Saturday, July 22, 2023

Are the Walls Closing in on Joe Biden?

Gary Fouse


 This article first appeared in New English Review.

(L-R) IRS agents Gary Shapely and Joseph Ziegler

History may record that the Republicans taking back the House of Representatives in 2022 was a landmark event in bringing about the downfall of Joe Biden. At the risk of getting ahead of myself here, the House hearings into the Biden family misdeeds seem to be bearing fruit. At appears about half a dozen FBI and IRS whistle-blowers have come forward to tell House Republicans how their investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China, Ukraine, and other questionable entities, coupled with his tax problems, was thwarted by the Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland.

IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapely and Joseph Ziegler have now publicly testified under oath that their investigation into Hunter Biden was obstructed by DOJ. They claim that the US Attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, told them that he was not given permission by DOJ to fully investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings. Garland has denied this allegation to Congress. In a letter to the House, Weiss basically supported Garland’s claim. This is a matter that needs to be clarified fully and in detail because somebody is lying to Congress here. As everyone knows, Hunter Biden has been allowed to plead to a sweetheart deal that fails to serve the cause of justice given the huge amounts of money he has reportedly failed to pay taxes on.

In addition, after much wrangling, Congress has finally obtained a copy of an official FBI report (FD-1023) that outlined allegations made by a confidential informant, whom they have described as highly trustworthy, one who has had a long association with the Bureau as a source of information. This informant told agents that he or she had met with Mykola Zlochevskythe head of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, in Kiev and was told by him that he had 17 tape-recorded conversations with Joe (2) and Hunter Biden (15), as well as text exchanges discussing payments to the Biden family in exchange with then-Vice President Biden’s (successful) efforts to get the Ukrainian prosecutor fired who was investigating Burisma. This occurred while Hunter Biden was serving on Burisma’s Board of Directors. According to what the source heard from Zlochevsky, ten million dollars was paid to Joe and Hunter Biden, evenly divided. Others were reportedly at this meeting including Oleksandr Ostapenko, who reportedly traveled to Ukraine with the informant. If true, it would mean that Joe Biden had another reason to get the prosecutor fired aside from protecting his son-cold hard cash.

At this point, I should point out that this is an allegation made by the confidential informant. It may be argued that it could all turn out to be another Steele Dossier, which contained unverified and false allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. What is needed here is corroboration by Zlochevsky (and any others present) backed up by his producing and authenticating the recorded telephone conversations and texts. In addition, the payments need to be documented as well. I would assume that the appropriate travel documents for the source and Ostapenko are readily available for purposes of partial corroboration.

I have no idea whether Zlochevsky or the others present would be inclined to furnish this evidence and testimony, and given the huge military support we are giving Ukraine, I would not discount the possibility of international big-power politics getting involved here.

The task at hand for the House Republicans (because DOJ and the FBI cannot be trusted to follow this trail) is to corroborate what is alleged by the FBI informant through direct evidence-both testimony and documents- and to reconcile the contradiction between what the whistleblowers are telling Congress vs what Congress is being told by Garland and Weiss regarding alleged obstruction. If all that can be accomplished, the House Republicans can at least send a very strong referral for indictment to DOJ, not to mention a move toward impeachment. Of course, the difficulty of charging a sitting president also comes into play, added to the fact that DOJ has allowed the statute of limitations to pass on many of these alleged crimes, seemingly by slow-walking the whole investigative process.

Compared to the treatment of former President Donald Trump, it does not speak well for what was once the fairest system of justice in the world. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Euthanasia in the Third Reich

 Gary Fouse


This article first appeared in New English Review.

Heil und Pflegeanstalt, Erlangen in 1890

Amid all the horrors of the Third Reich, including World War 2 and the Holocaust, one atrocity that is often overlooked (at least outside of Germany) was the program of euthanasia of mentally and physically handicapped people instituted by Hitler in 1939 when the war broke out. In Hitler's own terminology, these people were classified as "useless eaters". This program was referred to as "T4", named after the address of the office set up to oversee the program nationally (Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin).

Under this program, patients in nursing care facilities around the country (Heil und Pflegenanstalten) were identified and their cases reviewed by doctors indoctrinated in Nazi philosophy. Once approved, these unfortunates (regardless of age) were transported to centers set up for the purpose of killing them by gas. It was sort of a dress rehearsal for the eventual gassing centers such as Auschwitz. This program also included children.

This went on without consultation with relatives of the patients, and these families were eventually notified by mail that their loved one had died in the nursing care facility of various natural causes or illnesses. The remains were generally cremated.

Yet, the public gradually became aware, and curiously enough, as complaints mounted, the Nazi government discontinued the program in 1941, but then reduced the patients' diets to the point that they gradually died of malnutrition.

While researching my book on the history of the German town of Erlangen (Erlangen: An American's History of a German Town), I became aware of the tragic history of their own Heil und Pflegeanstalt   This information was included in the chapter on the years 1933-1945.

With all that as a background, I happened to find a 2019 German YouTube documentary on the topic of the Heil und Pflegenanstalten of Ansbach and Neuendettelsau, two towns near Erlangen in Middle Franconia (Bavaria). In watching the video, I learned that many, if not most of the doomed patients in these two clinics were transferred to the facility at Erlangen before being shipped on to the infamous Hartheim Castle in Austria, which had been transformed into a euthanasia center. It is estimated that over 900 patients from Erlangen were euthanized in killing centers such as Hartheim and another 1,500 were allowed to starve to death.

Hartheim Castle in Austria

In the video, Als hätte es sie nie gegeben (As if they had never existed)there were clips of an interview with medical historian, Hans-Ludwig Siemen, as well as clips from his presentation on the topic, which took place in Erlangen. Siemen and Christine-Ruth Müller are co-authors of a book entitled, "Warum sie sterben mussten: Leidensweg und Vernichtung von Behinderten aus den Neuendettelsauer Pflegeanstalten im "Dritten Reich(Why they had to die: Suffering and extermination of the disabled in the Neuendettelsau nursing homes in the Third Reich), published in 1991.

While watching the video, I happened to see a good friend of mine in Erlangen in the audience attending Siemen's presentation. I contacted him by email this week, and he quickly replied that indeed, it was him in the audience. With his permission, I am reposting what he emailed me:

Yes, that's me in the audience, Gary! Amazing coincidence! An act of providence really. I was there when Dr. Siemen spoke about the matter in the Volkshochschule Erlangen some years ago (before Corona). The reason is that in my mother's family, there were two physically (deaf and mute by birth) and finally probably mentally handicapped elderly women who died in the Bezirksklinikum Ansbach in the 1940s after they had been transferred from Neuendettelsau (Lutheran homes for the handicapped) to Ansbach where the Nazi physicians had total control. One of them died presumably due to the scanty "Hungerkost" diet, and the other one died in 1946, i.e. after the Nazi regime.

 I have been researching about their case in archives for years and will definitely write something about them because I feel they belong to our family although they have been more or less forgotten over the decades. Thank God both my grandmother and my mother told me frankly about them during their lifetime. I'll watch the video tomorrow in quiet. I'll touch base again with you afterward. Thanks a lot, Gary! Again I needed you to show me this. Wonderful connection!

All the best,


The site of the Erlangen Heil und Pflegeanstalt is now part of the University of Erlangen Psychiatric Clinic. Recently, the city of Erlangen tore down some of the old buildings, but some of it has been left standing as part of a memorial to the victims. It is one of many examples of sites related to the Nazi years that have become the subject of debate. Should they be torn down, erased, or preserved in an appropriate context so as to remind future generations of a time that must never be repeated. Just a few miles south of Erlangen, the city of Nuremberg is wrestling with what to do with the surviving (but crumbling) relics of the Nazi Party Rally grounds.

As a side note, when Erlangen fell to the US Army in 1945, a World War 1 memorial to Germany's fallen was partially torn down by the Americans. While they left standing concrete blocks with the names of Erlangen's war dead, a huge statue of a seated soldier, shirtless, with a helmet, was removed as being overly militaristic.

My personal opinion is that in the case of Germany, these sites should be preserved in some manner as a memorial to the victims. In the US, we are having a somewhat similar debate over the preservation of Civil War memorials. History, good or bad, cannot be erased. It is there. All we can try to do is put it in an appropriate context and learn from it.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Biden and Simple Possession of Marijuana

 Gary Fouse


President Biden has made his pitch for the pot-smoking vote this week by announcing that he is issuing pardons for anybody who has been convicted on the federal level for simple possession of marijuana. This raises a lot of interesting points.

As a retired DEA agent, I did have occasions to work marijuana cases. Actually, most all of those cases were when I was a US Customs agent prior to joining the newly-created DEA in July 1973. With Customs, I was assigned to a group exclusively investigating the smuggling of large, commercial quantities of marijuana by aircraft, something that was quite prevalent at the time in the Southwest area bordering Mexico.

As my career continued in DEA from 1973-1995 when I retired, marijuana understandably became a lesser priority compared to heroin, cocaine, and later drugs like methamphetamine. The biggest priority now for DEA is fentanyl, of course.

At this point, I would like to introduce the federal drug law dealing with simple possession of controlled substances (drugs requiring a prescription or simply drugs that are illegal on their face, like heroin). The federal laws regarding drugs are under Title 21 of the US Code. These were the laws I enforced as a Customs and DEA agent. The statutes we were most concerned with and most often charged were smuggling, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to do the same. There is a statute for simple possession. It is 21 USC 844.

It is important to note that no federal prosecutor would accept a case that involved someone arrested for simple possession of a personal quantity of drugs, especially marijuana. I cannot speak for every state and local jurisdiction, but at a federal level, we only cared about commercial quantities. That means that we didn't care about some guy smoking a joint in his home. But if his home contained 500 kilos of marijuana, that was not for his personal use. That was clearly what we called a commercial quantity. He was trafficking.

So now you might ask why is this 21 USC 844 on the books? In practice, it is used for plea bargaining purposes. Pleading to a lesser charge. It is especially handy when a defendant has cooperated with law enforcement to a great degree and deserves a big break. Let me give you an example. Let's say DEA arrests a guy transporting a load of cocaine in his vehicle, let's say 20 kilos. It turns out that he is just a "mule" who is being paid to carry the drugs from one place or one person to another person or place. The driver agrees to cooperate. He names the person who gave him the drugs and the name of the person he is supposed to deliver the drugs to. He also agrees to go through with the delivery to the intended recipient, which he does under the control of the agents. To make a long story short, everybody is arrested on both ends, and the driver testifies in court. In return, he is allowed to plead to a lesser offense (21 USC 844 in many cases).

That's what we are talking about. Nobody at the federal level is chasing pot smokers and throwing them in federal prison for having a personal supply of marijuana or any other drug. The US Attorney's office would never accept such a case. So this is no great act of mercy by President Biden. 

Biden also wants the government to review whether marijuana is properly classified as a Schedule One drug, like heroin. On its face, it seems ludicrous that marijuana and heroin would be in the same classification or schedule. The reasoning is-you can agree or disagree- that like heroin, marijuana is judged to have a high potential for abuse and has no medically recognized use. You can read the list of schedules under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 here. Interestingly, cocaine and fentanyl are listed under Schedule Two because they do have certain legal medical uses.

The bottom line is that virtually all the beneficiaries of this pardon are people who actually committed more serious offenses, but were allowed to plead to the lesser charge of 21 USC 844-simple possession either because they cooperated with law enforcement and/or simply agreed to plead to the lesser charge.

You are not going to see Cheech and Chong walk out of federal prison where they have been serving time because DEA agents found them smoking marijuana on a street corner.