TBR News June 13, 2019

Jun 13 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 13, 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 June 13:” Trump rants about Fake News? ‘Fake News?’

Fat Donald says that any negative information about him; his taking Russian drug money, cheating on his taxes, chronic lying and other negative aspects of his deranged persona are lies.

That they are not lies is becoming more and more evident to the general public and in the end, Fat Donald will leave the scene and his exit will be the beginning of many books about him and his rampant lunacy.

His supporters, strange people with American flag panties and tiny little red hats on their pointy heads, will go back to raising chickens in their trailer parks or sweeping out public lavatories late in the evening.

‘Fake News’ is better applied to paid or deranged people like Drudge and Jones who either print lies given to them by others or simply make up strange stories while drunk on cheap wine.

And we have legions of the stupid and believing, the type that become Scientologists, who rush to embrace every deranged and wholly invented new concoction by wholly invented people like ‘Tyler Durden’ or ‘Sorcha Faal’ and such concepts as invented stories that former President Obama was born in Africa or that ‘Russian spies’ tried to poison someone in England with ‘nerve gas.’

Why not giant bears, bred in Russian secret caves suddenly emerging to maul and eat CIA-supported Ukrainian Nazis or raping Turkish women on Black Sea beaches?

And ‘Planet X’ should appear in the night skies, streaking for eventual impact with deserted and rat infested Detroit.

In truth, ‘Fake News’ is the fiction that Donald Trump is sane, brilliant and the savior of the world, looking like that fake Leonardo da Vinci painting worth $40 that some crazy Saudi ‘prince’ bought for four hundred million dollars recently.”


The Table of Contents

  • America’s Legacy of Regime Change
  • U.S. blames Iran for tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, oil prices rise
  • Mike Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman
  • ‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman
  • Tanker Attack Was Imaginary, but US Says Iran Did It
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations


America’s Legacy of Regime Change

June 10, 2019

by Stephen Kinzer


Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O’Rourke (Cornell University Press, 2018); 330 pages.

For most of history, seizing another country or territory was a straightforward proposition. You assembled an army and ordered it to invade. Combat determined the victor. The toll in death and suffering was usually horrific, but it was all done in the open. That is how Alexander overran Persia and how countless conquerors since have bent weaker nations to their will. Invasion is the old-fashioned way.

When the United States joined the race for empire at the end of the 19th century, that was the tactic it used. It sent a large expeditionary force to the Philippines to crush an independence movement, ultimately killing some 200,000 Filipinos. At the other end of the carnage spectrum, it seized Guam without the loss of a single life and Puerto Rico with few casualties. Every time, though, U.S. victory was the result of superior military power. In the few cases when the United States failed, as in its attempt to defend a client regime by suppressing Augusto Cesar Sandino’s nationalist rebellion in Nicaragua during the 1920s and 30s, the failure was also the product of military confrontation. For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history.

After that war, however, something important changed. The United States no longer felt free to land troops on every foreign shore that was ruled by a government it disliked or considered threatening. Suddenly there was a new constraint: the Red Army. If American troops invaded a country and overthrew its government, the Soviets might respond in kind. Combat between American and Soviet forces could easily escalate into nuclear holocaust, so it had to be avoided at all costs. Yet during the Cold War, the United States remained determined to shape the world according to its liking — perhaps more determined than ever. The United States needed a new weapon. The search led to covert action.

A news agency

During World War II the United States used a covert agency, the Office of Strategic Services, to carry out clandestine actions across Europe and Asia. As soon as the war ended, to the shock of many OSS agents, Harry Truman abolished it. He believed there was no need for such an agency during peacetime. In 1947 he changed his mind and signed the National Security Act, under which the Central Intelligence Agency was established. That marked the beginning of a new era. Covert action replaced overt action as the principal means of projecting American power around the world.

Truman later insisted that he had intended the CIA to serve as a kind of private global news service. “It was not intended as a ‘Cloak & Dagger Outfit!’” he wrote. “It was intended merely as a center for keeping the President informed on what was going on in the world … [not] to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized.” Nonetheless he did not hesitate to use the new CIA for covert action. Its first major campaign, aimed at influencing the 1948 Italian election to ensure that pro-American Christian Democrats would defeat their Communist rivals, was vast in scale and ultimately successful — setting the pattern for CIA intervention in every Italian election for the next two decades. Yet Truman drew the line at covert action to overthrow governments.

The CIA’s covert-action chief, Allen Dulles, twice proposed such projects. In both cases, the target he chose was a government that had inflicted harm on corporations that he and his brother, John Foster Dulles, had represented during their years as partners at the globally powerful Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. In 1952 he proposed that the CIA overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, whose government was carrying out land reform that affected the interests of United Fruit. By one account, State Department officials “hit the roof” when they heard his proposal, and the diplomat David Bruce told him that the Department “disapproves of the entire deal.” Then Dulles proposed an operation to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, who had nationalized his country’s oil industry. Secretary of State Dean Acheson flatly rejected it.

White House resistance to covert regime-change operations dissolved when Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Truman at the beginning of 1953. Part of the new administration’s enthusiasm came from Allen Dulles, Washington’s most relentless advocate of such operations, whom Eisenhower named to head the CIA. The fact that he named Dulles’s brother as secretary of State ensured that covert operations would have all the necessary diplomatic cover from the State Department. During the Dulles brothers’ long careers at Sullivan & Cromwell, they had not only learned the techniques of covert regime change but practiced them. They were masters at marshaling hidden power in the service of their corporate clients overseas. Now they could do the same with all the worldwide resources of the CIA.

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the “New Look,” rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the “New Look” had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier’s commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. He would, however, have had at least two reasons.

Since Eisenhower had commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II, he was aware of the role that covert operations such as breaking Nazi codes had played in the war victory — something few other people knew at the time. That would have given him an appreciation for how important and effective such operations could be. His second reason was even more powerful. In Europe he had had the grim responsibility of sending thousands of young men out to die. That must have weighed on him. He saw covert action as a kind of peace project. After all, if the CIA could overthrow a government with the loss of just a few lives, wasn’t that preferable to war? Like most Americans, Eisenhower saw a world of threats. He also understood that the threat of nuclear war made overt invasions all but unthinkable. Covert action was his answer. Within a year and a half of his inauguration, the CIA had deposed the governments of both Guatemala and Iran. It went on to other regime-change operations from Albania to Cuba to Indonesia. Successive presidents followed his lead.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was once again free to launch direct military invasions. When it found a leader it didn’t like — such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi — it deposed him not through covert action, but by returning to the approach it had used before World War II: the force of arms. Covert efforts to overthrow governments have hardly ceased, as any Iranian or Venezuelan could attest. The era when covert action was America’s principal weapon in world affairs, however, is over. That makes this a good time to look back.

Metrics for covert action

Books about the Cold War heyday of covert action era are a mini-genre. Lindsey A. O’Rourke’s contribution is especially valuable. Unlike many other books built around accounts of CIA plots, Covert Regime Change takes a scholarly and quantitative approach. It provides charts, graphs, and data sets. Meticulous analysis makes this not the quickest read of any book on the subject, but certainly one of the best informed. Chapters on the disastrous effort to overthrow communist rule in Eastern Europe, which cost the lives of hundreds of deceived partisans, and on the covert-action aspects of America’s doomed campaign in Vietnam are especially trenchant.

O’Rourke identifies three kinds of covert operations that are aimed at securing perceived friends in power and keeping perceived enemies out: offensive operations to overthrow governments, preventive operations aimed at preserving the status quo, and hegemonic operations aimed at keeping a foreign nation subservient. From 1947 to 1989, by her count, the United States launched 64 covert regime-change operations, while using the overt tool — war — just six times. She traces the motivations behind these operations, the means by which they were carried out, and their effects. Her text is based on meticulous analysis of individual operations. Some other books about covert action are rip-roaring yarns. This one injects a dose of rigorous analysis into a debate that is often based on emotion. That rigor lends credence to her conclusions:

  • When policymakers want to conduct an operation that they know violates international norms, they simply conduct it covertly to hide their involvement.
  • Covert missions typically have lower potential costs than their overt counterparts, but they are also less likely to succeed.
  • Can interveners acquire reliable allies by covertly overthrowing foreign governments? Overall, I find the answer is no. Covert regime changes seldom worked out as intended.
  • The new leader’s opponents often accused him of being a U.S. puppet and, in some cases, even took up arms against the regime. In fact, approximately half of the governments that came to power in a U.S.-backed covert regime change during the Cold War were later violently removed from power.
  • States targeted in a covert regime-change operation appear less likely to be democratic afterward and more likely to experience civil war, adverse regime changes, or human-rights abuses
  • Covert regime changes can have disastrous consequences for civilians within the target states. Countries that were targeted by the United States for a covert regime change during the Cold War were more likely to experience a civil war or an episode of mass killing afterward.
  • Even nominally successful covert regime changes — where U.S.-backed forces came to power — seldom delivered on their promise to improve interstate relations.

Although these conclusions are not new, they have rarely if ever been presented as the result of such persuasive statistical evidence. Yet even this evidence seems unlikely to force a reassessment of covert action as a way to influence or depose governments. It is an American “addiction.” The reasons are many and varied, but one of the simplest is that covert action seems so easy. Changing an unfriendly country’s behavior through diplomacy is a long, complex, multi-faceted project. It takes careful thought and planning. Often it requires compromise. Sending the CIA to overthrow a “bad guy” is far more tempting. It’s the cheap and easy way out. History shows that it often produces terrible results for both the target country and the United States. To a military and security elite as contemptuous of history as America’s, however, that is no obstacle.

Although covert regime-change operations remain a major part of American foreign policy, they are not as effective as they once were. The first victims of CIA overthrows, Prime Minister Mossadegh and President Arbenz, did not understand the tools the CIA had at its disposal and so were easy targets. They were also democratic, meaning that they allowed open societies in which the press, political parties, and civic groups functioned freely — making them easy for the CIA to penetrate. Later generations of leaders learned from their ignorance. They paid closer attention to their own security, and imposed tightly controlled regimes in which there were few independent power centers that the CIA could manipulate.

If Eisenhower could come back to life, he would see the havoc that his regime-change operations wreaked. After his overthrow of Mossadegh, Iran fell under royal dictatorship that lasted a quarter-century and was followed by decades of rule by repressive mullahs who have worked relentlessly to undermine American interests around the world. The operation he ordered in Guatemala led to a civil war that killed 200,000 people, turning a promising young democracy into a charnel house and inflicting a blow on Central America from which it has never recovered. His campaign against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, which included the fabrication of a poison kit in a CIA laboratory, helped turn that country into one of the most violent places on Earth.

How would Eisenhower respond to the long-term disasters that followed his covert action victories? He might well have come up with a highly convincing way to excuse himself. It’s now clear, he could argue, that covert action to overthrow governments usually has terrible long-term results — but that was not clear in the 1950s. Eisenhower had no way of knowing that even covert regime-change operations that seem successful at the time could have devastating results decades later.

We today, however, do know that. The careful analysis that is at the center of Covert Regime Change makes clearer than ever that when America sets out to change the world covertly, it usually does more harm than good — to itself as well as others. O’Rourke contributes to the growing body of literature that clearly explains this sad fact of geopolitics. The intellectual leadership for a national movement against regime-change operations — overt or covert — is coalescing. The next step is to take this growing body of knowledge into the political arena. Washington remains the province of those who believe not only that the United States should try to reconfigure the world into an immense American sphere of influence, but that that is an achievable goal. In the Beltway morass of pro-intervention think tanks, members of Congress, and op-ed columnists, America’s role in the world is usually not up for debate. Now, as a presidential campaign unfolds and intriguing new currents surge through the American body politic, is an ideal moment for that debate to re-emerge. If it does, we may be surprised to see how many voters are ready to abandon the dogma of regime change and wonder, with George Washington, “Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?”


U.S. blames Iran for tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, oil prices rise

June 13, 2019

by Lisa Barrington and Phil Stewart


DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States, which blamed Tehran for the incident.

“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in a brief appearance without providing hard evidence to back up the U.S. stance.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said.

Washington accused Tehran of being behind a similar attack on May 12 on four tankers in the same area, a vital shipping route through which much of the world’s oil passes.

Tensions between Iran and the United States, along with its allies including Saudi Arabia, have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it cannot sell its oil due to U.S. sanctions.

No one has claimed Thursday’s attacks and no one has specifically blamed them on any party.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said.

Washington accused Tehran of being behind a similar attack on May 12 on four tankers in the same area, a vital shipping route through which much of the world’s oil passes.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the incidents as “suspicious” on Twitter and called for regional dialogue. Tehran has denied responsibility for the May 12 attacks.

The Saudi-led military coalition, which is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, described Thursday’s events as a “major escalation”.

Russia, one of Iran’s main allies, was quick to urge caution, saying no one should rush to conclusions about the incident or use it to put pressure on Tehran.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States: “Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified.”

He warned that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region”.

Crude prices climbed as much as 4% after the attacks near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping artery for Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and other Gulf energy producers.

“We need to remember that some 30% of the world’s (seaborne) crude oil passes through the straits. If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire Western world could be at risk,” said Paolo d’Amico, chairman of INTERTANKO tanker association.

The crew of the Norwegian-owned Front Altair abandoned ship in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran after a blast that a source said might have been from a magnetic mine. The ship was ablaze, sending a huge plume of smoke into the air.

The crew were picked up by a passing ship and handed to an Iranian rescue boat.

The crew of the second ship, a Japanese-owned tanker, were also picked up safely.

Reporting by Koustav Samanta and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore, Liang-Sa Loh and Yimou Lee in Taipei, Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai, Marwa Rashad in Riyadh, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Jessica Resnick Ault in New York; Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul and Jonathan Saul and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Writing by Edmund Blair and Alison Williams; Editing by Jon Boyle and Nick Tattersall


Mike Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman

  • US secretary of state accuses Tehran of ‘lashing out’
  • Iran denies responsibility for early-morning attack

June 13, 2019

by Patrick Wintour in London and Julian Borger in Washington


The US has blamed Iran for an early-morning assault on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which ended a Japanese mediation effort and raised fears over the safety of vessels through the key oil artery to the west, the Strait of Hormuz.The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said Iran’s recent actions “present a clear threat to international peace and security”, and declared the US intention to raise the matter at the UN security council on Thursday afternoon.

Pompeo said: “Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.”

Pompeo did not present evidence for his claim.

Tehran denied all responsibility and its foreign minister suggested others could be trying to provoke a conflict between Iran and the US. The incident took place on a day Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, bluntly rejected the proposal of a resumption of US-Iranian talks, suggested by Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on a visit to Tehran.

Abe is widely thought to have had the blessing of Donald Trump in offering to open a channel of communications between the US and Iranian leaders.

But after Khamenei’s rejection, Trump followed suit, posting a tweet saying: “While I very much appreciate PM Abe going to Iran to meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we!”

The two tankers were believed to have been targeted by mines only a month after an earlier unidentified assailant exploded underwater limpet mines on four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The attack on the tankers Singapore-owned Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian-owned Front Altair pushed oil prices up by 4% and could further raise insurance premiums for vessels operating in the Gulf.

The 23 crew members on Front Altair were rescued by a nearby vessel then transferred to an Iranian navy boat and disembarked at a local Iranian port. The crew on the Kokuka Courageous escaped on a lifeboat and were rescued by a Dutch ship then taken in by an an unidentified US warship.

Iran is locked in a dangerous standoff with America after Washington imposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran in a bid to force the renegotiation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and curb interventions in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

US and European intelligence believe Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps may be striking back against Washington as the ban on Iranian oil exports sends the Iranian economy into a nosedive. It is thought implausible that an IRGC group has gone rogue, or even that Houthi rebels fighting Saudi Arabia in neighbouring Yemen were responsible. Houthis have used drones to target Saudi military and oil installations.

One British government source said it was possible Tehran was reappraising its previous belief that it could either withstand the sanctions with the help of additional European trade, and wait for a Democrat to succeed Trump in the White House.

“They may be trying to bring the crisis with America to a head,” said the source.

Iran has set a 7 July deadline before it steps further away from the terms of the deal.

The Iranian foreign minister, Javed Zarif, denied any involvement, saying the country was “beyond suspicion”.

The assaults on the tankers, some carrying merchandise bound for Japan, came on the day the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Iran’s political leadership to see if a basis for US-Iran talks exists.

Despite talking to Trump before flying to Tehran, Abe insisted he was not bringing specific detailed messages on behalf of the US president. But Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the notion of talks saying in a series of tweets “I do not consider Trump as a person worth exchanging any message with and I have no answer for him, nor will I respond to him in the future”.

He added Iran had no plan to build nuclear weapons, but if it wished to do so, the US would be unable to stop it. “We believe that our problems will not be solved by negotiating with the US, and no free nation would ever accept negotiations under pressure.”

Pompeo said the attacks on the tankers were intended as insult to the Japanese leader.

Pompeo said: “Prime Minister Abe made a trip historic trip to Russia to ask the regime to de-escalate and enter into talks.

“Iran’s supreme leader rejected Abe’s diplomacy today by saying he has no response to President Trump and will not answer. The supreme leader’s government that insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese-owned oil tanker just outside of Iranian waters, threatening the lives of the entire crew creating a maritime emergency.”

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attacks, warning that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region”.

Russia pleaded with the US and the Gulf States arrayed against Iran not to leap to conclusions. “No one knows what is behind it,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Britain said it was available to help with any investigations into the source of the attack.

The investigation is likely to be handled initially by the ships’ owners with a report given to the UN Security Council.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority said three explosions were reported on the Norwegian-owned tanker Front Altair after it was “attacked”, leading to a fire and fears at one point the ship would sink.

All 23 crew members were brought to safety. The ship was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30m. The ship burned for hours, a fire that charred half of one of the vessel’s sides sending up a column of thick, black smoke, and provoking fears it might sink.

Investigations into the previous attack on the four tankers struck on May 12 just by the UAE port of Fujairah led the US to claim Iran was “almost certainly” behind that attack. Two Saudi, one UAE and one Norwegian oil tanker were damaged. A separate investigation by Norway, the UAE and Saudi, led to claim that a state like actor had to have been involved due to the sophistication of the operation.

Ilan Goldenberg, a former senior state department official said: “I’ve been saying for the past month that threat of war with Iran is overhyped. Not after today. This seems like a serious escalation.”

The concern is that the crisis will spiral out of control with further attacks leading to an effective closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow two mile shipping lane between Oman and Iran through which a fifth of the world’s oil ships navigate. Some 18.5 million barrels of oil are transported through it every day from major OPEC energy producers Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Iran previously used mines against oil tankers in 1987 and 1988 in the “tanker war,” which saw the US navy escort ships through the region.


 ‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman

Iran’s foreign minister has labeled the reported attack on two “Japan-related” oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as “suspicious,” occurring just as Japanese Prime Minister Abe came to Tehran for major talks.

June 13, 2019


Expressing his misgivings on Twitter, Javad Zarif noted that the incidents on the two vessels on Thursday, one of which had been reportedly struck by a torpedo, had occurred as Abe sat down for “extensive and friendly” discussions with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

Later in the day, Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo confirmed that one of its vessels had been hit in today’s attack while transporting 25,000 tons of methanol.

The statement came after Iran said it rescued 44 sailors from two tankers named as Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous. One of them was reportedly hit with a torpedo, but there is no official statement on the claim.

In May, four oil tankers were targeted off the coast of the UAE, with exact details of the incident still shrouded in secrecy. Bolton has laid the blame for the assault on Iran, yet Washington, to date, has failed to provide any evidence of complicity.

In May, four oil tankers were targeted off the coast of the UAE, with exact details of the incident still shrouded in secrecy. Bolton has laid the blame for the assault on Iran, yet Washington, to date, has failed to provide any evidence of complicity.


Tanker Attack Was Imaginary, but US Says Iran Did It

May 19, 2019

by Wiliam Boardman

Reader Suporter News

The story of the ‘oil tanker attacks’ appears to have been mostly or entirely false




– ABC News on-screen headline, May 13, 2019




–CBS News on-screen headline, May 13, 2019

These network stories are examples of fake news at its most dangerous, when it plays into the dishonest manipulations of an administration beating the drums for a war against Iran that has no reasonable basis. Not only do the networks and mainstream media generally fail to question the administration’s rush to war, they also fail to do basic journalism by independently confirming whether a particular story is true or not.

The story of the “oil tanker attacks” appears to have been mostly or entirely false, as any news organization could have known from the start by exercising basic skepticism. Or the story could have been pimped as terrorism, as Debka.com did, asserting on May 13 that: “A special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards marine force carried out the sabotage on 4 Saudi oil tankers outside Fujairah port.” No evidence, anonymous sources only, and wrong number of Saudi tankers.

The first report of something happening in or near the emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came from the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV, saying that seven to ten oil tankers were burning in the port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman (outside the Strait of Hormuz leading to the Persian Gulf). There is no evidence that any tankers were burning there. Available satellite images show no smoke, explosions, or anything else to support the claim of an accident or an attack.

A few hours later, a new story surfaced. On May 12 at 7:38 pm, the UAE foreign ministry issued a statement carried by the state news agency WAM with the headline: “Four commercial ships subjected to sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters, no fatalities or injuries reported.” The report in its entirety offered little detail:

ABU DHABI, 12th May, 2019 (WAM) — Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations today, 12th May, near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, has announced.

The Ministry said that the concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures, and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies.

It said that there had been no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels and that there had been no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.

The MOFAIC statement said that the carrying out acts of sabotage on commercial and civilian vessels and threatening the safety and lives of those on board is a serious development. It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to prevent such actions by parties attempting to undermine maritime traffic safety and security.

The Ministry also described as ‘baseless and unfounded’ rumours earlier today, 12th May, of incidents taking place within the Port of Fujairah, saying that operations within the port were under way as normal, without any interruption.

There’s not much here. What sort of “sabotage operations” occurred? Who carried them out? What damage was there, if any? Who were the four ships? When was the sabotage discovered? What’s really going on here, if anything?

The next day the Saudi Press Agency chimed in with a statement from the Minister of Energy that “confirmed that … two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah.” The minister claimed structural damage to the two tankers but did not make them available for inspection. Satellite and surface images showed no damage to either tanker.

That’s about all that was known on May 13 as ABC News went on the air acting as if the story was factually clear and larger than supported by any evidence. The lead-in to the story was flush with news-hype and propaganda technique: “we begin with that attack overseas on Saudi ships and oil tankers. One about to head to the U.S. This comes in the wake of that warning about threats from Iran.” Fundamentally dishonest. There were two Saudi tankers, no Saudi “ships.” The other two tankers were from the UAE and Norway. There was no certainty that there was any attack (and there still isn’t). Saying that one tanker was about to head to the US was not only irrelevant, but provocative. It was on its way to Saudi Arabia to load oil bound for the US (according to the Saudis). Putting the misreported “attack” in the context of “that warning about threats from Iran” is pure propagandistic parroting of US government scare-mongering.

But that was just the lead-in to veteran reporter Martha Raddatz – surely she’d bring some sane perspective to bear, right? Wrong. She made it worse, talking in a tone suitable for a “they-just-attacked-Pearl-Harbor” report. Somberly treating the alleged attack as a matter of fact, Raddatz framed it with a conclusion supported by no evidence whatsoever:

This comes at an extremely tense time in the region with the U.S. warning just days ago that Iran or its proxies could be targeting maritime traffic in the oil rich Persian Gulf region. Although we do not know who carried out this morning’s attack on these ships, we know four were sabotaged off the coast in the Persian Gulf and it caused significant structural damage to two Saudi oil tankers. One of the Saudi ships was on its way to pick up Saudi oil for delivery to the U.S. Last week the U.S. urgently dispatched a carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missile battery to the region after it said there were unspecified threats to American forces in the region. Iran’s news agency this morning saying the dispatch of the warships was to exaggerate the shadow of war and frighten the Iranian people. But this is a very dangerous development.

Could Sarah Huckabee Sanders have said it better?

Posing as a journalist, Martha Raddatz ratchets up the Trump administration’s scare campaign based on nothing more than fear tactics. She’s so busy trying to scare us, she doesn’t even get the geography right. The alleged attack didn’t happen in the Persian Gulf. The four ships that were supposedly attacked were in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the UAE. Almost all the rest of what Raddatz reports as “fact” comes from government press releases.

And that’s not the most shameful part for Raddatz and ABC News. Worse than botching facts large and small is the willingness of such mainstream media players to team up with elements of the US government seeking war with Iran at almost any cost.

CBS News coverage was little better, not only putting the action in the Persian Gulf, but upping the number of ships “attacked” to six. CBS did manage a small saving grace, concluding: “Whatever the case, the tensions here have only risen since President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, brokered between Iran and world powers.”

Raddatz: Time may come when warmongers like this repugnant disinformer will be judged at Nuremberg-type tribunals.

Well, yes, THAT is the crux of the mess. The US unilaterally tries to pull out of a multilateral international agreement that all other parties say is working and we’re supposed to take the US seriously? Seriously? At this point, any reporter who accepts a government press release as authoritative should be summarily fired. At this point, that is inexcusable malpractice. Iran has abided by the nuclear deal, all the inspectors affirm that. The other signatories – China, Russia, GB, France, Germany, and the EU – all affirm that. But they don’t stand up to the US effectively. They allow the US to bully them into joining the American economic warfare against Iran.

Over the next several days after it broke, the “oil tankers attacked” story slowly collapsed. Fact-based skepticism started to catch up with the official story. The UAE kept reporters from getting too close to the ships, which showed no serious damage. An anonymous US official blamed Iran, based on no evidence. US military officials in the Persian Gulf region stopped answering questions about whatever it was, referring questioners to the White House.

At this point, if the oil tanker attacks were either a warmongering hoax or false flag operation, it’s not going to have the same success as the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 or the provocations of US warships in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964. There’s even an off-chance that a suspicious Congress and an even more suspicious public will manage to slow the rush to war, or even stop it. There are signs of some increased media wariness, also known as detachment. Perhaps the most hopeful signs are the leaked anonymous stories that the president really, really doesn’t want to go to war, which of course he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to, if he knows what he wants.

Another leaked story had it that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are confident that they can lead Trump by the nose into the war they want with Iran and that Trump’s too stupid to understand what they’re up to. If Trump sees that, it might give peace a chance.


Comment: First we have the entertaining fiction that a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with ‘nerve gas’ by ‘Russian spies’ while sitting on a British park bench and this entertaining fiction has been followed by other entertainments such as small incidents involving oil tankers which the US propaganda machine insists were done by Iran.

Like the “Nerve Gas” attack, there has been no proof produced in support of this silly propaganda.

What will be next?

A can of spray paint thrown on the Statue of Liberty by Iranian secret policemen?

It is very obvious to anyone with an IQ larger than their hat size, that false flag operations conducted by American and British intelligence agents smack of scripts for Walt Disney movies.

The word ‘intelligence’ applied to these governmental intellectual waste baskets is a farce in itself. ed


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Bernie Sanders

Thomas and Manju Sam are Australian, but their story is worth highlighting nonetheless, insofar as it provides a useful foil for the present entry.

Now, it will probably come as little surprise to readers that the authors of this blog have an overall very favorable view of Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for the type of position he is seeking. Nevertheless, despite his redeeming qualities, we should not overlook some serious flaws (and we’re not thinking about some questionable views on sexual repression and cancer he held 50 years ago): Sanders’s history of supporting medical quackery is rather disconcerting, as illustrated for instance by his 2013 sponsorship of a bill that would waste plenty of government dollars on totally ineffective and unsafe woo. But Sanders’s support for woo has been pretty consistent throughout his career , and in 2010, for instance, he said that “to me, the increasing integration of CAM and conventional care just makes sense. Research shows that more people are demanding and turning to integrative care because it parallels their personal values and desire to be treated as a whole person. For a wide variety of reasons, more and more people are not simply content to go to a doctor’s office, get a diagnosis and take a pill. They want to know what the cause of their medical problem is and how, when possible, it can be best alleviated through natural, non-invasive or non-pharmaceutical means.” Note for instance the appeal to popularity, the appeal to nature and the rather alarming dogwhistles about how quacks (as opposed to real medical professionals) will treat the “whole person” and the suggestion that quacks, also as opposed to real medical professionals, will get to the “cause of [someone’s] medical problem” (Sanders later suggested that altmed, as opposed to real medicine, focuses on prevention – se no. 21 here). Of course, alternative medicine practitioners don’t treat the whole person and won’t get to the cause of anything (see no. 13 here) – real doctors, however, demonstrably do – but those claims nevertheless constitute the core of the alternative medicine narrative, and the fact that Sanders is adept enough at using these dog whistles to blow all three in rapid succession should be a serious cause for concern.

Sanders is also often credited with inserting a provision requiring licensed CAM professions to be included as part of the healthcare workforce into the ACA. In 2013, he co-sponsored (the main culprit here seems to have been Richard Blumenthal) several bills before the U.S. Congress to expand the availability of quackery to military veterans and funding CAM research at the expense of legitimate research. Fortunately, they failed to pass. Sanders can, however, be at least partially blamed for getting naturopaths licensed in Vermont.

And it is not like he has given up on woo ideas. In November 2015, for instance, Sanders apparently praised holistic and alternative medicine at a meeting of the Veteran’s Administration, claiming that “the increasing integration of Chinese medicine and yoga, for example, as bright spots in a largely dysfunctional American health care system.” Well, his diagnosis of the health care system might be apt, but adding traditional Chinese medicine (“neither traditional nor medicine”) is not going to bring about any positive changes.

He also supports GMO labelling, which is a Trojan horse for the anti-GMO movement (https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/should-there-be-mandatory-gmo-labeling/).

Diagnosis: Compared to some of his most obvious political opponents, including climate-change denying, antivaccine conspiracy theorist presidential incumbents, Sanders’s commitment to woo may not come across as particularly harmful. They need to be exposed, however, and should be a cause of concern.

Bernie Sanders’ Long History With Alternative Medicine

by Sam Frizell

March 6, 2016


On the day of his crushing victory in the New Hampshire primary, 74-year-old Bernie Sanders shot hoops with his grandkids. He has a good mid-range shot. Boom. Boom. Boom. He sank it every time. “I have been blessed with good endurance and good health,” Sanders says, pointing to his athletic prowess.

As Sanders’ medical records make clear, he’s kept his good health through regular visits to the doctor for treatment of minor ailments. But he also has a long history of interest in alternative medicine, including a few ideas that are far outside the mainstream.

From linking sexual abstinence to cancer to blaming disease on the “ails of society,” Sanders has sometimes professed opinions on health as alternative as his political ideas. He penned essays in his twenties arguing that sexual repression causes cancer in women, and suggested through his late forties that the disease has psychosomatic causes.

Those ideas are nowhere to be found in Sanders’ current campaign proposals, but he has boosted them in the past, including in some freelance columns in alternative newspapers.

After he arrived in Congress in 1991, he backed legislation supporting acupuncture and other naturopathic remedies and held conferences on alternative health.

“No one denies the important roles that surgery and drugs play in treating disease, but people are now looking at different therapies in addition,” Sanders said at an alternative health conference in Burlington in 1996, one of several such forums he has sponsored.

The Vermont Senator’s free-thinking approach to medicine—which has ranged from the accepted to the unusual—is reflected in part by his home state and by his politics. The Green Mountain’s granola culture and 1960s expatriate population adheres to the alternative in everything, including medicine.

“I would classify [Bernie] as a huge supporter of alternative therapies and natural medicine,” said Michael Stadtmauer, a naturopathic doctor in Montpelier who attended an alternative health conference with Sanders in 2010. “In Vermont we have a general friendliness toward [alternative medicine] that doesn’t exist in other states.”

Sanders’ views on health appear to have changed over the years, but they began with some radical ideas.

After moving to Vermont in the late 1960s to work as a carpenter and a young activist, Sanders wrote freelance articles that claimed cancer was a physical expression of mental distress. “When the human spirit is broken, when the life force is squashed, cancer becomes a possibility,” the 28-year-old Sanders wrote in the Vermont Freeman, an alternative newspaper, in December 1969.

Sanders believed that cultural forces were driving Americans to illness and that sexual repression caused cancer. “The manner in which you bring up your daughter with regard to sexual attitudes may very well determine whether or not she will develope (sic) breast cancer, among other things,” Sanders wrote.

Sanders, who declined through a spokesman to comment for this article, has since distanced himself from the essays he wrote at the time. “These articles were written more than 40 years ago,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said in an email to Mother Jones last year. “Like most people, Bernie’s views on many issues have changed over time.”

But Sanders continued to express similar views over the years. Later recounting his college days to the Vanguard Press, Sanders said in 1981 that in his college days he developed a theory that “disease to a large degree is caused by the way we live in society.”

Seven years later, as the 46-year-old mayor of Burlington in 1988, he participated in a local “media bash.” Sanders, echoing with remarkable similarity the language he uses today, delivered a 22-minute screed about network television news and newspapers, saying the news focuses on trivial issues and pushes a corporate agenda. “Don Rokaw, Tom Brokaw, whatever his name is!” Sanders said, drawing laughter.

At the event, he went on to suggest that cancer is caused by mental distress, echoing his views from the 1960s. He pointed to Nora Astorga, a Sandanista politician who visited Burlington in 1987 and later died of cervical cancer. Sanders proposed that Astorga’s cancer was caused by grief from her experiences in the war in Nicaragua.

“I have my own feelings about what causes cancer and the psychosomatic aspects of cancer,” Sanders said. “One wonders if the war did not claim another victim of another person who couldn’t deal with her tremendous grief and suffering that’s going on in her own country.”

Sanders’ ideas on medicine may have been outside the mainstream at times, but they fit in some ways with his left-leaning politics. Some of Sanders’ biggest supporters also suggest disease is linked to societal ills, including National Nurses United, a union and super PAC that is backing his presidential campaign. “Ultimately, all the ails of society present themselves in illness,” RoseAnn DeMoro, the union’s executive director, volunteered to TIME recently. “Everything has a physical or emotional or psychological component.”

Other members of the nurses’ union uses similar language about psychosomatic causes of disease. “The mind is a powerful thing: when they cannot afford to pay for their kids college, when they cannot afford to pay for their rent, when they think they’re going to lose their job,” said Michelle Vo, a nurse who has canvassed for Sanders, in an unrelated discussion with a TIME reporter. “They get depression, anxiety, symptoms of stroke, symptoms of heart attack.”

Sanders’ interest in mental health began during his college years, when he was a gangly student and civil rights activist in Chicago. Holed up in the University of Chicago stacks in the early 1960s, Sanders read Wilhelm Reich, a quirky disciple of Freud who preached sexual liberation and Marxism. Reich, active until the 1950s, drew a link between mass political hysteria like fascism and sexual repression. Also important for Sanders was Reich’s link between sex and cancer. Reich argued that cancer “is the most significant somatic expression of biophysiological effect of sexual stasis.” In other words, not having enough sex could cause you to get sick.

In his second year of college, Sanders even decided that he wanted to become a psychiatrist. “I became very interested in psychiatry and the relationship between mental illness and society,” Sanders reflected twenty years later in an interview with the Vanguard Press.

Sanders has relied on unspecified alternative therapies himself, he told a Vermont reporter in 1996. And his medical views have made it into his agenda in a watered-down form. He’s sponsored several on alternative health themes in Vermont, including one in 1996 and another in 2010.

“More and more people are not simply content to go to a doctor’s office, get a diagnosis and take a pill,” Sanders said in prepared remarks at an alternative medicine conference in Vermont in 2010, according to his Senate website. “They want to know what the cause of their medical problem is and how, when possible, it can be best alleviated through natural, non-invasive or non-pharmaceutical means.”

He has supported legislation that would expand alternative medicine. Sanders co-sponsored a bill in 2001 that would have allowed federal employees to access and be reimbursed for services from a massage therapist or an acupuncturist.

Sanders also sponsored a bill in the Senate in 2013 that would have increased access for veterans to alternative medicine by increasing funding for alternative medicine research and allow veterans’ health care to cover alternative forms of healthcare.

As a presidential candidate, Sanders has not specifically repudiated his old views on sexual repression and cancer. But in a recent interview about an essay from the same period that touched on sexual assault, he dismissed his old views. “I think I could make a good president, but I write fiction pretty poorly.”

At other times, Sanders has argued that alternative medicine may not be so alternative any more.

Introducing a Veterans Affairs official in Burlington last May, shortly after he launched his campaign, Sanders noted that the agency’s health care facilities are more progressive than in years past.

“You go to facilities, whether it is in White River Junction or facilities around the country,” Sanders said, “and now as an essential part of their overall health care delivery, you have yoga. You have meditation. You have a strong emphasis on disease prevention and nutrition. You have a whole lot of therapies which 30 or 40 years ago would have been considered very, very radical.”


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 123 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Conversation No. 55

Date: Monday, December 30, 1996

Commenced: 8:45 AM CST

Concluded: 9:21 AM CST


RTC: Hello, Gregory. Have a nice Christmas?

GD: Wonderful. I got a sled, some bunny slippers, a silencer for my shotgun, a pornographic Bible, three pair of socks that were too small and a dead turtle. Yourself?

RTC: Somehow, I don’t believe you. Christmas was fine here. I take it you did not have an extensive Christmas.

GD: The rabbit died and we were in deep mourning. But then we ate it and felt much better.

RTC: I could send a sympathy card.

GD: Just flush it down the loo. It might meet up with what’s left of the rabbit. Robert, to be serious, you said that Corson did not like Mark Lane. He represented Carto in a lawsuit and I was wondering what was the reason for the bad feeling?

RTC: My God, Gregory, this is like an old auntie’s sewing circle. Everyone here hates everyone else, tells lies, sticks out their tongues at each other and acts like small children. There was a lawsuit of the Keystone Cops type. Victor Marchetti, who used to be one of ours but got booted out, wrote an article for the Spotlight paper saying that Hunt had been in Dallas on the day Kennedy was shot. He was. Hunt sued the paper and got a judgment. The paper fought back and got Mark Lane to defend them.

GD: The Oswald lawyer?

RTC: The same. So they went back and forth. Marchetti is a fat slob who thinks he is very important when we who really know him consider him to be a chattering nut. Hunt is grossly incompetent but the reason why Corson hates Lane and everyone else, is that Marchetti claimed he got this information about Hunt in Dallas on November 22nd from Corson. Corson got dragged over the coals by Lane and clearly was proved to be a liar. However, there was a third person there when Corson told his little story to Marchetti and that’s what nailed him. Poor Bill. He always has to put his oar in, needed or not.

GD: Well, he told Kimmel that he knew some secret British soldier who told Corson about the Roosevelt/Churchill conversation. Corson claimed he backed it up. Kimmel went for this like a duck after a June bug, but I can’t believe it. Who was this mysterious witness? Corson said his lips were sealed.

RTC: Too bad that isn’t true.

GD: Back and forth. I know Corson has lectured me on a subject that I knew far better that he did but I just kept quiet and acted impressed. Didn’t he get court-martialed?

RTC: My God, Gregory, don’t ever go into that one. Look, these people like Bill and Trento, Marchetti and the rest of them, are like squirrels in the park running around begging nuts from the public. This is the Beltway, Gregory. It’s a hot house. Someone sees the President from about two hundred feet away, driving past in his armored limousine and then tells his friends that he had a chance to talk to the President that afternoon and the President told him….and that’s how it goes. Trento thinks he is a brilliant writer, Bill thinks he’s a mover and shaker, Marchetti sees himself as a secret agent and Hunt has just enough sense to put on his pants before going outside to get the paper. These are the hangers-on, Gregory, the wannabes as the current generation calls them.

GD: Ah, Robert, but you were actually there, you knew from doing it. The sun versus the moon. The moon reflects the glory of another. Does that role make you happy?

RTC: It makes me sad sometimes. And they run around acting like old women. Chatter, chatter, boast, back-stab, strut and eventually die. We all die, Gregory, but some take a long time to do it. I’m pleasant with them because perhaps they can help me but I am giving up with most of them. I thought Costello would be a good outlet but I gave up on him long before he died last year. Trento thinks he’s a great intelligence writer but he reminds me of a wino rooting around in old dumpsters for chicken bones. Bill hints at great secrets that only he knows and Hunt is a bumbling idiot and we should have done him instead of his wife. Marchetti is a little bit of all of them. If you listen to them, Gregory, they will convince you that big black cars drive up in front of their homes, every evening, and give them briefcases full of very secret papers. You know the types.

GD: I do, Robert, I really do. I love it when one of your pinheads starts telling me about German intelligence. Oh yes, and what about Nosenko?

RTC: A Russian double agent that Angleton mismanaged.

GD: Was Angleton Italian?

RTC: No, half Mexican. He spoke wop from his father, having lived there and sold cash registers but he was a Mexican. He was well-connected with the mob, though.

GD: Mueller told me about Boris Pash…

RTC: That asshole. A gym teacher with more dreams of glory.

GD: Heini said that Pash tried to kill the Italian Communist leader.

RTC: Togliatti. Yes, but he missed. They always miss, Gregory.

GD: I have an Irish friend who never does. He prefers a knife but bombs will do very well.

RTC: I think you mentioned him. Mountbatten?

GD: The same. Now that’s a professional. And he doesn’t talk like the rest of them.

RTC: Real professionals never do.

GD: So if we both agree on what constitutes a professional agent, how do you analyze Corson, Kimmel, Marchetti, Trento and the others? Are they agents? Kimmel works for the FBI, Marchetti used to work for your people and the others?

RTC: What we have there is the wannabe club, Gregory. All of them think they are important people and, because they have, or have had, connections with the intelligence community, they begin to feel, somehow, that they are possessors of the secrets that others do not have. This elevates them from boredom and real obscurity and makes them believe that they are privy to those who really do walk in the corridors of power. I am the one, pardon the vanity, with the secrets and I am the one who walked once in the corridors of power so they gather around me, snapping up any little bit of information I choose to drop. There are many things I would like people I know, such as my family, to know about. I would like not to leave a legacy of mystery and negativity behind me. I know Corson and the others would like to have a private club type of inner knowledge, to sit around the fire solemnly talking about great secrets they have known. Never happen. When I go, they go. It’s that basic. I had thought once to cultivate Costello and let him speak for me but I gave up on him after his visit with you. The man was brittle, opinionated and as blind as a bat. Kimmel is an establishment man with no creative juices, Corson runs around barking like one of those obnoxious little Mexican dogs that were once raised for food, Marchetti reminds me of a drunken little rat running around in a barn, trying to get out. And when he does get out, he runs around outside trying to get back in. Trento and his wife are delusional and self important and love to mix it up with losers and never-could-have-beens.

GD: Basking, like the moon, in reflected glory.

RTC: Absolutely. And these are at the top of the rank amateur clubs. Down below them, we find the “experts” and the “researchers” who represent the bottom of the pyramid. They are the ones who scribble, jabber and strut. They look upwards to the top for the voices of the masters. They all feed on each other, Gregory. Their little worlds are all they have and if someone like you, especially someone like you, comes along, they loathe, fear and despise you. You see, you are the real thing and they are just wearing Halloween costumes and they know it. After Costello returned from his visit with you and spent hours telling me how terrible and unpleasant you were, I put this down to simple jealousy and thought that perhaps I might look into you myself. And that’s why we’re talking right this very moment.

GD: Thank you for your approval, Robert. I agree with you, but they are wearing the gold-braided clown suits and go to clubs and meetings and, like old peacocks, preen endlessly. What you tell me I already know, Robert, but short of grabbing them by their throats and banging their heads against the wall, there isn’t much I can do…

RTC: Except to out-produce them, Gregory. And they know you can do it and they hate you for it. A week does not go by without my getting some kind of a phone call about what a terrible, evil person you are and warning me never to talk with you. Notice how impressed I have been with these dire warnings. But please make my life a little easier in my old age by not quoting me to any of these cheap hustlers. If they really get it into their heads that I am being informative to you, they will call me every other day, warn Greg and Emily to protect me from you and then do everything in their shabby little power to trash you. Do not, and I repeat, do not trust any of them, ever. I think we understand this all, don’t we?

GD: Oh, yes. I never trusted these sort anyway. They remind me of old aunties or, even worse, academics. Both of them gossip, chatter, denigrate everyone not present and can’t sleep well at night unless they feel they have damaged someone else that day. They see themselves as giants and, in fact, they are small, chattering mice. But, and I am sure you know all about this, we have to put up with them in order to get along with the really important matters. Don’t worry about making myself vulnerable to these types. It ends up that they make themselves vulnerable to me in the end. What is the saying? Out of nothing, nothing is made.


(Concluded at 9:21 AM CST)





No responses yet

Leave a Reply