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TBR News August 7, 2018

Aug 07 2018

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

Washington, D.C. August 7, 2018:”In Washington today, and in what is left of the dying print media, there are two raging schools of thought. The first one is that rumors concerning Donald Trump’s preemption by the Russians is utter nonsense and totally untrue and the second one is that Donald Trump indeed was gotten at by the Russians. There is no doubt whatsoever that Wikileaks released the so-called Podesta papers, a highly negative series of emails involving Hillary Clinton and her immediate campaign oficials. This release did considerable damage to Clinton’s presidential campaign. What no one wants to admit is that Wikileaks is run by Russian intelligence and further, no one has ever effectively proven that the Podesta papers are false. Trump made many trips to Russia and was engaged in ongoing business deals with them to build one of his gaudy and tasteless hotels in Moscow. The Mueller investigations, like the Anaconda, are tightening their coils around badly frightened Trump associates and in due time, when all of them break down under threat of imprisonment, they will do so much damage to Trump’s image and persona that he will either have a fatal stroke or be impeached by Congress.”


The Table of Contents

  • What can defend against off-the-shelf drone weapons?
  • What Is A Drone – UAV Technology
  • The Rapid Rise of Federal Surveillance Drones Over America
  • Paul Manafort Trial Live Updates: Gates Explains How They Concealed Income
  • Even the FBI Agrees: When Undercover Agents Pose as Journalists, It Hurts Real Journalists’ Work
  • American democracy is in crisis, and not just because of Trump
  • West Hollywood gives green light for removal of Trump’s Walk of Fame star
  • Trump tweets on California wildfires spark confusion, debate
  • Conversations with the Crow


What can defend against off-the-shelf drone weapons?

Small off-the-shelf drones have been used time and again to kill people. Repelling such threats is not that easy, but jammers, shotguns, shootable nets or birds of prey may help.

August 6, 2018

by Fabian Schmidt


A failed assassination attempt on Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro on August 4, 2018, reminded us once again how easy it seems to be to turn off-the-shelf drones into potentially lethal weapons.

In this case, the perpetrators had loaded two drones with 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of explosives each. Then they apparently tried to fly them as close as possible to the president while he was speaking to soldiers.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said that the military had “electronically” diverted one drone from its course. The second one crashed against the wall of a building blocks away from the actual target.

Use in the Iraq war

Armed groups such as the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (IS) pioneered the use of small drones to drop hand or mortar grenades with great precision on their victims. IS fighters used improvised weapons of this kind during the Battle of Mosul in April 2017. Such types of model aircraft usually cost less than 1,000 euros (or dollars). Official Iraqi armed forces also later used the same method.

The internet is full of other examples of the use of inexpensive, commercially available drones on a killing mission. In addition, there are lots of videos of gun fanatics presenting their homemade armed drones.

A flying machine gun

Among them is a video of a hobbyist who has equipped his quadrocopter with a remote-controlled machine gun and shoots at dolls. To enhance the shock-and-awe effect of his show, he even prepared the dolls by fitting them with explosives.

Whether reality or simply show, these examples make it clear that a good defense against drones is vital for both bodyguards and military in the field.

As far as the homemade drone with the machine gun is concerned, it is questionable how dangerous it would be in a real-life deployment scenario. It might be possible to bring down a flying robot like this simply by hurling a heavy rock at it or shooting it down with a shotgun.

This is more difficult with drones like the ones we see in the video from Iraq. They can drop light grenades from a relatively great height and, being relatively quiet, are hard to detect. In addition, only experienced snipers are likely to be able to hit them.  So drones are potentially a great danger.

Identifying and assessing dangers

Specialized companies such as the Kassel-based start-up company  Dedrone , which cooperates with Deutsche Telekom, rely on electronic drone defense.

This first of all includes a sensor system that receives electronic radio data and monitors the airspace with video cameras. The system can detect drones entering a pre-defined airspace.

It identifies the flying objects via typical control commands that are transmitted to the drones by radio communication or mobile phone. It also immediately registers the drone type and construction. For example, the system can distinguish them from birds, flying kites or helicopters. The software automatically tracks the drone on a video image.

Electronically incapacitated

But the danger is not over as long as the drone is airborne. As a second step, authorities, such as police or judicial officers, can use a jamming transmitter with the aim of disabling the drone and forcing it to land. The German company H.P. Marketing und Consulting Wüst GmbH builds such systems.

Wüst specializes in mobile-phone suppression systems that can prevent prisoners from using smuggled mobile phones within prison walls. Following the same principle, the system can also prevent drones near the prison walls from being controlled by a smartphone and delivering packages to prisoners, for example.

The system is designed in such a way that only selected individual mobile-phone activities can be disrupted, meaning that activation does not paralyze all communication.

While the drone-detection technology is permanently installed in prisons, mobile systems are needed for major events such as football matches or public appearances by politicians at risk.

One such mobile antenna and camera system has been developed by Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta Security division. This also includes a portable jamming transmitter from Wüst. At a Deutsche Telekom workshop in 2017, a drone was put out of action to such an extent that it had to perform an emergency landing.

Flying nets or birds of prey

Another form of drone defense is offered by Skywall. One form of it is a shoulder-held shooting device that catapults a net toward the aircraft. Once the net is wrapped around the drone, it sails to the ground on a parachute.

For particularly endangered institutions, there is even a permanently installed rotating gun turret that can be mounted on the roof of a building. It can then target automatically detected enemy drones and capture them with the flying net.

And last but not least, various armies around the world rely on birds of prey to defend themselves against drones. The French air force, for example, is training eagles to fetch and retrieve drones in flight.

In the private sector, the Dutch company ‘Guard from  Above’  has developed animal-based drone control into a comprehensive business. The company is targeting military and police authorities around the world and works not only with eagles but with other birds of prey as well.


What Is A Drone – UAV Technology

Radar Positioning & Return Home

  • The flight radar displays the current position and location of the drone in relation to the pilot.
  • Exceeding the control range of the remote control will trigger ‘Return-to-Home’, meaning the UAV will automatically fly back to its takeoff point and land safely.

Gyro Stabilization, IMU and Flight Controllers

Gyro stabilization technology is one of the components which gives the drone it’s smooth flight capabilities. The gyroscope needs to work almost instantly to the forces moving against the drone.  The gyroscope provides essential navigational information to the central flight controller.

The inertial measurement unit (IMU) works by detecting the current rate of acceleration using one or more accelerometers. The IMU detects changes in rotational attributes like pitch, roll and yaw using one or more gyroscopes.  Some IMU include a magnetometer to assist with calibration against orientation drift.

The Gyroscope is a component of the IMU and the IMU is an essential component of the drones flight controller. The flight controller is the central brain of the drone.

Operating Systems in Drone Technology

Some unmanned aircraft use MS Windows operating systems.  However more and more UAV innovators are now using different versions of Linux.  The Linux Foundation recently launched the Dronecode project. The Dronecode Project is an open source, collaborative project that brings together existing and future open source unmanned aerial vehicle projects under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result will be a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

Drones in some ways are flying computers.  With an operating system, flight controllers, main boards with programmable code, they can also be hacked into.  Like a computer, you can also protect your drone from hackers.


The Rapid Rise of Federal Surveillance Drones Over America

An alphabet soup’s worth of government agencies are exercising their ability to look down on ordinary citizens.

by Conor Friedersdorf

March 10, 2016

The Atlantic

A little more than a decade ago the border patrol started using surveillance drones. The technology and the mission were a perfect match, and few did any  worrying—almost no one objects to closely monitoring America’s southern border.

The belief that the federal government was using drones to conduct domestic surveillance inside the United States, though, could get a person labeled a paranoid lunatic as recently as 2012. Yet by then, the border patrol had lent its drones to other agencies 700 times. And the Department of Homeland Security was actively developing a domestic drone fleet, egged on by at least 60 members of Congress. “This bipartisan caucus, together with its allies in the drone industry, has been promoting UAV use at home and abroad through drone fairs on Capitol Hill, new legislation and drone-favored budgets,” the Center for International Policy reported.

In 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a staunch defender of NSA surveillance, declared that drones are “the biggest threat to privacy in society today.” Under her questioning, the FBI admitted to using surveillance drones in “a very minimal way.”

What did Feinstein know that the FBI wasn’t telling us? Perhaps that the federal government gave local police departments $1.2 million to spend on drones that year.

In 2015, NBC News reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms spent $600,000 on six drones, “then never flew them because of technical problems with flight time, maneuverability and more.” Has ATF figured them out yet?

AP reported that the DEA was using drones domestically, too.

That brings us to 2016.

On Wednesday, USA Today reported that the Pentagon “has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade,” citing a report by a Pentagon inspector general who declared that the flights are “rare and lawful.”

That’s the narrative that officials speaking on behalf of the federal government keep conveying––that the instances of aerial surveillance over U.S. soil are safe, legal, and rare.

But it isn’t so.

There are too many federal, state, and local agencies with too many surveillance aircraft to pretend any longer that aerial spying is rare. There is too little oversight to presume all these government entities are acting legally. As for safety, Americans know neither what sort of aerial-surveillance data has been archived nor how secure it is. And security researcher Nils Rodday learned that he could successfully hack into professional drones and take over their operations on a $40 budget.

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation are trying to draw attention to these issues; the Department of Justice has issued its own guidelines on domestic drone use. But there’s still not much public discussion, debate, or oversight of domestic drone surveillance.

My sense of public opinion is that Americans don’t particularly want to be spied on from above. By keeping various aerial-surveillance programs hidden or very quiet, the government will continue to achieve a rapid fait accompli unless it is stopped.

Most drones are controlled directly from the ground basis using powerful radio transmitters, but once they have flown beyond line of sight, control is maintained through encrypted signals bounced off satellite links.

One could also consider using portable jammers that would interfere with drones’ navigational signals and force them to return to where they launched from.


Paul Manafort Trial Live Updates: Gates Explains How They Concealed Income

August 7, 2018

New York Times

  • Rick Gates, the former right-hand man to Paul Manafort, President Trump’s campaign chairman, is testifying in Mr. Manafort’s trial on bank and tax fraud charges in Alexandria, Va.
  • Prosecutors led him through a clinical examination of his and Mr. Manafort’s business dealings, including how he hid income to avoid taxes and who they worked for in Ukraine.
  • Mr. Manafort’s case is separate from the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any ties to the Trump campaign, though this is the first trial stemming from the investigation of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.

Rick Gates returns to the stand

Mr. Gates resumed the stand Tuesday morning in a packed federal courtroom. The case pitted two of Mr. Trump’s former senior campaign aides, men who worked together for decades, against each other in a high-stakes battle that could land either or both of them in prison for years.

The prosecution is relying heavily on Mr. Gates to show that Mr. Manafort directed a multiyear financial fraud scheme, even if Mr. Gates helped him execute it. Mr. Gates, 46, President Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, has figured more prominently than Mr. Manafort in the documents that prosecutors have presented as evidence.

But the prosecution’s witnesses have also testified that they generally believed that Mr. Gates was carrying out Mr. Manafort’s wishes when he gave false information to Mr. Manafort’s accountants. Prosecutors claim that information helped Mr. Manafort evade taxes on tens of millions of dollars in income and fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in bank loans.

Mr. Gates never glanced on Monday at Mr. Manafort, who glared in his direction. Asked whether they were involved in criminal activity together, Mr. Gates responded, “Yes.”

Hiding income to avoid taxes

Mr. Gates described how he helped Mr. Manafort conceal the amount of taxes he owed. According to Mr. Gates, Mr. Manafort preferred to report income as loans. This, Mr. Gates said, “enabled Mr. Manafort to reduce his overall tax liability.”

In one instance, Mr. Gates disclosed that they had received money from an oligarch and politician from Ukraine, Serhiy Lyovochkin. Mr. Manafort instructed his bookkeeper to classify it as a loan for tax purposes, though Mr. Gates admitted in court that it was not one and Mr. Manafort had never received a loan from Mr. Lyovochkin.

Mr. Gates admitted that at Mr. Manafort’s behest, they later created a loan agreement for Mr. Lyovochkin’s payment, though no loan existed.

Mr. Manafort disliked paying a lot of taxes, Mr. Gates said.

How their scheme worked

When one of the defense lawyers tried to suggest to Mr. Manafort’s tax accountant Monday that Mr. Gates had kept Mr. Manafort in the dark about his own finances, the accountant, Cynthia Laporta, pushed back.

“In most instances, it was clear that Mr. Manafort was aware what was going on,” she testified.

Mr. Gates’s statements reinforced that picture. He said that Mr. Manafort knew it was illegal not to report his foreign bank accounts to the Treasury Department but asked Mr. Gates to help him deceive his accountants so he could conceal income and pay less in taxes.

“I assisted Mr. Manafort in filing false tax returns,” Mr. Gates testified. “We didn’t report the income or the fact that the accounts existed.”

He said that some of Mr. Manafort’s income was disguised as loans from 15 shell companies that Mr. Manafort controlled, most of them in Cyprus.

Four Ukrainian oligarchs funneled money to Mr. Manafort’s accounts from their own shell companies in Cyprus, Mr. Gates testified. Once that income dried up, the government alleges, Mr. Manafort, with Mr. Gates’s help, falsified financial records so he could obtain bank loans to maintain his opulent lifestyle.

How the money moved

Mr. Gates’s testimony was a clinical examination of their business dealings as Greg D. Andres, the lead prosecutor, walked him through thick binders of financial documents and emails. Under questioning, Mr. Gates described how he and Mr. Manafort set up companies in Cyprus that concealed their identities and true ownership. Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort used a Cypriot lawyer nicknamed “Dr. K.” to establish these companies.

Mr. Gates testified that the money they earned for the political consultancy work in Ukraine passed through bank accounts in Cyprus that they controlled. Mr. Gates also said that they sometimes characterized payments as loans to mask income. He described how they also transferred money from their Cypriot bank accounts to a bank in the Caribbean.

What they did for the money

The accusations against Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates mostly stem from their work helping to elect Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, and other pro-Russia forces in Ukraine, and to secure business ventures with the oligarchs backing those politicians.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Gates testified that Mr. Manafort also was paid $4 million a year to help Mr. Yanukovych govern after he was elected president in 2010.

It is unclear how long the arrangement extended.

But the revelation could be notable, because, while Mr. Yanukovych ran on a platform of integrating with the European Union, while also maintaining good relations with Russia, he eventually pivoted toward Moscow, which helped prompt mass street protests that drove him from power in early 2014.

Mr. Gates also said that two American lobbying firms — the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs — assisted with their policy consulting efforts. Mr. Mueller’s team has referred cases related to the firms’ work to federal investigators in the Southern District of New York.

Work extended to Ukraine’s current leader

Mr. Gates testified about how he and Mr. Manafort continued working in Ukraine after their primary client, Viktor F. Yanukovych, fled the country in February 2014.

The men signed a consulting contract with a new party called Opposition Bloc, which was created and funded partly by the same Russia-aligned oligarchs who backed Mr. Yanukovych, Mr. Gates said. The party won seats in an October 2014 parliamentary election; Mr. Gates testified that the work ended then.

He also revealed that he and Mr. Manafort assisted Petro Poroshenko, the current president of Ukraine, in an unpaid capacity. Dmytro Shymkiv, an official in Mr. Poroshenko’s administration, said in an email that he was “not aware” of any such relationship.

It would be notable if there had been any ties between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Poroshenko, because Mr. Poroshenko’s administration was criticized by Mr. Trump’s supporters for targeting Mr. Manafort during the presidential campaign in an effort to help Hillary Clinton.

Doctoring invoices

Mr. Gates detailed during his testimony how he doctored invoices for many of Mr. Manafort’s expenditures — including purchases from luxury men’s clothing boutiques, landscaping and home improvements — to ensure that the invoices were sent to the companies owned by Mr. Manafort and not Mr. Manafort himself.

The doctored invoices were first described by the vendors of the companies seeking payment last week, and Mr. Gates confirmed that he was responsible for editing the templates based on information Mr. Manafort gave him.

Why Gates is so important to the prosecutors’ case

The outcome of the trial, the first to be mounted by prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, may well hinge on whether or not the jury finds Mr. Gates to be credible. The trial is separate from the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, though Mr. Mueller’s mandate allows him to pursue any crimes uncovered as part of his inquiry.

Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort worked together for roughly two decades, including on the Trump campaign. Mr. Manafort served as campaign chairman for three months before he was forced out in August 2016. Mr. Gates served as his deputy, then worked as the campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee after Mr. Manafort’s departure.

Mr. Gates, 46, admitted Monday that he was guilty of a long list of crimes, including stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Manafort’s accounts by inflating his business expenses. He said that while he was helping Mr. Manafort hide income to evade taxes, and later to inflate his income to obtain bank loans, he was doing essentially the same on his own behalf.

He said he concealed some of his own income in overseas accounts, evading taxes, and lied on applications for a mortgage and for a credit card. In exchange for his cooperation, the government in February agreed to dismiss 22 criminal charges stemming from his involvement in the scheme for which Mr. Manafort is now on trial.

Mr. Gates pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities and conspiracy to commit fraud but has yet to be sentenced. Although sentencing guidelines recommend a prison term of up to six years, he testified that prosecutors have agreed not to object if his defense attorney argues that he should receive probation.

A newly named Manafort client

Mr. Gates revealed an intriguing new name as a client of Mr. Manafort at his trial on Tuesday — the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk.

Mr. Pinchuk’s relationship with Mr. Trump has drawn the interest of the special counsel. In response to a subpoena for records, the Trump Organization provided details of a $150,000 donation in 2015 to Mr. Trump’s foundation in exchange for Mr. Trump doing a 20-minute video call into a conference organized by Mr. Pinchuk in Kiev that year.

Mr. Gates revealed that Mr. Pinchuk paid Mr. Manafort through a company called Plymouth Consultants Limited for what he described as a legal project. He did not provide details about how much was paid or when.

Mr. Pinchuk’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Pinchuk, a steel magnate who is generally regarded as pro-Western, has donated far more money — $13 million since 2006 — to the Clinton Foundation, according to its website.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Adam Goldman, Sharon LaFraniere, Kenneth P. Vogel and Noah Weiland.



Even the FBI Agrees: When Undercover Agents Pose as Journalists, It Hurts Real Journalists’ Work

August 7, 2018

by Trevor Aaronson

The Intercept

The FBI doesn’t want the public to know more about how its agents pose as journalists during undercover investigations.

But, in a federal court case, Justice Department lawyers confirmed the most significant criticism of the controversial practice. The government acknowledged in a court filing that FBI agents who pretend to be journalists create a chilling effect, making it harder for real journalists to gain trust and cooperation from sources.

The astonishing admission came as the FBI attempted to fend off litigation from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which has filed requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Reporters Committee’s litigation involves documents related to an FBI undercover operation in which agents posed as documentary filmmakers from a fake company called Longbow Productions to investigate Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters. In response to the Reporters Committee’s records request, the FBI issued a Glomar response — in which the agency neither confirms nor denies that it possesses records relevant to the FOIA request.

In a motion filed July 23, Assistant U.S. Attorney Johnny H. Walker argued that providing FBI documents about the Bundy investigation and others in which a journalistic cover may have been used would not only disclose sensitive investigative techniques but also — in recognition of the chilling effect — “would allow criminals to judge whether they should completely avoid any contacts with documentary film crews, rendering the investigative technique ineffective.”

The FBI has previously disclosed that agents have pretended to be news reporters to further investigations. But questions remain about how often such covers are used and what policies are in place to govern the deployment of fake reporters.

“By admitting that FBI impersonation of documentary filmmakers makes individuals less likely to speak to documentary filmmakers, the government is highlighting the very reason the Reporters Committee filed this FOIA case: the chilling effect this government practice has on journalism,” said Katie Townsend, the Reporters Committee’s legal director. “The public already knows that the FBI engages in this practice; the FBI’s widely reported ‘Longbow Productions’ front is the prime example. The public is entitled to understand how frequently, and under what circumstances, the FBI does it.”

Concerns about the FBI practice gained momentum in 2014, when bureau officials reported that agents had pretended to be an Associated Press journalist seven years earlier. In June 2007, a 15-year-old high school student near Seattle emailed bomb threats to his school, causing daily evacuations of the building. FBI agents investigating the threats were unable to track the student due to his use of proxy servers. Hiding behind their cover as an AP journalist, agents emailed the student links to a fake news article and photographs that surreptitiously installed a tracking program.

In response to the revelations, the Reporters Committee and the AP, working with 25 other news organizations, sent letters to then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Attorney General Eric Holder objecting to the FBI’s use of journalistic covers. In response, Comey provided a letter to the New York Times that defended the practice. “That technique was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time,” Comey wrote. “Today, the use of such an unusual technique would probably require higher level approvals than in 2007, but it would still be lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate.”

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which investigated this practice, reported in September 2016 that the FBI had instituted an interim policy that required agents posing as a member of the news media to obtain approval from the bureau’s deputy director, in consultation with the deputy attorney general. The FBI has declined to comment on whether this policy is still in effect.

Immediate public safety concerns — such as those presented in the case of bomb threats near Seattle — do not appear to be a key factor for the FBI to justify using a journalistic cover.

After obtaining more than 100 hours of video and audio recordings produced by Longbow Productions and the company’s supposed director, an FBI agent who went by the name Charles Johnson, The Intercept told the behind-the-scenes story of how the FBI interviewed Bundy and his supporters as part of a supposed documentary film titled “America Reloaded.” In that case, FBI agents were not investigating an immediate public safety concern or even an active crime. Instead, they were investigating Bundy’s armed standoff with federal agents, which had occurred nearly a year earlier.

The Intercept also reported that local police in Colorado had arrested the FBI agent “Johnson” in 2016, while he pretended to be working with a journalist. Johnson appeared to be investigating a development proposal for a nightlife and entertainment district near Denver. No immediate public safety concerns appeared to be involved in that case, either.

“Impersonation of journalists and filmmakers is not, in our view, an appropriate law enforcement tactic,” said Townsend of the Reporters Committee. “When FBI agents masquerade as journalists, it threatens the independence and credibility of actual journalists; it can also jeopardize their safety. If a source believes that a journalist is actually a government agent, they may be unwilling to speak to that journalist at all. And in some cases, a journalist or filmmaker might be in danger if a source believes she or he is a law enforcement agent pretending to be a journalist.”

The Reporters Committee’s litigation with the FBI is ongoing. The press freedom group has until August 29 to respond to the bureau’s argument that releasing documents would improperly disclose sensitive law enforcement techniques.


American democracy is in crisis, and not just because of Trump

Dark money, unchecked presidential power and a politicised supreme court are wrecking the world’s flagship democracy

August 7, 2018

by Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

Nineteen months into the Trump presidency, US democracy is running into serious trouble – but it is not all, or even mostly, Donald Trump’s fault. This crisis of governance has been building for decades. It is only now, as Trump’s iconoclastic assaults on established beliefs, laws, institutions and values test the system to destruction, that the true scale of pre-existing weaknesses and faultlines is becoming apparent.

This deep crisis of confidence, bordering on national meltdown, comes as the US hurtles towards midterm elections in November – a familiar American ritual now rendered strangely unpredictable by fears of foreign manipulation and an FBI investigation that could, by some estimates, lead ultimately to Trump’s impeachment. The process of degradation affects US citizens and all those around the world who hold up the US democratic system as a paradigm worthy of emulation. Friends worry that the country’s ability to sustain its traditional global leadership role – moral and practical – is being undermined. Enemies, principally anti-democratic, authoritarian competitor regimes in Russia and China, hope this is so

Take a case in point, with global implications: Trump has repeatedly bragged about his willingness to use nuclear weapons. As commander-in-chief, he oversees the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Last year he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, a nation of 25 million people. He has also threatened Iran. Such lunatic recklessness appals many Americans. But it transpires there is little they could do to stop Trump should he decide, on a whim, to press the “nuclear button”.

Checks do exist. There is a chain of command that cannot be bypassed. But security experts say nobody, not even the secretaries of state and defence or the chairman of the joint chiefs, has legal power to block a presidential launch order. What could be less democratic? Yet this dilemma was not created by Trump. It has existed for many years. Congress is now belatedly reviewing it.

Trump’s frequent use of “executive orders” has provided another wake-up call. Most infamous was his travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, but others – concerning his Mexican border wall, his unilateral imposition of steel tariffs, and his reversal of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act – were also highly contentious. Yet, once issued, such orders are rarely overturned. After numerous legal challenges, the supreme court upheld the travel ban.

Many were shocked to discover that a US president could issue diktats and fatwas like the worst kind of unelected despot or ayatollah. But the use of such orders, avoiding public scrutiny, is long-established. Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor by this means. Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation ending slavery was an executive order. In exercising this arbitrary power, Trump is following precedent, however undemocratic. The expanding powers of what the Vietnam-era historian Arthur Schlesinger dubbed the “imperial presidency” is a long-recognised phenomenon and one that Congress, America’s primary constitutional pillar, has signally failed to curb over the years. This may be one reason why Americans, according to polling going back decades, exhibit a consistently low opinion of Congress. But there are many others. The dominant two-party system, virulent partisanship and out-of-touch politicians are blamed for chronic failures of governance. The advantages conferred by incumbency are overwhelming; most members are repeatedly re-elected, reducing democratic choice. In terms of the presidency – the second constitutional pillar – systemic problems produce even greater anomalies. Trump was the fifth president to win office despite losing the popular vote, thanks to the archaic, unaccountably unreformed electoral college process.

Members of Congress are widely viewed as overly beholden to corporations, wealthy donors and special interests. In other words, they are seen as corrupt. The sums involved in greasing the wheels of US democracy are indeed eye-watering. According to the campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets, an overall $6.5bn (£5bn) was spent by presidential and congressional candidates in 2016 – enough to give every teacher in the country a $2,000 pay rise.

The average cost of winning a Senate seat was $19.4m. Winning a House of Representatives seat in the midterm elections will cost an average $1.5m, at least. The need for such huge war chests effectively excludes many would-be candidates from the democratic process and places others in hock to their financial backers.

Again, worries over excessive, non-transparent or illegal campaign financing long precede Trump. Despite many reform efforts, a growing proportion of funding comes from anonymous sources. According to a recent USA Today investigation, 40% of all television ads for political candidates are financed by secret donors with private political or commercial agendas. Then there is untraceable money emanating from foreign governments or individuals, via agents and lobbyists – an issue of heightened concern in the context of the Mueller inquiry into Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mounting evidence of Russian influence-peddling and meddling has added to the sense of a gathering crisis of democracy. Yet while Trump’s minimising of the issue and his attempts to shut down the Mueller probe are plainly self-interested, these problems cannot all be laid at his door. Russians have been seeking to undermine US democracy since 1945. The difference now is they’re getting better at it – as are other foreign states.

US intelligence chiefs agree. “Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs,” the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, said last week. “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries, who seek … to sow discord and undermine our way of life.” Yet what if Trump really were to be proven guilty of conspiring with a foreign power? How would he react? This is unknown, scary territory.

Can the judicial branch and, in particular, the supreme court – the third constitutional pillar and proud symbol of the founding fathers’ doctrine of the separation of powers – save US democracy? It seems unlikely. In nominating a prominent conservative, Brett Kavanaugh, for the latest court vacancy, Trump followed recent practice in shaping the court to suit his political outlook. It has not always worked this way. As the author David Greenberg has pointed out, supreme court nominations used to be mostly apolitical. This is not the constitution envisaged when they wrote the rules in Philadelphia in 1787.

Trump’s maverick behaviour highlights these entrenched structural problems. Yet, that aside, his rogue presidency is uniquely corrosive, right now, of democracy everywhere. His encouragement of ultranationalist, racist and neo-fascist forces from Warsaw to Charlottesville, divisive demagoguery, relentless vilification of independent journalism, contempt for the western European democracies, coddling of dictators and rejection of the established, rules-based international order all reinforce perceptions that the global role of the US as shining democratic beacon is dimming rapidly. Trump did this all by himself.

So what is to be done? The most urgent task is to recognise what is happening. Decades of complacent assumptions about America’s unending, unquestioning adherence to the democratic model have left it vulnerable to subversion within and without. Radical, inclusive political reform is urgently required. There needs to be a national conversation – and a revisiting of basic democratic principles. Maybe it’s time, 231 years on, for a follow-up constitutional convention in Philadelphia?

West Hollywood gives green light for removal of Trump’s Walk of Fame star

August 7, 2018


The city of West Hollywood has voted unanimously in favor of removing President Donald Trump’s star at the Walk of Fame, citing Russiagate allegations as well as his take on women, immigration and transgender soldiers.

The five-member city council approved a proposal put forth by West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico and Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath, who called for the removal of the star, US media report. Both D’Amico and Horvath said the marker had to be removed “due to [Trump’s] disturbing treatment of women and other actions.”

Ahead of the vote on Monday, West Hollywood City Council said they were following the steps of the American film industry, which suspended “certain members of the entertainment community… due to their actions toward women.”

Providing other reasons for the removal, the council members noted Trump’s policies, including his refusal to accept US intelligence claims of Russian election interference, his decision to withdraw from the milestone Paris climate accord, a ban on transgender military officers, and the separation of immigrant families at the US border with Mexico.

Trump received a star on the Walk of Fame near Highland Avenue back in 2007 for his involvement in the Miss Universe Pageant. For almost two decades, he co-owned the Miss Universe Organization, which also included the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

Since he became president, the star was vandalized several times. On the latest occasion in July, 24-year-old Austin Mikel Clay annihilated the marker with a pickax before being apprehended by police.

Similar calls to remove Trump’s star were heard when he notoriously referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals during his presidential campaign.

However at the time, such proposals were met by opposition. Leron Gubler, CEO of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce rejected a call to take out a star of Bill Cosby who was accused by more than 45 women of sexual misconduct dating to the late 1960s.

“Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Gubler said before adding, “Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.”


Trump tweets on California wildfires spark confusion, debate

August 6, 2018

by Steve Gorman


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fire authorities insisted on Monday that they have ample water supplies to fight California’s devastating wildfires, contrary to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets that unspecified water diversions to the Pacific were making matters worse. Officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) and the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, stressed that wild-land blazes are battled primarily by crews hacking away at dry brush with hand tools and bulldozers, not with water.

“Yes, we have plenty of water,” CalFire Chief Scott McLean said by telephone, adding that the two largest blazes in California this week – the Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex Fire – were each ringed by at least three major reservoirs.

He said the tweets, after Trump on Sunday approved a federal disaster declaration requested by Governor Jerry Brown for the fires, sparked a barrage of media queries to CalFire.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

Then on Monday he tweeted, “Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water – Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

The White House did not respond to requests to clarify Trump’s tweets.

Neither McLean nor Jessica Gardetto, a spokeswoman for the Idaho-based fire agency, would address the tweets directly, but Gardetto said by telephone, “Most wildfire suppression efforts involve firefighters and boots on the ground.”

Water, used in protecting homes and other structures and for dumping on flames from airplane tankers and helicopters, is critical but secondary to the larger manual efforts of clearing unburned vegetation to remove it as potential fuel around a fire’s perimeter.

Peter Gleick, one of California’s leading experts on Western water resources as president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, said that Trump appeared to be seizing on the wildfires to side with farmers on a separate debate over how to allocate California’s finite water resources among farmers, cities, fish and wildlife.

“There’s nothing that California water policy has done that makes these fires worse or more difficult to fight,” Gleick said. Trump’s references to diverting water to the oceans was “completely backwards,” he said.

“The water that reaches the ocean is what’s left after we’ve diverted most of the water away for cities and farms, and what little is left is barely enough for California’s aquatic ecosystems and the fisheries,” he said.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked about Gleick’s comments.

Trump’s suggestion that environmental laws were somehow compounding wildfire woes drew derision on Twitter.

Critics said his tweets ignored the greater wildfire frequency and severity experienced in California and other Western states from extreme drought and sustained periods of hot, dry weather, in keeping with the forecasts of climate scientists.

Fire officials have said that 95 percent of all wildfires are caused by humans, from camp fires left unattended to careless smoking, to sparks from vehicles and improperly maintained power lines.

Reporting by Steve Gorman Editing by Bill Tarrant


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

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 [1] 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.[2] 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)



[1]  Donald Ewen Cameron (1901-1967) was a ScottishAmerican psychiatrist. Born in Bridge of Allan, he graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1924.

Cameron lived and worked in Albany, New York, and was involved in experiments in Canada for Project MKULTRA, a United States based CIA-directed mind control program which eventually led to the publication of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual Cameron was the author of the psychic driving concept which the CIA found particularly interesting. In it he described his theory on correcting madness, which consisted of erasing existing memories and rebuilding the psyche completely. After being recruited by the CIA, he commuted to Montreal every week to work at the Allan Memorial Institute of the McGill University, and was paid $69,000 from 1957 to 1964 to carry out MKULTRA experiments there. The CIA tasked him with  the deadly experiments to carry out, as they would be tried on non-US citizens. However, documents released in 1977 revealed that thousands of unwitting, as well as voluntary subjects, were tested on during that time period. These included United States citizens.

In addition to LSD and PCP, Cameron also experimented with various paralytic drugs, as well as electroconvulsive therapy at 30 to 40 times the normal power. His “driving” experiments consisted of putting subjects into drug-induced coma for months on end (up to three in one case) while playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements. His experiments were typically carried out on patients who had entered the institute for minor problems such as anxiety disorders and post-partum depression, many of whom suffered permanently from his actions. His work in this field was inspired and paralleled by the British psychiatrist Dr William Sargant who carried out virtually identical experiments at St Thomas’ Hospital, London and Belmont Hospital, Surrey, also without his patients’ consent.

2 Sidney Gottlieb (August 3, 1918 – March 7, 1999) was a American military psychiatrist and chemist probably best-known for his involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency’s mind control program MKULTRA.

Sidney was born in the Bronx under the name Joseph Scheider. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. A stutterer from childhood, Gottlieb got a master’s degree in speech therapy. He also had a club foot, but this did not stop him from practicing folk dancing, a lifelong passion.

In 1951, Sidney Gottlieb joined the Central Intelligence Agency. As a poison expert, he headed the chemical division of the Technical Services Staff (TSS). Sidney became known as the “Black Sorcerer” and the “Dirty Trickster.” He supervised preparations of lethal poisons and experiments in mind control. Gottleib later lived like a hermit in a cottage where he raised goats. He was common,y known at the Goat Boy inside the CIA and viewed as totally mad. Both Cameron and Gottlieb are typical of the members of the lunatic frings that staffed much of the CIA, and still does to this day





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