TBR News October 6, 2018

Oct 06 2018

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

Washington, D.C. October 6, 2018: “The Asian banking communities of Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo are privately expressing their concerns over the possibility that strong rumors of the “dumping” of American dollars by major European and Russian banking houses could create economic havoc with the world currency market.

The perceived recklessness of the American Trump Administration’s willingness to launch military attacks against their perceived enemies has caused deep anxiety in both European and Asian economic institutions. It is felt, most especially in Europe but now even in Asia, that the United States has embarked on a reckless course aimed at world economic domination.

Instead of diplomacy, the Trump administration has resorted to threats of naked aggression against any nation that thwarts its designs on this forceful domination.

Afraid of unbridled American “cannon diplomacy,” first European and now Asian economic and political institutions have been engaged in frantic attempts to neutralize what is seen as naked U.S. military aggression.

Unable to match American military might, a number of nations which include France, Germany, Switzerland, the Russian Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia and North Korea have been exploring the possibility of the development of stronger ties, both political and economic.

In a series of meetings now being held in Geneva, Switzerland under conditions of the strictest security, concerned parties have been very seriously considering the options available for the blunting of the current American military and economic plans for world domination.

It is widely held that these investments in Amercan entities are only supplying fuel to the American politico/military machine and that the devaluation of the dollar added to the complete withdrawal of all foreign investment funds would send a serious message indeed to the reckless American President Bush and his clique of “neocons,” (neo-conservatives) most of whom are Israeli Likud-supporting American Jews.

Also under discussion is the future exclusion of what are viewed as “rogue” former Eastern Bloc nations such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania, all of whom appeared willing to risk the wrath of the rest of the strongly-antiwar EU by their support of constan and continuing American aggression in the Middle East.

Their denial of entrance into the EU will be counterbalanced by the welcome admission of the Russian Republic into that body.

We have reliably been informed that the People’s Republic of China has been purchasing large blocs of euros as an international trading tool.

This proposed form of international economic warfare, certainly, is not without its risks. American retaliation in the form of trade wars and tariffs is to be expected but it is now believed by the conferees that a combination of the badly damaged U.S. economy, the withdrawal of foreign investment funds and the sharp international devaluation of the American dollar would certainly make widespread international military adventures on the part of the Trump Administration a very costly prospect.”


The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 42
  • America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone
  • The Royal Touch
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 42

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


  • Dec 6, 2017


“We’ll be bringing the business tax from 35 (per cent) all the way down to 20. At 35, it’s the highest in the industrialized world. At 20, we’re on the very low side, so we’ll be very competitive. You look at China, it’s 15 per cent.”

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: China has a business tax rate of 25 per cent. It offers a 15 per cent rate only to certain firms, mostly in the high-tech sector, in about 20 particular cities.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“We’re on the verge of a historic victory that cuts taxes for the middle class, for businesses; brings back, probably, an excess of $4 trillion. As you know, we’ve been saying $2.5 trillion for years. Well, that number has greatly expanded. And we’ll be bringing back an excess of $4 trillion.

Source: Remarks at Cabinet meeting

in fact: Trump’s “$4 trillion” estimate is unsupported by any experts. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released an estimate of $2.6 trillion in August 2016, and experts said they were not aware of a massive jump in the following 12 months. An October 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) also pegged the number at $2.6 trillion, while Goldman Sachs pegged it at $3.1 trillion the same month. “There’s no world in which it’s $4 trillion,” ITEP senior policy analyst Richard Phillips said in November. “I do not know of anyone who increased the estimate so much recently,” Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in August. “Like many things, I assume he made this up on the fly,” said another expert on the subject, who requested anonymity, when Trump made an estimate of $5 trillion in August.

Trump has repeated this claim 32 times

  • Dec 8, 2017

“And (the Republican tax bill) brings corporate money from overseas back where it belongs. And we’re talking about possibly in excess of $4 trillion that we can finally bring back.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Trump’s “$4 trillion” estimate is unsupported by any experts. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released an estimate of $2.6 trillion in August 2016, and experts said they were not aware of a massive jump in the following 12 months. An October 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) also pegged the number at $2.6 trillion, while Goldman Sachs pegged it at $3.1 trillion the same month. “There’s no world in which it’s $4 trillion,” ITEP senior policy analyst Richard Phillips said in November. “I do not know of anyone who increased the estimate so much recently,” Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in August. “Like many things, I assume he made this up on the fly,” said another expert on the subject, who requested anonymity, when Trump made an estimate of $5 trillion in August.

Trump has repeated this claim 32 times

“Didn’t she (Hillary Clinton) spend $12.4 million on a dossier that was a total phony, right, $12.4 million?”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: She did not. The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid a law firm, Perkins Coie, more than $12 million for work on the 2016 election. Perkins Coie then paid some amount of money to a research firm, Fusion GPS, for research into Trump, including the famous “dossier” compiled by a former British spy on the Trump campaign’s alleged links to Russia. By all accounts, the dossier itself cost far less than $12.4 million; Fusion told Congress that it paid $168,000 for the dossier.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“We spent 25 or 30 per cent. She (Hillary Clinton) was at, what number, $2.2 billion, I understand, $2.2 billion. Do you think — do you think those consultants made a couple of bucks on that election?”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic Party and allied Super PACs spent $1.4 billion on her campaign as of Dec. 31, 2016, just under two months after the election, according to the Washington Post. Trump’s campaign and its supporters had spent about $950 million, or 68 per cent of Clinton’s total. As of Dec. 9, 2016, Bloomberg reported that the total was $1.2 billion for Clinton to $600 million for Trump, so Trump had spent about 50 per cent of the Clinton total. Counting the campaigns themselves, excluding supporters, the Post put the total at $623 million for Clinton to $335 million — so even then, Trump’s total was more than half of Clinton’s, not “25 or 30 per cent.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“Michigan hadn’t been won in many, many years by a Republican. Hillary Clinton went there in an emergency because she was told that day that she was doing badly in Michigan. She went there. She had a crowd of like 600 people.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Clinton had a capacity crowd of 4,600 at her rally at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, near Grand Rapids, the day before the election.

“We went to Michigan the night of the election. I got there, started speaking at 12:30 in the evening. That means it was already Election Day. We had 32,000 people there…I had 32,000 people at 1:00 in the morning.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

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

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“I will never forget on the trail, I would go, we would have 20,000, 25,000. We went to Mobile, Alabama, we had 49,000 people.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Trump is exaggerating the number of people at his large rally in Mobile, Alabama in August 2015. Mobile officials estimated the crowd at 30,000, while media outlets guessed 20,000; the event was held in a 43,000-seat football stadium, it looked “less than half full,” Politico reported at the time.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“We have spent, as of two months ago, almost $7 trillion in the Middle East. And do you know what we have? We have nothing. It’s worse than it was 17 years ago when they started…We could have, with that $7 trillion, not billion, $7 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country three times over.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

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

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“Getting rid of the Johnson Amendment — study that up — that’s a big thing. That’s a big thing. A lot of people are very, very, happy about that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Trump has not gotten rid of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Republican leaders considered doing so as part of their tax bill, but they deleted the repeal provision near the end of their legislative process. Trump issued an executive order related to the Amendment in May, but it merely says the Treasury Department will, “to the extent permitted by law,” not impose a tax penalty on a person or religious organization who “speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective.” The government almost never imposed such penalties even before the order, and such a directive is far from complete repeal. “Trump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers; Prayer breakfast pledge to ‘totally destroy’ Johnson Amendment comes up shy,” read the headline on the website Christianity Today.

Trump has repeated this claim 1 time

“I don’t disrespect NATO. I think NATO is wonderful. But you know what? We’re paying for 80 per cent of NATO — could be higher. They say 72 per cent. So, we’re paying for 80 per cent of NATO.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The “72 per cent” figure has some basis in reality, but it is still incorrect. Here’s where it comes from: as of 2015, the U.S. accounted for 72 per cent of the total defence spending of all NATO countries. This, however, is not the same as paying 72 per cent “of NATO”: far from all of that U.S. budget goes to the alliance. With regard to NATO’s own common budget, the U.S. contributes a much smaller agreed-upon percentage: 22 per cent.

Trump has repeated this claim 14 times

“Remember I went to NATO a year ago and these fake people back here they were saying, Donald Trump’s performance at NATO was unacceptable.’ You know why? You know why they said it? Because I told the people of NATO standing right behind me while they were standing right behind me — they’ve been delinquent.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Trump’s visit to NATO, and controversial speech, occurred this same year, in May 2017, not “a year ago.” We might have given him the benefit of the doubt if this was a one-time slip, but Trump regularly misstates when events occurred.

“To prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon I recently declined to certify the disaster known as the Iran nuclear deal — a total disaster. How about that deal? How about that deal? We give them $150 billion; right? We give them $150 billion…”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

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

“That’s the guy in New York City, the lottery system, where they put names in a bin. You know, you think these countries are legit when they do their lottery system. So what they do, I would say, but more than just saying, they take their worst and they put them in the bin. And then when they pick the lottery, they have the real worst in their hands, oh, here we go. And we end up getting them.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: People who enter the U.S. visa-lottery program, which was used by accused New York City terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, are not put in this lottery by the governments of their home countries: would-be immigrants sign up on their own, as individuals, of their own free will. Trump has consistently misrepresented the program by suggesting that foreign governments enter the worst of their citizens into it in order to dump them on the United States.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

“Remember I told you two years ago when we started, I said — and it was summer, but I said, you know, we are going to say Merry Christmas, but let me just tell you, the department stores, right, they had the beautiful red walls, they had snowflakes all over the place, they had everything. Only one thing missing, the words Merry Christmas. They are using those words again. Do you notice? They are using those words again.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: There is no evidence that Trump’s “Merry Christmas” demand has changed the behaviour of major retailers. Even Trump’s own family members continue to say “Happy Holidays”: daughter and aide Ivanka Trump and son Eric Trump both used that phrase instead of “Merry Christmas” on Twitter in December.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“And don’t — and by the way, Chicago, for those of you that are going to say, guns, guns, Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the United States, OK? Just in case you were thinking about — you know, they immediately say, oh, you have got to take away — well, Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the United States.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Chicago does not have the country’s strongest gun laws. Trump’s claim is common, but it is outdated: Chicago’s ban on handguns was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2010, and Illinois allowed people to carry concealed weapons across the state in 2013. While Chicago retains some restrictions many other states do not have, New York City and San Francisco are significantly tougher. In New York City, for example, the police department interviews all applicants for a handgun license

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“We are pursuing American energy dominance. And by the end of this year we will be totally self-sufficient. We will be major exporters of energy. We will take in massive amounts of money.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The U.S. is not on track to become energy self-sufficient in 2017. The White House announced in August, citing a government agency, that the U.S. was on track to become a net exporter of natural gas alone by the end of the year. Oil, however, is a different story. The same government agency said in January, under the Obama administration, that the U.S. might become a net exporter of energy of all kinds by 2026.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“And as promised, remember? I announced that I would withdraw America — the United States — from the horrible, for us — good for other countries — it’s great for other countries — from the horrible Paris Climate Accord. Cost us a fortune. So, China doesn’t start until around 2030, I think. Russia doesn’t have to go back to like a recent date. Go back to somewhere in the 1990s which was a high-pollution time…If we stayed with those numbers, we would have had to close factories and businesses in order to qualify by 2025.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Trump was, again, falsely describing how the Paris agreement works. It does not give China more time than the U.S. to reduce emissions. Rather, it simply allows each nation to set its own voluntary targets. One of China’s voluntary targets is to hit peak emissions around 2030. If the U.S. thought its own voluntary targets — reducing emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent by 2025 — were too burdensome on its economy, it could simply have changed them.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“…in 10 months I’ve done more on knocking out regulations than any other president in our history. You know who was right up there? Honest Abe Lincoln. Can you believe it? He was a regulation cutter. Can you believe it? Abe Lincoln was a regulation cutter. Who would’ve known that? I said, you mean I beat Abraham Lincoln? That’s pretty good for 10 months.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Two authorities on Lincoln rejected Trump’s claim that Lincoln was a “regulation cutter” or high on the list of presidents who have cut regulations. Harold Holzer, chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation from 2010 to 2016 and before that the chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission for 10 years, said in an email: “I concede, Trump has cut more regulations than Lincoln did. That’s because Lincoln didn’t cut ANY regulations and President Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Might be worth noting that when Lincoln faced a budgetary shortfall he raised taxes, he didn’t lower them…imposed the first federal income tax, in fact, and allowed for deductibility of state and local taxes so taxpayers wouldn’t be double-taxed (which Trump has now eliminated). If we hear a loud rumbling noise this Christmas season, it’s Lincoln rolling over in his grave.” Said Richard Norton Smith, former executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: “It is a curious claim, considering the first income tax and military draft was necessitated by the American Civil War, not to mention the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the ultimate expansion of government power — to decree an end to slavery and then write it into the Constitution via the Thirteenth Amendment. I guess, then, you could call Abraham Lincoln a ‘regulator of human rights.'” At least one Lincoln scholar found some basis for Trump’s claim: Allen Guelzo, professor and director of the Civil War Era Studies Program at Gettysburg College, said: “…The Homestead Act, by selling-off large portions of the public lands, shrank the operations of the Federal Land Office over time. As the war drew to a close in 1865, Lincoln was extremely eager to begin a build-down of the regulatory apparatus created by the war-effort, and indeed, in terms of the federal budget, that shrank considerably between 1865 and 1871 from $1.9 billion to $424 million.” Guelzo also noted that Lincoln replaced 1100 of 1500 federal officeholders under his control; he said Trump was probably thinking of the number of “regulators” Lincoln displaced. We are not convinced, though, that this is what Trump meant, and it is not clear how Lincoln could be “right up there” given the tiny size of the government at the time. “The body of federal regulations in 1861 was a very small one,” Guelzo said. “Most regulatory powers were exercised either by state governments or within the U.S. Military. Only five federal bureaus with regulatory mandates existed at the time.”

“Just got back from Asia. I brought back $300 billion worth of deals.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The U.S. didn’t make $300 billion in actual deals during Trump’s Asia trip. Though Trump claimed $250 billion in sales to China alone, many of these agreements were not actual sales but rather memoranda of understanding that may or may not turn into sales in the future. “The announcement, also heralded a week earlier by Chinese and U.S. officials, represents previously struck deals, tentative investments, statements of intent and extensions of business with existing Chinese customers, with some new orders,” the Associated Press reported. “For example, the initiative provides for the Chinese purchase of 300 Boeing jetliners that have a list price totaling $37 billion. That deal is known to be a mix of old and new orders and appears to fit in the normal order of business. As well, airlines get deep discounts from the list price.” The Washington Post noted: “The largest single project unveiled was China Energy Investment Corp.’s plan to invest $83.7 billion in power generation, chemical manufacturing, and underground storage of natural gas liquids and derivatives in West Virginia. But the two sides signed only a memorandum of understanding, not a formal contract.”

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“(Trudeau) said, I’m telling you that Canada has a deficit with the United States. I told my people, in front of a lot of people, I said, go out and check — and he was right. Except he forgot two categories — lumber, timber and energy. Other than that, he was right. When you add them altogether we actually have a $17 billion deficit with Canada, right? So, he forgot a couple of categories that he didn’t want to mention.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: According to the U.S. government’s own Office of the Trade Representative, the U.S. had a trade surplus of $12.5 billion with Canada last year when services trade is included. Even counting goods trade alone, the Trade Representative says the deficit was $12.1 billion in 2016, not $17 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“We have a pretty good trade deficit with Canada. They were saying we have a surplus with Canada. I said no — and I like the Prime Minister very much — Prime Minister Trudeau. Nice guy — good guy. No, I like him. But we had a meeting — he said, no, no, you have a trade surplus. I said, no, we don’t. He said, no, no you have a trade surplus. I said, Mr. Prime Minister, we do not. He said, how do you know? I said, because we don’t have a surplus with anybody. We have the worst deals.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: We don’t know what actually happened in Trump’s conversation with Trudeau, but we know that his supposed evidence for his own assertion is wrong: the U.S. has surpluses with more than half of all countries in merchandise trade, figures from the U.S. International Trade Commission show — and merchandise trade is a measure that doesn’t count the services trade at which the U.S. excels. Major countries with which the U.S. has a surplus in merchandise trade include Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Argentina, and the United Kingdom. Further, according to data from the U.S. government itself, the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada when services trade is counted. “The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016,” the website of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says.

Trump has repeated this claim 21 times

“So, we right now have a trade deficit with Mexico of $71 billion and that doesn’t include all the drugs that pour in over the border because we don’t have a wall etc.; OK? $71 billion. 71 billion. So, we have — think of it –we have a trade deficit with Mexico of $71 billion.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico is not that large. Counting trade in goods alone, the deficit was $64 billion in 2016, $60 billion in 2015, $55 billion in 2014 and $54 billion in 2013, according to U.S. government data; it has not exceeded $67 billion since 2007. Further, the deficit is properly assessed counting both goods and services. When trade in services is included, the 2016 deficit was $56 billion. This year’s total deficit may be bigger — the goods deficit was already $47 billion at the end of August — but when services are included, it is still highly unlikely to approach $70 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“That’s why I recently withdrew the United States from the United Nations plan for global governance of immigration and refugee policy — no borders. It’s a no-borders plan. They have a plan — no-borders — I heard about it recently. I said, what are you talking about, no borders? No borders. No borders. No borders — everybody can come in.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The Global Compact on Migration is not even close to a plan for “no borders.” It is merely a U.N. attempt to “present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility” and to “set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among member states regarding international migration in all its dimensions.” Member states would retain their borders, and their commitments would not be legally binding.

“By the way, wages: starting to go up. First time in 20 years: starting to go up.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. As PolitiFact reported: “For much of the time between 2012 and 2014, median weekly earnings were lower than they were in 1979 — a frustrating disappearance of any wage growth for 35 years. But that began changing in 2014. After hitting a low of $330 a week in early 2014, wages have risen to $354 a week by early 2017. That’s an increase of 7.3 percent over a roughly three-year period.” FactCheck.org reported: “For all private workers, average weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) rose 4% during Obama’s last four years in office.”

Trump has repeated this claim 25 times

“Oh, these resisters resist. Hillary resisted and you know what happened? She lost the election in a landslide.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: Clinton, who received about 2.9 million more total votes than Trump, lost the election by a razor-thin margin, not a landslide: about 100,000 total votes in three states Trump won, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“By the way, now that you bring it up, black home ownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country. Congratulations.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: The rate of home ownership among black Americans peaked at 49 per cent in 2004, according to U.S. government data, and has fallen steadily since. At the time Trump spoke, it was around 42 per cent.

“You see, now there’s consequences when companies close up their factories, move to another country, make a product and sell it right through — they have consequences now. And by the way those consequences are getting very steep — and they’re going up. There’s no more of that stuff. There’s no more.”

Source: Campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida

in fact: It is not true that there is “no more” of companies closing factories and moving jobs abroad. The month prior to Trump’s remark, a labour group called Good Jobs Nation released a study that found “93,449 jobs have been certified by the Department of Labor as lost to trade competition or corporate outsourcing since Trump’s election,” a total “higher than the average job loss rate of 87,576 for the preceding five years.” The study also found: “Since Trump was elected, major federal contractors have been certified as shipping 10,269 American jobs abroad.” Some of these losses occurred while Obama was still president, so Trump cannot be blamed for all of them — if a president deserves blame for any. But it is certainly false that this process is no longer happening at all.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

“If they used to have a 1 per cent or 2 per cent number (in declines in apprehensions of unauthorized immigrants), they used to celebrate.”

Source: Speech at swearing-In ceremony of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

in fact: Trump is far from the first president to preside over a significant decline in border apprehensions. As PolitiFact noted, the number of apprehensions on the southwest border fell from 1.6 million in 1986 to an average under 500,000 during Barack Obama’s tenure.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“This is a very special occasion because this is an issue I ran on — it’s borders, it’s homeland security…And I just want to congratulate you on such an important day for our country. The numbers have been so incredible; they’re up to 78 per cent.”

Source: Speech at swearing-In ceremony of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

in fact: There has never been any basis for Trump’s oft-repeated “78 per cent” figure. Trump and others use the number of apprehensions on the southwestern border as a way to measure illegal immigration. Comparing the first eight full months of Trump’s tenure — February through September — to the same months in 2016, apprehensions were down 53 per cent, not 78 per cent. (The federal government has not yet posted data from October and November.)

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times


America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone

Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history

October 5, 2018

by David Sirota

The Guardian

When the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.

Since Skilling’s conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement’s objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.

Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.

That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era’s catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.

The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

September began with John McCain’s funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine.

The event was attended by Iraq war proponents of both parties, from Dick Cheney to Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton. The funeral featured a saccharine eulogy from the key Democratic proponent of the invasion, Joe Lieberman, as well the resurrection of George W Bush. The codpiece-flaunting war president who piloted America into the cataclysm with “bring ’em on” bravado, “shock and awe” bloodlust and “uranium from Africa” dishonesty was suddenly portrayed as an icon of warmth and civility when he passed a lozenge to Michelle Obama. The scene was depicted not as the gathering of a rogues gallery fit for a war crimes tribunal, but as a venerable bipartisan reunion evoking nostalgia for the supposed halcyon days – and Bush promptly used his newly revived image to campaign for Republican congressional candidates and lobby for Kavanaugh’s appointment

The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle.

Next up came the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis – a meltdown that laid waste to the global economy, while providing lucrative taxpayer-funded bailouts to Wall Street firms.

To mark the occasion, the three men on whose watch it occurred – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Obama treasury secretary Tim Geithner – did not offer an apology, but instead promised that another financial crisis will eventually occur, and they demanded lawmakers give public officials more power to bail out big banks in the future.

In a similar bipartisan show of unity, former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn gave an interview in which he asked “Who broke the law?” – the implication being that no Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the meltdown because no statutes had been violated. That suggestion, of course, is undermined by banks’ own admissions that they defrauded investors (that includes admissions of fraud from Goldman Sachs – the very bank that Cohn himself ran during the crisis). Nonetheless, Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder – who has now rejoined his old corporate defense law firm – subsequently backed Cohn up by arguing that nobody on Wall Street committed an offense that could have been successfully prosecuted in a court of law.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans’ economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate.

Again, the message came through: nobody who engineered the financial crisis will pay any real price for wreaking so much havoc.

Then as Hurricane Florence provided the latest illustration of climate change’s devastation, ExxonMobil marched into the supreme court to demand an end to a state investigation of its role denying and suppressing climate science. Backed by 11 Republican attorneys general, the fossil fuel giant had reason to feel emboldened in its appeal for immunity: despite investigative reporting detailing the company’s prior knowledge of fossil fuel’s role in climate change, its executives had already convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down a similar investigation.

Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn’t be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species.

Now comes the latest stage of the immunity project: the installation of Kavanaugh as the sentinel standing watch over this sprawling accountability-free zone from a lifetime perch on America’s very own Star Chamber.

Kavanaugh is the nominee of Donald Trump, who as a businessman helped set the legal precedent protecting corporate titans from fraud charges, and who as president has appointed a cabinet of accountability evaders – from the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who escaped prosecution during the financial crisis, to the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, who avoided consequences for her role at Wells Fargo during that company’s mass fraud. Kavanaugh is also the nominee of an accountability-free party whose last House speaker was deemed “a serial child molester” by a judge, whose potential next House speaker is named in a college sexual abuse scandal, and whose White House occupant was caught on camera bragging about sexually accosting women.

To the delight of the Republican party, Kavanaugh is not backing down in the face of multiple credible accusations of sexual misconduct. On the contrary, in a snarling refrain that must seem all-too-familiar to victims of sexual assault, Kavanaugh is angrily insisting that “you’ll never get me to quit”.

In the context of this political moment, Kavanaugh’s defiance is more than merely a plea of innocence. It is more than just an ideological warrior’s yearning to serve on a court that has been making it ever-harder for commoners to hold the aristocracy accountable. It is a grand edict detailing the entire culture of entitlement and immunity inside the accountability-free zone.

Here is a corporate lobbyist’s son armed with a prep school education, a diploma from his grandaddy’s Ivy League alma mater, a writing credit on Ken Starr’s Clinton-Lewinsky report, a law review article arguing that Congress should consider exempting presidents from indictments, and a sheaf of judicial opinions that consistently side with power.

Kavanaugh is precisely the pedigree that is the ticket into the accountability-free zone. His braying at senators, his laughably obvious dissembling, his refusal to explicitly support an FBI review of his accusers’ allegations – this is the behavior of someone who seems to believe a supreme court seat is his to arrogate.

Indeed, Kavanaugh has been inside the aristocracy’s hermetically sealed bubble for so long that he is genuinely surprised and outraged that anyone would dare get in his way – as are his biggest boosters such as the Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Promising a forceful defense of the accountability-free zone, McConnell explicitly lashed out at sexual assault survivors who are now begging Republicans to vote down Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I want to make it clear to these people chasing my members around the hall here, or harassing them at the airports, or going to their homes. We’ll not be intimidated by these people,” McConnell declared.

To be sure, you could write this last month off if it was an anomaly – but it is the norm, not the exception.

Over the last decade, we saw presidential administrations of both parties decrease white-collar prosecutions and grant telecom companies retroactive legal immunity for their role in the government’s mass surveillance system. We witnessed the director of national intelligence, James Clapper brazenly mislead Congress about that surveillance, then face no charges of perjury – and then be rewarded with a CNN contributor gig.

We watched the Trump White House grant “waivers” – another word for immunity – to its own employees who violate seemingly strict ethics rules, and we watched the Obama labor department waive punishment for a politically influential financial firm after it had been convicted of operating what law enforcement officials said was a scheme that “knowingly and willfully aided” tax fraud.

We saw congressional Republicans so utterly eviscerate the Internal Revenue Service’s budget that “there may never be a better time to be a tax cheat”, according to a recent ProPublica report.

We have seen no consequences for a pharmaceutical company that made big money off peddling opioids – and now we see the same company turn the crisis into another prospective profit opportunity by patenting a treatment to help wean people off opioids.

Taken together, all of it evinces the same underlying message echoing throughout the country: to paraphrase Leona Helmsley, accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class.

If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history – the eras of violent purges, authoritarian dictators and sharpened guillotines. There is no guarantee that is our future – and let’s hope it isn’t our destiny. Whether or not things proceed in that terrifying direction, though, the moral question remains: what can be done to restore some basic sense of fairness and justice?

Of late, one proffered answer is hard-hitting journalism – and there is no doubt that righteous media vigilantes such as Ronan Farrow have occasionally sparked some much-needed paroxysms of accountability. However, for every investigative reporter doing the hard work to break open a much-needed story of corruption and criminality, there is an entire machine that continues to provide platforms to those who are firmly ensconced in the accountability-free zone.

Turn on CNN, and you will see Iraq war cheerleaders like David Frum and Bill Kristol as honored guests depicted as the new vanguard of democracy.

Flip on MSNBC, and it is much the same thing. In the morning you get economic analysis from Steve Rattner, who was given his media platform even after securities regulators charged him “with participating in a widespread kickback scheme” and he was banned from the securities industry. In the afternoon you get Nicole Wallace, who helped run the Bush administration’s PR operation during the Iraq war. And in the evening you get the news from Brian Williams, who was bequeathed a new show after he was busted for serially lying about his war reporting.

Meanwhile, if you take a peek at the business press, you will behold an entire corner of the journalism world that saw few mea culpas or firings after it missed almost all of the warning signs in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

No, if there is an answer, it will not originate from media (at least not until there’s radical change in that industry). To wedge open the gates of the accountability-free zone, everyday citizens will have to be organized enough to overcome already well-organized money.

In the political arena, that means electing pro-accountability candidates of both parties, and then forcing them to follow through on prosecuting wrongdoers and voting down aristocracy-approved nominees who represent the accountability-free zone.

In the consumer economy, it will require boycotts, pressure campaigns, union drives, #MeToo movements, shareholder resolutions and other direct actions to hold companies and executives accountable (and as the recent minimum wage campaign against Amazon proves, those efforts can succeed). It will require support for companies that offer different models of corporate behavior, and it will require swarms of cable-news-addled dittoheads to shut off the TV and instead support other forms of media that are serious about questioning, scrutinizing and challenging power.

In the job market, it will require employers to actually fire executives when they lie, cheat, steal, harass and otherwise mistreat their workers.

And at a cultural level, it will require any and all efforts to rescind and deny social status to those who have committed egregious war, financial and sexual crimes – and it will require doing that even if those miscreants wear nice suits and have gilded credentials.

This is no easy way forward and there are no shortcuts – but if we avoid this path, then the accountability-free zone will fortify itself and we will probably see the rise of an institutionalized form of moral hazard that dooms us to a tragic repetition of history.

After all, if there are no social or professional consequences for those who lied a country into a trillion-dollar war that amassed hundreds of thousands of casualties – if that war’s architects can remain in good standing and in high-prestige jobs – what will deter any politician or pundit to supporting a similar military conflict when it is politically opportune?

If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?

If there are no financial consequences for fossil fuel moguls who knowingly created an ecological crisis, what will deter them from continuing to try to profit off that crisis as the planet burns?

And if a petulant zealot like Kavanaugh can be credibly accused of sexual harassment, repeatedly distort the facts during his confirmation, temper-tantrum his way through congressional hearings and still get catapulted on to the nation’s highest court – what will deter any other power-hungry child of privilege from behaving in exactly the same way?

The answer is nothing – which is exactly the point for the aristocracy. But that cannot be considered acceptable for the rest of us outside the accountability-free zone

The Royal Touch

How Saudi Money Keeps Washington at War in Yemen

by Ben Freeman

Tom Dispatch

It was May 2017. The Saudis were growing increasingly nervous. For more than two years they had been relying heavily on U.S. military support and bombs to defeat Houthi rebels in Yemen. Now, the Senate was considering a bipartisan resolution to cut off military aid and halt a big sale of American-made bombs to Saudi Arabia. Fortunately for them, despite mounting evidence that the U.S.-backed, supplied, and fueled air campaign in Yemen was targeting civilians, the Saudi government turned out to have just the weapon needed to keep those bombs and other kinds of aid coming their way: an army of lobbyists.

That year, their forces in Washington included members of more than two dozen lobbying and public relations firms. Key among them was Marc Lampkin, managing partner of the Washington office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (BHFS), a company that would be paid nearly half a million dollars by the Saudi government in 2017. Records from the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) show that Lampkin contacted Senate offices more than 20 times about that resolution, speaking, for instance, with the legislative director for Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) on May 16, 2017. Perhaps coincidentally, Lampkin reported making a $2,000 contribution to the senator’s political action committee that very day. On June 13th, along with a majority of his fellow senators, Scott voted to allow the Saudis to get their bombs. A year later, the type of bomb authorized in that sale has reportedly been used in air strikes that have killed civilians in Yemen.

Little wonder that, for this and his other lobbying work, Lampkin earned a spot on the “Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns” list compiled by the Washington publication the Hill.

Lampkin’s story was anything but exceptional when it comes to lobbyists working on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was, in fact, very much the norm. The Saudi government has hired lobbyists in profusion and they, in turn, have effectively helped convince members of Congress and the president to ignore blatant human rights violations and civilian casualties in Yemen. According to a forthcoming report by the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative program, which I direct, at the Center for International Policy, registered foreign agents working on behalf of interests in Saudi Arabia contacted Congressional representatives, the White House, the media, and figures at influential think tanks more than 2,500 times in 2017 alone. In the process, they also managed to contribute nearly $400,000 to the political coffers of senators and House members as they urged them to support the Saudis. Some of those contributions, like Lampkin’s, were given on the same day the requests were made to support those arms sales.

The role of Marc Lampkin is just a tiny sub-plot in the expansive and ongoing story of Saudi money in Washington. Think of it as a striking tale of pay-to-play politics that will undoubtedly be revving up again in the coming weeks as the Saudi lobby works to block new Congressional efforts to end U.S. involvement in the disastrous war in Yemen.

A Lobby to Contend With

The roots of that lobby’s rise to prominence in Washington lie in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As you may remember, with 15 of those 19 suicidal hijackers being citizens of Saudi Arabia, it was hardly surprising that American public opinion had soured on the Kingdom. In response, the worried Saudi royals spent around $100 million over the next decade to improve such public perceptions and retain their influence in the U.S. capital. That lobbying facelift proved a success until, in 2015, relations soured with the Obama administration over the Iran nuclear deal. Once Donald Trump won the presidency, however, the Saudis saw an unparalleled opportunity and launched the equivalent of a full-court press, an aggressive campaign to woo the newly elected president and the Republican-led Congress, which, of course, cost real money.

As a result, the growth of Saudi lobbying operations would prove extraordinary. In 2016, according to FARA records, they reported spending just under $10 million on lobbying firms; in 2017, that number had nearly tripled to $27.3 million. And that’s just a baseline figure for a far larger operation to buy influence in Washington, since it doesn’t include considerable sums given to elite universities or think tanks like the Arab Gulf States Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (to mention just a few of them).

This meteoric rise in spending allowed the Saudis to dramatically increase the number of lobbyists representing their interests on both sides of the aisle. Before President Trump even took office, the Saudi government signed a deal with the McKeon Group, a lobbying firm headed by Howard “Buck” McKeon, the recently retired Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. His firm also represents Lockheed Martin, one of the top providers of military equipment to the Kingdom. On the Democratic side, the Saudis inked a $140,000-per-month deal with the Podesta Group, headed by Tony Podesta, whose brother John, a long-time Democratic Party operative, was the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Tony Podesta later dissolved his firm and has allegedly been investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for serving as an unregistered foreign agent.

And keep in mind that all this new firepower was added to an already formidable arsenal of lobbying outfits and influential power brokers, including former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who, according to Lee Fang of the Intercept, was “deeply involved in the [Trump] White House hiring process,” and former Senator Norm Coleman, chairman of the pro-Republican Super PAC American Action Network. All told, during 2017, Saudi Arabia inked 45 different contracts with FARA-registered firms and more than 100 individuals registered as Saudi foreign agents in the U.S. They proved to be extremely busy. Such activity reveals a clear pattern: Saudi foreign agents are working tirelessly to shape perceptions of that country, its royals, its policies, and especially its grim war in Yemen, while simultaneously working to keep U.S. weapons and military support flowing into the Kingdom.

While the term “foreign agent” is often used as a synonym for lobbyist, part of the work performed by the Kingdom’s paid representatives here resembles public relations activity far more than straightforward lobbying. For example, in 2017, Saudi foreign agents reported contacting media outlets more than 500 times, including significant outreach to national ones like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and PBS, which has aired multiple documentaries about the Kingdom. Also included, however, were smaller papers like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and more specialized outlets, even ESPN, in hopes of encouraging positive stories.

The Kingdom’s image in the U.S. clearly concerned those agents. Still, the lion’s share of their activity was focused on security issues of importance to that country’s royals. For example, Saudi agents contacted officials at the State Department, which oversees most commercial arms transfers and sales, nearly 100 times in 2017, according to FARA filings. Above all, however, their focus was on Congress, especially members with seniority on key committees. As a result, at some point between late 2016 and the end of 2017, Saudi lobbyists contacted more than 200 of them, including every single Senator.

The ones most often dealt with were, not surprisingly, those with the greatest leverage over U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia. For example, the office of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sits on both the appropriations and armed services committees, was the most contacted, while that of Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) was the top Democratic one. (He sits on the appropriations and foreign relations committees.)

Following the Money from Saudi Arabia to Campaign Coffers

Just as there’s a clear pattern when it comes to contacting congressional representatives who might help their Saudi clients, so there’s a clear pattern to the lobbying money flowing to those same members of Congress.

The FARA documents that record all foreign-agent political activity also list campaign contributions reported by those agents. Just as we did for political activities, the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative program conducted an analysis of all campaign contributions reported in those 2017 filings by firms that represented Saudi interests. And here’s what we found: more than a third of the members of Congress contacted by such a firm also received a campaign contribution from a foreign agent at that firm. In total, according to their 2017 FARA filings, foreign agents at firms representing Saudi clients made $390,496 in campaign contributions to congressional figures they, or another agent at their firm, contacted on behalf of their Saudi clients.

This flow of money is best exemplified by the 11 separate occasions we uncovered in which a firm reported contacting a congressional representative on behalf of Saudi clients on the same day someone at the same firm made a campaign contribution to the same senator or House member. In other words, there are 10 other cases just like Marc Lampkin’s, involving foreign agents at Squire Patton Boggs, DLA Piper, and Hogan Lovells. For instance, Hogan Lovells reported meeting with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia on April 26, 2017, and that day an agent at the firm made a $2,700 contribution to “Bob Corker for Senate 2018.” (Corker would later decide not to seek reelection.)

While some might argue that contributions like these look a lot like bribery, they turn out to be perfectly legal. No law bars such an act, and while it’s true that foreign nationals and foreign governments are prohibited from making contributions to political campaigns, there’s a simple work-around for that, one the Saudis obviously made use of big time. Any foreign power hoping to line the pockets of American politicians just has to hire a local lobbyist to do it for them.

As Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist, wrote: “Today, most lobbyists are engaged in a system of bribery, but it’s the legal kind.”

The Saudi Lobby Today

Fast forward to late 2018 and that very same lobby is now fighting vigorously to defeat a House measure that would end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen. They’re flooding congressional offices with their requests, in effect asking Congress to ignore the more than 10,000 civilians who have died in Yemen, the U.S. bombs that have been the cause of many of those deaths, and a civil war that has led to a resurgence of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. They’ll probably mention Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent “certification” that the Saudis are now supposedly taking the necessary steps to prevent more civilian casualties there.

What they’re not likely to mention is that his decision was reportedly driven by the head of the legislative affairs team at the State Department who just happens to be a former foreign agent with BGR Government Affairs, one of 35 FARA registrants working for Saudi Arabia at this moment. Such lobbyists and publicists are using the deep pockets of the Saudi royals to spread their propaganda, highlighting the charitable work that government is doing in Yemen. What they fail to emphasize, of course, are the Saudi blockade of the country and the American-backed, armed, and fueled air strikes that are killing civilians at weddings, funerals, school bus trips, and other civilian events. All of this is, in addition, helping to create a grotesque famine, a potential disaster of the most extreme sort and the very reason such humanitarian assistance is needed.

In the end, even if the facts aren’t on their side, the dollars are. Since September 2001, that reality has proven remarkably convincing in Washington, as copious dollars flowed from Saudi Arabia to U.S. military contractors (who are making billions selling weapons to that country), to lobbying firms, and via those firms directly into Congressional coffers.

Is this really how U.S. foreign policy should be determined.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 5, 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. 33

Date: Friday, August 23, 1996

Commenced: 2:25 PM CST

Concluded: 2:38 PM CST


RTC: Did you see your old friend Irving’s latest attack on you, Gregory?

GD: Jesus, what now? I killed Abraham Lincoln?

RTC: (Laughter) Not quite but bizarre. He claims you never knew Mueller and that Mueller died in Berlin in ’45 and they found his body. Of course that’s not true but I am astounded at the depth of this shallow man’s hatred for you.

GD: I know. I have had to deal with this idiot for years. Charles Burdick put me in touch with Irving once.

RTC: Our Charles Burdick?

GD: Yes, the same one. I knew Charlie since…oh it was 1952 when he was doing graduate work at Stanford. I knew all about his work for you in ‘Nam but we seldom talked about it. Charlie spoke as a real expert on the Third Reich and, modestly, I knew more about it than he did. He was mostly into the military structure and I am into both the military and political. Besides, I was there at the time and he wasn’t. So Irving writes this book on the destruction of Dresden. Not a bad book at all but Irving kept pulling his punches.

RTC: How so?

GD: Well, he would make a strong point against the Allied policy, a nice strong point, and then stumble around and start qualifying his information. He would say, ‘could this be?’ and ‘well, maybe not…’ like that. No, after I met him the one time, I pegged him as a phony and tried to keep as far away from him as I could. Boorish person with a penchant for teen aged tarts. He was known as ‘Mr. Spanky’ in the historical world. Second book on PQ 17 was also a good book but David went down hill from there. There was the hilarious fake ‘Himmler letter’ I sent him about Hitler once. Charlie saw it and laughed so loud that his secretary thought he was having some kind of a fit. It was in the worst possible, ungrammatical and misspelled German you could imagine but Irving decided it was original because it suited his purpose. He bleated about it in print for some time, praising me as a wonderful expert and so on. Then when he found out the letter was a spoof, he went bananas and started in screeching at me like a whore who finds out her trick gave her a fake twenty.

RTC: (Laughter) Such a wonderful way of putting things, Gregory.

GD: A friend of mine ran three whorehouses in ‘Frisco so I have some knowledge of the patterns of behavior there. Anyway, when Irving found out about the Mueller books, he wrote to Sudholt, my German publisher. It was the work of a real nut, believe me. He wailed that Sudholt should not publish anything I wrote because I was pure evil and a terrible fraud. Sudholt told me that Irving was a nut and on top of that, made a living selling manuscripts to German publishers, keeping the advance money and never producing. And also, it seems, Dirty Dave sued anyone and everyone who dared to say a word against him. He would take the modest settlements and stick them into his bank account.

RTC: He has been quite successful, as I gather.

GD: Yes, but as Browning said, the kissing has to stop and for David, it stopped some time ago and he’s running on empty. Sudholt sent me Irving’s lunatic letter with a copy of his own response. My God, did he kick Irving in his flabby ass. He talked about Irving’s rip-offs of publishers and really smacked him down. After Irving failed to shut me up, he started in on his pathetic website. He once listed about twenty names he claimed I used. I never heard of any of them. Then I found out his mother was Jewish…

RTC: No! After all the attacks he makes on the holocaust and the Jews…are you sure?

GD: Have I ever been wrong?

RTC: Gregory, your hubris is showing.

GD: Well, Robert, I thought I was wrong about a year ago but I found out later I was mistaken. Yes, by Jewish law, Dave is a Jew. Jewish self-hatred is well-known. I think your Angleton must have had some Jewish blood in him. In profile…

RTC: Now, now, Jim was a good friend. True, he had his head up their ass and we could never keep him from babbling secrets to the Mossad. I did truly like Jim but he had his strange sides.

GD: Young college boys, interested in poetry? Whispering Mossad agents? The odd Mafia friend here and there? Frantic obsessions with paranoia? Yes, I would say strange sides are indicated here.

RTC: But very competent when he focused, Gregory. Poor Jim had too much on his plate. The Mafia business is best forgotten, I suggest.

GD: What about the nubile college students? Mueller told me about an incident at the Park Plaza hotel in New York once.

RTC: Jim strayed from the path from time to time, I admit, but I know from experience he was a dedicated worker.

GD: You could say the same of Sweeny Todd or Sawney Bean.

RTC: I know about Todd but Bean?

GD: A Scots cannibal. Whole family of inbreds lived in caves and made sorties to waylay travelers and eat them. The King finally got enough troops together to wipe them out.

RTC: You have the damndest mind for such things, Gregory.

GD: I try so hard, Robert. Anyway, there is Irving, sliding slowly down into literary oblivion (that’s just outside of New Orleans by the way) and clawing and scratching at me. My books are much better written, far more factual and, even better, far more successful in his little world than his own recent failures.

RTC: Do I detect professional jealousy, here?

GD: No, a reporting of facts. If you doubt me, Robert, read his latest literary efforts and compare him with the manuscript I sent you. Make up your own mind. Of course, the ironic part of all this purse-swinging is that as far as the holocaust is concerned, Irving is absolutely correct. There was never any plan, implemented or theoretical, on the part of Hitler to gather up the Jews of Europe, ship them off to so-called death camps and gas them in huge chambers. No, none of that. Yes, Hitler used the Jews as a unifying factor in his rise to power. But he was dealing with a huge flood of horrible Polish Jews that Pilsudski had chased out of Poland in the early ’20 and who refused to assimilate into the German communities and who were, in general, rather filthy and sub-human. The respectable German Jews hated them. No, Mueller has told me very often and I have boxes of documents on this; all Hitler was doing, and he used to make public speeches on this so it was never a secret, was to boot all the Jews out of Germany and later, out of German held territories. Yes, Jews were rooted out from France and the Balkans, often at the requests of their governments, and shipped off to Auschwitz. But this was not a death camp but a huge work complex the SS had set up outside the nominal range of Allied bombers. Many died of typhus and, of course, shipping these people off was a nasty business and I have no sympathy with any of it but the huge gas chambers are figments of the imagination, used to raise money for the Jews. And when Irving points this out, they all gang up on him. He may be a fraud and a gasbag but his comments on this subject are basically accurate. I hate to say that, naturally, but Irving is correct. And by his persisting in this, the Jews will gang up on him and put him out of business.

RTC: Too much influence here, Gregory. Small numbers but very powerful inside the Beltway. They own the press and politicians kiss their butts on a regular basis.

GD: Well, they don’t own me and I do love a good fight. Eventually, they will think themselves immune and all-powerful and, like Irving, their own…what was your cultivated word? Hubris, yes, hubris. That will bring both of them down. Irving’s fall will be soon forgotten but when the Jews go too far in this country and the public turns against them, which it will, because the Jews never know when to stop, it will be a great fall. It will fall and, as the Bible says in Proverbs, and great will be the fall thereof.

RTC: Not in the near future.

GD: Only God knows that one, Robert, but the end will come there. It always has in the past, always. Look at history and be enlightened.

RTC: I’ll take your word for it.

GD: Why thank you for your confidence, Robert. I hope that when the quicksands close over Irving’s straining face, the last name he mentions as the sand fills his mouth is mine. The Germans call this ‘schadenfreude’ or the joy in the suffering of others but I say that, in German, schadenfreude ist immer die beste Freude. The joy in the suffering of other is always the best.

RTC: Very Teutonic.

GD: No, very realistic. Unpleasant to contemplate but true. One must strive to attain absolute objectivity, Robert. To let yourself be mired in convention and platitudes is to know nothing. Now you can see why some elements of my co workers in the CIC hated me. I was interested in results and they were interested in cheap booze and third rate pussy.

RTC: And you never drank or womanized?

GD:I did drink sometimes and I have had more than my share of conniving girl friends but never to distraction, Robert, never. Sex, good food, a good bit of classic music, a trip to Euopean museums like the Uffizi are all pleasures but never distractions.

RTC: Yes, I can see why they hate you.

GD: How many times have I quoted Bismarck? Many. Oh yes, many enemies, much honor. I judge a man by the enemies he has. The more and the louder they are, the more I can respect him.  Never them, of course, never. Bleating, whining, snapping mass of vermin-infested sewer rats. By God, Robert, your fellow countryman was right. Dean Swift. Oh yes, Swift was dead on when he came to his literary assaults on the boobery and bipedal rodents. He’s gone, unfortunately, and they still survive, crawling around in the dung and shrieking their hatred of whatever they can not be.

RTC: No, I once said you would be a good agent but I think, on reflection, you would produce wonderful analysis and a legion of enemies.

GD: Fuck them all Robert. In the end, we all are maggot bait but I love to watch them fall off one by one before I do.


(Concluded at 2:38 PM CST)



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