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TBR News May 30, 2019

May 30 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. May 30, 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 30:”The rampant corruption of Donald Trump, his family, and his administration surpasses anything in our nation’s history. Since taking office, Trump has violated the Constitution by profiting off the presidency and allowing the open influence of foreign governments. He spent a third of his first year in office at his private properties. The legacy of his understaffed, unqualified government will be marked by gross displays of nepotism, cronyism, scandal, and failed promises. And as special counsel Robert Mueller delves deeper into Trump’s sordid history as a failed businessman, his past business practices, partnerships, and connections to organized crime may shed light on our president’s unsettling relationship with Russia

There have been documented cases of money laundering across numerous Trump properties:

  • Trump condo sales that show signs of money laundering total $1.5 billion.
  • In Panama, Trump convinced the investment bank Bear Stearns to issue a bond based on pre-sales of units, many of which were sold to Russian gangsters.
  • His Taj Mahal casino violated 106 anti-money laundering laws in its first year and a half of operation!

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has expressed concern over Trump’s connections to money laundering. “If the Russians were laundering money” through the Trump Organization, he said, “that would be a very powerful lever the Russians would have over the president of the United States.”

For his complicity in these financial crimes, or even his knowledge, Trump could be blackmailed. Or perhaps he already has been. His vulnerability begs the question: Who is he really working for?”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Trump says Russia helped elect him – then quickly backtracks
  • Mueller says he could not charge Trump as Congress weighs impeachment
  • San Francisco was right to ban facial recognition. Surveillance is a real danger
  • Meltdown Showed Extent of NSA Surveillance — and Other Tales From Hundreds of Intelligence Documents
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

Trump says Russia helped elect him – then quickly backtracks

President tweeted he ‘had nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected’, then retracted it: ‘Russia did not help me’

May 30, 2019

by Adam Gabbatt in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump has denied that Russia helped elect him president, less than an hour after he admitted Russia did help to elect him president.

In a flurry of tweets lashing out at people and concepts including the special counsel Robert Mueller, “fake news media” and “this phony crime”, Trump, for the first time, said Russia aided his 2016 presidential win.

“Russia, Russia, Russia!” the president tweeted on Thursday morning.

“That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax. And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”

For a president who has previously denied Russia interfered in the 2016 election at all – despite the conclusions of US intelligence agencies – the admission of Russian help was startling.

But soon after Trump’s statement, he made a prompt about-turn.

“Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia did not help me at all,” Trump said during a White House press conference.

On Wednesday Mueller said his two-year investigation had “established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome”.

Mueller’s report states that “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion”.

The report also detailed 11 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign. Mueller has said charging Trump with a crime was “not an option we could consider”, because of justice department policy.

Mueller added: “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.”

Trump was en route to Colorado on Thursday morning, to address a graduation ceremony for the US air force academy.

 

Mueller says he could not charge Trump as Congress weighs impeachment

May 29, 2019

by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on Wednesday his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election was never going to end with criminal charges against President Donald Trump but he did not clear him and indicated it was up to Congress to decide whether he should be impeached.

In his first public comments since starting the investigation in May 2017, Mueller said Justice Department policy prevented him from bringing charges against a sitting president or filing sealed charges, telling reporters it was “not an option we would consider.”

But he also said his two-year investigation did not clear Trump of improper behavior and, while he did not use the word “impeachment,” he pointed out there were other ways to hold presidents accountable.

“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said as he announced his resignation from the Justice Department.

Congressional Democrats are debating whether to try to move ahead with impeachment in the Democratic-majority U.S. House of Representatives, even though the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to complete the process outlined in the U.S. Constitution for removing a president from office by convicting him.

The White House and several top Republicans responded to Mueller’s comments on Wednesday by saying it was time to move on to other matters, while several candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, called for impeachment.

One candidate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, wrote on Twitter: “What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral.”

Calls to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump have grown among some Democrats, who have been frustrated by White House efforts to thwart congressional subpoenas seeking records and testimony related to the Russia investigation and other matters related to Trump and his family.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been more cautious and is arguing that lawmakers should push ahead with their investigations before deciding whether to impeach Trump.

On Wednesday she said she was sticking with that plan.

“Nothing is off the table, but we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case, that even the Republican Senate, which at the time seems to be not an objective jury, will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country,” she said at a San Francisco event.

Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would hold Trump “accountable” but declined to say whether he would bring impeachment charges.

“With respect to impeachment, all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out,” he said at a news conference after Mueller’s appearance.

A redacted version of Mueller’s report was published in April. It concluded that Russia repeatedly interfered in the 2016 election and that Trump’s election campaign had multiple contacts with Russian officials, but did not establish a criminal conspiracy with Moscow to win the White House.

Mueller’s report declined to make a judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice, although it outlined 10 instances in which Trump tried to have Mueller fired or otherwise impede the investigation.

“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

Matthew Jacobs, a former federal prosecutor, said he thought Mueller was “saying in his own way that a crime was committed.”

A source close to Trump said the Mueller statement amounted to a “bad day for the home team.”

“Mueller’s statement today was a direct assault on the president,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “And it will only empower the Democrats to be bolder and more aggressive in their move to impeach him.”

TRUMP DECLARES ‘CASE CLOSED’

Trump, who has repeatedly denounced Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and “hoax” meant to hobble his presidency, still took to Twitter to say the matter was settled.

“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” he wrote. “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”

Mueller, a Republican who headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, said he would not elaborate beyond what was contained in his 448-page report, signaling to Democrats that he was unlikely to provide them more ammunition for impeachment if he were to testify to a congressional committee.

Mueller, 74, said his office is formally closing its doors and he is now returning to life as a private citizen.

“Beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further,” he said, adding that he would not go beyond what was in his report in any future testimony to Congress.

He did not take questions after making his statement.

It was not clear whether Mueller would testify to Congress. He made clear he would prefer not to, although House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he still expects to hear from the special counsel.

“While I understand his reluctance to answer hypotheticals or deviate from the carefully worded conclusions he drew on his charging decisions, there are, nevertheless, a great many questions he can answer that go beyond the report,” Schiff said.

The House Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, Representative Doug Collins, said relitigating Mueller’s findings would only divide the country. “It is time to move on from the investigation and start focusing on real solutions for the American people,” he said.

Only one Republican so far, Representative Justin Amash, has said Trump has committed impeachable offenses. “The ball is in our court, Congress,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mueller’s investigation ensnared dozens of people, including several top Trump advisers and a series of Russian nationals and companies.

Among them are his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is serving 7-1/2 years in prison for financial crimes and lobbying violations, and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who recently began a three-year sentence for campaign-finance violations and lying to Congress.

Since the report’s release, Democratic lawmakers have tried without success to get the unredacted version and underlying evidence.

Barr now is leading a review of the origins of the Russia investigation in what is the third known inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the matter. Trump harbors suspicions that the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama started the investigation in 2016 to undermine his presidency.

In attacking Mueller’s probe, Trump also has often attacked the integrity of the FBI and its investigators.

Mueller appeared to offer a response to that criticism on Wednesday.

The prosecutors, FBI agents, analysts and others who worked with him were “of the highest integrity,” he said.

He also defended the need to conduct the probe in the first place, saying Russia’s actions during the election campaign to interfere “needed to be investigated and understood.”

Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Makini Brice, Mark Hosenball, Karen Freifeld and Susan Cornwell; editing by Kieran Murray, Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis

 

San Francisco was right to ban facial recognition. Surveillance is a real danger

Civil rights advocates are right to be leery of the technology, given the US’s history of political and racial surveillance

May 30, 2019

by Veena Dubal

The Guardian

San Francisco’s recent municipal ordinance banning the use of facial recognition technology by city and county agencies has received international attention. The first of its kind anywhere in the US, the law is a preemptive response to the proliferation of a technology that the city of San Francisco does not yet deploy but which is already in use elsewhere. Since the passage of the ordinance, a debate has erupted in cities and states around the country: should other localities follow San Francisco’s example?

The answer is a resounding yes. The concerns that motivated the San Francisco ban are rooted not just in the potential inaccuracy of facial recognition technology, but in a long national history of politicized and racially-biased state surveillance.

Detractors who oppose the ordinance in the name of “public safety” acknowledge the technology’s current limitations (recent studies have shown that facial recognition systems are alarmingly inaccurate in identifying racial minorities, women, and transgender people). But they argue that as machine-learning becomes less biased the technology could actually upend human discrimination. They — mainly corporate lobbyists and law enforcement representatives — maintain that this absolute ban (rather than the limited regulations advocated by Big Tech) is a step backwards for public safety because it leaves surveillance to people and not machines.

Based on my years of working as a civil rights advocate and attorney representing Muslim Americans in the aftermath of September 11th, I recognize that the debate’s singular focus on the technology is a red herring. Even in an imaginary future where algorithmic discrimination does not exist, facial recognition software simply cannot de-bias the practice and impact of state surveillance. In fact, the public emphasis on curable algorithmic inaccuracies leaves the concerns that motivated the San Francisco ban historically and politically decontextualized.

This ordinance was crafted through the sustained advocacy of an intersectional grassroots coalition driven not just by concerns about hi-tech dystopia, but by a long record of overbroad surveillance and its deleterious impacts on economically and politically marginalized communities. As Matt Cagle, a leader in this coalition and an attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, told me, “The driving force behind this historic law was a coalition of 26 organizations. Not coincidentally, these Bay Area groups represented those who have been most harmed by local government profiling and surveillance in our city: people of color, Muslim Americans, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the unhoused, and more.”

Indeed, while San Francisco is known across the world as an “incubat[or] of dissent and individual liberties,” the local police department — like many across the United States — has a decades-long, little-known history of nefarious surveillance activities.

A reported 83% of domestic intelligence gathering for J Edgar Hoover’s notorious Counter Intelligence Program (commonly known as Cointelpro) took place in the Bay Area — much of it at the hands of local police. From the 1950s well into the 1970s, the information gathered through this covert state program — which, when discovered, shocked the conscience of America — was used to infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt the now-celebrated civil rights movement.

After Cointelpro was congressionally disbanded and procedural safeguards put in place, community members in the 1980s and early 1990s learned that some San Francisco police officers continued to surreptitiously spy — without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing — on individuals and groups based on their political activities. In at least one instance, information gathered by local police officers on law-abiding citizens was alleged to have been sold to foreign governments.

Despite the subsequent passage of additional local procedural safeguards, which limited intelligence-gathering on First-Amendment-protected activities to instances where reasonable suspicion of criminal activity could be articulated, in the years following September 11th, members of San Francisco’s Muslim American community again found themselves under unjust, non-criminally-predicated surveillance.

These past and present chronicles of injustice highlight how face recognition systems — like other surveillance technology before it — can disproportionately harm people already historically subject to profiling and abuse, including immigrants, people of color, political activists, and the formerly incarcerated. And they demonstrate that even when legal procedures and oversight are thoughtfully put into place, these safeguards can both be rolled back (especially in times of hysteria) and violated.

As the debate about facial surveillance technologies and “public safety” continues to rage, policy makers (and corporate decision-makers) should deliberate not just over the technology itself, but on these shameful political histories. In doing so, they should remember (or be reminded) that more information gathering — while certainly lucrative and occasionally comforting — does not always create safer communities.

Even if face surveillance is 100% neutral and devoid of discriminatory tendencies, humans will determine when and where the surveillance takes place. Humans — with both implicit and explicit biases — will make the discretionary decisions about how to utilize the gathered data. And humans — often the most vulnerable — will be the ones disproportionately and unjustly impacted.

Amid the seemingly inevitable conquest of our everyday lives by new forms of technological surveillance, San Francisco’s ban — and the diverse coalition-based movement that achieved it — proves that local democracy can still be leveraged to shift power- and decision-making into the hands of the people. The real, chilling histories and impacts of past surveillance on freedom of association, religion, and speech — and not imagined fears about information collected through machine-learning systems — motivated the broad coalition of community groups to push for the San Francisco face surveillance ban. Their example could — and should — spark a movement that spreads across the country.

Veena Dubal is an associate Professor of Law at the University of California, Hasting

 

Meltdown Showed Extent of NSA Surveillance — and Other Tales From Hundreds of Intelligence Documents

May 29 2019.

by Margot Williams, Henrik Moltke, Micah Lee and  Ryan Gallagher

The Intercept

The systems at its Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters: There just wasn’t enough power coming through the local electric grid to support the rate at which the agency was hoarding other people’s communications.

“If there’s a major power failure out there, any backup systems would be inadequate to power the whole facility,” a former NSA manager told the Baltimore Sun in August 2006.

“It’s obviously worrisome, particularly on days like today.”

It turns out that manager, and other sources quoted in the Sun piece, were even more correct than was publicly known at the time: The NSA had, just the prior month, already experienced a major power outage and been forced for the first time to switch over its most critical monitoring — its nerve center, the National Security Operations Center — to a backup facility in Augusta, Georgia, according to an internal report classified “secret.” The culprit: hot weather and electric company problems generating sufficient power, according to an article posted on the internal agency news site known as SIDtoday.

For the NSA, the relatively smooth handoff was a triumph. But the incident marked an important turning point, underlining how the NSA was collecting too much information for its facilities to handle. The agency would go on to build a massive data center in a barren stretch of Utah desert, estimated to be capable of holding billions of gigabytes of information.

Indeed, the story of the 2006 Fort Meade brownout is one of several stories of overwhelming mass surveillance to emerge from a review of 287 SIDtoday articles, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Other tales, collected below, include how an NSA intern working in the English countryside marked for killing or capture nine people in Iraq; how a secret team of NSA commandos deployed to foreign countries to break codes; and how the NSA spied on satellite internet systems in the Middle East.

The Intercept is publishing three other articles taken from this cache of documents, including an investigation by Henrik Moltke into how revolutionary intelligence pooling technology first used by the U.S., Norway, and other allies in Afghanistan spread to the U.S.-Mexico border — raising questions about over-sharing at home and abroad. In another article, Miriam Pensack reveals how the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk in 2000 was closely monitored by Norwegian (and eventually U.S.) intelligence, which knew more about the tragedy than was initially revealed. And Murtaza Hussain shows how the NSA drew up new rules in response to a request from its Israeli counterpart, which had sought to use U.S. intelligence to target killings, apparently at Hezbollah.

NSA Commando Unit Promised “Any Target, Anywhere, Any Time”

In 1966, a new NSA project was hatched to figure out why an electronic signal under surveillance was “exhibiting parameters outside normal operating conditions,” as an NSA history later put it. Members of “WEREWOLF,” as the project was to be called, concluded that the equipment used to monitor the signal was causing the abnormalities.

The team behind WEREWOLF would go on to conduct other “special deployment” missions, but not before a change of cover name. The unit chief decided that WEREWOLF, atop a list of automatically generated possibilities, wasn’t quite right and, reading further down, settled on the more heroic-sounding “MUSKETEEER.” At some point, the unit took on the credo “Any Target, Anywhere, Any Time.”

While technology, as well as the NSA’s mission, would change dramatically over the next 40 years, MUSKETEER teams would steadily “deploy on special collection and survey missions,” according to the NSA history, which ran in SIDtoday. They fixed signal monitoring problems, ran boutique surveillance operations from inside U.S. embassies, and surveyed transmissions in far-off places, often invited by other U.S. government entities.

In more colorful moments, they foiled an assassination attempt against a U.S. special operations commander in the Philippines and discovered vulnerabilities in a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system, known as SA-6, as used by Bosnia during the Balkans conflict. The latter work resulted in the “neutralization of multiple batteries” of the missiles by U.S. fighter aircraft, according to the history. (The article does not mention whether MUSKETEER’s involvement was linked to the 1995 downing of U.S. fighter pilot Scott O’Grady by a Serbian SA-6 missile. The NSA was harshly criticized for failing to relay intelligence that could have prevented the shoot-down. )

One SIDtoday article recounts how a MUSKETEER team, having deployed to the U.S. embassy in Beijing, struck gold during a survey of Wi-Fi signals from “the embassies of India, Singapore, Pakistan, Colombia, and Mongolia.” At the Indian Embassy, the team discovered that someone, possibly sponsored by the Chinese government, had hacked computers inside and was transmitting “approximately 10 sensitive diplomatic documents” every day (“often Microsoft Office-compatible files or Adobe PDF documents”) to drop boxes on the “public internet.” The NSA began regularly collecting the information from these drop boxes for itself and “analyzing the Indian Embassy’s diplomatic communications,” according to SIDtoday.

Later, by analyzing “how the Chinese conduct computer-to-computer (C2C) operations against foreign targets,” the team was able to find hacking by China “in several other locations.”

This type of operation, in which a spy agency piggybacks off the work of a different spy agency against a shared target, is referred to as “fourth-party collection.”

Snooping on diplomatic communications is a violation of Article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which states that the “the official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable.”

The Secret History of the NSA’s Joint Venture with the CIA

A two–part interview in SIDtoday provides new details about the Special Collection Service, the covert NSA joint effort with the CIA to collect signals intelligence from U.S. embassies abroad. The revelations include information on SCS’s history and examples of its missions.

Der Spiegel disclosed important details about SCS in 2013 using Snowden documents, including that SCS tapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Before SCS was created in 1979, the NSA and CIA ran independent, covert signals intelligence programs — sometimes “at opposite ends” of the same building — serving different missions, the director and deputy director of SCS told SIDtoday in the interview. Congress intervened, directing the CIA and NSA to run the SCS program together, presumably to save money and avoid duplicated efforts.

At the Indian Embassy in Beijing, the NSA discovered that someone, possibly the Chinese government, had hacked computers inside. The NSA began regularly collecting the information for itself.

Since then, the number of SCS sites has ebbed and flowed depending on budgets and operational needs. In 1988, before the Berlin Wall came down, SCS reached a peak of 88 sites worldwide, the director said. In the following years, the number decreased, only to drastically increase in the aftermath of 9/11, when no fewer than 12 new sites were added. At one point, the SCS Caracas site was shut down when it was no longer needed, only to be reopened when “anti-American Venezuelan President” Hugo Chávez was elected in 1998.

A separate SIDtoday article, written by two NSA managers, described an SCS operation conducted against Venezuelan communications. For years, an NSA facility in Yakima, Washington, had been spying on Venezuelan satellite signals, but the “large regional satellite beams” visible from there provided “only moderately successful results.” So agents from SCS, along with an NSA analyst from Yakima, traveled to an undisclosed location, presumably close to or in Venezuela, for a clandestine three-week survey of narrow “spot beam” satellite signals sent to the country. As they collected data from over 400 newly discovered signals, team members sent this information back to analysts in Yakima, as well as San Antonio, Texas, where “dozens of links carrying traffic for Venezuelan targets of interest” were discovered.

The most important SCS site is probably its headquarters, located in an “attractive (…) rural location outside Laurel, MD,” according to the interview. While the address of the “tree-lined corporate campus” was included in James Bamford’s 2008 book “The Shadow Factory,” and is identified as “Special Collection Service” on Google Maps, the SIDtoday article is the first public document confirming the existence of the joint NSA-CIA facility.

“You can’t tell NSAers and the CIA people here apart” as all SCS staff wear “purple badges, a sign of our status as a joint organization,” Ron Moultrie, the deputy SCS director, told SIDtoday.

The CIA uses SCS sites as places from which to monitor foreign intelligence services as they attempt to track CIA assets, a practice known as counterintelligence, according to the SCS directors. The NSA, meanwhile, uses SCS sites as a “platform” for a number of operations, including computer hacking, carried out in 2006 by a unit known as Tailored Access Operations (and today called Computer Network Operations).

Throughout the nine years of the SIDtoday archive, SCS is promoted as an assignment for those with “a sense of adventure” and a taste for “attractive” locations. Sometimes, as was the case at SCS Damascus on September 12, 2006, things get “a little hectic.”

According to a firsthand account by an SCS staffer of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, published in SIDtoday, the sound of an explosion sent the SCS staff into lockdown mode and triggered “full emergency destruction” preparations. The attack was eventually subdued by Syrian security forces and the attackers killed. One casualty was SCS’s microwave search system: Bullets penetrated “maintenance sheds” on the embassy roof, which were actually concealing SCS antennas. One slug “severed a control cable” for the microwave searcher, “rendering the antenna inoperable,” according to SIDtoday.

The Publicly available media reports describing the incident painted a dark picture of what would have happened if a truck “loaded with pipe bombs strapped to large propane gas canisters outside the embassy” had not failed to detonate

NSA Pioneers Use of “Stingray” Cellphone Spy Towers

In May 2006, the NSA made an early — and largely fruitless — attempt to use so-called Stingray devices to monitor local mobile phone conversations in Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius, where Vice President Dick Cheney had traveled to attend a conference with regional leaders, according to an account in SIDtoday.

Stingrays mimic cellphone towers, tricking mobile phones into connecting to them instead of to legitimate towers. This allows the Stingrays to intercept calls and texts. Two NSA linguists, as part of an SCS team, used this Stingray-type device to try and eavesdrop on local cellular networks. They did not have much luck; SIDtoday noted that the device “did not provide a capability against the primary cellular systems found,” although agents were able to identify “relevant airport communications and police networks.”

It is not clear if the effort violated laws against wiretapping in Lithuania, a U.S. ally and member of NATO.

Unlike similar operations in which “teams need to work from unsecured hotel rooms or out-of-the-way locations such as unimproved attics,” SIDtoday said, this team worked from the comfort of a shielded enclosure within the U.S. Embassy, from which they could survey the “local wireless and [radio frequency] environment.”

Beginning a few days before Cheney landed in Vilnius, the SCS team monitored police communication 24 hours a day looking for “any indications of threats or problems on which the Secret Service might need to act.”

It didn’t find any.

Weather Takes Down NSA Headquarters

In summer 2006, a heat wave rendered the intelligence nerve center within the NSA’s headquarters inoperable. As the record-setting wave toasted the East Coast and brought triple-digit temperatures to the spy agency’s home in Fort Meade, Maryland, conditions “in the Baltimore area and problems with Baltimore Gas and Electric power generation caused server and communications failures around the NSA Washington complex,” SIDtoday reported. For the first time, the agency’s time-sensitive watch center functions were taken over by a backup installation of the National Security Operations Center at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia.

The story of the NSA’s overall struggle to supply power to Fort Meade was reported by the Baltimore Sun around the time of the outage. Author James Bamford further discussed the issue in his book “Body of Secrets,” noting that energy problems at the NSA dated to the late 1990s and seemed to be coming to a head by 2006. Bamford wrote that abundant power and a “less vulnerable” electric grid in Texas led the NSA to decide in 2007 to place a new data center there.

“Problems with Baltimore Gas and Electric power generation caused server and communications failures around the NSA Washington complex.”

But the 2006 outage and the switchover to Fort Gordon are revelations.

The National Security Operations Center, or NSOC, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, managing critical functions concerning possible foreign threats to national security.

What could have been a calamity was avoided by the emergency switch over to NSA Georgia, located at the Fort Gordon Army base near Augusta. On August 1, 2006, a backup high-priority operations center there, codenamed DECKPIN, was activated at 4:00 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time), according to the SIDtoday story, written by the DECKPIN coordinator at Fort Gordon. Four hours later, Baltimore-area power was stabilized, and operations switched back to the NSOC at Fort Meade. The Georgia staff was put on standby again on August 3, “to ensure availability while the [electric company] work was completed.” The NSA around this time was Baltimore Gas and Electric’s biggest customer, using the same amount of power as half the city of Annapolis, according to Bamford.

Since 2006, new NSA facilities in Texas, Hawaii, Georgia, and Utah are sharing the load of the agency’s enormous power requirements.

U.K. Base, and NSA Intern, Facilitated Death or Capture of “Chicken Man” and Other Iraq Militants

In mid-2006, the NSA was closely watching a “most wanted” militant organization with a presence in Iraq, known as the Moroccan Islamic Fighting Group. The agency was struggling to eavesdrop on the group’s communications, which it said had led to a “critical gap” in intelligence.

However, the NSA got lucky when an intern working at the agency’s Menwith Hill surveillance base in England uncovered a network associated with the group. By tracking the communications of an Algerian bombmaker associated with the Moroccan organization, the NSA was able to identify other Islamist fighters working to manufacture explosives in Iraq, according to a July 2006 SIDtoday article. The NSA discovered chatter between militants, who were apparently fighting with the Moroccan jihadis against the U.S. and its allies in Iraq. One of the militants on an intercepted phone call referred to “chickens” falling from the sky, an apparent coded reference to the downing of U.S. helicopters that previous May. The man on the phone call became known to the NSA as “Chicken Man,” and his communications proved invaluable to the U.S. spies who were listening in.

The NSA passed the intelligence it gathered from the phone calls to U.S. forces in Iraq. The analysts at Menwith Hill — working with NSA employees at the agency’s base in Augusta, Georgia — continued to keep tabs on the jihadis. Then, between May 23 and May 25, 2006, the U.S. military launched operations that resulted in the killing and capture of nine mostly foreign fighters, including Chicken Man, according to the SIDtoday article.

Menwith Hill is the NSA’s largest overseas surveillance base and continues to play a key role in U.S. military operations around the world. As The Intercept has previously reported, the spy hub has been used to aid “a significant number of capture-kill operations” across the Middle East and North Africa, according to NSA documents, and is equipped with eavesdropping technology that can vacuum up more than 300 million emails and phone calls a day. Human rights groups and some British politicians have demanded more information about the role of Menwith Hill in controversial U.S. drone strikes and other lethal operations, arguing that the base is unaccountable to British citizens and is shrouded in too much secrecy.

Breakthroughs in Locating Internet Cafes in Iraq

During the Iraq War, suspected insurgents often accessed the internet from public computers at internet cafes, as previous SIDtoday reporting described. Even when the NSA could intercept internet traffic from a cafe, the agency couldn’t always determine where the cafe was located. But in 2006, the NSA had two separate breakthroughs in how it conducted surveillance against internet service providers in Iraq, allowing them to pinpoint the exact location of many more cafes.

“We’ve had success in targeting cafes over the past year,” a July 2006 article stated, “but until recently there was a major gap in our capabilities.” The network run by a popular provider of internet service to cafes across Iraq was so complicated that, even when analysts knew the IP addresses of the cafes, they couldn’t narrow down their locations beyond what city they were in.

By surveilling satellite signals, and with the help of hackers at a division known as Tailored Access Operations, the NSA managed to intercept the internet service provider’s customer database. The agency also installed its system for searching signals intelligence, XKEYSCORE, at a new field site in Mosul, allowing it to conduct bulk surveillance of internet traffic traveling through the region. With the knowledge of who the ISP’s customers were, combined with internet surveillance, “previously un-locatable cafes have been found and at least four ‘wanted’ [alleged] terrorists have been captured.”

Another SIDtoday article, from December 2006, credited analysts working in the NSA’s British base at Menwith Hill with locating internet cafes in the Iraqi city of Ramadi that were allegedly used by associates of Al Qaeda leader Abu Ayyub Al-Masri. It did this through an intiative known as GHOSTHUNTER, which mapped locations of small, “VSAT” satellite dishes throughout the region.

“Terminals from the current top three VSAT technologies in the Middle East — DirecWay, Linkstar, and iDirect — have all been successfully located as part of the GHOSTHUNTER initiative,” the article said, including 150 terminals “on networks of interest… in Baghdad, Ramadi, and neighboring cities.”

Intellipedia: the Intelligence Community’s Classified Wiki

A November 2006 article in SIDtoday described Intellipedia, a wiki for analysts throughout the intelligence community, with information limited based on clearance level. At the time, the tool had “only about 20 registered users” from the NSA, compared with over 200 at the CIA, which had been leading the charge to promote the wiki, even offering staff a six-day sabbatical to study it and other collaboration tools.

After hearing “rave reviews” about a CIA’s Intellipedia sabbatical, plans to adopt the training for NSA employees were in the works, according to an early 2007 article, and one of the CIA’s Intellipedia “pioneers” gave presentations to NSA analysts about the platform.

On January 28, 2014, the top-secret version of Intellipedia had 255,402 users and 113,379 pages; the secret version had 214,801 users and 107,349 pages; and the unclassified version had 127,294 users and 48,274 pages, according to the NSA’s response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As part of an investigation into cyberattacks that target hardware supply chains, The Intercept published multiple top-secret Intellipedia wiki pages. These include the “Air-Gapped Network Threats” page, the “BIOS Threats” page, and “Supply Chain Cyber Threats” page.

According to SIDtoday, Intellipedia was introduced alongside two other tools to bring classified information into the internet age: a classified instant messaging system linking the NSA, CIA, and other intelligence agencies, as well as blog platform “for sharing your knowledge and your point of view with others.”

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Joe Russa  A.k.a. SunEye

Ok, so this seems to be mostly just another New Age crank with a website, but said website is impressively crazy, so we think it is worth a mention. Joe Russa, a.k.a. SunEye, appears to attempt to synthesize every last bit of pink fluff and New Age ravings about chakras, energy (as New Age proponents conceive of energy, which has nothing to do with energy), astral projection and occultism on the Internet into an interestingly nonsensical mix. His website is here. Apparently Russa is a witch, and his main trade seems to be spells of various kinds, as well as information about the third eye, which according to Russa is associated with “a lot of misconception and misunderstandings.” Indeed. The third eye ostensibly has to do with chakras, the pineal gland and the color indigo and may give you psychic abilities. You unlock its powers by following the SunEye method, which apparently will enable you to have lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences through various sleep deprivation techniques, which seems to us to be a somewhat disappointing goal for someone with magic powers. There are tarot cards, crystals and reiki, too. The best article featured on Russa’s website is probably Barbara Rhodan’s advice for how to use your psychic abilities to win the lottery (here).

Diagnosis: Completely harmless, which makes Russa infinitely less bad than most of the people covered here recently.

Leslie Manookian

The Greater Good is an antivaccine documentary (and illustrative example of the pernicious genre medical propaganda film) that made its rounds in the expected circles, and were promoted by the usual group of conspiracy theorists and anti-science advocates (such as Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher). They even tried to push it on public schools. It is dealt with in some detail here.

The basic set-up is familiar, and the agenda clear:

Present some tragic stories of “vaccine injuries” to manipulatively appeal to the viewers’ emotions, without too much discussion of details to ensure that it is impossible to verify or falsify (at least one of the central stories has been demolished in court, thus giving the interviewees even more room to recruit the viewer’s empathy in their attempt to build a conspiracy theory targeted at Big Pharma, the courts, all of medicine, science and the need to evaluate evidence carefully; the other cases present no evidence whatsoever that vaccines are actually to blame for the tragic events beyond correlations that do not really seem even to be genuine correlations). Nor does it, of course, mention how vaccines prevented uncountable tragedies by eradicating small-pox and polio, since that doesn’t really fit the chosen narrative.

Create a manufactroversy by pitting a few real experts against a panel of pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists, then editing he results to fit the desired narrative.

Then dismiss the real experts (but trying to make it seem like everything is fair and “balanced”) and plump for the conspiracy theories and the pseudoscience the “documentary” had built up to accepting all along.

The pseudoscientistst and conspiracy theorists presented as experts include:

Bob Sears, who has now firmly endorsed the anti-vaccine movement, and whose misinformation about medical issues targeted at parents is a serious cause for concern given his celebrity status. In the documentary, he primarily runs a blatantly dishonest toxins gambit and tries to claim, against better knowledge and judgment, that vaccines haven’t been sufficiently well studied for safety (This is false, and Sears knows it; he’s lying.)

Larry Palevsky, who writes articles for anti-vaccine sites and promotes and recommends a wide array of quackery and faith healing, including “acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy, and essential oils, along with natural healing modalities such as aromatherapy, yoga, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and mindfulness.” In the documentary, Palevsky pushes the toxins gambit for all its worth, since it’s a more effective means for scaring people without background in chemistry or medicine than being accurate or truthful; he even tries the breathtakingly intellectually dishonest “the vaccines didn’t save us”gambit.

John Green III, another anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist.

Christopher Shaw, a currently legendary, Canadian anti-vaccine crank responsible for several of the garbage “studies” frequently cited by the antivaccine movement.

Barbara Loe Fisher, the granddame of the anti-vaccine movement herself.

There are also a couple of lawyers (such as Kevin Conway), bent on misrepresenting the role of the vaccine court. It is also worth noting, if anyone had any doubts about what kind of “documentary” this is, that the end credits state that “this film was vetted by Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen, MD, FAAP and Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD, FRCP for scientific and medical accuracy,” which is more or less like consulting whale.to. Dr. Rosen is an “integrative” pediatrician who is chair-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine and staunchly anti-vaccine; indeed, he seems to still think that thimerosal causes autism (though he is notoriously vague), which is an idea approximately as well-refuted as flat earth). You can read more about Dr. Shoenfeld here.

The producer, Leslie Manookian (formerly Leslie Manookian Bradshaw), is – apparently – a homeopath, which means she is about as ridiculous as you can get in the realm of pseudoscience (though she had the whereabouts not to list those qualifications on the filmmaker bio page), and has previously been active in the comment sections of vaccine-related blog posts. (She also used to list mercola.com, Mothering Magazine and the anti-vaccine website NVIC at the top of her list of vaccine information sources). After the “documentary”, Manookian has apparently become something of a mainstay at pseudoscience and anti-vaccine conferences, such as Freedomfest, and has been associated with the Weston A. Price foundation, a quack organization if there ever was one. In 2015, Manookian and the foundation’s Kim Hartke managed to get a piece of anti-vaccine propaganda posted as press release on CNBC’s Globe Newswire, consisting primarily of the old antivaxx shedding myth disguised as “news”. (It is discussed here).

Diagnosis: Apparently an influential figure in the antivaccine movement, Manookian is a crank through and through. Dangerous.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

May 30, 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. 63

Date: Friday, February 7, 1997

Commenced:  11:55 AM CST

Concluded:  12:35 PM CST

RTC: Hello there, Gregory. I hope you’re feeling better than I am.

GD: You have a cold?

RTC: No, getting old. Some advice, Gregory. Don’t get old. The worst part isn’t forgetting things, it’s remembering. And knowing you are helpless to correct the present. But there still is correcting the past.

GD: Historians do that all the time. Hitler lost so Hitler was always wrong. Roosevelt won so Roosevelt was always right. Saints and sinners. It depends entirely on who wins.

RTC: True. I told you I once met Roosevelt, didn’t I? My father got me in to see him. Old and shaky, but still clever. Phony old bastard, one thing to the face and another to the back, but very shrewd in political circles. He set up a powerful movement, but as soon as he hit the floor, they started to dismantle it.

GD: Müller was filling me in on the anti-Communist activities he was involved in. McCarthy and all of that.

RTC: Well, Franklin put them all in, and Truman threw them all out. Most of them were Jewish so we were all accused of anti-Semitism, but we held all the cards then and they knew it, so criticism was muted. It wouldn’t be that way now, but times change.

GD: They always do and a smart man changes with them.

RTC: Some times the older forms are better.

GD: Yes, but people grow tired of old forms and want new ones. A revolution might mean more money and power for some and death or disgrace for others. The wheel does turn.

RTC: So it does. I wanted to give you a little background here, Gregory, about you. You see, at one time, these others wanted to set up a sort of private think tank. They wanted to call it after the oracle of Delphi. Tom Kimmel, Bill Corson, the Trento ménage, Critchfield and others. But they wanted me to be the honcho.

GD: And why you?

RTC: I have the connections with the business community. I could get big money people behind the idea. It was a sort of miniature Company if you will. Money and power. We always called it the Company because it was a huge business conglomerate. But anyway, this think tank would bring all of us lots of money. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel too happy with the make up of it. Kimmel is pompous and entirely too much obsessed with his late Grandfather; the Trentos are very lightweight, but aren’t really aware of it; and poor Bill is a perpetual wannabe, running around trying to sound like a great keeper of various unknown secrets. We tried Costello. Tom liked him because of his Pearl Harbor writings, but I never liked him. There was a screw loose in his brain somewhere. And of course being a fairy didn’t improve his objectivity. I gave up on John after his trip to Reno. He hated you, you know.

GD: My heart is breaking. I should have given him some of my old shorts to chew on.

RTC: Now do let’s be serious, Gregory. John was a spiteful person but I got the impression he thought you were much worse than he was and since he was hiding his perversions, he probably thought you could see through him. I think people get that impression: That you watch and see too much. Of course, it doesn’t help that you run your mouth and say terrible things about self-made saints. Anyway, I didn’t want John involved and then I began to have some interest in you. Of course, I couldn’t put you forward for the group because Kimmel detested you and Bill didn’t know where to turn. He liked you but always listened to others in making up his mind. When I ditched Costello and Bill knew you and I were talking, Kimmel went through the roof. He didn’t like me talking to you and spent much time getting his oafs at Justice to ring me up and tell me how terrible you were. Tom likes to get others to do his dirty work, I noticed long ago. The Trento family didn’t know you and Bill is actually afraid of you. So the private study group for profit more or less died a natural death. I wanted to include you but they did not so there it ended.

GD: I would have had no problem working with you but not with the others. Bill is a lightweight, Kimmel a gasbag and the one Trento book I tried to read was hopeless.

RTC: Yes.

GD: ‘And slime had they for mortar.’—Genesis 11:3.

RTC: Citing Scripture, Gregory? I thought the Devil did that.

GD: He does. Daily. Now we call him Pat Robertson.

RTC: Where’s your Christian charity?

GD: I sold it to buy a gun.

RTC: Yes. Well, to get back to the subject here, which is the fact that these gentlemen do not like you, but I do. They have stopped yapping about you because I told them to shut up, but no doubt they still run around behind my back and try to stab you in the back. Never to the face, but in the back.

GD: Not to change the subject, Robert, but why do you really call it the Company?

RTC: Because it’s a huge business. We are one of the most powerful businesses on the planet, Gregory. We make enormous sums of money, have established a tight and very complete control over the media, have the White House doing as we tell them to, overturn foreign governments if they dare to thwart our business ventures, and so on.

GD: Business ventures?

RTC: A generalized case in point. A left-wing nigger gets into power in the Congo. The Congo has huge uranium deposits. Will Moscow get the uranium? The Belgian businessmen come to us for help. We agree to help them and we get into a civil war and murder Lumumba. One of our men drove around with his rotting corpse in his trunk. The head of the UN starts to interfere in matters, so we have an aircraft accident that kills him very dead and stops the interference. We tell the President about the uppity nigger but not about poor dead Dag. We tell them what we want them to hear and nothing more.

GD: And the business aspect?

RTC: The drugs, of course, bring in astronomical amounts of loose money. And if some rival group cuts into the business, we get them removed. Ever read about huge heroin busts somewhere? Our rivals going down for the third time. All of this is part and parcel of the Plan.

GD: Sounds like the Templar’s Plan.

RTC: Ah, you know about this, do you? Which one of the seven dwarves enlightened you? Not Kimmel, but probably Bill.

GD: Actually no. I was speaking of the Plan of the Templars…

RTC: Ah, you see, you do know that. You knew Allen was an initiate, didn’t you?

GD: Well, not in so many words. Didn’t the Templars get disbanded for having too much money? I think they killed DeMolay…

RTC: Now don’t change the subject here. They were never really disbanded, but they went underground. Do you know how much money they had? The French only got a little bit of it. Now let me know, who told you?

GD: You did, actually. Just now. I was thinking of Umberto Eco’s excellent Foucault’s Pendulum and his discussion of the survival of the Templars.

RTC: I missed that one. Is that an old book?

GD: No. Late ‘80s, if I remember. Brilliant historical pastiche. Eco’s an Italian scholar and the book is wonderful, although I doubt very few people in America would understand a word of it. They don’t teach history in our public schools, only political correctness. You can no longer look for the chink in someone’s armor anymore because Asians are terribly offended and you dare not call a spade a spade.

RTC: Yes, yes, I know all that. Stunts the mind.

GD: It’s my impression, based on my visits to your town, that they don’t have any minds to stunt.

RTC: Don’t forget, Gregory, that I was in government service as well.

GD: There are always exceptions, Robert.

RTC: Many thanks for your kindness, Gregory. The Templars have always had money but they have been an underground power for so long, they are set in their ways. We are public and they are not, so there is a sort of joint partnership here. As I said, Dulles was taken in when he was in Switzerland. One of the Jung people, as I remember. They can open doors, Gregory, don’t ever think they can’t, but they are always out of the sunlight.

GD: Like the mythic vampires.

RTC: Custom and usage, as they say. We have common interests, believe me.

GD: Catholic group?

RTC: Not anymore.

GD: Well, I had an ancestor in the Teutonic Knights, and they really never went away. And the Knights of Malta still have some influence in Papal matters. Interesting about the Templars, though. I thought Eco was just a good story teller. Could be. Secret societies have always intrigued parts of the public. The dread Masons, for example. Of course, before the French Revolution, they had a great deal of clandestine power in France, but now I think they’re just a high class fraternal organization. Müller told me that the Nazis were obsessed with the Masons, but when the Gestapo got around to really investigating them, they found nothing sinister at all. Just a social organization and nothing more.

RTC: You know quite a bit about so many interesting things. I can see why you got on with the kraut and why the rat pack here hates you. I must ask you please not to discuss this business with anyone. I would also ask you not to put it into anything you write concerning me. The Kennedy business is bad enough, but no one would believe a word of the other business.

GD: I agree, Robert. But if I have to give up a really interesting story, can I get more information on Kennedy?

RTC: Yes, I can send you more. I did give Bill a copy of the Russian report, but nothing more. He started bragging about this, so I basically shut him down. Of course, it doesn’t really say anything, but once is enough when someone starts to leak out material they have sworn to keep silent about.

GD: And have you tested me?

RTC: I don’t need to. You aren’t trying to make points with the bosses like they are. I hate to say it because I am friendly with all of them, but they are just a bunch of useless ass kissers. You certainly are not.

GD: No, I am not. I don’t trust anyone in the establishment. My God, you ought to listen to what the Landreth people were telling me, [I want to wet myself,] that they can put me on the cover of Time magazine. Of course I really believe them and I would like nothing better than to have my picture on the cover of Time magazine. It used to be a good news magazine but now it’s worse than People Magazine which sells very well in the supermarket checkout lines. And right next to the National Enquirer which is probably written by the same people.

RTC: I think the day of the printed paper or magazine is dying. We still have our hand in on that game. We moved to television, but that is also losing out, so we are moving into the Internet. But don’t ask me about that, because I know nothing about it. We view the Internet as very dangerous because we can’t begin to control it. Set up a few people with money and push them. Hope for the best, you know. but doubtful.

GD: The Templars story is interesting, mainly because I read Eco and know something about their early days.

RTC: When the conspiracy idiots babble on about secret societies, they don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. They go on about the CFR and the Masons but they don’t know the half of it.

GD: Did you ever read Mills’ The Power Elite? Came out in ’54 and is a little out of date but very good.

RTC: Can’t say as I have. Didn’t you mention this once? No matter. I might have but years ago. Speculative?

GD: Concrete, realistic and so on. The reason why the American public is so wrapped up in conspiracy theories is because they have lost all faith in their government and most of our major institutions such as banks, the press, mainline religion and so on. I remember the so-called OPEC panic when the price of gas at the pump went up every ten minutes. There was no OPEC crisis, but just the oil companies creating a panic so they could make huge profits. Ever notice, Robert, how the price of gas at the pump soars just at the beginning of summer when everyone drives on trips and then comes down in winter when no one drives? And how the price of fuel oil drops off in summer when no one needs it but then shoots up every winter when everyone does? Tell me, are these accidents?

RTC: Of course not, Gregory, of course not.

GD: I’m surprised that people don’t pick up on this.

RTC: They won’t pick up on anything at all and what if they did? A little talk here and there and they pay the bills.

GD: And the sheep get shorn again.

RTC: Yes, if you want to put it that way. That’s why they’re there, isn’t it?

 

(Conclusion at 12:35 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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