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TBR News December 16, 2018

Dec 16 2018

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

Washington, D.C. December 16, 2018:”Many items of vital importance can be found on the Internet any day of the week. Aside from the chronic hootings that Jesus is about to appear at a chicken barbecue in Dallas next week or that the Illuminati control the Boy Scouts and all local Chambers of Commerce, there are lists of subjects, only lightly treated here, that give some indication of fiction elevated into fact:

  • Gas chambers killed millions of Jews
  • the Loch Ness monster seen in Lake Erie
  • The fake moon landings
  • Kennedy killed by Mutant Dwarvs
  • Planet X
  • Houston destroyed by Israeli A-bomb
  • Queen Elizabeth a lizard
  • 911 caused by Russian bombers
  • Flight 800 shot down by Israeli missiles
  • Aspirin causes brain cancer
  • Three-fingered space mummies found in Peru
  • Egyptian pyramids landing platforms for UFOs
  • Fukushima disaster caused by German submarine
  • Huge cities found under Antarctic ice cap
  • President Trump will make America great again
  • Cleopatra and Socrates were black

The Table of Contents 

 

  • Anger grows after death of Guatemalan migrant girl held in US
  • US working to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen: Turkish PM
  • Messianic Jewish Lobbying Group Builds Support for U.S.-Funded Ethnic Cleansing Plan in Palestine
  • Netanyahu’s scandal-ridden son defends Facebook post suggesting all Muslims should leave Israel
  • The 10 Most Appalling Articles in the Weekly Standard’s Short and Dreadful Life
  • Middle East pressures building: a 1914 reprise?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 

 

Anger grows after death of Guatemalan migrant girl held in US

Family of girl disputes the American government’s claim that she had not had food or water for days beforehand

December 16, 208

by Emma Graham-Harrison

The Guardian

The family of the young Guatemalan girl who died in the custody of US border officials after crossing the border is disputing the American government’s claim that she had not had food or water for days beforehand.

Anger is growing over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, seven, which emerged last week and immediately sparked uproar about harsh immigration and border policies being pursued by the Trump administration.

On Saturday, lawyers for the family released a statement insisting that the girl had been fed and hydrated and appeared to be in good health as she traveled through Mexico to the US southern border with her father, intending to seek asylum.

She had not been traveling through the desert for days, the family asserted, before being taken into custody by US officials along with many other migrants on 6 December. Jakeline died less than two days later, according to immigration officials.

Border patrol officials last Friday said agents did everything they could to save the girl – but that she had not had food or water for days when she began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing, later dying in a Texas hospital.

Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul based in Del Rio, Texas, said on Saturday that he spoke with Jakelin’s father, Nery Caal. He said Caal told him the group they were traveling with was dropped off in Mexico about a 90-minute walk from the border, and Jakelin had not been deprived of food or water and appeared to be in good condition.

Border Patrol officials did not immediately respond to the family’s comments.

The family’s statement was released Saturday during a news conference in El Paso, Texas, at an immigrant shelter where Jakelin’s father is staying. Her family did not attend and has asked for privacy.

What is known is that in the evening of 6 December seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin was picked up by American border officials after crossing a remote part of the US-Mexico border with her father and 161 other asylum seekers.

She would have been exhausted, perhaps already running a fever, when she got to a tiny outpost called Forward Operating Base Bounds. The Guatemalan pair had barely eaten or had anything to drink for several days, her father later told officials.

However, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials signed her off as in good health, and left Jakelin and her father Nery Caal waiting nearly eight hours for a bus to take them to a larger centre.

Before they boarded the bus in the early hours of the morning, her father told officials that his daughter was sick and vomiting; by the time they arrived an hour and a half later her breathing had stopped. A helicopter rushed her from New Mexico to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, but treatment came too late and she died 27 hours after entering the US.

“The initial indication from the Providence Hospital is that she passed due to sepsis shock,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that was posted more than a week later.

The death of such a young child in custody has caused national outrage, and led to calls for an investigation from Democrats. “A seven-year-old girl should not be dying of dehydration and shock in Customs and Border Protection custody,” said the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer. He demanded that the Department of Homeland Security and its leader, secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, be held accountable.

The incoming speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said: “All Americans grieve the tragic death of a young girl whose family sought a future of freedom and safety for her in our country.” Both of New Mexico’s senators and democratic congressmen and women from the state and neighbouring Texas also demanded an investigation in an open letter.

There were also questions about why the CBP commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, did not mention Jakelin’s death when he testified to the senate judiciary committee on Tuesday that the agency was struggling to deal with the large numbers of families and children crossing the border.

The CBP only confirmed that a child had died in response to a Washington Post inquiry on Thursday, nearly a week after Jakelin had died.

The White House, CBP and DHS say border agents tried to save her once they were alerted to a problem.

But the interview with Caal was in Spanish, while the family’s mother tongue was Q’eqchi’, a pre-Columbian Mayan language, the Washington Post reported. The family come from the Alta Verapaz province, a poor area in the country’s north plagued by drug-related violence.

Once it was clear she was unwell, agents “did everything in their power to provide emergency medical assistance for Jakelin Caal Maquin immediately after her father told agents of her distress”, McAleenan said in a statement.

White House spokeswoman Hogan Gidley emphasised the dangers of crossing the border illegally.

Cynthia Pompa, the advocacy manager for the ACLU border rights centre, said the number of migrant deaths had increased last year even as the number of border crossings fell. “This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions. Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

US working to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen: Turkish PM

Turkey says Donald Trump recently confirmed he was working to extradite the Islamic cleric that Ankara blames for a 2016 failed coup, according to media reports. If true, the revelation marks a major U-turn by Trump.

December 16, 2018

by Nik Martin

DW

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Washington is making efforts to extradite a US-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed Turkish coup in 2016, the Reuters news agency and Turkish media reported on Sunday.

Cavusoglu cited comments apparently made by US President Donald Trump to his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina earlier this month.

Turkey has long sought the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a one-time ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is blamed by Turkish authorities for the failed putsch when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and helicopters, attacked parliament and shot unarmed civilians.

Gulen, who lives in the US state of Pennsylvania, has repeatedly denied any involvement.

New attempt to seize Gulen finances

Erdogan said last week he would advance plans to target the overseas financing of Gulen supporters.

Cavusoglu, meanwhile, told a conference in Doha he had “recently seen a credible probe by the FBI on how the Gulen organization avoids taxes.”

The extradition request has been a major cause of friction between the two leaders, and rumors surfaced last month that the White House had made inquiries about the legal implication of expelling Gulen.

That forced Trump to deny he was considering extraditing the preacher as part of a deal with the Ankara government to ease political pressure over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Since the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive purge on those with alleged links to Gulen’s movement. Around 218,000 people were subsequently arrested, some 50,000 jailed, and 140,000 civil service workers dismissed.

Erdogan has been strongly criticized for cracking down on dissent as part of a more comprehensive power grab.

Human rights campaigners have meanwhile expressed doubts over whether Gulen would receive a fair trial in Turkey.

 

 

Messianic Jewish Lobbying Group Builds Support for U.S.-Funded Ethnic Cleansing Plan in Palestine

December 16, 2018

by Lee Fang

The Intercept

A pro-Israel activist group is quietly pushing lawmakers on Capitol Hill and key officials in the White House to embrace a plan that would entail paying Palestinian residents in the West Bank to move abroad. The plan is a bid to reshape the ethnic and religious population of territories controlled by Israel, according to the head of the group, called the Alliance for Israel Advocacy.

If all goes according to the group’s plan, legislation will be released in January, when the new Congress convenes, that will redirect U.S. funds once dedicated to the United Nations for Palestinian humanitarian assistance into a voucher program administered by the Israeli government. A draft summary of the proposal states that the money will help finance the permanent relocation of Palestinians from the West Bank to countries such as Turkey, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, or the United States.

The effort is being championed by the Alliance for Israel Advocacy, a lobbying group formed by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, a nonprofit that represents Jews who have converted to Christianity but who still practice some Jewish customs. The so-called Messianic Jews broadly share many spiritual beliefs of modern born-again evangelicals.

The Intercept was unable to confirm the Alliance for Israel Advocacy’s accounts of its meetings with Congress and the White House, and the lawmakers whom the group said were considering sponsorship of its legislative effort declined to comment on this story. But Paul Liberman, the executive director of the Alliance for Israel Advocacy, explained the policy plan — and his account of the lobbying push — in an extensive interview with The Intercept.

“Our organization advocates, and it’s in our proposed legislation, we say, let’s offer sponsorship if there are any Palestinian residents who wish to leave and go to other countries, we will provide funds for you to leave,” said Liberman. “The only rights the Palestinians have are squatter’s rights,” Liberman continued. “If there are any Palestinian residents who wish to leave, we will provide funds for you to leave, with the hopes that over 10 years to change the demography of the West Bank towards an eventual annexation.”

Liberman said he was inspired by the Bible to build a single Jewish state in what is often called Greater Israel. His organization believes that most Palestinians must leave the country and that those who remain should “live under the doctrine of the sojourner,” according to Liberman, meaning they would not have the ability to vote and could “not participate in the sovereignty of the land.”

The Alliance for Israel Advocacy has avoided the spotlight while quietly soliciting backing from high-level officials, including conservative Republicans, evangelical leaders, and Israeli officials. When Liberman spoke to The Intercept, he was pitching the plan at the Council for National Policy, a gathering of high-powered donors and activists of the religious right. The closely guarded private event featured Nikki Haley, then the United Nations ambassador.

In the 2018 book “Trump Aftershock: The President’s Seismic Impact on Culture and Faith in America,” the Christian right author Stephen Strang, who chronicled the relationship between Trump and evangelicals, said Liberman has presented the Alliance for Israel Advocacy proposal at the White House. Strang wrote, “Liberman has been invited to three meetings at the White House to discuss their bold and viable plan.”

A summary of the legislation proposed by Liberman has been floated to several congressional offices, according to his account. The bill will propose that the money the U.S. typically budgets for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency fund — the agency that distributes aid to Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian Authority, relief nonprofits, and families living in the West Bank — would instead go into a fund designated to resettle Palestinians in countries all over the world. In 2017, the U.S. provided $364 million to UNWRA, though the funding ended in August of this year when President Donald Trump abruptly stopped the payments.

Human rights organizations were surprised to hear of the Alliance for Israel Advocacy’s proposal and quickly condemned the effort.

“Any reallocation of US funding from aid given to the UN for humanitarian work towards a voucher system set up to encourage Palestinians to leave their homes would represent support by the U.S. for ethnic cleansing,” Mike Merryman-Lotze, the Middle East Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee, wrote in an email in response to a summary of the Alliance for Israel Advocacy proposal.

Debra Shushan, the director of policy at the group Americans for Peace Now, said that under normal circumstances, any such proposal would never gain traction and would be viewed as comically extreme. But in the Trump era, once unthinkable demands have quickly become policy on Israel and Palestine, leaving Shushan concerned that the Alliance for Israel Advocacy proposal might be more than just a fringe idea.

“A plan to redirect U.S. foreign aid from supporting Palestinian refugees through UNRWA to paying Palestinians to leave the West Bank so that Israel’s own radical religious right can annex the occupied territory is morally outrageous and destined to fail,” said Shusan, adding that her organization would oppose the effort.

The Alliance for Israel Advocacy may appear obscure, but the group boasts high-level contacts throughout the Trump administration. Liberman said he has met with key administration figures, including Tom Rose, a close adviser to Vice President Mike Pence; Jason Greenblatt, the president’s chief adviser on issues pertaining to Israel; and Victoria Coates, an official with the National Security Council, among others. (The White House did not respond to requests for comment on whether any administration officials met with Liberman or his group.)

Behind the scenes, Lieberman told The Intercept, the Alliance for Israel Advocacy has nudged the administration in the direction of the overall plan for reshaping U.S. aid to Palestinians. Liberman said his group was instrumental in passing the Taylor Force Act, signed in March of this year. Critics say the law, which conditions American aid to the Palestinian Authority on ending the practice of providing financial assistance to the families of individuals who commit acts of terrorism, could be used to punish any dissent to the occupation. The Alliance for Israel Advocacy also lobbied on Trump’s recent decision to end UNWRA funding.

Public records show that the Alliance for Israel Advocacy retained the services of Fidelis Government Relations, a lobbying firm that employs Bill Smith, one of Pence’s closest former aides and his former chief of staff. The disclosures state that the firm was hired by the Alliance for Israel Advocacy in order to build relationships with the White House, including with the vice president’s office.

Originally, according to Liberman, the Alliance for Israel Advocacy had worked closely with former Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a committed Christian conservative and founding member of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, to sponsor the voucher legislation. But Franks resigned late last year, immediately following the revelation that he had urged one of his congressional staffers to serve as a surrogate mother to bear children for him. The next potential sponsor, according to Liberman’s account, was Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., who lost in November to Democrat Kendra Horn in one of the biggest surprise upsets of the midterm elections.

Liberman recently visited Capitol Hill in search of a new sponsor for his bill. In an update for Alliance for Israel Advocacy members, Liberman noted that he met repeatedly with Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who is open to sponsoring the legislation, though he will first “confer with his counterpart in the Knesset called the ‘Israel Victory Caucus.’” Other potential sponsors include Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C.; John Moolenaar, R-Mich.; Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; John Curtis, R-Utah; Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.; and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.

The Trump administration has maintained unusually strong ties to figures in the Messianic Jewish movement. Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal attorney, converted from Reform Judaism to Christianity while attending Atlanta Baptist College, and later built a career as a fiery defender of Jews for Jesus and other likeminded Christian organizations. In October, Loren Jacobs, the leader of a Messianic Jewish congregation, gave the opening prayer at a rally in Michigan headlined by Pence. During his remarks, Jacobs prayed for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, sparking a minor controversy given the contentious relationship between the American Jewish community and the Messianic Jewish movement.

Adherents of Messianic Judaism are often viewed skeptically across the spectrum of more established strains of Judaism — and by the Israeli government, which views Messianic Jews as Christians, not Jews, for the purposes of Jewish immigration rights in Israel. The Alliance for Israel Advocacy’s religious status, however, has not prevented the group from making some inroads with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Liberman said he has met with several leaders in the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, including Tzachi Hanegbi, a senior figure in the Likud Party. (Strang also reported the meeting between Hanegbi and Liberman.) Hanegbi directed Lieberman to meet with Naftali Bennett, the chair of the hard-right party Israel Home, a partner in Likud’s coalition. Bennett, said Liberman, encouraged him to meet with Israel Home Knesset Member Moti Yogev, the chair of the Subcommittee for Judea and Samaria, which oversees the occupied West Bank. Liberman said he secured explicit support from Yogev for the Alliance for Israel Advocacy’s voucher plan.

Yogev made headlines in recent months for demanding that Palestinian Israeli lawmakers leave Israel. “Even Ramallah will be part of Israel. Go to Paris, go to Britain, go to your anti-Semitic friends, go to whomever you want. Your place is in the departure lounge,” Yogev thundered during a confrontation that occurred at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in September. The Knesset member has previously sponsored bills to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the city of Ariel, Gush Etzion, and others. (Yogev did not respond to a request for comment about his work with the Alliance for Israel Advocacy.)

During the interview with The Intercept, Liberman recounted his own religious awakening. Once a committed Orthodox Jew working in the Nixon administration as an agency liaison to Capitol Hill, Liberman said he had an encounter with an individual on a bus who urged him to explore Christian spirituality. That experience led him to re-examine the Torah and eventually view Jesus Christ as a messiah figure consistent with prophecies in his own faith.

Liberman founded a Messianic Jewish congregation in the Washington, D.C., area and today leads a congregation located in Palm Springs, California. He has long agitated for the Messianic Jewish cause, building relationships with major Jewish organizations and evangelicals.

That lobbying experience has helped him craft the voucher proposal. “The usual approach is to create a public relations campaign and influence the public,” said Liberman. But with this idea and the unorthodox dynamics influencing Trump, he believes a more low-key approach can get better results. Once there is public support from either the administration or the Israeli government for the voucher plan, Lieberman said, major Jewish advocacy groups will support the effort.

One Alliance for Israel Advocacy memo on its lobbying effort states that the group’s “Biblical orientation has always received a warmer reception among Republican Members.” The Alliance for Israel, however, has floated the idea that Democrats may be amenable to their approach. In the memo to supporters, the group noted that Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., proposed the UNRWA Accountability Act, a bill designed to give the administration more authority to shape how UNRWA funds are spent. Though bill was a far cry from Liberman’s proposal, he appeared to take solace in Democratic action on UNWRA spending. “Democrats love Israel, too,” Liberman told The Intercept.

Liberman dismissed the traditional funding of UNRWA as support for terrorism and said that his proposal will be popular among Palestinians. To that end, he cited support from a poll his organization conducted.

The Alliance for Israel Advocacy commissioned the poll last year among 650 Palestinians in the West Bank to gauge support for the relocation proposal. The poll found nearly one third of youth living without full employment, and about half have already discussed moving abroad in search of economic opportunity. The survey suggests respondents would be open to resettlement abroad in exchange for $1,000 to $100,000, with the median amount at approximately $5,040.

“Over time, there could be many families interested in a fresh start with $50,000 capital for a new life,” a memo published by the Alliance for Israel Advocacy declares.

Te fact that Israel is already divided into separate territories, with Gaza and the West Bank under nominal Palestinian rule, is “inconsistent with the Bible,” said Liberman, citing scripture.

The Bible’s always been true, and anything it predicts has come true or will come true,” he said confidently. God, continued Liberman, intended for Israel to have “the borders from the River Jordan to the Great Sea, the Mediterranean Sea.”

 

Netanyahu’s scandal-ridden son defends Facebook post suggesting all Muslims should leave Israel

December 16, 2018

RT

The son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended a controversial Facebook post in which he implied that all Muslims should leave the Jewish state. The initial post prompted backlash on social media.

“There will not be peace here until: 1. All the Jews leave the land of Israel. 2. All the Muslims leave the land of Israel. I hope it’s the second,” Yair Netanyahu wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

He went on to state that Iceland and Japan don’t have terror attacks because “there is no Muslim population there.”

The 27-year-old defended his thoughts on Saturday, asking why the same people who have been calling to “evacuate the settlers and establish a Palestinian state free of Jews” were angered by his words.

Many on social media were indeed unimpressed with the younger Netanyahu’s Facebook posts, with one person instead stating that he should be the one to leave Israel.

Ben White, author of the book ‘Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel’, questioned who “radicalized” the prime minister’s son.

Yair Netanyahu is no stranger to the spotlight, or to controversy. In May, he came under fire for posting “F*** Turkey” on Instagram amid a diplomatic row between Israel and Ankara.

In January, recordings were released which included Netanyahu, then 25, and his friends talking about spending thousands of shekels for private dances from strippers. He also appeared to offer his friends sexual favors from a woman he was in an intimate relationship with in exchange for money. Some Israeli media outlets have implied that those comments were made in jest while inebriated.

The same tapes, recorded by Netanyahu’s then-driver, also revealed Netanyahu asking his friend to “spot him” some money because the elder Netanyahu had secured an “awesome” gas deal that would benefit the friend’s father.

In 2017, Yair posted a meme which was deemed anti-Semitic on his Facebook page, which he eventually deleted following backlash. However, the meme did get the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and can still be seen on the controversial figure’s Twitter feed.

 

The 10 Most Appalling Articles in the Weekly Standard’s Short and Dreadful Life

December 16, 2018

by Jon Schwarz

The Intercept

The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine founded in 1995 by William Kristol and Fred Barnes with Rupert Murdoch’s money, has expired. Its final issue will be published on Monday.

Most famous for making the case for the catastrophic invasion of Iraq, the magazine was born just one year before Murdoch created Fox News. Both outlets were extremely effective at achieving the same goals via different tactics. Fox was chum for the rubes; the Weekly Standard was chum for Ivy League rubes. Fox pushed mindless belligerence, conspiracism and a deep hatred for reality; the Weekly Standard did the same thing, but with less cleavage and more quotes from Cicero. (In 2009 Murdoch sold it to Philip Anschutz, a fellow billionaire who if anything is more conservative than Murdoch.)

Put another way, Fox was the conservative movement’s amygdala, while the Weekly Standard was its cerebrum, both driving it forward until Trump’s election proved it no longer needed any higher brain functions. But together they played a powerful role in pushing the GOP to where it stands today.

Nonetheless, the Weekly Standard’s death has brought murmurs of ambivalent grief from more reputable corners of the media. The Atlantic says “‘The Weekly Standard’ Is Ending on a High Note.” According to Slate, “The Weekly Standard’s Dismantling Is Terrible News for Conservatism and Journalism.”

But ignore this. Anyone rational will dance joyously on the Weekly Standard’s grave. Yes, in this media climate it’s distressing to see any journalistic institution collapse, even ones that got Iraq completely wrong. Fortunately, the Weekly Standard was not a journalistic institution. To understand this, look at this list of all the huge stories broken by its intrepid reporter

And while it’s true that the Weekly Standard provided a perch for some #NeverTrumpers, there’s no reason to believe that if it had survived it would have somehow generated a rebirth of non-Trump conservativism. This is because, in the three years since Trump burst into American politics like an infected cyst, #NeverTrumpers have accomplished exactly nothing in this area.

More importantly, as demonstrated by the ten atrocious articles below from the Weekly Standard’s 23 years, no one should want the magazine’s vicious ideology within a million miles of American politics. If the only paths forward for conservatism are Trump’s and the Weekly Standard’s, then Americans need to smother conservatism as quickly as possible.

So RIP Weekly Standard, 1995-2018. As difficult as this moment must be for all who cared about it, they can take solace in the fact that many publications have been repeatedly wrong, and even humiliatingly ridiculous — but almost no other magazine can be as certain that they truly affected the world by making it far, far worse.

  1. “The Collapse of the Dream Palaces” by David Brooks, 2003

The top four places on this list rightfully belong to the Weekly Standard’s voluble case for, and defense of, the Iraq War. And this David Brooks article is unquestionably the most horrifying of them all.

From the Weekly Standard’s April 28, 2003 issue — that is, a month after the U.S. invasion of Iraq — this may simultaneously be the worst, funniest, and most terrifying writing ever published in the English language. For instance, its opening paragraph includes the phrase, “Now that the war in Iraq is over.” You must read it for yourself; it cannot be explained, only experienced.

What you may find is that it makes you feel as though a sweaty, middle-aged man is pointing a gun at you and fervently explaining that people like you who wear red shirts are human scum and you, all of you, are about to get what’s coming to you, at last. Then you look down and notice you are not wearing a red shirt, but the man with the gun is.

When you’re finished reading the piece, remember that this was published just five months before the New York Times hired David Brooks as an op-ed writer. In other words, the Times saw this gibbering, so disconnected from reality it is functionally insane, and thought: This is exactly who we want explaining the world to our readers.

  1. “What to Do About Iraq” by Robert Kagan and William Kristol, 2002

“The Iraqi threat is enormous,” Robert Kagan and William Kristol wrote at the beginning of 2002. “It gets bigger with every day that passes. … If too many months go by without a decision to move against Saddam, the risks to the United States may increase exponentially.” Say what you will with your 20/20 hindsight, you can’t deny they totally called this.

“We hear from many corners that it is still too early to ask this question. If you mention the word Iraq, respectable folks at the State Department and on the New York Times op-ed page get red-faced.” Ha ha, those wimps!

“We know … that Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of September 11, went out of his way to meet with an Iraqi intelligence official a few months before he flew a plane into the World Trade Center. … There is no debate about the facts.” Once again, they were 100 percent right.

As the writer John Lingan observed on Friday, “The war in Iraq outlasted the Weekly Standard.”

  1. “Case Closed” by Stephen F. Hayes, 2004

Stephen Hayes, the Weekly Standard’s second and final editor after William Kristol, is uncannily similar to the reporter character W.W. Beauchamp in the Clint Eastwood movie “Unforgiven.” Like Beauchamp, Hayes is deeply interested in men with guns, and loves to follow them around and carefully write down what they tell him.

Hayes spent years trying to prove that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were collaborators. “Case Closed” is a perfect example of his work, in that Hayes successfully demonstrates two things: (1) Iraq had fewer ties to al Qaeda than any other Gulf state, and (2) he is the world’s most gullible human being. Here Hayes faithfully scribbled down the pensées of Douglas J. Feith, then Undersecretary of Defense, and known at the Pentagon as “the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth.”

  1. “The Bumpy Road to Democracy in Iraq” by Fred Barnes, 2004

“Operation Iraqi Freedom has gained impressive momentum,” Barnes told us when he ventured to Baghdad a year after the Iraq War began. But like so many of history’s pith-helmeted white people, Barnes was concerned by the recalcitrance of the dusky natives.

Iraqis, wrote Barnes, “need an attitude adjustment … Iraqis are difficult to deal with. They’re sullen and suspicious and conspiracy-minded. … Papers obsess on the subject of brutal treatment of innocent Iraqis by American soldiers.” But Barnes knew Iraqis were being treated well by U.S. troops, because the troops were super-nice to him.

Barnes concluded by saying that he wanted to see Iraqis demonstrate “an outbreak of gratitude for the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another.” Although Barnes didn’t mention it, it was impressive that we’d broken the record America set during the Vietnam War, which, as the editor of U.S. News & World Report put it in 1966, was “the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times.”

  1. “Breaking the Climate Spell” by Rupert Darwell, 2017

The Weekly Standard has published dozens upon dozens of articles ridiculing anyone who believes climate change is real and a serious problem. But perhaps their best work on the subject is this piece by Rupert Darwell, author of the book “Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex.” I haven’t read this tome, but I think we can be sure it reveals that the Nazis were actually socialists. It’s right there in their name!

In any case, this particular Darwell article is about how smart Trump was to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change accord. “Trump is breaking the spell of inevitability of the transition to renewable energy,” Darwell writes excitedly. “The impression of irresistible momentum has been one of the most potent tools in enforcing compliance with the climate catechism. Like socialism, the clean-energy transition will fail because it doesn’t work.” Don’t get mad, snowflakes, that’s just science.

  1. “Campus Disrupter” by Naomi Schaefer Riley, 2018

It’s hard to remember in the age of Trump, but conservatives used to be fixated on the fear that American universities were no longer teaching the classics of Western civilization. This article is one of several of this type published by the Weekly Standard.

Whatever the merits of the Western classics, read this from Book II, Chapter XXXI of Machiavelli’s “Discourses on Livy.” Then think about the Iraq War and ask yourself whether William Kristol, who has a Harvard Ph.D. in government, has ever actually read these old books:

“It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country … such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself … A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury.”

  1. 7. “Are Syria’s Chemical Weapons Iraq’s Missing WMD? Obama’s Director of Intelligence Thought So” by Mark Hemingway, 2017

It was inevitable that someone on the right would be stupid enough to write this, and the Weekly Standard would be the magazine stupid enough to publish it.

First Mark Hemingway notes that in 2003 James Clapper, who later became Director of National Intelligence under Obama, bloviated about how we weren’t finding any chemical weapons in Iraq because they’d probably been moved to Syria. But Iraq wouldn’t have had any incentive to do this. Even if they’d been hiding chemical weapons, they’re easy to make, and it would have been far simpler to just dump them and then manufacture more when the coast was clear. And Syria had no incentive to do this since it already had huge quantities of its own chemical weapons, and taking in Iraq’s would have invited its own destruction. Most importantly, the CIA spent $1 billion investigating Iraq’s WMD programs, and found no evidence this happened. In fact, the CIA determined, “Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter.” [Emphasis in original.] Thus what Clapper’s words indicate is not that Iraqi chemical weapons were moved to Syria, but that Clapper had no idea what he was talking about.

Then Hemingway learnedly explained that while “it was largely downplayed by the media, American troops in Iraq also stumbled across caches of chemical weapons.” Doesn’t this suggest that Bush was right and some of them might have ended up in Syria? No. What Hemingway doesn’t mention is the other people who downplay this: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. That is because his theory is so, so stupid. (Anyone curious can read about the whole dumb issue here.)

  1. “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage,” by Sam Schulman, 2009

Here Sam Schulman first expresses amazement at the rapidity with “which gays have attained the right to hold jobs — even as teachers and members of the clergy,” and explains “all these rights … have made gays not just ‘free’ but our neighbors.” (In the past all LGBT Americans were apparently sequestered away in underground caverns.) Also, the only reason for marriage is “protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex.”

Then Schulman frets that gay marriage will obviously lead to brothers marrying brothers and fathers marrying sons. But on the other hand, he’s concerned that unmarried gay sex won’t face greater social sanction than married gay sex, and plaintively asks “without social disapproval of unmarried sex — what kind of madman would seek marriage?” The upshot is that after the initial excitement of gay incest marriage, all the gay Americans will realize marriage is pointless and will stop getting married; this will cause marriage of all genres to collapse (?); and human society will evaporate.

  1. “He Was Honest, Eventually” by Gary Locke, 2018

On its surface this is simply a short, banal piece about Barack Obama and Medicare for All. But it deserves recognition because it was published just as it was revealed that Facebook had chosen the Weekly Standard as one of five U.S. publications to which it would outsource factchecking. Hence the magazine showed real moxie here by managing to make three glaring factual errors in two sentences.

First, Medicare would not entail “the full-on nationalization of the health-care industry.” Rather, it would entail nationalization of much of the healthcare insurance industry. Anyone who doesn’t understand the difference doesn’t understand this issue at all.

Second, Medicare is not “America’s most expensive and worst-run health-care program.” Medicare is by no means expensive. The Weekly Standard knows this because, when it’s found it useful, it’s argued that Medicare isn’t expensive enough – i.e., that Medicare for All wouldn’t work because Medicare’s reimbursement rates are too low. Also, people covered by Medicare like it more than those with private insurance.

Third, if Medicare for All were to cost “$32 trillion” over the next ten years, that wouldn’t make it “a plan that’s not remotely affordable for a nation with the budgetary obligations of the United States.” In fact, at $32 trillion, Medicare for All would lower total U.S. healthcare spending. So if you’re worried about America’s “budgetary obligations,” Medicare for All is the way to go.

Presumably the Weekly Standard notified Facebook of the inaccuracies in this article so that Facebook can cut off all traffic to it.

  1. “Going Soft on Iran” by Reuel Marc Gerecht, 2004

The Weekly Standard quickly became the most strident voice for neoconservatism in the U.S. And as we know, there’s nothing neoconservatives care about more than democracy. In this article, former CIA case officer Reuel Marc Gerecht writes of his yearning for Iranians to experience it. If you want to read more about how much the Weekly Standard supports democracy in Iran, well, there’s a lot there for you.

Some people ask why the neoconservatives who care so much about democracy in Iran don’t seem to get upset about attacks on democracy here in America, things they could do something about, like voter suppression. Or why the Bush administration’s neoconservatives tried to stage a coup to overturn the results of a democratic Palestinian election. Or why the neoconservatives in the Reagan administration supported death squads in Central America. Or why the proto-neoconservatives in the 1950s cared so much about democracy in China yet didn’t care at all about the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Ignore these cynics and the “evidence” they cite about the “actions” of the neoconservatives. The Weekly Standard expressed their love for democracy not with boring old actions but with what truly matters: words. That settles that.

Honorable Mention. Self-Flattering Quote by Anonymous Weekly Standard Minion, 2018

This isn’t an article, but deserves to be included here due to its timeless, crystalline beauty: According to a nameless Weekly Standard staffer, the magazine’s original masthead constituted “one of the greatest collections of writerly talent ever put together outside the New Yorker.”

What makes this so perfect is that it shows the Weekly Standard training its keen power of observation upon itself. Just as Iraq was transformed in the magazine’s imagination from a ruined shell of a nation into a mighty, terrifying threat to all humanity, Tucker Carlson, John Podhoretz and Charles Krauthammer somehow become James Thurber, Dorothy Parker and E.B. White. No matter the subject, the Weekly Standard assessed it with the exact same hubris, blindness, and lunatic hyperbole.

 

 

 

Middle East pressures building: a 1914 reprise?

Both the State of Israel and the United States view Syria as a potentially dangerous enemy. Joint intelligence indicates that Syria is a strong supporter of the Hezbollah Shiite paramilitary group.

Israel had planned a punitive military operation into Lebanon both to clip Hezbollah’s wings and send a strong message to Syria to cease and desist supplying arms and money to the anti-Israel group. Because of its involvement in Iraq, the United States indicated it would be unable to supply any ground troops but would certainly supply any kind of weapon, to include bombs, cluster bombs and ammunition for this projected operation.

A casus belli was created by the Israeli Mossad’s assassination of Rafik Haarri, a popular Lebanese politician and subsequent disinformation promulgated and instigated by both Israel and the United States blamed Syria for the killing.

The IDF was being supplied faulty and misleading intelligence information, apparently originating from Russian sources that gave misinformation about Hezbollah positions and strengths and therefore the initial planning was badly flawed.

In full concert with the American president, the IDF launched its brutal and murderous attack on July 12, 2006 and continued unabated until the Hexbollah inflicted so many serious casualties on the Israeli forces and also on the civilian population of Israel that their government frantically demanded that the White House force a cease fire through the United Nations. This was done for Israel on August 14, 2007 and the last act of this murderous and unprovoked assault was when Israel removed their naval blockade of Lebanese ports.

The contrived incident that launched the Israeli attack was an alleged attack by Hezbollah into Israeli territory where they were alleged to have ‘kidnapped’ two Israeli soldiers and subsequently launched a rocket attack to cover their retreat.

The conflict killed over six thousand people, most of whom were Lebanese, severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure, displaced 700,000-915,000 Lebanese, and 300,000-500,000 Israelis, and disrupted normal life across all of Lebanon and northern Israel. Even after the ceasefire, much of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs.

During the campaign Israel’s Air Force flew more than 12,000 combat missions, its Navy fired 2,500 shells, and its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other targets such as Beirut International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals, and 15,000 homes. Some 130,000 more homes were damaged.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered commanders to prepare civil defense plans. One million Israelis had to stay near or in bomb shelters or security rooms, with some 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.

On 26 July 2006 Israeli forces attacked and destroyed an UN observer post. Described as a nondeliberate attack by Israel, the post was shelled for hours before being bombed. UN forces made repeated calls to alert Israeli forces of the danger to the UN observers, all four of whom were killed. Rescuers were shelled as they attempted to reach the post. According to an e-mail sent earlier by one of the UN observers killed in the attack, there had been numerous occasions on a daily basis where the post had come under fire from both Israeli artillery and bombing.

* On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed eighteen soldiers. Israel claimed, after this event, that it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

* On 28 July 2006 Israeli paratroopers killed 5 of Hezbollah’s commando elite in Bint Jbeil. In total, the IDF claimed that 80 fighters were killed in the battles at Bint Jbeil. Hezbollah sources, coupled with International Red Cross figures place the Hezbollah total at 7 dead and 129 non-combatant Lebanese civilian deaths.

* On 30 July 2006 Israeli air strikes hit an apartment building in Qana, killing at least 65 civilians, of which 28 were children, with 25 more missing. The air strike was widely condemned.

* On 31 July 2006 the Israeli military and Hezbollah forces engaged Hezbollah in the Battle of Ayta ash-Shab.

* On 1 August 2006 Israeli commandos launched Operation Sharp and Smooth and landed in Baalbek and captured five civilians including one bearing the same name as Hezbollah’s leader, “Hassan Nasrallah”. All of the civilians were released after the ceasefire. Troops landed near Dar al-Himkeh hospital west of Baalbeck as part of a widescale operation in the area.

* On 4 August 2006 the IAF attacked a building in the area of al-Qaa around 10 kilometers (six miles) from Hermel in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Sixty two farm workers, mostly Syrian and Lebanese Kurds, were killed during the airstrike.

* On 5 August 2006 Israeli commandos carried out a nighttime raid in Tyre, blowing up a water treatment plant, a small clinic and killing 187 civilians before withdrawing.

* On 7 August 2006 the IAF attacked the Shiyyah suburb in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, destroying three apartment buildings in the suburb, killing at least 120 people.

* On 11 August 2006 the IAF attacked a convoy of approximately 750 vehicles containing Lebanese police, army, civilians, and one Associated Press journalist, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 39.

* On 12 August 2006 the IDF established its hold in South Lebanon. Over the weekend Israeli forces in southern Lebanon nearly tripled in size. and were ordered to advance towards the Litani River.

* On 14 August 2006 the Israeli Air Force reported that they had killed the head of Hezbollah?s Special Forces, whom they identified as Sajed Dewayer,but this claim was never proven.. 80 minutes before the cessation of hostilities, the IDF targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, killing a UNRWA staff member. Sixty two refugees had been killed in an attack on this camp six days prior to the incident.

During the campaign Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets. About 95% of these were 122 mm (4.8 in) Katyusha artillery rockets, which carried warheads up to 30 kg (66 lb) and had a range of up to 30 km (19 mi). An estimated 23% of these rockets hit built-up areas, primarily civilian in nature.

Cities hit included Haifa, Hadera, Nazareth, Tiberias, Nahariya, Safed, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an, Karmiel, and Maalot, and dozens of Kibbutzim, Moshavim, and Druze and Arab villages, as well as the northern West Bank. Hezbollah also engaged in guerrilla warfare with the IDF, attacking from well-fortified positions. These attacks by small, well-armed units caused serious problems for the IDF, especially through the use hundreds of sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Hezbollah destroyed 38 Israeli Merkava main battle tanks and damaged 82. Fifteen tanks were destroyed by anti-tank mines. Hezbollah caused an additional 65 casualties using ATGMs to collapse buildings onto Israeli troops sheltering inside.

After the initial Israeli response, Hezbollah declared an all-out military alert. Hezbollah was estimated to have 13,000 missiles at the beginning of the conflict. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described Hezbollah as a trained, skilled, well-organized, and highly motivated infantry that was equipped with the cream of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia, and China. Lebanese satellite TV station Al-Manar reported that the attacks had included a Fajr-3 and a Ra’ad 1, both liquid-fuel missiles developed by Iran.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah defended the attacks, saying that Hezbollah had “started to act calmly, we focused on Israel[i] military bases and we didn’t attack any settlement, however, since the first day, the enemy attacked Lebanese towns and murdered civilians Hezbollah militants had destroyed military bases, while the Israelis killed civilians and targeted Lebanon’s infrastructure.” Hezbollah apologized for shedding Muslim blood, and called on the Arabs of the Israeli city of Haifa to flee.

* On 13 July 2006 in response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks in which 43 civilians were killed, Hezbollah launched rockets at Haifa for the first time, hitting a cable car station along with a few other buildings

* On 14 July 2006 Hezbollah attacked the INS Hanit, an Israeli Sa’ar 5-class missile boat enforcing the naval blockade, with what was believed to be a radar guided C-802 anti-ship missile. 24 sailors were killed and the warship was severely damaged and towed back to port.

* On 17 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a railroad repair depot, killing twenty-two workers. Hezbollah claimed that this attack was aimed at a large Israeli fuel storage plant adjacent to the railway facility. Haifa is home to many strategically valuable facilities such as shipyards and oil refineries.

* On 18 July 2006 Hezbollah hit a hospital in Safed in northern Galilee, wounding twenty three.

* On 27 July 2006 Hezbollah ambushed the Israeli forces in Bint Jbeil and killed forty one soldiers, and destroyed 12 IDF vehicles and destroyed three armored vehicles and seriously damaged eight more. Israel claimed it also inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah.

* On 3 August 2006 Nasrallah warned Israel against hitting Beirut and promised retaliation against Tel Aviv in this case. He also stated that Hezbollah would stop its rocket campaign if Israel ceased aerial and artillery strikes of Lebanese towns and villages.

* On 4 August 2006 Israel targeted the southern outskirts of Beirut, and later in the day, Hezbollah launched rockets at the Hadera region.

* On 9 August 2006 twenty three Israeli soldiers were killed when the building they were taking cover in was struck by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile and collapsed.

* On 12 August 2006 24 Israeli soldiers were killed; the worst Israeli loss in a single day. Out of those 24, five soldiers were killed when Hezbollah shot down an Israeli helicopter, a first for the militia. Hezbollah claimed the helicopter had been attacked with a Wa’ad missile.

One of the most controversial aspects of the conflict has been the high number of civilian deaths. The actual proportion of civilian deaths and the responsibility of it is hotly disputed.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blamed Israel for systematically failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, which may constitute a war crime, and accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes by the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians by firing rockets into populated areas

* On 24 July 2006, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Israel’s response violated international humanitarian law, but also criticized Hezbollah for knowingly putting civilians in harm’s way by “cowardly blending…among women and children”.

During the war, Israeli jets distributed leaflets calling on civilian residents to evacuate or move north.

In response to some of this criticism, Israel has stated that it did, wherever possible, attempt to distinguish between protected persons and combatants, but that due to Hezbollah militants being in civilian clothing

Direct attacks on civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initially estimated about 35,000 homes and businesses in Lebanon were destroyed by Israel in the conflict, while a quarter of the country’s road bridges or overpasses were damaged. Jean Fabre, a UNDP spokesman, estimated that overall economic losses for Lebanon from the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah totaled “at least $15 billion, if not more.” Before and throughout the war, Hezbollah launched over 4000 unguided rockets against Israeli population centers, seeking to terrorize the Israeli population. This was in direct response to Israel’s attack on residential sections and the deliberate targeting of civilians

Amnesty International published a report stating that “the deliberate widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population,” and called for an international investigation of violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict.

Israel defended itself from such allegations on the grounds that Hezbollah’s use of roads and bridges for military purposes made them legitimate targets. However, Amnesty International stated that “the military advantage anticipated from destroying [civilian infrastructure] must be measured against the likely effect on civilians.”

Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Israel for using cluster bombs too close to civilians because of their inaccuracy and unreliability, suggesting that they may have gone as far as deliberately targeting civilian areas with such munitions. Hezbollah was also criticized by Human Rights Watch for filling its rockets with ball bearings, which “suggests a desire to maximize harm to civilians”; the U.N has criticized Israel for its use of cluster munitions and disproportionate attacks.

Amnesty International stated that the IDF used white phosphorus shells in Lebanon. Israel later admitted to the use of white phosphorus, but stated that it only used the incendiary against militants. However, several foreign media outlets reported observing and photographing a large number of Lebanese civilians with burns characteristic of white phosphorus attacks during the conflict.

Hezbollah casualty figures are difficult to ascertain, with claims and estimates by different groups and individuals ranging from 43 to 1,000. Hezbollah’s leadership claims that 43 of their fighters were killed in the conflict, while Israel estimated that its forces had killed 600 Hezbollah fighters. In addition, Israel claimed to have the names of 532 dead Hezbollah fighters but when challenged by Hezbollah to release the list, the Israelis dropped the issue. A UN official estimated that 50 Hezbollah fighters had been killed, and Lebanese government officials estimated that up to 49 had been killed.

The Lebanese civilian death toll is difficult to pinpoint as most published figures do not distinguish between civilians and militants, including those released by the Lebanese government. In addition, Hezbollah fighters could be difficult to identify as many did not wear military uniforms. However, it has been widely reported that the majority of the Lebanese killed were civilians, and UNICEF estimated that 30% of those killed were children under the age of 13

The death toll estimates do not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded US/Israeli cluster bombs. According to the National Demining Office, 297 people were killed and 867 wounded in such blasts.

Official Israeli figures for the Israel Defense Forces troops killed range from 116 to 120. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives two different figures 117 and 119 the latter of which contains two IDF fatalities that occurred after the ceasefire went into effect. In September 2006, two local Israeli newspapers released insider information ensuring that the Israeli military death toll might climbed to around 540 soldiers.

Israel refused any outside agency access to its lists of the dead and wounded but an examination of all the accurate information available as of January 1, 2007 indicates that Israeli Defense Forces lost a total of 2300 killed with 600 of these dying in militatary hospital facilities subsequent to the conclusion of the fighting and an additional 700 very seriously wounded.

Hezbollah rockets killed 43 Israeli civilians during the conflict, including four who died of heart attacks during rocket attacks. In addition, 4,262 civilians were injured, 33 seriously, 68 moderately, 1,388 lightly, and 2,773 were treated for shock and anxiety

In March, 2007, the Israeli comptroller released an interim report that accused the army and Olmert of leaving Israeli civilians virtually defenseless during the last Lebanon war, in which Hezbollah guerrillas fired a barrage of rockets and missiles at northern Israel.

Hezbollah

Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based Shiite group, has fought the IDF from the early 1980s to 2000, when the IDF (Israel defense forces) was deployed in Lebanon. In 2006 the two sides clashed again, for 34 days, a war that ended in a tie but was not certainly an IDF victory.

The next round will happen when Israel believes that Iran has produced a nuclear weapon, a move which will certainly result in Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear sites.

Iran will retaliate with its proxies, mostly with Hezbollah.

Israel’s evaluation of the duration and cost of a war with Hezbollah, along with its other ramifications and consequences, will play a major part in Israel’s decision whether to bomb Iran or not.

Israel does not have long-range heavy bombers but the United States does, hence the constant prodding by the current Israeli government to procure an American strike on Tehran.

Meanwhile there is an ongoing tension between Israel and Hezbollah. However, the latter has suffered heavy casualties in the Syrian civil war, up to 2,000 and growing. Hezbollah will require time to recover, so it may not seek to confront Israel at the moment. Yet a miscalculation by one or both sides might ignite a war.

The IDF, one of the strongest militaries in the Middle East, outnumbers and outguns Hezbollah in both troops and weapon systems. Yet Hezbollah has quite a powerful hybrid force, which has antiaircraft and anti tank missiles, hundreds of drones and above all up to 150,000 rockets and missiles, some of which cover all of Israel. Hezbollah could fire more than a 1,000 rockets a day during a confrontation with Israel.

Israel has systems to shoot down rockets, mostly the Iron Dome. Yet Israel does not have enough of them to intercept most of Hezbollah’s rockets, so the IDF can’t rely on a defensive strategy.

IAF (Israeli air force) has mostly fighter – bombers such as F- 15/16. The IAF has been training to launch thousands of sorties in Lebanon but the IAF might not be able to stop the pounding of Israel by Hezbollah. To do that Israel needs boots on the ground i.e. to carry out a major land offensive following a massive strategic bombing by U.S. heavy bombers.

On August 13, 2015, the IDF published the “IDF Strategy”, which explains how the IDF plans to operate in the next war. In September 2017 the IDF ran its biggest exercise in almost two decades, aimed against Hezbollah. The IDF, which had some setbacks in the 2006 war, will be determined to prove it has learned its lessons. However, defeating Hezbollah is a tall order since Hezbollah, which is rooted inside the Shiite community in Lebanon, can always continue fighting with guerrilla and terror tactics. Israel will therefore strive for more limited objectives, mostly to destroy Hezbollah’s rockets and cause the group heavy casualties in order to deter it and other groups as well from confronting Israel.

The IDF will penetrate several dozen kilometers into Lebanon, on a wide front, to completely destroy all possible Hezbollah missiles and missile sites but it will stay there for a few weeks at most. Israel does not wish to renew its deployment in Lebanon, exposing its troops to attacks, as it was in the 1980s and the 1990s.

The IDF’s elite armor and infantry units will carry the burden of the offensive. Special Forces such as the 89th commando brigade will assist by launching raids behind the lines, collecting information etc.

The IDF relies on reserves. Tens of thousands of them will be mobilized. Many might be called while rockets hit them at their homes and on their way to their bases, where they get their weapons, vehicles etc. Rockets might continue to strike them when they will move to the frontline.

Israeli officials repeatedly warned about the danger of storing rockets in about 200 villages and towns in Lebanon. If rockets are launched from those places, the IDF will strike them, possibly causing huge collateral damage. The civilians living there will be warned in advance to evacuate their homes. Hopefully they will be able to do that, for Hezbollah might order some of them to remain behind, to serve as human shields.

The IDF can inflict a major blow to Hezbollah by catching it off guard. A massive surprise attack might be Israel’s best chance to handle the rockets and reduce Israel’s casualties. However, such an attack could cause significant collateral damage since the Lebanese population might not have sufficient time to escape.

The IDF will have to run urban warfare, including underground, inside tunnels. The IDF has been training for that in various ways.  Its troops must be familiar with the terrain of Lebanon so they exercise in similar areas, in the north of Israel. Cooperation between the corps such as infantry and armor is another important factor the IDF has been working on, as part of the preparations to fight Hezbollah. The IDF will also use its advanced C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) network.

Hezbollah got stronger and bigger during the Syrian civil war. The group is now more like a military organization, but this could actually benefit the IDF because it will be easier to find and attack Hezbollah fighters. The latter also got accustomed to enjoy air superiority and receiving air support from the Russian and the Syrian air forces while confronting Syrian rebels who had no aircraft. In a war against Israel Hezbollah will be both without air support and it will have to deal with a powerful air force, albiet one without long-range heavy bombers.

The United States sees Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Prior to 9 / 11 Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other militant Muslim group. In the next war Israel will require US support. On the diplomatic level Israel will need the United States to stand by Israel in the UN Security Council, which, given the pro-Israel attidudes of President Trump, is fully expected.

Militarily the United States can provide Israel with weapons, ammunition and spare parts, without sending US troops.

The next round between Israel and Hezbollah is expected to be much more destructive than the 2006 war. The IDF wants to try to reduce the cost to Israel and to shorten the war by conducting a large scale and effective air, land and sea offensive. To accomplish this, they must somehow get the United States involved both to save the lives of IDF personnel and avoid the massive expenses of a major war. To prevent a Hezbollah missile attack on a very vulnerable Israel, the current IDF plan is to launch a sudden joint US/Israeli attack on all of southern Lebanon.

 

Missiles and Rockets of Hezbollah

Hezbollah (“Party of God”) is a Lebanese political party and militant group with close ties to Iran and Syria’s Assad regime. It is frequently identified as an Iranian proxy, as the Party supports Tehran’s regional ambitions in exchange for military, financial, and political support.

Hezbollah is the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, and has been described as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.”

This is especially true with regard to its missile and rocket forces, which Hezbollah has in vast quantities arrayed against Israel.

Hezbollah’s arsenal is comprised mostly of small, man-portable and unguided surface-to-surface artillery rockets. Although these devices lack precision, their sheer number make them effective weapons of terror. According to Israeli sources, Hezbollah held around 15,000 rockets and missiles on the eve of the 2006 Lebanon War, firing nearly 4,000 at Israel over the 34-day conflict. Hezbollah has since expanded its rocket arsenal, today estimated at 130,000.

In May 2006, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah explained that “The purpose of our rockets is to deter Israel from attacking Lebanese civilians…The enemy fears that every time he confronts us, whenever there are victims in our ranks among Lebanese civilians, this will lead to a counter-barrage of our rockets, which he fears.”

Indiscriminate rocket fire, particularly from small, easily transportable launchers makes the suppression of fires with airpower more challenging. This forces Israel to rely more heavily on ground forces in a conflict. Lacking any air force of its own, Hezbollah prefers ground wars in its own territory to bombardment from the skies. As Human Rights Watch notes, however, these arguments do not justify civilian targeting and casualties under international law.

The continued growth of Hezbollah’s missile and rocket forces is undesirable for both the United States and Israel, for several reasons.

It may, for example, embolden the party to overstep Israeli red lines. Hezbollah’s push to acquire longer-ranged and precision-guided munitions could likewise spur Israel into preemptive action. Hezbollah’s weapons acquisition also raises the prospects for the proliferation of missile technology and know-how. According to Saudi and UAE officials, Hezbollah militants have worked with their Houthi forces in rocket development and launch divisions.

Hezbollah forces in Syria and Iraq similarly operate with various Shiite militias. Growing relations among these groups presents risks for the dissemination of missile technology and knowledge.

Land Attack Missiles and Rockets

107 & 122 mm ‘Katyusha’ Rockets+

katyusha

Fajr-1 / Chinese 107 mm Rockets+

Fajr-1

Falaq 1/2+

falaq-1

333 mm Shahin-1

122 mm Type-81 Rocket+

Fajr-3 and Fajr-5+

Fajr-5

Raad-2 and Raad-3 / 220 mm Uragan-type Rockets+

raad

302 mm Khaibar-1 / M-302 / B-302+

khaibar-1

Zelzal-1 and Zelzal-2+

zelzal-1

Fateh-110 / M-600+

fateh-110

Scud-B/C/D+

And the most recent Hezbollah long-disance missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead is the

RS-28 Sarmat (Russian: РС-28 )

Type: Superheavy Intercontinental ballistic missile

Place of origin: Russia

Service history

Used by: Russian Strategic Missile Troops

Production history

Designer: Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau

Manufacturer: KrasMash, Zlatous MZ, NPO Energomash, NPO Mashinostroyeniya, KBKhA

Specifications

Weight: 220 tonnes

Length: 36.3 m

Diameter: 3.0 m

Warhead:10–24 MIRVs (various type and yield, including HGVs; At the maximum reported throw-weight of up 10,000 kg, the missile could deliver a 50 Mt charge (the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the maximum achieved ratio was apparently 5.2 megatons of TNT per metric ton in B/Mk-41).

Engine: First stage: PDU-99 (RD-274 derived)

Propellant: Liquid

Operational range: approx. 10,900 kilometres (6,800 mi)[5]

Speed: over Mach 20.7; 25,000 km/h (16,000 mph)

Guidance system: Inertial guidance, GLONASS, Astro-inertial

Accuracy: 10 m

Launch platform: Silo

Antiship Missiles (ASMs)

C-802 / Yingji-2 / Noor+

C-802

Yakhont+

yahont

Antitank Missiles (ATMs)

According to Israeli tank commanders at the front of the 2006 War, Hezbollah’s anti-tank missiles damaged or destroyed Israeli vehicles on about 20% of their hits. The party successfully struck nearly 50 Israeli Merkava tanks during the conflict, penetrating the armor of 21. Hezbollah used ATGMs against buildings and Israeli troop bunkers as well. More Israeli infantry soldiers were killed by anti-tank weapons than in hand-to-hand combat.

While fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah has effectively used ATMs to counter suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devises (SVBIED) launched by the extremist group.

RPG-29 Vampir+

RPG-29

9M14 Malyutka (NATO: AT-3 Sagger) +

AT-3

9K111 Fagot (NATO: AT-4 Spigot)+

AT-4

M113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel)+

AT-5

9K115-2 Metis-M (NATO: AT-13 Saxhorn-2)+

AT-12

9M133 Kornet-E (NATO: AT-14 Spriggan)+

at-14

Antiair Missiles (AAMs)

Most of Hezbollah’s antiair missile systems offer only a relatively small area of protection. They nevertheless force Israeli aircraft to fly at higher altitudes, reducing Israel’s ability to accurately strike ground-based targets. Israeli policymakers and military officers have consistently reiterated their concerns about Hezbollah acquiring more sophisticated air defenses from Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

Misagh-1/2 +

Misagh-1

ZU-23 +

ZU-23

9K32 Strela-2 (NATO: SA-7 Grail)+

sa-7

9K33 Osa (NATO: SA-8 Gecko)+

sa-8

9K34 Strela-3 (NATO: SA-14 Gremlin)+

9K310 Igla-1 (NATO: SA-16 Gimlet) and 9K38 Igla (NATO: SA-18 Grouse)+

9K40 Buk-M2 (NATO: SA-17 Grizzly)+

Pantsyr-S1 (NATO: SA-22 Greyhound

220 tonnes

Length

36.3 m

Diameter

3.0 m

Warhead

10–24 MIRVs (various type and yield, including HGVs; At the maximum reported throw-weight of up 10,000 kg, the missile could deliver a 50 Mt charge (the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the maximum achieved ratio was apparently 5.2 megatons of TNT per metric ton in B/Mk-41).

 

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

December 16, 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. 34

Date: Monday, September 9, 1996

Commenced:   10:07 AM CST

Concluded:    10:56 AM CST

 

GD: Good day to you, Robert. How does it go with you?

RTC: I’m tired today. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Ever have a night like that, Gregory?

GD: Sometimes. Get to sleep about four AM and then wake up at seven. Can’t get back to sleep and feel like garbage the next day. If you are not up to talking, I can call back later.

RTC: No, no, I’m fine. What are you up to?

GD: Somebody I know just vanished. His wife is hysterical and has called me twice. I have no idea what happened to him and neither does she. The police were polite but they can’t do much unless they find his body in the middle of the road or feeding the varmints on some local farm. I guess he was getting along fine with his wife and no problems with his job.

RTC: How did he disappear?

GD: Went to do some shopping, made it to the market, bought things, put them in his car and drove off. People at the store remember this, because one of the boys helped him load the trunk. No sign of any trouble and the kid said he was cheerful and tipped him. Anyway, they found the car parked by the side of the road, keys still in it and no sign of trouble like the top his skull on the floor and brains all over the seat. Neighbors saw and heard nothing. Nobody has any idea. I can’t help her but I always try to be polite.

RTC: We had a case like that once. Damnedest thing I ever ran into. I understand, however, that it wasn’t unique. One of our senior people lived on a nice farm down in Virginia. Late fall. It had been raining on and off. He gets up, has breakfast with his wife. The dog starts barking and from the window, he and his wife see the mailman stuffing the box down on the road. Finished breakfast, puts on his fancy hiking boots and a warm parka and down the dirt driveway to the street. Never gets there. The wife took something off the table and put it in the sink and the dog starts in barking furiously. She goes to the window and looks out. Can’t see her husband anywhere. Fenced fields on both sides of the driveway with horses on one side and stubble on the other. She puts on a coat and goes outside. The driveway has some mud and the boot prints are very visible. And then, about halfway down to the street, nothing. Prints stop cold. She’s a Company wife and she gets a hold of us first. The local sheriff’s people are decent but clumsy. We sent people out right away and they were very professional and careful. Mail was still in the box. Gate was closed and chained up. Footprints very clear and then stopped. No sign of anything, no struggle, no mess and no other footprints except the wife’s coming down from the house. The fields are muddy and no sign of anyone walking along the fences on either side of them. I mean not a sign. He’s vanished into thin air.

GD: The dog barked twice?

RTC: Yes. He always barked to let his people know when there were visitors coming. Very reliable dog.

GD: The dog that did not bark in the night. Sherlock Holmes.

RTC: Yes, the team commented on that.

GD: The wife was temporarily distracted….was it a long time?

RTC: As I recall, about a half a minute. She put some coffee cups in the sink.

GD: That takes about 30 seconds. No shouting or noises?

RTC: No, nothing at all. Very disturbing and very strange. You know, Gregory, about 800,000 to 900,000 a year just vanish in the United States?

GD: My God, that many?

RTC: Oh yes but about 65 to 75 % are found. Mostly solved within 24 hours. Most of these are young people running away or kidnapped by a parent in a custody case.  But let’s say that out of, say, 800,000, a low figure, 650,000 are accounted for. But that leaves a balance of 150,000 unaccounted for. And who are these missing ones? Men getting out of a bad marriage, stuck with a nasty wife and screaming kids. They might have a girl friend and they don’t want the long, drawn out process of a divorce that will probably bankrupt them and stick them with years of very punitive child support. Or we have children unhappy in an uncaring home, lonely, frustrated and trying to find a better life somewhere else. Or we have the wife taking off with a new boyfriend and becoming another person with a new name. And we have the criminal class to consider. A stock broker who just looted a customer of a half a million dollars or someone on parole who is sick and tired of continual harassment. These make up the bulk of runaways. But at the same time, Gregory, many of the vanished people had no wives or children to run away from, were perfectly normal people with no apparent personal or financial problems.

GD: Would you add the children abducted for sexual abuse?

RTC: Oh yes, that, too. But take all of these away and there are still so many missing. And these figures are only in the U.S. You can multiply this many times if you get global stats.Now our man was important to us so we really made a very thorough investigation. Finances in order, got on well with his wife, didn’t drink or use drugs, and we could basicially account for every minute of his waking life. Left home, drove to work, worked all day, drove home, dinner with the wife and once in a while a movie in town. The wife did the shopping. Very peaceful and ordered life. And what happened to him, Gregory? No trace of him anywhere. No phone calls to anyone that didn’t check out, bank account untouched, credit cards and phone call cards never used. Walked down his driveway on a clear day and just vanished off the face of the earth. That was fifteen years ago and nothing, ever. Right off the face of the earth.

GD: That’s a possibility, Robert.

RTC: Went to Heaven?

GD: No, not the silly Rapture fiction. Perhaps some entity from eleswhere nailed him. Abducted him.

RTC: That’s not the sort of thing we put in any kind of official report, Gregory. We can’t even begin to get into that area. Easier to say the Russians got him.

GD: I’m not advocating that but it has been reported before, and many times at that.

RTC: Yes, and some of it is real and some isn’t.

GD: But if you are giving me accurate information, Robert, what could have happened to this guy? Absolutely no reason for vanishing, no proof of any kind of abduction, What happened to him? Someone with a crane parked in the street suddenly reached over the fence and grabbed him? The wife would have seen it. A huge flying saucer hovering overhead? Now that might be possible, assuming you couldn’t see it. And they could beam him up like the TV show. That could explain it, couldn’t it? And the dog barked, didn’t it?

RTC: If it were true, yes. And the dog could have barked at a passing car or a cat in the field.

GD: Question here, Robert. We have warning radar all over the place, don’t we?

RTC: We have many systems.

GD: Well, assuming there are such UFOs, don’t the radar people pick them up?

RTC: I read a report back then that is interesting. A radar station out in the wilds. Two men on duty. One goes out to take a piss and sees a huge round object hovering about a half a mile away. Scared the hell out of him and he ran back inside and told his partner. Radar was working fine but no trace. The other one thought the pisser was nuts so he went outside and saw the same thing. More fussing with the set. Nothing. They reported it and other systems got involved. They both went outside and watched it hover for about ten minutes and then off it went, straight up so fast it was gone in a few seconds. More calls and nothing to report. When they got off shift, there were some Air Force police and some intelligence people who wanted to talk to them. They had seen nothing and better keep it that way. Yes something obviously got in and the radar couldn’t pick it up. Mysteries. This vanished fellow was on my staff and so I have some inside knowledge of what happened. Abduction was indeed brought up but left way, way behind. In the end, we put it out that he had been transferred to a special project and left it alone.

GD: I don’t suppose he ever showed up? Or even a part of him?

RTC: No, not even an ear. Wife waited seven years, got the insurance and eventually remarried. We went through the house and embargoed all his papers, of course.

GD: Here and there I encounter stories of abductions by aliens and some probings and so on. It wouldn’t surprise me if some fat housewife in Georgia didn’t have a boyfriend, two or three farms over and she would sneak out at night for a mattress polka. Boyfriend like to slap her around and watch the fat jiggle so when she gets back home, clothes torn and bruises all over her tits, she tells her hubby that some flying saucer grabbed her and they did awful things to her. All night. The police get involved and so do the local papers. Some other woman, two towns over, used the same story for the same reason, now starts in saying it happened to her. She had what looked like cigarette burns on her tits but now everyone realized they were alien test marks. Still, where there’s smoke, sometimes we find fire.

RTC: Well, all speculation, Gregory.

GD: But in the case of your man who vanished, Robert, did anything ever turn up?

RTC: No, never.But anything could have happened.

GD: I was doing research a few years ago on the German Zeppelins. You know, the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg. That’s because I was working on the Hindenburg disaster for the Mueller book. I came across some fascinating material about odd so-called Zeppelin sightings in America back in the late 1890s. Hundreds…no thousands…of people saw what they believed to be some kind of silvery craft in the sky. It’s sort of interesting to note that these were mostly in the area in the Pacific northwest, near Mt. Shasta and south. Does that area ring a bell?

RTC: No, it doesn’t.

GD: That’s an area where pilots have seen what they all believed were some kind of high-speed, circular vehicles while flying in that region. I had a friend of mine in Canada who was training to be a commercial pilot and he saw three so-called bright objects on his port side, paralleling his flight pattern. They, all three of them, suddenly shot straight upwards so fast that no human could have survived the G thrust. I knew him well and I trust him absolutely. By the way, he never reported this sighting anywhere. Told me that if he had, even though he was in Vancouver, the U.S. Air Force intelligence people would have visited him and harassed him into admitting he saw seagulls or something like that. He told me that a number of his other pilot friends had seen similar things but never dared to report them. I believed him when he told me and I believe him now.

RTC: That doesn’t surprise me. They have been sitting on such things here for years. I never heard of the mystery Zeppelins before. When was this?

GD: I would have to look at my notes, but if memory is good, and it usually is, I think the sightings started before Christmas in 1896 and ran through until…about six months I think….May or June of 1897. Almost all in the Northwestern area but some further east, into the mid-west. The papers reported it as fact although some thought it might be a hoax. Too many responsible people saw these things, Robert, to be a hoax.

RTC: These days, the sightings are all put down as hoaxes. What they do is to get some obvious nut who claims he saw something, interview him and get him to make wild and lunatic statements. That’s usually enough. They keep away from professional pilots, doctors, policemen and so on. They home in on the nut fringe and play it up. That’s what they are supposed to do.

GD: But to go back to the missing people. You know, I looked into this once and I found that hundreds of thousands of people have just vanished each year in this country alone. Yes, of course many are found, some are killed, some go crazy and get put in the nut houses and so on and many are guys running away from their families, bad marriages, child support payments and so on. But if you subtract these, there is still a huge number left. Like your co-worker. Just vanished. No reason and no trace. I mean you can look on the Internet at the official FBI reports and see what I say is true. I asked an FBI agent who dealt with missing persons and he told me that there was a fixed percentage of people who ran off or were taken away by family members in a divorce case or abducted by sex maniacs and probably killed. Fine. After that, they had no idea what happened to the rest. No idea. Tens of thousands of Americans vanishing off the face of this earth each and every year.

RTC: You did check this out?

GD: Yes, I did. I have cut it this way and looked it that way and try as I can, and I have a very skeptical mind, Robert, I could not explain this mass number of missing. Some hole open in the ground? Giant birds swooping down and flying off with them? They couldn’t all be rotting under the Jersey Pine Barrens.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: I’m serious now, Robert.

RTC: Oh, I’m sure you are and I’ve heard all about this before. When my man vanished, we did quite a bit of research and what you say is quite true. However, Gregory, I suggest that you look into other matters and stay strictly away from this one.

GD: Why is that?

RTC: You will be branded as a nut and your many enemies will gleefully get their hands on this and really lambaste you. Just deal with other matters. If you do something on Kennedy, believe me, all the night creatures will come up from under their wet logs and bite you on the ankles. Try to stay main line and you’ll do much better.

GD: I see your point but do you see mine?

RTC: Which is?

GD: Which is that huge number of people in this country, and probably in others, have just vanished.

RTC: Off the face of the earth.

GD: Exactly.

RTC: Well, maybe they have, Gregory, maybe they have. You know, aside from drawing unwelcome attention from the rabid lunatic fringe, you will get the government excited if you really push this vanishing business. Why? Because it obviously can lead to the UFO business and that is strictly off limits. It’s fine for the nuts to write weird books but if someone like you, who is a serious writer and an excellent researcher, starts in on this, they will come down on you very quickly. Just stay away from this and I assure you we will all be happy.

GD: I suppose you’re right. But still…

RTC: Gregory, let it be. OK?

GD: Fine.

 

(Concluded at 10:56 AM CST)

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

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