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TBR News November 13, 2018

Nov 13 2018

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

Washington, D.C. November 13, 2018:” I have learned from a source in the Chase Manhattan bank that his people are scared literally shitless over the news, gleaned from a very competent German intelligence service, that a group, totally off the screen, not Muslim and probably American-based, have managed to crack the entrance information into the electronic, international banking wire and transfer system. These are:

  • SWIFT (Bruxelles)

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions

  • CHAPS (London)

Clearing House Automated Payments System

  • CHIPS (New York) – Private Sector

Clearing House Interbank Payments System

  • FEDWIRE (New York) – US Government

Fedwire Funds Service

If, as the German reports have rumored, someone or some group successfully sabotages these systems, the world of international banking and the entire country would suffer a terrible blow that would take months, if not years, to recover from. Billions of dollars in bank transfers would vanish instantly and replicating the data, if the attackers know what they are doing, would take eons to try to replace.

For instance, the BofA transfers $200.000,000 to a bank in Germany and in a nano second, the transfer vanishes. No money is sent and none received.

I do not know if this operation is connected with other very disruptive activities that our Brave Defenders of Liberty are trying to track but the Germans seem to feel that the elements involved are not Arabs or Russians but Americans because of the idiomatic English in the messages they have decoded.”

 

The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 79
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • S. court orders Georgia to continue review of governor’s race
  • Trump ramps up Macron spat by mocking France in world wars
  • Nancy Pelosi Wants to Find “Common Ground” With Donald Trump. But Her Job Right Now Is to Fight Fascism.
  • DIA and ICE are Hiding Surveillance Cameras in Streetlights
  • Federal Highway Surveillance

 Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 79

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2017

  • Jun 17, 2018

“Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough. I think a really long strike would be a great idea.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: As numerous Post employees said on Twitter, they have not been discussing a strike. Rather, they have simply been pressing their owner, Jeff Bezos, for better pay and benefits.

 

  • Jun 18, 2018

“We have regulation. We have a lot of regulation. We have good regulation. But you don’t need 20 years to get rejected from building a highway. We can reject you in two years or one year. We have it down from 17 years, down to two. We expect to get it down to one.”

Source: Speech at signing of National Space Policy Directive

in fact: While some controversial and complicated infrastructure projects have taken 17 years to get approved, there is no basis for Trump’s suggestion that this time frame is standard. (He has used different figures in making this claim in the past; just the week prior, he said, “To build a highway in this country takes 19 years of approvals.”) The Treasury Department reported under Obama: “Studies conducted for the Federal Highway Administration concluded that the average time to complete a NEPA (environmental) study increased from 2.2 years in the 1970s, to 4.4 years in the 1980s, to 5.1 years in the 1995 to 2001 period, to 6.6 years in 2011.” Trump himself used a “10 years” figure in announcing an infrastructure proposal last year: “Today it can take 10 years just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project,” he said then. Further, there is no current evidence that Trump has already succeeded in reducing the standard approval time frame to two years, although he says this is his intention. The Department of Transportation changed its calculation method after 2011; it reported a median NEPA approval time of 3 years, 10 months in 2017, Trump’s first year, which was up slightly from 3 years, 8 months in 2016, Obama’s last year.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“We’ve cut more regulations than any administration, whether it’s four years, eight years, or 16 years, in one case. We’ve cut more regulations than any other president in history.”

Source: Speech at signing of National Space Policy Directive

in fact: No president has served for 16 years. The longest-serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, served just over 12 years, dying shortly into his fourth term.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“Mueller is Comey’s best friend.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no evidence that the two former FBI directors are “best friends.” Though they do know and like each other, and though it is fair for Trump to argue that it is inappropriate for Mueller to conduct an investigation involving Comey, nobody has produced any kind of proof that they were more than professional associates when both were at the FBI. Comey’s lawyer has said: “Jim and Bob are friends in the sense that co-workers are friends. They don’t really have a personal relationship. Jim has never been to Bob’s house and Bob has never been to Jim’s house.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: In 2017, Germany recorded its lowest crime rate since 1992. Offences were down 9.6 per cent compared to 2016; they were down 5.1 per cent when you don’t count offences against the country’s “foreigners law,” which includes immigration-related offences. Crime is also down since Germany began accepting large numbers of refugees in late 2015. In 2015, the German national crime report showed 6,330,649 total offences. In 2017, there were 5,761,984; that’s a 9 per cent decline. There was also a decline if you exclude violations of Germany’s “foreigners law,” which counts immigration-related offences. Excluding such offences, there were 5,927,908 offences in 2015 and 5,582,136 in 2017; that’s a 6 per cent decline.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

  • Jun 19, 2018

“Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no basis for the claim that Democrats want even brutal gang members to enter the country illegally in the hope that these people eventually become Democratic voters.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted. Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Crime is down since Germany began accepting large numbers of refugees in late 2015. In 2015, the German national crime report showed 6,330,649 total offences. In 2017, there were 5,761,984; that’s a 9 per cent decline. There was also a decline if you exclude violations of Germany’s “foreigners law,” which counts immigration-related offences. Excluding such offences, there were 5,927,908 offences in 2015 and 5,582,136 in 2017; that’s a 6 per cent decline. In 2017, Germany recorded its lowest crime rate since 1992. Offences were down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016; they were down 5 per cent excluding offences against the foreigners law.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“You see what’s happening with China. We have no choice. This should have been done many years ago. We have no choice. China has been taking out $500 billion a year out of our country and rebuilding China. I always say, ‘We have rebuilt China.'”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Trump uses “taking out” to refer to the trade deficit with China. The U.S. has never once had a $500 billion trade deficit with China, according to U.S. government data. The deficit was $337 billion in 2017.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“As you know, we’re also bringing back trillions of dollars from offshore that we couldn’t bring back. The companies were unable to do it. From a tax standpoint, the amount they had to pay — and almost more importantly, it was just very hard to do. You had to see the forms that had to be filled out. It was virtually impossible. So we had anywhere from $3 trillion to $5 trillion, and now it seems as though, Steve, we’re hitting the higher side.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Trump’s “$5 trillion” estimate for the amount of corporate profits parked overseas is unsupported by any experts. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released an estimate of $2.6 trillion in August 2016, and experts said they were not aware of a massive jump in the following 12 months. An October 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) also pegged the number at $2.6 trillion, while Goldman Sachs pegged it at $3.1 trillion the same month. “There’s no world in which it’s $4 trillion,” ITEP senior policy analyst Richard Phillips said in November 2017. “I do not know of anyone who increased the estimate so much recently,” Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in August 2017. “Like many things, I assume he made this up on the fly,” said another expert on the subject, who requested anonymity, when Trump made an estimate of $5 trillion in August 2017.

Trump has repeated this claim 32 times

“And you know the story: not since Ronald Reagan have they done any major tax cutting. And they’ve wanted to many, many times. I tell this story all the time. I said, ‘I don’t understand it.’ Cutting taxes should not be hard to sell. Right? Is there anything easier? ‘We’re going to cut your taxes.’ And you can’t get it through.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Trump’s history was inaccurate even if he was only talking only about his own party’s tax cuts. In claiming that presidents after Ronald Reagan were “never able to pass tax cuts,” he again ignored the passage of George W. Bush’s major tax cuts.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“And I shouldn’t say this to the people in this room, because you’ll end up not having liked my speech — but wages for working people are finally, after 22 years, rising again in our country.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. In May, the month before Trump spoke, average hourly earnings rose by 2.7 per cent, the same as in Obama’s last month in office, December 2016. Wage growth for production and non-supervisory employees was slightly higher in May, at 2.8 per cent, than it was in Obama’s last month in office, 2.5 per cent, but, again, the growth did not begin under Trump.

Trump has repeated this claim 25 times

“They don’t want to give it, because Democrats love open borders. Let the whole world come in. Let the whole world. MS-13 gang members from all over the place, come on in — we have open borders. And they view that possibly intelligently, except that it’s destroying our country. They view that as potential voters. Someday they’re going to vote for Democrats.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: We usually let Trump get away with his regular claim that Democrats support “open borders,” though it is not literally true, since it can be viewed as metaphorical language rather than a literal claim. But it is false to claim that Democrats are intentionally inviting MS-13 gang members into the country in the hope that they will one day be granted citizenship and vote for Democrats.

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“And Germany — we talk about Germany — they allowed millions of people (refugees) in. And, by the way, their crime, from the time they started, is up more than 10 per cent…their crime is up more than 10 per cent since they started taking them in.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Crime is down since Germany began accepting large numbers of refugees in late 2015. In 2015, the German national crime report showed 6,330,649 total offences. In 2017, there were 5,761,984; that’s a 9 per cent decline. There was also a decline if you exclude violations of Germany’s “foreigners law,” which counts immigration-related offences. Excluding such offences, there were 5,927,908 offences in 2015 and 5,582,136 in 2017; that’s a 6 per cent decline. In 2017, Germany recorded its lowest crime rate since 1992. Offences were down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016; they were down 5 per cent excluding offences against the foreigners law.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“And Germany — we talk about Germany — they allowed millions of people (refugees) in.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: “Millions” is an exaggeration. Germany has accepted fewer than 2 million asylum seekers since the current crisis erupted in 2015, according to German data: about 890,000 in 2015 (revised downward from initial estimates of more than 1 million), about 280,000 in 2016, and 186,844 in 2017, for a total of 1.4 million through last year.

“I don’t want people coming in. Do you know, if a person comes in and puts one foot on our ground, it’s essentially ‘welcome to America, welcome to our country.’ You never get them out, because they take their name, they bring the name down, they file it, then they let the person go; they say show back up to court in one year from now. One year. But here’s the thing: That in itself is ridiculous. Like 3 per cent come back.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: There is no apparent basis for the “3 per cent” figure. (Factcheck.org reported: “Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice responded to our request for the supporting data.”) A 2017 report released by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that advocates a hard line on illegal immigration, concluded that 37 per cent of people who were free pending trial did not show up for hearings over the past two decades. The author of the report, a former immigration judge, said the number was 39 per cent in 2016. In other words, even according to vehement opponents of illegal immigration, more than 60 per cent of unauthorized immigrants are indeed showing up for court.

Trump has repeated this claim 10 times

“And it got so crazy that all of these thousands — we now have thousands of judges — border judges — thousands and thousands. And, by the way, when we release the people they never come back to the judge anyway. They’re gone. They’re in your system. That’s it. If they’re good, that’s great. And if they’re bad, you’ll have killings, you’ll have murders, you’ll have this, you’ll have that, and you’ll have crime. You’ll have crime.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: It is not true that people “never” show up for their immigration court hearing. A 2017 report released by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that advocates a hard line on illegal immigration, concluded that 37 per cent of people who were free pending trial did not show up for hearings over the past two decades. The author of the report, a former immigration judge, said the number was 39 per cent in 2016. In other words, even according to vehement opponents of illegal immigration, most unauthorized immigrants are indeed showing up for court.

Trump has repeated this claim 10 times

“And it got so crazy that all of these thousands — we now have thousands of judges — border judges — thousands and thousands. And, by the way, when we release the people they never come back to the judge anyway. They’re gone. They’re in your system. That’s it. If they’re good, that’s great. And if they’re bad, you’ll have killings, you’ll have murders, you’ll have this, you’ll have that, and you’ll have crime. You’ll have crime.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: The U.S. does not have thousands of immigration judges. At the time Trump spoke, Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“And ultimately, we have to have a real border — not judges. Thousands and thousands of judges they want to hire. Who are these people? When we vet a single federal judge, it goes through a big process. Everybody that’s ever met her or him — they come, they complain, they don’t complain. They say he’s brilliant; she’s brilliant; he’s not smart enough to be a judge. Now we’re hiring thousands and thousands.” And: “They said, ‘Sir, we’d like to hire about five or six-thousand more judges.’ Five or six-thousand?” And: “This is maybe a great chance to have a change. But one of them says we want to hire 5,000 more judges. I don’t want judges. I want border security. I don’t want to try people.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: There is no mainstream proposal for Trump to hire thousands of immigration judges. At the time Trump spoke, Congress had allocated money for 484 immigration judges; fewer than 400 were actually in place. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was proposing to hire 375 more, while other Republican senators were proposing to hire 225 more.

Trump has repeated this claim 12 times

“Under current law, we have only two policy options to respond to this massive crisis: We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options. Totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law breaking.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: The choice facing the U.S. government is not between “totally open borders” or criminal prosecution of these families. Trump’s predecessors did not criminally prosecute as many parents-with-children as Trump’s administration did under its new “zero tolerance policy,” but they did not simply allow these parents to proceed freely into the country rather than detain them. In many cases, the Obama administration sent their cases to civil immigration courts, which often resulted in deportation but not detention. Further, an Obama “alternatives to detention” program, cancelled by Trump, paired asylum seekers with social workers who helped them navigate the legal system and helped ensure they completed their required check-ins with immigration authorities. And under Obama and Trump, thousands of asylum seekers have been released with GPS ankle monitors that allows immigration authorities to monitor their whereabouts.

“And I’m honored to have done it, because it was destroying — the estate tax — small businesses and farms. Destroying them. People were mortgaging them to the hilt to pay the tax, and then they couldn’t pay the interest on the mortgage, and the banks would take them away.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: The estate tax, which applies only to the country’s wealthiest people, was not “destroying small businesses and farms” before Trump’s tax law: only a tiny number of farmers and small-businesspeople qualify for it. According to the Tax Policy Center, a mere 80 farms and small businesses were among the 5,460 estates likely to pay the estate tax in 2017. The Center wrote on its website: “The Tax Policy Center estimates that small farms and businesses will pay $30 million in estate tax in 2017, fifteen hundredths of 1 percent of the total estate tax revenue.”

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

“And I told them (Canada), if they don’t change their ways — and we have a tremendous deficit. People say, ‘Well, there’s really not that much of a deficit.’ Well, they’re not including two things: energy and timber. And those are the two big things when it comes to Canada.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Canada-U.S. trade statistics do include energy and timber. U.S. statistics show that the U.S. had a $2.8 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2017, not a deficit, when goods and services are included. (Canadian statistics, calculated differently, show a U.S. deficit.)

Trump has repeated this claim 15 times

“There was a story two days ago, in a major newspaper, talking about people living in Canada, coming into the United States, and smuggling things back into Canada because the tariffs are so massive. The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle them in. They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff them up. They make them sound old or look old. No, we’re treated horribly.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Trump did not make this whole thing up: he was referring to a New York Post column by a journalist from Canada, and it is true that some Canadians shop in the U.S. and then attempt to convince Canadian customs officers that their new products are old. But this has nothing to do with high tariffs on U.S. products, and, contrary to Trump’s claim, does not in any way mean the U.S. is “treated horribly.” On shoes, there is no Canadian tariff on U.S.-made items. If Canadians who buy shoes at U.S. stores are attempting to avoid any tariff, it is Canada’s tariff on Asian-made shoes. In other words, Canadians have spent money at U.S. businesses, then attempted to deny revenue to the Canadian government; in no way does this hurt the United States. The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the U.S. industry’s lobby group, said in a statement: “The president seems misinformed about footwear trade…On behalf of the American footwear industry, we welcome anyone from anywhere to come and purchase shoes in America. It helps both our brands and retailers grow. Period.”

“They (Mexico) do nothing for us, and I see it through NAFTA. I see with $100 billion-plus that they make on trade through NAFTA — one of the worst deals ever made by this country.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: Trump is off by at least $31 billion, or at least $29 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $69 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want.”

Source: Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses

in fact: “Loopholes” in immigration law were not forcing Trump’s administration to separate families at the border. This was the Trump administration’s own decision.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 13, 2018

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 publications.

 

Conversation No. 87

Date: Sunday, June 15, 1997

Commenced: 11:20 AM CST

Concluded: 11:45 AM CST

 

GD: Well, and a happy Father’s Day to you, Robert, although you aren’t my father.

RTC: Yes, Greg and his people will be coming by later but we have time for a little chat. If they come, I’ll have to get off but people are always about an hour late these days.

GD: You must be lucky. People tell me they will call me back in a few minutes but it takes about a week. Of course the usual apologies about dinosaurs trampling around in their petunia beds or the sad fact that Grandmamma was attacked by a rabid lemur while in church. Otherwise, they would have gotten back to me sooner. I always tell them that this or that important person wanted to talk with them and I am so sorry they missed them or that I had found a buyer for their house but he got another place in the meantime. People are so rude these days. If you promise them something, you’d better come through but if they promise you something, forget about it. Unless, of course, it suits them to do something. And I get swamped by wrong numbers and often by bill collectors. I love to mess with their tiny minds. If come old lady calls at two in the morning, looking for Maudy Mae, I tell them, in sadness, that Maudy passed last night and the viewing will be tomorrow. Or other such like. When bill collectors call for me, I put on a Slavic accent and tell them that this is a new phone number and I don’t know who they are talking about.

RTC: (Laughter) You are such a creative trouble-maker, Gregory.

GD: Well, they have it coming. Or telling some man who calls for Alice that she is up with a customer and I’ll have her call him back when she’s done.

RTC: (Laughter) Nasty.

GD: Oh, yes, but I do enjoy my fun. I don’t initiate bothering people but they had best not bother me.

RTC: Your antics must amuse the people who listen in on you.

GD: Yes, that’s no surprise. Do they listen to you, Robert?

RTC: No, they wouldn’t dare.

GD: But if they listen to me and I am talking to you, what then?

RTC: They shut down their system. At least until we stop talking. Of course they are concerned about my talking to you. I know that because I have been repeatedly warned against talking to you. You, Gregory, are a loose cannon and someone who not only does not respect our system but actively works against some of it. You gave Kimmel some very valuable documents that would materially assist his family in their quest to rehabilitate the reputation of Admiral Kimmel but Tom is not going to ever use them or allow them to be used by his family because if it ever became public that these came from you and that you got them from our friend Müller, the head of the Gestapo and a later Georgetown resident, all hell would break loose. Loyalty to his job takes precedence over loyalty to his family. No, Gregory, take it for granted that a close eye is kept on you at all times. They want to know what you have, where it is and what you plan to do with it.

GD: Yes, none of this surprises me but what is astonishing to me is how utterly stupid and predictable all of their approaches are. I mean we pay their salaries and for the money they get, they are a bunch of stupid sheep.

RTC: Unkind but no doubt true. But still, I caution you against saying anything on the phone about documents from Müller or myself, about what they might contain or, and most important, where you have them. We all know what you will eventually do with them but the first concepts are the most important. If they find out what you have, the next step is to either con you out of them or simply do a black bag job on them by breaking in and removing them. And if you leave home for any period of time, if you have incriminating or dangerous material on your computer  hard drive, take it with you or remove it from your home computer and hide it in a safe place.

GD: Now we have good advice. I assume they’ll get to my publisher and convince him to find other subjects and authors to deal with.

RTC: Oh yes, and perhaps they will assist him with sales by making his books prominent in various government-owned book shops. You know how it goes. We all think, Gregory, that there are three basic branches of government here. The executive, the legislative and the judicial. Correct?

GD: Yes, we all learned that in school, along with reams of useless propaganda.

RTC: But there is a fourth branch of our government, Gregory, one I am personally well acquainted with. I would call it the Power Elite after the Mills book. And they, not the first three, run this country. This Elite is comprised of big business like the automotive companies, the big banks and other private financial institutions like the Federal Reserve and, of course, the insurance business. Yes, the insurance business. The biggest casino in the world. Everything with them is betting. They bet you’ll live past a certain age and further enrich them with premium payments. They bet you won’t drive your car into the back of a school bus and further enrich them with premium payments. Now, some people think the media is part and parcel of this but I assure you, our media works for the Power Elite. Cross them and the vital advertising is cut off and the paper collapses. Cross them and the unions suddenly strike the paper or the price of their paper goes way up. Oh yes, the media are servants of the middle level.

GD: I have always had trouble with the insurance people. I made the mistake of using Allstate….

RTC: Jesus, you poor fellow.

GD: Oh yes, I know. Do they pay out? No, they use every excuse to avoid any payment. Your family was staying in a motel until the renovators had finished rewiring their insured house? The house caught fire? Too bad, dudes, Allstate said, you weren’t living in the house when it caught fire so we don’t pay. A real case, in Wisconsin as I recall. The courts didn’t see it Allstate’s way so after long and expensive litigation, Allstate had to pay. My lawyer hates them and has compiled a thick file of such crap. I assume the others are just as bad.

RTC: Not all of them so blatant but if you have health insurance and get cancer, they call it a pre existing condition and cancel you right in the middle of chemotherapy and you die. Too bad but they take comfort in all the money they saved.

GD: But how do these crooks, these bribe merchants, stay in power?

RTC: They have people like the CIA on their side, of course. And the NSA and the FBI. These people, and I know this from the inside, help the Power Elite stay in power by spying on their enemies, actual and possible, to warn them of danger and to avert it by destroying or neutralizing it. And there are benefits. Say that Company A is one of our boys. We, or the NSA or whatever, spies on Companies B and C, the big rivals of A and when we learn secrets that could benefit A, we quickly pass it back to them. They, in turn, write checks that can be so comforting on cold nights. And all of this applies to the stock market, often rigged by boom and bust cycles, who also pay like slot machines. No, Gregory, the conspiracy people like to take the crumbs we throw out and worry the bone of the Kennedy assassination or the sinking of the Maine while other, more serious, matters go ignored. I was the liaison between the Company and big business and I know very well whereof I speak. The murder of Allende is nothing compared with the enormity of the greed and corruption that saddles everyone in the country but Congressmen and preachers And the burden gets heavier by the day. They spy on all of you, to keep order, to prevent disorder, to discredit enemies, to steal money, to punish people like you. Yes, all of this. The NSA watches everyone in this country. If you make a phone call to your cousin in England, they NSA listens in. If you get a money transfer from a Swiss bank, they know about it before your bank does. If you take a trip to France to take in the sights, they know the flight numbers, the hotels and the car rentals. Go to Switzerland, and they know what you put into a bank account. Go to the local library and check out a book they don’t like and they know about it. Buy a car, rent a car, buy a house, rent a house and they can find out about it in seconds if they want to. They have direct contact and full cooperation with all the major credit agencies. They all swap information of all of you so every credit card purchase, every deposit or withdrawal, every overdue card payment, all of this they can find out in seconds. And they want, and will eventually get, more and more power until the public is sucked dry like a school child attending a convocation of vampires. They are very powerful Gregory, but so huge and so all encompassing that no one without inside information on them would ever believe any of it.

GD: Robert, since you were in with these people, do you have any supportive documents on this?

RTC: A footlocker full. Trento is far more interested in this than he is in the trivia like the revolution in Iran or our part in the killing of the Diem brothers. I am safe but you are not. Joe is safe because if he ever got his hands on any of this, believe that Langley would have the originals, uncopied, on the day he got them.

GD: And the pat on the pointy head?

RTC: And the pat on the pointy head and, don’t forget, the Presentation Pen Set. They love those pen sets.

GD: With such baubles men are led. Napoleon said that about the Legion of Honor.

RTC: I think the pen sets cost about twenty dollars each but my, what they can buy, Gregory. Such loyalty and, more important, such service.

GD: But such systems fall of their own hubris and their own weight. They fall, Robert, and great will be the fall thereof.

RT: Not on my watch, Gregory, not on mine. I served and got my rewards and now I am awaiting a not unexpected but hopefully natural death. I have my memories.

GD: And you also have your documents, Robert.

RTC: Yes, I do. Well, if Trento gets the really important ones, they will be accompanied by the Divine Plato on a one way trip to Langley and the burn bags. Plato gets jobs but Joe gets the pen set.

GD: Rather than go on about Müller, I think I would rather nut the Power Elite. Müller is dead but all of the rest of them ought to be either dead, or serving life sentences in a Mohave Desert work camp.

RTC: And if they went, they would be replaced by a legion of others just waiting in the wings, wetting their panties in anticipation.

GD: Of the spoils of peace.

RTC: No, of war against everyone else.

 

(Concluded at 11:45 AM CST)

U.S. court orders Georgia to continue review of governor’s race

November 13, 2018

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Georgia voters will wait until at least Friday for the final word on who will be their next governor after a U.S. federal judge ordered state election officials to review provisional ballots cast in last week’s election.

In an order late on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg urged county election officials to conduct a “good faith” or “independent” review of ballots cast by voters on a provisional basis in the race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican and former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The race was one of at least a dozen high-profile U.S. contests where the final results remained unclear one week after Americans went to the polls. The midterm congressional election on Nov. 6 produced a divided federal government, with Democrats taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and President Donald Trump’s Republican Party expanding their majority in the U.S. Senate.

Officials in Florida are also recounting the results of contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial seats.

“This remedy is necessary and warranted, based on the nature of the evidence in the record, the fundamental importance of the interest of the voters that cannot be remedied after final certification, and the urgency of the situation,” wrote Totenberg, who is handling the case in Atlanta federal court.

Officials should “engage in a good faith review of the eligibility of voters issued provisional ballots” or “engage in an independent review” of voters’ information on a rolling basis to avoid delaying final certification, she said.

Kemp had declared victory on election night, even as the Abrams campaign said there were thousands more mail, provisional and absentee ballots still to be tallied.

The Georgia contest came under national scrutiny because of Kemp’s role as the state’s top election official, a position he held through the Nov. 6 vote. Voting rights groups and prominent Democrats have accused the Republican of using his position to suppress minority votes, an allegation he has strongly denied.

Abrams is vying to be the first black female governor in the United States.

In Florida over the weekend, officials began a machine recount of votes in the race between outgoing Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, with another recount under way for the gubernatorial race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum.

Florida law mandates recounts in elections where the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent.

The result of Arizona’s closely fought U.S. Senate race emerged on Monday night when U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema declared victory and Republican opponent Martha McSally conceded, after multiple media outlets called the closely contested Arizona race for the Democrat.

Sinema will succeed Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, who did not seek reelection.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum

 

Trump ramps up Macron spat by mocking France in world wars

President also boasts of ‘excellent’ US wines and says Parisians started to learn German before US saved them from occupation

November 13, 2018

by Ed Pilkington in New York and Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

The Guardian

Donald Trump ramped up his spat with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, with a denigrating tweet in which he said Parisians had started to learn German during the second world war before the US saved them from occupation

The US president’s Tuesday morning tweet exacerbates his standoff with Macron following his visit to Paris over the weekend that was marred by his controversial behavior.

Trump’s outburst came as France marked the third anniversary of the 2015 Bataclan terror attack in which a coordinated wave of suicide bombings and gun attacks left nearly 130 people dead.

In the tweet Trump repeated his accusation that Macron had called for a European army as protection against the US – an apparent misreading of Macron’s earlier comments.

The biting words represent an escalation of the attack Trump made on Friday in which he said Macron had been “very insulting” by suggesting Europe needed its own army to protect itself against the US, China and Russia. Trump appeared to be conflating, however, Macron’s desire to strengthen Europe’s military forces – an ambition Trump himself has demanded as he seeks to reduce US contributions to Nato – and comments made by the French president in a radio interview about the threat of cyber-hacking from other countries including the US.

Guy Verhofstadt, the chief representative for the European parliament on Brexit, shot back at Trump.

“What Trump doesn’t seem to realize is that without French money, the USA would not even exist as France financed the American Revolution. They even gave you the Statue of Liberty to celebrate this!” Verhofstadt tweeted.

Trump has also been riled by Macron’s warning on Sunday, at a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, about the thrust of global politics. Macron, clearly with Trump partly in mind, denounced those who embrace nationalism and put “our interests first”, adding that “our demons are resurfacing”.

In a rally in Houston, Texas in the final days of this month’s US midterm elections, Trump called himself a “nationalist”. One of his mantras throughout his political rise has been “America first”.

On Tuesday morning, the president’s tweetstorm continued. He said Macron was suffering low approval ratings while France suffers from high unemployment, then added: “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France…”

He finished the sequence by taunting, in capitals: “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”

Asked to comment, the office of the French president said it had nothing to say about the tweets. It said Macron had made his points about a European army and European defence very clear to Trump during talks in Paris.

Macron is not the only French element engaging in a social media dispute with Trump. On Monday the French army waded in, expertly playing the US president at his own game – trolling him.

Alluding to Trump’s decision to cancel a visit to an American cemetery outside Paris during his official visit because of rain, the Armée de Terre posted a picture on its official Twitter feed of a soldier training in a downpour. It said: “Il y a de la pluie, mais c’est pas grave [it is raining, but it is not a big deal].”

Macron’s advisers have a longstanding policy on not commenting on any of Trump’s tweets. In Paris, officials have indicated that Trump’s tweets are different to the real relationship between the French and US leaders.

One adviser to Macron stressed that Trump and Macron speak several times a week by phone on all subjects. Trump was also the first world leader to meet Macron at the Elysée on the weekend of the armistice commemorations – for a bilateral meeting on Saturday – an important gesture that showed the importance of the Paris-Washington relationship, officials said.

In the tweets, Trump lambasted Macron for low popularity ratings. Macron, who was elected president last May after beating the far-right Marine Le Pen, has seen his approval ratings fall to below 30% as French voters complained his promised “transformation” of France was not fixing their daily difficulties in making ends meet. Although Macron’s popularity ratings have fallen in France’s regular flurry of opinion polls, his centrist party still dominates the French parliament and can easily pass all legislation.

Trump’s relationship with Macron – who is the same age as his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr – began last year with Trump repeatedly praising Macron as a “winner”.

An adviser to Macron stressed that the French president hadclearly explained his position on a more integrated European defence system, stressing that France was not making a choice between a European defence mechanism and multilateral organisations such as Nato. In recent months, Macron has warned that Europe can no longer depend on the US for its military defence and called for an urgent new European security policy.

Trump also tweeted about the fact that he didn’t attend the cemetery ceremony in the rain, saying he had suggested driving there but secret service officers advised against it.

  • This article was amended on 13 November 2018 to change our translation of “c’est pas grave” from “it’s not serious” to “it is not a big deal”, which is a more idiomatic translation.

 

Nancy Pelosi Wants to Find “Common Ground” With Donald Trump. But Her Job Right Now Is to Fight Fascism.

November 13, 2018

by Mehdi Hasan

The Intercept

She just doesn’t get it.

“We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides,” announced Nancy Pelosi on the night of November 6. “We must try” to find “common ground” with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, she told a rally in Washington, D.C. as victory after victory in the midterms confirmed a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, adding: “ We’ll have a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong.”

My heart sank as I listened to her speak. Did she really believe this platitudinous nonsense? And if so, where has she been the past two years? In a coma?

In fact, forget the past 24 months in which an unhinged president praised Nazis, banned Muslims, caged kids, and obstructed justice. Consider only the events of the past seven days, since Pelosi made her pious pledge.

The morning after the midterms, Trump fired his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and appointed a political crony, Matthew Whitaker, as the new “acting” attorney general — a move described by former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo as “unconstitutional.”

Trump denounced CNN journalist Jim Acosta as an “enemy” of the people and then stripped him of his White House press pass. “Out of line” and “unacceptable” was the response from White House Correspondents’ Association.

He insulted three black female reporters, dismissing questions from CNN’s Abby Phillip and “PBS NewsHour’s” Yamiche Alcindor as “stupid” and “racist,” while calling American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan a “loser”.

He promised to adopt a “warlike posture” if House Democrats dared to open investigations into his financial and political dealings, and vowed to use the Republican majority in the Senate to go after them in response.

He threatened to cut federal funding to California over “poor” forest management in the midst of the deadliest fires in the state’s history. (Firefighters on the ground say the fires have “nothing to do with forest management.”)

He took to Twitter to make unfounded claims of “fraud,” “electoral corruption,” and “massively infected” ballots in the election recounts in Florida and Arizona, in a brazen and partisan attempt to secure victory for Republican candidates in both states. “In a month of harrowing news,” noted Cornell University political scientist Tom Pepinsky, an expert on authoritarian politics, “this development is still almost incalculably bad for American democracy.”

All the while, Congressional Republicans stayed silent. With the exception of the retiring Jeff Flake, not a word of criticism, or dissent, from any of them.

Yet this is the far-right president and party that Pelosi wants to do deals with. This is the motley collection of racists and misogynists, of con artists and conspiracy theorists, that she plans to negotiate “bipartisan” agreements with. She wants to lead a “unifying” Congress, she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo last Thursday, and hopes that Trump will show a new “level of maturity” going forward.

Who is she kidding?

Maybe herself. In September 2017, Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader who also prefers rolling over to resisting, went to the White House to try and persuade Trump to extend protections for young undocumented immigrants. An excited Pelosi and Schumer called it a “very productive” dinner meeting with the president on the subject of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” they said, after tucking into Chinese food in the Blue Room of the White House.

Guess what happened next? The following morning, Trump threw Pelosi and Schumer under the bus. “No deal was made last night on DACA,” the president tweeted. “Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

Yet here we are, more than a year later, with Pelosi telling The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere last week that Trump might “support bipartisan legislation, whether it’s comprehensive immigration reform, whether it’s Dreamers, whether it’s gun safety.”

Come on, Nancy! Whatever happened to “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?

To quote liberal megadonor Tom Steyer, Trump and the Republicans are not in the “range of reason” on most policy issues and have “shifted the conversation to places that are so crazy that there’s really no other side to the conversation.”

Has Pelosi really not been paying attention as the GOP, led by Trump, has mounted an assault on everything from voting rights to racial equality to planet Earth itself? And if she has, why then the continuing obsession with “bipartisanship”? “Politics is not a parlor game where good manners always win out,” wrote left-wing activist and co-founder of Data for Progress, Sean McElwee, in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. “It involves questions of power and privilege, which cannot be solved merely with bipartisan brunches.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not denying that Pelosi was an effective speaker the first time around. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the Recovery Act, the Lily Ledbetter Act … all passed on her watch. Few question her ability to count votes — or the lack of a viable challenger from within the Democratic Party. But the job of speaker in the 116th Congress, which will convene in January, can’t only be about passing laws; it has to also be about holding this lawless president to account. Impeachment, therefore, must be on the table — but Pelosi has taken it off the table by naively insisting that it can only be done “in a bipartisan way.”

Let’s be clear: American democracy is in crisis. America’s minorities are, literally, under fire. If the dishonest, racist, corrupt, anti-democratic Donald Trump isn’t worthy of impeachment, then who is? Pelosi should take a pause from her ongoing media tour and listen to the recent discussion that my colleague Jeremy Scahill hosted on his podcast, Intercepted, with NYU historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of “Fascist Modernities” and an expert on Benito Mussolini, and Yale University philosopher Jason Stanley, author of “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.”

“I think right now, we are heading towards, more and more, a one-party state,” Stanley said, explaining Trump’s use of “classic fascist tactics.” Ben-Ghiat said she believed that “we are heading toward … a militarized authoritarian surveillance state,” and “we’re in the middle of a battle for the survival of democracy.”

Got that? A battle for the survival of democracy. Yet the leader of the Democrats in the House wants to talk infrastructure spending and prescription drugs. Her counterpart in the Senate is busy making noise about the size of seats on airplanes. They both seem unable to rise to the occasion; unwilling to recognize the existential danger that Trump poses to the republic.

“We have an obligation to try and find common ground” with the president, Pelosi told CNN last week. Not true. She and her party have an obligation, above all else, to defeat fascism — and you can’t defeat fascism by meeting it in the middle. The correct response to a white nationalist in the White House isn’t to offer him a vague deal on “infrastructure.” It’s to fight and, yes, to resist him at every turn; to loudly and relentlessly call out his rhetoric and behavior as abnormal and un-American.

The next two years will be a battle for the heart, soul, and future of U.S. democracy; it will be a nonstop, 24/7 struggle against incipient fascism and unabashed white nationalism. The president who wants his base to believe that constitutionally mandated recounts are illegitimate, who deploys thousands of troops to the border during an election campaign to stop an “invasion” from a migrant caravan 700 miles away, and who thinks Democrats are “evil” and “crazy” won’t go quietly into the night.

Forget bipartisanship and compromise. There is too much at stake for an out-of-touch and self-defeating kumbaya politics. The job of soon-to-be-Speaker Pelosi is not to negotiate with Trump and the far-right Republicans — only to defeat them.

DEA and ICE are Hiding Surveillance Cameras in Streetlights

November 10, 2018

by Justin Rohrlich and  Dave Gershgorn

Defense One

So far, the public doesn’t know where or how the cameras are being installed.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal.

According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time.

It’s unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA’s most recent purchases were funded by the agency’s Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia.

Christie Crawford, who owns Cowboy Streetlight Concealments with her husband, a Houston police officer, said she was not at liberty to discuss the company’s federal contracts in detail.

We do streetlight concealments and camera enclosures,” Crawford told Quartz. “Basically, there’s businesses out there that will build concealments for the government and that’s what we do. They specify what’s best for them, and we make it. And that’s about all I can probably say.”

However, she added: “I can tell you this—things are always being watched. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving down the street or visiting a friend, if government or law enforcement has a reason to set up surveillance, there’s great technology out there to do it.”

Earlier this week, the DEA issued a solicitation for “concealments made to house network PTZ [Pan-Tilt-Zoom] camera, cellular modem, cellular compression device,” noting that the government intended to give the contract to Obsidian Integration LLC, an Oregon company with a sizable number of federal law enforcement customers.

Just a few days earlier, the Jersey City Police Department awarded a contract to Obsidian Integration for “the purchase and delivery of a covert pole camera.” The filing did not provide further design details.

Obsidian did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Morgan Hairston, the Department of Justice contracting officer handling the bids.

In addition to streetlights, the DEA has also placed covert surveillance cameras inside traffic barrels, a purpose-built product offered by a number of manufacturers. And as Quartz reported last month, the DEA operates a network of digital speed-display road signs that contain automated license plate reader technology within them.

Chad Marlow, a senior advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties, says efforts to put cameras in street lights have been proposed before by local law enforcement, typically as part of a “smart” LED street light system.

“It basically has the ability to turn every streetlight into a surveillance device, which is very Orwellian to say the least,” Marlow told Quartz. “In most jurisdictions, the local police or department of public works are authorized to make these decisions unilaterally and in secret. There’s no public debate or oversight.”

The impact of surveillance cameras will increase as the development of facial recognition algorithms become more commonplace among law enforcement agencies. Amazon has been particularly interested in outfitting cameras operated by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with facial recognition, according to emails recently unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight.

“We are ready and willing to support the vital [Homeland Security Investigations] mission,” an Amazon employee wrote in an email that touted the company’s facial recognition software with these surveillance devices.

 

Federal Highway Surveillance

November 13, 2018

by Christian Jürs

A joint Pentagon/Department of Transportation are conducting a permanent surveillance of all motor vehicles using the Federal Highway System. This is code named ARGUS.

It was initially a part of an overall public surveillance program instituted and organized by Admiral Poindexter, convicted of various criminal acts as the result of the Iran-Contra affair and then brought back to government service by the Bush Administration.

Following public disclosure of Poindexter’s manic attempts to pry into all aspects of American life and his subsequent public departure from government service (he is still so employed but as a “private consultant” and not subject to public scrutiny) many of his plans were officially scrapped. ARGUS, however, is still valid and now in place.

This Orwellian nonsense consists of having unmanned video cameras installed over all Federal highways and toll roads. These cameras work 24/7 to video all passing vehicles, trucks, private cars and buses.

The information is passed to a central data bank and entered therein. This data is supplied, on request, to any authorized law enforcement agency to include private investigative and credit agencies licensed to work with Federal law enforcement information, on any user of the road systems under surveillance.

Provision is made, according to the operating plans, to notify local law enforcement immediately if any driver attempts to obscure their license plate number and instructs them to at once to “apprehend and identify” the vehicle or vehicles involved.

It is at present, a Federal crime to attempt to damage or in any way interfere with the surveillance program or any portion thereof.

It has been reported that a firm located in Palo Alto, California, is making fake American license plates to thwart the surveillance system.

These are copies of legitimate plats printed on stiff plastic and with magnets on the reverse so that the fake plate can be swiftly fixed to the car’s original plate.

Surveillance will supply information that Dr.William Snodgrass from Bad Seepage, Ohio was driving around in Las Vegas when, in fact, he never left his house in Ohio.

It is advertised that the plates cost $50.00 a set and it is reported that sales are very brisk.

It should also be noted that driving on Federal highways with fake license plates is quite illegal.

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