TBR News March 23, 2019

Mar 23 2019

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

Washington, D.C. March 23, 2019:”The so-called Mueller report has been submitted and the press and sections of the public are frantic to learn what it says. To me, all it does is to substantiate the fact that Trump is not an honest man and has a personality that ought to preclude him from occupying the Oval Office. The public likes clear-cut answers but often they find only partial answers and random facts which breed the conspiratorial fabricators’ creative writings. Although it appears from disconnected fragments that Trump had some kind of undercover dealings with the Russians, concrete proof would be very hard to find. But in the law, circumstantial evidence is considered superior to direct evidence. Of the corruption, arrogance, unlawful and disgraceful behavior of Trump has been well established but solid connection with Russian intelligence is another matter. In fact the former far outweighs the latter.”



The Table of Contents

  • House Democratic Leadership Warns It Will Cut Off Any Firms That Challenge Incumbents
  • Trump’s son-in-law Kushner cooperating with U.S. House probe: source
  • What does the Mueller report say and what does it mean for Trump?
  • The Chilling Censorship of the Christchurch Shooting
  • Who Spawned the Christchurch Killer?
  • The Transnational Network That Nobody is Talking About
  • Fact and Fiction
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Germany: Foreclosed house explodes shortly before auction


House Democratic Leadership Warns It Will Cut Off Any Firms That Challenge Incumbents

March 22, 2019

by Akela Lacy

The Intercept

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warned political strategists and vendors Thursday night that if they support candidates mounting primary challenges against incumbent House Democrats, the party will cut them off from business.

The news was officially announced Friday morning, paired with a statement on the committee’s commitment to diversity in consulting — “which, obviously, is just to give themselves cover,” a Democratic political consultant who learned of it Thursday told The Intercept. The consultant asked for anonymity given their relationship with the DCCC, and the party organization’s professed strategy of blacklisting firms that don’t fall in line.

To apply to become a preferred vendor in the 2020 cycle, firms must agree to a set of standards that includes agreeing not to work with anyone challenging an incumbent

“I understand the above statement that the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the form reads.

It’s no secret that the DCCC and national party leaders often interfere on behalf of preferred candidates. Or that they otherwise jump into the game too late, if they don’t completely write off newcomers who don’t meet their standards. The DCCC is known for prioritizing candidates and direct them to its own consultants, most of whom are alumni of the DCCC, which is known in Washington as a “consultant factory.” The latest move only reaffirms that reputation and sends a warning shot to grassroots and progressive consultants.

Groups working to diversify Congress say the committee has been slow to adequately address lack of representation — i.e., recruiting more women and people of color. Collective PAC, which works to elect black Democrats, sent a letter to the DCCC last year asking why the group didn’t include any black candidates in its “Red to Blue” program, which targets seats that have a promising chance to flip. They added several candidates after that, including current Reps. Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Colin Allred of Texas.

D-trip claims its top priority is protecting the majority, and that in order to do so, they must keep internal discord at a minimum. But as progressive candidates, organizers, and members build grassroots campaigns and prove they can hold their own, the D-trip’s old playbook is having the opposite effect.

The strategy isn’t new. Though it did bring a few more hiccups in 2018 than expected, which makes the rollout all the more puzzling. “There was never an enforcement that I’ve ever seen,” the strategist told The Intercept. “This is the first time that they are ever making it open policy.”

After their coordinated attack on Laura Moser in Texas’s 7th District, she raised $86,000, got an endorsement from Our Revolution, and made it to a runoff. She eventually lost to current Rep. Lizzie Fletcher. But the episode gave fodder to progressive groups like the Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, and Collective PAC, which had formed for precisely that occasion — the party’s increasing inability to make space for new voices, many of them progressive. D-trip proved their point, and Our Revolution and WFP stepped in instead.

And in Nebraska’s 2nd District, the DCCC backed former Rep. Brad Ashford over Kara Eastman, who ended up winning the primary and losing the general election. Ashford was a former Republican who flip-flopped on access to abortion throughout his time in the state legislature and later as a Democrat in the U.S. House, and opposed single-payer health care. Eastman was a staunchly pro-choice progressive who supported Medicare for All. She was one of only two insurgents to beat DCCC-backed candidates last cycle. In the Democratic primary for Kentucky’s 6th District, Amy McGrath beat Jim Gray and later lost to Republican Rep. Andy Barr. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is now recruiting her to run against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.

Strategists and congressional staffers with knowledge of the change say it will disproportionately impact vendors and candidates who are women and people of color, as the consultants who work with incumbents are the ones who’ve come up through the party at a time when its commitment to diversity was even dimmer than it is today.

The committee is telling firms they can’t oppose sitting members, the strategist said. “I’d rather keep the majority too, which is why to me this is kind of stupid to have a blanket rule. Because, if it’s a safe incumbent seat, why does it matter?”

The DCCC’s move also creates a new niche business, paradoxically, opening the door for consultants who don’t want to be under the thumb of the party. “From here on out, let’s refer to the DCCC for what it is, the White Male Centrist Campaign Protection Committee,” said Sean McElwee of Data for Progress. “My email is seanadrianmc@gmail.com. Any challenger looking for firms to work with them can feel free to reach out. There are plenty.”

Rebecca Katz, a longtime Democratic consultant, also said she’d be happy to work with the challengers. “The people who can’t understand the party is stronger because we have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley in Congress should not be in the business of choosing who can run for Congress,” she said.

Alex Rojas, the head of Justice Democrats, the bane of the DCCC, is backing a primary challenge to incumbent Henry Cuellar in Texas, while looking for other candidates across the country. “Make no mistake — they are sending a signal that they are more afraid of Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning primary challenges than Henry Cuellar who votes with Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” she said.

For both parties, campaigns are a big business, and it has created an ecosystem that feeds those within it and starves those outside of it. “The Democratic and Republican parties are commercial enterprises and they’re very much interested in their own survival,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., previously told The Intercept. “The money race is probably more important to them than the issues race in some cases.”

The main beneficiaries are the consultants in the good graces of party leadership. “It’s a commercial enterprise,” said Lynch.


Trump’s son-in-law Kushner cooperating with U.S. House probe: source

March 22, 2019

by David Morgan and Mark Hosenball


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is cooperating with a wide-ranging probe by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee into Trump and possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power, a person knowledgeable about the matter said on Friday.

Just hours earlier, a lawyer for Trump adviser Roger Stone said in a letter seen by Reuters that Stone was not cooperating with the same committee and cited his right to avoid self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The contrasting responses to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s probe targeting 81 individuals and groups came on the same day the Justice Department announced the completion of a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. [nL1N2191QR]

As a cloud of legal risk darkened over Trump, he was spending the weekend at his private club Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

Kushner submitted documents to Nadler’s panel on Thursday in response to a wave of document requests sent by the committee on March 4, the knowledgeable person said.

Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell, who received the committee’s document request, was not immediately available for comment.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have launched numerous inquiries into Trump, his presidency, his family and his business interests. The Mueller investigation has been focused on the election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow in its effort to sway U.S. voters in Trump’s favor.

Although Mueller’s report is finished, its contents were not yet known late on Friday. Details were expected soon.

Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 campaign. Trump has denied any collusion and dismissed Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt.”

Among the Judiciary Committee’s aims are determining if Trump obstructed justice by ousting perceived enemies at the Justice Department and abused his power by possibly offering pardons or tampering with witnesses.

It was not clear how much material Kushner provided to the committee. But investigators sought documents from him on more than two dozen topics. Those topics ranged from a June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to any Trump transition team contacts with Russia.

Stone’s lawyer Grant Smith said in the letter to Nadler that Stone faces federal criminal charges and that it “is not in Mr. Stone’s best interest” to participate in any other proceedings.

Stone was arrested in January and charged with lying to Congress about the 2016 Trump campaign’s efforts to use stolen emails to undercut Clinton. Stone declared himself innocent hours after a team of FBI agents raided his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. [nL1N2110RA]

Smith called Nadler’s demand for documents a “fishing expedition request.” Stone, who is under a gag order from the judge hearing his criminal case, had no comment.

Reporting by David Morgan and Mark Hosenball, Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Rosalba O’Brien


What does the Mueller report say and what does it mean for Trump?

It’s not clear whether or how the full report will be made public, but here’s what we know so far

March 22, 2019

by Tom McCarthy and Jon Swaine New York

The Guardian

What does Mueller’s report say?

We don’t know yet. We know that Mueller has filed his report to William Barr, the attorney general, and that Barr has informed Congress that he received it.

Mueller was only required, under the regulations on special counsels, to explain to Barr whom he decided to prosecute, whom he declined to prosecute, and why. But it is possible that he added more detail on what he found out. A justice department official said on Friday the report was “comprehensive”.

Barr did disclose on Friday that there were no actions proposed by Mueller that Barr overruled. This means that Mueller apparently made it to the end of his investigation free from interference from Trump’s administration.

What does it mean for Donald Trump?

The report is likely to reveal whether or not Mueller discovered any coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives who interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump has repeatedly denied that there was any such coordination, and no Americans have yet been charged for it. But Mueller has accused Trump’s former campaign chairman of sharing polling data with an alleged Russian intelligence asset.

The report may also say whether or not Mueller’s team concluded that Trump obstructed justice – or attempted to – by firing James Comey, the former FBI director, or taking other actions.

What happens with the report now?

It is not clear how much of the report will be given to Congress and the public.

Barr said in his letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Friday that he was reviewing the report and “may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend”.

Barr said he would separately be discussing with Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, what other information could be revealed to Congress and the public.

The attorney general told Congress that he was “committed to as much transparency as possible” but said he would also be guided by the justice department’s “long-standing practices and policies”. Typically the department does not make public derogatory information about people who are not being charged.

In any case Democrats, who control the House, have vowed to obtain the full report and make it public. If Barr resists this, a legal dispute may follow.

What were Mueller’s findings before this report?

Mueller documented, in lengthy and detailed indictments, a long-term and multi-level effort by Russia to tamper in US elections and sow discord online. Mueller’s documentation of the Russian espionage and sabotage efforts contrasted with Trump’s equivocation on whether Russia had engaged in such activity.

Mueller also uncovered and documented ties and contacts, before and after the 2016 election, between Russians and key former Trump aides including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Michael Cohen. All have pleaded guilty to criminal conduct or been convicted by a jury.

Mueller had also referred investigations to outside prosecutors’ offices in New York and Virginia, which have resulted in convictions against or guilty pleas from Manafort, Cohen and Gates, and which have led to ongoing investigations of alleged criminal conduct inside the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, Trump’s inaugural committee and the presidential transition team.

In all, Mueller had previously indicted or secured guilty pleas from 34 individuals (including 26 Russians and six former Trump aides) and three Russian corporations. With near unanimity, former prosecutors and legal analysts have judged Mueller’s work to have been completed with speed and precision.

What was Mueller’s brief?

Mueller was appointed on 17 May 2017, to serve as special counsel for the Department of Justice. The appointment was prompted by the firing of the FBI director, James Comey, eight days earlier; the recusal of the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from matters pertaining to the Russia investigation; and a perceived need to protect and advance open investigations into Russian election tampering and the Trump campaign.

An official letter of authorization signed by the acting attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, authorized Mueller to investigate (quoting from the document):

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of [the statute prescribing the special counsel’s jurisdiction].

How long did it take? How much did it cost?

Mueller turned in his report 650 days after his appointment. By the end of last December, the investigation had cost about $27m, Politifact estimated – a fraction of the cost of special prosecutor investigations in decades past. Accounting for the estimated $48m that Mueller’s team has clawed back from tax cheats, the net cost of the Mueller investigation could be negative.

Are any other Trump-related investigations still ongoing?

Yes, lots. While the special counsel’s office has concluded its work, investigations taken up by federal prosecutors in the southern and eastern districts of New York continue, and prosecutors have also been active in the eastern district of Virginia and the District of Columbia. Unlike Mueller, those prosecutors are not bound by narrow authorizations dictating what activity they can investigate, and there is no pressure to hasten the investigations.

Congress is conducting separate investigations of Trump’s campaign and other matters. Evidence gathered by Mueller could feed those investigations.

What’s next for Mueller?

Mueller’s duties connected with his appointment as special counsel are now complete, and he is not expected to take on a further public role. Before agreeing to the special counsel appointment, Mueller, 74, was in private practice, after having served for 12 years as director of the FBI, as a US attorney, and as a Marine. He has not announced future plans.


The Chilling Censorship of the Christchurch Shooting

Rather than expunging information about the killer, we should be confronting evil head on.

March 21, 2019

by Barbara Boland

The American Conservative

Serious concerns have arisen over how New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has handled the recent Christchurch mosques massacre. And they don’t just involve her calls for stricter gun control and decision to ban all semi-automatic rifles.

In the wake of the attacks, the prime minister promised to keep the murderer “nameless,” and the internet promptly obliged by flushing the perpetrator’s identity down the memory hole. New Zealanders’ access to online material about him was blocked. In what has become standing operating procedure after mass attacks, social media accounts connected to the perpetrator disappeared. Internet service providers in New Zealand blocked access to sites like 4chan, 8chan, LiveLeak, and the file-sharing site Mega if the sites did not take down material related to the shooting.

Ardern then announced that the government would consider further policing social media, saying, “We will look at the role that social media played and what steps we can take, including on the international stage and in unison with our partners.”

Her actions raise the question: can we prevent evil by simply deleting its mention online? Imagine if the same decision had been made in the wake of other horrific historic crimes. Should we delete all footage of 9/11 from YouTube? How about never uttering the name Osama bin Laden or the acronym ISIS? What about banning all mentions of Adolf Hitler, burning all copies of Mein Kampf, and deleting all references to the Holocaust from our history books, lest we inspire neo-Nazis? Would these actions honor the memory of the dead, or simply erase their suffering? Such logic would replace “never forget” with “never remember.”

Besides the total lack of evidence that deleting references to terrorists will reduce their activities, there also exists a concern that it will encourage the conspiracy-addled among us to say that these events never happened. Within 24 hours of the New Zealand attacks, there were already intrepid internet sleuths making such claims. That was to be expected, because nature abhors a vacuum and our society is already prone to alt-reality conspiracy theories when life offers difficult truths. Even with living eyewitnesses and a plethora of photos and videos, a majority of Americans still believe the government is concealing information about about the 9/11 attacks. Almost half of us believe the same about the JFK assassination and almost a quarter of us think the moon landing was faked. Can you imagine how much worse this problem would be if the government actively impeded our access to information?

Today is the festival of Purim, detailed in the biblical book of Esther, when Jews celebrate their salvation from Haman’s plot to “destroy, kill, and annihilate” them all, “young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” After they are saved, the Jews are commanded to “remember what Amalek did…you shalt blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven, you shall not forget.”

At first, this seems like a paradox. How can you both “remember” and “blot out the memory”? But on closer examination, this command is very relevant today: the only way to “blot out” horrific events is to prevent them from happening again, and to do that, you have to “remember.”

Our natural reaction to evil is to look the other way, to deny its existence, often until it is too late. While some have compared New Zealand’s actions to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, they more closely resemble the nightmarish vistas of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where displeasure and pain are banished. Echoing the modern instinct to erase all evidence of evil’s existence, one of the main characters in the novel declares, “Whether ’tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them…. But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.”

We need so-called “negative” emotions to rouse ourselves from lethargy. I know this from personal experience. At the beginning of August 2014, I discovered a horrifying bit of news buried within a seven-minute CNN video report: an American businessman alleged that ISIS was “systematically beheading children” in a “Christian genocide.” It was incredibly dangerous for Western media to send reporters into ISIS-occupied territory then, but citizens working underground nonetheless were surreptitiously recording videos and tweeting out details of life inside the regime. Thanks to the unfettered access social media provided, I was able to peer into marketplaces in Raqqa and find video evidence of everything from child marriages to crucifixions to beheadings.

The news story I wrote about all this received over seven million viewers, eventually crashing the servers of the small news website I worked for. People the world over were incensed and rightly so. It was impossible to deny what those real-time uploaded images showed: a seemingly modern marketplace, teeming with with people, only for the camera to pan out over the spectacle for which the crowd had gathered, a brutal display of torture and death. The accessibility of the evidence, along with the stunning contrast between the modern technology and the barbaric practices depicted, stirred visceral disgust and viral outrage. This was only possible because at the time, Twitter was an open platform where any information—no matter how vile—could be accessed and shared.

But that was in 2014. Since then, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and many other websites have begun to police their platforms and remove objectionable content. Some have since claimed that ISIS used its beheading videos to recruit new members.

Yet without those horrific images, ISIS’s brutal executions would have been all too easy to ignore, because even in our nightmares we would not conjure up such horror. The full range of human feelings after witnessing such atrocities—including disgust, outrage, and empathy for the victims—enabled us to act.

An open society is not afraid of the evidence of terror. Rather than running away from reality, democratic societies should confront evil directly, allowing evidence of it to be freely available, daily confronting and confounding those who would deny that such things ever happen. We must remember history, lest we be doomed to repeat it.

We cannot delete serious problems from the world by deleting content from the Internet and burying our heads in the sand. It’s a technique that doesn’t work too well for ostriches either.

Who Spawned the Christchurch Killer?

March 19, 2019

by Patrick J. Buchanan

The American Conservative

Last Friday, in Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the more civilized places on earth, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, an Australian, turned on his cellphone camera and set out to livestream his massacre of as many innocent Muslim worshippers as he could kill.

Using a semi-automatic rifle, he murdered more than 40 men, women, and children at one mosque, drove three miles to another, and there killed seven more. Dozens are still wounded, suffering, and dying.

It was an atrocity and act of pure evil by a man with a dead soul.

Yet predictably, within 48 hours, the president of the United States was being publicly indicted as a moral accomplice.

Donald Trump, it was said, used a word, “invasion,” to describe the 76,000 migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S. border in February. At the same time, the killer used that word to describe Muslim migration into the West.

The killer also mentioned Trump in his 74-page manifesto.

What further need have we of proof?

Trump also failed to express America’s revulsion and his country’s condolences to Muslims everywhere, and failed to denounce the “white nationalist” ideology that motivated the killer.

From there, it was a short jump to declare that we Americans have too long ignored this growing menace. Charlottesville, where a woman protester was run over by a neo-Nazi, was trotted out again and again.

But does the vision of America as a country where white racism is rampant and an unleashed white nationalism is running amok correspond with reality?

America’s elites are familiar with the Acela Express, the train that runs from D.C.’s Union Station to Penn Station in New York.

In which of the five Eastern Seaboard cities at which the Acela stops to take on and discharge passengers—Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, and New York—are white nationalists responsible for a significant share of the assaults, robberies, rapes, and shootings?

Chicago may lead the nation in total gun deaths. But the murder rate was highest in 2018 in St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, and Kansas City. In how many of these places are Klansmen and neo-Nazis regularly hauled in for violent crimes?

As for the mass murders of our new century, the racist right has perpetrated its share. Dylann Roof’s killing of the black women and men at the Charleston church qualifies, as does the massacre of Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Yet a Muslim major, Nidal Hasan, fatally shot 13 soldiers at Fort Hood. In the 2015 San Bernardino massacre, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik left 14 dead and 22 wounded.

According to Forbes, of the 18,814 deaths caused by terrorists around the world in 2017, well over half were due to the actions of four groups: Islamic State, the Taliban, Al-Shabab, and Boko Haram.

All are Sunni Muslim; none are alt-right.

Undeniably, atrocities that exceed in bloodshed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Al Capone’s gang, where seven men were stood against a wall in a Chicago garage and executed, have become all too common.

But the atrocities seized upon by the left as most representative are those that conform to a vision, a narrative, a pre-existing script. This preconceived idea is that America is a hotbed of white nationalism where the worst crimes are committed by white racists. And this is a myth.

Now, there are no excuses or defenses for what happened in Christchurch. But there is an explanation.

All peoples to some degree resent and resist the movement of outsiders into their space. Some migrants are more difficult than others to assimilate into Western societies. European nations that had not known mass migrations for centuries were especially susceptible to a virulent reaction, a backlash.

Americans, after all, reacted viscerally to the Irish migration of 1845-1849, and again to the Great Migration from Central and Eastern Europe from 1890 to 1920. Inter-ethnic violence was not uncommon.

Our leaders in the 1920s understood this and took steps to halt the migrations until those who had come could be assimilated, and, in a word, Americanized. It worked. By 1960, we were a united people.

Then, without the people’s consent, the great experiment began.

America’s doors were thrown open to peoples of every religion, race, culture, and creed, to create a different nation that mirrored all mankind in its diversity—in Ben Wattenberg’s phrase, a universal nation.

The problem: a universal nation is a contradiction in terms. A nation of all races, religions, and tribes had never before existed.

The liberal democracies that embraced this ideology, this idea, are at war with human nature, and are now losing that war to tribalism and authoritarianism.

As for Christchurch, unfortunately, such horrors appear to have become the new normal. But Brenton Tarrant alone is responsible for what he did. And it was not Trump but the new world order globalists who fertilized the soil that spawned him.

The Transnational Network That Nobody is Talking About

March 22, 2019


  • There are possible links between the recent New Zealand mosque shooter and a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist white supremacist paramilitary organization called the Azov Battalion.
  • The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist (RWE) movement.
  • Recruits from the U.S., Norway, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Sweden, and Australia, among others, have reportedly traveled to train with the Azov Battalion.
  • The global nature of these groups is just one of several similarities between RWEs and Salafi-jihadists.

In the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks, links have emerged between the shooter, Brent Tarrant, and a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, white supremacist paramilitary organization called the Azov Battalion. Tarrant’s manifesto alleges that he visited the country during his many travels abroad, and the flak jacket that Tarrant wore during the assault featured a symbol commonly used by the Azov Battalion. Tarrant’s transnational ties go beyond Ukraine, however. Tarrant claimed that he was in touch with Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist, and he took trips throughout Europe, including the Balkans, visiting sites that symbolized historical battles between Christians and Muslims. During the video of his attack he could be heard listening to a song that glorified Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, and his gun featured racial messages and names of white supremacists from around the world.

The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist (RWE) network. This group maintains its own ‘Western Outreach Office’ to help recruit and attract foreign fighters that travel to train and connect with people from like-minded violent organizations from across the globe. Operatives from the outreach office travel around Europe to promote the organization and proselytize its mission of white supremacy. In July 2018, German-language fliers were distributed among the visitors at a right-wing rock festival in Thuringia, inviting them to be part of the Azov battalion: ‘join the ranks of the best’ to ‘save Europe from extinction.’ It has also established youth camps, sporting recreation centers, lecture halls, and far-right education programs, including some that teach children as young as 9 years old military tactics and far-right ideology. This aggressive approach to networking serves one of the Azov Battalion’s overarching objectives to transform areas under its control in Ukraine into the primary hub for transnational white supremacy.

Too often, the focus on foreign fighters has been relegated to Sunni jihadists, but in a globalized world, the foreign fighter phenomenon has deep roots across ideologies, from foreign fighters assisting the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, to Shi’a militants traveling from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Lebanon to join with Iranian-backed foreign fighter networks operating in Syria. It is now evident that RWE networks are also highly active in recruiting fighters worldwide to its cause, with the Azov Battalion and other ultra-nationalist organizations playing a significant role in the globalization of RWE violence. Indeed, the Azov Battalion is forging links with RWE groups, hosting visits from ultra-nationalist organizations such as members of the Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.) from the U.S. and the British National Action from the U.K., among other white supremacists from around the world. In the United States, several R.A.M. members (all American citizens) who spent time in Ukraine training with the Azov Battalion were recently indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) for their role in violently attacking counter-protestors during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.

Ironically, there are similarities in ideology, strategy and recruitment tactics between Salafi-Jihadist organizations, such as al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State, and RWE groups. Both types of violent groups seek to implement their own versions of what they consider to be a ‘pure’ society. There are striking resemblances between al-Qaeda’s Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) and the Azov Battalion’s ‘Western Outreach Office,’ both of which had the responsibility for promoting the cause and helping recruits reach the battlefield. Just as Afghanistan served as a sanctuary for jihadist organizations like Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 1980s, so too are parts of Ukraine becoming a safe haven for an array of right-wing violent extremist groups to congregate, train, and radicalize. And just like the path of jihadist groups, the goal of many of these members is to return to their countries of origin (or third-party countries) to wreak havoc and use acts of violence as a means to recruit new members to their cause. Unlike jihadis who are attempting to strike Western targets, though, radicalized white supremacists have the added advantage of being able to blend in seamlessly in the West, just as Tarrant was able to do.

The Christchurch shooter was not simply a lone actor, but the product of a broader network of right-wing violent extremists. If the evidence ultimately proves that Tarrant went to Ukraine to train with like-minded individuals, then the attack in New Zealand was possibly the first example of an act of terrorism committed by a white supremacist foreign fighter. And unless the international community recognizes the danger posed by these transnational networks, the New Zealand attack is unlikely to be the last.

Fact and Fiction

March 23, 2019

by Christian Jürs

The institution of the Nuremberg racial laws in 1936 and the pogroms that swept Germany in November of 1938, made it clearly evident to the world that Hitler was determined to drive the Jews out of Germany.

There was no program or intention in Germany then to put them into concentration camps because these camps were designed solely for political dissidents and common criminals.

The addition of the 500,000 Jews living in Germany at that time would have put an intolerable strain on the camp system.

It was the general idea that there should be a new diaspora, a dispersing of the Jews. But the problem facing the Germans, aside from international outrage engendered by their program of harassment and expulsion, was that no other country wanted to accept the Jewish refugees.

Many of these originated in Russia and had fled into what was then the Grand Duchy of Poland when the Imperial Russian government started its great pogroms at the end of the nineteenth century.

When Poland gained its independence from Russia after the First World War, the new Polish head of state, Marshal Pilsudski, strongly encouraged as many of the five million Jewish residents of his country to leave it as quickly as possible.

The great bulk of these escaped into what was then a very tolerant Germany only to encounter, after 1933. the political programs of Adolf Hitler.

Once it became evident to the Jewish community of Germany that the persecutions would not cease, many fled the country, some legally and some illegally. A number went to Switzerland, which took in about fifty thousand, and many others went to France, Belgium and Holland, while a very few managed to go to England and America.

The British initially permitted immigration to Palestine, a territory they had controlled since the end of the First World War, but in 1939, when Müller took over the Jewish diaspora, the Arabs of that territory were in a state of open revolt against the British, in part because of the influx of Jews.

The British then curtailed any Jewish immigration and threatened to sink any refugee boats full of Jewish refugees headed for Palestine.

France was overwhelmed with a quarter million refugees from the recently ended Spanish Civil War and declared that they would accept no more refugees. The desperate Jews trickled in small numbers to South America and such remote places as Shanghai, the foreign business center of a China that was engaged in a major war with the Japanese. When that city fell to the Japanese Army, Shanghai was cut off as a haven for any further refugees.

‘The United States had a reputation as a haven for the persecuted of Europe, but this reputation was about to be irremediably tarnished through the actions of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Breckenridge Long, one of the highest officials of the U.S. Department of State.

When confronted with a mass of frightened German (and Austrian) Jews seeking entrance into the United States, Roosevelt at first attempted to find some other area in the world that would accept a large number of them. The President, through the Department of State, suggested Ethiopia as a country into which “refugees could be admitted in almost unlimited numbers,” while the Germans recommended Madagascar. Mussolini felt  that Siberia had its attractions and Roosevelt then decided that central Africa might be a better choice. The British suggested the jungle areas of South America or perhaps Venezuela could be an “excellent settlement area for unwanted German Jews.”

Needless to say, the German Jews had no great interest in the jungles and unpopulated, remote areas of the world, and as middle-class professionals and businessmen, preferred to go to the United States since the rest of civilized Europe plainly did not want anything to do with them.

In 1938, the immigration quota from Germany was 25,957. This figure reflected German immigrants, not Jewish, and the question put to the State Department was how many of the German quota would be Jews. This matter was never officially resolved because it suited the Department of State not to do so.

Breckenridge Long, the official in the State Department who oversaw immigration, was strongly xenophobic, disliked immigrants from countries that were not Northern European Protestant in origin, and most especially detested Jews.

In these attitudes, Long was entirely in harmony with the American East Coast establishment which felt exactly as he did.

The United States was still suffering from the effects of the Depression that had begun in 1929 and had erupted again in 1938. In times of economic travail, the minorities always suffer and this maxim was certainly true from 1938 onwards.

While Roosevelt had opened his administration to Jews, something that had never happened before, he nevertheless had no interest in assisting the Jews of Europe in entering the United States. The President was a man of his age and of his milieu, and anti-Semitism in America was not violent as it was in Germany, but was certainly evident and very persistent in American society.

After the pogroms of Crystal Night, Roosevelt publicly expressed outrage to the German government about the blatant mistreatment of the Jews. But in private, he agreed with the stringent boycott of Germany and her exports by his friend Samuel Untermeyer and powerful members of the American Jewish community, who had expressed their anger against Hitler for a number of years before the 1938 incidents.

But when it became evident that the United States was the intended goal of the Jews of Germany, Roosevelt balked. Verbal outrage and high-sounding morality was one thing, but an influx o f Jews was quite something else. Even after Crystal Night, American public opinion was strongly opposed to any loosening of the very restrictive 1924 immigration act, and, in fact this opposition rose from 70 percent to 83 percent following the German pogroms.

If nothing else, Roosevelt was a thoroughly pragmatic and coldly realistic politician. Even though he personally enjoyed considerable support from America‘s Jewish community, he realized that the Jews alone could not keep him in office so he quickly pandered to the exclusionist view of the overwhelming bulk of his electorate.

His personal views were certainly reflected in the elitist attitudes of his career diplomats. In 1938, after Mussolini had promulgated some anti-Semitic laws. Roosevelt wrote to his Ambassador in Rome, “What a plight the unfortunate Jews are in. It gives them little comfort to remind them that they have been ‘on the run’ for about four thousand years.”

In 1942, after the war had been raging for three years and there was no doubt that all of Europe’s Jews were being rounded up and put into detention camps, Roosevelt remarked to Leo Crowley, an Irish-American Catholic who was his Custodian of Alien Property, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., his Secretary of the Treasury, “Leo, you know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and Jews are here on sufferance. It is up to both of you to go along with anything that I want at this time.”

In a 1943 trans-Atlantic scrambled telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Roosevelt said. “Of course I have pity on the Jews, but we simply don’t want them over here. No one wants them here. You don’t want them in Palestine and neither do the Arabs. Could we not send them to some place like South America?” to which Churchill replied, “Certainly that could be done, but I cannot countenance shipping hundreds of thousands of perfectly obnoxious Polish Jews to our territories.”


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

March 23, 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. 59

Date: Saturday, January 11. 1997

Commenced:  2:23 PM CST

Concluded:  3:11 PM CST


RTC: Gregory, would you believe your nice present arrived here today? You mailed it on the fifteenth and it took almost a month to get here. Unbelievable. Symptomatic of the growing inefficiency in the entire bureaucratic structure. Nice book by the way. Who was Malaparte?

GD: Curzio Malaparte was the pen name of an Austrian journalist named Stuckert. A friend and adherent of Mussolini. The book is a classic study of the coup, as you will note. Dutton put this out in ’32, just while the Depression was getting a full head of steam, and it was decided by those in power that it ought not to be circulated so it was pulled. I got your copy from a Denver dealer and I got mine from my grandfather’s library. Very interesting, especially the business with Trotsky in Petrograd. Have you read any of it?

RTC: Yes, actually I have read the Trotsky section. Very perceptive.

GD: And be sure to read the chapter on Trotsky versus Stalin. The differences between the two are well-covered. Trotsky was brilliant but mercurial and Stalin was equally brilliant but thorough, methodical and far more deadly than Trotsky. In Josef’s case, patience was a real virtue.

RTC: At any rate, thank you for your gift. I can assure you I will read it.

GD: You are the only person I know that might appreciate it. I can just see Tom Kimmel with it. Never read it.

RTC: Corson might.

GD: Yes, that’s true.

RTC: I’m sure they have a copy at Langley.

GD: I don’t doubt that at all. But they remind me of a dog I had once. He loved to chase cars. I wonder what would have happened if he caught one?

RTC: Now, they’re not all that bad.

GD: Perhaps not when you were in harness, but some of the idiots they have working for them now certainly aren’t worth a pinch of sour owl shit.

RTC: I haven’t heard that one for years, Gregory.

GD: I’m not young either, Robert.

RTC: Are you working on anything interesting these days?

GD: Still trying to create a structure for the Kennedy business. I translated some wartime German documents last week dealing with their flying saucer program. Habermohl?

RTC: I know that the Krauts had one or two but the name means nothing.

GD: They made and flew at least one prototype, but the project was just one of many at the time.

RTC: Well, the U.S. built them after the war. Some place in Canada.

GD: AVRO. The Roe Company.

RTC: Doesn’t ring a bell.

GD: But that means we did have some examples.

RTC: Oh, yes, that we did. I told you that the Russians thought these were ours and we thought they were theirs. I did some sit-downs on this one. Russian Intelligence was one of my fields, as you know. And we did have some of these, but we used them for high-altitude reconnaissance and photographing. The U-2 replaced them, so we retired them. The Russians had at one working model, that I know.

GD: So all the sightings were of these planes, or whatever they called them?

RTC: No, not all. Most of the public sightings were basically wishful thinking or mass hysteria. But there certainly were other incidents that were not of ours or Russian construction.

GD: Where did they come from?

RTC: No one had any idea. Of course, Truman had all of that shut up to prevent another Orson Wells panic. The idea was to make the whole thing look like a hoax so that people spotting something would ignore it at the risk of being branded a fool.

GD: Know anything about the Roswell business?

RTC: Oh, indeed. Now that was the real thing, Gregory. And there were space cadets on board that one. They had to clamp down on the story and said it was a weather balloon. As I remember, they retrieved a lot of electronic gadgetry that was highly advanced. They reconstructed the thing, or did you know that?

GD: No, I did not. Did they fly it?

RTC: Too complex. Do you know about Groom Lake in Nevada?

GD: No.

RTC: We used it as a U-2 base. Out in the remote desert. They have several of these things there. One is a reconstruction and another one was fished out of a lake in Montana intact, crew and all. That one they did fly around, as I understand.

GD: Why keep it quiet?

RTC: As I said, panic. The Cold War was in full swing, Korea had happened and everyone was afraid of the Russians, so it was decided to play it all down. We got certified idiots on board and got them to set up Flying Saucer clubs to attract the brainless moths and kept the pot boiling. You understand that once the government decides on a program, they never change it. They never do. Poor Tom keeps thinking they will rehabilitate his grandfather over Pearl Harbor, but they never will. I told him that once, and I thought he’d weep. First off, no one cares these days about Pearl Harbor and secondly, once a policy has been set, no one will change it later. Same with the saucers.

GD: They have no idea where they came from?

RTC: Absolutely none. But there were no attacks from any of them and the best thinking was that they were doing what we were doing, and that is photo recon. They weren’t from us because no human could survive the speeds they could move at. Flatten them out. I hope to God you’re not going to get into that mess, Gregory.

GD: Intellectual curiosity only. What did ours photograph?

RTC: The same things the U-2 did. Military bases like airfields, missile launching areas, naval bases. They took some wonderfully clear pictures. They had a building down on Fifth and K streets where they processed and printed these. It was the Steuart or Seward Building. I was in there a couple of times. And some very interesting buildings out on Wilson Boulevard. Remind me to tell you about them some time. Anyway, I recommend you keep away from the saucer side. As much as they hate you around here that would all that would be needed to label you a certified lunatic.

GD: Oh, I know about the official stories about me. Once the Mueller book came out, they got Gitta Sereny to go after me. Do you know who she is?

RTC: She’s a friend of Wolfe. I looked her up once because he made it a point of shoving some piece of trash on me at the Archives about you she got published. A Communist dyke as I remember. She does not like you.

GD: (Laughing) Oh, I know that, and note that I do not like her. When I uncovered the fact that an SS concentration camp head had been declared dead and then put to work by the Brits and later by us, she came to see me in California, with the assistance of Wolfe, and with the sole intention of getting me to say something she could use to discredit me.

RTC: Well, they didn’t like it made public that this fellow worked for us. The same as your friend Mueller. What did she write?

GD: Long story.

RTC: I have plenty of time and you have the happy knack of making long boring stories interesting. Go on.

GD: She published a book in 1974 entitled Into That Darkness. This work purported to be based on an interview with Franz Stangl, an alleged SS officer who ran a camp in occupied Poland during the war where many prisoners were later stated to have been gassed. Stangl was not an SS man but Sereny never bothered to mention that unimportant fact. The book contains a lengthy section quoting Stangl, who according to Sereny’s version, fully admitted his part in the purported killings and asks for forgiveness from God and his victims. The balance of the work consists of various supplementary testimonies from former associates and family members, all attesting to the evil nature of Stangl’s activities and all clearly acknowledging his willing cooperation in a state-sponsored program of genocide. Of course, Sereny has carved out her niche as a holocaust writer, trashing all the Germans, and she has made a nice living out of it. But this particular book shows with great clarity the pitfalls that occur when a journalist, as opposed to a legitimate academic historian, produces a work which is not only entirely anecdotal in content, but ideological in thrust. There is no documentation, whatsoever, in this work which relies almost entirely on the author’s purported interviews with various people. Stangl died on the day following Sereny’s visit to him in prison where he was appealing his life sentence.

RTC: I agree. That makes no sense. This man was not an SS camp man?

GD: No. He is in none of the official SS personnel lists anywhere at any time.

RTC: Did he exist?

GD: Yes. He was an Austrian policeman. And she must have known it, because she is tied up with Wolfe who has ready access to all the official lists. And herein lies the key to the questionability of the entire book. Stangl had been sentenced to a life term in prison. He, through his attorneys, was appealing this sentence. It is highly doubtful if either Stangl or his attorneys would permit such a damaging interview to take place and to permit Sereny, whose extremist views were well known, free and unfettered access to the prisoner. There would appear to be no question that Sereny and her photographer husband, Don Honeyman, did indeed visit the prison and did see Stangl. Sereny’s husband took several photographs of him, photographs which are extensively reproduced in the book. The published pictures, however, do not support statements alleged to have been made by the former Austrian police officer, but merely prove that he permitted himself to be photographed by his visitors. By making such incriminating statements as Sereny placed, post mortem, in his mouth, Stangl would have irrevocably destroyed any chance he might have had in his pending appeal before the German courts. I think it is beyond reasonable belief that such statements were made under the circumstances indicated. A dead Stangl, however, could comfortably be alleged to have made any statement that the author chose to put into his mouth, and without the possible embarrassment to her or her publisher of an instant denial or possible legal proceedings.

RTC: These fabricators never use logic, do they. Lie like rugs, throw in a few fuzzy pictures of Hitler and, Bingo, a new Holocaust book. Well, they have made quite a business out of it.

GD: Oh, yes, and you dast not dare question them with inconvenient facts. If you have the time and the stomach to read the book, you can clearly see the author’s prejudice towards Stangl and the system he served, but also is entirely devoid of any facts to support her thesis. She notes that a number of witnesses died before the book was published, of course, including her main source, Stangl. Much of the anecdotal material Sereny had put together to support her case is of such a nature as to preclude its ever being introduced in a court of law. Several examples are set forth as illustration.  In one, Sereny claims that Stangl’s wife wrote her a letter following an interview Sereny had with the wife in Brazil. In this letter, which is not reproduced, Frau Stangl allegedly states that in 1945 she was interviewed by two members of the U.S. Army’s Counter Intelligence agency, and that they knew of her husband’s whereabouts in an American jail. “I examined their papers,” she is quoted as writing, “I have no doubt whatever that they were genuine.” The flaw in this scenario is obvious. It is simply not believable that the wife of an obscure police officer would have the slightest idea what “genuine” U.S. CIC identification papers looked like. But Sereny states that the woman would have no reason to invent the incident. Perhaps the invention did not originate with Stangl’s wife, but with the author herself. Robert, generations must pass before the fictive is eventually weeded out from the factual, and in the meantime an appellation which has been applied to the Sereny book, Dialogs with the Dead, could well be applied to other mendacious creative writing essays that people like Wolfe, who certainly will never be any kind of a successful writer or Sereny the ideological hack.

RTC: Maybe Sereny…what is that name, by the way?

GD: She’s a Hungarian Jewess, but the name was changed somewhere years ago to become more Aryan. Anyway, she published some libels about me in two major British papers. I got a solicitor in the UK to represent me and not only were the stories pulled but dear old Gitta was sacked. It was either sack her for free, or I would sue the papers for malicious defamation. There wasn’t any contest. One of the paper’s editors told me on the phone that she was a nasty old bitch and he was glad to be rid of her. Actually, she mumbled away about me for a little while more until I had to take certain actions that dissuaded her from future essays into more libels.

RTC: I don’t suppose…

GD: Not on the phone. Did I bore you?

RTC: No, and none of that surprised me. You ought to have heard old Wolfe screeching about how evil you are. He sounds like you have a picture of him humping the neighbor’s cocker spaniel.

GD: (Laughter) I think it was a sheep named Minnie he keeps in his garage. By God, sir, with mesh stockings and lipstick, she drives men mad with passion.

RTC: Why don’t you turn him into the Humane Society?

GD: I’d much rather turn him into a pumpkin. Speaking of that, do you know what happened to Cinderella?

RTC: No, I don’t. She married her prince?

GD: Maybe, but did you know what happened when the clock struck midnight?

RTC: Not offhand.

GD: Her tampon turned into a pumpkin.

RTC: (Laughter) Such an image!

GD: You see the connection in my imagination, at least, between Wolfe and a pumpkin?

RTC: It’ll give me something to think about over dinner, Gregory. Or are you equating Wolfe with a tampon?

GD: Pay your money, Robert, and take your choice.


(Concluded at 3:11 PM CST)



Germany: Foreclosed house explodes shortly before auction

Hours before the house was due to be auctioned off, the building exploded and burned to the ground. German authorities did not find the house’s sole inhabitant in the rubble — raising suspicions that he is on the run.

March 22, 2019

by Rebecca Staudenmaier


An auction for a foreclosed home in the German town of Birkenau did not proceed as planned on Friday, after a blast ripped the house apart.

Police have now launched a manhunt for the sole inhabitant of the house, a 59-year-old man, who is suspected of causing the blast.

What we know so far:

The explosion took place on Friday morning, just hours before the house was due to be auctioned-off.

Remnants from several gas cylinders were found in the rubble, which likely caused the explosion.

Pieces of the house were blown 20 to 30 meters (more than 65 feet) into the air.

No one was injured in the blast, although neighboring houses sustained significant damage to their roofs and windows.

‘Heap of rubble’

A spokeswoman for the Birkenau police told news agency dpa that despite fighting the fire for over an hour, the house could not be saved.

“The house is a heap of rubble and is actually no longer recognizable as a building,” the spokeswoman said.

Search for suspect: A 59-year-old man who lived alone in the house is under suspicion of setting his house ablaze. Rescue workers combed through the rubble looking for his body — but have not yet found him. Police were asking for information on the man’s whereabouts.

Not the first foreclosure blaze

Friday’s explosion is the latest suspected foreclosure arson to occur in the German state of Hesse, where Birkenau is located.

In August, a house that had been sold at auction in the town of Mörlenbach was set on fire just hours before it was due to be handed over to the new owners. Two children were killed in the blaze and their parents went on trial for the arson and murders on Friday.



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