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TBR News April 30, 2019

Apr 30 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 30 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 30:”Now the US is orchestrating a phony putsch in Venezuela so we can rip off their oil and keep the evil Chinese and sinister Russians from getting any of it. There is little concealment of our actions, so self-important is Washington and its paid thugs. Now I see that the former Blackwater loony wants to send his paid assassins down there and kill for peace. A bunch of these goons who were having fun killing Iraqi citizens, got caught by a mob, set on fire and what was left was hung up on a bridge as a warning to other sadists. People never learn, do they? Canada, tired of being bullied by Washington, has cut the US off from their new oil pipeline. Instead of terminating in Seattle, it ends in Burnaby, right by the port at Vancouver. And the oil is sold to the Chinese. I can see Trump screaming with rage and inventing a childish reason to send the willing Army into Canada.”

The Table of Contents

  • Trump sues Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block House subpoenas
  • Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others
  • Trump’s Crusaders March to War
  • Documents Detail ICE Campaign to Prosecute Migrant Parents as Smugglers
  • Fox News analyst responds to Trump attack: ‘This is the way you treat your friends?’
  • Venezuelan defense minister says army stands with President Maduro, denounces Guaido as traitor
  • Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, 2006: Fact and Fiction
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
    • Wayne Rohde
    • Kerri Rivera
  •  The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

Trump sues Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block House subpoenas

April 30, 2019

by Rich McKay

Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and seven of his companies filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp to block the banks from complying with federal subpoenas investigating his financial dealings.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of New York, contended that demands for records by Democrat-controlled House committees have no legitimate or lawful purpose.

“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family,” the lawsuit said.

It also complains that the Democrats are hoping “they will stumble upon something they can expose publicly and use as a political tool against the President.”

Representative Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Commission and Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, both Democrats, called the lawsuit “meritless” in a joint statement, the New York Times and other media reported.

On April 15, two U.S. House of Representatives committees issued subpoenas to multiple financial institutions for information on Trump’s finances. Both banks have been involved in Trump’s real estate empire.

“The potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern. The Financial Services Committee is exploring these matters, including as they may involve the president and his associates, as thoroughly as possible,” Waters, said in a statement earlier.

Schiff said previously in a statement the subpoenas issued included a “friendly subpoena to Deutsche Bank.”

Trump recently has said that he intends to defy any efforts from the Democrats to dig into his affairs. Among other things, the Democrats have been looking into possible dealings Trump might have with Russia.

The suit, which includes The Trump Organization Inc. and Trump’s three eldest children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, states that the court has the power to declare the subpoenas invalid.

A representative of Deutsche Bank said in a statement: “We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations.”

Attorneys and representatives for the two sides were not immediately available to Reuters late Monday.

Reporting by Rich McKay; editing by Richard Pullin

 

Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others

April 30, 2019

(Reuters) – Numerous investigations spun out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are still alive and kicking, presenting potential ongoing legal and political risk for President Donald Trump, some of his former advisers and others.

Even though Trump avoided a knockout blow from the April 18 Mueller report, the special counsel disclosed more than a dozen active criminal inquiries that will play out for months to come, some possibly into the 2020 election campaign season.

Details on most of these cases are unclear as they were redacted in the 448-page report. Only two were not blacked out: one case versus former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; and one versus Greg Craig, a former White House counsel in the Obama administration.

The following are some of the topics likely being examined in spun-off probes by federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere:

MANHATTAN PROSECUTORS

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have been investigating the spending and fundraising of Trump’s inaugural committee.

They are also probing the Trump Organization’s role in payments made to silence two women about alleged sexual encounters with Trump before the 2016 election.

Both probes emanated from the Cohen case. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to his role in the hush-money payments. Prosecutors effectively named Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the scheme, which they say was aimed at influencing the election in violation of campaign finance laws.

Trump has denied the affairs and any wrongdoing.

In February public testimony, Cohen gave Congress copies of checks signed by Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, reimbursing Cohen for the payments.

The Mueller report shows Cohen, slated to start a three-year prison sentence on May 6, was interviewed by federal authorities as recently as March 19 on topics ranging from negotiations during the campaign about building a Trump tower in Moscow to talks concerning a potential presidential pardon for Cohen.

WIKILEAKS

A Mueller probe mystery is why prosecutors in late 2018 sent right-wing author Jerome Corsi a draft plea agreement. It asked him to admit to lying to investigators about his communications with Trump adviser Roger Stone on WikiLeaks. Prosecutors never followed through on the threat to charge Corsi.

Corsi, who said he rejected the plea offer and maintains his innocence, told Reuters on Friday he was confident he would not be charged. If he is not, he would avoid the fate of Stone, who was indicted by Mueller in January for allegedly lying to Congress about his pursuit of information on stolen Democratic Party emails that were made public by Russia and Wikileaks.

Stone, who was not charged with conspiring with Russians or WikiLeaks, pleaded not guilty and is preparing for trial.

Mueller’s report blacked out significant passages related to WikiLeaks, perhaps indicating that WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange are under ongoing scrutiny related to dissemination of emails during the 2016 election.

Earlier this month, U.S. prosecutors unsealed charges against Assange alleging he conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 to gain access to a U.S. government network used for classified documents. The U.S. is seeking Assange’s extradition from London.

FOREIGN AGENTS

Mueller’s investigation ensnared several people for failing to register with the Justice Department as foreign agents. Among them were Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, formerly Trump’s campaign chairman and deputy chairman, for their lobbying work in the United States for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

These cases reflected a new Justice Department focus on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people advocating on behalf of a foreign power to disclose that work.

Craig’s case involves one of the Ukrainian-related projects that formed the basis of Mueller’s probe of Manafort.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also examining prominent Washington lobbyists Vin Weber and Tony Podesta for Ukrainian-related work directed by Manafort.

CONGRESS

Congressional committees probing Russia’s 2016 election meddling encouraged Mueller to look at the veracity of the past testimony of witnesses.

Mueller already charged Stone and Cohen with lying to Congress. It is possible that other potential cases have been referred elsewhere in the Justice Department.

For instance, the Mueller report showed that Erik Prince, founder of the now defunct security firm Blackwater USA and a Trump supporter, may have misled Congress on details of contact he had with a Russian banker in January 2017.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Tom Brown

 

Trump’s Crusaders March to War

April 27, 2019

by Eric Margolis

The Unz Review

The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen. Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife. We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.

But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf. This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.

The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The oil embargo not only violates international law, it sets the US on a collision course with some of its most important allies and vassal states. Brazen threats against Iran by Trump’s two main enforcers, National Security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have reinforced America’s unfortunate image as an imperial power that threatens war against disobedient satraps and independent-minded nations.

Iran, a proud, ancient nation of 80 million, has become, with Turkey, the most effective opposition to America’s imperial domination of the Mideast and a key supporter of Palestinian rights and statehood. This has put Iran on a collision course with Israel and its influential American supporters, notably the Evangelical hard right which somehow believes that Jesus will only return to earth after Israel expands its border and mankind is destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration, which has now become indistinguishable from Israel’s hard-line far right ruling coalition, has declared virtual war against Iran.

To benefit Israel, the White House cancelled a $20 billion order from Iran for Boeing aircraft, embargoed trade with Iran, reneged on the internationally backed nuclear deal with Tehran, cut off all aid to Palestinians, and keeps sustaining the savage Saudi/Emirati war against Yemen that has caused mass starvation and epidemics.

Trump has just unilaterally approved Israel’s illegal seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, an act worthy of the 1916 Sykes-Picot treaty dividing up the Ottoman Mideast between Britain and France. US threats against Venezuela and Cuba grow louder.

Washington plans to use its naval forces massed around Iran to interdict Tehran’s oil exports. Two US aircraft carriers are now on station within striking range of Iran. I went to sea on one, the ‘Abraham Lincoln.’

China faces dire trade punishments for dealing with Iran. Welcome back to 19th century gunboat diplomacy. Even Washington’s European allies may be scourged for buying Iranian oil.

Iran, which has faced similar threats in the past, is digging in and threatens to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if its oil exports are interdicted. Twenty percent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait. At its narrowest point, this strategic passage is only 21 miles (34 km) wide.

Iran could seriously interfere with oil tankers in the Strait, using armed speedboats, mines and land-based, Chinese-made missiles. Equally important, insurance rates for tankers would skyrocket. Add all this together, and Trump & Co.’s warlike actions will cause the price of gasoline to surge, just as America’s busy summer driving season is getting underway.

America’s satraps Saudi Arabia (which just cut off the heads of 37 of its subjects) and sidekick the Emirates have promised to make up oil shortfalls, but neighbor Iran’s special forces may have very different ideas. Look for missiles and commando attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Adding to this dangerous mess, Beijing may slow down or even abort its trade talks with Washington, which are of vital importance to the US economy. US markets have already factored in a deal being made.

Trump’s irrational quest to crush Iran could very well turn the rest of the world against Washington. But Trump & Co. don’t seem to care. Someone must tell Trump’s out of control administration to stop trying to overthrow governments it does not like around the globe and promoting itself as the Second Coming of Christ.

“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” Verily.

 

Documents Detail ICE Campaign to Prosecute Migrant Parents as Smugglers

April 29, 2019

by Ryan Devereaux

The Intercept

In the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency, senior administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials embarked on an ambitious plan to deal with undocumented children crossing the border alone. Reasoning that most of the kids made their way into the U.S. only after their parents or family members paid a smuggler to facilitate the journey, the officials decided to cut the migration off at its source: by arresting the parents and family members.

By late April, top officials in the Trump government were already hinting at the emerging strategy in public appearances. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, ICE was drafting a detailed plan laying out how it would work. The end result was a document that, nearly two years later, offers new insight into an enforcement initiative that was the precursor to one of the darkest episodes of the Trump administration: the forced separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Included among hundreds of pages of documents produced by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, and shared with The Intercept, the release of ICE’s six-page “concept of operations” was the result of litigation the American Immigration Council — in collaboration with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, the National Immigrant Justice Center, Kids in Need of Defense, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP — is engaged in to secure the release of materials detailing the creation, implementation, and fallout of family separation.

The now-released May 5, 2017 plan details the creation of a “90- to 120-day operation” targeting criminal organizations involved in the smuggling of unaccompanied children, “with an emphasis on the identification, investigation, and arrest of human smuggling facilitators, including, but not limited to, parents and family members.” Noting that the number of unaccompanied children coming into the country decreased from a high in 2014, the plan nonetheless justified itself on the assertion that smuggling organizations “have yet to be held accountable.”

“Since parents and sponsors have not been held accountable for their role, there is no deterrent for complying with U.S. immigration laws,” the plan said, adding that “approximately 90 percent” of unaccompanied minors “are eventually turned over to a family member.”

The initiative would be a collaboration between HSI, ICE’s powerful investigative wing, and Enforcement and Removal Operations, the side of ICE responsible for deportations. The plan additionally called for coordination with the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as multiphase strategies to deal with Congress and the press.

On the ground, the initiative involved interviewing unaccompanied children to determine whether their mothers or fathers, or other family members, could be arrested. Once arrest operations were set in motion, ICE would grant itself the authority to take into custody any deportable immigrants encountered along the way (what ICE refers to as “collateral arrests”).

In theory, the entire process — from the moment the child was first encountered to the time their family members were identified, surveilled, interviewed, and arrested — would take no more than 72 hours. ICE would gather several “metrics” as it pressed forward with the initiative, including the number of criminal, administrative, and collateral arrests made, and the value of any assets seized in the operations. The number of cases the DOJ declined to prosecute would also be tracked, as would the number of “gang members/affiliates” taken into custody.

ICE put an additional emphasis on tracking the effect the initiative would have on deterring migrants from making the journey north by monitoring “intelligence and open-source reporting identifying the changes in the alien’s perception of the ability to enter and remain in the United States illegally.”

A “Surge Initiative”

By June 2017, the operation was underway. In a June 12 email, an HSI “Intelligence Research Specialist” described the initiative as a “high” priority coming from headquarters. The specialist noted that the initiative was unfolding in three phases.

During phase one, HSI investigators would determine the final destination of a migrant child in government custody, identify their parents or guardians, then “develop target folders of the parents/guardians.” During phase two, HSI agents would perform so-called knock and talk visits to the family’s home and “determine the identities of the parents/guardians.” The parents or guardians would be interviewed during phase three of the initiative, and “[i]f determined that the parents/guardians did pay smugglers to smuggle their children through the border, then HSI agents will develop warrants of prosecution.”

With the initiative designed to last no more than a few months, its eventual end came as a disappointment to some senior administration officials.

In a December 2017 memo later leaked to Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office by a government whistleblower, a central architect of the Trump administration’s most hard-line immigration policies named Gene Hamilton offered comments on a range of policy proposals to respond to the “surge of illegal immigration” at the border. Hamilton’s first comment, included in the margins of the memo, referenced “one option that isn’t listed here, but should be: prosecuting those in the United States who conspire or otherwise facilitate the illegal entry into the United States.” He pointed to a “fairly good initiative over the summer” that “got close to zero press.”

“Not enough cases were accepted for criminal prosecution,” Hamilton wrote. “We need a concerted six-month campaign — involving coordination between DHS, DOJ, and HHS. The whole of government needs to take a zero tolerance policy to the smuggling of minors into the United States (all aliens, of course, but especially minors).”

While the campaign to hunt down the parents of children fleeing some the most violent countries in the world did not generate the positive coverage Hamilton hoped for, it did attract attention. The same month that Hamilton lamented the end of the initiative, a coalition of immigrant rights organizations sent a letter to the heads of the Department of Homeland Security’s top oversight offices; they criticized a “surge initiative” in immigration enforcement targeting relatives of unaccompanied minors as an unconstitutional effort in which law enforcement was “using children as bait.” By the end of the summer, NPR confirmed, the initiative had resulted in more than 400 arrests.

The Trump administration’s efforts to deter undocumented families from coming to the U.S. by criminally prosecuting them did not end with the summer 2017 initiative. In the memo Hamilton marked up in December 2017, the prospect of separating arriving families — by requiring that all parents be criminally processed — was addressed explicitly. “[T]he increase in prosecutions would be reported by the media and it would have a substantial deterrent effect,” the memo said.

Five months later, in April 2018, the heads of three of the administration’s top immigration enforcement agencies recommended a policy of “zero tolerance” to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acknowledging that the policy would lead to the separation of families.

One of those officials, Kevin McAleenan, is now acting director of DHS and scheduled to testify before Congress this week. The recommendation McAleenan provided — co-signed by the heads of ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — was included in a memo later obtained by Open the Government and Project on Government Oversight through a freedom of information request. On the same day the memo was sent, newly released emails now show HSI officials scrambling to find cases that would justify family separation to provide Nielsen ahead of an appearance before lawmakers.

“In preparation for S1’s hearing next week, I want to develop a good narrative (supported by facts and cases), on the separating issues,” the secretary’s chief of staff wrote at the time. “We need to think strategically of the arguments from the other side and position S1 accordingly.”

A year after family separation dominated the headlines, a pattern is emerging of primary source documents obtained through hard-fought freedom of information litigation detailing just how deliberate the policy of family separation was in its creation. Emily Creighton, deputy legal director at the American Immigration Council, said there’s a value in seeing actual government records that cannot be overstated. “I think primary source documents are increasingly important to the American public,” Creighton told The Intercept. “We’ve become skeptics of public statements that are made by public officials, for good reason, particularly in this context.”

Creighton explained that the documents her organization and its legal collaborators are now beginning to receive started with freedom of information requests filed before “zero tolerance” — the policy that required family separation — even became official. Immigrant rights stakeholders like AIC “have been unearthing documents that contradict the government’s public position,” Creighton said. “These government documents are what help tell the whole story.”

ICE did not respond to a request for comment.

As The Intercept reported Monday, in a story detailing how a private intelligence company working with DHS monitored more than 600 protests against family separation, the government has identified hundreds of thousands of documents responsive to the requests AIC and its partners have made. Getting access to those materials, however, has not been easy. “Their search capacities are limited,” Creighton said of the government agencies involved. “We have to work with them to find a way to get to a place where we’re actually receiving documents, and it’s been a real struggle in this case.”

“We live in a time when we are really rightly skeptical about how the government is messaging policies and lying to the public to explain appalling policies like family separation,” Creighton went on to say. “We have to continually remind ourselves that we have laws like the Freedom of Information Act that allow access to government documents that protect our right to know.”

Update: Monday, April 29, 2019

After publication, ICE provided the following statement:

ICE aims to disrupt and dismantle end-to-end the illicit pathways used by transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling facilitators. As such, ICE conducted a surge initiative focused on the identification and arrest of individuals involved in illicit human smuggling operations, to include sponsors who have paid criminal organizations to smuggle children into the United States. The risks associated with smuggling children into the U.S. present a constant humanitarian threat. The sponsors who have placed children directly into harm’s way by entrusting them to violent criminal organizations will be held accountable for their role in these conspiracies.

The numbers as of August 21, 2017 when the domestic enforcement phase of the initiative concluded:

  • 443 administrative arrests
  • 35 criminal arrests
  • 38 prosecutions accepted on charges including alien smuggling and re-entry of removed aliens.

After the domestic enforcement phase of the initiative, the focus moved internationally to disrupting the transnational criminal organizations involved in human smuggling.

 

Fox News analyst responds to Trump attack: ‘This is the way you treat your friends?’

Andrew Napolitano has responded to Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks, calling them a ‘brilliant’ distraction from news of the Mueller report

April 29, 2019

by Erin Durkin in New York

The Guardian

The Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano has responded to Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks, asking: “This is the way you treat your friends, how do you treat your enemies? Oh boy.”

Last week, in comments that attracted widespread attention, Napolitano argued that the Mueller report showed Trump obstructed justice, and called the president’s behavior “unlawful, defenseless and condemnable”.

On Saturday, Trump responded with tweets bashing the “hostile” TV personality, who he claimed had asked him for a seat on the Supreme Court.

“Also asked for pardon for his friend,” Trump wrote, without elaborating, before adding a jab at another Fox News personality who has been critical of his record in office, saying Napolitano was “a good ‘pal’ of low ratings Shepard Smith”.

Trump also saluted the “brilliant and highly respected” Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who told Fox News Napolitano was wrong.

Speaking on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria on Monday, Napolitano said he and Trump had been “ friends for 30 years and probably will be for the next 30 years”. The president’s comments about him, he said, “were brilliant”.

“He wanted to divert attention from what Mueller had said about him,” he said, “and what I had commented about Mueller to his relationship with me, his relationship with me is not the story.”

The former New Jersey superior court judge also denied asking for a supreme court seat, saying Trump had actually asked him, unprompted, to recite his qualifications for the job.

“He said, all right, give me a spiel as to why I should put you on,” he said. “Who would turn that down? I gave him the spiel.”

Trump has made two nominations to the Supreme C ourt, of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Both men were approved by the Senate, tilting the court to the right.

Of the pardon mentioned by Trump, Napolitano said it concerned “a mutual friend of his and mine and he asked me to tell him what the person was convicted of and if I thought the conviction was just.

“I described what the person was convicted of. I described that it was just, the president used a very strong term to condemn the conviction and he said you know this person as well as I do, call this person up and tell him, tell this person he’s going to be on the list of pardons that I will seriously consider. That was the extent of that conversation.”

Trump’s attitude to and use of the presidential pardoning power has stirred intense controversy. In August 2017, for example, Trump pardoned the hard-right former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Mueller report pays close attention to Trump’s discussion of potential pardons for former aides Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, regarding the investigation of Russian election interference.

Trump, who regularly tweets his thoughts on Fox content, did not immediately respond to Napolitano’s words on Monday.

Venezuelan defense minister says army stands with President Maduro, denounces Guaido as traitor

April 30, 2019

RT

Venezuela’s defense forces stand behind President Nicolas Maduro, Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino has said, after opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed he had military backing in his attempt to oust the country’s chief.

Writing on Twitter in reference to a video Guaido posted on his own feed, flanked by men in military uniform Padrino said: “The FANB [Venezuela Armed Forces] stands firm in defense of the National Constitution and its legitimate authorities. All the military units deployed in the eight Integral Defense Regions report normalcy in their barracks and military bases, under the command of their natural commanders.”

He added that the defense force “reject this coup movement that aims to fill the country with violence” and stated the “pseudo political leaders” fronting “this subversive movement have used troops and police with weapons of war on a public road in the city to create anxiety and terror”, calling them “cowards”.

He finished with a rousing “Always loyal, Traitors never!”

In his video, Guaido had said he was at the Caracas air base La Carlota, and Lopez said he had been freed by troops supporting Guaido.

“The national armed forces have taken the correct decision,and they are counting on the support of the Venezuelan people,” Guaido said in the video.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that Venezuela’s government was confronting a small group of “military traitors” seeking to promote a coup.

 

Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, 2006: Fact and Fiction

April 30, 2019

by Christian Jürs

Israel’s foray into Lebanon in 2006 resulted a resounding military defeat for the Zionist state. According to a confidential French Foreign Office report, far from losing from 116 to 120 men, as it claims, IDF losses totalled 2300

Subject: Causes of the attack

Both the State of Israel and the United States viewed Syria as a potentially dangerous enemy. Joint intelligence indicated that Syria was a strong supporter of the Hezbollah Shiite paramilitary group. Israel had planned a punitive military operation into Lebanon both to clip Hezbollah’s wings and send a strong message to Syria to cease and desist supplying arms and money to the anti-Israel group. Because of its involvement in Iraq, the United States indicated it would be unable to supply any ground troops but would certainly supply any kind of weapon, to include bombs, cluster bombs and ammunition for this projected operation.

A casus belli was created by the Israeli Mossad’s assassination of Rafik Haarri, a popular Lebanese politician and subsequent disinformation promulgated and instigated by both Israel and the United States blamed Syria for the killing.

The IDF was being supplied faulty and misleading intelligence information, apparently originating from Russian sources, that gave misinformation about Hezbollah positions and strengths and therefore the initial planning was badly flawed.

In full concert with the American president, the IDF launched its brutal and murderous attack on July 12, 2006 and continued unabated until the Hexbollah inflicted so many serious casualties on the Israeli forces and also on the civilian population of Israel, that their government frantically demanded that the White House force a cease fire through the United Nations. This was done for Israel on August 14, 2007 and the last act of this murderous and unprovoked assault was when Israel removed their naval blockade of Lebanese ports.

The contrived incident that launched the Israeli attack was an alleged attack by Hezbollah into Israeli territory where they were alleged to have ‘kidnapped’ two Israeli soldiers and subsequently launched a rocket attack to cover their retreat.

The conflict killed over six thousand people, most of whom were Lebanese, severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure, displaced 700,000-915,000 Lebanese, and 300,000-500,000 Israelis, and disrupted normal life across all of Lebanon and northern Israel. Even after the ceasefire, much of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs. As of 1 December 2006, an estimated 200,000 Lebanese remained internally displaced or refugees

During the campaign Israel’s Air Force flew more than 12,000 combat missions, its Navy fired 2,500 shells, and its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other targets such as Beirut International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals, and 15,000 homes. Some 130,000 more homes were damaged.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered commanders to prepare civil defense plans. One million Israelis had to stay near or in bomb shelters or security rooms, with some 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.

On 26 July 2006 Israeli forces attacked and destroyed an UN observer post. Described as a nondeliberate attack by Israel, the post was shelled for hours before being bombed. UN forces made repeated calls to alert Israeli forces of the danger to the UN observers, all four of whom were killed. Rescuers were shelled as they attempted to reach the post. According to an e-mail sent earlier by one of the UN observers killed in the attack, there had been numerous occasions on a daily basis where the post had come under fire from both Israeli artillery and bombing. The UN observer reportedly wrote that previous Israeli bombing near the post had not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to “tactical necessity,” military jargon which retired Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie later interpreted as indicating that Israeli strikes were aimed at Hezbollah targets extremely close to the post.

On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed eighteen soldiers. Israel claimed, after this event, that it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

On 28 July 2006 Israeli paratroopers killed 5 of Hezbollah’s commando elite in Bint Jbeil. In total, the IDF claimed that 80 fighters were killed in the battles at Bint Jbeil. Hezbollah sources, coupled with International Red Cross figures place the Hexbollah total at 7 dead and 129 non-combatant Lebanese civilian deaths.

On 30 July 2006 Israeli air strikes hit an apartment building in Qana, killing at least 65 civilians, of which 28 were children, with 25 more missing. The air strike was widely condemned.

On 31 July 2006 the Israeli military and Hezbollah forces engaged Hezbollah in the Battle of Ayta ash-Shab.

On 1 August 2006 Israeli commandos launched Operation Sharp and Smooth and landed in Baalbek and captured five civilians including one bearing the same name as Hezbollah’s leader, “Hassan Nasrallah”. All of the civilians were released after the ceasefire. Troops landed near Dar al-Himkeh hospital west of Baalbeck as part of a widescale operation in the area.

On 4 August 2006 the IAF attacked a building in the area of al-Qaa around 10 kilometers (six miles) from Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Sixty two  farm workers, mostly Syrian and Lebanese Kurds, were killed during the airstrike.

On 5 August 2006 Israeli commandos carried out a nighttime raid in Tyre, blowing up a water treatment plant, a small clinic and killing 187 civilians before withdrawing.

On 7 August 2006 the IAF attacked the Shiyyah suburb in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, destroying three apartment buildings in the suburb, killing at least 120 people.

On 11 August 2006 the IAF attacked a convoy of approximately 750 vehicles containing Lebanese police, army, civilians, and one Associated Press journalist, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 39.

On 12 August 2006 the IDF established its hold in South Lebanon. Over the weekend Israeli forces in southern Lebanon nearly tripled in size. and were ordered to advance towards the Litani River.

On 14 August 2006 the Israeli Air Force reported that they had killed the head of Hezbollah?s Special Forces, whom they identified as Sajed Dewayer,but this claim was never proven.. 80 minutes before the cessation of hostilities, the IDF targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, killing a UNRWA staff member. Sixty two refugees had been killed in an attack on this camp six days prior to the incident.

During the campaign Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets. About 95% of these were 122 mm (4.8 in) Katyusha artillery rockets, which carried warheads up to 30 kg (66 lb) and had a range of up to 30 km (19 mi). An estimated 23% of these rockets hit built-up areas, primarily civilian in nature.

Cities hit included Haifa, Hadera, Nazareth, Tiberias, Nahariya, Safed, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an, Karmiel, and Maalot, and dozens of Kibbutzim, Moshavim, and Druze and Arab villages, as well as the northern West Bank. Hezbollah also engaged in guerrilla warfare with the IDF, attacking from well-fortified positions. These attacks by small, well-armed units caused serious problems for the IDF, especially through the use hundreds of sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Hezbollah destroyed 38 Israeli Merkava main battle tanks and damaged 82. Fifteen tanks were destroyed by anti-tank mines. Hezbollah caused an additional 65 casualties using ATGMs to collapse buildings onto Israeli troops sheltering inside.

After the initial Israeli response, Hezbollah declared an all-out military alert. Hezbollah was estimated to have 13,000 missiles at the beginning of the conflict. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described Hezbollah as a trained, skilled, well-organized, and highly motivated infantry that was equipped with the cream of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia, and China. Lebanese satellite TV station Al-Manar reported that the attacks had included a Fajr-3 and a Ra’ad 1, both liquid-fuel missiles developed by Iran.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah defended the attacks, saying that Hezbollah had “started to act calmly, we focused on Israel military bases and we didn?t attack any settlement, however, since the first day, the enemy attacked Lebanese towns and murdered civilians  Hezbollah militants had destroyed military bases, while the Israelis killed civilians and targeted Lebanon’s infrastructure.” Hezbollah apologized for shedding Muslim blood, and called on the Arabs of the Israeli city of Haifa to flee.

On 13 July 2006 in response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks in which 43 civilians were killed, Hezbollah launched rockets at Haifa for the first time, hitting a cable car station along with a few other buildings

On 14 July 2006 Hezbollah attacked the INS Hanit, an Israeli Sa’ar 5-class missile boat enforcing the naval blockade, with what was believed to be a radar guided C-802 anti-ship missile. 24 sailors were killed and the warship was severely damaged and towed back to port.

On 17 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a railroad repair depot, killing twenty-two workers. Hezbollah claimed that this attack was aimed at a large Israeli fuel storage plant adjacent to the railway facility. Haifa is home to many strategically valuable facilities such as shipyards and oil refineries.

On 18 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a hospital in Safed in northern Galilee, wounding twenty three.

On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed forty one soldiers, and destroyed 12 IDF vehicles and destroyed three armored vehicles and seriously damaged eight more. Israel claimed it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

On 3 August 2006 Nasrallah warned Israel against hitting Beirut and promised retaliation against Tel Aviv in this case. He also stated that Hezbollah would stop its rocket campaign if Israel ceased aerial and artillery strikes of Lebanese towns and villages.

On 4 August 2006 Israel targeted the southern outskirts of Beirut, and later in the day, Hezbollah launched rockets at the Hadera region.

On 9 August 2006 twenty three Israeli soldiers were killed when the building they were taking cover in was struck by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile and collapsed.

On 12 August 2006 24 Israeli soldiers were killed; the worst Israeli loss in a single day. Out of those 24, five soldiers were killed when Hezbollah shot down an Israeli helicopter, a first for the militia. Hezbollah claimed the helicopter had been attacked with a Wa’ad missile.

One of the most controversial aspects of the conflict has been the high number of civilian deaths. The actual proportion of civilian deaths and the responsibility of it is hotly disputed.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blamed Israel for systematically failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, which may constitute a war crime, and accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes by the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians by firing rockets into populated areas

On 24 July 2006, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Israel’s response violated international humanitarian law, but also criticized Hezbollah for knowingly putting civilians in harm’s way by “cowardly blending…among women and children”.

During the war, Israeli jets distributed leaflets calling on civilian residents to evacuate or move north.

In response to some of this criticism, Israel has stated that it did, wherever possible, attempt to distinguish between protected persons and combatants, but that due to Hezbollah militants being in civilian clothing

Direct attacks on civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initially estimated about 35,000 homes and businesses in Lebanon were destroyed by Israel in the conflict, while a quarter of the country’s road bridges or overpasses were damaged. Jean Fabre, a UNDP spokesman, estimated that overall economic losses for Lebanon from the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah totaled “at least $15 billion, if not more.”] Before and throughout the war, Hezbollah launched over 4000 unguided rockets against Israeli population centers, seeking to terrorize the Israeli population. This was in direct response to Israel’s attack on residential sections and the deliberate targeting of civilians

Amnesty International published a report stating that “the deliberate widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population,” and called for an international investigation of violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict.

Israel defended itself from such allegations on the grounds that Hezbollah’s use of roads and bridges for military purposes made them legitimate targets. However, Amnesty International stated that “the military advantage anticipated from destroying [civilian infrastructure] must be measured against the likely effect on civilians.”

Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Israel for using cluster bombs too close to civilians because of their inaccuracy and unreliability, suggesting that they may have gone as far as deliberately targeting civilian areas with such munitions. Hezbollah was also criticized by Human Rights Watch for filling its rockets with ball bearings, which “suggests a desire to maximize harm to civilians”; the U.N has criticized Israel for its use of cluster munitions and disproportionate attacks.

Amnesty International stated that the IDF used white phosphorus shells in Lebanon. Israel later admitted to the use of white phosphorus, but stated that it only used the incendiary against militants. However, several foreign media outlets reported observing and photographing a large number of Lebanese civilians with burns characteristic of white phosphorus attacks during the conflict.

Hezbollah casualty figures are difficult to ascertain, with claims and estimates by different groups and individuals ranging from 43 to 1,000. Hezbollah’s leadership claims that 43 of their fighters were killed in the conflict, while Israel estimated that its forces had killed 600 Hezbollah fighters. In addition, Israel claimed to have the names of 532 dead Hezbollah fighters but when challenged by Hezbollah to release the list, the Israelis dropped the issue. A UN official estimated that 50 Hezbollah fighters had been killed, and Lebanese government officials estimated that up to 49 had been killed.

The Lebanese civilian death toll is difficult to pinpoint as most published figures do not distinguish between civilians and militants, including those released by the Lebanese government. In addition, Hezbollah fighters can be difficult to identify as many do not wear military uniforms. However, it has been widely reported that the majority of the Lebanese killed were civilians, and UNICEF estimated that 30% of those killed were children under the age of 13

The death toll estimates do not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded US/Israeli cluster bombs. According to the National Demining Office, 297 people have been killed and 867 wounded in such blasts.

Official Israeli figures for the Israel Defense Forces troops killed range from 116 to 120. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives two different figures 117 and 119 the latter of which contains two IDF fatalities that occurred after the ceasefire went into effect. In September 2006, two local Israeli newspapers released insider information ensuring that the Israeli military death toll might climbed to around 540 soldiers. Israel refuses any outside agency access to its lists of the dead and wounded but an examination of all the accurate information available indicates that Israeli Defense Forces lost a total of 2300 killed with 600 of these dying in militatary hospital facilities subsequent to the conclusion of the fighting and an additional 700 very seriously wounded.

Hezbollah rockets killed 43 Israeli civilians during the conflict, including four who died of heart attacks during rocket attacks. In addition, 4,262 civilians were injured 33 seriously, 68 moderately, 1,388 lightly, and 2,773 were treated for shock and anxiety

In March of 2007 the Israeli comptroller had planned to release an interim report that was expected to accuse the army and Olmert of leaving Israeli civilians virtually defenseless during theLebanon war, in which Hezbollah guerrillas fired a barrage of rockets and missiles at northern Israel

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Wayne Rohde

Wayne Rohde is an antivaccine activist, and the founder of the antivaccine group the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, occasional blogger for the antivaccine conspiracy website Age of Autism, and a rich source of trite, endlessly repeated and falsified (and repeated again) antivaccine tropes. Rohde is an attorney, and has, as far as we can tell, no background in science or research. He is nevertheless an active figure at antivaccine conferences and was in 2019 asked to serve on the new Minnesota state council on autism together with fellow antivaccine conspiracy theorist and health freedom advocate Patti Carroll; that state council was initiated by state senator Jim Abeler, a chiropractor and fellow anti-vaccine activist, who justified the appointment of Rohde and Carroll by invoking the balance fallacy. Rohde himself is an executive for the group Health Choice, which advocates that chronic health conditions in children are caused by “unhealthy choices” including “side effects of vaccine choices.” This is not true.

To people like Rohde, vaccines are to blame for most ills. Here, for instance, is (a discussion of) Rohde trying to connect Harold Ramis’s death to vaccines through desperately bizarre speculation. Then he refers to some garbage studies by Shaw and Tomljenovic, websites that say the opposite of what he says that they say, and vaccine court cases. (Indeed, Rohde has written a book about vaccine courts: The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which seems to be mostly an instance of Badger’s Law). Of course, Rohde is mostly JAQing off. But it was the vaccines. Nothing in what he says has anything to do with facts, truth and evidence, but if you start with an idea, stick to it dogmatically, and don’t care about what is actually the case, you can connect almost anything to it with enough ingenuity.

Of course, Rohde denies being antivaccine; instead, he is – when it suits him – an advocate for health freedom. By claiming to be pro-freedom, he gets to call his opponents “fascists”, or “medical fascists”. He likes that. He also likes questioning the motivations of those who disagree with him.

Diagnosis: crackpot conspiracy theorist. He is quite vocal, however, and seems to have some influence in the antivaccine movement. Dangerous

Kerri Rivera

The Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) is, essentially, industrial strength bleach (28% sodium chlorite) that, when diluted in acidic juices, results in the formation of chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. As a treatment for medical conditions (and other things) MMS should rank as among the most dangerous and delusional pieces of quackery out there, yet according to proponents, MMS can cure almost anything from cancer to AIDS and anything in between and beyond. There is no biological plausibility to any of these claims, and no evidence, either preclinical or clinical, that MMS can do what its proponents claim it can do. According to Kerri Rivera, one of the most dangerous and insane people on the planet, MMS can – in particular – cure autism, and her abhorrent insanity has unsurprisingly made significant inroads in already severely reality-challenged antivaxx communities, whose members, demonstrably mistakenly, still think that vaccines cause autism. Rivera was for instance invited to talk at the 2012 Autism One Quackfest to convince parents to torture their autistic children by giving them painful bleach enemas. As Rivera sees it, “autism means that your child has virus, bacteria, Candida, inflammation, heavy metals and food allergies … [this is, hopefully needless to say, insane nonsense],”therefore these children take (her) poison, which would do nothing to address these issues if they had anything to do with autism, which they don’t. At the conference, Rivera boasted about 38 children who purportedly recovered in 20 months (by 2018 the number is allegedly in the hundreds, and if you need proof that her numbers are nonsense, here it is).

Needless to say, her presentation was short on documentation but rich on paper-trail-less anecdotes. Among the attendees it seems to have been sufficiently popular to get her reinvited in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Indeed, media attention to her dangerous nonsense prompted the Illinois attorney general to send agents to her presentation at the 2015 conference and serve her with a subpoena; unable to present evidence for MMS’s benefits, Rivera was forced to sign an agreement barring her from further promoting MMS or appearing at conferences in the state of Illinois. Rivera has since announced that she will no longer do MMS consultations for autistic kids. MMS remains popular in antivaxx communities, however, and central players like Julie Obradovic and JB Handley quickly ran to Rivera’s defense when she was “attacked” by skeptics. Rivera herself addressed critics by telling them that “You have your science all wrong. The websites that you site are incorrect.” Short and sweet, in other words.

Rivera runs, or at least used to run, a clinic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, called AutismO2 Clinica Hyperbarica (Rivera is also fond of hyberbaric oxygen therapy), where she would expose autistic children to MMS by mouth and enema – at her AutismOne presentation she also discussed “recent protocol developments around MMS and Autism, such as loading the dose, the baby bottle, the baking soda mix, enemas, baths, and how to handle a fever.” One would think that parents bathing their babies in bleach and putting bleach in their bottles would face some social condemnation. Occasionally, Rivera uses the letters “D Hom” after her name. D Hom is not a real degree. But as a homeopath, perhaps Rivera could at least dilute her bleach to the point where there is not a molecule left before serving it to children? According to homeopathic theory doing so shouldn’t decrease its effectiveness, quite the reverse.

Apparently, children undergoing the therapy she recommends will often experience diarrhea (which is “good” since it is a “detox diarrhea”) and fever, which according to Rivera is also good since it is “waking up the immune system” to realize that there’s “autism in the house.” This is, hopefully needless to say, not how this works. And what do you think is her evidence that the regime has any benefits? Nothing, of course – Rivera has some undocumented anecdotes, which really, really means nothing. She also has leaflets and handouts with the fake Schopenhauer quote about truth “passing through three stages”, which is, of course, false but a surefire sign that we are dealing with a quack. There is a horrifying account of one of her clients undergoing her treatment regime here, and a good takedown of her dangerous nonsense here. A response from (insane) MMS and Rivera apologist Adam Abraham is discussed here.

Ultimately, and as mentioned above, attaining good health is (apparently), according to Rivera, mostly a matter of getting rid of toxins and parasites. As described in her book Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, “[a]lmost all of the people with autism have high levels of pathogens; virus, bacteria, parasites and heavy metals. Chlorine dioxide kills pathogens and helps the body to detoxify itself. It is considered safe at doses we use for weight.” It is not considered safe, and Rivera has no remotely reliable test for “levels of pathogens” beyond the a priori, of course. But this is really a matter of religion – what she is promoting is a cleansing ritual – not evidence, truth or reality; indeed, seeing how no player in the antivaxx community can bring themselves to criticize even feeding bleach to kids with autismshould really, really illustrate how much of a cult the antivaccine movement has become (unity against criticism from the outside is a familiar hallmark of cults).) None of the parasites in question actually exist, of course, which is good, since MMS would presumably not have had helped deal with them anyways – the rationale behind MMS is that bleach unsurprisingly can kill microbes in petri dishes; therefore it can kill them in the body, too, without harm; and therefore all disease, also autism, is caused by microbes. Needless to say, none of those steps in that piece of reasoning are anything but idiotic.

Currently, Rivera also runs CD Autism, a “grassroots movement” devoted to marketing and selling her products and services. More recently, she has also launched ketokerri™, a company selling supplements (particularly targeted at kids with autism who have already suffered through her bleach enemas) supposed to aid with “natural healing processes.” Apparently she is enjoying both recognition and influence in a variety of quackery group. And her MMS insanity continues to be used, despite demonstrably causing irrevocable harm to children,

Diagnosis: As sane and scientific as the flat earth movement, but far more harmful. Now, Rivera’s base is in Mexico, and we cannot say with any confidence that she’s actually American. But she has at least enjoyed plenty of popularity in the US, and what really matters is presumably ultimately that her insanity – and the cult that has grown up around her and her crazy – is exposed.

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 30, 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. 117

Date: Sunday , December 14, 1997

Commenced: 11:15 AM CST

Concluded: 11:38 AM CST

GD: I think Mueller’s real strength lay in his professional detachment and his organizing ability. You rarely, if ever saw his picture anywhere. He rarely attended official functions and when he was in his office, he wore civilian clothes and wished to be called ‘Herr Mueller’ instead of ‘General.’ Most of the Party officials loved to strut around in fancy uniforms but not Heini. They strutted and he worked. At the end, he had enormous power which he rarely showed off. He would issue orders to Himmler and, earlier, Heydrich and no one ever contradicted him. He set up an early computer system to keep card files on as many citizens as he could locate and so on. But he said his worst problem was not the systems he devised but the people who worked in these systems. You ran the clandestine services branch and just out of interest, did you have problems with your underlings?

RTC: Oh, yes, always. We are, were, so compartmentized that our right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. Official policy concerning a country was one thing but no one seemed to realize that the top level depended on those below them for input. And therein lay a real problem. Curious to know how your friend handled it.

GD: Name the problem and I will search for an answer.

RTC: Rigid bureaucracy works but only barely. For instance, let’s take Egypt. We have an Egypt desk. It has nothing to do with, and certainly no connection with, the South American desk. I’m sitting in my office and have no real idea what the hell is going on downstairs or down the hall either. A field agent in Cairo uncovers very important information about some official policy. Fine. He sends us a full report. Do I see it? No, I do not. The agent sends this to Langley where it goes, oddly enough, to the Egypt desk. Ah, but in this area, there is a blood feud going on between two top people so this vital report gets into the hands of one party who deliberately hides it from the other out of spite. Why? Because the two of them are at odds over some matter so one hides material that could support the theories of the other. And, of course, we never see something that is actually very important.

GD: And what happens later if some disaster occurs and…

RTC: I’ll just tell you that the vital information goes into a shredder and later, a burn bag. And no one knows about it, even if they did. Backstabbing and finger pointing are rampant and no one can do anything about it. In the beginning, we were much smaller and more of us cooperated but cooperation is a thing of the past. A larger office, a more important parking space take the place of cooperation. But I cannot exculpate the top brass, either. Say the ruling party in the White House wants this or that to be the case in aid of their foreign policy. Do our senior people forward real and important information to them over there that would make that case not only wrong but a disaster? No, let’s protect our jobs and send a report over by an unproven and dead-wrong source that supports whatever the ruling claque is looking for. A disaster follows, imperial fingers are pointed and some minor official is let go because he wants to spend more time with his family. How did Mueller handle this?

GD: By hiring genuine professionals and watching everything. Copies of all important reports were sent to him, personally, so he spent much of his time looking at incoming gen. But Mueller was quite the exception, I believe. That’s why the Swiss government hired him after the war, and this in spite of the frantic searchings for him. Here we have the head of the Gestapo, a top wanted man, living in great comfort just down the line and all of this well-known to some Americans. Hell, Critchfield and Gehlen both knew where Heini was and, shit, Critchfield actually hired him to work for your people. I can understand why the Langley people hate me. If the self-important Jews who think they run the government ever came to grips with this, there would be pure hell to pay. I can just see the editorial page of the New York times on this.

RTC: Actually, you would never see a reference to Mueller or other top Gestapo people we hired anywhere in the American media. They would not print this because we would tell them not to. And they would do as they were told, believe me. You know I met Mueller once, why I had dinner with him over at the Metropolitan once, and I was somewhat in awe of him. A very pleasant man but you could tell he was looking around inside you while he was enjoying the lunch. How did you cope with this?

GD: I know what you mean but it never bothered me. I liked him and I respected him (the two are not always the same, you know) so if he wanted to poke around in my psyche, let him do it. We got on well and I used to poke around inside him once in a while. Fouché was very effective but he was very cold and very cruel and Mueller was detached but quite decent. Joseph changed sides, betrayed one set of associates to facilitate his acceptance by more successful ones and became the richest man in Europe. Heini got quite rich selling off the CIA’s looted Nazi art. He kept most of the money and when you realize that a Monet sells for ten millions and he had twenty of them, you can see what I mean. I saw paintings in Piedmont which he could never sell. A Signorelli that was supposed to have been burnt at the end of the war and a Raphael picture of some fag in a white shirt that the Polacks are still screaming about. Ah, well, such is the way of the world.

RTC: Yes, so it is. But I do miss it, Gregory. Life is too peaceful and I am finding myself forgetting so many odd bits and pieces of my life. Well, I don’t know about where it will all end but it will end.

GD: Yes, we can all be sure of that. But the play is not over yet, Robert.

RTC: When it ends, I’ll be dead and forgotten. You can enjoy the final scenes.

GD: I only hope so, Robert.

(Concluded at 11:30 AM CST)

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

 

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