TBR News January 9, 2019

Jan 09 2019

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

Washington, D.C. January 9, 2019:”We are surrounded by legions of the True Believers, eagerly reading the more obscure sites on the Internet and quivering with delight as they discover the Real Truth.

True, Fat Jones has been downgraded but how could anyone with an IQ larger than their hat size start their day until they had learned what Real Truths he had revealed?

  • Sandy Hook a movie production?
  • A giant city under the Antarctic ice?
  • New Orleans an optical illusion?
  • 911 actually caused by mutant rats planting Thermeete bombs in the upper lavatories while the Illuminati observed from a hovering helicopter?
  • The Pentagon actually hit by a Bulgarian missile fired from an Israeli submarine?
  • Legions of thought-control devices hidden in public library books and designed to make library visitors ignore the giant Pandas in flowing gowns meeting in the unisex lavatories while plotting the capture of Washington?
  • And we learn that sea levels are not rising but all the land is sinking and that the Loch Ness monster was seen (by Scientists!) in Lake Erie where it attacked a tourist boat full of nuns.
  • The Templars, who actually own the Federal Reserve and the Bank of America, are running Goldman Sachs with 18 foot high unisex robots.
  • And as the cherry on the sundae, the three hundred and sixty two mummies with heads sixteen feet long and clawed hands with twenty three hooked fingers discovered by more Scientists, hidden deep in Peruvian caves along with ancient Coke bottles and badly faded holograms of Marylin Monroe making love to a Giant Panda.
  • And as a finale, the tons of mysterious white powder being dumped on downtown Dubuque, Iowa and designed to influence its inhabitants to buy boxes of gluten-free shoe polish from local stores.

One shoud not ignore all these Real Facts at their peril and mock not the Revealers lest your ear wax explodes out of control.

In the midst of life we are in peanut butter (or something that looks just like it)

Donald Trump says it does not taste the same either but he keeps tubs of it under his bed in the White House for late evening snacks.

He likes the corn found in it.


The Table of Contents

  • 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 9
  • Donald Trump fuels immigration fears in TV address on ‘border crisis’
  • There Is a Real Border Crisis. A Wall Would Only Make It Worse.
  • Government shutdown: Is there a crisis on the US-Mexico border?
  • Trump Foreign Policy for 2019
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations



815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No 9

November 15, 2018

by Daniel Dale Washington Bureau Chief

Toronto Star

WASHINGTON—It took Donald Trump until the 286th day of his presidency to make 815 false claims.

He just made another 815 false claims in a month.

In the 31 days leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Trump went on a lying spree like we have never seen before even from him — an outrageous barrage of serial dishonesty in which he obliterated all of his old records.

How bad have these recent weeks been?

  • Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was double his previous record for a calendar month, 320 in August.
  • Trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the midterm on Nov. 6. In 2017, he averaged 2.9 per day.
  • Trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the midterms (1,176), than he did in all of 2017 (1,011).
  • The three most dishonest single days of Trump’s presidency were the three days leading up to the midterms: 74 on election eve, Nov. 5; 58 on Nov. 3; 54 on Nov. 4.

As always, Trump was being more frequently dishonest in part because he was simply speaking more. He had three campaign rallies on Nov. 5, the day before he set the record, and eight more rallies over the previous five days.

But it was not only quantity. Trump packed his rally speeches with big new lies, repeatedly reciting wildly inaccurate claims about migrants, Democrats’ views on immigration and health care, and his own record. Unlike many of his lies, lots of these ones were written into the text of his speeches.

Trump is now up to 3,749 false claims for the first 661 days of his presidency, an average of 4.4 per day.

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not telling the truth.

  • Oct 20, 2018

“Because the Democrats will end up destroying them both, Medicare, Social Security.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: There is no basis for this claim. Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.


“Remember they used to say two years ago, he’ll never get the women’s vote. I got the women’s vote. I got the women’s vote.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Trump did better with women in 2016 than some observers expected, but he did not “get the women’s vote.” Trump won a 52 per cent majority of white women, according to 2016 exit polls, not a majority of all women; exit polls found that had the support of 42 per cent of all women.

“Hispanic American unemployment has reached its lowest rate ever recorded in history. African-American and Asian-American unemployment have reached their lowest rates ever recorded in history.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: The unemployment rate for African-Americans was indeed at a record low, at least for the period since the government began releasing data for this group in the 1970s. The Asian-American unemployment rate, however, was not close to a record. It briefly dropped to a low, 2.0 per cent, in May — a low, at least, since the government began issuing Asian-American data in 2000 — but the most recent rate at the time Trump spoke, for September, was 3.5 per cent. This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office — 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

“And by the way, Joe Biden is in Las Vegas. Joe. Sleepy Joe Biden. We call him 1 percent Joe because he ran at least twice, I think three times, they say twice, I think he ran three times, and he never had more than 1 percent. So we call him 1 percent Joe. And then, oh, remember what happened? So we have a lot of people. And we have 6,000, 7,000 people over here that couldn’t get in. And here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. Biden, they just said the count, 193 people showed up. And we love Elko, but in all fairness, it is easier to draw a crowd in Las Vegas. Do we agree? We want to be here, but it is, right? Yeah, he had 193 people. And he was thrilled. That’s one of the biggest crowds he’s ever had.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: There was no apparent basis for this “193” figure. The Associated Press said Biden drew a crowd of “several hundred,” largely from the city’s Culinary Union; the AP reported, “Culinary Union spokeswoman Bethany Khan said later Saturday organizers checked in more than 500 people for the Las Vegas rally, including some who filled in overflow areas away from the stage.”

“I mean, we had in Missouri 45,000 people that couldn’t get into a 10,000-seat arena because it was packed.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Nowhere near 45,000 people were unable to get into Trump’s September rally in Springfield, Missouri, where his venue had a capacity of 11,000 people, according to people who were on the scene. Cora Scott, public information director for Springfield, said in an email: “There were about 11,000 inside and another 1,000 or so that were unable to get in, due to capacity issues.”


“I’ll just mention it one more time, November 8th, was that a great, great day? That was the greatest political movement in the history of our country, maybe anywhere. And they never questioned me on that. You know they want to.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Various people have questioned this claim.

“There’s one town in California where they want to take over the — illegal immigrants want to take over the control of the board that runs the town, all illegal immigrants. And, you know, you would think they’re kidding. Seriously, would you even believe this? And they are serious. And I know some people, and they’re serious people, they’re smart people, where — what happened to them?”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: There is no town where “illegal immigrants want to take over the control of the board that runs the town.” Factcheck.org said the White House did not respond to its request to identify such a town.

“That’s why Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the right to vote. I’ll tell you, we’ll go down fighting for that one. Can you imagine? People — you know, the vote was always so sacred. Now you see these things where they want the right to vote. They want the right to vote.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Trump’s claim is so misleading that we’re calling it false. Many Democrats, and a significant number of Republicans, want to offer the unauthorized immigrants currently in the country a path to citizenship, which would allow them to vote years down the road. They do not want to invite people to enter the country illegally and “sign up” these people to vote immediately, which was Trump’s clear suggestion.

“And by the way, the wall, the people who scream — so we started the wall. It’s moving along. I want to build it rapidly. I can do it in a year. We did $1.6 billion, $1.6 billion. We have another $1.6 billion — sounds like a lot of money.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, and Trump has not secured $4.8 billion for the wall. When Trump has claimed in the past that wall construction has begun, he has appeared to be referring to projects in which existing fencing is being replaced. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction. Trump has requested another $1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, but this has not yet been approved, much less spent. In these comments, Trump also added a third “$1.6 billion” that does not exist.

“But we’re going to call it the Democrat Party. And it’s openly inviting millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders, and overwhelm our nation. The Democrats want caravans. They like the caravans. A lot of people say, I wonder who started that caravan?”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: The Democrats have not issued any such invitation. There is no basis for the claim that Democrats “want caravans” of migrants. And there is no basis for the veiled suggestion that Democrats had something to do with the formation of the caravan.

“As we speak, the Democrat Party — you know, I used to — everybody used to call it the Democratic Party. That’s not the name. And it reads so much nicer. It sounds better. They ought to actually — I’ll give them a little hint. They should change their name to the Democratic Party. But I call it the Democrat Party, because that’s what it is. It’s called the Democrat Party. I watch where they’re saying the Democratic Party. Usually, in many — in many cases, those are people that want to make it look as good as possible. But it is, it’s the Democrat Party, which doesn’t read well. The other reads better. But we’re going to call it the Democrat Party.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: The name of the Democratic Party is the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party.

“And Republicans will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party tried repeatedly during Trump’s early presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.

“The Democrat plan would destroy Medicare…”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.

“The Democrats want America to become — it’s not even that they want it, but that’s what’s going to happen — Venezuela. Venezuela. How does that sound? You like Venezuela? That’s a wonderful place. Not doing too well, folks.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Democrats do not want America to become like Venezuela.

“And we stuck with Justice Kavanaugh, because he was the right man. Top of his class at Yale, Yale Law School.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: As a Yale undergraduate, Kavanaugh graduated cum laude, which means he was not first in his class; other students graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude. Yale Law School’s grading system does not allow the calculation of class rankings at al

“I don’t think we like sanctuary cities up here. By the way, a lot of people in California don’t want them, either. They’re rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities. You know, there’s a big turn being made, folks. A lot of these sanctuary cities you’ve been hearing about in California and other places, but California, they want to get out, they’re demanding they be released from sanctuary cities.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: There has been no rioting by California’s opponents of sanctuary city policies.

“Dean (Heller) worked tirelessly to pass V.A. Choice, V.A. accountability. You know, 44 years they’ve been trying to pass these things, Choice, so that a veteran is sick, he gets on line, he’s got to wait forever. He’s got to wait forever, days, weeks, months. And we just passed — after 44 years, we just got it passed, I signed it two months ago, Veterans Choice, so that if they have to wait on line for 12 days or 14 days or 32 days, or much longer than that — can you believe it? People are sick, but not bad. By the time they see the doctor, they’re terminally ill. OK, it could have been solved. They go immediately to see a doctor privately. We pay for their bill. They’re fixed. Frankly, it’s not what I’m doing it for. We save money, if you can believe this. It’s good. We go right to a private doctor. If they have a long wait, they go right to a private doctor. And 44 years, they couldn’t get that one passed.” And: “You know, in the V.A. Choice, I thought it was like a genius thing I thought up, because I heard they were waiting so long, months sometimes to see a doctor, and waiting on line. Can you imagine? Even if you have something minor, that — a pill, a prescription, something easy could do. And, by the way, drug prices are going to be coming down. You see that already. But I thought it was so brilliant, I came back to my group, I said, ‘I got the greatest idea, because I haven’t been doing this that long,’ so, you know, it wasn’t like high on my list, but it became high. I did know the veterans were never treated fairly. But I said, ‘I have the greatest idea. We’re going to do this. If a veteran has to wait, we’re going to send them to a private doctor. We’ll pay the bill.’ What a genius — I said, I said, ‘How good is that?’ They said, ‘Sir, we’ve been trying to get it passed for 44 years.’ So I was good at getting things passed. That’s what I did.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the Choice program.

“Think of this — you’re running for office and your policy is raise taxes and open borders and crime. Because basically it’s crime. How do you win an election?” And: ““The new platform of the Democrat Party is radical socialism and open borders, which leads to crime, tremendous crime.” And: “The casualties in the Democrats’ open borders crusade are really a lot.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Democrats are not running on a platform of “open borders.” Most of them support a less aggressive immigration policy than the one Trump advocates, but they are not calling for people to be able to walk across from Mexico unbothered.

“When it came to all of the things we’re doing, including what we’re doing, we got rid of the individual mandate, which is the worst, most unpopular thing from Obamacare. We actually had Obamacare totally repealed and replaced, we couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one. And we repealed. But now, if you notice, your premiums are way, way down. Nobody thought that was possible. And it’s been very much dismantled, but it will be ultimately totally dismantled. We had it done, we were a little disappointed in one vote.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Trump’s claim that he “actually had Obamacare totally repealed and replaced” was so misleading we’re calling it false. As Trump made clear in the rest of this paragraph; his comments were a bit like a losing hockey team saying “we won the Stanley Cup, we just didn’t get the overtime goal in Game 7.” The other part of Trump’s statement was also inaccurate: Obamacare is not “very much dismantled.” Trump has weakened Obamacare in several ways, most notably by eliminating the “individual mandate” that required people to obtain health insurance, but the law is far from dead. Trump did not eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, or the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases.

“He’s (Adam Laxalt) doing really well, but you got to go out and you got to vote. You got to. His opponent is a far-left Democrat…He wants to raid your health care. He wants to fund socialism, because that’s what it is, and he wants to open your borders, wide open. Other than that, he’s a great guy.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Nevada Democratic governor candidate Steve Sisolak did not want to “raid your health care,” impose socialism, or open America’s borders.

“They want to open your borders, let people in, illegally. And then they want to pay for those people for health care, for education. They want to give them cars, they want to give them driver’s licenses. I said last night, we did a great — we did a great, great rally in Arizona last night, and I said — I said last night, what kind of car will they supply them? Will it be a Rolls-Royce?”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Democrats do not want to give free cars to unauthorized immigrants

“Democrats want to massively raise your taxes, impose socialism on our country. We’ll be another Venezuela. They want to take away your health care, destroy your Second Amendment…Think of it, they want to take away your Second Amendment, they want to raise your taxes, they want to open your borders, let people in, illegally…The Democrats want to throw open your borders to deadly drugs and gangs and anybody else that wants to come in. And they really have.”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: Almost none of this is true. Some Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich, and many want stricter gun control measures (while not eradicating the Second Amendment), but the party does not seek Venezuela-style socialism, does not want to take away people’s health care, does not want to throw open the borders to unauthorized immigrants and drugs.

“America now has the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Think of that. We’re the number-one economy with the world. We’re the hottest economy in the world. It’s amazing. Amazing. Pretty amazing, right?”

Source: Campaign rally in Elko, Nevada

in fact: The New York Times explained why this is false: “The United States does have one of the fastest growing of the world’s largest economies. But it is not the fastest growing in the whole world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development compiles quarterly growth in real gross domestic product for its 36 member nations and nine other major economies like China, India and Brazil. The United States had the eighth-highest rate in the second quarter of 2018 out of this group. Its rate was the highest among the Group of 7, the largest of the industrialized democracies. Among the entire world, however, the United States is nowhere near ‘the fastest-growing economy.’ Growth rates among developing nations, while volatile, often exceed those of the big industrialized countries. In 2017, the United States’ GDP annual growth rate ranked in the bottom third out of more than 180 countries, according to data from the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund’s projections for GDP growth rate for 2018 place the United States among the bottom half of about 190 countries. Similarly, Harvard University’s Atlas of Economic Complexity projects that the United States will reach an annual growth rate of 3.07 per cent by 2026, placing it No. 104 out of 121 countries.” While China’s growth rate has slowed down in 2018, its 6.5 per cent growth in the third quarter was still about twice the forecasts for the not-yet-announced growth rate in the U.S

“Well, I think the Kavanaugh hearings have really galvanized the Republican Party. People saw how horribly this number-one student at Yale, and when he sat there and said, ‘What I really did is I work so hard of becoming number one in my class,’ and I could understand that so well, and people understood it. And the Democrats did too.”

Source: Interview with KRNV News 4 in Elko, Nevada

in fact: As a Yale undergraduate, Kavanaugh graduated cum laude, which means he was not first in his class; other students graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude. Yale Law School’s grading system does not allow the calculation of class rankings at all.

“We’re looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people. And if we do that it will be sometime just prior, I would say, to November.” And: “A major tax cut. We are going to be putting in, and are studying very deeply right down, round the clock, a major tax cut for middle-income people. Not for business at all, for middle income people. Now, the last was for middle income and for business, and our business is now coming back because of it. But we are looking at — Kevin Brady is working on it. Paul Ryan is working — we’re all working on it, and we’re looking at a major tax cut for middle income people who need it. And I would say sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before that.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure

in fact: We almost never fact-check Trump’s statements about what “will” happen, since these are predictions, not declarations of fact. But we’re making an exception for this one. There was absolutely no chance that there would be a “very major tax cut” prior to November: Congress was not in session at the time and had no plans to come back before the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Nobody else in Republican circles had any idea what Trump was talking about, and the party’s congressional leaders quickly made clear that no immediate tax cut was happening. By all indications, Trump simply made this up for campaign purposes. We will amend this item if he proves serious.

“With all that being said though, we have $450 billion, $110 billion of which is a military order, but this is equipment and various things ordered from Saudi Arabia, $450 billion. I think it’s over a million jobs. That’s not helpful for us to cancel an order like that. That hurts us far more than it hurts them.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure

in fact: There is no basis for Trump’s claim that Saudi Arabia has made $450 billion in orders from the U.S. The White House has not explained what Trump has talking about; PolitiFact reported: “Hossein Askari, a business professor at George Washington University, analyzes international trade in the Middle East. He knows of no tally of contracts to back up Trump’s assertion. ‘There is absolutely no such number that could support the $450 billion,’ Askari said.” Even the $110 billion figure is inaccurate. The Associated Press wrote: “Trump’s wrong to suggest that he has $110 billion in military orders from Saudi Arabia. A far smaller amount in sales has actually been signed…Details of the $110 billion arms package, partly negotiated under the Obama administration and agreed upon in May 2017, have been sketchy. At the time the Trump administration provided only a broad description of the defense equipment that would be sold. There was no public breakdown of exactly what was being offered for sale and for how much…The Pentagon said this month that Saudi Arabia has signed ‘letters of offer and acceptance’ for only $14.5 billion in sales, including helicopters, tanks, ships, weapons and training. Those letters, issued after the U.S. government has approved a proposed sale, specify its terms…Trump’s repeated claims that he’s signed $110 billion worth of new arms sales to Riyadh are ‘just not true,’ said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution and former CIA and Defense Department official.”


Donald Trump fuels immigration fears in TV address on ‘border crisis’

President offers no new solutions to government shutdown in first Oval Office address of his presidency

January 9, 2018

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

Donald Trump has used the first Oval Office address of his presidency to stoke fears of illegal immigration, repeat dubious claims about his border wall and offer no new solutions to the partial government shutdown.

In the type of made-for-TV-moment he relishes, the US president blamed criminal gangs and “vast quantities of illegal drugs” for “thousands of deaths” and faulted Democrats for failing to end the shutdown, now in its 19th day.

Top congressional Democrats accused him of fearmongering, and using rhetoric “full of misinformation and even malice”.

“This is a humanitarian crisis – a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump told primetime viewers on Tuesday night, describing at the situation at the border. He argued that the current immigration system allows “vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs” to prey on immigrants, especially women and children.

The Oval Office has typically been a projection of power used by presidents before him to address the nation at times of crisis or tragedy. In remarks lasting 10 minutes, the president sought to make the case for a border wall – arguably the central promise of his short political career – and tried to imply the proposal had broad public support.

“Law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7bn for a physical barrier,” he said. “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need.

“This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500bn a year, vastly more than the $5.7bn we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

Factcheckers have poured scorn on Trump’s assertion that the trade deal, a successor to Nafta, means that Mexico is paying for the wall. The Mexican government has always refused to do so. And following the address, critics were quick to point out that Democrats are against money for a border wall – whether steel or concrete.

Nearly three weeks into the shutdown, Trump did not offer fresh ideas to break the current political impasse and did not declare a national emergency so that he could bypass Congress, as had been speculated. Instead he said: “The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”

Calling on Democrats to pass a spending bill, he added: “This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting … Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”

On an extraordinary night for US politics, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, delivered a live rebuttal from the House speaker’s balcony hallway. Both adamantly oppose the construction of a wall and have urged Trump to reopen the government while talks continue.

“Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” Pelosi said.“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.”

Schumer added: “We don’t govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.

“Tonight – and throughout this debate and his presidency – President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.”

The senator said: “Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”

The White House countered those points on Wednesday by accusing Democrats of being in denial.

“He’s fighting for the protection and the safety of every American citizen,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “If this is the face and the future of the Democrat party I think things are looking really good for Republicans.”

In the run-up to the address, the White House had been caught in a series of falsehoods. At the weekend, Sanders claimed that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists had been apprehended at the southern border. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, admitted that this was “an unfortunate misstatement” as most of the individuals had been stopped at airports.

Meanwhile, Pence was questioned by NBC News on Monday about Trump’s claim that some former presidents told him a wall should be built (all four living presidents have denied it). The vice-president replied: “I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents.”

The president, who has threatened to keep the government closed for months or even years, will attend a Senate Republican lunch meeting on Wednesday, then visit the southern border on Thursday as he continues to wage a public relations offensive. The partial government shutdown is now the second-longest in history, affects more than 800,000 workers, and there is no end in sight.

On Tuesday night, immigrants’ right groups again condemned Trump’s message. Lorella Praeli, deputy political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “With tonight’s speech, President Trump chose to compound the chaos because he can’t convince the majority of Americans that their taxpayer dollars should fund his bogus campaign promise … The president appears to be more focused on procuring his xenophobic symbol than running the government and upholding democratic norms.”


There Is a Real Border Crisis. A Wall Would Only Make It Worse.

January 8, 2019

by John Washington

The Intercept

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump used his first Oval Office address to speak to the nation of a “crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul” on America’s southern border. His proposed solution is a “wall” and he’s threatening to keep the government shut down until he gets over $5 billion dollars to build it. While he may be right that there is a crisis, it is not the crisis of his fevered imagination. It is the opposite: The very policies of the U.S.’s immigration system and the powerful people — namely Trump — who push to entrench its worst excesses. No “crisis of the heart” has ever been fixed with steel slats. The “wall” will only make it worse.

When Trump says “wall,” however, he doesn’t mean the sort of impenetrable solid structure the term normally implies. He means a fence, or maybe a steel-slat fence, or perhaps some version of one of the unbuildable and probably ineffective prototypes rolled out last spring, though not one foot of any such wall has yet been built. Yet when Trump talks about the “wall,” he means so much more. He is referring to the ongoing militarization of the borderlands. He means increased deployments of the Border Patrol, the nation’s largest, most opaque, most expensive, and likely least accountable law enforcement agency. He means the growth of military materiel, such as drones, helicopters, ground sensors, boats, and ATVs that wreak environmental and emotional havoc along the U.S,-Mexico border. “Wall” also means the federal government’s dispossessing, through eminent domain laws, of private lands and ranches in Texas.

The “wall” — the loose nationalistic concept Trump has made into his hallmark — extends far into the interior of the country. It means the hunting of undocumented people throughout the U.S. — stalking them at courthouses, outside of schools, pulling them out of their homes and booting them out of the country, or setting up interior checkpoints where Border Patrol agents harass people, mostly citizens. The “wall” means paying more money into the massive immigration detention complex where around 45,000 people are locked up at any given time and where billions of taxpayer dollars are pumped into private for-profit detention facilities.

Trump’s call for a “wall,” then, is, as Ana María Archila, from the Center for Popular Democracy Action, wrote in a press release, the “latest in a series of racist, anti-immigrant attacks that are meant to fuel hatred.”

Sometimes, though, the “wall” actually means a wall — around 700 miles of various types of barriers on the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico already exist. Yet we don’t need it. The immigration crisis is one of our own making and Trump’s other justifications for the “wall” fall short under scrutiny.

During his speech Tuesday, Trump focused sharply on the international drug trade. Yet most drugs — including heroin, when it’s not manufactured domestically — are smuggled into the country through ports of entry, which a wall wouldn’t affect. The Trump administration has also highlighted terrorism as a border issue, but not one terrorist attack has been linked to anyone who has passed through our southern border. And the administration’s claims about immigrant criminals is a bald lie: Immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans, immigrant communities are safer, and the numbers of supposed “criminal aliens” arrested at the border are constituted mostly by immigration offenders or people accused of non-violent crimes. Only three of the “17,000 criminals” arrested at the border — the number recently cited by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, which was about 10,000 too high — had records for manslaughter or murder.

Increasingly, those who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully — at the lowest rate in decades — are doing so with the intention of turning themselves in to seek asylum. Increasingly, those people are families and children. These children are not “human pawns,” as Trump claimed, and only rarely are they smuggled. Rather, they are taken by their parents, loved ones, or entrusted adults because their lives are in danger, because their parents want them to find freedom and security. And they’re only crossing the way they are because they’re being turned away from ports of entry.

Lastly, border walls don’t work very well. Most are easy to scale, breach, dig under, or lean a ladder against.

There is a real crisis on the border. And this crisis revolves around the thousands of children who remain locked up in the tent city of Tornillo, Texas. It involves the families who continue to be separated and traumatized. It is centered on the evisceration of asylum laws. And it is manifested in the tens of thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers caged up in the ever-expanding archipelago of detention centers. Driving this crisis is the American-provoked and -backed instability and violence in Central America and Mexico — wrought through economic exploitation and the drug war.

This crisis reaches deep into U.S. It can be seen in neighborhoods throughout the country, where undocumented people are being torn from their jobs, families, and homes, locked up, and shipped out of the country. Sometimes, the crisis is one of unpredictable policies: Even those with provisional status — DACA and Temporary Protected Status — are unsure of how the administration’s attacks against them will play out in the courts. The crisis is in the deserts of the southern border, which immigration enforcement agencies have long used as a weapon — leaving at least seven thousand dead border crossers in the past two decades and turning parts of the U.S. southwest into what anthropologist Jason de León has called a “deathscape.”

In his Tuesday address, Trump veered into nearly definitional racism, selectively lamenting the deaths of Americans, a few of whom have been killed by the undocumented. He did not mention the deaths of Jackeline Caal and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez — 7 and 8 years old, respectively — both of whom died recently in Border Patrol custody. Ruthlessly, the administration blamed the parents for their children’s deaths, but anyone familiar with the difficulty of the border crossing — a deliberate strategy that’s been in place for decades — and the refusal to process asylum claims at ports of entry, or the unsanitary, overcrowded, freezing, and inhumane hieleras where migrants are warehoused as they await processing, would know that sickness, suffering, and sometimes death are not only inevitable, they are strategic. Christina Fialho, executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, called the administration’s policies “systemic brutality.”

What the migrant caravans and the refugee camps in Tijuana demonstrate is that the crisis is not only ongoing, it is verging on permanent. A “wall” will carve the crisis deeper, effecting both environmental destruction and unquantifiable human suffering.


Government shutdown: Is there a crisis on the US-Mexico border?

January 8, 2018

by Jessica Lussenhop and Rajini Vaidyanathan

BBC News

President Donald Trump says a federal government shutdown will continue until he receives billions in funding to address a “humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border”.

As the partial shutdown pushes through its third week, an estimated 800,000 federal employees are going without pay and the effects are being felt across the US.

Nevertheless, President Trump is adamant that the shutdown is necessary to force Congress to approve $5.7bn (£4.5bn) for his long-promised border wall, a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign.

Democrats, newly in control of the House of Representatives, are blocking the president’s request and say the administration’s immigration policies and rhetoric amount to a “manufactured crisis”.

So what’s really happening?

How many people are crossing the border illegally?

It’s impossible to say for certain but apprehensions made by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents provide one measure.

CBP made a total of 396,579 apprehensions on the south-western border in fiscal year 2018, and 303,916 in 2017.

The number had fallen dramatically in President Trump’s first year but rose again last year.

Looking at the wider picture, there has been a sharp fall in the number of people arrested in the last 18 years.

So, is there a current “crisis” of illegal immigration on the southern border?

“No,” says Jacinta Ma, director of policy and advocacy for the National Immigration Forum, which advocates on behalf of immigrants.

“Even with the rise in apprehensions over the last year, it’s way down from the early 2000s.”

Do most illegal entries take place at the southern border?

Illegal border crossings are not limited to the southern border – in 2017, for example, there were also 3,027 illegal apprehensions along the Canadian border and 3,588 from the coastal border.

While cross-border migrants often make headlines, the largest number of illegal migrants settling in the US each year is those who stay in the country after their visas expire.

According to the most recent reports by the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Migration Studies, a non-partisan think-tank, the number who overstayed their visas has outnumbered those who crossed the border illegally every year since 2007.

Canadians make up the largest group of these illegal migrants, followed by Mexicans.

In 2016, there were a total of 739,478 overstays, compared to 563,204 illegal border crossings.

It’s also important to note that, according to the Pew Research Center, overall the number of immigrants living in the US illegally has actually declined since 2007, in large part due to a dip in the number of people coming from Mexico. Apprehensions at the south-western border peaked in 2000, at 1.64 million.

In total, Pew estimates that in 2016, there were 10.7 million unauthorised immigrants living in the US.

How many people are attempting to cross legally?

Apprehension numbers released by the CBP include asylum seekers (a person who applies for refugee status at a US port of entry or from within the country).

In fiscal year 2018, 92,959 people were deemed to have made claims of credible fear” and asked for asylum at the border. That’s a pretty big jump from fiscal year 2017, when 55,584 claims were made.

Kate Jastram, senior staff attorney for the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, says that families fleeing violence in Central America began to make up a much larger part of border crossings beginning in 2014.

She says that has more to do with conditions in those countries than any immigration policy implemented by the Trump administration.

Single men from Mexico were by and large not seeking asylum, they were looking for work,” says Jastram. “[Now] we have families and children specifically seeking protection.”

In November, a caravan of 7,000 migrants arrived at the US-Mexico border, many claiming to be fleeing violence in countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Mr Trump labelled the caravan an “invasion”.

Overall, the rate of asylum denials is on the rise in the US, and has been for the past six years.

What has the Trump administration done to address all this?

Over the past two years, President Trump and his administration have tried a variety of deterrent measures affecting both illegal entrants and asylum seekers.

They are:

  • asylum seekers caught crossing illegally must wait across the border in Mexico for adjudication
  • border officials have decreased the number of asylum cases they process each day, a strategy called “metering”
  • in June, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that claims of domestic and gang violence would no longer qualify as grounds for asylum in the US – this was defeated in court
  • most controversially, in spring, thousands of migrant children were separated from their parents at the border as a part of a “zero tolerance policy” that prosecuted anyone found crossing illegally

Last week, Mr Trump said he was considering declaring a “national emergency” in order to force through his border wall funding.

Legal and constitutional scholars are divided on whether or not the president has the power to do such a thing, or if the laws exist to accomplish what he wants.

What about terrorists?

It was an eye-catching claim from the White House press secretary.

“Last year alone there were nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists that CBP picked up that came across our southern border,” Sarah Sanders told Fox and Friends on Friday.

That is not true. Even her colleague, Kellyanne Conway, later called it “an unfortunate misstatement”.

So where did that figure come from?

A White House briefing report on immigration says 3,755 known or suspected terrorists were prevented from entering the US in the fiscal year 2017.

But that includes terror suspects who have been stopped at any US border, and the vast majority are stopped at airports.

“The debate is over a land border wall. To include airport statistics is irrelevant and misleading,” says Todd Bensman from the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank which favours lower immigration.

Bensman, a former counter-terrorism intelligence manager who worked at the Texas border, analysed data from a “reliable intelligence community source” and concluded that more than 100 migrants on terror watchlists were apprehended at the southern border between 2012-17.

Data from NBC News seems to support his assertion. It learnt that in the first half of 2018 six immigrants on the terror watchlist were stopped at the southern border

No-one who has crossed the US southern border illegally from 1975 to the end of 2017 has been responsible for a terror attack on US soil, according to David Bier and Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute.

Seven so-called “special interest aliens” were convicted of planning an attack on US soil, during that time, says the libertarian think tank’s report.

But that category includes any visitor from a country deemed by the US intelligence community as a risk. In the past it has been a list of 50 countries.


Trump Foreign Policy for 2019

Is it for real or more bait and switch?

January 8, 2019

by Philip Giraldi

The Unz Review

Never before has any presidential administration been as all over the place in terms of national security and foreign policy as is that of Donald J. Trump. Indeed, one might well argue that there is no overriding policy at all in terms of a rational doctrine arrived at through risk versus gain analysis of developing international situations. Instead, there has been a pattern of emotional reactions fueled by media disinformation supplemented by “gut feelings” about a series of ultimately bilateral relationships that frequently have little or nothing to do with American national interests.

This is not to suggest that the “gut feelings” are always wrong. Established wisdom in Washington has long reflected the view that the United States must exercise leadership in establishing and maintaining the neoliberal consensus that gained currency after the devastation of the Second World War. Elections, free trade and a free media were to be the benchmarks of the new world order but they also came packaged with U.S. hegemony to confront those who resisted the development. And it turned out that those “benefits” were frequently difficult to achieve as elections sometimes produced bad results while trade agreements and an uncontrolled media often worked against broader U.S. objectives. All too often the United States found itself going to war against nations that it disapproves of for reasons unrelated to any actual interests, routinely claiming inaccurately that dissident regimes were both “threatening” and disruptive of the universal values that Washington claimed to be promoting.

To consider how the neoliberal order works in practice one only has to consider the Clintons, who justified brutal military interventions in the Balkans and in Libya based on what they claimed to be humanitarian principles. Or Obama, who demanded regime change in Damascus and was prepared to launch a large-scale attack on Syria before he realized that there was no public support for such a move and backed down.

More recently, particularly since 9/11, neoconservatives have dominated U.S. foreign policy through their think tanks, access to the media and their ability to infiltrate both major political parties based on their essentially fraudulent appraisals of threats to national security. They have been so successful at selling their product that the bogus claims that Iran is a threat to the United States are generally accepted without question by both Democrats and Republicans, not to mention the White House. Russia, meanwhile, remains the target of bipartisan wrath, from the left over the results of the 2016 election and from the right due to fearmongering over alleged threats to Eastern Europe.

But hope springs eternal, even in 2019. There have recently been some encouraging signs that change is in the air. Donald Trump has declared that he will be pulling all American soldiers out of Syria and half of U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, though the timetable appears to have slipped somewhat and might slow even more as the Establishment pushes back. That Trump may have chosen to break with the interventionist model with Syria, if he succeeds in doing so, is certainly commendable, but one wit has observed that the departure will be somewhat like the line in the Eagles’ song Hotel California, “you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

There are other indications that something is afoot. On January 3rd, Trump offhandedly commented that Iran could do what it wishes in Syria, a comment that generated shock waves through the neoconnish Washington Post’s coverage of the remarks. To be sure, other Administration officials have continued to send different signals, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisting that the U.S. will stay in Syria as long as Iran remains there.

Pompeo has also cautioned Iran against the development of ballistic missiles in connection with a claimed space program, a warning that Tehran has rejected. Israel meanwhile, presumably acting with U.S. connivance, has introduced a new destabilizing element into the Middle East cauldron, using civilian airliners to mask the approach of its military jets to attack targets in Syria. The possibility of an airliner being shot down with great loss of life by “accident” has thereby gone up exponentially.

To be sure, there are some who believe that the Trump anti-interventionist turn is essentially fraudulent. They cite the unrelenting hostility coming out of the White House regarding Iran, which is vilified on a nearly daily basis for its alleged threats not only to the Middle East region but also to Western Europe and the United States. That the Administration’s fulminations have little basis in reality is beside the point as it would seem that Trump, Pompeo, John Bolton and the now departed Nikki Haley all believe that the case for disarming Iran and bringing about regime change has been made effectively. Indeed, warfare directed against the Iranian economy has already begun by virtue of a punitive series of targeted sanctions with much more to come when a complete ban on oil exports kicks in in May.

Iran has responded to the threats by restating in early December its intention to exercise control over all ship traffic leaving the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz if its own oil exports are blocked by the United States. The U.S. responded immediately by sending the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis to the Gulf, the first such deployment in the region in eight months. With all the pieces in place, the possibility that there will be some accident in the region, presumably involving Iranian Revolutionary Guards and U.S. naval units, will escalate just as the largely contrived Gulf of Tonkin incident famously accelerated American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Much of what happens in the Middle East will ultimately depend on the extent to which America’s feckless allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, succeed in selling their version of what is going on in the region. Trump, uncharacteristically, seems to be standing firm, telling a journalist that concerns about the Syria pullout are misplaced because “We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And we give them, frankly, a lot more money than that, if you look at the books — a lot more money than that. And they’ve been doing a very good job for themselves.” Likewise, the much more important relationship, with Russia, will depend on the ability to ignore congressional hostility towards the Kremlin as well as the media bias that continues to promote Russiagate as a national security threat.

There is also North Korea, which has now indicated clearly that it is willing to talk to the U.S. but will revert to its nuclear development program unless sanctions are removed. And anyone for Latin America? Bolton has dubbed Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as a “troika of tyranny,” though fortunately suggestions that Venezuela might be invaded by the U.S. to restore order appear to have faded.

If one reads the neocon press one cannot help but notice that China is the anointed over the horizon threat, but it is also a major trading partner and the drive to somehow renegotiate the terms whereby the two nations are linked economically will be complicated. Care must be taken lest what now appears to be an aggravated sense of great power competition becomes something more dangerous. The detention of Weng Manzhou in Canada one month ago together with the implication that the United States can and will enforce U.S. imposed sanctions globally could easily develop into a major problem with China as well as with others, including some NATO allies. The arrest has already disappeared from the media but several Canadians have been detained by Beijing and the U.S. government has warned American businessmen about traveling to China at the present time.

All of the above sounds somewhat depressingly familiar, but the real question is whether in 2019 Donald J. Trump will have both the vision and the necessary gumption to fulfill his campaign promises to change the face of American foreign policy by withdrawing from useless wars overseas and mending fences with countries that are actually important like Russia. There is admittedly a long way to go and it is very much a work in progress, but Trump actually has the ability to overrule the hawks in his administration and change the entire conversation about America’s place in the world.

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

January 9, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conversation No. 31

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 1996

Commenced:  8:15 AM CST

Concluded:    9:11 AM CST

RTC: I thought it had to be you, Gregory. You are about the only person who calls me these days. Bill does, of course, and every so often that fool Trento gets onto me, trying to pry information out of me for some fool book he is working on. So much work for nothing.

GD: And so many beautiful trees have to die, equally for nothing.

RTC: True enough. I could give Joe boxes of first class material for blockbuster books but it would all be wasted on him. Costello is gone now and Joe is basically useless. Such delusions of grandeur.

GD: I read one, actually only part of one, of his books. He has no grasp of how things work. It’s like someone writing about glaciers. They ignore the dynamics of the entire system and its history and confine themselves to saying, with eyes popping and pointing finger: ‘Ooh, look at all the ice! My, it’s cold, isn’t it? Last year, I have seen, in secret papers, there were a lot of icebergs breaking off! There were private meetings held in unspecified places with top intelligence people about this!’

RTC: (Laughter) You are so bloody cruel, Gregory. But true. Bill and I needed someone to polish up our work and Joe was recommended. It’s too damned bad we hadn’t run into you then. We could have had something a little more polished. Oh well, such is life.

GD: Yes, such is life. Have you told Joe about me?

RTC: No, I have not. What would happen then? Joe would bleat to me for about six months about how you were a terrible person and why I shouldn’t talk to you at all. Kimmel does the same thing, but he’s a little more subtle. Poor Bill goes for his gaff, but I don’t. Now, I never hear from Tom. I guess he gave up on me. But actually not. He’s now got people from Justice to call me about you. My God, what will be next? The SPCA?

GD: Who knows? These old aunties swing a mean purse but I’ve had to deal with these pathetic losers since I was about ten and realized that Jonathan Swift was right about humanity. Well, I can see into the future simply by reading about the past. Their days are numbered, Robert but you won’t be around and I might not.

RTC: Are you thinking about some religious sort of violence?

GD: No, much less spectacular but even more deadly. Did you ever read Malthus?

RTC: No.

GD: It’s all there, Robert. Sum it up: Populations increase geometrically and food supplies increase arithmetically. In other words, the public fuck like rabbits, the population soars but eventually, and without any doubt, we run out of food and drinkable water. Of course the WASPS will do OK and this country raises lots of food but places like India, China and Africa are going to be mass graves when it hits. Oh, and it will hit, Robert. It isn’t a question of loony theories but solid fact. And another thing, Robert. There is a hell of a lot of ice at the poles. If the Arctic ice cap melts, it won’t make any difference because that is ice on the water and if it all went away tomorrow, the ocean levels wouldn’t rise by an inch. But Antarctic and Greenland ice is another matter entirely. That ice is on land and if it melts to any degree then the ocean levels will really rise.

RTC: Probably so but that’s Doomsday material, Gregory, isn’t it?

GD: No, Robert, uncomfortable fact. I had an article once that I took out of Scientific American. I kept it for years but I moved so many times that somewhere it got lost. Never mind, I read it and remembered it. They set up an area for rats. Regular rats. As much water and food as they needed and lots of bedding or nesting material. What happened? Rats breed like Third Worlders and pretty soon, the room was full of rats. And what did these rats do? They went crazy, homosexuality and cannibalism flourished, mama rats ate their malformed litters and general chaos reigned. And what happened then, Robert?

RTC: I have no idea but I have a suspicion you will tell me.

GD: Of course, why miss the finale when you’ve seen the first three acts? Some disease, endemic, relatively harmless, that is in the rats suddenly alters and most of the rats turn into a stinking mass of rotting flesh….

RTC: So early in the morning, Gregory.

GD: But they do almost all die off, Robert. Still, a few always survive so the game can start again. Do I make a point?

RTC: You equate us with rodents?

GD: No. I comment on the inevitable bill Nature insists we pay. And we will, mark that.

RTC: How depressing. Do you think the ice will melt?

GD: I think so. And while it does, I can just envision legions of scientists squabbling over what, when, how and why as New York sinks beneath the waves. They say that if there were two Irishmen left alive in the world, they’d be sending letter bombs to each. No offense to your Hibernian background, Robert.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: And if there were two academics left, they’d be pissing on each other as the waters closed over their heads. Oh joy and rapture unforeseen.

RTC: Well, as you say, both of us will be gone away, so why should we worry?

GD: It’s a waste of time, Robert, I agree. But still, intellectual curiosity and a firm belief that there are iron rules that apply to life make me a student. Do read Malthus, Robert, and you will understand what I am going on about. He’s there but most people would rather read the comic page or, if they graduated with honors from a distant community college, they can get really intellectual and read ‘Fanny Hill.

RTC: You are really on a tear today, Gregory. Are you sniffing glue?

GD: No, I’m just naturally up today. Of course, coffee helps too.

RTC: It always does.

GD: By the way, Robert, I saw something in the paper today about Ollie North. Did you have anything to do with him?

RTC: My God, what a story that was. Yes and no. Oliver moved at a more exalted level than I did. Oliver worked for the White House. Oliver worked for George Bush, who was once our DCI, and he worked for Ronnie Reagan.

GD: That’s not impossible to believe. The guns for the Contras?

RTC: We’d be all day on the phone if I told you what I knew. The public has no idea what that Contra business was all about. It was only a spin-off of the real businesses. The press does not know and if it did, would never dare to print any of it. They feed the public some dog and pony show, speculate for days and then discover a cat up a tree and all run down the block with their notebooks and cameras for more stimulating information for the trailer park crowd.

GD: We both have plenty of time, Robert. If you’re willing to talk, I’m even more willing to listen. I have a new girl friend who is coming over for a lunch I have not yet begun to lay out, but that’s two hours away. I eat late and I thought a nice salad, a Coquilles St. Jacques with a sauce Parisienne, some sourdough bread and a nice white wine. And for dessert there is wild sex on the living room floor.

RTC: I know about sex, but what were you cooking?

GD: Scallops in a cream sauce, Robert. I loathe braggers, but I am a very good cook. As far as the living room floor is concerned, I have scars on my back to support my animal expertise with the famous Mattress Polka by one of the earlier members of the Strauss family. But we needn’t talk about past glories. Or perhaps future ones if I get the sauce right. Women can be either at your feet or at your throat. Flat on their backs is much better and on to other things.

RTC: But Gregory, isn’t the floor hard?

GD: I suppose so, but when I am, who cares? What? Oh yes, before fantasy time we were talking about Ollie North.

RTC: Well, the public was led to believe the Ollie was some kind of a loose cannon or a nut case but he actually was doing what the President ordered. North was on the staff of the National Security Council which was run by our beloved George Bush who was Vice President at the time and ran the entire operation, contras, drug dealings and gun smugglings and a few removals of inconvenient people along the way. This was all part of a very interesting and little-known system. I can go on about this if you want. Does it take long to cook your lunch?

GD: Actually, I made the sauce early this morning and all I have to do is to cook the scallops, put them into the sauce, put some butter and some fresh, grated Swiss cheese on top and into the broiler. The wine is in the fridge, the bread is fresh early this morning and I vacuumed the living room rug. Please go on.

RTC: Well, the entire Contra mess had two fathers. The first was the Doomsday project. This was a governmental continuation survival program in the event of some great natural disaster, military or terrorist attacks on the United States, public uprisings and so on. That was first begun in ’81 with a series of signed orders by Reagan setting up the machinery to preserve the government in the event of these disruptive problems. This entire program was rather secret and was under the control of the vice president…

GD: Who was George Bush.

RTC: Yes, under him. And like all bureaucracies, this grew. The nutty Poindexter got into the act and wanted to set up something your friend Mueller would have loved: a comprehensive national total surveillance system that would keep track of every person living in the United States, regardless of how harmless they might be. They could use your television set to spy on you, gather phone records from companies they either bribed or threatened, read and watch your mail, create a national ID card, closely supervise passports, watch who flew around the country and where they were going, get into your safe deposit box and watch your checking and savings accounts, listen in on all, and I mean all, overseas telephone calls by controlling the communications satellites. The NSA was given this task I recall. I think it was called Operation Harvest at the time. Oh my and many, many more little new departments to watch the general population. This was being set up during the Reagan years, but Clinton cut back on most of it. Still, it’s still there, waiting for another president to use it as an excuse to grab permanent power. In the old days, we used the threat of a Soviet attack and invasion to terrify the public and now the enemies are not so well defined. It’s rather funny when you read about the growing drug menace, because elements of our government are involved, even as I speak, in assisting in the importation of many tons of marijuana and opium derivatives. Oh yes, Gregory, our government, not the mob or the Columbian drug cartels, are the real drug dealers. We started with Colby and a few others and like Topsy, it just growed. I’m afraid we don’t run it, but it now runs us. Yes, and Ollie was a part of the whole. Then Congress managed to screw things up by passing the second Boland Amendment in ’84. Reagan was using us to supply the Contras in Nicaragua with guns and other small things so they could overthrow what we like to call the dangerous Communist, pro-Soviet government there. The stupid shits on the hill put a stop to this so Reagan got George to bypass Congress. Getting the guns was a problem and Ollie turned out to be very competent.

GD: Yes, I know Jimmy Atwood who was up to his tummy-tuck in some of this. His Stasi connections….

RTC: Yes, you know about this. It was IMES 1 that controlled this and it was a huge, official but sub-rosa smuggling racket. Of course even though we were supposed to be enemies of the communist Stasi, we actually worked well with them. Your friend Atwood was one of our top people there. We had a fellow with the strange name of Schalck-Golodkowski working with us. We used to call him the Fat Man or Big Alex, I suppose because he was way overweight and his first name was Alexander. Very clever choice of names, isn’t it? He later fled to the west and we at once gave him a nice job.

GD: Just like Heini Mueller who worked for you.

RTC: Worked for Jim. But I knew him. Met him a number of times. You got on with him, didn’t you?

GD: I did and Atwood was an open book.

RTC: I always like to know who can’t keep their mouth shut. Now as to the guns for the beaners, this IMES1 was part and parcel of the international cartel, to use a phrase so beloved by hack writers, which has been going on, with refinements, since about ’67 or ’68. They had offices in West Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein and, I think, Austria. And as things progress, they smuggled narcotics right along with the guns. We were way ahead of them on that score but we all work together in the end, in spite of the press of both countries pissing on each other. Those are the realities, Gregory, not the fronts. You know that, don’t you?

GD: I don’t know as much as you do but I know more than enough to agree with you. Greed and money know no borders and no ideology.

RTC: I would rather say political necessity makes strange bedfellows.

GD: A difference with no distinction. Do continue.

RTC: The Krauts were dealing with Iran, Libya and Syria. And the Swedes too were into this. In fact, we had our little troopers in most of the countries that exported drugs, bought guns and so on. The Swedes were using St. Lucia Airways, one of our proprietaries, to run their shipments to various counties. Drugs out and guns in.

GD: Where did the weapons originate? I think Russia.

RTC: Oh yes right on. The AK 47s were much in demand. The basic European-made pieces were too expensive.

GD: And the Soviets knew about this?

RTC: My God, yes they did. And some of them got very rich out of it. And there were even some shipments by boat some of which got into customs troubles. There were always problems with this, once it got out of our hands. We always kept things running smoothly but when you’re dealing with emotional Arabs who would sell their sisters for ten dollars or the Latins south of our border, we have utter corruption and emotion and corruption leads to mistakes. Then we have to send people around to clean up the messes. We used to throw people out of high windows but there aren’t any tall buildings in Arab counties or south of our borders so the vanishing and dumping at sea in metal drums is always done to the less prominent and un-missed. For more prominent ones, the convenient airplane crash or the heart attack. Mechanics for the one and chemists for the second.

GD: Now you’re speaking my language. I even taught some new concepts to Mueller, God bless his soul. I really used to enjoy myself when I was younger, but age has slowed me down.

RTC: From what I have heard from Kimmel’s DoJ people, you have not slowed down. They view you as a cross between Jack the Ripper and Attila the Hun.

GD: Well, in turn, I view them as a cross between Swift’s Yahoos and Lenny in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I really don’t understand how people that stupid can live. Take Jimmy Atwood….please…no, he worked for you so you don’t have to take him. Jimmy would get some hooch into him and my God, Robert, the stories he would tell! The BND   was horrified when I passed this along, but these people are protected by our government so they can do nothing. You know, some of these cretins and gross criminals ought to be taken out and shot, Robert, and I would be more than happy to oblige. They have dumped tons of drugs on the American people and the bureaucrats love it. They don’t touch the stuff and make sure their kids go to very expensive East Coast Establishment prep schools. Buggery after lights out but no drugs. I mean, after all, what pays for the expensive schools? The whole thing is rotten and eventually, it will collapse. Mark my words, it will come down. As the Bible says, it will fall and great will be the fall thereof. Ah well, you’re out of it now and the deluge may be years in coming but eventually the public will find out the truth, or at least some of it, and then we will see change.

RTC: As you say, Gregory, I’m well out of it but I can’t really complain too much. You get far too moralistic. You let it get in the way of clear thinking. One moment I wish I had you in the Company and the next you sound like a social worker.

GD: Yes, Mueller once said almost the same thing. Two spirits struggle in my breast, Robert, but now I have to get to lunch so would you excuse me? The pleasures of the board and the living room floor beckon to me.

RTC: Good luck.

GD: With the lunch or the follow-up?

RTC: I assume you’re a good cook.

GD: Come out and visit with me and I’ll cook you a fine meal.

RTC: But I’m not a candidate for the living room floor.

GD: I would certainly hope not, Robert. Anyway, thanks for the nice chat and I’ll be back in touch.


(Concluded at 9:11AM CST)

1 IMES GmbH, a little-known East German state company that was run by East Germany’s deputy foreign trade minister, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski.The East German company had been a key part of an international smuggling network, connected at several levels with the CIA, with secret bank accounts and shell companies in West Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The IMES company name had been exposed in the West back in 1985, when Swedish customs officials started investigating the activities of the ‘munitions cartel’ mentioned in the first section of this chapter. Some years later, Western intelligence agencies, including the US Iran-Contra arms and money networks, used IMES and the East German structure for secret weapons supplies to guerrilla movements in Central America. Schalck-Golodkowski had reportedly been involved in a massive, decade-long smuggling operation of weapons, antiques and even drugs. He was, however, only charged with the illicit import of military and dual-use items into East Germany between 1986 and 1989 and with the embezzlement of rather small amounts of foreign currency. He was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in January 1996, and to 16 months’ imprisonment in 1997, respectively. In April 1999, a higher court acquitted him on the latter of the two charges.



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