for their currency, this aspect of the project presented no problems.
The first run of counterfeit pound notes inspected by senior officials at the RSHA in Berlin was declared a technical success, but lacked the overall visual appearance of original, circulated currency. This was solved by the addition of Soloman Somolianov, a highly competent forger, to the Sachsenhausen crew. Somolianov, a Russian Jew, specialized in the forgery of British pound notes and was successful in adding the proper patina of age to the new pounds and later, U.S. dollars.
After the notes had been printed and aged, they were sent to the RSHA and SS-Oberführer Walter Schellenberg, head of Section VI of the RSHA and SD foreign intelligence, distributed the British pounds to various outlets—many of which are still officially unknown.
For many years the old rhyme, “A Pound’s a Pound the World Around,” recalled the preeminence of British currency throughout the world. The final product of “Bernhard” had been tested by passing it through the Swiss banking system and through them eventually pronounced genuine by the Bank of England. Armed with these bonafides, Schellenberg’s agents glutted the world’s currency markets with over 300 million British pound notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds, in varying degrees of perfection.
First-class quality notes that defied any detection were used to purchase gold, jewels and safe currency through neutral banking systems, while lower quality notes were used for less exacting customers such as Tito’s partisans from whom the SS purchased huge amounts of weaponry supplied to the Yugoslavs by British and American clandestine services.
In early 1943, full-scale production of U.S. currency began at Sachensenhausen. First, the $100 gold certificate was printed, followed by the $50 and $20 dollar silver certificates. Although specific information on the amount of U.S. bills counterfeited by “Bernhard” from 1943 has never been released by the U.S. Treasury Department, a conservative estimate based on German documents and other information puts the overall total at $50 million.
As the Soviet Army approached Berlin in 1945, the unit at Sachsenhausen was moved to Mauthausen in the Ostmark on March 12, 1945 and again on March 21, to Redl-Zipf, north of Salzburg.
Finally, on April 24, Krüger ordered the prisoners transferred to Ebensee where they were liberated by the Americans. Krüger had kept his word to the inmates and at one point, in November of 1943, had secured official permission from Berlin to award twelve War Service Medals and six War Service Crosses, 2nd Class without Swords, to more deserving counterfeiters. They were permitted to wear their decorations inside the camp area and since most of them were Jewish, the attitude of the camp commandant can only be imagined.
The liberated “Bernhard” people were free to follow whatever course they chose. There is reason to believe that a number of them continued their artistic endeavors but under different management.
Soviet and American intelligence agencies were extremely eager to locate Bernhard Krüger. Their interest had to do with American dollars.
As retreating SS units threw huge sums of counterfeit pounds into Austrian lakes and streams, the acres of floating and waterlogged notes put an effective end to the usefulness of the once-mighty British pound. It is interesting to note that not a single American bill has ever been identified as a counterfeit of the Sachsenhausen project.
The Soviets and Americans were eager to locate not only the finished U.S. bills but the plates and paper as well. Since the “Bernhard” people and their baggage fell into American hands, the Soviets ran a poor second in the race. They only managed to locate some of the workers but none of their products. Neither the plates, paper, nor German documentation relating to the counterfeiting of American money ever officially surfaced. It is noted that large sums of dollars suddenly appeared in the Mid-East as funding for various U.S. intelligence operations in Lebanon controlled by Haj Amin-El Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Many of the funds were in $100 dollar gold certificates.
The Germans were not the only country to liberally finance their intelligence agencies and assist their countrymen in building personal fortunes through the use of counterfeit currency. The basic difference is that the Germans did not manufacture their own currency.
This form of economic warfare has certainly not ceased with the downfall of the Third Reich. The Iranian government has, by all serious accounts, been forging nearly perfect U.S. $100 bills which have circulated throughout the world and caused the U.S. Treasury Department to issue newly formatted bills. The U.S. Treasury Department will eventually recall all outstanding older bills and carefully inspect them before making exchanges.
In 1984, over 2,000 extremely rare, nearly mint condition, ancient Greek silver coins, dating from 465 BC, were unearthed near Elmali in Turkey. The hoard of coins, in violation of Turkish law, quickly circulated into the international marketplace, and many coins sold for huge sums of money. Discovering that their national treasures had apparently been looted, the irate Turkish government forced the return of most of the horde through legal and diplomatic means. The British Museum inspected some of the rarer specimens and concluded that the entire collection had been recently manufactured at the Bulgarian State Mint in Sofia by that country’s intelligence agency to raise much-needed Western currency.
Following this revelation, the value of rare Greek coins toppled as quickly as the British pound had fallen in 1945.
The irony of the “Bernhard” operation is that their 5£ pound counterfeits are now worth more on the collector’s market than they were during the war.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccuratr.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 77
The following morning, Montez, dressed in a pair of service coveralls, went into the lobby of the building whose upper stories had been curtailed due to the blockage of Charles Rush’s view of the lake.
Although a native of Spain and a resident of Mexico, he spoke perfect, idiomatic English and he asked the security officer at the desk in the lobby how to get to the elevator control room on the roof, He had a plastic-laminated card from a fictional elevator company attached to the collar of his coveralls and managed to look extremely bored.
The security officer, who had no idea that the Secret Service was one building over, watching everything in the neighborhood from the roof over Rush’s penthouse, made small talk for a few minutes and then actually gave Montez the key to the roof door with the admonition to return it on the way back. Montez was so delighted with this act that he immediately went out the back door of the lobby and in twenty minutes, returned with two copies of the key.
The elevator went to the top floor and the key fit into the lock of the metal door marked ‘Keep Out- No Trespassing.’
Chicago lived up to its name as the windy city and a cold wind blowing in from the lake cut through his cotton coveralls like a knife.
The elevator housing stood in the middle of the roof and the door opened towards the lake so that when Montez walked out onto the duck-boarded roof, the Secret Service men did not see him through their binoculars.
To the north of the building was a large, metal unit containing the air conditioning system for the building, now turned off.
Between the elevator housing and the air conditioning structure was a narrow passage, just wide enough for a small person to squeeze through. Montez was small and he slid along towards the west side of the building, emerging just behind another cooling unit. From its cover, he had an excellent view of the top floor of the Rush building. He took out a small device used by golfers to determine distance and aimed it at the windows of the apartment. The read-out indicated the distance from where he was standing to the penthouse window was exactly 102 feet, seven inches.
So much for getting my shot on the green, he thought while searching the top of the neighboring building for anything of interest. He almost immediately saw a man wearing a winter coat and equipped with binoculars making a sweep of the buildings across the street. He had been told that Rush was heavily guarded and he put the observer down to one of these private guards.
On the way out of the building, he stopped by the security desk and returned the key.
“Thanks, buddy. I’m going to come back tonight when we can shut the elevator system down and replace a worn bushing. About seven OK?”
“Oh yeah, seven is fine. Most everybody goes home at five or six and anyone left can damn well walk down.”
“Well, thanks again and I’ll be back. Will you be on then?”
“Sure thing. I’m here until eight and then I pack it in. See you then.”
Shortly after four thirty that afternoon, Charles Collins and his police chauffeur pulled into the underground parking garage of his apartment. It had been an exceedingly busy day for him and he was very tired. The driver inserted a card in the gate control and when the steel grill slid up, drove the unmarked police car into the dimly lit garage.
Collins, who was riding up in front, got out, pulled his briefcase out of the back seat and turned to go into the elevator. He had just said good night to his driver and closed the back door when a thin man in a gray winter jacket stepped out from behind a concrete post and shot the detective three times in the head with a silenced pistol.
When the driver saw what was happening, he started to get out of his side, pistol in hand but the killer was waiting for him and shot him twice in the head.
He put the pistol in his pocket, pushed the button to open the security gate and walked up the ramp and across the small parkway to the street. Evening traffic was heavy and he walked away from the building, head down and coat collar turned up against the cold lake wind.
Five minutes later, an orthodontist returning home caught the two bodies in the headlights of his Mercedes and was so unnerved that he ran into the same post that had shielded the killer. Collins lay face down on the concrete, his briefcase still in his hand and a thick river of blood had run down and into a drain while the driver lay half in and out of the car, a good deal of his face plastered over the driver’s door.
Within a half hour, the entire area was cordoned off and platoons of uniformed officers ringed the building while a dozen detectives, forensic experts, photographers and medical personnel jammed the garage, greatly inconveniencing a number of tenants who had to park outside on the crowded street, some as far away as six blocks.
Mark Mitnik heard the news while he was dressing for the Presidential occasion and his wife was pleasantly surprised by his extremely jovial behavior when he handed her into their limousine.
“Why are you so up tonight, dear?” she asked as the car headed for the Loop.
“Oh nothing, dear, nothing at all. I found a stone in my shoe and I got rid of it before it tore my sock, that’s all. And you do look lovely tonight.”
They pulled into the garage area of the Rush building at almost exactly the same time as Estaban Montez, carrying a large toolbox, entered the building he had visited earlier. The same guard was on duty and they exchanged pleasantries.
“Do you need the key, buddy?”
“No, I’m going down to the basement first. I won’t need a key for that, will I?”
“Nah. We keep the roof locked because a couple of tenants went broke and jumped off the building, hand in hand. Jesus, what a mess. They landed right on top of a bunch of Chinnese tourists. So now we keep the roof locked up. Go down the center corridor and just past the elevators is a door on your left. That goes down to the basement. The heating room is on the right and the elevator business is straight ahead. Have fun.”
Montez viewed the projected activities as business, not fun, but he smiled back at the guard and then, out of sight, took the elevator to the top floor.
When Mitnik and his wife were checked by the Secret Service and ushered into the penthouse elevator, the President was having a polite conversation with Chicago’s mayor. He remembered how the Chicago political machine had stolen the national election from Nixon and was especially polite to a man whom he hoped would repeat history for him in November.
Charles Rush was circulating among his guests who included the chairman of the State Democratic party, staff assistants, three prominent bankers, five wealthy businessmen and a number of wives and mistresses, a number of Presidential and Mayoral aides, and four grim Secret Service agents looking out of place in their ill-fitting rented tuxedos.

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Encyclopedia of American Loons
Steve Strang

Stephen Strang is the head of the Charisma publishing empire, which, in particular, publishes Charisma magazine, a magazine aimed at Pentecostals who see American politics enveloped as just one aspect of a spiritual warfare between believers and demons. Charisma is, of course, best known for vigorously promoting more or less any deranged, paranoid wingnut conspiracy theory that comes its way and, currently, for its ardent support for President Trump. Steve Strang himself is one of the most unhinged fanatics in the US.
For instance, Strang thinks that the level of partisan hostility in the current political climate is not really about a fight between right and left, but between a worldview based on God and “Judeo-Christian values” and an anti-God worldview with man at the center of everything; in other words, “a battle against good and evil, between light and darkness.” According to Strang the Democrats are paving the way for the Antichrist: “The battle for this nation isn’t Republican versus Democrat or black versus white; it’s a spiritual battle. Now is the time for Spirit-filled believers to rise up, intercede and vote.” He has also tried his hand at prophecy.
Politics and the “miracle” of Trump
Meanwhile, Strang has likened Christians who refuse to support President Trump to the Pharisees who attacked Jesus: “Here he was, the promised Messiah, and these are the people who practice Jewish law better than anyone else and they just had a mindset against him and couldn’t see the truth.” (To those who might harbor concerns about Trump’s moral compass – it is perhaps worth noting that Strang himself thinks that sexual assault and rape are just “nickel and dime” stuff that doesn’t matter – Strang insisted that Trump has been deeply transformed by his Christian faith, his concern with facts or evidence being about what you’d expect from him and his publications.) Strang has even written a couple of book-length paeans to Trump, including God and Donald Trump, which was heavily promoted by his magazine and which depicted Trump’s election as a miracle, citing the many visions and prophesies that charismatic Christians had about God using Trump to save America; and Trump Aftershock, which even included a section on “500 accomplishments in the first 500 days of the Trump presidency.” The purpose of the book was to “help readers to better understand the political, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the election that brought us such a complex, unpredictable, and conspicuously gifted leader,” portraying Trump as God’s instrument in His battle against the evil forces of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros (while George Soros is not the Antichrist, “it’s obvious he operates in the spirit of the Antichrist”), “fake news” from the secular media, swamp-dwellers, and the deep state. (Charisma heavily promoted Jerome Corsi’s deep state conspiracy theory book, for instance.)
Strang has also defended Trump from accusations of tax fraud, insisting that he had been “forced” to engage in massive tax fraud because the tax laws are “so unfair.” He is also convinced that Trump is a genius. And religious (“a champion for the church” at “a time when the left is waging an attack on Christianity”). And he has no trouble with Trump’s tweeting and is not offended by anything he tweets because Trump has “cleaned up his act a lot.” Indeed, Strang has even claimed that Trump is “humble”.
As for Obama, Strang claimed, for instance in 2012, that Obama is (was) just like Adolf Hitler: “The man has an agenda” (Strang is a bit short on the details of the parallel), and it is not only Obama’s agenda: “if you don’t believe it Google the Humanist Manifesto, which was written in 1921 [it wasn’t], and also the Homosexual Manifesto, which was written in 1987 [that seems to refer to a satirical article that, perhaps ironically, satirizes bigoted wingnut paranoia], and see what these people want to do and what is happening before our very eyes. What Jim Garlow says is true, the way of life that we have is over if Barack Obama is elected again.” Strang thinks that gay rights threaten the freedoms of speech, religion and the press, and that the Obama administration gave the “homosexual agenda” the “red-carpet treatment.”
Strang on other issues
Strang’s commentaries on the ills of society are not limited to (outright) politics, however. In 2019, Charisma ran a campaign warning about the dangers of Halloween, with Strang saying that Halloween isn’t harmless fun, but “indicative of spiritual warfare” … before praising the efforts of fundies to pray “every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken.”
A climate change denialist (of course), Strang has suggested that climate change is the “Trojan Horse that has booted the door for the government to control everything” and just another attempt by the Democrats to advance their agenda of socialism in the US. Conspiracy theories are in his backbone. He also thought it was curious that Andrew Breitbart “attacked the Clintons and now he’s dead.”
Defending Kenneth Copeland’s comment that he needs a private jet because commercial planes are nothing more than “a long tube with a bunch of demons”, Strang claimed it was hyperbole but immediately pointed out that “there are people in those airplanes who are not spiritual,” and that “there are demonic activities” and an atmosphere of “oppression” on commercial flights that someone like Copeland simply shouldn’t have to endure as he travels the world spreading the Gospel.
Strang is also round-handed with helpful, if unsolicited, advice. He has for instance advised the black community to get over slavery and to look to the Jewish community on how to do it: “There is no concept in the Jewish community that they’re ex-slaves. They have moved on.”
Diagnosis: What kind of delusions do you have to have to be Steve Strang and genuinely believe that you are, somehow, on the good side? The belief that he, himself, has any kind of moral compass is, given what he actually believes and does, sufficient on its own to qualify him for an entry. But Strang is also an extremely powerful force on the religious right – as publisher of Charisma many fundies cannot really afford to do anything but sing his praises. Strang is, ultimately, probably something like what Donald Trump would have looked like if he were remotely religious.

David Booth

WhatDoesItMean.com is a website devoted to conspiracy theories and rants of such levels of quality that it is often the target even of other conspiracy nutters. And yes, it also sports the delectable web design that characterizes that particular type of website. Now, most of the stuff published on the website consists of links to “news” published elsewhere, but also – and most famously – the rabidly insane column by Sorcha Faal.
Who? Well, until 2004 the website was run by David Booth (still the owner of the website), but in 2005 it was suddenly claimed to be run by a “Russian scientist” named Sorcha Faal, though none of the details like workplace or academic affiliations could be verified. Besides, the name is not remotely Russian but Gaelic, and indeed: By 2009 someone had evidently informed Faal of that, and the site was accordingly claiming that “Sorcha Faal” was the title of the head of the “Order of Sorcha Faal”. It has been, uh, speculated that Sorcha Faal may be … hold your hats … David Booth himself. It’s not A. True Ott.
In any case, Sorcha Faal gives you the goods (“American Rebel Forces Attack Gas Pipelines, Explode Trains As US Civil War Nears,” “Obama Plan To Destroy Gulf Of Mexico Like Ukraine Horrifies Russia,” “Obama Gay Love Affair With Top US Republican Senator Shocks Russia,” “Obama-Monsanto Mass Genocide Plot Stuns Scientists,” “Americans Celebrate Last Year As Free People”) based primariy on what’s currently popular on the more extreme conspiracy forums, InfoWars, Richard Hoagland’s homepage and so on (including the ravings of Amitakh Stanford), sometimes backed up by (non-corroborated) quotes from high-level Russian sources. The reports sometimes get reposted on forums like as Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions, where even regular posters will call it out as bullshit.
Diagnosis: No seriously, even for batshit insane, incoherent conspiracy theories, this is stunningly crazy. Probably pretty harmless, though.

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