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TBR News November 17, 2018

Nov 17 2018

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

Washington, D.C. November 17, 2018:”The government spies on us but, unknown to them, we spy on them.

And the Russians spy on everyone.


The use of the computer is now universal and given the weak intellects of a significant portion of the global population, the internet is believed, like the phone systems to be safe.

All of these communication systems leak like a rotten garden hose but each entity firmly believes that while he can read his opponent’s mail, his opponent cannot read his.

A Russian told me several years back that every secret communication between Washington and Tel Aviv, and in reverse, was read in Moscow at the same time.

Even the exalted President, assured by his legion of experts of the security of his personal email system, entertains President Putin over lunch while reading Galactic-level messaging from the Oval Office.

And in the social network racket, it is known inside the Beltway that Zuckerberg’s Facebook was set up through the FBI to allow them to save shoe leather when investigating a possible suspect.

And Trump paid Facebook $5,000,000 to help them win the last Presidential election. Winter is coming upon us and this reminds me of a joke I heard last winter.

It seems that the weather was so cold in Washington that a Congressman was seen with his hands in his own pockets.”


The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 83
  • CIA believes Saudi crown prince ordered journalist’s killing: source
  • Trump’s attorney general appointment challenged at Supreme Court
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Cable television spying
  • EU army: Will it be easy for Europe to get rid of American political diktat?

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 83

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Jun 25, 2018

“We have $7 trillion invested in the Middle East. What do we have? What do we have other than death and destruction? What do we have? What a decision that was to go in…Truly one of the worst decisions ever made in this country. $7 trillion and thousands of lives — we count the lives on both sides, folks, millions of lives in my opinion, millions.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: There is no basis for the “$7 trillion” figure. During the 2016 campaign, Trump cited a $6 trillion estimate that appeared to be taken from a 2013 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project. (That report estimated $2 trillion in costs up to that point but said the total could rise an additional $4 trillion by 2053.) Trump, however, used the $6 trillion as if it was a current 2016 figure. He later explained that since additional time has elapsed since the campaign, he believes the total is now $7 trillion. That is incorrect. The latest Brown report, issued in late 2017, put the current total at $4.3 trillion, and the total including estimated future costs at $5.6 trillion.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“You’ve heard that story. I want the word ‘cut.’ So, we cut regulations more than any president in history whether it’s four years, eight years, 16 years.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: No president has served for 16 years. The longest-serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, served just over 12 years, dying shortly into his fourth term.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“I don’t believe — so now it’s 511 days. I don’t believe any administration…I don’t believe and I don’t even think it’s close that any president has done what we’ve done in 500 days.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Trump was speaking on the 522nd day of his presidency, not the 511th.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“It has to happen, it’s not like — that’s not a threat, it’s like the Iran Deal, we’re so bad, we paid $150 billion to sign a horrible agreement, we gave $1.8 billion in cash to pick up four hostages. They’re the wealthiest hostages in the world. They have the highest net worth of any hostage in history.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Trump appeared to be attempting to making a kind of dark joke, but his suggestion that former U.S. prisoners in Iran have themselves become wealthy through a deal that secured their release is false; this payment went to the Iranian government. (The Obama administration denied that the money was paid to secure the release of the prisoners, though the two things happened around the same time. The $1.7 billion was a settlement of a dispute over $400 million Iran had paid the U.S. for fighter jets that were never delivered after the country’s Islamic revolution; Obama paid back $400 million, plus $1.3 billion in a settlement over the interest.)

“It has to happen, it’s not like — that’s not a threat, it’s like the Iran Deal, we’re so bad, we paid $150 billion to sign a horrible agreement…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: The “$150 billion” figure has no basis. Experts said Iran had about $100 billion in worldwide assets at the time; after the nuclear deal unfroze Iranian assets, Iran was able to access a percentage of that $100 billion, but not all of it. PolitiFact reported: “The actual amount available to Iran is about $60 billion, estimates Garbis Iradian, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pinned it at $56 billion, while Iranian officials say $35 billion, according to Richard Nephew, an expert on economic sanctions at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.”

Trump has repeated this claim 19 times

“Last year on trade, our country lost $817 billion with a B, billion dollars, 817. We lost $817 billion, who the hell can do that? I mean, we don’t have to be perfect, we don’t even have to get it down to zero, but we can’t lose 800 — and so, because you feel like sort of stupid, don’t you? Don’t you feel stupid?”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: The U.S. has never had a $800 billion trade deficit. The 2017 deficit was $566 billion. It was only $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise, not $817 billion — if you do not count trade in services. Trump, as usual, did not say he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“And it’s all going to work out, it’s all going to work out. Remember this, remember this, it’s all going to work out, because we’re the piggy bank that they like to take from, whether it’s military protection, you look at NATO, NATO, we’re spending 90 per cent of NATO…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: According to NATO’s 2018 annual report, U.S. defence spending represented 72 per cent of the alliance’s total defence spending in 2017. With regard to direct contributions to NATO’s own common budget, the U.S. contributes a much smaller agreed-upon percentage: 22 per cent.

Trump has repeated this claim 14 times

“They don’t let our farmers into the European Union, it’s very hard. So we have farmers that want to sell, you don’t hear these stories, this is why, with these people, they don’t tell you these stories. The European Union has what they call trade barriers, the European Union doesn’t allow our farmers to go and trade, it’s very hard for them to go to trade.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: While U.S. farmers do face some trade barriers in selling into the European Union, it is a gross exaggeration to say the EU simply “doesn’t allow our farmers to go and trade.” According to the website of Trump’s own Department of Agriculture, the U.S. exported $11.6 billion in agricultural items to the European Union in 2016 and $11.5 billion in 2017. The EU ranked fourth in the world for U.S. agricultural exports in 2016 and fifth in 2017.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“European Union, we lost $151 billion last year with the European Union.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: The U.S. had a $102 billion trade deficit with the European Union in 2017. The $151 billion figure counts only trade in goods and excludes trade in services. Trump

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times

“I got a bad hand with all these horrible trade deals, NAFTA is a disaster, Mexico is going to make over $100 billion in the United States this year…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Trump is off by at least $31 billion, or at least $29 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $69 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“And they want five thousand (immigration judges), I said, ‘Where are you going to find five thousand people to be judges? How many do we have now?’ I don’t know the number. They don’t even know the number, even though they’re in charge, OK? Nobody knows the number. We have thousands of judges already.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: The U.S. does not have thousands of immigration judges, and people do know the actual number: Congress had allocated money for 484 such judges, and 334 were in place as of mid-April.

“We have no idea who they are, and they came to me three days ago. ‘Sir, we’d like you to sign this order.’ What is the order? ‘We need five thousand judges on the border.’ I said, ‘Judges?’ What other country has judges? I said, ‘How many do we have now?’ They didn’t even know. So we have thousands of judges and now we’re going to have five thousand…But they come up, and this was an order, this was — ‘Sir, we need five thousand judges.’ I said, five thousand?”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: At the time Trump spoke, there was no mainstream proposal to hire 5,000 more immigration judges. Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“We want very tight, very strict borders, and by the way, you saw a 70-year low, with all the complaining I’m doing, we’ve done a very good job, and we have taken thousands, we have taken — we got to get that wall built all the way across, and they don’t want it, that’s like a symbol.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced in late 2017 that illegal immigration through the southwest border, as measured by the number of people apprehended by border authorities at that border, had fallen to a 45-year low. It has since increased. Even before the increase, it was not at a “70-year low.” According to official data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of apprehensions was far lower throughout the 1960s than it was in 2017. For example, in 1963, there were 29,644 apprehensions at the southwest border for the whole year, less than there were in six individual months in 2017.

“It’s incredible how nobody wants the wall until it’s in their backyard. ‘Do you mind building us?’ They didn’t like people walking across their front lawns in San Diego.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: There is no evidence that the people of San Diego are supportive of the wall at all, let alone that they have, as Trump has repeatedly claimed, pleaded with Trump to build it for them. San Diego city council voted 5-3 in September to express opposition, and even the Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, has stated that he is opposed: “Mayor Faulconer has been clear in his opposition to a border wall across the entirety of the U.S. southern border,” a spokesperson said in September. (The board of supervisors of San Diego County has voted to endorse a lawsuit against California “sanctuary” laws protecting unauthorized immigrants, but “this county has taken no action with regard to the wall,” county spokesperson Michael Workman told local news outlet KPBS.)

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“Oh, it’s happening. It’s not ‘build that wall’ anymore, it’s ‘continue building that wall,’ because we’re building it. We’re building it, we’re fixing it miles and miles, we’ve got $1.6 billion, we’re fixing the wall, we’re building wall in San Diego…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, in San Diego or anywhere else. When Trump has made this claim in the past, he has appeared to be referring to a project in which a 2.25-mile stretch of existing wall in California is being replaced by a taller wall. That project was proposed in 2009, and the Los Angeles Times reported that Border Patrol spokesperson Jonathan Pacheco told reporters in March: “First and foremost, this isn’t Trump’s wall. This isn’t the infrastructure that Trump is trying to bring in. … This new wall replacement has absolutely nothing to do with the prototypes that were shown over in the San Diego area.” The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction.

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

“I said, ‘Don’t hurt yourself by apologizing.’ So I said to him today on social media, I said, ‘Jimmy, be a man. Just relax. Just relax.’ It’s incredible.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Trump tweeted to Jimmy Fallon the day prior, on June 24, not “today.”

“I said the other day because as you saw in my last speech, it’s in Minnesota, great place, unbelievable crowd. It seated 9,000 and they had 15,000 or 20,000 people outside couldn’t get in, it was incredible, just like you have a lot of people outside, you just can’t.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: While there are no precise numbers available, “15,000 or 20,000 people outside” is an exaggeration. Trump initially tweeted that “at least 10,000” couldn’t get in, then made it “at least 15,000,” then, here, made it “15,000 or 20,000.” The local Star Tribune put the number at “many hundreds.” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, a Democrat, said in an email: “People on site who manage crowds believe a few thousand were left out of entry. To me, that is 2k to 3k…Our people on site are used to counting crowds since we have considerable tourism and large events in our city.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“You want to check these pollsters, where they’re coming from, they knew. We had one with ABC, I think it was ABC Washington Post just before the election, like a week before we’re down 12. Now, if you’re down 12, OK, if you’re down 12 it’s over if the polls are real. But I said it can’t be real, we just went to Michigan, we had 30,000 people…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Trump was referring again to his election-eve rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which did not draw even close to 30,000 people. The capacity of the hall where Trump held the rally was 4,200. Local newspapers reported that the room was over capacity, and that there was a large crowd outside, but the total was nowhere near 30,000. When Trump claimed that the rally drew 32,000 people, Nick LaFave, a news anchor for WZZM 13 television in Grand Rapids, wrote on Twitter: “I covered that rally. The place was definitely beyond capacity. I think we estimated 8k. Many more outside who never got in. But, no way that got to 32k. None. No way.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“You want to check these pollsters, where they’re coming from, they knew. We had one with ABC, I think it was ABC/Washington Post just before the election, like a week before we’re down 12. Now, if you’re down 12, OK, if you’re down 12 it’s over if the polls are real.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: Twelve days before the 2016 election, on October 27, 2016, the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll had Trump down two points to Hillary Clinton, 47 per cent to 45 per cent, not 12 points.

“Even Gallup, Gallup, who treats me horribly, polls are fake news also. What they do is called suppression. They put out these horrible polls and then they hope that everyone’s going to say, ‘Hey, look, I like Trump, but he’s got no chance of winning.’ Suppression, it should be illegal actually.”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: There is no evidence that Gallup is manipulating its polls to harm Trump.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“I won when I won South Carolina, but to win all up and down the east coast, to win Wisconsin, which hasn’t been won in many years, like 1972 I think, that’s a long time…”

Source: Campaign rally in West Columbia, South Carolina

in fact: The last Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin was Ronald Reagan in 1984, not Richard Nixon in 1972.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“Well, one of the highest on the list is immigration. And we have to change our laws. We have to make them sensible. They came in to see me last week; they said, ‘We’d like to hire 5,000 more judges.’ Five thousand. You ever hear of thing like that? Judges. Well, we’re appointing 145 judges here, and everyone goes through this extreme vetting process. You’re talking about 5,000. Where do you find 5,000 people to be judges?”

Source: Remarks before meeting with King of Jordan

in fact: At the time Trump spoke, there was no mainstream proposal to hire thousands of immigration judges. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more. Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag. I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. had a $102 billion trade deficit with the European Union in 2017. The $151 billion figure counts only trade in goods and excludes trade in services. Trump, as usual, did not say he was excluding services.

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times

“Hiring many thousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go – will always be disfunctional.

Source: Twitter

in fact: At the time Trump spoke, there was no mainstream proposal to hire thousands of immigration judges. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more. Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“Hiring many thousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go — will always be disfunctional. People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally. Children brought back to their country…If this is done, illegal immigration will be stopped in it’s tracks – and at very little, by comparison, cost.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Stopping and deporting people at the Mexican border would slow illegal immigration but not “stop illegal immigration in its tracks.” Contrary to Trump’s frequent suggestion, most illegal immigration does not come from people walking across the border but through people overstaying their legal visas. As the Washington Post reported: “In fiscal 2016, U.S. officials reported 408,870 southwest border apprehensions, 544,676 visa overstays and 65,218 asylum claims.”

“Such a difference in the media coverage of the same immigration policies between the Obama Administration and ours. Actually, we have done a far better job in that our facilities are cleaner and better run than were the facilities under Obama. Fake News is working overtime!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Obama did not have the same immigration policy as the Trump policy that was receiving the intense media coverage. While some families were separated under Obama and some children detained, Obama did not use Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of attempting to criminally prosecute everyone apprehended crossing the border illegally, the policy that has led, under Trump, to regular family separation. The Trump administration implemented this policy in early 2018.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: After conducting a visual analysis, the Washington Post concluded the building exterior is not filthy, while imperfect, and “does not seem to badly need a paint job.” This, of course, is a matter of opinion. More importantly, there is no evidence at all for Trump’s insinuation that the restaurant interior is filthy. Unlike some of the president’s own restaurants, the Red Hen has aced its most recent health inspections. The Post noted: “The February inspector had only positive remarks…saying, among other things, that ‘staff had clean uniforms/aprons and line cook had hair restrained.'”


CIA believes Saudi crown prince ordered journalist’s killing: source

November 16, 2018

by Mark Hosenball


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, complicating President Donald Trump’s efforts to preserve ties with a key U.S. ally.

The sources said the CIA had briefed other parts of the U.S. government, including Congress, on its assessment, which contradicts Saudi government assertions that Prince Mohammed was not involved.

The CIA’s finding, first reported by the Washington Post, is the most definitive U.S. assessment to date tying Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler directly to the killing.

Both the White House and the State Department declined to comment.

“The claims in this purported assessment is false,” a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement. “We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations.”

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and a columnist for the Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 when he went there to pick up documents he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

Khashoggi had resisted pressure from Riyadh for him to return home. Saudi officials have said a team of 15 Saudi nationals were sent to confront Khashoggi at the consulate and that he was accidentally killed in a chokehold by men who were trying to force him to return to the kingdom.

Turkish officials have said the killing was intentional and have been pressuring Saudi Arabia to extradite those responsible to stand trial. An adviser to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of trying to cover up the murder.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that he was seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in the killing. The prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, told reporters the crown prince knew nothing of the operation, in which Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and removed from the consulate.

U.S. officials have been skeptical that Prince Mohammed would not have known about plans to kill Khashoggi, given his control over Saudi Arabia.

The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA’s assessment was based in part on a phone call the crown prince’s brother, Prince Khaled bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi.

Prince Khaled told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said.

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the call, said it was not clear if the prince knew Khashoggi would be killed but that he made the call at his brother’s direction.

The prince said in a Twitter post on Friday that the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on Oct. 26, 2017, nearly a year before the journalist’s death.

“I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,” Prince Khaled said.

The Post said the CIA also examined a call from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after Khashoggi’s killing.

Maher Mutreb, a security official who has often been seen at the crown prince’s side, made the call to Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed, to inform him the operation had been completed, the Post said, citing people familiar with the call.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by David Alexander and Jeff Mason; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Sonya Hepinstall


Trump’s attorney general appointment challenged at Supreme Court

November 16, 2018

by Lawrence Hurley


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fight over President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, with lawyers in a pending gun rights case asking the justices on Friday to decide if the action was lawful.

Critics have said the Republican president’s appointment of Whitaker, who now will oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, on Nov. 7 to replace the ousted Jeff Sessions as the chief U.S. law enforcement official violated the Constitution and federal law.

Lawyers for Barry Michaels, who filed a lawsuit in Nevada challenging a U.S. law that bars him from buying a firearm due to prior non-violent criminal convictions, decided to make Whitaker’s appointment an issue in their pending appeal before the high court because Sessions was named as a defendant in the case.

The lawyers told the justices that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should be the acting attorney general.

“There is a significant national interest in avoiding the prospect that every district and immigration judge in the nation could, in relatively short order, be presented with the controversy over which person to substitute as Acting Attorney General,” the lawyers, led by prominent Supreme Court advocate Thomas Goldstein, wrote in a court filing.

The court is not required to decide one way or another and could simply ignore or reject the motion.

Michaels’ lawyers argued that Rosenstein, the department’s No. 2 official, should have succeeded Sessions under a federal law that vests full authority in the deputy attorney general should the office of attorney general become vacant.

Some of the same lawyers behind Friday’s motion also are involved in a similar effort brought before a federal judge on Tuesday. In that case, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh asked a federal judge to bar Whitaker from appearing in an official capacity as acting attorney general in the state’s ongoing lawsuit against the Trump administration over the Affordable Care Act healthcare law.

Maryland also argued that Trump violated the so-called Appointments Clause of the Constitution because the job of attorney general is a “principal officer” who must be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The Justice Department on Wednesday defended the legality of Whitaker’s appointment, saying Trump was empowered to give him the job under a 1998 law called the Federal Vacancies Reform Act even though he was not a Senate-confirmed official.

Congressional Democrats have voiced concern that Whitaker, who they have called a Trump “political lackey,” could undermine or even fire Mueller. Mueller’s investigation has led to criminal charges against a series of former Trump aides and has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 17, 2018

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 publications.


Conversation No. 64

Date: Monday, February 10, 1997

Commenced: 11:02 AM CST

Concluded: 11:35 AM CST

GD: Good morning, Robert. What’s going on back there on a nice cold Monday?

RTC: Not very much, Gregory, and after a lifetime of excitement, I rather like it that way.

GD: Are you still in touch over there?

RTC: Sometimes, Gregory, sometimes. A casual conversation here, a visit there. You know how it is. Gone and soon forgotten.

GD: And no memoirs, either.

RTC: No, the code of omerta is with all of us retirees.

GD: But never having worked for your people, I have no such caveat, do I?

RTC: No, you do not.

GD: But Corson never worked for you, did he?

RTC: No, not actually. He wanted to, but he never did. He has been involved in various things but only on the periphery.

GD: People love to dream and eventually, they begin to fantasize and after those take hold, begin to lie in public and later, in print.

RTC: Cruel, Gregory, but close to the truth.

GD: Do you know what really disturbs me, Robert? I mean the CIA people who do not like me writing that the head of the Gestapo worked for them. What I find bad is their utter stupidity. I can appreciate intelligence, even if it is directed towards or against me, but when your people drag up dismal failures like Wolfe who calls himself Doctor when he isn’t, and Landreth who calls himself a television producer when he isn’t. And all the pathetic and utterly predictable kindergarten games they play, trying to lure me into some kind of a trap or to find out what documents I have from a man they claim did not exist….pathetic, Robert, really pathetic. Wolfe is a second-level librarian with delusions of literary grandeur and Landreth claims to run a television company and actually runs a wino soup kitchen in Los Angeles. Can’t Langley find someone with an IQ higher than their belt size?

RTC: Now, Gregory, you are getting loquacious again. I don’t think it’s because these people are stupid, but that you are too intelligent for your own good. Certainly for theirs. You annoy Kimmel, whose middle-class morality is offended by your callous treatment of his station in life, and Bill is terrified of you. I don’t mean he thinks you are going to lure him outside on garbage can night and split his skull with an axe, but Bill is like so many other creative liars; he’s afraid someone like you will come on the scene and expose him.

GD” I don’t do this on purpose, you know.

RTC: Oh, I think there is some malice in what you do, Gregory. I don’t find you either stupid or unkind, but you have a very active streak of destruction in your nature. Why, Gregory, bother to shoot butterflies with a rifle?

GD: Point, but then I don’t put up with these morons gladly. Now, an intelligent and creative approach might get some positive reaction from me, but all of this transparent bleating just annoys me. And after I have dispatched one with withering words or, better, making a fool out of them, why here comes another one down the path, wearing the top half of a clown suit and waving a fan. Jesus wept. You know, their reaction time is marvelous, Robert. I did the first Mueller book in ’95 and just now they are starting to leak negative stories about me. Do they sleep in refrigerators at night? Slow on the draw, Robert. In the Old West of blessed fiction, they would be full of holes. I wonder what sort of attack they will try next? There never was a Heinrich Mueller? I am really a practicing vampire? I misspelled a name once so I can’t be right about anything? Do you think some broken-down academic who teaches animal husbandry at an Arkansas community college will come forward and produce a book showing that Mueller was eaten by Stalin? They did a story like that once about Mueller living in Panama but it turned out to be a huge joke. Then some senile Czech intelligence person’s son claimed his father said Mueller was shot in Moscow. Of course, when the press tried to talk to the father, he was too far gone to do anything but wet himself.

RTC: I don’t think a book, Gregory. And after what you did to that Hungarian Jewess in London, I doubt if any reporter will dare to attack you again.

GD: Fear is a wonderful deterrent, Robert. Pick the loudest of the pack, stick a knife in them and gut them in front of everybody and the rest of the piebald apes run back to the security of the deep forest.

RTC: Well, you don’t fit the mold, Gregory. You were supposed to turn all of Mueller’s highly incriminating material over to that jerk from Time magazine and then they would be done with you. I don’t think the boobery understands that hiring General Mueller, bringing him over here and putting him to work was a very, very sensitive business. After all, FDR’s propaganda machine depicted Mueller’s Gestapo as pure evil…

GD: Which they were not…

RTC: No, just professionals. But necessary targets. And in light of the propaganda, how could we dare to hire the man who personally shoved millions of Jews into the enormous gas chambers that could have been seen from the moon? No, a very private matter indeed. That’s why Jim Critchfield is terrified of you and wants to kill you. If it ever got into the Jewish and far left community…

GD: The same thing…

RTC: Yes, and if it did, Jim would be toast. Therefore, you lie like a rug and no one should ever listen to you. Of course, given your volatile and creative personality, such jabber only gets you angrier and that results in more very ugly mischief. Not to be impudent, Gregory, but how much money have you skinned these people out of?

GD: About a hundred and ten thousand, give or take a few cents. Book advance fees, television rights, outright bribes and so on.

RTC: And what did they ever get for all the taxpayer’s money?

GD: A number ten shoe in their scrotum, Robert.

RTC: It seems that way. Well, I don’t know what their next move will be, but I have seen this all before. The usual method of dealing with people like you, aside from the convenient heart attack or car accident, is to hire worthless but hungry scribblers to submit articles to obedient newspapers, marginalizing you, misspelling your name and, in general, treating you like someone on ticket of leave from a nut house. And then on to other, more important, matters. You know, we have an entire department that invents news stories to feed to our toadies in the press in order to disguise something very bad we just pulled off. We kill the head of the UN and then start a story going about the Yeti being seen in downtown Detroit.

GD: That’s a familiar pattern. How controlled is it?

RTC: Gregory, the US government owns the press, the newspapers, the magazines and the television. They print what we tell them to and they ignore that which we wish them to ignore. We wanted to get rid of Nixon, who was becoming a loose cannon, so the press obliged by daily attacks. We kill Kennedy and suddenly, legions of conspiracy nuts emerge from under their damp rocks with tens of thousands of books filled with more shit than a Christmas turkey.

GD: Are they on the payrolls?

RTC: God no, Gregory. Most of these slime merchants are on their own and we would never dare to pay them…at least not directly. But what we do accomplish is to get their cloaking nuttiness published and distributed through our friends in the media. You know, big New York publishing house does a book that Kennedy was only shot by Oswald, number one on The New York Times book list, even though they only sold three copies, talk show babbling on friendly TV networks and on and on. And the more the literary nut fringe sees and hears others braying like donkeys in public and, very important here, getting attention, they go at it again by proving some Secret Service agent was hiding in the trunk of Kennedy’s car and shot him through the trunk lid.

GD” (Laughter)

RTC: No, don’t laugh. They’re armies of the ignorant out there who believe such crap. You know that.

GD: Yes, I do. And since we’re on the topic, how much of all this insanity is planned?

RTC: Oh, we start it, that’s for certain, but there are many who carry on the good work quite for free. Actually for free. Most of them are pathetic losers and they lust after attention…for recognition…for something other than their bleak and unrewarding existence. They become keepers of great secrets, Gregory, and smug in their inner knowledge.

GD: They delude themselves.

RTC: Yes, but they also delude the public which is often very important.

GD: Why must the CIA, or the Pentagon, or the White House, use such garbage to advance their evil ends?

RTC: I never said we didn’t need rubber gloves and Lysol, dealing with our sources, Gregory. But these twits have produced so much silly garbage about the Kennedy business that our worries are over.

GD: I recall a cartoon in Playboy. A bunch of ancient Hebrews were standing around at the base of a mountain and down the path came a man with a long beard and a little bottle in his hand. One of those below had his head turned to his neighbor and the caption said, as I recall it, ‘Our headaches are over. Here comes Moses with the tablets!’ It said Aspirin on the little bottle.

RTC: (Laughter) Naughty boy, Gregory.

GD: Here, I never did see the cartoon. I’m just commenting on it. All of this reminds me of a scenario. A small child sees a stallion mounting a mare in a pasture and points to it. ‘Mommy, what’s the big horsy doing to the little one?’ ‘Oh,’ said the shocked mother, ‘just look over there, Jimmy! See the nice donkey?’ ‘Why,’ said the entranced child, ‘what’s the donkey doing to cousin Muriel?’ Ah well, Robert, in seeking to avoid Scylla, we fall upon Charybdis.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: A classical Greek nautical problem, Robert.

Concluded at 11:35 AM CST


Cable television spying

November 17, 2018

by Christian Jürs

When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

These web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters –  all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

One of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

Futurists think that one day ‘connected’ devices will tell the internet where they are and what they are doing at all times – and will be mapped by computers as precisely as Google Maps charts the physical landscape now.

The forced conversion to High Definition TV means we will only be able to receive a digital TV signal instead of an analog TV signal. This began in 2009. The surveillance specialists will then have the ability to manipulate that digital signal in any direction desired, for any purpose desired.

In addition, all of the newer wide-screen High Definition TVs found in retail outlets today have both tiny cameras and audio detection devices covertly installed within them so the NSA can both observe and listen to everything within it operatinal radius.  The conversion boxes that have been offered with those free government coupons will have the same detection and surveillance devices.

And covert monitoring/tracking chips have been installed in all automobiles manufactured since 1990

  1. Don’t buy the newer HD TVs and don’t get their conversion box. Forget getting TV from broadcast or cable or satellite directly. One idea is to watch TV shows from your older computer with currently availabe TV reception hardware/software (newer computers probably have the surveillance devices installed) or send the video and audio from the computer into the AV jacks on your TV or VCR.
  2. Watch TV shows from programs previously recorded on VHS tapes or from DVDs using your older TV and VCR equipment. This could become a cottage industry overnight if enough people become aware of the covert surveillance agenda riding along on the coattails of the forced conversion to High Definition digital television.
  3. You can listen to only television audio from many inexpensive radios that include the TV audio bands from channel 2-13

In most cases, audio is good enough for me. I’m mainly looking for those few comedy offerings here and there that will provide a laugh. Most sitcoms are just awful: ‘boring’ or ‘banal’ would be complimentary descriptions.

There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.

Then there are the nation’s public schools, where young people are being conditioned to mindlessly march in lockstep to the pervasive authoritarian dictates of the surveillance state. It was here that surveillance cameras and metal detectors became the norm. It was here, too, that schools began reviewing social media websites in order to police student activity. With the advent of biometrics, school officials have gone to ever more creative lengths to monitor and track students’ activities and whereabouts, even for the most mundane things. For example, students in Pinellas County, Fla., are actually subjected to vein recognition scans when purchasing lunch at school.

Of course, the government is not the only looming threat to our privacy and bodily integrity. As with most invasive technologies, the groundwork to accustom the American people to the so-called benefits or conveniences of facial recognition is being laid quite effectively by corporations. For example, a new Facebook application, Facedeals, is being tested in Nashville, Tenn., which enables businesses to target potential customers with specialized offers. Yet another page borrowed from Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, the app works like this: businesses install cameras at their front doors which, using facial recognition technology, identify the faces of Facebook users and then send coupons to their smartphones based upon things they’ve “liked” in the past.

Making this noxious mix even more troubling is the significant margin for error and abuse that goes hand in hand with just about every government-instigated program, only more so when it comes to biometrics and identification databases. Take, for example, the Secure Communities initiative. Touted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to crack down on illegal immigration, the program attempted to match the inmates in local jails against the federal immigration database. Unfortunately, it resulted in Americans being arrested for reporting domestic abuse and occasionally flagged US citizens for deportation. More recently, in July 2012, security researcher Javier Galbally demonstrated that iris scans can be spoofed, allowing a hacker to use synthetic images of an iris to trick an iris-scanning device into thinking it had received a positive match for a real iris over 50 percent of the time.

The writing is on the wall. With technology moving so fast and assaults on our freedoms, privacy and otherwise, occurring with increasing frequency, there is little hope of turning back this technological, corporate and governmental juggernaut. Even trying to avoid inclusion in the government’s massive identification database will be difficult. The hacktivist group Anonymous suggests wearing a transparent plastic mask, tilting one’s head at a 15 degree angle, wearing obscuring makeup, and wearing a hat outfitted with Infra-red LED lights as methods for confounding the cameras’ facial recognition technology.

Consider this, however: while the general public, largely law-abiding, continues to be pried on, spied on and treated like suspects by a government that spends an exorbitant amount of money on the security-intelligence complex (which takes in a sizeable chunk of the $80 billion yearly intelligence budget), the government’s attention and resources are effectively being diverted from the true threats that remain at large – namely, those terrorists abroad who seek, through overt action and implied threat, to continue the reign of terror in America begun in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.


EU army: Will it be easy for Europe to get rid of American political diktat?

November 17, 2018


The creation of a European army would be a boon for Russia-EU relations, various military experts have told RT. It would mean getting rid of the US political diktat – and that’s why Washington will not allow it.

Were the European Union to create an army of its own, as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have recently suggested, the friction with NATO would be enormous, several military and political analysts predict. At the same time, an EU army would be a tremendous tool for normalizing relations with Russia.

NATO would be obsolete

For the European Union, having its own army is a sort of “national liberation” idea, says Leonid Ivashov, a retired general of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and President of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems.

While NATO is there, European security is always governed from Washington, Ivashov says. It’s always an American general or admiral in charge of the force in Europe. Washington dictates what the EU should be afraid of – and it says the main threat is Russia. That threat is, in fact, an imagined one.

The problem with NATO is that Europe has come to trust it too much. After the Soviet Union fell apart, the trans-Atlantic alliance has been looking for a pretext to remain intact. It took upon itself to protect Europe from terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, illegal drugs and migration.”The Europeans put their trust [in NATO], weakened their own security. And today they suddenly see they’re not protected from terrorists, drugs, or especially migrants,” Ivashov says.

NATO has never been about protecting anyone, Ivashov says. It’s always been about holding Europe hostage and bringing profit to trans-national corporations run from the USA.

There would be normalcy with Russia (though no love)

Being free from NATO would allow Europe to pursue its own interests – and that would naturally lead to better relations with Russia.

“Europe will simply become independent. It won’t start loving Russia, it will just start working towards its own interests in the gas sector and other fields of the economy,” Ivashov says

Should there be a break from NATO, the EU will come looking for new allies, believes Konstantin Sivkov, military science PhD and one of the founders of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, – not least in order to stand up to its former trans-Atlantic partners.

“No enemy is worse than a spurned ally. That would make the US an enemy of Europe,” he says.

A new system would enable real agreements with Russia, whereas now they mostly remain on paper – and will go down the drain should there be an order from across the ocean to attack Russia.

“The people in charge are all far away, across the big pond,” says Aleksandr Zhilin, a politologist, military expert and President of the Center for Research of Applied Social Problems.

An independent European army could, in time, allow Europe to enjoy military cooperation with Russia. There’s a dramatic gap in some of the EU nations’ capabilities – mostly aviation and air defense – that Russian hardware could fill.

“Who would mind S-400s protecting the borders of [European] nations?” Zhilin asks. “Only one country: The United States of America.”

Forces within Europe don’t want an EU army

As much as Macron and Merkel would like Europe to have a capable fighting force of its own, there are others in Europe who would not stand for it. The UK and Poland, namely, are too deep in Washington’s pocket, says Ivan Konovalov, the director of the Center of Strategic Conjuncture. The UK will soon no longer be part of the EU, but Poland remains and will continue to oppose the creation of Europe’s own army.

“Poland has always been a conduit of American policies, and now it’s receiving a big blank check… and it will never support a parallel military structure like a united European armed force. Neither will Norway, or the Baltic countries.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also rejected the idea of an EU army.

“The idea of a European Army goes way too far for the Netherlands,” he told journalists on Friday. “NATO is and remains the cornerstone of our defense policy.”

Austria’s defense minister has also said his country wants no part of a European army, since it would be “contrary to the Austrian constitutional position” of neutrality.

Chances an EU army will be created are slim

While Ivashov assessed the real probability that a European army will appear at 50 percent, other experts were much more skeptical, many noting that the US will never allow it.

Apart from the pressure that can be applied through the likes of the UK and Poland, the US is providing a huge chunk of crucial military hardware European nations use, experts agree. And should that fail as a lever, NATO can always resort to obstructionism and outright sabotage, Konovalov says.

The most Merkel and Macron can hope for, he believes, is creating a nominal bureaucratic structure like the Western European Union, which was created after WWII and later completely eclipsed by NATO. Any such alliance would lack real military capability and serve only as a political tool in talks with the US.

But worst of all would be the technical difficulties, Sivkov says. The EU has come to rely on NATO so much it has gaps in key military capabilities. Its members’ fleets are either too small or too limited in reach. Its air forces are mostly represented by the Eurofighter, which is a joint creation of the UK, Germany and France and thus susceptible to London’s whims, and the French Rafale –a light fighter and no match for the heavy ones the US and Russia can scramble. And its anti-air and anti-missile defenses are virtually non-existent, fully reliant on American Patriots and THAADs.

Importing Russian hardware is not an option either. When it comes to military technology, Russia and the EU are “on different planets,” Sivkov says. And if the EU were to break from NATO, it might as well just build its own weaponry from the ground up – a task that would obviously require enormous expense.




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