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TBR News October 23, 2018

Oct 23 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 23, 2018: “Some of the official utterances coming from Trump are, to be modest and kind, weird in the extreme.

For instance, he claims that many Mid East terrorists are part of the huge caravan of Central American refugees heading towards the Mexican-American border.

He also claims this flood is organized by the Democrats to threaten him in the coming elections.

Next, we will learn, via his illiterate Tweets, that giant man-eating rabbits are also included in the mass.

If certain details about Trump’s childhood ever became public, there would be more understanding for his fabricated eruptions.

One of the most tragic episodes of his early life clearly explains his current actions.

His parents could not let young Donald sit in the sand box in the play area of his home because when they did so, all the neighbor’s cats would rush in and try to cover him up

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 58
  • Time for Trump To Cut the Prince Loose?
  • Trump’s Actions in the Middle East Will be His Downfall
  • Ripping off Russia
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Are Donald Trump’s claims about the caravan of 7,000 migrants     accurate?
  • Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Could Drive Congress to Finally End Support for Brutal Saudi War in Yemen

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 58

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

  • Mar 3, 2018

 

“The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our ‘very stupid” trade deals and policies.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this tweet. The deficit is only $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you exclude all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

  • Mar 4, 2018

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Neither industry is dead. Both have problems, but they very obviously continue to exist. The American Iron and Steel Institute says, “The steel industry directly employs around 140,000 people in the United States, and it directly or indirectly supports almost one million U.S. jobs.” The Aluminum Association says, “Today, the U.S. aluminum industry directly employs 161,000 workers and indirectly employs an additional 551,000 workers.”

  • Mar 5, 2018

“And, of course, the biggest problem — the biggest problem is China. We lost $500 billion. How previous presidents allowed that to happen is disgraceful.”

Source: Remarks at bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

in fact: Leaving aside Trump’s characterization of a trade deficit as the U.S. having “lost” money, he is off by at least $125 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone. When data on trade in services is added, the net number will almost certainly be smaller.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“So we may have friends, but remember this: We lost, over the last number of years, $800 billion a year. Not a half a million dollars, not 12 cents. We lost $800 billion a year on trade. Not going to happen. We got to get it back.”

Source: Remarks at bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this remark. The deficit can only be described as $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you ignore all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“It’s March 5th and the Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA. Gave them 6 months, they just don’t care. Where are they? We are ready to make a deal!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: It is transparently inaccurate that Democrats “just don’t care” about DACA. Trump himself cancelled the Democrat-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gives young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the “DREAMers,” work permits and protection from deportation. Democrats are now urging him to simply re-protect DACA enrollees without conditions. Conversely, Trump and other Republicans are demanding steep concessions — billions of dollars for a border wall, a reduction of one third or more in legal immigration — in exchange for protecting DACA enrollees, and some conservative Republicans continue to deride any permanent protection for enrollees as “amnesty.” Democrats have consented to billions in wall funding, but Trump has rejected even this deal on the grounds that he also wants the cuts to legal immigration. In short: Trump is free to argue, as some DREAMers are, that Democrats are not fighting hard enough for DACA enrollees, but there is no reasonable argument that they “just don’t care.”

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November? Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: It’s worth noting that the FBI, not Obama or his political appointees, opened the investigation into whether people affiliated with the Trump campaign were assisting Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. The non-biased reason the investigation began was confirmed in the Trump-endorsed memo produced by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican: it was not out of a desire to discredit Trump but because of troubling information the FBI had received about campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Reports in the New York Times and elsewhere have revealed that Papadopoulos had boasted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had obtained damaging information on Clinton, before this was publicly known; the Australian diplomat had then passed on the information to U.S. officials. “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016,” the Nunes memo says. With regard to Obama: even some members of the Obama administration take issue with Obama’s quiet pre-election response to Russia’s election meddling. It is certainly false, though, to suggest Obama didn’t do anything at all. In December 2016, after the election, Obama expelled from the U.S. 35 Russian “diplomats” suspected of being spies, closed two Russian compounds he alleged were being used for intelligence purposes, and sanctioned Russian intelligence agencies and companies he alleged were providing support to Russian intelligence.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. does have a large trade deficit with Mexico: $71 billion in goods trade in 2017, likely somewhere in the $60-billions when services trade is counted. But with Canada, the U.S. has a trade surplus when trade in goods and trade in services are both counted. Trump’s own Council of Economic Advisers said as much in its annual report issued in February: “The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) with a number of countries — some of which represent net trade surpluses for the United States (Canada and Singapore)…In 2016, the United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada.” The U.S. government’s Office of the Trade Representative, which uses a different method of calculation, says on its website: “The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016.” While the U.S. trade deficit with Canada in the trade of goods alone grew larger in 2017, going from $11 billion in 2016 to $17.6 billion, trade in services, for which 2017 data was not immediately available in early 2018, almost certainly continued to give the U.S. a substantial net surplus.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

  • Mar 6, 2018

“And we have a trade deficit of $800 billion a year, and that’s not going to happen with me.” And: “But again, remember this: We lose $800 billion a year in trade.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

in fact: The U.S. had a $566 billion trade deficit in 2017, Trump’s administration announced the month prior to this remark. The deficit can only be described as $800 billion — $810 billion, to be precise — if you ignore all trade in services and only count trade in goods. As usual, Trump did not specify that he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“When I was with President Xi in China — as an example, we lose $500 billion a year on trade. We have a deficit of approximately $500 billion a year with China.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

in fact: Trump is off by at least $125 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone. When data on trade in services is added, the net number will almost certainly be smaller.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

 

“You know, Sweden is, I think, the largest — the eighth largest investor in the United States.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofve

in fact: In a fact sheet posted online just two weeks before Trump made this remark, his State Department said: “Sweden is the 15th largest investor in the U.S.”

“But it’s like that with many countries, other than small — the European Union has been particularly tough on the United States. They make it almost impossible for us to do business with them, and yet they send their cars and everything else back into the United States.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

in fact: “Almost impossible to do business with them” is a gross exaggeration. Contrary to Trump’s suggestion that trade with the European Union is a one-way street, the U.S. exported a record $284 billion in merchandise to the E.U. in 2017, according to U.S. government data, a new record and up 6 per cent from 2016.

“You know, when we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad. You understand what I mean by that? When we’re down by $30 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them; it doesn’t hurt us.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofve

in fact: The U.S. is not “behind on every single country” on trade, as Trump has repeatedly asserted. While it has a substantial overall trade deficit — $566 billion in 2017 — it has surpluses with many individual countries, according to data from the U.S. government’s own International Trade Commission. In 2017, the U.S. had surpluses with Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kuwait and dozens more countries and territories — in all, more than half of U.S. trading partners. And that’s only counting trade in merchandise; when you count trade in services too, the U.S. also has a surplus with Canada.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

“Just to add maybe a little bit further. If you talk China, I’ve watched where the reporters have been writing, ‘2 per cent of our steel comes from China.’ Well, that’s not right. They transship all through other countries. And you’ll see that a country that doesn’t even have a steel mill is sending us 3 per cent steel for our country. And many countries are doing it, but it comes from China. So China doesn’t send us 2 per cent; they send us a much, much higher level than that. But it’s called transshipping.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

in fact: The extent of the transshipping issue is inherently difficult to measure, and some experts say Trump is overstating it. What is certain, though, is that there is no country that “doesn’t even have a steel mill” that is listed as the source of 3 per cent of U.S. steel imports. According the to the U.S. government, Germany was at 3 per cent for 2017 as of December, Taiwan 4 per cent, India 2 per cent. All of them, obviously, have steel mills.

“So many people want to come in. I have a choice of anybody. I could take any position in the White House, and I’ll have a choice of the 10 top people having to do with that position. Everybody wants to be there.”

Source: Joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

in fact: While Trump certainly has numerous interested candidates for various White House jobs, it is obviously not true that he has his pick of the 10 top candidates in any given field for any given position. He has repeatedly struggled, for example, to find someone qualified who wants to be his communications director, usually a sought-after post in any White House. Trump’s administration has been plagued by far higher turnover than at least his five predecessors.

 

Time for Trump To Cut the Prince Loose?

October 23, 2018

by Patrick J. Buchanan

Was the assassination of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald still getting as much media coverage three weeks after his death as it did that first week after Nov. 22, 1963? Not as I recall.

Yet, three weeks after his murder, Jamal Khashoggi, who was not a U.S. citizen, was not killed by an American, and died not on U.S. soil but in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, consumes our elite press.

The top two stories in Monday’s Washington Post were about the Khashoggi affair. A third, inside, carried the headline, “Trump, who prizes strength, may look weak in hesitance to punish Saudis.”

On Sunday, the Post put three Khashoggi stories on Page 1. The Post‘s lead editorial bashed Trump for his equivocal stance on the killing.

Two of the four columns on the op-ed page demanded that the Saudis rid themselves of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime suspect in ordering the execution.

Page 1 of the Outlook section offered an analysis titled, “The Saudis knew they could get away with it. We always let them.”

Page 1 of the Metro section featured a story about the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Virginia that began thus:

“Corey A. Stewart’s impulse to use provocative and evidence-free slurs reached new heights Friday when the Republican nominee for Senate disparaged slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi…

“Stewart appears to be moving in lockstep with extremist Republicans and conservative commentators engaging in a whisper campaign to smear Khashoggi and insulate Trump from global rebuke.”

This was presented as a news story.

Inside the Business section of Sunday’s Post was a major story, “More CEOs quietly withdraw from Saudi conference.” Featured was a photo of JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, who had canceled his appearance.

On the top half of the front page of the Sunday New York Times were three stories about Khashoggi, as were the two top stories on Monday.

The Times’ lead editorial Monday called for a U.N. investigation, a cutoff in U.S. arms sales to Riyadh and a signal to the royal house that we regard their crown prince as “toxic.”

Why is our prestige press consumed by the murder of a Saudi dissident not one in a thousand Americans had ever heard of?

Answer: Khashoggi had become a contributing columnist to the Post. He was a journalist, an untouchable. The Post and U.S. media are going to teach the House of Saud a lesson: You don’t mess with the American press!

Moreover, the preplanned murder implicating the crown prince, with 15 Saudi security agents and an autopsy expert with a bone saw lying in wait at the consulate to kill Khashoggi, carve him up, and flee back to Riyadh the same day, is a terrific story.

Still, what ought not be overlooked here is the political agenda of our establishment media in driving this story as hard as they have for the last three weeks.

Our Beltway elite can smell the blood in the water. They sense that Khashoggi’s murder can be used to discredit the Trump presidency, expose the amorality of his foreign policy and sever his ties to patriotic elements of his Middle American constituency.

How so?

First, there are those close personal ties between Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, son of the King, and Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the president of the United States.

Second, there are the past commercial connections between builder Donald Trump, who sold a floor of a Trump building and a yacht to the Saudis when he was in financial straits.

Third, there is the strategic connection. The first foreign trip of the Trump presidency was, at Kushner’s urging, to Riyadh to meet the king, and the president has sought to tighten U.S. ties to the Saudis ever since.

Fourth, Trump has celebrated U.S. sales arms to the Saudis as a job-building benefit to America and a way to keep the Saudis as strategic partners in a Mideast coalition against Iran.

Fifth, the leaders of the two wings of Trump’s party in the Senate, anti-interventionist Rand Paul and interventionist Lindsey Graham, are already demanding sanctions on Riyadh and an ostracizing of the prince.

As story after story comes out of Riyadh about what happened in that consulate on Oct. 2, each less convincing than the last, the coalition of forces, here and abroad, pressing for sanctions on Saudi Arabia and dumping the prince, grows.

The time may be right for President Trump to cease leading from behind, to step out front, and to say that, while he withheld judgment to give the Saudis every benefit of the doubt, he now believes that the weight of the evidence points conclusively to a plot to kill Jamal Khashoggi.

Hence, he is terminating U.S. military aid for the war in Yemen that Crown Prince Mohammed has been conducting for three years. Win-win.

 

 

Trump’s Actions in the Middle East Will be His Downfall

October 20, 2018

by Patrick Cockburn

The Unz Review

The Middle East has a century old tradition of being the political graveyard of American and British political leaders. The list of casualties is long: Lloyd George, Anthony Eden, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair and George W Bush. All saw their careers ended or their authority crippled by failure in the region.

Will the same thing happen to Donald Trump as he struggles with the consequences of the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi? I always suspected that Trump might come unstuck because of his exaggerated reliance on a weak state like Saudi Arabia rather than because of his supposed links to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Contrary to the PR company boosterism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and his ambitious projects, Saudi Arabia has oil and money, but is demonstrably ineffective as an independent operator.

The Middle East disasters that toppled so many Western leaders have a certain amount in common. In all cases, the strength of enemies and the feebleness of friends was miscalculated. Lloyd George was forced to resign as prime minister in 1922 because he encouraged the doomed Greek invasion of Anatolia which almost led to a renewed Turkish-British war.

George W Bush and Tony Blair never understood that the occupation of Iraq by American and British ground forces had no support inside Iraq or among its neighbours and was therefore bound to fail. A British military intelligence officer stationed in Basra told me that he could not persuade his superiors of the potentially disastrous fact that “we have no real allies anywhere in Iraq”.

The political debacle most similar to Trump’s ill-judged reliance on the Crown Prince and Saudi Arabia over the last three years was American policy towards the Shah and Iran in the years leading up to his overthrow in 1979. US humiliation was rubbed in when its diplomats were taken hostages in Tehran which torpedoed Carter’s hope of a second term in the White House.

There are striking and instructive parallels between US and British policy towards Iran in the lead up to the revolution and towards Saudi Arabia in 2015-18. In both periods, there was a self-destructive belief that an increasingly unstable hereditary monarchy was a safe bet as a regional ally as well as being a vastly profitable market for arms.

The Shah and MBS both promoted themselves as reformers, justifying their authoritarianism as necessary to drag their countries into the modern era. Foreign elites fawned on them, ignored their weaknesses, and were fixated by the mirage of fabulous profits. A British ambassador to Iran in the 1970s was said – I quote from memory – to have rebuked his embassy staff with the words: “I don’t want any more elegantly written reports about social conditions in Iranian villages. What I want is exports, exports, exports!”

Brexit has taken Britain off the world stage and it must be happy in future with whatever crumbs it can scrounge in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else. But Trump sounds very much like this long-forgotten ambassador when he justifies the US strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia by referring repeatedly to a $110bn in arms contract.

In practice, hereditary monarchies are at their most unstable during a leadership transition, attempts to reform, efforts to expand as regional powers or as initiators of war. In England, the pacific and cautious King James I was succeeded by his arrogant, arbitrary and incautious son, King Charles I, with unfortunate consequences for the monarchy.

Vulgar display was a feature of the Shah’s Iran 40 years ago as it is of Saudi Arabia today. In his case, there was the celebration of 2,500 years of the Persian Empire at Persepolis in 1971, which fed the ruling elites of the world with exotic delicacies such as 50 roast peacocks with tail feathers restored and stuffed with foie gras along quail eggs filled with caviar, which the Shah could not eat because he was allergic to caviar.

The Saudi equivalent to Persepolis is the much-publicised “Davos in the Desert” or, more prosaically, the “Future Investment Initiative” being held this week in Riyadh and from which politicians and businessmen have been very publicly dropping out as mystery over the disappearance of Khashoggi has deepened. Much of the media is treating their decision to stay at home as some sort of moral choice and never asks why these luminaries were happy to act as cheerleaders for Saudi Arabia in the same time the UN was warning that 13 million Yemenis are on the verge of starvation because of the Saudi-led military intervention.

It is no excuse for the Trump administration or the defecting guests in Riyadh to claim that they did not know about Saudi Arabia’s potential for random violence. As long ago as 2 December 2015, the German federal intelligence agency, the BND, published a memo predicting that “the current cautious diplomatic stance of senior members of the Saudi royal family will be replaced by an impulsive intervention policy.” It went on to say that the concentration of so much power in the hands of Prince Mohammed bin Salman “harbours a latent risk that …he may overreach.”

The memo was hurriedly withdrawn at the insistence of the German foreign ministry, but today it sounds prophetic about the direction in which Saudi Arabia was travelling and the dangers likely to ensue.

Trump has put a little more distance between himself and the Crown Prince in the past few days, but he makes no secret of his hope that the crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia will go away. “This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately,” he says though he may believe he can shrug off this affair as he has done with so many other scandals.

Just for once, Trump’s highly developed survival instincts may be at fault. His close alliance with Saudi Arabia and escalating confrontation with Iran is the most radical new departure in Trump’s foreign policy. He withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in defiance of the rest of the world earlier this year on the grounds that he can extract more concessions from Iran by using American power alone than Barack Obama ever did by working in concert with other states. This struggle is so important because it is not just between the US and Iran but is the crucial test case of Trump’s version of American nationalism in action.

The White House evidently calculates that if it draws out the crisis by systematic delaying tactics, it will eventually disappear from the top of the news agenda. This is not a stupid strategy, but it may not work in present circumstances because the Saudi authorities are too inept – some would say too guilty – to produce a plausible cover story. The mystery of Khashoggi’s disappearance is too compelling for the media to abandon and give up the the chase for the culprits.

Above all, the anti-Trump portion of the US media and the Democrats smell political blood and sense that the Khashoggi affair is doing the sort of serious damage to the Trump presidency that never really happened with the Russian probe

 

Ripping off Russia

The following  are excerpts Anne Williamson’s testimony before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the U.S. House of Representatives, presented Sept. 21, 1999.

”It shows how the historic opportunity given the U.S. to help transform Russia into a free, peaceful, pro-Western country was squandered in the form of a bruising economic rape carried out by corrupt Russian politicians and businessmen, assisted by Bush and (especially) Clinton administrations engaged in political payoffs to Wall Street bankers and others, and by ineptitude and greed on the part of the U.S. Treasury and the Harvard Institute for International Development, assisted by fellow travelers and manipulators at Nordex, the IMF, the World Bank, and the Federal Reserve.

The losers were the Russian people and (mainly) U.S. tax-payers.

In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens’ well-being looks like. It’s not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets.

The first mistake was the West’s perception of the elected Russian president, Boris Yeltsin; where American triumphalists saw a great democrat determined to destroy the Communist system for freedom’s sake, Soviet history will record a usurper. A usurper’s first task is to transform a thin layer of the self-interested rabble into a constituency. Western assistance, IMF lending and the targeted division of national assets are what provided Boris Yeltsin the initial wherewithal to purchase his constituency of ex-Komsomol Communist Youth League bank chiefs, who were given the freedom and the mechanisms to plunder their own country in tandem with a resurgent and more economically competent criminal class. The new elite learned everything about the confiscation of wealth, but nothing about its creation. Worse yet, this new elite thrives in the conditions of chaos and eschews the very stability for which the United States so fervently hopes knowing full well, as they do, that stability will severely hamper their ability to obtain outrageous profits. Consequently, Yeltsin’s “reform” government was and is doomed to sustain this parasitic political base composed of the banking oligarchy.

Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation’s household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500 percent inflation in 1992, America’s “brave, young Russian reformers” ginned-up a development theory of “Big Capitalism” based on Karl Marx’s mistaken edict that capitalism requires the “primitive accumulation of capital”. Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed. Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers’ cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers’ dollars.

One particularly striking aspect of Bill Clinton’s presidency is how aggressively his administration has worked to capture the political support of the financial sector, offering up heretofore unseen gobs of government favor. A disproportionate number of firms receiving OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a government entity) guarantees, Export-Import bank lending, and IFC (International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank) and Russian Enterprise Fund participation were generous contributors to both Clinton campaign coffers and the DNC. The basic formula was simple, it’s not the rocket science Russia’s Harvard advisers intimated it was: The bread and butter of all equity markets are bonds. Wall Street wanted a debt market. You build it and we’ll come, they said.

During the Cold War, the International Monetary Fund got itself repeatedly into all sorts of financial and ethical mishaps in the West’s effort to contain the Soviet empire. But the IMF’s excesses were of little concern so long as its financial firepower could be directed at whatever nation appeared on the verge of toppling into the Soviet camp.

But weren’t Americans told that Russia’s financial oligarchy paid for Yeltsin’s re-election? To the contrary, Russia’s bankers made serious money on Yeltsin’s electoral weakness by buying government bonds at distressed prices using cheap money handed over from government deposits. The lion’s share of the domestic bonds’ high yields have always been paid with IMF loans. Russia’s first representative to the World Bank, Leonid Grigoriev, explained, “Of course, the government was to return this money and that is why the yields on 3-month paper reached as much as 290 percent. The government’s paying such huge, impossible rates on treasury bills, well, it’s completely unbelievable. It had nothing to do with the market and therefore such yields can only be understood as a payback, just a different method.

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theory to observe that the downward arc of citizens’ liberties, independence and civic competence and of American culture generally parallels the declining value of the U.S. dollar, which has lost 99 percent of its value since the founding of the Fed, and 75 percent of that debasement has occurred since the last link with gold established by Bretton Woods collapsed in 1971. From that perspective, it’s really not very surprising that at the end of the century, not quite a century after America instituted the Federal Reserve and thereby began the process that would deliver the power of creating unlimited debt to the political class, the White House is occupied by a couple who share not so much a marriage as they do a collection of felonies.

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 23, 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. 15

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Commenced:  12:15 PM CST

Concluded:  12:45 PM CST

GD: Am I interrupting anything?

RTC: No, nothing important. Mostly I do paperwork in the morning, lunch, nap a little and not much else. Gregory, a question here. Have you ever heard of Richard Condon?

GD: Yes, I have read two of his books. He just died, I think last month I read about it.

RTC: The Manchurian Candidate?

GD: That’s one of his first books. Interesting concept. I saw the movie with Frank Sinatra in the early ‘60s. Very complex man with his plots and the brainwashing business was too much. They get ahold of an idea and run off with it.

RTC: The Company was deeply into brainwashing. It was an utter fiasco and we can talk about it in some detail later but I am glad you know about the book and the concept.

GD: Right. Brainwashed a POW and then got him to shoot at a politician. I smelt the Kennedy business in there. He hated Nixon.

RTC: He hated everybody.

GD: Depressing, Robert. Authors pour out their sublimated hatred for their wives, their parents, their teachers and God alone knows who else. What was it about the Condon book?

RTC: Just some report I came across last night while I was putting some of my papers into new files. “The Manchurian Candidate” was the title of the study. Actually, we were watching someone who had been a POW during the Vietnam business.

GD: You think he was brainwashed and is going to shoot the mayor of Buffalo Breath, Montana?

RTC: No, not brainwashed, Gregory, turned.

GD: The North Koreans turned one of our prisoners?

RTC: No, the Russian KGB did.

GD: Well, that makes more sense. I know a number of Russians, met a really sharp one in Bern when I was living there. That I could believe, but I can’t see them using brainwashing. I’ve heard about the CIA’s giving people drugs and using microwaves and so on. The Russians are not that idiotic.

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not everything we did was lunatic. No, the Russians had access to some of the prisoners and we think they turned at least one of them. Not brainwashing, money.

GD: Yes, yes, now you make sense. Using secret radio waves…I knew a nut one time who wore a beret lined with aluminum foil to prevent Martian radio waves from getting through. Now don’t laugh, he actually did. I ran a group therapy class once and he was a patient. Oh, nuttier than usual, but I prevailed on the head doctor to let him wear his beret and he calmed right down after punching two nurses and a food attendant. A sort of metallic pacifier but it did work and it kept the place calm. Money, of course, is more immediate and more effective than brainwashing. So they got to a prisoner of war, did they? He must have been someone they could use. Some stupid grunt from Alabama would be useless unless they wanted him to let the family hogs run out onto an interstate when an unwanted politician’s motorcade was passing.

RTC: Gregory, there are time when I can see why poor Kimmel can’t put up with you. Do try to be serious, won’t you? Yes, a person who was perhaps important but more likely someone who could become important later.

GD: Makes sense. I don’t think the Cong ever captured a Senator on a goodwill tour of Saigon whorehouses. And I don’t think they captured any really high ranking officers, did they? Is that what you’re talking about?

RTC: Now you’re coming down to reality from the clouds. No, they did not have any Generals or Admirals in the Hanoi Hilton but they did have someone almost as important but it was a potential, not an actual.

GD: And?

RTC: And if there was such a captive, the Russians, who worked with the North Vietnamese…had liaison people there and we knew it…so they looked over the captive list and perhaps found someone that could be useful, if they could turn him. Suppose they found one?

GD: I suppose they did, didn’t they?

RTC: Well, we were not…are not…certain but we believe this happened. You know, we and the Russians were supposed to be deadly enemies then but in our game, there really are no enemies, just different shades of gray.

GD: That I am aware of. A Russian friend of mine told me that there was a regular connection with the Americans and that information went back and forth. Luxembourg as he told me…

RTC: Yes, indeed.

GD: So what? Professionals helping each other to make each other look good. I’d do it. I mean if you had an agent at some altitude who was fanatically anti-Soviet, he would be blind to the subtleties of reality, wouldn’t he? Narrow-minded fanatics are of very limited use, I have found out.

RTC: Exactly so, Gregory, exactly so. I was a specialist on the KGB and I knew a few people from the other side. That’s where I got my indication that their people had turned one of ours. A hint, but a strong one. And then we went through lists of people, vetted the ones that were likely candidates…

GD: But not Manchurian ones?

RTC: No, Moscow candidates.

GD: You know, I had a Russian friend tell me one time that he was constantly amazed at how easy it was to turn Americans. He used the phrase, the three Bs…

RTC: ‘Booze, bucks and broads?’

GD: Precisely. He said that money or pussy got them far more than threats or blackmail. He had a rather low opinion of Americans, I hate to say.

RTC: They aren’t perfect either, but he has a point.

GD: What did they turn your suspect with? Not booze in a prison. Money? Cunt? If he has potential, probably money, right?

RTC: Yes, just that, money. Oh, and little special treatments like more baths, a little better food and things like that.

GD: Well, if he was in with others, they couldn’t have been too lavish. Others would have noticed. One has to be careful. No television sets, visiting whores or lobster dinners for him. I can see a few extra cigarettes here and there, a glass of booze while having a medical exam. I suppose small things like that are possible and very useful tools. You know, Robert, Mueller was a master interrogator. He was a very intelligent man and instead of beating people he talked to them. He said if you were proper with them and even extended small courtesies during the interrogation, you could work wonders.

RTC: He’s right. But in this case, greed and envy….

GD: Envy? Now that’s interesting. Competition? Now there’s a piano to play on. A military prisoner of war. Potentially important somewhere down the road. Competition? With whom? Another officer? A former golf partner? Not strong enough. With whom? A relative perhaps? A more successful relative? Striving, Robert, striving. I did read…

RTC: Now, Gregory, let’s not drive down that road. Enough is enough.

GD: Now, Robert, it was you who asked me about Condon, don’t forget. You want to stop me while on a roll? That’s like your girl friend letting you touch her just a little bit right down there but not too much or too long. That’s called prick teasing. Competition with a relative? Someone living under the shadow of a famous relative? Did we have any prisoners with famous parents or siblings? Perhaps an exalted father…mothers don’t count except in the Oedipal way. Now I was recently reading about someone who was a prisoner of war. Injured badly, came from a distinguished military family. I’m sure you know the name, Robert. That one. That fits. Position to be helpful. If he gets unhappy, there are little reminders of past favors that it would be wise not to talk about. They help your career and you help them. Money. Senior military officers have a decent pension, but it ceases when they die, I believe.

RTC: Gregory, you are hopeless, but I love the way your mind works. A wealthy marriage is possible.

GD: Have a glass of beer, Bob.

RTC: Do be quiet about this, Gregory. This person has serious ambitions and there is no concrete proof of anything.

GD: If a stupid person like myself could put a scenario together so quickly, given your valuable hints, couldn’t others?

RTC: I doubt it, Gregory. Now we won’t be talking about this episode, will we?

GD: I suppose that depends, Robert. I wouldn’t want a Soviet…pardon, Russian…agent in too high a level, would I? And neither would you.

RTC: It’s a waiting game.

GD: Do we have something concrete besides a neat guessing game?

RTC: Yes, a copy of an interrogation file complete with future plans.

GD: My, my. And I suppose with that, your people could turn this individual, turn him to feed the Russians false information. I mean not obvious fake material but with just enough real bits in the dinner to make it pleasant to eat. You would turn him back to the paths of righteousness and fuck the enemy. That’s what I would do, Robert. A fool would expose him or shoot him when he’s taking a hike in the desert.

RTC: You got all this from Mueller?

GD: No, but he and I got on very well because we thought the same way. I suspect the reason why I get on with you is that we think the same way. Robert, I am only a shopworn observer of the human condition. Who would want to hire me? Don’t forget, Kimmel has called me a loose cannon, so that must be true and no one wants to hire a loose cannon. What he means by that is that clever as I know I am, I am not a whore and they could never get me to do something I thought was wrong. Never. And they know that very well. Mueller said my psyche was rooted in the Middle Ages and Heini was dead on. Simplistic as it is, there was a code of behavior and social interaction that they don’t have now. Why? Humanity has been reduced to a common denominator, Robert. This makes inferior people feel secure and happy in their knowledge that it is good to be mediocre. Or worse. So and So went to Harvard. Or Yale. Or Princeton. So and So thinks he is a walking god. He might be a useless twit but he went to Harvard.

RTC: We had legions of those in the Company, Gregory. I was a lace-curtain mick from Chicago and I didn’t fit in with the sailing and horsey crowd.

GD: And neither did Mueller and he was a better man than any of those effete twits. Bring back the old days, Robert, when merit and merit alone got you to the top. And do make sure I can get that file on the Candidate if anything happens to you.

RTC: What would you do with it?

GD: Wait and see.

RTC: We will see indeed.

(Concluded at 12:45 PM CST)

 

Are Donald Trump’s claims about the caravan of 7,000 migrants accurate?

The president has made several false and misleading claims about the Central American migrants travelling to the US border

October 23, 2018

by Sam Wolfson in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump is not hiding his ambition to conflate the caravan of around 7,000 migrants heading towards the US border with other issues in order to drum up support for Republicans in the forthcoming midterm elections.

In his bid to make the caravan an election issue, Trump has made a number of false and misleading claims about the migrants that are travelling in it.

Trump’s claim: ‘They are from the Middle East’

In a series of tweets sent early Monday morning, Trump claimed the caravan included “unknown Middle Easterners”, presumably in an attempt to link the caravan to fears among some voters about Islam and terrorism.

There are many journalists from a breadth of political backgrounds travelling with the caravan. No reporting has suggested that anyone in the caravan has travelled from the Middle East in order to reach the US via the southern border.

Trump’s reasoning for the tweet is not currently clear, but it was sent shortly after Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth claimed on the morning show that members of Isis were travelling in the caravan.

Hegseth claimed the president of Guatemala had told a local newspaper that they had captured over 100 Isis fighters in Guatemala travelling in the caravan. He appears to be referring to a story that appeared in the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre which reports that President Jimmy Morales made a speech claiming to have captured 100 terrorists. Morales said he couldn’t provide any evidence for the claim because of reasons of national security.

The speech was made on 11 October before the caravan had formed. No other reporting from Guatamela suggests any Isis members have been discovered in the country.

Trump’s claim: ‘They’re hardened criminals’

At a rally in Arizona on Friday, Trump said the people in the caravan were “bad people”, “not little angels”, and “tough, tough people”.

Trump has not referenced any evidence for his claims of criminality. We do know that many migrants have said they are fleeing terrible gang violence, with some fearing for their lives.

When Emily Cochrane, a New York Times journalist, asked Trump for evidence that migrants in the caravan had a history of violence, he responded “Oh please, please, don’t be a baby… take a look.”

Trump’s claim: ‘Democrats are paying members of the caravan to try and get into the US to harm Republicans in the midterms’

Trump has repeatedly claimed that democrats are funding the caravan. At a rally in Montana, for example, he claimed that “a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by election day, because they think that’s a negative for us… They have lousy policy… they wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.”

There is no evidence that Democrats, donors or other political actors are providing financial support to caravan for political gain. Trump has made reference to a video posted by Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, which shows people in Guatemala being handed money. Gaetz suggested – without evidence – the money may have come from billionaire George Soros, Trump has suggested it came from the Democrats.

In reality, the video shows migrants being handed a single note of Guatamelan currency by people who are likely to be local residents or NGOs. Migrants in the caravan have said this sometimes happens as they pass through towns. The money given is normally extremely small amounts, often less than a dollar a person, and is given to help pay for essential supplies like food and water, not for political aims.

Trump’s claim: ‘Democrats want caravans’

Separately from accusing them of funding the caravan, Trump has claimed that Democrats have “openly invited” illegal immigrants to the border, that they want “open borders” and “want caravans, they like the caravans”.

While it’s true that some Democrats have been more sympathetic to the migrants than Republican lawmakers, the DNC has voted to make a commitment to strengthening borders part of its platform.

Earlier this year Chuck Schumer coauthored a bill that would resolve the status of the “dreamers”, undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, while providing at least $25bin in increased border security. The bill failed to pass the Senate.

 

Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Could Drive Congress to Finally End Support for Brutal Saudi War in Yemen

October 22, 2018

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

The suspected murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia is pushing the U.S. government toward a major internal confrontation over its role in the war in Yemen, one that could have significant consequences for a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed intervention that has exacerbated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

On Monday, 55 members of Congress, led by Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., wrote to the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, asking whether the intelligence community knew about a plot to apprehend Khashoggi ahead of time, and whether the U.S. government fulfilled its “duty to warn” him.

The letter — the text of which was already made public by Khanna and Pocan — states that the DNI’s answers will inform coming votes on the Yemen war. “We look forward to your timely response to our inquiry as both the House of Representatives and the Senate consider privileged resolutions this fall … which invoke Congress’s sole constitutional authority over the offensive use of force to end illegal U.S. military participation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen,” the letter reads. It also promises to “use the full force of Congressional oversight and investigatory powers” if the Trump administration does not respond.

The Post reported earlier this month that U.S. intelligence had intercepts of Saudi government officials, which showed “that the crown prince ordered an operation to lure … Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia.” But it is not known whether U.S. officials knew of the threats to harm him, and if they did, whether they took any action to make Khashoggi aware of them as required by a 2015 intelligence community directive.

The results of the upcoming midterms may determine the significance of congressional outrage over Khashoggi’s killing. Signatories of the DNI letter include Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Judiciary, and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member of House appropriations, meaning that if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next month, they could investigate the intelligence community’s response and potentially call government witnesses to answer in a classified hearing.

The midterms could also affect a resolution introduced last month invoking the 1973 War Powers Act, which directs President Donald Trump to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” related to the three-year, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a companion bill in the Senate last week.

The resolution will almost certainly receive a vote in each chamber, which will be the first time Congress has voted on a measure that could cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led intervention. Khanna told The Intercept last week that he expects the resolution to pass, and that Khashoggi’s death had “permanently damaged” the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Unlike a similar resolution last year, this one has the support of key Democrats as co-sponsors, including Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, and the top Democrats on the House Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. Last year, Hoyer whipped votes against the measure and cut a deal that watered it down — a move that seems unlikely now given Khashoggi’s killing.

A Democratic House aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told The Intercept that if around 30 Republicans voted with a majority of Democrats, the measure would likely pass. A second aide said that based on private conversations with Republican counterparts, he was optimistic that a substantial bloc of Republicans would vote with Democrats, especially in light of Khashoggi’s murder.

In the Senate, the picture is less clear. The Senate voted down a measure 55-44 back in March, but key Democrats appear to be changing their position, including Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. Reed voted against the resolution in March, but told reporters Wednesday that he now supports an immediate cessation of arms sales and logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Other Democrats have suggested that as more details emerge about Khashoggi’s death, they may take a different approach. In a debate against his Republican challenger this week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, another Democrat who voted against the resolution in March, said, “I am holding my powder on which is the best way to go until we know more.”

Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider who became a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After insisting for weeks that Khashoggi left the consulate and was missing, the Saudi government has admitted that he was killed, but claimed it was the result of a “rogue operation.” Regional experts have widely denounced the story as implausible, arguing that it is highly unlikely that such an operation would be carried out without the crown prince’s approval.

 

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