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TBR News May 20, 2019

May 20 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 19, 2019: “Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary for May 20:”Trump is bellowing in his office about his personal and business accounts with the German bank. The bank, which until recently, was heavily connected with the CIA, also dealt with the Russians and was known to have laundered their money. What Trump did not know was that employees of the bank copied some juicy in-house reports that would do terrible damage to him if released. It seems they were, unbeknownst to him, and he is howling for arrests and executions. He screams the word, ‘treason’ more and more often these days. I understand that a number of Republican senators are waffling on the question of support for him and he is not a happy camper, believe me.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump vs. House Democrats: 10 upcoming showdowns
  • Trump reacts angrily to New York Times report on Deutsche Bank transactions
  • Republican Justin Amash Gets What Top Democrats Don’t — It’s Time to Impeach Trump
  • Trump Is Making the Same US Mistake in the Middle East Yet Again
  • Trump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran
  • Donald Trump threatens ‘official end of Iran’
  • A German Intelligence report on Trump
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

Trump vs. House Democrats: 10 upcoming showdowns

May 20, 2019

Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is refusing to cooperate with numerous congressional probes of himself and his administration, taking a defiant stance that is likely to result in a court battle with Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Trump’s stonewalling hardened after the mid-April release of a redacted report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on how Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Trump’s favor and his attempts to impede Mueller’s probe.

In most of the cases where Trump and his advisers are refusing to cooperate, they run the legal risk of contempt of Congress citations and court enforcement actions that could result in fines and even imprisonment.

Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress dismiss the inquiries, led mostly by House Democrats, as political harassment ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections.

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating. In a departure from the stonewalling pattern, Donald Trump Jr. has reached an agreement with that committee for its senators to interview him in mid-June, a congressional source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Here are some high-profile examples of Trump, who has declared he is “fighting all the subpoenas,” defying Congress:

TAX RETURNS

Unlike past presidents in recent decades, Trump refuses to make public his tax returns, raising questions about what is in them. Democrats are probing Trump’s past business dealings and possible conflicts of interest involving him.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday defied a subpoena from the head of the House tax committee seeking six years of Trump’s past individual and business tax returns.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, is empowered to request the president’s returns under a law that says the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” them upon such a request being made.

In a letter to Neal on Friday, Mnuchin said Treasury, based on advice from the Justice Department, would not release Trump’s returns. “We are unable to provide the requested information in response to the committee’s subpoena,” the letter said.

MUELLER REPORT

The redacted Mueller report, released on April 18 by Attorney General William Barr, left some questions about the probe unanswered. Democrats have subpoenaed the unredacted report and the evidence Mueller relied on.

Barr, a Trump appointee, has refused to comply with the subpoena. The House Judiciary Committee voted on May 8 to recommend that the full House cite Barr for contempt of Congress. “We are now in a constitutional crisis,” Jerrold Nadler, the committee’s Democratic chairman, told reporters.

The committee vote came hours after the White House asserted the seldom-used principle of executive privilege to keep the full Mueller report under wraps, even though Trump earlier allowed aides to speak with Mueller during his investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, has also subpoenaed Barr for Mueller-related documents. After Barr disregarded the subpoena, Schiff said on Thursday the committee planned to take “enforcement action.”

SPECIAL COUNSEL

Nadler’s panel has demanded testimony from Mueller. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday that Mueller was unlikely to appear before the committee as requested on May 23.

EX-COUNSEL MCGAHN

Nadler has threatened to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt if he fails to show up to testify at a hearing slated for Tuesday. McGahn has been directed not to produce documents in response to a committee subpoena.

MAZARS

A federal judge on Tuesday said financial records from Trump’s long-time accounting firm Mazars LLP would be a “proper subject of investigation” by Congress, appearing to side with Democratic lawmakers seeking more oversight of the president.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington heard oral arguments on whether Mazars must comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena, marking the first time a federal court has waded into the tussle about how far Congress can go in probing Trump and his business affairs.

In an unprecedented step, Trump filed a lawsuit attempting to keep U.S. lawmakers from obtaining his financial records.

CENSUS AND CITIZENSHIP

The Justice Department has rebuffed an Oversight Committee request for an interview with John Gore, an official involved in the administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

IMPEACHMENT

Trump has vowed to fight any effort by congressional Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against him, promising to go to the Supreme Court, even though it plays no role in the constitutional impeachment process.

FBI HEADQUARTERS

Congressional Democrats say the administration has responded too slowly to their requests for documents about Trump’s abandonment of a plan to relocate the FBI’s headquarters.

Before he became president, Trump supported moving the headquarters to the suburbs of Washington from the center of town, said Democrats looking into the matter.

They said that after Trump was elected and disqualified from bidding to buy the FBI’s present headquarters site for commercial development, he switched his position. Democrats have raised questions about a possible Trump conflict of interest.

IMMIGRATION AIDE

The White House has refused a request for Trump’s top immigration aide Stephen Miller to testify to Congress, in a letter to the House Oversight Committee.

BANK SUBPOENAS

Trump has sued to block House subpoenas for his financial records sent to Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial, banks he did business with.

A 2017 financial disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

Compiled by Caroline Stauffer and David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish

 

Trump reacts angrily to New York Times report on Deutsche Bank transactions

  • Paper detailed staff concerns over Trump and Kushner entities
  • President claims he doesn’t need banks or money from Russia

May 20, 2019

by Jasper Jolly and agencies

The Guardian

Donald Trump sought on Monday to discredit a New York Times report that Deutsche Bank employees flagged concerns over transactions involving legal entities controlled by the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The Times said the nature of the transactions was not clear and that the bank ultimately took no action. Some of the transactions involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, some in Russia.

Trump claimed he did not “need or want banks” and does not receive money from Russia.

Congress and New York State are investigating the relationship between Trump, his family and Deutsche Bank, and demanding documents related to any suspicious activity.

Trump has sued in court in an attempt to block House subpoenas for his financial records that were sent to Deutsche Bank, Capital One and the accounting firm Mazars.

The Times report said anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

Citing five current and former Deutsche Bank employees, the report said executives at the German-based bank, which has lent billions to Trump and Kushner companies, rejected the advice and the reports were never filed.

Earlier this month, the Times obtained tax information which showed his businesses lost more than $1bn from 1985 to 1994. Trump has refused to release more recent tax returns or to comply with House subpoenas for them.

Trump rejected and ridiculed that story. In his Monday tweets, he claimed not to need banks as he “made a lot of money and buys everything for cash”.

He also said the “fake media … always uses unnamed sources (because their sources don’t even exist)”.

But one former Deutsche Bank employee, Tammy McFadden, who reviewed some of the transactions, spoke to the Times on the record. She said she was fired last year after raising concerns about the bank’s practices, the Times said.

McFadden said concerns she raised included contacts between Kushner Companies and Russian individuals in summer 2016. Deutsche Bank has been fined for laundering billions of dollars for Russians.

In his report on Russian election interference released in redacted form last month, special counsel Robert Mueller did not find that Trump conspired with Moscow. But he did lay out extensive contacts between Trump aides and Russia.

On Monday, Trump tweeted: “The new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”

Trump also called the Times reporting “phony” and called Deutsche Bank “very good and highly professional”.

Deutsche Bank denied the report but it contributed to shares falling to a record low. Shares in the German lender were down by 2.8% at the time of writing. The bank was recently forced to abandon merger plans with Commerzbank. It has also struggled to turn around its corporate and investment arms.

The Times said the transactions in question, some of which involved Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to the former bank employees.

Compliance staff members who reviewed the transactions prepared suspicious activity reports they believed should be sent to a unit of the US treasury that polices financial crimes, according to the newspaper.

A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization told Reuters “the story is absolute nonsense”.

“We have no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank. In fact, we have no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank,” she said.

The newspaper said a Kushner Companies spokeswoman called any allegations of relationships involving money laundering “made up and totally false”.

 

Republican Justin Amash Gets What Top Democrats Don’t — It’s Time to Impeach Trump

May 20, 2019

by Mehdi Hasan

The Intercept

Congratulations to Justin Amash! On Saturday, the representative from Michigan’s 3rd district became the first Republican member of Congress to call for impeachment, arguing that President Trump’s actions and behavior, as detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, “meet the threshold” for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Amash, who is Palestinian American and a proud Tea Party libertarian, has clashed with the president and his GOP colleagues before, on a range of issues — from the war in Yemen to funding for the border wall to the Muslim ban. But his decision to declare his open support for impeachment is far and away the most dramatic and defiant moment of his political career.

Here’s the start of his tweetstorm on the Mueller report (and it’s very worth your time to read the whole thing).

Justin Amash    @justinamash

Here are my principal conclusions:

  1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
  2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
  3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
  4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

230K

3:30 PM – May 18, 2019The thin-skinned Trump was quick to denounce Amash on Sunday morning, calling him a “lightweight” and a “loser,” while again falsely claiming that the special counsel found no evidence of obstruction of justice. (Spoiler alert: The Mueller report contains at least 10 different explicit examples of Trumpian obstruction.)

Amash joins more than 900 former federal prosecutors, from both Republican and Democratic administrations, who believe Trump’s behavior, as outlined by Mueller, would have resulted in “multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice” were he a private citizen and not the president of the United States. Conservative law professor J.W. Verret, a former member of the Trump transition team, has written how the “elaborate pattern of obstruction” uncovered by the report is, at a minimum, enough “to get the impeachment process started.”

Plenty of liberals are asking why there aren’t more Republican members of Congress with the guts, eloquence, or honesty to say what Amash has said. It’s a good question. But a better, more relevant question is this: Why aren’t there more Democrats willing to say the same?

After all, the two most senior members of the House Democratic leadership — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — as well as key Democratic committee chairs, such as Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff, have spent the past few weeks loudly and repeatedly throwing cold water on the idea of impeaching Trump. Pelosi has called impeachment “divisive” and “not worth it.” Hoyer, on the day the Mueller report was released and before he had even read it, said, “Going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point.” Last week, in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to defy congressional subpoenas, Nadler told CNBC: “I don’t want to make it sound as if we’re heading for impeachment. Probably we’re not.”

What is wrong with these people? Why are they so afraid of their own shadows? Pelosi told CNN after last November’s midterms that impeachment should be done in a “bipartisan way.” Well, Amash is a Republican and one of the most conservative members of the House. So it’s bipartisan now. In fact, a few other Republicans might throw their weight behind impeachment too — if Pelosi & Co. can be bothered to hold the hearings, make the case, and call a vote.

Some House Democrats worry that a failure to secure conviction in the GOP-controlled Senate, where they lack the requisite two-thirds majority, might cost them the 2020 presidential election by riling up the Trump base and boosting Republican turnout. Pelosi told an audience at Cornell University earlier this month that she believes Trump is “goading” Democrats to try to impeach him in order to help him “solidify his base” of supporters ahead of next November.

Sorry, this is absurd on so many levels. First, does anyone seriously believe that the petulant and touchy narcissist in the Oval Office wants to be impeached? That he wants to have his actions — and his finances! — pored over by House Democrats? That he wants his kids dragged in front of televised impeachment hearings? That he wants to be remembered by history as only the third president to ever be impeached by the House? Come. Off. It.

Second, the president’s cultish base needs no new excuses to get riled up and needs no solidifying. These are people who are still chanting “Lock her up!” at Trump rallies. The president’s approval ratings among Republicans, lest we forget, stands at 90 percent.

Third, the Democrats should worry less about the GOP base turning out next year and much more about their own. A big majority of the Democratic base wants to see Trump impeached. How is it bad politics to give them what they want?

Fourth, what happens over the next 18 months if they do nothing? Can they not see how there is a clear political cost to not impeaching him, too? Listen to Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor who served under presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr.:

Elizabeth de la Vega  @Delavegalaw

If Dems never conduct a formal House Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry, Trump’s 2020 message will be that Dems’ failure to conduct impeachment proceedings “proves” that even *they* didn’t think he did anything that was all that bad, including his obstruction of justice.

Elizabeth de la Vega  @Delavegalaw

Sheer idiocy. If they want to play Trump mindgames, how about maybe he doesn’t  want televised impeachment hearings at all (which he obviously does not), but acts like he does because he knows that will make Dems afraid to go forward? We are in a crisis. Just do the right thing. https://twitter.com/CNNPolitics/status/1128105154560036864 …

6,263

10:38 PM – May 15, 2019

Don’t believe her? Check out Trump’s own belligerent behavior since top congressional Democrats effectively took impeachment off the table. “My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on,” the president tweeted last week. “Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!”

Donald J. Trump    @realDonaldTrump 

My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!

Ludicrous charges of treason aside, Trump has also said it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to Attorney General William Barr about investigating his 2020 Democratic opponents. This is the direct and unsurprising result of immunizing this president from the impeachment process. This is what happens when House Democrats say it’s “not worth it.”

Trump now sees himself as unchecked and unrestrained; able to say and do as he pleases. It is an age-old lesson: If you give the bully a pass, he doesn’t back off or calm down. He comes back to bully some more.

Congressional Democrats need to find their spines. This is a period of unprecedented danger for the republic, with a lawless and reckless president gearing up for the dirtiest of presidential campaigns, while committing impeachable offenses in front of our eyes on a near weekly basis.

Impeachment itself, as outlined in the Constitution, may have originally been designed as a political remedy to be used in “extraordinary circumstances,” but — to quote Amash — the risk right now is “not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.”

On impeachment, therefore, and with apologies to Hillel the Elder, the only real question the Democrats need to ask themselves is: If not Trump, who, and if not now, when?

 

Trump Is Making the Same US Mistake in the Middle East Yet Again

May 17, 2019

by Patrick Cockburn

The Independent

In its escalating confrontation with Iran, the US is making the same mistake it has made again and again since the fall of the Shah 40 years ago: it is ignoring the danger of plugging into what is in large part a religious conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

I have spent much of my career as a correspondent in the Middle East, since the Iranian revolution in 1979, reporting crises and wars in which the US and its allies fatally underestimated the religious motivation of their adversaries. This has meant they have come out the loser, or simply failed to win, in conflicts in which the balance of forces appeared to them to be very much in their favour.

It has happened at least four times. It occurred in Lebanon after the Israeli invasion of 1982, when the turning point was the blowing up of the US Marine barracks in Beirut the following year, in which 241 US military personnel were killed. In the eight-year Iran-Iraq war during 1980-88, the west and the Sunni states of the region backed Saddam Hussein, but it ended in a stalemate. After 2003, the US-British attempt to turn post-Saddam Iraq into an anti-Iranian bastion spectacularly foundered. Similarly, after 2011, the west and states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey tried in vain to get rid of Bashar al-Assad and his regime in Syria – the one Arab state firmly in the Iranian camp.

Now the same process is under way yet again, and likely to fail for the same reasons as before: the US, along with its local allies, will be fighting not only Iran but whole Shia communities in different countries, mostly in the northern tier of the Middle East between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean.

Donald Trump looks to sanctions to squeeze Iran while national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo promote war as a desirable option. But all three denounce Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Popular Mobilisation Units in Iraq as Iranian proxies, though they are primarily the military and political arm of the indigenous Shia, which are a plurality in Lebanon, a majority in Iraq and a controlling minority in Syria. The Iranians may be able to strongly influence these groups, but they are not Iranian puppets which would wither and disappear once Iranian backing is removed.

Allegiance to nation states in the Middle East is generally weaker than loyalty to communities defined by religion, such the Alawites, the two-million-strong ruling Shia sect in Syria to which Bashar al-Assad and his closest lieutenants belong. People will fight and die to defend their religious identity but not necessarily for the nationality printed on their passports.

When the militarised Islamist cult Isis defeated the Iraqi national army by capturing Mosul in 2014, it was a fatwa from the Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that sent tens of thousands of volunteers rushing to defend Baghdad. Earlier in the fighting in Homs and Damascus in Syria, it was the non-Sunni districts that were the strongpoints of the regime. For example, the opposition were eager to take the strategically important airport road in the capital, but were held back by a district defended by Druze and Christian militiamen.

This is not what Trump’s allies in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel want Washington to believe; for them, the Shia are all Iranian stooges. For the Saudis, every rocket fired by the Houthis in Yemen into Saudi Arabia – though minimal in destructive power compared to the four-year Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen –can only have happened because of a direct instruction from Tehran.

On Thursday, for instance, Prince Khalid Bin Salman, the vice minister for defence and the brother of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, claimed on Twitter that drone attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations, were “ordered” by Iran. He said that “the terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis, are tightening the noose around the ongoing political efforts”. He added: “These militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region.”

There is nothing new in this paranoid reaction by Sunni rulers to actions by distinct Shia communities (in this case the Houthis) attributing everything without exception to the guiding hand of Iran. I was in Bahrain in 2011 where the minority Sunni monarchy had just brutally crushed protests by the Shia majority with Saudi military support. Among those tortured were Shia doctors in a hospital who had treated injured demonstrators. Part of the evidence against them was a piece of technologically advanced medical equipment – I cannot remember if it was used for monitoring the heart or the brain or some other condition – which the doctors were accused of using to receive instructions from Iran about how to promote a revolution.

This type of absurd conspiracy theory used not to get much of hearing in Washington, but Trump and his acolytes are on record on as saying that nearly all acts of “terrorism” can be traced to Iran. This conviction risks sparking a war between the US and Iran because there are plenty of angry Shia in the Middle East who might well attack some US facility on their own accord.

It might also lead to somebody in one of those states eager for a US-Iran armed conflict – Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel come to mind – that staging a provocative incident that could be blamed on Iran might be in their interests.

But what would such a war achieve? The military invasion of Iran is not militarily or politically feasible so there would be no decisive victory. An air campaign and a close naval blockade of Iran might be possible, but there are plenty of pressure points through which Iran could retaliate, from mines in the Strait of Hormuz to rockets fired at the Saudi oil facilities on the western side of Gulf.

A little-noticed feature of the US denunciations of Iranian interference using local proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is not just that they are exaggerated but, even if they were true, they come far too late. Iran is already on the winning side in all three countries.

If war does come it will be hard fought. Shia communities throughout the region will feel under threat. As for the US, the first day is usually the best for whoever starts a war in the Middle East and after that their plans unravel as they become entangled in a spider’s web of dangers they failed to foresee.

 

Trump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran

May 19, 2019

by Rebecca Kheel

The Hill

The escalating tensions with Iran have laid bare President Trump’s split with the United States’ traditional European allies.

Several times this past week, the United States appeared out-of-step with European countries on whether Iran is presenting enough of a new threat to justify a military buildup and the partial evacuation of U.S. diplomats from neighboring Iraq.

Trump and European leaders have had a number of spats since the early days of his presidency on everything from trade to defense spending to climate change.

But with the Iran tensions threatening to boil over into military action, critics warn that Trump’s go-it-alone approach could have serious consequences.

“We’ve isolated ourselves,” said Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed(D-R.I.). “There’s just a danger in terms of if something happens, we won’t have the ability to call upon them to come to our assistance and cooperate with us.”

U.S. tensions with Iran have skyrocketed in recent weeks following national security advisor John Bolton’s announcement that the Trump administration was deploying a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East over unspecified “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.

U.S. lawmakers saw their own alarm spike after the State Department announced the ordered departure of non-emergency personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, with several noting that such a move was not even made when ISIS was bearing down on Baghdad in 2014.

Trump sought to lower temperatures on Thursday, telling reporters who asked whether the U.S. was nearing a war with Iran, “I hope not.”

Reports on Thursday also said Trump explicitly told aides, including acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan,that he does not want war with Iran.

But along the way, rifts with Europe over Iran were exposed.

“They’re quite concerned that we’re taking steps that are accelerating tensions rather than decelerating tensions,” Reed said of the Europeans.

Asked whether Europeans are with the United States on Iran, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said simply, “Not that I know of.”

Europe has long been at odds with Trump, who withdrew from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal over European objections, over his policies on Tehran.

Europe has scrambled to save the nuclear deal, including attempting to set up a mechanism for European companies to evade U.S. sanctions and continue doing business with Iran.

The U.S-European divide over Iran spilled out into the Pentagon briefing room this past week.

A British general who is a deputy commander in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS told Pentagon reporters that there has been “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” in contradiction with the recent U.S. claims.

That led to an unusual statement from U.S. Central Command saying the allied general’s comments “run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”

The same day, Spain announced it was pulling its frigate from the U.S. carrier strike group that was redirected to the Persian Gulf because that was not the mission it agreed to. Still, Spain stressed it respected the U.S. decision to focus on Iran and would rejoin the group as soon as it returns to its original mission.

The dustup at the Pentagon followed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s cold reception in Brussels on Monday. Pompeo canceled a planned stop in Moscow to talk about Iran with his European counterparts.

As Pompeo was heading to Brussels, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters she would talk with him only “if we manage to arrange a meeting.”

After she found the time to meet with him, Mogherini said the EU message to Pompeo was to exercise “maximum restraint,” evoking a contrast with the Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), warned that without Europe on the U.S. side, attempts to resolve the Iran tensions diplomatically could falter.

“We have a rocky relationship with our allies, and we need them to join with us to reconstitute the effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table and get a good deal on their nuclear program,” he said.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly denied disagreements of substance with their European allies over Iran, with special representative Brian Hook repeating after Pompeo’s Brussels trip that “we agree on much more than we disagree.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch(R-Idaho), a Trump ally, acknowledged a difference between the United States and Europe over Iran, but suggested Europe will come around to the U.S. view soon enough.

“The Europeans are usually behind us a bit on these things, so they get more nervous than they should from time to time,” Risch said. “I feel quite certain they will catch up to us in short order.”

By the end of the week, England at least said it shares the U.S. intelligence assessment. The statement did not mention the Pentagon briefing, but appeared designed to do damage control.

“@SecPompeo and I discussed #Iran last week in London and again in Brussels on Monday,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted Thursday. “We share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran. As always we work closely with the US.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally who has been expressing concern about the dearth of information coming to Congress on the situation with Iran, brushed off concerns about a divide with Europe, pointing to Hunt’s statement.

“Before I worry about European concerns, I’d like my concerns to be addressed,” Graham added.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen(D-N.H.), who co-chairs a NATO group in the Senate, said that while she hadn’t spoken to the Europeans recently she could infer their position on war: “They are not supportive of going to war in Iran.”

 

Donald Trump threatens ‘official end of Iran’

In a provocative tweet, the US president described retaliation that would mark “the official end of Iran.” Iran has remained defiant, saying “genocidal taunts” would not be enough to destroy the country.

May 19, 2019

DW

US President Donald Trump issued a stern warning to Iran on Sunday amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” said Trump. “Never threaten the United States again!”

The tweet appeared to be one of Trump’s most overt threats against Iran since taking office. Over the past month, the US has taken an increasingly aggressive position towards Tehran.

Washington last week deployed an aircraft carrier, bombers, an assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Persian Gulf to combat what it describes as Iranian “threats,” prompting concerns of a military encounter.

Iran downplays threat

Iran responded on Monday with defiance. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a tweet that Trump would fail to destroy the country, just as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan had in the past.

In another tweet, Zarif said what he called the “B Team” — a group of anti-Iran hard-liners that includes US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman — was empowering the very military-industrial complex that Trump claims to oppose.

Tehran has also downplayed the threat of open conflict with the US, with Zarif saying Saturday that Tehran was not seeking armed escalation with US or its regional allies.

“We are certain,” Zarif said. “There will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region.”

However, a commander of Iran’s elite paramilitary organization, the Revolutionary Guard, offered a different message on Sunday.

US soldiers would be “easy to defeat,” said Commander Hossein Salami in a statement.

Rising tensions

On Sunday, Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia announced plans for emergency summits with Gulf and Arab League members to discuss “aggressions and their consequences.”

Saudi officials have accused Iran of undermining regional security, saying it could be behind recent attacks on cargo ships in the Persian Gulf.

“We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Sunday.

The US has sought to isolate Iran internationally by pressuring allies to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and sanction the regime.

 

A German Intelligence report on Trump

Herewith is an overview of Donald Trump and his background taken and translated from a German intelligence report. This came, with copies of official stamps and all, from a very reliable German newspaper official.

 

S T R E N G   G E H E I M

 

Hintergrundbericht über den amerikanischen Präsidenten Donald T R U M P

 

– NICHT STEMPELN –

– NICHT UNTERZEICHNEN –

– NICHT BESCHRIFTEN –

– NICHT MARKIEREN –

 

Translation from the German

 

  • Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.
  • Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.
  • The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.
  • Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entites as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.
  • Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and does this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager during the election.
  • Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)
  • Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.
  • 1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money
  • In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.
  • Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country
  • Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.
  • Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.
  • Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.
  • Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.
  • Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.
  • The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.
  • By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.
  • When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.
  • Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.
  • There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia
  • In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged
  • Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.
  • Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.
  • When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.
  • In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.
  • And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures aganst the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

 Bob Rucho

Deranged crackpot William D. Rubinstein must, despite being born in the US, be counted as British, which is unfortunate since he is absolutely hilarious. Robert Anthony Rucho, on the other hand, is as American as Chinese fortune cookies. Rucho is a member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state’s thirty-ninth Senate district (part of Mecklenburg County), and former co-chairman of the (NC) Senate Finance Committee.

He is probably most famous for claiming that “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then [sic] the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined” in 2013, a comment that drew some criticism even from fellow wingnuts. He completely failed to defend the statement, just like he failed to defend equally inane nonsense offered in defense of fellow wingnut Dan Bishop’s HB 2 bill.

Rucho is also known for jumping on the voting fraud hysteria bandwagon based on silly conspiracy theories and misunderstanding basic facts. He is also what is probably best characterized as a poverty denialist.

Diagnosis: Standard state senate wingnut village idiot and denialist. Too many voters love these idiots, ostensibly partially because they find their reasoning and premises compelling, which does not reflect well on said voters.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 20, 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 112

Saturday, November 22, 1997

Commenced: 1:55 PM CST

Concluded: 2:38 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. A fateful date today, isn’t it?

RTC: What date? One tends to lost time when one gets old.

GD: You aren’t talking to dead relatives, are you?

RTC: Not yet but maybe next week. Oh my, yes, the Kennedy business. Why who could forget that date?

GD: Not in our lifetime, Robert. What a classic example of control of public opinion and such a commentary on the secret government.

RTC: There has always been a secret government, Gregory, even in the reign of George Washington.

GD: Well, you seem to have convinced the masses that Kennedy was offed by a lone lunatic or the Mafia. The masses are made up of twits who either are too stupid to grasp anything or who are obsessed with their own self-important observations. Yes, the lone nut did it or the Mafia…don’t forget the Jew Meyer Lansky either…let’s hear it for the anti-Semites while we’re at it. And all along, Robert, I have been talking to the CIA’s main man.

RTC: There were others, Gregory, a number of others. Well, there was the DSI for one. And Lyndon Johnson, for another, although he only knew what he needed to know. And Hoover and some his sweethearts. Who else? Well, the Pentagon people, or at least some of them. And Naval Intelligence, the NSG people, Colonel Cass, a few of our inner circle. All of these to be certain and many, many more in the game guessed but didn’t actually know.

GD: But if so many knew, why haven’t any of them blabbed? Maybe to a wife, a friend, a shrink, a priest or someone else?

RTC: If they did, they would join the long list of those who died as a result of either knowing too much and possibly talking or making the wrong guesses. It goes back to the invasion of Cuba we planned back just before Kennedy got into office. Eisenhower approved this and a few other nasty pieces of business. You see, the Army was planning to do an operation in which their people mocked attacks on the United States, allegedly from Cuban sources, thus giving Ike a casus belli. But this never came to pass and we all thought Kennedy was the sex-obsessed son of a rich bootlegger who was put into office with his father’s money and mob connections.

GD: You mean the Bay of Pigs? I always thought that was when a congregation of fat women went swimming off Monterey. Raised the sea levels in the neighborhood and got a pod of male whales sexually aroused.

RTC: (Laughter) Unkind. Yes, that plan. A handful of our Cuban refugee trainees invaded, established a beach head and then called for eagerly waiting U.S. airstrikes and a naval blockade in aid of the heroic rebels. It would have worked but Kennedy deliberately wrecked it. He was told and we did not know he did not approve. The usual practice was just to slip these actions into the PDBs and slide right over them. Other Presidents just nodded and paid no attention to any of it. There is an art to such presentations, believe me. Fast talk, papers shown, charts displayed, more smooth talk and the befuddled President nods and tries to look serious. You see, we have wonderful connections with the mob, who wanted Castro out because he had tossed them out, away from the huge money they made in the crooked casinos in Havana. That was their main gripe. And they got Kennedy elected, don’t forget, and they expected pay back for giving him Chicago where the dead voted early and often as my father used to say. That was the Mafia. And when Ike talked about the military/industrial complex, we can think about Alcoa whose Cuban plant was shut down by Castro and the military, mostly the Army I must say, who was on a growth program and loved the thought of a close and safe little war. More troops, more bases, more money from Congress, more power. Yes, the military, business interests and the mob. Our people knew them all and we were all friendly with them. We all had common interests.

GD: The FBI?

RTC: Hoover was a self-important little dictator, given his proclivities, a real bitch in men’s clothes. He was also over the line…

GD: Pardon?

RTC: The color line. Hoover was part black. Onward here. Many very powerful groups were not happy with Kennedy. We felt he could be manipulated by shoving a few pretty cunts in his face and leave the governing to us. After all, we had been running the country since Franklin the First bought the farm. But Kennedy turned out to be a lot tougher than we reckoned on. He backed off on the Pigs plan and they were either killed by Castro or put in nasty jails. Very angry people. And the Cubans in this country were the worst of all so we took note of their fury and used them.

GD: And the military?

RTC: Well, in ’61, they wanted to send troops to Laos and eventually to French Indo China. The frogs wanted us to protect their interest there, mostly the rubber plantations and the possibility of rich offshore oil deposits. We agreed to assist and then they became great friends with us in Europe. No, Kennedy refused to go along with this, at least in the beginning, and nixed sending troops to Laos. He was convinced to send some token forces to Viet Nam but later balked at increasing their number as the locals rebelled. We stood to lose a good deal in that country. Both money and face. We put the Diems into power and they were making trouble at one end and Kennedy, by his stupid idealism, was making trouble on the other. I was in charge of most of the ‘Nam business at work and I came to the unspoken conclusion that we could not win a guerrilla war there, especially when the Russians were arming the Cong. It was obvious that even ten million troops could not keep the lid on there for long but who was going to bell that cat? Not Johnson who might have been a great power broker with Congress but who was useless as tits on a boar pig when it came to military ventures. Those of us who could see into the future, based on the present, knew it was an unwinnable situation but no one dared to make a move towards disengagement.

GD: Not to change the subject but your people put Castro in, didn’t you?

RTC: How clever, Gregory. Of course this happened. You see, the Company is so heavily compartmentized that the right hand never knows what the left hand doeth. Yes, one of our sub-groups put him in, thinking he would clean up the really bad corruption…drugs and so on…and we could control that situation. Bad judgment there, Gregory but we close ranks and silence is golden. But the unforgivable  sin as far as Kennedy was concerned was his going around us and establishing a personal contact with Nikita Khrushchev. Not done. All Presidents had to use us as firewalls or contacts. Presidents had to rely on us for their information and what would come of it if they dealt directly with some hostile head of state? This would erode our power and essentially relegate the CIA to being mere messengers. The power? As keepers of the flame, others had to bow to our power but if we lost that power, all of us would be back on the chicken farm. That was the final straw, believe me. And before that, don’t forget, Kennedy was not going to do the Army’s bidding and escalate the local anti-guerrilla campaign in Vietnam. The Army was planning on a massive expansion. There would be contracts with the private sectors that would enrich the men with stars on their shoulders and more jobs for their friends and more bases and so on. No, they wanted a controlled war there, way away from the continental United States. They, through us, could control the incoming news and so on but by not performing as he was expected, Kennedy drew the black spot. Either death or some other kind of removal. And I can recall that when Hoover learned of our house cleaning project, he jumped on board with the caveat that we also get rid of Bobby. John hated Bobby…

GD: John?

RTC: Yes, Colonel John Edgar. Franklin made him a Colonel but Hoover was pissed off that he wasn’t made a general at least so he never used the title but it was there. Anyway, we had no problem with Hoover because Bobby was telling his staff that Hoover was a fairy and John Edgar didn’t like that and when Bobby dig into Hoover’s past and discovered relatives as black as the ace of spades, he got livid with rage. The Kennedy family were living in a dream world their father had convinced them was real. Power can come from money, Gregory, but power has to include working with others who also have power. Dictators cannot function with powerful barons too close. Either kill them or replace them with ciphers. No other choice. So in a sense, Kennedy was going from bad to worse and plots were being hatched all over the place during the last year of his reign. We were certainly determined to stop him from breaking the CIA up and the Army was determined to have its profitable war and then there were the business people and the Mafia in the wings. Killing a sitting President is never easy and one has to move with great care in such matters. Too much talking at the wrong time and in the wrong place can wreck even the most ambitious plans. We knew what had to be done and the opening gambits were to secure the agreement of other power brokers. We got Johnson on board through the good offices of Abe Fortis who would have sold the rotting corpse of his dead mother to the dog food people if they paid him enough. LBJ was a pill in the box in that he had some knowledge and lusted for the Oval Office. And again, Bobby was an irritant by calling him ‘Uncle Cornpone’ all over the Beltway. Johnson was used to power and did not like being ignored and marginalized so he smiled and kept quiet. And we certainly had Hoover and some of the top people in the Pentagon, the full support of the mob and a few other necessary organizations. The Mafia could get their gambling hells back again and a promise of a dead Bobby who was having his fun persecuting the very people who put his brother in the Oval Office.

GD: Ungrateful.

RTC: Yes, indeed, very. We all need friends, Gregory, and deliberately harassing the Mafia in Chicago was very, very unwise. I point out that Jack Ruby was one of their enforcers there. Dare I say more?

GD: No, I don’t think so at this point.

RTC: Not at any point. And then having such wonderful people as the goat-loving Dr. Gottleib on the staff made it easy to give Ruby fatal cancer. Injecting active cancer cells during a routine jailhouse medical examination is the best way. A natural and unsuspicious death. Of course we could have easily given Jack a heart attack but cancer is more believable, especially in the hothouse atmosphere of post-assassination madness.

GD: How many of the loonies were yours?

RTC: God, without number. The Farrell woman is our best. She controls the library and she belongs totally to us. Oh yes, we started all kinds of confusing and idiotic stories and kept most people away. You read ‘Case Closed’ didn’t you. My, Herr  Posner just loved and really believed the Warren Report, didn’t he? And the New York Times couldn’t wait to praise the hell out of that piece of crap and make Gerald rich. That’s how it’s done in a nutshell, Gregory, in a nutshell. I talked with the Times people myself and they were panting and eager to praise this to the skies. Just an example of how we work but we have gone over most of this before.

GD: If I felt pity for anyone in all of this, it was for Oswald.

RTC: In a larger sense, yes. A loyal intelligence operator set up as patsy and then iced before he could tell what he knew. And then we got rid of Ruby and that was that. Howard Hunt was involved in some of this and we had to kill his wife to keep him from shooting off his mouth when he got in trouble. An endless circle of betrayal and death, Gregory, but that’s how the game goes.

 

(Concluded at 2:38 PM CST)

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

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