TBR News June 7, 2019

Jun 07 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. June 7, 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 7:”Pelosi says she wants Trump in jail. Reasons are that he is a huge tax cheat and, worse, has been money-laundering for Russian drug gangs. If he does not get elected next year, he is a sitting duck from all I have heard not only inside the White House but outside in the Beltway and from connected friends. He and his equally crooked family ought to move to Russia like Snowden and avoid eating cold beans off a tin plate.”


The Table of Contents

  • Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats: I want Trump ‘in prison’ but not impeached
  • Exclusive: US homeopaths claim ‘therapies’ prevent measles and ‘cure’ autism
  • U.S. House panel chairman says he’ll seek to block any tariffs on Mexico
  • Lawmakers Question FBI’s Facial Recognition Program
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • US regulator acts over plague of nuisance phone calls
  • Stalin’s Intelligence Game



Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats: I want Trump ‘in prison’ but not impeached

House speaker reportedly told Democrats ‘I don’t want to see him impeached’ in a closed-door meeting

June 6, 2019

by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

The Guardian

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has told Democrats calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment that she would rather see the president in prison.

Pelosi made the remarks during a closed-door meeting with senior Democratic lawmakers this week amid a heated debate within the party over whether to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, according to a report by Politico.

Pressed on the issue by Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, Pelosi said of Trump: “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.”

Pelosi’s spokeswoman, Ashley Etienne, would not confirm the speaker’s comments.

“Speaker Pelosi and the chairs had a productive meeting about the state of play with the Mueller report,” Etienne said. “They agreed to keep all options on the table and continue to move forward with an aggressive hearing and legislative strategy, as early as next week, to address the president’s corruption and abuses of power uncovered in the report.”

A spokesman for Nadler directed inquiries to the speaker’s office.

Pelosi, who has held firm despite growing calls for a formal impeachment inquiry within her caucus, made the case for defeating Trump in the 2020 election with the hopes that he will be prosecuted for his alleged crimes.

Her comments nonetheless mark a further escalation of the rhetoric she has employed against the president in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in April of the Trump-Russia investigation, which detailed 11 instances in which Trump or his campaign sought to obstruct justice.

In recent weeks, Pelosi accused the president of engaging in “a cover-up”, characterized his actions as “villainous to the constitution” and made a joking reference to the 25th amendment – which allows a president to be removed from office if he is deemed unfit to serve.

Trump had responded to the speaker by questioning her mental fitness and ignited further controversy by sharing a doctored video that was edited to suggest, falsely, that Pelosi was impaired.

House Democrats have meanwhile grown increasingly frustrated with the White House’s efforts to stonewall their requests for documents and subpoenas relating to the Mueller report, rendering it difficult to investigate further the special counsel’s findings.

The Trump-led blockade, coupled with a public statement by Mueller himself in late May saying he could not exonerate the president of committing a crime, has prompted more Democrats to embrace an impeachment inquiry and ramped up the pressure on Pelosi.

Although Pelosi has not ruled out an impeachment entirely, she has said pursuing that path would be “divisive” and play directly into Trump’s hands as he embarks on his re-election campaign.

Nadler would not say if his committee would launch impeachment proceedings without Pelosi’s blessing, stating in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that the speaker “will have the largest single voice” in the matter.

“We’re investigating all the things we would investigate, frankly, in an impeachment inquiry,” Nadler said.

“Let me put it this way,” he added. “It may very well come to a formal impeachment inquiry. We will see.”


Comment: There is a lengthy report by the German State Attorney’s office about activities at the Deutsche Bank.

They were strongly influenced by Russian drug smugglers who used them to launder and channel illegal monies to the United States.

There is no question Trump was probably the most significant person involved in assisting these people and an FBI person told me that a major Russian heroin ring operated in his apartment complex.

I should also note that Russian intelligence was not involved in this activity but was fully aware of it and, true to form, used their information about money laundering to blackmail Trump into doing what Russian intelligence wanted.

This information is taken directly from a German law enforcement file on their investigation into illegal money laundering through the Deutsche Bank.

The file, in German, runs to about 100 pages and is very detailed. It includes specific information on money-laundering for drug dealers on the part of Donald Trump (and his associates.)

There is a recurrent rumor, rife now inside the Beltway, that Trump’s lawyers have approached the DEA people relative to informing them of Trump’s first-hand knowledge of Russian drug money laundering. This action would serve to negate growing attempts to impeach him.

Pelosi is correct: Trump very clearly belongs in a cell, not the Oval Office.


Exclusive: US homeopaths claim ‘therapies’ prevent measles and ‘cure’ autism

Thousands of children put on alternative therapies amid measles outbreak, potentially exposing them to life-threatening illness

June 7, 2019

by Ed Pilkington in New York

The Guardian

Thousands of American children are being put on homeopathic alternatives to vaccination by practitioners who claim they can prevent measles and “cure” autism, the Guardian has learned.

At least 200 homeopaths in the US are practicing a controversial “therapy” known as Cease that falsely asserts that it has the power to treat and even cure autism. The acronym stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression.

The “therapy” relies in part on administering high doses of vitamin C. Advocates falsely say it repairs the harm caused by vaccination – a double untruth as most vaccines are safe and there is no link between vaccines and autism, a condition for which there is no cure.

In addition 250 homeopaths, some of whom also practice Cease, are promoting “homeoprophylaxis” that advertises itself as an “immunological education program”. More than 2,000 American children have been put on the program which claims to build natural immunity against infectious diseases, though there is no scientific evidence that it works.

Parents who opt to follow Cease or homeoprophylaxis are potentially exposing their children, as well as others around them, to life-threatening illness. The implicit message behind both therapies is that vaccines are harmful and should be avoided.

The spread of such ideas, amplified through the proliferation of anti-vaxxer theories on social media, has begun to have a profound impact on public health in the US. Last month the number of measles cases reached a 25-year peak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,001 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in more than 20 states this year alone.

Scientists and public health experts warn that the eruption of measles is clearly connected to the proliferation of “vaccine hesitancy” – an unwillingness by parents to have their children vaccinated that was recently listed by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

More than 100 hotspots in which large numbers of children are now going unvaccinated have been identified across the nation. Of those, 15 are in urban areas. Seven of the 15 have experienced measles outbreaks in 2019.

“These measles outbreaks were both predicted and predictable as the anti-vaccine movement starts to affect public health in this country,” said Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. “This is just the beginning – it is a harbinger of a new normal in America.”

Hotez, who has an autistic daughter and who has written a book debunking the false link between vaccines and autism, said of the claims propagated by homeoprophylaxis and Cease: “There are no alternatives to vaccination against measles and there is no cure to autism – so it’s all made up.”

A leading advocate of both programs is Kate Birch, a homeopath based in Minnesota who said she imported homeoprophylaxis into the US in 2008 having learnt about it in Cuba. She has trained 250 practitioners in its thinking, 80 of whom she still supervises.

She added that there are now some 2,000 children across America under their direction.

Birch’s organization, Free and Healthy Children, is constituted as a 501(c)3 public education charity, allowing it to operate free of federal tax. On its website it clearly states its anti-vaccine ideology, proclaiming that its members “are concerned about the alarming incidence of immune system disturbances and developmental delays affecting so many children as a result of the current-day vaccination programs”.

An associated website run by Birch, vaccinefree, claims that “homeopathic remedies can be used preventatively for measles”.

In an interview with the Guardian, Birch said that homeoprophylaxis strengthened children’s immunity to infectious diseases using “nosodes” – homeopathic remedies made from “pathological disease tissue”. They are taken orally in diluted form.

She claimed nosodes were regulated in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA can and does take action against specific homeopathic manufacturers for putting patients at risk, but it does not approve homeopathic products.

The Guardian put it to Birch that the anti-vaccination message of homeoprophylaxis and Cease was contributing to a public health crisis manifested by the spread of measles. She said her work was dedicated to the “betterment of public health by strengthening children’s immune system to infectious disease”.

She added that in her opinion exposing children to infectious disease by leaving them unvaccinated was a good thing. “We need infectious disease,” she said. “The best immunity to childhood infectious disease is through natural exposure and then you have lifelong immunity”.

The last time that the American public relied on “natural exposure” to measles – that is, before the US measles vaccination program began in 1963 – the disease caused untold human suffering. Up to 4 million Americans contracted it each year, of whom almost 50,000 were hospitalized and 500 died annually.

The Guardian asked the FDA to state its current position on both Cease and homeoprophylaxis. The agency did not comment on the two programs specifically, but said in a statement that the “FDA has warned about the use of products labeled as homeopathic because of concerns that they have not been shown to offer clinical benefits in treating serious and/or life-threatening medical conditions, and that they also may cause serious harm.”

The FDA added: “It deeply concerns us when we see preventable diseases such as measles – a life-threatening infection we thought we had eliminated in the US in 2000 – now making a tragic comeback and threatening our communities, despite having a vaccine available that is safe and highly effective. A factor contributing to the measles outbreak is inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines rather than the reliance on accurate, scientific-based information.”


U.S. House panel chairman says he’ll seek to block any tariffs on Mexico

June 6, 2019


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday vowed to take steps aimed at blocking tariffs on Mexican goods if President Donald Trump moves ahead with his economic threat to levy such imports on Monday.

“If the President does declare a national emergency and attempt to put these tariffs into place, I will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop his overreach,” panel chairman Richard Neal, a Democrat, said in a statement calling the Republican president’s planned action “an abuse of power.”


Lawmakers Question FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

June 6, 2019

by Jack Corrigan

Defense One

The Bureau for years ignored concerns about the accuracy and transparency of its facial recognition efforts, and the House Oversight Committee isn’t happy about it.

Lawmakers on Tuesday grilled federal law enforcement officials on the integrity and legality of the government’s facial recognition programs, and criticized the nearly nonexistent oversight Congress has over those programs.

During a hearing, members of the House Oversight Committee questioned witnesses on the steps being taken to ensure the facial recognition tools used by their agencies aren’t infringing on individuals’ privacy and civil liberties. By and large, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seemed unsatisfied with their answers.

And while the committee criticized law enforcement’s facial recognition efforts en masse, much of their attention focused on the FBI’s use of the tech.

Lawmakers criticized Kimberly Del Greco, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division, over the bureau’s failure to correct multiple flaws in the way it evaluates its primary facial recognition tool. In 2016, the Government Accountability Office issued six recommendations to ensure the tech, known as the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System, meets federal privacy and accuracy standards. As of Tuesday, auditors said the bureau had only put one of the fixes in place.

Gretta Goodwin, director of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice office, found the FBI never published key privacy documents related to the NGI-IPS. The bureau also failed to test the accuracy of both its own facial recognition system and the software provided by its various partners, which include the State and Defense departments, and some 21 state governments.

According to Goodwin, the NGI-IPS database contains some 36 million criminal mugshots but combined with the other image databases provided by its partners, the FBI can run facial recognition software against some 640 million total photos.

The FBI disagrees with GAO’s assessment of its privacy disclosure requirements, Del Greco said, and has since conducted accuracy tests of its own system with the help of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Goodwin said GAO has yet to see the results of the test.

“It will be important that [the Justice Department] takes steps to ensure the transparency of the systems so that the public is kept informed about how personal information is being used and protected, that the implementation of the technology protects individual’s privacy and that the technology and systems used are accurate and are being used appropriately,” Goodwin said.

If the FBI implemented all five remaining recommendations, she added, it “would actually go a long way in … addressing some of the concerns.”

Lawmakers also called for more oversight of the Transportation Security Administration’s budding facial recognition program, which is testing the tech to identify travelers before they board flights and track them through the baggage claim process. Customs and Border Protection is also well underway with its own efforts to use facial recognition to monitor people entering and leaving the country.

During a hearing last month, committee members from both political parties called for Congress to place more stringent standards on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition software. On Tuesday, they echoed the same sentiments.

“Of all the issues that we’ve been dealing with, this will probably receive the most intense scrutiny of them all,” Chairman Elijah Cummings said in his closing remarks. “We want to get it right, it’s just that important.”

FBI Denies Amazon Facial Recognition Pilot

During the hearing, Del Greco also told Congress the FBI was not testing Amazon’s controversial facial recognition software—Amazon Rekognition—for use in federal investigations. But multiple news outlets, including Nextgov, have reported the bureau was experimenting with Amazon’s tech as recently as last year.

The company’s software came under sharp criticism after it mismatched 28 members of Congress to criminal mugshots, with mistakes more common among people of color.

“No, there is not [a pilot program],” Del Greco said when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, questioned her about the bureau’s work with Amazon. “To the best of my knowledge, and I verified before I came today, the FBI does not have a contract with Amazon for their Rekognition software.”

At Amazon Web Services’ conference in November, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen discussed using Rekognition to sift through troves of video surveillance footage agents collect during counterterrorism investigations. According to Halvorsen, the pilot launched after the mass shooting in Las Vegas tested the limits of the bureau’s technological capabilities.

“We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere [Stephen] Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,” Halvorsen said on stage. By comparison, she said, it would’ve taken Rekognition just 24 hours to sort through the same mountain of footage.

When asked about the existence of the program by Nextgov, the FBI declined to provide additional details on Del Greco’s testimony. Amazon also declined to comment. According to Halvorsen’s LinkedIn profile, she left the FBI in April to join AWS as a strategic account executive.

Cummings requested the FBI provide documentation that it was not currently using Amazon’s facial recognition software, and Del Greco agreed to do so.


Encyclopedia of American Loons

Jerry E. Smith

Jerry Smith is associated with Redicecreations, a group of conspiracy theorists who appear to think that Alex Jones fails to ask the really big questions. Smith’s forte is AGW conspiracies, including the agenda of the Green movement and how it connects with the Banksters, Global Government, Global Warming and Weather Warfare. He is a promoter of the garbled Maurice Strong conspiracy (first promoted by Ronald Baily, who later sheepishly retracted it, recognizing its utter silliness). Topics discussed by Smith (in addition to Maurice Strong) include “the watermelon movement” (I have no idea), Agenda 21, Global Warming and Global Government, Weather Manipulation & Weather Warfare, Scientific Studies (which Smith wouldn’t be able to recognize or understand if his life depended on it) & Military Application, Rain prevention during 2008 Beijing Olympics, Black Ops, Wilhelm Reich, Cloud busting, Project Popeye, and The Earth Charter.

Smith is a self-proclaimed expert on Domestic Terrorism by Air performed by “black, unmarked helicopters”. He has continued the work of the late Jim Keith, author of the book “Black Helicopters Over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order” (“Briefly, it’s a plan to blow away the sovereignty of nation states and place them under the control of one ruling body, namely the United Nations. The United Nations, however, has its masters, and these are the international bankers and industrialists and criminals who groom the politicians.” Evidence: Imagination). As for himself, he is the author of “HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy”.

Diagnosis: Whacko with little time or concern for or ability to discern reality and evidence when imagination is so much more exciting. Probably harmless.

Bradley R. Smith

Bradley R. Smith is a former media director of the Institute for Historical Review. In 1987 he founded the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), which has repeatedly tried to place newspaper advertisements “questioning” whether the Holocaust happened. They are in particular targeting college campus newspapers, though Smith has also attempted to utilize other avenues to promote Holocaustdenial with little success. The reason for choosing college newspapers is aptly summed up by Smith: himself “I don’t want to spend time with adults anymore, I want to go to students. They are superficial. They are empty vessels to be filled […] I wanted to set forth three or four ideas that students might be interested in, that might cause them to think about things or to have questions about things. And I wanted to make it as simple as possible, and to set it up in a way that could not really be debated”. Standard approach, in other words. Next thing would presumably be Smith writing history textbooks aimed at homeschoolers as revisionists, denialists and cranks are wont to do.

The campaign deploys the usual denialist tactics: attacking the entire field of Holocaust Studies as “characterized by anti-German prejudice and based on forged documents, false testimony, doctored photos, induced confessions”, etc. (Anne Frank’s Diary is a “literary production”), and claim that airing Holocaust denial propaganda is an issue of “intellectual freedom”. See also this.

Diagnosis: Standard denialist using standard denialist tactics; take away the racism and you get the antivaxxers, creationist and global warming deniers. Of course, Smith’s racism does make him even worse. On the other hand he is probably less influential.


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

June 6, 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. 42

Date: Monday, October 14, 1996

Commenced: 9:45 AM CST

Concluded: 10:21 AM CST


GD: Robert.

RTC: Good morning, Gregory.

GD: Have you heard anything more from Critchfield?

RTC: Yes, I have. He’s calmed down some and is now blaming me for blindsiding him.

GD: Well, actually you did. Telling him I was one of his boys.

RTC: I implied, Gregory. Only implied. And Jim is trying to dig up more information for his stupid book and he went for it. It worked out fine, but he cursed at me and said I got him in over his head.

GD: Pompous asshole. One of these days, I’ll get out the story about him and Atwood selling Russian atomic shells to the Pakis. You know Jim was the arms dealer and Critchfield was building a retirement nest egg so they went ahead with this. Jim’s people had been supplying the Afghan rebels with weapons to use against the Russians and the connections are there. Just think, Robert. They sold thirty shells to potential lunatic enemies. Oh, they might be thankful we helped them but in the end, they are religious fanatics and they will prove to be a real crown of thorns to us. Just an opinion, of course.

RTC: Well, Jim would like to find some way to shut you up, short of killing you. He’s not in power anymore so maybe he’ll bribe you.

GD: In my experience, Robert, those people never bribe anyone. They threaten them and yell at them, but never resort to an actual bribe. Unless, of course, they are bribing a Russian military person to get them some atomic shells. Then, they bribe.

RTC: Not to offend you, Gregory, but would you take a bribe?

GD: Depends on how much and what the issue is. Generally, people don’t try to bribe me. Threaten me, of course, or insult me, certainly, but no bribes. I wonder what would happen to Critchfield’s precious image if it ever came out? Atwood is known as a piece of worthless shit and he has no reputation to lose.

RTC: Jim is very incensed about Atwood at this point.

GD: Remember, we have a bet.

RTC: Not a real bet.

GD: I have been reading over some of this ZIPPER business, Robert. Very interesting to say the least.

RTC: Now, Gregory, we are not specific on the phone.

GD: No, no, I’m aware of that. You know, what with all the strange stories about that incident, I might have an uphill fight to get the book accepted.

RTC: Ah yes, the nut fringe. Highly entertaining material.

GD: Yes, but rather misleading.

RTC: Oh that’s why we support them, Gregory. Muddy the waters. Keep the public eye elsewhere. Away from dangerous subjects. The public loves conspiracies so we supply them. A real conspiracy is difficult to conceal, Gregory. Too many people, too many chances for leaks. Joe gets drunk and tells his brother and so on. Sometimes, we’ve had to remove people like that, but not very often. Johnson was in the know but I doubt if he’d tell Lady Bird, let alone a reporter. And officially, don’t forget that Hoover was also on board. His people can shut you down very quickly. They’ll find a machine gun under the front seat of your car and off you go, screaming innocence all the way to the big house.

GD: But what happens if an FBI man says something?

RTC: Well, they aren’t bulletproof. Bill Sullivan found that out.

GD: Oh yes, I saw the name in the ZIPPER papers.

RTC: He was Hoover’s man in that. And other projects as well. Bill and Hoover had a falling out and Hoover sacked him. Not only did he sack him, Hoover began to threaten him. I guess Bill got terminated finally because he had begun to grumble too much and to the wrong people.

GD: What happened? A car accident?

RTC: No, he went out for a walk one morning and some young hunter thought he was a deer and shot him in the head.

GD: Oh my, what a tragedy.

RTC: Bill thought that because J. Edgar was dead, he could mouth off. He was a bitter man, Gregory, and then he was a dead one. With all his baggage, Bill should have stayed in New Hampshire and enjoyed his retirement.

GD: Baggage?

RTC: You don’t know any of this, of course, but Sullivan was up to his neck in business that would have put him away for life if it ever came out. He was top man in the Bureau and Hoover’s hatchet man. Besides being involved up to his neck in the ZIPPER business, Bill also took out King and Bobby Kennedy.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert.

RTC: Well, we get the blame for all kinds of shit and it’s comforting to spread it around. Certainly. Old Hoover hated both King and Bobby. Why? Hoover has been suspected of being a high yellow…

GD: What?

RTC: Part black. True or not, it’d gotten around and he knew about it. Hoover also was probably a queer but again, not proven. He had his areas of great sensitivity, let’s say. No, he hated King because J. Edgar hated blacks. I mean really hated them. Wouldn’t let them in the Bureau and persecuted any black leaders he could. Like Marcus Garvey.

GD: And King.

RTC: Hoover was outraged that King had a white girlfriend and did everything he and his Bureau did to slam him. Finally, as he got older, Hoover got nuttier and decided to have him killed. Sullivan ran that operation. First they tried to tap his phones and plant stories about him and when that didn’t work, they offed him.

GD: What about James Earl Ray?

RTC: Another Oswald. You see, the Bureau has a very small group of miscreants who do jobs on people. Sullivan ran them for Hoover. Ray was a very minor and very low class crook. A smash and grab type. Bust a window in an appliance store and run off with an iron or a toaster. Break into a laundromat, jimmy open the coin boxes on the machines, steal the coins and then cut his bare feet on the broken glass he left breaking the window. Hardly sophisticated enough to shoot King, escape to Canada, get a fake Canadian passport in the name of a Montreal police officer and flee to England. Not likely, Gregory. If Ray knew who put him up to being a front, they would have killed him just like they shot Oswald. Ray didn’t know, although he probably guessed at one point, and off he went for the rest of his life. He can scream innocent until he dies and no one will listen.

GD: And Bobby?

RTC: Bobby was a nasty piece of shit who made enemies whenever he went for a walk. He was his brother’s hit man, in a figurative sense, his pimp. He was the AG, put in there by Joe so Joe could get back his confiscated Farben stock and also go after the mob. Back in Prohibition, I can tell you, Joe was a partner of Capone’s and Joe was stupid enough to rip Al off. Al put out a contract on Joe and Joe had to pay Al to cancel it. And from then on, Joe was out to get anyone in the Mob. Pathological shit, Joe was.

GD: My grandfather told me all about him.

RTC: Well, when Bobby got to be AG, he harassed old Hoover, trying to make him quit. Not a very good idea, but then Bobby thought he was safe. His father was very rich, his brother was President and he thought he couldn’t be touched. For example, Hoover used to take a nap on his office couch every day and Bobby would bang into his office and wake him up. And worse, Bobby would tell his friends, at parties where there were many ears, that Hoover was an old faggot.

GD: Some people seem to have a death wish. This reminds me of the street freak who climbed over the wall at the San Francisco zoo once, climbed right into the outdoor tiger rest area, walked up to a sleeping male tiger and kicked him in the balls. Tiger was very angry, got up in a rage, smacked the intruder, killed him and was eating him, right in front of the horrified zoo visitors. That kind of a thing, right?

RTC: A good analogy. You grasp the situation, Hoover stayed in power because he had files on all the men in power, to include JFK and his father. Not a man to antagonize is it?

GD: I would think not.

RTC: Johnson was terrified of Hoover and kissed his ass on every occasion, but Bobby was running for president and it looked like he might make it. That’s when Hoover talked to Sullivan and we know the rest. Just some background here. This Arab….

GD: Sirhan.

RTC: Yes. Note that Kennedy had come down from his suite in the Ambassador Hotel to give a victory speech. Came into the hall from the front door with all his happy staff. Big crowd. One of his aides, Lowenstein, I believe, told him they should go out through the kitchen exit. And there was what’s-his-name waiting. But he shot at Kennedy without question, with a dinky .22 but never got to within five feet of him. The official autopsy report said Kennedy was shot behind the ear at a distance of two inches. Now that sounded to me like a very inside job. They steered him into an area where an assassin was known to be waiting and made sure he bought the farm. In all the screaming and confusion, just a little bit of work by a trusted aide or bodyguard and Bobby was fatally shot. That was the second one of Hoover’s pet hates. The first one reminded him of the nigger relationship and the other had called him a faggot. Hoover had his moments but if you stepped on his toes, off came your head. But Hoover was afraid of Sullivan so he left him alone.

GD: Then…

RTC: We decided that Sullivan, freed of the spirit of Hoover, who had died some years before, Sullivan began to talk just a little. We didn’t care about the King or the Bobby business but if he talked about ZIPPER, we would be in the soup, so Sullivan had to go.

GD: Someone persuaded him to put on a deer suit?

RTC: No, he was walking in the woods and some kid, armed with a rifle and a telescopic sight, blew him away. Terribly remorseful. Severe punishment for him. Lost his hunting license for a year. Think of that, Gregory. For a whole year. A terrible tragedy and that was the end of that.

GD: Can I use that?

RTC: If you want. It’s partially public record. If you can dig it out on your own…

GD: I’ll try. Thanks for the road map.

RTC: Why, think nothing of it.

GD: But back to the ZIPPER thesis. I was saying about the proliferation of conspiracy books that I would have trouble.

RTC: Of course, Gregory. We paid most of those people to put out nut stuff. Why the Farrell woman, one of the conspiracy theme people, is one of ours. We have others. We have a stable of well-paid writers whose sole orders are to produce pieces that excite the public and keep them away from uncomfortable truths. I imagine if and when you publish, an army of these finks will roar like your angry tiger and we won’t have to pay them a dime. They’ve carved out a territory and if you don’t agree with them, they will shit all over you. I wish you luck, Gregory. And I can guarantee that the press will either keep very, very quiet about you or will make a fool out of you. We still do control the press and if we say to trash an enemy, they will do it. And if the editor won’t, we always talk to the publishers. Or, more effective, one of my business friends threatens to pull advertising from the rag. That’s their Achilles heel, Gregory. No paper can survive on subscription income alone. The ads keep it going. In the old days, a word from me about ad-pulling made even the most righteous editor back down in a heartbeat. We bribe the reporters and terrify their bosses. They talk about the free press who know nothing about the realities.

GD: Nicely put, Robert.

RTC: We should have you come back here one of these days for a sit-down. Bill wants to do this. Are you game?

GD: Will men in black suits meet me at the airport?

RTC: I don’t think so, Gregory.

GD: Maybe one of them will hit me with their purse.

RTC: Now, Gregory, that isn’t kind.

GD: I’m sure Hoover wouldn’t have thought so.


(Concluded at 10:21 AM CST)


US regulator acts over plague of nuisance phone calls

June 6, 2019

BBC News

Americans plagued by billions of unwanted robocalls to their phones are about to get some relief.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved rules to make it easier for carriers to stop automated calls.

Phone firms will use algorithms and network scanning to block calls in the way that emails are screened for spam.

It won’t stop all calls – and customers can opt out – but the regulator says it will help with the some 5 million robocalls a month consumers receive.

Says FCC chairman Ajit Pai: “There is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans: It is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls.”

Although some phone carriers offer blocking functions on an opt-in basis, the FCC will let telecom operators make it a default option.The communications regulator will also allow companies such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to offer customers the choice to block calls from any number that is not on their contact list or other approved numbers.

FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks said action was urgently, adding: “Put simply, by allowing these calls to proliferate, we’ve broken the phone service in this country.”

The crackdown would free up network capacity and cut the number of consumers being scammed by criminals, he said.

However, there is no requirement to make telecoms companies provide the call-blocking service for free. Mr Starks said he would have “serious concerns” if they started charging.

Record fine

The major carriers welcomed the FCC’s move. Verizon said it meant “we’ll be able to provide our customers the benefits of spam alerts and blocking more broadly and conveniently”.

Apple announced this week that its new iPhone operating software would give consumers the ability to allow only calls to ring from numbers in contacts, mail, and messages and send all others to voicemail automatically.

Last year, a man was fined a record-breaking $120m (£88m) for making more than 90m automated marketing telephone calls in the US.

Miami salesman Adrian Abramovich was accused of trying to sell holidays and timeshare properties with the unsolicited robocalls.

The fine was the largest the FCC had has ever issued.

The FCC said Mr Abramovich had spoofed his caller ID to make people believe they were receiving a call from a local number. That was in violation of US law.

A pre-recorded message would offer an “exclusive” holiday or travel deal, posing as an offer from a well-known brand such as TripAdvisor or Hilton hotels.

The call would then be transferred to a human operator in an overseas call centre, who would try to sell the consumer a holiday or timeshare arrangement.

The FCC originally issued the fine in 2017, but Mr Abramovich had appealed against the decision and sought to have the fine reduced.

But Mr Pai said it was the “largest illegal robocalling scheme” the FCC had investigated and therefore the fine was “appropriate”.

“I haven’t met a single American who likes getting these kinds of robocalls,” Mr Pai said in a statement.

“Our decision sends a loud and clear message: this FCC is an active cop on the beat and will throw the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules.”



Stalin’s Intelligence Game

Playing the United States and Japan against Each Other, this resulted in Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attack on the United States in 1941

In the spring of 1941, Stalin feared the Soviet Union would become trapped in the vise of a two-front war, crushed between Germany and Japan. To escape the trap, three separate Soviet intelligence operations in Chungking, Tokyo, and

Washington, without knowledge of each other, manipulated Japan to attack Ameri- can forces in the Pacific and bring the United States into World War II. In concerted covert efforts directed from Moscow, Soviet intelligence worked to divert

Japanese expansionism south against “colonialist imperialism,” so that Japan would take over French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and American interests in the Philippines protected by the U.S. Navy, instead of pushing westward through Siberia. Stalin’s desperate purpose was to fend off a unified, two-pronged attack by Germany and Japan that he feared would destroy the Soviet Union.

Stalin’s nightmare was a German-Japanese “handshake in the Urals.”

Attacking Southeast Asia meant the Japanese navy would come into conflict with the American Pacific fleet, which had been moved from southern California to Pearl Harbor in October 1939 and in May 1940. Stalin signed a nonaggression treaty with the Germans in 1939, then a neutrality pact with the Japanese in 1941, playing the pride and duplicity of Berlin and Tokyo off against each other. His goal was to deflect a Japanese attack away from the Soviet Union.

War between the United States and Japan was the alternative Stalin favored.

Retracing the reasons for Stalin’s frenzy to push the Japanese to attack the

United States reveals the answer to one of the great mysteries of the twentieth century.

Both communist devotees of Stalin and anticommunist commentators have long wondered why Stalin entered a pact with the devil named Hitler, knowing what a dangerous ally he might become. The 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact of Non-Aggression, signed in August of that year, was a landmark on the path to World War II. The answer to the mystery: Stalin was already fighting the Japanese in the Far East and he feared a two-front war.

Until recently, we had only one piece of the skeleton in the closet of history, the confession of Richard Sorge, a dynamic, heavy-drinking officer of Soviet militaryintelligence, the GRU (Glavnoe Razvedyovatelnoe Upravlenie), under cover as a German foreign correspondent in Tokyo. A statue of Richard Sorge, clad in a foreign correspondent’s trench coat, stands in homage to him on a Moscow back street near GRU headquarters.

Sorge enjoyed access to the highest officials of the German embassy and to members of the Japanese prime minister’s cabinet before he was arrested by the Japanese and hanged for spying in November 1944.

Now there are new pieces to clarify those events: officially released, deciphered intercepts of Russian intelligence traffic during 1939-1946, code-named VENONA; the memoirs of Vitali Pavlov, an NKVD (Narodny Kommissariat Vnu-trennikh Del, predecessor to the KGB) intelligence officer; and secret messagesfrom the Russian archives, which throw new light on the work of Vasili Zarubin, an experienced NKVD intelligence officer sent to China during the tense months before Pearl Harbor.

This is a Soviet intelligence success story, which changes the conventional history of the year 1941 and our memory of Pearl Harbor. It is a story that until now none of the participants wanted known.

What was Operation Snow? It is the title of a book published in Russian in

1996, but not in English, in which a high ranking retired KGB officer, Vitali

Pavlov, recalled his mission to Washington in April and May 1941.2 Pavlov, then a junior officer on his first trip abroad, was sent to the United States seven months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor to meet with Harry Dexter White, then director of Monetary Research for the Treasury.

Did “Snow” mean “White”? Yes,

Harry Dexter White had been a Soviet “asset” since the early 1930s, providing information to Whittaker Chambers, a courier for the communist underground.

By 1941 White was a top aide and adviser to Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury. Pavlov wrote that the Soviets feared a Japanese attack from the east, and his mission was to discuss with White what could be done to keep the Japanese from joining forces with the Germans. Tsarev’s reference to Operation Snow brought back into focus his earlier statement that in the years leading up to World War II the United States was not a main intelligence target “except as a balance against Japan.”

What did “balance” mean to the Soviet Union?

In the spring of 1941, Vitali Pavlov, an eager 27-year-old intelligence officer, msat nervously in his office on the sixth floor of Lubyanka, NKVD headquarters, torn by fear of invasion. The Soviet Union was facing a two-front war with the threat of attack from Japan in the east and Germany in the west. Pavlov and his colleagues devised a plan for him to go to Washington and help deflect a Japanese attack on the Soviet Union. His mission was to be a “sacred secret” (meaning they would carry it to their graves with no paper trail).

The goal: exacerbate tensions between the United States and Japan to divert Japanese expansionism away from Siberia and toward Southeast Asia, where Japan would come into conflict with the United States and its Pacific fleet. Pavlov’s plan did not begin and end with him, but was part of a larger Soviet design to worsen relations between Japan and the United States, even if their efforts led to war, to prevent a Japanese invasion of the Soviet Union.

Pushing the limits of discord between capitalist powers was a central tenet of

Lenin’s foreign policy. Stalin learned it well and used it in the 1939 Non-Aggression

Pact. Stalin’s contribution was to set up intelligence operations worldwide to capitalize on these rifts to further Soviet interests.

In this light we must examine Sorge, Pavlov, and Zarubin in their activities on the eve of the war.

Pavlov’s mission in April 1941, when he met with Harry Dexter White, U.S.

Treasury Director of Monetary Research, at the Old Ebbitt Grill across the street from the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., was to confirm that White’ thinking toward Japan was in line with Soviet interests.

Soviet intelligence knew that White formulated all of Morgenthau’s recommendations bearing on foreign relations, especially monetary policy toward China, Japan, and the Soviet Union.

In the name of peace in Asia, Pavlov urged White to demand that Japan remove its troops from China, which the Soviet Union knew the Japanese would never accept.

The impetus for Operation Snow began in the top leadership of Soviet intelligence. It followed a report from New York NKVD resident Gaik Ovakimian in

January 1941 to Moscow Center suggesting that Harry Dexter White be used to press Soviet aims for the Far East. Ovakimian’s report was the seed from which Pavlov’s mission grew.

On January 30, 1941, Foreign Intelligence Director Pavel Fitin compiled a spravka (summary), which reported that the NKVD New York resident, Gaik

Ovakimian (code name, GENNADI), had cabled from New York to raise the possibility of using agents and friendly sources in America to influence the formulation of American foreign policy toward Japan. The summary went to Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD, and his deputy, Vsevelod Merkulov.

The text read: “GENNADI reported 28 January from New York about agent possibilities of influencing from outside the formulation of USA foreign policy toward

Japan because

(1) USA cannot accept unlimited Japanese expansion in the Pacific region which affects its vital interests,

(2) Having at its disposal thenecessary economic and military might, Washington is capable of preventing aggression, but it prefers to negotiate mutually acceptable solutions under the conditions that Japan:

(1) stops its aggression in China and areas adjacent to it,

(2) recalls its military forces from the continent and halts its plans of expansion in this region.

Signed Fitin (Chief of the Fifth Department, Main Administration of

State Security)

On this summary report are handwritten notes:

VERNO [verified] Captain of State Security Grauer under instruction of

Comrade Merkulov.

In view of the upcoming negotiations with the Japanese by the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, Comrades Kabulov and Grauer are directed to urgently prepare information for instancia [the leadership, in this case Vyacheslav Molotov and Joseph Stalin]. Also undertake verification of GENNADI’s sources, ZVUK [Jacob Golos], RICHARD [Harry Dexter White], and ROBERT [Nathan Silvermaster] in line with data from the First Special Department, special investigation department, and NKVD Lithuanian SSR pending to the fact that they were known to Shpigelglas, Gutzeit, Sobel, now arrested by us.

Signed Merkulov”

Merkulov was giving instructions for operational research on the intentions of the Japanese, to identify hidden motives behind the Japanese desire in early 1941 to sign a neutrality pact with the USSR. He was instructing his staff to check on Harry Dexter White’s relatives in Lithuania for anti-Soviet activities to make certain of White’s political reliability. This was the period following the Great Purges of the 1930s in which Stalin arrested “enemies of the people” who he believed were competing with him for control of the Soviet Union and the world communist revolution. Soviet intelligence organizations were regrouping and vetting their ranks. Moscow Center wanted to make certain that the purge and execution of suspected senior officers such as Shpigelglas, Gutzeit, and Sobel had not affected the loyalty of their own New York-based espionage chief, Golos, or the continued services of two American sources, White and Silvermaster.

Fitin’s summary reveals that the impetus for Operation Snow came from the top, following Ovakimian’s suggestion. Fitin’s report demonstrates that there are traces of Operation Snow in the NKVD archives, that not every shred of the paper trail was destroyed.

Stalin’s internal purges, during which he had his suspected rivals for absolute power executed, exiled, or sent to labor camps, occurred in the period 1934-1939.

During these purges, Stalin had about 100 senior Soviet intelligence officers re- called, including Akhmerov. Only about twenty-five survived. This was the period of “cleansing” for the intelligence services, with ensuing executions and banishments, during which foreign intelligence operations came to a near standstill. Pavlov’s rapid rise to deputy director of the American desk of NKVD intelligence was a result of the purges.

When these upheavals began to quiet down and intelligence officers went back to supplying the leadership with intelligence on war preparations in 1941, they found their system in suspended animation. Akhmerov was still being kept on the shelf in Moscow. Moscow Center first had to reassess its most valued assets in Washington, to see who was still working for them. They had to indoctrinate their agents and sources to the Soviet viewpoint in matters of diplomacy affecting Soviet national interest. It made sense to dispatch a young officer untainteby association with the previous suspected generation and still unknown in the United States to make the necessary call.

It was under these circumstances that Pavlov left for an inspection tour of the Washington rezidentura (intelligence station). His real mission was to determine whether the NKVD’s important U.S. Treasury assets were still in place and would cooperate with the USSR. In his memoir, Pavlov states that before going to America the NKVD assessment of the situation was: “USA cannot reconcile with uncontrolled Japanese expansion in the Pacific area which affects their vital interests.

Having adequate economic and military might, Washington is capable of preventing Japanese aggression but it prefers to reach mutually beneficial decisions with Japan if it

(1) stops its aggression in China and bordering areas,

(2) recalls its military forces from the continent and halts its expansion plans in this region,

(3) pulls out its forces from Manchuria.”

Pavlov’s explanation is a replay of Fitin’s spravka, reporting Ovakimian’s suggestion from New York.

White contacted AGENT X [Joseph Katz] looking for BILL [Akhmerov] because he wanted to thank him for one idea that had been realized with great success. Akhmerov worked out the detailed plan for a meeting in Washington. It was called Operation Snow to match the name White. We understood that only by strengthening the position of the group in Japanese ruling circles who advocated the extension of Japanese aggression in China southward could we postpone the Japanese plan to conquer the northern territories. We understood that the doubts of the Japanese militarists to immediately implement their northern plans to a great extent depended on the position of the U.S. From what we knew about White it was clear that we could influence through Morgenthau the strengthening of a line in the

American administration that would counterbalance the Japanese expansion.

I was to pass on to White the above-mentioned three principles. It was presumed that White would formulate them himself to be presented to the American administration.

With these instructions firmly in his mind, Pavlov left for Washington. If he succeeded, he would change history. He had been entrusted with a “sacred secret so awesome that he did not reveal it for more than half a century.

For the Soviet Union, Japan was a threatening and ambiguous enemy. European Russians-citizens of Moscow and those west of the Urals-imbibe fear of attack from the east with their mothers’ milk.

Deep in their national memory is conquest by cruel Mongol hordes who ruled Russia for more than 200 years, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. Russians believe that the followers of Genghis Khan left no improvements, only a more defined slant to the cheekbones of Russians acquired through the rape of their female ancestors.

A more recent memory was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, in which the Japanese pushed Russia out of the Pacific Rim areas it had moved into since 1895. The British National Review for September 1904 noted: “The military power of the Island Empire has been revealed.”

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Kwantung Army of Japan set out to rid Manchuria of its Chinese warlord ruler and create an autonomous state in the vast, untamed territory. The Japanese military hoped Manchuria would be a buffer zone against the Soviet Union on its border; it would provide space and resources for Japan’s merchants and impoverished proletariat.

On September 18, 1931, the Kwantung Army took over Mukden, “to keep order.” In 1933 the Japanese invaded northern China proper.

The Soviet Union sent military advisers to both nationalists and communists, the two groups competing to rule China. The Soviet Union’s goal in China was to control Japanese expansionism.

In the early 1930s, the Soviet Union began a propaganda campaign against

Japanese aggression through the Comintern, the communist international organization that, under Moscow’s aegis, controlled communist parties worldwide. Soviet intelligence distributed the “Tanaka Memorial,” said to be a 1927 memorandum from Baron Giichi Tanaka to the Emperor, outlining Japan’s imperial ambitions to become a “continental nation”: Japan’s destiny was to establish a predominant position in China and Southeast Asia. Tanaka’s design would develop a new plan against Siberia.

The Communist Party translated the Memorial into English and first published it in the United States in the Comintern theoretical magazine, ‘Communist International’, in December 1931, then later reprinted it as a book. Evidence points to Soviet intelligence and propaganda organs jointly rewriting the actual document.

Tanaka’s ideas had been skillfully manipulated to make Japan an aggressor. All of the Memorial’s prophecies were to become Japan’s strategy for World War II.’

Within Japanese leadership circles, both aggressive militarists and thoughtful intellectuals agreed on the moral rationale for invading China and pushing southward to control all of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Australia, and New

Zealand. They believed in the spiritual unity of East Asians, and in ridding the western Pacific Rim nations of imperial domination by European powers.

The Japanese included the United States in this group-enemy image because American power competed with Japan for trade, political influence, and control of the seaways.

Most important in Japan’s antagonism against the United States was American support for China and its struggle to repel Japanese aggression. Japan considered

America to be an imperialist nation not only for its own overseas territories, but because American naval forces also protected the colonial domination of the French, British, and Dutch in China, Indochina, and the East Indies, controlling the flow of oil, rubber, tin, and other natural resources necessary to military and industrial strength.

The Japanese called their vision “The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” They saw themselves to be the liberators of East Asia from European and American imperialists.

Stalin never doubted that the United States would in some way support Japan in its dream of attacking Siberia. Ever since 1919, when the United States intervened on the side of the Whites during the 1918-1920 civil war, for a short time landing troops in Siberia to fight the Red Army, Stalin had a deep distrust of offers of friendship from America. This continued even after President Roosevelt granted diplomatic recognition to the USSR in 1933. Stalin believed that eventually the “capitalist-fascist-imperialists” in Washington would be overthrown in favor of communism.

With Japan’s occupation of Manchuria in 1931, Stalin became preoccupied with the new threat from the east and put his military on a “half-war, half-peace” footing.

As early as 1931 and 1932, while the Japanese army was invading Manchuria on the Soviet border, Stalin’s intelligence services were setting up networks in California to sabotage shipping in case of a new Russo-Japanese war.

In 1937 a shooting incident between Chinese and Japanese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge near Peking escalated into open war. The Japanese declared a “new order” in China. The question remained whether Japan’s expansionism would be directed north to Siberia and the entire Soviet Far East, or south to secure Japanese military and commercial domination of China and Southeast Asia. Through China,

Japan would be on its way to the riches of Southeast Asia, while ridding the Eastof Western colonialists.

In June 1938, Soviet Commissar of State Security in the Far East Genrich

Samuelovich Lyushkov defected across the Manchurian border and revealed to the Japanese occupation army full details of the levels of Soviet military strength in the region. Lyushkov, who took his family with him, feared he would be a victim of the purges Stalin was carrying on against his own officers.

After he surrendered, Lyushkov was transferred to Tokyo, where he was interrogated by Japanese military intelligence and military attaches at the German embassy. Lyushkov provided the Soviet order of battle both in Ukraine and the Far East. His debriefing was turned into a memorandum of approximately 100 pages, “Report on a Meeting Between Lyushkov and the German Special Envoy, and Related Information.”

The secret pages were photographed by Richard Sorge, correspondent of the

German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung, who used his journalist’s cover to head a

Soviet espionage ring in Tokyo.

Sorge was a German national, secretly working for the Red Army’s Fourth Bureau, the GRU, military intelligence. Sorge, the son of a German father and Russian mother, became a communist while recovering from wounds he received fighting on the German side in World War I.

His legs had been shattered and he was left with a lifelong limp. From having been an avid volunteer in the German army, he went into deep disillusionment and depression and emerged a dedicated Marxist.

Sorge had close friendships with high ranking diplomats and military officers in the German embassy; one of them, the military attache Major Erwin Scholl, lent the Lyushkov document to Sorge, unaware of the use the newspaperman would make of its pages.

Lyushkov’s main thesis: because of widespread discontent caused by Stalin’s purge in the Red Army and strong opposition to Stalin in Siberia, the Soviet military machine in the Far East would collapse under a Japanese offensive. Lyushkov is also believed to have provided the military wireless codes being used by the Red Army. He described the location, organization, and equipment of twenty-five Soviet divisions. It was clear to Lyushkov’s German and Japanese interrogators that his defection resulted from Stalin’s purges of the Red Army high command and reflected the army’s weakened strength.

For the Germans and Japanese, this information created the temptation to strike the Soviet Union soon, while it was weak from internal strife. To his Japanese and German friends, Sorge played down the importance of Lyushkov’s information; he compared it to anti-Nazi books written by German refugees suggesting that the Nazi regime faced imminent collapse.

But Moscow was getting another message. Sorge later confessed: “One consequence of Lyushkov’s report was a danger of joint Japanese-German military action against the Soviet Union.”

Western leaders were less aware of Stalin’s problem in the East, which figured as strongly into his calculations as his alliance with Hitler. At all cost Stalin needed to avoid a two-front war. In fact, he was already at war with Russia’s historic rival, Japan. In 1938 the Soviets and Japanese had fought each other in a series of incidents on the Manchurian frontier, about seventy-five miles southwest of Vladivostok, without a clear victory on either side.

What began as skirmishes in January 1939 gradually brought in larger Japanese units; by May, major Japanese forces were engaged against Soviet-Mongolian units near Khalkhin-Gol (the Khalkhin River on the Manchurian border with Mongolia) and the town of Nomonhan.

The Japanese call it the Nomonhan Incident.

By July it had become a war, to which the Japanese brought heavy pressure to bear against the Soviet troops. Even while Stalin’s and Hitler’s emissaries were negotiating their infamous 1939 Non- Aggression Pact, Soviet and Japanese troops were battering each other at Khalkhin- Gol.

In a decisive Soviet tank offensive that took place in August, General (later Marshal) Georgi Zhukov, then a corps commander, exhibited his aggressive leadership. Zhukov’s massive armored assault was a totally unexpected innovation that defeated the Japanese and led to his rise in the Soviet officer corps.

With Sorge’s microfilm of Lyushkov’s report in hand, the Soviet High Command knew what the Japanese expected when they pushed across the Manchurian border at Khalkhin-Gol. As a result, Zhukov built up his forces to much greater strength and overwhelmed the Japanese.

Sorge continued to advise Moscow during the fighting, warning that although sizable Japanese reinforcements might be transferred to the battlefield from North China and Manchuria, there was no evidence that large-scale units were being sent from Japan. This was the evidence, reported Sorge, for his standing firm on the view that: “Japan had no intention of waging war against the Soviet Union.” He repeated variations of this radio message several times during the fighting.

At this point Zhukov assumed command of the Soviet First Army Group. For weeks he maintained a defensive posture, methodically but stealthily building up his forces. He created a three-to-two superiority in manpower, two-to-one strength in artillery and airplanes, and a four-to-one advantage in armor. He gathered 35 infantry battalions to fight 25 Japanese infantry battalions; 20 cavalry squadrons against 17 Japanese cavalry squadrons. Zhukov had nearly 500 tanks, 346 armored cars, and 500 planes to go up against the Japanese Sixth Army, which had no tanks.

Zhukov drew the Japanese in without revealing his strength, then counterattacked for the kill. The attack against the Japanese forces came at 5:45 a.m., August 20, 1939, only three days before the announcement of the Non-Aggression Pact. The battle raged for more than ten days, until the Japanese were driven back across the frontier in disorder.

The defeat of the Japanese at Khalkhin-Gol forced a reassessment in Tokyo of plans for the timing to attack the Soviet Union and discredited the army officers responsible for the defeat.

Red Army intelligence has never released evidence of the connection between

Lyushkov’s information and the defeat of the Japanese at Khalkhin-Gol. In 1941, when Sorge was arrested by the Japanese for espionage activities, a leading

Japanese procurator, Yoshikawa Mitsusada, made the connection between the failure of the Japanese military operation at Khalkhin-Gol and Sorge’s transmission to Moscow of the Japanese evaluation of Soviet strength based on Lyushkov’s information. In their study of Sorge, F. W. Deakin and G. R. Storry wrote,

“Sorge’s activity in connection with the Lyushkov affair was one of the greatest services he rendered to the Fourth Bureau (Soviet Military Intelligence) during his Japan mission.”

When the fighting ended, it had changed the course of history. Khalkhin-Gol was the decisive turning point that created fear and doubt for the Japanese in their plan to attack the Soviet Union through Siberia.

Two years later the Japanese focused south into Indochina, but until they attacked Pearl Harbor, Stalin was uncertain whether or not the Japanese would attempt another invasion of the Soviet Far East.


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