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TBR News October 7, 2019

Oct 06 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. October 7, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Commentary for October  7 :

”’Trump aches from his head to his toes

His sphincters have gone where who knows

And his love life has ended

By a paunch so distended

That all he can use is his nose.’

This bit of poetry has been heard in certain Senatorial Republican circles and if Trump ever hears it, he will attack them with his purse.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • Erratic Trump struggles to control message as impeachment threat grows
  • Second whistleblower in Trump-Ukraine scandal comes forward: lawyer
  • Impeachment prospect worries Senate Republicans from swing states, and could endanger GOP majority
  • Faked Conspiracy Photos: (A YouTube speciality ed.)
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

 

Erratic Trump struggles to control message as impeachment threat grows

Republican defenders mostly silent, with two vivid exceptions, as at least one additional whistleblower steps forward

October 6, 2019

by Tom McCarthy in New York

The Guardian

As Donald Trump strived to enforce message discipline among Republicans in the face of a building threat that he will be impeached, new forces beyond the US president’s control appeared likely to accelerate the congressional impeachment inquiry further in the coming week.

At least one additional whistleblower has stepped forward to describe an alleged scheme by Trump to extort Ukraine for dirt on Democratic 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden, the individual’s lawyer announced.

Congress is preparing to take testimony on Tuesday from a major figure in the Ukraine scandal, Gordon Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and major Trump donor who was made US ambassador to the European Union.

Similar testimony last week by former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker led to the disclosure of a damaging series of text messages further implicating Trump in the scandal.

And Trump’s would-be defenders in the Republican ranks, with the notable exception of two figures who themselves are deeply implicated in the Ukraine affair – secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani – have fallen mostly silent. No Trump defender from the White House appeared on the US Sunday morning news shows, nor did any members of the congressional Republican leadership.

Trump’s course of self-defense, meanwhile, appeared to be increasingly erratic. The president told House Republicans that his reportedly outgoing energy secretary, Rick Perry, was the secret Machiavelli behind a phone call Trump held with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, central to the scandal, Axios reported.

“Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call,” Trump was quoted as saying. “The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to.”

A spokesperson said that Perry had urged Trump to speak with Ukraine about natural gas but not about the Bidens or a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian election tampering, which were the topics Trump raised on the July call.

“Lesson to all of you Trump aides,” tweeted Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, “he’s taking you all down with him so you might as well get off the boat while you can.”

After a week in which his campaign seemed to dither in replying to Trump’s constant attacks, Biden published a pugilistic op-ed Saturday evening in the Washington Post declaring “enough is enough”. “You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family,” the piece concluded. “And come November 2020, I intend to beat you like a drum.”

News of at least one more whistleblower with direct knowledge of Trump administration interactions with Ukraine emerged Sunday morning. “I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying 12 August disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” tweeted Andrew Bakaj. “No further comment at this time.”

Instead of making his habitual weekend golf outing, Trump scheduled a full day on Sunday inside the White House, where he spent the morning tweeting outrage directed at Democrats and at Mitt Romney, the sole Republican senator so far to have voiced clear criticism of Trump’s Ukraine dealings.

“The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types,” Trump wrote, adding: “They stick together!”

Romney tweeted a photo of himself with his grandkids shopping for pumpkins.

But the efficacy of Trump’s efforts to keep Republicans onside in his defense was also visible at the weekend, with Pompeo telling reporters in Athens that it was the government’s “duty” to investigate a conservative conspiracy theory placing Ukraine instead of Russia at the heart of 2016 election tampering. That conspiracy theory has been debunked thoroughly.

Another Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, scrambled on Sunday to make amends for his admission on Friday that he had heard the state department was trying to put together a deal in which military aid for Ukraine would be tied to Zelenskiy’s cooperation in Trump’s alleged conspiracy against Biden.

Johnson used an appearance on NBC News’ Meet the Press to become adamant about how Trump had personally told him there was no such linkage, and then, to the intense frustration of host Chuck Todd, Johnson peddled the Ukraine election tampering conspiracy. “What happened in 2016?” said Johnson. “Who set him up? Did things spring from Ukraine?”

Giuliani, relegated to Twitter, spouted a similar line that also managed to bring up Democratic opposition to the nomination of supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh, a galvanizing issue for Republicans.

Despite Trump’s efforts, message discipline among Republicans was imperfect. Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under George W Bush, called the whistleblower a “patriot” in an appearance on CNN.

Meanwhile the former Republican congressman Joe Walsh, who has mounted a primary run against Trump, accused Trump of betrayal.

“This president deserves to be impeached,” Walsh said on CNN’s State of the Union. “This president betrayed his country again this week. There is enough we know now to vote to impeach this president. He stood on the White House lawn and told two foreign governments to interfere in our election. Donald Trump is a traitor.”

Minnesota Senator and Democratic 2020 election candidate Amy Klobuchar amplified that message, comparing the Ukraine scandal to Watergate.

“This is impeachable,” Klobuchar told CNN. “He’s acting like a global gangster, going to one leader after another trying to get dirt on his political opponent. I consider that a violation of our laws.”

 

Second whistleblower in Trump-Ukraine scandal comes forward: lawyer

October 6, 2019

by Doina Chiacu and Mark Hosenball

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A second whistleblower has come forward with first-hand knowledge of President Donald Trump’s attempts to get the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, lawyers for the official said on Sunday.

Lawyer Mark Zaid said the person, also an intelligence official, has direct knowledge of some of the allegations involving the initial whistleblower complaint, which triggered impeachment proceedings against the Republican president.

The emergence of a second protected witness complicates efforts by Trump and his Republican supporters to dismiss the complaint as politically motivated hearsay and may strengthen the Democrats’ case against him.

The complaint, filed with the inspector general on Aug. 12, cited information received from half a dozen U.S. officials expressing concern that Trump was using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country as he seeks re-election to a second term in 2020.

It also alleged that Trump leveraged $400 million in aid to secure a promise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” Andrew Bakaj, a second lawyer, said on Twitter. Bakaj declined further comment.

Zaid said the whistleblower had spoken with the inspector general as part of an initial examination of the whistleblower complaint. An interview with the inspector general affords protection against reprisal.

Confirmation of another whistleblower followed stirrings of discontent within Trump’s own Republican Party after he called on Beijing on Friday to investigate Biden’s son, who had business dealings in China.

Republican U.S. Senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins have expressed concerns about Trump reaching out to foreign countries to help him in his 2020 re-election bid.

However, other Republicans stood firmly in support of Trump on news shows on Sunday, echoing the president’s insistence that there was nothing wrong with his Ukraine call and dismissing his entreaty to China as a joke, even though Trump continues to raise the issue.

“I doubt if the China comment was serious to tell you the truth,” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I don’t imagine that’s what he was doing. Certainly we shouldn’t expect the Chinese, the Russians or any of our national security adversaries to be helpful in any way.”

Trump has alleged that Hunter Biden profited in his business dealings in both Ukraine and China from his father’s position, and that Joe Biden, as vice president, pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to impede a probe of a company tied to his son.

However, there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing.

“The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple!” Trump exclaimed on Twitter on Sunday.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Trump had “sent his administration into a tailspin by trying to bully a foreign country into spreading a comprehensively debunked conspiracy theory about the vice president” and he predicted Trump would lose “the old-fashioned way: an intervention by his own country – courtesy of the American people – in 2020.”

DO-SOMETHING DEMOCRATS

The telephone call with Zelenskiy, a summary of which was released by the White House, and the whistleblower complaint prompted House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24. Trump’s attempts to solicit foreign interference jeopardized U.S. election integrity and threatened national security, she said.

The investigation could lead to the approval of articles of impeachment – or formal charges – against Trump in the House. A trial on whether to remove him from office would then be held in the U.S. Senate. Republicans who control the Senate have shown little appetite for ousting Trump.

Democrats said any finding that Trump withheld taxpayer money, already approved by Congress to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression, in exchange for a favor from Zelenskiy would strengthen the case against him.

Trump has maintained there was no “quid pro quo” in his request of the Ukrainian president, but text messages released last week have heightened Democrats’ concerns.

In the texts, Trump’s Ukraine envoy, Kurt Volker, told a Zelenskiy adviser a meeting with Trump could be set up if Zelenskiy convinced the U.S. president he would pursue an investigation, while another State Department official expressed unease over the withholding of aid.

The committees leading the impeachment inquiry released the texts after Volker testified on Thursday.

The committees this week expect to hear from several other U.S. diplomats, including Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a committee official confirmed on Sunday. Sondland worked closely with Volker and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani on the Ukraine effort.

Former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, disparaged by Trump and abruptly recalled from Ukraine, was scheduled to give a deposition to congressional committees on Friday.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Ahmann and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Sandra Maler

 

Impeachment prospect worries Senate Republicans from swing states, and could endanger GOP majority

October. 4, 2019

by Janet Hook  Staff Writer

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON  —  With an impeachment storm gathering, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is standing firmly by President Trump. Sen. Susan Collins is keeping a studied silence. Sens. Martha McSally of Arizona and Cory Gardner of Colorado have mostly laid low while nurturing fundraising ties with the White House.

The House impeachment inquiry has dropped a huge boulder in the middle of the 2020 political landscape, sending Republicans up for election in swing states scrambling to find a safe distance.

The calculation is especially tricky for Tillis, Collins, McSally and Gardner, who face tough 2020 reelection fights in competitive states. To hold their seats, they must please two very different constituencies — Trump loyalists and swing voters. Impeachment may greatly complicate that mission.

Some Democrats have worried that a political backlash to the impeachment drive could cost them control of the House. But the unpredictable issue could also pose a threat to the Republican majority in the Senate.

“No one wants to be talking about this,” said Rob Jesmer, a former executive director of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm. “It’s a headache. But call me skeptical that Democrats are going to maximize the opportunity.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said that under Senate rules he would have “no choice” but to bring impeachment articles to the Senate floor if they are approved by the House. That means Senate Republicans will have to cast a vote on whether Trump’s conduct passes muster.

“Impeachment has the potential to put the squeeze on vulnerable Republicans; it could be a high-profile vote in support of or against the president,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor of the nonpartisan Inside Elections newsletter. “Most Republicans worry more about losing Trump’s support than they do about carving out an independent image.”

The impeachment debate provides the latest illustration of just how much Trump has tightened his grip on the Republican Party. With details emerging daily about Trump’s efforts to recruit foreign leaders for his domestic political purposes, some Republicans are echoing White House talking points in his defense, saying he did nothing improper; others are keeping mum. Precious few are daring to criticize his behavior.

Those who do risk searing blowback from Trump and his supporters, as GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah received — in the form of a belittling Trump tweet — after he said the president’s behavior was troubling.

That’s why it is unlikely that enough Republicans would turn on the president to oust him. With Democrats and their two independent allies holding 47 Senate seats, at least 20 GOP defections would be needed for the two-thirds vote to convict Trump.

Each of the four Republican swing-state senators has taken a different approach so far.

All have been targeted by anti-Trump activists. Need to Impeach, an anti-Trump group funded by Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, recently announced a $3-million campaign targeting vulnerable Republican senators, including television ads that began Thursday. Members of Indivisible, a progressive grass-roots group, plan impeachment-related demonstrations during the current Senate recess, including one outside McSally’s Phoenix office on Tuesday.

“Our goal will be to make this vote as painful and consequential as possible for Senate Republicans,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, Indivisible’s director of democracy policy.

Jesse Hunt, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said it was a “total fiction” that impeachment would be a winning issue for Democrats in battleground states. “Independent voters are completely turned off by these antics,” he said.

Still, some GOP strategists say swing-state Republicans might find safe political ground by voicing disapproval of Trump’s behavior while arguing it does not merit removing him from office.

That was the kind of argument Collins made in 1999 when she was one of the few Republicans who voted to acquit President Clinton of impeachment charges arising from his denial, under oath, of an affair with a White House intern. Collins argued that his behavior was “contemptible or utterly unworthy of the great office he holds,” but not grounds for removal from office.

For now, Collins is declining to comment on the specifics of the impeachment inquiry, saying she must remain neutral because she will be serving as a juror if a Senate impeachment trial occurs.

She has, however, risen to the defense of the whistleblower who raised alarms about Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Taking issue with Trump for calling the whistleblower a spy and a traitor, Collins told reporters, “Whistleblowers have been essential in bringing to the public’s attention wrongdoings, fraud, waste, abuse, law-breaking, and I very much disagree with the president’s mischaracterization.”

Collins is well-established in Maine, which she has represented in the Senate for 20 years, carving a reputation for being a moderate. But she has been girding for the toughest reelection fight of her career because of political fallout from her support last year for Brett M. Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Gardner has not directly addressed questions about whether Trump acted appropriately when he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. He did issue a statement denouncing the House speaker.

“Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry to appease the far-left isn’t something the majority of Americans support and will sharply divide the country,” Gardner said.

And he’s carefully kept ties with the White House, especially in raising money. He recently was advertised as a “special guest” at a Trump 2020 campaign retreat in New York from Friday to Sunday, along with the president’s son Donald Trump Jr.

Colorado went for Hillary Clinton by almost 5 percentage points in 2016. Trump is especially unpopular, with just 39% of Coloradans approving of the job Trump is doing.

“It’s a very tough decision, and no matter which way you go it’s going to alienate a portion of the electorate,” said Rob Whitwer, a former Colorado state legislator who quit the GOP in early 2019. But he said the key question is the reaction of independent voters like himself. Gardner’s best course is to appeal to those who are weary of partisan bickering, he said.

McSally is considered vulnerable because, while Trump won Arizona in 2016 by 3.6 percentage points, she lost her Senate bid to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. McSally was later appointed to the state’s other Senate seat, which had been vacated by the death of GOP Sen. John McCain.

Reaching for a balance between hugging Trump and keeping him at a distance, McSally has dismissed the significance of the impeachment inquiry, calling it a political loser for Democrats.

“Literally, they’re on a path to reelect the president, keep the Senate majority and flip the House,” McSally said in an interview with Politico. “It’s a total distraction. People can make their voices heard at the ballot box, right?”

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Arizona this week for a McSally fundraiser, and she met him at the airport. Democrats derided the event as an effort to show loyalty to the Trump administration while finessing Trump’s unpopularity in Arizona.

“We’re getting the bat boy instead of the general manager,” Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) gibed to reporters.

Of the four, Tillis has been the most unequivocal in his defense of Trump. Not only is he running in the most Trump-friendly state of the four, he is facing a two-front political battle — against a Republican primary opponent who says he is not loyal enough to Trump, and against Democratic candidates who say he is a Trump puppet.

Tillis took heat from Trump loyalists last spring after he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post objecting to Trump’s proposal to declare a national emergency in order to finance his border wall with money diverted from the Pentagon — a sensitive subject in North Carolina, which has a heavy military presence. Tillis later was persuaded by the White House to change his mind and vote to uphold the emergency order.

That opened him to accusations of flip-flopping — not just by Democrats but by a primary challenger who is arguing that Tillis is not a trustworthy conservative. Tillis has even been greeted with some boos when he has appeared at rallies with Trump.

Tillis is already airing his first ad, featuring Trump praising him as a “warrior.”

That strategy may help him beat back a primary challenge, but could cost him support in the state’s growing suburbs, where the GOP has been losing ground.

Tillis’ situation crystallizes the dilemma that members of both parties will likely face on impeachment.

“It does force both blue-state Republicans and red-state Democrats to make a calculation to either stick with their base or try to gamble and win over some independents,” said a Republican strategist who works on Senate races. “That is a very risky choice.”

 

Faked Conspiracy Photos: (A YouTube specialty ed.)

by Robert D. Fiete,

ITT Industries

Introduction

Like it or not, fake images are everywhere and have become a part of today’s culture. Thanks to the popularity of digital cameras and the availability of desktop imaging software that allows users to easily manipulate images, fake images have become commonplace, especially on the Internet. We see many images that defy common sense and it is natural for us to question the authenticity of these images. Most of have seen images that are obvious fakes, such as the 80-foot grasshopper climbing the Empire State Building, but we naturally assume that these images are fake and know that they were created simply for our amusement. Unfortunately there are too many times when a fake image has been created but it is advertised as real, challenging us to decide for ourselves whether the image is real of fake.

A fake image can be defined as an image of an object or scene that wasn’t captured as the image would imply. In general, fake images are created to generate a deception, but not all fake images are bad. The motivation may be simply for harmless entertainment, which accounts for most fake images generated today. Fake images can be generated for research and development purposes, e.g. to understand image quality issues with different camera designs. The fake images that concern us most are those that are created to perpetuate a lie. Some people will generate fake images for profit, such as a picture of an alien, a ghost, or an alien ghost of Elvis that they can then sell to a tabloid. Probably the most dangerous motive for generating fake images is to alter the public’s perception of truth for political reasons. It would be nice a reliable method existed for determining if an image is real or fake, but unfortunately none exists. We can hope to catch most of the fake images, however, if we understand how fake image are made and what characteristics to look for.

Creating Fake Images

Although generating fake images historically originated with darkroom tricks, today almost every fake image is made using a computer. Even though it is getting more difficult to discern a real image from a fake image as image processing software improves, image analysis can still be used to detect traits that can expose many of them as fakes. To understand how fake images can be detected we must first understand how they can be made on computers. The two most common methods today for generating fake images are to “paint” a new image outright or to alter an existing image that has been captured by a camera.

A digital image is essentially a grid of numbers, where each number represents the brightness of each picture element, or pixel, in the image (An 8-bit image can have 28=256 gray-level values, with a value of 0 representing black and a value of 255 representing white. A color image is made by combining a red image, a green image, and a blue image. Adding together different gray-level values from the red, green, and blue image produces the various color values.

Since a digital image is simply a grid of numbers, it is conceivable for an artist to create a computer-generated image by “painting” a grid of numbers to represent any object or scene that could be captured with a digital camera. For a 24-bit color image composed of an 8-bit red, green, and blue image, there are almost 17 million possible colors for each pixel. A 4″x6″ image at 300 dpi (dots per inch) will have over 2 million pixels, thus there are over 36 thousand billion numbers that can be considered to make the color digital image. Realistically all of the possible numbers do not need to be considered by the artist, but serious thought does need to be put into the values that will be used, especially when illumination and edges are considered. If the computer generated image is to look like a real photograph, then the image must be consistent with all of the laws of physics applicable to generating a real image.

Many of the classic painters, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, had an amazing talent to incorporate the proper shading, texture, tone, and color into their paintings that were consistent with the real world thus adding an amazing amount of realism to their work. However, their paintings do not look like modern photographs because they do not contain sufficient detail to match all of the physical properties associated with photographic imaging. (Actually, most artists probably would have been quite unhappy if their works of art looked like a modern photograph.)

In order to create a digital image that looks like a real photograph, the correct brightness values must be determined on a pixel-by-pixel basis to match the physical imaging properties, which could take months to years, depending on the image size, without the aid of computer software to perform the calculation. This problem was solved with the development of computer graphics software, designed to generate images of 3D objects with realistic illumination conditions. A rendering operation adds lighting, shading, colors, and texture to a mesh form of the object that is created by the artist. Ray tracing models produce the best quality by projecting many rays of light and modeling all of the physical qualities between the light and the objects in the scene, including reflection, refraction, transmission, scattering, absorption, and diffraction. The artist must simulate enough rays of light to cover every pixel in the image, which can be very time consuming if many rays of light are used. We have all seen the impressive results of computer animation in many feature films, creating dinosaurs or aliens that come to life on the screen. However, generating impressive detail in fake images using computer graphics, especially in a movie sequence, is still very difficult due to the complex calculations that need to be performed and the software is not accessible to the average PC user.

The most common method of generating a fake image, due to its simplicity, is to alter an existing image that was captured by a camera. The image can be altered by changing the context of the image, such as claiming that an actual image of a lampshade is actually an image of alien spaceship, or the image can be altered by changing the content of the image, such as superimposing an image of a cow onto an image of the moon

Creating a fake image by altering the context of an image has historically been the preferred method for creating hoaxes because it requires no alterations and the image is an actual image captured by a camera; hence the image, and the film negative if it exists, will pass the scrutiny of scientific tests. A famous example of a faked image by altering the context is the “Surgeon’s Photo” taken in 1934 by Robert Wilson who claimed it was a photograph of the Loch Ness Monster The image fooled many experts until an accomplice confessed in 1994 that the monster was nothing more than a toy submarine with the model of a serpent head attached.

The Cottingley Hoax is another example of fake images created by altering the context In 1917 16-year-old Elsie Wright and her 10-year-old cousin Frances Griffiths took photographs of winged fairies near their home in England. Inspection of the images showed no alterations and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for creating the master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, deemed them authentic. Sixty years later the girls admitted that the fairies were paper cutouts held in place with hat pins.

Altering the content of an existing image most likely originated when early photographers were compelled to touch up the photographs of their paying customers to remove wrinkles and blemishes. Many people in the 19th century were accustomed to having flattering portraits painted of them and were not very tolerant at seeing the way they looked to the camera, which could not tell a lie. As dark room processes advanced, adding and removing people from images became a standard trick. When photographers were unable to get an entire family together for a family portrait, they would set up the subjects such that the missing individuals could be added at a later time (see Figure 5). Altering images became routine for many political regimes in the 20th century, especially for propaganda. It was not uncommon for some governments to remove people from historic photographs when these people fell out of favor with the ruling party.

Today, altering the content of an image does not require dark room tricks but merely a PC with image editing software. Desktop software is readily available and easy to use, allowing anyone to quickly and creatively alter images. The easiest approach is to simply cut a section from one image and embed it into another image (see Figure 6). The desktop software allows the creator to modify the extracted image to the appropriate size and rotation. The software on the market today is so easy to use that that pre-school children have little difficulty creating impressive altered images.

Identifying Fake Images

If an image is deemed suspicious, then we can first look for clues by visual inspection and then proceed with scientific inspection if necessary. The first line of defense for detecting a possible fake image is our own perception. We have a keen ability to sense that something is wrong with an image and trusting our common sense works most of the time. If an image looks unbelievable, then it probably is unbelievable and is a fake. If an image looks real and similar images are easily obtained, then it probably is real since there would be no motive to warrant the time and effort to create the fake image. Unfortunately life isn’t that simple. There are examples of fake images that we believe are real because they do not draw suspicion (see Figure 8) and there are examples of unbelievable images that are in fact real images. These real but unbelievable images are the ones that fascinate us but also make it harder to discount the images that we suspect are fake. Images that we believe to be real but are in fact fake are bothersome because they unfairly manipulate our sense of truth.

Using computer animation software to create a fake image works well in movies but generally does not fool the public when used to pass off a fake image as real. Our perception is very sensitive to subtle details in the composure and texture of objects in an image, especially when viewing images of people. Most computer-generated scenes, especially those involving people or animals, have a “cartoon look” about them when scrutinized. People generally look like mannequins and subtle details are missing. Images that circulated on the Internet claiming to be actual satellite images of the space shuttle Columbia exploding in space could easily be recognized as the work of computer animation when viewed closely (see Figure 9). The ability to generate realistic computer generated people is improving dramatically over time as software technology and mathematical models progress.

A fake image created by altering the context is the hardest to positively identify as fake since the image is real and will pass scientific tests on the validity of the image itself. Most fake UFO images cannot be immediately discounted as fake because they are indeed real photographs of objects that the viewer cannot properly identify, leaving the image subject to interpretation. The key to identifying a fake image when the context is altered is to identify aspects of the image that are inconsistent with the image description, i.e. catch the perpetrator in a lie. For example, the time and date claimed may be inconsistent with the sun’s position or the known weather conditions for that date.

Photographs published in 1932 reportedly showing scenes from WWI dogfights were amazing due to their sharpness and clarity. But the amazing clarity was a clue that the images were probably fake because they appeared too sharp given the relatively long exposures required from cameras at the time and the amount of motion and vibration on the airplane. The images were not proven to be fakes until 1984 when the model airplanes used in the images were discovered.

When the image content has been altered, we focus on the aspect of the image that makes the image unbelievable. Images that have had their content altered will usually have physical inconsistencies in the image that may be apparent under visual inspection. Unfortunately, these inconsistencies are not always apparent in the image and the image may not be proven to be fake until the original unaltered image is discovered

The physical traits of the image that can be assessed include the illumination conditions, edge sharpness, resolution, tone, relative scale, and noise characteristics. Many of the computer animated scenes created for movies and electronic games do not adhere to the laws of physics, but this is usually intentional to save cost and to make the scenes more entertaining.

A common inconsistency found when the image content is altered is the mismatch of radiometric or illumination conditions between the altered part and the rest of the image. The altered part of the image may have shadowing that is not consistent; indicating that is was illuminated under different conditions from rest of the image. This is commonly seen when an object captured at one time of the day is added to an image that was captured at a different time of the day. Also, the light illuminating the altered part may not be consistent with the diffuse or specular light illuminating the rest of the scene. This effect is commonly seen when an object captured with a photographic flash is added to an image that was acquired with outdoor or studio lighting. Color, contrast, and tone will also vary for different illumination conditions, thus creating a mismatch of these characteristics between different images

An image claiming to be a satellite image of the Northeast blackout in 2003 circulated on the Internet shortly after the blackout occurred. The image was quickly identified as a fake because the blackout area is pure black compared to the other areas with no light sources. Other clues to this deception include the false satellite name, the unlikely lack of clouds anywhere over North and Central America, and the fact that the blackout was not total over the Northeast. The original image is a composite of many DMSP satellite images acquired between 1994 and 1995

One must be very careful when analyzing the illumination characteristics of the scene. The shadows and illumination conditions can be misleading, especially if the three-dimensional aspects of the scene are not taken into account. The Apollo 11 moon landing images appear to contain “anomalies” that some people use to argue that the moon landing was staged in a studio. These “anomalies” include shadows on the lunar surface that are not parallel and objects that appear illuminated even though they are in the shadows, both suggesting that there were light sources other than the sun, as well as the lack of stars in the black sky, suggesting that a black back-drop was used on a studio set. Of course, all of these so-called anomalies are exactly what we expect to see in the images if we truly understand the imaging conditions on the lunar surface. The shadows are not parallel as seen in the images because the lunar surface is not flat and the objects are not necessarily parallel to one another in height, the shadows are illuminated from the light scattering off of the lunar surface, and the stars do not appear in the images because the camera exposure was set for the brightness of the lunar surface.

Creators of fake images usually ignore the known physical properties of creating an image with a camera. The most significant camera effects are edge sharpness, influenced by the lens diffraction, focus, and motion blur; perspective geometry; and noise properties, usually from the detector and compression. Computer animated images are usually created without any camera effects since this will degrade the image quality and make the images less appealing to the audience. This, however, results in images that are physically impossible to capture with a camera in the real world.

When an object is added or deleted from an image, an edge is usually created that has a sharpness that is inconsistent with the rest of the image. Even an in-focus image will exhibit some blurring due to the diffraction of light from the camera aperture. The behavior of the blurring in the image is well understood and can be mathematically modeled if the camera design is known. Even if the camera design is not known, measurements within the image can produce a relatively accurate mathematical model of the camera that can provide reasonable predictions. Cutting an object from one image and inserting it into another image will create a sharp edge at the boundary of the inserted object that is sharper than physically possible. This sharpness is easily seen and creates an obvious sign that the image has been altered, so smudging tools in image processing software are usually used to reduce the visibility of these edges This smudging, however, will usually produce blurred edges around the object that are inconsistent with the rest of the image.

Most images will exhibit some amount of noise, primarily from the detector or from the image compression that was applied. The noise characteristics of an altered portion of an image can be inconsistent with the rest of the image. Magnifying digital images will generally exhibit graininess due to the detector noise and artifacts from the compression algorithm, depending on the level of compression. When images have been altered, the creator usually blurs the edges or other portions of the image to blend in the object, but this changes the noise characteristics, allowing the alteration to be detected

Finally, an understanding of how image processing alters the image characteristics can lead to signs of alteration. For example, when the image contrast is enhanced, the resulting gray-level histogram of the image will usually display “holes” or gray-level values that contain are no longer present in the image. An object from one image that is inserted into a second image may exhibit a different histogram that will indicate that it was not originally part of the second image. However, if an image has been enhanced using an adaptive processing algorithm, then the image characteristics, such as the gray-level histogram or the edge sharpness, can change locally even though no other alteration have been made. Adaptive processing should not be used on real images if the integrity of the image is to be preserved. Unfortunately, if the image is processed after the alteration has been made, such as compressing the image, then the holes in the histogram may be filled in and the histogram will no longer look suspicious

The Difficulty of Detecting Fake Images

Most of the people generating fake images know little or nothing about the physics of the image chain, yet lots of fake images fool us because they seem to have properties that are consistent with real images. How is this possible? Images with altered context are actual images; hence image analysis will not show that the image itself is inconsistent with physics, only that the perpetrator is being untruthful. Images with altered content will usually show signs of alteration if the image is created quickly and carelessly. The anomalies created in an altered image can be reduced by having an understanding of the imaging chain properties and taking the time and effort to ensure that the entire image is consistent at the pixel level, but this is rarely performed due to the knowledge and time required.

The simplest method to reduce the detection of the anomalies in an altered image is to degrade the quality of the image of the alteration. The most common methods are blurring the edges, adding random noise, reducing the size of the image, or compressing the image, all of which will cover up telltale signs of the manipulation. Many fake images have such poor quality that accurate measurements cannot be made to determine if inconsistencies exist. Admittedly, most creators of fake images do not reduce the quality with the intent of making image analysis more difficult, but instead reduce the quality by resizing and compressing the image simply to reduce the file size. However, reducing the image quality to hide the inconsistencies may reduce the impact that the creator of the altered image had hoped for. For example, inconsistent edge blurring can be reduced in altered images if the image is sub-sampled to a smaller size, but this could lead to unsatisfactory aliasing artifacts.

Image steganography offers a method for embedding hidden information into an image. Information pertaining to the unaltered image can be encoded and embedded into the image such that it is not visible. The information can also be encrypted, requiring a key to decode the embedded information so that unauthorized users cannot alter the information. The embedded information can withstand most alterations and processing such as scale, rotation, compression, and cropping. As an example, an edge map of the image can be created, encoded, and embedded into the image itself. If an image is suspected of being altered, then the embedded information can be extracted using the key and compared to the image. Any differences between the edge map of the current image and the edge map embedded in the image can prove if the image was altered

Although image analysis tools can help detect many fake images, currently there is no way to stop somebody from spending the time and resources to make a fake image that is not detectible. All one can do is hope that an inconsistency can be found, thus indicating that the image is fake. Methods currently being developed, such as image stenography and control coding in printers, can aid in the prevention and detection of altered images that are passed off as real images. Two great references for checking the authenticity of images being distributed on the Internet are The Museum of Hoaxes and Urban Legends Reference Pages. For further reading on fake images, a good reference is Photo Fakery, by Dino Brugioni.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 7, 2019

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 publication.

 

Conversation No. 50

Date, Friday, November 29, 1996

Commenced: 11:20 AM CST

Concluded: 11:55 AM CST

 

GD: How are you doing today, Robert?

RTC: Had a bad night, Gregory. Couldn’t get to sleep and then dozed off about five. Not a good night.

GD: Take sleeping pills?

RTC: I don’t like to start with things like that. You can get addicted to them so I just put up with it and I will take a nap after lunch. That will help. How are you today?

GD: I’m OK. Been working on the latest Müller book and I got bogged down. When that happens, you have to just stop everything and walk away for a while.

RTC: How is the book coming?

GD: Making it, Robert. Publisher tells me the first book is doing very well.

RTC: Any negative comments?

GD: Not to him.

RTC: Oh, there are some unhappy people back here. The rumors are out that you might do another book so I would be careful talking about its contents to anyone.

GD: Corson and Kimmel have been very interested.

RTC: That’s what I mean. Don’t tell either one of them a damned word.

GD: No, the more curious people get, the less I say. I know Tom is with the FBI so, naturally, I only engage in light conversations with him and Bill is too curious to suit me.

RTC: Bill like to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, if you follow me.

GD: Yes. Typical.

RTC: Müller died in ’83, didn’t he?

GD: Yes. Buried in Oakland.

RTC: Buried under his Company name?

GD: No, his real one.

RTC: He sold paintings for us, as I remember.

GD: Oh, yes he did. Your people took over looted Nazi art from the Army after the war and then you know what happened to it.

RTC: Yes, of course. We sold it for profit and if we had any trouble with previous owners, we simply terminated them. Mostly hysterical Jews screaming about this or that but eventually, they were dealt with and business went on.

GD: Heini told me he took in millions.

RTC: Oh, yes, he did. Some of it we used for off the books operations, like snuffing Diem and other nasty businesses and the rest ended up in private hands, let us say.

GD: Well, I recall the beautiful Raphael hanging up in Heini’s office. A fruity looking fellow in a white shirt. It apparently came from a collection in Warsaw along with a Leonardo. The Leonardo was found and sent back but the Raphael ended up with the Gestapo and Heini hid it and later went back for it. Of course he could never sell it but it looked so nice in his home. I can imagine the howls of rage if the Polacks found out about it.

RTC: Yes, indeed. God, how many such scenes we had to take care of.

GD: Terminate with extreme prejudice?

RTC: No, that term is used for in-house problems. Like the unfortunate fellow who shot himself in the back of the head and jumped off his little boat with weights on his feet. Things like that.

GD: And Olson?

RTC: Well, he was potential trouble so he did a full gainer out of a hotel window. It wasn’t the long fall that did him in, Gregory, but that sudden stop at the bottom.

GD: Müller told me about that. He said unwanted people like Forrestal rained down all over Washington until he introduced the heart attack drug. He used to feel sorry for people down below. I mean, some woman taking mail to the corner box gets an unwanted individual landing on top of her. Or imagine someone just bought a new Packard and there is a huge mess on their crushed roof and brains splattered all over the rest of the car. No, Heini was right about the heart attacks. Much more plausible and certainly less messy.

RTC: I agree.

GD: Diem?

RTC: Oh that business. I was on the inside with that one. What a mess but typical. Diem and his brother ran Vietnam and were trying to kill off the Buddhists. Kennedy had no idea what was going on over there and was waffling about pouring American troops into the country. The Diem family were crooked as hell and very, very nasty and demanding. Thee were two camps here, Gregory. The first one wanted a major effort there to stop Communism dead in its tracks and the other felt that such actions would become a bottomless pit.

GD: In the event, they were right.

RTC: Yes, but that is now, based on hindsight, but at the time, no one knew just what to do. We were technically only advising Diem. We had a deal with the French, at least the Company did, to support any régime that would protect their interest there. Lots of rubber and there was also untapped oil fields offshore. Jack was an idealist at times and got pulled this way and that. I mean we felt that a strong military presence there was good. We could use that country as a base of operations to expand into Laos and other areas but we had to act like we were supporting the democratic movements in Saigon. Diem was a vicious dictator and was surrounded with totally corrupt officials so he was not a good image for us. After we talked about it somewhat, it was decided to get rid of him and his brother and put in new people. We talked with dissident generals and pretty well set up a putsch. The idea was not to run him out of the country but to kill both of them and set an example for others.

GD: Was Kennedy in on it?

RTC: OF course, he knew in advance. We tarted it up and he went for it. But kept waffling this way and that so we just told the generals to go ahead. They grabbed the two of them and chopped them both up with bayonets in the back on an armored car. I personally told our people there that it ought to be done and the bodies tossed out on the street as an example to others.

GD: Admiral Byng.

RTC: Yes, just so. Kennedy was presented with a fiat and went along.

GD: And what about the usual Congressional investigations?

RTC: We did what we always do, Gregory. Private talks with key people on the hill and the whole thing is rigged from the beginning.

GD: You told them the truth?

RTC: Oh, be a realist here. Of course not. We lie to Congress and the White House every day. We know so much about all of them, just like old Hoover did, that they shut up and we have our people at the New York Times write things up the way we wish. And then the public goes off and watches a football game and opens another beer.

GD: Could any of this ever get out?

RTC: No. Say some gung ho reporter wants to do a story on how we killed Diem or something else like that. We would hear about it at once because we have our people in all the major papers and television offices so we would get the word right away. The usual drill is to call up the editor and have a talk with him and the reporter gets assigned to inspect whale shit somewhere.

GD: And if he gets too curious or won’t give up?

RTC: There’s always the heart attack or the road accident.

GD: Of falling out of the window.

RTC: Not much of that anymore. As you say, too messy.

GD: Heini used to off them and then turn up the heat in their house until they got really ripe.

RTC: Not personally?

GD: No, he used Arno to off people. Arno is a real jewel. He’s a Lutheran minister at the present time but Heini told me once that Arno loved the knife and some of his victims looked like something Picasso would have painted

RTC: (Laughter) Yes, well, we had some of those too.

GD: I recall the Diem business. That was the turning point over there. The hawks won out.

RTC: What a mess that was, Gregory. Now mind you, I felt that Diem just would not listen to us and was causing such bad publicity here by his undemocratic behavior that I really don’t think we had much of a choice. Kennedy was a twit and proved to be so unreliable in the business that we eventually decided he had to go too. Johnson would do what he was told but Kennedy was as independent as a hog on ice so onto the face of the fifty cent piece and into the hearts of all Americans. You won’t find Johnson on a coin but he put plenty of them into his pocket. Give me the crook over the idealist any time.

GD: I agree. Anyway, I am writing the art business up for the new book. They never took anything really big but all the small stuff fell through the cracks. Müller used to call it degenerate filth and that Hitler was right about it but I notice he never burnt any of the Klees or Picassos. You can get money for all of that and I find that money has such a soothing effect, Robert.

RTC: Yes, I believe it does. It is the root of all evil, after all.

GD: No, the actual Biblical quotation is that the love of money is the root of all evil.

RTC: One or the other.

 

(Concluded at 11:55 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Ray Moore

 

  1. Ray Moore is a solidly Taliban-style fundamentalist, theocrat and political activist (staff member for Pat Robertson’s campaigns in the 1980s, for instance) – in 2014 he even ran for governor of South Carolina. He is currently President of Frontline Ministries, Inc. and Director of the Exodus Mandate Project, author of extremist books like Let My Children Go (with his wife, Gail) and The Promise of Jonadab: Building a Christian Family Legacy in a Time of Cultural Decline, as well as – and perhaps most notably – Executive Producer of the documentary IndoctriNation. Moore’s main focus is the separation of church and state, which he doesn’t like, and in particular the fact that children in public schools aren’t indoctrinated with what he judges to be the correct version of Christianity.

“IndoctriNation” concerns this allegedly destructive nature of the public school system, which Moore calls the “main culprit” when it comes to why young adults leave the church: Public schools are like “playing Russian Roulette with your children’s souls,” as Moore sees it. They are “godless and pagan by precept and design,” since they don’t follow his demand for “God in the math class and in the science class as much as in the Bible class.” Instead of letting children attend public schools, parents should do what the Bible demands of them: homeschool them or place them in Christian schools. In 2006 Moore submitted a resolution to the Southern Baptist Convention urging an exit strategy from the public school system, arguing that Christians should not be exposed to any knowledge that doesn’t fit with what hethey already believe.

His 2014 gubernatorial campaign also focused on his dislike for public schools, which are ostensibly causing a  “silent holocaust” (like most screaming all-caps loons on the Internet Moore has a knack for lunatic, idiotic and tasteless turns of the phrase) in American churches by teaching evolution and homosexuality, warning that the curricula turn students, like a young Hillary Clinton, into anti-Christian “janissaries”. Instead, Moore urged the state to replace public schools with an education system led by “churches, families, and private association”. Moore cited studies purportedly showing that “80 percent of Southern Baptists youths are leaving the church and abandoning the Christian faith, and we think all of this is pretty much attributable to government schooling.” Surely having to deal with people like E. Ray Moore would have nothing to do with it.

In 2017, Moore called for God to protect Trump from the demonic “Deep State.” Having evidently no clear idea what “deep state” purports to refer to (and in any case systematically confusing things and lumps in the stream of his own feverish imagination), describing it as some nebulous entity that is not loyal to the Constitution but representing “principalities and powers,” “demonic and Satanic forces” and “fallen angels”; accordingly, he also claimed that prayer would be an appropriate means to deal with the deep state. “We’ve got a man in the government who is a friend of God’s in a unique way in modern American history,” concluded Moore: God gave us a “miracle” in November 2016, heralding a new, great revival.

Moore has also endorsed The New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy, which we have encountered before.

Diagnosis: The Taliban envy is indeed strong among angry, afraid, delusional and hateful fundies. Apparently quite a number of people listen to this frothing lunatic, though his impact is hopefully relatively limited.

Matt Monarch

Matt Monarch is a raw food vegan activist who thinks that cooking food kills it and poisons you (cooked foods are “dead,” having had their “vital force” and nutrients sucked out of them), while eating only raw vegetables, fruit, grain, and plant matter is the secret to health. He defends the ideas on the website The Raw Food World. Said ideas include the delusion that nearly all disease is caused by unspecified toxins, in particular through “autointoxication,” where allegedly accumulated fecal matter piled up in your colon leaks its “toxins” into your bloodstream and makes you sick. The idea is complete nonsense (having sufficient fecal matter in your colon to make you sick would make you septic – that’s true – but certainly does not cause the chronic illnesses Monarch claims.) In any case, as Monarch sees it this mythical accumulated fecal matter needs to be purged through detoxification, and he seems to be perfectly willing to subject his own children to such procedures, which is less funny.

Of course, he has no evidence for his claims. People who want evidence are sheeple “stuck in the ‘system’, doing everything that they are told by “authority” figures such as their doctors and family members, all out of fear and weakness.” He doesn’t need evidence: the information he provides “is so basic and obvious to me and I feel extremely sad that the majority of the people will likely just brush this info off.” He has anecdotes, however, and willingly tells you how he has applied his methods to unnamed people with “instantaneous results.”

And there is a conspiracy, of course: According to Monarch, the body is always naturally “purging” but those evil “allopathic doctors” and Big Pharma are pumping you full of drugs that to him “suppress” the body’s ability to “detoxify itself”. The solution is enemas. Enemas for headaches, for kidney stones, for cancer, for everything. To achieve best possible effect, however, you should supplement the enemas with raw vegetable juice and molasses. And just remember: if you don’t get better, it’s because you didn’t have sufficient faith; if you are “truly” doing “these things consistently for a good amount of time,” you can heal anything, and if you don’t then “my best guess would be it’s a spiritual phenomena that you have to figure out.” Blaming the victim is of course part and parcel of any serious altmed treatment regime.

Among the products promoted by Monarch is Adya Clarity, which Monarch claims – without evidence or any plausible mechanism – can “eliminate pathogens” and “toxins”; in particular, it can get rid of candida and it worked for his wife. Interestingly, his promotion of Adya Clarity got him in a fight with woomeister supreme Mike Adams, since Monarch also claimed that Adya Clarity made Zeolite superfluous, and Zeolite is a bullshit supplement Adams has some financial stakes in (indeed, Monarch and Adams were, at some point, engaged some kind of cooperation, and Monarch has previously written for NaturalNews). So it goes.

Of course, Monarch has gone down the rabbit hole more or less completely. He’s for instance also antivaccine, and is willing to tell us how to make our shoes “grounded”. Unfortunately, he is unwilling to reveal the really deep secrets: “This rabbit hole DOES go deep and most of the stuff that I say probably sounds totally OUTLANDISH and EXTREME to the majority of the population. I feel, for example, that I am doing a service by not revealing what I feel is the real truth about where humans came from and how degenerated we may actually be at this time, as I feel that I would likely lose much credibility sharing these kinds of ideas.” The last insight is probably correct, though.

Diagnosis: Utterly deranged pseudoscientist and conspiracy theorist, and a genuine threat to people close to him. At least you have the option to stay far away; others seem to be less lucky.

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