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TBR News November 26, 2019

Nov 25 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. November 26, 2019:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.
Commentary for November 26:” Yesterday I was in another part of the building on business when I heard loud shouting and looking down the hall, I saw King Donald waddling along, loose-fitting jacket (to hide his huge paunch) flapping and waving a paper. He was sceaming at the top of his lungs about some report and a small army of ass-lickers were in his wake like garbage behind a cruise ship. It’s too bad I couldn’t photograph Chubby and let the public see what a loon sits in the Oval Office.
After his heart problems recently, someone filched a copy of his Walter Reed medical report and now, among a few of us, he is known as ‘Shrimp Dick Donny.” One wonders in light of this problem how he could have fathered children but some joker said at chow that if it weren’t for the turkey baster, Trump could never have fathered anything. Let’s sanction turkey basters and protect our children from the Caligulas from the Wineries”

The Table of Contents
Loony Tunes and Merry Melodies
• Rick Perry tells Donald Trump: ‘You really are the chosen one’
• Donald Trump Is Also the Anti-Vaxxing President
• Former White House lawyer must testify in impeachment probe, judge rules
• Donald Trump Bragged About the Renoir on His Private Jet. Experts Say It’s a Fake.
• Historians Find Another Spy in the U.S. Atomic Bomb Project
• Frank Gardner Wisner’s Friends
• How Do I watch You? Let me count the ways….
• The Season of Evil
• The Anatomy of a Fraud

Loony Tunes and Merry Melodies
Rick Perry tells Donald Trump: ‘You really are the chosen one’
Energy secretary briefed president on Old Testament kings
• Perry: ‘God’s used imperfect people all through history’
November 25, 2019
by Martin Pengelly
The Guardian
Donald Trump met with ridicule when in August he claimed to be “the chosen one”, his apparently messianic self-confidence clashing with a press corps sceptical of the sincerity of his own religious beliefs as well as his behaviour and record in office. He subsequently said he’d been joking.
But his energy secretary, Rick Perry, thinks the president should take himself seriously.
“God’s used imperfect people all through history,” Perry told the Fox News host Ed Henry in a video clip widely shared on Monday. “King David wasn’t perfect, Saul wasn’t perfect, Solomon wasn’t perfect.
“And I actually gave the president a little one-pager” – a possible reference to the short and colourful briefing notes Trump is reported to prefer – “on those Old Testament kings, about a month ago.
“And I shared it with him, I said, ‘Mr President, I know there are people that say, y’know, ‘You said you were the chosen one.’ And, I said: ‘You were.’
“I said, ‘If you’re a believing Christian, you understand God’s plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet and our government.’”
Discussing the interview on air, Henry said Perry “thinks at this moment and this time, Donald Trump was sent by God to do great things”.
Henry said Perry also “pointed out to me he believes Barack Obama was sent by God as well, for that moment and that time”.
The notion that Trump is a ruler of less-than-perfect Christian values sent to benefit the godly – a second King Cyrus, perhaps – is common on the religious right.
His own religious commitment seems questionable in the extreme but the thrice-married, porn star- and Playmate-paying, pussy-grabbing, customer-defrauding, disability-mocking, race-baiting, Nazi-sympathising, oft-bankrupt, impeachment-threatened president counts evangelical Christians as a key bloc of support.
Perry, a former governor of Texas and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who like other senior Trump aides has found himself under the shadow of the impeachment inquiry, will step down as energy secretary in December.

Donald Trump Is Also the Anti-Vaxxing President
04/13/19
by Chris Roberts
The Observer
Donald Trump is best understood as an influencer, in the sense that he doesn’t really do shit, at least not things like accomplishing tasks or performing labor, physical or mental. As a very big rich boy floating through life on a raft of his father’s money, America’s bronzed and lowing lie machine’s interests in business or government are limited to himself: That is, branding and promotion.
This political “brand”—demonizing outsiders, denigrating experts and making rash and outlandish promises to vulnerable people that even a snake oil salesman would find immoral—is not original. Every thuggish political hack currently running an important country follows some version of this formula. This is because, as the regrettable 20th century demonstrated, this formula works. And so an individual who is quite likely infirm or unstable and who has politics as sophisticated as those of a bored and spoiled child frying ants with a magnifying glass is in nominal control of the United States, a patently dangerous situation that has become normal—and dangerous to everybody, including those who swallow the rhetoric.
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Trump is promoting white-nationalist conspiracy theories. These have inspired mass killings. Trump also encourages people to shun possibly the most significant breakthrough in medicine. A direct line can be drawn from Williamsburg, Brooklyn— where a measles outbreak, caused by a mass refusal to vaccinate children for this disease, has caused a public-health crisis—to the president and other braying sophists.
In Williamsburg, home to one of New York City’s communities of ultra-Orthodox Jewish people, a coordinated and baseless scare campaign—led by rabbis peddling debunked conspiracy theories, including the claim that vaccines are linked to autism—is convincing Hasidim to shun vaccinations. (The outbreak seems to have started after a traveler returned to New York from Israel, where many religious Jews also shun vaccinations, and where a baby girl whose parents refused to vaccinate her died, the country’s first measles death in 15 years.) Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public-health emergency and is employing the courts, where resistors plan to fight the mandatory shots with a lawsuit. Neither data nor compulsion are working. Nor is a counter-campaign, led by Hasidic nurses. This episode shows how difficult it is for facts to recover and overtake fake news once the false narrative spreads—especially if the false narrative slides neatly into a groove prepared by, say, the president of the United States.
How did we get here? And how does the doctrine of anti-vaxxing persist when close to 300 people have fallen ill? Why were anti-vaxxing videos so popular and so lucrative on social media that YouTube had to be shamed into de-monetizing them? At the core is distrust of outsiders and dismissal of expertise. At the core of anti-vaxxing are the same values promoted by Donald Trump and Fox News in their ouroboros of bullshit.
As Laurie Garrett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Coming Plague recently pointed out in Foreign Policy, “[t]here is a strong link between the rise of populism and anti-vaccination sentiments.” Economic anxieties like the 2008 financial meltdown have convinced people that nobody knows what they are talking about. Despite reams of data to the contrary, this has created the vector for far-right charlatans to convince their people both that foreigners are the enemy, and that government vaccination programs are bogus.
The irony is that Trump is right about disease spreading in the United States, but completely wrong about the source. In an attempt to stir up a xenophobic panic, Trump has claimed that migrants arriving in the country from the global south carry with them infectious diseases. There is absolutely no source for this, no data or even anecdotes, aside from patently racist beliefs about migrants and danger and film. There is no sign or science that newcomers to the United States refuse life-saving vaccinations when they are available. They often come here because the situation in their home country has deteriorated to a level of chaos where vaccines are no longer available.
Meanwhile, those who do refuse vaccinations are often bathed in privilege. Abuse of this status imperils others. Rich people in Silicon Valley, tweeting buffoons in Trump’s inner circle, rabid MAGA automatons auditioning for roles in the Barry Goldwater administration—these are the people spreading diseases in the United States, and doing so because the brand-conscious president is spreading his gospel that smart people are dumb and wrong like rancid margarine across a moldering crust of bread.

Former White House lawyer must testify in impeachment probe, judge rules
November 25, 2019
by Jan Wolfe
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, a federal judge ruled on Monday, rejecting the administration’s assertion of immunity for officials by declaring that “no one is above the law.”
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ruling only legally binds McGahn. But it could give other officials, like former national security adviser John Bolton, a basis for cooperating with the Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry against the Republican president, legal experts said.
McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, in May defied a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee to testify about Trump’s efforts to impede the now-completed special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
“Executive branch officials are not absolutely immune from compulsory congressional process – no matter how many times the executive branch has asserted as much over the years – even if the president expressly directs such officials’ noncompliance,” Jackson wrote, adding that “this result is unavoidable as a matter of basic constitutional law.”
The judge said she was not addressing the separate issue of whether McGahn could withhold information by citing executive privilege, which is intended to keep confidential the nature of discussions between a president and close aides.
The Trump administration has refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry as well as other Democratic-led investigations and has directed current and former officials to defy subpoenas for documents and testimony.
“We will appeal,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said by email.
William Burck, a lawyer for McGahn, said in a statement that McGahn will comply with Jackson’s decision unless it is stayed pending appeal.
The subpoena to McGahn was issued months before the House opened an impeachment inquiry in September into Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine. The committee sued McGahn in August to try to enforce the subpoena.
The judge also wrote that “compulsory appearance by dint of a subpoena is a legal construct, not a political one, and per the Constitution, no one is above the law.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that he now expects McGahn to “follow his legal obligations and promptly appear before the Committee.”
A PIVOTAL FIGURE
McGahn emerged as a pivotal figure in the 448-page report completed in March by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 election, through a campaign of hacking and propaganda, as well as extensive contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
Mueller’s report, released in redacted form in April, revealed about 10 instances in which Trump took actions aimed at impeding the investigation. Mueller did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, though Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, afterward decided that the president had not committed obstruction.
When the committee sued McGahn in August, it said it needed to speak with him to help lawmakers decide whether to include Trump’s actions toward the Mueller investigation as part of an impeachment inquiry.
According to the Mueller report, McGahn told Mueller’s team that Trump repeatedly instructed him to have the special counsel removed and then asked him to deny having been so instructed when word of the action emerged in news reports. McGahn did not carry out either instruction.
McGahn’s relationship with Trump was strained by events of the Mueller investigation. Trump replaced him with Pat Cipollone, who still holds the job.
Several aides and advisers to Trump were charged in the Mueller investigation. All but two pleaded guilty, while longtime adviser Roger Stone and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were convicted by juries. Mueller said he found insufficient evidence to charge Trump with criminal conspiracy concerning Russia.
House Democratic leaders have focused their impeachment inquiry on Ukraine but have discussed pursuing a broader count of obstruction of Congress among any articles of impeachment – formal charges – brought against Trump. McGahn’s testimony could bolster that part of their inquiry.
House passage of any articles of impeachment would lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. The Senate is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, who have shown little support for removing him.
Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Will Dunham, Noeleen Walder and Cynthia Osterman

Donald Trump Bragged About the Renoir on His Private Jet. Experts Say It’s a Fake.
Two art historians don’t hesitate to speak to the painting’s authenticity, if not to the president’s state of mind.
October 18, 2017
by Brian Boucher,
Artnet News
Watching Donald Trump being interviewed on 60 Minutes shortly after Election Day 2016, eagle-eyed art lovers might have noticed what looked like a painting by French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir hanging on a wall behind the president-elect. The especially astute might have noticed that it looked suspiciously familiar.
New York Times business reporter Timothy O’Brien had seen the painting before, on Trump’s personal jet, back when the president was still a private citizen. When Trump told O’Brien that it was the genuine article, O’Brien declared, “Donald, it’s not. I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters (on the Terrace), and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago. That’s not an original.”
O’Brien, who recalled the meeting in an interview with Vanity Fair‘s Hive podcast, also remembers that the day after that exchange Trump pointed out the painting again, as though the conversation had never happened.
A representative for the Art Institute of Chicago confirmed that Two Sisters is part of the museum’s collection but declined our request to comment further. A spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune that the Institute is “satisfied that our version is real.”
wo art historians were willing to comment on the painting. While neither spoke to President Trump’s assertions, their observations leave little doubt about the painting’s authenticity.
Richard Brettell is chair of aesthetic studies at the University of Texas in Dallas, a Yale University Ph.D., a former director of the Dallas Museum of Art, and author of several books on Impressionism. He was also curator of European paintings at the Institute from 1980–88. His verdict? It’s a fake. He writes in an email:
The wonderful Renoir “Two Sisters (On the Terrace)” was one of the stars of the 1882 Impressionist exhibition, which also featured his masterpiece, “The Luncheon of the Boating Party,” now in the Phillips Collection. The painting has long been known and has, since its gift to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1933, been one of the treasures of the museum. Can President Trump own another version? From my trained eye looking at a pretty good photograph of Mrs. Trump in their penthouse at Trump Tower, it seems clearly to be a copy of that famous Chicago picture. This is all the more obvious when we consider that Renoir himself never painted copies of his own pictures.
Richard Rand, associate director for collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, reached a similar conclusion. “While on rare occasions Renoir made variants of his painted compositions, he never copied himself or made precise duplicates of his oil paintings,” he said in an email. “If I were presented with a picture that was an exact copy of a famous Renoir hanging in a museum, I would guess it was probably a reproduction of some kind.”
Neither the president nor his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, responded to tweeted requests for comment. A staffer in the White House’s press office did not respond to requests for comment.
This isn’t the first time the authenticity of Trump’s art collection been called into question. In April 2016, the New York Post reported that a version of Renoir’s 1874 canvas La Loge (The Theater Box) adorned Melania Trump’s Fifth Avenue apartment. The original, however, hangs at London’s Courtauld Art Institute. (Press representatives of the Courtauld did not respond to requests for comment.) According to Vanity Fair’s Mark Bowden, Trump once bragged to the reporter that a “Renoir” hanging on the wall of his private jet was “worth $10 million,” pointing to the signature. Bowden didn’t specify the painting’s title at that time.
O’Brien, for his part, was quite willing to draw conclusions about Trump’s state of mind for the Vanity Fair podcast.
“He believes his own lies,” O’Brien said, “in a way that lasts for decades.”

Historians Find Another Spy in the U.S. Atomic Bomb Project
November 24, 2019
by William J. Broad
New York Times
The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexican desert — a result of a highly secretive effort code-named the Manhattan Project, whose nerve center lay nearby in Los Alamos. Just 49 months later, the Soviets detonated a nearly identical device in Central Asia, and Washington’s monopoly on nuclear arms abruptly ended.
How Moscow managed to make such quick progress has long fascinated scientists, federal agents and historians. The work of three spies eventually came to light. Now atomic sleuths have found a fourth. Oscar Seborer, like the other spies, worked at wartime Los Alamos, a remote site ringed by tall fences and armed guards. Mr. Seborer nonetheless managed to pass sensitive information about the design of the American weapon to Soviet agents.
The spy fled to the Soviet Union some years later; the F.B.I. eventually learned of his defection and the espionage but kept the information secret.
His role “has remained hidden for 70 years,” write Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes in the current issue of Studies in Intelligence, the C.I.A.’s in-house journal; their article is titled “On the Trail of a Fourth Soviet Spy at Los Alamos.” In separate interviews, the sleuths said they were still gathering clues regarding the exact character of Mr. Seborer’s atomic thefts.
Mr. Klehr is an emeritus professor of politics and history at Emory University, and Mr. Haynes is a former historian for the Library of Congress. Both have written books on Soviet spies and American communism, often together. Their tale has an eerie resonance at a time when Russian intelligence agencies are again at the center of American life.
Code name: Godsend.
Mr. Seborer was born in New York City in 1921, the youngest child of Jewish immigrants from Poland, according to the study by Mr. Klehr and Mr. Haynes and a C.I.A. document they cited. He attended City College of New York, studied electrical engineering and worked at Los Alamos from 1944 to 1946.
In July 1945, the study reported, he was “part of a unit monitoring seismological effects” of the first detonation of the atomic device. His Soviet code name was Godsend, and he came to Los Alamos from a family of spies.
In 1951, Mr. Seborer fled the United States with his older brother Stuart, as well as his brother’s wife and mother-in-law, and defected to the Soviet Union, where, in 1964, he received the Order of the Red Star, a prestigious military award. He died in Moscow in April 2015 under the assumed surname Smith. The study reported that the funeral’s attendees included an agent of the Russian internal security service.
The sleuths were uncovering the story of Godsend even as the decorated spy was being laid to rest.
A mole in New MexicoIn 2012, Mr. Klehr obtained newly declassified F.B.I. files on informants who had successfully penetrated the Communist Party of the United States. Suddenly, he started seeing references to the Seborers, and major parts of the atomic puzzle fell into place: Oscar was Godsend, Stuart was Godfather and their older brother Max was Relative.
“It was fun to do,” Mr. Klehr said of the C.I.A. article. He noted, however, that he and Mr. Haynes still await the declassification of government files in the United States that promise to shed more light on the exact nature of Mr. Seborer’s atomic thievery.
“We concluded we might be dead before it’s all released,” he said, and the two scholars decided they “had enough to write the article.”
Mark Kramer, the director of Cold War studies at Harvard, said the study cast new light on “how widespread espionage was in the Manhattan Project.” It helps to reframe a long debate, he added, on the relative importance of American spies and Russian scientists to Moscow’s 1949 atomic breakthrough.
In an interview, Mr. Kramer said that the news of Mr. Seborer’s spying, combined with the known atomic thefts, “makes clear that Soviet weapon scientists were receiving a great deal of valuable information. Espionage, by pointing them in the right direction and avoiding false leads, helped them a lot more than they were willing to acknowledge.”
The identities of the other three Los Alamos spies have long been known. Klaus Fuchs, a physicist, was arrested in early 1950, shortly after the first Soviet detonation. His testimony led to a second spy, David Greenglass, a machinist, who was also taken into custody. Not until 1995 was the third spy, Theodore Hall, the youngest physicist at Los Alamos, identified publicly. By then he had moved to England and was never convicted of espionage.
In pursuing the fourth spy, Mr. Klehr and Mr. Haynes uncovered the secret life of an electrical engineer whose “family was part of a network of people connected to Soviet intelligence,” the historians wrote.
Their study for the C.I.A. journal reported that Mr. Seborer joined the United States Army in October 1942 and was assigned to the Oak Ridge complex in Tennessee, a giant industrial arm of the Manhattan Project that became its headquarters. He was transferred to Los Alamos in 1944.
The F.B.I. in 1955 learned that Mr. Seborer had defected to the Soviet bloc, the study said, but kept the information under tight security. The bureau’s information about the defector had come from infiltrators of the Communist Party of the United States, and the bureau worried about their possible exposure. The name of the undercover operation was Solo.
‘He handed over the formula.’
Declassified files on the Solo operation bristle with fascinating hints of Mr. Seborer’s espionage for the Soviets but offer few details, according to the study. It quotes another member of the “Relative’s Group” as telling an informant, “He handed over to them the formula for the ‘A’ bomb.”
In their article, the two scholars noted that, “as of early 2019,” they had received little information under the Freedom of Information Act “about Oscar’s Los Alamos career or the F.B.I.’s investigation of his work there.”
In an interview, Mr. Haynes, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., near Los Alamos, said he hoped that new files released in the future under FOIA to the scholars would “fill in a whole bunch of gaps.” The F.B.I., he added, “takes its own good time in these matters.”
Mr. Klehr said more research in Soviet archives might help clear up a deep mystery in the case: whether Mr. Seborer worked for the K.G.B. or its rival military agency, then known as the G.R.U. and today as the Main Directorate. Circumstantial evidence points to the military tie, he said.
“The G.R.U. was forced to turn over atomic sources to the K.G.B.,” he said. “So it’s quite possible that the K.G.B. files don’t reveal the spying’s full extent.”
Other clues may lie in Moscow, where Oscar Seborer and his brother Stuart lived for at least six decades. The two scholars have sought to learn about the brothers’ lives as Muscovites. The study said that Oscar did engineering research and Stuart did scientific translations; little is known about the activities of Max, who remained in the United States.
In 2018, Mr. Kramer, the Harvard scholar, was in Moscow and tried to assist the two historians in tracking down Stuart, who conceivably was still alive, as no records of his death could be found. Stuart Smith (formerly Seborer) had a listed telephone number. The calls went unanswered.
Mr. Kramer went to Stuart’s last known apartment and rang the doorbell. Nothing. He talked to neighbors and showed them a photograph. Little could be learned.
There is still much to know about an atomic spy who helped change the world, Mr. Kramer said, including the possibility that Stuart aided his brother in the espionage. He called it “an open question.”
From an examination of archival materials from the K.G.B., the Soviet Union’s main intelligence agency, Mr. Klehr and Mr. Haynes learned about a shadowy group of moles in the United States known as the “Relative’s Group.” Three of the faction’s members — code-named Relative, Godfather and Godsend — were brothers. According to the study, the archival documents said that Godsend was at Los Alamos and that he was providing secret information on “Enormous,” the K.G.B.’s code name for the American project.
Israel Amter
Marion Bachrach
Isidore Begun (Russian)
Alex Bittelman (Bittlemacher) (Russian)
George Charney (Russian)
Elizabeth Flynn
Betty Gannett (Yawschewski) (Polish)
Simon Gerson (Gershoeski)
Viktor Jerome (Issac Roman) (Polish)
Claudia Scholnick
Albert Lannon (Vetere)
Jakob Mindel (Russian)
Pettis Perry
Alexi Trachtenberg (Russian)
Laslo Toth (Hungarian)
William Weinstone (Weinstein) (Russian)

England, in the years after the First World War, was filled with frustrated youth, disillusioned by the collapse of their Empire and seeking for positive answers to their collective angst. Many turned to the utopian allure of communism and the universities were filled with young men who eagerly clutched at the tattered hem of Karl Marx’s overcoat, hoping thereby to find salvation.
A significant number of these students were practicing homosexuals, their public school system encouraging the development of such behavior. Since homosexuality was neither socially nor legally acceptable in the England of the 1920s, its practitioners quickly developed a hatred for a society which subjected them to ridicule on one hand and imprisonment on the other.
The Soviets, who long practiced sexual blackmail, found a rich harvest in the universities of England and many of the recruits in their intelligence services later went on to achieve considerable prominence in the British civil service. When rumors of high-level Soviet agents in British intelligence organizations and in their Foreign Office began to surface, both in England and America, the establishment at once went to enormous efforts to protect their own, even to the point of destroying incriminating documents and to persistently lying to American intelligence and other U.S. official agencies.
These upper-class traitors were not only protected from discovery but when it became evident that American investigators were uncovering deadly truths, the spies were not only warned that exposure and arrest were imminent but assisted to escape their completely just desserts.
Dr. Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, born in Rüsselheim, Germany, in 1910, fled from Germany in 1933 and took refuge in England. He was interned as an enemy alien there at the outbreak of the war in 1939 but was subsequently released, becoming a naturalized British citizen in 1942. Fuchs went to the United States in 1943 where he worked on the American atomic bomb program. Although Fuchs was known in Germany as a communist and while in England had openly admitted his political beliefs, he was nevertheless given the highest security clearances by British intelligence and the American government was assured that he was beyond reproach. In August of 1949, the FBI was able to decode a wartime Soviet message whose contents pointed directly at Fuchs as a spy. The scientist, who had returned to England where he was head of the theoretical physics division at Harwell, finally confessed in February of 1950 and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison as a spy. Released in 1959, Fuchs went to East Germany where he worked for that government in their nuclear program. He died in 1988.
A common theme found in all writings on Soviet espionage concerns the fact that, in spite of his known communist connections, Fuchs was given a prompt security clearance by British authorities, and it was only when the FBI supplied incontrovertible evidence of his treason that Fuchs was finally arrested.
This theme of strangely careless British intelligence investigative data concerning known communists recurs with dismal regularity throughout the entire period from 1945 through 1955. This carelessness planned or otherwise (and Müller believed it was quite deliberate and makes an excellent case for this), resulted in the complete distrust by the Americans of both the abilities and the loyalties of Britain’s intelligence community.
Harold Adrian Russell “Kim” Philby was born in British India in 1912. His father, St. John Philby, was a converted Muslim and advisor to the Saudi Royal family.
Philby attended Cambridge University and later claimed to be an active communist but there is little evidence that he was more than a dilettante. He later joined a pro-German group at the urging of his pro-Hitler father and made a number of trips to Germany, meeting various German officials.
St. John Philby was arrested by the British in 1940 as a suspected German agent.
Postwar liberal writers have tried to make Kim Philby into a phenomenal and brilliant Soviet agent but the truth is far less interesting. The younger Philby worked for a number of people, was not particularly intelligent and tended to gravitate towards men of power just as Stauffenberg did.
During the Spanish Civil War, Philby was a newspaper reporter covering Franco’s forces and was personally decorated by the Caudillo.
Philby, whose father, St. John Philby, was a political advisor to the royal family of Saudi Arabia and a staunch supporter of Adolf Hitler. He was interned in England during the war as an enemy agent. His son attended Cambridge University and had there become acquainted with a number of avowed communist students, members of an elitist group called the Apostles Philby later became a war correspondent for the “London Times” and was decorated for his actions during the Spanish Civil War by Franco. Because of his father’s attitudes, Philby joined a German-English friendship group and traveled to Berlin in 1939. It has been long felt in some American intelligence circles that Philby had done more than admire historical buildings while on his visit to the capital of the Third Reich.
Donald Duart Maclean, born in 1913, attended Cambridge and joined the Foreign Service in 1934. He was the son of Sir Donald Maclean, a former Cabinet member in the MacDonald government, who died in 1932. Maclean was sent to the United States in 1944 where he was First Secretary and acting head of Chancery in the British Embassy. During his tour of duty, Maclean had almost unrestricted access to most of the secrets of the American government, especially those of the Atomic Energy Commission. The amount of vital material he turned over to his Soviet handler in New York was incredible and by all accounts, gave Stalin at least a three-year gain in his own atomic bomb program. Maclean also turned over to the Soviets an enormous quantity of other secrets that proved to be of vital importance to the anti-American, expansionist plans of the Soviet dictator.
These individuals were either paid Soviet agents or knowingly supplied Soviet agents with high-level American governmental secrets.

Harry Hopkins Senior Advisor to the President
Henry A. Wallace Vice President
Benjamin Cohen Executive Advisor to the President
Adolf Berle, Jr. Assistant Secretary of State
Herbert Feis State Dept. Advisor on Economic Affairs
William Bullitt Ambassador to France and Russia
Ambassador Steinhardt Ambassador to Russia
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Secretary of the Treasury
Henrietta Klotz Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury
Anna Michener Assistant to the Director of Research
Harold Nathan Assistant Director, FBI
Alger Hiss Assistant Solicitor, Justice Dept.
Nathan Margold Solicitor, Dept. of the Interior
Louis Bean Economic Advisor, Dept. of Agriculture
M. S. Eisenhower Dir.of Information, Dept. of Agriculture
Nathan Golden Chief Motion Picture Div.Commerce Dept.
Frances Jurkowitz Ad. Assist. Secretary of Labor
Lester Herzog . State Administrator, WPA N.Y
Jacob Viner Assist. Secretary of the Treasury
Boris Kostelanetz Assistant U.S. Attorney
Nathan Strauss Administrator, U.S. Housing Authority
Louis Domeratzky Division Chief, Department of Commerce
Benjamin Frank Berman U.S. Dept. of Commerce
Frances Perkins Secretary of Labor
Anna Weinstock Commissioner, Department of Labor
E. A. Goldenweiser Asst. Administrator, FEA
Harold L. Posner Asst. Director, FEA
Abe Fortas General Counsel, FEA (later Supreme Court)
David Saposs Chief Economist, National Labor Relations Board
Joseph P. Lash Ex-communist Youth Leader
Harold Ickes Secretary of the Interior
Frieda Miller Commissioner of Labor, New York State
Col William F. Freidmann War Department, Cryptographic Division
Louis Resnick Director of Information, Social Security
Samuel Dickstein Congressman for New York, 12th Dist.
Leo Wolman Amalgamated Clothing Workers
Vito Marcantonio Intl. Labor Def. (later legislator, New York)
Dr. Alexander Sachs Chief, Research Div., N.R.A.
Max Lerner Editor The Nation
Jerome Frank Chairman, Security and Exchange Commission
Harry Dexter White Assistant, Secretary of the Treasury
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer Physicist, Manhattan Project
Dr. Edward Teller Physicist, Manhattan Project

Frank Gardner Wisner’s Friends
November 25, 2019
By Gregory Douglas

Frank Gardner Wisner became Chief of Clandestine Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency shortly after that agency was formed.
Wisner, a former Lt. Commander of the United States Navy, had been an attorney and during the war was a member of the OSS. He had been a station chief in Bucharest, Romania, during the war. A dedicated anti-communist, Wisner convinced the National Security Council (NSC), in 1948 that the United States should institute a covert operations program against the Soviet forces in Eastern Europe based on the activities of the Vlasov Army during their cooperation with the Germans during the Second World War. Former Soviet General Vlasov had founded and commanded a large body of ex-Soviet soldiers who had joined the Germans after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Wisner was a firm believer in the tremendous espionage potential to be found in the membership of former German allies in the fight against the Soviet partisan movement in Eastern Europe during the war. He also believed in their value as disseminators of anti-communist propaganda, and an eventual cadre of agents who could carry out sabotage and assassinations in the Soviet satellites.
On June 10, 1948, the State, Army, Navy, Air Force Coordinating Committee (SANACC) under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved the execution of “Operation Bloodstone.” This operation used Eastern Bloc anti-communists to carry out clandestine activities, sabotage and assassinations.
This was officially approved by President Harry Truman in June of 1948 by National Security Council Resolution 10/2. The wording of this resolution addressed “propaganda, economic warfare, preventative direct action including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolitions and evacuation measures” as well as “subversion against hostile states including assistance to underground resistance movements and guerrillas.”
This program, placed under the command of Wisner, was specifically sponsored by CIA Director Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter.
A section entitled Office for Policy Coordination (OPC), was set up under the control of Wisner to implement these official policies.
To better organize his clandestine units, Wisner had access to the Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects (CROWCASS). This agency was initially created to locate Germans who might be tried for their actions during the war. Eventually, this agency became a roster that Wisner and his agents used to build a cadre for their guerrilla units.
In 1951 and 1952, Wisner began large-scale programs designed to bring thousands of eastern European refugees into the United States. either as a reward for services rendered or to train for his programs of clandestine warfare against the Soviets. The exact number recruited by Wisner is still classified, but records will indicate that the recruits numbered in the tens of thousands.
Wisner’s activities led directly to the abortive Hungarian rising in November of 1956—a rising that was not supported by President Eisenhower’s administration. The bloody suppression of the revolt left 12,000 Hungarians and 3,000 Soviet military personnel dead.
This failure marked the eventual breakdown of Frank Wisner. He became irrationally abusive, drank too much and had a complete collapse in August 1958, when he had to be removed forcibly from his office under restraint. Later, after making a partial recovery, Wisner was sent as putative station chief of the CIA in London. But he was quickly recalled after he repeatedly made irrational outbursts to his British hosts—making him persona non grata in London.
Frank Wisner shot himself in the head with a shotgun on October 29, 1965.
Conservative estimates reveal that Wisner’s policy of sabotage and assassination was responsible for 30,000 deaths, excluding the Hungarian bloodbath.
As well as being a savage anti-communist, Wisner was also anti-Semitic, something he shared with many of the eastern European organizations he so assiduously courted during the course of his career.
Among the organizations Wisner valued, and used, were:
• The Russian People’s Army (Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Narodnaya Armiya) or RONA. Formed in liberated Soviet territory in January of 1942, in the town of Lokot, this militia was run by a former chemical engineer, Bronislav V. Kaminski. In September of 1943, RONA had 10,000 men, 36 field gun batteries and 24 tanks under their control. This group fought hard against Soviet partisan forces. In August of 1944, RONA detached a regiment of 1,700 men, under the command of Lt. Colonel Vrolov, to fight the Polish insurgents in Warsaw. They were, however, recalled after several weeks at the urgent request of the German military commander because of their savage, undisciplined behavior.
• The Croatian Ustascha, a political movement formed by Dr. Ante Pavelic, who subsequently became head of the Croatian state under German control. The militia arm of this organization brutally fought against Serb communist partisans. The most feared of these militias was the “Black Legion” under Colonel Francetic.
• Members of various Ukranian, Balkan and Baltic police units who had spearheaded the brutal anti-partisan warfare in the east had a collective reputation for great ferocity in fighting the Soviets. Although anti-communism was put forward by Wisner as the attractiveness of these groups, in fact their general behavior throughout the anti-partisan campaigns was one of great brutality and not always directed at Soviet para-military units, but also against civilians in general and Jews in particular. Their anti-Semitic behavior was condoned because of their universal detestation of Soviet communists.

How Do I watch You? Let me count the ways….

Millions of Americans, and other nationalities, are spied on daily and vast amounts of personal data acquired and stored.
The cover story is that this is designed to “locate and neutralize” Muslim terrorists, both inside and outside of the United States, but in fact, according to a U.S. Army document, the actual purposes of the mass surveillance is to build significant data bases on any person likely to present a domestic threat to established authority.
This fear has its roots in massive popular rejection of the Vietnam war with its attendant mass meetings, defiance of the government and the development of ad hoc student groups firmly, and often very vocally, opposed to the war.
There was a great deal of civic unrest on college campuses throughout the 1960s as students became increasingly involved in a number of social and political movements ranging from the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and, of course, the Anti-War Movement. Over 30,000 people left the country and went to Canada, Sweden, and Mexico to avoid the draft.
The bureaucracy then found itself under siege and has stated subsequently that this must not happen again and that any kind of meaningful civil disobedience is to get negative mention in the media and members of such groups subject to arrest and detention.
The Obama administration punished any government whistle-blower with such severity as to discourage others from revealing negative official information.
FEMA has a network of so-called “detention camps” throughout the United States, most only sites, to be used in the event of noteworthy civil disturbance.
The current programs of mass surveillance are known and approved at the highest levels in the government, to include the President
Government, faux government, and government-subsidized private organizations.
The high technology consists of such subjects as surveillance cameras in public places, drones, satellites, interceptions of telephone, computer and mail communications.
There are as of this instance, no less than five million names on the officlal government Terrorist Identies Datamart Environment list and nearly sixty thousand names on the TSA no-fly list.
Nearly five thousand died domestically in the 9/11 attacks and only thirty-seven subsequently but the death toll outside the United States, due to Muslim radical actions has exceeded over ten thousand with a death toll of ninty eight thousand in the Syrian civil war and an estimated one million in the sectarian wars in Iraq following the American invasion and occupation
This vast program of politically-motivated illegal domestic surveillance, ordered by Bush, is only part of an ambitious program brought forward in the first year of the Bush administration by Karl Rove. Rove is the architect of the ‘GOP Rules’ program, the basic premise of which was to secure a permanent control, by the Republican Party, of both branches of Congress, the White House and the leadership of all the agencies of control such as the CIA, later the DHS, the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, most important, the U.S. Army.
Rove, an accomplished student of history, had carefully studied the circumstances that permitted Adolf Hitler to rise to power in 1933. His was not a solid electoral victory but he was only a participant in a coalition government. What brought him to the beginning of absolute power was the Reichstag fire. It was long preached that this incendiary act was the result of Goering’s activities to facilitate an atmosphere of public panic but Fritz Tobias has effectively demolished this shibboleth and in fact, the fire was set by a lunatic young Dutch communist without any assistance from either the Nazis or the Communists.
Nevertheless, in its wake, the fire did create such an atmosphere of national fear that Hitler was able to tighten his control over the legislators and push through the Enabling Act that gave him the power to establish the control he badly needed. And a year later, the old Prussian Secret State Police, the Gestapo, was put into the hands of Heinrich Mueller who eventually set up a national card index with information on every German citizen.
Given the weak origins of Bush’s presidency, Rove contemplated his own Reichstag Fire and when the Israeli Mossad reported to the top Bush administration officials that they had penetrated a group of Saudi terrorists working in Hollywood, Florida and that this group was planning an aerial attack on important American business and government targets, Rove had found his Reichstag Fire.
Bush was informed by the Israeli government at every stage of the pending attack but advised the Israelis that he did not want to interfere with it “until the last possible moment so as to be able to arrest the entire group.”
As the plot progressed and Washington learned that the major targets would be the World Trade Centers in New York, and the Pentagon and the Capitol building in Washington, someone high up in the administration, currently unknown, wanted the Israelis to convince the Saudis to attack the side of the Pentagon that was currently unoccupied due to reconstruction. There was no point, the plotters decided, to kill the useful Secretary of Defense who was a member of their team.
The attack on the Capitol would, they reasoned, fall when Congress was in session ( In 2001, the first session of the 107th Congress was from January 3, 2001 through December 20, 2001 and the House and Senate planned to begin their 10 day Thanksgiving recess, between November 17 and November 27 of that year) and this meant that if a large commercial aircraft, loaded with aviation fuel, slammed at high speed into either wing of the immense building while Congress was in session, it could reasonably be expected that a significant number of Federal legislators would be killed or incapacitated.
This, coupled with the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC, would give the Bush people the very acceptable excuse for the President to step up, (after he returned from a safe and distant vacation,) and assume ‘special powers” to “protect this nation from new attacks” until Congress could be “satisfactorily reformed” via somewhat distant “special elections” to fill the vacancies created by the Saudi attackers.
Then, it would be quite acceptable, and even demanded, that the Army would establish “law and order” in the country and that other agencies would step forward to “guard this nation against” possible “ongoing terrorist attacks.” ‘Speak not of the morrow for thou knowest not what it might bring forth’ is a Biblical admonition that apparently Bush, Rove and Cheney never considered.
The aircraft designated to slam into the Capitol building and immolate both sides of the aisle, crashed as the very fortunate result of its passenger’s actions and that part of the plan had to be shelved. But not so the formulation of the machinery designed solely to clamp down on any possible dissident voices in the country and ensure a very long term Republican political control.
The Saudi terrorist attacks went forward as planned, minus the one on the members of Congress and Bush indeed rose to the occasion and promised to protect the American public. A Department of Homeland Security was set up under the incompetent Governor Ridge but as for the rest of the plan for Republic permanence, it began to disintegrate bit by bit, due entirely to the gross incompetence of its leaders. The Bush-Rove-Cheney plan consisted, in the main, of the following:
1. Federal control of all domestic media, the internet, all computerized records, through overview of all domestic fax, mail and telephone conversations,
2. A national ID card, universal SS cards being mandatory,
3. Seizure and forced deportation of all illegal aliens, including millions of Mexicans and Central Americans, intensive observation and penetration of Asian groups, especially Indonesian and Chinese,
4. A reinstitution of a universal draft (mandatory service at 18 years for all male American youths…based on the German Arbeitsdienst.
5. Closer coordination of administration views and domestic policies with various approved and régime supportive religious groups,
6. An enlargement of the planned “no travel” lists drawn up in the Justice Department that would prevents “subversive” elemetst from flying, (this list to include “peaceniks” and most categories of Muslims)
7. The automatic death penalty for any proven acts of sedition,
8. The forbidding of abortion, any use of medical marijuana,
9. Any public approval of homosexual or lesbian behavior to include magazines, websites, political action groups and soon to be forbidden and punishable.
As the popularity of drones for domestic surveillance grows in the United States, so do privacy concerns for citizens just going about their daily business. Designer Adam Harvey has come up with a line of anti-drone clothing that is much more stylish than an aluminum foil hat.
The anti-drone clothes include a hoodie, a scarf, and a burqa. They are made with a metalized fabric designed to thwart thermal imaging. They work by reflecting heat and masking the person underneath from the thermal eye of a drone. The designs may hide you from certain drone activities, but they would definitely make you noticeable to people out on the street.
The scarf and burqa are both inspired by traditional Muslim clothing designs. Harvey explains the choice, saying, “Conceptually, these garments align themselves with the rationale behind the traditional hijab and burqa: to act as ‘the veil which separates man or the world from God,’ replacing God with drone.”
The anti-drone garments are part of a larger line of clothing called Stealth Wear. These are called “New Designs for Countersurveillance.” The manufacturer states: “Collectively, Stealth Wear is a vision for fashion that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.”
If drones get to be more commonplace in our communities, it’s not too much of a stretch to see this sort of fashion becoming more mainstream, much like RFID-blocking wallets and passport holders.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 9
On the street directly behind the administration building of the Brentwood public safety agency was a very upscale gym. Behind it and above it, overlooking the rear of the badly lit government building, was a parking lot filled with expensive sports cars. The functioning police station, several blocks away, was surrounded with an eight-foot cyclone fence, crowned with rolls of razor wire and illuminated from dusk to dawn by bright mercury vapor floodlights. Entrance to that parking lot was via an electrically controlled gate operated by an armed guard. Like almost all police stations in Los Angeles, the Brentwood police were taking no chances on nocturnal visits of bomb-laden cars or vans filled with unpleasant ethnics armed with automatic weapons.
Chuck slid under the fence, dragging his heavy bag with him and it took only a few minutes to dump the sanitized contents into the garbage dumpster that stood against the back wall. Inside, along with old files, soft drink cans, newspapers and empty donut boxes was now a highly incriminating collection of material from the scene of the fictional Islamic raid. Not wishing to leave this material to be found by chance, Chuck, ever eager to do his part in the detection of crime, used his parentless-phone and called the nearest office of the FBI. He pretended to be a horrified yet frightened police official who confessed that he had helped dump a box of stolen jewelry from the recent terrorist raid into the dumpster. As a born-again Christian, Chuck whispered into the phone, he could not allow such wickedness to go unpunished. Giving a name he saw painted on the wall in front of an official parking space, he hung up on the highly inquisitive agent and called several local television stations and a newspaper with almost the same information. By the time he finished, he actually began to believe his own pathetic bleatings.
The gym was offering a special for new members. For a fifty dollars, Chuck could have a two month membership with the first two sessions absolutely free. He gave them the money, signed Art’s name to the form and for the next forty-five minutes, worked out on the various machines until he felt enough time had passed to permit him to safely leave the building and see if his seeds had fallen on fertile ground.
In the parking lot, Chuck put the empty bag into his car and then spent several entertaining minutes watching the high drama being enacted on the other side of the fence.
Men in black jackets with the large, yellow lettering, ‘FBI’ were taking small items out of the dumpster with plastic-gloved hands and dumping them into evidence bags while other agents were engaged in fending off members of the local media.
Chuck paid special attention to a well-known anchorwoman whose public image was one of pert sweetness, alternately screeching incredible obscenities at the stoical FBI agents and trying to kick her way closer to permit her cameraman a better view of the loot.
Members of the Brentwood police and officials in civilian clothes were also involved and the general tenor of the gathering was that of an Irish wake when the second keg of beer was broached, which is usually just prior to dumping the deceased on the floor and the coffin is used as a battering ram against the lavatory door to free the intoxicated inhabitants.
Given the level and pitch of the garbled uproar, Chuck decided to leave the gym as quickly as possible. He recalled that Brentwood was where the football great O.J. Simpson’s former wife and her current boyfriend had met with an untimely end and he did not want someone from the obviously hysterical local law enforcement to shove a bloody glove behind his car bumper. He had registered at the club as the late Art Winrod but it was not impossible that the police could exhume him and have him charged with masterminding not only the looting of his own business but fabricating his own death.
Visualizing grotesque courtroom scenes with a decaying Art strapped in a witness chair, he got back on the freeway and headed home. Apparently, the gang members were either all in bed with each other or were engaged in shooting into the lobbies of movie theaters because the drive home was uneventful.
The drive up the California coastal highway was relatively uninteresting. A pall of heat hung over almost the entire state and Chuck had decided, after loading the trunk of his car with suitcases and banana boxes filled with stolen jewelry, that driving up to San Francisco by any inland route was counter indicated.
They drove through Malibu with the ocean on one side and towering hills on the other, hills that regularly disgorged tidal waves of mud onto the homes of the rich following the winter rains. Eventually, Chuck thought, a real tidal wave would sweep in from the sea and Hollywood would lose the services of half their upper level executives, some of their stars and a large number of high-priced whores of both sexes with some in between.
The opening phase of their hegira was marred by an argument between Chuck and Lars about which radio station they would listen to on the car radio. Chuck was interested in following the saga of the barbecued Arabs while Lars wanted to listen to the latest obscenities by a black group called “Puzzy for Uz” which consisted of the words “bitch” and “ho” intermingled with noises redolent of a fat woman dipped repeatedly into a tub of boiling water.
The argument was settled when Chuck turned the radio off and removed the control knobs from the panel.
The public beaches along their route were jammed with people seeking relief from the heat wave, heedless of the concerns of scientists who claimed that even a ten minute daily exposure to the sun would result in terrible cancer or in the warnings of other scientists that the ocean was filled with feces from the open sewers of Mexico that would cause diseases only guessed at by the Founding Fathers.
The packed beaches drew some comment from Chuck.
“Look at all those lemmings, Eric. Most of them ought to be at work today so as to pay their taxes and help support their government instead of lying around on the sand having sexual fantasies and getting cancer. Of course if their fantasies are realized, they would get herpes or AIDS and next year, the beaches will be empty.”
Eric-cum-Lars was enraptured by the sight of chubby young bodies glistening in the harsh sun. Chuck was distracted by his leerings.
“God, can’t you keep it in your pants? What do you want me to do, buddy? Stop the car and let you pick up eighteen life sentences?”
“Eighteen is far too old, Chuck. I am willing to consider thirteen.”
“That’s an unlucky number. Why not go after a nice dwarf? I mean, they are about the right size for you.”
“A dwarf? God, how gross! Have you ever seen a dwarf?”
“Sure. Clinton had one in his cabinet. They used to carry around a box for him to stand on during press conferences.”
“They have little bowed legs and big, ugly heads, Chuck. Would you like to drive a nice new car or buy a beat up old second hand one?”
“That’s enough of that talk. And for Christ’s sake, stop drooling all over the seats.”
Lars lapsed into sullen silence but still strained his eyes towards the emerald surf and its androgynous waders.
After they passed the beaches of Los Angeles and headed north towards Santa Barbara, Lars began to fish in the packed glove compartment.
“What are you looking for?” said Chuck as he tried again to activate the sporadic air conditioning.
“Now I just want to find a map. There’s a gun in here, Chuck. Is that legal?”
“No, and neither are a quarter million dollars of stolen jewels in the trunk. The gun is to shoot anyone who tries to steal the jewels, Eric.”
His companion looked shocked.
“You never said anything about shooting anyone.”
“You never say anything about shooting people, Lars, you just point and shoot. Never waste your time talking. Now put the nice gun back in the map box and concentrate on finding the map. You have two maps in your hand now. Isn’t one of them the map of California I had you stick in there earlier? Did all those tiny darlings back there disturb your coordination?”
“I am very coordinated and I really wish you wouldn’t make fun of my interests.”
“That’s the California map you’re pointing with. What are you looking for?”
“Where we are going.”
“For the tenth time, Lars, we are going to Santa Cruz. And from there we are going to San Francisco to sell the jewels, get a lot of money and let you buy boxes of nice TV tapes. Trust me, lad, Uncle Chuckie knows just what you want. After all, it’s a lot better to have you pollute yourself in front of a TV set than get us both arrested for your fumbling and feeling the peach clefts of adorable little sweeties in training bras.”
Lars unfolded the map very carefully.
“Where are we now?”
“Just outside of Santa Barbara. Do you want a pit stop? Have to drain your lizard? Hungry?”
“I can do both.”
“For God’s sake, not at the same time, I hope.”
“Lizard?”
“Your penis. How about Rupert, the One-Eyed Trouser Snake? Sound better? My God, did you swallow your gum?”
Lars was choking.
“Oh, I never heard that one before! Where did you hear that?”
“From Estelle when I was screwing her standing up in the mop closet.”
Lars was shocked. The thought of having any kind of relationship, especially a sexual one in the confines of the office mop closet, struck him as grossly immoral.
“You never told me about that, Chuck. Did you kiss her too?”
“I kissed her yet, Lars.”
“Her what?”
“Her yet. I kissed her yet.”
“You keep saying all kinds of bad things I don’t know about. What’s a yet?”
“I remember a story my grandfather’s driver told me once. It seems some soldier in Japan after the war wrote to a newspaperman in New York about that subject. The writer said his captain told him that a nurse had been shot in Okinawa and she had the bullet in her yet. The GI asked the reporter what a yet was, just like you. The answer came back that a woman’s yet was the same as a woman’s now. The reporter made reference to a popular song, ‘I wonder whose kissing her now.'”
Lars wasn’t sure whether or not to laugh.
“How did your grandfather hear that? Was he a reporter?”
“No, grandfather owned a lot of newspapers. And to answer your question, I wouldn’t screw Estelle with your dick.”
“I’ll bet you would with your own.”
“Oh, that’s nasty my Norwegian sex fiend crime partner. You can take on Debbie or even old Art. You know what they say. ‘If you can’t get a woman, get a clean old man.’’”
“Do you want me to throw up right here?”
“Let’s eat first and if you puke in here after that, you get to eat the same thing twice.”

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Anatomy of a Fraud
by Gregory Douglas

Considering the very fake “Leonardo da Vinci” picture of Jesus that Christie’s aucton house sold to a dim-witted Saudi prince for $400,000,000 it is becoming more and more obvious that many so-called famous pieces of art hawked by self-proclaimed honest art merchants are worthless fakes. Even Donald Trump, sent by God to rule the United States, bought a very fake ‘Renoir’ but Trump, in fact couldn’t tell an original piece of art from the contents of his cat’s box.
Here we have a dissection of a major art and tax fraud to illuminate the thesis that the more expensive a work of art is, the greater the chance that it was made two years ago.
On May 23, 1977, a Basilisk Press of Santa Clara, California made a mass mailing. The yellow envelope sported a drawing of the mythological Basilisk, a creature described in the literature of the Middle Ages as being half serpent and half rooster whose very glance could kill.
Inside was a letter from the Press to prospective customers advertising a book that they were in the process of publishing. This was Rodin: The Anatomy of a Fraud by one Friederich Hasek. The brochure spoke of “deliberate fakery” in the world of fine art and discussed a series of books on the subject of massive art fraud that the Press was in the process of publishing.
The Rodin book ad strongly alleged that “Rodin hired students to prepare works he took credit for” and “Rodin works were being faked in the artist’s lifetime and with his consent.” More interesting to some was the statement that preceded these that spoke of, “…the production of fake bronzes, outlining in detail how bronzes are produced and how to detect recent forgeries by a series of simple measurements.”
Other books the Press claimed were to be part of their new series were an additional eighteen titles covering such diverse topics as the bronzes of Remington, Georgian silver, ancient Greek and Roman coins, counterfeit Japanese swords, pre-Colombian and Incan artifacts and a number of other subjects that were guaranteed to give a terrible case of spastic colon to the majority of the major art galleries and auction houses.
It is the general, and very sensible, attitude on the part of individuals and organizations that might be severely damaged by such publications, to say absolutely nothing about a work that might well seriously damage their business and professional reputations, and pray that either the publisher will go bankrupt after the first book or be run over by a drunken truck driver while on the way to the bank.
Art salesmen thrive on publicity but only of their own generating.
However, in the case of the Basilisk mailing, one of the seeds fell into fertile ground and produced a mini-scandal which was no doubt very pleasing to someone but certainly not to persons who either bought or sold the works of Auguste Rodin.
One of these mailers apparently got into the hands of one Albert Edward Elsen, a local art expert, who shortly thereafter appeared at the address of the Basilisk Press given on the envelope. It was 2275 Park Avenue in Santa Clara and it housed a Western Union office, telephone answering service and mail drop firm.
There was no sign anywhere on the building to indicate that the Press was engaged in business there.
In spite of this, Elsen, an overweight and florid man with a thick, graying mustache, had a highly vocal and very intemperate heated exchange with the manager of the mail service, demanding at full voice to know where the owners of the press lived. When told that this information was not available, he became even more agitated and was eventually asked to leave the premises before the police had to be summoned.
In August of 1978, George Schattle, an industrial designer of Menlo Park, California, a suburb of San Francisco, filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the County of Santa Clara, California.
The suit charged one Albert Edward Elsen, a professor of art history at the prestigious Stanford University and a published specialist on the works of French Impressionist sculptor, Auguste Rodin, with libel, defamation, interference with advantageous contractual rights and invasion of privacy.
Mr. Schattle requested $3.75 million in punitive and exemplary damages from the savant-cum-art expert. Most of the issues raised in this case relate directly to the marketing of what is sometimes called ‘fine art’ and although Schattle vs. Elsen achieved a very private, out-of-court settlement, the facts remain a matter of record and highlight what appears to be certain questionable but long-accepted practices in the merchandising of fine art.
Schattle’s claim was that on August 3, 1978, Professor Albert Edward Elsen had written a completely unsolicited letter on his official Stanford University letterhead to one Jerry Jensen, a television anchorman with the San Francisco-based KGO-TV.
Mr. Schattle’s attorney, Charles Hawkins, attached this letter to the suit as Exhibit A and as it is public record, significant portions of it are quoted here:
“Dear Mr. Jenson (sic)
From Gay Morris, who writes on art for the Palo Alto Times, and who has been in touch with the Basilisk Press people, I gather you have a copy of a manuscript titles, ‘Rodin: Portrait of a Fraud’ (sic) authored by Frederich Hasek. I am also given to understand that you have a long time interest in art frauds and that your researches coincide with the findings in this manuscript. Gay Morris was told this on the phone by a M. McGregor who claims to be one of a group of businessmen who have bought manuscripts from Hasek.”
There is a reference to someone Elsen suspects might have written the manuscript, couched in savage, and badly written, derogatory terms and the letter continues:
“For the past three years he and a George Schattle of Menlo Park have been trying to con unsuspecting businessmen into buying four reputedly unique Rodin sculptures, supposedly obtained by an American army officer during the second world war (sic) from Goering’s art collection, to which they had come after the Wehrmacht moved into Poland. These sculptures come in a Wehrmacht crate and these men have a raft of documentation testifying to the authenticity of the Wehrmacht markings–but not a scintilla of evidence on that of the sculptures. The sculptures are outright fakes. For three years, and on one occasion working with the police, I have thwarted the sale of these sculptures.”
Elsen goes on to claim that over the years, Schattle and others have tried to slander him, Stanford University, “one of our principle (sic) donors,” and even the government of France! He continues on to state that the alleged author of the manuscript also “libels Rodin (Rodin never ‘condoned fakes’ in his lifetime, as the Basilisk Press advertised in its flyer on the book.)”
Elsen was undoubtedly unaware that the dead cannot be libeled.
The balance of this rather extraordinary outburst sets forth the writer’s academic and literary credentials (and the latter are not especially bolstered by a mass of grammatical errata) and claims that he is the world’s “foremost expert on Rodin”, finally asking Jensen, in a burst of petulant outrage, “Why, in fact, are you given the manuscript to read but not me?”
He concludes with a demand to see the manuscript in Mr. Jensen’s possession and have the pleasure of his company through a personal visit when Professor Elsen can personally discuss the “truth and the reputation of a great artist.”
By one means or another, never made clear by any of the parties to the suit, this letter came into the possession of the unfortunate Mr. Schattle who then referred it to an attorney.
Prior to the filing of this suit, Mr. Schattle’s attorney, Charles Hawkins of San Jose, wrote on May 25, 1978, to Stanford President Richard Lyman.
“Dear President Lyman
“Please be advised that this office represents Mr. George Schattle in connection with pending litigation involving the activities of Professor Albert Elsen.
“Mr. Schattle is the owner of four (4) pieces of Rodin sculpture which he believes to be authentic. Mr. Elsen has examined two of these pieces and for subjective reasons best known to him, Mr. Elsen has formed the opinion that said pieces are not genuine. Another noted art expert has expressed a contrary view.
“Had Mr. Elsen let this matter rest, there would have been no significant problem. However, for unexplained reasons, Mr. Elsen has personally undertaken a campaign to discredit and damage Mr. Schattle and to destroy the value of Mr. Schattle’s sculptures.
“I am enclosing herewith a copy of Mr. Elsen’s unsolicited letter of Aug 3, 1977 addressed to Mr. Jerry Jensen of Channel 7 news. You will note that the letter is on Stanford University stationery and makes reference to Mr. Elsen’s position at Stanford University. This letter is libelous on its face in that it accuses Mr. Schattle of ‘trying to con unsuspecting businessmen into buying four unique Rodin sculptures….’ Other references in the letter are equally as damaging and distasteful.
“Furthermore, Mr. Elsen admits that he has thwarted the sale of my client’s sculptures and it has come to my attention that Mr. Elsen has contacted the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney of Santa Clara County, and the Palo Alto Police Department in an effort to have unfounded criminal charges files against Mr. Schattle. Elsen has engaged in other activities which are equally as bizarre and damaging to my client’s reputation and financial interests, but it would serve no purpose to detail such activity in this letter. Suffice it to say that this office is in the process of preparing a complaint against Mr. Elsen on behalf of Mr. Schattle to recover damages resulting from Mr. Elsen’s conduct.
“The purpose of this letter is to determine whether or not Stanford University should be included as a party defendant in this matter. Mr. Elsen’s libelous letter was written on Stanford University stationery and he has apparently represented himself to the news media and the police authorities as speaking on behalf of the University. If in fact Stanford University has authorized, ratified, or affirmed Mr. Elsen’s conduct in this matter I will, of course, have no choice but to name the University as a party defendant. If Mr. Elsen was acting as an individual without the authority of the University I would refrain from naming Stanford as a party to this litigation.
“Therefore, I would appreciate hearing from your representative in the immediate future concerning the posture of the University in this matter. If I do not hear anything from you within two weeks of the date of this letter, I shall have no choice other than to proceed with the litigation with the University as a party defendant. I hope that you would give this matter your immediate attention and I am looking forward to hearing from your representative in this regard.”
John J. Schwartz, University Counsel, with a copy to Albert Elsen, sent Stanford’s response on June 5, 1978.
“Dear Mr. Hawkins:
“I am responding to your letter of May 25, 1978 to President Lyman. In answer to your question, please be advised that Stanford University has not authorized, ratified or affirmed the action to which you refer.”
The lawsuit against Elsen, duly amended, was filed on December 22, 1978.
An initial impression would certainly be that this litigation appears to be based on a sharp difference of subjective opinion between a highly aggressive, opinionated expert with very little self-control on the one hand and another individual who is in possession of art work that the published expert believes to unoriginal.
Both the letter and the actions of Elsen could well indicate that the art professor had become so outraged at the thought of fakes being marketed that his zeal overcame whatever common sense he might possess, causing him to overreact to the point where provable and actionable indiscretions were committed.On the other hand, the violence and apparent malice of Elsen’s reaction is certainly out of character for the occupant of the Walter A. Haas Chair of Art History at a prestigious and wealthy university.
Sedate institutions of higher learning do not, as a rule, condone members of their faculty engaging in distasteful public vendettas and in this case, quickly and officially distanced themselves from the specter of an ugly lawsuit with a potential for negative publicity for both the institution and one of its more prominent and tenured staff members.
Albert Elsen was not a stranger to media attention and had been presenting himself with vigor in the local press for some time prior to the Schattle suit. He was very evidently not the sort of individual to keep his opinions, correct or otherwise, to himself.
Albert Edward Elsen was born in New York City in 1927 and obtained his PhD at Columbia University in 1955. From 1952 to 1958, he was associate professor of art at Carleton College in Minnesota, later an associate professor at Indiana University from 1958 to 1962 and a full professor from 1963 to 1968. Elsen had been engaged by Stanford as a professor of art history in 1968.
Among his publication credits are two works that deal specifically with the works of Auguste Rodin: Rodin’s Gates of Hell in 1960 and Rodin in 1963.
In February of 1974, the San Francisco Bay Area press carried several stories about a large gift of Rodin works to Stanford University by one B. Gerald Cantor, a Los Angeles investment banker.
As reported, the initial gift consisted of an incredible 88 pieces of Rodin’s work and this largess was increased by an additional seventy more Rodin sculptures from the cultivated and benevolent banker. The press stories also mentioned that Cantor was donating a large sum of cash to Stanford to establish a ‘Rodin Sculpture Garden.’
Elsen was quoted very often in print as saying that all of these pieces had been made during Rodin’s lifetime, the last one completed “a few months before Rodin’s death in 1917.”
Nearly all of the pieces were bronzes and all, without exception, bore the signature ‘A. Rodin’ and most noteworthy, the French foundry marking, ‘Georges Rudier/Fondeur, Paris.’
Elsen and Cantor both stated repeatedly to the press that this impressive collection was valued at $3 million, five hundred thousand at current art market prices.
Lengthy, well-illustrated local press coverage contained statements by Elsen about the importance of this huge collection of original Rodin works and all of these articles were graced with large photographs of Elsen himself in proximity to the Cantor gifts.
As Mr. Cantor, the generous benefactor, had also included a cash bequest of over $ 200 thousand so that the University could create the ‘Rodin Sculpture Garden,’ University publications produced articles lauding Mr. Cantor’s generosity and vision. Pictures accompanying the Stanford articles showed the beaming donor standing in proximity to several of his gifts.
Over the next three years, relative quiet descended on the subject of Rodin and his bronzes, broken only by occasional press releases generated by Elsen and the University about the progress of the ‘Rodin Sculpture Garden’ at Stanford’s aging and earthquake-damaged museum complex.
One article did appear in the San Francisco ‘Chronicle’ that did not laud the brilliance of Albert Edward Elsen, the great generosity of B. Gerald Cantor or the advantages to society in general of a Rodin sculpture garden.
This was a piece in a Sunday supplement by Alfred Frankenstein, also a published art historian, art critic for the ‘Chronicle’, lecturer on art at Stanford University and a personal friend of Albert Elsen.
In this article, Frankenstein made very pointed, though not specific, mention of the “recent appearance of four fake Rodin pieces in the Bay Area.”
Prior to the appearance of this article, on April 6, 1974, George Schattle kept an appointment he had made with Rodin expert Elsen at the latter’s home on Alvarado Row on the Stanford campus. Schattle brought two bronze works of art with him for this meeting.
Several years previously, in 1972, Schattle had bought four crated statues from the Ryan family of Newport Beach, California. One of the family members was acquainted with Schattle’s mother and as Mr. Schattle was a collector of old arms and armor, the Ryans felt that the old statues stored in their garage since the end of the Second World War might be of interest to him because of their connection with Hermann Goering. As they told Schattle at the time, one of their relatives had found the crates on Goering’s abandoned private train in Bavaria at the end of the war.
The custom-built crates and their markings appeared to be entirely authentic but it was not possible for Schattle to determine the value of the statues inside. As Professor Elsen was a well-publicized Bay Area expert and had appeared often, and at length, in the local media on the subject of Rodin, Schattle contacted him for his professional opinion of the pieces and their possible value for reasons of obtaining insurance.
Elsen, according to Schattle’s subsequent deposition, appeared to be very agitated when told that these pieces had once been the property of Hermann Goering and had, according to the labels on the crates, been acquired by the Germans in Poland in 1939. He stated that these pieces had been obviously stolen by the “evil Nazis and had to be returned at once.” Citing his credentials, Elsen offered to act as a disinterested party in returning what he called “Nazi loot.”
Initially, after Elsen had inspected the pieces, there was no talk about them being fake but when Schattle refused to discuss returning them to Polish custody, Elsen, again according to the deposition, became alarmingly angry and said in a loud voice that he now determined that both the pieces were very recent fakes and could not be sold by Schattle without his certainly being arrested for possession of stolen material.
Elsen then renewed his offer to take “protective custody” of the pieces and thereby relieve Schattle of any further possibility of prosecution. Schattle again declined and left Elsen in what he described, and what seems entirely believable considering Elsen’s behavior, as a “very loud, incoherent rage. He shouted at me that if I didn’t immediately give him all of these Rodin pieces, he would have me arrested that night by the FBI.”
It would seem that Albert Edward Elsen did not number an understanding of basic logic among his many virtues because if the pieces were recent fakes, as Elsen alleged, they could not at the same time be loot from 1939 Poland.
The next day, Elsen wrote a long letter to Schattle setting forth his own esthetic and very subjective reasons why all of the pieces were obvious fakes. Since the angry expert had only seen two of the four, this judgment could only be considered as faulty at best.
As example of his polished, professional writing, Elsen’s last sentence read:
“In neither sculpture is the finishing and patina up to Alexis Rudier (sic) standards. I gather from you that the Victor Hugo was repatined. It is a lousy job.”
As Schattle merely wanted approximate values of his pieces for insurance purposes, he then turned to Thomas Carr Howe, former director of the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, an institution that possessed a large collection of original Rodin works that had been purchased prior to the sculptor’s death in 1917.
Mr. Howe had also been deeply involved with the recovery and identification of looted German art following the end of the war in Europe and was able to favorably address not only the originality of the four bronzes but also the distinctive, custom-made wooden crates in which they came.
He duly authenticated the pieces in writing and there the matter remained until the Frankenstein article.
When Mr. Schattle called the editorial department of the ‘Chronicle’ to complain about the implications of fraud contained in the article, he was informed by legal counsel for the paper that since the Schattle name had not appeared in the article nor the pieces specifically identified, no actual damages had occurred and therefore no retraction of any kind would issue.
When later called by Schattle, Alfred Frankenstein refused to speak with him other than to inform him, very emotionally, as Schattle reported in his deposition, “gangs of Nazis were behind this and have been attacking poor Al Elsen.”
Schattle said later when interviewed for this article, that he had visions of very elderly SS men, armed with walkers and canes, throwing refuse on Elsen’s crabgrass-infested front lawn on Alvarado Row.
Subsequent to the publication of the Frankenstein article, Elsen had learned of Howe’s authentication of the questioned pieces and bombarded the retired museum head with numerous, aggressive telephone calls, urging him to withdraw his opinion. Howe eventually did so in a formal letter to Schattle but without questioning their authenticity. He merely withdrew permission to use his name but did not state that the bronzes in question were fake.
In an interview with a member of the media, the notes of the reporter who later spoke with Howe quoted him as saying, “I am too old and I do not want to get into a pissing match with Al Elsen.”
It was shortly after this that the Basilisk Press sent out its momentous flyer.
Subsequently, a Ms. Gay Morris, art critic for the Palo Alto Times, a small paper in the town adjacent to Stanford University, wrote a letter to the Press and was at once contacted by a Mr. MacGregor who claimed to be a director of the firm. It was subsequently disclosed that Ms Morris was a former pupil of the great Rodin expert.
Mr. MacGregor told the art critic a good deal about the book, its author and the new Rodin collection at Stanford. Somehow in the conversation, MacGregor intimated that Mr. Jerry Jensen, a well-known local television personality, was interested in the pieces at Stanford and he implied, according to Elsen’s letter to Jensen, that there was some question about the authenticity of this collection.
This information was obviously given to Elsen by his former pupil and this resulted in the disastrous letter.
As if this imputation of chicanery was not enough of a provocation to Elsen, he then received in the mail from an unknown source, a copy of what was purported to be a news article from an undated and unidentified newspaper.
“And more news of local travelers…. Harvey and Joan Kildrup (he’s head of the Ardeth Grange) have returned from three weeks in Palm Springs with beautiful tans and four unique works of art by famed French artist August (sic) Rodin. A previous owner was the infamous Nazi bigwig Herman Goring (sic). The Kildrups will be entertaining Dr. Frederick Hasek, Rodin authority who arranged the sale, this summer. Also included in their purchases is a painting by Claude Monet which once hung in Goring’s (sic) office.”
Upon receipt of this undated, unidentified and anonymous item, Elsen immediately contacted various local offices of both state and federal law enforcement agencies, including a futile attempt to speak personally with the Attorney General of the United States. Elsen also contacted as many members of the local media as he could find.
Several reporters later indicated in their articles, most of which were written tongue in cheek, that Albert Elsen was verging on hysteria and extremely difficult to understand.
An article appearing in the Palo Alto ‘Times’ of August 19, 1977, disclosed that there was no municipality by the name of Ardeth in the continental United States and when the FBI attempted to locate an Ardeth Grange at Elsen’s repeated insistence, they found that no such farmer’s organization chapter ever existed.
At this point, it could be quite reasonably assumed that Professor Elsen had certainly overreacted to provocation that was transparently false. His verbal explosions could well be ascribed to territorialism for Elsen was, by his own oft-repeated statements, the leading American expert on Rodin, but his injudicious letter to Jensen appeared to be far more concerned with the contents of the alleged forthcoming book on Rodin fakes than in exposing art work he felt was not original.
The basic thrust of the letter, which had obviously been triggered by the anonymous clipping that appeared to be the creative and malicious work of persons still unknown, appeared to be far more of a frantic and insistent demand to know what had been written about the faking of Rodin statues than to address Mr. Schattle’s Polish pieces, though Elsen did manage to attack them with his usual disconnected venom as well.
Perhaps Professor Elsen had been further provoked by Mr. Jensen’s probing into the art circles of the Bay Area.
On June 7 of that year, nearly a month before Elsen wrote his letter, Jensen contacted a number of institutions and experts to verify certain controversial matters that were contained in his copy of the Hasek manuscript.
Jensen’s notes of the contacts contain considerable information not generally in the public domain nor highly unlikely to ever be so.
From a Ms. Cameron of the staff of the De Young Museum in San Francisco, he learned concerning Rodin bronzes that a “Paris factory is churning them out and selling them world wide.”
His next call, according to his notes, was to Ian White of the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, also in San Francisco, who, upon being read quotations from the manuscript, said they were “essentially true” but referred Jensen to Elsen for any further comment.
Jensen also contacted fellow Bohemian Club member, Thomas Carr Howe who acknowledged seeing the Schattle Rodins and indicated that they appeared original but that Elsen had disagreed with him. Among other remarks about Elsen, Howe also added that art fakery was “the most lucrative pastime in the world…if you can get away with it.”
Jensen’s last call was to Alfred Frankenstein, a personal friend of both himself and Albert Elsen. Frankenstein had apparently been well-briefed on the subject by Elsen so when Jensen asked him about the allegations in the manuscript, Frankenstein cut him off and claimed that he was well aware of the book and stated that it was written by someone trying to make money by “spreading lies about the art world.” He flatly refused to discuss the matter until Jensen supplied him with a full copy of the manuscript.
Jensen did not do so and the immediate result of his refusal was a quick chilling of his relationship with Frankenstein.
Apparently, there was considerable activity behind the scenes following these calls because Jensen received a personal telephone call on September 15, 1977 from Dr. Wallace Sterling, President Emeritus of Stanford and an old friend. It deserves to be quoted from Jensen’s notes in full.
“Received a call this AM from W. Sterling, former Pres of Stanford. Old Friend. Ster. sez ‘What’s all this about the Rodins?’ When told about findings, sez, ‘Isn’t all of this just a matter of opinion?’ Understood someone is putting out slanderous statements about the originality of the Cantor donation and poss. income tax fraud. ‘I don’t think we need this.’ Rep, tax angle not in question but only originality of Stanford pieces/gifts. St. sez ‘We have chance of becoming Rodin study center…good PI.’ Mentioned letter from Elsen. St. sez ‘Al Elsen is an asset to the University’ but admits’ he beats his own drum too much.’ Asked if Elsen gets fees from outside appraisals, sez ‘We are very liberal in our policy about outside income.’ Also wants complete copy of book, sez ‘Al Frankenstein beating my ear about this one.’ Sez he knows nothing about Schattle but also ‘Al thinks he owns Rodin, lock, stock and barrel and gets upset when challenged. No crime though, just a personality problem.’ Sez ‘Hope we can resolve this without any further media coverage.’
In the event, Dr. Sterling’s apprehensions did not materialize because Mr. Jensen decided against airing any of his findings.
His notes indicated that he felt the story was on the verge of getting out of control and causing acute problems for many people who were personal friends.
He also mentioned that Sterling had offered him the possibility of a lucrative public relations job at the University, obviously to assist him in his decision about any airing of the entire matter.
No further comments from Dr. Sterling, who died shortly afterwards, appear in Jensen’s notes.
When asked about the matter later by a student reporter for the Stanford Daily, Jensen stated that he had no contact with Elsen prior to receiving the letter that led to the lawsuit and concluded his interview of March 1, 1979 by saying:
“I have no idea, in God’s name, what led him to write that letter. He might have heard from other sources that I may have done research that could lead to something embarrassing.”
The question of the originality of the Schattle Rodins is basically a difference of subjective opinion between art experts but the matter of the Hasek manuscript is not as clear cut.
Basilisk Press, which claimed to be bringing forth a book on fake Rodin bronzes as well as the simple technical means by which such fakes could be detected by possible purchasers or even owners, was housed in a commercial building that hosted a telephone answering service and mail drop concern. Investigation has disclosed that Basilisk Press was not licensed to operate in the city or county of Santa Clara or any other county of the State of California.
A search of the records of the Library of Congress and other public sources does not show any publication entitled Rodin: The Anatomy of a Fraud by Frederick Hasek. Basilisk Press has apparently never published any books at all and yet a manuscript obviously did exist because Mr. Jensen read parts of it to various individuals.
The only known copy of the work was located in Mr. Jensen’s files after his death in 1984. It was in a file filled with typed notes on the subject of fake Rodin pieces and the activities of Albert Elsen. Some of these notes have been reprinted here.
The Hasek manuscript is basically a work concerned with an overview of art frauds, most especially frauds concerning Auguste Rodin, a history of the French sculptor and a fascinating section on the manufacture of bronze works of art and how fakes or copies of known famous bronzes can be easily detected.
Portions of the Hasek manuscript are set forth here to provide the reader with a strong and highly reasonable explanation for the furious and intemperate actions of Professor Albert Elsen and others who shared a strong vested interest in avoiding any controversy whatsoever concerning Auguste Rodin and his works.
“Fakery, fraud and deceit have long been handmaidens to the Muse of the Fine Arts and the marketplace for sculpture and paintings is no place for the uninitiated. Yet every day, thousands of dollars worth of allegedly original and rare pieces change hands, enriching the few and deluding the many.”
This is the opening of the work and the author goes on to be far more specific.
“An original piece by any artist, be it Rodin or Da Vinci, is one that the artist conceived and at least partially executed in his lifetime. Anything else, regardless of whatever euphonious title be applied to it: ‘authorized,’ ‘post-mortem work,’ or ‘posthumous casting’ is nothing more nor less than a modern copy, worth only a small fraction of the price of an original. Further, a modern piece taken from an unsigned original plaster study and carrying a copy of the signature of the purported artist is nothing less than a forgery and of even less worth than a replica which originally bore the artist’s name.”
Examining the career of Rodin, the author continues:
“…. in November of 1913, Rodin angrily demanded that a work, ‘The Earth’ attributed to him and on display at the gallery of a Parisian dealer be seized as a forgery. Shortly thereafter, it was conclusively proved that the piece had in fact been done by Rodin himself in 1898 and displayed by him at the Exposition Rodin. Confronted with this evidence, Rodin freely admitted that he had been in error. This episode is an excellent example of why ‘absolute’ statements must be viewed with great caution.”
There follows a technical discussion of the preparation of molds of sculpture and the techniques for the casting of bronze works. It concludes with the passage:
“The general impression that ‘original molds’ of plaster exist into which molten bronze is poured is completely incorrect in point of fact and if used, would prove to be dangerous in the extreme, the plaster exploding on contact with the hot metal.
“The rubber mold may be used time and time again to produce more wax pieces but every bronze must be hand done and is not poured into a mold like a lead soldier.”
And further:
“The statement, so often heard, that ‘Rodin pieces are cast with his consent from original molds’ is completely false and a deliberate attempt to mislead prospective purchasers. What does exist in Paris at the Museé Rodin are original plasters…and bronzes…and it is from these that new molds are made and from these new molds, new copies. This is called surmoulage and the resulting pieces are replicas, to be more than generous, not ‘authorized pieces from original patterns.'”
This section ends with specifics that need no comment:
“How is it possible, then, to detect a fake Rodin made in this manner if it is made up from original bronzes or an original plaster?
“Firstly, if the piece is taken from an original bronze, it should be noted that bronze shrinks as it cools from the molten state and therefore a copy will always be smaller than the original. In the case of bronze, the shrinkage amounts to 5%. Attempts have been made to offset this shrinkage by adding small amounts of wax to the base of the waxen form prior to casting. This will serve to bring the height up to the correct size but the width cannot be altered.
“Secondly, the foundry markings on copy Rodin pieces are of great importance. In Rodin’s time, he very often used the famous Parisian firm of Alexis Rudier. This gentleman did not use the lost-wax process described here but instead, cast his pieces in fine sand.
“This is called sand casting as opposed to lost-wax casting and the interiors of the pieces show very clearly what process was used. Lost-wax pieces show details of the painting or pouring of the wax while sand cast pieces have an even, slightly gritty inner surface (which can be smoothed out but is still very uniform.)
“Original Rodin pieces show the foundry marks, ‘Alexis Rudier/Fondeur, Paris’ on the outer surface of the bronze, generally at the base near the artist’s signature.
“In 1954, the Museé Rodin began to use the services of one Georges Rudier, nephew of Eugiene, the son of the original Alexis. Georges Rudier, unlike his ancestor, uses the lost-wax casting process and it should become painfully obvious, therefore, that a piece marked ‘Georges Rudier/Fondeur, Paris’ must of necessity be a very modern replica and, of course, not made from ‘the original mold under authority from Rodin himself.’
“Most of these modern surmoulage replicas are badly produced and instead of being carefully patined by hand with heat and chemicals, are painted with a brown lacquer.
“One should note that the collection of the Museé Rodin contains all of the pieces found in Rodin’s studio at the time the collection was taken over by the French government; including many pieces made by Rodin’s students. Also in the collection are many plaster maquettes or small studies for larger pieces. Some of these crude and unsigned plaster studies have appeared on the art market in bronze, signed ‘A.Rodin’ and with the Georges Rudier foundry signature. The original studies were never signed and as examples of the artist’s work in progress (if they were even done by Rodin and not an eager pupil) have some small value but small value indeed when compared with the selling prices of known originals.”
The final comment on the subject of copies is:
“A general rule of thumb in measuring a casting to determine its pedigree is the 5% figure. A work which approximates 5% less in size than a known prime copy is a secondhand work without question and most certainly neither original nor of any value whatsoever other than a decorative piece with which to impress visitors.”
In a published interview with a student reporter from the Stanford ‘Daily’ on February 16, 1979, Charles Hawkins, Schattle’s attorney said he believed the case would hold “some surprises” and felt that it would be quickly resolved but that it if wasn’t concluded within a month, it could open up a whole new issue.
“What we might get into in this case is that Stanford might be holding $3 million in fakes.”
This admonition must have had some effect because Elsen suddenly stopped preparing regular press releases attesting to the absolute authenticity of the Cantor bequest and two months later, with no press coverage whatsoever, quietly settled the case out of court. The terms of the settlement were never made public and are not a part of the official records now located in the courthouse annex in San Jose.
Mr. Jensen’s notes indicate that after the settlement, Professor Elsen made repeated and very vocal attempts to contact him to discover how Elsen’s letter had ended up in the hands of George Schattle. Jensen declined to speak with Elsen and after the furious Rodin expert made a number of additional but equally fruitless calls on the same subject to other staff members at KGO-TV in San Francisco, he gave up his quest.
Jensen made one final note on the case before he closed his files. This dealt with the sale of the Hasek manuscript on Rodin fakes to parties whom Jensen called “concerned, interested and very influential parties from the higher reaches of the art world” for an undisclosed but apparently impressive sum of money. Jensen was requested by the purchasers, whom Jensen listed by name, title and occupation, to surrender his copy of the manuscript. He claimed that he had disposed of it by giving it to his former friend, Alfred Frankenstein. As the latter had very recently died as the result of a massive heart attack, the purchasers abandoned their pursuit.
Jensen obviously did not dispose of the manuscript and it was subsequently found in his papers, quite intact and covered with the late newsman’s notes.
Jensen’s last note said:
“Al Frankenstein was wrong after all. If someone wrote a book telling lies about the art world, the author managed to convince the big boys otherwise.”
The four Rodin statues that began the controversy were reported in the media as having been sold by Mr. Schattle for an undisclosed but substantial sum.
There were no further public comments from Professor Albert Edward Elsen when news of this sale became public.
Rodin: The Anatomy of a Fraud was written in 1977 and one statement made at the conclusion of the manuscript is now in error.
“There is another use to which replica art may be put besides merely merchandising it to the trusting and innocent. Wealthy individuals are known to buy up quantities of replicas and then make some kind of arrangement with a willing expert whereby the latter will supply an appraisal attesting to the high intrinsic value of the items.
“Armed with this, and often with the further assistance of the expert, the owner of the pieces now poses as a philanthropist and distinguished patron of the arts and in this role, donates the replicas to a public, non-profit institution such as a museum or public gallery. He is then able to declare this gift on his income tax return and take a massive deduction based, not on the purchase price, but the appraisal value.”
In 1986, the tax laws were altered to specifically to prevent this from happening. From that year onwards, the only sum a donor of art objects to a tax-free entity cam claim is the actual purchase price of the piece or pieces, not an inflated valuation supplied by a potentially venial expert.
Perhaps this aspect of the manuscript was what Mr. Jensen meant when he spoke of “something embarrassing.”
The chronicle of the four Rodin pieces is such an interesting microcosm of the more negative aspects of the human condition in general and the fine art market in specific that its study has proven to be well worth the research involved.
There seems to be no question that it is relatively easy to make fake copies of original bronze works of art. Merchandising them, one can clearly see, calls for the cooperation of a willing expert. but in reading through the thick files of official documents, letters, notes, records of depositions and yellowing newspaper clippings, the reader is struck by what most certainly appears to be a pattern of very malicious manipulation of individuals and establishments. The chronology of events would seem to indicate that the elusive but quite deadly manuscript that caused so much trouble appeared after Mr. Schattle had his personal encounter with Professor Elsen.
It also seems reasonably certain that someone, perhaps Mr. Schattle but more probably someone else, had taken the measure of both the art world and one of its more emotional spokesmen and played on all of them like an out of tune piano.
Two decades after the final settlement was made, the questioned pieces sold and Elsen retired to his classroom to lick his wounds, most of the participants are dead and rapidly forgotten.
Mr. Howe, Jerry Jensen, Dr. Sterling, Alfred Frankenstein and a number of others have left the stage. B. Gerald Cantor gave more of his interesting pieces to Stanford’s Rodin Sculpture Garden, which resulted in a small article in the local press, and then joined the others in their very long silence. Only Albert Edward Elsen and George Schattle remain and somewhere, there are four Rodin bronze statues, which produced a great deal of entertaining sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing.

Envoi

At the beginning of February, 1995, a copy of this commentary was sent to Professor Albert Elsen, by an academic colleague, for his comments and observations.
On February 5, 1995, a news story came over the Associated Press wire concerning the progenitor of the Rodin Sculpture Garden.
“Stanford-AP Albert Elsen, a Stanford University art professor and expert on the sculptor Auguste Rodin, has died. He was 67. Mr. Elsen died Thursday of an apparent heart attack.”

$9 million Rodins: Police help get them back to their owner
by Andrea Gemmet
Almanac Staff Writer
April 10, 2001
Four small bronze statues worth $9 million were recently returned to their owner after a disappearance of nearly nine years following a soured business deal with a Menlo Park man.
The story of the statues — which were bought at a Menlo Park garage sale 30 years ago, went missing, and were finally returned to their lucky owner — sounds more like an exciting episode of Antiques Roadshow than a case handled by Menlo Park police detectives.
George Schattle, a Bay Area antique gun collector, discovered four statues by eminent French sculptor Auguste Rodin at a garage sale in 1972. The sculptures are 25 inches tall and weigh 30 pounds each; they are signed and have been authenticated, with an appraised value of $9 million, according to Menlo Park police detective Sgt. Larry Shannon.
In 1992, after Mr. Schattle retired and moved to Mexico, he decided to sell the statues and entered into a sale agreement with Menlo Park resident Robert Devlin, whose girlfriend owned an antique store, said Sgt. Shannon.
Mr. Schattle contacted Menlo Park police in 1996 after repeatedly trying to get back either his statues or the money from their sale from Mr. Devlin, said Sgt. Shannon.
Menlo Park detectives could find no proof of the sale agreement between Mr. Schattle and Mr. Devlin, and handed the matter over to the civil courts.
But, in 1999, Mr. Schattle’s attorney came back to Menlo Park police detectives to ask for their help, and left the entire case file with them, said Sgt. Shannon. In it, detectives discovered the original signed agreement between Mr. Schattle and Mr. Devlin, setting into motion a court battle that landed Mr. Devlin in jail, Sgt. Shannon said.
Mr. Devlin was ordered by a judge to return the statues, and when he failed to do so, was ordered to pay Mr. Schattle $9 million, according to Sgt. Shannon.
When he failed to come up with the money, Mr. Devlin was hauled into court on contempt charges and Menlo Park police were again asked to step in.
Menlo Park police detective Paul Kunkel was one of the detectives who escorted Mr. Devlin from a courtroom to his house and back last August, after a judge ordered him to produce documents showing the statues’ whereabouts. Mr. Devlin refused to and was jailed, said Det. Kunkel.
“The judge went out of his way to give (Mr. Devlin) as much time and latitude as possible, but he was just not doing it,” said Det. Kunkel. “If you don’t follow a judge’s orders, you can end up in lot of trouble and he did. He got put in jail.”
The missing statues showed up less than two weeks later and Mr. Devlin was released from jail, according to Sgt. Shannon. After several postponed court dates, the statues were finally returned to Mr. Schattle in January, and his attorney reports that a prospective buyer has been found in England.
Detective Kunkel said the case is one of the most unusual he has ever been involved in.
“It was really interesting. We don’t deal with a lot of art theft,” he said. “And all of the personalities involved were very interesting.”

Next in this series, an exposé of the notorious ‘Elmali horde’ of rare Greek coins, to include Athenian decadrachm worth $600,000 apiece, all made in the state mint of Bulgaria in Sofia, to get money for the operations of the Bulgarian KGB.
Millions were spent by greedy and wealthy collectors and for that reason, the truth has been hidden from public view.

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