Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News March 25, 2019

Mar 24 2019

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

         Washington, D.C. March 25, 2019: “Venezuela, who holds the largest oil reserves and has  a left wing, anti US president in power, is the target of the American governments’ various disrupt, kill and sieze agencies.

Venezuela has cut off all oil sales to the United States and is selling its products to both China and Russia.

This infuriates proto-fascists like Bolton and Trump and they are doing everything they can to overturn the current anti-American government and replace it with the usual obedient pro America puppet government.

Unfortunately, the Russians have been sending troops to Venezuela and supplying the public with the medicines and food products the Americans thought they were denying the public so as to hasten the departure of Maduro.

If, as is usually done, the US sends in troops to enforce its demands, there will be confrontations with Russia and if some drug-stoned GI starts shooting, the Russians will shoot back.

Trump is stupid enough to start serious trouble but he believes his far-right pointy-headed supporters, replete with red Trump caps, can turn any tide against him.

Perhaps he thinks the Sacred Easter Bunny will lead the drooling pack.

All media speculations aside, Trump’s real Achilles Heel is not in his right wing SS men but in all the very expensive hotels he owns.

Sabotage to these would cost him enormous money and that, and that alone (aside from various attractive vaginas he loves to touch) would bring him down.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • America’s Corruption Is a National Security Threat
  • No collusion, plenty of corruption: Trump is not in the clear
  • Donald Trump’s Russian Connections
  • Russian air force planes land in Venezuela carrying troops: reports
  • Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela
  • Russian troops land in Caracas as US considers military intervention in Venezuela
  • Russia Comes to Maduro’s Rescue After U.S. Sanctions Hit
  • How the Media Distort News From Venezuela
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

America’s Corruption Is a National Security Threat

Donald Trump is one symptom of a wider problem that’s making the United States weaker on the international stage.

March 19, 2019

by  Stephen M. Walt

Foreign Policy

If they’ve been paying attention, Americans have received some rude wake-up calls in recent years. What unpleasant news do these messages convey? The country is a lot more corrupt than Americans realized.

Since 2016, of course, concern for corruption has been riveted on the sleaze show that is the Trump administration. As the New York Times revealed last fall in a remarkable investigative report, U.S. President Donald Trump’s life since boyhood has rested on assorted frauds, tax scams, and shady business dealings, and his recent conduct suggests high office did not alter the family’s modus operandi.

Since becoming president, Trump has breezily ignored the emoluments clause of the Constitution, handed taxpayers a multimillion-dollar bill for his frequent trips to his own properties, appointed his daughter and son-in-law to sensitive positions for which they are manifestly unqualified, and surrounded himself with a host of shady characters. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and several other campaign advisors has been convicted of fraud or other crimes, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has been convicted of lying to the FBI, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke both resigned over ethics violations. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is under fire for the plea deal he gave the wealthy and well-connected accused sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein back when Acosta was a U.S. attorney in Florida, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross continues to serve despite serious conflicts of interest.

Instead of fulfilling his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Trump dug it wider and filled it deeper. Small wonder that the United States has fallen out of the ranks of the top 20 “least corrupt” nations—according to the watchdog group Transparency International—and is now considered a “country to watch” by that nonpartisan organization.

But the problem is in fact far more serious than Trump and his entourage. Consider some other recent scandals.

Example #1: The 2008 Financial Crisis. To some extent, the 2008 financial crisis is a case study of hubris, where self-styled “masters of the universe” convinced themselves they had devised financial instruments that had reduced the risk of a panic to miniscule levels. But the crisis also exposed systemic corruption inside key financial institutions. It wasn’t just a few crooked mortgage brokers offering lots of bad loans; it also involved serious abuses by ratings agencies, investment banks, government-backed lenders like Fannie Mae, and even some academic economists. At least we can take comfort in the fact that the people responsible for cratering the world economy were held accountable and got punished, right? Er, nope.

Example #2: The Boeing 737 Max. The more we learn about the second recent crash of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the more disturbing the tale becomes. While a final determination of the causes of the two recent crashes has yet to be made, it seems increasingly clear that Boeing rushed the new plane to market, downplayed the need for additional pilot training, and used an increasingly cozy relationship with Federal Aviation Administration regulators to win approval for the plane. The world seems to have woken up to the conflicts of interest here: The United States was the last country to ground the plane after this month’s crash, and Ethiopian authorities chose to send the black boxes for analysis in France rather than in the United States.

Example #3: The (Latest) College Admissions Scandal. It’s no secret that admission to elite institutions of higher education isn’t the pure meritocracy that universities try to convey. Being part of an alumni family (a “legacy”) is a big plus, and it seems to help a lot if a parent gives the school a big donation at just the right time. But last week’s revelations that wealthy parents and celebrities were colluding with William Singer (a professional “admissions counselor”) and a bunch of corrupt coaches and administrators to get their less-than-fully-qualified kids into elite schools by falsifying test results or passing them off as gifted athletes was still an eye-opener. It was also more evidence—as if any were needed—of the corrupting role big-time athletics play in the life of American universities. Don’t even get me started on that subject.

And let’s not forget that a number of venerated institutions in American life—including the military and the clergy—have been rocked by serious scandals over the past several decades. In addition to the horrifying history of sexual predation and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, the U.S. military has been wrestling with a serious problem of sexual assault in the ranks, a wide-ranging procurement scandal that rocked the U.S. Navy, and the discovery in 2014 that 34 missile launch control officers conspired to falsify scores on proficiency exams. What these and other episodes reminds us is that corruption isn’t confined to the current White House, to a few bad apples like Bernie Madoff, or to a handful of industries with unsavory reputations (like real estate). On the contrary, it seems to be a growing problem in all walks of life.

Why does this matter? For starters, corruption is inherently inefficient. Instead of resources going where they are most needed, they get diverted into bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, and other shady arrangements. And when the wealthy and powerful use connections to get jobs or contracts (or to get their kids into college), that means that more deserving and talented people get excluded and less qualified people end up in positions of authority. The more common such practices become, the more honest and law-abiding people will be tempted to follow suit just to keep up. And once corruption becomes endemic in a society, rooting it out becomes difficult if not impossible.

Making matters worse is the demand for regulation that corruption tends to foster. When more and more people cheat and trust erodes, responsible officials will try to corral corruption by imposing more rules, laws, oversight procedures, and regulatory mechanisms. One sees this phenomenon everywhere—including at universities—where efforts to prevent all sorts of misconduct are making it nearly impossible to do anything efficiently. But the taproot of this problem is the fear that we cannot trust anyone to act properly without strict guidance and suffocating levels of bureaucratic oversight. Sadly, such fears are far from groundless.

Corruption and other forms of elite malfeasance also nourish populist anger. When elites go to great lengths to game the system and are increasingly seen as out of touch and unaccountable, it is hardly surprising that ordinary people who have been playing by the rules become so angry that they will put their faith in anyone who promises to shake up the system. Such sentiments help explain the otherwise surprising popularity of a candidate like Bernie Sanders or the rapid rise of straight-talking politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ironically, it also played a key role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which proved that if you can fake integrity, you’ve got it made.

Over the longer term, rising corruption threatens America’s soft power, and especially its reputation for competence. Other countries are more likely to follow America’s lead when they believe the core institutions of U.S. society are run by people who know what they are doing, and when foreign governments have confidence that the information provided by U.S. officials is accurate. But when grifters rule the roost and privileged elites use their current positions to hog even more for themselves, their offspring, and their cronies, our core institutions will function poorly and other states will lose confidence in our ability to deliver as promised.

To be sure, the United States still ranks relatively low on most indices of corruption, and it is a far cry from those unfortunate places where corrupt practices are almost a way of life. But we Americans are not nearly as pure as we pretend, or as concerned about the problem as we ought to be. And as long as Donald J. Trump is alligator-in-chief, life in the swamp will go on as before.

 

No collusion, plenty of corruption: Trump is not in the clear

On Mueller, the president’s hand-picked attorney general has had his say. On everything else, Democrats in Congress know they can still have theirs

March 24, 2019

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

Suspend your disbelief for a second.

Assume that the Trump administration – which lies so easily and so often on matters big and small – can tell the truth about the Mueller investigation. Forget the cover-up about separating families at the border and jailing children. Pretend it has fully embraced the death toll of more than 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Imagine Trump’s inauguration crowds really were exceptionally large.

Let’s just give the new attorney general, Bill Barr, the benefit of the doubt, based on his service in the George HW Bush administration if nothing else.

Let’s also assume his four-page summary of the special counsel’s investigation is the very best case he can make on behalf of the man who just hired him.

That case would sink any other leader in any other western country. Any previous president of the United States would need to start lawyering up for impeachment.

As Barr points out, the Mueller report is divided into two

One part is about Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Trump has repeatedly dismissed as a Democratic excuse for why Hillary Clinton lost.

The second part is about Trump’s obstruction of justice in seeking to halt the Russian investigation.

According once again to Trump’s own attorney general, making his best possible case for his boss, Mueller declined not to make “a traditional prosecutorial judgment” about whether Trump committed a crime. So Barr made it for him. Strip away all the legal throat-clearing, and he decides the case is “not sufficient”.

Quoting Mueller, Barr writes: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Now, you might be wondering why a sitting president would sail so close to the wind that he might just be guilty of obstruction of justice.

Normal people sitting on a jury, or voting in an election, might be curious as to why a president would possibly, maybe, commit a serious crime – depending on your reading of the law and Trump’s intent – to stop an investigation into Russian interference in his own election.

Then again, normal people asked the same questions of Richard Nixon, who infamously demonstrated that the cover-up could be worse than the crimes of Watergate.

It might be too much to imagine this tweet-raging president quitting office under threat of impeachment, as Nixon did. But it’s not too much to consider the impact of this cover-up on voters in next year’s elections.

As for the Russia investigation itself, Barr says Mueller writes that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”.

“Case not proven” on two counts sounds like the end of a long Democratic dream.

It’s actually a blessing.

For starters, Mueller’s considerations were narrowly drawn and judged but the issues he has surfaced – and the investigations he has spawned – are far broader.

In particular, US and state attorneys in New York are peeling away the layers of the stinking onion that is the Trump family business. Those layers include hush money to a porn star, fraudulent statements to lenders and insurers about real estate, a sham family foundation and corruption involving foreign donations to an inaugural committee.

In short, a president who may or may not be guilty of obstruction of justice doesn’t suddenly grow a halo of legal purity while running for president. And he doesn’t clean up his act in office, either.

Both Congress and the southern district of New York have a very long way to go.

They might just find out why Trump was so determined – even if he didn’t commit a crime, in the view of his own attorney general – to stop the Russian investigation. Especially if the investigation Trump feared was far more about his business than his election.

Much like last year’s elections, the Mueller report has done Democrats a huge favor. Winning both the Senate and House would have set up a titanic clash between Congress and the White House, the kind of clash White Houses have often won in time for re-election.

In the same way, a clear and damning Mueller report would have set up a titanic clash over impeachment: a process that would fail in this Republican-controlled Senate, no matter the evidence presented.

There will be many Democrats disappointed Mueller did not scream “Guilty!” and that impeachment remains on hold. But party leadership, and election veterans, know short-term disappointment offers a long-running advantage.

It means a year of more congressional revelations and a year of more indictments. It means the 2020 election can be forward-looking about Trump’s fitness for office, rather than backward-looking about the last election.

It means more consideration of corruption and less talk of collusion.

Voters, as well as lawyers, may struggle to define collusion and to prove conspiracies beyond reasonable doubt. Even when a presidential candidate goes on national TV to ask the Russians to hack his opponent’s emails.

But what voters readily understand is the stench of corruption around a man who promised to drain the swamp. Populism tends to lose its popularity when the populists are more concerned with personal profit than public service.

With a large field of talented candidates running to drive Trump from office, Democrats can look forward to a long and fine discussion of what standards of conduct and character we expect from a president.

Within minutes of Barr’s summary of the Mueller report being released, Trump told reporters the report was “complete and total exoneration”. That’s because, in this White House, the words “complete and total” have come to mean “partial and unfinished”.

With so many legal threads hanging half-pulled from the rags that still cover Donald Trump, the undressing of this president has only reached the end of the first tease.

 

Donald Trump’s Russian Connections

by Christian Jürs

Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.

Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.

The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.

Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entites as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.

Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and has done this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager, during the election.

Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars) It is rumored, and has been for some time, that the CIA has a controlling interest in this bank but informed German sources say this is being “cleansed of negative, foreign, interests.”

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

1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money

In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country

Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.

Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.

Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.

Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.

Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.

The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.

By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.

When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.

Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.

There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia

In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged

Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.

Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling  Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.

When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.

In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.

And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures aganst the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

Donald John Trump (June 14, 1946)

He is of German/Scottish origin. One of his German relatives was an Arnold Trumpf, b, 27 October 1892 in Gifhorn and died 7, January 1985 in Garmish-Partenkirchen. Trumpf was a member of the Nazi party number 389 920 from 1 December 1930. He was a member of the SS Race and Settlement Office as an SS-Oberführer

Trump was born and grew up in New York City. He received a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Trump took over running his family’s real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded it to involve constructing and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. He also started various side ventures, including branding and licensing his name for real estate and luxury consumer products.

He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration as President of the United States.

Trump also gained prominence in the media and entertainment fields. He co-authored several books, and from 2003 to 2015 he was a producer and the host of The Apprentice, a reality television game show.

Trump owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015. According to the American financial Forbes magazine, he was the world’s 544th richest person as of May 2017, with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion.

In 1977, Trump married his first wife, Czech model Ivana Zelníčková. They had three children: Donald Jr. (b. 1977), Ivanka (b. 1981), and Eric (b. 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples.

In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump’s daughter, who was named Tiffany after the upper-class Tiffany & Company. Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.

In 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. Her original name was Melanija Knavs, born on April 26, 1970 at Novo Mesto, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia

In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen and gave birth to a son, March 20, 2006, Barron William Trump. Melania and Barron moved to the White House on June 11, 2017,

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but his hotel and casino businesses were declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded.

Mr. Trump was quoted by Newsweek magazine in 2011 saying, “I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they’re very good for me” as a tool for trimming debt.

The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).

As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks. Trump uttered “at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days” in office according to The New York Times, and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office. The Washington Post, also wrote, “President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered… the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up.”

Mr. Trump has a history of making racially-charged statements and taking actions perceived as racially motivated.

In 1975, Mr. Trump settled a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1973 alleging housing discrimination against black renters. In 1989, he was accused of racism for insisting that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the Central Park jogger case even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence.

He continued to maintain this position as late as 2016.

Mr.Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech in which he described Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.

One of Mr.Trump’s campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had worked for several years to help pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich win the Ukrainian presidency.

Other Trump associates, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, have been connected to Russian officials. Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump.

Members of Mr.Trump’s campaign and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn, were in contact with Russian officials both before and after the November election In a December 29, 2016 conversation, Flynn and Kislyak discussed the recently imposed sanctions against Russia; Mr.Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.

Donald Trump has pursued business deals in Russia since 1987, and has sometimes traveled there to explore potential business opportunities. In 1996, Trump trademark applications were submitted for potential Russian real estate development deals. Mr.Trump’s partners and children have repeatedly visited Moscow, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities. Mr.Trump was never able to successfully conclude any real estate deals in Russia. However, individual Russians have invested heavily in Trump properties, and following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed money from Russian sources. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

In 1996 Mr.Trump partnered with Liggett-Ducat, a small company, and planned to build an upscale residential development on a Liggett-Ducat property in Moscow. Trump commissioned New York architect Ted Liebman, who did the sketches.

In 1987 Mr.Trump visited Russia to investigate developing a hotel

In Russia, Mr.Trump promoted the proposal and acclaimed the Russian economic market. At a news conference reported by The Moscow Times, Mr.Trump said he hadn’t been “as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow” in contrast to other cities had visited “all over the world.

By this time, Mr.Trump made known his desire to build in Moscow to government officials for almost ten years ranging from the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (they first met in Washington in 1987) to the military figure Alexander Lebed.

Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, showed Trump plans for a very large shopping mall to be located underground in the vicinity of the Kremlin. The mayor complimented Mr.Trump’s suggestion that this mall should have access to the Moscow Metro, and it was eventually connected to the Okhotny Ryad station. Although the 1996 residential development did not happen, Mr.Trump was by this time well known in Russia.

Between 2000–2010, Mr.Trump entered into a partnership with a development company headquartered in New York represented by a Russian immigrant, Felix Sater. During this period, they partnered for an assortment of deals that included building Trump towers internationally and Russia was included. For example, in 2005 Slater acted as an agent for building a Trump tower alongside Moscow River with letters of intent in hand and “square footage was being analyzed.”

In 2006, Mr.Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka stayed in the Hotel National, Moscow for several days, across from the Kremlin, to interview prospective partners, with the intention of formulating real estate development projects.

Sater had also traveled to Moscow with Mr. Trump, his wife Ivanka and son Donald Jr.

Mr. Trump was associated with Tevfik Arif, formerly a Soviet commerce official and founder of a development company called the Bayrock Group, of which Sater was also a partner.

Bayrock searched for deals in Russia while Trump Towers company were attempting to further expand in the United States. Mr. Sater said, “We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia,” on the scale of “…a large Vegas high-rise.”

In 2007, Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors

During 2006–2008 Mr.Trump’s company applied for a number of trademarks in Russia with the goal of real estate developments. These trademark applications include: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home.

In 2008, Mr. Trump spoke at a Manhattan real estate conference, stating that he really prefered Moscow over all cities in the world and that within 18 months he had been in Russia a half-dozen times.

Mr.Trump had received large and undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products such as wine, ties, or mattresses, which would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns

A secret KGB memo under date of February 1, 1984 concerned the necessity of making an expanded use of the facilities of cooperating foreign intelligence services—for example, Czechoslovakian or East German intelligence networks.

The most revealing section concerned kompromat.

The document specifically requested any compromising information about Donald Trump, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself. Plus any other information that would compromise the subject (Trump) to his country’s authorities and the general public. Naturally the information could be used to cause him serious problems in his country if exposed.

Finally, the report mentioned that his attitude towards women was also of interest. The point of interest would be if he was the habit of having affairs with women.

Mr. Trumps’ first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin in 1986. His original position was Soviet ambassador to the U.N. Dubinin’s mission as ambassador was to make contact with America’s business elite.

There was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the son of Estée Lauder. Mr. Trump was invited to meet the Ambassador. Ambassador Dubinin spoke fluent English and during the course of the luncheon Trump spoke at length with the Ambassador who proposed that Trump build a large luxury hotel, directly across from the Kremlin, in association with the Soviet government.

Mr.Trump at once became interested in the project and expressed his willingness to cooperate on such a project.

By January 1987, Mr.Trump had become a “prominent person” status and therefore Ambassador Dubinin deemed Mr.Trump interesting enough to arrange his trip to Moscow. U.S.-based Soviet diplomat, Vitaly Churkin—the future U.N. ambassador—was of assistance in this project.

Mr. Trump first visited the Soviet Union on July 4, 1987.

Mr. Trump flew to Moscow for the first time, together with his wife Ivana and Lisa Calandra, Ivana’s Italian-American assistant. Ambassador Dubinin’s invitation to Trump to visit Moscow was a standard operation exercise by the KGB.

The Trump trip was orchestrated by the Intourist Agency which was under the control of the KGB. Its duty was to investigate and monitor all foreigners coming into the Soviet Union.

The Trumps were treated with great courtesy by Soviet officials and they were housed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, at the bottom of Tverskaya Street, near Red Square.

The hotel was connected to the Intourist complex next door and was under KGB control.

The Lenin suite had been fixed for electronic surveillance.

In November of 2013, the Miss Universe pageant was held iin Moscow

It was there that  Mr. Trump — then the pageant’s owner — spent several days socializing with Russia’s business and political elite and becoming acquainted with a wealthy developer whose connections his son would later seek to capitalize on. The developer, Aras Agalarov, offered to pass on information about potential rival Mrs. Clinton from Russia’s top prosecutor to help a projected Trump presidential campaign.

The contest was held at Crocus City Hall, a venue owned by Agalarov. The event would be a family affair: Agalarov’s son, a pop singer named Emin, performed on stage and his wife was a judge.

Mr.Trump remained on good and productive terms with the Agalarov family, at one point, appearing in a music video with Emin and sending him a videotaped greeting on his 35th birthday.

During his trip to Moscow on November 9-11, 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, Mr.Trump surrounded himself with business people and those necessary to sign a deal which would bring a Trump Tower project to Moscow. These were: Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov,Yulya (Yulia) Alferova,Herman Gref, Artem Klyushin, Vladimir Kozhin, Chuck LaBella, Rotem Rosen, Phil Ruffin, Alex Sapir, Keith Schiller, Roustam Tariko and Bob Van Ronkel.

At first, President Putin, who had planned on meeting Mr.Trump at the pageant, sent numerous individuals tied to the Russian construction sector to the event to discuss potential lucrative building plans and to ascertain Mr. Trump’s attitudes.

President Putin to establish a distance, stated he was unable to attend the pagent because of a last-minute visit from the King of the Netherlands.

Previous to this meeting, there had been no positive positions on the possibility that Mr. Trump, with Russian assistance and financing, might construct a luxury hotel in Moscow. Trump made several tweets thanking individuals in Moscow and bragging about his future plans. Then on November 12th, 2013 Trump posted a link to the Moscow Times, remarking that his organization was working on building a luxury hotel in Moscow “@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”

This hotel deal was finalized during Trump’s weekend stay in Moscow for his Miss Universe pageant. At the Four Seasons Hotel at Ulitsa Okhotnyy Ryad, 2, a private meeting was held between Mr. Trump and President Putin. As the President is fluent in English, no other person was present. President Putin praised the business abilities of Mr. Trump and said that he would be a “refreshing person” as President of the United States. President Putin said that his people would be pleased to support Mr. Trump and that if this support was deemed material in achieving a victory, President Putin had one request to make of Mr. Trump. President Putin said his best wish was to establish “friendly and cooperative attitudes” by both parties, firmer business contacts and an abandonment of the policy of threats to the Russian Republic. President Putin stressed that certain very right-wing groups in America had been constantly agitating against him and against the Russian Republic and he hoped that Mr. Trump, if elected, could ignore these few people and work with, not against the Russian Republic. Mr. Trump repeatedly assured the President that he woud be most eager to do just that and he agreed to work with various people in the United States who were friendly towards, and had connections with, the Russian Republic.

This most important conversation was recorded as a form of kompromat. And it is certain that a direct quid pro quo took place in November of 2013 between President Putin and Mr. Trump.

On June 16, 2015, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for President.

And with the paid assistance of the social network, Facebook, and the anti-Clinton computer messaging released by the Russian-controlled Wikileaks, Donald Trump became President and at once launched a series of actions that served only to destroy political and economic ties with America’s allies.

 

Russian air force planes land in Venezuela carrying troops: reports

March 24, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Two Russian air force planes landed at Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

That comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

The flights carried officials who arrived to “exchange consultations,” wrote Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik, which quoted an unnamed source at the Russian embassy.

“Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being fulfilled, contracts of a technical military character,” Sputnik quoted the source as saying.

A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed in Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.

Reporting by Carlos Garcia, Carlos Jasso, Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, and Maria Tsvetkova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Leslie Adler and Chris Reese

 

Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela

March 24, 2019

Santiago Times

CARACAS – The Russian Defense Ministry has sent An-124 military transport aircraft, IL-62M jet airliner and more than 100 troops to Caracas, against the backdrop of growing tensions between Venezuela and the United States.

Citing its sources, the Defence Blog reported that Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces Col. Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov also arrived with the Russian troops.

Reports suggest the cargo plane arrived in Venezuela from Moscow through Syria.

Growing discontent in Venezuela, fuelled by hyperinflation, power cuts and food and medicine shortages, has led to a political crisis.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó has declared himself interim president following large protests, galvanising opponents of current socialist President Nicolás Maduro.

Mr. Guaidó has been recognized as leader by more than 50 countries, including most in Latin America and the United States. Mr. Maduro, who still has the support of China and Russia, accuses the opposition of being part of a US-orchestrated coup.

At least 40 people are believed to have died since 21 January and the UN has warned that the situation could spiral out of control.

More than three million Venezuelans have fled their country over recent years, blaming hunger, lack of medical care, rising unemployment and violent crime.

Defence Blog reports the emergence of a large number of the Russian military is the desire of Moscow to show their determination to Trump administration. Moreover, it quoted some sources as saying that a new Russian military base will appear in Venezuela in the near future.

 

Russian troops land in Caracas as US considers military intervention in Venezuela

Pressure mounts on President Maduro to step down.

March 24, 2019

by D. Parvaz

Think Progress

Nearly 100 Russian troops have reportedly landed in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas as the United States, which has hinted that a military option is “on the table,” continues to pressure the country’s president to step down.

Reuters reported Sunday that two Russian planes arrived in Caracas on Saturday, one of them thought to have carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff for Russian ground forces.

Neither Venezuelan nor Russian authorities have issued a comment on the flights.

Venezuela and Russia held joint military exercises in January, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized U.S. support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, as an interventionist.

Moscow has also vowed to step in and prevent “any provocations to shed blood.”

This is the latest measure indicating stronger support from Moscow for embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. On Wednesday, Maduro said Russia would be shipping humanitarian aid into Venezuela, which has been suffering from major political and financial upheaval for the last four years.

In December, Russia sent two bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons to Venezuela.

Accused of corruption by some, Maduro has been resisting pressure to step down as the country’s economy has taken a beating, with its currency in free-fall, hyperinflation and the exodus of over 3 million people into neighboring countries.

On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued fresh sanctions on Venezuela, with National Security Advisor John Bolton issuing a threat via Twitter.

“To those who are helping send the Venezuelan people’s wealth out of the country to benefit Maduro and his cronies, you are on notice today that the United States is watching,” he wrote.

In addition to levying heavy sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and calling on the country’s military elite to turn against Maduro, the Trump administration send convoys of aid to the Colombia-Venezuela border in February.

This was shortly after Bolton unintentionally disclosed, via a line on a notepad held in plain sight before press cameras, that the United States was considering sending 5,000 troops to the border.

Aid was blocked at the Colombian and Brazilian borders by Venezuelan troops using teargas and force, resulting in two deaths. Since then, the country has been mired in prolonged power and telecom outages that led to schools and hospitals being shut down.

News of the Russian planes landing in Caracas comes the same day Attorney General William Barr confirmed in a bombshell letter that, according to special counsel Robert Mueller, Russians launched an interference campaign during the 2016 campaign meant to swing the outcome of U.S. elections.

Mueller, who was charged with investigating allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, and allegations of obstruction and misconduct by the president, determined that Russian actors successfully staged a disinformation campaign during the lead up to the election and “successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.”

According to Barr, Mueller’s final report did not find evidence of any American involvement in those acts, either inside or outside the Trump campaign.

 

Russia Comes to Maduro’s Rescue After U.S. Sanctions Hit

March‎ ‎4‎, ‎2019‎

by Lucia Kassai and Fabiola Zerpa

Bloomberg

Just as Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA was running out of an obscure product needed to thin out its crude and keep exports flowing in the wake of U.S. sanctions, Russia is coming to the rescue.

Rosneft Oil Co. PJSC, the Moscow-based company controlled by Vladimir Putin’s government, is sending the first cargoes of heavy naphtha to Venezuela since the U.S. imposed harsher sanctions on PDVSA at the end of January, according to shipping reports and a person with knowledge of the situation. The compound is used to thin the sludgy Venezuelan crude so it can move through pipelines to the coast. Without it, crude gets stuck in the fields, unable to be upgraded into refinery-ready oil.

For Venezuela’s embattled leader Nicolas Maduro, a long-time Putin ally, the shipments are critical. They’ll help him stave off — at least temporarily — further declines in oil production, which in turn will bolster his attempt to fend off a push by the opposition to topple his autocratic regime. Oil output has already plunged by two-thirds after years of mismanagement and under-investment. The little that’s left — about 1 million barrels a day — funds the food-handout programs that provide sustenance to a population that’s been thrust into deep poverty under Maduro. Without the cash for those programs, hunger will grow, and with it, so too could pressure to drive him out.

While more than 50 countries, including the U.S., have recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, Russia sided with the regime of Nicolas Maduro. Russia pledges to help Venezuela to avoid outside military intervention, Parliament Speaker Valentina Matvienko told Vice President Delcy Rodriguez over the weekend. Russia along with China has been a major backer of Maduro, with ties dating back to 1999 when his predecessor Hugo Chavez came to power. PDVSA is moving its European office from Lisbon to Moscow, Rodriguez said Friday.

Two Rosneft tankers, Serengeti and Abliani, will deliver a combined 1 million barrels of heavy naphtha from Europe to Venezuela in coming weeks, ending a month-long gap of supply. The volumes will bring relief but are far from solving the problem. Before the new sanctions were imposed in January, Venezuela was importing between 2 million and 3 million barrels of heavy naphtha every month.

The Rosneft cargoes will replace imports from the U.S., which used to be the top supplier of the diluent. In 2018, all of Venezuela’s imports were from the U.S. Gulf Coast via trading houses including Reliance Industries Ltd., Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s LDC Supply Trading, Vitol Group and Trafigura Ltd.

The diluted crude from the Orinoco Belt will be fed into upgraders owned jointly by PDVSA and companies including Rosneft, Chevron Corp., Total SA and Equinor ASA. The upgraders, which can process 630,000 barrels each day, had been operating at reduced rates since even before the sanctions due to mechanical breakdowns and a shortage of chemicals.

Venezuela is running out of space to store its crude

The upgraders have been squeezed from both sides, running short of crude to process and losing the U.S. market, the main buyer for its synthetic oil. Inventories of these grades have been piling up in onshore tanks and on the water.

After Lukoil PJSC’s trading arm Litasco SA and Trafigura stopped new oil trading with Venezuela following sanctions, Rosneft — a partner of PDVSA in joint ventures — stepped up, buying crude oil cargoes and supplying fuels, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The company has loaned about $6.5 billion to Venezuela since 2014 in exchange for oil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. PDVSA has an outstanding debt of $2.3 billion, according to a Rosneft presentation.

 

How the Media Distort News From Venezuela

March 25, 2019

by Reese Erlich

AntiWar

Whenever officials in Washington, D.C. set out to overthrow a foreign government, mainstream US media outlets are there to give a helping hand. All pretense of fairness and balance disappear in favor of outrageous distortion. For the most recent example, let’s look at Venezuela.

Both high-level Republicans and Democrats have decided it’s time for Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves, to rejoin the US sphere of influence. Hawks may call for direct military intervention while doves seek punishing sanctions, but all agree that the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro has got to go.

Mainstream media took a particularly rightward turn in January after Juan Guaidó anointed himself as Venezuela’s president, with the blessings from the administration of President Donald Trump. Guaidó is president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly and had never even run for president. A January opinion poll showed he was unknown to 81 percent of the people. He represented an unstable alliance of opposition parties. As I’ve written before, lack of legality didn’t stop the United States and its allies from declaring Guaidó president and pretending he ran an actual government.

As if responding to a bat signal in the skies above Gotham City, the mainstream media rushed to back the Trump team’s policies. The administration, which has proven incompetent and dangerous on other issues, was suddenly a reliable source of information on Venezuela. Statements from the administration and Venezuelan opposition leaders were uncritically reproduced, no matter how untethered to reality. Allow me to offer some examples.

In February, Guaidó announced plans to deliver international aid to starving Venezuelans by mobilizing massive demonstrations at the Venezuela-Colombia border, hoping a significant number of military officers would defect. The plan was obviously flawed because military leaders continued to back Maduro. Sure enough, the aid convoy didn’t get through, and military officers didn’t defect.

Many media outlets reported that Maduro’s security forces burned an aid truck as it attempted to enter Venezuela. In reality, aerial and other photos reported in real time by the leftist website Venezuela Analysis indicated that the fire was started by an anti-government protester. Weeks later, The New York Times got around to reporting that Maduro’s forces didn’t start the fire.

Another example of bias: The Times and other US media focused exclusively on the US aid, ignoring that donated by Russia and Cuba without incident.

In mid-March, Venezuela’s electric grid went out nationwide, causing huge economic dislocation and dozens of deaths. President Maduro said a US cyber attack caused the shutdown. CBS News reported this claim, but gave it no credence, dutifully saying US officials “dismissed the Venezuelan government’s accusation as absurd and an attempt to divert attention from its own chronic failings.”

The Maduro government has yet to provide proof of its assertion. But as a commentary in Forbes showed, the United States could well have launched such an attack. Remember, the US and Israel initially denied creating the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iranian nuclear facilities.

Why distortions?

I’ve been a foreign correspondent for forty years and have reported from Venezuela since 1994. I’ve met many journalists in the mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN and NPR. None see themselves as government mouthpieces, and in private, many will criticize Trump. So why the distorted coverage?

Mainstream reporters and editors take their cues from Washington, DC Since bipartisan leaders see Venezuela as beyond the pale, so do the media. They see Maduro as “hard left,” similar to the leaders of Cuba or the old USSR. As a result, they accept US government assertions pretty much without question. They often make no effort to get Maduro’s side, or even to find academics or former government officials who can balance a story with a pro-Maduro views.

In one particularly egregious article, the The New York Times Washington, DC, bureau recently quoted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at length about how Russia and Cuba are “propping up Venezuela,” an absurd claim given Cuba’s own economic problems and Russia’s distance. The article contained one perfunctory paragraph with the Venezuelan government viewpoint.

Vicious attacks

Reporters know there are few consequences for misreporting about Maduro and his allies, but that the roof caves in if they report negatively about the opposition.

In 2017, I filed a series of stories on Venezuela for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily website. While reporting government-sponsored brutality, I also noted that the opposition engaged in violent tactics against the police. I wrote that the momentum was shifting away from the antigovernment demonstrators. I came under vicious attack online in a clear effort to discredit not only the articles but me as a reporter.

To their credit, CBC editors defended my reporting. A few weeks later, the opposition demonstrations petered out as the country prepared to vote for a Constituent Assembly.

A positive exception

Of course, the mainstream media is not monolithic. Knight-Ridder, now owned by McClatchy, accurately reported that weapons of mass destruction didn’t exist in Iraq during the run up to the 2003 war.

McClatchy reporters have now uncovered covert US arms shipments from Miami to Venezuela. Their article explored possible links between the charter airline carrying the weapons and the CIA’s program in the 2000s of kidnapping and taking civilians to black sites. I hope other reporters follow up—but am not holding my breath.

The government of Venezuela certainly deserves a lot of criticism. Inflation is skyrocketing. Venezuelans face shortages of food and medicine. Unemployment is increasing as work places shut down because of the crisis. But that doesn’t justify US efforts to overthrow Maduro and install an opposition leader.

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

March 25, 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)

 

 

No responses yet

Leave a Reply