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TBR News October 25, 2018

Oct 25 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 25 2018: “In 1951, when Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh nationalized the oil industry in that Mideast nation, he was deposed by a coup instigated by the CIA and the Shah came to power, assuming complete control in 1963.Thousands of Iranians, perhaps millions died during the repressive rule of the Shah and his SAVAK secret police. The Shah was finally forced out in 1979 by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who became the US’s latest foreign enemy despite the fact that he had been on the CIA payroll while living in Paris. The Shah was granted asylum in the United States.In Guatemala in 1954, again the CIA toppled the popularly elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, which had nationalized United Fruit property.

Prominent American government officials such as former CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith, then CIA Director Allen Dulles, Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs John Moors Cabot and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles were all closely connected to United Fruit.

An estimated 120,000 Guatemalan peasants died in the resulting military dictatorships.

Fidel Castro, with covert aid from the CIA, overthrew the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and instituted sweeping land, industrial and educational reforms as well as nationalizing American businesses. Swifty labeled a communist, the CIA then organized anti-Castro Cubans resulting in numerous attacks on Cuba and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. The island nation has been the object of US economic sanctions since that time.

More than 3,000 persons died in the wake of an invasion of the Dominican Republic by US Marines in 1965. The troops ostensibly were sent to prevent a communist takeover, although later it was admitted that there had been no proof of such a takeover.

Also in 1965, the US began the bombing of North Vietnam after President Johnson proclaimed the civil war there an “aggression” by the north. Two years later, American troop strength in Vietnam had grown to 380,000. US dead by the end of that Asian war totaled some 58,000 with casualties to the Vietnamese, both north and south, running more into the millions.

In 1973, the elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown by a military coup aided by the CIA. Allende was killed and some 30,000 persons died in subsequent violence and repression, including some Americans.

In 1968, the General Suharto overthrew General Sukarno, the dictator of Indonesia, again with aid from the CIA. Suharto proved even more dictatorial and corrupt than his predecessor. A reported 800,000 people died during his regime.

Another 250,000 persons died in 1975 during the brutal invasion of East Timor by the Suharto regime aided by the US Government and Henry Kissinger.

In 1979, the powerful Somoza family, which had ruled Nicaragua since 1937, was finally overthrown and Daniel Ortega was elected president. CIA-backed Contra insurgents operating from Honduras fought a protracted war to oust the Ortega government in which an estimated 30,000 people died.

The ensuing struggle came to include such shady dealing in arms and drugs that it created a scandal in the United States called Iran-Contra, which involved selling arms to Iran and using the profits to support the Contras.

US Marines landed in Lebanon in 1982 in an attempt to preventing further bloodshed between occupying Israeli troops and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Thousands died in the resulting civil war, including several hundred Palestinians massacred in refugee camps by Christian forces working with elements of the Israeli armed forced under Sharon.

Despite the battleship shelling of Beirut, American forces were withdrawn in 1984 after a series of bloody attacks on them.

In 1983, US troops invaded the tiny Caribbean island nation of Grenada after a leftist government was installed. The official explanation was to rescue a handful of American students who initially said they didn’t need rescuing.

For nearly 20 years, during the 1970s and 1980s, the US Government gave aid and arms to the right wing government of the Republic of El Salvador for use against it leftist enemies.

By 1988, some 70,000 Salvadorans had died.

More than one million persons died in the 15-year battle in Angola between the Marxist government aided by Cuban troops and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, supported by South Africa and the US Government.

When Muammur al-Qaddafi tried to socialize the oil-rich North African nation of Libya beginning with his takeover in 1969, he drew the wrath of the US Government. In 1981, it was claimed that Qaddafi had sent hit teams to the United States to assassinate President Reagan and in 1986, following the withdrawal of U.S. oil companies from Libya, an air attack was launched which missed Qaddafi but killed several people including his infant daughter.

In 1987, an Iraqi missile attack on the US frigate Stark resulted in 37 deaths.

Shortly afterward, the Iraqi president apologized for the incident.

In 1988, a US Navy ship shot down an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf resulting in 290 deaths. The Reagan Administration simply called it a mistake.

Thousands of freedom-seeking Chinese were killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 after hardliners conferred with former President Richard Nixon on how to deal with the dissidents.

About 8,000 Panamanians died over Christmas, 1989, when President George H.W. Bush sent US troops to invade that Central American nation to arrest his former business partner, Manuel Noriega. The excuse was that Noriega was involved in the importation of drugs to the United States. U.S .News & World Report noted that in 1990, the amount of drugs moving through Panama had doubled.

Iraqi casualties, both military and civilian, totaled more than 300,000 during the short Persian Gulf War of 1991.

It has been estimated that more than one million Iraqis, including women and children, have died as a result of the continued missile and air attacks over the past decade as well as economic sanctions against that nation.

Also in 1991, the United States suspended assistance to Haiti after the election of a liberal priest sparked military action. Eventually, US troops were deployed.

The names of nations that have felt the brunt of US CIA and/or military activity as a result of foreign policy include Somalia, Afghanistan, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Brazil, Chad, Sudan and many others.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated during the Vietnam War, “My government is the world’s leading purveyor of violence.” He did not say “my country” or “my people,” it is the government, or rather those who control it, that are responsible. Although we the distracted and unaware citizens who claim to live in a democracy must take our fair share of the blame.”

 

 

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 60
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •   Factbox: Top Democrats, former U.S. officials sent suspicious package
  •   Second day of bombs target Democrats, critics of Trump
  •   Donald Trump sees terrorists everywhere, but not under his own nose
  •   Here’s What Happens When The Migrant Caravan Gets To The U.S. Border
  •   Erdogan Did Not Tip His Hand Over Khashoggi So He Keeps His Leverage

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 60

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 11, 2017

 

“Rasmussen and others have my approval ratings at around 50%, which is higher than Obama, and yet the political pundits love saying my approval ratings are ‘somewhat low.’ They know they are lying when they say it. Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This is incorrect in three ways. First, Trump was at 44 per cent in the last Rasmussen poll released before he posted this tweet, two days prior. That is not “around 50 per cent.” (Trump was indeed around 50 per cent, at 48 per cent, as of Wednesday, but then fell; Rasmussen noted “the president’s overall job approval ratings have been trending down at week’s end.”) Second, other polls do not have him “around 50 per cent”; Trump had not been above 44 per cent in any non-Rasmussen poll tracked by RealClearPolitics’s poll tracker in the previous two and a half weeks. Finally, Trump’s 44 per cent is not “higher than Obama.” Obama’s Rasmussen approval rating at the equivalent date of his presidency was also 44 per cent. Looking at an average of all polls, not just at Republican-leaning Rasmussen, Obama was at 48.5 per cent on that date in his presidency, according to RealClearPolitics.

 

  • Mar 12, 2018

 

“THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Republicans on the committee, not the committee as a whole, came to this conclusion; Democrats on the committee were not given a chance to contribute to the committee Republicans’ draft report, and they did not endorse this finding; the Democrats accused the Republicans of prematurely ending their investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democratic member of the committee, wrote on Twitter: “GOP just shut down House Intel investigation, leaving questions unanswered, leads unexplored, countless witnesses uncalled, subpoenas unissued. If Russians have leverage over the President, GOP has decided that it would rather not know. The minority’s work continues.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

  • Mar 13, 2018

 

“One of the worst deals I’ve ever seen was the Iran deal: $150 billion we gave them, for what?”

Source: Speech to troops at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

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

 

 

“Very soon we are going to Mars. You wouldn’t have been going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you. You wouldn’t even be thinking about it. Wouldn’t be thinking about it.”

Source: Speech to troops at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

in fact: “Very soon” is an exaggeration. Trump signed legislation in 2017 that asked NASA to figure out how to get a human spaceflight mission to Mars launched by 2033. In other words, Trump has merely set a goal of going to Mars in 15 years. And while we can’t fact-check a claim about what would happen in a hypothetical Clinton presidency, it seems highly possible that a Clinton administration would have been thinking about attempting to get to Mars. Her 2016 campaign said in response to questions from ScienceDebate.org: “Today, thanks to a series of successful American robotic explorers, we know more about the Red Planet than ever before. A goal of my administration will be to expand this knowledge even further and advance our ability to make human exploration of Mars a reality.” The Washington Post reported: “Jake Sullivan, who served as Clinton’s top policy adviser during the campaign, confirmed that Clinton ‘proposed to advance plans for human exploration of Mars.’ Clinton even visited a factory in Michigan making parts and tooling for the Space Launch System. That’s the rocket for the Orion spaceship NASA is building for the Mars voyage and other deep-space destinations. ‘I got to see what’s happening here to help build the SLS rocket that is going to go from Macomb to Mars,’ Clinton said in August 2016.

“We’re also investing in our greatest weapon of all, our most powerful weapon, our most beautiful weapon, our most brilliant weapon; you. In 2019, we want to give you your largest pay raise in over a decade. You deserve it. You deserve it. You deserve it.”

Source: Speech to troops at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

in fact: As Military.com and the Military Times reported, Trump’s proposed 2019 pay increase for the troops, 2.6 per cent, would be the highest since 2010, for which Obama approved a 3.4 per cent pay increase in 2009. We’d let this go as rounding if Trump merely said this was the largest increase “in a decade,” though it is nine years, but “over a decade” is false.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“We’ve cut down, and way down, on crossings — border crossings — because of the job that the Border Patrol does. And the ones that get through, we’ve gotten out. MS-13, we’re taking them out by the thousands.”

Source: Remarks after reviewing border wall prototypes

in fact: “By the thousands” is an exaggeration; it is more like “by the hundreds,” or “by the dozens.” The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, said in December that “a renewed focus on ID’ing & dismantling the ultra-violent MS-13 gang led to nearly 800 arrests in (fiscal year) 2017, for an 83 per cent increase over last year.” That figure is disputed, as some of the people arrested may not be actual members of the gang. Even if they are, though, that is far from “thousands.” In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed the U.S. had “worked with our partners in Central America to arrest and charge some 4,000 MS-13 members.” But those additional arrests were made abroad, so the people arrested were not “removed.”

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“And by the way the state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas. They don’t tell you that. We said, ‘No, we won’t do it until we build the whole wall.’ But there are certain areas as you know where they are really wanting us to build a wall. Because the people are complaining.”

Source: Remarks while reviewing border wall prototypes

in fact: The claim that the state of California is begging Trump to build a border wall, even just in “certain areas,” is simple nonsense. California’s governor, Jerry Brown, and its legislative leaders, all Democrats, are staunchly opposed, and polls have consistently shown that strong majorities of state residents are also opposed. A September 2017 poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, for example, found that 73 per cent of California adults were opposed to the wall.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

  • Mar 14, 2018

“Trudeau came to see me, he’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please.’ Nice guy, good-looking, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit’ — he was very proud, because everybody else you know were getting killed with our, so he’s [unintelligible]. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. [Unintelligible, laughter] And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, but I don’t believe it. I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’ ‘Well sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber. But when you do we lose $17 billion a year.'”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Canadian officials who requested anonymity told the Canadian Press that they did not recall such an exchange happening in a Trump-Trudeau meeting. Regardless: U.S. trade statistics do include energy and timber, and they show that the U.S. had a $2.8 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2017, not a deficit, when goods and services are included. Trump’s press secretary said on Twitter that Trump was referring to the $17.6 U.S. billion deficit in goods trade specifically, excluding services. But, as usual, Trump did not specify that he was using this limited measure.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“I blame the people that represented our country, because they were not doing their job — they were delinquent in allowing this to happen to us…We lose $800 billion a year…Think of it, Josh. We lose $800 billion a year on trade. Who made these deals? Who made these deals? Then you have certain people that think it’s okay to lose $800 (billion). You know, these worldly people. You know why they’re worldly people, because they have stuff on the other side. That’s what it is. Can’t be any other reason. But we lose $800 billion a year on trade.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

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 is only $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

 

“I told Japan — so we lose $100 billion a year with Japan — $100 billion.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Trump is off by $44 billion, or $31 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. had a $69 billion deficit in goods trade with Japan in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $56 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the week before 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 4 times

 

“So think of it, Mexico makes more than $100 billion a year on the United States. Now, how stupid is this.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Trump is off by $31 billion, or $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 week before 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

“So here’s a funny subject — everybody’s saying, oh, he’s going to get us in trouble, in trouble. Then three weeks ago, you hear, we’d love to go to the Olympics and participate.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: North Korea announced on Jan. 9 that it would send athletes to the Olympics. That is nine weeks prior to Trump’s speech, not three weeks. Trump periodically moves up the date of good news to make it seem more recent.

“Obama, let’s not talk about that. In the meantime, he’s making nuclear weapons. He (Kim Jong Un) had a test, they had a test of a nuclear weapon about a year ago, and it registered as an 8.6. Now, you heard of that, on the Richter scale, right? So they said, ‘Man, there was an earthquake.’ 8.6 someplace in Asia.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: No North Korean nuclear test has registered nearly so high on earthquake measurement scales. (For the record, most scientists now use the moment magnitude scale, not the Richter scale.) As the Associated Press reported, the test Trump appeared to be referring to registered at 6.3, not 8.6: “North Korea tested what it called a hydrogen bomb in September, causing an underground blast so big it registered as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake…An 8.6 quake would be 200 times bigger — and release 2,818 times more energy — than a 6.3.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“We send a car to Japan, they analyze it for four weeks before they decide to send it back because it’s not environmentally friendly. [Unintelligible.] They actually, one of the car companies actually had a car made and it was the most environmentally perfect car, cost them a fortune. They spent a fortune. And they had everything, the highest quality that you can have. Everything was far better than any car they ever sent to us. They spent three or four hundred thousand dollars for a car that would sell for like $35,000, right? Not a good deal. But they wanted to see if they could get it in. And it, they were going crazy. Four days went by. Then five days. And they were ready to approve it and they said, no no, we have to do one more test. It’s called the bowling ball test, do you know what that is? That’s where they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and they drop it on the hood of the car. And if the hood dents, then the car doesn’t qualify. Well, guess what, the roof dented a little bit, and they said, nope, this car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible, the way we’re treated.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Nothing about this story is accurate. First, Japanese authorities do not test cars using a “bowling ball test.” (Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told reporters that Trump was obviously “joking” about the test; he obviously was not, but her statement effectively conceded the test doesn’t exist.) Second, Trump’s tale is false even before he gets to the “bowling ball test” part. There is no case in which Japanese authorities rejected a perfect, environmentally elite American car. Trump may have been misstating the history of the Chevrolet Cavalier, the General Motors car Toyota agreed to sell in Japan in the mid-1990s. A number of Cavaliers were rejected in late 1995, but not by Japanese authorities — it was Toyota itself, which found “fit-and-finish imperfections” with those particular cars, the Wall Street Journal reported. Contrary to Trump’s suggestion that the car was rejected outright, GM corrected the issues and continued shipping to Japan. The experiment failed simply because the cars were not popular in Japan. Car experts dispute the claim that the Cavalier was an elite car that contained “everything you can have in a car.” It was an unremarkable non-luxury sedan.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“We rebuilt China, we actually did. You take that money away from China. I mean we rebuilt it, and it all started with the World Trade Organization. If you look at China, it’s like this [a flat line] for many, many centuries. World Trade, it’s like a rocket ship, and much of it came right out of this country.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: This is an exaggeration. While China’s entry into the WTO at the end of 2001 does appear to have helped its economy, it is not true that China’s growth was stagnant before its entry and then took off after its entry: its GDP growth rates for 1992, 1993 and 1994 were all higher than its growth rates for 2002, 2003 and 2004, the years following its admittance to the WTO. As Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote in 2008: “China has been the fastest growing economy in the world over almost three decades, expanding at 10 per cent per year in real terms.”

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“So last year with China, we lost $500 billion, would you say that? Not million, $500 million, that’s a lot. Five hundred billion dollars.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Trump was off by $163 billion — and $125 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $337 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the week before 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 51 times

“And now, you have many, many companies coming back in, you have steel mills opening up, which hasn’t happened in 30 years.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: While many U.S. steel mills have shut down since the early 1980s, it is far from true that no steel mill had opened in 30 years before Trump imposed his steel tariffs. In 2013, Big River Steel announced an investment of more than $1 billion to build a new steel mill in Arkansas; construction began in 2014, and full-time production at the mill began in March 2017, a year before Trump’s tariffs. Nucor opened a steel plate mill in North Carolina in 2000, part of a flurry of mill construction around that time. The industry publication New Steel reported in 1998 on numerous recent and upcoming mill openings: “One wave of new-mill construction is almost over as North Star Kingman (Ariz.), North Star BHP, Trico, Ipsco, Nucor Berkeley (S.C.), and other mills have started up in the last couple of years. But another wave is beginning. Nucor, Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Chaparral, and Ipsco are boosting capital spending for the minimill sector this year and next by building new plate and structurals mills. U.S. minimills’ capital spending will be $1.41 billion this year, up from $1.22 billion in 1997…Chaparral will build a $400 million structurals mill in Dinwiddie County, Va. Production is scheduled to begin in mid-1999. Nucor’s plate mill in Hertford County, N.C., will cost $300 million and will produce 1 million annual tons. It will begin production in 2000. Nucor will complete other large projects by that time. A new $150 million structurals mill in Berkeley County will begin production this fall. A $120 million cold mill with a 500,000-annual-ton galvanizing line and 800,000-ton cold-rolling line in Hickman, Ark., will be installed by early next year…SDI will begin building a new, $285 million structurals mill in Whitley County, Ind., late this year. Production will begin in early 2000…Ipsco, Canada’s largest minimill company, is trying to increase production at its new plate mill in Montpelier, Iowa.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“So we lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: The U.S. does not have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, let alone at the border between the two Koreas. According to the most recent statistics from the military’s Defense Manpower Data Center, issued in Sept. 2017, the U.S. has 23,635 active duty personnel in South Korea, 27,123 military personnel in total. The vast majority are stationed at the massive Camp Humphreys base that is located more than 90 kilometres from the border.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“You can’t take it. I mean you just can’t have it. You see some of the decisions. How about the 9th Circuit? Anytime you go. They always file in the 9th Circuit, which says something — look, that’s not right. No matter where they’re sued, they file in the 9th Circuit.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: It is not true that everyone suing the Trump administration files in the 9th Circuit, which Trump accuses of being excessively liberal. Numerous suits have been heard in areas covered by other circuits. For example, the 4th Circuit ruled against Trump’s travel ban in February, while the D.C. Circuit ruled in favour of Trump in December, deciding that a privacy group didn’t have the standing to sue Trump’s voter fraud commission over its collection of information on voters

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“It’s like the young man last night that ran (Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb), he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. He said, I, I, you know, Second Amendment, all, everything. I love the tax cuts.’ Everything.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Lamb, the winner of the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, never said he loved Trump’s tax cuts. In fact, he ran on his opposition to those tax cuts; he called them a “complete betrayal of the middle class.” Lamb also did not say “I’m like Trump,” though he was more respectful toward the president and some of his policies than some Democratic candidates elsewhere.

“It’s actually interesting because it’s only a congressman for about five months (in Pennsylvania’s 18th District). I don’t know about that one, Josh, it’s a lot of work for five months.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: There might be a delay in swearing in Conor Lamb, the Democrat who narrowly won the March 2018 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, because Republicans are thinking about challenging the outcome. Even if they do, though, Lamb — or Republican Rick Saccone, in the unlikely event the result is overturned — will almost certainly be a congressman for much more than five months. This term of Congress runs until Jan. 3, 2019; even if the winner is not sworn in until, say, the end of April 2018, he will still get to serve for eight months.

“And we won the state of Michigan, first time since Reagan.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: George H.W. Bush in 1988, not Ronald Reagan in 1984, was the last Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan before Trump did so in the 2016 election

“And you know, last night (in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District), I don’t know I guess the final results aren’t quite in, we had an interesting time because we lifted seven points up that’s a lot. And I was up 22 points, and we lifted seven and seven normally would be enough, but we’ll see.”

Source: Speech at private fundraiser for Josh Hawley, Republican candidate for Missouri Senate seat

in fact: Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th District by 19.5 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to Fox News Research. That rounds to 20 points, not 22. (Also, it is not clear whether there is any private poll that provides a basis for Trump’s apparent claim that he boosted the standing of Republican candidate Rick Saccone by “seven points.” The public polling does not: Saccone trailed by six points in one late public poll; he ended up losing by 0.2 points, a difference of 5.8 points, not seven. Further, other public polls suggested a tighter race.)

“And really importantly, we’ve created almost 3 million jobs since Election Day, and if somebody would have said that that was going to happen, they would have said that’s not possible, and you know, the candidate — I wouldn’t have said it, you would have lost all credibility in running. But we created almost 3 million, and in fact, it’s now over, it’s going to be very shortly over 3 million jobs since Election Day.”

Source: Tax cuts roundtable at Boeing plant in St. Louis

in fact: Between November 2016, the month of the election, and February 2018, the U.S. added 3.1 million jobs, so leaving aside the fact that Obama was president in November, December and most of January, Trump’s figure is roughly accurate. It is false, though, that nobody would have thought this number was possible. More jobs, 3.3 million, were added during the 16 months prior to that, under Obama.

Trump has repeated this claim 16 times

“You know, this was about the first place that I announced that we were going to be asking for massive tax cuts and everybody said it will never happen, hasn’t happened since Ronald Reagan to any scale, and didn’t even come close since then.”

Source: Tax cuts roundtable at Boeing plant in St. Louis

in fact: Trump is wrong even if he is only talking about his own party. Republicans passed major tax cuts under George W. Bush. This is the fourth time Trump omitted the Bush tax cuts in attempting to make his own sound historic.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“The Republicans are 5-0 in recent Congressional races, a point which the Fake News Media continuously fails to mention.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The media does not mention this because it is false. Republicans lost two congressional races in 2017: the high-profile Alabama Senate race, in which Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore, and a little-noticed race in California’s 34th House district, in which Democrat Jimmy Gomez beat a field largely consisting of other Democrats. Republicans lost that race so badly that none of them came close to qualifying for the runoff.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 24, 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. 41

Date:  Sunday, October 6, 1996

Commenced:  8:45 AM CST

Concluded:    9:38 AM CST

GD: Hello to you this morning, Robert. Up and around?

RTC: Well, the sun did come up and animal instincts get us going. And then there is coffee. Are you a coffee drinker, Gregory?

GD: I never used to be, but I am now. I hate the taste of the stuff which is funny because my grandfather was a big-time coffee broker. We had coffee all over the kitchen in little bags. My uncle was an expert and when my father got out of the business, he continued long after my grandfather died. Coffee gets you going but if I drink too much of it, my wiring gets fried.

RTC: The world runs on coffee.

GD: They buy a lot of it. My grandfather wasn’t exactly poor. That’s how I know about your people and the Guatemala business. My uncle was involved in it and it was well-known around the house. Grandfather was tied up with Levi and Zentner…the United Fruit people…. and the Grace Steamship company. Uncle was born in Petropolis in Brazil and was fluent in a number of languages, including Portuguese. Yes, there seemed to have been quite a connection between American business and the CIA. And of course, the White House and Congress.

RTC: Well, you’ve seen the tip of the big iceberg, haven’t you, Gregory?

GD: How big is it?

RTC: It’s not so much the size but the power of it. This country isn’t run by little local political action groups or small town newspapers. Democracy is only a word that sounds good. The public hates to vote although I understand that in Switzerland it is mandatory. They don’t care as long as they make money. Do you know how much money it costs to run for Congress? Many millions. And where does the money come from? Aunt Anna’s cookie and mad money jar? No, it comes from corporate interests who want to keep things balanced on their side of the books.

GD: That’s not a great revelation, Robert. No one really cares, as you say, as long as they have television and a car. Back in the Depression days when people didn’t have television sets and no cars, a lot of the underpaid and overworked workers were Communists. Once Roosevelt got the war started for us, business boomed and the workers ceased to be Communists.

RTC: Oh, that’s absolutely true, Gregory, but don’t underestimate the power of the Communist bugaboo to terrify the public into letting us do what we wanted.

GD: Gehlen told me that in ’48 when he was asked by the Army brass to prepare an intelligence paper proving the Russians were about to launch a huge attack on the West, there were two forces behind all of this bullshit. The first was the Army who didn’t like to be reduced in size. Generals had to retire you know and they didn’t like that. And, business had been booming during the war and they, like the generals, didn’t much like shutting down plants and making less money. This from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Oh, and it worked. Leaked to Congress and Harry Truman, it started the Cold War.

RTC: Nicely put and remember this for Critchfield. Yes, that’s basically the long and short of it. At this moment, the United States is run by four major power sources. They are all interconnected and they have the common goal of protecting their asses and increasing their profits. We have what they call big business which consists of international companies, mostly the huge New York banking giants but some manufacturing companies as well. This country got great by being a manufacturing country but that’s slipping a bit. At the turn of the century it was railroads and steel, but that has faded a little…

GD: A little? A lot.

RTC: Yes, a question of degree, I suppose. Anyway, we have really big business as one entity. The other is the political part of our society. Most Congressmen are put into office to take care of business.

GD: And then we have Huey Long, who was not interested in business.

RTC: Yes, and Roosevelt had him shot very dead, didn’t he?

GD: Yes.

RTC: But Congress passes the laws and since most of them are on the take, they are careful not to pass too many laws to injure their business paymasters.

GD: But under Roosevelt they went the other way.

RTC: But Roosevelt is dead and when he died, we had a new dawn of commerce. And Congress knows where the money comes from and acts accordingly. Eventually we will see someone in the Oval Office who is also Chairman of the Board of Chase Bank. Just joking, but there are those who would love the concept. We have business and political and then we have the Mafia. Yes, it is a huge industry, spawning billions of dollars in revenue. Joe Kennedy turned to them to get Jack elected and then turned on them and began to persecute them using the other brother. Look at all the damage that short-sighted behavior did to the family. And that leads us into our very own CIA. We are at the top of the pyramid, Gregory, for a number of reasons. As you know, we started out as a small advisory group whose job it was to supply Harry Truman accurate international intelligence. Harry never trusted the Army and he found out about the humped Gehlen Report and wanted more facts to work with. Now we got Allen Dulles whose brother, John Foster, was a lawyer with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York. Sullivan and Cromwell was, in essence, a Nazi establishment. They were firm supporters of Hitler and worked with the Schroeder bank in Cologne. And you ought to know that when he was Ambassador to England, Joe Kennedy did business with Hitler and got huge blocks of I.G. Farben stock. It got taken away at the end of the war, seized by the Justice Department and one of the first things Joe did when Jack became President was to have him put Bobby in as AG so he could get his stock back. Oh yes, those people were for Hitler right up to the last week of the war. And even afterwards as well. Of course now that Jews are getting more power here and especially in the CIA, we do not mention any of this. Same thing with your Mueller friend. Of course we used him because he was the top Nazi expert on Communists. Why not? But, of course, if the Jews ever had to face that fact, they would come unglued. Can you imagine the huge headlines in The New York Times?

GD: Yes, I can. We called that Second Coming Type.

RTC: Wrong. The New York Times is run by Jews and sucks at Israel’s tit but they would never discuss this, let alone put it on the front page. Why? Because we have control over what they print. You see, we help our friends in business with delicate political nuisance problems. Like the nice Belgians in the Congo who had all that uranium. Kill off the left wing politicos who tried to grab it all. They really weren’t Communists planning to give uranium to Russia but that’s what we told the President and that’s what our friends who publish The New York Times heard. And that’s what they published and that’s what they condoned. Naturally, with such a dangerous menace, the CIA rushed up to save us all and kill off old Patrice.[1] Same in Guatemala and the same in Iran with Mossadegh. The enemy is identified as dangerous to our business friends. We do studies to prove it to the rabble such as …fake documents and all that…that these enemies are vile Communists, working for the Soviet Union, and a real danger to all of America. On the one hand, get permission to destroy these enemies and on the other, launch a publicity campaign through our many friends in the media to make it just another heroic crusade.

GD: Oh, say it isn’t so, Robert.

RTC: I see you are a baseball fan, Gregory.

GD: No, that’s where it came from, but I am not a baseball fan. I was feigning shock and horror at your dastardly revelations. Do go on, though.

RTC: So we have business, the press, the mob on one side thanks to Jim Angleton’s organization, the legislative branch and that’s it. We don’t control, Gregory, we influence. A press campaign, planned in our offices here, and an assassination or bomb blast there. We have it down to an exact science. A nice balance at that.

GD: And the Mueller business?

RTC: A mere bump in the road. If you had brought this up twenty years before, they would have killed you but by now, it’s unpleasantly cold coffee. They’ll just ruin your reputation by using paid hacks. The media would never discuss this, believe me. You could have Heinrich Mueller’s body in a glass case and the press would be as silent as the grave. We would ask them nicely to drop it and guess what? They would.

GD: The machine seems to run well enough.

RTC: We’ve had time to perfect it. There are always glitches but so far, we have been able to repair them. But it isn’t like it used to be, Gregory. Then it was a band of brothers and now the whole agency has gotten too big, too compartmentalized and too stiff. The power is there but it is an old power, not a dynamic one. One of these days, parts will start falling off and then it will be replaced with another group that will march to a different drummer.

GD: Things always change, Robert, mark that.

RTC: I’m afraid I’m stuck in the old days, thinking the old thoughts and doing what I got used to doing. I told you not to get old, Gregory. I’ve seen it before. Sweet children grow up to be anarchists, faggots, drug addicts, bank robbers, drunks and so on. Wives leave you for someone else, your business changes way past recognition and you become redundant and out you go. You don’t recognize the cars in the street, the music is terrible and the trouble is you remember too much.

GD: And tend to romanticize the past instead of learning from it.

RTC: We write books, but in my case, I can’t. In the first place, I am forbidden to by contract with the Agency and in the second, I can write reports but not books. You write books, though. Of course, so do Joe and Susan. I don’t think very much of Joe, Gregory but I think you might do well to write things up. Joe can see for about two inches in front of his nose, but I find you can see for miles.

GD: It’s a blessing and a curse. I have a secret for you, Robert. You won’t believe me, of course, but here it is, For reasons I don’t even begin to understand, I can meet a new person and almost at once see right into them and know just who and what they are. They may be a professional football player, but if I talk with them for three minutes, I can see that they are gay. Or a religious leader and see he is a drunk. But only face to face. Can’t do it on the phone on by mail. And I think sometimes these people sense I am poking around inside their psyche. I never say a thing to them but some people can sense my invasion of their often rotten soul. And for no reason apparent to a, say, neutral observer, they suddenly hate me.

RTC: They’re afraid of you, Gregory. People fear the predator.

GD: Yes, I’m sure they do, but I am not predatory. I am very understanding of other people.

RTC: Trust me, Gregory, you’re a born predator. That’s one of the reasons I trust you. I prefer to know a wolf as a wolf than a yapping little dog that sneaks around and bites you in the lower leg. You would go for the throat and the kill. No, seeing into people is a gift. I ran enough agents in my time and I know. Always go for the throat.

GD: Yes. I was once confronted with six armed men who were trying to kill some people I happened to be with. I had a gun, a Belgian Browning 9mm. The High Power model with a 13 shot box mag. These fellows were shooting at my friends and at me. I had nothing to do with the business but I had the gun. I got it out and I nailed all six. Five through the head and one in the neck. Before I left the scene with my wounded friend, I went over and shot that one through the head. I didn’t want any witnesses. And I got my brass.

RTC: I never knew that one, Gregory. How old were you at the time?

GD: Seventeen and a couple of months.

RTC: You were in the service?

GD: No. A tourist.

RTC: Six at one throw?

GD: Five on the spot and one a few moments later.

RTC: A dumb question here, but did it bother you?

GD: Yes, terribly. My friend bled all over my shoes before I got him to a safe place. It took a lot of work to get the blood off. And I ruined a very good tie. He got it in the upper leg so I used the tie to keep him from bleeding out. Fortunately, the artery was spared and he survived.

RTC: And it never bothered you?

GD: Why should it? These jerks were shooting at me and in time, they might have killed me, too. Fuck them, Robert. Now they’re turning green in a box somewhere, waiting for the Last Trumpet. Yet in my flesh shall I see God? Oh, I think not. Heaven’s doormat will be a horrible, oozing mess come trumpet day.

RTC: Predatory, Gregory, in word and deed. No wonder the club does not like you.

GD: Club?

RTC: Bill, Tom, Trento and a few others. They warn me about you. I can see why. Their old warning system, the cave man one, is still fitfully working and they can sense you are a danger. Seventeen? Was that the first time?

GD: No, when I was in Germany just before that, I got jumped by a DP. He had an iron bar and I emptied a clip from a .380 into his pump. They had quite a bit of trouble from these DPs from Poland. They were all Polish Jews from the liberated camps and until the Army rounded them all up and shipped them, under guard, to Israel, they cut quite a path. And I got another one over by a putting green. He pulled a knife and his buddy had a wooden pistol. My friend got him and broke his neck and I got the one with the knife using a nine iron. I ruined the club but you should have seen his head. It looked like a cherry pie dropped on the sidewalk. Dragged both of them into the hedges and off we went. The club went into the river. I guess they found them later by the stench and all the flies.

RTC: Very predatory, Gregory.

GD: Self-defense, Robert, self-defense. What else would you call it?

RTC: Good reflexes among other things.

GD: God must hate me for making his doormat so filthy,

(Concluded at 9:38 AM CST)

 

Factbox: Top Democrats, former U.S. officials sent suspicious package

October 24, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Police on Wednesday intercepted suspected explosive devices sent to several current and former U.S. politicians, as well as the CNN news channel, days after a bomb was delivered to prominent Democratic Party donor George Soros.

An earlier report saying a suspicious package was delivered to the White House turned out to be false.

Following are some of the key figures targeted:

FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON:

A suspicious package sent to Clinton, who opposed U.S. President Donald Trump as the Democratic candidate in the 2016 election, was discovered late on Tuesday during an off-site mail screening, according to the Secret Service. Clinton later said her family was fine.

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

The Secret Service uncovered a suspected explosive device sent to Obama’s Kalorama residence in Washington, D.C., early on Wednesday during a screening. Officials said Obama was not at risk.

CNN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN:

New York City Police evacuated the Time Warner Building Wednesday after a suspicious package was found in the CNN mail room. The package was addressed to Brennan, an outspoken critic of Trump, who is a periodic contributor to the network.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO:

During a news conference regarding the device mailed to CNN, Democrat Cuomo told reporters that a device had been sent to his office.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA:

Democrat Harris’s San Diego office was evacuated after suspicious packages were found near her building, according to her spokeswoman. The packages were not addressed to Harris or her office.

U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN FROM FLORIDA DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ AND FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER:

The building that houses Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office was evacuated after a suspicious package was found, according to media reports. The package had been addressed to Holder but the former Democratic Party national chairwoman was listed on the return address.

U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN FROM CALIFORNIA MAXINE WATERS:

Capitol Hill police intercepted a suspicious package addressed to Democrat Waters, according to an ABC reporter.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by James Dalgleish and Rosalba O’Brien

 

Second day of bombs target Democrats, critics of Trump

October 25, 2018

by Susan Heavey and Jonathan Allen

Reuters

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Authorities discovered suspicious packages sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert de Niro on Thursday, a day after several high-profile Democrats and critics of U.S. President Donald Trump were targeted with similar devices. None of the nine confirmed devices exploded but authorities stepped up their manhunt for the would-be serial bomber, with crucial congressional elections less than two weeks away in what has become a contentious campaign season.

Leading Democrats called the threats a symptom of a coarsening brand of political rhetoric promoted by Trump, who also condemned the acts but blamed the media, his frequent foil, for much of the angry tone of the time.

A suspicious package addressed to Biden was found at a mail facility in New Castle County in Delaware, a federal law enforcement official told Reuters. MSNBC reported a second suspicious package also was discovered.

De Niro, who received a loud ovation when he hurled an obscenity at Trump at the Tony Awards last June, also was targeted, the official said.

At a Wisconsin rally Wednesday night Trump, who has denounced the media as an “enemy of the people,” called attention to “how nice I’m behaving tonight” but on Thursday morning he attacked the media.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” Trump wrote. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

All the people who were targeted are frequently maligned by right-wing critics, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder.

Also targeted were former CIA Director John Brennan, prominent Democratic Party donor George Soros and California Representative Maxine Waters, an outspoken critic of Trump. Two packages were sent to Waters, who Trump has called “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”

The bomb packages were sent as the nation prepared for Nov. 6 elections that will decide whether Democrats take control of one or both houses of Congress from Republicans and deny Trump the majority his party now holds in both chambers.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Several politicians, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, described the package bombs as an act of terrorism.

“Someone is trying to intimidate. Someone is trying to quash voices in this country using violence,” De Blasio said. “I am confident that we will find the perpetrator or perpetrators.”

The CNN bureau in New York received a package addressed to Brennan, who has appeared as a CNN analyst, leading police to evacuate the Time Warner building in a busy Manhattan neighborhood near Central Park.

The package sent to CNN, which Trump has frequently derided for its coverage of him, contained an envelope of white powder that experts were analyzing, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

‘AGGRESSIVE INVESTIGATION’

Trump told the Wisconsin rally his government would conduct “an aggressive investigation.”

“Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself,” Trump said. “We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony.”

Last week, Trump, who joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of encouraging “mob” tactics, heaped praise on a Montana congressional candidate who assaulted a reporter during his successful 2017 campaign.

The first package turned up on Monday and was addressed to Soros, the billionaire financier and advocate of liberal, open-border values who is a frequent target of right-wing conspiracy theories.

The parcel intended for Holder ended up rerouted to the return address printed on all the packages – the Florida office of U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, according to the FBI.

The FBI said on Wednesday the packages consisted of a manila envelope with a bubble-wrap interior containing “potentially destructive devices.” Each bore a computer-printed address label and six “Forever” postage stamps, the FBI said.

Other officials said the devices contained in the envelopes were similar to the one found in the mailbox of the Soros home and later detonated by police. At least one bomb was packed with shards of glass, a federal source said.

Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mark Hosenball in Washington and Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jeffrey Benkoe

 

Donald Trump sees terrorists everywhere, but not under his own nose

The US president has been quick to paint the migrant caravan approaching America as a grave threat, but is muted on liberal figures being targeted

October 24, 2018

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

This blunt-spoken White House, best known for its smash-mouth president, doesn’t usually shy away from fightin’ words. Just this week a tough-talking Donald Trump declared himself a nationalist, accused Democrats of organizing mobs, and dismissed Puerto Rico’s entire leadership as inept.

Which makes it so glaring when Team Trump tiptoes so gingerly while talking about a series of pipe bombs. Normal people call a coordinated series of bombs something as simple as terrorism. This White House calls them “terrorizing acts”, presumably performed by actors rather than terrorists.

For a group that campaigned on its desire to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism”, this is perplexing. Terrorism is meant to sow confusion and fear, but there’s nothing quite as befuddling to the Trumpsters as what appears to be anti-liberal terrorism.

George W Bush used to say you were either with us or with the terrorists. Donald J Trump prefers to say there are very fine people on both sides.

When he finally emerged to condemn the terrorism, Trump couldn’t bring himself to say the word. Instead he conjured up something altogether different. “Acts and threats of political violence have no place in the United States of America,” he said at the start of an event about opioid addiction.

Acts and threats of political violence covers a wide range of stuff: insults, mobs, tweets, and apparently pipe bombs. There are Isis and Taliban terrorists who no doubt think they are engaged in acts of political violence. This president has chosen to call that terrorism. Then again, this president has also chosen to whip people at his mob-like rallies into a hate-filled frenzy. So it must have been someone else who made him say this: “In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together.”

We surely do. And that unity needs to start at the top of the political system, inside a White House whose current unity-minded slogan is “jobs not mobs” and likes to talk about the media as the enemy of the people.

Still, it’s good to know the Trump White House has great confidence in how these fear-inducing incidents will be handled.

“These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement. “The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”

Such confidence sounds just as strange as the weasel words about terrorizing acts.

Because when it comes to the Great Terrorist Threat from the Southern Border, the White House has no idea how this country can respond. Faced with several thousand people several weeks away from its border, America is all but naked and helpless.

“Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in,” Trump tweeted on Monday about the migrant caravan making its way to the United States. “I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy [sic].”

The “Emergy” services are all over this. US Customs and Border Patrol is the largest law enforcement agency in the country, with almost 20,000 border patrol agents alone. There are 19,000 National Guard in Texas alone. The San Ysidro border crossing in California handles more than 2 million car passengers each month. The courts processed 22,000 asylum cases in 2016.

America has most definitely got this. For obvious reasons, Trump hasn’t.

As the midterm election campaign enters its final days, our tough-guy-in-chief has spent the last several days taking the fight to assorted brown-skinned people, imaginary terrorists and the enemy within who call themselves Democrats. In that context, you can understand why his response to real terrorism is so muted, confined to agreeing wholeheartedly with his vice-president.

This muscular president thought he had found his perfect foil: a veritable caravanserai of the unclean, unsavory and un-American folks known as migrants. These people – if we can think of them as such – are in no way similar to the boatloads of unclean, unsavory and un-American folks who arrived on these indigenous-free shores over the last century.

One of those floating caravans included Friedrich, a German teenager from Kallstadt who wanted to make his fortune and avoid military conscription. In this land of plenty, his grandson grew up to become an immigrant-hating president who married no less than two immigrants. That’s progress for you.

People fleeing war and poverty like Grandpa Friedrich should not be confused with people fleeing violence and poverty today. There are several thousand of them currently walking the 1,000-mile journey from southern Mexico to the US border.

Today’s huddled masses obviously include criminals and terrorists, according to the tough guy in the Oval Office. They are totally unlike his grandfather who hid his German heritage through two world wars because his type were widely considered to be the enemy.

Those unsavory immigrants were so very unlike the Middle Eastern characters Trump claims have hidden themselves among the migrant travelers. And so very unlike the real terrorists who are sending pipe bombs to the president’s political opponents and the media.

That’s the problem with creating fake crises to distract voters and journalists from an election campaign that is otherwise circling the toilet bowl. Real crises tend to poke their way through the sewage.

For the last several days, media and political elites have suggested that we should either ignore Trump’s lies about the caravan or acknowledge that they are a brilliant political strategy. Both suggestions are about 1,000 miles away from the border known as reality.

First, even Trump was forced to admit how baseless his own fantasy was. When asked for proof of his claim that Middle Eastern migrants were in the caravan on Tuesday, he admitted: “There’s no proof of anything but they could very well be.” Brilliant, this is not.

Second, what kind of leader projects so little confidence in his own national security? Democrats should take pride in America’s border patrol if Republicans won’t. President Clinton supposedly said of George W Bush that “strong and wrong” beats “weak and right”. Somehow Donald Trump manages to combine weak and wrong at the very moment when he thinks he’s strong and right.

Of course, in addition to playing one on TV, Donald Trump desperately wants you to know that he’s a tough guy. Those who oppose his hardman positions on trade, immigration or Russia are obviously the laughingstock of the world.

Gone are the days when the world laughed behind the back of a weak superpower. Now they just laugh in his face at the United Nations. Gone are the days when America was weak on national security. Now we’re strong on caravans and weak on terrorists.

The challenge for wannabe tough leaders is that you need do something tough when the tough times arrive. Agreeing with your vice-president doesn’t quite cut it. Because if you want to play the politics of fear, you should know that real fear trumps fake fear every time.

 

Here’s What Happens When The Migrant Caravan Gets To The U.S. Border

As the Central American immigrants proceed through Mexico, Donald Trump remains left with limited options.

October 24, 2018

by Elise Foley and Roque Planas

Huffington Post

As a widely publicized caravan of thousands of migrants makes its way through Mexico toward the United States and sets off a new round of fury from the White House, President Donald Trump has threatened to use the military if necessary to repel them.

But the reality is that for now, Trump can do little more than complain.

Most of the ideas Trump has floated in response to the caravan seem unlikely to flourish as U.S. policy. He’s vowed to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where most of the travelers are from. But that would require congressional approval and runs the risk of exacerbating the regional instability that caused many to leave in the first place. He’s threatened to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, but that would be disastrous for trade and for the roughly 500,000 people who legally cross into the U.S. every day for work, school, shopping and tourism.

Trump already tried sending the military to the southern border earlier this year, when he deployed the National Guard. But they can’t actually detain immigrants. If the move was meant as a show of force to scare away would-be migrants, it didn’t work. Unauthorized crossings are up slightly this year compared to last and the number of families crossing together as a unit hit a monthly record in September of more than 16,500 people.

For the moment, Trump is doing what he does best: Spreading alarm, demonizing immigrants and lashing out at Democrats. But once the migrants arrive, U.S. officials will have little choice but to let many of them in.

What’s next

The caravan is largely made up of Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans and includes both asylum-seekers and people traveling north for economic reasons, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. There’s no evidence supporting the president’s claim that people from the Middle East are part of the caravan, as he acknowledged Tuesday

Not everyone will try to get to the U.S.; some may stay in Mexico, while others may decide go back to their home countries or get deported from Mexico, as happened with past caravans. That’s the Trump administration’s clear preference. Officials have repeatedly called for legitimate asylum-seekers from Central America to stay in Mexico rather than continuing on to the U.S., in spite of potential dangers they could face in the neighboring country.

The Mexican government has registered about 1,700 asylum claims, mostly from women and minors. Nearly 500 Hondurans with the group already returned to their countries of origin, according to the Mexican government.

It’s not clear where those traveling to the U.S. are headed. The most direct route would land them in southern Texas, the area of the border that currently sees the most unauthorized crossings. But those traveling with the caravan have yet to announce their intentions and some speculate they might head toward California, like last year’s caravan, according to The Guardian.

Getting into the U.S.

For those who do try to make it to the U.S., their first option would be to go to a port of entry on the border to seek asylum ― a method that doesn’t involve crossing the border illegally. Trump administration officials have encouraged asylum-seekers to do just that, while simultaneously making it harder.

The administration has increasingly used what it calls “metering” to limit the number of asylum-seekers it processes each day, sometimes with the cooperation of Mexican officials who block people from crossing over to ports of entry, according to human rights groups and attorneys.

U.S. officials claim it’s an issue of space ― they don’t have the capacity or time to admit the large number of people asking for help. Facilities weren’t designed to handle thousands of people per day, a senior administration official said Monday, adding that “lines are probably going to remain” at ports of entry.

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment Wednesday on its plans for handling a potential increase in asylum-seekers at the border.

Some activists suspect it’s an intentional effort to keep asylum-seekers out, either by inflating capacity constraints or creating them by failing to invest in processing or quickly releasing people. Whatever the case, some suspect the added layer of bureaucracy at the border might encourage people to find another way in.

“This administration is really playing up metering,” Sarah Pierce, an analyst with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, told HuffPost. “But the main thing about metering is that it incentivizes people to cross illegally.”

Those who cross illegally are still allowed to ask for asylum under U.S. law, though those that do so risk facing criminal prosecution for jumping the border, along with fighting their case in immigration court. That’s especially true for single adults, who remain subject to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting as many petty border-crossing infractions as possible. The families traveling with the caravan, however, pose a more complicated problem.

How to handle families?

Once migrant families crossing with the caravan wind up in U.S. custody, the Trump administration will face a choice: Either it can continue the current policy of releasing the vast majority of new arrivals after arrest or brief periods of detention, or it can experiment with a new form of the controversial family separation policy it tried earlier this year.

Currently, families are typically either released with notices to appear in court or detained for up to about 20 days. The government then releases families because a court order enforcing a 1997 federal settlement called the Flores Agreement prevents locking up children for longer than that. The administration wants to change that through proposed regulations that would let it lock up kids with their parents long-term, but the rule change has yet to take effect and will likely face an immediate legal challenge.

Even if the Trump administration could hold families longer, it might not have the capacity to do so. As of earlier this month, the largest of the three family detention centers, South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, was near its 2,400-bed capacity. The second-largest, also in Texas, has more space, but currently is holding only adult males and their sons.

Trump has long railed against the practice of letting families out of detention ― a practice critics like him deride as “catch-and-release.” The White House is reportedly already considering what officials call a “binary choice” for parents to either waive their children’s right to release or have them ripped away so the adults remain in detention without them.

Outside experts argue the government should be more focused on how to handle the number of asylum-seekers ― especially families with children ― rather than trying to scare them from coming. That would mean more investment in processing and adjudicating claims rather than policies meant to scare people from coming that might not work if they’re already scared at home.

“This is desperation,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration at the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center think tank. “It’s really hard to deter desperate people.”

Getting asylum

Caravan members who seek relief in the U.S., whether at a port of entry or after crossing the border illegally, face a long and difficult path to actually getting approval to remain in the country.

Immigrants are first screened by asylum officers to determine whether they have “credible fear” of returning to their home country and thus can pursue asylum claims here. Around a quarter of applicants fail to pass that stage, making deportation the most likely outcome.

The roughly 75 percent of applicants who pass the credible fear stage are allowed to continue to pursue asylum claims through the courts, often outside of detention. This can take years ― something the Trump administration opposes, because the immigrants live in the U.S. while they wait.

Ultimately, the bids for asylum often don’t work, particularly under new, narrowed guidelines on who can receive that status and the history of low asylum approval rates for immigrants from Central America.

The administration may not be able to turn asylum-seekers and families away as quickly as it would like to. But it still will get the chance to deport many of them.

 

Erdogan Did Not Tip His Hand Over Khashoggi So He Keeps His Leverage

October 24, 2018

by Patrick Cockburn

The Independent

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a skilful politician who knows how to maximise his advantages and this was very much on display in his speech to the Turkish parliament.

He contemptuously dismissed the official Saudi story that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was the accidental outcome of a botched interrogation by a “rogue” Saudi intelligence team.

It was always naive to imagine that Mr Erdogan would tell all that Turkey knows about the murder and the Saudi role in it because such information – particularly the alleged audio recording of the killing – is invaluable in giving Turkey leverage over Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser degree, the US.

Mr Erdogan disappointed the media by not producing “a smoking gun”, but it is not in his interests to do so for the moment. However, he was categorical in showing that the killing of Mr Khashoggi was premeditated. “Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned,” he said. “Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community.”

This unlikely narrative is, of course, exactly what Saudi Arabia is trying to sell to the rest of the world. Mr Erdogan did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by name. But then he does not have to. All he had to say was that “from the person who gave the order to the person who carried it out, they must all be brought to account”. The nation has repeatedly denied any suggestion that the crown prince may have been involved.

The crown prince is discovering, as have many authoritarian leaders in the past, that once you win total control of a country it becomes impossible to talk of ignorance of its crimes.

Mr Erdogan is shooting at an open goal. When Saudi Arabia denied knowing anything about the killing for 17 days and then issued a vague and unconvincing admission of the “rogue operation”, it created a vacuum of information about a story which the whole world is watching with fascinated interest. This vacuum is being filled by unattributable briefings by Turkish officials, drip-fed to the Turkish and international media at a pace geared to keep the finger pointing at Riyadh and the affair at the top of the news agenda.

The Saudi admission on 19 October that Mr Khashoggi was killed has made things worse rather than better for them. Their feeble cover story is already in shreds. Mr Erdogan is very reasonably asking what has happened to the body and what are the names of the Turkish “collaborators” to whom Riyadh is claiming operatives have handed over the corpse.

The problem for Saudi Arabia is that any attempt to explain away its role in the killing is likely to be immediately discredited by Turkish leaks. It is almost certain that the audio recording of Mr Khashoggi’s final moments really exists and will finally be made public. Meanwhile, it enables Turkey to pile on the pressure on the kingdom in the knowledge that it holds all the high cards.

It will play these cards very carefully because, once revealed, they lose their value. For Turkey, the Khashoggi affair has provided an unexpected and miraculous opportunity to recalibrate its relations with Saudi Arabia and the US to its own advantage. The Saudi bid to be the undisputed leader of the Sunni Muslims, although never really convincing and always overstating the kingdom’s strength, is dissolving by the day. Mr Erdogan can look to extract concessions – although he may not get them – from Saudi Arabia when it comes to the war in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar and confrontation with Iran, as well as financial benefits.

Whatever happens, the aggressive, arrogant but disaster-prone Saudi foreign policy over the last three years under the leadership of the crown prince is likely to be thoroughly diluted in future.

Mr Erdogan will be looking to modify the stance of the US towards Turkey on issues such as the US alliance with the Syrian Kurds, whose enclave in Syria Ankara denounces as being run by the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the Turkish state has been fighting since 1984.

This is a delicate moment for President Trump. The Khashoggi affair may not much effect the midterm elections, but it will affect the US position in the world. Mr Trump’s most radical change of policy has been to exit the Iran nuclear deal and to reimpose severe sanctions on Iranian oil exports in early November. The main US regional ally in this was to have been the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, but this strategy is in deep trouble. Turkey has close if shaky relations with Iran and says it will not comply with sanctions. Saudi Arabia will go on being an important regional player because of its oil and money, but its prestige and influence have been damaged beyond repair.

If the crown prince does survive then he is likely to be much more under US influence and less likely to act independently than in the past. For the moment, he will be watching the news from Ankara and living from leak to leak

 

[1] Patrice Émery Lumumba July 2, 1925–17 January 17, 1961 was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a CIA-controlled coup during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and murdered by a CIA officer.

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