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TBR News December 12, 2018

Dec 12 2018

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

Washington, D.C. December 12, 2018: “Neither the Poles or the Ukrainians want the Russians to bypass their countries when delivering gas to Europe. They steal gas, do not pay for it and wail with despair when their free gas is cut off. At the same time, American natural gas producers want to sell their more expensive products to Poland and the Ukraine and bray like sick donkeys in an effort to persuade the dimwitted President to use his Imperial persona to force Europe to buy only overpriced American products. Europe pays no attention to the donkey chorus or the belchings of the president and the pipeline from Russia to Germany is nearing completion. This is an excellent example of realities versus wishings and in the end, the US can sell its gas to Mexico who can’t pay for it either”

 

The Table of Contents 

  • US lawmakers want to put a cork in Russia’s gas pipeline to Europe
  • Germany to back Nord Stream 2 despite Ukraine tensions
  • Absentee-ballot fraud scandal speaks to wider issue of racism in North Carolina In heated on-camera clash, Trump fights with top Democrats on border wa
  • Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen jailed for three years
  • Biological Annihilation
  • The Evil Catholics Murdered Abraham Lincoln
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 US lawmakers want to put a cork in Russia’s gas pipeline to Europe

December 12, 2018

RT

The US House of Representatives is once again calling on the European Union to ban the Russia-led construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline and has called for sanctions against the project.

The resolution was passed by the Republican-led Congress during Monday’s session. Echoing US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against the construction of the undersea pipeline, the lawmakers called it “a drastic step backward for European energy security and United States interests.” The House now wants the US president to step in and even impose economic penalties under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that all Washington’s attempts to hamper the project are simply driven by economic reasons and are a shining example of unfair competition. Reacting to the latest House motion, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there is nothing new in this “unacceptable” position. He added that the project is purely economic and serves not only Russia’s interests as a gas supplier, but Germany as an EU member-country and its consumers in the first place.

The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline is set to deliver Russian natural gas to European consumers. The pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea and is expected to double the existing pipeline’s capacity to 110 billion cubic meters. The pipeline, controlled by a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, is being built in cooperation with German energy firms Wintershall and Uniper, French multinational Engie, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Austria’s OMV.

Europe seems to be reluctant to ditch the project despite US pressure and criticism. On Monday, Austria’s OMV energy group CEO Rayner Zele stated that the company is set to continue financing the pipeline next year. OMV has already invested some 531 million euros ($607 million) into the project, Zele told Ria Novosti.

In early December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that Berlin’s abandoning the project would not make sense as Russia will still go on with it. Germany earlier rebuked Trump’s criticism of the project after the US leader accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Moscow citing Germany’s alleged dependency on natural gas from Russia.

 

Germany to back Nord Stream 2 despite Ukraine tensions

December‎ ‎4‎, ‎2018

EURACTIV.com with Reuters

Germany will not withdraw its political support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia, its foreign minister said on Monday (3 December), as some lawmakers suggested curtailing the project to punish Moscow for its seizure of Ukrainian ships and their crew.

Russia is resisting international calls to release three Ukrainian ships seized last month in the Kerch Strait, which controls access to the Sea of Azov near the Crimea region that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Moscow accuses the 24 sailors of illegally entering Russian waters by trying to pass through the strait. Kyiv says the sailors did nothing wrong, and its ships have the right to pass through the strait to reach Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

Several German lawmakers have linked the standoff to support for Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

But Foreign minister Heiko Maas, a member of the Social Democrats, junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, told reporters the pipeline was a commercial project that would continue even if German firms pull out.

Remaining part of the project gave Germany political influence, including over Russian energy policy towards Ukraine, Maas said.

“It would still be built, but there would not be anyone advocating for alternative gas transit through Ukraine. That is why we consider it important to remain engaged politically.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a leading candidate to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm of her Christian Democrat party, said on Sunday one option might be to reduce the amount of gas that will flow through the pipeline.

Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, also raised questions about Nord Stream 2 and said further sanctions against Russia would have to be considered unless diplomatic efforts bore fruit.

“When diplomatic efforts to ease tensions fail, we cannot ignore the question of whether it is responsible to further increase the dependence of Germany and the European Union on Russian gas,” he told Reuters.

‘Not totally unconditional’

The pipeline project aims to double capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline from next year, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine.

Germany has insisted Ukraine should continue to play a role – and receive revenues – for allowing gas shipments across its territory. Merkel secured a pledge from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue in August, Maas said.

Russia’s Gazprom is the sole shareholder in Nord Stream 2, shouldering half of the construction cost. Its Western partners are Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall , Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Engie and Austria’s OMV.

The United States, also keen to export gas to Europe, argues that the pipeline will harm Ukraine’s economic interests and leave Germany dependent on Russia for decades to come.

After meeting Putin at the G20 summit, Merkel called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and allow shipping access through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. But she did not endorse further sanctions against Moscow.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close Merkel ally, on Friday said the European Union and the United States should consider banning from their ports Russian ships originating from the Sea of Azov in response to the incident.

Another contender for the CDU leadership job, Health Minister Jens Spahn, said it was important to set new limits.

“I think it’s an important signal to Vladimir Putin and Russia that Nord Stream 2 is not totally unconditional and it can’t be that the project continues whatever he does and how far things are escalated,” he said.

 

Absentee-ballot fraud scandal speaks to wider issue of racism in North Carolina

The state elections board will not certify results in the ninth congressional race after reports of ‘ballot harvesters’ emerged

December 12, 2018

by Khushbu Shahin Bladenboro, North Carolina

The Guardian

One night last October, Jerry Ward, 49, was gathered with about a dozen other people at a relative’s house in downtown Bladenboro, a small city of just 1,700 souls in rural North Carolina. Then a young, white woman came to the door, asking about getting people inside to vote early in the upcoming and fiercely contested midterm elections.

“It was a whole house full of us and the girl came after dark and she was like saying that we could vote early and we was about to fill in them papers but we didn’t. She said, ‘I’ll fill them out for you’,” said Ward who, like the other voters quoted in this story, is African American.

The comment raised suspicions among those gathered, not least because in North Carolina, like much of the rural south, memories still linger about the fight for voting rights for black residents – and the equally fierce fight to resist them.

The group decided not to accept the woman’s offer. In the end, Ward voted in person. So did everyone else in the house that night

They were right to be suspicious. After election day, which saw a narrow win for the Republican candidate, the North Carolina state board of elections announced it would not certify the results in the ninth congressional district in which Bladenboro sits. Within days, it emerged “ballot harvesters” had been hired by a veteran political operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, to pick up absentee ballots in Bladen county, the local news station WSOC-TV reported. Some of those ballots never turned up.

It emerged Dowless worked for the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, who beat his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, by just 905 votes. Shortly after, McCready recanted his concession of the contest.

In an interview with WSOC-TV, one of the women involved in picking up ballots said Dowless “paid her $75 to $100 a week to go around and pick up finished absentee ballots”.

An analysis by the News & Observer found that the ballots of minority voters went unreturned to counting stations at a disproportionate rate. More than four out of 10 ballots requested by African Americans did not make it back to election officials, the analysis showed. That number jumps to more than 60% for Native American voters. In comparison, white voters’ ballots non-return rate was just 17%.

The news from Bladenboro and other towns in the district has sent shock waves throughout the country. Usually fights over voter suppression involve complex arguments over voter ID laws, how to register street addresses or disenfranchising felons. But the apparently brazen “harvesting” of ballots which then disappear without being counted has stunned many in the district and left them shaken.

Ward’s neighbor, Judy Willis, is upset about someone potentially trying to cancel votes. “It’s like you’re not a person any more,” she began, adding: “Some people have no conscience.” She is clearly rattled. “Stealing a vote? That means I can’t trust you to go and get a glass of water out of my kitchen.”

In the Ward’s house, family members have come to a consensus there should be another election. The state board of elections says an “investigation into claims of absentee voting irregularities is ongoing”, according to a press release on its website.

They’ve been doing this for years,” said Ward’s sister-in-law Tiajuana Mock, 63, as she walked into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee. “I’m not surprised this happened in Bladenboro, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened anywhere. There are race issues here, definitely. People give you a look if you go into some of these restaurants where only white people work.”

A few streets over, Jeneva Legions, 30, stood outside her apartment door draped in a “Happy Holidays” sash at the Village Oaks Apartments, cigarette in hand. She said two women came by, a couple of days after she got her absentee ballot, instructed her on filling it out. A little while later, one of them returned and said they’d take care of it for her.

“This is the first time I did [absentee voting] and next thing I know, someone came by and said they could pick it up. She said, ‘Just don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.’”

In North Carolina, according to the state board of elections’ website, “Only the voter or the voter’s near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, stepchild or qualified legal guardian) may deliver an absentee ballot in person.”

Legions’s ballot, according to the state’s voter lookup website, was not returned to be counted.

“This was my first time using an absentee ballot. Now I know to just go in and do it myself,” she said.

Her neighbor, Jessica Locklear, 26, was at a friend’s apartment, when a woman came up to the door at the neighboring apartment complex in the afternoon. The woman told her friend she’d be happy to take her ballot back for her, but that made the friend uncomfortable. In the end, when the woman came back, her friend told her she had ripped up the ballot and would go vote in person. Locklear watched her rip up the ballot.

“There’s too much weird stuff going on around here,” she said.

That’s the way the world operates, Mock said, back across town. The ballot fraud and the resulting investigation is just one part of the bigger racism issue going on in town, she added.

“They’re trying to get rid of us,” Mock said, referring to the disappearing absentee ballots. “But where are we going? We’re American.”

 

In heated on-camera clash, Trump fights with top Democrats on border wall

December 11, 2018

by Roberta Rampton and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump openly fought with the top two Democratic lawmakers in the Oval Office on Tuesday about government funding, throwing into question whether a deal to avert a government shutdown was possible ahead of a deadline next week.

In a remarkable public argument, the likes of which is seldom seen before cameras, Trump brawled with U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi about paying for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that they see as ineffective and wasteful.

“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other – whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call – I will shut down the government,” Trump said as the heated argument drew to a crescendo.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country,” he said before reporters left their ringside seats.

Vice President Mike Pence sat beside Trump, silent and stone faced.

While Trump’s fellow Republicans control both the House and the Senate until next month, Democratic support is needed to pass any spending legislation.

If the impasse cannot be resolved by Dec. 21, about one-quarter of the federal government immediately would be left without funding. Money for the rest of the government already has been appropriated.

Trump has asked Congress for $5 billion for border security, while Schumer and Pelosi have offered to extend funding at current levels, around $1.3 billion. That is less than the $1.6 billion a bipartisan Senate committee approved.

While the battle over border security is contentious, the money being negotiated is a small portion of a $450 billion bill to keep agencies operating through next September.

In an interview with Reuters later in the day, Trump did not rule out a compromise on the funding. “We have to see what else is entailed,” he said.

HARSH WORDS CONTINUED

The meeting did not last long after reporters were ushered out of the Oval Office.

But the harsh words continued during a closed meeting of House Democrats. According to an aide in the room, Pelosi said Trump’s fixation with building a wall was “like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

Pelosi told reporters she had asked Trump to pray about resolving the dispute, recounting the biblical story of King Solomon asking God for wisdom.

Pelosi told reporters that later in the day that she and Trump spoke by telephone, and the president said he was reviewing the offer made by Democrats during the White House meeting.

Despite the rancor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters, “I’d still like to see a smooth ending here and I haven’t given up hope that’s what we’ll have.”

If there is no deal, Trump would be shuttering the very agency in charge of border security – the Department of Homeland Security. In past shutdown battles, workers deemed “essential” were instructed to work.

Other federal agencies that also would face closures include the departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture, and visitors would not be allowed into federal parks.

At the Pentagon, Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis said there were no plans now for the U.S. military to build sections of the border wall, though the Defense Department could under current law pay for some border barrier projects “such as in support of counter-drug operations or national emergencies.”

‘IT’S CALLED TRANSPARENCY’

The rocky White House meeting was the first Trump held with Pelosi and Schumer since Democrats won control of the House in Nov. 6 elections, possibly foreshadowing battles to come next year.

Trump told Reuters he thought it would be possible to work on legislation with Democrats – unless they launch a barrage of investigations into his administration and policies.

“We’re either going to start the campaign and they’re going to do presidential harassment. Or we’re going to get tremendous amounts of legislation passed working together,” he said.

Tuesday’s fight kicked off when Pelosi told Trump that Americans did not want to see a “Trump shutdown,” touching a nerve. Trump cut off Pelosi, arguing that he could not advance a funding bill without Democratic votes in the Senate.

“If I needed the votes for the wall in the House, I would have them in one session. It would be done,” Trump bragged.

“Well then – go do it, go do it,” Pelosi shot back.

Senior White House staff watched the melee from the edges of the room.

“I don’t think we should have a debate in front of the press on this,” Pelosi said, adding, “Let’s call a halt to this.”

“It’s not bad, Nancy – it’s called transparency,” Trump said.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Susan Cornwell, Doina Chiacu, Amanda Becker, David Alexander, Lisa Lambert, Idrees Ali and Susan Heavey; additional reporting by David Morgan; writing by Richard Cowan; editing by Phil Berlowitz, Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker

 

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen jailed for three years

December 12, 2018

BBC News

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer to Donald Trump who once said he’d take a bullet for the president, has been given a 36-month prison sentence.

He is the first member of Mr Trump’s inner circle to be jailed over the special counsel’s inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

He has pleaded guilty to crimes including campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

In a New York court on Wednesday Cohen lashed out at his former boss.

The 52-year-old told Judge William Pauley that Mr Trump caused him to “follow a path of darkness rather than light”.

He told the court his “weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump” and that he “felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds”.

The sentencing was related to two separate cases brought by the Southern District of New York and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Mr Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for his role in making hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has acknowledged the payments despite denying the affairs, and called them a private transaction unrelated to his campaign.

He will serve that term concurrently with a two-month sentence he was given for lying to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow, a charge levelled by Special Counsel Mueller.

The judge gave Cohen until 6 March to report to jail at the Otisville prison in upstate New York.

In addition the jail term, he was also ordered to forfeit nearly $2m (£1.6m).

As he left the court, he did not pause to speak to reporters.

What are the charges?

The special counsel had reached a plea deal with Cohen on one count of lying to Congress given his co-operation with the Russia investigation.

The president’s former lawyer admitted to making false statements to Congress about a Trump property deal in Russia during the 2016 election.

During the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, his lawyer Guy Petrillo, said the special counsel’s investigation “is of utmost national significance, no less than seen 40 years ago in Watergate,” referring to the scandal that brought down Republican President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Cohen’s other convictions for tax evasion and bank fraud charges are unrelated to the president.

In exchange for a more lenient sentence, he had offered information regarding his campaign finance violations, including paying adult film star Stormy Daniels hush money at the behest of “the candidate”, in an apparent reference to Mr Trump.

Relations between Cohen, once considered Mr Trump’s right-hand man, and the president have soured over the course of his criminal trials.

Mr Trump, who has labelled Mr Mueller’s inquiry a “witch hunt”, has repeatedly criticised his former ally since he began co-operating with investigators.

He told reporters last month that Cohen was “weak” and “not a very smart person”.

 

A decade of ‘misfortune’

December 12, 2018

by Anthony Zurcher

BBC News, Washington

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the tale of the two Michaels, it’s that deals with federal prosecutors are best done quickly.

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, when confronted by the special counsel’s office, was quick to co-operate. He may end up with a sentence that includes no jail time.

Michael Cohen, on the other hand, initially put up a legal fight. Prosecutors say he never fully co-operated. Now the 52-year-old is facing three years in prison.

Another message from the fate of the two Trump associates is that Mr Trump’s business dealings, not Russian election meddling, could present a greater legal threat to the president. According to Mr Cohen’s lawyer, his client had the “misfortune” of being the president’s personal lawyer, business partner and all-around fixer for more than a decade. When investigators began digging into his actions, they uncovered a variety of chargeable crimes.

By all accounts, Mr Trump’s larger business empire is getting similar scrutiny. His long-time accountant is co-operating with investigators.

There’s no telling where Mr Mueller’s Russia investigation will end up, but one thing is clear – it’s not the only shark circling the White House,

Biological Annihilation

A Planet in Loss Mode

by Subhankar Banerjee

Tom Dispatch

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to the nonhuman life forms with which we share this planet, you’ve likely heard the term “the Sixth Extinction.” If not, look it up.  After all, a superb environmental reporter, Elizabeth Kolbert, has already gotten a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book with that title.

Whether the sixth mass species extinction of Earth’s history is already (or not quite yet) underway may still be debatable, but it’s clear enough that something’s going on, something that may prove even more devastating than a mass of species extinctions: the full-scale winnowing of vast populations of the planet’s invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants.  Think of it, to introduce an even broader term, as a wave of “biological annihilation” that includes possible species extinctions on a mass scale, but also massive species die-offs and various kinds of massacres.

Someday, such a planetary winnowing may prove to be the most tragic of all the grim stories of human history now playing out on this planet, even if to date it’s gotten far less attention than the dangers of climate change.  In the end, it may prove more difficult to mitigate than global warming.  Decarbonizing the global economy, however hard, won’t be harder or more improbable than the kind of wholesale restructuring of modern life and institutions that would prevent species annihilation from continuing.

With that in mind, come along with me on a topsy-turvy journey through the animal and plant kingdoms to learn a bit more about the most consequential global challenge of our time.

Insects Are Vanishing

When most of us think of animals that should be saved from annihilation, near the top of any list are likely to be the stars of the animal world: tigers and polar bears, orcas and orangutans, elephants and rhinos, and other similarly charismatic creatures.

Few express similar concern or are likely to be willing to offer financial support to “save” insects. The few that are in our visible space and cause us nuisance, we regularly swat, squash, crush, or take out en masse with Roundup.

As it happens, though, of the nearly two million known species on this planet about 70% of them are insects. And many of them are as foundational to the food chain for land animals as plankton are for marine life. Harvard entomologist (and ant specialist) E.O. Wilson once observed that “if insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

In fact, insects are vanishing.

Almost exactly a year ago, the first long-term study of the decline of insect populations was reported, sparking concern (though only in professional circles) about a possible “ecological Armageddon.” Based on data collected by dozens of amateur entomologists in 63 nature reserves across Germany, a team of scientists concluded that the flying insect population had dropped by a staggering 76% over a 27-year period. At the same time, other studies began to highlight dramatic plunges across Europe in the populations of individual species of bugs, bees, and moths.

What could be contributing to such a collapse? It certainly is human-caused, but the factors involved are many and hard to sort out, including habitat degradation and loss, the use of pesticides in farming, industrial agriculture, pollution, climate change, and even, insidiously enough, “light pollution that leads nocturnal insects astray and interrupts their mating.”

This past October, yet more troubling news arrived.

When American entomologist Bradford Lister first visited El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico in 1976, little did he know that a long-term study he was about to embark on would, 40 years later, reveal a “hyperalarming” new reality. In those decades, populations of arthropods, including insects and creepy crawlies like spiders and centipedes, had plunged by an almost unimaginable 98% in El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest within the U.S. National Forest System. Unsurprisingly, insectivores (populations of animals that feed on insects), including birds, lizards, and toads, had experienced similarly dramatic plunges, with some species vanishing entirely from that rainforest. And all of that happened before Hurricane Maria battered El Yunque in the fall of 2017.

What had caused such devastation? After eliminating habitat degradation or loss — after all, it was a protected national forest — and pesticide use (which, in Puerto Rico, had fallen by more than 80% since 1969), Lister and his Mexican colleague Andres Garcia came to believe that climate change was the culprit, in part because the average maximum temperature in that rainforest has increased by four degrees Fahrenheit over those same four decades.

Even though both scientific studies and anecdotal stories about what might be thought of as a kind of insectocide have, at this point, come only from Europe and North America, many entomologists are convinced that the collapse of insect populations is a worldwide phenomenon.

As extreme weather events — fires, floods, hurricanes — begin to occur more frequently globally, “connecting the dots” across the planet has become a staple of climate-change communication to “help the public understand how individual events are part of a larger trend.”

Now, such thinking has to be transferred to the world of the living so, as in the case of plummeting insect populations and the creatures that feed on them, biological annihilation sinks in. At the same time, what’s driving such death spirals in any given place — from pesticides to climate change to habitat loss — may differ, making biological annihilation an even more complex phenomenon than climate change.

The Edge of the Sea

The animal kingdom is composed of two groups: invertebrates, or animals without backbones, and vertebrates, which have them. Insects are invertebrates, as are starfish, anemones, corals, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, and many more species. In fact, invertebrates make up 97% of the known animal kingdom.

In 1955, environmentalist Rachel Carson’s book The Edge of the Sea was published, bringing attention for the first time to the extraordinary diversity and density of the invertebrate life that occupies the intertidal zone.  Even now, more than half a century later, you’ve probably never considered that environment — which might be thought of as the edge of the sea (or actually the ocean) — as a forest. And neither did I, not until I read nature writer Tim McNulty’s book Olympic National Park: A Natural History some years ago. As he pointed out: “The plant associations of the low tide zone are commonly arranged in multistoried communities, not unlike the layers of an old-growth forest.” And in that old-growth forest, the starfish (or sea star) rules as the top predator of the nearshore.

In 2013, a starfish die-off — from a “sea-star wasting disease” caused by a virus — was first observed in Washington’s Olympic National Park, though it was hardly confined to that nature preserve. By the end of 2014, as Lynda Mapes reported in the Seattle Times, “more than 20 species of starfish from Alaska to Mexico” had been devastated. At the time, I was living on the Olympic Peninsula and so started writing about and, as a photographer, documenting that die-off (a painful experience after having read Carson’s exuberant account of that beautiful creature).

The following summer, though, something magical happened. I suddenly saw baby starfish everywhere. Their abundance sparked hope among park employees I spoke with that, if they survived, most of the species would bounce back. Unfortunately, that did not happen. “While younger sea stars took longer to show symptoms, once they did, they died right away,” Mapes reported. That die-off was so widespread along the Pacific coast (in many sites, more than 99% of them) that scientists considered it “unprecedented in geographic scale.”

The cause? Consider it the starfish version of a one-two punch: the climate-change-induced warming of the Pacific Ocean put stress on the animals while it made the virus that attacked them more virulent.  Think of it as a perfect storm for unleashing such a die-off.

It will take years to figure out the true scope of the aftermath, since starfish occupy the top of the food chain at the edge of the ocean and their disappearance will undoubtedly have cascading impacts, not unlike the vanishing of the insects that form the base of the food chain on land.

Concurrent with the disappearance of the starfish, another “unprecedented” die-off was happening at the edge of the same waters, along the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada.  It seemed to be “one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded,” Craig Welch wrote in National Geographic in 2015. And many more have been dying ever since, including Cassin’s auklets, thick-billed murres, common murres, fork-tailed petrels, short-tailed shearwaters, black-legged kittiwakes, and northern fulmars. That tragedy is still ongoing and its nature is caught in the title of a September article in Audubon magazine: “In Alaska, Starving Seabirds and Empty Colonies Signal a Broken Ecosystem.”

To fully understand all of this, the dots will again have to be connected across places and species, as well as over time, but the great starfish die-off is an indication that biological annihilation is now an essential part of life at the edge of the sea.

The Annihilation of Vertebrates

The remaining 3% of the kingdom Animalia is made up of vertebrates. The 62,839 known vertebrate species include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

The term “biological annihilation” was introduced in 2017 in a seminal paper by scientists Geraldo Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich, and Rodolpho Dirzo, whose research focused on the population declines, as well as extinctions, of vertebrate species. “Our data,” they wrote then, “indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations.”

If anything, the 148-page Living Planet Report published this October by the World Wildlife Fund International and the Zoological Society of London only intensified the sense of urgency in their paper. As a comprehensive survey of the health of our planet and the impact of human activity on other species, its key message was grim indeed: between 1970 and 2014, it found, monitored populations of vertebrates had declined in abundance by an average of 60% globally, with particularly pronounced losses in the tropics and in freshwater systems. South and Central America suffered a dramatic loss of 89% of such vertebrates, while freshwater populations of vertebrates declined by a lesser but still staggering 83% worldwide. The results were based on 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species, which meant that the study was not claiming a comprehensive census of all vertebrate populations.  It should instead be treated as a barometer of trends in monitored populations of them.

What could be driving such an annihilatory wave to almost unimaginable levels? The report states that the main causes are “overexploitation of species, agriculture, and land conversion — all driven by runaway human consumption.” It does, however, acknowledge that climate change, too, is a “growing threat.”

When it comes to North America, the report shows that the decline is only 23%. Not so bad, right? Such a statistic could mislead the public into thinking that the U.S. and Canada are in little trouble and yet, in reality, insects and other animals, as well as plants, are dying across North America in surprisingly large numbers.

From My Doorstep to the World Across Time

My own involvement with biological annihilation started at my doorstep. In March 2006, a couple of days after moving into a rented house in northern New Mexico, I found a dead male house finch, a small songbird, on the porch. It had smashed into one of the building’s large glass windows and died. At the same time, I began to note startling numbers of dead piñon, New Mexico’s state tree, everywhere in the area. Finding that dead bird and noting those dead trees sparked a desire in me to know what was happening in this new landscape of mine.

When you think of an old-growth forest — and here I don’t mean the underwater version of one but the real thing — what comes to your mind? Certainly not the desert southwest, right? The trees here don’t even grow tall enough for that.  An 800-year-old piñon may reach a height of 24 feet, not the 240-feet of a giant Sitka spruce of similar age in the Pacific Northwest. In the last decade, however, scientists have begun to see the piñon-juniper woodlands here as exactly that.

I first learned this from a book, Ancient Piñon-Juniper Woodlands: A Natural History of Mesa Verde Country. It turns out that this low-canopy, sparsely vegetated woodland ecosystem supports an incredible diversity of wildlife. In fact, as a state, New Mexico has among the greatest diversity of species in the country.  It’s second in diversity of native mammals, third in birds, and fourth in overall biodiversity. Take birds.  Trailing only California and Arizona, the state harbors 544 species, nearly half of the 1,114 species in the U.S. And consider this not praise for my adopted home, but a preface to a tragedy.

Before I could even develop a full appreciation of the piñon-juniper woodland, I came to realize that most of the mature piñon in northern New Mexico had already died. Between 2001 and 2005, a tiny bark beetle known by the name of Ips confusus had killed more than 50 million of them, about 90% of the mature ones in northern New Mexico. This happened thanks to a combination of severe drought and rapid warming, which stressed the trees, while providing a superb environment for beetle populations to explode.

And this, it turned out, wasn’t in any way an isolated event. Multiple species of bark beetles were by then ravaging forests across the North American West. The black spruce, the white spruce, the ponderosa pine, the lodgepole pine, the whitebark pine, and the piñon were all dying.

In fact, trees are dying all over the world. In 2010, scientists from a number of countries published a study in Forest Ecology and Management that highlights global climate-change-induced forest mortality with data recorded since 1970. In countries ranging from Argentina and Australia to Switzerland and Zimbabwe, Canada and China to South Korea and Sri Lanka, the damage to trees has been significant.

In 2010, trying to absorb the larger ecological loss, I wrote: “Hundreds of millions of trees have recently died and many more hundreds of millions will soon be dying. Now think of all the other lives, including birds and animals, that depended on those trees. What happened to them and how do we talk about that which we can’t see and will never know?”

In fact, in New Mexico, we are finally beginning to find out something about the size and nature of that larger loss.

Earlier this year, Los Alamos National Laboratory ornithologist Jeanne Fair and her colleagues released the results of a 10-year bird study on the Pajarito Plateau of New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains, where some of the worst piñon die-offs have occurred. The study shows that, between 2003 and 2013, the diversity of birds declined by 45% and bird populations, on average, decreased by a staggering 73%. Consider the irony of that on a plateau whose Spanish name, Pajarito, means “little bird.”

The piñon die-off that led to the die-off of birds is an example of connecting the dots across species and over time in one place. It’s also an example of what writer Rob Nixon calls “slow violence.” That “slowness” (even if it’s speedy indeed on the grand calendar of biological time) and the need to grasp the annihilatory dangers in our world will mean staying engaged way beyond any normal set of news cycles.  It will involve what I think of as long environmentalism.

Let’s return, then, to that dead finch on my porch. A study published in 2014 pointed out that as many as 988 million birds die each year in the U.S. by crashing into glass windows. Even worse, domestic and feral cats kill up to 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals annually in this country. In Australia and Canada, two other places where such feline slaughters of birds have been studied, the estimated numbers are 365 million and 200 million respectively — another case of connecting the dots across places and species when it comes to the various forms of biological annihilation underway on this planet.

Those avian massacres, one the result of modern architecture and our desire to see the outside from the inside, the other stemming from our urge for non-human companionship, indicate that climate change is but one cause of a planet-wide trend toward biological annihilation.  And this is hardly a contemporary story.  It has a long history, including for instance the mass killing of Arctic whales in the seventeenth century, which generated so much wealth that it helped make the Netherlands into one of the richest nations of that time. In other words, Arctic whaling proved to be an enabler of the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, the era when Rembrandt and Vermeer made paintings still appreciated today.

The large-scale massacre and near extinction of the American bison (or buffalo) in the nineteenth century, to offer a more modern example, paved the way for white settler colonial expansion into the American West, while destroying Native American food security and a way of life. As a U.S. Army colonel put it then, “Kill every buffalo you can! Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.”

Today, such examples have not only multiplied drastically but are increasingly woven into human life and life on this planet in ways we still hardly notice.  These, in turn, are being exacerbated by climate change, the human-induced warming of the world. To mitigate the crisis, to save life itself, would require not merely the replacement of carbon-dirty fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy, but a genuine reevaluation of modern life and its institutions. In other words, to save the starfish, the piñon, the birds, and the insects, and us in the process, has become the most challenging and significant ethical obligation of our increasingly precarious time.

 

The Evil Catholics Murdered Abraham Lincoln

“After twenty years of constant and most difficult research, I come fearlessly today before the American people, to say and prove that the president, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated by the priests and the Jesuits of Rome.”

— Charles Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome

 

 

In 1885, a former Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy, wrote a book titled  ‘Fifty Years in the Church of Rome’ in which he made many scandalous allegations against the Catholic Church, including the accusation that the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 had been the result of a conspiracy by the Catholic Church, and that the assassin John Wilkes Booth was a Catholic who had been corrupted and led by the Vatican to commit the murder.

Chiniquy, who had been excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 1858, claimed that “emissaries of the Pope” had promised Booth “a crown of glory in heaven” for the killing of Lincoln. According to Chiniquy, the assassination was perpetrated by the Church in revenge for Lincoln’s defense of Chiniquy in an 1856 lawsuit.

 

This weird story has been embroidered, cut and pasted and otherwise disseminated for many years viz. The Suppressed Truth About the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Burke McCarty. Merrimac, MA: Destiny Publishers. 1973 (originally published in 1924), Vatican Assassins, Wounded in the House of My Friends, Eric Jon Phelps. Tehachapi, CA: Halcyon Unified Services. 2001

 

As such treatments of historical matters seem to grow out of all recognition in repeated tellings, here is a most interesting, and accurate, dissection of the ‘Jesuit Assassination’ myth from the very reputable Illinois State Historical Society.

 

Publishing this, regretfully, will have no effect on True Believers who follow the following dictum: ‘Admit nothing- Deny everything- Demand to see the proof- Refuse to accept it.’

THE LINCOLN WRITINGS OF CHARLES P.T. CHINIQUY

by Joseph George Jr.

reprinted from Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

February 1976 topics vol. 69, pp. 17-25

Joseph George, Jr., at the time of the original publication of this article, was chairman of the history department at Villanova University. He received his doctorate in 1959 and is the author of several published articles on Lincoln and the Civil War.

Dr. George is presently retired. He continues to be involved with research and writing on historical

In 1891 John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s former secretary, received a note from Benedict Guldner, a Jesuit priest in New York, asking for information about a “libellous pamphlet” printed in Germany. The pamphlet, according to Guldner, was a translation of a work “originally written in this country … in which the author maintains that the assassination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits.” Nicolay and John Hay, another former secretary to the President, had not mentioned the allegation in their biography of Lincoln, and Guldner wished to know if they had heard the charge and if they considered it false. [1] Nicolay consulted Hay, and then replied:

To [y]our first question whether in our studies on the life of Lincoln we came upon the charge that “the assassination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits”, we answer that we have read such a charge in a lengthy newspaper publication.

To your second question, viz: “If you did come across it, did the accusation seem to you to be entirely groundless?”, we answer Yes.

It seemed to us so entirely groundless as not to merit any attention on our part. [2]

Perhaps the decision of Nicolay and Hay to ignore the charge of a Jesuit conspiracy against Lincoln was unwise. A prompt and firm denial might have prevented further publication of the story. [3]

The originator of the conspiracy theory was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a former Catholic priest who claimed to be a close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln’s. According to Chiniquy, “emissaries of the Pope” were plotting to murder Lincoln for his defense of Chiniquy in an 1856 trial. Chiniquy’s autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, published in 1885, attributes remarks to the President on a variety of subjects, particularly religion. [4] Most of Chinquy’s stories are so foreign to what is known about the Sixteenth President that scholars have ignored them. Nevertheless, many of the less sensational portions of Chiniquy’s reminiscences have been used by serious students of Lincoln’s life, and the most sensational passages have been widely quoted and disseminated by writers engaged in anti-Catholic polemics.

Charles Paschal Telesphore Chiniquy was born on July 30, 1809, in Kamouraska, Quebec. As a young man he was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church, and his labors to stamp out drunkenness caused him to be known throughout Quebec as “The Apostle of Temperance”. [5] In 1851 he moved to Kankakee County, Illinois, to serve a colony of French-Canadians who had migrated there. Chiniquy got into difficulty with his bishop, resigned his position in the church in 1860, and with some of his former parishioners established a new church. In time Chiniquy became a Presbyterian minister and published many books and pamphlets with an anti-Catholic theme. He also lectured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Australia on the evils of Roman Catholicism. He died in Montreal on January 16, 1899. [6]

It was while he lived in Illinois in the 1850s that Chiniquy met Abraham Lincoln.

According to Chiniquy’s Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, he hired Lincoln to defend him against a charge of personal immorality; the charge, Chiniquy said, had been brought by his enemies in the Catholic Church. Chiniquy won the case, thereby incurring the wrath of the Jesuits. By Chiniquy’s account, when the verdict came in, Lincoln said; “I know that Jesuits never forgive nor forsake. But man must not care how or where he dies, provided he dies at the post of honor and duty.” [7]

Chiniquy claimed that he later met with Lincoln on three different occasions in Washington. The first interview, he said, took place at the White House “at the end of August” in 1861. Chiniquy had learned from another former priest of an assassination plot against President Lincoln, and considered it his duty to warn him. Chiniquy reported that Lincoln received him cordially and then made the following lengthy statement:

Your friends, the Jesuits, have not yet killed me. But they would have surely done it, when I passed through their most devoted city, Baltimore, had I not defeated their plans, by passing incognito, a few hours before they expected me. We have the proof that the company which had been selected and organized to murder me, was led by a rabid Roman Catholic, called Byrne; it was almost entirely composed of Roman Catholics … A few days ago, I saw Mr. [Samuel F.B.] Morse, the learned inventor of electric telegraphy; he told me that, when he was in Rome … he found out the proofs of a formidable conspiracy against this country and all its institutions. It is evident that it is to the intrigues and emissaries of the pope, that we owe, in great part, the horrible civil war which is threatening to cover the country with blood and ruins. [8]

Also at that interview, according to Chiniquy, he was offered a position as a secretary at the American legation in Paris, a post from which he could not only investigate the evil designs of Napoleon III but also travel occasionally to Rome and check on the Pope and Jesuits there. Chiniquy declined the appointment; he offered as his reason the need to continue his work in America. [9]

Chiniquy reported that the President was so pleased with that meeting that he invited his visitor to return the next day. On that occasion, Lincoln expressed his concern about a report in Democratic newspapers that he had been born a Catholic and baptized by a priest. “I have never been a Roman Catholic”, Lincoln assured his guest. “No priest of Rome has ever laid his hand on my head.” Lincoln asked Chiniquy if he could explain the meaning of the reports. Chiniquy replied that the charges represented Lincoln’s death sentence by the Catholic church. Lincoln then concluded the interview by stating that he was fighting the Civil War against the Pope and his Jesuits as well as against the Rebels of the South. [10]

Chiniquy’s second reported visit to Lincoln in Washington, according to Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, took place at the “beginning of June, 1862”, but at that time Chiniquy could only shake hands with his friend. The President was too busy for intimate conversation. [11]

The third and last visit was alleged to have occurred on June 9, 1864, the day Lincoln received official word that he was renominated for the Presidency. The following day, June 10, the two old friends, according to Chiniquy, visited the wounded soldiers in Washington hospitals. The President then invited Chiniquy to the White House for a long discussion to Catholicism. Lincoln assured his guest that the Pope and his Jesuits were responsible for the French invasion of Mexico, the New York draft riots, and other outrages. Lincoln also quoted appropriate passages from the Bible and indicated that he was prepared to die for the cause of liberty. [12] Chiniquy then took his leave, never to see Lincoln again.

It is unlikely that any of these meetings took place. As this paper will show, Chiniquy’s autobiography contains numerous misrepresentations about his life and association with Abraham Lincoln.

Three years after the appearance of Chiniquy’s account, Justin D. Fulton, a Baptist minister, published Washington in the Lap of Rome. The book was dedicated “to Americans Who Will Aid in Throttling Jesuitism, in Uncoiling the Serpent Encircling the Capitol of the United States, and in taking Washington Out of the Lap of Rome; That a Free Church and a Free School in a Free State May Make the Great Republic the Glory of the World.” [13] Fulton, a prolific writer, published a variety of books and newspapers with a religious theme. Strongly antislavery in pre-Civil War times, he shifted his attacks to the Catholic church after the war. One historian judged his writings “reckless of fact and effect.” [14]

Chiniquy’s and Fulton’s writings were the basis for several anti-Catholic tracts published in the 1890s. During that decade as the number of Catholics in America rose in proportion to the increasing immigration rate, many non-Catholics became alarmed at what they considered a danger to the United States. By 1893 the American Protective Association — a nativist group founded in 1887 by H.F. Bowers, an attorney from Clinton, Iowa — had seventy thousand members in twenty states. APA members took an oath to vote for and hire only Protestants. [15]

Other anti-Catholic authors also borrowed from Chiniquy. In 1893, for example, W.H. Burr wrote The Murder of Abraham Lincoln: Planned and Executed by Jesuit Priests. [16] Thomas M. Harris’ pamphlet Rome’s Responsibility for the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln denounced Catholic schools as breeding grounds by which to “secure loyalty to the [Catholic] Hierarchy, and to prepare the minds of its children for disloyalty to any other power.” Harris cited Chiniquy’s story to demonstrate “conclusively the hand of Rome in this stab at our nation’s life.” [17]

The Chiniquy claims were repeated in 1924 by Burke McCarty in Suppressed Truth about the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which was “Affectionately Dedicated” to the author’s “Patriotic Mother Who Also Left Rome.” McCarty credited the Jesuits with the murders of Presidents William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, James A. Garfield and William McKinley, as well as Abraham Lincoln. McCarty also accused Catholics of an attempt on the life of President-elect James Buchanan, whom the Jesuits were alleged to have poisoned in February 1857. [18] In discussing Lincoln’s assassination, McCarty quoted extensively from Chiniquy and added some embellishments of his own. McCarty, for example, stated that Chiniquy visited Lincoln in Washington “once each year.” Chiniquy had claimed he was in Washington but three times. [19]

By the time McCarty published what he called the “suppressed truth,” there was a new audience in America for anti-Catholic literature. The resurrected Ku Klux Klan opposed American Catholics as well as Jews, immigrants, and Negroes.

In 1921 the Rail Splitter Press of Milan, Illinois, which called itself the “oldest, most resourceful, and most reliable Anti-Papal publishing house in America,” printed Chiniquy’s charges in pamphlet form. The press also advertised a special envelope with a drawing of Lincoln’s face and a quotation from the Chiniquy book regarding Lincoln’s fear of Catholics and Jesuits. The publisher estimated that at least five people read each envelope; readers, he said, should use the Lincoln envelopes to “save America” and perform “great missionary work.” [20]

In 1922 John B. Kennedy, the editor of Columbia, a Catholic magazine, requested information from Robert Todd Lincoln about Chiniquy’s report. The reply was emphatic: “I do not know of any literature in which my father is quoted as attacking Catholics and the Catholic Church. Of course, in the years his name has been a peg on which to hang many things.” [21]

But even the denial by Lincoln’s son could not stop the circulation of Chiniquy’s story. In 1924 the distinguished historian Carl Russell Fish found it necessary to use the pages of the American Historical Review to denounce an account titled “An American Protestant Protest against the Defilement of True Art by Roman Catholicism.” According to Fish, the publication, which repeated the claims of Chiniquy’s Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, had “circulated by the million.” Fish argued that “the spirit of the [remarks attributed to Lincoln] … is contrary to the whole character of Lincoln’s thought and expression.” Fish concluded that Chiniquy’s fabrication demonstrated the need for a definitive edition of Lincoln’s writings and sayings — a project that would be completed almost thirty years later. [22]

In 1928, when Al Smith, a Roman Catholic, won the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, the Chiniquy charges were again reprinted. The Rail Splitter Press brought out a pamphlet titled Abraham Lincoln’s Vow Against the Catholic Church. [23] This pamphlet, like the earlier one from the same press, was based on Chiniquy’s charges.

The Abraham Lincoln Association published Lincoln’s collected writings in 1953. The nine-volume edition contained no reference to Chiniquy or his claims regarding Lincoln’s comments about the Pope, Jesuits, and the Catholic church. [24] Yet in 1960 when the Catholic John F. Kennedy received the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, the Chiniquy story about Lincoln again surfaced. One publication contained the statement that Chiniquy’s interviews with Lincoln should serve as a “warning to all Americans who see no danger in having a Roman Catholic in the White House.” That widely distributed pamphlet was printed by the Osterhus Publishing House of Minneapolis. The Osterhus pamphlet retold the most sensational portions of Chiniquy’s account, taken second-hand from Fulton’s Washington in the Lap of Rome. The publisher assured readers that the words were Lincoln’s, even though “self-styled Lincoln experts may tell you the contents … are not among his writings.” [25]

In 1963 another former priest, Emmett McLoughlin, published a study of Lincoln’s assassination; he concluded that the Pope and his Jesuits were responsible for Booth’s crime. McLoughlin, too, acknowledged his debt to Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. The author was particularly impressed by Chiniquy’s enduring friendship with Lincoln, during which “the ex-priest visited Lincoln in the White House and frequently warned him of the Church’s antagonism and of its threats to the very life of the President.” [26]

Clearly, neither the denials by Nicolay and Robert Todd Lincoln nor the publication of the Collected Works would stop the reappearance of Chiniquy’s charges. Fifty Years in the Church of Rome was translated into many languages and distributed, among other places, in French Canada, South Africa, Norway, France, New Zealand, Haiti, and Formosa.” [27]

Because Chiniquy’s autobiography contains several supposedly first-hand observations of Lincoln’s religious beliefs, it has been used, albeit cautiously, even by reputable Lincoln biographers. William E. Barton, for example, accepted many of the less sensational portions of Chiniquy’s account, particularly the anecdotes describing Lincoln at prayer or quoting long passages from the Bible.

Barton believed that Lincoln “trusted and believed in” Chiniquy. Barton did not believe that Lincoln made harsh statements about the Pope, Jesuits and Catholics, but did accept Chiniquy’s version of his 1856 trial. Barton wrote:

Lincoln believed thoroughly in the justice of his cause, and of the bad motives of those engaged in the prosecution … I think there is good reason to believe that in this trial Lincoln spoke with some severity of the ecclesiastical machinery that could be made available for the crushing of a man who had incurred the ill will of priests. But his words were not recorded at the time, and those who remembered them afterward probably colored them greatly. Father Chiniquy’s account of this affair is within easy reach of anyone who wishes to read it, and I think it is essentially truthful, though I do not accept any such account, made from memory years afterward, as reliable in its detail. [29]

Barton also accepted Chiniquy’s recollections of visits to Lincoln in the White House. Barton suspected that the incidents were “colored by the imagination” of the former priest but that the account contained “a basis of fact in accord with what we might have expected Lincoln to say.” Barton warned, however, that the conversations sounded “much more like Chiniquy than Lincoln.” “It is not safe,” Barton concluded, “to put Abraham Lincoln on record except in words that he is known to have written or uttered. And to say this is not to impugn Father Chiniquy, who, I think, intended to be truthful.” [29]

Influenced by Barton’s views, Lloyd Lewis unwittingly helped perpetuate Chiniquy’s claims. In Myths After Lincoln, Lewis agreed that the disclosures were based on actual incidents but “were far more Chiniquy than Lincoln.” Lewis advanced the view that Chiniquy’s “unbalanced imagination” prompted him “to expand some simple remarks of the President into a metaphysical monologue which, though it retained, in all likelihood, some of Lincoln’s words, misrepresented him wholly. [30] Emanuel Hertz followed in the Barton tradition and frequently cited Fifty Years in the Church of Rome as a source for Lincoln’s religious views. [31]

The evidence is conclusive that reliance on Chiniquy was unfortunate, for his claims were baseless. Chiniquy did meet Lincoln in 1856, and he did engage Lincoln’s services as an attorney. But the facts of the trial bear little resemblance to the account presented in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.

According to Chiniquy, the Bishop of Chicago, Chiniquy’s superior, had induced a land speculator named Peter Spink to bring charges of immorality against Chiniquy in 1855. Chiniquy said that the court found him innocent but that Spink obtained a change of venue. Chiniquy was then re-tried, he said, at Urbana. At that time Lincoln was hired as defense attorney and was influential in producing a key witness from Chicago who exposed Spink as a perjurer. After the acquittal, according to Chiniquy, Lincoln declared, “Jesuits never forget nor forsake.” [32]

The court records and attorneys’ notes from that trial contradict almost every point in Chiniquy’s autobiography. The original documents show that Spink v. Chiniquy involved little more than a personal feud between two embittered friends. Peter Spink, the plaintiff in the case, charged in his complaint that “on or about the 10th day of January A.D. 1854” he was accused by Chiniquy, “in a public assembly,” of committing perjury. Apparently the public assembly was a church service, and Chiniquy, then a priest, had announced to his congregation that Spink, a land speculator, was advising clients to enter public lands on which French-Canadians had cut timber. Spink’s plan, Chiniquy told his parishioners, was to make the French-Canadians pay for the wood. Spink charged that the accusation was “false and malicious” and had caused his clients to lose confidence in him. As a result Spink was unable “to do business as before, wherefore he was greatly injured and sustained great damage.” Spink further charged that the priest had “at divers times before the instituting of this suit – slandered and defamed this deponent.” Those statements are recorded in the official complaint, “Sworn and Enscribed,” on February 3, 1855, in the circuit court of Kankakee County. [33] The official charge brought by Spink was slander, not immorality. The Bishop of Chicago (who was not, in any case, Chiniquy’s superior) had nothing to do with the complaint. The trial was shifted, as Chiniquy said, from Kankakee to Urbana, but before, not after, the first court proceedings. There was first a mistrial, and the jury chosen for the second hearing could not agree. Lincoln then became Chiniquy’s attorney. In the words of his friend H. C. Whitney, Lincoln “abhorred that class of litigation [slander],” and was influential in bringing about a compromise before a third trial. [34] A statement of agreement, in Lincoln’s handwriting, is extant. It reads:

This day came the parties and the defendant denies that he has ever charged, or believed the plaintiff to be guilty of Perjury; that whatever he has said, from which such a charge could be inferred, he said on the information of others, protesting his own disbelief in the charge; and that he now disclaims any belief in the truth of such charge against said plaintiff — It is therefore, by agreement of the parties, ordered that this suit be dismissed, each party paying his own cost — the defendant to pay his part of the cost heretofore ordered to be paid by said plaintiff. [35]

It is difficult to believe that Chiniquy and Lincoln would have had reason or occasion at Urbana for a discussion of the evils of the Catholic church — which in any case had no connection with the trial. [36]

Chiniquy’s accounts of later visits with Lincoln and discussions of religion and fears of Catholic plots against the President’s life are equally unreliable. David Davis had warned in 1866 that Lincoln was a “secretive man.” That Lincoln would discuss his religious views with strangers Davis considered “absurd”. [37] John G. Nicolay, writing shortly after Lincoln’s death, asserted that he had never heard Lincoln explain his religious view’s. [38] If such close associates of the President’s as Davis and Nicolay never heard Lincoln speak of his religious views, it is not likely that Chiniquy would have had long theological discussions with him. Moreover, there is no available documentary evidence that Chiniquy was friendly with Lincoln or visited with him privately in Washington.

According to Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Chiniquy visited Lincoln in August, 1861, and June, 1862. At the first interview Chiniquy claimed that the President not only spoke of the evils of Catholicism but offered his friend a secretaryship in the American legation in Paris. On September 29, 1862, three months after the second meeting was supposed to have taken place, Chiniquy wrote to Lincoln and thanked him for services rendered in Urbana in 1856. Nothing was mentioned of any meeting in Washington or any offer of a position for Chiniquy in the foreign service. The letter, preserved in the Robert Todd Lincoln Collection in the Library of Congress, reads:

  1. PRESIDENT,

I have the honor [and] the pleasure of forwarding to You the address of my countrymen adopted in a meeting of our whole Colony.

Our gratitude for the good you are doing to our beloved & bleeding Country, is increased by the great services you have rendered me personally, in a very solemn circumstance, at Urbana, Ill.

I have then, a double reason to bless the name of Abraham Lincoln, & to assure you of the respect & devotedness with which I have the h[onor] to subscribe myself, Mr. President,

Yr. Nble Servant,

CHARLES CHINIQUY [39]

One finds it difficult to believe that the author of this letter was the confidant described in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. It is safe to assert that the two men never shared long friendly conversations at any time — especially between May 23, 1856, and September 29,1862.

Chiniquy’s autobiography is more specific about his reported third and last visit to Lincoln, which, he said, took place on June 8, 1864. According to Chiniquy, he was invited to return on June 9 for Lincoln’s official notification of renomination by the Republican party.

Chiniquy said that he attended the affair, and his descriptions of the Republican delegations conform to the newspaper reports. [40] Chiniquy claimed that he was invited by the President to return the following day, June 10. On that day, Chiniquy said, the two men visited a number of hospitals, and later at the White House had their final conversation about the Bible and the evils of Romanism.

Chiniquy may have attended the ceremony on June 9 and may have met with the President on June 10. If so, it was not as an old friend of Lincoln’s, however. The Robert Todd Lincoln Collection contains a letter of June 10, 1864, from one A. Chester to the President. [41] The letter is a request for funds for the school operated by Chiniquy in Kankakee County. [42] In the note Chester expresses his “high appreciation” of Chiniquy’s character and commends him to Lincoln “as worthy of your highest confidence — a man and a Preacher of ability and integrity whom you cannot too much encourage.” Chester is clearly not writing about an old friend of the President’s. Along with Chester’s note is one from Chiniquy, also dated June 10. It reads: MY DEAR MR. LINCOLN,

It was my privilege, yesterday, to bless you in the name of ten [?] thousand French Canadians settled in our Colony of Illinois. To day, I approach you to offer you a new opportunity of doing one of the things you like the more; and by which your life has been filled: “a good action.”

In the Providence of God I have brought some six hundred families of my countrymen from the errors of Rome; to the Knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. Now, I am trying to give to the Children of those converts the best possible Christian & American education, and I have founded a College: “The Saviour’s College” where about 130 boys & girls are taught to serve their God & love their country.

But, alone, I can not meet all the expenses of that new Institution. Our Presbytery have advised me to make an appeal to our Freinds [sic] in Washington. The eminent services you have already rendered me, gives me, surely, the privilege of looking to you as our first & noblest Freind.

It is then to you that we go first to get some help for the education of that colony which has already sent more than 150 men to the defense of the Country. 12 of them have shed their blood on the battle Fields of the West.

For God’s sake, My dear Mr. Lincoln, do receive with your usual Kindness, my humble requests

and Believe me.

Your most devoted Servant,

  1. CHINIQUY

My residence in Washington is 58th Missoury [sic] Ave.

No reference is made of past intimate conversations. Nothing in the letter suggests that two old friends from the Illinois prairies might have spent the day visiting wounded soldiers or holding a long conversation on theology. Lincoln did visit hospitals in and about Washington while he was President, but there is no record that he did so on June 10, 1864.

Also, he never visited more than one hospital on any of the days listed for that activity in Lincoln Day by Day. On the evening of June 10, 1864, the President met with Orville H. Browning and discussed an Illinois patronage matter. [43] Lincoln may have met with Chiniquy that evening, but there is no evidence of it. If such an interview did occur, the subject was probably Chiniquy’s request for money.

It is clear that Charles Chiniquy met Lincoln in 1856 in Urbana and engaged his legal services. The facts of the case differ significantly, however, from those reported in Chiniquy’s autobiography. As to the three separate interviews in Washington, it is reasonable to assume that the first two never took place. If a third did occur, it was for the purpose of obtaining a charitable contribution from the President. One may also conclude that Lincoln never offered Chiniquy a post in the foreign service, nor did he engage the former priest in long conversations about the Bible and assassination plots. [44]

As the by-no-means-exhaustive list of pamphlets and books cited in this essay suggests, Chiniquy’s charges against the Catholic church will be kept alive by sectarian battlers disposed to believe what was said in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. [45] Scholars, however, even when tempted to use less sensational passages from Chiniquy’s book, should be wary. There is no evidence to support his claim that he was a close friend of the Sixteenth President.

FOOTNOTES

 

[1] Guldner to Nicolay, Oct. 30, 1891, John G. Nicolay Papers, Library of Congress.

[2] Nicolay to Guldner, Dec. 3, 1891, ibid.

[3] Nicolay did plan to incorporate the item in a projected volume of spurious Lincoln quotations. After Nicolay died, his daughter gave his notes to the Library of Congress. See, David C. Mearns, “Our Reluctant Contemporary: Abraham Lincoln”, Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, 6 (1950), 77-78.

[4] Charles P.T. Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, 43rd ed. (New York: Fleming H. Ravelle Co., 1886), pp. 692-96 (all references in this article are to the forty-third edition). The volume was first published in 1885, in both French and English. The first English edition was printed by the Craig and Barlow Publishing Company of Chicago. Marcel Trudel, Chiniquy (Trois Rivieres, Quebec: Editions du Bien Publiques, 1955), pp. xxi-xxii.

An examination of other editions of Fifty Years in the Church of Rome reveals that the editions vary only in the dedication pages. See, for example, the third edition–published in 1886 by William Drysdale & Co. of Montreal–and the forty-second edition–published in 1892 by the Craig Press of Chicago.

Chiniquy apparently was active in advertising the volume. The Illinois State Historical Library (hereinafter cited as ISHL) owns Mr. Editor, a broadside dated July 13, 1885, which was sent by Chiniquy to newspaper editors. The broadside warned of the dangers of Romanism, identified chapters about Abraham Lincoln, and requested a copy of the review when published. In a handwritten note at the bottom of the broadside, Chiniquy asked the editor to “give the book such criticism it deserves.”

[5] New York Times, Jan. 17, 1899.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Chiniquy, Fifty Years, pp. 654-57, 664.

[8] Ibid, pp. 691-92. For Morse’s anti-Catholicism, see G.H.G. [George Harvey Genzmer], “Morse, Samuel Finley Breese”, Dictionary of American Biography (1984).

[9] Chiniquy, Fifty Years, pp. 692-93.

[10] Ibid., pp. 693-96.

[11] Ibid., p. 698.

[12] Ibid., pp. 698-709.

[13] Fulton, Washington in the Lap of Rome (Boston: W. Kellaway, 1888), pp. iii, 115-35.

[14] J.D.W. [John D. Wade], “Fulton, Justin Dewey”, Dictionary of American Biography (1931).

[15] Winifred Ernest Garrison, The March of Faith: The Story of Religion in America since 1865 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1971), pp. 211-12.

[16] W.H.B. [W.H. Burr], The Murder of Abraham Lincoln: Planned and Executed by Jesuit Priests (Indianapolis: Ironclad Age, 1893).

[17] Harris, Rome’s Responsibility for the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (Pittsburgh: Willams Publishing Co., 1897), pp. 6, 34.

[18] McCarty, The Suppressed Truth about the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (Philadelphia: Burke McCarty, Pub., 1924), pp. 43-52.

[19] Ibid., p. 69.

[20] Charles Chiniquy, Assassination of Lincoln (Milan, Ill.: Rail Splitter Press [1921]), pp. 1, 32.

[21] Thomas P. Meehan, “Lincoln’s Opinion of Catholics”, Historical Records and Studies of the United States Catholic Historical Society, 16 (1924), 88.

[22] Fish, “Lincoln and Catholicism”, American Historical Review, 29 (1924). 723-24.

[23] M. H. Wilcoxon, Abraham Lincoln’s Vow Against the Catholic Church (Milan, Ill.: Rail Splitter Press, 1928).

[24] Roy P. Basler, ed., Lloyd Dunlap and Marion Dolores Pratt, asst. eds., Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. 1953-1955) – hereinafter cited as Collected Works. Neither is there any reference to Chiniquy in the supplement to the Collected Works, published twenty-one years later: Basler, ed,. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: Supplement 1832-1865 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1974).

[25] Fulton, Lincoln’s Assassination (Minneapolis: 0sterhus Pub. House [I960]), p. 2.

[26] McLoughlin, An Inquiry into the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1963). p. 8.

[27] Trudel, pp. 306-07.

[28] Barton, The Soul of Abraham Lincoln (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1920), p. 188; Barton, “Abraham Lincoln and the Eucharistic Congress”, The Outlook, 143 (1926), 375.

[29] Barton, Soul of Abraham Lincoln, p. 196; Barton, “Abraham Lincoln and the Eucharistic Congress”, p. 375.

[30] Lewis, Myths After Lincoln (New York: Harcourt, 1929), pp. 343-45.

[31] Hertz, Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait (New York: Horace Liveright, 1931), 1, 55-56. See also Edgar DeWitt Jones, Lincoln and the Preachers (1948; rpt. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1970), pp. 27-28; Clarence Edward Macartney, Lincoln and the Bible (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1949), pp. 92-96. A more recent student of Lincoln’s religious views, William J. Wolf, was suspicious of Chiniquy but believed that he “did have interviews” with the President. See Wolf, The Almost Chosen People: A Study of the Religion of Abraham Lincoln (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959), p. 26.

[32] Chiniquy, Fifty Years, pp. 617-42, 653-61, 664.

[33] “Complaint of Peter Spink, Feb. 3, 1855,” photostat, Spink v. Chiniquy file, ISHL. Henry Clay Whitney stated in 1892 that Chiniquy’s offending statement was made in a sermon. Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln. Introduction and notes by Paul M. Angle (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1940), pp. 73-75.

[34] Whitney, p. 75. Spink petitioned for the change of venue; he claimed that he could not receive a fair trial in Kankakee because of “the prejudice of the judge.” See “Petition of Peter Spink,” Nov. 13,1855, photostat, Spink v. Chiniquy File, ISHL.

[35] “Peter Spink vs. Charles Chiniquy [1856]”, Herndon-Weik MSS. Library of Congress (microfilm in ISHL). The ISHL Lincoln Collection contains a photostat of a second copy, mostly in Lincoln’s handwriting, but with three lines written by others, probably other attorneys involved in the compromise settlement.

[36] ISHL does have a photostat in its Lincoln collection of the handwritten bill for services that Lincoln gave Chiniquy. The document reads: “Urbana, May 23, 1856 – Due A. Lincoln Fifty dollars for value received.” It is signed “C. Chiniquy.”

[37] Davis memorandum, Sept. 20, 1866. Herndon-Weik MSS.

[38] Nicolay to William H. Herndon, May 27, 1865, Herndon-Weik MSS.

[39] Chiniquy to Lincoln, Sept. 29, 1862, Robert Todd Lincoln Collection. Library of Congress (hereinafter cited as RTL Collection).

[40] Evening Star (Washington. D.C.), June 9, 10. 1864; New York Times, June 10, 1864; Public Ledger (Philadelphia), June 10, 1864. The account quoted in Collected Works, VII. 380-82, is taken from the New York Tribune, June 10, 1864. All newspaper accounts agree on essentials regarding the event.

[41] Apparently this is the same A. Chester who edited the Kankakee Gazette from 1853 to 1856; see Collected Works, IV. 30. Chester is known to have been a friend of Lincoln’s: he was a lawyer at one time, campaigned for Lincoln in 1864, asked the President for political jobs for friends and himself, and provided some letters of recommendation for people wishing to see the President. See Chester to Lincoln, April 25, June 25, Dec. 16, 1863, and March 3, Aug. 8, Oct. 21, Nov. 15, Dec. 8, 1864 – all in RTL Collection.

[42] Enclosed with the letter is a broadside that endorses the school and requests funds: Alex. F. Kemp, To the Christian Public, Montreal, May 9. 1864.

[43] Earl Schenck Miers, William E. Baringer. C. Percy Powell, eds. Lincoln Day by Day: A Chronology, 1809-1865 (Washington, D.C.: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, 1960), III, 264: Theodore Calvin Pease and James G. Randall, eds., The Diary of Orville Hickman Browning: Volume 1, 1850-1864, Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, Vol. 20 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1925), p. 672. Chiniquy’s Canadian biographer presented what he considered only a partial list of Chiniquy’s untruths and concluded “les mensonges de Chiniquy sont legion” (“The lies of Chiniquy are legion”); Trudel, pp. 260-62.

[45] The most recent pamphlet of this genre seen by the author is Father Charles Chiniquy, The Gift (Philadelphia: Continental Press [ca. 1974]). Chiniquy was described as a “friend of Abraham Lincoln.”

 

 

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

December 12, 2018

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 publications.

 

Conversation No. 39

Date: Monday, September 30. 1996

Commenced: 12:23 PM CST

Concluded: 12:47 PM CST

RTC: Gregory?

GD: Yes, Robert. I am letting you know that I got a letter from Critchfield today.

RTC: Excellent! What did he say?

GD: If you know the score, a great deal and if you don’t, it’s still interesting. Shall I read it to you?

RTC: Not on the phone. Can you copy it and send it to me at home?

GD: He says that you spoke well of me and that you said I was a former intelligence employee, just as you said he would. He is very eager to get ahold of me to find out what I know about Mueller and who told me.

RTC: Oh, he’s a very alarmed person, Gregory. They all are.

GD: He did mention that his ex-CIA friends were all in a tizzy. Some believed me and other said that none of it could be true.

RTC: That’s typical, Gregory. We always had members who laughed at everything. You could tell them today was Monday and they would say, “Well, that remains to be seen.” How did he leave it?

GD: He is most insistent that I call him at home.

RTC: But be careful of that, Gregory. He’ll tape you. He wants to find out what you know about Mueller….have you mentioned Kronthal yet?

GD: I haven’t responded to the letter, Robert, but when we talk, I will.

RTC: He’ll ask you if Corson told you this. Say that he did not. Say that Mueller did. Also tell him that the Company terminated Kronthal because he was a faggot and was being blackmailed by the Russians. Got that?

GD: I do.

RTC: This might prove to be very interesting. Be sure you tape him. Do you have the equipment for that?

GD: I do indeed, Robert.

RTC: And be very accurate about Gehlen. No interesting stories.

GD: Robert, please give me some credit, won’t you? I’ve been doing this sort of crap for years now and I haven’t put my foot into it yet.

RTC: No, but I’ve never seen you in action.

GD: You will. I have had dealings with the CIA before. My God, what a bunch of idiots. They have two approaches, Robert and only two. They tell you that you’re in very serious trouble but they can help you or they say they want to be my friend. As far as the latter is concerned, I’d much rather try to fuck a rabid bulldog than trust one of them. They couldn’t talk a Mongoloid idiot out of a candy bar. Now, on the other hand, the Russians I know are far better. I’ve never had a bad word from any of them. I would say that the average Russian KGB person, but on a higher level, is far more intelligent and savvy than any CIA person I’ve ever met.

RTC: Ever been to Russia?

GD: Once. As a tourist, of course. I have a nice picture of myself sitting in their headquarters, reading a local paper under a picture of Lenin.

RTC: Are you serious?

GD: Certainly I am. I met one of their leaders when he and I were in Bern. He was a trade delegation person at their embassy of course. And they do know how to feed you. I got rather fond of smoked sturgeon and really good Beluga caviar, all washed down with a first class Crimean wine.

RTC: Who was your friend there?

GD: He’s in the First Directorate but somehow I seem to have forgotten his name. He was on the idiot tube during the Gorbachev problem a few years ago.

RTC: Stocky? Sandy hair? Thinning?

GD: I believe so.

RTC: My God. If I gave you a name would…

GD: No, I would not. Besides, I’m not a spy, Robert. Don’t forget, I’m an analyst, a scenario writer, not a spy. Besides the sturgeon, I enjoy dissecting a complex problem and arriving at a simple answer. It’s not popular with most people, Robert, but it’s almost always right.

RTC: Such vanity.

GD: I prefer to call it a realistic appraisal of facts, Robert.

RTC: Could I see the picture?

GD: I’ll show it to you in person but I would prefer not to send it to you by mail. It might get lost.

RTC: Yes, these things do happen.

GD: I will certainly speak with Critchfield and I will tape the conversation for you. Do you want a copy of the tape?

RTC: No, just play it for me so I can hear what the shit has to say. I’d like you to get him to talk about the Nazis who worked for him. You know Jim liked the Nazis and hired a fair number of them. Grombach made out a list after the war so they could track some of the war crimes boys who might be in POW cages. They called it the Crowcrass List. Jim got his hands on it and used it to recruit from. I told him once this could come back to haunt him if the Jews ever found out about it but Jim just said the Jews were loud-mouthed assholes, his exact words, and Hitler missed the boat when he left any alive.

GD: Do you want me to get him to say that?

RTC: Now that’s an interesting idea, Gregory. Would you?

GD: Why not? I really knew Gehlen, as I’ve said, in ’51. He told me once that his famous report that the Russians were planning to attack western Europe in ’48 was made up because the U.S. Army, who were paying him, wanted him to do this. He said he lied like a rug and that no German intelligence officer would ever believe a word of it. He said the Russians had torn up all the rail lines in their zone and they could no more move troops up to the border than crap sideways. He said that this was designed to scare the shit out of the politicians in Washington so the Army, which was being sharply reduced in size, would be able to rebuild. That meant more money from Congress and more Generals got to keep their jobs. He said it worked like a charm and even Truman was terrified. I assume that’s the real beginning of the Cold War, isn’t it?

RTC: That’s a very good and accurate assessment. Jim told me that Gehlen was a pompous ass whom Hitler had sacked for being a champion bullshit artist but he was very useful to our side in frightening everyone with the Russian boogeyman. It’s all business, isn’t it?

GD: Marx said that. The basis of all wars is economic.

RTC: Absolutely, Gregory, absolutely. But talk about the Nazi SS men he hired, if you can. My God, they say it was like a party rally up at Pullach. If we can get him to admit that he, and others, knew what they were hiring, I’ll have him over the proverbial barrel and then I can have some leverage over him. Why, you don’t need to know.

GD: I don’t care, Robert. From his letter, I would agree he is a gasbag with a bloated opinion of himself. He should never have written that letter because I can see right through it. He’s afraid I know too much and if I knew Mueller, he’s even more frightened Mueller might have said things about him. You know, Robert, if you dance to the tune, you have to pay the piper eventually.

RTC: Do keep the letter and try to get him to put more down on paper.

GD: I will try but I don’t think he’s that stupid. We’ll try the tape and see what I can pry out of him. Mueller got me a list of names working for Gehlen and some background on them. I agree that they hired some people who are going to haunt them if it ever gets out.

RTC: Well, you have a problem there. Your publisher is not big enough to reach too many people and a bigger one would be told right off not to talk to you. I also might suggest several things to you. If anyone tries to come to visit you, and they want to bring a friend, don’t go for it.

GD: Are they planning to shoot me?

RTC: No. The so-called friend would be a government expert. They would examine any documents you had and if there was the slightest hint that you were sitting on something you had no business having, they would go straight into federal court, testify that these papers were highly sensitive and classified and get a friendly judge to issue a replevin order. That means they would send the FBI crashing into your house and grab everything sight. If you had a Rolex it would vanish along with any loose cash and, naturally, all the papers. And one other thing, if you get a very nice offer from some publisher you never heard of, just begging you to let them publish, be warned that they would take the manuscript, send it to Langley and if Langley thought it was dangerous, give you a contract to publish it along with a token payment. Of course they would never publish it but since they paid you and had a contract to publish, you could never find another publisher. They’d get a court order in record time, blocking it. Just some advice.

GD: Thank you. But I never let these morons into my house. Oh, and I have had such invites but once you talk to these jokers, you can see in a few minutes that they know nothing about Mueller, the Gestapo or anything else. They read a book and think they are an expert but most post war books are bullshit written by the far left or by Jews and are completely worthless from a factual point of view. No, it takes me only a few minutes to figure them out and then, suddenly, my dog is tearing the throats out of the Seventh Day Adventists on the front porch and I have to ring off. I don’t know why these Mongoloids don’t find someone with an IQ larger than their neck size. That is a chronic disappointment. There’s no challenge there, Robert. It’s a little like reading Kant to a Mongoloid. Such a waste of my time and so unrewarding when you find they pissed on the rug.

RTC: That should do it for now, Gregory. Keep me posted.

GD: I’m going out of town for a few days but will get back with you next week.

 

(Concluded at 12:47 PM CST)

 

 

 

 

 

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