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TBR News October 26, 2018

Oct 26 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 26 2018: “The Florida man arrested for mailing bombs to prominent Democrats, former President Obama and others, turns out to be an avid Trump fan but to say that he was involved in a Republican conspiracy is utter nonsense.

The subject is what is known to intelligence, counter-intelligence and law enforcement as a ‘lone wolf’ and the bane of these agencies.

In short, a ‘lone wolf’ is a person who has no connection with anyone and acts entirely by himself.

Such people are difficult, if not impossible, to observe and who carry out their usually murderous schemes entirely alone.

But politics being what it is, no doubt Trump and his people will be blamed for this man’s actions.

As much as I dislike Trump, I am positive that neither he nor his associates were in any way involved in this lunatic eruption but that having been said, I do say that Trump’s erratic and inflammatory rhetoric is more than capable of activating such lone wolves.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 61
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •    Special Report: How Republicans are using immigration to scare     voters to the polls
  •    FBI arrests man in Florida suspected of sending parcel bombs
  •    Mail Bombings Suspect Appeared To Promote Trump, Conspiracies On Social Media
  •   Suspect in bombs case is Florida Republican with criminal history
  • What the targeting of Trump critics reveals about America’s rotting core

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 61

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 15, 2018

“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive).”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. does not have a trade deficit with “almost all countries.” While the U.S. has a substantial overall trade deficit — $566 billion in 2017 — it has surpluses with more than half of its trading partners, according to data from the U.S. government’s own International Trade Commission: in 2017, the U.S. had surpluses with Hong Kong, 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. 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

“We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive).”

Source: Twitter

in fact: In a report released the week before Trump’s tweet, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported a $2.8 billion U.S. trade surplus in goods and services with Canada in 2017. Press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump is referring to the trade deficit in the trade of goods alone, which was $17.6 billion in 2017, but he never specifies that he is using this narrower measure.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

  • Mar 17, 2018

“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This tweet is comprehensively inaccurate, whether or not there was collusion between the Trump campaign in Russia. As for crimes, Mueller has so secured guilty pleas, for lying to the FBI, from Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. (Gates also pleaded guilty to committing a conspiracy to defraud the United States.) In addition, Mueller has charged 13 Russians for allegedly conducting fraudulent activities to interfere in the election. Second, the Mueller investigation was not started because of the research dossier produced by ex-spy Christopher Steele, which Trump calls “fake.” Even the famous memo released by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, acknowledged that the investigation began before that — after Papadopoulos 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 said. In addition, Mueller himself was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was appointed by Trump. Finally, as the Washington Post reported: “There is no evidence the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application to monitor Carter Page was used to spy on the Trump campaign. On Sept. 26, 2016, Page announced that he was taking ‘a leave of absence’ from the campaign. On Oct. 21, the FBI received a FISA court order to begin surveillance on Page. So that was just days before the election — and after Page was no longer part of the campaign.” In other words, even if there was impropriety in how this initial surveillance warrant was obtained — and that has not been proven — there is no current indication that there was surveillance of the campaign itself, since Page had left.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign.”

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 18, 2018

“Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked ‘have you ever been an anonymous source…or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?’ He said strongly ‘never, no.’ He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump misquoted the exchange televised by Fox and Friends. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley asked former FBI director Comey: “Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?” Comey said, “Never.” So Trump’s tweet was accurate up until this point. But Grassley’s next question was not whether Comey had “known someone else” to be an anonymous source. It was whether Comey had “authorized someone else at the FBI” to be an anonymous source: “Question two, relatively related, have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?” Comey said, “No.”

  • Mar 19, 2018

“It’s pretty amazing. They (Democrats) don’t want to go with DACA, because they don’t care about DACA. But they’re trying to tie the wall to DACA, and DACA to the wall. And they want to keep DACA for the campaign instead of getting it approved, which we could do very easily. The Republicans are totally in favor of doing something substantial for DACA. But the Democrats like it as a campaign issue, so they don’t get it approved. And they want to tie it to the wall, which is okay with me. But both should get approved. They don’t want it to be approved. And: “Remember what I said: They don’t want it to be approved. They want to make it part of the campaign.”

Source: Speech on the opioid crisis

in fact: This is transparent nonsense. A Democrat, Obama, created the DACA program; Republican Trump terminated it. Democrats simply want Trump to re-protect the “DREAMer” unauthorized immigrants covered by DACA immediately, without conditions; Republicans say they are only willing to protect the immigrants in exchange for billions of dollars in spending on a border wall — at minimum. Trump has previously rejected deals that would legalize DACA recipients in exchange for wall funding alone. Instead, he has demanded that a deal include significant reductions in legal immigration as well.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“We’re making medically assisted treatment more available and affordable, and we continue to increase competition and drive down drug prices. And we’re driving them down.” And: “And I would like to ask Secretary Azar just to come up and mention opioid, but also talk about how we’re getting your drug prices down. And we’ve already saved billions of dollars for our country, and it’s reflected in much lower drug prices.”

Source: Speech on the opioid crisis

in fact: Prescription drug prices have continued to rise under Trump. The administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in February, a month prior to Trump’s comments, that it expected prescription drug prices would keep rising rapidly in 2018 and beyond: “Prescription drug costs are expected to see the fastest annual growth among health care expenditures over the next decade, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts, rising an average of 6.3% a year due to higher drug prices and more use of specialty drugs such as those for genetic disorders and cancer,” the health news website Managed Care reported. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Managed Care reported, also predicted a sharper increase in prescription drug prices in 2018 than in 2017: “Acceleration in prescription drug price growth (4.4% in 2018 from 2.1% in 2017) reflects the expectation that brand-name drug prices will more strongly influence growth in that year because the dollar value of drugs losing patents in 2018 is smaller than in prior years, the CMS said.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“You know, it’s an amazing thing. Some of these drug dealers will kill thousands of people during their lifetime — thousands of people — and destroy many more lives than that. But they will kill thousands of people during their lifetime, and they’ll get caught and they’ll get 30 days in jail. Or they’ll go away for a year, or they’ll be fined. And yet, if you kill one person, you get the death penalty or you go to jail for life.”

Source: Speech on the opioid crisis

in fact: It is obviously false that major drug traffickers whose products kill numerous people get sentences of 30 to 90 days in jail, or a fine and no jail time. (There might be a case somewhere in which there are exceptional circumstances — for example, a plea deal in exchange for information on higher-level criminals — but Trump was suggesting that this is common.)

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“You know, it’s an amazing thing. Some of these drug dealers will kill thousands of people during their lifetime — thousands of people — and destroy many more lives than that.”

Source: Speech on the opioid crisis

in fact: Experts say it is obviously false that a single drug dealer kills thousands of people. “While the number of overdose events that included opioids (among other substances) was high in the U.S. last year, the number of dealer arrests is quite a bit higher. So as a matter of arithemetics it probably is not the case that any single dealer has caused thousands of deaths,” said Stefan Kertesz, a doctor and a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studies addiction. According to federal data crunched by the group Common Sense for Drug Policy, there were 182,048 arrests for the sale or manufacture of drugs in 2016; the U.S. government says that about 64,000 people died of drug overdoses that year. Not all of the 182,048 people arrested for sale or manufacture can be called “drug dealers,” but it is clearly not true that the typical drug dealer kills thousands of people.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“The Democrats do not want to help DACA. Would be so easy to make a deal!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This is transparent nonsense. A Democrat, Obama, created the DACA program; Republican Trump terminated it. Democrats simply want Trump to re-protect the “DREAMer” unauthorized immigrants covered by DACA immediately, without conditions; Republicans say they are only willing to protect the immigrants in exchange for billions of dollars in spending on a border wall — at minimum. Trump has previously rejected deals that would legalize DACA recipients in exchange for wall funding alone. Instead, he has demanded that a deal include significant reductions in legal immigration as well.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

  • Mar 20, 2018

“That was not a good — and I would say her (Hillary Clinton’s) last statement about women — they have to get approval from their husbands, their sons, and their male bosses to vote for Trump. That was not a good statement. Not good.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: This is a mangling of Clinton’s comment. Speaking in India, Clinton said Democrats do not do well with married white women in part because of “sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.” In other words, she was suggesting that these women vote for Republicans like Trump because their husbands, sons and bosses want them to — essentially the opposite of saying women needed permission from their husbands, sons and bosses vote to vote for Trump.

“But they had this expression, ‘Drain the swamp,’ and I hated it. I thought it was so hokey. I said, ‘That is the hokiest — give me a break. I’m embarrassed to say it.’ And I was in Florida with 25,000 people going wild, and I said, ‘And we will drain the swamp.’ The place went crazy. I couldn’t believe it. And then, the next speech, I said it again. And they went even crazier.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Trump did not introduce the phrase “drain the swamp” at a rally in Florida with 25,000 people in attendance. He did so at an Oct. 17, 2016 event in Green Bay, Wisc., that was attended by about 3,000 people, according to local news estimates. He then used it the next day in Colorado Springs. He did not go to Florida until five days later. He did attract large crowds in Florida, but he did not have any events that drew 25,000 people after he introduced the phrase, according to local news reports. The Tampa Bay Times said his Tampa rally drew 15,000 people.

 

 

“And we ran the East Coast because, you know, we have a tremendous disadvantage in presidential elections with the Electoral College.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Trump’s regular claim about the Electoral College continues to be nonsensical. It is obviously false that the presidential election system is set up in a way that favours Democrats. Six of the last nine presidents, all of whom except for Gerald Ford had to win an Electoral College election, have been Republicans.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“…and then we lost by 300 votes the other night, right? Three-hundred out of two-hundred-and-twenty-some-odd-thousand votes. Three-hundred votes.” And: “Good man — Rick Saccone. Good man. And didn’t quite make it. But lost — think of it — lost by about 300 votes out of all those votes.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Republican candidate Saccone lost the special congressional election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district by 758 votes, according to the most recent totals from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The numbers changed slightly in the week prior to this Trump remark, but Saccone’s margin of defeat was never lower than 600 votes.

“And the other thing is, you know, we had five (special congressional) races up until last week. And of the five races, we won all five. These people back here expected us to lose a couple of those races, maybe more than that. We won. They didn’t know what to do.” And: “We’re 5 and 0.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: 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

“And on terrorism, in Iraq and Syria, we’ve taken back almost 100 per cent, in a very short period of time, of the land that they (Daesh, also known as the Islamic State) took. And it all took place since our election. We’ve taken back close to 100 per cent.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: The U.S. military and independent experts say it is true that the U.S. and its partners have recaptured nearly all the land once held by Daesh. But it is not true that “all” of this progress occurred after Trump’s election. The Associated Press noted: “IS was pushed to the point of collapse in Mosul, its main Iraqi stronghold, before Trump took office. In 2016, Iraqi military forces, supported by the U.S.-led coalition, waged successful battles to oust IS from Fallujah, Ramadi, eastern Mosul and a number of smaller towns along the Tigris River. They also established logistical hubs for the push that began in February 2017 to retake western Mosul.” Noted Factcheck.org: “According to analytics and consultancy firm IHS Markit, near its height in January 2015, the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria covered about 35,000 square miles. By January 2016, that had been reduced to about 30,100 square miles. By the time Trump took office in January 2017, ISIS-controlled territory had shrunk to about 23,300 square miles. So clearly not all of the land was taken back under Trump, as he claimed.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“We don’t want people fired and watch a company leave our country, make a product somewhere nearby, ship it back into our country, not be taxed, and all we get out of it is unemployment and pain. Not going to happen anymore. That’s why so many companies are moving back. They’re moving back. First time in many, many decades.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: It is not true that this is the first time in decades that companies are moving manufacturing operations into the U.S. or that U.S. companies in particular are moving manufacturing operations back to the U.S. Take automotive companies in particular. While they have indeed announced major investments under Trump, they also announced major investments under Obama. In 2015, for example, Volvo announced that it would open its first U.S. car plant, in South Carolina. During the Obama era, auto companies also poured money into expansions and improvements of their existing U.S. plants. For example, General Motors announced in 2013 that it would invest $1.2 billion to upgrade an Indiana truck plant, while Ford announced in 2015 that it would invest $1.3 billion to upgrade a Kentucky truck plant. That same year, Ford shifted production of the Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks from Mexico to a plant in Avon Lake, Ohio.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“They (Democrats) don’t want DACA. They do not want DACA because they think it might be a good political issue, and we want DACA. And DACA is very much tied to the wall, and we have to have the wall…But they don’t want DACA. They really don’t. They want to use it as a political football. And guess what? I think it plays better for us than it does for them because we want to do something for the 800,000, and they don’t. So it’s been a little bit of change of position, and we’re going to win that one every time.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: This is transparent nonsense. A Democrat, Obama, created the DACA program; Republican Trump terminated it. Democrats simply want Trump to re-protect the immigrants covered by DACA immediately, without conditions; Republicans say they are only willing to protect the immigrants in exchange for billions of dollars in spending on a border wall — at minimum. Trump has previously rejected deals that would legalize DACA recipients in exchange for wall funding alone. Instead, he has demanded that a deal include significant reductions in legal immigration as well

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“And when they came to me — because not since Ronald Reagan has anything been close — and when they came to me, they said, ‘We’re going to pass tax reform.’ I said, ‘Why hasn’t it been done in 38 years?’ They said, ‘We don’t know, you just can’t do it.’ And I said, ‘Well, it doesn’t make sense. You’re cutting taxes. Why?’ ‘Well, sir, I don’t know, but here’s the bill. It’s tax reform. It says tax reform.’ And I said, ‘There’s something wrong. How come it hasn’t happened?’ And I said, ‘You know, I think I have the idea. Don’t call it tax reform. Call it tax cuts.’ It was never called tax cuts.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Trump again ignored the passage of George W. Bush’s major tax cuts, which were indeed billed as tax cuts. He also exaggerated how long it had been since Reagan’s tax cuts: Reagan’s second major tax cut bill was signed in 1986, 32 years prior. Finally, that Reagan bill was indeed sold as tax reform: it was called the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“We’ve created more than 3 million new jobs since the election. And if we would have said that number prior to the election, nobody would have believed it possible.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Trump’s 3 million number is correct, though he is giving himself credit for jobs created during the last three months of Obama’s presidency. But it is not true that nobody would have believed 3 million jobs could be created over this period. The number of jobs added between November 2016, the month of the election, and February 2018, the last month for which data was available, was lower, at 3.1 million, than the 3.3 million jobs added during the previous 16 months, under Obama.

Trump has repeated this claim 16 times

“Thank you very much. And I have to say, I don’t know if you know, you broke the all-time record. Last year was your record, and I was here too. And the year before that, you didn’t do so well, and I wasn’t here. You went from $18 million, which is good — not great — to $30 million last year.”

Source: Speech to National Republican Congressional Committee

in fact: Trump is correct about the $30 million fundraising haul at the 2017 version of this National Republican Congressional Committee dinner, but he is more than $2 million off about the 2016 dinner he did not attend. That event raised $20.5 million, not $18 million, according to the NRCC.

“So I just want to welcome you. It’s a great honor to have you back again. Some tremendous things have happened for you since your last visit to the White House, when you were — when you were the Crown Prince, and now you’re beyond the Crown Prince.”

Source: Remarks before lunch with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

in fact: Mohammed bin Salman was deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, not the crown prince, when he visited the White House in March 2017. He is now the crown prince

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 26, 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. 40

Date: Friday, October 4, 1996

Commenced: 9:01 AM CST

Concluded:  9:51 AM CST

 

RTC: Hello, Gregory. I wanted to give you a call because I have just had a long talk with Jim Critchfield. He says he managed to reach you this week and had a discussion with you. Whatever did you say to him? Jim’s howling mad over this. I hope you didn’t go too far.

GD: No, not at all, Robert. He went on a fishing expedition with me and I tried to answer all his questions. That’s absolutely all. I was not rude or threatening to him at all. What did he say?

RTC: He said that you are a very dangerous person and he is going to stop your filthy lies about him and the Company. He thinks you are a renegade intelligence officer who can be legally stopped because of confidentiality agreements he is sure you must have signed at some point.

GD: Well, Robert, I think that comes of your telling him I was an intelligence officer.

RTC: Well, Gregory, I admit that I could have hinted at it when he was asking about you, but I was never specific. Never specific. Did he tell you I was?

GD: No, he took your hook, bait and all.

RTC: Jim said he knew absolutely that you were, or had been, an agent of influence because no one from the outside could possibly have your inside knowledge.

GD: Well, he’s wrong. He tried to threaten me with this so-called agreement and told me I was way out of line. That’s after I stuck the knife into him. I figured I’d do this because he was trying to find out what I knew about his operations or who might have told me. He never admitted knowing Mueller and kept trying to pass Krichbaum off as an army officer, not an SS man. I filled him in on Willi’s background and he certainly wasn’t happy.

RTC: I would imagine not. That whole Gehlen organization was stuffed with Nazis, most of whom were on the automatic arrest lists. He knew this and now he knows you know it. If this ever gets out, I mean really out, it will ruin his career and do damage to the German BND.

GD: Well, that’s a given. He says he’s writing a book about himself and Gehlen and now, he’s worried I’ll shit in his soup.

RTC: And he mentioned this Atwood several times. I know something about him and he claims you have made false accusations about some explosives deal.

GD: I got that from Atwood while he was drinking. It had to do with the two of them plotting to sell ex-Soviet atomic artillery shells to a Pakistani terrorist organization.

RTC: Jesus. Is that true?

GD: I don’t make these things up, Robert.

RTC: I’m not saying you do, Gregory, but could this Atwood have been indulging in fantasy?

GD: No. From Critchfield’s verbal reaction, some or all of it must be true.

RTC: You didn’t tape him, did you? He said you were visiting with some former Army intelligence officer that he had a very bad opinion of.

GD: John busted Atwood back in the early ‘60s for fraud, theft, tax evasion and so on. I would imagine that if Critchfield and Atwood were at all friendly, Jack’s name would cause spastic colon. As soon as he found out where I was, he got right off the line. He probably spent the day on the toilet.

RTC: This tape. You have it?

GD: Certainly. Would you like me to play it for you? Over the phone?

RTC: At this point, Gregory, that doesn’t matter. Yes, play it for me. Jim gave me his view of what was said and now I’d like to hear what really happened.

GD: Then give me a minute to get it hooked up.

(Pause)

Transcription of a telephone conversation between James H. Critchfield and Gregory Douglas, Stillwell Kansas, on Wednesday, October 2, 1996

 

JHC: Mr. Douglas? Is this Mr. Gregory Douglas?

GD: Yes, it is.

JHC: This is Jim Critchfield. A friend of Bob Crowley’s. I wrote to you recently.

GD: Colonel Critchfield. Yes. Bob told me about you and I did get your letter.

JHC: I’ve been reading your book on Mueller. Very, very interesting to me. Fascinating.

GD: Why thank you very much, Colonel.

JHC: I’m not disturbing you, am I? I can always call later.

GD: No, no, not at all. I’m just visiting a military collector in Stillwell.

JHC: Your phone was busy but I did get a hold of your son who gave me this number. You’re sure this is not an imposition?

GD: No, not all. What can I do for you?

JHC: Well, as I said in my letter, Bob said you were looking for some information on the Pullach people and since I was actively involved with them, he thought I might be able to help you.

GD: He did speak of you. You were up there. That’s a Nazi summer home colony, isn’t it?

JHC: Yes, it was. And I understand you knew Gehlen?

GD: Yes. I met him in the summer of 1951 when I was in Munich.

JHC: Gehlen lived in Munich then, didn’t he?

GD: He might have but when I knew him, he was living at the Villa Rechsberg on the northeast corner of the Starnberger See. He was working for what he called an oil company up at Pullach and he was using the name Major Stephanos. General Staff. That wasn’t his name and Franz told me about him.

JHC: Would I have known this Franz?

GD: Franz von Brentano. One brother was Heinrich, the West German Foreign Minister and his other brother was Ambassador to Italy. He was with the Attaché Abteilung of the OKW during the war.

JHC: I think I remember the name. Were you staying with him?

GD: No, I was living at the Hotel Post in Starnberg. I think it’s a police station now. Gehlen lived down the road so I used to walk down and talk with him.

JHC: An interesting man.

GD: Yes, very.

JHC: Well, I’m writing a book about him and his organization and I was very much interested in your comments about Krichbaum.

GD: So I gathered from your letter.

JHC: Did you ever meet him?

GD: Willi? Oh yes, a number of times. He was living at Bad Reichenhall then. Used to live in Dresden during the war but got bombed out.

JHC: Willi was an army officer.

GD: Well, he was during the First World War, Colonel, but not in the Second.

JHC: I’m certain he was a Wehrmacht colonel then.

GD: I think he might have misled you. Willi Krichbaum had been a lieutenant in a Baden artillery unit in the first war, later was in the Freikorps and then joined the SS. Willi was an Oberführer in the SS. He was in charge of the Grenzpolizei in the south and was Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. Of course during the last war, Willi was chief of the Geheime Feldpolizei which was under the OKW. But he was still an SS colonel, not an army one.

JHC: My, my, Mr. Douglas, that is most interesting. Did Willi tell you this?

GD: No, Müller did. I do have a copy of Willi’s SS file, however, complete with picture.

JHC: I always thought he was a regular soldier.

GD: No, an SS man. He was assigned to the RSHA, Amt IV or the Gestapo. I rather liked Willi, Colonel. Ever look at his hands?

JHC: Oh yes.

GD: Badly wounded in the first war. You were asking about his connection with Gehlen? Willi was the chief recruiter for Gehlen’s Org. They used the CROWCRASS list mainly. I mean that’s the list of wanted Nazi war criminals. They took it away from Frenchy Grombach.

JHC: Mr. Douglas, Bob tells me you were serving in Germany after the war. What unit were you with?

GD: I was not in service in Germany, Colonel.

JHC: But to know what you do, you must have been. You certainly weren’t with our people. You were with the Army?

GD: Well, some time ago. Not now.

JHC: Ah, I knew it. Well, as a fellow soldier, I can see that we have some things in common. But I ought to advise you that your book is just a little too informative. You did sign a confidentiality agreement when you left?

GD: My God, so much paperwork.

JHC: Oh, I know. But I wanted to caution you against publishing anything that might jeopardize security matters. You have come rather close to this in certain areas.

GD: I probably have.

JHC: Just a friendly reminder.

GD: Thank you for the heads-up Colonel. I will keep that in mind.

JHC: Are you planning to write any more books on that subject? On Müller?

GD: Yes, I am. I have spoken with Robert about this.

JHC: You know, as I wrote to you, this book is stirring up some interest up at Langley. I’m sure you are aware that some of your comments are viewed with disbelief by some.

GD: Oh yes, Colonel, I’m sure they are.

JHC: There’s quite some information in the files that Müller died in Berlin in ’45.

GD: I know that. Did you know that they found the body of Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, his wife and two daughters in the courtyard of the Air Ministry?

JHC: Well, you see….

GD: Yes, it was Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller of the RSHA but it was also Doctor Heinrich Müller and he was not in the Gestapo. That’s why my Müller was called ‘Gestapo Müller.’ And that one had only a son and daughter. The wife and the two children are still alive. A different person with the same rank and similar posting, Colonel. I have a copy of his file as well. So much for that myth.

JHC: I think our problem here, Mr. Douglas, is that if certain people got it into their heads that, as you allege, the head of the Gestapo had even had contact with us, let alone worked for us, there would be quite a stink.

GD: I assume you’re talking about the Jewish community.

JHC: Well yes, of course that’s what I’m talking about. All they do is yammer about how important they are. They would raise cain about all of this if they ever believed it and you know how much trouble they can stir up. And you mentioned a Swiss interview with a so-called interrogator. Could you perhaps tell me who this person was? It could be very helpful in authenticating your book.

GD: Why, that’s no problem. The interrogator was James Speyer Kronthal who was the CIA station chief there in Switzerland. James was of the Speyer banking family. German Jews originally. Worked in Berlin before the war, selling stolen artwork for Hermann Göring. Did you know him?

JHC: I may have heard the name.

GD: The CIA did away with Kronthal eventually. He was a practicing homosexual and they believed, though never proved it, that he had been compromised by a Russian agent.

JHC: Did you, by any chance, hear this from Bill Corson?

GD: Corson? No. Müller told me.

JHC: Corson wrote a book on this….

GD: I know. ‘Widows.’

JHC: Right. Did you ever discuss this with Corson?

GD: Of course. Müller had told me that Kronthal’s favorite uncle had died of the influenza epidemic in ’18 and Corson said he knew this from the sister but had never published it. A small detail but I like the small details, Colonel. When Willi got in touch with his former boss, Heini was working for Swiss intelligence. Haussaman and Masson as I recall. Used the name Schwartzer and lived in an elegant villa on the Lake Geneva. Did you ever meet him?

JHC: No, of course not. I mean your book was a revelation to me and many of my friends.

GD: I can believe that. Bob said you raised horses. Do you?

JHC: Why, yes, Mr. Douglas, I do. Are you interested in horses?

GD: Oh yes. I learned to ride over at Possenhofen. You know where that is, I assume?

JHC: Oh yes, I do.

GD: I had an Arabian mare and always rode English. Actually, I used an old German army saddle and I still have it. Don’t ride anymore but I loved it. My instructor was a former Waffen-SS cavalry NCO. You wouldn’t know him, would you?

JHC: I..I really don’t recall.

GD: Good man. Taught me to take a jump with a coin under my ass. The idea was to have it there when you came down. You used to be in the cavalry, as Bob told me.

JHC: Yes, I was, and then we became an armored unit.

GD: I had a relative in the panzers. Got the Knight’s Cross.

JHC: I didn’t know that you were German.

GD: I wasn’t born there but I have family members there. Have you seen Mr. Livingston lately? He was at Pullach and I met him at Gehlen’s place once. In fact, I met you twice.

JHC: Did you? I don’t recall you, Mr. Douglas. You have a good memory.

GD: I’ve been told. I just take it for granted. Dulles bought Gehlen a villa on the east side of the lake. Will you put that in your book?

JHC: Did you get that from Bob?

GD: No, another source.

JHC: Mr. Douglas I have to ask you a serious question. Who are you working for now? Some people think you might have Russian connections.

GD: That’s giving me too much credit, Colonel. I have no secrets to sell to anyone. I just like to put puzzles together…to find out things.

JHC: Couldn’t that cause trouble?

GD: For others, Colonel, certainly not for me. I just write scenarios.

JHC: For our people?

GD: For anyone who will pay me and I have expensive tastes. American agencies like to threaten people to get information on the cheap and that doesn’t impress me. After all, Colonel, it isn’t love but money that makes the world go around. I don’t know if you were aware of this, but Müller used to sell looted art for the CIA. Auctioned some of the unknown pieces off. Lots of money involved. When he died in ’83, I got some of the pieces. A lovely Raphael for instance. Of course, I can’t even think of selling it because they’re still looking for it. Came from Hans Frank’s collection and before that, Poland. Worth millions if it had a clear title but it looks fine on my wall. And you might be interested in the knowledge that parts of the famous Amber Room were right there in Berg. You know Berg, of course. Bodeman-Soden people. It went to Thyssen down in Lugano eventually.

JHC: Well, that’s not in my field.

GD: I think we have a mutual friend, Colonel. Jimmy Atwood? Worked for the CIA in Berlin? Guns? INTERARMCO? Sam Cummings? That one.

JHC: Yes, I had some dealings with him.

GD: I had a run in with him in Austria in 1990. He tried to rip me off on a deal and he got the very dirty end of the stick.

JHC: I don’t…

GD: Does the name Globocnik mean anything to you?

JHC: In what context?

GD: Just curious. I always wondered what Langley did with a box full of gold painted paving stones. But enough of that. Poor Jimmy. You know, when he’s on the sauce, Jimmy talks far too much. He mentioned you once or twice. Now he lives on that lake near Berlin right next to Marcus Wolf. Not surprising considering Jimmy worked for him too.

JHC: I think right now you are way out of line.

GD: He did tell me about the Russian atomic artillery shells but you were a cavalry man and probably wouldn’t be interested. But Jimmy talks far too much and Jimmy is not a gentleman. Abandoned his wife and daughters after she had stuck by him when Angolia got him arrested in ’62. Walked off and left her.

JHC: I know about that. Left her for a tart he met in a club. You knew Angolia?

GD: I’m sitting in his office as we speak. He runs a security company now.

JHC: Is he the one who answered the phone?

GD: As a matter of fact, he did.

JHC: I’m going to have to get off now. It’s been an interesting time talking to you. You will hear from me later on some of these things.

GD: I am certain of that, Colonel. In my next book, I’m going to cover all the Nazi SS and Gestapo people who worked for Gehlen. And Bob Wolfe got me a U.S. Army General Staff listing from 1948 with the names of all the people we brought in then. Of course it was marked not to be released by order of the President of the United States but maybe Wolfe got a promotion and we don’t know it.

JHC: I really have to get off now. It’s been interesting talking with you.

GD: Well, the same, Colonel, and I hope I’ve cleared up some of your questions.

 

GD: I missed about thirty seconds at the beginning while I was turning on the recorder. The call came in to Jack and he took it on the speaker phone. When Critchfield announced himself and said he wanted to talk to me, Jack acted like he was going to leave but I waved him back into his seat. That’s when I turned on the recorder. Does it match with what he said?

RTC: In essence, but the way Jim tells it, he had complete control over the conversation. It’s obvious the reverse was true. Jim has a very high opinion of himself and he expects people to fall down and worship him. Actually, Gregory, I loved that tape. Listening to it and comparing it with Jim’s rantings, you have made me very happy.

GD: Don’t think I didn’t enjoy myself, too, Robert. What a stuffed shirt he is. Does he really think he can bluff me? With what? Some CIA-inspired court order? He can take one of those, roll it into a tube, insert it into his flabby ass and set it on fire.

RTC: You see, Gregory, if you had been connected with some official intelligence agency and signed the usual confidentiality agreement, he could get such an order. But, of course, if you never did, he’s shit out of luck.

GD: Isn’t that wonderful? I did warn him that Atwood had a huge mouth and gave him a few examples.

RTC: I heard. I have a feeling that Atwood won’t be long for this world given that Paki deal. If he has a sudden heart attack….

GD: Or goes out on the river in a little boat….

RTC: Then I’ll know that you were dead on. We can see.

GD: We could have a pool. Six months?

RTC: Probably. Or less.

GD: Will he come after me?

RTC: You’re not a Company man, Gregory. They’ll do everything they can to keep you out of print. Threaten any prospective publisher with dire financial problems and believe me, not one article about you or your book will ever appear in any American newspaper or on any American television talk show. And I mean ever. They’ll put a blackout on you. And I can assure you that even as I speak, Jim is gathering in all kinds of government informers to write terrible things about you…

GD: You mean like Wolfe…

RTC: Yes, and Naftali and the rest of the third grade Hebrew character assassination brigade.

GD: Yes, but most of them, if not all of them, are little pismires that no one knows anything about. Librarians, minor academics and so on. Pathetic little weasels with the brains of cockroaches. I know because I’ve had to listen to their whinings about the book. Oh mercy, Percy, I just can’t believe this! That’s what they go on about.

RTC: What’s your response?

GD: I tell them something my late grandfather used to say to the idiots he had to deal with. ‘I beg your pardon, sir, but are you anybody in particular?’

RTC: Oh that’s just the thing to say to them. Funny.

GD: They may be big men at home where they terrify small children and pets but in the real world, they remind me of furious squirrels chattering in a park when you stop throwing them soggy peanuts. They think that because they read a paper on some arcane subject at a meeting of other rodents that somehow they have reached the pinnacle of earthly grandeur.

RTC: And then the New York Times gives them some space in their Sunday edition and they cut out the article, frame it and stick it up on the wall of their cubicle.

GD: Failures but unaware of it. Their betters give them fake steering wheels, like little kids in strollers and let them spin them around, thinking they are running the boat. Well, do you want to bet on Atwood? Five will get you ten he’ll be dead meat within…let’s say within a year. Are you game?

RTC: No, I never bet on a sure thing.

GD: I’ve got a thick file on Atwood. Eventually, I’ll publish it. When Jack got him indicted, he threatened to snitch on the CIA so they got the indictment quashed. Jimmy has been involved in all kinds of gun deals where the CIA gives weapons to various groups in foreign countries then proceed to shoot all the leaders the CIA wants to get rid of. Like Guatemala for instance.

RTC: Best wait until he’s dead to do that.

GD: I’d much rather do it while he’s alive. I do so enjoy the shrieks of rage, followed by the sound of the toilet flushing.

RTC: Gregory, I just knew you’d do a good job. I knew it in my heart. I’ll have to tell Bill about this.

GD: What about Kimmel?

RTC: I’d rather not. He keeps warning me not to listen to you because you’re crazy as a loon and that no one must listen to you, ever.

GD: And he’s so friendly with me, too.

RTC: Don’t turn your back on him, Gregory.

GD: Should I send you the tape?

RTC: No, put it in a safe place.

GD: I will. Sure you don’t want to bet on Atwood’s remaining time on earth?

RTC: No. I told you I never bet on a sure thing.

 

(Concluded at 9:51 AM CST

 

Special Report: How Republicans are using immigration to scare voters to the polls

October 26, 2018

by Joseph Tanfani, Jason Lange and Letitia Stein

Reuters

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (Reuters) – The commercial opens with an appeal to fear: a hoodie-wearing man prowling an alley, knife in hand. His face remains hidden but the ad makes it clear: He’s an illegal immigrant.

“We need tough immigration enforcement to keep dangerous criminals out,” says the ad by a national conservative political group, part of an effort to help a Republican challenger, Mike Braun, oust a Democratic incumbent in Indiana and capture a U.S. Senate seat in November’s congressional elections.

As they try to hang on to control of Congress, Republican candidates are following the lead of President Donald Trump and turning to rhetoric about immigrants as a tactic to motivate voters. The scope of that strategy emerges in a nationwide Reuters examination of ad buys, candidates’ social media posts and polling, as well as dozens of interviews with candidates, voters and campaign strategists.

The trend is especially visible on Twitter. Congressional Republicans seeking re-election have dramatically increased the number of tweets they post about immigration since Trump’s election, a Reuters/Ipsos analysis of social media shows. Immigration messaging has surged across the spectrum of Republican-held districts – highly competitive swing seats and reliably Republican ones, in places with immigrant populations both large and small.

The shift also shows up in the campaign ad wars. In races from Florida to California, in border states and ones with few immigrants, Republicans have poured millions of dollars into advertising that depict illegal immigrants as criminals and vowed enthusiastic support for Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border, the Reuters review shows.

This year, 20 percent of pro-Republican ads in congressional races have cited immigration, according to an analysis of broadcast advertising data through Oct. 15. That’s up from 8 percent in the same period of the 2014 congressional elections and 5 percent in the 2010 races. The analysis was conducted for Re

Spending on Republican ads that mention immigration has more than doubled to $62.4 million this year from the 2014 elections and has quadrupled since the 2010 races, the Kantar Media/CMAG data shows.  Immigration ad spending has also surged in state-level races. (Kantar Media/CMAG estimated earlier this month that total political ad spending for broadcast television would rise to $2.7 billion this year from $2.1 billion in 2014.)

In February, as Braun vied for the party’s nomination for the Indiana Senate seat, he ran a commercial highlighting a deadly highway crash involving a drunk driver who was in the country illegally. “There are lives at stake,” Braun said in the ad. In an interview with Reuters, he said he was not trying to demonize immigrants but was “making a point that border security is important.”

In Indiana, only about 5 percent of the state’s residents are immigrants, compared with 13.6 percent in the United States as a whole. But in the last two months, nearly a third of television ads sponsored or partially sponsored by Braun have mentioned immigration, said Michael Franz, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, a nonpartisan group tracking televised political advertising. Trump won Indiana by nearly 20 points in the 2016 election.

The attack ad featuring the knife-wielding immigrant was produced by One Nation, a political nonprofit. Spokesman Chris Pack said in a statement that the group works independently of campaigns and “strongly supports the efforts of the President and congressional leadership to reform our broken immigration system.”

A number of Republican ads link illegal immigrants to crime, but statistics paint a more nuanced picture. While people in the United States illegally have in some instances committed high-profile crimes, multiple studies – including ones from conservative groups like the Cato Institute – have found that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman declined to comment on the overall Republican messaging on immigration, but he did say he sees benefits in opposing so-called sanctuary cities, largely Democratic-run metropolises which offer safe harbor to illegal immigrants. Dozens of localities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have joined the growing “sanctuary” movement.

“The issue of sanctuary cities is an issue we have used in several ads this cycle. It’s a potent issue,” he said. “It’s a commonsense thing that many folks are against.”

Trump won the White House on a promise to crack down on illegal immigrants. He has tried to end a program that gave protection for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. He has ordered more aggressive enforcement and longer detention. One policy, to separate children from their parents at the southern border, set off an uproar and the president ended the policy in June.

Trump’s administration has also limited legal immigration, imposing more restrictions on work visas and sharply cutting the number of refugees allowed into the United States.

A thousands-strong group of immigrants now heading north toward the United States from Central America has inflamed the debate over illegal immigration just days before Americans head to the polls. The caravan has riled up Trump, who is intensifying his efforts to frame the Nov. 6 elections around the threat he says illegal immigrants pose to Americans’ safety.

Trump’s nationalist tone echoes sentiments rising in parts of Europe since the arrival in 2015 of more than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and beyond. Hungary built a border fence along its southern border with Serbia, and anti-immigration politics have roiled Germany’s parliament.

A DRAMATIC EVOLUTION

The anti-immigration rhetoric, advertisements and campaign events, combined with the party’s embrace of Trump’s immigration crackdown, represent a dramatic evolution of Republicanism under Trump. Anti-immigration themes now dominate a party that for decades was defined by fiscal, social and national security conservatism.

As recently as 2013, when theSenate passed an immigration bill with bipartisan support, a significant portion of the Republican Party backed immigration reform – including a path to citizenship for some of the 12 million people living in the United States illegally. But those voices have been mostly silenced since the rise of Trump, drowned out by his statements decrying “amnesty for illegals” and “chain migration,” his term for the longstanding U.S. policy that allows legal immigrants to bring family members into the country.

Immigration is now seen as the top issue for likely Republican voters, especially among those who are older and without a college degree, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows. Twenty-three percent of Republicans said this month immigration was the “most important problem” facing the country, up from 4 percent in January 2012. By contrast, Democrats are far more focused on healthcare, the polls show.

“Immigration is literally number one – with a bullet – in every survey we do,” said Brandon Moody, a Republican consultant at Axiom Strategies working in the Montana Senate race. Moody says the issue also serves as a kind of shorthand, signaling loyalty to Trump’s agenda.

“GREATEST THREATS”

The Reuters/Ipsos analysis of Twitter data shows that the number of Republican lawmakers tweeting about immigration has risen sharply since Trump’s election. Reuters and Ipsos searched for immigration-related terms in tweets by Republican federal lawmakers who are seeking re-election in November and have actively tweeted since 2016.

Across 156 official Twitter accounts of Republican lawmakers and tens of thousands of tweets, the analysis identified 1,409 posts in the first nine months of 2018 which included immigration-related terms and phrases such as “immigrant,” “build the wall” or “border.” That’s a nearly 80 percent increase from 795 posts in the same months of 2017 and more than triple the number from the same period in 2016.

Reuters reviewed every tweet, weeding out those unrelated to immigration or which were entirely critical of Trump and his policies. The messages varied widely, from statements supporting Trump’s policies to nuanced calls to build a border wall while also  reuniting families separated by border authorities.

The tweets ranged in tone. Some linked immigrants to threats of violence against Americans, like Texas Representative Randy Weber’s Jan. 30 tweet: “President says fix the border so gangs can’t get in & Americans won’t be murdered.”

Weber’s office declined to comment on the tweet.

Others praised Trump’s get-tough stance. “Illegal incursions way down, rule of law restored,” wrote Rod Blum, a Republican in Iowa facing a difficult re-election. He tweeted about immigration at least 14 times between January and September. Reuters did not find any tweets by Blum on the subject in 2016 and only a handful in 2017. Blum did not respond to requests for comment.

Reuters/Ipsos polling indicates that Republican lawmakers are largely preaching to the converted: 77 percent of Republican likely voters in a Sept. 8-17 survey said they supported policies to deport more illegal immigrants. An equal number backed building a wall on the southern border.

Across the 156 Republican Twitter accounts, Reuters identified only 37 tweets between 2016 and 2018 unambiguously critical of Trump’s immigration policies – almost all criticizing the separation of families at the border. The critical tweets came from 20 lawmakers who had also posted other tweets supporting strengthening border security or cracking down on illegal immigration.

Some conservatives, while backing stringent curbs on immigration, say the harsh tone has potentially far-reaching consequences – adding to political polarization, spawning harsher enforcement and potentially limiting the party’s appeal to America’s growing minority population.

“Trump has remade the Republican Party into a blood and soil national political party that is hostile to immigration,” said Steve Schmidt, a former Republican political consultant. He left the party in June in part because of the policy of separating mothers and children at the southern border. Schmidt said the country’s growing Hispanic population ultimately will render the immigration issue “a death knell for the Republican Party.”

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement that Trump supports an immigration system based on the merit of the applicants, which “has nothing to do with race.”

CONFLICTED HISTORY

While Trump has thrust immigration to the center of the party’s identity, the roots of this transformation began years ago. In Indiana, the state’s Republicans have made a journey that mirrors that of the national party.

In 2006, Republican legislators pushed a plan in the state legislature that would deny public health services to immigrants who had entered the country illegally. Mike Murphy, a Republican representative from Indianapolis, rose to speak in the glass-domed statehouse.

Murphy had long worked to bring more Latinos into the party. Since many of the bill’s backers were conservative Christians, Murphy quoted verses from the gospel of Matthew about charity to outcasts and strangers. “I just turned it against them – how do you guys profess to be Christians?” Murphy said. The bill was defeated overwhelmingly.

That year, Mike Pence, a U.S. congressman from Indiana at the time, was considered a rising conservative star. He waded in with a plan to allow illegal immigrants a path to achieve legal status – though he said they would have to leave the country first. Pence pitched his plan in moral terms, calling immigration reform “a test of the character of the conservative movement.”

Pence was pilloried by hardliners, who labeled the plan a “stealth amnesty.” The bill went nowhere.

As the far-right Tea Party movement rose in the Republican Party in 2010, resentment toward immigration increased throughout the state. When a new immigration-related bill came before Indiana lawmakers in 2011, they passed it, granting police the authority to detain people suspected of being illegal immigrants. A federal judge later threw out much of the law.

“SCARY TO THINK ABOUT”

In 2015, Pence, then Indiana’s governor, signed an order that aimed to block Syrian refugees from coming to Indiana, a harbinger of Trump’s later ban on immigration from mostly Muslim countries. Pence, now Trump’s vice president, saw his order overturned by a federal appeals judge.

Pence’s spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, said Pence has “always been for a strong, secure, enforced border and upholding the rule of law,” and that Indiana’s move to reject Syrian refugees was “fundamentally different” from the issue of illegal immigration in the southern border. “Conflating the issue of illegal immigration from our southern border with whether or not a state accepts refugees from Syria is comparing apples and oranges,” she said.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump returned frequently to Indiana. At nearly every rally, he hit hard at illegal immigration, reprising crimes committed by people in the country illegally. “Raped, sodomized and killed,” he said at a rally in South Bend on May 2, 2016. “This is all over the country. We’re not taking it any more.”

Trump’s runaway win in Indiana’s presidential nominating contest a day later sealed his conquest of a crowded Republican field. Since the rise of Trump, Murphy said, it has become nearly impossible to have a civil debate about immigration. “Donald Trump made it ok to hate,” said Murphy, who is still a Republican but no longer in the state legislature.

The White House declined to comment on Murphy’s comments.

In sparsely populated Montana, almost 90 percent of the population is white and illegal immigrants are estimated to number only in the few thousands. Voter Sandy Shumaker says she was ignorant about how illegal immigration was affecting the country before listening to Trump.

Wearing an American flag hat with the slogan “Keep America Great,” the 70-year-old retired nurse said immigration is now one of her top concerns. She did not single out any specific campaign ad as a source of her thinking. Yet she echoed concerns about illegal immigrants voting for Democrats, as Trump has claimed without proof, and that Americans are being taken advantage of.

She was the first person in line for a campaign rally last month headlined by Donald Trump Jr., waiting hours to hear him stump for Matt Rosendale, the Republican challenging Democratic Senator Jon Tester.

“Open borders are scary,” Shumaker said. “Who knows what else is getting in? Drugs, I could imagine. I don’t know, Middle Eastern people that do not have our best interests at heart? It’s just scary to think about it.”

Reporting By Joseph Tanfani, Jason Lange and Letitia Stein; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Jason Szep, Ross Colvin and Michael Williams

 

FBI arrests man in Florida suspected of sending parcel bombs

October 25, 2018

by Zachary Fagenson and Bernie Woodall

Reuters

PLANTATION, Fl. – Federal authorities arrested a man in Florida on Friday suspected of sending at least a dozen parcel bombs to high-profile critics of U.S. President Donald Trump days ahead of congressional elections, officials said.

Two federal law enforcement officials named the suspect as Cesar Sayoc, born in 1962. He was taken into custody in the parking lot of an AutoZone store in Plantation, near Fort Lauderdale, where two witnesses told Reuters they heard a loud blast at the time of the arrest.

Local television stations showed investigators using a large blue tarp to cover a white van that was plastered with decals and stickers, before removing it on a truck.

A federal law enforcement official said more arrests could follow. Another law enforcement source said charges would likely be brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The U.S. Justice Department was due to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT. (1830 GMT), a spokeswoman said.

No one had claimed responsibility for parcel bombs, which were denounced by authorities as terrorism, and came less than two weeks ahead of U.S. congressional elections that could alter the balance of power in Washington.

Police found two of the suspicious packages on Friday addressed to U.S. Senator Cory Booker and James Clapper, the former U.S. director of national intelligence, officials said.

The 11th package was addressed to Booker, a Democratic senator from New Jersey, and was discovered at a mail sorting facility in Florida, the FBI said. A 12th package was addressed to Clapper at cable network CNN and was intercepted at a New York City post office, a federal law enforcement official said.

A thirteenth suspicious parcel was discovered addressed to Democratic U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, CNN said.

A federal law enforcement official said earlier on Friday that the focus had intensified on Florida as a key location for the investigation and possible point of origin of the packages.

Police closed roads around the AutoZone parking lot where Sayoc was arrested, and helicopters flew overhead.

A man named Dre, a manager at a used car dealership next door to the AutoZone, said he heard a loud noise that sounded like an explosion shortly after 11 a.m.

“I heard like a bomb,” Dre, who declined to give his full name, said in a telephone interview. “I opened the door and saw the FBI there.”

Dre said they were told by FBI agents to stay inside as the area was on lockdown.

A woman who lives nearby and declined to give her name said she was in her yard weeding on Friday morning when she heard a loud bang, saw smoke and heard a lot of shouting.

SWIFT JUSTICE’

Florida Governor Rick Scott said he had been briefed on developments in the investigation.

“ANY attempt to harm others is disgusting & has no place in Florida or our country,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “I appreciate the hard work of law enforcement to bring swift justice to whoever is responsible for these cowardly acts.”

CNN reported that Sayoc has a criminal history and ties to New York. Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.All the people targeted by the suspicious packages have often been maligned by right-wing critics. They included former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and billionaire Democratic Party donor George Soros.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that at least five of the packages bore a return address from the Florida office of U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

There has been an outcry from Trump’s critics, who charged that his inflammatory rhetoric against Democrats and the press has created a climate for politically motivated violence.

After first calling for unity and civil discourse on Wednesday, Trump lashed out on Thursday at the “hateful” media. His supporters accused Democrats of unfairly suggesting the president was to blame for the bomb scare.

On Friday, Trump said the incidents were distracting from successful efforts by Republican candidates.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”

None of the devices detonated and no one has been hurt. They were believed to have been fashioned from bomb-making designs widely available on the internet, according to a federal law enforcement source. Still, investigators have treated the devices as “live” explosives, not a hoax, officials said.

Investigators have declined to say whether they were built to be functional. Bomb experts and security analysts say that based on their rudimentary construction it appeared the devices were more likely designed to sow fear rather than to kill.

But two federal officials involved in the investigation cautioned that it was too early to say whether the devices were incapable of firing or were deliberately designed to frighten rather than explode.

Two packages were sent both to U.S. Representative Maxine Waters and to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Others targeted for parcel bombs included former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA director John Brennan and actor Robert De Niro.

“I thank God no one’s been hurt, and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement  people for protecting us,” De Niro said in a statement. “There’s something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People MUST vote!”

Reporting by Zachary Fagenson and Bernie Woodall; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus, Gabriella Borter and Peter Szekely in New York, Mark Hosenball, Makini Brice, Susan Heavey and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jeffrey Benkoe

 

Package bomb suspect arrested

October 26, 2018

CBS News

An arrest has been made in the investigation of bombs sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. The Department of Justice confirmed that one person was in custody.

Several law enforcement sources told CBS News the suspect’s name is Cesar Altieri Sayoc, who was born in 1962. He appears to have a criminal history in Broward County, Florida.

A law enforcement source said that DNA evidence on one of the devices played a part in leading investigators to the suspect, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

Earlier, authorities recovered suspicious packages sent to Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under President Obama. The packages appeared to be similar to 10 others sent this week.

The package sent to Booker was found in Florida, the FBI said on Twitter on Friday morning. Sources told CBS News that the package sent to Clapper was found at a postal facility in New York City.

The New York package was addressed to “James Robert Clapper Time Warner (CNN),” according to a photo of the package obtained by CBS New York station WCBS-TV. On Wednesday, a bomb sent to CNN’s offices in New York’s Time Warner Center prompted an evacuation of the building.

A picture believed to be of a van seized by authorities in the package bomb investigation shows a sticker with a target around former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s face. The picture was taken on an earlier date before authorities seized the van late Friday morning.

Other stickers show President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence giving the thumbs-up sign. Another sticker read “CNN sucks” in all capital letters.

The van was taken to the FBI’s field office in Miramar, Florida.

Video has emerged of Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the package bomb suspect, at a rally for President Trump. It was unclear when the video was recorded.

President Trump congratulated multiple law enforcement agencies for arresting a suspect in the package bomb investigation. “We have the best in the world, and we just showed it,” the president said while addressing a group of young black leaders in the East Room of the White House.

The president didn’t identify the suspect, which several law enforcement sources told CBS News is Cesar Altieri Sayoc, but he said the suspect would be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.” He said that the “terrorizing acts” were “despicable and have no place in our country.”

“We must never allow political violence to take root in America,” Mr. Trump said.

Federal authorities covered and seized a white van in Florida after the Department of Justice confirmed an arrest had been made in the bomb investigation. The suspect was arrested at an auto repair shop in Plantation, Florida.

Aerial footage captured images of the van before it was taken away. Some of the van’s windows were covered with stickers.

Clapper package contained apparent pipe bomb

New York police credited an alert postal worker with finding an apparent pipe bomb at a post office Friday morning. John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a press conference that the bomb was in a package consistent with others seen this week.

Sources have confirmed to CBS News that the package was addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Wasserman Schultz addresses bomb scares

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose name has appeared on the phony return addresses of bombs sent through the mail, is speaking about the bomb scares. Wasserman Schultz is a former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Trump ties “‘Bomb’ stuff” to GOP “momentum”

President Trump implied that press coverage of the mail bombs was slowing Republican momentum ahead of the midterm elections. “News not talking politics,” the president said.

Earlier Friday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr. Trump was ” receiving constant information as it is available” about the new packages.

CBS New York station WCBS-TV obtained a photo of the suspicious package addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The package was intended to be sent to CNN’s offices at New York’s Time Warner Center.

Since leaving the government, Clapper has worked for CNN as a contributor.

 

Mail Bombings Suspect Appeared To Promote Trump, Conspiracies On Social Media

October 26, 2018

by Allegra Kirkland and Josh Kovensky

tpn

The posts are full of misspellings, run-on sentences, and bizarre stream-of-consciousness word vomit.

One typical post on a Twitter account belonging to a Cesar Altieri reads: “GoTrump WeUnconquered SeminoleTribe,Hard Rock,MillionsOf our customers,Vets,Current Serving,Seminole American Top TeamMMA,Stand cgreatest President ever shut the boarder down.This our land not theirs May10,1842our chief grandfatherSteve Osceola defeat Pres.John Tyler1,500 troops.”

Names, addresses and even the state of Florida were misspelled on some of the packages sent to Democratic figures this week.

The Facebook timeline for Cesar Altieri Randazzo doesn’t show any new content since October 2016. Dozens of videos and photographs show the alleged suspect attending Trump rallies and holding signs with Michael Symonette, head of the “Blacks for Trump” group and a former member of a violent cult.

A Twitter account under the name Cesar Altieri frequently posted memes and pictures linked to the far-right—and to many targets of the bombs.

Sayoc tweeted multiple images involving Hungarian billionaire George Soros. One image features a large menorah, calling Soros “the Godfather of the Left” with a graphic alleging that he controls the mainstream media.

Another tweet falsely claimed that the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida was a false flag operation or “con job” carried out at Soros’ direction.

Other tweets appear to link Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) with murders in Los Angeles, while other tweets accuse Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) of grand corruption.One post, dated February 7, 2018, appeared to show police activity near a railway crossing.

“Illegals rounded up tonight face ID,” Altieri wrote in the post.

Another Twitter profile featuring a photo of Sayoc that he linked to from his Alteri account posted as recently as Oct. 23.

Sayoc’s Linkedin page lists him as “Cesar Altieri” and describes him as “Promoter, booking agent Live entertainment, owner, chorepographer.”

On the page, Sayoc describes himself as working at “Cesar Palace Burlesque Show Clubs” and as working as a roadie for Chippendales.

In a description of his university education at Brevard College in North Carolina, Sayoc wrote in an error-riddled post that his grandfather “over through Communist Philippines liberated island. He built all hospitals in Philippines islands and sets standards highest level. Most surgeon use his instruments which are patented. And a lot surgeon use today. Also Sayoc intl. schools marshals arts Kali that used to over throw communist party.”

Numerous social media accounts that appear to belong to the Florida man reportedly suspected of carrying out a string of mail bomb attacks this week are overflowing with far-right conspiracies and pro-Trump propaganda.

Reuters, CNN and MSNBC have reported that Cesar Sayoc, Jr. was arrested Friday and taken into custody on suspicion of having sent crude mail bombs to CNN’s New York headquarters and prominent Democratic figures including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Sayoc is a 56-year-old Hollywood, Florida resident, CNN reported.

Active Facebook accounts under the names Cesar Altieri and Cesar Altieri Randazzo and Twitter accounts under the names Cesar Altieri and Julus Cesar Milan are full of photographs of a man similar in appearance to mugshots of a Cesar Sayoc arrested repeatedly in Florida. Altieri appears to be a family name.

The accounts are packed with a steady stream of images of President Trump and Vice President Pence giving the thumbs up, of memes about the incoming “red tsunami” in the midterm elections, and of Democrats engaging in “bribery” and “corruption.”

Suspect in bombs case is Florida Republican with criminal history

October 26, 2018

by Joseph Ax

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The man suspected of sending at least a dozen parcel bombs to high-profile critics of U.S. President Donald Trump is a 56-year-old registered Republican in Florida with a lengthy criminal history, according to public records. Public records showed Cesar Sayoc has been arrested numerous times over the years for domestic violence, theft and other charges. In one case, court records showed he was accused of threatening to use a bomb, though details were not immediately available.

Sayoc was taken into custody on Friday morning outside an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, federal authorities said. He is suspected of sending parcel bombs to former President Barack Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and various other public figures who have been frequent targets of Trump’s derision.

Sayoc’s white van, which was seized by authorities, had numerous signs in the windows showing Trump, including a drawing depicting the president standing on top of a tank emblazoned with “Trump” on the sides. The van also had a “CNN SUCKS” sign and a photo of Clinton with a bullseye superimposed on her face. CNN also received one of the suspicious packages at its New York office.

Sayoc appears to have a Facebook profile under the name Cesar Altieri Randazzo, featuring videos and photos of him attending multiple rallies for Trump, including at least one rally in Florida. The account has “liked” more than 100 conservative pages, including several anti-Clinton and pro-Trump groups.

He is a promoter, booking agent and “live entertainment owner,” according to his LinkedIn profile, which used his middle name, Altieri, and listed him as the owner of International Gold Productions.

The profile also described him as a veterinary student at High Point University in North Carolina. The school’s registrar’s office confirmed that Sayoc had applied, but said he was not currently enrolled.

He graduated Brevard College in North Carolina in 1984, according to his LinkedIn profile. The college declined to confirm whether he had attended the school, but Sayoc was on the Brevard College soccer team in 1981 and pictured as part of a Catholic organization at the school, according to school documents posted online.

Court records in Florida listed Sayoc’s birthplace as Brooklyn, New York.

He filed for bankruptcy in Miami in 2012, according to court records. At the time, Sayoc said he lived with his mother in Aventura, Florida, and listed a $1,150 tax refund and a 2001 Chevy Tahoe vehicle as his only assets.

In court documents, Sayoc said he had worked as a store manager for a year at a small company called Hassanco Investments Inc in Hollywood, Florida, earning less than $12,000 a year. Attempts to reach the owner of the company were not successful.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault and Gina Cherelus in New York and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot

 

What the targeting of Trump critics reveals about America’s rotting core

The bomb scares involving Obama, the Clintons and other critics of Trump reflect a pernicious and deep rot in our system

October 26, 2018

by Andrew Gawthorpe

The Guardian

Political violence in the United States has tended to come in two forms. The first consists of simply unhinged acts, like John Hinckley Jr shooting Ronald Reagan in the hope of impressing the actress Jodie Foster, or Timothy McVeigh hoping to bring down the government with a bomb. The second is more systematic and sinister: the violence used to keep down groups who threaten the social and political order. This is the violence of strike breakers and the KKK. It is the violence that killed Emmett Till, an African-American teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly wolf-whistling at a white woman.

A key feature of the second type of violence is that it has often been perpetrated by private individuals while serving the interests of public authorities. This is why the authorities encourage it. Till’s killers walked free because Mississippi’s court system would not convict them, understanding that their act reinforced white supremacy at a time when it was under threat from desegregation. This was violence of the people, by the people, for the government.

This is the correct context in which to understand the bomb scares that have recently affected Barack Obama, the Clintons, Eric Holder, George Soros and others. We don’t yet know the state of mind of those responsible. But the identity of the targets chosen (primarily women, African-Americans and a Jew) and the fact they are all known enemies of the president of the United States tells us something deeply disturbing about the state of America today.

Unhinged threats and acts of violence have been on the rise in American politics recently, such as the shooting last year of Republican congressman Steve Scalise. But most notable of all and influential for the culture has been the rise of a president who talks frequently and vividly about the desirability of violence being done to his opponents, and supporters who revel in it.

The nationalism that fuels Trump’s movement is based on the idea that the country can be divided into two groups. One is the pure and virtuous true Americans, the overwhelmingly white crowd who come to his rallies. The other group consists of minorities, elites and Democrats who stand poised to sell out the “real” Americans if they are given a chance.

Hence Trump’s political opponents are cast as “globalists” who “want the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country”. They support “caravans” of “unknown Middle Easterners” (read: terrorists) who are coming to threaten the security of the country. They rely in elections on the votes of millions of non-American “illegals”, as Trump suggested of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Most of all, Trump has been obsessed with overturning the legacy of his first political foil, President Obama, who he alleged was literally foreign-born and hence not a real American.

The threat of violence has never been far behind. Trump suggested that Obama was the “founder” of Isis and that the group, which the US is pledged to destroy, “honors” him. He said that “second amendment people” might be best-placed to deal with Hillary Clinton. Only last week he praised a Republican congressman for body-slamming a Guardian journalist who asked him a question he didn’t like.

Trump and his supporters see themselves as engaged in an apocalyptic struggle to defend America against a coalition of liberal whites and ethnic minorities who seek to degrade it. They are fueled by a conservative media machine which simply invents lies and outlandish conspiracy theories if they serve the needs of the movement – such as that the recent spate of attempted bombings was carried out by liberals seeking to embarrass President Trump.

It is no surprise that this febrile atmosphere, in which any lie can be justified if it paints the president’s opponents as traitors, would lead to violence. But what is particularly disturbing is that the propaganda which inspires this violence has been outsourced to private organizations, meaning no simple change of government by election can end it. Nowadays, even the president himself gets his daily talking points by parroting Fox News, which he believes over his own government officials. The rot is pernicious and deep, and it will inevitably lead to more violence.

In other times and places, groups of private individuals willing to deploy violence on behalf of a particular vision of the state have been instrumental in the rise of fascism. America, because it still has strong institutions despite the damage of the Trump era, is not there yet. But parts of the foundation are sinking into place, and it is unlikely they can be uprooted without a concerted effort.

Changing course depends on Trump’s brand of nationalism not being seen to pay political dividends. The question of whether the conservative movement will play with fire in order to gain power is no longer in doubt; they will and they are. The question now is whether they can get away with it. The election in two weeks will either be a warning to them or a vindication – a vindication that might tempt the president and his followers inside and outside of government to who knows what extremes in the future.

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