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TBR News April 14, 2019

Apr 14 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April  14, 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.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for April 14: “Sunday is a quiet day at the White House but I can’t wait until Monday and hear the gabble about the Trump tax papers. He claims he does not have to release them to Congress. He is right about that. It is the IRS that is obligated to release them to Congress, not Trump. Rumor says he is frantic about this because he is a crooked a dog’s hind leg and everyone here knows he has been cheating on taxes for years.”


The Table of Contents

  • 3 theories on why Donald Trump’s lies don’t seem to faze him (or his supporters)
  • WikiLeaks ‘dead man’s switch’? Assange’s arrest prompts speculation about possible major data dumps
  • Trump told border official he’d pardon him if he went to jail over immigration moves: CNN
  • Trump fixed on sanctuary city idea amid opposition and doubts over legality
  • Trump Wrong About Tax Law
  • 67 percent of Bay Area homeless are unsheltered. In New York, it’s 5%
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
    • David Booth
    • Derrick Robinson & the FFCHS
    • Kaitlyn Moore
    • Gene Moody
  • Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram down across US, Europe, Asia
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley ConversationsOperation Bernhard
  • Successful German counterfeiting in WW II


3 theories on why Donald Trump’s lies don’t seem to faze him (or his supporters)

April 3, 2019

by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large


(CNN) — On Tuesday, during a sit-down with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Donald Trump said something that wasn’t true. About his own father.

“My father is German — was German,” Trump said. “Born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany.”

Fred Trump was, of course, born in New York City. (His father, the President’s grandfather, was born in Germany.) It’s an easily checkable fact, but this is at least the third time that Trump has claimed that his father was born in Germany when he, well, wasn’t.

Why does he do it? Because facts have always been a fungible thing to Trump. He has, throughout his life, bent them to fit the narrative he is telling about himself. For most people, getting something factually wrong — especially in a public setting — is disconcerting and embarrassing. Trump doesn’t have that gene. Facts are whatever he wants them to be. And they can change, depending on his own circumstances. He tells himself a story of his life in which he is always the hero, always the winner, and then repeats that story over and over again. He doesn’t care if objective facts get in the way.

That is troubling, but not terribly hard to understand. What is more difficult to wrap your head around is why Trump’s towering record of distortions and falsehoods seem to have zero effect on either a) his willingness to keep lying or b) how people perceive him. Those two ideas are intertwined, of course — he lies because he feels he can do so without penalty — and I have a few theories about the seeming total lack of concern among many people for a President who has said more than 9,000 false or misleading things in his first 802 days in office.

1) It’s baked in the cake: It’s not as though Donald Trump started bending (and breaking) the truth when he was elected President. He spent much of the 2016 campaign doing almost exactly what he has done as President: Exaggerating, distorting and, at times, flat-out lying. And voters got that! Just 33% said he was “honest and trustworthy,” according to exit polling in 2016. But even then, a number of them didn’t seem to care. Almost two-thirds of voters (64%) said Trump was neither honest nor trustworthy, but of that group, one in five voted for Trump anyway!

The reality is that lots of voters — especially those who voted for Trump — never thought he was an honest guy. They knew he was lying about things — from the extent of his wealth to his many alleged golf championships to bigger issues like his conduct with women. They didn’t care. Or, more accurately, they cared about other things more.

2) All politicians lie: Time and time again during the 2016 campaign, when confronted with Trump’s record of false statements, voters would tell reporters some version of this: Sure, Trump lies. But all politicians lie! At least he’s honest about it! Yes, that makes very little sense — particularly because Trump wasn’t honest about all the times he didn’t tell the truth; he refused to acknowledge them at all.

But what voters were saying — even if they were saying it in a somewhat convoluted way — was that Trump was so different, so weirdly transparent about his willingness to say anything and do anything to win that they kind-of believed he was genuine. Even if they knew he wasn’t, by any traditional standard, honest. And that mattered because it differentiated him from the way people saw all other politicians: Liars but so smooth at it that you never knew. Always trying to pull the wool over your eyes, to serve you food they got from the trash can and tell you it was from a five-star restaurant. Trump’s lies were so over-the-top, so — in a way — laughable, that people found (and find) them endearing in an eye-roll-y, did-you-hear-what-he-said? way.

3) Many people don’t trust the media: Trump didn’t create distrust in the media. In 2016, just 32% of people told Gallup that they thought the media reported the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” (That number, in late 2018, had risen back to 45%.) What Trump did do is weaponize the lingering distrust in ways we’ve never seen before. “Fake news” has become ubiquitous in the culture — as an ironic punchline for some, sure, but nonetheless ubiquitous.

The rise of Fox News — and its near-monopoly on conservative mind-share in the country — has dovetailed with Trump’s ascent and created both a political and economic model by which convincing people that the media isn’t just unfair but is purposely not telling the truth is monetized for gain. Where we are in this country is that if someone at CNN says the sky is blue, a big chunk of Trump supporters will shout “fake news” while high-fiving. They revel in the idea that the mainstream media is totally obsessed with Trump, suffering from a severe case of TDS (“Trump Derangement Syndrome”). They don’t even engage with the facts because those “facts” are coming from a messenger (the media) that they believe is dismissive of their way of life and their beliefs and will do anything — including lying about the truth — to accomplish some set of pie-in-the-sky liberal goals.

But the simplest reason for why Trump lies (and lies) is because he can. Because he faces no real penalty for his near-constant fabrications (22 a day!) and in some circles is rewarded for sticking it to the hated media and political classes. Is all of that not only depressing but worrisome when it comes to the future of our democracy? You bet it is.


WikiLeaks ‘dead man’s switch’? Assange’s arrest prompts speculation about possible major data dumps

April 13, 2019


The arrest of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has re-ignited speculation about the so-called “insurance” – large encrypted files uploaded by the website. What they are and when they will be opened is still unknown.

Assange’s seven-year exile ended on Thursday, when the Metropolitan Police dragged the publisher out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. While his fate is in limbo, even more uncertainty surrounds the WikiLeaks “insurance” files – believed by some to be the website’s “dead man’s switch” option: a massive encrypted data dump whose decryption keys will be revealed in case Assange gets arrested or killed, or WikiLeaks gets taken down for good.

Now that Assange is in custody, speculation has swirled that the keys are about to be made public – but nothing has happened so far.

The very first file of this type appeared back in July 2010 on the Afghan War Diary page. The encrypted file is strikingly large – larger than all the previous entries of the diary combined.

“If anything happens to Assange or the website, a key will go out to unlock the files. There would then be no way to stop the information from spreading like wildfire because so many people already have copies,” CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh said back then.

Since 2010, WikiLeaks dropped a whole batch of similar “insurance” files – and none of them have been cracked open. In 2010, there was speculation that one of the files was unlocked, but WikiLeaks said the rumors were not true.

The emergence of certain “insurance” files have preceded major data dumps by WikiLeaks, which means they may have contained full information of the upcoming release – just in case.

The large size of the files, however, is fueling speculation that there might be more incriminating information in them – or possibly just junk data added specifically to bolster the size.


Trump told border official he’d pardon him if he went to jail over immigration moves: CNN

April 12, 2019

by Avery Anapol –

The Hill

President Trump reportedly told the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that he would pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law.

CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Friday that Trump made the comment to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan during a visit to the border at Calexico, Calif. Trump has since named McAleenan to serve as acting Homeland Security Secretary following the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen

CNN, citing two unnamed officials briefed on the exchange, reported that Trump told McAleenan he ”would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants.”

It was reported earlier this week that during the visit to the border, Trump told CBP agents to block migrants from entering the U.S., a violation of federal laws and court orders.

At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told The Hill. “Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”


Trump fixed on sanctuary city idea amid opposition and doubts over legality 

Consternation over move meant to exact revenge on Democrats sees House committee chairs dismiss Trump’s claim

April 14, 2019

by Martin Pengelly and agencies

The Guardian

Donald Trump appears determined to send migrants arrested at the southern border to “sanctuary cities” around the US, a scheme meant to exact revenge on his Democratic foes, despite fierce political opposition and doubts over the legality of such a move.

On Saturday night, to widespread consternation, the president tweeted that it was: “Just out: the USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to sanctuary cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the state of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!”

On Sunday House homeland security chair Bennie Thompson and judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler both dismissed the claim.

“[Trump] has no right to spend money appropriated by Congress for other circumstances,” the New York Democrat told CNN’s State of the Union. “[He should not] use immigrants or people who are claiming asylum as pawns in a fight with political opponents … it’s another misuse of presidential power against the law.”

Nadler also said he had “heard from whistleblowers” that Trump adviser Stephen Miller was the author of the sanctuary cities idea and should appear before Congress to explain it, as he “appears to be the boss of everyone on immigration”.

Should Miller claim executive privilege to avoid such an appearance, Nadler said, that would be inappropriate as he “seems to be making the decisions, not the cabinet secretaries who come and go”.

Trump has grown frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of migrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. He recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), forcing the resignation of secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

On Sunday Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican member of the Senate homeland security committee, told CNN he did not know if the sanctuary cities plan was “legal or illegal”, but added that such cities “are illegal” and show “clear contempt for the law”.

Cities with sanctuary policies generally prohibit co-operation with federal immigration police. More than 100 local governments have adopted such polices.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told ABC’s This Week the sanctuary cities plan was “not the ideal solution”.

“The president heard the idea, he likes it,” she said, perhaps suggesting Miller was indeed its author, before adding that it is among several options. “The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let’s see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it.”

She said Democrats should work with the president on immigration reform. Scott agreed, saying: “Why don’t we try to solve the problem? We don’t want illegal immigration, we want legal immigration. I’m from a state that loves immigrants.”

Scott also said Trump could simply be “just saying this to make everybody crazy, make everybody talk about it on their shows”. He also joined Nadler in flatly stating that if true, Trump’s reported offer to pardon acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan if he ignored the law was wrong.

New research, meanwhile, said that if the administration does attempt to send migrants to sanctuary cities, it would make it easier for them to stay in the US.

According to a team from Syracuse University in New York, such a move would put thousands of migrants in cities welcoming to them and more likely to rebuff federal deportation orders. Furthermore, many such locations have more resources to help migrants make their cases to stay in the US than smaller cities. Some of the nation’s biggest immigration advocacy groups are based in San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the migrants would be a high cost of living.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse found that migrants in cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested than in cities without sanctuary policies.

George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco, told the Associated Press: “With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the US-born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples’ lives.”

Shipping migrants to Democratic strongholds would also raise financial, logistical and legal issues. The transportation of migrants would be costly at a time when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) is stretched, having released more than 125,000 migrants pending court dates since 21 December, mainly in border states.

Flights chartered by Ice cost about $7,785 per flight hour, according to the agency, and require staffers including a medical professional. The agency also uses commercial flights. Longer transports would increase liability, especially considering that many in Ice care are families with young children.

The administration actually has plenty of space to detain families. As of 11 April, the nation’s three facilities to detain migrant families were nowhere near capacity, including a Pennsylvania facility housing only nine people.

It is also unclear how long the migrants would stay in sanctuary cities, because under current law they are required to provide an address to federal authorities, typically of a family member, as a condition for their release.

“It’s illogical,” Angela Chan, policy director and senior attorney with the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus, told the AP. “It’s just alarming that they are spending so much effort and so much time to engage in political theater.”


Trump Wrong About Tax Law

April 11, 2019

by Robert Farley

fact check

Asked whether he believes federal law requires him to give Congress his tax returns, President Donald Trump responded, “There’s no law whatsoever.” He’s wrong about that.

There is, in fact, a federal tax law that specifically states if the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee makes a written request for an individual’s tax returns — as Rep. Richard Neal has done seeking Trump’s — the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” those returns. The law says those returns would be reviewed confidentially in an executive session.

Some Republicans have argued that Neal needs to demonstrate a legitimate legislative purpose in order to review the president’s returns, and there is disagreement about whether he has. That is a debate that seems likely to end up in federal court.

That legal dispute led a reporter to ask Trump on April 10, “Do you believe federal law requires you to give Congress your tax returns?”

Trump responded, “No, there is no law. As you know, I got elected last time with this same issue. And while I’m under audit, I won’t do it. If I’m not under audit, I would do it. I had no problem with it. But while I’m under audit, I would not give my taxes. There’s no law whatsoever.”

As we have written, there is no law that compels presidential candidates or presidents to publicly release their tax returns, though it has been a custom for them to do so for more than 30 years. Trump was the first major party presidential nominee not to release any tax returns, dating back to 1976, when President Gerald Ford released a summary of his tax returns, rather than the complete returns. Every major party nominee since then has released complete tax returns.

But the reporter’s question wasn’t whether Trump was legally obligated to release his tax returns publicly, it was whether federal law required they be turned over to Congress.

According to Joseph J. Thorndike, a historian at Tax Analysts, “Despite what the president said, there is a law.”

In his April 3 letter to the IRS commissioner requesting Trump’s returns for the tax years 2013 through 2018, Neal cited the authority granted to him through an arcane provision in the IRS Code section 6103(f).

IRS law generally requires that tax returns be kept confidential. But the section cited by Neal states, “Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.”

“There is a law directly on point,” Edward Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and chief of staff for Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation from 2007 to 2009, told us via email.

Some legal scholars, including Kleinbard, believe that Neal needs to demonstrate a legitimate legislative purpose for requesting the president’s returns. In his letter, Neal notes that the Ways and Means Committee is tasked with ensuring the IRS “is enforcing the laws in a fair and impartial manner.” Neal explains that he has requested the president’s returns to make sure the IRS is doing a good job in its mandated review of the president’s tax returns.

Neal letter, April 3: Consistent with its authority, the Committee is considering legislative proposals and conducting oversight related to our Federal tax laws, including, but not limited to, the extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President. Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws. It is necessary for the Committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.

Kleinbard believes that meets the threshold of proving a bona fide purpose for the request.

“The Chairman’s request here was carefully written to explain his reasons, which include, wearing his oversight hat, ensuring that the IRS is doing its job auditing the President,” Kleinbard said. “Further, the President is the Taxpayer in Chief. We have a tax system in which we each assess tax against ourselves – that’s what you do when you file a return. The Taxpayer in Chief needs to set a standard of compliance to which we all should aspire. For him to abdicate that responsibility threatens the integrity of the income tax system, which surely is something that should concern W&M [the Ways and Means committee]. So there’s no doubt that W&M has more than met any standard that might be read into the statute.”

In a phone interview, Thorndike agreed that Neal appears to have framed a legitimate request within the scope of his committee’s oversight responsibilities.

The last time Congress looked into the IRS audit of a president’s returns was during the Richard Nixon administration. In that case, Nixon voluntarily provided his returns. A congressional committee concluded there were several items incorrectly reported on Nixon’s returns, finding he owed about $477,000 in additional taxes.

“So there is good historical reason to be concerned” that the IRS is doing its job properly with review of presidential returns, Thorndike said.

Thorndike said that while it seems Neal’s request is on solid legal footing, “it remains to be seen” how a court might rule.

Republican Pushback

Treasury missed Neal’s deadline to produce the returns by April 10. In a letter sent to Neal that day, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the request “raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”

“Given the seriousness of these issues, Mnuchin said Treasury has consulted with the Department of Justice “to ensure that our response is fully consistent with the law and the Constitution.”

Mnuchin noted that Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has the same authority as Neal from IRS Code section 6103 (f), blasted Neal’s efforts as politically motivated. Grassley said the request was “a pretext to bring this president down.”

The IRS statute states that if the returns were provided to Neal, they would be viewed confidentially in “closed executive session” of the Ways and Means Committee. But legal scholars said depending on what lawmakers find, it is possible the committee could conclude it has a constitutional responsibility to release the returns publicly.

In a speech from the Senate floor, Grassley said the IRS is only required to turn over tax records under the law if the request is tied to “a legitimate legislative purpose in asking for them.”

Although Neal said the aim is to make sure the IRS review of the president’s tax returns is being done fully, appropriately and impartially, Grassley contended, “There is no reason to believe the IRS is doing any less due diligence in its review of President Trump’s taxes than it has for any other president in our memory.”

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, made similar arguments in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on April 7. Sekulow questioned what legitimate legislative purpose the request served.

“This idea that you can use the IRS as a political weapon, which is what is happening here, is incorrect both as a matter of statutory law and constitutionally,” Sekulow said.

As for Trump’s claim that “there is no law,” George K. Yin, a professor of law and taxation at the University of Virginia School of Law, who served as chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation from 2003 to 2005, suspects Trump was referring to the custom — but not the law — that has been followed by presidents for the last four decades to release copies of their tax returns to the public.

“I doubt that [Trump] has even heard of the law now being invoked by Chairman Neal,” Yin told us via email. “Since the question focused on giving Congress his returns, his answer is wrong but not egregiously wrong because of his likely confusion.”

The IRS statute cited by Neal “contains no limits,” Yin said. “The chairman can request anyone’s returns and the Treasury Secretary is directed to furnish them.” Yin said there may be “an implicit condition” that Neal’s request have a “legitimate legislative purpose” such as oversight of the IRS. “But there is no specific precedent on this point because to my knowledge, the authority Mr. Neal is invoking has never been challenged,” Yin said.

“Neal’s request stated two purposes that would qualify as legitimate legislative purposes,” Yin said, adding that Sekulow’s counterargument is that “the stated purposes are not the real purpose, and that the real purpose is simply to make a political attack.”

Again, those are questions that would need to be settled in federal court. And that’s where the issue seems likely to be headed. “If it has to be litigated, it will be litigated,” Sekulow said on ABC’s “This Week.”


67 percent of Bay Area homeless are unsheltered. In New York, it’s 5%

April 11, 2019

by Amy Graff

SF Chronicle

A new report says the Bay Area’s homeless population is the third-largest in the country with more than 28,000 people across the nine-county region lacking housing.

A perhaps more startling fact included in the study by the business-oriented Bay Area Council is this: 67 percent of the homeless people in the Bay Area are unsheltered, compared to 26 percent in Chicago metro, 16 percent in Denver, 15 percent in Washington, D.C. metro and 5 percent in New York City.

The only major city or metro area with a higher percentage of homeless people without access to any shelter is Los Angeles with 75 percent unsheltered

“The size of the Bay Area’s homeless population combined with the lack of shelter makes the region’s homeless population more visible than elsewhere in the United States,” says the study.

The Bay Area Council’s study, called “Bay Area Homelessness: A Regional View of a Regional Crisis,” aims to present a comprehensive look at homelessness in the area and encourage community leaders to find a region-wide solution. You can browse many of the findings from the report in the gallery above. But at this point, you’re probably wondering why many other cities have prioritized low-cost shelters as a temporary solution for homelessness more than the Bay Area has. The main reason is weather.

“The weather on the East Coast is much more extreme,” said Jeff Kositsky, director of S.F.’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “Not that people don’t die on the streets here, they do, but we don’t have the extremes, and as a result we haven’t prioritized the right to shelter.”

In some places on the East Coast, people are forced to go into shelters and aren’t allowed to sleep in public spaces, while in New York, people actually have a legal right to shelter. This is due to a law passed in the 1980s that forced the city and state to provide shelter beds to all New Yorkers who are homeless by “reason of physical, mental, or social dysfunction.”

On the upside, people are off the streets with roofs over their heads due to the law, but studies have shown the New York’s system is riddled with problems and has created a reliance on shelters.

“I don’t believe that law has served unhoused people well,” Kositsky said. “People get warehoused by these shelters. Some shelters are great with high-quality programs, but others, I’d understand why people would rather be outdoors.”

In February 2019, there were 63,615 homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system; this number is 74% higher than it was a decade ago, according to the New York Coalition for Homelessness.

Meanwhile, in the Bay Area, shelter access has diminished in recent years. From 2011 to 2017, “the number of shelter beds in the region declined by 3 percent per year (about 1,700 beds lost in total),” according to the report.

The reasons for the Bay Area’s lack of shelter access are abundant and complicated, and the number of temporary beds that should be added is up for debate. While some might argue building a robust shelter system is an inexpensive and efficient solution to getting people off the streets, the sentiment among local experts seems to be that it’s better to invest the scarce resources in permanent housing, which may be more expensive but offers a long-term solution.

“I think it’s better to have people sheltered than unsheltered,” said Sam Dodge, homeless coordinator for San Francisco Public Works. “But the best thing is to have people in houses. It’s important that people have shelter, but they should be rapidly transitioned into housing. What we want is a huge infusion of resources for affordable housing, not just an ever-expanding shelter system.”

It’s no secret the Bay Area lacks affordable housing, and the Bay Area Council’s report notes a 2016 study finding California has 3.5 million fewer homes than needed.

The study also includes a long list of solutions for fast-tracking affordable-housing projects across the region, and concludes, “A true solution to homelessness would require a permanent home for each homeless individual or family.”

It’s a lofty goal, and one the report doesn’t put an exact monetary value on, but it’s bound to cost millions, even billions, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan wrote in his story on the report.

It’s also bound to take time, and that brings us back to one more startling fact from the report: “Given existing growth rates in the inflows into homelessness and assuming the region could sustain 2017’s annual increase of permanent supportive housing units (2,500), the Bay Area will not be able to provide a bed to each of its homeless residents until 2037.”


Encyclopedia of American Loons

  • David Booth

WhatDoesItMean.com is a website devoted to conspiracy theories and rants of such levels of quality that it is often the target even of other conspiracy nutters. And yes, it also sports the delectable web design that characterizes that particular type of website. Now, most of the stuff published on the website consists of links to “news” published elsewhere, but also – and most famously – the rabidly insane column by Sorcha Faal.

Who? Well, until 2004 the website was run by David Booth (still the owner of the website), but in 2005 it was suddenly claimed to be run by a “Russian scientist” named Sorcha Faal, though none of the details like workplace or academic affiliations could be verified. Besides, the name is not remotely Russian but Gaelic, and indeed: By 2009 someone had evidently informed Faal of that, and the site was accordingly claiming that “Sorcha Faal” was the title of the head of the “Order of Sorcha Faal”. It has been, uh, speculated that Sorcha Faal may be … hold your hats … David Booth himself. It’s not A. True Ott.

In any case, Sorcha Faal gives you the goods (“American Rebel Forces Attack Gas Pipelines, Explode Trains As US Civil War Nears,” “Obama Plan To Destroy Gulf Of Mexico Like Ukraine Horrifies Russia,” “Obama Gay Love Affair With Top US Republican Senator Shocks Russia,” “Obama-Monsanto Mass Genocide Plot Stuns Scientists,” “Americans Celebrate Last Year As Free People”) based primariy on what’s currently popular on the more extreme conspiracy forums, InfoWars, Richard Hoagland’s homepage and so on (including the ravings of Amitakh Stanford), sometimes backed up by (non-corroborated) quotes from high-level Russian sources. The reports sometimes get reposted on forums like as Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions, where even regular posters will call it out as bullshit.

Diagnosis: No seriously, even for batshit insane, incoherent conspiracy theories, this is stunningly crazy. Probably pretty harmless, though.

  • Derrick Robinson & the FFCHS

Derrick Robinson is the president of Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS). I suggest reading the name of that group again. Yes, the FFCHS is committed to fighting the use of (in particular) electromagnetic frequency (EMF) weapons (a weapons-grade version of this) ostensibly deployed by the powers that be to harass and monitor citizens, even driving them to acts of madness. Aaron Alexis, perpetrator of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, had for instance contacted the FFCHS before going on his killing spree to seek relief from what he believed was an attack by electromagnetic frequency. The FFCHS is not the appropriate place to turn to if you think this is happening to you.

Like many others, Robinson, a Cincinnati-based janitor, is convinced that nefarious groups of people are following and controlling him, presumably as part of a test of neurological or other weapons, and he claims to have been tortured and abused by gang stalkers and “neurological weaponry” since leaving the Navy in 1982. “People will say you are delusional,” Robinson admits, but he insists that he isn’t. There are, in fact, quite a number of people with similar stories, and Freedomfchs.com’s stated mission is accordingly to seek justice for those singled out by “organized stalking and electromagnetic torture.” Apparently they have also arranged conferences and contacted government representatives who have sometimes pretended to take their complaints seriously. The group’s website is here. Here is their page on how to protect yourself from attacks. It is a very fascinating page, though it seems to have been partially hijacked by quacks peddling supplements and woo to a receptive audience. One of their tips is to use orgone, which in very many ways is probably the appropriate response to the threat. The suggestion that you get a concealed weapons permit is a bit more worrisome. (“The stalkers know I have a gun and know I am a crack shot, because they followed me to the shooting range and watched when I applied for my license” – user Dona.)

Apparently Robinson is also Executive Director at People Against Covert Torture and Surveillance, International. We are not entirely sure how this organization is related to the FFCHS. He has also been interviewed on Coast to Coast AM, of course.

Diagnosis: Let’s just be tactful and leave this section blank, shall we?


  • Kaitlyn Moore

Kaitlyn Moore is an abysmally delusional conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine crank, whose post are published on the NaturalNews website, no less. There really is no particular need to continue to explain why she deserves an entry beyond that observation, but if you really want to sample (a critique of) her deranged, misdirected, Dunning-Kruger-fueled fury, this one is pretty illustrative. Moore doesn’t fancy vaccines, which she does not remotely understand or know anything about, and in “How vaccines are made: Monkey kidneys, spinal material, animal pus and more” she uses all her powers of misdirection and irrelevance to do as much scaremongering as she can – basically, it is a “toxin gambit” on speed, based on how disgusting medical practices 250 years ago sound to modern ears peppered with some myths picked up from various anti-vaccine websites. “Cell matter is extracted from [the] hosts, combined with toxic chemicals like Thimerosol (mercury), formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide and a variety of other substances, before being injected into our bodies, writes Moore, and“[t[he side effects are autism, diabetes, asthma, MS, SIDS, and more.” Which is demonstrably false, but these are facts and Moore would hardly let facts come in the way of a good, moronic conspiracy theory, would she?

Moore’s main concern seems to be anti-GMO fear mongering, however, and she displays exactly the same level of acumen, insight, knowledge and care for facts on that topic as she does on vaccines.

Diagnosis: Rabid, deranged conspiracy theorist. Stupid, angry, confused, paranoid, and dangerous

A deliverance ministry is a fundamentalist organization that tries to cure peoples’ ills by casting out demons. More colorful and nefarious than, but otherwise essentially similar to, faith healing, the movement gained momentum with the publication of Pigs in the Parlor: A Practical Guide to Deliverance by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond in 1973. One of the current, grand, delusional and frothingly insane old men of the movement is Gene Moody, a disciple of the Hammonds (and mentor of Stan and Elizabeth Madrak, whom we have already covered).

  • Gene Moody

Moody is the author of Deliverance Manual (“Every Christian should be able to cast out demons at least in their own family”), which is readily available online. The basic idea is the same as that described in Pigs in the Parlor: “Demon spirits can invade and dwell in human bodies” to cause all sorts of ills, from from murderousness to schizophrenia, sleepiness, intellectualism and homosexuality, but can fortunately be exorcised by faithful fundies who write incoherent rants in ALL CAPS on the Internet. Moody adds instructions on “Cleaning Your House (of Demons)” and describes for instance a case where someone threw out their kid’s Big Bird toy because it gave Satan “legal grounds”, which is, of course, an idea of a kind we’ve had the opportunity to cover before. There are some illustrative quotes here.

Like the Hammonds, Moody provides an extensive list of potential demons by name. For instance, “BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automobile, etc. If something malfunctions, command these two demons to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus. We get many emails saying this worked. If it does not work, demons are not causing the problem.” Easy as that.

And like all other deliverance ministry promoters, Moody has serious problems distinguishing fantasy from reality; indeed, it seems that Moody and his ilk take any piece of fiction to either document reality or provide instructions for how to deal with it. An example: “The Necronomicon (legendary occult text) has its place in modern black magic and Transyuggothian metaphysics. […] For example, there is now a whole line of materials based on the hellish Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos (author Howard Phillips Lovecraft), a form of magic practiced in the darkest Satanism – a system of magic prominently featured in The Satanic Rituals. The Necronomicon and the Cthulhu mythos are quite real. Lycanthropy (shape shifting) is the clinical term for being or believing yourself to be a werewolf. The magical act of changing into any wild animal. These are immensely complicated worlds of magic, spells and violence.” That he has some trouble following a single line of thought, is not the most serious shortcoming of Moody’s thinking on display in that passage.

Diagnosis: Clinically insane, and he ought to be mostly harmless. But there are, in fact, people who take his advice, and whose children will probably be scarred for life.

  • Susan Miller

It hardly needs repeating but we’ll repeat it nonetheless: astrology is hilariously stupid bullshit, people who believe in it profoundly critical thinking-challenged (it’s actually been thoroughly tested), and astrologers themselves either frauds or delusional cranks whose inability to navigate reality in a reason-based way should make one concerned for their ability to maintain their own welfare. Susan Miller presumably belongs in the latter category. Miller has a business degree from NYU, and has lately done pretty well for herself as an astrologer – enough so to receive coverage in Business Insider. According to Jezebel, “Susan Miller is the unrivaled Queen of Astrology. She is known for her affable delivery, her reverence in the world of fashion and, most importantly, her accurate horoscope forecasts which she publishes monthly to her site Astrologyzone.com.” Jezebel did little to measure the accuracy of the vague, general and hedged claims that comprise Miller’s forecasts – it wasn’t that kind of article – but apparently a lot of delusional nitwits do rely on her horoscopes.

As Miller perceives things, “[w]hat I do is scientific. Astrology involves careful methods learned over years and years of training and experience,” which, of course, is not a mark of whether what you do counts as scientific although it is telling that Miller thinks so. “There are so many things we don’t understand in the world,” continues Miller: “What if 200 years ago someone had said that these metal barrels in the sky would get us around the world in a few hours? Or that we’d inject ourselves with mold to treat illnesses? People are so skeptical.” Note that these claims (astrology relies on “things we don’t understand”) sort of directly contradict her claim that what she does is scientific. It is also interesting that astrologers like Miller admit that they do not know how it works (it doesn’t), since we – the rest of us – do know quite a bit about why astrology might seems to work to people with little background in critical thinking. According to Miller, she is “getting my information from NASA, doing math and geometry, and I know how to interpret the results.” The crucial word here probably being “interpret”. A good example of the silliness is here.

Diagnosis: We choose to assume that Miller is a snowflake without a shred of critical thinking abilities. At least that description is rather obviously true of her many fans. There are alternative interpretations that fit the data, too.


Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram down across US, Europe, Asia

Social media users have been struggling to access their favorite platforms due to site outages. A similar interruption last month that affected millions of people was blamed on a cyberattack.

April 14, 2019


For the second time in a month, Facebook was not loading for millions of users in the northeastern US, Europe and parts of Asia on Sunday.

Downdetector.com, a website that monitors site outages, shows the social media giant went down at 12:30 p.m. CEST (1030 UTC) in much of the world.

At one point, the site registered more than 14,000 outage reports from users, which is believed to represent just a fraction of those affected.

The website also showed that WhatsApp and Instagram — both owned by Facebook — also experienced severe outages around the same time.

It showed the WhatsApp and Instagram issues were relatively lower by a count of outage reports from users.

Around two hours later, the number of users experiencing difficulties accessing the platforms had dropped dramatically as the sites appeared to return.

It was not immediately clear what caused the outage.

The hashtags #FacebookDown, #instagramdown and #whatsappdown were all trending on Twitter globally on Sunday.

Facebook has more than 1.52 billion daily active users, according to its website.

Last month, the social media giant experienced one of its longest ever outages, when millions of users around the globe faced trouble accessing the site, along with Instagram and WhatsApp for more than 24 hours.

Facebook blamed the previous outage on a hack.

mm/jlw (AP, Reuters)


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 14, 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. 46

Date: Saturday, November 16, 1996

Commenced: 9:48 AM CST

Concluded: 10:25 AM CST

RTC: Hello, Gregory. Are you getting ready to assault the turkey?

GD: Oh, no doubt. One of the few childhood practices remaining. I gave up Christmas some time ago. I haven’t sent a card out in years and last year, I got two. Times change, don’t they?

RTC: They do indeed. Christmas used to be a sort of magic time for children but now all it’s become is a chance to sell junk to frantic people.

GD: I’ve been working up the ZIPPER material and I must say, what surprises me is the extent of the plot. Half of Washington was in on it.

RTC: Actually, they weren’t. A handful of our top people, Hoover and one or two of his very close aides, a military representative here and there.

GD: The Russian report…do you have this? I can’t read Russian but I have friends who do.

RTC: No, I do not.

GD: This Driscoll fellow. Do you know him?

RTC: I did. He’s dead now. Was a specialist on the Warsaw Pact people and since I am a specialist on Russia and Russian intelligence, we met on several occasions. That’s why I got a copy of the report. Driscoll knew nothing about ZIPPER or at least my part in it.

GD: This might be a hard sell. I have tremendous competition from the nut fringe. They will rise up and smite me hip and thigh because I haven’t included their pet theories.

RTC: But that’s to be expected. We have a good in with them. At this point, there is little danger of embarrassing facts getting out but we kept our hand in. The Farrell woman is one of ours and she is a strong influence over the nutties.

GD: To accept this might be a problem.

RTC: Gregory, if you knew a half of what was actually planned, you would see that the ZIPPER business was nothing, just nothing. All right, for example, there are some interesting matters for you. I just happen to be in an expansive mood today so I can run a few of the more wild ones past you. There was the Army plan to start bubonic plague in Soviet military units in the east zone of Germany to prevent an invasion of the west. We had a German military specialist working for us on that, plus, of course, many USAF people down in San Antonio. Never went anywhere. Then…by the way, do you know why Truman really sacked MacArthur?

GD: He was defying Truman as I recall.

RTC: Yes but it was his intention to infect the Chinese and North Korean armies with the plague as well. I told you MacArthur had set the Kempeitai Doctor Ishi up in Tokyo in a chemical and medical lab, didn’t I?

GD: Yes, you did.

RTC: Well, when the war in Korea broke out and we were in serious retreat, MacArthur wanted to nuke them. We didn’t have a hell of a lot of such weapons but he was serious. Truman said no, so Mac decided to, as he said, ‘radically reduce their effective troop levels.’ For this, read the plague. I don’t know how this got back to Truman but a project like that is really hard to conceal and Mac took too long messing over the logistics of it. When Harry found out about this, he blew his top and sacked MacArthur on the spot. Mac was crazy, of course, but was such an idol here that Truman got reamed on this but it really had to be done. We hanged German and Japanese leaders after the war for far less, believe me. And then there was the Army plan to fake attacks on American soil, blame Castro and then attack him. On that project, which included blowing up a commercial aircraft with Americans on board and setting off bombs in major cities, Eisenhower was in full support. Kennedy found out about it by accident and pulled the plug. That wasn’t one of ours, by the way, and neither were the plague attacks. We were working on plans to destroy the Asian rice crop but that one was quietly put into the closet when too many people found out about it and our rice industry howled that it could easily spread over here and ruin their business. Not that they cared about the Chinese and others, just their own profits. This AIDS business was a legitimate project that got out of control but it was not planned at all. Of course, there were plans to instigate a war between the Soviet Union and China, but it proved to be too complicated and was dropped. One of our people read Malthus and went to Dulles with a plan to thin out the world’s population, after inoculating our citizens, or most of the non-colored ones. That is still in the active file somewhere. If you read of a national immunization day coming up, that will be a token sign.

GD: If the victims ever get wind of this, they might preempt you and start their own plagues and loose their own virus attackers. Müller told me that such actions were not only criminal and insane but would be bound for a certainty to come back on those who started it.

RTC: That’s the main reason why they never got started. Pragmatic, not moral.

GD: That sums it all up, doesn’t it?

RTC: In theory, Gregory, getting rid of the tired and huddled masses would not be impractical in the long view.

GD: In theory not, but I wouldn’t be happy with the practice.

RTC: We would lay the blame on some other enemy and let them worry about defending themselves.

GD: It’s one thing for your people to off the head of the UN or blow up an inconvenient head of state or two but starting plagues is nothing less than psychotic mass murder and I, for one, can’t think of any kind of an excuse for it, pragmatic or not.

RTC: You can always make such an argument, Gregory, and it is not unbecoming for you to do this but when you have been where I have been, these objections fade away very quickly. Well, enough science fiction for today. I am indeed looking forward to your visit and so is Bill.

GD: Question? Why is Kimmel sitting in?

RTC: He has his own agenda. In spite of all the assistance you have given him and his family, he still despises you. You see, Tom saw that Bill and I were doing well in the writing business and we had, and have, a certain reputation in the professions. He will probably retire and wants to find a safe berth when he does. He sees you as a potential threat and you do not treat him with the unalloyed respect that people like Tom demand as their birthright.

GD: I don’t consider myself to be any kind of a threat to him.

RTC: You exist, Gregory, and he views you as a loose cannon, his very words to Bill, and for people like Tom, a loose cannon can’t be controlled. I don’t care what positive things you’ve done for him and his family. In the final cut, you are a potential intellectual threat to him so he dislikes you. And be careful at lunch not to let fly with one of your terrible remarks. I understand them and most often agree with them, but Tom considers himself to be an establishment type and people like that don’t like people like you.

GD: My grandfather used to say that the reason some people could stand up without a spine is because their skin is so thick.

RTC:(Laughter) Ah, there you go again, Gregory. I would wager you’d say that right to Tom’s face, wouldn’t you?

GD: If I felt it was necessary.

RTC: He’d do the same thing, Gregory, but to your back, so at the table, watch yourself. Bill is neutral, but Tom is not a friend and keep that in mind all the time.

GD: Speaking of back-stabbing, have you seen my good friend Wolfe lately?

RTC: No, I haven’t been over to the Archives lately so I have been spared his most unwelcome attentions. Now we can add Critchfield to your collection of loyal friends. Jim wants back that letter he sent you. The one you read to me. He thinks it might be misunderstood and wants me to try to get it out of you just to look at and then give it back to him. I told him I would try but of course that’s not my plan. If you would follow my advice, hide it in a safe place. It would bother me if you went out of town, say to come back here in December, and remember Kimmel knows the dates of your trip, and some burglar broke in and ran off with it and any other inconvenient and accusatory paperwork you might have lying around. Just a cautionary piece of advice from a friend.

GD: I appreciate it. I could leave a little surprise in a box marked ‘secret CIA documents,’ couldn’t I?

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not on the phone.

GD: I’ll bet someone would make quite a report.

RTC: Probably hear it five miles away. Do let’s change the subject. How is the Müller book selling?

GD: Actually, I understand quite well. After it’s been out for about two years, I expect the usual run of paid rodents to start in squealing their objections to it. It will take that long for the rays of brilliant light to penetrate the Stygian gloom that packs their collective brain cases. I do hope they get nice checks for their pains. It beats public assistance or begging in railroad stations. Which, I suspect, is how most of these twits make their living.

RTC: I think most of them work in obscure community colleges in the wilds of Massachusetts or Ohio.

GD: Yes, and I’m told they eat once a day. A piece of salt pork on a long string which can be used over and over. I’ve heard about the dog returning to his own vomit but Robert, what happens when they are the vomit?

RTC: Now, now, and so close to Sunday and Thanksgiving. And what are you going to give thanks for, Gregory?

GD: The fact that almost all of my nasty relatives have passed away, Robert. It will be a matter of some satisfaction to me to have survived them all. When I feel my time is coming, I can travel around the country and urinate on their graves. At any rate, tenderly, tenderly Jesus is calling and my dog is making it very clear that she wants to go out and relieve herself on the neighbor’s flower beds, so let me beg off. And give my best to Emily, won’t you? You know, if I ever meet her face to face, I would be the soul of civility to her.

RTC: I would certainly hope so.


(Concluded at 10:25 AM CST)



Operation Bernhard: Successful German counterfeiting in WW II

April 14, 2019

by Christian Jürs

The root cause of all warfare is economics. Whether it is the seizure of a weaker tribe’s grazing land or the destruction of a rival power’s production capacity, war, to elaborate on Clausewitz, is a logical extension of political and economic aims. War launched against an unpopular head of state or a political system is war commenced solely for economic gains; the common rationale of a holy crusade is merely window dressing for popular historians to postulate.

The hatred engendered against Hitler by the American and British official propaganda machinery before the outset of World War II was due more to the success of Hitler’s barter system than to his personal dislike of Jews or threats to putative democracies in Central Europe.

Stripped of her colonies and gold reserves after the First World War, Germany had to incur massive, interest-bearing loans with both the United States and England to pay for needed imports. When Hitler came to power, he paid off the existing loans and instituted a barter system in which, for example, Germany would trade locomotives to Argentina for their beef and wheat. Previously, both countries had borrowed money from international banks at high-interest rates to pay for their respective imports.

The barter system, therefore, represented a serious threat to international banking interests that complained loudly and effectively to their respective governments, demanding intervention and relief. Many economists referred to a boycott of German products, which was instituted in the United States and England as economic warfare, as indeed it was. The British were past-masters in creating economic warfare and experts in ruining the currency of their rivals by flooding the marketplace with counterfeit currency. During the American Revolutionary War, the British dumped so many counterfeit Continental notes into the economy that American currency became virtually worthless, and the phrase, “not worth a Continental” became common. Angered by French support of the American Revolution, the British counterfeited adulterated gold French Louis coins.

As a means of economic retaliation against Napoleon for his support of a French-dominated continental system which excluded England, the British counterfeited French assignats and franc notes. Napoleon retaliated by forging British currency. Later in the same century, the US federal government forged Confederate money in huge quantities.

The Soviet forgery of American currency in the 1930s, on the other hand, was not designed to destroy the US economy. Rather, the counterfeit gold certificates were manufactured to pay their agents. Since many of these agents were highly placed and expensive members of the Roosevelt Administration, Stalin’s experts concentrated on the manufacture of $100 gold certificates. As the duplication of official US banknote paper was a problem, smaller denomination bills were bleached and over-printed.

At the outbreak of World War II, economic advisors to the leaders of England and the United States urged their respective governments to forge German marks and flood the international market which would cause a collapse of confidence in that currency and, therefore, create tremendous inflation in Germany. The British did counterfeit German military scrip but used the blank reverse for propaganda messages. These were scattered by aircraft over Germany where their impact on the population was nil, but the impact on German leadership was considerable.

Exactly who in the Third Reich initiated the program for the counterfeiting of British currency is not known. One man, Alfred Naujocks, an SS-Sturmbannführer (or Major) in the SD, has taken credit for the inception of the plan in 1940. Naujocks was a longtime acquaintance of Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SD and it was Heydrich who initially authorized the reproduction of British pound notes. The initial code name for the operation was “Andreas.”

It has been stated that the original purpose of “Andreas” was to falsify pound notes and drop them over England to create economic havoc. However, a more believable scenario, and one supported by period documents, is that the SS leadership envisioned the possibility of raising funds for their organization.

The SS was an official branch of the NSDAP and its funding came from the Party coffers, although the Waffen-SS  drew on government funding for much of its military requirements. One of Himmler’s best assets in this economic struggle was his complete control of the KZ (or concentration camp system). Based on the institutions introduced by Lord Kitchener in South Africa during the Boer War to control the civil population, the KZ system encompassed a wide spectrum of inmates, ranging from professional criminals, communists, and political opponents of the government, including Jews and other ethnic and religious groups.

At the beginning of the war, there were 21,300 concentration camp inmates, housed in six camps. During the course of the war, the total number of inmates rose to over 400,000 lodged in an enormous network of camps scattered throughout Europe and the East. SS General Oswald Pohl and his deputy Richard Glücks organized a huge, free labor pool which would provide a major source of revenue for the SS. It was this system of forced labor that the SD turned to when “Andreas” was superseded by “Bernhard.” The “Andreas” attempts to forge British notes floundered in technical problems and contributed to personality conflicts within the RSHA.

The proper paper was nearly impossible to initially produce since, unlike the original, it did not properly fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Also, a proper numbering system proved extremely difficult to develop. In 18 months, “Andreas” had only produced a half-million pounds worth of counterfeit notes, many of which, however, were authenticated by the Bank of England when submitted by unsuspecting Swiss banks. Personal rivalry between Heydrich and Naujocks created so many problems that “Andreas” was eventually terminated

“Bernhard” was named for the new head of the scheme, SS-Hauptsturmführer Bernhard Krüger of the SD. Krüger, born in Reise, Saxony on November 26, 1904, was a specialist in forging documents and was assigned to Section VI F4 of the RSHA where his section assembled a large library of foreign documents of all kinds which were copied for intelligence operations.

The second project, “Bernhard,” began only after Heydrich was assassinated by British agents in the summer of 1942. At that time, SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Dörner of the RSHA began to assemble a team of specialists from the ranks of concentration camp inmates. This initial cadre was originally constituted at Oranienburg concentration camp north of Berlin, and on August 23, 1942, it was permanently established at Blocks 18 and 19 at nearby Sachsenhausen camp.

Major Krüger promised his inmate workers good housing, better and regularly served meals, no physical abuse, tobacco, newspapers, good clothing, and packages from outside sources. Most importantly, he assured them of survival. In return, he required full cooperation in the counterfeiting projects and the maintenance of strict security.

By the end of 1942, the 200-pound-pressure Stentz Monopel Type 4 press was moved to Sachsenhausen from its former location in the Berlin forgery center. Aside from the manufacture of the highest quality intaglio plates, the most important factor in the production of undetectable counterfeit pound notes was reproduction paper. British notes were printed on a high rag content paper and manufactured by the Portal, England firm of Laverstoke, which had been producing this paper for the Bank of England since the first quarter of the 18th century.

Paper used in the production of American currency was a 17- pound bond manufactured for the U.S. Treasury by the Crane Company. As the SD turned its attention to the counterfeiting of American currency in 1943, the same German firms that duplicated the Portal paper, Spechthausen and Schlichter, and Schall, successfully duplicated the Crane paper.

The counterfeit paper for pounds had to have not only the correct texture and appearance, but had to be properly and exactly watermarked and fluoresce with the exact shade as the original paper. The Germans solved the latter problem by a careful analysis of water used in the preparation of the original British paper.

The actual manufacturing of the pound note plates was preceded by a thorough study of thousands of original examples of the British pound in German hands. The Bank of England had 156 identifying points on their plates and the forgers were able to duplicate every one of them.

Copying the lettering and numbering of the original currency presented few serious problems to Krüger’s experts, but the vignette of Britannia, common to all denomination pound notes, proved to be extremely difficult to copy—a similar problem which had occurred with the portraits on American currency. On the pound notes, the vignette consisted of a crown-surmounted wreath enclosing a seated Britannia holding a spear in her left hand and a floral spray in her right. However, constant reworking eventually produced an exact copy. The correct numbering system for the pound notes was developed by German mathematicians, and the numbering system for the U.S. bills came from American published sources. As the British used German-made ink for their currency, this aspect of the project presented no problems.

The first run of counterfeit pound notes inspected by senior officials at the RSHA in Berlin was declared a technical success, but lacked the overall visual appearance of original, circulated currency. This was solved by the addition of Soloman Somolianov, a highly competent forger, to the Sachsenhausen crew. Somolianov, a Russian Jew, specialized in the forgery of British pound notes and was successful in adding the proper patina of age to the new pounds and later, U.S. dollars.

After the notes had been printed and aged, they were sent to the RSHA and SS-Oberführer Walter Schellenberg, head of Section VI of the RSHA and SD foreign intelligence, distributed the British pounds to various outlets—many of which are still officially unknown.

For many years the old rhyme, “A Pound’s a Pound the World Around,” recalled the preeminence of British currency throughout the world. The final product of “Bernhard” had been tested by passing it through the Swiss banking system and through them eventually pronounced genuine by the Bank of England. Armed with these bonafides, Schellenberg’s agents glutted the world’s currency markets with over 300 million British pound notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds, in varying degrees of perfection.

First-class quality notes that defied any detection were used to purchase gold, jewels and safe currency through neutral banking systems, while lower quality notes were used for less exacting customers such as Tito’s partisans from whom the SS purchased huge amounts of weaponry supplied to the Yugoslavs by British and American clandestine services.

In early 1943, full-scale production of U.S. currency began at Sachensenhausen. First, the $100 gold certificate was printed, followed by the $50 and $20 dollar silver certificates. Although specific information on the amount of U.S. bills counterfeited by “Bernhard” from 1943 has never been released by the U.S. Treasury Department, a conservative estimate based on German documents and other information puts the overall total at $50 million.

As the Soviet Army approached Berlin in 1945, the unit at Sachsenhausen was moved to Mauthausen in the Ostmark on March 12, 1945 and again on March 21, to Redl-Zipf, north of Salzburg.

Finally, on April 24, Krüger ordered the prisoners transferred to Ebensee where they were liberated by the Americans. Krüger had kept his word to the inmates and at one point, in November of 1943, had secured official permission from Berlin to award twelve War Service Medals and six War Service Crosses, 2nd Class without Swords, to more deserving counterfeiters. They were permitted to wear their decorations inside the camp area and since most of them were Jewish, the attitude of the camp commandant can only be imagined.

The liberated “Bernhard” people were free to follow whatever course they chose. There is reason to believe that a number of them continued their artistic endeavors but under different management.

Soviet and American intelligence agencies were extremely eager to locate Bernhard Krüger. Their interest had to do with American dollars.

As retreating SS units threw huge sums of counterfeit pounds into Austrian lakes and streams, the acres of floating and waterlogged notes put an effective end to the usefulness of the once-mighty British pound. It is interesting to note that not a single American bill has ever been identified as a counterfeit of the Sachsenhausen project.

The Soviets and Americans were eager to locate not only the finished U.S. bills but the plates and paper as well. Since the “Bernhard” people and their baggage fell into American hands, the Soviets ran a poor second in the race. They only managed to locate some of the workers but none of their products. Neither the plates, paper, nor German documentation relating to the counterfeiting of American money ever officially surfaced. It is noted that large sums of dollars suddenly appeared in the Mid-East as funding for various U.S. intelligence operations in Lebanon controlled by Haj Amin-El Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Many of the funds were in $100 dollar gold certificates.

The Germans were not the only country to liberally finance their intelligence agencies and assist their countrymen in building personal fortunes through the use of counterfeit currency. The basic difference is that the Germans did not manufacture their own currency.

This form of economic warfare has certainly not ceased with the downfall of the Third Reich. The Iranian government has, by all serious accounts, been forging nearly perfect U.S. $100 bills which have circulated throughout the world and caused the U.S. Treasury Department to issue newly formatted bills. The U.S. Treasury Department will eventually recall all outstanding older bills and carefully inspect them before making exchanges.

As a result of the Trump Administration’s harassment of Iran, there is a persistent rumor that Iran is forging American twenty dollar bills with a large span of serial numbers and is planning to dump these in heavily populated cities in America. By “dumping” is meant to drop the antiqued bills in public places,not to pass them in retail stores.

In 1984, over 2,000 extremely rare, nearly mint condition, ancient Greek silver coins, dating from 465 BC, were unearthed near Elmali in Turkey. The hoard of coins, in violation of Turkish law, quickly circulated into the international marketplace, and many coins sold for huge sums of money. Discovering that their national treasures had apparently been looted, the irate Turkish government forced the return of most of the horde through legal and diplomatic means. The British Museum inspected some of the rarer specimens and concluded that the entire collection had been recently manufactured at the Bulgarian State Mint in Sofia by that country’s intelligence agency to raise much-needed Western currency. Following this revelation, the value of rare Greek coins toppled as quickly as the British pound had fallen in 1945.

The irony of the “Bernhard” operation is that their 5 pound counterfeits are now worth more on the collector’s market than they were during the war.


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