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TBR News June 28, 2019

Jun 28 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 28, 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 28:” America today has seriously failing public school systems. Upper economic class Americans are able to send their children to expensive private schools and avoid the exceedingly incompetent public systems. The average American lower school graduates are only a step above illiteracy and their lack of knowledge of world affairs is quite unbelievable.

A small number of extremely wealthy men control and operate all of the major American print and television media.

Each of the few very powerful, rich men have their own reasons for deciding what qualifies as news.

But the public in America now gets its news, without cost, from various internet sites and the circulation number of major print news has dropped dramatically. This has forced the internet editions of the print news media to erect what they call “paywalls.” This permits a very limited number of articles to be read or downloaded before the system demands money for the use of additional material.

The major print media in America is faced with imminent bankruptcy and are making frantic efforts at attempts to prevent free news sites from being aired on the internet.

 

The Table of Contents

  • Jimmy Carter: ‘illegitimate’ Trump only president because of Russian meddling
  • European heatwave: France hits record temperature of 45.9C
  • The ‘We are all from Africa!’ myth
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit
  • Memo to Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi
  • No One Believes the President’s War Claims Anymore
  • The big breakthrough: Extraterrestrial radio signal source finally pinpointed for 1st time
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

Jimmy Carter: ‘illegitimate’ Trump only president because of Russian meddling

  • Trump ‘put into office because Russians interfered on his behalf’
  • Carter says investigation would show Trump didn’t win in 2016

June 28, 2019

by Amanda Holpuch in New York

The Guardian

Jimmy Carter has called Donald Trump an “illegitimate president” who was helped into office by Russian interference in the 2016 election

At a conference for his human rights organization the Carter Center, the former president said a full investigation “would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016”.

“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” Carter added.

The event moderator, Jon Meacham, asked if that meant Carter thought that Trump was an illegitimate president. Carter then briefly paused and replied: “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” Carter said. The remark then triggered laughter in the audience and from Meacham.

Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, and the Kremlin’s ties to Trump’s campaign, were exhaustively investigated by Robert Mueller. In his 448-page report, submitted in April, the special counsel concluded there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. But he did detail numerous incidents of Russian interference, many of which have led to indictments.

Carter also called for Trump to condemn Russia for their actions and said the current president should “admit that it happened”.

“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election,” he said.

On Friday Trump, and Vladimir Putin met at the G20 summit in Japan – and Trump jokingly raised the issue. As the pair sat for photographs, a reporter asked if Trump would tell Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US election. Without looking at Putin, Trump said: “Don’t meddle in the election, please.’” He then repeated the phrase with a mock finger wag.

 

European heatwave: France hits record temperature of 45.9C

June 28, 2019

BBC News

France has hit its highest recorded temperature – 45.9C (114.6F) – amid a heatwave in Europe that has claimed several lives.

The new record was measured in the southern town of Gallargues-le-Montueux. Before this year the previous record was 44.1C during a heatwave in 2003 that killed thousands.

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn has said “everyone is at risk”.

France’s weather service has issued an unprecedented red alert for four areas.

Those are all in the south, but most of the country remains on orange alert, the second highest level.

Swathes of the continent are experiencing extreme heat. Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic have all recorded their highest-ever June temperatures.

In Spain firefighters are battling Catalonia’s worst wildfires in 20 years. Eight provinces are on red alert while temperatures are expected to rise above 42C in many areas.

The Italian ministry of health has reported emergency levels of heat in 16 cities.

First loss of life

Several people are believed to have lost their lives as a result of the extreme temperatures, including two who died from suspected heatstroke in Spain.

One, a 17-year-old farm worker in Córdoba, went into convulsions after cooling down in the farm swimming pool, while an 80-year-old man died on a street in the northern city of Valladolid.

In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said a drowning was taking place every day and warned that the heat was making people “take risks”.

On Thursday a 33-year-old roofer died after being taken ill as he worked on a building site in the western city of Rennes, where the temperature was 35C in the shade.

A six-year-old Syrian child was also in a serious condition after being thrown into the air by the force of a water jet from a fire hydrant that had been opened by residents in Saint Denis, north of Paris.

In the UK, police warned people of the dangers of cooling off in rivers and lakes after a 12-year-old girl drowned in the River Irwell in Greater Manchester.

Why is it getting so hot?

Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible, caused by high pressure over central Europe and a storm stalling over the Atlantic.

In southern France, the areas of Gard, Vaucluse, Hérault and Bouches-du-Rhône are expected to see temperatures between 42C and 45C on Friday.

French authorities have stepped up restrictions on water use to combat the heatwave’s effects, while 4,000 schools are now closed or have special measures in place to welcome pupils.

In a TV interview, Ms Buzyn said she was concerned about the increase in calls to emergency service numbers as a result of the heatwave.

She called on members of the public to avoid “risky behaviour” like leaving children in cars or jogging outside in the middle of the day.

Records going back to the late 19th Century show that the average temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased by about one degree since industrialisation.`

A climatology institute in Potsdam, Germany, says Europe’s five hottest summers since 1500 have all been in the 21st Century.

 

 

The ‘We are all from Africa!’ myth

It has been formerly thought by paleontologists that Neanderthal morphed into Cro-Magnon, and that Cro-Magnon was the progenitor of human beings as we know them today. However, aside from the problems of the Eve Hypothesis, there are serious problems with the assumptions about when modern human types actually appeared on Earth.

Even if we take the evolving scientific view of the present day, we find that Cro-Magnon man was something altogether different from other anatomically modern humans.

Over and over again we read in scientific studies that Cro-Magnon man was just an “anatomically modern human”.

The experts will say:

“The Cro-Magnons lived in Europe between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago. They are virtually identical to modern man, being tall and muscular and slightly more robust than most modern humans.”

Notice how they slip in that “slightly more robust” bit.

The fact is, the Cro-Magnon man was, compared to the other “anatomically modern humans” around him, practically a superman. They were skilled hunters, toolmakers and artists famous for the cave art at places such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira. They had a high cranium, a broad and upright face, and cranial capacity “about the same as modern humans” (can we say larger?), but less than that of Neanderthals. The males were as tall as 6 feet.

They appeared in Europe in the upper Pleistocene, about 40,000 years ago and “their geographic origin is still unknown”.

Their skeletal remains show a “few small differences from modern humans”. Of course, the “out of Africa” theory advocates suggest that Cro-Magnon came from Sub Saharan Africa and a temperate climate and that, “they would eventually adapt to all extremes of heat and cold”. In this way, the “slight differences” between Cro-Magnon and other forms of anatomically modern humans can be explained away as an adaptation to cold.

But, as we will see, this idea doesn’t hold water.

Cro-Magnon’s tools are described as the Aurignacian technology, characterized by bone and antler tools, such as spear tips (the first) and harpoons. They also used animal traps, and bow and arrow. They invented shafts and handles for their knives, securing their blades with bitumen, a kind of tar, as long as 40 thousand years ago. Other improvements included the invention of the atlatl, a large bone or piece of wood with a hooked groove used for adding distance and speed to spears.

They also invented more sophisticated spear points, such as those that detach after striking and cause greater damage to prey. The Cro-Magnon type man was also the “originator” of such abstract concepts as “time”. They marked time by lunar phases, recording them with marks on a piece of bone, antler or stone. Some of these “calendars” contained a record of as many as 24 lunations.145

In the relatively recent past, tool industries diversified.

The Gravettian industry (25 to 15 thousand years ago), characterized by ivory tools such as backed blades, is associated with mammoth hunters. One type of brief industry was Solutrean, occurring from 18 to 15 thousand years ago and limited to Southwest France and Spain. It is characterized by unique and finely crafted “laurel leaf” blades, made with a pressure technique requiring a great skill.

The industry is associated with horse hunters. The tool industry of the Clovis Culture in North America (11 to 8 thousand years ago) is notable for its remarkable similarity to Solutrean. Some suggest that the Solutrean culture migrated to North America around 12,000 thousand years ago.

Cro-Magnon people lived in tents and other man-made shelters in groups of several families. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers and had elaborate rituals for hunting, birth and death. Multiple burials are common in the areas where they were found. What is most interesting is that from 35 to 10 thousand years ago, there was no differentiation by sex or age in burials.

They included special grave goods, as opposed to everyday, utilitarian objects, suggesting a very increased ritualization of death and burial..

The modern human types that appeared in the Levant were, however, somewhat different from Cro-Magnon. They were the sub-Saharan type, less “robust” individuals than the Cro-Magnon “superman” of Europe.

What seems to be the truth of the matter is simply that the modern humans of the Levant were “different” from the Cro-Magnon types that “appeared” in Europe. Try as they would, there is simply was no way to prove that Cro-Magnon evolved in Africa or the Levant and then moved to Europe.

But then, how to explain what happened in any reasonable terms?

What the archaeological record seems to show is that in Europe, after millennia of almost no progress at all, even in the few areas where modern man has been found, suddenly human culture seems to take off like an explosion with the appearance of Cro-Magnon man.

Not only does culture explode, but also new ways of doing things, new styles and innovations that were utterly unknown in the period immediately preceding them, suddenly appear, only to disappear again like an outdated fad. From Spain to the Urals, sites list the developments of sewing needles, barbed projectiles, fishhooks, ropes, meat drying racks, temperature controlled hearths, and complex dwellings.

The most amazing part of all of it is the art. Art suddenly springs onto the landscape, fully formed, with no period of gradual development; no signs of childish attempts preceding it. A piece of ivory carved 32,000 years ago is as realistic as anything turned out by the most accomplished carver of the present day.

First of all, we still have the problem of a 60,000-year time lag between the appearance of the sub-Saharan modern type man who was on the scene with no “improvements” in his technology for that length of time.

  • If Cro-Magnon evolved in Africa, why isn’t there a continuous record of incremental developments?
  • By the same reasoning, if he evolved only after crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, why isn’t there a continuous record of incremental developments?

The most effective and popular way that science deals with this crisis is to ignore it, to deny it, or to seek to twist the facts to fit the theory.

Many archaeologists continue to account for the cultural events of the Upper Paleolithic by tying them to the emergence of a more modern, intellectually superior form of human being from Africa. They propose a “second biological event” to explain this, never mind that it left no tracks in any skeletal shape.

Currently, the idea is to suggest that the other “modern men” of sub-Saharan Africa were not really fully modern. They were “near-modern”. Thus, Africa is preserved as the origin of all mankind, and the only thing necessary was a breakthrough in the African lineage, a “neurological event” that allowed this “new man” to develop all these new cultural behaviors overnight, so to say. What this amounts to is saying that the explosion of culture in the Upper Paleolithic times did not happen earlier because other modern men didn’t have the brains to make it happen.

Unfortunately, the support for this idea amounts only to circular logic. What’s more, it seems that if it were a “neurological event”, it would start in a small place and spread outward.

But what seems to have happened is that it sort of exploded in a lot of places at once: from Spain to the Ural mountains in Russia! And in fact, the Middle East is the last place where art appears.

The earliest known Aurignacian sites are in the Balkans, and they are dated to around 43,000 years ago. Three thousand years later, the Aurignacian craze is all over Europe.

It should be noted that the Neanderthals did not have art. What’s more, there was essentially no change in their stone tools for 100,000 years.

Political liberals and uni-cuturists now suggest that the impetus for culture was the sudden development of speech. But that idea doesn’t hold much water either. If we were to look at some of the aboriginal societies of Australia and New Guinea, they are certainly Neanderthal like in their stone tools. But they think and communicate in languages that are as rich as ours, and they construct myths, stories and cosmologies with these languages. They just don’t seem to be much interested in technology.

There is another very strange thing about this explosion of homo intellectualis technologicus: it seems to have sort of “lost its steam” around 12,000 years ago.

We have already noted the pottery making of the Jomon. Even more startling is the fact that twenty-six thousand years ago the residents of Dolni Vestonice were firing ceramics in kilns. But you don’t read that in archaeology textbooks. In the standard teachings, the emergence of ceramics is linked to the functional use of pottery which supposedly did not appear until the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period some 12,000 years after the kilns at Dolni were last used.

 

  • Eric Whitaker, Steve Stewart; Article Reviews; Late Ice Age Hunting Technology (Heidi Knecht) Scientific American, July 1994.
  • Marshack, Alexander, The Roots Of Civilization – Moyer (Mt. Kisco, New York: Bell Limited 1991). Preston, Douglas, “The Lost Man”, New Yorker Magazine, June 16, 1997.
  • Schirtzinger, Erin, The Evidence for Pleistocene Burials, Neanderthals versus Modern Humans, December 6, 1994.

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Jack Schaap

Jack Schaap used to be an insane Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastor associated with the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, one of the largest megachurches in the US and most famous for its many sexual crimes cases (it also sports its own “college” and schools). An unrepentant fundie, Schaap’s sermons tended to feature more than a smidgen of bloodlust, with ample appeals to violence, weapon use and sex (the Lord’s Supper being likened to having sex with Jesus Christ, for instance – indeed, Schaap’s whole theology was weirdly sexualized), which apparently made him rather popular among his target audiences; an especially notable example is his fantastically bizarre “The Polished Shaft” family sermon). Among Schaap’s many deranged views, a notable number among them included views about women (he even wrote a book, How to Speak Husband, about “a wife’s role in the marriage” and how “[e]very wife needs to learn to interpret the language of her husband and master that language which she should be speaking as a wife”) such as the idea that a man shouldn’t get his theological views from a woman – after all, “the reason your soul, sorry soul’s going to hell is because a woman told Adam what God thinks about things” – because the Bible was written by men, which is an interesting admission from a fundie pastor like Schaap. He is, of course, also a creationist.

In 2013, Schaap landed himself in trouble (who could have foreseen that?) after having entertained a sexual relationship with a 17-year old girl in his congregation. According to himself, the unfortunate situation arose because he was just so stressed that he couldn’t help himself since people didn’t donate enough money to his church, which is one of the worst excuses among many we’ve come across. He also blamed God’s plan.

Diagnosis: Schaap was, of course, a cult leader, and like most of them, utterly corrupt in all senses of the word. He’s still got fans, though, and his church lives on.

David Booth

WhatDoesItMean.com is a website devoted to conspiracy theories and rants of such levels of quality that it is often the target even of other conspiracy nutters. And yes, it also sports the delectable web design that characterizes that particular type of website. Now, most of the stuff published on the website consists of links to “news” published elsewhere, but also – and most famously – the rabidly insane column by Sorcha Faal.

Who? Well, until 2004 the website was run by David Booth (still the owner of the website), but in 2005 it was suddenly claimed to be run by a “Russian scientist” named Sorcha Faal, though none of the details like workplace or academic affiliations could be verified. Besides, the name is not remotely Russian but Gaelic, and indeed: By 2009 someone had evidently informed Faal of that, and the site was accordingly claiming that “Sorcha Faal” was the title of the head of the “Order of Sorcha Faal”. It has been, uh, speculated that Sorcha Faal may be … hold your hats … David Booth himself. It’s not A. True Ott.

In any case, Sorcha Faal gives you the goods (“American Rebel Forces Attack Gas Pipelines, Explode Trains As US Civil War Nears,” “Obama Plan To Destroy Gulf Of Mexico Like Ukraine Horrifies Russia,” “Obama Gay Love Affair With Top US Republican Senator Shocks Russia,” “Obama-Monsanto Mass Genocide Plot Stuns Scientists,” “Americans Celebrate Last Year As Free People”) based primariy on what’s currently popular on the more extreme conspiracy forums, InfoWars, Richard Hoagland’s homepage and so on (including the ravings of Amitakh Stanford), sometimes backed up by (non-corroborated) quotes from high-level Russian sources. The reports sometimes get reposted on forums like as Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions, where even regular posters will call it out as bullshit.

Diagnosis: No seriously, even for batshit insane, incoherent conspiracy theories, this is stunningly crazy. Probably pretty harmless, though.

Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit

June 28, 2019

by Christian JUürs

It ought to be recognized that part of the so-called Afghan opium pipeline runs through the United Arab Emirates on its way to Kosovo where it is refined into heroin and shipped up into Europe.

Opium crops located in Afghanistan, over 95% of the world’s opium production, is protected by US CIA people and elements of the American military who have made themselves responsible for the bulk of the illegal heroin markets worldwide.

There is a deliberate effort to convince the bulk of the public that opium in Afghanistan  is a Taliban operation but in fact it is not

An ‘Afghanistan Opium Survey’ details the ongoing and steady rise of Afghan opium production. In stated: “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

In 2011 a US MI report had stated, very clearly, that US military convoys operating from Pakistani ports were specifically used to ship both raw opium and refined heroin out of that country and to South American ports.

And then there are the origins, and development of the CIA’s modus operandi.

In what is called the Golden Triangle area, during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set-up of nefarious Air America to export the raw gum opium by CIA-owned aircraft, to Columbia where it was, and is, being refined into heroin.

During its involvement with the war in SEA, the CIA used the Hmong groups to counter the activities of the Pathet Lao groups. The Hmongs used the profits from their opium productions to live on. The CIA protected the opium trade and very soon, realizing the profits to be made from it, expanded their control over the opium-growing business.  The Hmong were very important to CIA operations and the CIA was very concerned with their well-being. The CIA began to export raw opium from the north and east of the Plain of Jars to Long Tieng and later, during the height of the Vietnam wars, began to take a great interest in the very large and successful Afghanistani opium fields.

A Pakistani intelligence report based on Pashtun sources, most specifically indicates that the controlling factor in the opium production is not Muslim but American.

According to Pakistani government intelligence, the CIA is heavily involved with al-Quaeda and IS and introduced them into Afghanistan for guerrilla actions so as to be able to convince Washington to increase the number of American troops into that country to protect the highly profitable opium fields.

If one looks at a map showing the locations of the known opium fields in Afghanistan and then looks at another map showing US military units in place, the two are nearly identical.

Russian intelligence is well aware that the US CIA and the Pentagon are secretly supporting the Saudi-raised Sunni IS, a branch of which is now very active in Afghanistan.

It is very well known that a major portion of Afghanistani gum opium is taken over by CIA people and most of it is shipped to Columbia.

A portion of this opium goes to Kosovo where it is also refined and then shipped up through Germany to Russia. This annoys the Russians who have made a strong effort to put a halt to something that killed over 50,000 Russians last year from heroin overdoses.

Here we have an interesting situation.

Russia, with good reason, objects to having heroin smuggled into her country and attempts to put a stop to it.

The United States, a country that, via its agencies, is heavily involved in the international drug trade, objects to this attitude.

Therefore, in addition to all Russia’s oil and gas which America badly needs, the US has an excellent motive for making Russia a handy enemy.

Enemies are necessary to stimulate public support for more profitable (to some at least) small wars.

 

Memo to Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi

June 28, 2019

by Patrick J. Buchanan

“For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end.”

Donald Trump, circa 2016?

Nope. That denunciation of John Bolton interventionism came from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. At 38, she was the youngest candidate on stage.

Gabbard proceeded to rip both the “president and his chickenhawk cabinet (who) have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”

In a fiery exchange, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that America cannot disengage from Afghanistan: “When we weren’t in there they started flying planes into our buildings.”

“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11,” Gabbard replied, “Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That’s why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida, not the Taliban.”

When Ryan insisted we must stay engaged, Gabbard shot back:

“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? ‘Well, we just have to be engaged.’ As a solider, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable. … We are no better off in Afghanistan that we were when this war began.”

By debate’s end, Gabbard was the runaway winner in both the Drudge Report and Washington Examiner polls and was far in front among all the Democratic candidates whose names were being searched on Google.

Though given less than seven minutes of speaking time in a two-hour debate, she could not have used that time more effectively. And her performance may shake up the Democratic race.

If she can rise a few points above her 1-2% in the polls, she could be assured a spot in the second round of debates.

If she is, moderators will now go to her with questions of foreign policy issues that would not have been raised without her presence, and these questions will expose the hidden divisions in the Democratic Party.

Leading Democratic candidates could be asked to declare what U.S. policy should be – not only toward Afghanistan but Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” and Trump’s seeming rejection of the two-state solution.

If she makes it into the second round, Gabbard could become the catalyst for the kind of globalist vs. nationalist debate that broke out between Trump and Bush Republicans in 2016, a debate that contributed to Trump’s victory at the Cleveland convention and in November.

The problem Gabbard presents for Democrats is that, as was shown in the joust with Ryan, she takes positions that split her party, while her rivals prefer to talk about what unites the party, like the terribleness of Trump, free college tuition and soaking the rich.

Given more airtime, she will present problems for the GOP as well. For the foreign policy Tulsi Gabbard is calling for is not far off from the foreign policy Donald Trump promised in 2016 but has since failed to deliver.

We still have 2,000 troops in Syria, 5,000 in Iraq, 14,000 in Afghanistan. We just moved an aircraft carrier task force, B-52s and 1,000 troops to the Persian Gulf to confront Iran. We are about to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister with whom we would need to negotiate to avoid a war.

Jared Kushner is talking up a U.S.-led consortium to raise $50 billion for the Palestinians in return for their forfeiture of sovereignty and an end to their dream of a nation-state on the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.

John Bolton is talking of regime change in Caracas and confronting the “troika of tyranny” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Rather than engaging Russia as Trump promised, we have been sanctioning Russia, arming Ukraine, sending warships into the Black Sea, beefing up NATO in the Baltic and trashing arms control treaties Ronald Reagan and other presidents negotiated in the Cold War

U.S. policy has managed to push our great adversaries, Russia and China, together as they have not been since the first Stalin-Mao decade of the Cold War.

This June, Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing where he and Xi Jinping met in the Great Hall of the People to warn that in this time of “growing global instability and uncertainty,” Russia and China will “deepen their consultations on strategic stability issues.”

Xi presented Putin with China’s new Friendship Medal. Putin responded: “Cooperation with China is one of Russia’s top priorities and it has reached an unprecedented level.”

At the end of the Cold War, we were the lone superpower. Who forfeited our preeminence? Who bled us of 7,000 U.S. lives and $6 trillion in endless Middle East wars? Who got us into this Cold War II?

Was all this the doing of those damnable isolationists again?

 

No One Believes the President’s War Claims Anymore

Thanks to Iraq, people remained deeply skeptical of Trump’s march to war with Iran—and a good thing too.

June 27, 2019

by Doug Bandow

The American Conservative

By the slimmest margin, the United States managed to escape another Middle East war. After preparations had been made to strike Iran, President Donald Trump abruptly said he’d decided against retaliating for a downed American drone. Killing some 150 Iranians in response to the destruction of an unmanned aircraft, he believed, was disproportionate.

It was a good call. But the episode reminds us that the president is almost alone in his administration in wanting to avoid a conflict. And he is violating the Constitution by acting as if he is at all authorized to start a war.

Iran predictably claimed that the drone was within its airspace. American officials asserted that it was in international airspace. Reported The New York Times: “a senior Trump administration official said there was concern inside the United States government about whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, or even the P-8A manned aircraft flown by a military aircrew, actually did violate Iranian airspace at some point. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike.”

The point is worth repeating. The military was prepared to blast away when it wasn’t even certain whether America was in the right. The episode brings to mind the 1988 shootdown of an Iranian airliner in the Persian Gulf by the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. Initially the U.S. Navy justified its action, making a series of false claims about Iran Air Flight 655, which carried 290 passengers and crew members. Eventually Washington did admit that it had made a horrific mistake, though the Vincennes captain was later decorated.

The possibility that the United States might be committing an act of war under false pretenses apparently did little to discourage the president’s principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, from pushing a military response. Tehran’s action was presented as raw aggression, an act of war that deserved retaliation.

The president apparently complained to a close associate, “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting.” According to The Wall Street Journal, he further opined, “We don’t need any more wars.” He’s right. But then why has Trump chosen to surround himself with advisers apparently so at variance with his views?

Presumably the president believes that he can control his war-happy subordinates, using them as he sees fit. However, his overweening hubris ignores their power to set the agenda and influence his choices. Consider the basic question of objectives regarding Iran. Trump now says all he wants to do is keep nukes out of Tehran’s hands: “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” he intoned after halting the proposed reprisal, adding that “restraint” has its limits. But the nuclear accord was drafted to forestall an Iranian nuclear weapon. Iran is preparing to breach the limits established by the agreement because Washington repudiated it. It is evident that the president doesn’t understand the JCPOA or the nuclear issue more generally.

Moreover, though he is focused on nuclear issues, his appointees have been demanding far more of Tehran, forestalling negotiations. For instance, last year, Pompeo ordered Iran to abandon its independent foreign policy and dismantle its missile deterrent, while accepting Saudi and American domination of the region. These mandates were an obvious non-starter—what sovereign nation voluntarily accepts puppet status? In fact, Pompeo admitted that he didn’t expect Iran to surrender, but instead hoped for a popular revolution. In recently stating that the administration would negotiate without preconditions, he added that Washington expected Iran to act like “a normal nation,” meaning behaving just as he’d demanded last year. (Notably, there was no offer for America to act like a normal country.)

Pompeo’s demands look a bit like the ultimatum to Serbia in June 1914 after a nationalist backed by Serbian military intelligence assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The Austrians set only 10, rather than 12, requirements, but they also were intended to be rejected. Vienna explained to its ally Germany that “the possibility of its acceptance is practically excluded.”

Once it became evident that no one would willingly back down and conflict was likely, Germany’s Kaiser and Russia’s Tsar tried to halt the rush to war. However, they found themselves hemmed in by the war plans created by their nominal subordinates. With Austria-Hungary mobilizing against Serbia, Russia had to act to protect the latter. Germany then faced a two-front war. Thus, to aid its ally in Vienna, the Germans had to mobilize quickly in an attempt to defeat France before Russia could put its massive army into the field. No one had sufficient time for diplomacy.

However, cousins Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas did engage in a last minute “Willy-Nicky” exchange of telegrams. Wilhelm warned Nicholas that general Russian mobilization would require Germany to act, with war the result. In response, the tsar switched from general to partial mobilization. But he was soon besieged by his top officials who insisted that the entire army had to be called up.

Understanding that general mobilization meant war, the tsar observed: “Think of the responsibility you are asking me to take! Think of the thousands and thousands of men who will be sent to their deaths.” But he gave in, approving mobilization on the evening of July 30. Nicholas’s concern was warranted. More than 1.7 million Russian soldiers, along with hundreds of thousands of civilians, died in the conflict. The ensuing Russian Civil War was even more deadly, indeed far more so for noncombatants, among them the tsar and his family.

Kaiser Wilhelm was equally at the mercy of the “France-first” Schlieffen Plan. To wait would be to invite destruction between the French and Russians, so he approved German mobilization on August 1. He predicted the war would lead to “endless misery,” and so it did. In 1918, he was forced to abdicate and he lived out his life in exile.

Pompeo, Bolton, and like-minded officials tried and failed to force another war last week. Next time they may succeed in leaving the president with no practical choice but the one they favor. In which case he will find himself starting the very conflict that he had declared against.

Ongoing administration machinations—exacerbated by the opportunity to manipulate a president—offer an important reminder as to the Founders’ wisdom. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention made clear their intention to break with monarchical practice, minimizing the president’s authority. Congress was assigned the powers to raise armies, decide on the rules of war, issue letters of marque and reprisal, and ratify treaties. Most importantly, the legislative branch alone could declare war.

As commander-in-chief, the president could defend against attack, but he could not even order a retaliatory strike without congressional authority. Wrote James Madison to Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature.” Delegate James Wilson insisted that the Constitution was intended to “guard against” being hurried into war: “It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress, for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large.”

Most important, placing the war power with Congress ensured that the people would be heard. Of course, even that is not enough today. Presidents have adeptly concocted “evidence” and misled the public, such as during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

They were living out what Hermann Goering, on trial at Nuremberg, described in a private conversation to an American officer: “voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” Tragically, he’s probably right.

However, the Iraq debacle has resulted in greater skepticism of presidential claims. The Trump administration’s unsupported judgment that Iran was behind attacks on oil tankers was greeted at home and abroad with a demand for more evidence. People were conscious of having been repeatedly played by Washington and did not want a repeat. Many found the U.S. government no more trustworthy than Iranian authorities, a humbling equivalence. And given the doubts apparently voiced by Pentagon officials out of public view, such skepticism was well-founded.

Last week, Donald Trump declared, “I want to get out of these endless wars.” Unlike his predecessors, the president apparently recognizes the temptation to sacrifice lives for political gain. However, alone he will find it nearly impossible to face down the bipartisan War Party. The best way to get out of endless wars is to not get in them in the first place. And that requires changing personnel and respecting the constitutional limits established by the nation’s Founders.

 

The big breakthrough: Extraterrestrial radio signal source finally pinpointed for 1st time

June 28, 2019

RT

Astrophysicists have finally made a breakthrough, 12 years in the making, by tracing a singular fast radio burst to its origin some 3.6 billion light years away. The finding will tell us more about the composition of the universe.

Named FRB 180924, the singular milliseconds-long flash that contains the radio wavelengths of half-a-billion suns was captured using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) which took 10 trillion raw measurements per second across a patch of sky. For the first time, a one-off flash –impossible to predict and nearly as difficult to trace– was captured.

Like a cosmic needle in a haystack, the team of researchers sifted through, literally, billions of measurements within the data before discovering the signal.

“This is the big breakthrough that the field has been waiting for since astronomers discovered fast radio bursts (FRBs) in 2007,” said astro-engineer Keith Bannister of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in a statement. The team’s research has been published in Science.

By measuring the delays between signals hitting the 36 ASKAP dishes, the team was able to triangulate the burst’s position in two dimensions. Then three of the world’s most powerful optical telescopes were drafted in to triangulate the distance, or third dimension.

The delay between the start and end of the burst will tell us what volume of gas the burst passed through on its way to Earth, providing more insights about the composition of the universe while adding to our understanding of the perplexing space between galaxies.

Scientists previously traced FRB 121102 to a region of a dwarf galaxy some three billion light-years away but this signal bursts repeatedly, making it far easier to track down.

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 28, 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. 46

Date: Saturday, November 16, 1996

Commenced: 9:48 AM CST

Concluded: 10:25 AM CST

 

RTC: Hello, Gregory. Are you getting ready to assault the turkey?

GD: Oh, no doubt. One of the few childhood practices remaining. I gave up Christmas some time ago. I haven’t sent a card out in years and last year, I got two. Times change, don’t they?

RTC: They do indeed. Christmas used to be a sort of magic time for children but now all it’s become is a chance to sell junk to frantic people.

GD: I’ve been working up the ZIPPER material and I must say, what surprises me is the extent of the plot. Half of Washington was in on it.

RTC: Actually, they weren’t. A handful of our top people, Hoover and one or two of his very close aides, a military representative here and there.

GD: The Russian report…do you have this? I can’t read Russian but I have friends who do.

RTC: No, I do not.

GD: This Driscoll fellow. Do you know him?

RTC: I did. He’s dead now. Was a specialist on the Warsaw Pact people and since I am a specialist on Russia and Russian intelligence, we met on several occasions. That’s why I got a copy of the report. Driscoll knew nothing about ZIPPER or at least my part in it.

GD: This might be a hard sell. I have tremendous competition from the nut fringe. They will rise up and smite me hip and thigh because I haven’t included their pet theories.

RTC: But that’s to be expected. We have a good in with them. At this point, there is little danger of embarrassing facts getting out but we kept our hand in. The Farrell woman is one of ours and she is a strong influence over the nutties.

GD: To accept this might be a problem.

RTC: Gregory, if you knew a half of what was actually planned, you would see that the ZIPPER business was nothing, just nothing. All right, for example, there are some interesting matters for you. I just happen to be in an expansive mood today so I can run a few of the more wild ones past you. There was the Army plan to start bubonic plague in Soviet military units in the east zone of Germany to prevent an invasion of the west. We had a German military specialist working for us on that, plus, of course, many USAF people down in San Antonio. Never went anywhere. Then…by the way, do you know why Truman really sacked MacArthur?

GD: He was defying Truman as I recall.

RTC: Yes but it was his intention to infect the Chinese and North Korean armies with the plague as well. I told you MacArthur had set the Kempeitai Doctor Ishi up in Tokyo in a chemical and medical lab, didn’t I?

GD: Yes, you did.

RTC: Well, when the war in Korea broke out and we were in serious retreat, MacArthur wanted to nuke them. We didn’t have a hell of a lot of such weapons but he was serious. Truman said no, so Mac decided to, as he said, ‘radically reduce their effective troop levels.’ For this, read the plague. I don’t know how this got back to Truman but a project like that is really hard to conceal and Mac took too long messing over the logistics of it. When Harry found out about this, he blew his top and sacked MacArthur on the spot. Mac was crazy, of course, but was such an idol here that Truman got reamed on this but it really had to be done. We hanged German and Japanese leaders after the war for far less, believe me. And then there was the Army plan to fake attacks on American soil, blame Castro and then attack him. On that project, which included blowing up a commercial aircraft with Americans on board and setting off bombs in major cities, Eisenhower was in full support. Kennedy found out about it by accident and pulled the plug. That wasn’t one of ours, by the way, and neither were the plague attacks. We were working on plans to destroy the Asian rice crop but that one was quietly put into the closet when too many people found out about it and our rice industry howled that it could easily spread over here and ruin their business. Not that they cared about the Chinese and others, just their own profits. This AIDS business was a legitimate project that got out of control but it was not planned at all. Of course, there were plans to instigate a war between the Soviet Union and China, but it proved to be too complicated and was dropped. One of our people read Malthus and went to Dulles with a plan to thin out the world’s population, after inoculating our citizens, or most of the non-colored ones. That is still in the active file somewhere. If you read of a national immunization day coming up, that will be a token sign.

GD: If the victims ever get wind of this, they might preempt you and start their own plagues and loose their own virus attackers. Müller told me that such actions were not only criminal and insane but would be bound for a certainty to come back on those who started it.

RTC: That’s the main reason why they never got started. Pragmatic, not moral.

GD: That sums it all up, doesn’t it?

RTC: In theory, Gregory, getting rid of the tired and huddled masses would not be impractical in the long view.

GD: In theory not, but I wouldn’t be happy with the practice.

RTC: We would lay the blame on some other enemy and let them worry about defending themselves.

GD: It’s one thing for your people to off the head of the UN or blow up an inconvenient head of state or two but starting plagues is nothing less than psychotic mass murder and I, for one, can’t think of any kind of an excuse for it, pragmatic or not.

RTC: You can always make such an argument, Gregory, and it is not unbecoming for you to do this but when you have been where I have been, these objections fade away very quickly. Well, enough science fiction for today. I am indeed looking forward to your visit and so is Bill.

GD: Question? Why is Kimmel sitting in?

RTC: He has his own agenda. In spite of all the assistance you have given him and his family, he still despises you. You see, Tom saw that Bill and I were doing well in the writing business and we had, and have, a certain reputation in the professions. He will probably retire and wants to find a safe berth when he does. He sees you as a potential threat and you do not treat him with the unalloyed respect that people like Tom demand as their birthright.

GD: I don’t consider myself to be any kind of a threat to him.

RTC: You exist, Gregory, and he views you as a loose cannon, his very words to Bill, and for people like Tom, a loose cannon can’t be controlled. I don’t care what positive things you’ve done for him and his family. In the final cut, you are a potential intellectual threat to him so he dislikes you. And be careful at lunch not to let fly with one of your terrible remarks. I understand them and most often agree with them, but Tom considers himself to be an establishment type and people like that don’t like people like you.

GD: My grandfather used to say that the reason some people could stand up without a spine is because their skin is so thick.

RTC:(Laughter) Ah, there you go again, Gregory. I would wager you’d say that right to Tom’s face, wouldn’t you?

GD: If I felt it was necessary.

RTC: He’d do the same thing, Gregory, but to your back, so at the table, watch yourself. Bill is neutral, but Tom is not a friend and keep that in mind all the time.

GD: Speaking of back-stabbing, have you seen my good friend Wolfe lately?

RTC: No, I haven’t been over to the Archives lately so I have been spared his most unwelcome attentions. Now we can add Critchfield to your collection of loyal friends. Jim wants back that letter he sent you. The one you read to me. He thinks it might be misunderstood and wants me to try to get it out of you just to look at and then give it back to him. I told him I would try but of course that’s not my plan. If you would follow my advice, hide it in a safe place. It would bother me if you went out of town, say to come back here in December, and remember Kimmel knows the dates of your trip, and some burglar broke in and ran off with it and any other inconvenient and accusatory paperwork you might have lying around. Just a cautionary piece of advice from a friend.

GD: I appreciate it. I could leave a little surprise in a box marked ‘secret CIA documents,’ couldn’t I?

RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not on the phone.

GD: I’ll bet someone would make quite a report.

RTC: Probably hear it five miles away. Do let’s change the subject. How is the Müller book selling?

GD: Actually, I understand quite well. After it’s been out for about two years, I expect the usual run of paid rodents to start in squealing their objections to it. It will take that long for the rays of brilliant light to penetrate the Stygian gloom that packs their collective brain cases. I do hope they get nice checks for their pains. It beats public assistance or begging in railroad stations. Which, I suspect, is how most of these twits make their living.

RTC: I think most of them work in obscure community colleges in the wilds of Massachusetts or Ohio.

GD: Yes, and I’m told they eat once a day. A piece of salt pork on a long string which can be used over and over. I’ve heard about the dog returning to his own vomit but Robert, what happens when they are the vomit?

RTC: Now, now, and so close to Sunday and Thanksgiving. And what are you going to give thanks for, Gregory?

GD: The fact that almost all of my nasty relatives have passed away, Robert. It will be a matter of some satisfaction to me to have survived them all. When I feel my time is coming, I can travel around the country and urinate on their graves. At any rate, tenderly, tenderly Jesus is calling and my dog is making it very clear that she wants to go out and relieve herself on the neighbor’s flower beds, so let me beg off. And give my best to Emily, won’t you? You know, if I ever meet her face to face, I would be the soul of civility to her.

RTC: I would certainly hope so.

 

(Concluded at 10:25 AM CST)

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

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