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TBR News November 29, 2018

Nov 29 2018

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

Washington, D.C. November 29, 2018: “Pity the poor Ukraine.

So close to the CIA and so far from reality.

First, the CIA engineered the rebellion in Kiev to overthrow a pro-Russian president and then moved into the Donetsk basis area which is the major industrial area of the Ukraine.

Also, the CIA-installed Ukrainian government made a deal with the US Navy to evict the then-current Russian tenants from the Sevastopol naval base and allow the US to rent it.

Also, the new government leased out valuable and extensive offshore oil deposits from the Crimea to friendly American firms.

As Putin moved quickly, and effectively, he stopped these projects and drew the screaming wrath of the CIA as a result.

Also, the Ukraine (and Poland) objected to the new Russian pipeline running from Viborg in Russia to Stralsund in Germany.

Since Russian pipelines hitherto had run across Polish and Ukrainian lands and both countries had been siphoning, illegally, gas from the Russian pipelines and then refusing to pay for it, they demanded that the EU halt the pipeline so they could keep on getting as much free, and stolen, gas as they needed.

Just recently several small ships of the Ukrainian navy were seized by the Russians and impounded.

This was a CIA-organized episode designed to embarrass Putin and ship weaponry in their bottoms to Ukrainian activists in the Donetsk area who were fighting the Russians.

Since the Malaysian airliner was shot down earlier by these activists, perhaps there were more anti-aircraft rocketry in the impounded ships for another try at turning international opinion against Russia.

But as usual, the CIA failed in its plans and now the howling and useless threats on the part of an outraged hand-puppet will be heard throughout the land.”

The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 93
  • Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Ukrainian leader says Putin wants his whole country, asks for NATO help
  • Ukraine president calls for Nato warships in Sea of Azov
  • Angela Merkel sidesteps military aid to Ukraine
  • German Finance Ministry unaware that getting gold back from US is ‘becoming a hot topic’
  • The American theft of German gold

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 93

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

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

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

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Jul 24, 2018

“And we need workers. Because our unemployment rate at 3.8 per cent is so low — now we’re taking people off the rolls, and we’re training people, but we need workers.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: The most recent unemployment rate was 4.0 per cent, for June, when Trump gave this speech in July. It was 3.8 per cent the previous month.

“In the first quarter of this year alone, American companies repatriated a record of nearly $300 billion — this is in the first quarter. And it’s coming back into our country, with our companies, and our employment, and building plants, and factories, and headquarters in our country, where it belongs. We think the number — and this is all because of our tax reform and tax cuts — we think the number will be close to $4 trillion, coming back into our country — money that would never have been seen by you, or us, or me.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: more than $300 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2018. The second figure, however, is incorrect. Four experts contacted by the Star said they were not aware of any estimate as high as $4 trillion for the amount of corporate profits not repatriated from overseas. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released an estimate of $2.6 trillion overseas in August 2016, and experts said they were not aware of a massive jump in the following two years. (An October 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) pegged the number at $2.6 trillion, while Goldman Sachs pegged it at $3.1 trillion the same month.) “Until there is some legitimate report showing otherwise, my guess continues to be that President Trump is arbitrarily inflating” the accurate number, ITEP senior policy analyst Richard Phillips said in July 2018. “I haven’t seen any reliable estimate that the number is that high,” said Edward Kleinbard, former chief of staff for the U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation and now a chair at the University of Southern California’s law school.

Trump has repeated this claim 32 times

“We’ve cut a record number of job-killing regulations. No president, no matter how long they’ve been in office — even though we’re only here for a short time — has cut anywhere near the regulations. And these are unnecessary. These are waste regulations. It would take 20 years to get approval to build a highway. We’re trying to bring it down to one year. We have it down to about two. We’re trying to get it down to one. And if it doesn’t work, or if it’s environmentally unsound, or there’s something wrong, we’re not going approve it. But we’re not going to take a process 20, 21 years, and then raise your hand that it’s not approved. We’ll let you know in a period of a year or maybe two. Right now, it’s at two; we’re trying to bring it down to one.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: While some controversial and complicated infrastructure projects may have taken 20 or 21 years to get approved, there is no basis for Trump’s suggestion that this time frame had been standard. (He has used several different figures in making this claim in the past; at various events earlier in 2018, he used “20 years,” “19 years” and “17 years.”) The Treasury Department reported under Obama: “Studies conducted for the Federal Highway Administration concluded that the average time to complete a NEPA (environmental) study increased from 2.2 years in the 1970s, to 4.4 years in the 1980s, to 5.1 years in the 1995 to 2001 period, to 6.6 years in 2011.” Further, there is no current evidence that Trump has already succeeded in reducing the standard approval time frame to two years, although he says this is his intention. The Department of Transportation changed its calculation method after 2011; it reported a median NEPA approval time of 3 years, 10 months in 2017, Trump’s first year, which was up slightly from 3 years, 8 months in 2016, Obama’s last year.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Consumer, business, and manufacturing confidence has reached its all-time highs. Confidence is all-time high.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: There is evidence for Trump’s claim about business and manufacturing confidence; the National Association of Manufacturers optimism survey, for example, has registered historic highs in the Trump era. But the claim about consumer confidence is false. Consumer confidence was not at an all-time high at the time Trump spoke, nor even a high for this century. The final reading of the Conference Board consumer confidence index for June, announced in July, was 127.1 (revised up from 126.4). The index stood at 132.6 in November 2000.

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

“Women’s unemployment recently achieved a 65-year low. Lowest in 65 years.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: This claim was no longer true at the time Trump spoke. It was true as of the previous month: the women’s unemployment rate for May, reported in June, was 3.6 per cent, the same as in 1953, 65 years prior. But it rose to 4 per cent in June, reported in July, which was merely the lowest since 2017 — or, if you’re only counting pre-Trump years, the lowest since 2000, 18 years prior.

Trump has repeated this claim 14 times

“African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American unemployment has reached the lowest levels ever recorded in our country’s history — the lowest levels.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: Trump is correct about African-American and Hispanic unemployment, but not Asian-American unemployment. While the Asian-American rate briefly dropped to a low in May, 2.0 per cent, the most recent Asian-American rate at the time Trump spoke, for June, was 3.2 per cent. This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last two full months in office — 3 per cent in November 2016 and 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“I mean, I saw a piece on NBC today. NBC — not just CNN. CNN is the worst. But I saw a piece on NBC; it was heart-throbbing. They were interviewing people — they probably go through 20, and then they pick the one that sounds like the worst. But they went through a group of people. In fact, I wanted to say, ‘I got to do something about this Trump.’ Terrible. And that piece was done by the lobbyists and by the people that they hire. It was a total setup.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: Trump appeared to be complaining about a story about farmers’ concerns about Trump’s tariffs. He provided no evidence for his claim that it was “done by the lobbyists and by the people that they hire.” The NBC journalist who executed the story, Vaughn Hillyard, rejected Trump’s claim, saying on MSNBC: “These are farmers that we met out across rural America…A lot of them are people that you pick up the phone and you give a call to and they said, ‘Come on out.'”

“What the European Union is doing to us is incredible. How bad. They made a $151 billion last year — our trade deficit with the European Union.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: The $151 billion figure counts only trade in goods and ignores trade in services, in which the U.S. has a significant surplus. Including all kinds of trade, the overall U.S. trade balance with the European Union in 2017 was a deficit of $102 billion.

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times

 

“Last year, our country lost $817 billion — with a B — dollars on trade. We lost $817 billion…But just remember, we can’t lose $817 billion.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: The U.S. has never had a $817 billion trade deficit. The 2017 deficit was $566 billion. The deficit was $810 billion if you count only trade in goods and do not count trade in services. Trump, as usual, did not say he was doing so.

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

“And with the VFW’s tremendous help, we passed Veterans Choice — the biggest thing ever. The biggest thing. That’s got to be the biggest improvement you can have. So now, if you can’t get treatment that you need in a timely manner — people used to wait two weeks, three weeks, eight weeks — they couldn’t get to a doctor — you will have the right to see a private doctor immediately and we will pay for it. And you know what? It’s very, very cost effective. And thousands and thousands of lives are going to be saved. And your quality of life is going to be so much better. So you don’t have to wait online for two and a half weeks to see a doctor, like in the past. Veterans Choice has been passed.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: Trump’s new policy has not yet come into force, and even when it does, veterans are unlikely to be allowed to see a private doctor “immediately.” As the Associated Press explained: “Under the newly expanded Choice program that will take at least a year to implement, veterans will still have to meet certain criteria before they can see a private physician. Those criteria will be set in part by proposed federal regulations that will be subject to public review. Currently, only veterans who endure waits of at least 30 days for an appointment at a VA facility are eligible to receive care from private doctors at government expense. A recent Government Accountability Report found that despite the Choice program’s guarantee of providing an appointment within 30 days, veterans waited an average of 51 days to 64 days.”

Trump has repeated this claim 8 times

“I’m also thrilled to say that we have secured for our military servicemembers and their families the largest — you don’t really want it, you’re too patriotic for this — the largest pay raise in almost a decade. Largest pay raise. You don’t want it. Nah. Anybody willing to give it up for the sake of your country? Okay, keep it. You deserve it. You really do. It’s been a long time since you’ve gotten a raise. You deserve it.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: Trump is correct that the 2019 pay increase for members of the military, 2.6 per cent, is the biggest in almost a decade; it is the largest in nine years. But he is wrong that “it’s been a long time since you’ve gotten a raise.” Military Times reported: “In fact, troops have seen a pay raise of at least 1 per cent every year for more than 30 years.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

“Earlier this year, I recognized the true capital of Israel — as Josh said — Jerusalem, where we just opened the American Embassy. They thought it would never be named. And after it was named, they thought it would never get built. And I built it within four months. How about that one? You know that story. Four months. They came to my office; they had a document to be signed. One billion dollars for the embassy. I said, ‘$1 billion?’ They didn’t have a site; they didn’t know anything. And our great ambassador to Israel called — David Friedman, who’s a very successful lawyer in New York City; one of the most — and he said, ‘You know, we can do it a lot faster. We have a great site. We have a building already on the site. We could renovate the building quickly, and we could open the embassy, if you’d like to do that, sir.’ And I said, ‘How much would it cost?’ He said, ‘$150,000.’ I said, ‘What? What?’ He said, ‘I think we can do it in four months.’ So we’re talking about $1 billion, maybe in 20 years, maybe never. Probably never happens, right? We know what goes on. He starts out, ‘I’d rather build ships or I’d rather build something else,’ if we can save the money. We can save that money; let’s use it wisely. So I said, ‘David, let’s not do 150, let’s do, like, how about $400,000? And make it nicer.’ And it’s beautiful. It just opened, and it is beautiful. So, we’re many years ahead of schedule.”

Source: Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in fact: Trump has told various versions of this story; in some versions, he has signed his first name, Donald, on the embassy documents, only to have an epiphany about the supposed $1 billion cost before signing the Trump. Whether or not any version is even remotely true, the renovations required by the move of the embassy to Jerusalem will cost far more than either $140,000 or $400,000. ABC News reported in July: “Documents filed with the official database of federal spending show that the State Department awarded the Maryland-based company Desbuild Limak D&K a contract for $21.2 million to design and build an ‘addition and compound security upgrades’ at the embassy. These updates will be made to the former consular building in Jerusalem — the embassy’s temporary location.” The ABC article continued: “A State Department official told ABC News today that President Trump’s estimates only factored in that first phase of modifications to the former consular building, not this second round of renovation.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

  • Jul 25, 2018

“China made $517 Billion on us last year.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The U.S. has never once had a $500 billion trade deficit with China, according to U.S. government data. The deficit was $337 billion in 2017, $375 billion if you only count trade in goods.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? Lost $817 Billion on Trade last year.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Leaving aside Trump’s claim that a trade deficit amounts to a loss, the U.S. has never had a $817 billion trade deficit. The 2017 deficit was $566 billion. The 2016 deficit was $502 billion. (The 2017 deficit was $810 billion if you count only trade in goods and do not count trade in services. Trump, as usual, did not say he was doing so.)

Trump has repeated this claim 30 times

 

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

Cohen, who has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, pleaded guilty to lying about plans to build a Trump tower in Russia

November 29, 2018

by Victoria Bekiempis and Jon Swaine

The Guardian

Michael Cohen, one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers for more than a decade, pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump tower in Russia.

Cohen, who has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, admitted one count of making a false statement during a hearing at the federal court in Manhattan.

A source familiar with the case said Cohen would admit that efforts to construct a Trump development in Moscow, the Russian capital, continued for several months more than he has said previously.

Last year, Cohen told the House intelligence committee in a statement that in January 2016 it was decided that the “proposal was not feasible for a variety of business reasons and should not be pursued further”.

Cohen worked on the planned project with Felix Sater, a Russian-born associate of the Trumps, who claimed to have connections with influential figures in Moscow.

Cohen, 52, previously pleaded guilty in August to violating election campaign finance laws. He told the court at the time that he did so at the direction of Trump.

The development followed days of attacks against Mueller by Trump, who has repeatedly accused the special counsel of carrying out a “witch-hunt” against the president.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 29, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

Conversation No. 46

Date: Saturday, November 16, 1996

Commenced: 9:48 AM CST

Concluded: 10:25 AM CST

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTC: No, I do not.

GD: This Driscoll fellow. Do you know him?

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

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

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

GD: To accept this might be a problem.

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

GD: He was defying Truman as I recall.

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

GD: Yes, you did.

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

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

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

GD: That sums it all up, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

GD: Question? Why is Kimmel sitting in?

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

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

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

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

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

GD: If I felt it was necessary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTC: I would certainly hope so.

(Concluded at 10:25 AM CST)

 

Ukrainian leader says Putin wants his whole country, asks for NATO help

November 29, 2018

by Thomas Escritt and Andrew Osborn

Reuters

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin of wanting to annex his entire country and called for NATO to deploy warships to a sea shared by the two nations.

Poroshenko’s comments to German media were part of a concerted push by Kiev aimed at gaining Western support for more sanctions against Moscow, securing tangible Western military help, and rallying opposition to a Russian gas pipeline that threatens to deprive Ukraine of important transit revenue.

His Western allies have so far not offered to give him any of these things soon, despite his warnings of a possible invasion by Russia after Moscow seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews on Sunday.

Moscow and Kiev blame each other for the Black Sea incident, which took place off Russian-annexed Crimea.

“Don’t believe Putin’s lies,” Poroshenko told Bild, Germany’s biggest-selling paper, comparing Russia’s protestations of innocence in the affair to Moscow’s 2014 denial that it had soldiers in Crimea even as they moved to annex it.

“Putin wants the old Russian empire back,” he said. “Crimea, Donbass, the whole country. As Russian Tsar, as he sees himself, his empire can not function without Ukraine. He sees us as his colony.”

Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, on Thursday accused Russia of imposing a de facto blockade on two Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov by barring ships from leaving and entering the sea via the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait.

The Kremlin denied it was restricting shipping, saying it had not heard of any problems. If there were any delays they were due to bad weather rather than politics, it said.

Poroshenko told Bild he also wanted NATO to deploy warships to the Sea of Azov. There was no immediate reaction from the alliance, which has condemned Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian ships. The Kremlin said Poroshenko’s request looked designed to cause more tensions in the area.

‘FORTRESS CRIMEA’

There were further signs that Russia was pressing ahead with its plans to fortify Crimea and turn it into what Kremlin-backed media have called a fortress.

Russia on Thursday deployed a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea, its fourth such, TASS news agency cited a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as saying.

Citing a Crimean security source, Interfax news agency also reported Russian plans to build a new missile early-warning radar station in Crimea next year that would be able to track ballistic and cruise missiles from a long distance.

Russia was also working on a new technical system to allow it to better track shipping around the peninsula in order to protect its maritime borders, Interfax said.

The United States and the EU have both imposed sanctions on Russia over its conduct towards Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow seized and annexed Crimea after a pro-Russian leader was toppled in Kiev.

Moscow later backed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict in which more than 10,000 people have been killed. Major fighting ended with a 2015 ceasefire but deadly exchanges of fire are still frequent.

Poroshenko, whom Putin has accused of manufacturing the Black Sea crisis to boost his flagging ratings before an election next year, called on Germany to halt an undersea pipeline project that would allow Russia to supply more gas to Germany directly.

The Nord Stream 2 project is a potentially serious problem for Ukraine which currently earns large transit fees from piping Russian gas to Europe and stands to lose out.

“We need a strong, resolute and clear reaction to Russia’s aggressive behavior,” Poroshenko told Funke. “That also means stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.”

But Germany’s economy minister dismissed the idea that his country’s commitment to the pipeline undermined efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis.

“These are two separate questions,” Peter Altmaier told the ARD public broadcaster.

Poroshenko’s attempts to get the EU to impose new sanctions on Russia appeared to be falling flat.

Heeding his suggestion, the EU’s hawks have called for more sanctions but the divided bloc is not going to act swiftly, if at all, diplomatic sources have said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would raise the Black Sea issue with Putin at a G20 summit which starts in Argentina on Friday where the Russian leader is also due to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

NATO has urged Russia to release the three Ukrainian navy ships and their crews, saying there was no justification for Moscow’s actions. But the military alliance, which Ukraine one day hopes to join, has stopped short of offering to deploy new forces in the area to deter Russia.

Additional reporting by Tom Balmforth and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow, Michelle Martin in Berlin and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Richard Balmforth

 

Ukraine president calls for Nato warships in Sea of Azov

Kiev asks for western presence in sea it shares with Russia, saying Putin is blocking ports

November 29, 2018

The Guardian

The president of Ukraine has accused Russia of wanting to annex his entire country and called for Nato to deploy warships to a sea shared by the two nations.

Petro Poroshenko’s comments to German media were part of a concerted push by Kiev for western support for more sanctions against Moscow, tangible western military help and to rally opposition to a Russian gas pipeline that threatens to deprive Ukraine of important transit revenue.

His western allies have so far not offered any of these things soon, despite his warnings of a possible invasion by Russia after Moscow seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews on Sunday.

Moscow and Kiev blame each other for the Black Sea incident, which took place off Russian-annexed Crimea.

“Don’t believe [Vladimir] Putin’s lies,” Poroshenko told the Bild, as he compared Russia’s protestations of innocence to Moscow’s 2014 denial that it had soldiers in Crimea even as they moved to annex the peninsula.

“Putin wants the old Russian empire back,” he said. “Crimea, Donbass, the whole country. As Russian tsar, as he sees himself, his empire cannot function without Ukraine. He sees us as his colony.”

In a tweet later, Poroshenko said his country would impose restrictions on Russian citizens in Ukraine. His office could not immediately confirm what those restrictions were.

Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, accused Russia on Thursday of imposing a de facto blockade on two Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov by barring vessels from leaving and entering the sea via the Russian-controlled strait of Kerch.

The Kremlin denied it was restricting shipping, saying it had not heard of any problems. If there were any delays they were due to bad weather rather than politics, it said.

There was no immediate reaction from Nato to Poroshenko’s call for the deployment of warships to the Sea of Azov. The Kremlin said Poroshenko’s request looked designed to cause more tensions in the area. Nato has condemned Russia’s seizure of the three Ukrainian ships and their crews.

There have been further signs that Russia is pressing ahead with its plans to fortify Crimea.

On Thursday, a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems was deployed in Crimea, the Tass news agency cited a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea fleet as saying.

Citing a Crimean security source, the Interfax news agency also reported Russian plans to build a new missile early warning radar station in Crimea next year that would be able to track ballistic and cruise missiles from a long distance.

Russia was also working on a new technical system to allow it to better track shipping around the peninsula in order to protect its maritime borders, Interfax said.

The US and the EU have both imposed sanctions on Russia over its conduct towards Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow seized and annexed Crimea after a pro-Russia leader was toppled in Kiev.

Moscow later backed pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict in which more than 10,000 people have been killed. Major fighting ended with a 2015 ceasefire, but deadly exchanges of fire are still frequent.

Poroshenko, whom Putin has accused of manufacturing the Black Sea crisis to improve his flagging ratings before an election next year, also called on Germany to halt an undersea pipeline project that would allow Russia to supply more gas to Germany directly.

The Nord Stream 2 project is a potentially serious problem for Ukraine, which earns large transit fees from piping Russian gas to Europe and stands to lose out.

“We need a strong, resolute and clear reaction to Russia’s aggressive behaviour,” Poroshenko told the German media group Funke. “That also means stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project

 

Angela Merkel sidesteps military aid to Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned Russia for seizing three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. But she failed to offer any military support to Ukraine or further economic sanctions against Russia.

November 29, 2018

by Ben Knight

DW

Angela Merkel has reiterated Germany’s support for Ukraine in the ongoing stand-offbetween Russia and Ukraine over three ships seized on Sunday, though she did not threaten any further action against Russia, either in terms of military aid or sanctions.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took to Germany’s Bild newspaper to ask Merkel to send navy ships to the Sea of Azov “to provide security,” and accused Russia of wanting “nothing less than to occupy the sea.”

Speaking at the third German-Ukrainian Economic Forum on Thursday, the German chancellor did not offer any direct answer to Poroshenko’s request. Instead, the chancellor re-affirmed Germany’s commitment to Ukraine, and put the blame for the current crisis squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She pointed out that Russia and Ukraine agreed a shipping treaty in 2003 which grants both countries full use of the Kerch Strait leading into the Sea of Azov, although both sides also have rights of inspection in the waters. A bridge that Russia built to the annexed Crimean peninsula has impeded the free movement of ships, Merkel said.

“Since this bridge was opened in May this year, shipping conditions have worsened,” the chancellor complained. “Of course I want the facts of what happened to be put on the table, that the soldiers are set free, and that their confessions aren’t forced out of them, as we saw on TV now.”

Speaking before Merkel at the forum, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman condemned “Russian aggression.” “This is now the fifth year that Russia has disregarded international law,” he said.

Economic help, but no military support

Towards the end of the speech, Merkel did suggest only one way that Germany might apply extra pressure on Russia: by suggesting that European countries reduce the amount of gas they buy from Russia via its various pipelines: Nordstream and Turkstream.

Nevertheless, Merkel expressed sympathy for Ukraine’s dire situation: inevitable economic difficulties in the wake of the 2014 revolution, coupled with the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the subsequent military conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s eastern regions.

She also explained why Germany was maintaining its economic sanctions against Russia, even though plenty of German businesses wouldn’t mind seeing them lifted. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is about principles,” she told the forum. “We don’t have these sanctions for their own sake, we have these sanctions to make clear that countries have the right to their own development, even if they’re close to Russia – this is a principle of international law.”

She added, “because it’s often forgotten,” that Ukraine had decided by referendum to become independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Crimea had decided then to belong to Ukraine. She also pointed out that Ukraine had given up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in exchange for territorial assurances from the international community, including Russia. “That’s why we have a duty to stand up for what we promised,” she said.

The Minsk Protocol of September 2014, agree on by Russia, Ukraine, and separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk, secured a ceasefire, but it is regularly broken by both sides, and the conflict is still claiming the lives of an average of one soldier a day. “The Minsk agreement prevented constant further escalations in the last few years, but it did not get us any closer to a political solution, and it did not get Ukraine access to its actual borders,” Merkel said.

For its part, Russia says Ukraine has not fulfilled its side of the Minsk bargain: ensuring local elections on autonomy in the separatist regions.

 

German Finance Ministry unaware that getting gold back from US is ‘becoming a hot topic’

November 29, 2019

RT

For decades, the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank and custodian of the country’s gold, has been storing over 1,200 tons of the precious metal worth nearly €50 billion in the New York vaults of the US Federal Reserve.

After a public outcry in Germany in 2013, authorities started the repatriation program, aimed at returning the country’s gold reserves, which have been stored outside of the country since the Cold War. Berlin intended to get at least half of the country’s gold from the US and France by 2020. The government had initially planned to complete the program within a five-year period, but the US Federal Reserve renegotiated the process to a seven-year timeline.

The country reportedly managed to ship only five tons of its gold in 2013 due to logistical difficulties. The following year, Germany repatriated 120 tons of the precious metal – 35 tons from Paris and 85 tons from New York. Some 110.5 tons were brought back from Paris and 99.5 tons from New York in 2015. Two years ago, the country repatriated total of 200 tons.

So far, the Fed has denied the German financial regulator access to the vast deposits that are literally being held hostage overseas. Thus, the Bundesbank has had no opportunity to audit the reserves that belong to Germany.

Various theories circulated about Germany’s foreign gold reserves, with some experts questioning whether it is still there or if it has been used by foreign central banks. However, the German government doesn’t seem very worried about the issue.

“I haven’t heard that it is now becoming a hot topic, but in case it is, you should contact the Bundesbank. They would give you information about the current state of affairs and plans on this issue,” German Finance Ministry spokesman Dennis Kolberg told RT Deutsch during the weekly news conference.

“The Bundesbank has already spoken on this issue, so I can only refer to them,” the official said, when asked if the government has any plans to address the matter of the country’s gold being kept abroad.

 

The American theft of German gold

November 29, 2018

by Christian Jürs

Since before World War II, Fort Knox, America’s delegated repository for gold, served as the safe haven for much of the gold legally belonging to foreign nations.

In the 1930s, fears that Europe would be overrun by Hitler’s Wehrmacht sent the gold from Eastern Europe, France, and Great Britain to Fort Knox for safekeeping.

Those same fears mounted during the Cold War era.

There was exactly the same scenario with the German, French, Dutch, British or Belgian gold during the created threat of Soviet military units overrunning Europe.

This gold was sent across the Atlantic for safekeeping by the US Treasury.

However, instead of storing it in Fort Knox secure vaults, the American Treasury gave it instead to the Federal Reserve as collateral for the loans (currently $19.5 trillion) which the private Federal Reserve Corporation made to the US Treasury, in exchange for which the Treasury issued IOUs in the form of T-Bills to be held by the Federal Reserve.

As a result of increasing concerns expressed by a number of German politicians and Germany’s financial policeman, its National Audit Office, the Bundesbank is to check up on Germany’s gold reserves, an estimated two-thirds of which are stored outside Germany. The Bundesbank has also revealed that a physical check of Germany’s gold has never been carried out.

A large proportion of Germany’s gold reserves is stored abroad in vaults in the US, Britain and France. The gold bars have not been inspected by German officials for decades, prompting German federal auditors to call for a long overdue stock-take.

As the European single currency zone crisis rumbles on from one summit to the next with no resolution in sight, Germany’s National Audit Office and some of the country’s politicians have become increasingly edgy about the country’s gold serves, nearly three quarters of which are held outwith Germany.

There are historical reasons for Germany not having its own Fort Knox. The quid pro quo for (West) Germany was allied troops being stationed in West Germany long after the Second World War had ended.

With only about 30% of Germany’s gold reserves being held in German custody and the remainder far away from Frankfurt, Germany’s National Audit Office – the organisation independent of government that keeps an eye on Germany’s finances – has queried whether the German central bank, the Bundesbank, has been regularly keeping tabs on German gold bullion.

The National Audit Office is concerned that no physical checks have been carried out.

The Bundesbank reacted to the National Audit Office’s demands emphasising it does not doubt ‘the integrity, reputation and safety’ of foreign storage sites, relying on documentation and procedures in place to provide proof and traceability of German gold reserves stored abroad over past decades.

Nonetheless, to allay audit office concerns, the Bundesbank made arrangements to repatriate some of Germany’s gold reserves and test the gold for purity. The Bundesbank had agreed to ship 150 tons of gold currently stored at the New York Federal Reserve to Germany.

German concerns mounted after a delegation of German federal politicians requested an inspection of German gold reserves stored at the Banque de France, France’s central bank, in Paris. The group were turned away by officials who said there were no visiting facilities at their vaults.

Now, the official view in Germany is that the Bundesbank has no reason to doubt that all German gold reserves stored in foreign countries can be properly accounted for.

On January 16, 2013 Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, said it would ship back home all 374 tons it had stored with the Banque de France in Paris, as well as 300 tons held in Manhattan by the US Federal Reserve, by 2020.

That having been said, the Federal Bank of Germany has only managed to bring home a paltry 37 tons of gold.

And only 5 tons of that came from the US, the rest coming from Paris. The US Fed holds 45% or roughly $635 billion of the total 3,396 tons of gold Germany has in reserve, the world’s second largest hoard.

Needless to say this prompted renewed questions as to whether Germany’s gold still exists in those Manhattan vaults or if it has been sold to others.

Ending talk of repatriating the world’s second-biggest gold reserves removes a potential irritant in U.S.-German relations.

It’s also a political rebuff to critics including the anti-euro ‘Alternative for Germany’ party, which says all the gold should be returned to Frankfurt so it can’t be impounded to blackmail Germany into keeping the currency union together.

As an enforced NATO partner of the U.S. during the Cold War, many German institutions were heavily infiltrated by American agents, such as CIA personnel, and the current German government does not wish to create serious problems by antagonizing the United States.

In sum, the Merkel government is willing to cover up the theft of their gold by the Amereicans for political reasons.

German gold is also held at The Bank of England which stores 13% in London, while the Bank of France in Paris has 11% in total and the remainder is held at the Bundesbank’s headquarters in Frankfurt.

The gold that was claimed to have been returned to Germany at Frankfurt was never shown to the public but was said to have been melted down immediately to  “bring the bullion to the current bar standard.” Germany holds more than 3,000 tons of gold bullion, which represents more than 75 percent of its foreign currency reserves.

It is well-known in the American banking community that the U.S. Treasury will never be able to repay $19.5 trillion which is owes to the Federal Reserve banks for loans, based on the gold the Federal Reserve has held as security for their loans to the U.S. government. Because the U.S. Treasury was unable to repay these loans the Federal Reserve sold all the gold to the Chinese government and they regard the the promissory notes from the Treasury (the T-Bills) as so much worthless paper.

The US Government will most certainly never have the money to redeem $19.5 trillion out of the taxes it collects, so the only way to repay the Federal Reserve is to borrow more money from the Federal Reserve to repay the older loans, with, of course the interest.

Thus, the Federal Reserve will never have to give back the gold to the Treasury, and has paid the U.S. Treasury debt and has kept some of the gold to cover itself.

When the foreign depositors, such as Germany, come to the US Government Treasury and ask for their gold back, the US Government does not have it, and has not had it in its possession in Fort Knox since soon after the end of WWII.

The final conclusion is that the U.S. Government has converted hundreds of trillions of other nations’ gold to act as collateral for its own borrowing and profligate spending, on endless wars, political corruption, bribery, and baldfaced theft.

 

 

 

 

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