TBR News July 31, 2019

Jul 31 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. July 31, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for July 31 The strait of Hormuz is the kink in the hose of the Gulf’s oil supply to the world. A small amount of pressure can have a disproportionate effect, sending world crude prices soaring and starving the world’s oil-dependent economies.

At its narrowest point, between the Oman peninsula and the Iranian islands off Bandar Abbas, the strait is 20 miles wide, but the channels down which more than a third of the world’s ocean-borne oil flows – 17m barrels a day – are even more tenuous. The tanker lanes going in each direction are just 2 miles wide in parts, through the deep water off Oman and then again, further west, inside Iranian territorial waters.

This is where oil tankers are most vulnerable to an Iranian attempt to turn off the global petrol pump. It was enough for an Iranian official to simply raise the prospect of closing the strait, in retaliation for the threat of sanctions, for the world price of crude to rise to $115 (£74) a barrel. Maintained over the long term, that is costly enough to strangle any hint of a global economic recovery.

That is what makes Iranian naval action in the Gulf such a potent weapon. But it is a decidedly double-edged one, potentially more lethal to Iran than its adversaries. For, while Saudi Arabia can bypass the strait by pipeline, all of Iran’s oil terminals are west of the choke point. Iran would cut off its own lifeblood, which accounts for more than 60% of its economy.

Furthermore, the US has made clear that interruption to sea traffic in the Gulf would be a “red line”, triggering an overwhelming military response in which Iran’s nuclear facilities would be on the target lists. Until now, the US military has ruled out strikes on the nuclear programme, as the costs of starting a war with Iran outweigh the gains of setting the programme back, in defence secretary Leon Panetta’s estimation, one or two years at most. But if the US was going to war anyway over oil, that cost-benefit analysis would change.

So closing the strait outright would be – if not suicidal – an exercise in extreme self-harm for Iran. But the choice facing Tehran is not a binary one.

There is a spectrum of options falling well short of total closure; forms of harassment of the oil trade that would drive the price of crude up and keep it up, very much to Iran’s benefit, but fall short of a casus belli . However, exercising such options requires subtlety and fine judgment on all sides and that is by no means a given.”



The Table of Contents

  • America Gone Rogue
  • Is this fascism? No. Could it become fascism? Yes
  • Round Robin letter to right wing Trump American support groups
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Flat Earthers reveal just how insane they are at conference in England
  • What a burgeoning movement says about science, solace, and how a theory becomes truth.
  • What Would Happen if the Earth Were Actually Flat?


America Gone Rogue

July 28, 2019

by Christopher Teel

Common Dreams

If America goes to war in Iran, it will be because we are a rogue state, not because they are. Iran’s government is a vicious theocracy which supports bloodthirsty regimes, but the current crisis regarding their nuclear program is one wholly of our government’s making. The Trump administration, in its ongoing quest to upend everything that its predecessor did, was the first to breach the nuclear agreement reached in 2015, and has re-imposed punishing sanctions on Iran, threatening the rest of the international community to do likewise. This despite all evidence showing that Iran was complying with the agreement.

Now we Americans, always the beneficiaries of a “free press”, find ourselves once again swimming in sensational stories of “unexploded mines”, shot-down drones, and impounded oil tankers. The corporate media has in many instances emulated its conduct prior to the Iraq war, being stenographers of the government line.

In his behavior toward Iran, we see just another example of Trump since he came down the escalator, conducting himself as the schoolyard bully. Insults and intimidation are how he ran his campaign, how he operates from the White House, and how he wishes the United States to behave in the world.

Brutality and buffoonery are the calling cards of this administration, at play in all realms of foreign and domestic policy, from the waking nightmare they have purposefully created for asylum seekers on the Southern border, to the attacks they have waged on protections for the LGBT community, to the solicitousness and affection he has shown toward the worst tyrants in the world.

We must not forget, however, that our status as a rogue state did not begin with Trump, nor will it end with him unless the underlying and longstanding assumptions which govern our international conduct are exposed, challenged, and demolished.

Ever since the Treaty of Versailles was conceived from the ashes of World War I with the intent of creating a stable and peaceful international order, America has had a strained relationship with the idea of adhering to international agreements, even (or especially) as they relate to issues of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, to which we have long and loudly pledged allegiance.

For instance, the United States has not ratified the Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples, nor the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is not a party to the treaty banning cluster bombs, or the treaty banning land mines. It is not a member of the International Criminal Cour

American politicians speak sanctimoniously about preserving American sovereignty, but at the same time want a free hand to operate with impunity in any corner of the world: supporting death squads and dictators, selling weapons as though they were candy, committing war crimes, torture, extraordinary rendition, and overthrowing non-democratic and democratic governments alike. Three notable examples of the latter are Congo in 1960, Chile in 1973, and, notably, Iran in 1953, where the United States conspired to depose Mohammed Mossadegh and install the Shah as dictator. We demand the right to impose our will on others, but refuse to commit ourselves to a set of rules followed by everyone.

Our sovereignty is sacrosanct, but if a nation challenges our wishes, we are within our rights to destroy them. The absurdity of the situation is illustrated perfectly by the state of the Iran nuclear deal. Trump withdrew the United States, re-imposed sanctions on Iran, threatened everyone else to impose sanctions, and largely succeeded in tanking Iran’s economy.

Subsequently, when Iran announced that it too was going to break the agreement, Trump talked of “obliterating” them. In other words, we expect them to respect the parameters of a deal which we are actively trying to sabotage.

Almost 20 years after 9/11, the Middle East lies in turmoil and death. Even though 9/11 was planned and carried out by Saudi nationals, and the Saudi government exports Wahabbist terror across the globe, this medieval regime is one of our closest “allies” in the region. They behead dissidents, stone gays, and cut Washington Post journalists into tiny pieces. With our aid of bombs, intelligence, aircraft refueling, and diplomatic cover, they have been bombing Yemen for four years, creating the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world today – all the while entreating us to do something about the dangers posed by Iran.

Military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan are not sufficient to sate the gaping maw of American militarism. Now Iran is the villain of the hour, the result of an obsession among a large chunk of the long-discredited but still-empowered Washington foreign policy establishment to turn all of the Middle East with which we do not have financial ties into a smoldering wreck.

We are citizens of a rogue state, and our government’s desire to wage war against Iran is merely the latest example of this. Such a war would be an unmitigated disaster for all involved; it is up to us as citizens to demand that peace prevail and that America act in accordance with our stated values and as a responsible member of the international community.


Is this fascism? No. Could it become fascism? Yes

Trump’s persistent hold on his base shows the power to be had in reinventing anti-American values as patriotic

July 31, 2019

by Andrew Gawthorpe

The Guardian

Amid the global rise of rightwing populism, “fascist” has become a common – indeed over-used – epithet. The F-word is convenient for critics of the new wave of populism, seeking as it does to tie their opponents to historical movements which nearly all of mainstream society regards as deplorable. But the word is convenient for the right too, allowing them to wave away their critics as overwrought and deranged while avoiding serious discussion of the substance of their policies and rhetoric.

Even the Trumpified Republican party is not a fascist movement and Trump is certainly no Hitler. Full-blown fascism usually emerges under the pressure of economic collapse or existential war, but it is constructed from pre-existing social and political raw materials. But while the Trump era hasn’t seen the rise of a true fascism in the United States, it has given us sharp and painful insights into the raw materials out of which a future American fascism might be constructed.

Any fascism of the future will be different from that of the 20th century. But it will have to share features with its forebears, including ultranationalism, illiberalism, a strong impulse to regiment society, and the forcible suppression of opposition. This fascism would, in other words, cut against what most Americans still recognize – even if only to give lip service to – as the core values of their nation.

Yet Trump’s persistent hold on his base shows how a coalition against characteristically American values may be constructed and used to hold power, even if the coalition represents only a minority of the country. In particular, Trump appeals to two overlapping groups – white evangelicals and white voters motivated primarily by opposition to racial and cultural change – who each have their own reasons to embrace illiberalism and endorse the power of an illiberal state being used against their enemies.

What these groups share is a belief that their very existence is threatened. Evangelical Christian support for Trump is often motivated by the fear that secular liberals are seeking to crush Christianity and banish it from the land. Such a fear lends itself to support for an authoritarian who will crush the opposition before it gets a chance to strike first. Trump has shown that evangelicals will support anyone who even pretends to care about their motivating issues – abortion, Jerusalem, religious freedom – regardless of his obvious repugnance by any normal understanding of Christian values.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” Sinclair Lewis supposedly said. But this ideology’s beating heart will be a white nationalism motivated by a belief that the “true” (read: white) America is under siege from a combination of racial minorities and liberal elites. This conspiratorial worldview likewise lends itself to a support for using state power against these enemies of the people. For the future, the fact that Trump has generally been rather incompetent and unfocused at dismantling liberal democratic norms and institutions is less important than the fact that so many of his rank-and-file supporters clearly relish the idea that he might.

Some conservative thinkers have begun to lay the intellectual groundwork for the dismantling of liberalism in order to save values they consider more important, be these the defense of their version of Christian values or the defense of white cultural and political power. Among the more extreme is the Catholic writer Sorab Ahmari, who recently argued that liberalism is no longer compatible with Christianity and that the public square should be reorganized in pursuit of “the Highest Good”. Many other conservative writers are all too willing to excuse Trump’s illiberalism and racism by arguing that Trump’s enemies represent a much greater threat to their values than he does.

The scribblings of such writers are less important for the ideas they contain than for their realization that we live in a moment in which it has become possible to imagine an illiberal America, and their flirtation with the forces which might take us there. Illiberal intellectuals are starting to see the Trump movement as a force to be harnessed in pursuit of undemocratic ends. We don’t yet know the limit of what those chanting people at Trump rallies who say they want to lock people up and send them away would tolerate in practice. But we should be afraid to find out.

An American fascism would not only marry Christianity and ultranationalism through a shared belief in conspiracies aiming to destroy America, but it would also seek to retain the support of capital. Trump has demonstrated how to combine regressive economic policies with a populist image by attacking minorities and elites. Anyone promoting progressive economic reform is dismissed as a communist and hence as un-American – another one of the conspirators, and another reason to line up behind a strongman who will keep them out of power. This is why “the Squad”, who in the worldview of the right are both communists and America-hating brown people, are the perfect foil.

These are the raw materials out of which a future American fascism might be built. Such an eventuality is not only uncertain, but positively unlikely, especially in the absence of economic disaster, major war, or a devastating terrorist attack. But it is no longer unimaginable, and it will become even less so if white, Christian America continues to react to its loss of power in the same way. For this reason, the word fascist deserves its place in the political vocabulary of our time, not as a description of the present, but as a foreboding of one possible dark future.

Andrew Gawthorpe is a lecturer in history and international studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands


Round Robin letter to right wing Trump American support groups

July 31, 2019

by Christian Jürs

“America was founded in 1620 by Religious Dissenters, True Christians, who fled from secular persecutions in England. They set up a religious community in Plymouth Bay and flourished greatly.

But in subsequent years, America drifted away from her True Christian origins and became a nest of Secularism. Americans have turned away from the One True God to worship Mammon and materialism! Self-indulgence has replaced self-discipline and the cell phone has replaced Our Lord Jesus Christ in daily importance!

But rejoice in your hearts because the True Disciples of Christ have organized to save America from Secular Humanism and hedonism and we are now at the very gates of the True Kingdom of Heaven on earth! The True Disciples have begun their Sacred Mission by gaining virtual control over the Republican Party in almost every state in the Union, have elected a President of our One True Faith, have filled the halls of Congress with Representatives of both the people and Christ the Lord! We are well on our way to reestablish the True Christian nation, under God Almighty, that was founded in 1620.

After years of suffering the watering down of American society by the uni-sex, uni-race forces, America finally has a President who recognizes the vital importance of a white, Christian society and whose aim of cleansing America of alien elements is the true aim of true Americans.

An army of former, imported black slaves, an even larger army of dark-skinned rejects from Central America have flooded America, bringing drugs and a lower standard of living with them. The imported slaves have become the foundation of a degenerate society, devoted to producing an army of welfare children with the brains of chickens.

Donald Trump was elected by the white, and concerned, citizens of this country to cleanse the national stables of impacted filth and return America to her rightful position as leader of the Free World.

Forced integration, gay rights, civil rights, feminism, minorities, taxes, and other issues can be viewed as the result of the American Republic jumping the tracks during the Civil War and being out of control.

Now, with the advent of a True Christian as a President of the United States, we Christians stand closer now to establishing a truly Christian-based government in this country since 1620!

By faith and determination, we have placed many of our people into the ranks of the Republican Party; have organized local elections to put our members on vital school boards where they can, and have, successfully supplanted the false Darwinism with the Divinely Inspired Biblical Creationism.

We have elected members to serve in Congress who are sensitive to our needs and wishes but we need far more in order to establish a firm majority.

Since 2016 dozens of True Christians, by Presidential order have been placed in key positions within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Drug Administration and on commissions and advisory committees where they have made serious progress.

The earlier God-sent Bush Administration established one of the most righteous sexual health agendas in the Western world.

But the reawakening of America is being blocked by the enemies of the True State who are fearful that our President and his supporters will ruin their plans for global integration so their answer to this is to fight our President and his legion of the righteous, to block, and eventually destroy his goal to make America great again. But his enemies do not realize the growing control and spiritual influence of True Christians in establishing strict control of the American political and educational realms.

Now danger appears and the enemies of white America are working under cover to control and destroy the actions of our President. Rumors in a lying press, many devious plots being launched and plans drawn up to break the President, return to globalism and open our borders to a flood of criminals and degenerates who detest the American system and bring with them disease and drugs. What is to be done?

The true Americans and the loyal supporters of our President must unite and fight against the common enemies of white Americans.

Unite and organize so that by your strength, and your weapons, you can show the enemies of the True State that the armies of True America, by the same force of arms that made America a great country under George Washington, can once again drive out the alien trash and reestablish America as the true leader of the world.

What a man cannot say in words, his gun can say in action.

The bullets of the Lord will cleanse this country of the Liberal Democrats, sexual degenerates and racial trash that have brought America to the brink of destruction.

Copies of this call to arms are sent to the following activist organizations in the United States.

  • 3 Percenters
  • ACT for America
  • Advent Christian General Conference
  • All White America-Florida
  • Alliance Defending Freedom
  • Alternative Right-Alabama
  • Alternative Right-Georgia
  • Alternative Right-Illinois
  • AltRight Corporation-Virginia
  • America First
  • America First Committee-Illinois
  • America’s Promise Ministries
  • American Border Patrol/American Patrol
  • American Camp Guards Society
  • American Family Association
  • American Freedom Party
  • American Freedom Party- Texas
  • American Freedom Party- New York
  • American Freedom Party- Indiana
  • American Freedom Party- Montana
  • American Freedom Party- New York
  • American Freedom Party- North Dakota
  • American Freedom Party- California
  • American Freedom Union- Pennsylvania
  • American Militia Alliance
  • American Nazi Party- California
  • American Nazi Party- Michigan
  • American Renaissance
  • American Renaissance/New Century Foundation Virginia
  • Arizona Border Recon
  • Aryan Brotherhood
  • Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
  • Aryan Nations
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC- Illinois
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC-Missouri
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC- Ohio
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC- Oklahoma
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC- Tennessee
  • Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC- Wisconsin
  • Aryan Nations Worldwide- Georgia
  • Aryan Renaissance Society- New York
  • Aryan Renaissance Society-Texas
  • Atomwaffen Division-Florida
  • Back to Africa Movement
  • Blood & Honor
  • Brotherhood of Klans
  • Center for Security Policy
  • Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • Confederate SS Movement
  • Conservative Citizens Foundation, Inc.-Missouri
  • Council of Conservative Citizens-Maryland
  • Council of Conservative Citizens-Missouri
  • Counter.Fund-Pennsylvania
  • Counter-Currents Publishing-New York
  • Counter-Currents Publishing-Washington
  • Counter-Currents Publishing-California
  • Creativity Movement- South Dakota
  • Creativity Movement- Illinois
  • Creativity Movement- Michigan
  • Creativity Movement-Ohio
  • Faith and Heritage-Texas
  • Forza Nuova- Arizona
  • Forza Nuova-New Jersey
  • Free American-Arizona
  • Gays Must Die Association
  • Germania International
  • Golden Dawn-New York
  • Idaho Light Foot Militia
  • Identity Evropa- Georgia
  • Identity Evropa-North Carolina
  • Identity Evropa-Boulder, Colorado
  • Identity Evropa-California
  • Identity Evropa-Arizona
  • Identity Evropa-Florida
  • Identity Evropa-Maryland
  • Identity Evropa-Michigan
  • Identity Evropa-Minnesota
  • Identity Evropa-New Jersey
  • Identity Evropa-New York
  • Identity Evropa-Oregon
  • Identity Evropa-Pennsylvania
  • Identity Evropa-Tennessee
  • Identity Evropa-Virginia
  • Immigrants Out-Alabama
  • Immigrants Out-Mississippi
  • Immigants Out-Texas
  • Immigrants Out-Wyoming
  • Liberty University- Lynchburg, Va
  • Michigan Militia
  • Militia of Montana
  • Missouri Citizens Militia
  • Missouri Militia
  • National Alliance
  • National Alliance-West Virginia
  • National Alliance-Tennessee
  • National Alliance-New Hampshire
  • National Alliance-Nevada
  • Natonal Association for the Deportion of Aliens
  • National Boarderguards
  • National Coalition for Immigration Reform
  • National Policy Institute- Virginia
  • National Vanguard
  • Nationalist Women’s Front-California
  • New Albion-Maine
  • New Order-Wisconsin
  • New York Light Foot Militia
  • Noble Breed Kindred-California
  • Northwest Front-Washington
  • NS Publications-Michigan
  • Oath Keepers
  • Occidental Dissent-Alabama
  • Occidental Observer- California
  • Ohio Defense Force
  • Operation Homeland-Virginia
  • Patriot Front- Illinois
  • Patriot Front-California
  • Patriot Front-Washington
  • Patriot Front-Texas
  • Patriotic Flags-South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania Military Reserve
  • Pioneer Little Europe Kalispell Montana
  • PzG Inc.-South Dakota
  • Racial Nationalist Party of America-New York
  • Radix Journal-Montana
  • Real Republic of Florida-Florida
  • Rise Above Movement-California
  • RootBocks-Indiana
  • Sons of the South-Georgia
  • Stormfront-Florida
  • Texas Light Foot Militia
  • The Army of God
  • The Aryan Terror Brigade
  • The Concerned Christians
  • The Creativity Movement
  • The Daily Stormer-Alabama
  • The Daily Stormer-Alaska
  • The Daily Stormer-Arizona
  • The Daily Stormer-California
  • The Daily Stormer-Colorado
  • The Daily Stormer-Connecticut
  • The Daily Stormer-Florida
  • The Daily Stormer-Georgia
  • The Daily Stormer-Illinois
  • The Daily Stormer-Indiana
  • The Daily Stormer-Iowa
  • The Daily Stormer-Kansas
  • The Daily Stormer-Kentucky
  • The Daily Stormer-Massachusetts
  • The Daily Stormer-Michigan
  • The Daily Stormer-Minnesota
  • The Daily Stormer-Missouri
  • The Daily Stormer-Montana
  • The Daily Stormer-Nebraska
  • The Daily Stormer-Nevada
  • The Daily Stormer-New Jersey
  • The Daily Stormer-New York
  • The Daily Stormer-North Carolina
  • The Daily Stormer -Oregon
  • The Daily Stormer-Pennsylvania
  • The Daily Stormer-South Carolina
  • The Daily Stormer-Texas
  • The Daily Stormer-Utah
  • The Daily Stormer-Vermont
  • The Daily Stormer-Virginia
  • The Daily Stormer-Washington
  • The Daily Stormer-Ohio
  • The Dominonist Movement of America
  • The Family
  • The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation-Virginia
  • The neo-Confederate League of the South
  • The New Byzantium Project-Virginia
  • The Phineas Priesthood
  • The Political Cesspool-Tennessee
  • The Racial Purity Association of Texas
  • The Right Stuff-Georgia
  • The Right Stuff-Texas
  • The Right Stuff-Maryland
  • The Right Stuff-Texas
  • The Right Stuff-Nevada
  • The Right Stuff-New York
  • The Right Stuff-Nebraska
  • The Right Stuff-Pennsylvania
  • The Right Stuff- Minnesota
  • The Right Stuff-Arizona
  • The Right Stuff-California
  • The Right Stuff-Florida
  • The Right Stuff-Indiana
  • The Right Stuff-Michigan
  • The Right Stuff-Oregon
  • The Right Stuff-Texas
  • The Right Stuff-Vermont
  • The Right Stuff-Virginia
  • The Right Stuff-Washington
  • The Right Stuff-District of Columbia
  • The Right Stuff-New York
  • The Social Contract Press-Michigan
  • The Sovereign Citizen Movement of the US and Canada
  • Traditionalist Worker Party
  • Traditionalist Worker Party- Alabama
  • Traditionalist Worker Party- North Carolina
  • Traditionalist Worker Party- Ohio
  • Traditionalist Worker Party-Rhode Island
  • Traditionalist Worker Party-Tennessee
  • Traditionalist Worker Party-Texas
  • Traditionalist Worker Party-Virginia
  • Traditionalist Worker Party-Indiana
  • Traditionalist Youth Network-Indiana
  • True Cascadia-Alaska
  • True Cascadia-Idaho
  • True Cascadia-Oregon
  • True Cascadia-Washington
  • Tyr 1 Security-Virginia
  • Vanguard America-Connecticut
  • Vanguard America-Florida
  • Vanguard America-Georgia
  • Vanguard America-Illinois
  • Vanguard America-Louisiana
  • Vanguard America-Maryland
  • Vanguard America-Massachusetts
  • Vanguard America-Michigan
  • Vanguard America-Nebraska
  • Vanguard America-Nevada
  • Vanguard America-New Hampshire
  • Vanguard America-New Jersey
  • Vanguard America-New York
  • Vanguard America-North Carolina
  • Vanguard America- Ohio
  • Vanguard America-Oklahoma
  • Vanguard America- Oregon
  • Vanguard America-Pennsylvania
  • Vanguard America-Rhode Island
  • Vanguard America-Texas
  • Vanguard America-Virginia
  • Vanguard America-Washington
  • Vanguard America-West Virginia
  • Vanguard America-Wyoming
  • Vanguard America-Indiana
  • VDARE Foundation-Virginia
  • White Aryan Resistance-California
  • White Boy Society-Illinois
  • White Devil Social Club-Wisconsin
  • White Rabbit Radio-Michigan
  • White Revolution
  • Women for Aryan Unity-Ohio
  • White America-District of Columbia
  • Women for Aryan Unity- Wisconsin
  • Anglican Mission in the Americas
  • Assemblies of God USA
  • Brethren Church, The
  • Brethren in Christ Church
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance
  • Christian Reformed Church in North America
  • Christian Union
  • Church of God
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Conservative Congregational Christian Conference
  • Converge Worldwide
  • ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
  • Elim Fellowship
  • Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches
  • Evangelical Church, The
  • Evangelical Congregational Church
  • Evangelical Free Church of America
  • Evangelical Friends Church International
  • Evangelical Presbyterian Church
  • Every Nation Churches
  • Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches
  • Fellowship of Evangelical Churches
  • Foursquare Church, The
  • Free Methodist Church of North America
  • Grace Communion International Worldwide Church of God
  • Great Commission Churches
  • International Pentecostal Church of Christ
  • International Pentecostal Holiness Church
  • Missionary Church, Inc.
  • Open Bible Church
  • Presbyterian Church in America
  • Primitive Methodist Church USA
  • Royalhouse Chapel International
  • Transformation Ministries
  • United Brethren in Christ
  • Vineyard USA, The “


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

July 31, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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


Conversation No. 65

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 1996

Commenced:  1:45 PM CST

Concluded:  2:16 PM CST

GD: Good morning, Robert. Well, I have all my reservations lined up and we should be getting together on the 9th of December. I have hotel reservations and it isn’t too far to the University Club, but I’ll take a cab. About noon?

RTC: Yes, that’s the drill. Now, look, Gregory, if you get there early and then Kimmel and Bill are there, be polite but non-committal with both of them. I should be on time but one never knows. Kimmel is looking for any way to discredit you so be very careful with him. Have you ever met him before?

GD: No, just talked on the phone.

RTC: A tall blonde fellow, a little past his prime but an impressive type. Has a deep, well-regulated voice and likes to overawe people. You won’t be overawed, will you?

GD: I doubt it. I am sure Mueller was twice the man Kimmel is and Heini never overawed me. We got along fine on those grounds.

RTC: Look, can you tell me the name of your hotel?

GD: Certainly. It’s the Capitol Hill Suites. The phone number there is…just a second….202 543-6000 and my reservation number is C 1820CE8. I’ll be checking in on Saturday afternoon and I have a lunch date with Willis Carto on Sunday. He is doing a piece in his paper on the Mueller books and wants to do an interview.

RTC: Fine. OK, here’s what I have in mind. I have all the Warren Commission books, all 26 or so volumes. I have gone through every one of them and made notes all over the pages. You can read my writing very clearly. I have marked up all the irrelevant material, the fake material and the factual material. I think when you come to write about the ZIPPER business, this will be of great help to you. I will have them delivered to you in a sealed box over the weekend. And whatever you do, do not mention this to either Tom or Bill. Just leave the box sealed and take it back with you on the plane. When are you leaving to go back?

GD: The 10th.

RTC: Fine. And I have put together a big packet of material on the ZIPPER business that I will put into a briefcase and bring with me to the Club. After lunch, we can go somewhere and I can give it to you. Everything you want is in there, all original papers, notes, transcriptions and so on. But remember your promise to keep this under your hat until after I’m gone. For some odd reason, Bill and Trento think they are going to get their hands on all this. I never made any concrete promises but when people pester me, I give satisfactory but non-binding comments. None of them would dare to publish a word of any of this and I know you will. I did give Bill a copy, but only a copy, of the Driscoll report and he thinks he has the world by the balls. Anyway, talk about Pearl Harbor and keep Tom happy. Also, try to keep your discussion of Mueller to a bare minimum. Tom is hot on Pearl, but everyone else wants to find out about Mueller. What can you prove, what evidence, if any, do you have of his working for us and so on. I’ve warned you before on all of this but just be vague and go off on a story. But for God’s sake, don’t tell them stories about soap in the soup or things like that. Kimmel has no sense of humor and would try to accuse you of mass poisonings or something. Bill just talks too much.

GD: I appreciate the confidence but since the Mueller book came out, I’ve been bombarded with requests from broken down academics to stop by with their friend, Willy, just to look at my precious documents. I don’t know where they find these people, Robert, but they do not engender any confidence in our precious government. They should really keep their mouths closed or all the flies will get out. No, childish games like that go nowhere. What about the Kennedy buffs, as they call them?

RTC: Almost all of that is in the package for you. You see, we set up a disinformation group to spread confusion and to distract anyone from digging too deeply. You know, the man with the umbrella, the man in the storm drains, the wandering people in the train yards, the third figure on the sixth floor of the book building, Hoover on the roof of a building along with Nixon and the Hunt brothers. And a fake Oswald renting a car or buying a gun. Not to mention the really bad stories, which Hunt made up, of Oswald in Mexico City. God, reams of paper with no end. The truth, which is all there, is much more simple.

GD: Question, Robert. This business with Ruby. Was he involved?

RTC: Well, yes. The Chicago mob, with whom I have family connections, got him to do a job on Oswald. That was a setup. You see, Oswald had nothing to do with the business but was involved in other things for us. If he came to trial, very ugly things could have come out and we couldn’t control a courtroom scene. Better to insure it never went that far.

GD: And Ruby?

RTC: The locals were going to try him and he was starting to sweat the electric chair so he threatened to talk.

GD: But he died in jail. Did you get to him in there?

RTC: Certainly. Ruby died of rampant cancer. As you are aware, Gregory, we can give people fatal heart attacks and cancer is only a little more difficult and problematical. A medical examination, an injection with cells and so on. Ask a good oncologist. It is possible to do this. It takes more time but what did Ruby have? There was no immediate danger of him blabbing, so we pacified him with stories of last minute rescues and let him die.

GD: I was watching the telly and I saw them bring out the rifle. I know a great deal about guns, Robert, and they showed very clear shots of it. Besides, the local cop who found it ran a gun shop and he must have known it was an Argentine Mauser and not a worthless Carcano 6.5mm. Why did they make the change?

RTC: As I recall it, they had ordered the smaller piece through the mail to a fake PO box in Oswald’s fake name. Oswald worked for ONI and used several names.

GD: Not the FBI?

RTC: Oh, no, the ONI. These people won’t allow their people to work for another agency.

GD: Just a point or two. These fake stories….how many of them are yours?

RTC: Gregory, when such things happen and cannot be instantly clarified, the lunatic fringe leaps up waving their arms with all kinds of strange stories. We have the Farrell woman who is their top librarian and we can plant any kind of a distraction we want, but actually, most of the distractions are from the fertile imaginations of self-important people. The Russians must have had a wonderful time with all of this smoke and mirrors. After all, we used Oswald solely because of his Russian connections. We felt it would point right back to them again. We got two birds with one stone. But then the nuts were more interested in people with umbrellas and so on so we stopped pushing the Russian connection. Yes, Lee was in Russia and yes, he was working for the ONI. The Atsugi connection was what got their attention. Oswald was very smart but very abrasive and I notice his wife was the niece of a top MVD man. Figure that one out. Anyway, they are relieved. And besides, if they ever got their hands on ZIPPER, they would make hay. We have to be a little careful here because of the Stalin business. You see, L.P. Beria, their intelligence chief, had come over to our side in the early ‘50s. He built their atomic program, but Stalin was getting senile and very dangerous. Beria knew his days were numbered so he made contact with us and agreed to work with us. Shutting off the cold war, getting Russian troops out of the DDR and so on. This progressed and as he grew more desperate with his sinking star, we hit on the idea of getting rid of Comrade Stalin and setting Beria up in his place. Old L.P. was a sex fiend and loved little girls and boys so it was no problem to keep him line. And of course the Jewish business cropped up. Stalin used Jews but he hated them and was, in his increasing madness, planning to exterminate them like he had exterminated so many others. Beria was Jewish as was Molotov’s wife so there was general fear that the axe could fall on all of them.

GD: Fouche used this ploy to bring down Robespierre. ‘Oh, you are on the death list’ and so on.

RTC: I didn’t know about that.

GD: There is no new thing under the sun, Robert. How did they kill Stalin? I assume he was well guarded.

RTC: Oh yes, and paranoid as hell. We got some rat poison that works on the blood. What…

GD: Wafrarin.

RTC: Something like that. Got it from people in Wisconsin. Anyway, Beria slipped it into Joe’s booze and off he went with a stroke. Of course he started bleeding from the mouth but no one noticed that and then Beria got in. Did you know that Stalin was going to transport all the Jews in Moscow off to Siberia in the middle of winter and freeze the lot of them to death? Oh yes, and they all joined forces to save themselves. I think rat poison was apt. Stalin was a terrible monster.

GD: He did thin out the Russian population. Did anyone here, besides your people, know about this?

RTC: Eisenhower was noticed on this and jumped at it. Thought it was a wonderful idea. You know, when I told you about the Army plan to attack American targets like aircraft and blowing up buildings and use this as a basis for attacking Castro, old Ike jumped for joy. Kennedy stopped it.

GD: Do you have anything on this?

RTC: The Stalin business? Yes, I do. The Army plan? No, I do not.

GD: Well, at least I know about it. Can I get the Stalin material?

RTC: I can put it into the packet for you. Now getting this to you might be a problem. Kimmel does not like the idea of me taking with you and at the lunch, will watch both of us like a hawk. I think after the lunch, we might go into the Club library.

GD: I have a better idea. I looked at a DC map and I see the National Portrait Gallery is nearby. I have an ancestor whose picture is up there and I always wanted to see it. We could take a cab over there because of your leg and leave Tom and Bill behind.

RTC: Might I ask who the ancestor was?

GD: Certainly. Robert Morris. He was a Philadelphia banker…Weller and Morris…and he financed Washington. They call him ‘Robert the Signer’ because there were other Morris people and he signed the Declaration of Independence.

RTC: That’s impressive. Be sure you mention this to Tom. That’ll get him ever more upset. His ancestors were farmers about the time yours was making history. Oh, yes, that will excite him. Just think, the evil Gregory Douglas is descended from an American hero, a founding father. I’d love to watch his face when you spring this one on him.

GD: It means less than nothing to me what people care about. Yes, and then you can give me your packet away from prying and jealous eyes.

RTC: We can push them into the Club bar, get them started…do you drink, by the way?

GD: No.

RTC: Well, I’ll tell them my doctor said I couldn’t, so off we can go to look at your ancestor. My basic reason, Gregory, for getting you to do this is because it might come out in the future and I really want the American people to know that we had very good reasons for putting ZIPPER in action. It wasn’t just a South American junta. We had very good reasons and I only hope you make it clear that this had a real and solid basis for action. I don’t regret our actions for a minute but in the future, historians ought to have all the facts before they judge. You do see my point?

GD: Of course, and there would be no reason to write this unless I explained why you and your friends undertook such a drastic action. That has to be part of the whole package. An interesting microcosm, Robert, a history of a major assassination plot, capturing world attention, all in a small book and very accurate. Instead of speculating on the sinking of the Maine or who told what to whom before Pearl Harbor, we have it all down nice and crisp and accurate.

RTC: Ah, there, you have the crux of it, Gregory. Now, let us return to our daily lives and look forward to our meeting.


(Concluded at 2:16 PM CST)



Encyclopedia of American Loons

Gerald Schroeder

Gerald Lawrence Schroeder is an Israeli-American physicist, author, lecturer and teacher at the College of Jewish Studies Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Seminar. Schroeder does indeed have a genuine science background and may have been a real scientist at some point, but he is also a creationist, and seems to have spent most of the last 40 years doing apologetics, such as investigating “the confluence of science and Torah” and constructing elaborate, tortured ad hoc explanations to get the apparent age of the universe to fit with the literal Biblical six-day account of creation; in particular Schroeder draws on relativity to reconcile a six-day creation as described in Genesis with the scientific evidence that the world is billions of years old using the idea that the perceived flow of time for a given event in an expanding universe varies with the observer’s perspective of that event. As such, it isn’t really young-earth creationism in the traditional sense, but it is still serious nonsense (there is a comprehensive explanation of his silliness here; Schroeder’s non-response to being refuted is discussed here), and still creationism. Although he attempts to reconcile Genesis and science when it comes to the age of the universe, he simply rejects science in favor of the Bible – including the Bible Code – when it comes to all other matters (these areas are, after all, beyond his area of competence anyways, and you can always reject the science of things you don’t understand). Schroeder is a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism (Schroeder has no expertise on anything related to evolution), and currently seems to be considered something of an authority in the Intelligent Design movement, being invited to give seemingly scientifically informed talks by various denialist groups across the US.

His books include titles like The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom a book that has generated research such as Andrew Mark Sibley “A Photon Reference Frame and Distant Starlight: Analyzing Ideas from Gerald L. Schroeder’s The Science of God” published in the venerable Answers Research Journal, Answers in Genesis’s house journal. Schroeder’s most famous book is presumably The Hidden Face of God, however, since it apparently impressed ex-atheist Antony Flew during his conversion process; it is reviewed here (“[n]o one should read this tiresome book for any serious purpose other than to find examples of popular science-abuse”). Given Schroeder’s background, the most striking characteristic, apart from its New Age-style handwavings, is perhaps the many misinterpretations of and obvious errors in the physics he describes.

                 Diagnosis: At least he is pretty clear that what he is doing is fundie dogmatism: start with the conclusion you like, try to make the data fit and just reject whatever doesn’t. But Schroeder is also something of a star in the creationist movement, and seems to spend quite a bit of effort promoting denialism. He must accordingly be considered a moderate threat to civilization and human flourishing.


If you think Scientologists are crazy, read on——-


Flat Earthers reveal just how insane they are at conference in England

by Mike Wehner


When news stories pop up about Flat Earth believers claiming to have proof that NASA and every scientist on the face of the the planet is lying about its shape, we tend to lump them all into one big pile of crazy. That’s totally unfair to them because, as a recent Flat Earth expo has revealed, there’s many different flavors of crazy when it comes to people who think we’re living on a sheet of paper… or maybe a diamond.

The conference, which was held in Birmingham in England, was the UK’s first Flat Earth Convention, according to The Daily Star. The momentous event attracted a whopping 200-or-so visitors and featured renowned speakers ranging from some guy who was once a graphic designer to a man who “stumbled across” Flat Earth videos on YouTube two years ago. Yes, it was a veritable who’s-who of utter insanity, and boy was there a lot to take in.

The really special thing about Flat Earth believers is that they think everyone else is insane, even other Flat Earthers who don’t believe exactly what they themselves believe. For example, there’s a subset of the Flat Earth community that believes that the Earth is flat and that it is surrounded by a wall of ice that we know as Antarctica. Others, meanwhile, think that there’s water right up to the edge, but that a massive dome covers the entire flat planet like a roof, keeping everything nice and tidy inside.

Still others have even more obscure theories (I know, that’s hard to imagine). One of the speakers at the conference, who spends his days as a dance musician and not a scientist, insists that the planet is actually diamond-shaped, with flat sides but three-dimensional geometry. How would such an object be supported? By massive pillars, he says. It’s so obvious!

NASA and other actual scientists and researchers rarely take the time to address these insane claims, mainly because they’re so laughable it’s hard to even speak about them without breaking into a fit of the giggles.Looking for Life on a Flat Earth


What a burgeoning movement says about science, solace, and how a theory becomes truth.

May 30, 2018

by Alan Burdick

The New Yorker

On the last Sunday afternoon in March, Mike Hughes, a sixty-two-year-old limousine driver from Apple Valley, California, successfully launched himself above the Mojave Desert in a homemade steam-powered rocket. He’d been trying for years, in one way or another. In 2002, Hughes set a Guinness World Record for the longest ramp jump—a hundred and three feet—in a limo, a stretch Lincoln Town Car. In 2014, he allegedly flew thirteen hundred and seventy-four feet in a garage-built rocket and was injured when it crashed. He planned to try again in 2016, but his Kickstarter campaign, which aimed to raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, netted just two supporters and three hundred and ten dollars. Further attempts were scrubbed—mechanical problems, logistical hurdles, hassles from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Finally, a couple of months ago, he made good. Stuff was leaking, bolts needed tightening, but at around three o’clock, and with no countdown, Hughes blasted off from a portable ramp—attached to a motorhome he’d bought through Craigslist—soared to nearly nineteen hundred feet, and, after a minute or so, parachuted less than gently back to Earth.

For all of that, Hughes might have attracted little media attention were it not for his outspoken belief that the world is flat. “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he told the Associated Press. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”

Hughes converted fairly recently. In 2017, he called in to the Infinite Plane Society, a live-stream YouTube channel that discusses Earth’s flatness and other matters, to announce his beliefs and ambitions and ask for the community’s endorsement. Soon afterward, The Daily Plane, a flat-Earth information site (“News, Media and Science in a post-Globe Reality”), sponsored a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than seventy-five hundred dollars on Hughes’s behalf, enabling him to make the Mojave jump with the words “Research Flat Earth” emblazoned on his rocket.

To be clear, Hughes did not expect his flight to demonstrate Earth’s flatness to him; nineteen hundred feet up, or even a mile, is too low of a vantage point. And he doesn’t like that the mainstream media has portrayed things otherwise. This flight was just practice. His flat-Earth mission will come sometime in the future, when he will launch a rocket from a balloon (a “rockoon”) and go perhaps seventy miles up, where the splendor of our disk will be evident beyond dispute.

If you are only just waking up to the twenty-first century, you should know that, according to a growing number of people, much of what you’ve been taught about our planet is a lie: Earth really is flat. We know this because dozens, if not hundreds, of YouTube videos describe the coverup. We’ve listened to podcasts—Flat Earth Conspiracy, The Flat Earth Podcast—that parse the minutiae of various flat-Earth models, and the very wonkiness of the discussion indicates that the over-all theory is as sound and valid as any other scientific theory. We know because on a clear, cool day it is sometimes possible, from southwestern Michigan, to see the Chicago skyline, more than fifty miles away—an impossibility were Earth actually curved. We know because, last February, Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics point guard, told us so. “The Earth is flat,” he said. “It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.” We know because, last November, a year and a day after Donald Trump was elected President, more than five hundred people from across this flat Earth paid as much as two hundred and forty-nine dollars each to attend the first-ever Flat Earth Conference, in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Look around you,” Darryle Marble, the first featured speaker on the first morning of the conference, told the audience. “You’ll notice there’s not a single tinfoil hat.” He added, “We are normal people that have an abnormal perspective.”

The unsettling thing about spending two days at a convention of people who believe that Earth is flat isn’t the possibility that you, too, might come to accept their world view, although I did worry a little about that. Rather, it’s the very real likelihood that, after sitting through hours of presentations on “scientism,” lightning angels, and NASA’s many conspiracies—the moon-landing hoax, the International Fake Station, so-called satellites—and in chatting with I.T. specialists, cops, college students, and fashionably dressed families with young children, all of them unfailingly earnest and lovely, you will come to actually understand why a growing number of people are dead certain that Earth is flat. Because that truth is unnerving.

The November conference was held in a darkened ballroom of an Embassy Suites near the Raleigh airport. Dozens of rows of chairs had been set out and nearly all were filled. To my right, a young couple with a stroller listened intently; a man in front of me wore a T-shirt with the words “They Lied” across the back. Onstage, Marble recounted his awakening. Marble is African-American and was one of a handful of people of color in the room. He had enlisted in the Army and gone to Iraq after 9/11; when he returned home, to Arkansas, he “got into this whole conspiracy situation,” he said.

For two years, Marble and his girlfriend drank in YouTube. “We went from one thing to another to another—Sandy Hook, 9/11, false flags,” he said. “We got into the Bilderberg, Rothschilds, Illuminati. All these general things that one ends up looking into when you go on here, because you look at one video and then another suggestion pops up along the same lines.” Finally, he had to step away. “You come to a place where you start to feel that reality is just kind of scary,” he said. “You’ll find out that nothing, ultimately, is what it seems to be. I hit my low point, where everything was just terrifying.”

Marble found the light in his YouTube sidebar. While looking for videos related to “Under the Dome,” a TV sci-fi drama, he came across “Under the Dome,” a two-hour film, which takes the form of a documentary, by Mark K. Sargent, one of the leading flat-Earth proselytizers. The flat-Earth movement had burbled along in relative darkness until February of 2015, when Sargent uploaded “Flat Earth Clues,” a series of well-produced videos that, the Enclosed World site notes, “delves into the possibility of our human civilization actually being inside a ‘Truman Show’-like enclosed system, and how it’s been hidden from the public.” (Access to those videos and more is available on Sargent’s personal Web site, for ten dollars a month.) It announced itself as “a Reader’s Digest version” of the flat-Earth theory; Marble watched it over and over, all weekend.

“Each thing started to make that much more sense,” he said. “I was already primed to receive the whole flat-Earth idea, because we had already come to the conclusion that we were being deceived about so many other things. So of course they would lie to us about this.”

If we can agree on anything anymore, it’s that we live in a post-truth era. Facts are no longer correct or incorrect; everything is potentially true unless it’s disagreeable, in which case it’s fake. Recently, Lesley Stahl, of “60 Minutes,” revealed that, in an interview after the 2016 election, Donald Trump told her that the reason he maligns the press is “to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” Or, as George Costanza put it, coming from the opposite direction, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

The flat Earth is the post-truth landscape. As a group, its residents view themselves as staunch empiricists, their eyes wide open. The plane truth, they say, can be grasped in experiments that anyone can do at home. For instance, approach a large body of water and hold up a ruler to the horizon: it’s flat all the way across. What pond, lake, or sea have you ever seen where the surface of its waters curves? Another argument holds that, if Earth were truly spherical, an airplane flying above it would need to constantly adjust its nose downward to avoid flying straight into space. If, say, you flew on a plane and put a spirit level—one of those levels that you buy at the hardware store, with a capsule of liquid and an air bubble in the middle—on your tray table, the level should reveal a slight downward inclination. But it doesn’t: the level is level, the flight is level, the nose of the plane is level, and therefore the surface of Earth must be level. Marble performed this experiment himself, recorded it, posted it on YouTube, and a co-worker started a Reddit thread that linked to it. Soon Marble had twenty-two thousand followers and a nickname, the Spirit-Level Guy.

“We’re not trying to express any degree of intellectual superiority,” he said at the conference. “I’m just trying to wake people up to the idea that they’ve been lied to. It’s what you would do with any friend.”

The modern case for a flat Earth derives largely from “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe,” a book published, in 1865, by a smooth-talking English inventor and religious fundamentalist named Samuel Rowbotham. I found a copy at a bookseller’s table in the corridor just outside the conference ballroom, alongside books about the Revelations and New Testament apocrypha. The vender, a friendly woman who looked to be in her late sixties, offered her thoughts on Earth’s flatness and the enshrouding secrecy; I moved on when she got to “the Jews.”

Rowbotham began espousing his theory in the eighteen-forties, writing and lecturing under the pseudonym Parallax. He envisaged a disk, with the North Pole at the center and Antarctica a wall of ice around the perimeter. The sun, moon, and stars? All less than a thousand miles away and “much smaller than the earth from which they are measured.” Rowbotham proceeded by way of “zetetic” reasoning (from the Greek zeteo, meaning “to seek or inquire,” he explained), arguing that the facts show that Earth is flat whereas the theory of its roundness is unproven. He had demonstrated this himself at a drainage canal in the east of England. The canal runs arrow-straight for six miles, and Rowbotham, standing at one end, claimed to be able to see a boat at the other. (The planet’s curvature drops eight inches for every mile of distance squared, so an object six miles away ought to have been twenty-four feet below the sight line.)

Rowbotham’s ideas gained traction, and when he died, in 1884, his followers formed the Universal Zetetic Society. It published a magazine, The Earth Not a Globe Review, that decried the teaching of astronomy to schoolchildren, ridiculed evolution, and entertained alternative theories, including the possibility that Earth is a cube. And it developed a base in the United States; until the nineteen-forties, the town of Zion, north of Chicago, followed a strict religious code that embraced a flat-Earth doctrine. The Universal Zetetic Society sputtered out but was revived under different names over the years—in 1956, 1972, and 2004. The core model remained largely unchanged from Rowbotham’s day, although it was updated to account for space travel and other mid-twentieth-century fictions.

I encountered Robbie Davidson, the organizer of the conference, in a corridor outside the ballroom. Davidson is the director and sole employee of Kryptoz Media, a company based in Edmonton, Canada. He is tall and sharp-featured, and when he speaks his sentences spill into one another. He told me that he was turned on to the flat-Earth scene in 2015; before that, Kryptoz was marketing cryptocurrencies to everyday consumers. He described the modern flat-Earth community as a confluence of three strains of thought. “There’s the conspiratorial,” he said. “It’s like, ‘That’s kind of weird with the moon landing. Maybe I’ll look into it. What else could they be lying about?’ ” The second is “the scientific-minded,” people who “just want to go out and do the experiments.” The third, Davidson said, “is the spiritual—people that want to say, ‘Wait a minute, what would happen if I took the Bible literally?’ ” In style and substance, the flat-Earth movement is a close cousin of creationism. At the end of the conference, Davidson would be screening his new documentary, “Scientism Exposed 2,” which dismisses dinosaurs, evolution, gravitational waves, and a spherical Earth as part of a broad agenda “to hide the true creator of Creation,” according to the trailer.

Davidson was pleased with the turnout in Raleigh and was already planning for the 2018 conference, in Denver; another, in Canada, will be held this August. “More people are waking up,” he said. Davidson was careful to note that the conferences are unaffiliated with the Flat Earth Society, which, he said, promotes a model in which Earth is not a stationary plane, with the sun, moon, and stars inside a dome, but a disk flying through space. “They make it look incredibly ridiculous,” he told me recently. “A flying pancake in space is preposterous.”

Here are some reasons why you may think that Earth is actually a rotating sphere. For one, some of the ancient Greeks said so: if the moon is round, Earth must be, too (Pythagoras); as you move north or south from the equator, you see a changing array of stars and constellations (Aristotle); you can calculate Earth’s circumference by comparing the lengths of the shadows of two tall sticks placed many miles apart (Eratosthenes). More recently, we’ve noticed that solar noon—the point in the day when the sun is highest—doesn’t happen everywhere on Earth at the same time. (Time zones were invented to address this dilemma). Also, the higher you climb in elevation, the farther into the horizon you can see; if Earth were flat, you’d see an equal distance—to the edge of the world, with a strong enough telescope and an unobstructed view—regardless of altitude.

Human engineering seemingly takes Earth’s curvature into account. Lighthouses are deliberately built tall so that their beams can be seen from ships far away, over the intervening curve of sea. Radio towers send their signals dozens or hundreds of miles by bouncing them off the ionosphere, which wouldn’t be necessary if Earth were flat. A long bridge appears flat because its span parallels Earth, but its supports betray the curvature; the towers of the Verrazano-Narrows, in New York, are more than an inch and a half farther apart at the top than at the bases. And, of course, we have photographic evidence of a globular planet—millions of examples since the nineteen-fifties, taken by spacecraft and orbiting satellites.

Flat-Earthers have lists of reasons why round-Earthers—globers, globetards—are wrong. Perhaps the most comprehensive is “200 Proofs that Earth is Not a Spinning Ball,” a video posted to YouTube by Eric Dubay, a yoga instructor who regards himself as the true modern reviver of flat-Earth philosophy. (Dubay has also gained attention for his Holocaust denialism.) Many of the proofs fall into the you-can’t-definitively-prove-that-I’m-wrong category. If Earth is spinning on its axis at a thousand miles per hour, as scientists say, why isn’t there a powerful wind blowing exclusively from one direction? (Dubay: “The proof that the Earth is at rest is proved by kite flying.”) If Earth is a ball, why are there no direct flights across Antarctica from Chile to New Zealand? (“These flights aren’t made because they’re impossible.”)

Of course, such arguments prompt further questions. If Earth is actually flat, why does the sun rise and set? Where does it go at night? If it’s true that the sun and the moon never actually dip below the horizon but instead travel in wide circles around the North Pole, what keeps them aloft? And what about all those satellites I’ve seen being launched into space?

The responses recede along a path from half-baked to evasive. The sun is barely three dozen miles wide (see Thomas Winship’s “Zetetic Cosmogony,” from 1899), so of course its rays don’t illuminate the whole of Earth at once; as it moves farther from you it appears closer to the horizon, just as the farthest in a series of streetlights appears closest to the ground. And those televised rocket launches? They’re fake. (Notice how the camera angle quickly shifts from a ground-up shot to one supposedly on the rocket itself, looking back toward Earth. And all of those alleged images of a round Earth were Photoshopped.) Yes, you’ve been told, or you’ve read, that Antarctica sees weeks of twenty-four-hour daylight—but have you ever been there and seen it for yourself? Gravity, too, is just another theory; flat-Earthers believe that objects simply fall. (“ ‘Gravity,’ they love that one,” Marble said, using air quotes. “Grabbity—with two ‘B’s.”)

“Facts are not true just because they’re facts, if that makes any sense,” Jeran Campanella, who soon followed Marble to the stage, told the audience. Campanella is in his late thirties, with a serious face and a close-shaved head. Like Sargent, he gained prominence through a series of YouTube videos exposing the round-Earth hoax, although he has personalized the flat-Earth outlook by labelling it “Jeranism.” (“No, it is not a religion,” his Web site notes. “It is simply my name with ‘ism’ added at the end.”) His video presentation had glitched out, so he worked from his notes, reiterating the movement’s core belief: ninety-nine per cent of received wisdom is questionable; if you can’t observe it for yourself, it can’t be trusted. “It simply comes down to, Have you been there? Have you been to Saturn? Have you been to Jupiter?” Campanella said.

To insiders, the message is empowering. Trust in your senses. Don’t accept the word of a talking head. (Set aside the paradox of a man onstage imploring his large audience to ignore him.) “We all live in the world; we can see what’s real and what’s not,” Campanella said. “Science is really an excuse for people to be stupid.” Mike Hughes, the rocket builder, told the A.P. in November, “I don’t believe in science. I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula.” The conference audience was frequently encouraged to “do your own research,” which mostly seemed to involve watching more YouTube videos and boning up on Scripture.

Flat-Earth logic is by turns mesmerizing and maddening. There is no gravity, nothing to restrain it, but as a theory it explains fewer phenomena than the theory it seeks to supplant. In the corridor, I met a documentary filmmaker—there were several milling around at the conference—who had been following the flat-Earth community for months. His face bore a look of despair. “If you’re going to dismiss everything as a hoax, you’d better have something clear to replace it,” he said, his voice rising toward apoplexy. “If you tell me your car isn’t blue and I ask you, ‘Well, what color is your car?,’ don’t fucking tell me, ‘I don’t know, but it’s not blue.’ What color is your fucking car?!”

When I reëntered the ballroom, the audience was watching a short documentary that managed, within two minutes, to mention NORAD, the Pentagon, the falsehood of evolution, NASA, the 9/11 hoax, George W. Bush, and Stephen Hawking. (“Do you really believe he’s had A.L.S. for fifty-three years?”) I had already heard references to other well-known conspiracies—Pizzagate; Sandy Hook; the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Paris, and Orlando. One attractive aspect of the flat-Earth theory, it seemed, was that it served nicely as an umbrella for all the other coverups. “It’s the mother of all conspiracies,” more than one person told me.

Many things, the flat-Earthers understand, are being hidden. God, of course. Also, beyond the Antarctic ice wall lie thousands of miles of land—“an America 2.0,” one speaker said—that powerful people are keeping to themselves. Onstage, Mark Sargent had suggested that the world was run by “a small, scary group of smoking men sitting around a table.” NASA, meanwhile, is hoarding billions of dollars in taxpayer money for its operations, which include guarding the ice wall with armed employees and paying frizzy-haired actors to pretend to float in zero gravity. The astronauts are Freemasons, sworn to secrecy. The other workers, the engineers and functionaries, have either been duped or don’t want to speak out, for fear of losing their jobs.

I wondered aloud how a conspiracy so vast—decades old, involving every space agency and airline pilot in the world, and requiring the coöperation and silence of tens of thousands of underpaid Photoshop grunts—could have been kept under wraps. “Most of the lower levels of government are not in on it because of a handy practice called compartmentalization,” one man told me. That word came up a lot. “I don’t think that all scientists are lying,” another man said. “The teachers aren’t lying. It’s just compartmentalized—they don’t know.” Another attendee offered himself as evidence: he worked for a contractor building a supercomputer for a national laboratory, but he no idea what his co-workers in other government departments did. “You’re familiar with compartmentalization?” another man, a former Marine, said. “It’s easy to do when only a few hundred people are in on it. And they’re all Satanists and Luciferians.”

At five-thirty, the conference broke for the day and the crowd spilled out into the hotel atrium for happy hour. I needed a drink, and, to my surprise, Evangelical flat-Earthers sometimes do, too; many had gravitated, or perhaps simply fallen, toward the bar, where they talked excitedly among themselves and ate pretzel snacks. Several of the speakers, including Sargent and Campanella, were surrounded by admirers who were seeing them for the first time in person. The atmosphere was convivial, like a class reunion.

“It’s a big family,” a man named Ben Campbell told me. He gestured toward the hotel restaurant across the atrium: “I could walk into there and sit down with anyone!” Campbell was from Las Vegas and wore a name tag that read “Ben from Vegas.” In Vegas, Campbell organizes a weekly flat-Earther meetup at a local bar. There are flat-Earth meetups in cities around the country; the one in Denver, where the next Flat Earth Conference will be held, is particularly active. The Vegas chapter draws about three dozen people and the number has been growing, Campbell said; for many, it was the one place where they felt comfortable expressing their ideas.

Believing in a flat Earth is hard work; there is so much to relearn. The price of open-mindedness is isolation. “It took me about four months before I could talk to someone outside the apartment about this,” Marble said during his presentation. “You’ve gotta be ready to be called crazy.” Several people described the relief of “coming out” as a flat-Earther. “You can tell people you’re gay, you can tell people you’re Christian, but you don’t get ridiculed like a flat-Earther,” I overheard one woman say. “It’s really that bad.” At the bar, I fell into conversation with a woman who was attending a real-estate conference in the hotel. She asked what my conference was about; when I told her, she doubled over with laughter. I cringed a little, protectively, and glanced around to see if anyone had heard her.

The reward is existential solace. This, I came to understand, was the real draw, the thing that could make, say, an unemployed clerical worker drive twelve hours, alone, from Michigan to Raleigh. To believe in a flat Earth is to belong not only to a human community but to sit, once again, at the center of the cosmos. The standard facts of astronomy are emotionally untenable—a planet spinning at a thousand miles per hour, a mote in a galaxy of unimaginable scale, itself a mote in the vast and expanding universe. “That, to me, is a huge problem,” Campanella said. “You are a created individual. This is a created place. It’s not an accident; it’s not an explosion in space; it’s not random molecules joining together.”

You, we, are special. “It’s like God is patting me on the shoulder, saying, ‘You deserve this!’ ” a man from New Orleans told me. He was a trucker, the son of a former newscaster, and an occasional musician. As we were talking, an older man in a wheelchair approached and, in a drawl, introduced himself and asked if we were Christians. He brought up the notion of infinite space and the lack of a creator. “How can people live with that?” he asked.

“Those people are fucking miserable,” the trucker said. “They’re so unhappy.”

The footing on this flat Earth is unstable. At the conference, several speakers made reference to “shills” within the community, people purporting to espouse the theory but who in fact belong to some deep-state counterintelligence program aimed at making the movement seem laughable. In 2016, Dubay, of the “200 Proofs” video, called out Sargent, Campanella, and other figures as “suspected controlled opposition shills,” and last year in a radio interview he called the November conference a “shill-fest.” Even the flat-Earth bureaucracy is suspect. At the end of the conference’s second day, a panelist mentioned a plan to set up a nonprofit to carry on the work. This brought a rebuke from a woman in the audience. “You had me up until I heard the gentleman say, ‘The reason we had to scramble to get the 501(c)(3),’ ” she said. “In my research, I found out that’s a Luciferian contract.”

Even Samuel Rowbotham, the founding father of the modern flat Earth, was suspected of not actually believing the theory he popularized. In 1884, Henry Ossipoff Wolfson, a former secretary of the Zetetic Society, wrote a scathing exposé on his “old friend.” He noted that Rowbotham, a.k.a. Parallax, was “an accomplished quack” who went by several pseudonyms, including Dr. Samuel Birley. This Dr. Birley, who was not a doctor in the medical (or any) sense, was known for selling Birley’s Phosphorus, “the world’s best nerve restorer,” which promised to cure a long list of ailments, including mumps, deafness, hair loss, varicose veins, epilepsy, and spinal disease. The notion of a flat Earth, Wolfson wrote, was “only one of the means for decoying the suffering part of humanity, for whose benefit he pretends to live, but whose units, in the meanwhile, assist him in enlarging his fortune, over which he keeps most careful watch.”

The flat Earth was perhaps a scam, an emotional salve with no basis in physical reality. Now it has become both real and surreal, like a performance-art piece in which nobody can tell the actors, stagehands, and audience apart. “Do you think Trump knows? Do you think he knows that space is fake?” Campanella asked at one point. When I pressed Davidson on whether he truly thinks Earth is flat, he replied, “Well, I don’t know one hundred per cent, but I would say that I’m very sure what it’s not. I definitely do not believe that we’re a spinning ball flying through space.” If nothing else, the flat-Earth community has tapped into a form of mental perpetual motion: if you think it, it must be true. Solipsism is the new empiricism.

More than once at the conference, I heard the flat-Earth “debate” depicted as a Biblical confrontation. “This is a struggle between good and evil, the soldiers of light versus darkness,” Marble said. Maybe he’s right. Maybe this is how Lucifer arrives: not in a spotlight but cloaked in fog, creeping in, sowing ignorance and doubt. The devil is in the lack of detail or any regard for it.

“So many people in today’s world simply accept what they’re told,” Campanella said. “Whether it’s about their beliefs, whether it’s about their science, whether it’s about where you live. And if you’re going to accept what you’re told, you need to be open to the fact that people will always lie to you. . . .  People will lie to you. If they can get one over on you, if they can do something that makes you less knowledgeable, that makes them make more money, that makes you into a slave, then they’ll do it. I should tell you that.”

I must tell you, as a friend, that I agree completely.

Alan Burdick is the author, most recently, of “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation.”


What Would Happen if the Earth Were Actually Flat?

by Doug Main

Earth Institute, Columbia University

Welcome to the new year, 2018. The Earth has yet again made a revolution about the sun. But not so fast. If you subscribe to the idea of a flat Earth, then you’d believe that no such thing happened, because the sun rotates in a circle around the sky.

Humans have known for thousands of years that the planet is round, yet the belief in a flat Earth refuses to die. Members of the Flat Earth Society and several celebrities, including Atlanta rapper B.o.B and NBA player Kyrie Irving, claim to hold such beliefs. Let’s examine, then, how the well-known principles of physics and science would work (or not) on a flat Earth.

Gravity Fails

First of all, a pancaked planet might not have any gravity. It’s unclear how gravity would work, or be created, in such a world, says James Davis, a geophysicist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. That’s a pretty big deal, since gravity explains a wide range of Earthly and cosmic observations. The same measurable force that causes an apple to fall from a tree also causes the moon to orbit the Earth and all the planets to orbit the sun.

People who believe in a flat Earth assume that gravity would pull straight down, but there’s no evidence to suggest it would work that way. What we know about gravity suggests it would pull toward the center of the disk. That means it would only pull straight down at one point on the center of the disk. As you got increasingly far from the center, gravity would tug more and more horizontally. This would have some strange impacts, like sucking all the water toward the center of the world, and making trees and plants grow diagonally, since they develop in the opposite direction of gravity’s pull.

Solar Problems

Then there’s the sun. In the scientifically supported model of the solar system, the Earth revolves around the sun because the latter is much more massive and has more gravity. However, the Earth doesn’t fall into the sun because it is traveling in an orbit. In other words, the sun’s gravity isn’t acting alone. The planet is also traveling in a direction perpendicular to the star’s gravitational tug; if it were possible to switch off that gravity, the Earth would shoot away in a straight line and hightail it out of the solar system. Instead, the linear momentum and the sun’s gravity combine, resulting in a circular orbit around the sun.

The flat Earth model places our planet at the center of the universe, but doesn’t suggest that the sun orbits the Earth. Rather, the sun circles over the top side of the world like a carousel, broadcasting light and warmth downward like a desk lamp. Without the linear, perpendicular momentum that helps generate an orbit, it’s unclear what force would keep the sun and moon hovering above the Earth, Davis says, instead of crashing into it.

Likewise, in a flat world, satellites likely wouldn’t be possible. How would they orbit a plane? “There are a number of satellite missions that society depends on that just wouldn’t work,” Davis says. For this reason, he says, “I cannot think of how GPS would work on a flat Earth.”

If the sun and moon just loop around one side of a flat Earth, there could presumably be a procession of days and nights. But it wouldn’t explain seasons, eclipses and many other phenomena. The sun would also presumably have to be smaller than Earth so as to not burn up or bump into our planet or the moon. However, we know the sun to be more than 100 times the diameter of the Earth.

Removing Heaven and Earth

Deep below ground, the solid core of the Earth generates the planet’s magnetic field. But in a flat planet, that would have to be replaced by something else. Perhaps a flat sheet of liquid metal. That, however, wouldn’t rotate in a way that creates a magnetic field. Without a magnetic field, charged particles from the sun would fry the planet. They could strip away the atmosphere, as they did after Mars lost its magnetic field, and the air and oceans would escape into space.

Tectonic plate movement and seismicity depend on a round Earth, because only on a sphere do all the plates fit together in a sensible way, Davis says. Movements of plates on one side of the Earth effect movements on the other. The areas of the Earth that create crust, like the mid-Atlantic ridge, are counterbalanced by places that consume crust, like subduction zones. On a flat Earth, none of this could be adequately explained. There’d also have to be an explanation for what happens to plates at the edge of the world. One could imagine they might fall off, but that would presumably jeopardize the proposed wall that prevents people from falling off the disk-shaped world.

Perhaps one of the most glaring oddities is that the proposed map of the flat Earth is totally different. It places the Arctic at the center while Antarctica forms an “ice wall” around the edges. In such a world, travel would look very different. Flying from Australia to certain parts of Antarctica would, for example, take forever—you’d have to travel over the Arctic and both Americas to get there. In addition, certain real-world feats, such as traveling across Antarctica (which has been done many times), would be impossible.

Falling Flat

Contrary to popular belief, it’s a misconception that many societies of serious, educated people ever actually believed in the flat Earth theory. “With extraordinary few exceptions, no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat,” historian Jeffrey Burton Russell noted in 1997. “A round Earth appears at least as early as the sixth century B.C. with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere.”

As the scientist and writer Stephen Jay Gould once wrote, the idea that many people—including the Spaniards and Christopher Columbus—believed the Earth to be flat was largely concocted by 19th century writers such as Washington Irving, Jean Letronne and others. Letronne was “an academic of strong anti-religious prejudices… who cleverly drew upon both to misrepresent the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth,” Russell noted.

In any case, while it’s fun to imagine counterfactual scenarios, science proceeds by coming up with theories to explain observations. When it comes to these theories, the simpler, the better, Davis says. The flat Earth idea, however, clearly begins with the idea that the planet is planar, and then attempts to twist other observations to its benefit. You can find odd explanations for individual phenomena under this framework, says Davis, but “it falls apart pretty quickly.”






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