TBR News June 13, 2010

Jun 13 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., June 12, 2010: “Washington leaks like a rotten garden hose and Obama and his people want desperately to stop it.

Once, Jewish interests controlled the American media and they were generally obedient to the wishes of the White House and its supporters, and of course, their own agendas.

Now that the American public is going to the Internet for their news, the papers are shrinking rapidly as readers dump them in increasing numbers and aside from the left, which watches MSNBC, and the right which watches FOX, television, viewers, too, are turning to the Internet.

Although the American media gave the recent Israeli piracy some small coverage and then rushed to jabber about the Gulf oil problem (on purpose, of course) the foreign media gave the horrific incident a great deal of coverage. And the Internet duly covered this and it was spread about, to the distress of Israel and her friends in Washington.

Cass Sunstein, the White House official determined to gain iron control of the Internet to prevent just such revelations, has sent one of his many, many position papers to Obama in which he, hysterically, insists that total government Internet control is becoming more vital with the passage of every day.

Obama might have started out with the best and most noble of intentions but like his predecessor, Woodrow Wilson, he is rapidly heading towards the total censorship and control of the public that Wilson successfully implemented in 1918.

After Wilson connived to push America into the First World War, he muzzled any objections as effectively as did Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler who arose from the wreckage of pre-war Europe and who could thank Wilson for paving their way to power.

Here is a very accurate quote from an excellent work on the period:

“He had created a vast propaganda machine, an internal spy network, a bond-selling apparatus extending to the level of residential city blocks, He had even succeeded in stifling free speech, in the summer of 1918 arresting and imprisoning- some for prison terms longer than ten years- not just radical labor leaders and editors of German-language newspapers but powerful men, even a congressman.” (The Great Influenza John M. Barry, Viking, 2002 pps300-301)

I can safely say that no government program, no secret paper, no diplomatic venture can be considered secret. The extent of the leakage is astounding but it is doubtful if anyone watching the public is truly aware of the degree and extent of the leakage.

The Obama people are now viciously pursuing a former employee of the NSA who was trying to stop gross mismanagement in that agency and, horror of horrors, frustrated by official indifference to his calls for internal help, cared to pass his fears to the media. This poor soul, however, is only one of many such essentially loyal and concerned intelligence employees. The Obama people, according to an internal memo, want to make an example of a few of these people.

The only ones, of course, who would escape official vengeance are those who give top secret papers to Israel.

Since the CIA is now full of militant Hebrews, one can safely predict that any secret the CIA has concerning Israel is in Tel Aviv before the sun sets. Franklin, a government employee, who leaked massive amounts of highly sensitive information to the AIPAIC people initially was sentenced to 13 years in Federal prison but, like his co-religionist Libby, had his sentence quietly reduced to a few months of private house arrest once the furor died down.

Like a hysterical and manipulative woman, Israel is now screeching to Obama about the importance of their needs (concerning the universal condemnation of their piracy) and one of their needs is to prevent any publication of information that Israel does not want.

Will they succeed in this?

Only if their co-religionist, Sunstein, has his way.

At the present time, many American agencies, to include the FBI, the NSA and the CIA are able watch all of us through various mediums. Of course any phone call is subject to being listened to, taped and filed, as are any emails.

And the FBI has a agreement with Google to automatically notify them any time an American looks at topics on that information site that is of interest to the FBI. This reportage is automatic, by the way, and the subjects of interest change regularly. The CIA has its hooks into Wikipedia and while they do not get reports on viewers, they do control the public airing of any information they deem to be negative that might be posted on that allegedly “free and public” site.

Also, the CIA had strong influence over the editorial rooms of the New York Times and the Washington Post but as both papers are rapidly losing readers, the CIA is setting up new web sites to reflect their views or paying off established sites.

On the other hand, both the DoD and the CIA’s attempts at propaganda are virtual buffoonery and as obvious as a turd on a bedsheet.

And do not forget the looming (but still unnoticed by the public) fact that about 50 million American mortgages are controlled by MERS, a government entity, which effectively will, and does, prevent a mortgager from ever getting a clear title to their property. If this one ever goes really public, there will be real domestic violence!”

The Tea Party Twits

There is an alleged letter making the rounds, either purported to be from a woman in Arizona, a doctor in New Jersey, a retired professor from Florida and a despondent veteran from Texas. They are all identical, only semi-literate and unfocused.

There have always been dissenters in our society, as in any, and now they are loosely joined in what is called the ‘Tea Bag Movement” founded and encouraged by a very far-right Evangelical Christian group in Mississippi.

These unfortunates are not organized, are wildly running around like catnipped pussies in a barnyard and, bellowing and waving illiterate signs, have put forward the strangest aggregation of political candidates yet seen in this Republic.

The once-proud Republican Party has been taken over by shrill religious bigots, devotees of weird economic theories, racists, prating members of cults like the Scientologists, raving conspiracy theorists and, most often, users of Prozac.

It is a political party that is headed by a fat, convicted drug addict, a retired governor with the intellect of a chicken, and a manic news reader holding forth on a television channel filled with the strangest collection of the empty of mind since the third rate science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard invented the Great Lord Xenu.

All across the country, groups of conspiracy lunatics have sprung up like fungus in a rain forest. We have the 911 Truthers, the Obama Birthers, the believers in Remote Viewing and Planet X, the evil Bilderburgers, various degrees of Jesus Freaks, and  multifarious economic Luddites.

I would like to quote from the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal  concerning such people:

Man wishes to be great and sees that he is small; wishes to be happy and sees that he is miserable; wishes to be perfect and sees that he is full of imperfections; wishes to be the object of the love and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only their aversion and contempt. The embarrassment in which he finds himself produces in him the must unjust and criminal passions imaginable, for he develops a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.

Dr. Sanford Aranoff
535A Ardmore Rd
Monroe Twp, NJ 08831-7616

I received this from a cousin. Please read it and pass it on!

—–Original Message—– 06/05/2010 11:20:24 AM (Sender’s time)
From: Steven & Mary Shore, Stan Shore, steve_shore@bellsouth.net

An open letter from a woman from Arizona:

“I am a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. Instead, we are burdened with Congressional Dukes and Duchesses who think they know better than the citizens they are supposed to represent.

There must be someone. Please tell me who you are Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would feel so horribly disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut-job am I? Well, these briefly are the views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels.. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution.

P.S., I’m not a racist. This is not to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the STIMULUS bill. I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it.. We told you No, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars. I want the circumvention of our constitutional checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution, and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There are many conflicting opinions and it is too soon for this radical legislation. Quit throwing our nation into politically-correct quicksand..

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision that will burden me, my children, and grandchildren. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night without even reading it. Slow down! Fix only what is broken — we have the best health care system in the world — and test any new program in one or two states first.

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. More is not better! Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real [Constitutional] obligations Why don’t you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes — how did they pull that one off? Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with any of our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs — and that is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person! Why do you want me to hate my employers? And what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves..

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Every company must sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. (Have you ever ripped off a Band- Aid?) We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk… Please stop trying to manipulate and appease me with clever wording… I am not the idiot you obviously take me for.. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me..

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Slow down and get some input from non- politicians and experts on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed-reading our bills into law. I am not an activist.. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent.. I work. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not.

It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill… We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is needless urgency and recklessness in all of your recent spending of our tax dollars.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on bringing our concerns to Washington .. Our president often knows all the right buzzwords like unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented.. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work, pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone… and we are now looking at you.

You have awakened us, the patriotic freedom spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office.

We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us who will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this.. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution, and that is all that matters to us now.. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest.. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them.. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you.

If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one.

We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

From:    walter storch (tbrnews@hotmail.com)

Sent:     Sat 6/05/10 4:22 PM

To:             aranoff@analysis-knowledge.com

An interesting article.

I used to be a Republican but left the party when the Bush crooks began to deliberately foist their swindles on the public, unopposed by any regulatory agency.

I drew the line at staying in a party that boasted the fat drug addict Limbaugh, the obviously mentally disturbed Glen Beck and Sarah Palin and the feeble-minded Rand Paul individual, as its leaders.

I, personally, want nothing to do with these bottom-feeders and if I publish the letter, it will be adorned with suitable comment.

Walter Storch

Sanford Aranoff (aranoff@analysis-knowledge.com)

Sent:     Sat 6/05/10 8:21 PM

To:       Journal Editor (tbrnews@hotmail.com)

Shut the hell up, you bastard! You liar saying Bush was a crook! Obama is far worse! Limbaugh is not a drug addict, you louse, saying lies and character defamation – you evil man! Sarah Palin is not mentally disturbed.

I want nothing to do with you, piece of dirt and bottom feeder. You and your magazine are destroying the United States of America!


From:    walter storch (tbrnews@hotmail.com)

Sent:     Sat 6/05/10 9:16 PM

To:             aranoff@analysis-knowledge.com

Oh my, toad-lips, am I going to do a number on you and the ‘Great Letter’ bitch! And when you come home from your job at the local sewage treatment plant, I hope your mother runs out from under the porch and bites you on the leg! And your essentially semi-literate rantiings do not indicate that you could have any kind of a doctorate. Where did you get yours, (if you have one that is)? From a Crackerjack box? Leg im dreck, momser as your co-religionists would say.

Israel is Fueling Anti-Americanism among US Allies
June 10, 2010

by Nicola Nasser

Turkey is now for the first time experiencing the US double standards and pro–Israel biased policy, which the Arabs have been victims for decades. It might be interesting to note that both Turkey and Greece, two US and NATO allies, have set aside their historical hostility to each other to publicly disagree with the US in their defense of breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza, says Nicola Nasser.

The attack in the international waters of the Mediterranean in the early hours of May 31 by an elite force of the Israeli navy on the Turkish – flagged Mavi Marmara civilian ferry crammed with more than 700 international activists, including several Americans, carrying 100 tonnes of cargo including concrete, medicines and children’s toys, and leading five smaller vessels of the Free Gaza Flotilla, which left eight Turks and a US citizen of Turkish origin dead and wounded several others, has cornered the United States in a defensive diplomatic position to contain the regional and international fallout of the military fiasco of the “Operation Sky Wind” its Israeli regional ally launched against the flotilla; it “puts the United States in an extremely difficult position,” Marina Ottaway wrote in a report published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on May 31.

Containing angry Arab reaction and adverse repercussions on Arab – US relations was most likely on the agenda of US Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday. However Biden is the least qualified to allay Arab anger for being the most vocal among US officials in “legitimizing” Israel’s blunder. The Gaza flotilla episode has dispelled the benefit of doubt the Arab allies have given to President Barak Obama’s promises of change in US foreign policy in their region. To regain Arab confidence it needs more than US official visits whether by Biden or by a better choice because at the end of the day politics is not about “good intentions”, but is rather about “good deeds,” according to the Egyptian veteran political analyst Fahmy Howeidy.

Despite a pronounced belief to the contrary by US Senator Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the head of Israel’s Mossad, Meir Dagan, was more to the point when he said last week that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Earlier this year CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of US partnerships with governments and peoples in CENTCOM’s area of operations and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world.” Israel seems determined to complicate Petraeus’ mission further.

Washington has found its diplomacy faced with an Israeli fait accompli to be involuntarily embroiled in what the Israeli media harshly criticized as a tactical failure, which engulfed the US administration in the roaring Arab and Muslim anger to be accused of being a partner to the Israeli adventure, thus fueling anti – Americanism in the same arena where the administration is doing its best to defuse and contain the anti – Americanism that was escalated by the invasion of Iraq in 2003, i.e. among US regional allies. Once more, the Free Gaza Flotilla episode “will raise questions —not for the first time—over whether (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu can be a dependable partner for the United States,” Michele Dunne wrote in a Carnegie Endowment report.

Ironically, the fiasco of the Israeli “Operation Sky Wind” has created a snowballing conflict not between Israel and its self-proclaimed arch enemy Iran, but with Turkey, traditionally Israel’s only regional friend, a key regional power, a NATO member, a US ally and a hopeful of EU membership, as well as with the US – allied camp of Arab and Palestinian moderates, whom both Israel and the United States endeavor to recruit in a unified anti – Iran front and who are their partners in the US – sponsored Arab – Israeli “peace process, which Washington is now weighing in heavily to resume its Palestinian – Israeli track.

Israel is not making US life easier in the region. “That’s it, Israel. Put your best friend on the spot, with stupid acts of belligerency, when hundreds of its sons and daughters are dying fighting your avowed enemy. It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States,” wrote Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the mainstream Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington (CSIS). Stephen Walt, a Harvard international-relations professor and co-author of the 2007 book, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” agreed. Professor of International Relations at New York University, Alon Ben Meir, concluded in American Diplomacy on May 10th: “The Netanyahu government seems to miss-assess the changing strategic interests of the United States in the Middle East, especially in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

However official Washington so far acts and speaks in a way that would contain adverse fallout of the Free Gaza Flotilla episode on bilateral relations with Israel, otherwise it would make a bad situation worse if one is to remember that the episode made Netanyahu cancel a summit meeting with Obama – after he was forced to cut short his visit to Canada – that was scheduled specifically to mend bilateral fences. But the motion which was unusually “personally” presented to the Israeli Knesset by the opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, for a no-confidence vote in Netanyahu’s government on Monday because, as she said, “the current government doesn’t represent the State of Israel to the world” and hurts “ties with the United States” made public what the US administration has been trying to keep away from the spotlights. Trying to defuse the repercussions of Israel’s blunder, the US leaned on Israel “quite a lot” to release hundreds of Turkish peace activists who were on board of Mavi Marmara, Turkey’s Deputy Under Secretary for public diplomacy Selim Yenel told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Fueling anti – Americanism among Arabs and Muslims is absolutely not in the interests of the United States, but this is exactly what current Israeli policies boil down to. Soaring Israeli – US relations further was the first casualty of the Israeli attack.

Disrupting US regional strategic plans was the second US interest threatened by the attack. Both sides of the Arab and Turkish – US alliance find themselves now on the opposite side of the Arab – Israeli conflict, which was on the verge of an historic breakthrough on the basis of the US – sponsored so –called “two – state solution”, which enjoys the support of the major world powers thanks only to all of them being on the same side. The US – led Middle East camp seems now fractured and divided. The opposite camp led by Iran and Syria seems more confident and united. The US position is weaker and their stance is stronger. Washington seems to lose the initiative in the region to its adversaries thanks to Israel initiating a conflict with US moderate allies. For Israel and its US advocates this should flash a red light.

In this context, US presidential peace envoy to the region, George Mitchell, who unfortunately was already in the region trying, unsuccessfully yet, to overcome the adverse reaction of these same allies to other Israeli blunders, should have lamented his Israeli bad luck and regretted his mission. General Secretary of the Arab League, Amr Mousa, said that “everything” is now left “hanging in the air,”, including mainly the Palestinian – Israeli “proximity talks,” the focus of Mitchell’s mission.

In the wider context, the emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on June 2 was in direct opposition to the US stance vis-à-vis the Israeli attack, in terminology, perspective and demands, but specially as regards the US – Israeli justifications for continuing the blockade of Gaza. To make their message for lifting the siege clear, Mousa was scheduled to visit Gaza next week. Without naming the US, they stressed that the continued support to Israel “by some states” and giving “immunity” to its disrespect of international law “in a precedent that threatens the whole international system .. is a big political mistake.” They reiterated that the Arab Peace Initiative “will not remain on the table for long.” 60 percent of Arabs now believe Obama is too weak to deliver a peace agreement, according to a recent poll conducted by YouGov and quoted by The Christian Science monitor on June 4.

The Arab hard core of the US assets of moderates is the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); in a statement, they condemned the attack as an act of “state terrorism.” Kuwait, a member, stands among them as an instructive example of how Israel is fueling anti – Americanism. This country which hosts some twenty thousand US troops on reportedly one third of its territory in support of the US – led “Operation Iraqi freedom” had sixteen of its citizens on board of the Israeli – attacked Mavi Marmara. In response, in a vote by consensus the Kuwaiti parliament in which the cabinet ministers are members recommended withdrawal from the Arab Peace Initiative. With Iran across the Gulf and the explosive situation across its northern borders with Iraq, the echo of General Petraeus’ warning reverberates louder here.

Thirdly, the Israeli attack has split the Turkish and US NATO allies into opposite sides of the international ensuing divide. Ankara found itself in a head to head diplomatic clash not with Israel, but with the US in the United Nations Security Council, the Geneva – based UN Human Rights Council and the emergency meeting of NATO, where Washington acted as Israel’s mouthpiece and attorney. Turkey is now for the first time experiencing the US double standards and pro–Israel biased policy, which the Arabs have been victims for decades. It might be interesting to note here that both Turkey and Greece, two US and NATO allies, have set aside their historical hostility to each other to publicly disagree with the US in their defense of breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza. “The US response to Israel’s disproportionate use of violence against innocent civilians constitutes a test case for US credibility in the Middle East,” wrote Suat Kiniklioglu, the Turkish ruling party’s deputy chairman.

In the same Carnegie Endowment’s report, director of the Middle East Program Marina Ottaway expected potential adverse repercussions beyond the Middle East. “In addition to the predictable Arab reaction, … there has been a harsher than normal response from European countries. This could potentially reopen US tensions with Europe that developed during the Iraq war and have slowly begun to heal under the Obama administration,” she wrote.

How could any sensible observer interpret this adverse fallout on US foreign relations and on Arab and Turkish – US relations in particular as only the result of bad luck or an unintentional Israeli tactical mistake? The only other interpretation to justify Israel’s resort to bloody force is that Israel could no more tolerate a regional united Turkish, Arab and US peace front, supported by the world community.

By aborting an international peace mission sponsored by moderate Arab and regional states, Israel sends a clear message that it wants them out of the game and prefers instead to deal only with pro – violence players, which vindicates a popular Arab belief, established over decades of the conflict, that Israel understands only the language of force.

Israel knows very well that its belligerency has been all along the main source of regional anti – Americanism. The US knows it too. Repercussions of the Israeli attack seem to hit at the heart of what President Obama in mid – April declared as a “vital national security interest of the United States,” i.e. solving the Arab – Israeli conflict. By escalating militarily and responding disproportionately, the extremist right – wing government of Israel is premeditatedly acting with open eyes to preempt the evolution of a united regional and international front in consensus on a two –state solution for the conflict; the best way to split the already burgeoning consensus is to fuel regional anti – Americanism as a tested ploy to disintegrate whatever Arab, Turkish and US front might develop to pressure it into yielding to the dictates of peace.

US traditional pro – Israel diplomacy has been all along playing in the hands of Israeli extremists, but this time against declared strategic US interests. Nonetheless, Washington acts as if on intent to pursue a self – defeating policy; its biased foreign policy and double standards are antagonizing regional allies, but more importantly contributing to Israel’s fueling of regional anti – Americanism.

Iran had no role whatsoever in the peaceful mission of the Gaza free Flotilla. Spotlight was kept focused on major Turkish, Arab and European civilian peace activists, who came from Europe, United States, Australia, and Turkey; major Arab input came from Kuwait, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen, all of them US allies. Even Syria, which is accused of being an ally of Iran, has kept relatively a low profile in the whole episode and had no role in the mission either, although it spearheaded the opposition to the US role in the aftermath during the emergency meeting in Cairo of the Arab foreign ministers. Israel could in no way authentically claim the flotilla mission had any Iran connection to justify its high seas blunder. Neither the organizers would allow any such role. Co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement’s 69-year-old US-born engineer, Greta Berlin, was quoted by AP on June 4 as saying the group has shunned donation offers from Iran and said the group doesn’t accept donations from radical groups or states. Similarly, the de facto government of Hamas in Gaza has shunned a suggestion by the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to provide “protection” for future similar flotillas.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israelioccupied Palestinian territories.


How the United States Became a PR Disaster for Deutsche Bank

June 10. 2010

by Christoph Pauly and Thomas Schulz

Der Spiegel

Deutsche Bank is deeply involved in the American real estate crisis. After initially profiting from subprime mortgages, it is now arranging to have many of these homes sold at foreclosure auctions. The damage to the bank’s image in the United States is growing.

The small city of New Haven, on the Atlantic coast and home to elite Yale University, is only two hours northeast of New York City. It is a particularly beautiful place in the fall, during the warm days of Indian summer.

But this idyllic image has turned cloudy of late, with a growing number of houses in New Haven looking like the one at 130 Peck Street: vacant for months, the doors nailed shut, the yard derelict and overgrown and the last residents ejected after having lost the house in a foreclosure auction. And like 130 Peck Street, many of these homes are owned by Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

“In the last few years, Deutsche Bank has been responsible for far and away the most foreclosures here,” says Eva Heintzelman. She is the director of the ROOF Project, which addresses the consequences of the foreclosure crisis in New Haven in collaboration with the city administration. According to Heintzelman, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank plays such a significant role in New Haven that the city’s mayor requested a meeting with bank officials last spring.

The bank complied with his request, to some degree, when, in April 2009, a Deutsche Bank executive flew to New Haven for a question-and-answer session with politicians and aid organizations. But the executive, David Co, came from California, not from Germany. Co manages the Frankfurt bank’s US real estate business at a relatively unknown branch of a relatively unknown subsidiary in Santa Ana.

How many houses was he responsible for, Co was asked? “Two thousand,” he replied. But then he corrected himself, saying that 2,000 wasn’t the number of individual properties, but the number of securities packages being managed by Deutsche Bank. Each package contains hundreds of mortgages. So how many houses are there, all told, he was asked again? Co could only guess. “Millions,” he said.

Deutsche Bank Is Considered ‘America’s Foreclosure King’

Deutsche Bank’s tracks lead through the entire American real estate market. In Chicago, the bank foreclosed upon close to 600 large apartment buildings in 2009, more than any other bank in the city. In Cleveland, almost 5,000 houses foreclosed upon by Deutsche Bank were reported to authorities between 2002 and 2006. In many US cities, the complaints are beginning to pile up from homeowners who lost their properties as a result of a foreclosure action filed by Deutsche Bank. The German bank is berated on the Internet as “America’s Foreclosure King.”

American homeowners are among the main casualties of the financial crisis that began with the collapse of the US real estate market. For years, banks issued mortgages to homebuyers without paying much attention to whether they could even afford the loans. Then they packaged the mortgage loans into complicated financial products, earning billions in the process — that is, until the bubble burst and the government had to bail out the banks.

Deutsche Bank has always acted as if it had had very little to do with the whole affair. It survived the crisis relatively unharmed and without government help. Its experts recognized early on that things could not continue as they had been going. This prompted the bank to get out of many deals in time, so that in the end it was not faced with nearly as much toxic debt as other lenders.

But it is now becoming clear just how deeply involved the institution is in the US real estate market and in the subprime mortgage business. It is quite possible that the bank will not suffer any significant financial losses, but the damage to its image is growing by the day.

‘Deutsche Bank Is Now in the Process of Destroying Milwaukee’

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Deutsche Bank now holds loans for American single-family and multi-family houses worth about $3.7 billion (€3.1 billion). The bank, however, claims that much of this debt consists of loans to wealthy private customers.

More damaging to its image are the roughly 1 million US properties that the bank says it is managing as trustee. “Some 85 to 90 percent of all outstanding mortgages in the USA are ultimately controlled by four banks, either as trustees or owners of a trust company,” says real estate expert Steve Dibert, whose company conducts nationwide investigations into cases of mortgage fraud. “Deutsche Bank is one of the four.”

In addition, the bank put together more than 25 highly complex real estate securities deals, known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, with a value of about $20 billion, most of which collapsed. These securities were partly responsible for triggering the crisis.

Last Thursday, Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann was publicly confronted with the turmoil in US cities. Speaking at the bank’s shareholders’ meeting, political science professor Susan Giaimo said that while Germans were mainly responsible for building the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “Deutsche Bank is now in the process of destroying Milwaukee.”

Part 2: As Soon as the Houses Are Vacant, They Quickly Become Derelict

Then Giaimo, a petite woman with dark curls who has German forefathers, got to the point. Not a single bank, she said, owns more real estate affected by foreclosure in Milwaukee, a city the size of Frankfurt. Many of the houses, she added, have been taken over by drug dealers, while others were burned down by arsonists after it became clear that no one was taking care of them.

Besides, said Giaimo, who represents the Common Ground action group, homeowners living in the neighborhoods of these properties are forced to accept substantial declines in the value of their property. “In addition, foreclosed houses are sold to speculators for substantially less than the market value of houses in the same neighborhood,” Giaimo said. The speculators, according to Giaimo, have no interest in the individual properties and are merely betting that prices will go up in the future.

Common Ground has posted photos of many foreclosed properties on the Internet, and some of the signs in front of these houses identify Deutsche Bank as the owner. As soon as the houses are vacant, they quickly become derelict.

A Victorian house on State Street, painted green with red trim, is now partially burned down. Because it can no longer be sold, Deutsche Bank has “donated” it to the City of Milwaukee, one of the Common Ground activists reports. As a result, the city incurs the costs of demolition, which amount to “at least $25,000.”

‘We Can’t Give Away Money that Isn’t Ours’

During a recent meeting with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, representatives of the City of Milwaukee complained about the problems that the more than 15,000 foreclosures have caused for the city since the crisis began. In a letter to the US Treasury Department, they wrote that Deutsche Bank is the only bank that has refused to meet with the city’s elected representatives.

Minneapolis-based US Bank and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo apparently took the complaints more seriously and met with the people from Common Ground. The activists’ demands sound plausible enough. They want Deutsche Bank to at least tear down those houses that can no longer be repaired at a reasonable cost. Besides, Giaimo said at the shareholders’ meeting, Deutsche Bank should contribute a portion of US government subsidies to a renovation fund. According to Giaimo, the bank collected $6 billion from the US government when it used taxpayer money to bail out credit insurer AIG.

“It’s painful to look at these houses,” Ackermann told the professor. Nevertheless, the CEO refused to accept any responsibility. Deutsche Bank, he said, is “merely a sort of depository for the mortgage documents, and our options to help out are limited.” According to Ackermann, the bank, as a trustee for other investors, is not even the actual owner of the properties, and therefore can do nothing. Besides, Ackermann said, his bank didn’t promote mortgage loans with terms that have now made the payments unaffordable for many families.

The activists from Wisconsin did, however, manage to take home a small victory. Ackermann instructed members of his staff to meet with Common Ground. He apparently envisions a relatively informal and noncommittal meeting. “We can’t give away money that isn’t ours,” he added.

Deutsche Bank’s Role in the High-Risk Loans Boom

Apparently Ackermann also has no intention to part with even a small portion of the profits the bank earned in the real estate business. Deutsche Bank didn’t just act as a trustee that — coincidentally, it seems — manages countless pieces of real estate on behalf of other investors. In the wild years between 2005 and 2007, the bank also played a central role in the profitable boom in high-risk mortgages that were marketed to people in ways that were downright negligent.

Of course, its bankers didn’t get their hands dirty by going door-to-door to convince people to apply for mortgages they couldn’t afford. But they did provide the distribution organizations with the necessary capital.

The Countrywide Financial Corporation, which approved risky mortgages for $97.2 billion from 2005 to 2007, was the biggest provider of these mortgages in the United States. According to the study by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, Deutsche Bank was one of Countrywide’s biggest financiers.

Ameriquest — which, with $80.7 billion in high-risk loans on its books in the three boom years before the crash, was the second-largest subprime specialist — also had strong ties to Deutsche Bank. The investment bankers placed the mortgages on the international capital market by bundling and structuring them into securities. This enabled them to distribute the risks around the entire globe, some of which ended up with Germany’s state-owned banks.

Part 3: ‘Deutsche Bank Has a Real PR Problem Here’

After the crisis erupted, there were so many mortgages in default in 25 CDOs that most of the investors could no longer be serviced. Some CDOs went bankrupt right away, while others were gradually liquidated, either in full or in part. The securities that had been placed on the market were underwritten by loans worth $20 billion.

At the end of 2006, for example, Deutsche Bank constructed a particularly complex security known as a hybrid CDO. It was named Barramundi, after the Indo-Pacific hermaphrodite fish that lives in muddy water. And the composition of the deal, which was worth $800 million, was muddy indeed. Many securities that were already arcane enough, like credit default swaps (CDSs) and CDOs, were packaged into an even more complex entity in Barramundi.

Deutsche Bank’s partner for the Barramundi deal was the New York investment firm C-BASS, which referred to itself as “a leader in purchasing and servicing residential mortgage loans primarily in the Subprime and Alt-A categories.” In plain language, C-BASS specialized in drumming up and marketing subprime mortgages for complex financial vehicles.

However, C-BASS didn’t just manage abstract securities. It also had a subsidiary to bring in all the loans that were subsequently securitized. By the end of 2005 the subsidiary, Litton Loan, had processed 313,938 loans, most of them low-value mortgages, for a total value of $43 billion.

One of the First Victims of the Financial Crisis

Barramundi was already the 19th CDO C-BASS had issued. But the investment firm faltered only a few months after the deal with Deutsche Bank, in the summer of 2007. C-BASS was one of the first casualties of the financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank’s CDO, Barramundi, suffered a similar fate. Originally given the highest possible rating by the rating agencies, the financial vehicle stuffed with subprime mortgages quickly fell apart. In the spring of 2008, Barramundi was first downgraded to “highly risky” and then, in December, to junk status. Finally, in March 2009, Barramundi failed and had to be liquidated.

While many investors lost their money and many Americans their houses, Deutsche Bank and Litton Loan remained largely unscathed. Apparently, the Frankfurt bank still has a healthy business relationship with the subprime mortgage manager, because Deutsche Bank does not play a direct role in any of the countless pieces of real estate it holds in trust. Other service providers, including Litton Loan, handle tasks like collecting mortgage payments and evicting delinquent borrowers.

The exotic financial vehicles are sometimes managed by an equally exotic firm: Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited, Boundary Hall, Cricket Square, Grand Cayman. In an e-mail dated Feb. 26, 2010, a Deutsche Bank employee from the Cayman Islands lists 84 CDOs and similar products, for which she identifies herself as the relevant contact person.

Trouble with US Regulatory Authorities and Many Property Owners

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now investigating Deutsche Bank and a few other investment banks that constructed similar CDOs. The financial regulator is looking into whether investors in these obscure products were deceived. The SEC has been particularly critical of US investment bank Goldman Sachs, which is apparently willing to pay a record fine of $1 billion to avoid criminal prosecution.

Deutsche Bank has also run into problems with the many property owners. The bank did not issue the mortgages for the many properties it now manages, and yet it accepted, on behalf of investors, the fiduciary function for its own and third-party CDOs. In past years, says mortgage expert Steve Dibert, real estate loans were “traded like football cards” in the United States.

Amid all the deal-making, the deeds for the actual properties were often lost. In Cleveland and New Jersey, for example, judges invalidated foreclosures ordered by Deutsche Bank, because the bank was unable to come up with the relevant deeds.

Nevertheless, Deutsche Bank’s service providers repeatedly try to have houses vacated, even when they are already occupied by new owners who are paying their mortgages. This practice has led to nationwide lawsuits against the Frankfurt-based bank. On the Internet, angry Americans fighting to keep their houses have taken to using foul language to berate the German bank.

“Deutsche Bank now has a real PR problem here in the United States,” says Dibert. “They want to bury their head in the sand, but this is something they are going to have to deal with.”

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Wake-Up Time for a Dream

June 7, 2010

by Joe Nocera

New York Times

Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, began her week with a bit of honest heresy, the kind that only she, among all the bank regulators, seems willing to utter in the wake of the financial crisis.

Deep in a speech she delivered Monday before the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers — a speech that got surprisingly little attention — Ms. Bair listed her three main recommendations to “put the mortgage industry on a sounder footing.” The first two were the usual suspects: better consumer education and protection, and a reformed securitization market. Her third proposal, however, was a shocker, taking dead aim at one of the most sacrosanct tenets of American politics: the lofty goal of homeownership.

“For 25 years federal policy has been primarily focused on promoting homeownership and promoting the availability of credit to home buyers,” Ms. Bair said. She mentioned some of the many subsidies home buyers get, including the home mortgage interest deduction and the ability to deduct property taxes.

She tossed in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two “G.S.E.’s” (government-sponsored entities) whose role as a guarantor and securitizer of mortgages greatly expanded the ability of mortgage originators to make loans to home buyers — and which are now, of course, in federal conservatorship, with taxpayers holding the bag for their gargantuan losses.

She also pointed out that during the bubble, when anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage, the percentage of Americans owning homes rose to an unprecedented 69 percent, a number that was greeted with bipartisan hurrahs, but which turned out to be “unsustainable,” Ms. Bair said.

She concluded: “Sustainable homeownership is a worthy national goal. But it should not be pursued to excess when there are other, equally worthy solutions that help meet the needs of people for whom homeownership may not be the right answer.” Like, you know, renting.

The point is: the financial crisis might well have been avoided if we as a culture hadn’t invested so much political and psychological capital in the idea of owning a home. After all, the subprime mortgage business’s supposed raison d’être was making homeownership possible for people who lacked the means — or the credit scores — to get a traditional mortgage. It’s also why bank regulators and politicians were so willing to avert their eyes from the predations and excesses of the subprime companies.

Yet even now, it is difficult for the body politic to face this truth squarely, so intertwined is homeownership with the American Dream. Which is why Ms. Bair’s comments were so heretical. Maybe, she seemed to be suggesting, it’s time to break that link, painful though it would be. Maybe she’s right.

The idealization of homeownership by both the public and the federal government is hardly a recent phenomenon, of course. The Federal Housing Authority has been around since 1934. Fannie Mae was founded in 1938. After World War II, the G.I. Bill included modest loans allowing veterans to buy their first homes, according to Michael D. Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending. For decades, the savings and loan industry existed solely to make loans to home buyers. In return, the government gave savings and loans certain regulatory advantages over the banks. The mortgage-backed security itself — which emerged in the 1980s, and made the securitization of mortgages possible — required the passage of a handful of laws, which Congress happily provided.

And every president, Democrat and Republican alike, trumpeted the virtues of homeownership for all Americans. Bill Clinton put numerical goals on the percentage increase he wanted to see in homeownership, and greatly increased Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing goals. (Those goals had first been in put in place during the presidency of George H. W. Bush.) George W. Bush trumpeted his “ownership society”— and increased those housing goals. Fannie Mae, for its part, explicitly wrapped itself in the American Dream; anyone who opposed Fannie Mae was quickly labeled “anti-homeownership” by the company’s lobbyists.

Indeed, conservatives tend to view the affordable housing goals imposed on Fannie and Freddie as the central reason for the credit crisis. “In order to increase homeownership, Fannie and Freddie were required to decrease their standards,” said Peter Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and perhaps the country’s leading critic of the G.S.E.’s. “We made a big mistake in trying to force housing onto a population that couldn’t afford housing.”

But, to my mind, that view is only half-right. Yes, people got loans who had no hope of paying them back, and that was insane. But Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing goals — which the G.S.E.’s easily gamed — were not the main reason. Rather, it was the rise of the subprime lenders — and their ability to get even their worst loans securitized by Wall Street —that was the main culprit. Fannie and Freddie lowered their standards mostly because they were losing market share to the subprime originators.

Did government policy make the rise of the subprime lenders possible? You betcha. Over time, the federal government gradually loosened regulations and interest rate caps that allowed the business to first become viable and then to explode. And it completely bought into the idea that the subprime industry was a force for good, because it was expanding homeownership. This, of course, is something the mortgage originators encouraged. Angelo Mozilo, the founder of Countrywide Financial, was as vocal about his company making the American Dream possible as any Fannie Mae lobbyist.

But it was a lie. Gary Rivlin, my former colleague at The New York Times, has just published a scathing, important book, “Broke, USA,” which includes one shocking anecdote after another of people being conned into taking on mortgages, filled with hidden fees and adjustable rates, that they couldn’t possibly afford. The companies that did these things were not the outliers — they were the bulwarks of the industry: Household, Countrywide, New Century and a raft of others. And when state officials tried to crack down on these unseemly practices, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, instead of investigating, blocked their efforts. After all, homeownership was on the rise!

Somewhat to my surprise, the housing activists I spoke to — people who had been in the forefront of trying to stop the subprime lenders — generally didn’t agree that homeownership should be de-emphasized. “Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater,” said John Taylor, the chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “I think owning a home is the most common way for working-class people to join the middle class.” Mainly, he said, that was because of a home’s appreciation, which gave people the opportunity for wealth creation that would otherwise have remained out of reach. Others mentioned additional societal benefits of homeownership, like stable neighborhoods. And homeowners had every incentive to keep their homes up, precisely because of the equity in their homes.

The academics I spoke to, however, were not so convinced that homeownership offered benefits to society that were so important they demanded federal subsidies. Especially since those subsidies were so huge, and so distorting to the economy. For instance, in 2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office, government subsidies for housing amounted to a staggering $230 billion.

“You hear all this rhetoric about stability caused by homeownership,” said Richard Florida, the author of “The Great Reset,” and a professor at the University of Toronto. “But the communities that survived the housing bubble the best were the ones that had the highest percentage of renters.”

Edward Glaeser, a professor at Harvard and a contributor to The Times’s Economix blog, said that if homeownership had to be encouraged — which he was not at all convinced of — it should be through a “flat homeowners’ tax credit” rather than a home mortgage deduction that essentially “bribes people to buy bigger houses.” What he says he really believes, though, is that renters offer plenty of social good themselves, helping creating vibrant cities. “The idea that homeownership is always great and renting is un-American is an awful state of affairs,” he said.

Obviously, the country is too psychologically invested in the idea of homeownership to ever abandon completely the homeownership ideal, or to put renting on a equal footing with owning. Which is why I found the most appealing idea to be Mr. Rivlin’s.

Despite having spent the last two years of his life reporting on the destruction wrought, in part, by the government’s unthinking push for ever more homeownership, he still wasn’t willing to abandon it completely. Rather, he thought the big policy mistake we had made as a culture was in promoting policies that encourage all home purchases, under any circumstance. “Why should the government help me buy a second home? Why should it subsidize a refinancing?” he asked. (I was amazed to discover that, if you qualify, you can actually get an F.H.A. loan for a refinancing.) “We have missed the essential piece,” he added. “The social good is in helping qualified first-time buyers own a home. That should be our goal. After that, people should be on their own.”

Right now, more than two years after the fall of Bear Stearns, which represented the beginning of the financial crisis, the federal government is more involved in the mortgage industry than it has ever been in its history. As wards of the state, Fannie and Freddie are insuring three out of every four mortgages. Most of the remaining 25 percent are being guaranteed by the F.H.A. As much as you might resent the fact that the taxpayers now have to pick up behind new Fannie and Freddie, the sad truth is that without them, no one in America would be able to buy a home.

Surely, that’s the logical culmination of decades of government policy promoting homeownership. Eventually, of course, the private market will return to the mortgage business, though it is hard to know when. Fannie and Freddie will be reconfigured in some way. But unless we change the way we think as a society about the virtues of homeownership, the fundamental fact will remain: the government will always be the backstop for the mortgage business, with the taxpayers always liable for the losses.

Is that really what we want?

The Courage to Leave

June 11, 2010

by Bob Herbert

New York Times

There is no good news coming out of the depressing and endless war in Afghanistan. There once was merit to our incursion there, but that was long ago. Now we’re just going through the tragic motions, flailing at this and that, with no real strategy or decent end in sight.

The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.

Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday but hardly anyone noticed. Far more concern is being expressed for the wildlife threatened by the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than for the G.I.’s being blown up in the wilds of Afghanistan.

Early this year, we were told that at long last the tide had turned in Afghanistan, that the biggest offensive of the war by American, British and Afghan troops was under way in Marja, a town in Helmand Province in the southern part of the country. The goal, as outlined by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, our senior military commander in Afghanistan, was to rout the Taliban and install a splendid new government that would be responsive to the people and beloved by them.

That triumph would soon be followed by another military initiative in the much larger expanse of neighboring Kandahar Province. The Times’s Rod Nordland explained what was supposed to happen in a front-page article this week:

“The goal that American planners originally outlined — often in briefings in which reporters agreed not to quote officials by name — emphasized the importance of a military offensive devised to bring all of the populous and Taliban-dominated south under effective control by the end of this summer. That would leave another year to consolidate gains before President Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing combat troops.”

Forget about it. Commanders can’t even point to a clear-cut success in Marja. As for Kandahar, no one will even use the word “offensive” to describe the military operations there. The talk now is of moving ahead with civilian reconstruction projects, a “civilian surge,” as Mr. Nordland noted.

What’s happening in Afghanistan is not only tragic, it’s embarrassing. The American troops will fight, but the Afghan troops who are supposed to be their allies are a lost cause. The government of President Hamid Karzai is breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent — and widely unpopular to boot. And now, as The Times’s Dexter Filkins is reporting, the erratic Mr. Karzai seems to be giving up hope that the U.S. can prevail in the war and is making nice with the Taliban.

There is no overall game plan, no real strategy or coherent goals, to guide the fighting of U.S. forces. It’s just a mind-numbing, soul-chilling, body-destroying slog, month after month, year after pointless year. The 18-year-olds fighting (and, increasingly, dying) in Afghanistan now were just 9 or 10 when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked in 2001.

Americans have zoned out on this war. They don’t even want to think about it. They don’t want their taxes raised to pay for it, even as they say in poll after poll that they are worried about budget deficits. The vast majority do not want their sons or daughters anywhere near Afghanistan.

Why in the world should the small percentage of the population that has volunteered for military service shoulder the entire burden of this hapless, endless effort? The truth is that top American officials do not believe the war can be won but do not know how to end it. So we get gibberish about empowering the unempowerable Afghan forces and rebuilding a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent civil society.

Our government leaders keep mouthing platitudes about objectives that are not achievable, which is a form of deception that should be unacceptable in a free society.

In announcing, during a speech at West Point in December, that 30,000 additional troops would be sent to Afghanistan, President Obama said: “As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.”

That clearly defined mission never materialized.

Ultimately, the public is at fault for this catastrophe in Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 G.I.’s have now lost their lives. If we don’t have the courage as a people to fight and share in the sacrifices when our nation is at war, if we’re unwilling to seriously think about the war and hold our leaders accountable for the way it is conducted, if we’re not even willing to pay for it, then we should at least have the courage to pull our valiant forces out of it.

The Conversations with the Crow

When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil loose cannon.

Crowley did not listen to them and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every conversation. TBR News published most of these and the entire collection was produced as an ebook. Now, we reliably learn, various Washington agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our leaders, and our sincere appreciation of their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to repeat the entire work, chapter by chapter.

Here is the first chapter:

Conversation No. 1

Date: Saturday, January 27, 1996

Commenced: 11: 02 AM (CST)

Concluded: 11:25AM (CST)

EC: Hello?

GD: Mrs. Crowley. This is Gregory. Is Robert available?

EC: I think he’s upstairs. Greg was supposed to come over….let me call him for you.

GD: Thanks


RTC: Gregory! How are you?

GD: Emily says you’re expecting your son…

RTC: He’s probably not coming. Never mind. If he comes, I’ll tell you and we can talk later…in the afternoon.

GD: I talked to Corson about a foreword for the next Mueller book. I know we mentioned this but are you willing to contribute?

RTC: Certainly. Have it out in a few days or I can work it up and fax it to you. OK?

GD: Fine. Thanks a lot for this.

RTC: It’ll just make me more popular, that’s all. How are you coming with the next one?

GD: About halfway through. I’ve decided to put in the counterfeiting business and probably do a hit on the Gehlen mob…

RTC: That ought to frost Critchfield’s worthless balls!

GD: And I was there, don’t forget, and I know where the bum hid the money. I was thinking about doing a number about Willi (Krichbaum). He was Critchfield’s top recruiter. Wait until they find out good old Willi was a Gestapo colonel and Mueller’s top deputy in the Gestapo!

RTC: More fun and games. You really do like to twist the nuts, don’t you?

GD: Only if they don’t come off in my hands.

RTC: Lois would never miss them. What else goes in?

GD: Well, I owe Corson the thing on Kronthal. He goes in for sure. Maybe Wisner too.

RTC: Remind me to tell you about the time Frank got caught in Rock Creek giving a blow job to a black exchange student. Fine thing for a southern gentleman to get caught at.

GD: Mississippi or something.

RTC: Originally one of the New York Gardiners. Gardiner’s Island. Old family. They had holdings in Montana, if memory serves me…of course names elude me…but holdings in Mississippi too. Poor Frank was a first class nut case. You know about blowing his brains out all over the garage roof? Yes, I told you that, didn’t I. Couldn’t follow through on his promises to the Hungarians of our military intervention if they rose up against Stalin….

GD: But Stalin died in 1953 and that business was in 1956…

RTC: Yes, yes, of course but I meant the Stalin empire.

GD: Understood. Theory and practice.

RTC: What else new and exciting to drive them bats?


RTC: Who cares about that hebe?

GD: Well, the gits started the story that the Russians got him…

RTC: We made that one up…

GD: But Mueller said the Gestapo bagged him and offed him in some farmyard..

RTC: Had it coming. Listen, Gregory, what do you want to do about the Kennedy business? I guess there’s still interest in it. God…fifty thousand books and all of them fuller of shit than a Christmas turkey.

GD: How many did your people write, sponsor and publish? I mean to deliberately drag carmine herrings across the path?

RTC: Lost track. Hundreds. One thing Wisner did was to build up a very cooperative media and that includes book publishers.

GD: I could consider that.

RTC: Maybe after I’m dead and gone. It would be better.

GD: Fine. Question here?

RTC: Shoot.

GD: Was Oswald a patsy?

RTC: Sure. He worked for us once in Japan… at Atsugi…and also for ONI. Not high level but he was a soldier after all.

GD: How would I handle that?

RTC: Let’s claim he worked for Hoover![1] Why not?

GD: I mean, did he actually?

RTC: Christ no. Poor idiot. Jesus, what a wife! First class bitch. Thought Lee was a millionaire and when she came here, she would strike it rich. Turned out she lived in a slum and she had to put up with a loudmouth husband and then got stuck with a kid. No wonder she did what we told her.

GD: Women are not easy to deal with. They are either at your feet or your throat…

RTC: Oh, the truth of it all! Emily is a lovely person but I tell her nothing. And let me ask you that when you talk with her, for God’s sake, don’t talk shop with her. It would just stir her up. Most Company wives are a pack of nuts. Did I mention Cord’s wife?

GD: I don’t think so. I…no, I don’t remember. Cord Meyer?[2]

RTC: Right, the Great Cyclops. Or the One-Eyed Reilley.

GD: In the center of his forehead?

RTC: Lost it in the Pacific. Glass.

GD: The wife?

RTC: What?

GD: You mentioned his wife…

RTC: Ah yes. He married the daughter of Pinchot just after the war…

GD: Gifford?

RTC: Correct. The governor. Very attractive woman but her sister was even better. She married Bradlee who is one of the Companies men. He’s on the ‘Post’ now. Cord’s wife was what they call a free spirit…liked modern art, runs around naked in people’s gardens and so on. Pretty but strange and unstable. She and Cord got along for a time but time changes everything….they do say that, don’t they?…They broke up and Cord was so angry at being dumped, he hated her from then on. She took up with Kennedy. Did you know that?

GD: No.

RTC: Oh yes indeed. Kennedy had huge orgies out at 1600 with nude women in the pools and all that. Even had a professional photographer come in and take pictures of him in action. Old Jack loved threesomes, the occasional dyke and God knows what else. It was Joe’s money that shut people up, including his nasty wife…

GD: I thought she was a saint. Old family…

RTC: Bullshit! Family is Irish, bog trotters, like Kennedy. Not French at all. A greedy, lying and completely nutty woman. Never liked her. One generation here and they give up washing clothes and put up the lace curtains in the family parlor. What was I saying?

GD: About Cord’s wife…

RTC: Oh yes. After Mary…that was her name…Mary. You haven’t heard about her?

GD: No.

RTC: After Kennedy bought the farm, ex-Mrs Meyer was annoyed. She became the steady girlfriend and he was very serious about her. Jackie was brittle, uptight and very greedy. Poor people usually are. Mary had money and far more class and she knew how to get along with Jack. Trouble was, she got along too well. She didn’t approve of the mass orgies and introduced him to pot and other things. Not a good idea. Increased chances for blackmail or some erratic public behavior. But after Dallas, she began to brood and then started to talk. Of course she had no proof but when people like that start to run their mouths, there can be real trouble.

GD: What was the outcome?

RTC: We terminated her, of course.

GD: That I didn’t know. How?

RTC: Had one of our cleaning men nail her down by the towpath while she was out for her daily jog.

GD: Wasn’t that a bit drastic?

RTC: Why? If you knew the damage she could cause us…

GD: Were you the man?

RTC: No, Jim Angleton was. And Bradlee, her brother-in-law was in the know. After she assumed room temperature, he and Jim went over to Mary’s art studio to see if she had any compromising papers and ran off with her diary. I have a copy of it…

GD: Could I see it?

RTC: Now, Gregory, don’t ask too many questions. Maybe later.

GD: Did anyone get nailed?

RTC: Some spaced out nigger was down there but he had nothing to do with it. Our people came down on that place in busloads to help out the locals but they were searching for the gun. Our man was supposed to have tossed in into the water but it never made it in and one of our boys found it in some bushes, half in and half out of the water. Beat the locals to it by about ten seconds. Very close. See, it was one of our hit weapons that never had serial numbers. Not made that way.

GD: Ruger made a silenced .22 during the war for the OSS. No numbers, parkerized finish.

RTC: Same thing.

GD: Couldn’t they have talked sense into her?

RTC: What did Shakespeare say about angry women?

GD: ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

RTC: Exactly.

GD: She had children?

RTC: Some. One was killed by a drunk driver. Caused all kinds of friction in the family as I remember.

GD: Meyer. He was tied up with Alan Cranston?

RTC: Yes. The one-world crap.

GD: I knew Cranston and his family. United World Federalists. He married into the Fowle family and I was a friend of one of the members. Ultra left-wing. Was at his house by the golf course one time and the bedroom bookshelf was jammed with Commie books…Debray, Mao, Lenin, Marx, Engels, Kautsky and on and on.

RTC: Cord was under investigation by Phoebie for that.

GD: Phoebie?

RTC: Slang for FBI. We’ll have to talk about Cranston…he left the Senate..

GD: I know. I nailed him. The savings and loan business. I got inside skinny on this and tipped off the media. ABC people. It went on from there.

RTC: Good for you. Cord was tied up.

GD: You didn’t like him.

RTC: Nasty, opinionated, loud and a general asshole.

GD: What did he think about doing his wife?

RTC: Ex-wife. Let’s be accurate now. Ex-wife. When Jim talked to Cord about this, Cord didn’t let him finish his fishing expedition. He was in complete agreement about shutting her up. Gregory, you can’t reason with people like her. She hated Cord, loved Kennedy and saw things in the Dallas business that were obvious to insiders or former insiders but she made the mistake of running her mouth. One of the wives had a talk with her about being quiet but Mary was on a tear and that was that.

GD: Yes, I think there’s something there.

RTC: But not while I’m breathing, Gregory. Not until later. And it wasn’t my decision. I was there but Jim and the others made the final decision. You know how it goes.

GD: Oh yeah, I know that one. But to get back to the foreword. No problem?

RTC: None at all.

GD: I don’t think Tom Kimmel will like that.

RTC: I’ve heard from him on that. He doesn’t like the idea that Bill and I approve of you. I wouldn’t tell him too much if I were you. You can tell me things and sometimes you can tell Bill but Kimmel has a mouth problem.

GD: I helped him with the Pearl Harbor matter…

RTC: Don’t bother. What else is going to be in the next book?

GD: Something on the Duke of Windsor.

RTC: Gregory, I think my son is about to come up here so perhaps we can get together later today. Call me after 6 tonight if you wish. Sorry but weekends can be busy here.

GD: Understood.

(Concluded at 11:25AM CST)

[1] John Edgar Hoover   January 1, 1895-May 2, 1972 Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigaton, a part of the Department of Justice.

[2] Cord Meyer November 10, 1920- March 13, 2001 Senior CIA official, earlier involved with Alan Cranston in pro-Russian United World Federalst movement. His former wife, Mary, was later a mistress of President Kennedy.

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