TBR News January 26, 2016

Jan 26 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 25, 2016:” Ilove to read in the media about the thrilling exploits of the “US-led coalition.’ Actually, there is no ‘US-led coalition’, at least in the anti-ISIS war. The pontification US authorities assured their few readers in America that we were punishing various people but in fact, we were not. After all, the Saudi’s started ISIS out of warped religious convictions and they were trained by the CIA and armed with American-made weapons. Now that the Russians are putting a violent and permanent end to the ISIS reign of terror, the US is running up the road, behind Putin, squealing, ‘Wait for me! Wait for me!” And now, no one is paying any attention and our leaders are seriously considering threatening Iceland with immediate invasion if they won’t give us access to their oil. And later, we can discuss the entertaining Israeli myth of an enormous oil field right under the Golan Heights. Israel wants to sieze it to assuage her expansionist efforts so they invented the oil story to encourage the US to invade this area just for them. Of course, like the stolen Sycran oil, sent via a delightedly cooperative Turkey, Israel would be very happy to ship this oil to the US. That is, if it ever existed, which it doesn’t!”

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. 66

Date: Wednesday, February 12, 1997

Commenced: 11:15 AM CST

Concluded: 11:45 AM CST


RTC: That has to be you, Gregory. Such timing. Corson was speaking with me a few minutes ago about you. Are your ears still ringing?

GD: No.

RTC: Ah, you are so popular. Bill was warning me that we had both best cut you loose because the wrath of God might descend. Bill has a paper asshole.

GD: Who is it this time? The Pope?

RTC: No, the Kimmel people. He regularly turns his Justice people loose on both of us. I think they need a new record. The current one gets stuck. Is it true you killed Abraham Lincoln, Gregory? I mean it’s pretty well set that you are the illegitimate son of Adolf Hitler, or is it Josef Stalin? I can’t seem to remember, it’s all so mixed up. Anyway, you are pure evil and have to be kept away from. And do let’s keep the Pope out of this. I had enough trouble with that one.

GD: Which Pope?

RTC: John Paul I. We also went after John Paul II but that one didn’t work, and we didn’t want to try it again.

GD: Why, in God’s name, did you want to kill the Pope? And out of curiosity, how did you pull it off?

RFC: The first one was going to put a terrible crimp in our drug business out of Italy and we tried to do the second one to blame the Russians. It was a sort of a game with us. Always try to do a bad bit and make it look like the Russians did it.

GD: The drug business? What did the Pope have to do with drugs?

RTC: He didn’t. It was the bank there that did. He had nothing to do with it but it was the Vatican bank.

GD: The Vatican bank was involved with drugs?

RTC: No, we used it to launder money. Who, I ask you, who would ever question the Vatican bank? It was the Mafia who had the inside bank contacts and, believe me, there was a lot of money moving around. Let’s see, the Pope was elected in, I think, August of ’79. He replaced Montini. Former Vatican Secretary of State….he was Paul VI. Anyway, we had a fine working arrangement with the Italian Mafia about the movement of money as I said.

GD: I met Montini once, I think in ’51.

RTC: The new one had been in Venice….Luciani….

GD: There was another one from Venice….

RTC: I know but not the same one. That was back in the ‘60s. But the new Pope posed quite a problem. He had been told that there were certain irregularities in the IOR…that’s the Vatican bank. And the new Pope was inclined to be honest and was demanding a full review of the books and so on. If this had happened, a good deal would have been uncovered, so the Pope had to go. It was that simple, Gregory. Politics had nothing to do with it, nothing at all.

GD: Couldn’t someone have cooked the books? Was murder necessary?

RTC: You don’t understand the whole picture, Gregory. The Mafia was involved in this up to their eyebrows and if any of it had come out, someone would have talked and pointed to us. We couldn’t have that. We had to get rid of Dag Hammarskjold because he was interfering with the uranium people in the Congo. It was nothing personal at all.

GD: How did you do it?

RTC: Our Station Chief in Rome ran the show. Contacts in the Vatican and especially with Buzonetti, the Pope’s doctor. My God, old Renata cost us plenty. On our payroll since God knows when. And our Political Psychological Division worked on this to put the blame on the KGB. And the P-2 Lodge was also involved and they were ours.

GD: The what?

RTC: The P-2 Lodge was an Italian Masonic group and early in 1970, we got our hands on it. It was designed to attract right wing Italian bankers and businessmen to combat the very active Italian Communist party.  No, if the Pope had started something, it would have wrecked years of hard work on our part and ruined some of our more important assets. In the end, it was money, not Renaissance-style politics, that did Luciani in.

GD: Does the Vatican know now?

RTC: Suspects, but would rather not know anything. After the Pope assumed room temperature, we consolidated and revamped the system. There was quite a bit of mopping-up to do. We had to kill off a number of Italian players who had been pushed out of the picture and were longing to get back into the money. One hanged himself from a bridge in England. Obviously killed himself out of remorse.

GD: Stalin said once that it was not difficult to execute a murder, but much more difficult to arrange a suicide.

RTC: Josef was a clever man.

GD: And, he said, “No man, no problem.”

RTC: That one I know. A friend and co-worker had that up over his desk. I am not joking.

GD: Oh, I believe it, Robert. It is lawful to be taught by your enemies.

RTC: I detect a critical attitude here, Gregory. You have to realize that the amount of money we were, and are, making from our drug partnerships is nothing to walk away from. Vast sums of money, Gregory, and enormous political power therefrom.

GD: I can see that, but one day they will go too far.

RTC: The Kennedy business is a classic example why nothing will ever come of this sort of thing. If you publish the ZIPPER material you already have and what I am going to give you, you will only excite the conspiracy buffs, all of whom will gather together and hiss at you and heap coals of fire on your head. Let us say that you write a newspaper article on what I just told you. It would never get published and within minutes of your submitting it to an editor, we would be notified.

GD: And then you’d shoot me?

RTC: No, trash you. Laugh at you. Get our little broken down academics to piss on you. The press would ignore you completely and eventually, you would find something else to do. Now, on the other hand, if you had been one of us and had inside knowledge and worse, proof, you would perish very quickly. The faulty brakes while driving on dangerous mountain roads, an overdose of some kind of popular drug and dead in an overheated apartment. Things like that. But as an outsider, just laughter and silence. Of course, there are those who would believe you and if you wrote about this business with the Pope and mentioned some Italian names, you might get different treatment. The bomb under the front seat of your car or something crude like that. But we wouldn’t have done it and I would recommend against stirring those people up. We would look into your tax records and turn the IRS loose on you or let your wife know you were boffing a nice waitress at a cheap local motel. Or one of your nice children would be introduced to dangerous drugs. That’s more effective than a bomb in the car or someone shooting you dead in a parking garage. The Italians tend to be very emotional, and we do not.

GD: The Italians once said that he who went softly went safely and he who went safely went far.

RTC: It would be less messy if they actually practiced that sentiment.

GD: By the way, Robert, why did you go after the other Pope? I assume that’s the one that got shot by the Arab in front of the Vatican.

RTC: Yes, but not an Arab, a Turk. They do not like to be equated with Arabs. That one? Actually, we thought that if we had him done in right in front of everybody, it would draw a lot of attention and we could really blame it on the KGB. It was a perfect set up. He was a Polack who was agitating the Solidarity people against Russia, so who would be the most logical suspect? And we had been financing the Turkish Grey Wolves for some time. They got the hit man for us. Of course, he didn’t know anything so no one shot him in the courtroom.

GD: Que bono! But for no other reason?

RTC: Isn’t that enough? Turn all the world’s Catholics against the Russians in a hurry.

GD: Let’s see here. One Pope for sure, another shot at, a dead UN chief, a dead American president, assorted deceased South American leaders, a Pakistani or two, at least one high level Indian, and so on. I would hope not all for such trivial motives.

RTC: Turning huge number of people against Russia is not a trivial motive at all.

GD: The wheel does turn, Robert, it does. And what is now at the bottom comes to the top. Out of curiosity, have you killed any Israelis?

RTC: No, they know just how far to go, and we work very closely with them. They do a lot of our dirty work for us. They blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon and, of course, we blamed it on the Arabs. It goes on, Gregory, and if you had sat in my chair and walked in my shoes, you would be a bit more understanding.

GD: This is not aimed at you, of course.

RTC: If it were, I wouldn’t be defending you to the monkeys when they jabber about you. They aren’t worth much. I think your problem is that you never were in a position of command and at a high level. If you had been, you would be less judgmental.

GD: I am just an amateur, Robert, just a dilettante. Thank God.


(Concluded at 11:45 CST)


Failed States and States of Failure

We Destroyed the Cities to Save Them” and Other Future Headlines

January 25, 2016

by Tom Engelhardt,



One of the charms of the future is its powerful element of unpredictability, its ability to ambush us in lovely ways or bite us unexpectedly in the ass. Most of the futures I imagined as a boy have, for instance, come up deeply short, or else I would now be flying my individual jet pack through the spired cityscape of New York and vacationing on the moon. And who, honestly, could have imagined the Internet, no less social media and cyberspace (unless, of course, you had read William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer 30 years ago)? Who could have dreamed that a single country’s intelligence outfits would be able to listen in on or otherwise intercept and review not just the conversations and messages of its own citizens – imagine the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century – but those of just about anyone on the planet, from peasants in the backlands of Pakistan to at least 35 leaders of major and minor countries around the world? This is, of course, our dystopian present, based on technological breakthroughs that even sci-fi writers somehow didn’t imagine.

And who thought that the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street were coming down the pike or, for that matter, a terror caliphate in the heart of the former Middle East or a Donald Trump presidential run that would go from success to success amid free media coverage the likes of which we’ve seldom seen? (Small career tip: don’t become a seer. It’s hell on Earth.)

All of this might be considered the bad but also the good news about the future. On an increasingly grim globe that seems to have failure stamped all over it, the surprises embedded in the years to come, the unexpected course changes, inventions, rebellions, and interventions offer, at least until they arrive, grounds for hope. On the other hand, in that same grim world, there’s an aspect of the future that couldn’t be more depressing: the repetitiveness of so much that you might think no one would want to repeat. I’m talking about the range of tomorrow’s headlines that could be written today and stand a painfully reasonable chance of coming true.

I’m sure you could produce your own version of such future headlines in a variety of areas, but here are mine when it comes to Washington’s remarkably unwinnable wars, interventions, and conflicts in the Greater Middle East and increasingly Africa.

What “Victory” Looks Like

Let’s start with an event that occurred in Iraq as 2015 ended and generated headlines that included “victory,” a word Americans haven’t often seen in the twenty-first century – except, of course, in Trumpian patter. (“We’re going to win so much – win after win after win – that you’re going to be begging me: ‘Please, Mr. President, let us lose once or twice. We can’t stand it any more.’ And I’m going to say: ‘No way. We’re going to keep winning. We’re never going to lose. We’re never, ever going to lose.’”) I’m talking about the “victory” achieved at Ramadi, a city in al-Anbar Province that Islamic State (IS or ISIL) militants seized from the Iraqi army in May 2015. With the backing of the U.S. Air Force – there were more than 600 American air strikes in and around Ramadi in the months leading up to that victory – and with U.S.-trained and U.S.-financed local special ops units leading the way, the Iraqi military did indeed largely take back that intricately booby-trapped and mined city from heavily entrenched IS militants in late December. The news was clearly a relief for the Obama administration and those headlines followed.

And here’s what victory turned out to look like: according to the Iraqi defense minister, at least 80% of the city of 400,000 was destroyed. Rubblized. Skeletized. “City” may be what it’s still called, but it’s hardly an accurate description. According to New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, who visited Ramadi soon after the “victory,” few inhabitants remained. Of an Iraqi counterterrorism general there with him, Hubbard wrote:

In one neighborhood, he stood before a panorama of wreckage so vast that it was unclear where the original buildings had stood. He paused when asked how residents would return to their homes. ‘Homes?’ he said. ‘There are no homes.’”

Hubbard also cited the head of the Anbar provincial council as estimating that “rebuilding the city would require $12 billion.” (Other Iraqi officials put that figure at $10 billion.) That’s money no one has, including an Iraqi government increasingly strapped by plummeting oil prices – and keep in mind that that’s only a single destroyed community. The earlier, smaller victories of the Kurds at Kobane and Sinjar in Syria, also backed by devastating U.S. air power, destroyed those towns in a similar fashion, as for instance has Bashar al-Assad’s barrel bombing air force and military in parts of the city of Aleppo and in the now thoroughly devastated city of Homs in central Syria. The Russians have, of course, entered the fray, too, in the American style, bombing and advising.

Let’s add one more thing before we write our future headlines. The day after President Obama gave his final State of the Union address, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Eighteen hundred of that division’s members are soon to be deployed to Iraq to aid Iraqi military units in their drive to retake parts of their country from the Islamic State. For those future advisers, Carter elaborated on the president’s plans, laying out in some detail how he (and presumably Obama) saw the conflict playing out. Favoring the image of the Islamic State as a metastasizing cancer, he said:

The ISIL parent tumor has two centers – Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq. ISIL has used its control of these cities and nearby territories as a power base from which to derive considerable financial resources, manpower, and ideological outreach. They constitute ISIL’s military, political, economic, and ideological centers of gravity.

That’s why our campaign plan’s map has got big arrows pointing at both Mosul and Raqqa. We will begin by collapsing ISIL’s control over both of these cities and then engage in elimination operations through other territories ISIL holds in Iraq and Syria.”

In fact, such a campaign would give “elimination operations” new meaning, since it would clearly involve quite literally eliminating the urban infrastructure of significant parts of the region. Three cities are, in fact, at present targeted: Fallujah (population perhaps 300,000), the other major IS-controlled city in al-Anbar Province, Mosul (the second largest city in Iraq, with a population presently estimated at 1 to 1.5 million), and Raqqa, the Syrian “capital” of the Islamic State, now reportedly stuffed with refugees (population 200,000-plus). Put them together and you have a 2016 plan for a U.S.-backed set of campaigns in Iraq and Syria based on the same formula as the taking of Ramadi: massive American air power in support of heavily trained and advised Iraqi special ops forces and army units or, in Syria, Kurdish peshmerga outfits and assorted Kurdish and Syrian rebels. Add in the Islamic State’s urge to turn the urban areas it holds into giant bombs and what you have is a plan for the rubblization of yet more cities in the region.

There has, of course, been much talk about an offensive to retake Mosul since relatively small numbers of Islamic State fighters captured the city from tens of thousands of fleeing Iraqi troops in June 2014. There was, for instance, a highly touted spring offensive against Mosul that was much discussed in early 2015 but never happened, so it’s impossible to be sure that the overstretched, generally underperforming Iraqi military will even make it to Mosul in 2016 or that there will be any non-American “boots” available to take Raqqa, especially since that city sits well outside any imaginable future Kurdistan. Still, assuming all went “well,” we essentially know what the future holds: Ramadi-style “victories.”

As a result, the end of the year headline for American/Iraqi/Kurdish/Syrian rebel operations – adapted from an infamous 1968 line by an anonymous American officer in Vietnam after U.S. planes had pummeled the provincial capital of Ben Tre – would be: “We Destroyed the Cities to Save Them.”

Based on Ramadi, you could then perhaps offer these “ballpark” (not that any stadiums would be left standing) future estimates for rebuilding: Falluja, $10 billion; Raqqa, $7 billion; Mosul, $20 to $25 billion. Those are obviously fantasy figures, but the point is that “success” against and “victory” over the Islamic State would undoubtedly leave much of the region a modern Carthage. And who would pay for a new Ramadi, or Mosul, or Fallujah, or Raqqa, no less all of them and more?

Put another way, “victory” would mean that Iraq will have far fewer habitable cities and a far larger number of displaced people whose resettlement will undoubtedly be subject to the ethnic tensions that helped fuel the Islamic State in the first place. This represents a reasonably predictable future, one that should be obvious enough to anyone who took a half-serious look at the situation. It certainly should be obvious to Ashton Carter, as well as to American planners at the Pentagon and in the Obama administration. And yet the planning goes on as if “victory” were a meaningful category under the circumstances.

And here’s the thing: you can join the Islamic State in blowing up the physical plant of Syria and parts of Iraq and then eject its fighters from the rubble, but you’ll be destroying the means of existence of a vast, increasingly unsettled population. What you may not be able to do in the process is destroy a movement that began in an American military prison in Iraq and has always been a set of ideas. You may simply create a legend.

Unleashing the Special Operators and the Drones

Now, let’s consider another set of potential future headlines linked to present planning and past experience. Secretary of Defense Carter claims that the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State is focused on creating “sustainable political stability in the region,” by which he means not just the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, but all of the Greater Middle East. As he said to the members of the 101st Airborne:

Next, let me describe the fight outside of Iraq and Syria. As we work to destroy the parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, we must also recognize that ISIL is metastasizing in areas such as North Africa, Afghanistan, and Yemen. The threat posed by ISIL, and groups like it, is continually evolving, changing focus and shifting location. It requires from us, therefore, a flexible and nimble response with a broad reach.”

For this, he clearly plans to let loose American Special Operations forces not just in Syria but elsewhere on assassination missions against key Islamic State figures or those heading their distant franchises. He’s also intent on sending in the drones across the region in “counter-terror operations and strikes on high-value targets” to “act decisively to prevent ISIL affiliates from becoming as great of a threat as the parent tumor itself.”

As with the future taking of cities in Iraq and Syria, there is an experiential baseline for such operations across the region. In his book Kill Chain, Andrew Cockburn has called this approach to the enemy “the kingpin strategy.” It was first used in the drug wars in Latin America and Central America in the 1990s and then, after 9/11, adapted to the weaponized drone and special operations forces. The idea was to dismantle drug cartels or later terror outfits from the top down by taking out their leadership figures.

In fact, in both the drug wars and the terror wars, as Cockburn shows, the results of this strategy have been repetitiously calamitous. The drone, for instance, has proven remarkably capable of “eliminating” both the top leadership of terror groups and key “lieutenants” as well as other influential figures in those organizations – with the grimmest results: under the pressure of the drones and those special ops raids, such organizations (like the drug cartels before them) simply replaced their dead leaders with often younger and even more aggressive figures, while attacks rose and the groups themselves, instead of folding up, spread across the Greater Middle East and deep into Africa. The drones, bringing with them relatively widespread “collateral damage,” including the deaths of significant numbers of children, have terrorized the societies over which they cruise and so proved an ideal recruitment poster for those spreading terror groups.

Hence, first in the Bush era in a seat-of-the-pants way and then in the Obama years in a highly organized fashion, drone assassination campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia killed leadership figures while functionally helping to spread the terror organizations they directed. They have, that is, been engaged not in a war on terror, but in a war for terror. When you look at the expansion of those terror outfits, including the growing numbers of “franchises” of the Islamic State, it should be obvious that, from special ops missions to drone assassinations, from full-scale invasions to the destruction of cities, the 14-plus years of varied American strategies and military tactics have repetitively contributed to one horror after another, sucking much of the region into the vortex.

What’s striking when you listen to Secretary of Defense Carter is that, obvious as this may be, none of it seems to truly penetrate in Washington. Otherwise how do you explain the lack of any serious recalibration of American actions, the only debate being between those in the Obama administration, including the president, who favor a version of mission creep and their Republican critics who favor doing more in a bigger way? In other words, in 2016 we’re clearly going to witness further rounds of the utterly familiar with – somehow – the expectation that something different will happen. Since that’s not likely, for the next set of future headlines just reach into the familiar past, substituting, when necessary, the future terror kingpin’s name: “AQAP [al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula] announces death of [fill in name] in U.S. drone strike,” “U.S.: ISIS no. 2 killed in U.S. drone strike in Iraq,” “Army elite Delta Force kills top ISIS official, [fill in name], in daring Syria raid,” “Pentagon says senior al-Qaeda leader killed in drone strike,” and so on more or less ad infinitum.

The Arc of Instability

Recently, with Ashton Carter’s strategy for “stability” on my mind, I caught a phrase in a news report that I hadn’t heard for quite a while. A journalist, perhaps on NPR, was discussing the recent al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terror attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso, a previously relatively stable country in West Africa, where at least 30 died, mainly foreigners. He spoke of a spreading “arc of instability” in the region.

Back in the early years of the century, officials of the Bush administration and supportive neocons regularly used that phrase to describe the Greater Middle East, from Pakistan to North Africa. Strangely enough, it disappeared in the post-Iraqi invasion years and remained largely absent in the Obama years as the disastrous Libyan intervention, presidentially orchestrated drone assassination campaigns, and other actions helped further transform the Greater Middle East into a genuine “arc of instability.”

Today, in a way that would have been unimaginable back in 2002-2003, the region is filled with failing or failed states from Afghanistan and Syria to Libya, Yemen, and Mali. While Iraq may not quite be a failed state, it is no longer exactly a country either, but something like a tripartite entity. And so it goes, and so it evidently will go if the U.S., as in 2015, drops another 23,000 bombs and thousands of additional munitions on the region – or far more, as seems likely under the mission-creep pressure of the war with the Islamic State.

We can’t, of course, know just what countries will fail next. However, it’s safe to assume that, as long as the Obama strategy – and the Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz or Donald Trump or Marco Rubio one that may follow – involves more (or much more) of the same, more (or much more) of the same is likely to happen. As a result, similar predictable headlines will appear, as countries dissolve in various ways and the Islamic State, groups like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or newly founded terror outfits gain footholds amid the chaos. In that case, you only have to look into the recent past for headlines-to-come and adapt them slightly: “ISIS Is Building ‘Little Nests’ in [name of country here], U.S. Defense Secretary Warns,” “ISIS Is Gaining Ground in [name of country here], Competing with al-Qaeda,” “Islamic State Gained Strength in [name of country] by Co-opting Local Jihadists,“ and so on.

Amid the grimly predictable, there are, of course, many unknowns. Above all, we have no idea what it means at this point in history to turn a region, city by city, country by country, into something like a vast failed state and then continue to bomb the rubble. How do we begin to imagine what could emerge from the ruins of such a failed region in such a world, from an arc of instability far vaster than anything we have contemplated since World War II? I wouldn’t want to predict the headlines that could someday emerge from that situation, but whatever surprises are in store for us, the mere prospect of such a future should make your blood run cold.


Zika virus suspected of causing brain damage to babies to spread throughout Americas – WHO

January 25, 2016


The mosquito-borne Zika virus is set to spread in all countries across the Americas, except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization has warned.

Women planning to travel to areas where Zika is circulating should consult their healthcare provider before traveling and on return, the WHO said.

In Brazil 2,700 cases of birth defects are suspected to have been triggered by Zika and authorities urging the Brazilian women to postpone childbirth.

After the number of reported cases skyrocketed from 147 in 2014 to more than 2,400 in 2015, six Brazilian regions declared the state of emergency.

The Zika virus can be transmitted through blood and has also been detected in human semen, the WHO has stated. The mother-to-child transmission, both during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding, is still to be examined.

The organization added, though, that it remains to be confirmed if the disease is sexually transmitted

Zika is spread by the same mosquitos that carry dengue and yellow fevers.

There is currently no vaccine for the virus, which can cause fever, rashes, joint pains and conjunctivitis within days of being contracted.

For the majority of those affected, the virus leads to a short illness – up to a week, but in some cases, could cause death.

It is suspected that the virus causes brain damage in unborn babies, resulting in microcephaly, a birth defect which sees babies born with abnormally small heads and later experiencing developmental delays.


Nationalism and Its Discontents: The Meaning of Trump

The return of dreaded “isolationism” is cause for celebration

January 25, 2016

by Justin Raimondo,


At the end of the cold war, a cadre of neoconservative intellectuals surveyed the debris of the fallen Soviet colossus and boldly proclaimed “the end of history.” The West, said Francis Fukuyama, writing in The National Interest, had won not only the cold war but also the war of ideas –   for all time. We were inevitably embarked on a pathway to a “universal homogenous state,” and although the pageant of History (always capitalized!) would continue to “unfold” along a rather bumpy road, in the end it would prove to be a highway to US hegemony over the entire earth. In a symposium commenting on Fukuyama’s thesis, the ever-practical Charles Krauthammer nevertheless insisted that it would be necessary for the United States to hurry History along by force of arms. In a subsequent polemic in Foreign Affairs, he argued that we ought to take advantage of “the unipolar moment” to “integrate” the US, Japan, and Europe into a “super-sovereign” global empire united by a “new universalism” – which, he averred, “is not as outrageous as it sounds.”

Blinded by hubris, enthralled by the possibilities of unlimited power, the neocons – and their liberal internationalist doppelgangers on the other side of the political spectrum – didn’t see the nationalist backlash coming.

That rebuke was prefigured by a stinging rebuttal from the pen of Patrick J. Buchanan in the pages of The National Interest, who wrote that Krauthammer’s vision was “un-American,” pure and simple. In Buchanan’s view, this militarized universalism was nothing less than treason. Invoking the Founders, he wrote that this globalist fantasy failed “the fundamental test of any foreign policy: Americans will not die for it.” A nation’s purpose, he added, cannot be ascertained “by consulting ideologies, but by reviewing its history, by searching the hearts of its people.” So what, if not the “benevolent global hegemony” dreamt of by the neocons, would and should Americans fight for? Buchanan’s answer was to quote these stanzas from Lord Macaulay:

And how can man die better

That facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his gods?”

Buchanan’s answer to Krauthammer’s globalism was a foreign policy of “enlightened nationalism”: “total withdrawal of US troops from Europe,” and a rejection of the idea – nowhere authorized in the Constitution – that the President and/or Congress has the power to sacrifice its sons on the altar of some crazed crusade for “global democracy.” Prophesizing the declaration of President George W. Bush some fifteen years later that we would seek to “end evil” in the world, Buchanan raised the banner of non-interventionism in the pre-9/11 world: that is, in a country that was primed to hear his message.

He took that message to the Republican party, and the country, in three campaigns for the White House, all the while warning that the “unipolar world” dreamed of by Krauthammer and his fellow neocons was a dangerous fantasy, and that the rising tide of nationalism, from Beijing to Biloxi, would make short work of it. A multi-polar world was on the horizon, and the best we could hope for was to adapt to the new reality by tending to our own garden, which had – after a long global struggle with the (alleged) Soviet threat – by this time become choked with weeds and in need of emergency care.

The same nationalist tides that were sweeping the post-cold war world in Europe and Asia were roiling the waters in America, but they took on a different shape and coloration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Whereas Buchananism was inward-looking, anti-interventionist, and anti-globalist, the ultra-nationalism utilized by the neocons to mobilize the American people behind a crusade to transform the Middle East was and is aggressive, militaristic, and explicitly hegemonist – a bid to create the “unipolar world” of Krauthammer’s Napoleonic imagination.

This interrupted and in effect reversed the natural tendency to return to normalcy after the decades-long cold war struggle, and at a huge price in blood and treasure. And yet eventually the pendulum swung back again, as exhaustion – both emotional and financial – set in. America elected a President who vowed to end the wars, and deal with our festering home front crisis: that promise, however was not kept, and Barack Obama will leave office with the US once again in the middle of at least three wars, and with a hand in several others on their periphery. Yet the nationalist impulse – which is, in part, an “isolationist” impulse – is stronger than ever, laying just beneath the surface of the American political landscape, waiting for someone to pick up its banner.

That someone turned out to be Donald Trump.

I have many disagreements with Trump, but unlike his many enemies on the left and especially on the right I understand that his nationalism contains elements that are  useful, instructive, and even admirable. Unlike Buchanan, he is certainly no intellectual, but then again the last intellectual to inhabit the White House – Woodrow Wilson – was an unambiguous disaster for the cause of peace and liberty, and so I don’t hold that against The Donald. There is surely a demagogic element to his astonishing rise, which his opponents – particularly those on the right – make much of. The recent jeremiad against him launched by the neocons over at National Review was filled with comparisons to Mussolini, Juan Peron, Hitler (of course!), and even Andrew Dice Clay, this latter barb a direct appeal to the smug snobbery that characterizes our urban elites. “He’s “vulgar,” he’s “rude,” etc. etc., and those were some of the gentler ways they characterized him personally.

Yet demagoguery didn’t bother them when it was deployed by George W. Bush as he marched us off to a disastrous war – a war Trump opposed, and continues to denounce today – and implied that his critics were in league with America’s enemies. “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” – remember that one? Do you recall how Bush’s partisans over at National Review tried to tar conservative and libertarian opponents of the Iraq war – including this writer – as having “turned their backs on their country”? Demagoguery in the service of mass murder is fine with them: it’s only when their own methods are turned against them that the War Party starts to get religion.

Yes, Trump rose to prominence initially on the strength of his anti-immigration and protectionist stance – views he holds in common with his predecessor, Buchanan – but this doesn’t account for the hysterical opposition to his candidacy coming from the neoconservatives. National Review has been a veritable fount of anti-Muslim propaganda, with the writings of Andrew McCarthy, Mark Steyn, Kevin Williamson, and a host of others all polemicizing against the idea that terrorism is primarily due to US actions abroad and holding that the roots of Bin Ladenism lie in the nature of Islam per se. Given the logic of their longstanding position, how can they object to Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration? Yet there they were, breaking Godwin’s Law and claiming that we’d be facing an American Kristallnacht if Trump gets in the White House. What chutzpah!

No, the real motive behind the neoconservative holy war against Trump is rooted in his foreign policy positions, which the neocons rightly view as a direct threat to their internationalist project.

Discussing the special we-hate-Trump issue of National Review, Matthews cornered poor NR writer Eliana Johnson, who was reduced to stuttering incoherence as he hammered her on what he rightly perceived as the overarching point of unity in “that crowd” on the Trump question: “that’s why they don’t like Trump, because he’s the only guy on the right wing who said [the Iraq war was] a stupid war.” When Johnson denied this, he demanded to know who among the long list of anti-Trump “intellectuals” wasn’t a war-hawk. “Can you answer me?” he persisted. “Who is not a hawk in that group?”

She couldn’t come up with one (although she might have stopped him by mentioning David Boaz, of the Cato Institute).

Boaz’s brief polemic, by the way, didn’t mention foreign policy: he confined his critique to references to Mussolini, George Wallace, and other comparisons seemingly ripped from the pages of Salon.com. Yet other contributors made no secret of the source of their animus. Neocon Mona Charen was appalled by Trump’s suggestion that “we let Russia fight ISIS.” Trump is “oblivious” to the “global jihad,” fumed Andrew McCarthy, angered by Trump’s vow to “stay out of the [Syrian] fray (leaving it in Vladimir Putin’s nefarious hands).” Bill Kristol was one of the signers, a man whose key role in ginning up the Iraq war is well-known to my readers.

A recent piece in Politico was more explicit about the danger Trump poses to the internationalist-interventionist consensus that reigns supreme in the Washington Beltway:

One of the most common misconceptions about Donald Trump is that he is opportunistic and makes up his views as he goes along. But a careful reading of some of Trump’s statements over three decades shows that he has a remarkably coherent and consistent worldview, one that is unlikely to change much if he’s elected president. It is also a worldview that makes a great leap backward in history, embracing antiquated notions of power that haven’t been prevalent since prior to World War II.

It is easy to poke fun at many of Trump’s foreign-policy notions – the promises to “take” Iraq’s oil, to extract a kind of imperial ‘tribute’ from U.S. military allies like South Korea, his eagerness to emulate the Great Wall of China along the border with Mexico, and his embrace of old-style strongmen like Vladimir Putin. But many of these views would have found favor in pre-World War II – and even, in some cases, 19th century – America.

In sum, Trump believes that America gets a raw deal from the liberal international order it helped to create and has led since World War II. He has three key arguments that he returns to time and again over the past 30 years. He is deeply unhappy with America’s military alliances and feels the United States is overcommitted around the world. He feels that America is disadvantaged by the global economy. And he is sympathetic to authoritarian strongmen. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.”

All this is heresy in the circles in which the author – Thomas Wright, director of the Project on International Order and Strategy at The Brookings Institution – travels. Brookings is in hock to the Gulf emirate of Qatar to the tune of $14.8 million, according to the New York Times. This accounts for Wright’s discomfort with The Donald’s view of America’s expensive and often tragic commitments to defending other nations “that would be wiped off the face of the earth if not for us,” as the former real estate mogul puts it.

Wright’s characterization of Trump’s attitude toward Putin as an “embrace” is a typical ploy by the War Party, which always portrays a non-belligerent stance as a love affair: what Trump actually said, however, is that “I could get along with Putin” – a definite no-no in Washington, where the new cold war is raging on both sides of the aisle. Contrast this with the position taken by most of the other GOP candidates, such as Christie, Rubio, and Bush, who proudly proclaim they’d confront Russian planes in the skies over Syria, risking World War III.

Examining Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements over the years – the GOP frontrunner wonders why we are stationing 28,000 troops in South Korea, complains that we’re defending Japan while they slap tariffs on our products, and says we have no business stationing tens of thousands of soldiers in Europe, which can damn well take care of itself – Wright trots out the hate figures interventionists love to excoriate. Trump is like Robert A. Taft, who didn’t want us to join NATO: he’s like Charles Lindbergh, a leader of the anti-interventionist America First Committee, a particular hate-figure of the interventionist-neocon foreign policy Establishment. And, of course, Trump is an “isolationist,” because he’s sick of coddling our shiftless “allies” while they rip us off and laugh at us behind our back, all the while huddling under the protective wingspan of the American eagle.

All of this is no doubt reassuring to Wright’s Qatari paymasters, who have a lot to lose if Trump should win the White House and present them with a bill for services rendered. But in reading Wright’s list of Trumpist foreign policy heresies, one can’t help but think that the average American would agree with each and every one of The Donald’s complaints about the profligate paternalism involved in maintaining this precious “international order” Wright would have us enforce for free. He maintains that “those alliances also work to America’s benefit by providing it with prepositioned forces and regional stability. It would actually cost more to station troops in the United States and have to deploy them overseas in a crisis.” But his rationale is a classic example of circular reasoning: he assumes it is our sacred duty to intervene everywhere. A “crisis,” for him, is the possibility that the Emir of Qatar will lose his throne, or that the Saudis will one day be confronted with the consequences of their inveterate barbarism. Ordinary Americans – i.e. Trump supporters – would consider that turn of events a comeuppance waiting to happen.

Tax these wealthy nations,” says Trump, “not America” – a prospect that no doubt horrifies Wright and his foreign sponsors, but delights Americans to no end. Which is precisely why Trumpian nationalism has such resonance this election season.

In Wright’s view, Trump is not only unduly rude to our alleged “friends,” he is far too friendly to our alleged enemies, i.e. Russia and China. Wright admits, parenthetically, that these two pose no threat to the American homeland, but rather to “the US-led order,” i.e. the albatross of our global empire, where – as the Old Right writer Garet Garrett put it – “everything goes out and nothing comes in.”

As is routine for our war propagandists, Wright accuses Trump of having a soft spot for authoritarian leaders. Since Trump doesn’t want to threaten Putin and the Chinese with regime-change, this must mean he admires – and even wants to emulate – their domestic policies. It’s an absurd position to take, and, not coincidentally, the very same illogic that led to the Iraq war. “He’s killing his own people,” went the refrain about Saddam Hussein – and if you didn’t favor regime-change in Iraq, that must mean you approved of Saddam’s dictatorship. We can see where that line “reasoning” led, but Wright and his fellow policy wonks haven’t learned that lesson even if the American people have.

Wright gleefully cites Putin’s comments on Trump:

He says he wants to move on to a new, more substantial relationship, a deeper relationship with Russia, how can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”

This horrifies Wright, but what is wrong with getting along with the leader of the Russian state – a person who has at his command thousands of nuclear weapons and has often expressed wonderment at Washington’s rebuke of every attempt at rapprochement? With the threat of a new arms race looming large and a new cold war on the horizon, the biggest danger to international peace is our deteriorating relations with Russia. Trump realizes this: Wright, not so much. And the American people are behind Trump in this: asked by pollsters if we should get involved in a dispute with Russia over Ukraine, the overwhelming answer was a resounding “No!”

It’s not hard to imagine these two men sitting down to cut a deal,” says Wright, but surely cutting a deal to reduce the nuclear arsenals of both nations and resume cooperation in tracking down “loose nukes” floating around the former Soviet Union is a good thing. Except it isn’t a good thing as far as our new Cold Warriors are concerned. Wright derides Putin and Trump for holding an “antiquated” view of world politics, but what could be more antiquated than launching another cold war with Russia – a quarter century after the fall of the Soviet Union?

As for China, Wright is at his wit’s end because Trump seems unconcerned with “its attempts to blunt US power projection capabilities or its repression at home.” And yet “power projection” is just another word for military aggression, which is bound to provoke a response from the highly nationalistic Chinese. Are we supposed to go to war over the Spratly Islands and a collection of artificial atolls in the South China Sea – thousands of  miles away from American shores? Seriously? Wright pretends to be concerned about China’s repressive domestic policies, but threatening behavior on our part will only empower the sclerotic leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and strengthen their position domestically. Wright fails to understand the power of rising nationalism abroad, just as he disdains its manifestations here in America.

It’s almost funny how Wright portrays the threat to his treasured “US-led order”:

There will be massive uncertainty around America’s commitments. Would Trump defend the Baltics? Would he defend the Senkaku Islands? Or Saudi Arabia? Some nations will give in to China, Russia and Iran. Others, like Japan, will push back, perhaps by acquiring nuclear weapons. Trump may well see such uncertainty as a positive. Putting everything in play would give him great leverage. But by undoing the work of Truman and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, it would be the end of the American era.”

The idea that Putin is raring to gobble up the Baltics is one of the cold warriors’ talking points, but it is absurd on its face: does he really think Putin is dumb enough to replicate the US invasion of Iraq in a European setting? Don’t make me laugh. Crimea wanted union with Russia, and that’s what the Crimeans got: given the way Ukraine is being governed, who can blame them? But it is sheer fiction to imagine that Putin wants to recreate the Warsaw Pact: he is playing defense to NATO’s game of offense.

As for the Senkaku Islands – what in the name of all that’s holy is the US interest in defending these useless atolls? Are we supposed to go to war with China over these five uninhabited specks – which are also claimed by Taiwan, our ally? Let’s take a national poll over that burning question: I can guarantee you the answer in advance.

To understand Trump, in the end, we have to go back to Taft and Lindbergh,” avers Wright, and in this he is absolutely correct. It’s a pity some of my libertarian friends fail to see this, but they are blinded by cultural factors and held captive by political correctness: immigration matters more to them than foreign policy. What they don’t understand is that the question of war and peace is the central issue of modern times. They fail to appreciate the foreign policy paradigm shift represented by Trump’s political success. However, Wright does understand it, along with his neoconservative comrades over at National Review and the Weekly Standard.

For Wright, Trump is Taft and Lindbergh all rolled up into one:

The difference is that, unlike Trump, Taft was not outside the mainstream of his time. Many people believed America was safe and that it did not matter who ran Europe. Also, unlike Trump, Taft was boring and struggled to break through the noise in several nomination battles. The more bombastic and controversial figure was Lindbergh, the man who became a household name as the first person to fly across the Atlantic. Lindbergh led a national movement that was divisive, xenophobic and sympathetic to Nazi Germany.”

Of course, the America First antiwar movement, which opposed US entry into the European war, reflected the overwhelming majority sentiment of the American people, who opposed intervention before Pearl Harbor. So what Wright is saying is that most Americans in the year 1940 were “sympathetic to Nazi Germany.” This was the line of the Communist Party at the time, which – along with the Party’s liberal-left fellow-travelers – was eager to see us get into the war in order to save Stalin’s bacon. That this nonsense is now gospel among the foreign policy mavens who inhabit the corridors of power in Washington should tell us everything we need to know about what’s wrong in the Imperial City.

What scares Wright – and the Establishment of both parties – is that Trump is changing what it means to be “mainstream.” When Lindsey Graham, who wants to invade Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Ukraine – for a start – gets less than 1 percent in the polls, and Trump gets 40 percent, the War Party panics. As well they should. I for one take enormous pleasure in imbibing the naked fear Wright and his fellow warmongering wonks exude as the triumph of Trump approaches. Here is Wright, shaking in his boots:

The Republican primary of 2016 is shaping up to be the most important party primary since 1940. Lindbergh did not run, of course. But Taft was in with a strong chance. Only the fact that the field was badly divided created an unexpected opening for Wendell Willkie, an internationalist, to emerge as the nominee at the convention. Some of Roosevelt’s advisers were so relieved at Willkie’s nomination that they advised their boss he no longer had to run for an unprecedented – and controversial – third term.”

Ah, but this time there will be no Wilkie – imposed by the Eastern Establishment after Taft’s delegates were disqualified by party bosses – to save the internationalists from the fate they so richly deserve. And that’s what has Wright in a panic:

The reason we must revisit 1940 is that Republicans have struggled to find a new north star after Iraq. Except for Rand Paul – whose own brand of libertarian isolationism, unlike Trump’s, didn’t sit well with voters – the establishment candidates were not sure whether they still supported Bush 43’s strategy or opposed it. Most tried to muddle through with a critique of President Barack Obama. Marco Rubio stuck to the ambitious Bush 43 approach but found a declining market. Some, like Ted Cruz, tried to deal with the shift in sentiment by cozying up to pro-American dictators and abandoning support for democracy promotion. Cruz even used the isolationist term America First to describe his foreign policy. But Cruz seems to have thought little and said even less about America’s global role outside the Middle East. Ironically for someone with the reputation of being exceptionally smart, he lacks Trump’s detail and substance.”

Poor Wright! The combined poll numbers of the two top candidates for the GOP presidential nomination – one of whom is hated by the neocons, and the other who has openly attacked the neocons – equal over half of Republican primary voters. And the most consistently “isolationist” of the top two is the frontrunner, with his poll numbers rising with every effort to dislodge him. You’ll pardon me if I indulge the temptation to chortle in print: I haven’t had this much fun since Buchanan toppled King George off his pedestal in New Hampshire and declared war on the “New World Order.”

It is in this vacuum that the long-dormant Taftian foreign policy has made an unexpected comeback in the hands of Trump,” says Wright, in despair. “What happens next is anybody’s guess.”

What’s an internationalist to do when the rising tide of American nationalism washes over his foreign-subsidized sandcastle? Cry? Write long articles for Politico? Perhaps both.

I have to say, however, that Trump is hardly the consistent “isolationist” Wright portrays in his piece. He is flighty, and therefore unpredictable. Although his views on trade limn (somewhat) those of the late Chalmers Johnson, who saw the American empire as a tradeoff between Washington and its overseas clients – we would lift trade barriers if they allowed us to station troops on their soil – Trump lacks Johnson’s intellectual solidity, to say the least. Slapping tariffs on Chinese goods would start a trade war that would be disastrous for us, and the world. In short, I don’t give one iota of political support to Trump because he is simply not to be trusted. If he overcomes the odds and does win the White House, “what happens next is anybody’s guess,” as Wright puts it.

Yet Trump’s personal shortcomings are beside the point. The lesson to be taken from this episode is the centrality of foreign policy in the political life of our country. The doggedness with which the internationalists are attacking Trump, the nature of their criticisms, and the viciousness of their tactics is an indication of how hard it will be to dislodge them – just as Trump’s popularity shows how eager Americans are to hear someone tell them that we don’t have to continue being the policeman of the world, and that we’re paying through the nose for something that doesn’t benefit us in the least (although it does benefit outfits like the Brookings Institution, which takes in millions from its foreign sponsors). No matter how inconsistent and even obnoxious Trump may be – and his crazy plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants is certainly a noxious fantasy that will never happen no matter who is elected – it would be a mistake to dismiss him as a random anomaly, or as a “fascist” demagogue as some of the more brainless libertarians have done.

The meaning of Trumpism is that Americans want to rid themselves of the burden of empire: Wright is right about that. Trump’s rise augurs a seismic shift in the foreign policy debate in this country, marking the end of the interventionist consensus that dominates both parties. And it certainly means the final defeat and humiliation of the neoconservatives, who are busy spewing vitriol at him and his “plebeian” supporters. And that alone is worth whatever price we have to pay for the triumph of Trump. For the neocons are the very core of the War Party: their demise as a politically effective force inside the GOP is an event that every person who wants a more peaceful world has been longing for and should celebrate.

When the Republican-controlled Congress in the Clinton era threatened to pull the funding from Bill Clinton’s war in the former Yugoslavia, Bill Kristol threatened to walk out of the GOP. Today, as Trump appears to be the likely Republican presidential nominee, Kristol is threatening to start his own party. Which strikes me as a brilliant ploy: let him run Lindsey Graham as the candidate of the aptly-named War Party – and when America’s foremost warmonger does worse than he did in the primaries, let the chickenhawk-in-chief contemplate the majesty of cosmic justice.


Grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood indicts anti-abortion activists instead

Texas jury indicts activists who prompted their investigation into sting videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue

January 25, 2016

by Molly Redden

The Guardian

In a surprise move, a Texas grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood wrapped up on Monday by issuing several indictments not to the women’s healthcare provider, but to two of the anti-abortion activists who had prompted the investigation.

The grand jury, convened by the Harris County district attorney’s office, indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for tampering with a governmental record, the DA’s office announced. Daleiden received a second indictment under a law prohibiting the purchase and sale of human organs.

Daleiden is the founder of the group, the Center for Medical Progress, that filmed and released a series of sting videos edited so they appeared to show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue in violation of federal law.

Planned Parenthood denies the accusations, saying it donates fetal tissue to medical research companies at no cost. The only money it has received, it says, has been reimbursement for transportation and storage costs. (Planned Parenthood recently announced that it would no longer accept reimbursements.) In a separate lawsuit, filed earlier this month, Planned Parenthood accused Daleiden and his group in court of “engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording, and trespassing”.The accusations in the videos have been disproved, including by a string of state-level investigations that found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. Still, the videos resulted in five separate congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood and unsuccessful efforts by Republicans in Congress to strip the group of some half a billion dollars in federal family planning funds. Conservatives in some half-a-dozen states also attempted to strip the group of hundreds of thousands of dollars of state and federal family planning funds and Medicaid contracts.

In Texas, the indictments conclude a two-month investigation into video taped at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston operated by Planned Parenthood of the gulf coast. Daleiden and Merritt introduced themselves as executives at a biomedical research company and presented fake California drivers’ licenses.

Republican governor Greg Abbott, lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, and the conservative state legislature all called for the investigation, which ultimately involved the DA, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston police department.

We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” district attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

Grand jury investigating Planned Parenthoo

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