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TBR News July 16, 2019

Jul 16 2019

 

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. July 16, 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary for July 16:”It is no secret in various official circles here in Washington, that the failed Deutsche Bank was firmly in the hands of the CIA and was used by them to finance various projects, to include assisting their Russian drug running friends to launder money. Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.

The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.” VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.

Trump is also well-known to have been up to his wattled neck in this project, a project to which elements of the German government not infiltrated by the CIA were informed and have reacted by firing known CIA-paid bank employees and firing carload lots of them, 74,000 in total. Eventually this will come out, hopefully before the next election.”

 

 

The Table of Contents                     

  • Deutsche Bank Faces Criminal Investigation for Potential Money-Laundering Lapses
  • Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank
  • Trump defiant as lawmakers blast his ‘racist’ attacks on four congresswomen
  • Trump fires again at congresswomen, accusing them of ‘spewing vile things’
  • Pompeo’s Big Lie on Iran
  • Merger Mania
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

 

Deutsche Bank Faces Criminal Investigation for Potential Money-Laundering Lapses

June 19, 2019

by David Enrich, Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum

New York Times

Federal authorities are investigating whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other crimes, the latest government examination of potential misconduct at one of the world’s largest and most troubled banks, according to seven people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s handling of so-called suspicious activity reports that its employees prepared about possibly problematic transactions, including some linked to President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to people close to the bank and others familiar with the matter.

The criminal investigation into Deutsche Bank is one element of several separate but overlapping government examinations into how illicit funds flow through the American financial system, said five of the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the inquiries. Several other banks are also being investigated.

The F.B.I. recently contacted the lawyer for a Deutsche Bank whistle-blower, Tammy McFadden, who publicly criticized the company’s anti-money-laundering systems, according to the lawyer, Brian McCafferty.

Ms. McFadden, a former anti-money-laundering compliance officer at the bank, told The New York Times last month that she had flagged transactions involving Mr. Kushner’s family company in 2016, but that bank managers decided not to file the suspicious activity report she prepared. Some of her colleagues had similar experiences in 2017 involving transactions in the accounts of Mr. Trump’s legal entities, although it was not clear whether the F.B.I. was examining the bank’s handling of those transactions.

The same federal agent who contacted Ms. McFadden’s lawyer also participated in interviews of the son of a deceased Deutsche Bank executive, William S. Broeksmit. Agents told the son, Val Broeksmit, that the Deutsche Bank investigation began with an inquiry into the bank’s work for Russian money launderers and had expanded to cover a broader array of potential misconduct at the bank and at other financial institutions. One element is the banks’ possible roles in a vast money-laundering scandal at the Danish lender Danske Bank, according to people briefed on the investigation.

The broader scope of the investigations and many details of precisely what is under scrutiny are unclear, and it is not known whether the inquiries will result in criminal charges. In addition to the F.B.I., the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section in Washington and the United States attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn are conducting the investigations. Representatives for the agencies declined to comment.

Deutsche Bank has said that it is cooperating with government investigations and that it has been taking steps to improve its anti-money-laundering systems.

Even so, the governmental scrutiny — from regulators, members of Congress and now the Justice Department and F.B.I. — has been a drag on the bank’s stock price, which is hovering near historic lows because of investors’ doubts about its future.

The congressional investigations are focused on Deutsche Bank’s close relationship with Mr. Trump and his family. Over the past two decades, it was the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who had a history of defaulting on loans. The bank lent him a total of more than $2 billion, about $350 million of which was outstanding when he was sworn in as president.

Two House committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records related to Mr. Trump and his family, including records connected to the bank’s handling of potentially suspicious transactions. The president has sued to block Deutsche Bank and Capital One, where he also holds money, from complying with the subpoenas. A federal judge rejected Mr. Trump’s request for an injunction, and the president has appealed that ruling.

The Justice Department has been investigating Deutsche Bank since 2015, when agents were examining its role in laundering billions of dollars for wealthy Russians through a scheme known as mirror trading. Customers would use the bank to convert Russian rubles into dollars and euros via a complicated series of stock trades in Europe and the United States.

In early 2017, federal and state regulators in the United States and British authorities imposed hundreds of millions of dollars in civil penalties on Deutsche Bank for that misconduct, but prosecutors never brought a criminal case against the bank. That led some senior Deutsche Bank executives to believe they were in the clear, according to people familiar with their thinking.

By last fall, though, federal agents were investigating a wider range of anti-money-laundering lapses and other possible misconduct at the bank.

F.B.I. agents met this year with Val Broeksmit, whose father was a senior Deutsche Bank executive who committed suicide in January 2014. Mr. Broeksmit said he had provided the agents with internal bank documents and other materials that he had retrieved from his father’s personal email accounts.

Until his death, William Broeksmit sat on the oversight board of a large Deutsche Bank subsidiary in the United States, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, which regulators have criticized for having weak anti-money-laundering systems.

Many of the bank’s anti-money-laundering operations are based in Jacksonville, Fla., where Ms. McFadden was one of hundreds of employees vetting transactions that computer systems flagged as potentially suspicious.

Ms. McFadden told The Times that she had warned in summer 2016 about transactions by the Kushner Companies involving money being sent to Russian individuals. Other Deutsche Bank employees prepared reports in 2017 flagging transactions involving legal entities associated with Mr. Trump, including his now-defunct charitable foundation, according to current and former bank employees. In both instances, the suspicious activity reports were never filed with the Treasury Department.

Deutsche Bank officials have said that the reports were handled appropriately and that it is not uncommon for managers to overrule employees and opt not to file suspicious activity reports with the government.

There is no indication that Kushner Companies is under investigation. The company said any allegations regarding its relationship with Deutsche Bank that involved money laundering were false. A Trump Organization spokeswoman said that she had no knowledge of any Deutsche Bank transactions being flagged.

The federal Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to alert the government if they suspect that transactions involve criminal proceeds or are being used for illegal purposes. Banks can face civil or criminal penalties for failing to file reports about transactions that are found to be illegal. In recent years, banks like JPMorgan Chase and HSBC have incurred such penalties.

Banks argue that when they err on the side of reporting potential problems, they end up flooding the government with false leads.

Former Deutsche Bank employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Times that the company had pushed them to rush their reviews of transactions and that managers sometimes created obstacles that discouraged them from filing suspicious activity reports.

Deutsche Bank has scrambled to toughen its anti-money-laundering procedures.

To address complaints about inadequate staffing, it brought in contractors to supplement its Jacksonville work force, although some employees said that the contractors were inexperienced and lacked the appropriate training.

Deutsche Bank also recently sent letters to hundreds of companies, warning that they could be cut off from the bank’s services if they did not swiftly provide up-to-date information about the sources of their money and the names of their business partners, according to bank employees who saw the letters. Deutsche Bank officials said the letters, first reported by the Financial Times, were part of their efforts to comply with “know your customer” rules, a crucial component of any bank’s anti-money-laundering efforts.

In Jacksonville, Deutsche Bank’s anti-financial-crime staff works in a white, three-story building surrounded by palm trees. The F.B.I. has a field office just down the road, clearly visible from the bank’s campus.

Bank employees recently have taken to joking that when the F.B.I. raids their offices, they will be able to see the agents coming.

 

Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank

July 16, 2019

by Christin Jürs

Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)

Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.

The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.” VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.

An issue was a very large sum of money that Trump borrowed from the German bank in 2005 to fund the construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump had personally guaranteed to repay the $US640 million ($828.7 million) debt.

Since then, a global financial crash had arrived. Trump had defaulted on payment, with $US330 million still outstanding. In late November 2008, Deutsche was seeking an immediate $US40 million from the tycoon, plus interest, legal fees and costs.

In 2010 Trump settled his feud with Deutsche. This was done, extraordinarily, by borrowing more money from … Deutsche Bank.

 

 

Trump defiant as lawmakers blast his ‘racist’ attacks on four congresswomen

July 16, 2019

by Jeff Mason and Susan Cornwell

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump doubled down on his attacks against four minority U.S. congresswomen on Monday and dismissed concerns that his comments were racist, prompting outrage from Democrats, who moved to condemn him in the House of Representatives.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said people he described as critical of the United States should leave the country.

Those remarks followed his Twitter messages on Sunday that said the four left-wing lawmakers, known in Congress as “the squad,” should go back to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

All four of the first-term House members are U.S. citizens and all but one were born in the United States.

“If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply: You can leave,” he said, drawing scattered applause from a crowd of businesspeople.

Asked if he was concerned that some viewed his remarks as racist and that white supremacists found common cause with him, Trump said he was not. “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said.

The president’s remarks were widely derided and some, though not many, of his fellow Republicans spoke out against them.

Trump did not identify the lawmakers by name in his Sunday tweets, but he appeared to refer to representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

All four have been critical of Trump, as well as of the current Democratic leaders of the House, straining party unity in that chamber.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill, the four lawmakers said Trump was trying to sow division and distract attention from what they characterized as failed policies on immigration, healthcare and taxation.

“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Tlaib and Omar repeated their calls for Trump to be impeached.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been criticized by members of “the squad,” said her party would introduce a resolution condemning Trump’s “xenophobic tweets.”

A draft of the resolution, seen by Reuters late on Monday, said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color …”

Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, told reporters the resolution could be on the House floor for debate as soon as Tuesday.

Such a resolution could put Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress in an awkward position, forcing them either to vote against their party’s leader, who has strong support among conservatives, or effectively to defend his statements.

Trump’s attacks elevated the profiles of the four progressive Democrats, who have helped push the party’s agenda to the left, causing concern among Democratic moderates who are eager to hold onto their seats in the 2020 election.

A FEW REPUBLICANS SPEAK OUT

Trump has a history of what critics consider race-baiting. He led a movement that falsely claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and he said after a deadly, white supremacist-led rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that “both sides” were to blame for violence there.

“This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it’s happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden,” Omar said.

Although most Republicans stayed silent on Trump’s divisive rhetoric, several began expressing concern late on Monday.

Texas Representative Will Hurd, the only African-American Republican in the House, called the attacks “racist” on CNN.

Tim Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican, called them “racially offensive” on Twitter.

Others did not go that far. Senator Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, and Senator Marco Rubio, who ran in 2016, both condemned the remarks but declined to characterize them as racist.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said the four lawmakers belonged in the United States, but did not criticize Trump. “The president is not a racist,” he told reporters.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did not comment on the controversy.

Trump regularly used racially charged language during his campaign and continued in his presidency. His latest remarks came as some of his efforts to deal with immigration – a major issue for his conservative base – have faltered.

Trump promised as a candidate to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and that Mexico would pay for it. As president, very little has happened on wall construction and Mexico has resolutely refused to pay for a wall.

‘RACISM, DIVISION’

In his Sunday tweets, Trump said of the four congresswomen, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came … Then come back and show us how … it is done.”

Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were born in the United States while Omar, a Somali refugee, arrived in 1992.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a sometime Trump golf partner and adviser, called the four congresswomen “communist” and “anti-Semitic” on Fox News on Monday, but he also called on Trump to stop making such personal attacks.

“Aim higher … Take on their policies. The bottom line here is this is a diverse country,” he said, adding that he had spoken to Trump.

Additional reporting by Makini Brice, Eric Beech, Richard Cowan, Mohammad Zargham and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Andy Sullivan and Jeff Mason; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Bill Trott, Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman

 

Trump fires again at congresswomen, accusing them of ‘spewing vile things’

President also accused Democrats of giving them a ‘free pass’ as House will vote tonight to condemn Trump’s initial remarks

July 16, 2019

by Jamiles Lartey

The Guardian

Donald Trump fired another volley in what has become an all-out rhetorical war between the president and four progressive Democratic congresswomen Tuesday morning, accusing them of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate.”.

He also accused the Democratic leadership of giving them a “free pass”.

The early Tuesday tweets come less than 12 hours after the four legislators, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, held a press conference asking that Americans “do not take the bait” of Trump’s divisive rhetoric, after 24 hours of racist attacks on them by the president.

Stoking the flames, lawyer George Conway, the husband of counsel to the president Kellyanne Conway, wrote another scorching opinion piece saying: “Trump is a racist president.”

The article was published in the Washington Post on Monday evening, in which Conway concluded that Trump’s remarks this week crossed a line for him.

“Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president … telling four non-white members of Congress – American citizens all, three natural-born – to “go back” to the “countries” they “originally came from”? That’s racist to the core,” he wrote.

The highly public war of words in Washington began with Trump’s racist urging that the “progressive Democrat congresswomen” should “go back” to the “crime infested” countries they came from, prompting condemnation in the US and across the world. Three of the legislators were born in the USA, while Omar came to the country aged 12 as a refugee and took up American citizenship five years later.

The Democrat-controlled House will vote on Tuesday evening to condemn Trump’s initial remarks, which House speaker Nancy Pelosi described as xenophobic. “The House cannot allow the president’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

Trump seemed to address the impending vote in his morning comments asking: “Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on.”

The only comment Trump proffered of evidence of “filthy” comments from the legislators was a reference to Tlaib’s use of the word “motherfucker” in a speech shortly after her election in 2018.

Trump himself is an avid user of profanity, a point Omar made in Monday evening’s press conference, detailing a list of vulgar comments Trump has made publicly and privately about women, people of color and African nations.

Omar also sparked a row in February after remarks that critics ripped as anti-Semitic and for which she apologized.

Trump’s latest salvo against the four legislators, who have become known as “The Squad” on social media, also accused the Democratic party of giving them “a free pass and a big embrace”. This characterization ignores the fact that, before Trump began taking shots at the four legislators, they were primarily in the news over intra-party squabbles with Democratic leadership.

And the bulk of the Republican party in Congress, including GOP leadership, have allowed Trump a “free pass” to deliver racist broadsides to the congresswomen on Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, political observers still wrangle to make sense of Trump’s insults and debate whether they are a product of some grand strategy or the heartfelt utterings of a generally unfiltered president. In either case, the effect won’t change – and as several analysts told the Guardian, it’s an effect that could bolster his re-election chances.

 

Pompeo’s Big Lie on Iran

by Jacob G. Hornberger

July 15, 2019

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In a tiff over whether Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his delegation would be permitted to enter the United States as part of a meeting of the United Nations and over whether they would be free to travel freely around New York City, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a whopper, one that might have even embarrassed Pinocchio. Expressing a desire to be invited to appear on Iranian television, Pompeo said that he would tell Iranians that “we care deeply about them, that we’re supportive of the Iranian people, that we understand that the revolutionary theocracy is not acting in a way that is in their best interest.”

Why, that’s just a lie, a plain old, downright, old-fashioned lie.

When Pompeo is using the pronoun “we,” he is referring to U.S. officials. And the fact is that U.S. officials, from President Trump on down, couldn’t care less about the well-being of the Iranian people. All that U.S. officials care about is re-installing a pro-U.S. dictatorship in Iran, no different from that of the Shah, who U.S. officials made Iran’s brutal dictator in 1953.

After all, look at the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They target the Iranian people for economic impoverishment and even death. The idea is that if the U.S. government can squeeze the life out of the Iranian people, they will rise up in a violent revolution against the ruling regime and replace it with one that is acceptable to U.S. officials.

There is no maximum limit on the impoverishment or death toll that would cause U.S. officials to lift their sanctions. That is, even if sanctions were causing thousands of people to die every week from starvation, illness, or plane crashes owing to the sanctions, U.S. officials would not lift the sanctions. No price in terms of suffering or death of the Iranian people could be high enough to cause U.S. officials to cease and desist.

Moreover, even though a violent revolution would cost the lives of thousands of Iranians, U.S. officials couldn’t care less. All that matters to them is regime change. If thousands of Iranians have to be sacrificed for that goal, so be it.

How in the world can such a cruel and brutal policy be reconciled with Pompeo’s claim that he and his cohorts “care deeply” about the Iranian people? It can’t be. It’s a flat-out lie.

We saw this same phenomenon when U.S. officials, with the same banality-of-evil mindset, enforced their system of sanctions against the Iraqi people for 11 years. Every year, the sanctions were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children. Keep in mind that during the Persian Gulf War, the Pentagon ordered U.S. bombers to destroy Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, with the aim of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi populace. After the war was over, U.S. officials used their sanctions to prevent the plants from being repaired. The sewage-infested waters were one of the factors leading to the massive annual death toll among the Iraqi people.

Did U.S. officials care about the well-being of the Iraqi people? Are you kidding? No more so than they care about the well-being of Iranians. When Sixty Minutes asked U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright in 1995 whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it,” she responded that while it was a difficult issue, the deaths were, in fact, “worth it.” By “it,” she meant the attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator, the same goal that U.S. officials have in Iran. The sanctions on Iraq continued for another six years, until U.S. officials used the 9/11 attacks as the excuse for invading Iraq and ousting Saddam from power, something they had failed to accomplish with 11 years of sanctions and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.

When an American named Bert Sacks took medicine to Iraq to help the Iraqi people, U.S. officials went after him with a vengeance, first fining him and then spending many years in an obsessive quest to get their money from him.  Make no mistake about it: If any American violates U.S. sanctions against Iran by trying to help the Iranian people, U.S. officials will go after him with all guns blaring, this time with both harsh criminal and civil penalties.

Think about what U.S. officials did to the Iranian people in 1953. The CIA knowingly, intentionally, deliberately, and secretly ousted Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office and vested full dictatorial power in the Shah of Iran. The CIA trained the Shah and his secretive SAVAK police force, which was a combination Pentagon, CIA, and NSA, into one of the most tyrannical agencies in history. Torture. Assassination. Indefinite detention. Secret surveillance. Arbitrary arrests. Suppression of free speech. All of the things that were in the U.S. national-security state’s playbook were vested in the Shah and his SAVAK.

After around 26 years of suffering under this horrific U.S.-installed and U.S. trained tyranny, the Iranian people finally violently revolted. The shame, however, was that they were unable to replace the Shah with the democratic regime that U.S. officials had destroyed in 1953. They ended up with a theocratic tyranny.

Thus, it was with great ironic hypocrisy that Pompeo also recently derided the Iranian regime for its tyrannical practices. The irony and hypocrisy are three-fold: One, U.S. officials are responsible for the theocratic tyranny under which the Iranian now suffer. Two, the U.S.-installed Shah was every bit as tyrannical as the current Iranian regime is. And three, U.S. officials have adopted some of the same dark-side practices here in the United States, e.g., torture, assassination, indefinite detention, denial of trial by jury, denial of due process of law, and denial of speedy trial, that are engaged in by dictatorial regimes.

U.S. officials caring about and supporting the Iranian people? Don’t make me laugh. Just more lies from a deeply hypocritical interventionist and imperialist regime, one that targets the innocent with death and impoverishment with the aim of achieving a political goal.

 

Merger Mania

The Military-Industrial Complex on Steroids

by William D. Hartung

TomDispatch

When, in his farewell address in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “unwarranted influence” wielded by the “military-industrial complex,” he could never have dreamed of an arms-making corporation of the size and political clout of Lockheed Martin. In a good year, it now receives up to $50 billion in government contracts, a sum larger than the operating budget of the State Department. And now it’s about to have company.

Raytheon, already one of the top five U.S. defense contractors, is planning to merge with United Technologies. That company is a major contractor in its own right, producing, among other things, the engine for the F-35 combat aircraft, the most expensive Pentagon weapons program ever. The new firm will be second only to Lockheed Martin when it comes to consuming your tax dollars — and it may end up even more powerful politically, thanks to President Trump’s fondness for hiring arms industry executives to run the national security state.

Just as Boeing benefited from its former Senior Vice President Patrick Shanahan’s stint as acting secretary of defense, so Raytheon is likely to cash in on the nomination of its former top lobbyist, Mike Esper, as his successor. Esper’s elevation comes shortly after another former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, left the State Department amid charges that he had improperly influenced decisions to sell Raytheon-produced guided bombs to Saudi Arabia for its brutal air war in Yemen. John Rood, third-in-charge at the Pentagon, has worked for both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, while Ryan McCarthy, Mike Esper’s replacement as secretary of the Army, worked for Lockheed on the F-35, which the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has determined may never be ready for combat.

And so it goes. There was a time when Donald Trump was enamored of “his” generals — Secretary of Defense James Mattis (a former board member of the weapons-maker General Dynamics), National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Now, he seems to have a crush on personnel from the industrial side of the military-industrial complex.

As POGO’s research has demonstrated, the infamous “revolving door” that deposits defense executives like Esper in top national security posts swings both ways. The group estimates that, in 2018 alone, 645 senior government officials — mostly from the Pentagon, the uniformed military, and Capitol Hill — went to work as executives, consultants, or board members of one of the top 20 defense contractors.

Fifty years ago, Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire identified the problem when he noted that:

“the movement of high ranking military officers into jobs with defense contractors and the reverse movement of top executives in major defense contractors into high Pentagon jobs is solid evidence of the military-industrial complex in operation. It is a real threat to the public interest because it increases the chances of abuse… How hard a bargain will officers involved in procurement planning or specifications drive when they are one or two years away from retirement and have the example to look at of over 2,000 fellow officers doing well on the outside after retirement?”

In other words, that revolving door and the problems that go with it are anything but new. Right now, however, it seems to be spinning faster than ever — and mergers like the Raytheon-United Technologies one are only likely to feed the phenomenon.

The Last Supper

The merger of Raytheon and United Technologies should bring back memories of the merger boom of the 1990s, when Lockheed combined with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin, Northrop and Grumman formed Northrop Grumman, and Boeing absorbed rival military aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas. And it wasn’t just a matter of big firms pairing up either. Lockheed Martin itself was the product of mergers and acquisitions involving nearly two dozen companies — distinctly a tale of big fish chowing down on little fish. The consolidation of the arms industry in those years was strongly encouraged by Clinton administration Secretary of Defense William Perry, who held a dinner with defense executives that was later dubbed “the last supper.” There, he reportedly told the assembled corporate officials that a third of them would be out of business in five years if they didn’t merge with one of their cohorts.

The Clinton administration’s encouragement of defense industry mergers would prove anything but rhetorical. It would, for instance, provide tens of millions of dollars in merger subsidies to pay for the closing of plants, the moving of equipment, and other necessities. It even picked up part of the tab for the golden parachutes given defense executives and corporate board members ousted in those deals.

The most egregious case was surely that of Norman Augustine. The CEO of Martin Marietta, he would actually take over at the helm of the even more powerful newly created Lockheed Martin. In the process, he received $8.2 million in payments, technically for leaving his post as head of Martin Marietta. U.S. taxpayers would cover more than a third of his windfall. Then, a congressman who has only gained stature in recent years, Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT), began to fight back against those merger subsidies. He dubbed them “payoffs for layoffs” because executives got government-funded bailouts, while an estimated 19,000 workers were laid off in the Lockheed Martin merger alone with no particular taxpayer support. Sanders was actually able to shepherd through legislation that clawed back some, but not all, of those merger subsidies.

According to one argument in favor of the merger binge then, by closing half-empty factories, the new firms could charge less overhead and taxpayers would benefit. Well, dream on. This never came near happening, because the newly merged industrial behemoths turned out to have even greater bargaining power over the Pentagon and Congress than the unmerged companies that preceded them.

Draw your own conclusions about what’s likely to happen in this next round of mergers, since cost overruns and lucrative contracts continue apace. Despite this dismal record, Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy claims that the new corporate pairing will — you guessed it! — save the taxpayers money. Don’t hold your breath.

Influence on Steroids

While Donald Trump briefly expressed reservations about the Raytheon-United Technologies merger and a few members of Congress struck notes of caution, it has been welcomed eagerly on Wall Street. Among the reasons given: the fact that the two companies generally make different products, so their union shouldn’t reduce competition in any specific sector of defense production. It has also been claimed that the new combo, to be known as Raytheon Technologies, will have more funds available for research and development on the weapons of the future.

But focusing on such concerns misses the big picture. Raytheon Technologies will have more money to make campaign contributions, more money to hire lobbyists, and more production sites that can be used as leverage over members of Congress loathe to oppose spending on weapons produced in their states or districts. The classic example of this phenomenon: the F-35 program, which Lockheed Martin claims produces 125,000 jobs spread over 46 states.

When I took a careful look at the company’s estimates, I found that they were claiming approximately twice as many jobs as that weapons system was actually creating. In fact, more than half of F-35-related employment was in just two states, California and Texas (though many other states did have modest numbers of F-35 jobs). Even if Lockheed Martin’s figures are exaggerated, however, there’s no question that spreading defense jobs around the country gives weapons manufacturers unparalleled influence over key members of Congress, much to their benefit when Pentagon budget time rolls around. In fact, it’s a commonplace for Congress to fund more F-35s, F-18s, and similar weapons systems than the Pentagon even asks for. So much for Congressional oversight.

Theoretically, incoming defense secretary Mike Esper will have to recuse himself from major decisions involving his former company. Among them, whether to continue selling Raytheon-produced precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for their devastating air war in Yemen that has killed remarkable numbers of civilians.

No worries. President Trump himself is the biggest booster in living memory of corporate arms sales and Saudi Arabia is far and away his favorite customer. The Senate recently voted down a package of “emergency” arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE that included thousands of Raytheon Paveway munitions, the weapon of choice in that Yemeni air campaign. A similar vote must now take place in the House, but even if it, too, passes, Congress will need to override a virtually guaranteed Trump veto of the bill.

The Raytheon-United Technologies merger will further implicate the new firm in Yemeni developments because the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies makes the engine for Saudi Arabia’s key F-15S combat aircraft, a mainstay of the air war there. Not only will Raytheon Technologies profit from such engine sales, but that company’s technicians are likely to help maintain the Saudi air force, thereby enabling it to fly yet more bombing missions more often.

When pressed, Raytheon officials argue that, in enabling mass slaughter, they are simply following U.S. government policy. This ignores the fact that Raytheon and other weapons contractors spend tens of millions of dollars a year on lobbyists, political contributions, and other forms of influence peddling trying to shape U.S. policies on arms exports and weapons procurement. They are, in other words, anything but passive recipients of edicts handed down from Washington.

As Raytheon chief financial officer Toby O’Brien put it in a call to investors that came after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, “We continue to be aligned with the administration’s policies, and we intend to honor our commitments.” Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson made a similar point, asserting that “most of these agreements that we have are government-to-government purchases, so anything that we do has to follow strictly the regulations of the U.S. government… Beyond that, we’ll just work with the U.S. government as they are continuing their relationship with [the Saudis].”

How Powerful Are the Military-Industrial Combines?

When it comes to lobbying the Pentagon and Congress, size matters. Major firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon can point to the jobs they and their subcontractors provide in dozens of states and scores of Congressional districts to keep members of Congress in line who might otherwise question or even oppose the tens of billions of dollars in government funding the companies receive annually.

Raytheon — its motto: “Customer Success Is Our Mission” — has primary operations in 16 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. That translates into a lot of leverage over key members of Congress and it doesn’t even count states where the company has major subcontractors. The addition of United Technologies will reinforce the new company’s presence in a number of those states, while adding Connecticut, Iowa, New York, and North Carolina (in other words, at least 20 states in all).

Meanwhile, if the merger is approved, the future Raytheon Technologies will be greasing the wheels of its next arms contracts by relying on nearly four dozen former government officials the two separate companies hired as lobbyists, executives, and board members in 2018 alone. Add to that the $6.4 million in campaign contributions and $20 million in lobbying expenses Raytheon clocked during the last two election cycles and the outlines of its growing influence begin to become clearer. Then, add as well the $2.9 million in campaign contributions and $40 million in lobbying expenses racked up by its merger partner United Technologies and you have a lobbying powerhouse rivaled only by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense conglomerate.

President Eisenhower’s proposed counterweight to the power of the military-industrial complex was to be “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry.” And there are signs that significant numbers of individuals and organizations are beginning to pay more attention to the machinations of the arms lobby. My own outfit, the Center for International Policy, has launched a Sustainable Defense Task Force composed of former military officers and Pentagon officials, White House and Congressional budget experts, and research staffers from progressive and good-government groups. It has already crafted a plan that would cut $1.2 trillion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade, while improving U.S. security by avoiding unnecessary wars, eliminating waste, and scaling back a Pentagon nuclear-weapons buildup slated to cost $1.5 trillion or more over the next three decades.

The Poor People’s Campaign, backed by research conducted by the National Priorities Project of the Institute for Policy Studies, is calling for a one-year $350 billion cut in Pentagon expenditures. And a new network called “Put People Over the Pentagon” has brought together more than 20 progressive organizations to press presidential candidates to cut $200 billion annually from the Department of Defense’s bloated budget. Participants in the network include Public Citizen, Moveon.org, Indivisible, Win Without War, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, and United We Dream, many of them organizations that had not, in past years, made reducing the Pentagon budget a priority.

Raytheon and its arms industry allies won’t sit still in the face of such proposals, but at least the days of unquestioned and unchallenged corporate greed in the ever-merging (but also ever-expanding) arms industry may be coming to an end. The United States has paid an exorbitantly high price in blood and treasure (as have countries like Afghanistan and Iraq) for letting the military-industrial complex steer the American ship of state through this century so far. It’s long past time for a reckoning

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Penny Nance

Penny Nance is the current president of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the fundamentalist, wingnut activist hate group founded by Beverly LaHaye – they call themselves an amalgam of “policy experts and … activists[s]” who take an explicitly anti-feminist approach to politics as a means to “protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens.” The CWA opposes any efforts that “intervene with natural human life,” including secular education, stem cell research, divorce, UN conferences and treaties, publicly funded HIV screenings or STD treatment programs, voluntary childlessness, pornography (mostly because the proliferation of and lack of regulation for pornography somehow promotes gay rights and premarital sex), sex ed, gambling, and gay marriage. As for what they support, the CWA emphasizes “traditional families” and the woman’s place being within the home (with exceptions for themselves (and Michele Bachmann), of course, who do importantwork). They also support teaching intelligent design creationism in public schools, advocate school prayer, and claim that it is unconstitutional for public schools to require reading material that conflicts with the religious values of parents (not that they otherwise care much for the Constitution). Nance was previously a Federal Communications Commission advisor on children’s social and media concerns.

Anti-feminism

According to CWA, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is part of “the war on women”. Of course, the year before claiming this Nance had claimed that the phrase “war on women” is a piece of “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles”, but measures to protect women from violence is a different enemy indeed (Nance has subsequently had a series of bizarre views about what the “real war on women” might be). In particular, according to Nance, VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” since a non-tortured connection between premises and conclusions is unimportant when Talking Points. It is also a bit unclear how much she really cares for victims of trafficking.

Meanwhile, anti-men conspiracies are everywhere, especially in Hollywood. The movie Frozen, for instance, is emasculating men by having female protagonists that don’t end up marrying as the culmination of the narrative. After criticizing Frozen, Nance and Steve Doocy went on to lament the absence of male heroes in Hollywood movies.

Among CWA’s perceived main enemies is the “nefarious” Planned Parenthood. At present, Nance is hopeful that the Department of Justice will go after them for a variety of issues that she falsely thinks they are guilty of after visiting a variety of conspiracy outlets. Now, she may of course be somewhat justified in that hope given the current administration; Nance is aware of this, of course, and has expressed her deepest gratitude for the election of the Trump: “our nation just received a second chance, a chance we never could have earned or deserved. Millions of people like you and me fought hard on our knees, praying earnestly and asking God to heal our land. He heard, and he showed us great mercy.” (She came around pretty quickly to that conclusion after starting out rather skeptical – but then, political expediency trumps ethics every time for these people; morality is relative except when it is not.)

Due to her views and reasoning skills, Nance was for a while among Trump’s candidates for ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. In 2014, she also wanted to be chairman of the board of the new National Women’s History Museum, which she opposed because she claimed it would “indoctrinate” visitors with feminism.

Reason

When Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx proposed a “Day of Reason” alongside a “Day of Prayer”, Nance objected. Why? Apparently reasonand thinkingand education leads to genocide. “You know the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism [this is … not correct]. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust [this is … not correct, either – quite the opposite, in fact] … Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation,” said Nance. Yes, advancing science, opposition to the monarchy, and focusing on education, personal freedom and the separation of church and state lead to Hitler. Nance does not like reason. At least she makes sure she walks her talk and makes no attempt to use it herself. And the claim that reasoncaused Hitler is pretty out there, even as far as rightwing Godwins go.

She followed up by doubling down on her claims.

Gay marriage

Most of what is bad in the world is, as Nance sees it, connected to the marriage equality issue. Same-sex marriage is, according to Nance, like “counterfeit money” that “takes at something that’s the real deal and diminishes it,” and will accordingly “hurt everyone”. Meanwhile, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is engaging in treason, no less, for officiating at a gay wedding, mostly since words means whatever Nance wants them to mean to serve her rhetoric.

In particular, legalizing gay marriage means that opponents of gay marriage activists should get ready for “persecution”. It will also lead to the end of America: equal treatment for same-sex couples would eviscerate religious freedom, and “in losing religious freedom, we lose America,” said Nance. And of course there is a conspiracy here: Zeh gays are plotting to take your children! “The Day of Silence” is an excellent example: As Nance sees it the Day of Silence is an effort by “LGBTQ activists” to “infiltrate schools” and “get to your children.” In particular, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network – which is a tool for LGBT activists who “are going around you to get to your children” – is “working tirelessly to infiltrate schools and influence children across the country” and “taunting and bullying kids in public school and shaming them regarding their religious beliefs that favor traditional marriage.”

And not the least, the Girl Scouts of America’s policy to accept transgender young people “on a case-by-case basis” is “just one more slap in the face to Christian parents,” since not acting in accordance with fundie wingnuts’ hatred of other people is oppression. Also, gay leaders will “dismantle” the Boy Scouts and put “our young sons at risk”.

Diagnosis: Pretty indistinguishable from a range of moronic bigots we’ve already covered, but yeah: delusional, moronic, bigoted conspiracy theorist. Nance is also a pretty influential figure still, and should not be underestimated as a force of evil, hate and harm.

 

A Gay Old Time in Jerusalem

July 16, 2019

by Harry von Johnston PhD

The Essenes, a Judean cult were an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes. Unfortunately, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and homosexual in nature. The Essenes were outlawed by the Romans, and many members were subsequently crucified in a general crackdown under Titus, not because of their sexual practices but because of their political opposition to Roman rule The small remnants of the Essenes retreated to the Dead Sea area and eventually died out.

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo. Scholars believe that the community at Qumran that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls were Essenes, that Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols The Essenes are best known today as the inhabitants from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were located by Bedouins first in 1947.  It is now known that they were closely affiliated with the Hasidim, a sectarian group that included the disciples of Hillel and Menahem the Essene who left for Damascus in 20 BCE.

The Gospel of John makes references to the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 20), In the text, this beloved disciple is present at the crucifixion of Jesus, with Jesus’ mother, Mary.

It has traditionally been assumed that the disciple whom Jesus loved is a self-reference by the author of the Gospel, traditionally regarded as John the Apostle.

Aelred of Rievaulx, in his work Spiritual Friendship, referred to the relationship of Jesus and John as a “marriage” and held it out as an example sanctioning friendships between clerics.[6] It has been claimed that it was held by Francesco Calcagno, who was investigated on that account by the Venetian Inquisition in 1550.

James I of England may have been relying on a pre-existing tradition when he defended his relationship with the young Duke of Buckingham: “I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his son John, and I have my George.”

In the Gospel of John, the disciple John frequently refers to himself in the third person as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.” One might argue that Jesus loved all of his followers in a non-sexual way. Thus to identify Jesus’ love for John in a special way might indicate a sexual relationship. The disciple was “the” beloved. He was in a class by himself.  During the Last Supper before Jesus’ execution, the author(s) of the Gospel of John describes how the “beloved” disciple laid himself on Jesus’ inner tunic — his undergarment. See John 13:25 and 21:20. Robert Goss, assistant professor of comparative religion at Webster University in St. Louis, LA, noted that Jesus and the beloved disciple: “… eat together, side by side. What’s being portrayed here is a pederastic relationship between an older man and a younger man. A Greek reader would understand.”

The late Morton Smith, of Columbia University reported in 1958 that he had found a fragment of a manuscript which at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem. It contained the full text of Mark, chapter 10. Apparently the version that is in the Christian Scriptures is an edited version of the original. Additional verses allegedly formed part of the full version of Mark, and were inserted after verse 34. It discusses how a young man, naked but for a linen covering, expressed his love for Jesus and stayed with him at his place all night.

Mark 7:14-16 shows that Jesus approves of homosexual acts. The critical phrase reads: “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him…” Jesus gave great emphasis to this teaching, directing it to everyone.

Mark 14:51-52 describes the incident when Jesus was arrested by the religious police. It describes how one of Jesus’ followers was scantily dressed. The King James Version says he had a linen cloth cast on his naked body; the size and location of the cloth is not defined. The New International Version says that he was “wearing nothing but a linen garment.”  When the police tried to seize him, they were able to grab only his cloth; the man ran away naked. Reverend Peter Murphy wrote: “We don’t know from the sources what really was going on, but we do know that something was very peculiar between Jesus and young men.” (Emphasis in the original.)

Michael Kelly wrote of Jesus’ attitude towards a same-sex couple as described in  Matthew 8:5-13: and Luke 7:2: “One day a Roman Centurion asked him to heal his dying servant. Scholars of both Scripture and Ancient History tell us that Roman Centurions, who were not permitted to marry while in service, regularly chose a favorite male slave to be their personal assistant and sexual servant. Such liaisons were common in the Greco-Roman world and it was not unusual for them to deepen into loving partnerships….Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion asked him simply to speak a word of healing, since he was not worthy to welcome this itinerant Jewish teacher under his roof. Jesus responded by healing the servant and proclaiming that even in Israel he had never found faith like this! So, in the one Gospel story where Jesus encountered people sharing what we would call a ‘gay relationship,’ we see him simply concerned about — and deeply moved by — their faith and love.” Kelly implies that Jesus’ sensitivity towards the gay couple might have arisen from his own bisexual or homosexual orientation.

Some commentators argue from silence. They note that there is no passage in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) that directly describes anything about Jesus’ sexuality. There are many direct and indirect references to Jesus’ sensuality. He was accused of being a “drunkard and a glutton” and of partying with “prostitutes and sinners.” He apparently enjoyed a tender foot massage from a woman. Yet, neither Jesus’ sexuality nor his celibacy is mentioned. Yet, sex is referred to, elsewhere in the Bible, quite often. One might argue that the books in the Christian Scriptures might have once described Jesus’ sexual relationships, but that these passages have been vigorously censored by the later church because they were unconventional.

Other commentators have noted that Jesus is silent towards homosexuality in the Gospels. Yet, Paul’s opinions and those of many other authors in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) are clearly stated. They conclude that Jesus might have been gay.

In the Renaissance period (14th—16th centuries), a man was accused and tried in Venice (c.1550) for heresies, one of which was his claim that John was Christ’s catamite (cinedo di Cristo), an idea that apparently had a certain following in Italy at the time.    In England, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) authored the famous homoerotic play Edward II (1591).    Then after his death, Richard Baines in a libel case claimed that Marlowe had professed that “St. John the Evangelist was bedfellow to Christ and leaned alwaies in his bosome, that he used him as the sinners of Sodome.”

Another playwright Thomas Kyd said that “He [Marlowe] would report St. John to be our Saviour Christ’s Alexis,” referring to the love which the Greek shepherd Corydon felt for the fair youth Alexis as described in Virgil’s Eclogues 2 and about which Marlowe had written in his poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.”71    James I, king of England and Ireland (1603-1625), shrewdly neutralized charges brought against him in Parliament over his homosexual relationship with George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, by noting that “Christ had his John and I have my Steenie.”    Later, the philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) devoted himself to trying to decriminalize homosexual relations in Britain, where hangings for this had increased.

In an only-partially published manuscript titled Not Paul but Jesus, Bentham mentions the special fondness which Jesus had for John, and asked, “Could John have meant to imply that he and Jesus were lovers?”

Then he added, “[G]ood taste and . . . prudence would require us to turn aside” from such a “topic of extreme delicacy,” although at the same time a regard for human happiness, truth and justice still “compel” this author “to go over it

Modern scholars who believe that Jesus and his Beloved Disciple shared a homosexual relationship.Modern interpreters who hold that there was a homoerotic relationship here include:  Hugh Montefiore (1969), Robert Williams (1992), Sjef van Tilborg (1993), John McNeill (1995), Rollan McCleary (2003), Robert E. Goss (2006), and James Neill (2009).    The United Reformed Church of Christ of Great Britain in its document Toward a Christian Understanding of Sexuality (1984) wrote that Jesus “may have . . .  been homosexuality inclined.”    Psychoanalyst Richard C. Friedman (1988) viewed Jesus and his beloved disciple as having a homosexual marriage.

Rosemary Ruether (1978) and Nancy Wilson (1995) held that Jesus was bisexual.    Going further in the other direction, Morton Smith (1973) suggested that as part of a secret baptismal ritual Jesus may have had physical union with more than one of his disciples.―although this view is based on a later ‘heretical’ text.

Theodore Jennings (2003) believes definitely that Jesus and John “were lovers,” although he notes that the Bible tells us nothing more about how Jesus and his Beloved shared their love beyond the physical intimacy described at the Last Supper.

.Jesus was not a Nazerene but an Alexandrian Jew. His family moved to Judea when Jesus and his two brothers were very young. Jesus’ elder brother was a member of the agricultural Essene cult and Jesus joined this group.

During the Procuratorship of Antonius Felix (52 to 58 CE) Jesus amassed a mob of about 30,000 Palestinian Jewish dissidents, planning to attack Jerusalem and drive out the Roman garrison. One of Jesus’s Essene associates, a man named Judas, informed Felix of the impending raid and it was stopped by Roman troops with a heavy loss of life for the rebels. Many were taken prisoner, tried and crucified for rebellion against the Roman government but the period records show, very clearly, that the leader, Jesus from Alexandria, escaped and vanished into the desert.

The Essenes, a Judean cult were an agricultural community that had a communistic approach to their life style. There was a common purse and shared wealth and much, if not most, of the first expressed Christian dogma came directly from the Essenes. Unfortunately, like the Spartans and Zulus who were essentially a military community cult, the agricultural Essenes were male-oriented and homosexual in nature

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo.

Mark 7:14-16 shows that Jesus approves of homosexual acts. The critical phrase reads: “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him…” Jesus gave great emphasis to this teaching, directing it to everyone.

Jesus was an Essene, and Christianity as we know it today evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

July 16, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

.

Date: Thursday, December 5, 1996

Commenced: 2:10 PM CST

Concluded: 2:25 PM CST

 

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Still coping with the cold?

RTC: The temperature or my nose?

GD: Oh, both.

RTC: I stay inside and take medicine. At my age, the cold goes away and so does the person. No, pretty much under control. How are you doing?

GD: The diabetes is under control but my son is not. If he ever told me the truth, I would fall flat on the floor. He has the unfortunate habit of knocking his girl friends up and then ditching them. Not only do I disapprove of such behavior but I am the one who has weeping and pregnant people on my front porch while he hides in the bathroom. I have other things I would rather do, I can assure you.

RTC: Well, no, such is not good. What happens with the pregnant ones?

GD: I have to pay for the abortions and I am quite opposed to abortion. It would be a mess otherwise. Of course, he will never pay me back. I will have to take him to the vet one of these days and have him neutered. Save me a lot of grief and money.

RTC: There are always problems, aren’t there?

GD: Increasingly, Robert, increasingly. Listen, you and I spoke once about the origin of AIDS….

RTC: That wasn’t us; it was the Navy if you will recall.

GD: I think we have talked about this more than once. And killing of the chink’s rice crops. Well, from a pragmatic point of view, I can see the benefit of doing that. China is coming up very fast and soon enough, she will produce goods better and cheaper than we do. That’s what was behind the First World War. The Brits had a lock on manufactured goods until the Germans caught up with them. Instead of competing, they started a war and everyone went down. I suppose starving the Chinese would be better than nuking them. Less radioactive material in the air. Still, if the Chinese get too big, too fast, they will collapse internally unless, and I stress this, unless they get rid of the ancient Communist bosses and go over to a Western style republic complete with corruption at the highest levels. With their natural business acumen, industrious nature and a rigid dictatorship over everything, something will give in sooner or later. I suppose your people will be giving them a push. Maybe internal strife, maybe something else.

RTC: Well, I am out of it now and it’s their worry. Did you ever talk to Herr Mueller about things like this?

GD: Sometimes but when I was living in Bern, I discussed these things with a very senior KGB person.

RTC: Anyone I know?

GD: First Directorate and all. Probably. Is it snowing there?

RTC: Not now. I don’t suppose….

GD: No, I would rather not. It’s funny about our counter-intelligence. They won’t talk with me even though I know more than they do about their subjects.

RTC: Oh, of course not. Tell the FBI that the CIA wants to talk with you in private and see how fast they occupy your living room.

GD: One against the other, eh? Do it all the time in business. Oh and yes, I almost forgot. A Russian publisher’s representative was chatting with me the other day and mentioned, in passing, that your agency is now full of Jews and that a number of these are keeping their diplomatic pouches crammed with our secrets. You knew that?

RTC: I believe it. Can you give me names?

GD: A pleasure. I will have a list with names and home addresses sent to you from a friend in Maryland. I know nothing about it. Would you shoot them?

RTC: Heart attacks are much easier and less ostentatious. We can’t have that, Gregory. But something from the Russians to us via you is suspect. Not that you are a problem but how do we know they won’t pick out especially effective agents and ruin them?

GD: We don’t, so watch them and see. If they visit the Israeli embassy there, why then you have some confirmation. How would I do it? Take the suspect aside and give them some very reasonable but entirely false information with some zingers included. Then, if this shows up, you have confirmation. And then the car accident or the heart attack.

RTC: Gregory, the additives are not original with you but I applaud your grasp.

GD: Why not just ship all of them down to a new CIA station on McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic and forget to fly in winter supplies. Like food and heating oil. Come spring, a tragic discovery when the snow-covered camp is dug out by rescuers who were alarmed by the lack of reports on the bowel movements of penguins.

RTC: You have a perverse sense of humor Gregory but there is something to say about that.

GD: Or send them on special missions into Arab territory and tip off the Arabs. Let them draw and quarter them without any assistance from you. A nice condolence letter, machine-signed from the director, and some plastic flowers would do nicely.

RTC: Yes and a nice star on the wall.

GD: If I were doing it, there would more stars than the Milky Way.

RTC: We have had to remove a number of bad apples from our barrels, Gregory. Not Jews generally although a few got too uppity.

GD: Do you have any black agents in the field?

RTC: Now that you mention it, we do not. But by God, we do have black waiters in the executive dining rooms. Does that sound better to you?

GD: It’s a start. I note that the Jews like to sponsor blacks so if things go wrong, they will have walking sandbags to absorb the bullets that are meant for them. You should read ‘The True Believer’ by Hoffer. Very good book. Short, sharp and very much to the point.  Speaking of landfill candidates, how are the Switzers across the street doing?

RTC: Still there. Maybe you can come up with another idea.

GD: Well a huge car bomb set off just as their Ambassador is starting on a drive to some function might make a point.

RTC: You forget, Gregory, that I live right across the street. Think of my windows.

GD: True. Well, give me some time and I can come up with a solution.

RTC: A Final Solution?

GD: Ah, there we go with the Jews again. My God, what was that sound?

RFC: I was sneezing and knocked over a lamp.

GD: I thought someone blew up the Swiss Embassy.

RTC: There you go, trying to cheer an old man up. There’s broken lamp all over the floor and maybe we can talk again later.

 

 

(Concluded at 2:25 PM 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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