TBR News August 7, 2019

Aug 07 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary for August 7:” The Israel Embassy people are frantic here about the strong probability that either Iran or Hezbollah will launch missile attacks on Israel. They are begging Trump to ‘blast’ southern Lebanon with a preemptive strike but the military is not interested. And from what I hear, the Pentagon is not friendly concerning Israel. On the other hand, the CIA is packed with Israelis and anything the CIA gets in the way of information, goes straight to Tel Aviv. No one knows when Hezbollah is going to move but everyone involved knows that they will.”



The Table of Contents

  • Trump Can’t Stop Lying About His Unpopularity
  • Official Losses
  • Are Israel’s spies stealing your data?
  • Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant
  • 8chan owner called before Congress, as latest host drops site
  • The Iranian Mystery Ship: Death from the Sea 
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons



Trump Can’t Stop Lying About His Unpopularity

June 12, 2019

by Ed Kilgore

New York Magazine

Trump has taken political spin to new, infernal levels. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Donald J. Trump did not invent the art of political spinning. But he has perhaps raised it to an infernally high standard of sheer mendacity in his determination to attack any information suggesting he is anything other than the most wildly successful and popular politician since Pericles. That means, among other troubling things, that he is engaged in a perpetual war against the scientific measurement of public opinion.

Earlier this week Politico reported that the Trump reelection campaign’s internal polling was giving POTUS some bad news:

‘The Trump campaign recently completed a 17-state polling project that concluded the president trails Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, according to two people briefed on the results. America First Action, the principal pro-Trump super PAC, is expected to conduct its own polling and focus groups in Pennsylvania and Michigan later this summer.’

Then the New York Times reported that Trump was trying hard to suppress this bad news:

Donald J. Trump

✔  @realDonaldTrump

The Fake News has never been more dishonest than it is today. Thank goodness we can fight back on Social Media. Their new weapon of choice is Fake Polling, sometimes referred to as Suppression Polls (they suppress the numbers). Had it in 2016, but this is worse…..111K

8:46 AM – Jun 12, 2019



Donald J. Trump

✔  @realDonaldTrump

Replying to @realDonaldTrump

…..The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist. WE WILL WIN AGAIN!96K

8:46 AM – Jun 12, 2019

After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well.

Trump then lashed out on Twitter with a characteristic “kill the messenger” maneuver:

Donald J. Trump

✔  @realDonaldTrump

Despite the Phony Witch Hunt, we will continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Thank you!!


There are several fascinating things about this messaging. First of all, Trump is projecting his efforts to suppress polling information by claiming polls are suppressing actual public opinion (a subset of his unsubstantiated claim that approximately 10 percent of his fans are terrified to admit it to pollsters because they have been terrorized by Liberal Elites).

Second of all, he’s not simply denying well-sourced reports of bad internal polls, but inverting them: He’s never been more popular! That’s like a campaign whose wheels are falling off issuing bravado predictions of total victory everywhere to keep staff morale from collapsing and creditors from repossessing the furniture.

And third of all, Trump is citing an old lie to support a new one: The assertion that 2016 polls were faked and totally wrong.

Nate Silver has done his best to beat this lie to death, but it persists:

[The] myth is that Trump’s victory represented some sort of catastrophic failure for the polls. Trump outperformed his national polls by only 1 to 2 percentage points in losing the popular vote to Clinton, making them slightly closer to the mark than they were in 2012. Meanwhile, he beat his polls by only 2 to 3 percentage points in the average swing state. Certainly, there were individual pollsters that had some explaining to do, especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where Trump beat his polls by a larger amount. But the result was not some sort of massive outlier; on the contrary, the polls were pretty much as accurate as they’d been, on average, since 1968.

Because Trump’s standard for the reliability of polls is how good they make him look, he perpetually hypes Rasmussen surveys:

As Aaron Rupar notes, this is an effort to drive good data out with bad:

There are a couple of reasons not to give much credence to Trump’s tweet. First, as CNN detailed in December, Rasmussen — which is known to skew to the right — was the least accurate pollster out of any that released generic congressional ballot polls in the runup to November’s midterm elections …

Secondly, and relatedly, the Rasmussen poll Trump cited is an outlier when compared to others. For instance, RealClearPolitics’ aggregated polling of Trump’s approval rating, which includes Rasmussen, currently has it pegged at a much more problematic 44 percent, with 53 percent disapproving of his job performance.

This description actually understates the extent to which Rasmussen is a perpetual outlier: Not a single national public poll from any other outlet has ever shown Trump’s approval rating at 50 percent or higher, even in those “honeymoon” days immediately following his inauguration. He is the most consistently unpopular president since public opinion surveying began.

That does not mean his goose is cooked in 2020; he was unpopular when he was elected in 2016, too. But presidential elections, even those involving incumbents, are at least partially comparative, not a straight referendum on the current occupant of the White House. So there is most definitely a chance that he can again slither across the finish line via a combination of lowering his Democratic opponent’s popularity to a level near his own, and then pulling an inside straight in the Electoral College even if he again loses the popular vote.

In other words, Trump doesn’t have to lie about polls to maintain a credible candidacy for reelection. He just seems to prefer behaving that way. It is, at least, consistent with his treatment of other inconvenient facts.


Official Losses

William Cornelius Sullivan (May 12, 1912 – November 9, 1977) was former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation intelligence operations.

He handled all manner of very secret matters for J. Edgar Hoover, including the removal of Dr. Martin Luther King, whom Hoover loathed, and Bobby Kennedy, another Hoover target. Sullivan had a subsequent falling out with Hoover and intimated to his friends that he expected to have an “accidental death.”

And on November 9, 1977, just before the sun came up, Sullivan was walking through the woods near his New Hampshire home when a twenty-two year old hunter, son of a state law enforcement officer, shot him in the neck using a 30 caliber rifle equipped with a telescopic sight.

The shooter was fined five hundred dollars and the loss of his hunting license for an entire year as a result


Are Israel’s spies stealing your data?

August 5, 2019

by Katherine Barnett

The Electronic Intifada

Israeli spies go on to pursue questionable careers upon leaving the military.

Two cyber warfare and data collection companies that have recently been put under scrutiny were founded by graduates of the Israeli military’s Unit 8200, a high-tech spy branch responsible for the training of some of the country’s top technology experts and leading cyberwarfare efforts.

Israeli tech company Onavo, owned by Facebook, and Israeli cyber warfare company NSO Group were both founded by unit veterans.

This demonstrates how expertise developed in the unit can and has been used to create commercial tech platforms that put consumer security at risk.

What does the military unit do?

Unit 8200 is widely seen as Israel’s equivalent to the National Security Agency in the United States.

Its members are young, usually between 18 and 21, and are chosen for their math, science and problem-solving talents.

Those working within the unit help the development of surveillance tech, hacking, encryption and decoding techniques. They also gather internal and foreign signals and are responsible for cyber-policing and monitoring civilians.

Unit 8200 also plays a significant role in the systematic discrimination against Palestinians.

In 2014, 43 reservists affiliated with Unit 8200 revealed details of surveillance methods used to pry on the most intimate private data of innocent Palestinians, including material of a sexual and financial nature.

“The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection,” the soldiers wrote in a letter published by The Guardian.

Despite the widespread media coverage this received, the monitoring of Palestinians by Unit 8200 continues.

The Palestinian campaign group 7amleh outlined in a report released in December 2018 how the unit intercepts Palestinian communication networks and injects them with text messages and phone calls.

Stealing data

Unit 8200 veterans are dominating Israel’s technological scene. Technology is key to Israel’s economy and has enjoyed fast growth in recent times.

Former unit soldiers have gone on to found notable tech companies, including Palo Alto Networks and Check Point Software Technologies. These companies specialize in areas of security such as surveillance, voice recording and cybersecurity.

Another such group is the Facebook-owned Onavo.

The company was founded in 2010 by Unit 8200 graduates Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger, and acquired by Facebook in October 2013.

Facebook marketed the Onavo virtual private network (VPN) app as a privacy tool to keep users’ data secure and protect it from potentially compromising websites by encrypting and re-routing their data through a remote server.

Consumers were kept largely in the dark about the ways it would violate their privacy and help influence Facebook’s marketing and product strategies.

However, the Onavo VPN app was shut down last year after it emerged that Facebook was paying teenagers and adults to download the app and provide “nearly limitless” access to their data, according to the publication Tech Crunch.

After Apple banned the app for being in breach of its guidelines, Facebook exploited a loophole that would allow people to circumvent the App Store and download the app directly.

But while this hid all browsing and app activity from Internet service providers, it granted Facebook almost full visibility of a user’s data, giving the technology giant insights into consumer trends.

These insights led to Facebook’s decision to implement a story feature as a means of competing with its rival Snapchat. It also led to Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion after discovering that more than twice as many messages were sent off that app than Facebook Messenger.

Commercialization of surveillance

This is not the only time that a company linked to Unit 8200 has been the topic of a major consumer security scandal.

Israeli espionage firm NSO Group was founded in 2010 by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, likely graduates of Unit 8200, according to Forbes magazine.

The group made headlines in May after the messaging service WhatsApp released an update to combat a vulnerability that allowed a user’s smartphone to be infected with the Pegasus spyware by simply calling the phone in question.

Once Pegasus is installed on a user’s phone, it can send a frightening amount of data to those doing the spying while going undetected.

Pegasus has been labeled by Forbes as the “world’s most invasive mobile spy kit” as it allows for the full monitoring and commandeering of any mobile phone that becomes infected.

These capabilities have led to its use by regimes eager to snoop on or interfere with their enemies.

In a 2018 report, the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab highlighted the use of NSO technology in countries known for human rights abuses, including Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Amnesty International even took legal action against Israel’s defense ministry in an attempt to get the exportation of NSO products revoked.

Amnesty said that one of its staff was the target of an effort to spy on the organization through the software.

That Unit 8200 is behind Facebook’s Onavo and NSO raises concerns for what other commercial technology could emerge, or already has emerged, from the spy unit.

With mass surveillance common practice, it’s reasonable to assume that Unit 8200 graduates will continue to use this technology in the creation of commercial products.

The actions of NSO and Facebook’s Onavo have shown techniques mastered in the unit can easily be misused to create products that put consumer privacy and security at risk.

Consumers should therefore be aware of any ties companies have to Unit 8200, as well as its role in the surveillance of civilians.


Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant

Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance company, is teaching police how to convince residents to share camera footage with them

by Caroline Haskins

August 5 2019,


When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,” an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they  do need permission from camera owners.

Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage.

Emails obtained from police department in Maywood, NJ—and emails from the police department of Bloomfield, NJ, which were also posted by Wired—show that Ring coaches police on how to obtain footage. The company provides cops with templates for requesting footage, which they do not need a court warrant to do. Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors, Ring’s free “neighborhood watch” app, where Ring camera owners have the option of sharing their camera footage.

“I have noticed you have been posting alerts and receiving feedback from the community,” a Ring representative told Bloomfield police. “You are doing a great job interacting with them and that will be critical in increasing the opt-in rate.”

“The more users you have, the more useful the information you can collect,” the representative added.

“Seems like you wasted no time sending out your video Request out to Ring Users which is awesome!!” a Ring “Partner Success Associate” told Maywood police.

As reported by GovTech on Friday, police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage. It’s a workaround that allows police to essentially “subpoena” anything captured on Ring cameras.

“Ring will not release customer information in response to government demands without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us,” a Ring spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. “Ring objects to over-broad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course. We are working with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to ensure this is understood.”

Chris Gilliard, a professor of English at Macomb Community College who studies digital redlining and discriminatory practices enabled by data mining, said in a phone call that Amazon is essentially coaching police on 1) how to do their jobs, and 2) how to promote Ring products.

“Not coincidentally, those things overlapped quite a bit,” Gilliard said. “That’s really disturbing.”

Ring, in essence, recommends that police create a feedback loop in which they depend on Ring. According to Ring, police should:

1.Post on their department’s Twitter and Facebook pages to encourage Neighbors downloads.

2.Use Neighbors downloads as “credits” to get free Ring cameras.

3.Increase the amount of video surveillance in their communities.

4.Use the Law Enforcement Neighborhoods Portal to request surveillance footage.

Motherboard previously reported that at least 200 law enforcement agencies have partnered with Ring. Gizmodo reported that the number of partnerships is at least 225.

“Ring offers Neighbors app trainings and best practices for posting and engaging with app users for all law enforcement agencies utilizing the portal tool,” A Ring spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. “We also provide templates and educational materials for police departments to utilize at their discretion to help them keep their communities informed about their efforts on Neighbors. Ring requests to look at press releases and any messaging prior to distribution to ensure our company and our products and services are accurately represented.”

A Ring representative emailed three Bloomfield police officers on May 1 asking whether they needed help using the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal.

“Keep up the great job commenting and posting!” the representative said.

On May 31, the Bloomfield Detective Bureau Commander asked how the police department can encourage more people to submit Ring camera footage.

“I have been requesting videos but have not been getting any responses,” the detective wrote. “The only video that we have received is from a person that we directly spoke to and asked him to send it to us. [Is] there anything that we can blast out to encourage Ring owners to share the videos when requested?”

The Ring representative said that the cities with the best “opt in rate” for sharing Ring footage with police are active on social media.

“The agencies with the best opt in rate are the ones that are actively sharing on social media, having community outreach speak at meetings and spread via word of mouth,” the representative said.

Emails from the Bloomfield, NJ police department obtained by Motherboard. Email addresses redacted by Motherboard.

Image: Emails from the Bloomfield, NJ police department obtained by Motherboard. Email addresses redacted by Motherboard.

A Ring Partner Success Associate told an officer from the Maywood Police Department something similar in April, according to emails obtained by Motherboard. The Ring employee advised them to pair all video requests through the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal with a public post on the Neighbors app.

A Neighbors post, the Ring employee said, will contextualize video requests and reach people who may not have Ring cameras, but have information relevant to law enforcement.

However, posting on social media isn’t just a way for law enforcement to get information for investigations. According to Ring, it’s also a way for police to drive Neighbors downloads in their communities. A Ring “Best Practices” guide obtained by Motherboard from the Addison, IL police department explicitly says as much on a page titled “Driving Neighbors App Downloads.”

“Grow your audience to create a bigger impact when posting Portal Alerts,” the document says. “Social Media is the most effective way to drive Neighbors App downloads.”

Although Neighbors is a free app, its posts are dominated by video footage captured by Ring cameras. The app is a de facto advertisement for Ring security cameras: it shows users what and who they should be scared of, and it suggests that Ring cameras are the solution to this fear. Neighbors has hired “news editors” to pull 911 call data into the app for real-time, unconfirmed crime alerts, as reported by Gizmodo. As Motherboard reported earlier this year, the app also has a major problem with racial profiling.

Fight for the Future recently called for cities around the country to stop partnering with Ring. The digital rights activist group claims that Ring is creating a dragnet surveillance program in the private sphere, without proper regulatory oversight.

“Some of the advice he gave I think are things that community activists would recommend—that police need to build relationships in communities to be more effective,” Gilliard told Motherboard. “The idea that it should be mediated through Amazon and through social media—it brings with it all the problems that we know with social media.”

“It’s blurring of the line between consumer and citizen,” Gilliard added. “That’s not in the best interest of citizens, because it means that you will only get your rights as much as you use a particular service.”

All of the documents that informed this article are now public and viewable on Document Cloud.

Update August 6: This article has been updated to include additional comment from Ring.


8chan owner called before Congress, as latest host drops site

August 6, 2019

by Katie Paul and Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) – Online message board 8chan’s fortunes worsened on Tuesday, as it was once again made homeless by a technical services provider and its owner was called to testify to the U.S. Congress after 8chan was linked to a weekend mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee demanded that owner Jim Watkins, an American living in the Philippines, testify about 8chan’s efforts to tackle “the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist content.”

The committee’s Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson, and Mike Rogers, its ranking Republican, sent a letter tmsnrt.rs/2YuWNQ7 to Watkins to appear, calling the El Paso massacre “at least the third act of supremacist violence linked to your website this year.”

8chan was offline on Tuesday after Seattle-based Epik became the latest provider to cut ties. In a statement, Epik’s chief executive, Rob Monster, cited concerns about its inadequate enforcement and a greater possibility of violent radicalization.

In the heavily Hispanic city of El Paso on Saturday, a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store. Authorities have cited a lengthy anti-immigrant manifesto, apparently posted on 8chan by the suspect, as evidence of a racial motive.

After the shooting, U.S. cyber security firm CloudFlare withdrew services from 8chan, prompting it to sign up with Epik on Monday. Epik’s own web infrastructure provider, Voxility, dropped it as a customer in response.

Epik still provides services to neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer and “free-speech” site Gab, as well as InfoWars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Monster told Reuters the anonymity on 8chan differentiated it from other sites. “Nobody has a vested interest in personal accountability, since you always get a new persona,” he said.

Fredrick Brennan, who created 8chan in 2013, has called for the site to be closed down. “If I could go back and not create 8chan at all, I probably would,” he told Reuters in an interview, likening it to Frankenstein’s monster.

In a reply (here to the House committee, a copy of which was posted on Twitter, 8chan’s Watkins said he was always available to talk by telephone. “Rest assured I am not an extremist. My telephone should work worldwide,” he said.

He argued earlier that the site provided a space for free speech.

“Think of 8chan as a large community of 1 million people that are now looking for a home,” Watkins said in a video he posted on YouTube, with a shadowy likeness of American founding father Benjamin Franklin behind him.

Watkins said the Texas suspected gunman’s manifesto was first uploaded not to 8chan but to Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company has found “nothing that supports this theory” in an investigation since Saturday. Facebook disabled the suspect’s Instagram account, which had not been active in more than a year, she added.

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul; Additional reporting by Miyoung Kim in Singapore; Editing by Leslie Adler and Clarence Fernandez


The Iranian Mystery Ship: Death from the Sea 

August 7, 2019

by Christian Jürs

On August 21st, 2008, the MV Iran Deyant, 44,458 dead weight bulk carrier, was heading towards the Suez Canal. As it was passing the Horn of Africa, about 80 miles southeast of al-Makalla in Yemen, the ship was surrounded by speedboats filled with members of a gang of Somalia pirates who grab suitable commercial ships and hold them,and their cargoes and crews, for ransom. The captain was defenseless against the 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades blocking his passage. He had little choice other than to turn his ship over to them. What the pirates were not banking on, however, was that this was no ordinary ship.

The MV Iran Deyanat is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) – a state-owned company run by the Iranian military that was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on September 10, shortly after the ship’s hijacking. According to the U.S. Government, the company regularly falsifies shipping documents in order to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments to avoid the attention of shipping authorities, and employs the use of cover entities to circumvent United Nations sanctions to facilitate weapons proliferation for the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

The MV Iran Deyanat departed Nanjing, China, July 28,  and, according to its manifest, planned to sail to Rotterdam, where it would offload 42,500 tons of “iron ore” and “industrial products” purchased by an unidentified “ German client”. The ship had a crew of 29 men, including a Pakistani captain, an Iranian engineer, 13 other Iranians, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, stated to be Albanians

Somali pirates in action        

The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates – 50 onboard and 50 onshore. The Somali pirates attempted to inspect the ship’s seven cargo containers but the containers were locked. The crew claimed that they did not have the “access codes” and could not open them. Pirates have stated they were unable to open the hold without causing extensive damage to the ship, and threatened to blow it up The Iranian ship’s captain  and the engineer were contacted by cell phone and demanded to disclose the actual nature of the mysterious “powdered cargo” but the captain and his officers were very evasive. Initially they said that the cargo contained “crude oil” but then claimed it contained “minerals.”

Following this initial rebuff, the pirates broke open one of the containers and discovered it to be filled with packets of what they said was “a powdery fine sandy soil”

Within a period of three days, those pirates who had boarded the ship and opened the cargo container with its gritty sand-like contents, all developed strange health complications, to include serious skin burns and loss of hair. And within two weeks, sixteen of the pirates subsequently died, either on the ship or on shore

News about the illness and the toxic cargo quickly reached Garowe, seat of the government for the autonomous region of Puntland. Angered over the wave of piracy and suspicious about the Iranian ship, authorities dispatched a delegation led by Minister of Minerals and Oil Hassan Allore Osman to investigate the situation on September 4 and they witnessed some of the deaths due to exposure to ‘something on that ship.’

The Somali pirates initially set the ship’s ransom at $2 million and the Iranian government provided $200,000 to a local broker “to facilitate the exchange.” The $2 million dollar ransom agreement, which was supposedly secured on September 6th, never took place for reasons unknown. After September 10th, sanctions on IRISL were applied specifically because the company was said to engaged in illicit operations on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Serious negotiations were broken off completely. Iranian authorities subsequently denied that it agreed to the price nor had paid any money to the pirates. Nevertheless, after sanctions were applied to IRISL on September 10, Osman says, the Iranians told the pirates that the deal was off. “They told the pirates that they could not come because of the presence of the U.S. Navy.” The region is patrolled by the multinational Combined Taskforce 150, which includes ships from the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Subsequently, it was disclosed that the U.S. government had offered to pay  $7 million to the pirates to “receive entry permission and search the vessel.” Officials in the Pentagon and the Department of State consistently refused to comment on the situation.

Although American intelligence and government sources maintained a strictly observed silence, the same did not apply to the Russians and so it is that we learned the real story of the MV Iran Deyanat. She was an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel.

The entire cargo of radioactive sand, obtained by Iran from China (the latter buys desperately needed oil from the former) and sealed in containers which, when the charges on the ship are set off after the crew took to the boats, will be blasted high into the air where prevailing winds will push the highly dangerous and radioactive cloud ashore.

Given the large number of deaths from the questing Somali pirates, it should be obvious that when the contents of the ship’s locked cargo containers finally descended onto the land, the death toll would be enormous. This ship was nothing more nor less than the long-anticipated Iranian attack on Israel. Not the expected rocket attacks (which could be interdicted by the Israelis) but even more deadly and unexpected attack by sea.

According to a Russian estimate, the purpose was to change the name of the ship by painting it out, disembarking the explosive-primed cargo containers at a Haifa port and when the renamed ship was back at sea, detonating the explosives by radio.

Huge clouds of deadly radioactive material would be blasted in the air and downwind, the death toll would be enormous.

American intelligence specialists recognized this danger and did everything possible to deflect public recognition of it because the same attack could also be launched against the United States.

It is very interesting to note that Israeli loudly demanded that the United States establish a naval blockade of Iran.

The reason for this blockade would be to prevent any more Iranian ships with deadly cargoes from attacking either Israel or other targets of lesser importance to Israel, such as the United States, from the sea.

The problem with this ship should be fairly obvious. She was carrying a container cargo that to all intents and purposes was at least partially full of highly radioactive material, obtained as waste from Chinese atomic facilities.

The propaganda story was that it is true the ship was full of this material but actually, the evil Iranians and, one planted story said, the Italian Mafia, planned to dump it illegally in Somali waters.

Planted, and very badly-written stories, put out by the US DoD, stated that various unspecified countries had been dumping tons of radioactive waste into the same area for “many years.” Given the terrible effects of such dumpings, it is not possible to believe that it ever happened. Not only would there be an immediately obvious die-off of huge numbers of fish, but the radioactivity in the water, and radioactivity is closely monitored by many countries, would attract world-wide notice.

One supposes that the next bit of creative writing would be that the radioactive material was really destined for Iranian evil purposes but the ship missed the turn into the Persian Gulf and somehow got lost hundreds of miles away.

This story would be designed for those who have no access to world maps, believe anything on the Internet and like all Millennials, have the intellect of a chicken.

I have on my desk as I write, email print outs of official U.S. “story lines” on this and we know the Al Jazeera story about all the countries that dump “tons of radioactive waste into the ocean, just off Somalia.” I would think that this might impress the illiterate foreigners who find out about it but it does not fool me or anyone with an IQ larger than their penis size.

One wonders what the next bullshit official paper might have contained?

That the ship only contained contaminated Chinese milk?

It is rather disappointing that our official disinformation organs are not perhaps a little bit better in creative writing.

We ought to gift-wrap their paychecks.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

August 7, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

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


Conversation No. 9

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:21 AM CST


RTC: Hello?

GD: Robert…

RTC: Good morning, Gregory. You’re a bit early today.

GD: I was talking with Corson about ten minutes ago. He started talking to me about Kennedy and said he had the whole story in his safe deposit box. Is that true?

RTC: Did he tell you anything else?

GD: He acted cute with me and said when he died, Plato would have the whole story. Why not Aristotle?

RTC: Plato is a local fix lawyer Bill uses from time to time. They all eat from the same trough. Was Bill specific?

GD: No, just that he had a big secret that he bet I’d just like to lay my hands on.

RTC: I’ll have to have a little talk with him. Bill gets it into his head that he’s an important person and has to be brought down a peg. Plato is a Greek and I never trusted him.

GD: I recall a newspaper headline. It said: ‘If Russia attacks Turkey from the rear, will Greece help?’

RTC: And so early in the morning, Gregory. This whole town is a moral whorehouse. They all hang out together, lie together, steal together and generally know nothing. I wouldn’t worry about Bill and his secret information. What he has is a DIA report that I gave him a copy of.

GD: You mentioned this before.

RTC: Yes and when the box comes and it works, then we can talk about a copy for you.

GD: I’m not poking but did you hate Kennedy?

RTC: You are poking, Gregory, but no, I did not hate Kennedy. Kennedy came from a family that was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. His father was a rum-runner and a whore monger and vicious as hell. Jack wasn’t so bad but he couldn’t keep it in his pants and used drugs in the White House. And enough of him for the time being. Besides, maybe I can entertain you discussing the downfall of Richard Nixon.

GD: That would be interesting. You should have the box in a week or so and then we can discuss other matters. What about Nixon?

RTC: The Company brought Nixon down but of course he made it easy to do.

GD: Watergate

RTC: And other matters. Yes, Watergate. Shall I continue?

GD: Go right ahead.

RTC: Nixon’s problem is that he was a jealous outsider and never fit into the political or intelligence community. But a smart man, Gregory, very smart, and very ambitious.

GD: I met him once. My step-mother, who had big money, was a strong supporter of Nixon and when he was running for Governor of California, she dragged me to a rubber chicken affair and I got to talk with him.

RTC: What did you think of him?

GD: He had come across badly on the idiot box but in person, he was taller than I thought and very sharp. I liked him as a person because he knew I was nobody but had no problem having a very good conversation with me.

RTC: No doubt your step-mother’s money helped.

GD: True, but you can tell when someone is being pleasant to you for politic reasons and when he is being genuinely communicative. He had the left wing press after him and he hated them, believe me.

RTC: That’s one of the factors that brought him down. Nixon’s downfall started in early ’72 when he went to China. It was a bold move and it had an effect everywhere. It also had an effect in Taiwan. Old Chaing Kai-shek had a bloody fit when he saw this. I mean a bloody fit. He saw this as the beginning of the end of U.S. support for him and he wanted desperately to stop the slide. His intelligence chief and a couple of bigwigs came to see our DCI and wept in his office. If Nixon normalized relations with the PRC, it would spell the end of a mutual special relationship, just like our special relationship with Israel. The long and the short of it, Gregory, is that they wanted Nixon out of power before he went any further. And, the pleasant part of this is that they were more than willing to pay us very, very well for accommodating them.

GD: They wanted you to kill him?

RTC: No, just removed so he couldn’t do them any more damage. We later did discuss killing him but two dead presidents in ten years was a bit much, so we hit on another ploy. We would discredit him. Our main man in all of this was Howard Hunt, who had wonderful ideas of his importance and, besides writing bad books, he had been very helpful in the Kennedy business in ’63. He was our station chief in Mexico between August and September of that year and set up the fake ‘Oswald’ visit to Mexico City.

GD: Wasn’t Oswald there? Getting a visa for Cuba?

RTC: No, that was bullshit. Anyway, Howard arranged for faked pictures, testimony that Oswald had been there at the Russian embassy, and so on. Useful. Now let’s move ahead a few years. Nixon had won his last election in a landslide and you know he was never too well wrapped. He had a huge inferiority complex and the press did not like him. Herblock the cartoonist with the Post really made some ugly cartoons of him and Nixon was overly sensitive about that sort of thing. So with his victory at the polls, he got a swelled head and began to get even with his opponents by turning the FBI and the IRS loose on them. Things like that. Remember the enemies list? Fine. So Hunt was connected with the Nixon people as a trouble-shooter and got involved with going after Nixon’s perceived enemies. He planted the idea that McGovern, a raging liberal twit, was in contact with Castro and getting Cuban money. The next thing was to suggest that they bug the DNC offices to get proof of this and ruin McGovern. A break-in, and they had been breaking into offices and homes for some time, a break-in was planned but it was planned to fail. They taped a self-locking door open, someone tipped off Watergate security and you know the rest.

GD: But there was no guarantee that Nixon would do what he did. I mean the stonewalling.

RTC: We could read Tricky Dick like a dime novel. True to form, he believed he was an imperial figure and acted that way right up to the end. Hunt played his part and I’m sure you watched the thing unfold, right on the five o’clock news every night. For a smart man, Nixon was very stupid and played right into our hands.

GD: But Hunt was destined for the big house…

RTC: Of course. He had to fall on his sword but Howard didn’t like the idea and he began to whine about this. We had to show him the light and after that, he went right along with the schedule.

GD: A serious talk?

RTC: No, we had to kill his wife as a serious warning to follow the game plan.

GD: More killing. Someone shoot her from an office building?

RTC: No, we arranged for an accident when she was flying west. Dorothy was helping Howard with some little project he thought would help him so we sabotaged her plane in DC.

GD: Put a bomb on it?

RTC: No tampered with the equipment. Plane came in for a stopover at Midway, suddenly lost altitude and smashed into some local houses. Midway is a terrible field, believe me. Right in the middle of an urban area and the runways are far too short. Anyway, down it came on top of people and the wife was dead. The local authorities found ten thousand in cash in her purse by the way. But it had an effect on Howard…..

GD: I can imagine. How many people died?

RTC: A few on the ground and forty or so in the plane. But the point is, Howard kept to his end of things or he would have been next or perhaps a close relative. He knew the score, Howard did.

GD: And Nixon left office in disgrace.

RTC: Well, yes, he did. Remember Al Haig? The General? Yes. Well we were afraid that Nixon wouldn’t leave peacefully and might turn to the military for help so we put Al in to keep Nixon on the straight and narrow and limit his actions in that area. Worked out fine. And the chinks were happy as a clam with the results.

GD: Forty people, probably innocent at that, is a bit much, don’t you think?

RTC: Well, Lenin said you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs first. And Gregory, you surely can’t believe that there any really innocent people in this world? We are born in original sin as you know.

GD: That’s the Catholic view. Well, I suppose that’s water under the bridge now.

RTC: I think Teddy Kennedy said that after Chappaquiddick.

GD: Is it possible I could write about this?

RTC: Actually, I would rather you didn’t. Hunt is still alive and there’s no point pushing him. He’s fallen from grace and is in decline so he might not be too receptive to having all of this aired.

GD: No problem. Anyway, who would publish it? It’s bad enough that I am writing about the CIA hiring the head of the Gestapo without adding insult to injury. Does Nixon know about this?

RTC: I don’t really know and I don’t really care. He knows enough to keep quiet and count his money. I don’t think he wants his twilight years terminated with prejudice. He might be paranoid but he is a pragmatist in the end. That ought to hold you until we move on to other presidential removals.

GD: It sounds like a Mayflower moving van ad.

RTC: If it works, don’t knock it.

GD: Well, the chinks are not that happy. Look at all the money they spent and look at our relations with the PRC.

RTC: Some things are destined to happen and all they did was to prolong the final act. Jerry Ford was no threat. A wonderfully cooperative man, Jerry was. During the Warren Commission, he called up old Hoover every night with the latest confidential dirt. No, Jerry was no problem. And the peanut farmer was too self-righteous to bother with and harmless. Actually, Nixon was lucky. If the Watergate thing hadn’t worked, we would have found something a little more permanent.

GD: Nixon didn’t know anything about the Kennedy business, did he?

RTC: No. Nixon was a Quaker and God knows what he would have thought about that. Nixon wasn’t into what our Russian friends call wet actions.

GD: I’m not fishing here but did you people have anything to with Bobby’s ascension to heaven?

RTC: No, that was Hoover. The Colonel   hated Bobby for calling him an old faggot and harassing him. And King too. He hated King because he was having an affair with a white woman and, on top of this, had gone to the Lenin school in Russia. Bobby was a quid pro quo for his brother in our eyes.

GD: It sounds like the Borgias.

RTC: Gregory, these are matters of state, not an exercise in morality. We have to do unpleasant things from time to time…I recall our man driving around in Africa with the rotting body of Lumumba stuffed into his trunk back in ’61 after we killed him. People go off fast in that climate. He said he was sick for days trying to get the stench out of his nose. Feel sorry for the poor man, why not? That sort of work is never easy. There are often sleepless nights.

GD: Speaking of that, let me leave you now and I’ll call up my construction expert and see how the blessed Swiss bell ringing box is coming along.

RTC: You just do that, Gregory, and I will be very, very happy if and when.


(Concluded at 9:21 AM CST)




Encyclopedia of American Loons

Thomas Lodi

Cancer woo is big business (just see the previous entry), and few things are more repugnantly ludicrous than pushing homeopathy for cancer – though we suspect that most people aren’t really aware of how amazingly ridiculous the magical pseudoscience of homeopathy actually is. Well, at the Oasis of Healing in Arizona, Thomas Lodi will offer you homeopathy for cancer. Apparently, Lodi used to be a real MD (remember that MDs aren’t necessarily trained in science and there is thus no particular reason to think that they are particularly immune to pseudoscientific nonsense), but apparently decided along the way to become a Homeopathic Medical Doctor specializing in “integrative oncology” instead (yes, the state of Arizona allows you to call yourself HMD, and they even allow you to perform surgery).

At the Oasis of Healing there are few limits on what kind of nonsense they’re willing to push (while, predictably, hinting at Big Pharma conspiracies). The guiding principle appears, predictably enough, to be a return to “nature” and natural remedies, though as far as we can tell they fail to explain precisely what makes homeopathic remedies more “natural” than conventional therapies – “natural cancer cures” is mostly an apparently effective marketing ploy. Well, cancer is itself natural, and Lodi seems to agree: “Cancer in fact, is the name that we have given to the extraordinary effort of the body to protect us against chronic irritation. Consequently, cancer has been termed, ‘the wound that wouldn’t heal’. And the term ‘cancer prevention’ is misused to include receiving vaccinations and diagnostic screening, such as mammograms. These and all others under this category of cancer prevention have nothing to do with the prevention of the development of the healing process that we have termed cancer.” Yes, according to Lodi, cancer is a “healing process”, like all disease: “It must be remembered that ‘disease’ is the body attempting to re-establish optimal functioning. Health is not the absence of disease nor is it the absence of anything. It is the presence of something. It is the ability to regenerate, rejuvenate and procreate. Health is the condition that results when one lives according to the biological laws that govern the functioning of the organism.” I hope even those with little or no medical background are able to see how insane this nonsense is (it sounds a bit like this).

So what does Lodi suggest for treating cancer? Intravenous vitamin C – a favorite among cancer quacks, and more or less completely useless – and Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), which must rank among the crazier and more insidious types of delusional quackery out there. How IPT manages to count as “natural” is anyone’s guess – though, once again, “natural” is of course only a marketing ploy; it doesn’t really mean anything.

In short: Lodi’s suggestions won’t help cure cancer, but insofar as his patients also renounce conventional therapies that do, few of them will end up in any position to provide negative testimonials (Lodi’s got testimonials). He also recommends “massage therapy or acupuncture” to “…. assist with opening energy meridians and allowing the lymph to drain more freely reducing the toxic load on the body,” and “[f]ocusing on the power of prayer or meditation will help strengthen the spirit and mental well-being which will add another level to the success of a patient healing from cancer.” It won’t.

His main focus seems to be on cancer prevention. Lodi recommends: Living Foods, juicing, oral & IV supplements, chelation therapy, lymphatic drainage, structural integration, infrared sauna, EWOT and colon hydrotherapy. None of these will remotely protect you from cancer, but some of them, like chelation therapy, are actively harmful. Lodi’s evidence? Testimonials, of course. You really didn’t need to ask. He’s got not a shred of evidence. But lack of evidence has never stopped people like Lodi, who apparently travels around to promote his nonsense, as well; he appeared for instance at the 2013 “A Cure to Cancer Summit”, a New Age conspiracy quackfest if there ever was one – the kind of event where the organizers actually used the fact that it featured Robert O. Young in its marketing campaign; yes, that’s the kind of company Lodi

Oh, and he doesn’t like criticism, apparently, and responds to criticism in precisely the manner you’d expect from someone like him.

Diagnosis: We think it is important to emphasize that Thomas Lodi is not only a crackpot offering to treat you for serious illnesses his alternative recommendations won’t treat; he is also (for that reason) a really, truly shitty person. Apparently he is also one of the more influential characters in “natural cancer cure” schemes. Stay well away.


Cathy Jameson

Cathy Jameson is an anti-vaccinationist and blogger at the antivaxx websites Age of Autism and The Autism File, where she continues to believe, against all evidence, truth and credibility, that vaccines cause autism and for instance gives advice on how to deal with vaccine “bullies” (or how to try to baffle those who know what they’re talking about with bullshit). And of course, Jameson – like so many antivaxxers – gets bullied everywhere, from the mainstream news who “refuses to offer both sides of the vaccine story” to shills for the pharmaceutical industry (who you can recognize by the fact that they seem to know their stuff and therefore disagree with antivaxxers who don’t – many people are apparently not “aware of the many risks of vaccinating or realize how much money goes into this industry”) to doctors, who continue to encourage vaccines despite Jameson’s delusional rantings (“Why is my doctor bullying me about this?”). She also defends Andrew Wakefield. “Do know the lingo,” is one piece of advice she gives to her readers, and reminds them, with regard to Wakefield’s retracted study, to “[t]ell [vaccine advocates] first that it was not a study; it was a paper.” No, seriously. Here she apparently aims for some kind of record in Dunning-Kruger: The conclusion, at least, is that vaccines don’t work and that the CDC must be in a conspiracy to get you hooked on them for nebulous reasons. Also toxins.

Here is Jameson recommending you to stay away from the flu vaccine by pointing out how she “survived the flu naturally” (which in her mind seems to cast doubt on the “CDC’s over-used scare tactic of ‘36,000 flu deaths per year’ statistic” because she didn’t die and it’s all about her), and she proudly described how she felt completely awful for several days. No, there’s no price for discovering the problems with her reasoning. The idiocy is so thick the mind boggles, even remembering that we’re dealing with an antivaxx loon. Oh, we’re not done: “Now that I’m over it, and as my family and I get back on track boosting our immune systems naturally with some vitamins, supplements and essential oils, I believe we’ll be able to get through the rest of the flu (and flu-shot) season unscathed.” Reports that she’s able to operate a doorknob remain unverified. Suffice to say her case for the efficacy of those “natural remedies” isn’t impressive.

At least her screeds are useful for illustrating the religious fervor of anti-vaxx dogmatism and how it contrasts with scientific inquiry.

Diagnosis: At least she’s ready to take on the conspiracies that continue to silence her by ignoring her, armed with all the fallacies in the book. Probably one of the most impressive examples of Dunning-Kruger we’ve had the opportunity to cover.


Comment: In a world where wishful thinking and over-ripe imaginations are far in excess of accuracy and truthfulness, historical incidents are almost always the victim of the wishful thinker or the creative liar. This is by no means a modern phenomenon as witness the strange and contradictory passages in the New Testament or in later histories that discussed the reality of dragons being seen in the sky, or in the water, and angels floating above battlefields. The desperation of some people who suffer from futile lives and chronic disappointments to have some special information with which to gain self-importance presents a rich soil in which to grow fantasies and delusional material.

And in this area we learn that Coca-Cola bottles made in Detroit have been discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptians, proving beyond a doubt that there was trade between the ancient Egyptians and the Western Hemisphere and that the pyramids were actually landing places for aliens.



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