TBR News January 23, 2016

Jan 23 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 23, 2016: “I have been asked why I publish very little about domestic American politics.

I don’t bother because the constant squabbling, coupled with the relative unimportance of the hopeful candidates, makes this a boring and pointless subject.

Trump is interesting to watch because he has so much money he cannot be bought off by the power elite and although the liberal media screams at him, the public listens.

They do so because they are bored, and annoyed, by the crooked, and brainless, twits who run the country.

Unemployment is rampant, though never mentioned in the controlled media and the lunatic fringe of the Republicans (most of them) want to cut off Social Security, spend their time kissing Bibi’s hairy backside and making obscene gestures at Putin.

It is a genuine pity that American cannot find a political leader who is as capable and effective for this country as Putin is for Russia.”

Conversations with the Crow

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, 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 his Washington 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

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.



Conversation No.87

Date: Sunday, June 15, 1997

Commenced: 11:20 AM CST

Concluded: 11:45 AM CST


GD: Well, and a happy Father’s Day to you, Robert, although you aren’t my father.

RTC: Yes, Greg and his people will be coming by later but we have time for a little chat. If they come, I’ll have to get off but people are always about an hour late these days.

GD: You must be lucky. People tell me they will call me back in a few minutes but it takes about a week. Of course the usual apologies about dinosaurs trampling around in their petunia beds or the sad fact that Grandmamma was attacked by a rabid lemur while in church. Otherwise, they would have gotten back to me sooner. I always tell them that this or that important person wanted to talk with them and I am so sorry they missed them or that I had found a buyer for their house but he got another place in the meantime. People are so rude these days. If you promise them something, you’d better come through but if they promise you something, forget about it. Unless, of course, it suits them to do something. And I get swamped by wrong numbers and often by bill collectors. I love to mess with their tiny minds. If come old lady calls at two in the morning,  looking for Maudy Mae, I tell them, in sadness, that Maudy passed last night and the viewing will be tomorrow. Or other such like. When bill collectors call for me, I put on a Slavic accent and tell them that this is a new phone number and I don’t know who they are talking about.

RTC: (Laughter) You are such a creative trouble-maker, Gregory.

GD: Well, they have it coming. Or telling some man who calls for Alice that she is up with a customer and I’ll have her call him back when she’s done.

RTC: (Laughter) Nasty.

GD: Oh, yes, but I do enjoy my fun. I don’t initiate bothering people but they had best not bother me.

RTC: Your antics must amuse the people who listen in on you.

GD: Yes, that’s no surprise. Do they listen to you, Robert? RTC: No, they wouldn’t dare.

GD: But if they listen to me and I am talking to you, what then? RTC: They shut down their system. At least until we stop talking. Of course they are concerned about my talking to you. I know that because I have been repeatedly warned against talking to you. You, Gregory, are a loose cannon and someone who not only does not respect our system but actively works against some of it. You gave Kimmel some very valuable documents that would materially assist his family in their quest to rehabilitate the reputation of Admiral Kimmel but Tom is not going to ever use them or allow them to be used by his family because if it ever became public that these came from you and that you got them from our friend Müller, the head of the Gestapo and a later Georgetown resident, all hell would break loose. Loyalty to his job takes precedence over loyalty to his family. No, Gregory, take it for granted that a close eye is kept on you at all times. They want to know what you have, where it is and what you plan to do with it.

GD: Yes, none of this surprises me but what is astonishing to me is how utterly stupid and predictable all of their approaches are. I mean we pay their salaries and for the money they get, they are a bunch of stupid sheep.

RTC: Unkind but no doubt true. But still, I caution you against saying anything on the phone about documents from Müller or myself, about what they might contain or, and most important, where you have them. We all know what you will eventually do with them but the first concepts are the most important. If they find out what you have, the next step is to either con you out of them or simply do a black bag job on them by breaking in and removing them. And if you leave home for any period of time, if you have incriminating or dangerous material on your computer  hard drive, take it with you or remove it from your home computer and hide it in a safe place.

GD: Now we have good advise. I assume they’ll get to my publisher and convince him to find other subjects and authors to deal with.

RTC: Oh yes, and perhaps they will assist him with sales by making his books prominent in various government-owned book shops. You know how it goes. We all think, Gregory, that there are three basic branches of government here. The executive, the legislative and the judicial. Correct? GD: Yes, we all learned that in school, along with reams of useless propaganda.

RTC: But there is a fourth branch of our government, Gregory, one I am personally well acquainted with. I would call it the Power Elite after the Mills book. And they, not the first three, run this country. This Elite is comprised of big business like the automotive companies, the big banks and other private financial institutions like the Federal Reserve and, of course, the insurance business. Yes, the insurance business. The biggest casino in the world. Everything with them is betting. They bet you’ll live past a certain age and further enrich them with premium payments. They bet you won’t drive your car into the back of a school bus and further enrich them with premium payments. Now, some people think the media is part and parcel of this but I assure you, our media works for the Power Elite. Cross them and the vital advertising is cut off and the paper collapses. Cross them and the unions suddenly strike the paper or the price of their paper goes way up. Oh yes, the media are servants of the middle level.

GD: I have always had trouble with the insurance people. I made the mistake of using Allstate….

RTC: Jesus, you poor fellow.

GD: Oh yes, I know. Do they pay out? No, they use every excuse to avoid any payment. Your family was staying in a motel until the renovators had finished rewiring their insured house? The house caught fire? Too bad, dudes, Allstate said, you weren’t living in the house when it caught fire so we don’t pay. A real case, in Wisconsin as I recall. The courts didn’t see it Allstate’s way so after long and expensive litigation, Allstate had to pay. My lawyer hates them and has compiled a thick file of such crap. I assume the others are just as bad.

RTC: Not all of them so blatant but if you have health insurance and get cancer, they call it a pre existing condition and cancel you right in the middle of chemotherapy and you die. Too bad but they take comfort in all the money they saved.

GD: But how do these crooks, these bribe merchants, stay in power?         RTC: They have people like the CIA on their side, of course. And the NSA and the FBI. These people, and I know this from the inside, help the Power Elite stay in power by spying on their enemies, actual and possible, to warn them of danger and to avert it by destroying or neutralizing it. And there are benefits. Say that Company A is one of our boys. We, or the NSA or whatever, spies on Companies B and C, the big rivals of A and when we learn secrets that could benefit A, we quickly pass it back to them. They, in turn, write checks that can be so comforting on cold nights. And all of this applies to the stock market, often rigged by boom and bust cycles, who also pay like slot machines. No, Gregory, the conspiracy people like to take the crumbs we throw out and worry the bone of the Kennedy assassination or the sinking of the Maine while other, more serious, matters go ignored. I was the liaison between the Company and big business and I know very well whereof I speak. The murder of Allende is nothing compared with the enormity of the greed and corruption that saddles everyone in the country but Congressmen and preachers And the burden gets heavier by the day. They spy on all of you, to keep order, to prevent disorder, to discredit enemies, to steal money, to punish people like you. Yes, all of this. The NSA watches everyone in this country. If you make a phone call to your cousin in England, they NSA listens in. If you get a money transfer from a Swiss bank, they know about it before your bank does. If you take a trip to France to take in the sights, they know the flight numbers, the hotels and the car rentals. Go to Switzerland, and they know what you put into a bank account. Go to the local library and check out a book they don’t like and they know about it. Buy a car, rent a car, buy a house, rent a house and they can find out about it in seconds if they want to. They have direct contact and full cooperation with all the major credit agencies. They all swap information of all of you so every credit card purchase, every deposit or withdrawal, every overdue card payment, all of this they can find out in seconds. And they want, and will eventually get, more and more power until the public is sucked dry like a school child attending a convocation of vampires. They are very powerful Gregory, but so huge and so all encompassing that no one without inside information on them would ever believe any of it.

GD: Robert, since you were in with these people, do you have any supportive documents on this? RTC: A footlocker full. Trento is far more interested in this than he is in the trivia like the revolution in Iran or our part in the killing of the Diem brothers. I am safe but you are not. Joe is safe because if he ever got his hands on any of this, believe that Langley would have the originals, uncopied, on the day he got them.

GD: And the pat on the pointy head? RTC: And the pat on the pointy head and, don’t forget, the Presentation Pen Set. They love those pen sets.

GD: With such baubles men are led. Napoleon said that about the Legion of Honor.

RTC: I think the pen sets cost about twenty dollars each but my, what they can buy, Gregory. Such loyalty and, more important, such service.

GD: But such systems fall of their own hubris and their own weight. They fall, Robert, and great will be the fall thereof.

RT: Not on my watch, Gregory, not on mine. I served and got my rewards and now I am awaiting a not unexpected but hopefully natural death. I have my memories.

GD: And you also have your documents, Robert.

RTC: Yes, I do. Well, if Trento gets the really important ones, they will be accompanied by the Divine Plato on a one way trip to Langley and the burn bags. Plato gets jobs but Joe gets the pen set.

GD: Rather than go on about Müller, I think I would rather nut the Power Elite. Müller is dead but all of the rest of them ought to be either dead, or serving life sentences in a Mohave Desert work camp.

RTC: And if they went, they would be replaced by a legion of others just waiting in the wings, wetting their panties in anticipation.

GD: Of the spoils of peace.

RTC: No, of war against everyone else.


(Concluded at 11:45 AM CST)


Exclusive: U.S. weighs making Hawaii missile test site operational – sources

January 22, 2016

by Andrea Shalal


WASHINGTON – The U.S. military has stepped up discussions on converting its Aegis missile defense test site in Hawaii into a combat-ready facility that would bolster American defenses against ballistic missile attacks, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The proposal, which has been discussed sporadically for several years, was given fresh impetus by North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and by recent strides in China’s missile technology capabilities, said current and former U.S. military officials, congressional aides and other sources.

A Chinese official in Washington suggested that Beijing would see such a U.S. move as counter-productive to relations.

Aegis, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp for use on U.S. Navy destroyers, is among the most advanced U.S. missile defense systems, integrating radars, software, displays, weapons launchers and missiles.

Setting up its land version — Aegis Ashore — in Hawaii and linking it with Aegis destroyers would add a permanent missile defense site to the Pacific, providing an extra layer of protection for the U.S. islands and the West Coast at a time when North Korea is improving its missile capabilities.

Ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California provide the current defense for Hawaii and the continental United States against missile attacks.

The Navy also relies on deploying Aegis-equipped destroyers based on U.S. intelligence warnings about imminent threats. North Korea’s development of mobile missile launchers has made it more difficult to predict launches in advance.

To make the test site combat-ready, the U.S. military would need to add personnel, stockpile live missiles and beef up security, at an estimated cost of around $41 million, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

It would also need to integrate the site into the larger U.S. ballistic missile defense system, with control likely shifting from the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency to the U.S. Navy, the sources said.

U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, has been engaged in high-level discussions about ways to protect Hawaii, Guam and the continental United States from threats like North Korea, his spokesman, Captain Darryn James told Reuters.

James said no decisions had been made, but the Aegis Ashore site in Hawaii had a “proven test capability.”

“Admiral Harris is always exploring options to forward deploy and operationalize the latest advancements in ballistic missile defense technologies in the Pacific, where we face increasingly sophisticated threats to the homeland,” James said.

It remains unclear when the U.S. administration could reach a decision, but implementing the changes could be done swiftly, the sources said.


North Korea’s nuclear test in January underscored U.S. concerns that the secretive state has the ability to place a bomb on a long-range ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. West Coast.

Any moves to boost missile defenses could inflame growing military rivalry between China and Washington and its allies.

Converting the site on Hawaii’s Kauai island into combat use could rankle China at a time of heightened tensions with Washington over the disputed South China Sea. Beijing has already expressed concern about the possible deployment of the mobile U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea.

Zhu Haiquan, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said Beijing believed the nuclear proliferation issue would be best resolved diplomatically.

“All measures seeking to increase military capacities will only intensify antagonism and will not help to solve the problem,” he said when asked about the possible U.S. move.

“China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of regional peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently in regard to the anti-missile issue.”

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly objected to the U.S. Aegis Ashore site in Romania, which is due to become operational in the coming weeks. A similar site is due to open in Poland in 2018.

The Missile Defense Agency explored the prospect of putting the Hawaii test site into full operation in a classified report to Congress in September 2014, according to one of the sources.

Congress requires the agency to update its estimate of the cost, feasibility and effectiveness of adding more Aegis Ashore sites this spring.

The Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii completed its first intercept test in December, using a Raytheon Co Standard Missile-3 Block 1B to destroy a target that replicated an Iranian Ghadr-110 medium-range missile.

Riki Ellison, who heads the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said the new Aegis installation would in effect give the U.S. military three chances to shoot down a missile aimed at Hawaii, up from one currently.

“If you have the assets on the island, why not use them to protect against possible missile attacks from North Korea?” Ellison said.

The December test proved the Aegis Ashore system could fire two different Raytheon Co missiles — one inside the earth’s atmosphere and one outside — at an enemy missile.

Expansion of military operations in Hawaii have sparked protests by residents in the past.

But Hawaii Representative Mark Takai, a Democrat and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the conversion is “the best way to ensure we have protection for Hawaii’s critical defense infrastructure against increasingly belligerent actors that threaten our country.”

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Jeff Mason; editing by Stuart Grudgings)


Amid rats and mud, refugees struggle in French camp

Not far from the “Jungle” in Calais, 3,000 people live among foul swamps in another refugee camp. The inhumane conditions have compelled MSF to build new accommodation on drier grounds.

January 22, 2016

by Diego Cupolo 


Dunkirk- Rat tracks trace the ankle-deep mixture of mud and human waste as Omed Mohamed pulls out his phone to show photos of two gunshot wounds he received while fighting the “Islamic State” in Kobani. A former soldier of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Mohamed struggles to find his balance using a single crutch and curses the refugee camp where he’s been stuck for the last four months.

“This place is for animals, not for humans,” he says. “France is not good for us. If I don’t go to England, I go to Germany.”

He is standing just outside Dunkirk, in Grande-Synthe swamp, where a camp of predominantly Kurdish refugees has grown from 700 inhabitants in October to more than 3,000. Few NGOs are on site, and French police guard the entrance, turning away any building materials to prevent the settlement from expanding.

The restriction has created a camp with two water faucets and one toilet per 115 people, forcing inhabitants to occupy backpacking tents pitched in unsanitary mud that floods each time it rains, which happens often in northern France.

Thirty-five kilometers (22 miles) from the Calais “Jungle,” the Dunkirk camp has conditions unseen anywhere else along the migration trail and could easily be declared Europe’s worst, said Angel Muller, project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Grande-Synthe.

“It’s more easy in South Sudan with 80,000 people in a camp coordinated by the UNHCR,” Muller said. “Here we have 3,000 people in a rich country, and it is a complete disaster. It is really a shame for me [as a French citizen].”

In response to the situation and the town mayor’s pleas for help, MSF is now building a 3.5 million-euro ($3.8 million) camp, with costs split between the NGO and the municipality, according to Muller. Five hundred weatherized tents will provide shelter for 2,500 people on dry ground.

Some camp volunteers criticize the facility as insufficient.

“The MSF camp is a Band-Aid and won’t resolve the problem,” said Maddie Harris, a Bristol native who has been coordinating volunteers in the camp for four months. “It’s just tents in a field again that may or may not be heated. Not to mention, it’s the middle of winter and it won’t be ready for another month.”

Desperate straits

Until now, MSF has provided the few sanitation facilities in the existing camp, but independent volunteers, mostly from England and Belgium, have been distributing food and sneaking in tents and building materials through the surrounding forests.”If we weren’t here, these people would have to break into houses and steal to survive,” said Alain Meuleman, a Belgian volunteer who recently installed a water pump in an effort to reduce water levels in the camp. “What we don’t get from the pictures is the terrible smell and the sound of babies crying.”

Some volunteers have taken extraordinary measures to improve conditions in the camp. Every weekend, Mecha den Houdyker submerges waist-deep in adjacent drainage ditches, often used as bathrooms, to remove garbage and improve the outflow of water from the camp, in hopes of decreasing the spread of disease.

Scabies, a contagious skin infestation of microscopic mites, is a common problem in the camp, along with respiratory illnesses and burns among people huddling too close to fires when trying to stay warm at night.

“All the governments are not acting, and all of them have their reasons,” den Houdyker said after pulling two dead rats from the water, “but, for me, those reasons aren’t justified when they create a place like this.”

The well-intentioned efforts of the inexperienced independent volunteers currently sustaining the camp are not always properly executed. Twenty-kilo (55-pound) bags of potatoes and onions lie throughout the camp, lost to the mud as casualties of unorganized food distribution

Smugglers have the clean shoes

The camp in in Grande-Synthe, not far from France’s second largest port, grew in response to discrimination faced by Kurdish refugees. Bedouins and Iranians are also present and negotiate with smugglers who charge 3,000-4,000 pounds (3,900-5,200 euros) per person for a chance to reach England, according to multiple sources.

Smugglers are easy to spot in the camp as their clean shoes give them away, but many young males try to sneak into trucks bound for England via the ferry terminal. Hama, a 20-year old Iraqi Kurd, said he studied his tactics online, and some of his friends have made it through by rubbing black pepper on their bodies to avoid detection from police dogs.

“I cut an ‘L’ into the plastic [tarp on the truck],” Hama said. “I put my foot in first and then my head. When I am inside, I use the tape to close the hole and stay quiet.”

So far, Hama has yet to make it to England, but he does not worry about getting caught.

“The police is good for us because they bring us back to the ‘Jungle,'” he said with a smile, holding a roll of electrical tape in his hand.

But these methods have proven fatal as Masu, an Afghan minor, died of suffocation earlier this week while hiding inside a truck in Dunkirk. He was 15 years old.

“The biggest shame of all is [that] MSF is working in France,” said Mohammed, a Kurdish Iraqi who did not give his last name. “MSF usually works in countries that have war or poor countries. Now it is in one of the richest countries of the world.”


FBI ran massive child porn website to catch pedophiles

January 22, 2016


The FBI took over and ran one of the internet’s largest child porn sites in a bid to catch thousands of pedophiles. One such pedophile is now suing the government on the grounds that the agency enabled him to access the site.

The Department of Justice recently acknowledged in court filings that the FBI had been running the website, known as “Playpen”, as part of a largely secret operation on the dark web. On February 20, 2015, instead of shutting down the website that they had seized, the FBI continued to run it until May 4 and infect users with software that revealed their identities.

The website had more than 215,000 registered users, and it had links to more than 23,000 sexually explicit images and videos of children, including 9,000 files that could be downloaded directly from the FBI’s servers in suburban Washington. Some of the children depicted in the illicit files were below kindergarten age.

Authorities were able to capture the identifying computer information of 1,300 users, 137 of whom they managed to bring criminal charges against.

One of the 137 charged, however, says that it’s really the FBI that’s to blame. In a court filing, a lawyer for Jay Michaud, a former middle school who was arrested in the sting, arguing that “what the government did in this case is comparable to flooding a neighborhood with heroin in the hope of snatching an assortment of low-level drug users.” The lawyer, Colin Fieman, asked a federal judge to dismiss child pornography charges against his client. The judge is set to hear arguments related to that that request on Friday.

The clandestine operation is a relatively recent strategy in the FBI’s fight against online child pornography, according to USA Today. Agents had previously prioritized keeping the images of children out of the public’s reach, due to the Justice Department’s reasoning that every time someone views the images a child is harmed.

However, the FBI acknowledged that their choice to provide the illicit material was one of the only options they had to bring criminals to justice.

We had a window of opportunity to get into one of the darkest places on Earth, and not a lot of other options except to not do it,” former FBI official Ron Hosko, who took part in the first operation of this kind, according to USA Today. “There was no other way we could identify as many players.”

In addition to being criticized for violating the rights of people charged with accessing the materials, the FBI has drawn fire for distributing more of the illicit materials for more people to see.

At some point, the government investigation becomes indistinguishable from the crime, and we should ask whether that’s OK,” said Elizabeth Joh, a law professor at the University of California who has studied undercover operations, according to USA Today.

What’s crazy about it is who’s making the cost/benefit analysis on this? Who decides that this is the best method of identifying these people?”

The FBI first carried out an operation involving a secret takeover of a child porn site in 2012, and it resulted in 25 users being charged with possessing child pornography by infecting their computers with malware that exposed their information. However, authorities may have had trouble actually pinpointing the real life identities of many of those charged, as is indicated by nine of them being named “John Doe” in court filings.


No free riders’: Pentagon slams inactivity of ‘so called’ coalition in fight against ISIS

January 23, 2016


Washington has accused Turkey and other US-led coalition members of not doing enough to fight Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said there should be “no free riders” in their attempts to destroy the jihadist militant group.

Carter mentioned in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that “We can do a lot ourselves … [but] we are looking for other people to play their part,” as cited by AFP.

The Pentagon is growing increasingly agitated at the failure of the 65-member coalition to make serious inroads against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Carter even went as far as referring to the alliance as a “so called” coalition, due to the fact that some Sunni-Arab nations were not pulling their weight.

“Many of them are not doing enough, or are doing nothing at all,” Carter said during a Davos question-and-answer session, according to AFP.

“We need others to carry their weight, there should be no free riders,” he added

The US defense secretary also reiterated calls for Turkey to do more in the fight against IS.

“Turkey is a long-time friend of ours,” Carter said, but “the reality is” that it has a border that “has been porous to foreign fighters.”

“They’re on the list … it’s not a small list, of countries that I think could make contributions that are distinctive, unique and necessary to the defeat of ISIL.”

The US has repeatedly called on Turkey to do more to try and stem the flow of IS fighters crossing the Turkish-Syrian border between the western Turkish town of Kilis and Jarabulus in eastern Syria.

The game has changed. Enough is enough! The border needs to be sealed,” the Wall Street Journal cited a senior Obama administration official as saying in a message from the US government to Turkey in November. “This is an international threat, and it’s all coming out of Syria and it’s coming through Turkish territory.”

However, the plan has been met with resistance by Turkey, with Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu stating that closing the country’s border with Syria is extremely difficult, with most of it “under Islamic State control.”

There is nothing more difficult than protecting a border on the other side of which there is no political authority. There is no functioning state system or counterpart administration on the other side,” Davutoglu said in December. “At the moment, around 98 kilometers [61 miles] of our border appear to be under Daesh [an Arabic term for Islamic State] control,” he added.

Meanwhile, fellow coalition member Saudi Arabia’s interest in the fight against IS has waned in recent months, with the kingdom being more interested in the Yemeni crisis.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment to fighting jihadist militants in Syria, saying the fight against IS and the Al-Nusra Front would go on until their complete annihilation. He also added that the militant groups could not be part of any ceasefire in the region.

The truce “wouldn’t apply to terrorist organizations Islamic State and the Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra),” he stressed.

“They can’t be subject to an agreement on a ceasefire as they remain our enemies. And we’ll continue to fight them until their complete annihilation,” Lavrov said.


Emancipating the Military, Containing the Citizenry

January 23, 2016

by Fred Reed


Those who try to understand military policy often confuse themselves by focusing on minor matters such as strategy, tactics, logistics, and armament. Here they err. For years the central goal of the military, the brass ring, has been independence from control by civilians. It has been achieved.

In time of war, the first concern of the command is to limit the flow of information to their publics. The actions of the enemy are an important but secondary consideration. Thus militaries strive to prevent the dissemination of photos of mutilated soldiers or, as in Washington today, of governmentally tortured prisoners. In the United States, which characteristically fights wars unrelated to the safety of the country, the Pentagon must also keep soldiers from being told that they are being sacrifice for the benefit of arms manufacturers and imperialist ambitions. In wars before Vietnam, this was adroitly effected. You could go to jail for criticizing a war.

In Vietnam, something new happened. The press covered the war freely. Reporters went where they pleased, beyond the control of the military. Their publications ran the results. National magazines printed horrific photographs of what was really happening.

Truth tells. The coverage was one of the two factors that forced Washington to quit the war. The other was the passionate unwillingness of young men to be forced to fight a war in which they had no interest. The war, a source of meaning for Washington’s thunderous hawks and fern-bar Napoleons, was getting them killed.

The military of Vietnam wasn’t very good at fighting, and neither is the military of today. GIs in Asia would assault a hill, usually of no importance, and, after three days, with the aid of helicopters, helo gunships, napalm, artillery, and fighter-bombers, would capture it. This would be called a triumph. The astute observed that if the Americans had to fight on equal terms, without overwhelming material superiority, they would last perhaps ten minutes. This is now a recognized pattern. Note that numerically superior and hugely armed American forces have been outfought for years by lightly armed Afghan goat herds. Since neither the wars nor the soldiers in them are of much importance, this doesn’t matter.

The Pentagon learned a lot from Vietnam: It learned that its greatest enemies are the press and the American public. The burning question became how to keep the goddam public from interfering in wars which were none of its business and, particularly in the award of large contracts.

The problem was solved in two major ways. The first was to end the draft and go to the All Volunteer Army. The command realized that if they conscripted kids from Yale and the University of Virginia to come back in body bags, the prospective conscriptees, their girlfriends, and their families would take to the streets. This would threaten the smooth flow of funds. If volunteer kids from Tennessee died, no one would care.

The second step in keeping the public out of the loop was to control the press. This was done partly by “embedding” reporters in American military units in the victim country. The control was furthered, more by happenstance than plan, by the amalgamation of the major media in a few large corporations which then controlled content. It worked.

A third and crucial element was the quiet and de facto abolition of the restrictions imposed by the Constitution. As long as that document was held to be canonical, Congress would have to declare war before the military could attack anyone. A congressman voting for a war would have to explain to his constituents why he wanted to spend a trillion dollars on killing remote peasants when his jurisdiction had crumbling schools. People in Oklahoma might ask, “Can’t we grow our own goat herds more cheaply and kill them here?”

Congress was happy to shed this responsibility, or for that matter any responsibility. And so it did. The Commander-in-Chief was now able to send troops anywhere he pleased. It was his private army. He could , in effect, contract out the US military to Israel to crush its enemies or to the petro-interests to try to capture oil fields.

However, this happy canvas was not yet raised to Rafaelsesque perfection. There was still the awkward, though now minor, matter of body bags. The Presidency did what it could. It forbade the filming of flag-draped coffins coming into Dover Air Force Base on grounds of protecting the privacy of the occupants. Logicians might question just what intimate private details a photo of a box might reveal. But the public wasn’t William of Ockham. The point was to keep the rubes from knowing what the shrapnel cone of an RPG does the the head of Jimmy Jack Perkins of Memphis.

However, the damage was controllable. Not to Jimmy Jack’s head, but to the Army’s PR persona. That was what the Army cared about. Yet…things were not quite perfect. An awful lot of kids were coming back from obscure wars with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which is what happens when seventy-five pounds of C4 in an IED blows. It turns said kid’s brain into the equivalent of a pudding stirred by an enthusiastic but poorly trained chef. For the next fifty years he stumbles, mumbles, drools, shuffles, and has the IQ of a duckbill platypus.

This was not a serious difficulty. The corporate media were in line, so there was no danger that CBS would do a hostile expose. Besides, with luck the creep would die early. But it was still a potential source of political blowback.

A solution appeared: Drones. They were wonderful, serving several purposes at once. They cost not as much as fighter planes, but enough to funnel lots of loot to contractors.. No body bags ever came back and so didn’t need to be hidden. Drones could be flown by wet-lipped sociopaths in air-conditioned comfort in Colorado. They couldn’t win a war, but neither could they lose one. This was ideal, since either winning or losing would slow the award of contracts.

The remaining bump in the road to full emancipation was the military budget. This matter was neutralized by the major media, which had become for practical purposes minor federal departments. In Mein Kampf, der Fuehrer pointed out that the masses would eventually believe any idea repeated often enough. A corollary was that the masses would ignore any idea mentioned only once or twice. Hiding financial grotesquery was not necessary. It sufficed to mention it briefly in paragraph seventeen or, on the tube, in passing in tones usually used in reporting uneventful weather. Done.

Close. Very close. There was no longer a single columnist in the major media who actually knew the technology, bureaucracy, and tactics of the military, or had been near a rifle. The networks could therefore hire retired colonels to explain that the military was dedicated to truth, justice, and the American way. The final condom in this chain of chastity was the president asserting that America was a city on a hill and a beam of light for darkened mankind, who to reach heaven needed only to give us their oil fields.

In sum, the foregoing measures constituted the greatest military victory since Waterloo. Neither Congress or the goddam public could any longer meddle where it had no business meddling. Fewer and fewer troops actually went to war, so the unpatriotic bastards couldn’t disrupt the war effort by coming home in body bags. The Pentagon had achieved its long-sought emancipation. It looked forward to killing any peasants who struck its fancy with the insouciant independence of a trust-fund baby in the fleshpots of the Orient.


Epic Navy bribery scandal shows how easy it can be to steal military secrets

January 21, 2016

by Craig Whitlock

The Washington Post

For the foreign defense contractor, stealing U.S. Navy secrets turned out to be a breeze. All it took was a little cash, a few cheap gifts—and a willing sailor.

Daniel Layug, an enlisted sailor with a weakness for electronic bling, was an easy mark. Over a three-year period, he repeatedly downloaded classified documents and other sensitive information about Navy operations in Asia, and handed it over for a low, low price, according to federal court records.

On Thursday, in U.S. District Court in San Diego, Layug became the first person to be sentenced in an epic corruption investigation that has paralyzed the Navy since 2013. He had previously pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a Singapore-based firm that did a rich business with the Pentagon for a quarter century by supplying hundreds of Navy ships during port visits in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Seven other defendants who have also pleaded guilty will receive their punishment in the coming months. In addition, corruption charges are pending against a Navy commander, a senior Pentagon civilian, and a former Navy contracting official living in Singapore.

U.S. prosecutors have accused Glenn Defense Marine Asia of bilking the Navy out of at least $20 million. They have said their investigation is far from finished and that they are targeting other suspects. Court records show the criminal investigation has spanned eight states and eight Asian countries, with more than 100 law-enforcement agents involved.

In the scheme of things, Layug was a small fish – a petty officer first class assigned to the supply corps at a Navy base in Japan. He hasn’t drawn the same public attention as higher-ranking Navy personnel who have admitted to taking bribes in the form of prostitutes, fancy vacations, extravagant meals and envelopes stuffed with cash.

Nor has he earned the notoriety of Leonard Glenn Francis, the heavyweight boss of Glenn Defense Marine Asia who charmed his way through the ranks of the Navy’s 7th Fleet. Widely known among Navy officers as Fat Leonard, Francis pleaded guilty in January 2015 and is cooperating with federal investigators.

But evidence gathered in Layug’s case exposes the simple and audacious nature of the bribery racket, including how easy it was for him to pilfer secrets, and how nobody noticed for years.

He put the U.S. Navy at risk of embarrassment, exploitation, attack, or worse; and in doing so he made a fool of every senior sailor who had promoted him to a position of responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher wrote in a court brief in advance of Layug’s sentencing.

In 2010, Layug was assigned to the USS Blue Ridge, the command flagship for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based in Japan. The next year, he was transferred to the Navy’s Fleet Logistics Center in Yokosuka, Japan, where he helped to provide logistical support to Navy vessels throughout the Pacific.

In those positions, Layug had easy access to two things Glenn Defense Marine dearly wanted: classified information about Navy ship movements, including which ports they intended to visit; and trade secrets about what the competition was charging to supply those vessels.

According to federal investigators, it didn’t take much to buy off the sailor. First, a Glenn Defense Marine executive gave him an unlocked cell phone.

Over time, as Layug proved cooperative, the defense contractor fed his appetite for consumer electronics, bribing him with an iPad 3, a Wii video game console, a Blackberry phone, a Sony VAIO laptop, and a Nikon D5200 digital camera, documents filed by prosecutors show.

They also indulged his desire for a good time, providing him and his Navy buddies with free luxury hotel rooms during their visits to ports in Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, according to the documents.

Starting in May 2012, Layug also received an “allowance” of $1,000 per month from Glenn Defense Marine, usually in envelopes of cash, the document show.

In exchange, on at least five occasions, Layug handed over classified information about Navy ship schedules.

To gather the material, the sailor simply entered a secure room aboard the USS Blue Ridge, logged onto a classified computer terminal and printed out the schedules. All documents in the secure room had to be printed on pink paper, to signify that the material was classified. But Layug just added a blank cover sheet, walked off the ship and took the documents home, according to investigators.

Layug’s attorneys did not respond to emails seeking comment. He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and has not disputed the evidence laid out by prosecutors.

But evidence gathered in Layug’s case exposes the simple and audacious nature of the bribery racket, including how easy it was for him to pilfer secrets, and how nobody noticed for years.

He put the U.S. Navy at risk of embarrassment, exploitation, attack, or worse; and in doing so he made a fool of every senior sailor who had promoted him to a position of responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher wrote in a court brief in advance of Layug’s sentencing.

In 2010, Layug was assigned to the USS Blue Ridge, the command flagship for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based in Japan. The next year, he was transferred to the Navy’s Fleet Logistics Center in Yokosuka, Japan, where he helped to provide logistical support to Navy vessels throughout the Pacific.

In those positions, Layug had easy access to two things Glenn Defense Marine dearly wanted: classified information about Navy ship movements, including which ports they intended to visit; and trade secrets about what the competition was charging to supply those vessels.

According to federal investigators, it didn’t take much to buy off the sailor. First, a Glenn Defense Marine executive gave him an unlocked cell phone.

Over time, as Layug proved cooperative, the defense contractor fed his appetite for consumer electronics, bribing him with an iPad 3, a Wii video game console, a Blackberry phone, a Sony VAIO laptop, and a Nikon D5200 digital camera, documents filed by prosecutors show.

They also indulged his desire for a good time, providing him and his Navy buddies with free luxury hotel rooms during their visits to ports in Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, according to the documents.

Starting in May 2012, Layug also received an “allowance” of $1,000 per month from Glenn Defense Marine, usually in envelopes of cash, the document show.

In exchange, on at least five occasions, Layug handed over classified information about Navy ship schedules.

To gather the material, the sailor simply entered a secure room aboard the USS Blue Ridge, logged onto a classified computer terminal and printed out the schedules. All documents in the secure room had to be printed on pink paper, to signify that the material was classified. But Layug just added a blank cover sheet, walked off the ship and took the documents home, according to investigators.

Layug’s attorneys did not respond to emails seeking comment. He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and has not disputed the evidence laid out by prosecutors.

In a court brief filed this month, defense attorneys Ezekiel Cortez and Joshi Valentine said the sailor felt “deep shame” and remorse. They said he came from an impoverished background as a child  and succumbed to the bribery temptations out of a “need to prove his success to his family by acquiring the trapping of financial success.”

His attorneys argued that he should be sentenced to probation without any prison time, noting that he is cooperating with investigators and has a family to support. He is still in the Navy, though his lawyers indicated that he faces court martial and that his military “career will soon be over.”

In contrast, prosecutors sought a 27-month prison term for Layug, contending that he put national security at risk by selling the classified ship schedules, which reveal the planned movement of Navy warships up to a year in advance.

As seems abundantly obvious, in the wrong hands, this information would provide a substantial advantage to those intent on doing our Sailors, our Navy, and our Nation harm, essentially allowing them to know when and where to plan an attack,” wrote Pletcher, the federal prosecutor overseeing the case.

The prosecution’s argument won out. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino sentenced Layug to 27 months imprisonment.

Report: Cologne-like New Year’s Eve attacks in 12 German states

Sex attacks and thefts like the ones that happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve were also reported in 12 other German states, German media say. The information comes from a leaked report of the federal criminal police.

January 21, 2016


The German broadcasters WDR and NDR, as well as the newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on Saturday reported that the phenomenon of sexual violence paired with thievery was more widespread on New Year’s Eve than previously thought.

They cited a confidential paper prepared for interior ministers by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). The report covered sexual offenses in public places in which the victims were also stolen from, including a type of con in which thieves approach victims and hug or otherwise surprise them, with the aim of distracting them in order to pick their pockets.

In Bavaria, 27 such attacks were reported to police, mainly in Nuremburg and Munich. In Bremen, there were 11 reports, in Berlin six and in Baden-Wurttemberg 25. In Hesse, there were 31 cases of sexual assault, sexual insults, thefts and attempted thefts.

Thefts across Germany

The report, dated January 13, said Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia (the state where Cologne is located) reported the highest number of offenses. In Hamburg there were 195 complaints, most of them for sexual offenses. Investigators in North Rhine-Westphalia reported 1,076 crimes altogether, mainly in the cities of Cologne, Dusseldorf and Bielefeld. That number included 692 bodily harm or property offenses and 384 sexual offenses.

Similar incidents were reported in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, albeit on a much smaller scale. Federal police, who patrol main railway stations, reported 43 such notifications.

Though the suspects have not been identified, they had been reported as being men of Moroccan, Algerian or Tunisian origin. Across the country the victims were almost always female and the suspects were men aged between about 17 and 30.

Difficult to describe suspects

The report demonstrated the difficulty of describing the suspects’ origins, with states using different terminology. For example, Baden-Wuerttemberg described one set of suspects as a “US American and an Algerian,” another group was described as “suspects who appeared to look Arab.” In Hesse, suspects were described as “men of North African/Arab/southern European/eastern European appearance.” A report from North Rhine-Westphalia spoke of an “appearance of a migration background” and an “appearance of being foreign” without elaborating what exactly that meant or how it was possible to determine someone’s nationality by looking at them.

The investigators concluded that the nature of the reported thefts was a new form of criminality which up until now had not been widely experienced across Germany. The report’s authors noted, however, that it provided only a snapshot of the situation, which continued to be “dynamic.”

Scotland Yard brought in

Meanwhile, police investigating the Cologne attacks have enlisted the help of specialists from London. The so-called “super recognizers” from Scotland Yard will assist in analyzing video footage from New Year’s Eve. Their ability to pick out faces in a crowd is considered superior to facial recognition software.


Refugees claim ISIS militants living among them in Germany

January 23, 2016


Christian refugees from Syria claim they saw a former Islamic State member living in Frankfurt, and that this is not an isolated case. Police investigated but refused to file charges because the alleged terrorist has done nothing criminal in Germany.

On his last visit to the Saarland region of Germany, on the border with France, RT’s Peter Oliver met with a group of Assyrian Christians who had been held hostage by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

They recalled that while being held in IS captivity, the only thing they prayed for was to be shot instead of being beheaded.

The same community, now living in the city of Saarlouis, say the horrors of that experience have followed them all the way to Germany, after they found out that a man they say had ties to Islamic State is living among them.

A refugee, who only agreed to speak to RT on condition of anonymity, said he is positive the man living in his town is the same member of IS he encountered in Syria.

He stopped me many times at the checkpoint near our village; we were even able to find him on Facebook, I go to the web page and there’s this guy again,” the refugee said.

When the man first saw the jihadist in Germany, his reaction was that of panic.

I was very scared that this terrorist is in a democratic state like Germany just living here,” the refugee told RT, adding that he does not understand how those who kept whole families hostage now have Syrian refugee status in Germany.

The Assyrian community now feels very insecure as “this was not the first case” a former IS member had been recognized, the man said. He added that some people are even considering leaving Germany, but do not know where to run to.

Community leaders say that once they were convinced the ‘refugee’ was in fact a former jihadist, they went straight to the police.

The police have taken this very seriously, but we worry that the law cannot back this up with a strong case. They have to wait until this person does something criminal here,” Charlie Kanoun, the chairman of the Assyrian Culture Association, told RT.

But those people were killers in Syria and fly the ISIS flag here even. Such people should have no place in Germany,” Kanoun said.

Police confirmed that an investigation is underway, but no charges relating to terrorism or any other crime have been brought.

As the investigation continues, and with the influx of refugees showing no signs of slowing, the question is being asked as to who exactly is coming to Europe.

This is a very difficult point for our community here. Those victims of kidnapping were brought here for safety and security, and then these terrorists are here,” Kanoun said, adding that the German authorities “are being very gentle with them,” reiterating that his compatriots might have to flee again.

This is tragic that we will again be forced to be refugees, this time in a Christian state that cannot protect us,” Kanoun said.

Last February, Islamic State kidnapped around 250 Assyrian Christians and demanded ransoms of $100,000 per person. Some have since been released but many remain in captivity.

ISIS came to our village, they devastated our fields, burnt our churches, tore apart our lives. They kidnapped us, murdered us. We have an unbearable feeling of loss,” a former hostage told RT.

He recalled that while in captivity, he overheard a conversation between his captors, saying that “the West will belong to us and we will conquer it through Islamization.”

One of the IS militants holding Assyrian Christians captive was a German who had converted to radical Islam, the former hostage said.

The German security services are currently preparing findings on more than 790 German Islamists who have traveled to Syria, the National Police Bureau of Saarland reported.

Germany has seen increasing tensions over the migrant issue. Recently scuffles broke out between police and a group of protesters who were attempting to disrupt a right-wing rally near Berlin.

The Alternative for Germany Party was demonstrating in the city of Potsdam in support of women’s rights, following the mass sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

They were confronted by a counter-protest claiming the assaults are being used to incite hatred towards migrants.


The Family: The Octopus of God

January 23, 2016

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

In an age when dissatisfaction with systems of governance is becoming a daily norm, the public has become more and more interested in conspiracy theories that purport to expose various misdeeds of governance and its various organs and purported accomplices.

We have seen an enormous body of revisionist literature arise, dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, and as that topic slid down and away from public interest, another issue rose to prominence speculation and fictive writing. This was the September 11, 2001 attack by Saudi terrorists on various targets in the United State.

Invented stories about “robot aircraft,”  “’Nano thermite’ controlled explosions,” and other theories, many verging on the lunatic, sprang up and proliferated. While most of these entertainments were the product of inventive minds and eagerly accepted by a public that felt betrayed by their government and the upper levels of the national economic structure, a number of stories were very obviously clever insertions of deliberate disinformation from the very same power elite.

One of the recurring themes of the conspiracy claques is that of the existence of a secret society, or organization, that is somehow able to exert powerful but behind-the-scenes control over all aspects of governance. One of the favorites has been the Illuminati. This was originally a German association, formed in 1776 by one Adam Weishaupt, a Freemason and law professor at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria.

The original Illuminati, then called the Order of Perfectibilists, and later became a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of both established governments and religions, specifically the Catholics. Eventually, Weishaubt made enough noise that the Bavarian Elector, Karl Theodor, outlawed them and forced Weishaupt to move to Gotha where he finished his life by writing books and abstaining from anti-establishment activities.

Weishaupt’s disbanded organization has become the inspiration for several generations of conspiracy inventors and because Weishaupt spoke of a single world government, ruled by men of honor and intellect (obviously impossible in any age), the conspiracy people have talked about a New World Order which might be satisfying and even desired but would be impossible of execution. To this mythic entity is ascribed all manner of manipulations and plottings

In addition to the Illuminati, fiction theorists have also targeted the Rothschild banking house and the Bilderburger banker’s association as being the controlling forces behind all the governments of the world. In the United States, one can add the Council on Foreign Relations, the fraternal Skull and Bones society, the Federal Reserve and a legion of quite harmless associations to the conspiracy mix.

In the background, however, only dimly seen and then only by established intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, exists a very genuine, and very dangerous, secret organization that wields far more actual power than any of the imaginary creations of the Internet..

This is a power group, posing as a religious organization, and who, with its various associated sub-groups, pose a critical threat to the American democratic system., It is a Washington-based organization known as both ‘The Fellowship’, and ‘The Family’. This group, and its allies, the Dominionists and the Neo-Templars, basically control the American Congress, the Department of State, and have “very important” connections at the top levels of the Central Intelligence Agency.and the American military. The Family’s goal, according to one secret internal document, is to create a “hidden structure” of “national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.” The first hallmark of this theocratic clandestine organisation is their unquestioning reliance on the Bible in all matters, to the complete exclusion of any other authority, secular or otherwise  The second is their insistence on a faith in Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior, again, to the exclusion of any other entity.

The Fellowship’s known participants include ranking United States government officials, both elected and appointed, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world. Many United States Senators and Congressmen have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so and work together to pass or influence legislation.

This organization fetishizes power by comparing Jesus to “Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden” as examples of leaders who change the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their “brothers.”The agenda of the Fellowship becomes much clearer when it is realized that Fellowship leader Douglas Coe preaches a personal commitment to Jesus Christ very and specifically comparable to the blind devotion that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot demanded from their followers. In one videotaped lecture series in 1989, Coe said:

Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had…But they bound themselves together in an agreement…Two years before they moved into Poland, these three men had…systematically a plan drawn out…to annihilate the entire Polish population and destroy by numbers every single house…every single building in Warsaw and then to start on the rest of Poland.” Coe added that it worked; they killed six and a half million “Polish people.”

Though he calls Nazis “these enemies of ours,” he compares their commitment to Jesus’ demands: “Jesus said, ‘You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.’ Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.”

Coe also compared Jesus’s teachings to the Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution

. Fellowship members are taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao and that their genocide allegations  wasn’t an issue for them, it was the strength that they emulated that was of vitasl importance.

The Fellowship is associated with an organization called ‘C Street’, which has drawn national attention for its connections to the extra-marital affairs of Senator John Ensign and Governor Mark Sanford.

Prominent evangelical Christians have described the organization as one of the most, or the most, politically well-connected ministries in the world.

American lawmakers have mentioned The Fellowship more than any other organization when asked to name a ministry with the most influence on their faith.

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