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TBR News August 5, 2018

Aug 05 2018

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

Washington, D.C. August 5, 2018:”The phrase ‘domestic tranquilty’ reflects the attitudes of most of the citizens of a relatively stable country.

We want matters to run smoothly, directed by a moral and reliable president and supported by an equally moral and reliable legislative and judicial.

America does not have such a desired status quo at the present time.

The primary flaw in the machinery can be found in the office of the president, equalled by other flaws in the legislative.

Trump is a pathological liar, as avowed racist, an egomaniac and, according to Beltway rumor, a person in the closet.

Also, no one who has the slightest ability to study news sources, there is no doubt that the Russians got at Mr. Trump and in return for helping to influence American voters in his favor, expected a normalization of governmental and fianacial relations between their two countries.

That the Russians made deals with Trump while he was in Moscow is beyond a doubt and now this fact is slowly emerging as official investigations proceed.

Trump is hysterical with rage and daily can be observed making false statements to the public, holding rallies with hordes of very strange far right supporters hopping about holding signs, threating anyone and everyone who dares to disagree with any of his, or his supporter’s views.

He hates blacks and Mexicans and often uses racist remarks in the Oval Office and it ought to be noted that his wife, a woman of some character, often refutes his radical and unhinged remarks and, even more imporant, keeps her attractive minor son as far away from the ideas and hands of her husband.

She is reputed to have wished to diviorce Trump and was dissuaded by the payment of a very large sum of money but she still keeps away from him and, more interesting, keeps her handsome young son as far away from the President as she can.

Eventually, and to a certainty, as the legal anaconda tightens its coils around him an his partners in crime, Trump will explode in public and at that point, all but the most dimwitted of his rural followers will desert him, and the Republican party.”



The Table of Contents

  • Melania Trump praises LeBron James in statement after husband insults him
  • Conversations with the Crow
  • Has US misread the Iranian street?
  • Trump would fight any U.S. special counsel subpoena in court: president’s lawyer
  • Trump attacks report that he’s worried about son’s exposure to Mueller inquiry
  • Zionism’s troubled relationship with anti-Semitism
  • Europe swelters as heat wave sizzles on



Melania Trump praises LeBron James in statement after husband insults him

Shortly after Donald Trump mocked NBA star, first lady says she would visit his school and Michael Jordan joins chorus of support

August 4, 2018

by Amanda Holpuch in New York and Ben Jacobs in New Orleans

The Guardian

The US first lady, Melania Trump, said she would be open to visiting the NBA superstar LeBron James’s new public school, the day after her husband questioned the Los Angeles Lakers player’s intelligence.

Donald Trump insulted James on Friday night hours after CNN re-aired an interview with the basketball player and reporter Don Lemon. “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump said. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”

Many, including professional athletes and the Republican governor of Ohio, were critical of Trump’s statements.

On Saturday afternoon, Melania Trump also issued a surprising, positive statement about James, but did not reference her husband.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” a statement provided by her spokeswoman said. “As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron.”

Because Donald Trump mentioned the NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets principal owner Michael Jordan in the tweet – ending with “I like Mike!” – Jordan also weighed in.

“I support LJ,” Jordan said in a statement. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

James, one of the most prominent athletes in the US, has been critical of Trump for years.

In September 2017, James called Trump a “bum” for rescinding his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to celebrate their basketball championship with a visit to the White House.

“Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James tweeted at the time.

In February, James explained why he was critical of the president: “While we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, that this is not the way.”

And in an interview with CNN this week, James told Lemon that Trump was “trying to divide our sport, but at the end of the day, sport is the reason why we all come together”.

When Lemon asked: “What would you say to the President if he was sitting right here?” James said: “I would never sit across from him.”

Trump’s tweet on Friday night drew accusations of racism because Lemon and James are black men and had been discussing Trump’s previous attacks on black athletes in the interview. Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents James’s hometown’s district, said: “I think it reveals and continues to reveal that president Trump race baits.”

The sports commentator Bill Simmons tweeted: “LeBron is a smart dude (and one of the most thoughtful athletes we have) – this is a bullshit tweet and feels more than a little racist.”

James, meanwhile, did not weigh in on the debate and instead on Saturday morning shared photos from the school he just opened.

Conversations with the Crow

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.

One of Crowley’s first major assignments within the agency was to assist in the recruitment and management of prominent World War II Nazis, especially those with advanced intelligence experience. One of the CIA’s major recruitment coups was Heinrich Mueller, once head of Hitler’s Gestapo who had fled to Switzerland after the collapse of the Third Reich and worked as an anti-Communist expert for Masson of Swiss counterintelligence. Mueller was initially hired by Colonel James Critchfield of the CIA, who was running the Gehlen Organization out of Pullach in southern Germany. Crowley eventually came to despise Critchfield but the colonel was totally unaware of this, to his later dismay.

Crowley’s real expertise within the agency was the Soviet KGB. One of his main jobs throughout his career was acting as the agency liaison with corporations like ITT, which the CIA often used as fronts for moving large amounts of cash off their books. He was deeply involved in the efforts by the U.S. to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile, which eventually got him into legal problems with regard to investigations of the U.S. government’s grand jury where he has perjured himself in an agency cover-up

After his retirement, Crowley began to search for someone who might be able to write a competent history of his career. His first choice fell on British author John Costello (author of Ten Days to Destiny, The Pacific War and other works) but, discovering that Costello was a very aggressive homosexual, he dropped him and tentatively turned to Joseph Trento who had assisted Crowley and William Corson in writing a book on the KGB. When Crowley discovered that Trento had an ambiguous and probably cooperative relationship with the CIA, he began to distrust him and continued his search for an author.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

In 1998, when Crowley was slated to go into the hospital for exploratory surgery, he had his son, Greg, ship two large foot lockers of documents to Douglas in Wisconsin with the caveat that they were not to be opened until after Crowley’s death. These documents, totaled an astonishing 15,000 pages of CIA classified files involving many covert operations, both foreign and domestic, during the Cold War.

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Müller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

He has.



Conversation No. 10

Conversation No. 10

Date:  Monday, April 22, 1996

Commenced: 11:17 AM CST

Concluded:   11:59 AM CST


GD: Good morning, Robert. I wanted to let you know the box is finished and I have checked it out. The neighbor’s cat started screeching like a maniac and kept it up for the ten minutes I left the thing plugged in.

RTC: Wonderful news, Gregory. I am so looking forward to receiving it. Send it to the drop address I gave you and use the name we decided on.

GD: No problem at all, Robert. It uses regular household current and on one side you will find a dial and a toggle switch. The switch turns it on and off and the dial adjusts the level of noise. I mean you won’t hear any noise but that’s as good a term as anything else. If you have pets, be careful to aim the box towards the embassy, better up against the window, which I would keep open during operational times. I suggest you turn it on and off about three or four times during the day but never leave it on for more than ten minutes. You want general malaise but not protracted agony.

RTC: And if their windows are closed?

GD: Even better. The glass acts as a sounding board. If the curtains or drapes are open, get a pair of glasses and stand back from the window and watch for reactions. If not, just turn it on and off from time to time. You won’t get people with exploding heads but eventually you’ll hear about it.

RTC: I suppose exploding Swiss diplomats would cause a stir.

GD: I would think so. Now, I’ll send this out today before five and then let you know. I won’t send it registered because then your Mr. Fake Name would have to sign for it.

RTC: Understood. You’ll be in my debt for this, Gregory.

GD: My pleasure.

RTC: And I’ve been digging out Kennedy material for you.

GD: Wonderful, Robert. Now that that’s taken care of, I would like to ask you about something I found in Mueller’s journals. I’m translating them and believe me, it’s not the easiest job. His German is short and to the point but not very cultured and I was brought up to speak Hanoverian German. Mueller’s material reads like police reports. Anyway, there was a passage I really want to verify with you. I mean I will read my translation to you in toto and then let me know if you know anything about it, either first or second hand. It’s such a nasty piece of work that Bender won’t want to publish it unless I get some confirmation. It isn’t too long.

RTC: Read on.

GD: OK, here we go: Now remember that Mueller moved from DC to Warrenton and lived on a large estate with his wife. He calls her Bunny and that’s who he’s talking about. It starts out


“Friday, 12. July, 1951

Such a damned outrage! This is very hard to put down but I really ought to just for reference and also for relieving me of the pressure. I went out for a ride this morning, in spite of the weather. I thought it would be my last before I went on the trip and I do enjoy the rides now. I have gotten used to the horse and he to me. So early this morning, I went out riding and worked my way across the property to the area where the CIA unit was installed.

I smelt it before I got to it and so did the horse. A very unhappy horse and later, a very unhappy Heini! The stench was terrible as I approached the fenced-in trailers with their antenna stuck up on top of two of the trailers. There was a path leading down the hillside but the horse balked so I had to dismount and lead him down the path. I wanted to see what smelt so bad and I found out very quickly. In a small clearing were two human bodies, very much decayed and bloated. There were two men wearing some kind of blue shirts and pants and badly infested with maggots. They appeared to be black men but given the advanced state of corruption, it was not a certainty.

I remounted at the top of the path and rode over to the fenced area but no one was in sight. By this time, I was becoming very angry and went back home at a good canter and later a gallop. Phone calls to the CIA people. There are dead human bodies on my land! What is going on there? Silly, placating answers. Not good enough for me. Get rid of these things or I will call the local police and mortician at once! No, no, sir, do not do that! was the response. They would send someone right out to clean it up. I was please not to call anyone. It was (the usual shit) a matter of national security! National security indeed! Two dead blacks and how did they get there?

I want Bunny to know nothing about this. She came in when I was shouting at the CIA fool so I had to pretend it was something else. Oh yes, they came almost at once in a station wagon and drove in at the gate and then out to the charnel house. Another car came with two smooth-faced young men who wanted to talk to me privately. Into the library and later Bunny said she could hear me shouting one floor up through three closed doors! Angry is not the word to use, believe me.

What have these swine done now? It seems that the CIA is interested in mind control and were “practicing” on “willing” subjects. They wanted to see if some new radio system would have any effect on humans so they obtained several “volunteers” from a Virginia jail and experimented on them. They used radio microwaves in varying degrees of intensity on these poor fellows and literally roasted them alive! The bodies were tossed down the hill and it had been planned to bury them quietly on my farm!

There was a change of personnel and someone forgot the dead blacks!

When I asked these two sleek weasels about this, the reply was so awful I could not believe it! It seems that the CIA has no problem roasting people alive as long as they are convicted black criminals! Isn’t that a wonderful attitude? One of the CIA people said, in such an offhanded way as to infuriate me that no one cared about blacks because they were scarcely human!

It took an enormous amount of self-control on my part to keep me from picking up a poker from the fireplace and doing great damage to these two worms. I threw both of them out and ordered them to not only remove the bodies but their experimental station as well. I told them that if I heard one more word of this insane behavior I would personally take it to the President first and the newspapers second.

White faces and many apologies. They crawled out and I had a very stiff drink to calm down again. The station wagon left, the driver had a white mask over his face and the other one threw up on the driveway as the car bumped along!

Fortunately, Bunny saw, smelt or heard nothing and I had to go up and lie terribly to her. I am totally frustrated by this because my first instinct, besides shoving my shoe up their assholes, was to put them under arrest and turn them over to the local police for obvious murder. I can’t do that in my position but I would go to Harry with this if I ever hear about it again.

Mind control indeed!

Later: I spoke very sharply with (Walter Bedell, ed.) Smith when I calmed down and he was also furious. Told me that there are elements in the organization that are “completely lunatic” and he will speak with “someone” about this. I told him that if I ever heard of such psychotic nonsense again, the President would be the next on my list of callers and Smith said not to worry about this reoccurrence. No doubt the lunatics will go somewhere else. If I ever catch these evil swine on the property again, I will turn Arno loose on them and he can certainly earn his pay.

Apparently, they (the CIA, ed.) are involved in “mind control” work. This consists of drugging people, using electric shock on others, God knows what else! You should see some of the thoroughly lunatic types that scuttle up and down the halls, mumbling to themselves while clutching files to their breasts like a mama monkey with a dead baby. As expected, Wisner is involved in this madness. And him with a well-endowed (from the photos) black lover! When they are not burning people to death or looting the safes of cash, they are encouraging all kinds of strange madness.

I have no time for my journal now and am getting ready to leave here on the 19th for a working vacation. Will get in touch with Willi (Krichbaum. A former SS colonel who was Müller’s deputy in the Gestapo and later a senior employee of Colonel Critchfield’s CIA-controlled Gehlen organization in Munich, ed.) and then a musical interlude. I cannot see the family because they are still watched but will drop a card to Sophie.

There will be no mention of the new wife or the forthcoming (I hope) child. No point of putting honey on your ass and squatting on an anthill, is there?”

RTC: My God, Gregory! He wrote that?

GD: Yes, he did but in German. Is it true?

RTC: They did….I mean these mind control idiots did far worse than that. Is that true? I don’t doubt it for a second. Cameron   once decided to put a woman into ice water to see if he could break down her resistance and she died of shock. That sort of thing. Loaded one of their own with LSD and when he started screaming, got frightened and tossed him out of a hotel window. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the Goat Boy. That’s the strange Dr. Gottleib.  We called him that because he lived in a hovel and kept a bunch of goats around. He used to have sexual affairs with them. Gregory, we have had lots of people like that. Fortunately, for my sanity at least, and my reputation, I was in the intelligence branch and I left the care and feeding of the nut fringe to others with stronger stomachs. Believe it? I have no knowledge of that incident but I believe it. I can see why your Mr. Bender would be queasy about that. You know, if things like this ever become really public, they will burn all of us at the stake. I personally never was involved with such madness and actually, outside of my own areas, I had no real idea what we were up to but I can tell you that we had more than our share of raging nuts on board.

GD: Do you have any problems if I publish it?

RTC: That’s not my call, Gregory. They would have a fit over there but I’m not in service anymore and I can plead ignorance of the whole thing. Is there more like that in these diaries?

GD: That’s mild, very mild, Robert. Getting paid to kill the Iranian prime minister.

RTC: That I know about. Who was the prime mover here?

GD: Anglo-Iranian and Angleton.

RTC: Could you make a copy of that one and send it to me? We don’t need to discuss it on the phone. My God, the burned darkies were bad enough.

GD: Where do your people recruit?

RTC: St. Elizabeth’s does occur to me as a natural source.

GD: A church?

RTC: No, a local asylum.

GD: Robert, thanks for the patience and watch for the box. If it gets lost, I can have another made. Let me leave you now and I will get back to work on the Mueller material. OK?

RTC: I have a nice new name for you, Gregory. Try Mr. Sunshine.

GD: That’s such a happy name, Robert. And it does fit me so well.

RTC: I’ll call you the moment the package arrives. I’ll thank you for the poems.

GD: For sure. Goodbye.

RTC: Goodbye, Gregory.


(Concluded at 11:59 AM CST)



Has US misread the Iranian street?

Recent street protests over Iran’s economy seem to suggest the country could be vulnerable to outside pressure. But Iranians say the White House has miscalculated, resulting in increased unity instead.

July 31, 2018

by Scott Peterson, Staff writer

Christian Science Monitor

President Trump’s escalation of anti-Iran rhetoric and increased US pressure against the Islamic Republic have been a boon to Iran’s noisy minority of hard-line, America-obsessed flag burners.

But the US campaign is doing more than strengthen the hard-liners. Amid a broader administration effort to deepen instability among Iranians torn by their own political and social divides, there are signs the Trump-led targeting of Iran may be backfiring, as Iranians coalesce against a foreign enemy.

One result is a newly belligerent anti-American tone from Iran’s centrist President Hassan Rouhani, who has advocated outreach to the West. Another is reconsideration by a sizeable portion of Iranians who – quietly, but unmistakably, for decades – have professed admiration for the American people and have long viewed America as a beacon of hope.

Administration officials say they are “supporting Iranian voices” by abetting anti-regime sentiment and taking advantage of frequent local protests in Iran. But, say Iranians and analysts, the apparent lack of a US strategic vision for a post-regime Iran, and administration officials’ association with the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – an exiled, cult-like opposition group reviled inside Iran – have instead yielded rare levels of Iranian unity.

“If there were some hope [in Washington] that with some kind of pressure from outside that Iranians would be encouraged to go out on the street, Trump is giving the wrong signal: ‘You come to the street and make instability, and we will make the MEK come to power,’ ” says a veteran analyst in Tehran who asked not to be named.

“The hatred, the distrust, the dissatisfaction … toward the establishment is growing here, no question about it,” says the analyst. “People are protesting here and there. But … what Trump is doing” makes the prospect of a popular uprising even more distant.

Citing “current America and these policies,” which had shown the US to be “totally unreliable,” Tehran dismissed an offer by Mr. Trump Monday to meet Iranian leaders with “no preconditions.” The White House later clarified that it has no plans to change its policy of ratcheting up pressure and sanctions on Iran.

Ordinary Iranians have taken to Twitter using the hashtags #ShutUpTrump and #StopMeddlingInIran to condemn US actions.

“Trump’s craziness has no end. But our unity is endless, too. So the more he shows his teeth, the more we will show our fists,” says Saeed, a clean-shaven student of mechanical engineering at Azad University in Tehran who says he supports reformist politicians.

“We have passed all those hurdles in the past and this one, although it is more serious than ever, I’m sure we will successfully leave behind,” says Saeed, who only gave his first name. “It is Trump who will be thrown away or, in the words of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], will be ‘thrown into the dust bin of history.’ We will stand behind the establishment forever.”

Mutual hostility between the US and Iran has defined the geopolitical strife between these arch foes since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

‘Never, ever threaten’

But the Trump administration’s particular animus toward Iran is especially counterproductive, Iranians and analysts say. As the US seeks to check what it calls Iran’s “malign activities” and extensive influence across the Middle East, it is ratcheting up sanctions and explicitly attempting to turn Iranians against their clerical leaders.

Last week, Trump replied to a warning from Mr. Rouhani not to take Iran’s military capability lightly by tweeting, in all capital letters, that Iran should “never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

Iran’s Qods Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, replied, addressing Trump: “Come, we are ready. If you begin the war, we will determine the end of it.”

After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, several thousand Iranian citizens in Tehran were among the first – and among the very few – in the Middle East to hold a spontaneous candlelit vigil in solidarity with the United States.

Yet today Iranians also are reeling from being included – alongside Somalis and Yemenis – in a blanket seven-nation White House travel ban, even though an estimated one million Iranian-Americans live in the US.

They are baffled by Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And they are feeling the bite of new US sanctions designed to put “unprecedented” economic pressure on Iran by cutting it off from the outside world, forcing all third-country business to withdraw, and blocking the sale of any Iranian oil.

“We have always expected the Americans to come to our rescue, but that has happened only in words and not action,” says Ramezan, a retired teacher in Tehran. “Look at Trump.… He does not even let us visit his country. Do you think we could expect such a fool to save us from a bunch of other fools?”

Solidarity with protesters

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the stakes in a speech July 22 in southern California to a group that included Iranian-American supporters of the MEK – an organization that was on the US list of terrorist groups until 2012. It has for years paid top former officials, including current National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to shill for its Iran regime-change agenda.

Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration “dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do,” and pledged solidarity with Iranian protesters while listing cases of corruption and human rights abuses. But he also said the US had “an obligation to put maximum pressure on the regime’s ability to generate and move money.”

That speech brought home to Iranians the challenge of forging detente with this White House, says John Limbert, a former US diplomat who was among the 52 hostages taken at the US Embassy in 1979 and held captive for 444 days.

“What’s striking are these totally insincere and unconvincing professions of how much we support the Iranian people and their aspirations,” says Mr. Limbert, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and author of the book, “Negotiating with Iran.”

He summed up the Iranian view: “Here is this person [Trump] who says he’s going to kill millions of us, they’re going to strangle our economy… and they are going to support our aspirations for democracy. How stupid do they think we are?” says Limbert.

‘A limit to our patience’

Yet, even as Iranians are disparaging of Trump and his approach to Iran, when it comes to their domestic woes, they spread their blame further, to chronic mismanagement and corruption at home.

“Unity has always been our choice against enemies. This time it has to be even more vigorous because we are facing a special one, who has no ethical boundaries,” says Leyla, a soon-to-retire health ministry employee in Tehran.

“But there’s also a limit to our patience,” she says. “Our officials have to see people’s problems. If they need our backing, they must do something for our livelihood.… Things will break down and even unity won’t work when you have no bread.”

Iranians for two centuries have witnessed the negative result of outside interventions, and in the US case it was a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1953 that many regard as laying the foundation for the Islamic Revolution, decades later.“I know some young people who were really disgusted with the regime … but some of them are not so sure about revolution anymore, because the MEK image here is not what these people want as the new leadership,” says the analyst.

“These activities by Trump and his aides to get close to the MEK scared lots of people – indirectly helping people move away from the idea of revolution against the mullahs,” he says.

“It’s hard to believe that Trump or the American administration is on the side of the people,” says the Tehran analyst. “ ‘By hurting people you can’t be on the side of the people,’ this is what some say.”


Trump would fight any U.S. special counsel subpoena in court: president’s lawyer

August 5, 2018


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If U.S. President Donald Trump is subpoenaed by a special counsel investigating contacts between the 2016 Trump election campaign and Russia, his lawyers will attempt to quash it in court, one of Trump’s lawyers said on Sunday.

Any legal battle over whether the president can be compelled to testify could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said on ABC’s “This Week” show.

Sekulow also said that Trump has not decided whether he would voluntarily sit for an interview with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and any possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that his government meddled and Trump denies collusion, describing the Mueller investigation as a political witch hunt that should be shut down.

Mueller would have the option to issue a subpoena compelling the president to testify if Trump chose not to be interviewed.

Sekulow said that the president had the authority under Article II of the U.S. Constitution to stop any investigation conducted by the Department of Justice. The article enumerates the powers of the executive branch of the federal government.

One part of Mueller’s inquiry and congressional investigations has focused on a meeting months before the November election in Trump Tower in New York between Russian officials, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, and other campaign aides. While originally Trump, a Republican, said the meeting was about adoptions, on Sunday he said on Twitter that it was about getting information on his election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Russian government denied Americans the right to adopt Russian children as part of its response to a set of U.S. sanctions imposed by Congress in 2012.

Email released by Donald Jr. himself showed he had been keen on the meeting because his father’s campaign was purportedly being offered potentially damaging information on Clinton.

Trump and his son have both said then-candidate Trump had no advance knowledge of the meeting and that the meeting itself was not useful to the campaign. CNN reported last month that Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer and self-described “fixer” was willing to tell Mueller that Trump did know about the meeting in advance.

On Sunday morning, Trump responded to reports in the Washington Post and on CNN that he was concerned Donald Jr. could be in legal trouble.

Trump tweeted: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

A senior Republican lawmaker on Sunday urged Trump to acknowledge to Americans that Russia’s interference in U.S. elections is still a threat, something Moscow denies. Last week, Trump’s national security team said Russia was behind “pervasive” attempts to interfere in November 2018 congressional elections.

“The president should be straight forward with the American people about the threat to our election process that Russia, Putin in particular, is engaged in is on going,” Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show.

“We are in a position now where we have to got show Putin that he will have a steep price if he does not stop this interference now,” adding that using sanctions was one option.

Reporting by Damon Darlin and Lucia Mutikani; editing by Grant McCool


Trump attacks report that he’s worried about son’s exposure to Mueller inquiry

Trump tweeted in the morning in apparent reaction to a CNN report: ‘Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication’

August 5, 2018

by Edward Helmore

The Guardian

Donald Trump rounded on a report on Sunday that he is worried about son Donald Trump Jr’s exposure to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-collusion investigation.

In one of a series of early morning tweets, the US president issued in apparent reaction to a CNN report, Trump said: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower.”

He continued: “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

Trump has launched a series of new public attacks on Mueller and his team in recent weeks, which has been interpreted as possible signs the president is anxious about the inquiry reaching his family.

In the latest barrage of tweets, Trump again sought to link Mueller’s investigation with distrust of the media’s reporting of it.

“…Why aren’t Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats looking at the meetings concerning the Fake Dossier and all of the lying that went on in the FBI and DOJ? This is the most one sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country. Fortunately, the facts are all coming out, and fast!”.

Donald Trump Jr’s exposure to the Mueller investigation stems from a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton that he and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner attended at Trump Tower in July 2016.

Trump Jr claim to a senate committee that he never told his father about the meeting have been contradicted by others in Trump’s circle, including Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who is believed to be co-operating with the investigation.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon have suggested that Trump, at a minimum, knew of the meeting soon after it took place.

Last week, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, told CNN: “If he misled the committee, he’s lying to Congress. That’s a crime. And that’d be up to the prosecutors, not me.”


Zionism’s troubled relationship with anti-Semitism

July 31, 2018

by Joel Reinstein


On May 14, 2018 while Israeli forces were massacring Palestinian protesters in the illegally occupied Gaza Strip, the controversial new U.S. Embassy to Israel opened in Jerusalem. Among the speakers at the ceremony were American evangelical pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress. Both have a history of making anti-Semitic comments: Jeffress has said that Jews are going to hell, and Hagee has described the Holocaust as part of God’s plan to return the Jews to Israel. Their presence didn’t seem to bother Israel, however, where U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was met with jubilation. Indeed, the New York Times remarked that the pastors’ attendance signaled “the most public recognition yet of the growing importance the Netanyahu government now assigns to its conservative Christian allies, even if some have been accused of making anti-Semitic statements.”

The embassy ceremony is only the latest example of Israel’s apparent willingness to align with right-wingers who are not only Islamophobic, anti-immigrant and authoritarian, but anti-Semitic. From U.S. President Donald Trump to Hungary’s blatantly anti-semitic Viktor Orban, Israel’s growing relationship with the right internationally has presented a serious challenge for its claim to represent Jewish self-determination, even as it slanders the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as anti-Semitic.

Why is “the Jewish state” supporting anti-Semites? Answers are suggested by the history of anti-semitism as well as the origins of Zionism as a colonial movement, which point to a contradictory relationship between the two. This history can help us challenge Zionism today, blunting its attacks against Palestine activists as well as its dangerous enabling of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism and the origins of the Zionist movement

Anti-Semitism should first be recognized as modern racism more than religious persecution. Its basis is not in religious dogma, but in the racist pseudoscience that developed in 19th century Europe, dividing humanity into inherently different nations and races. It’s of a kind with justifications for European colonialism, which imagined the existence of a superior white race tasked with the burden of bringing civilization to the “lesser races” of the world.

Anti-Semitism was fueled by the ruling classes of European countries, who used it for their own interests. The Russian Tsars, under whose rule most of Europe’s Jews lived in the 19th century, scapegoated Jews to deflect and confuse popular anger. Anti-Semitism offered “Jewish financiers” or “communist Jews” as alternative targets for the ire of poor gentiles. It portrayed Jews as greedy and conniving, engaged in elaborate conspiracies for global domination. The most infamous example is the forged “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” fabricated by Russian ultra-nationalists to appear as if it was a secret Jewish plan for world conquest.

Facing poverty, unemployment, a denial of political rights and anti-Semitic pogroms, Jews in the Russian Empire began to emigrate en masse in the late 19th century. Many fled to western Europe, where small Jewish populations enjoyed political rights and were largely integrated into wider society. Their arrival was followed by a rise in anti-Semitism in western Europe, much like the anti-immigrant racism of Europe today, regarding Jewish immigrants as a subversive fifth column who didn’t share the values and customs of the nation.

In 1905, British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour presided over passage of the Aliens Act, largely aimed at restricting Jewish immigration. Balfour, who believed in the supremacy of the “white race,” gave speeches supporting the act about the supposed dangers presented by Jewish immigrants.

Rising anti-Semitism in France contributed to the false conviction of Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus on charges of treason in 1894. The “Dreyfus Affair” was a major subject of public debate, and a shocking development in the first country that had granted political rights to Jews. It was a blow to the idea, popular among many Jews, that the answer to anti-Semitism was Jewish integration into wider society (commonly referred to as “assimilation,” a term that didn’t carry the negative connotations it does today). Covering the story as a journalist, Austrian Jewish intellectual Theodor Herzl became convinced that Jews could never be safe as a minority. In 1896 he wrote “The Jewish State,” a book that became the basis for the Zionist movement, and a year later he convened the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland.

For Herzl and the Zionists, persecution of Jews was essentially a permanent feature of gentile society. They held that Jews constituted a separate nation, and following nationalist ideas of the day, the Jewish nation needed its own “soil,” its own country and national state. Creating such a state would finally resolve “the Jewish question,” with Jews finally taking their place among the world’s nations.

Zionism’s colonialism

While this history is uncontroversial, the colonial nature of Zionism, both in practice and ideologically, is left out of most accounts. Zionism accepted racist, colonialist ideas, and its project required the support of a colonial power to succeed. The Zionist slogan describing Palestine as “a land without a people for a people without a land” obviously ignored the existence of the Palestinians who already lived there. Zionists conceived of their project as spreading civilization, “redeeming” and “restoring” the land by cultivating it and making it more productive. An ugly passage in Herzl’s “The Jewish State” exemplifies his colonialism, conceiving of a Jewish state in Palestine as “a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”

Practically, the Zionist movement recognized that creating a Jewish state in Palestine would require the support of a colonial power to deal with the indigenous Palestinians. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of right-wing Revisionist Zionism, summarized this in his 1923 essay “The Iron Wall:”

“Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population [emphasis his]. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.

That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. What need, otherwise, of the Balfour Declaration? Or of the Mandate? Their value to us is that an outside Power has undertaken to create in the country such conditions of administration and security that if the native population should desire to hinder our work, they will find it impossible.”

Herzl himself appealed to a number of colonial powers for support (often unsuccessfully). His diaries offer one example, a 1902 letter intended for the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, whose British South Africa Company had founded the settler colony of Rhodesia:

“You are being invited to help make history. That cannot frighten you, nor will you laugh at it. It is not in your accustomed line; it doesn’t involve Africa, but a piece of Asia minor, not Englishmen but Jews.

But had this been on your path, you would have done it by now.

How, then, do I happen to turn to you, since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you? How indeed? Because it is something colonial, and because it presupposes understanding of a development which will take twenty or thirty years.”

With the first waves of Zionist settlement in Palestine, its colonialism would be proven in cruel practice well before the 1948 creation of Israel. Zionist settlers began the process of expelling Palestinians from their land, buying land from wealthy Palestinian landlords and expelling Palestinian peasants from it. A wide range of other racist practices would later be described by the Israeli Labor Party leader David HaCohen, a so-called “socialist Zionist,” in a 1969 speech:

“I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there. … To pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash the Arab eggs they had bought… to buy dozens of dunams from an Arab is permitted, but to sell, God forbid, one Jewish dunam to an Arab is prohibited; to take Rothschild, the incarnation of capitalism as a socialist and to name him ‘benefactor’ – to do all that was not easy. And despite the fact that we did it – maybe we had no choice – I wasn’t happy about it.”

It’s important to note that Zionism was initially a minority position among Europe’s Jews. Whereas today Zionists equate their ideology with Judaism, “the politics of Jewish self-determination,” the movement was opposed by many Jews for numerous reasons. Many favored assimilation into larger society. But there was another politics of Jewish self-determination that rejected both assimilation and Zionism, calling for socialism and Jewish autonomy in Europe. Its eventual defeat, and Zionism’s triumph, would be brutally effected by powers outside of Jewish politics.

The Jewish Bund

Formed in 1897, the same year as the founding of the World Zionist Organization, the General Jewish Labor Bund in Lithuania, Poland and Russia was a Jewish socialist party and communal organization. It was rooted in the Jewish working class in the Russian Empire, and fought for a socialist society as well as Jewish national autonomy within that society. At its height, it boasted over 30,000 members and even more supporters.

The Bund organized agitational reading groups for Jewish workers in their own language, Yiddish, rather than in Russian. It organized strikes as well as self-defense militias, sometimes successfully beating back pogroms. It also ran Yiddish schools and cultural programs, as well as publishing newspapers and journals in Yiddish. Like other socialist organizations in Russia, it had to operate as an illegal or semi-legal organization, and at one point, some 4,500 members of the Bund were held in the Tsar’s prisons.

As socialists, the Bundists stood for working class internationalism, but unlike the rest of the socialist movement (which also included many Jews), the Bund opposed Jewish assimilation. Instead, Bundists tried to combine working class internationalism with Jewish nationalism. They rejected Zionism as a colonial movement, countering with the principle of doikayt, roughly “here-ness” in Yiddish. Doikayt celebrated diaspora Jewish culture and held that Jews belong wherever they live: instead of going over “there” and colonizing Palestine, Jews should fight anti-Semitism “here” at home, together alongside non-Jewish workers as part of the struggle for socialism. When Palestinians rioted against Zionist settlement in 1929, the Zionist movement decried the riots as anti-Semitic, but the Bundist newspapers replied that in fact the riots were anti-colonialist.

The Russian Revolution and Civil War would see the Bund dissolve itself into the Russian Communist Party, but the organization persisted in newly-independent Poland, where the Bund continued to be active throughout the interwar period. It would ultimately be destroyed in the Nazi holocaust. More than merely being defeated and dissolved, the Bund was wiped out, with even the memory of it buried along with the people and communities who composed it.

Zionism’s triumph in Jewish politics

While the Holocaust’s victims obviously included Zionists and Jews of all political affiliations, the Zionist movement as a whole would fare much better than the Bund. Unlike the Bund, Zionism’s base of support was not limited to eastern Europe. Crucially, the Zionist movement would benefit from the support of Great Britain. Zionism could not have colonized Palestine without British support – and many of its strongest supporters in the British government were themselves virulently anti-Semitic.

The 1917 Balfour Declaration, for example, famously declared British support for the creation of a “national home for the Jews” in Palestine. The declaration is named for Britain’s foreign minister Arthur Balfour, the same Arthur Balfour who as prime minister had railed against the dangers of Jewish immigration and overseen passage of legislation targeting Jewish immigrants.

Another British statesman expressed support for Zionism in an essay rife with anti-Semitic bigotry and conspiracy theory. In his 1920 essay “Zionism versus Bolshevism,” Winston Churchill contrasted “good Jews” with “bad Jews,” decrying the “schemes of the international Jews” in pursuing a “world-wide communistic State under Jewish domination.” Churchill called on Jews in every country to prove their loyalty by “combating the Bolshevik conspiracy.” By contrast, he praised the Zionist movement, and wrote that Great Britain had “the opportunity and the responsibility of securing for the Jewish race all over the world a home and a centre of national life.” He described Zionism as the alternative to communism in the “struggle for the soul of the Jewish people.” (Churchill’s essay is popular today with right-wing anti-Semites, finding an expression of their own views from a highly respected historical figure.)

Britain would provide privileged treatment to Zionist settlers in Palestine against the indigenous population. Settlers were granted economic concessions by the British colonial government of Palestine that were denied to Palestinians, and the settlers were afforded the freedom to develop their settlements independent of British rule, in contrast to direct British control over Palestinian life.

When Palestinians revolted in 1936 against both British rule and Zionist colonization, Britain turned to Zionist settler militias for military support in crushing the rebellion, offering arms and training and incorporating thousands of settlers into a colonial military force. The arming and training of Zionists as well as the defeat of the Palestinian revolt would set the stage for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of Israel in 1948. And while Britain was making possible the creation of a Zionist state, it along with the rest of the world would turn its back on Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, with strict quotas for Jewish immigration.

Jewish self-determination?

This history shows how the debate between Zionism and other Jewish politics did not take place on a level playing field. Zionism didn’t come to dominate Jewish politics through rational debate or an equal exchange of ideas. Colonialism and genocide from outside Jewish communities would intervene overwhelmingly, practically selecting Zionism to thrive while alternatives were destroyed. Is that self-determination?

The creation of Israel and Zionism’s dominance of Jewish politics today would have been impossible without outside intervention, including support from powerful anti-Semites. This contradiction carries through to today’s alliance between Israel, now more clearly than ever a racist settler colonial regime, and the global far right that shares its values.

That alliance has real consequences. As long as it’s widely recognized as “the Jewish state” and the ultimate authority on all matters Jewish, Israel can powerfully shield anti-Semitic governments from criticism. Hungary’s Orban, who infamously praised a Hungarian nazi and has launched a virulently anti-Semitic campaign against the Jewish philanthropist George Soros, was recently praised by Netanyahu for his supposed efforts against anti-Semitism. Netanyahu also interjected to defend Trump from accusations of anti-Semitism, saying there’s “no greater supporter of the Jewish people” than Trump and that we “should put that to rest.” If the leader of “the Jewish state” says so, who can say he’s wrong?

Standing with Palestinians

The Palestine solidarity movement, particularly in the United States, recognizes that focusing on Jews to the exclusion of Palestinians is itself a concession to Zionism. Recognition of Palestinian humanity should be reason enough to oppose Zionism, and it’s Palestinians who face expulsion, torture, theft and murder under Israel’s apartheid regime. As Israel has openly embraced the global right, its ethnic cleansing of Palestine has accelerated, with the rate of settlement expansion effectively tripling since Donald Trump’s election, and apparent preparations to annex the occupied territories.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom and equality has never been more urgent. But there are still many liberals, Jewish and gentile, who feel conflicted between Palestinian rights and “the Jewish state.” Without necessarily accepting the slander and repression against BDS, they hesitate to support it. They should consider Zionism’s relationship with anti-Semitism, and recognize that it’s not a zero-sum game between Palestinians and Jews. Indeed, exactly the opposite is true. Standing behind the demands of Palestinian self-determination is critical for resisting the rise of the far right, including a resurgence of real anti-Semitism that is just beginning.


Europe swelters as heat wave sizzles on

Extreme heat continues to grip Portugal and Spain, with little relief in sight. The continued hot, dry conditions are presenting great challenges to firefighters across Europe.

August 5, 2018


Spain and Portugal continued to suffer from high temperatures on Sunday, with firefighters from both countries battling a forest fire near their shared border.

The fires burnt through Saturday night into Sunday morning near Badajoz in southwestern Spain. Temperatures there were expected to reach 43 C (109.4 F), according to Spain’s meteorological service (AEMET).

Spanish emergency services said on Twitter that the fire had been contained but was not yet under control as of Sunday morning.

Portugal scorched

The entire Iberian Peninsula remains under the influence of a mass of hot air from Africa, and though temperatures are slightly down on those from Saturday, little relief is in sight.

The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, experienced its warmest day since 1981 on Saturday, with the temperature peaking at 44 C (111.2 F), one degree higher than the 37-year-old record.

A large part of Portugal has been placed on high alert by the country’s Civil Protection Agency as hundreds of firefighters also battle a wildfire in the southern Algarve region.

Eight places in Portugal broke local temperature records on Thursday, with the high peaking at 47 C  in some places.

High risk in the north as well

In northern Europe, Sweden has warned of “a high risk” of wildfires in central and southern Sweden this weekend because of the continuing dry weather and strong winds.

In July, the Scandinavian country witnessed record temperatures and wildfires that extended into the Arctic Circle.

Sweden and Poland have warned against swimming in the Baltic Sea due to a huge bloom of toxic algae caused by hot temperatures.

France shuts nuclear reactors

In France, energy company EDF halted a fourth nuclear reactor near the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers on Saturday to avoid overheating the rivers.

The nuclear power plants use the water to cool down their reactors before sending the water back into the rivers.

In Germany, state rail operator Deutsche Bahn said it was offering free water to passengers in case of delays. It also said it would keep air conditioning running on its trains even when they are empty.

Much of Germany has also been experiencing an unusually long run of high temperatures, accompanied by much less rainfall than usual. Farmers have requested financial aid from the government to help them cope with low harvests.

Swiss army soldiers ditch uniform

Mountain railways in Switzerland have reported booming business as city dwellers flee to the Alps.

Faced with wilting troops, the Swiss Army has allowed soldiers to wear shorts and T-shirts instead of standard uniforms.

Police dogs in the Austrian capital, Vienna, have also been fitted with special shoes to protect them from the scalding streets.

A supermarket in Helsinki, where temperatures are well above average, invited 100 customers to sleep in its air-conditioned store on Saturday.





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