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TBR News August 8, 2018

Aug 08 2018

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

Washington, D.C. August 8, 2018:” It was in the Spring of 2001 when a young computer expert living in the Mid-West developed a lethal virus intended to do a full-bore global destruction to the international computer/internet system.

The virus is spread from computer to computer system to computer and it is so constructed that it cannot be searched out by any known computer security system. The virus remains placidly dormant until it is triggered and then after a specific lapse of time, is fully activated.

What does this virus do?

Totally obliterates the computer hard drive and expunges it of all memory.

In essence, the hard drive is flat line and cannot be reconstructed.

What sort of a trigger would activate this?

Perhaps a first, middle and last name coupled with a fake social security number.

The probability of this trigger accidentally emerging would be a mathematical impossibility.

Let us say that this was triggered on the computer system of a major bank.

When the activating time arrived, everything on the bank computer would be gone. No one could access the ATM machine, cash checks, or otherwise have access to the bank’s services.

There would be mass panic and the bank’s computer people would install backup systems.

After a frenzied flurry, all would return to normal, that is until the activated triggers would work again.

Official records, social security, food stamps, passport data, criminal rap sheets, and dozens and dozens more of vital services would, in essence, be gone with the wind.

And since this project has been silently contaminating the global systems since 2001, the length and depth of the infections would be immense and all-inclusive.

Of course the Russians would be blamed but the computers would be as dead as a squashed cockroach and the entire societal global informational and business structures would gasp, gurgle and die.

People could not buy food, electrical systems would fail and soon, the woodlands of America, and the world, would be filled with frantic citizens digging caves in the soil, or places to bury their surviving family members.

The motto?

Never put all your eggs in one basket.”



The Table of Contents

  • Saudi Arabia’s row with Canada: Silencing Western criticism?
  • Is Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi fake? Is there a consensus from art scholars?
  • YouTube Bans Infowars’ Alex Jones for Spewing Hate Speech
  • The Lasting Trauma of Alex Jones’s Lies
  • A study of unhinged conspiracy
  • Dislodged fireproofing felled World Trade Center
  • Conversations with the Crow
  • Climate change: ‘Hothouse Earth’ risks even if CO2 emissions slashed

Saudi Arabia’s row with Canada: Silencing Western criticism?

Saudi Arabia has cut economic ties with Canada and expelled its ambassador after a call from Ottawa to release a human rights activist. Experts say the move is an attempt to silence critics and assert Riyadh’s authority.

August 8, 2018

by Wesley Dockery


Saudi Arabia gave Canada’s ambassador in Riyadh, Dennis Horak, 24 hours on Monday to leave the country, declaring him persona non grata. The country also announced all new economic trade with Canada would be suspended. The move came in reaction to a tweet last week from Ottawa’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, who said that “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s activists in Saudi Arabia including Samar Badawi.” Freeland urged the Saudi government to “immediately release them.”

Saudi Arabia has denounced the tweets as “blatant interference in the country’s domestic affairs,” as well as a “major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom’s laws and judicial process.” The Saudi government has said that it will cut scholarships for thousands of its students to study in Canada and national airline Saudia announced that it will suspend flights to Toronto beginning on August 13.

Despite the diplomatic blowback, Freeland has stayed firm on her criticism of the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. “We stand by what we have said,” she said Monday. “We will always speak up for human rights and women’s rights.”

Bahrain, UAE stand by Saudis

Several Arab nations in the region have expressed support for their Saudi allies in the dispute with Canada. “We can only stand with Saudi Arabia in defending its sovereignty and taking the necessary measures to protect its laws,” Anwar Gargash the minister of state for foreign affairs in the United Arab Emirates, tweeted Monday.

“Bahrain regrets Canada’s position, based on totally erroneous information that has nothing to do with reality on the ground,” Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “It absolutely rejects its unacceptable intervention in Saudi internal affairs.”

Mohammad bin Abdullah al-Zulfi, a Saudi political analyst and former member of the country’s Shura Council, a government advisory body, said he is proud of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his government’s response to Canada. “Saudi Arabia is a strong country and doesn’t need Canada, Germany or even America,” he told DW.

Saudis ‘have had enough’ Western criticism 

Guido Steinberg, a Middle East expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, believes there are two reasons why Saudi Arabia has reacted so harshly to the statements from the Canadian Foreign Ministry. On the one hand, the Saudi leadership has become “insecure” and “paranoid,” he told DW, but it is also possible that the “Saudis have had enough of Western criticism.”

“They might want to send a signal that they simply do not want to hear this anymore,” said Steinberg. He contends that the Saudis are making an example of Canada, and showing other Western nations that it is unacceptable to criticize the country’s domestic policy. “The Saudis are brash and somewhat insecure, but they know they are an important country,” Steinberg said.

According to Günter Meyer, director of the Center for Research on the Arab World at the University of Mainz, Crown Prince bin Salman is trying to prove to his people that his government is still effective in its foreign policy. Saudi Arabia has supported rebels in Syria who are losing a war against President Bashar Assad, and its military have become bogged down by the bloody and costly war it is waging in neighboring Yemen. “Mohammed bin Salman is being weakened in multiple areas of his foreign policy, so accepting such a hard criticism from Canada would weaken his position even more,” Meyer told DW.

Although Canada is standing by its criticism, Meyer believes that the country has a lot to lose. “From the Canadian perspective, it is a very serious backlash,” he said. Meyer argues that Saudi students who have had their scholarships to study in Canada revoked will move to the United States or the United Kingdom to pursue higher education, which is a loss for Canadian universities.

The annual trade between the countries is worth roughly 4 billion Canadian dollars (€2.65 billion, $3 billion), with much of that being Saudi purchases of Canadian military hardware. Saudi Arabia could potentially make up for those purchases by buying more materiel from the United States, for example — a move which would likely cut into Canadian defense industry profits.

Could it happen to Germany?

In November 2017, Riyadh summoned Berlin’s ambassador after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel remarked that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was being kept against his will in Saudi Arabia. Gabriel also made remarks that were seen as critical of the Saudi war in Yemen. Riyadh reportedly blacklisted German companies as a result of the incident.

When Steinberg was asked about whether Riyadh could expel Berlin’s ambassador if Germany criticizes Saudi policy, he replied: “Absolutely. They want to try and stop all Western criticism of their policies.” As of now, Saudi Arabia doesn’t even have an ambassador to Germany in Berlin, Steinberg noted, and it is not particularly interested in strengthening its relationship with European countries to the extent it has with US President Donald Trump’s administration. “Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is no longer relying on the Europeans or Canada,” he said.

          Comment: The Saudi Crown Prince locked his relatives up in a luxury hotel until they gave him huge sums of money to be freed. The Crown Prince then spent over 400 millions of the money on an alleged Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus.The painting is not by Leonardo, and has been retouched and overpainted so many times that it is worth about $30.

          Such inspired leadership from a cultured world leader!

I have a bridge I would like to sell the Crown Prince if he is interested.

Camels have been seen on it which ought to excite family memories in the Saudi  Royal Family who started out their elevated careers as camel jockeys.

Not, as some have suggested, as goat herders. Ed


Is Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi fake? Is there a consensus from art scholars?


In 1900, the Salvator Mundi was acquired as a painting by Bernardino Luini, one of Leonardo’s followers. It was exhibited as a work by Leonardo in 2011, but not all Leonardo scholars agree.

There’s no contemporary record of Leonardo working on this painting, and it’s provenance (its record of ownership) is spotty at best.

The Salvator Mundi is heavily restored, meaning that much of what we see isn’t the original paint. That should have diminished its value significantly.

The Salvator Mundi suffered extensive damage from an early stage and was subsequently repaired on a number of occasions. The original black background was replaced with green and later with a muddy brown.

By 1900, when the picture was acquired by Francis Cook as by Bernardino Luini, a follower of Leonardo, it had been “grotesquely repainted”, including the addition of a beard on the face of Christ.

Christie’s releases condition report on Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi

Frank Zöllner, the author of the catalogue raisonné Leonardo da Vinci – the Complete Paintings and Drawings, writes that it “exhibits a number of weaknesses. The flesh tones of the blessing hand, for example, appear pallid and waxen as in a number of workshop paintings. Christ’s ringlets also seem to me too schematic in their execution, the larger drapery folds too undifferentiated, especially on the right-hand side. They do not begin to bear comparison with the Mona Lisa, for example….“We might sooner see the Salvator Mundi as a high-quality product of Leonardo’s workshop painted only after 1507.”

Michael Daley, the director of ArtWatch UK, who said:

There isn’t enough to claim it’s a Leonardo. His figural development was towards greater naturalism and complexity of posture – heads turning this way, shoulders turning the other way, with twists and movement. The Salvator Mundi is dead-pan flat, like an icon, with no real depth in the modelling. Another unexplained peculiarity is that the figure itself is heavily and uncharacteristically cropped.

Daley has gone on to dispute the attribution in recent longer articles here:

Problems with the New York Leonardo Salvator Mundi Part I: Provenance and Presentation

Also, biographer Walter Issacson notes that the glass sphere doesn’t distort light as it would according to the rules of optics, which is surprising given Leonardo’s interest in observational science.

Walter Isaacson questions why an artistic genius, scientist, inventor, and engineer showed an “unusual lapse or unwillingness” to link art and science in depicting the orb.

He writes: “In one respect, it is rendered with beautiful scientific precision … But Leonardo failed to paint the distortion that would occur when looking through a solid clear orb at objects that are not touching the orb.

“Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images. Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it.”

He argues that if Leonardo had accurately depicted the distortions, the palm touching the orb would have remained the way he painted it, but hovering inside the orb would be a reduced and inverted mirror image of Christ’s robes and arm.

It is all the more puzzling, he notes, as Leonardo was at that time “deep into his optics studies, and how light reflects and refracts was an obsession”.

YouTube Bans Infowars’ Alex Jones for Spewing Hate Speech

The internet’s king of conspiracy theories just lost millions of followers after Google’s sister company pulled the plug. Twitter, however, is open for business.

August 6, 2018

by Will Sommer

Daily Beast

YouTube banned the main Infowars account from its site on Monday, robbing founder Alex Jones of his largest platform to spew hate speech.

Around noon, YouTube revoked TheAlexJones channel, writing: “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” Specifically, YouTube’s terms of service prohibit hate speech and Jones has been spewing invective for years. He falsely claimed parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting were “crisis actors.” Then he promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory alleging there was a child-sex slave ring run by Democrats under a Washington, D.C. pizza shop. Earlier this year, Infowars blamed the Parkland shooting on the wrong person in an attempt to suggest the attack was perpetrated by a “communist.” Last week, Jones mimed shooting special counsel Robert Mueller.

YouTube told CNBC that Jones had broken the site’s rules about hate speech and harassment.

“All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube,” it said in a statement. “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”

Jones reacted to the YouTube ban with a broadcast from Periscope, the livestreaming platform owned by Twitter. Jones claimed that he was the victim of a “globalist death star” intent on banning conservatives from social media.

Jones claimed that he had expected the ban and had prepared for it. He urged his followers to react to the ban by buying more of his InfoWars dietary supplements, imploring them to “feed your gladiator.”

Twitter, the only remaining major social media platform that hasn’t banned Jones and InfoWars from their main accounts, said the accounts do not currently violate its rules.

Infowars host Paul Joseph Watson tweeted “#FreeInfowars” after the ban.

Jones had a huge audience on YouTube for spreading his ideas and selling the dietary supplements that help fund his conspiracy-theory empire. He had more than 2.4 million subscribers on his main channel and earned more than 17 million views over the last 30-day period, according to social media analysis site SocialBlade.

Other Infowars-related accounts appeared to be unaffected by the ban. Watson has another 1.3 million YouTube subscribers, while other Infowars accounts have a combined 423,000 subscribers.

In recent weeks, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify had banned Infowars, but YouTube had seemed reluctant to impose the death penalty. Instead, it reprimanded Jones. In July, for example, YouTube struck four Infowars videos from the site—theoretically, more than the three “strikes” required under YouTube policy to justify a ban. But YouTube opted to bundle the four strikes together, meaning that Jones’ channel instead only received one strike.

Sleeping Giants, a liberal campaign aimed at pressuring advertisers, pressed YouTube on Monday to ban Jones in the wake of the Facebook and Apple bans. The group claimed that YouTube has been “doing backflips” to avoid banning Infowars, citing the idiosyncratic application of the “three strikes” policy.

Infowars reporter Jake Lloyd alluded to the possibility of a YouTube ban in a video Monday morning, urging Infowars fans to prepare for a crackdown by following Infowars’ backup accounts.

Lloyd claimed that employees of the social-media platforms were attempting to ruin Jones and his employees.

“They want me on the street,” Lloyd said. “They want Alex’s kids to not be able to eat.”



The Lasting Trauma of Alex Jones’s Lies

The systems that have for so long helped to enforce the notion of collective truth in America are no longer sufficient: Deception is everywhere. And it is dangerous.

August 3, 2018

by Megan Garber

The Atlantic

Sean Hannity, last year, spent weeks peddling falsehoods about the death of Seth Rich on Fox News; he faced, effectively, no repercussions. Members of the American media engage in a long debate about whether to refer to the stuff that spews from the mouth and the iPhone keyboard of the president as “baseless claims” or “misleading statements” or “lies.” Meanwhile, the untruths proliferate, heating the atmosphere and making it, day by day, just a little bit harder to breathe. In a press briefing this week, the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders implied—based on a thoroughly debunked urban myth—that the press, in reporting on intelligence about Osama bin Laden in the late ’90s, might have an indirect responsibility for 9/11. Sean Spicer, who preceded Sanders as an issuer of such inaccuracies from the White House briefing room, is currently engaged in an ebullient cross-country book tour promoting the memoir he was contracted to produce in part because he proved to be so entertaining as he spouted his lies. Slate, tapping into the zeitgeist, recently offered an extensive explainer about the nuanced differences between the grifter and the grafter.

This summer, Michiko Kakutani, the celebrated former chief book critic of The New York Times, released her book The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump. The volume offers, despite its slight length, an impassioned argument about what is at stake when the president’s disregard for empirical reality is allowed to trickle down to the rest of us—how easily Americans could descend into the epistemic chaos that so easily becomes the breeding ground for autocrats and despots and tyrants. Kakutani’s gathered elements of wisdom—from George Orwell, from Hannah Arendt, from Jacques Derrida, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, from Fight Club—are infused, finally, with anguish: What, truly, can be done about this? What happens when the lies become environmental?

The Death of Truth has been criticized in some quarters for its tendency to diagnose the problems of a post-truth world rather than offer solutions to them; you could read the diagnosis itself, however, as its own revealingly sad conclusion. The questions that infuse Kakutani’s work, after all, are repeated in several other recent books that grapple with the power of lies. Books with telling titles like, yes, Post-Truth. And Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life. And Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us. And On Truth, with its simple title reading, revealingly, as its own rebuke to the status quo.

The books are building on the fact that Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism have been enjoying a resurgence on Amazon—a popular attempt to grapple with the new state of things, before it becomes irrevocably solidified into Americans’ habits of thought and heart. “Ironically, at a time when the president’s supporters mock liberal sensitivities,” The Washington Post’s book critic, Carlos Lozada, notes, “Trump’s untruth sells best precisely when feelings and instincts overpower facts, when America becomes a safe space for fabrication.”

That space, as Lozada also points out, has been long in the making. Stephen Colbert, long before Donald Trump made good on his expressions of interest in a presidential run, mocked George W. Bush and his ilk for their belief that “we create our own reality.” Here’s how Colbert summarized his new and enduring coinage, the word truthiness, in 2005:

Now I’m sure some of the Word Police, the wordanistas over at Webster’s, are gonna say, “Hey, that’s not a word.” Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true, or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books. They’re all fact, no heart.

There are some things that are more important than truth: This is one of the core premises of Trumpism, defined far before it occurred to the man in question to burnish his own presidential ambitions by questioning Barack Obama’s right to the same. The idea lurks in every new lie issued from the White House, in every new conspiracy theory that is moved into the mainstream discourse, in every new instance that “fake news” is summoned as a rebuttal or, worse, as a joke. P.T. Barnum’s crucial insight, as he stitched the desiccated head of a monkey onto the desiccated tail of a fish and insisted that his Frankenbeast was the shrunken corpse of a “FeeJee Mermaid,” was that people, on some level, like to be fooled. “Humbug,” as Barnum termed it, wasn’t merely a scam. It was also a game: an entertainment, a distraction. The kind of puzzle-at-scale that is reiterated when, for example, adherents of QAnon tell people that the “truth” of the world and its workings can be learned if only they “follow the White Rabbit.”

In her 2016 book The Confidence Game, an exploration of the minds and methods of con artists, Maria Konnikova argues that cons thrive, in particular, during times of transition—in the cultural chaos that typically results from the lurchings of economic and political shifts. That is because con artists are skilled above all, Konnikova notes, at “exploiting the sense of unease we feel when it appears that the world as we know it is about to change.” Now, in this time of American upheaval—populism, the digital transition, the storms of a stifled planet—con artists like Alex Jones have been given a microphone. And, with it, a megaphone.

Here is a headline that CBS News ran on Thursday: “Alex Jones’s Lawyer Makes Case Against Sandy Hook Parents Who Claim Death Threats.” It’s a summary of events that makes clear, in its concision, the upside-down moralities of the Jones case, which involves an attempt to gloss over the lies Alex Jones has told with normalizing legal niceties: arguments that his conspiracy theories are merely “opinion,” and that they therefore constitute speech protected by the First Amendment. Arguments that the parents of Noah Pozner, by virtue of their involvement in Sandy Hook as a news event, are public figures, and therefore required to prove that Jones spread false claims as a result of actual malice, rather than mere confusion or callousness or negligence.

Which is to say: arguments that suggest a tacit acknowledgement of how thoroughly lies have infiltrated the very systems that were developed, over time, to arbitrate truth in America. Arguments that engage in a great performance of equivalence: the lies on the one side of the table, the truths on the other. Arguments that participate, in that, in a somber metaphor for a time in which journalists are mocked as liars and threatened as the enemies of the people, and in which expertise is dismissed as elitism, and in which truth has been allowed to be treated not as the only thing that matters, but rather as a choice—an option that is often, being all fact and no heart, an imposition.


A study of unhinged conspiracy

by Christian Jürs


The WTC buildings collapsed solely for the following reasons, all manner of “expert” onions to the contrary and in spite of the suggestion of “plasmoid clouds.” “Ex-Soviet controlled rockets,” “explosives planted in both buildings,” and on and on.

Two hijacked commercial airliners slammed into these buildings, setting fires that weakened the structure, causing the weight of the building above the point of impact to collapse down on itself.

There is absolutely no mystery at all about this.

Stories about rockets, explosives and other matters are entertaining and keep some people occupied but neither I nor most structural engineers I know believe any of these burgeoning urban legends for a nanosecond.

Next, I suppose, the killings at Columbine High School will be blamed on trained dwarves, members of the Mossad, killer robots, the Skull and Bones Society of Yale, the Teamsters, ABC News or the Mormon Church.

The public has lost confidence in their government and when that happens, all kind of rumor, theory and legends grow up like fungus in the woods after a long rain.

Those with a technical bent, endlessly postulate on the melting point of steel, the heat of burning jet fuel, the exact size of entrance holes in buildings and on and on. In the end, we have entertaining theory but no practice.

The same thing has become evident in the post mortem stories about the Kennedy assassination. Mongolian dwarves, the KGB, Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA and a dozen other entities are absolutely believed by this or that thrilled discoverer to have committed the deed.

Government stupidity, which is always with us, contributed to the growth of legend over the years until the underbrush is so thick that it could hide a wooly mammoth and sixteen university professors.


Dislodged fireproofing felled World Trade Center

April 6, 2005

Agence France Presse

The twin towers of the World Trade Center would probably be standing today, if the impact of the planes used in the September 11, 2001 attack had not destroyed fireproofing material, experts said.

After what it described as the most detailed examination of a building failure ever conducted, the US Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said it would be suggesting major changes to the way skyscrapers are built and managed.

In assessing the events that led to World Trade Center’s collapse, the NIST report said the structural impact of the planes and subsequent jet fuel-ignited, multi-floor fires were not in themselves enough to bring the towers down.

“The reason the towers collapsed is because the fireproofing was dislodged,” said Shyam Sunder, lead investigator for the NIST building and fire safety investigation into the disaster.

If the fireproofing had remained in place, Sunder said, the fires would have burned out and moved on without weakening key elements to the point of structural collapse.

He drew an analogy with the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster when the absence of a small piece of insulation foam — knocked off during launch — allowed fire to seep into the shuttle’s entire wing span during re-entry with catastrophic results.

New alternatives to traditional fireproofing should be explored, Sunder said, citing a paint-like substance which, if applied in sufficient layers, would stick “even if a plane hit it.”

Nearly 2,750 people were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center by members of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

Roughly 17,400 people were in the skyscrapers at the time of the attack, and NIST estimated that the death toll would have been closer to 14,000 if the two towers had been filled to their 50,000-person capacity.

The report said each jet severed perimeter columns, damaged interior core columns and dislodged fireproofing as they penetrated the buildings. The weight carried by the severed columns was spread to others.

Fires caused by the jet fuel were fed by the building contents and oxygen entering through breached walls and windows.

“The floors weakened and sagged from the fires, pulling inward on the perimeter columns,” the report said.

“Floor sagging and exposure to high temperatures caused the perimeter columns to bow inward and buckle — a process that spread across the faces of the buildings.

“Collapse then ensued,” it said.

In examining the emergency services response on September 11 and the evacuation procedures, the NIST report echoed other probes in highlighting a lack of coordination and poor communications equipment.

The report cited one senior emergency services officer inside the north tower of the trade center as saying he would have known more about what was going on if he had been watching it on television.

“The lack of timely information sharing and inadequate communication capabilities, likely contributed to the loss of emergency responder lives,” the report concluded.

The evacuation of the twin towers has generally been called a success, with 87 percent of the occupants — including more than 99 percent of those below the floors hit by the planes — managing to get out.

The south tower collapsed 56 minutes after impact and the north tower in 102 minutes.

The NIST report noted that a full-capacity evacuation would have taken around four hours — a fatal length of time.

Occupants were often unprepared for the physical challenge of evacuating from higher floors. “It’s pretty demanding, especially if you want to do it fast,” Sunder said.

The NIST report, running to some 10,000 pages, is still in draft form, with a final version, complete with definitive findings and recommendations, to be released in September.


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. 11a

Date:  Monday, April 29, 1996

Commenced:  9:17 AM CST

Concluded: 10:11 AM CST


GD: Good morning, Robert. Interesting news on the wire.

RTC: Good morning. What news is that, Gregory?

GD: I see that Colby [1]appears to have had a boating accident.

RTC: So I understand.

GD: I believe you mentioned this earlier.

RTC: I very possibly may have, Gregory. We live in dangerous times indeed.

GD: Apparently he went out for a midnight excursion on the Potomac and did not come back.

RTC: A terrible loss. They haven’t found him yet have they?

GD: Not yet. Depends on the temperature of the water. When gasses build up in the body, it will rise like Jesus to the surface. We used to call them floaters when I was doing pathology and believe me, they stank badly. That is unless the bottom feeders got to him first. I can foresee a closed casket and lots of air freshener, Robert.

RTC: Graphic side to a great national tragedy. When we shot Paisley in the back of the head and chucked him off his sail boat, we put weights on him so he wouldn’t come up. When divers did find him, he was rotten to the core. Had to cut off his hands to try to get fingerprints.

GD: What was his transgression?

RTC: We let it get out he was suspected of dealing with the Soviets but actually, it had to do with the Kennedy business. Now that the box has arrived here, we will discuss this historical event much further. By the way, Gregory, when I turn it on, all the birds vanish from the area like magic. I can only imagine what must be going on inside. At least it works with the birds and one other thing I noticed. Some local was walking his dog on their side of the street and the dog began to yelp and howl when he came in range. Do you think the Swiss are more sensitive than dogs? I was halfway expecting to hear screaming from over there. Well, I followed your advice and only left it on for about twenty minutes for the first time and a little longer for the second.

GD: I’m glad you’re happy, Robert.

RTC: Well, another DCI gone.

GD: And lamented?

RTC: Certainly not by me, Gregory. Nor, I should think, by many others over there. A nasty man who had a mouth problem.

GD: I hope for the sake of all of us they find him but without a bullet in the back of his head. If the body never comes up, there will be endless books and articles about his vanishing. Some drooling pinhead will swear they saw him playing golf in Madrid. When Kitchener went down with the Hampshire, years later there were claims he was alive and well in Patagonia, running a penguin farm.

RTC: Yes, there’s a lot of that. The Kennedy business has the myth makers working overtime. Have you read any of the fantasy books? Men with umbrellas? People hidden in the sewers? Hoover shooting at him from some bank building? The Hunt brothers potting away from a black helicopter? Well, we’re responsible for a lot of that. Feed silly rumors to the babblers in the nut fringe and they stir up so much mud, you can’t see the truth.

GD: Maybe it’s on the bottom with Colby.

RTC: Remind me to avoid crab cakes for a few months.

GD: Mueller was telling me about Dulles.

RTC: Which one? Allen or John?

GD: Both, actually.

RTC: What did he say about Allen?

GD: Mueller knew him before he became DCI, when?

RTC: In ’53.

GD: Yes.

RTC: Kennedy forced him out in ’61. Kennedy did not trust us and threatened to break up the CIA. Not a wise move.

GD: No, it wasn’t. And Kennedy is dead and the agency lives on.

RTC: Yes, it does. What did Mueller tell you about Allen?

GD: Oh, that he met Dulles in Switzerland during the war. Dulles had no idea who Mueller was. Heini told me Dulles was a sucker for the plant and he loaded him up with all kinds of fake information about what was going on in Germany and Dulles ate the whole horse, saddle and all.

RTC: Allen was never too bright. His brother was a dyed-in-the wool Nazi, just like another one of our DCI’s father. Prescott Bush. But Allen was not a particularly deep or thoughtful man all in all. His son got shot in the head in Korea and came back an idiot so Allan was very bad to him.

GD: Beat him up?

RTC: Worse. He ignored him. Allen was not a kind or thoughtful man. But his wife really did a number on him at the end. Allen was dying in ’69 and they had a Christmas party at his place. Wife was downstairs with the guests, having a wonderful time. Not a word about Allen except that he was not feeling well. Finally, one of the boys decided to go up and wish Allen a Merry Christmas. Guess what he found?

GD: Tell me.

RTC: Allen lying in a urine and shit soaked bed, completely out of it and mumbling to himself. She had left him up there for quite a while. Ugly. She really must have hated him. The boys picked him up, wrapped him in a clean blanket and took him to the hospital where he died about a month later. She didn’t care at all and was very upset that they used one of her good blankets.

GD: You mentioned Prescott Bush. I have an original medal presentation paper giving a high Nazi decoration to him. Signed by Hitler in 1938. I’m surprised this never got out. I also have a picture of IBM’s Watson with a higher decoration, sitting in opera box with Hitler. The IBM people have been trying to buy that from me for ten years.

RTC: You asking too much for it?

GD: No. I thought it might look good in a book. Was George a good DCI?

RTC: George was a sly, effeminate creature as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. When he was VP, they attended a state dinner in the White House and he brought his older boy with him. That one was a chronic boozer and during an intermission, he went out and pissed in one of the downstairs halls. I understand Nancy Reagan 86’ed him out of the White House. His brother is a con-man, unconvicted of ripping banks off because Daddy put on the pressure. And his wife is like something out of a Norse legend. A real dominatrix-type. You never know what goes on behind the curtains, Gregory, but I do. It’s enough to shake anyone’s belief in the honesty of our leaders, who hasn’t worked inside the Beltway long enough. Bush was only DCI for a year and I never had any use for him. Smiled a lot and as vicious and back-stabbing as anyone I ever knew. But then so many of them are.

GD: Did you know a William King Harvey?

RTC: Oh, indeed I did. What do you know about Bill?

GD: Mueller knew him and was boffing his wife. Mueller said he was an ex-FBI man whom Hoover fired for being a chronic drunk.

RTC: That’s true. Hoover was a prim and proper one.

GD: And Harvey used to carry a gun around and point it at people.

RTC: Harvey was fat and apparently hung like a stud cricket so the gun made up for what nature had forgotten.

GD: What is it that they said about the flat-chested woman? What nature has forgotten she can remedy with cotton?

RTC: I’ve heard that somewhere before.

GD: Nothing is original. Well, if and when Colby floats, will you go to his funeral?

RTC: That would be a little hypocritical, wouldn’t it Gregory?

GD: Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, Robert.

RTC: You’re a very wise person, Gregory. No wonder Bill and Tom are so upset with you.

GD: And don’t forget Wolfe.

RTC: I don’t like to go to the archives for fear he’ll slink up to me with more hate stories about you.

GD: He’s supposed to be such an expert on the Third Reich but he fakes it mostly. His great triumph was to discover an old record with an alleged speech of Himmler’s in which Reichsheini is talking about killing off all the Jews. Bob made such a fuss over his discovery. I got him to send me a tape of it because it’s in the archives and I got ahold a friend of mine who collects German newsreels. He had a 1939 ufa newsreel with a part of a speech by Himmler so he made a tape of that and I got another friend of mine to compare the speech patterns. Not the same. Either Bob’s precious record that he used to play for Jewish groups or the original newsreel was a stone fake.

RTC: I don’t think it takes a Harvard graduate to see which was which. Do you think he made it? And planted it?

GD: Not personally. His wife is German but Bob is not fluent enough to pull that one off. Probably got it from some co-religionist, planted it, discovered it and exploited it. Or, of course, they faked the Himmler speech on the newsreel. So much of these things are invented and of course the public believes it.

RTC: Tell me, Gregory, what does Wolfe think about our hiring the head of the Gestapo?

GD: Oh and many others. What? Well, he’s a torn person. He’d love to expose this but he can’t because he sucks up to officialdom and can’t have it both ways. I love to tell him about Krichbaum and others and when I do, I suppose he would like to kill me. Kill the messenger, not the message is the hallmark of the very small of mind.

RTC: True enough. And Bill and Tom are highly annoyed that we talk. I think they’re afraid of what I might say to you. Wouldn’t you agree?

GD: Yes. Another convocation of the small of mind.

RTC: But large of ego. When he was younger, we used to call Tom the Arrow Shirt Boy. Ring a bell?
GD: The clean-cut drawings?

RTC: Yes. Really handsome men and beautiful women tend to be very shallow in their social relationships. That’s because they don’t have to make any effort to attract attention. Uglier people have to rely on personality.

GD: Yes, that’s true. My first wife was really beautiful but stupid as a post and very greedy. It’s amazing how we can delude ourselves, isn’t it? She wanted me to give a lot of money to her brother to buy a gas station. He fell off his motorcycle and did damage to his head. I don’t think he could run a bicycle pump, let alone a gas station. I refused and she retaliated by moving her bloated mother in with us. Mom brought four nasty cats with her. I like animals but these loved to shit on the carpets and one loved to take dumps on the kitchen counters. Talking about this did no good so one day while Mom and her hatchling were out trying to spend my money, I took the dear pussies, stuffed them into a potato sack and tossed them into the apartment house pool. When the bubbles stopped, I dove in, fished them out and laid them in a nice, wet, row at the edge of the garden. Threw the bag away. Mom and the Other came home and she started looking for the dear felines. When I told her I had put them outside to do their nasty business, Mom waddled outside, shrieking for her lovelies. Then she really started to wail when she saw the line-up by the pool. When I was at work the next day, they both moved out and took all the furniture with them. This was not a good idea because I had rented the place furnished. I had to pay for the furniture, of course.

RTC: Did she leave the cats behind?

GD: No, they were gone. I think they had a state funeral for them. Burial at Arlington.

RTC: I take it you got a divorce?

GD: Actually, no, I did not. A friend of mine saw the Other passing out drinks in Vegas but when I called personnel at her casino, they said she’d left the place about a month before. She did surface about twenty five years later. Someone sent me a package of old books from LA and wrapped them in the local paper. By God, there was the Other playing golf out at Palm Springs. The long and short of it was, Robert, that she had married a wealthy real estate developer and had two kids by him.

RTC: No divorce?

GD: No, she was too stupid to think of that. I took this to a lawyer I knew but he was not interested until he found out that her husband, who had serious IRS problems, had put all his assets in Other’s name. Then he got very interested because, as he pointed out to me, in California, property acquired by either party in a marriage is considered community property. He was suddenly very eager to take the case on a contingency fee basis because half of what she had was mine and we were still legally married. Here we’re talking about bigamy as well. Much uproar, threats by massive legal firms in LA and in the end, they settled before we made a public filing. I lived on the rewards of my patience and misjudgment for years. And then we were divorced, very privately. Love is a wonderful thing, Robert. Do you know the difference between Herpes and love?

RTC: I can’t say that I do.

GD: Herpes is forever, Robert.

RTC: Now that’s not kind, Gregory.

GD: A very shrewd observation. If I had been a kind person, I would not have sent you those wonderful poems.

RTC: That was not meant unkindly. Let’s say a joke.

GD: Well, we can talk about Kennedy one of these days, can’t we?

RTC: As I said. I can get in touch with you later this week if you want.

GD: Let me call you. I’m sure you’ll be watching and waiting for Colby to emerge from the depths.


(Concluded at 10:11 AM CST)


Climate change: ‘Hothouse Earth’ risks even if CO2 emissions slashed

August 6, 2018

by Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

BBC News

It may sound like the title of a low budget sci-fi movie, but for planetary scientists, “Hothouse Earth” is a deadly serious concept.

Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.

Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still lurch on to this “irreversible pathway”.

Their study shows it could happen if global temperatures rise by 2C.

An international team of climate researchers, writing in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says the warming expected in the next few decades could turn some of the Earth’s natural forces – that currently protect us – into our enemies.

Each year the Earth’s forests, oceans and land soak up about 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere adding to temperatures.

But as the world experiences warming, these carbon sinks could become sources of carbon and make the problems of climate change significantly worse.

So whether it is the permafrost in northern latitudes that now holds millions of tonnes of warming gases, or the Amazon rainforest, the fear is that the closer we get to 2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, the greater the chances that these natural allies will spew out more carbon than they currently now take in.

Back in 2015, governments of the world committed themselves to keeping temperature rises well below 2 degrees, and to strive to keep them under 1.5. According to the authors, the current plans to cut carbon may not be enough if their analysis is correct.

“What we are saying is that when we reach 2 degrees of warming, we may be at a point where we hand over the control mechanism to Planet Earth herself,” co-author Prof Johan Rockström, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, told BBC News.

“We are the ones in control right now, but once we go past 2 degrees, we see that the Earth system tips over from being a friend to a foe. We totally hand over our fate to an Earth system that starts rolling out of equilibrium.”

Currently, global temperatures have risen about 1 degree above pre-industrial levels and they are rising by around 0.17C per decade.

In their new study the authors looked at 10 natural systems, which they term “feedback processes”.

Right now, these help humanity to avoid the worst impacts of carbon and temperature rises, and include forests, Arctic sea-ice, and methane hydrates on the ocean floor.

The worry is that if one of these systems tips over and starts pushing large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, the rest could follow like a row of dominoes.

What exactly is a Hothouse Earth scenario?

In short, it’s not good.

According to the research paper, crossing into a Hothouse Earth period would see a higher global temperature than at any time in the past 1.2 million years.

The climate might stabilise with 4-5 degrees C of warming above the pre-industrial age. Thanks to the melting of ice sheets, the seas could be 10-60 metres higher than now.

Essentially, this would mean that some parts of the Earth would become uninhabitable.

The impacts would be “massive, sometimes abrupt and undoubtedly disruptive,” say the authors.

The only upside, if you can call it that, is that the worst impacts may not be felt for a century or two. The downside is that we wouldn’t really be able to do anything about it, once it starts.

Are the current heatwaves in the UK and Europe evidence of a Hothouse Earth?

The authors say the extreme weather events we are seeing right now around the world cannot be immediately associated with the risk of passing 2 degrees C.

However, they argue that it may be evidence that the Earth is more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

“One should learn from these extreme events and take these as a piece of evidence that we should be even more cautious,” said Prof Rockström.

“It may support the conclusion that if this can happen at one degree, then we should at least not be surprised or too dismissive of conclusions that things can happen more abruptly than we previously thought.”

Surely we’ve known about these risks before?

What these authors are saying is that up to now, we’ve underestimated the power and sensitivity of natural systems.

People have been thinking that climate change would be a global emergency for everyone if temperatures rose 3-4 degrees by the end of this century.

But this paper argues that beyond 2 degrees, there is a significant risk of turning natural systems – that presently help keep temperatures down – into massive sources of carbon that would put us on an “irreversible pathway” to a world that is 4-5 degrees warmer than before the industrial revolution.

Any good news here at all?

Surprisingly, yes!

We can avoid the hothouse scenario but it’s going to take a fundamental re-adjustment of our relationship with the planet.

“Climate and other global changes show us that we humans are impacting the Earth system at the global level. This means that we as a global community can also manage our relationship with the system to influence future planetary conditions.

“This study identifies some of the levers that can be used to do so,” says co-author Katherine Richardson from the University of Copenhagen.

So not only are we going to have to stop burning fossil fuels by the middle of this century, we are going to have to get very busy with planting trees, protecting forests, working out how to block the Sun’s rays and developing machines to suck carbon out of the air.

The authors say a total re-orientation of human values, equity, behaviour and technologies is required. We must all become stewards of the Earth.

What do other scientists say?

Some say the authors of this paper are too extreme. Many others say their conclusions are sound.

“As a result of human impacts on climate, the new paper argues that we’ve gone beyond any chance of the Earth cooling ‘of its own accord’,” said Dr Phil Williamson from the University of East Anglia, UK.

“Together these effects could add an extra half a degree Celsius by the end of the century to the warming that we are directly responsible for ‒ thereby crossing thresholds and tipping points that seem likely to occur around 2 degrees C, and committing the planet to irreversible further change, as Hothouse Earth.”

Others are concerned that the authors’ faith in humanity to grasp the serious nature of the problem is misplaced.

“Given the evidence of human history, this would seem a naive hope,” said Prof Chris Rapley, from University College London.

“At a time of the widespread rise of right-wing populism, with its associated rejection of the messages of those perceived as ‘cosmopolitan elites’ and specific denial of climate change as an issue, the likelihood that the combination of factors necessary to allow humanity to navigate the planet to an acceptable ‘intermediate state’ must surely be close to zero.”









[1]  William Egan Colby -January 4, 1920 – April 27, 1996  spent a career in intelligence for the United States, culminating in holding the post of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from September 1973, to January 1976.

During World War II Colby served with the Office of Strategic Services. After the war he joined the newly created CIA. Before and during the Vietnam War, Colby served as Chief of Station in Saigon, Chief of CIA’s Far East Division, and head of the Civil Operations and Rural Development effort; he oversaw the Phoenix Program. After Vietnam, Colby became Director of Central Intelligence and during his tenure, under intense pressure from Congress and the media, adopted a policy of relative openness about U.S. intelligence activities to the Senate Church Committee and House Pike Committee. Colby served as DCI under President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford and was replaced by future President George H. W. Bush on January 30, 1976.Colby, in his old age, began to talk and in talking, annoyed his former friends in the CIA so they drowned him without ceremony. The CIA has killed quite a few of its talkative members.

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