Famed bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld launched his tell-all memoir Lucifer’s Banker last week at the National Press Club with a harsh indictment of the nearby headquarters of the U.S. Justice Department.

Birkenfeld, described earlier this year by CNBC as "the most significant financial whistleblower of all time," attacked law enforcers as being cowardly, self-seeking and deceitful in monitoring crime by top financial Bradley Birkenfeld NPC Oct. 18, 2016 JIP Photoinstitutions that help the wealthy commit massive frauds on taxes. The schemes hide money, sometimes ill-gotten, and thus may hurt the criminals' spouses, business colleagues, fellow citizens, and governments.

Birkenfeld, 51, helped American authorities recover an estimated $15 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties from wealthy tax cheats who worked with his former employer, UBS, the world's largest bank. UBS is at the center of Switzerland's notoriously secretive system that helped the wealthy duck debtors and facilitate crime that includes drug and arms trafficking.

"The great irony," Birkenfeld told about 80 guests at the press club Oct. 18 (as shown in our JIP photo), "is that the only banker imprisoned for the financial scandals was me, the whistleblower."

"The problem," he continued in an interview the next day with RT, "is the U.S. Department of Justice is corrupt."

His Lucifer’s Banker memoir, subtitled The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, is an engaging, important and otherwise compelling overview of his unique, courageous role in exposing and reforming Switzerland's system of secret banking for the world's mega-rich.

His story also shows how he endured a 40-month prison sentence. After serving 31 months (with time off for good behavior), he is now free to tell the tale, bolstered by $104 million (before taxes) that he and his lawyers managed to obtain as reward money despite the best efforts of Justice Department tormentors to hinder the full force of his disclosures.

Bradley BerkenfeldParticularly important is that authorities -- and not just the Justice Department but also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her colleagues -- sought to protect in his view many of the rich and powerful tax cheats who could have been exposed.

Update: JIP's editor discussed this column on Oct. 25 during an hour-long edition of The Phil Mikan Show simulcast on WLIS-AM and WMRD-AM in Connecticut, and streaming worldwide. A major point was that the topic was not simply important but interesting -- and that true reform will never occur until the public becomes engaged in how seemingly far-away issues directly affect personal quality of life, such as when criminals hide assets from employees, business colleagues or spouses, or when narcotics traffickers destroying communities hide their money overseas.

Birkenfeld says he outlined to authorities precisely how they could have obtained the names and other records of all 19,000 of the UBS customers availing themselves of secret accounts. Also, he told prosecutors how they could capture all UBS bankers entering the United States on phony customs declarations, thereby enabling prosecutors to squeeze the bankers to cooperate in criminal cases against the tax cheats and foster reform through such additional avenues as Senate oversight hearings.

But, he argues, U.S. authorities obtained only 4,700 names that UBS cherry-picked in mysterious ways. He believes the bank and compliant authorities protected the vast bulk of the most politically influential tax cheats. That deprived taxpayers, he argues, of even greater reimbursement than the $12 billion (plus interest and penalties) that IRS recouped.

More generally, he portrays a corrupt and incompetent oversight landscape that is marred also by often-timid and misguided defense counsel typically available whistleblowers, even though he could afford top  lawyers and researched extensively those available.

Despite roadblocks, his saga proceeds in a buoyant manner in describing how he overcame the obstacles for the most part, aided by his final team of lawyers from the National Whistleblower Center. He provides kudos to the Internal Revenue Service, which he calls the most effective, non-political and otherwise admirable of the oversight bodies he encountered.

Praise for the IRS is not the only unconventional aspect of this memoir. So is his admiration for the rigorous training he received at Vermont's Norwich University, the nation's oldest private military academy. Also, he is proud of his luxurious and libidinous lifestyle as a high-paid banker. In a convoluted but ultimately convincing way, such diverse experiences led him to the monumental risks and results of his whistleblowing.  

Today's column draws from his case, his powerful memoir and his appearance last week in the nation's capital. Our conclusion? His harsh words against the Justice Department and the overall structure it exemplifies appear to be justified, although we recognize that many thousands of employees labor also each day to live up to the DOJ's aspirational goals of delivering justice.

In concluding this, we draw upon years of reporting here documenting other injustices by top federal authorities involving both their whitewashes that protect the powerful and their remarkably harsh treatment to political targets, including whistleblowers.

Thomas Drake photo by Noel St.JohnReaders are familiar with the threats to democracy inflicted by the Justice Department on many political prisoners and/or whistleblowers.

As a few examples reported here through the years: Privacy advocates, whistleblowers and political targets Edward Snowden, Joseph Nacchio, Thomas Drake (shown at right in a Noel St. John photo at the National Press Club), Jesselyn Radack and John Kiriakou; and the still-imprisoned former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and the DOJ political targets (such as Richard Scrushy, Tamarah Grimes, Gary White, and Dana Jill Simpson) who courageously supported one of the Deep South's most prominent Democrats during his 2006 Justice Department frame-up despite pressures from the department to adjust their testimony or otherwise drop their protests against one of the nation's most enduring human rights disgraces.

Among others we've covered have been President John F. Kennedy's former Secret Service guard Abraham Bolden, a black officer who tried to warn the Warren Commission about racial hatred against JFK within the protective service but instead found himself imprisoned on trumped up DOJ charges; and many more DOJ victims. That's one of the department's most enduring and important shames.

Several of these victims and civic heroes were honored guests at Birkenfeld's book launch last week. What follows is our take on the Bradley Birkenfeld story and its continuing importance to you.

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Missouri’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee has orchestrated deceptive campaign finance and organizational practices, according to allegations filed anonymously before seven federal and state oversight bodies.

Jason KanderMissouri’s Secretary of State Jason Kander is the Senate nominee shown in an official photo at left. He and his allies allegedly devised a secret agenda behind a state referendum plan ostensibly to help children with increased tax on tobacco products, for example.

But the “Raise Your Hands 4 Kids” ballot referendum was concocted as a sweetheart deal for the tobacco companies, according to the 127-page memo, and also as an organizing tool in Republican-dominated rural Missouri for what pollsters say is surprisingly strong Senate race by Kander. Alleged manipulation of the New York Times best-seller list and crowd-funding for charitable purposes are among the other allegations.

A Kander victory in the Missouri Senate race over incumbent first-term Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (shown at right in an official photo) has the potential to help deliver Senate control to Democrats, who now trail Republicans 46-54 (counting independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who support the Democratic caucus).

Roy BluntTherefore, the many serious new allegations against Kander and his wife — motivational speaker, lawyer and investment counselor Diana Kagan Kander — have both state and national importance.

Update 1: In a potential major development, the Legal Schnauzer blog published by Roger Shuler drew on a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report for a column headlined on Oct. 26:, Prosecutor declines to bring rape charges in case with apparent ties to Jason Kander scandal surrounding Missouri U.S. Senate race against Roy Blunt. Details are via the link, and are excerpted below.

Update 2: The allegations in the memo are "shocking" and untrue said RYH4K Executive Director Linda Rallo in a phone interview Nov. 2. "It find it highly offensive," continued Rallo, who assumed her post last fall. "This campaign has nothing to do with Jason Kander." She said RYH4K has complied with state filing requirements, and she was too busy in a meeting and preparing for the Nov. 8 balloting to describe more specifically her complaints about the memo.

Inquiries failed to bring a response to the memo from Kander, his campaign, his wife, or the Secretary of State’s communications office campaign. The memo had been filed by anonymous “US investigative and Independent Journalists” with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a half dozen other bodies, and at least three journalists.

Investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen broke the story on the Wayne Madsen Report this week under the headline, No Candor in Kander campaign for Senate. The story included links to the 11-page cover letter sent with the full memo to government agencies. The full-127 page memo is here.

Today’s column provides an overview of the allegations, which allege misconduct also against Kander’s wife. She, like her husband, is a lawyer age 35 reared in Johnson County, Kansas. They each received a law degree from Georgetown University’s Law Center in 2005. After working for a year at a major Missouri-based law firm, according to the memo, her work now focuses on motivational speaking and investment counseling.

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President Obama continues to withstand the nation's most aggressive war hawks from both parties even as the long-secret U.S. plan to overthrow Syria's government last week reached a turning point in Aleppo amidst remarkable threats between the United States and Russia of military action against one another.

The Washington Post's well-connected Associate Editor Karen DeYoung and national security columnist Josh Rogin were among those reporting (here in the Post's print edition Oct. 9, for example) that Obama and some of the Defense Department's top experts remain reluctant to agree to widespread calls for a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone in Syria or major upgrades of weapons systems for rebels.

Democratic and Republican Campaigns DecodedMeanwhile, however, Obama's CIA Director John Brennan and a number of other allies and administration members reportedly back exactly those actions.

Update: In a major development reported on Nov. 10: Washington Post, Obama directs Pentagon to target al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, one of the most formidable forces fighting Assad.

Vice Presidential nominees Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, Democrat and Republican respectively, renewed their call for U.S.-enforced no-fly-zone. So did Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and a number of other hawks. Such a zone is an act of war and would be, at this point, without either congressional or international authorization.

Their public reasons are ostensibly on humanitarian and pro-democracy grounds. Many news stories focus on civilian deaths in Syria, albeit with almost no coverage of whether the estimated 8,000 rebels, many of them non-Syrian jihadists drawn from other nations, are using civilians and hospitals as human shields, as Syria's government claims.

Given the U.S.-backed atrocities against Yemen's civilian population by Saudi Arabia (such as a Saudi strike on a funeral killing 140 over the weekend) and the CIA's role in fomenting the Syria war, the complaints over civilian deaths in Syria suggest that many American leaders fear their plan to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is failing. The CIA has sought to control Syria for many years, according to documents, books and interviews, including a 1986 Rolling Stone interview of Miles Copeland, the CIA's first station chief in Syria after World War II.

President Obama prepares for his last UN General Assembly address on Sept. 20, 2016 (WH Photo)Fast forward. During the presidential debate Oct. 9 in St. Louis, GOP nominee Donald Trump took a different view from his running mate, Pence. Trump argued that Aleppo has already fallen and that it is nearly pointless to attack Assad because of his willingness with Russia to attack ISIS.

Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton rejected the idea of using American ground troops in Syria but backed special forces there and troops for a major push against ISIS in Iraq, where the government has invited U.S. help. "I hope," she said, "that by the time I am president we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq." 

A White House photo shows the president while he waited backstage before making his last address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York Sept. 20.

Today's column reporting these momentous developments is particularly timely because much of the American public has been distracted in recent days by the debate, the Trump "Access Hollywood" lewd video, and Hurricane Matthew, the category 4 storm that hit Florida and the Carolinas after inflicting many fatalities in the Caribbean.

Most Western news media coverage of Syria primarily focuses upon civilian casualties in eastern Aleppo from Russian and Syrian bombing. But other developments include the possibility that the current "proxy war" between U.S. and Russian allies could rapidly expand to a more direct war, including nuclear attacks.

Today, we report military threats (including an appendix of the most recent news articles). Our follow up columns will address longer-term issues, including recent revelations regarding propaganda strategies to build support for war-making. The Syrian civil war that began in 2011 has already caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced millions, including the refugees destabilizing European nations and fostering fears that terrorists are part of the mass migrations from Syria.

We start with a recap of how the last week created what former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and French nationalist Marine Le Pen, among others, are calling a 'dangerous point.'

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed symmetrically and in near-freefall as part of the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of World Trade Center (WTC) Building 7, portrayed in the 10:08 min. video above.

The 47-story steel-frame building was not hit by an airplane and was located 355 feet north from WTC 1 and 2, "the Twin Towers." It collapsed in 6.5 seconds seven hours after the Twin Towers fell. The first 2.5 seconds of the WTC 7 collapse exhibited absolute free fall, according to scientific measurements by physicist David Chandler.

World Trade Center 9/11 via Creative CommonsThe collapses exhibited so many signatures of controlled demolition that experts who have studied them are increasingly questioning the official claims of causation, which U.S. authorities and the mainstream media have ascribed to airplane impacts of WTC 1 and 1 and resultant fires.

Last month, Europhysics News published 15 Years Later: On the physics of high-rise building collapses. The report challenged U.S. government findings that the skyscrapers collapsed due to fire. The four co-authors noted that no other steel-framed skyscrapers in world history have ever collapsed from fire (and each of the Twin towers had been specifically designed to more than withstand the impact of a civilian airline like those on 9/11.

Instead, the authors cited compelling evidence that the collapses followed the physics of controlled demolition.

Similarly, the first day of the 9/11 Justice in Focus conference brought together prominent 9/11 technical and legal experts in New York City Sept. 10-11 for an in-depth examination of the physical evidence relating to the WTC collapses, as well as a variety of related issues, such as legal precedents in landmark cases. The second day was a symposium on which legal venues and legal procedures can best advance research and result in legal remedies congruent with forensic evidence evaluated by legal review panels. 

Dr. Leroy Hulsey, shown at right in a Justice Integrity Project photo, summed up the results of his University of Alaska team by telling noted public interest attorney  Daniel Sheehan that there is "zero" chance that WTC 7 collapsed due to fire, which is the official U.S. government explanation. Hulsey is the chairman of the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

Leroy HulseyHulsey's remarks during the forum at New York City's historic Cooper Union typified other engineering experts' conclusions. The conference "Justice In Focus 9/11 2016" was co-sponsored by the 2,700-member group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), a non-profit, non-partisan body.

The group is led by founder Richard Gage, a major speaker at the conference and the featured narrator in the video above. AE911 Truth funded the Alaskan university's research and a free live stream video of the proceedings. The presentations are now available via YouTube, with donations requested here on a voluntary basis to cover costs.

Today's article focuses on these new technical findings regarding 9/11 research. It is part of new Justice Integrity Project "Readers Guide to 9/11 Research and Advocacy." That guide builds on our extensive previous coverage of the topic, and will soon include lists of vital books and films from varied viewpoints and coverage of important new legal advocacy on the issues, encompassed in part by the second day of the program at Cooper Union.

This "Readers Guide" is intended to make easily available in concise formats the major official and alternative studies, news items, commentaries, videos and films on the topic, with representation from diverse and reasonably credible viewpoints that attract significant support. This series thus parallels our three existing "Readers Guides," which separately provided similar arrays of research on the 1960s assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.    

As in those efforts, this editor, a member of the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry that co-sponsored the New York event, is involved in research, writing and speaking on those topics, including both days of the forum at the Cooper Union. Nonetheless, this column and our forthcoming coverage provides ample links to alternative viewpoints, as in the appendix below listing major government and popular reports supporting the official verdicts arguing that fire caused the WTC skyscraper collapses.   

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Former Senator Bob Graham urged pressure on Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers at an NPC Newsmaker event on Aug. 31. The public should pressure Congress for more disclosure about Saudi Arabian interaction with 9/11 hijackers, said former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., Wednesday to a National Press Club Newsmaker audience.

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) Aug. 31, 2016 at NPC (Noel St. John photo)The U.S. House of Representatives, he said, must enable 9/11 victim families to sue Saudi entities suspected of complicity. “These almost 3,000 American victims and their families deserve justice,” said Graham, shown in a photo image by Noel St. John. “They deserve the right, in a court of law, to present the evidence they have gathered, which is voluminous, that will link World Trade Center 9/11 via Creative Commonsthe kingdom and other entities of Saudi Arabia to the 19 hijackers.”

The Senate unanimously passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in May. The legislation would enable terrorism victims to overcome court rulings backed by the Executive Branch that Saudi defendants receive sovereign immunity from disclosure and liability. The bill is stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

Graham, a three-term Florida Democrat who retired in 2005 from the Senate, said in remarks broadcast by C-SPAN and NPR that the House has not scheduled a vote on JASTA. Get involved in that fight, he urged the audience.

Saudi officials and some of their defenders in U.S. government have denied Saudi assistance for the hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudis.

In 2002, the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 Attacks co-chaired by Graham published a comprehensive study. It included “28 pages” that reported who assisted the hijackers, primarily three based in San Diego.

Graham also called for release of thousands of pages of still-suppressed FBI reports being sought under Freedom of Information Act litigation regarding the other 16 hijackers.

Meanwhile, a statement  by the Saudi embassy in Washington “expresses once again its strong disappointment at Senator Bob Graham's continued advocacy of the idea that the government of Saudi Arabia bore responsibility for the attacks of September 11, 2001.”

U.S. authorities have tried to restrict information about Saudi involvement, said Graham, who alleged the FBI has provided “incorrect” information on crucial matters.

“Why are you doing this?” he quoted the FBI’s deputy director as asking him in 2011. “Get a life.” 

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The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.

The network’s corrupt “news” values are typified by Fox failure to cover for more than a few minutes the sex scandal allegations against Fox founding leader Roger Aisles by two former Fox anchors, Gretchen Gretchen Carlson FoxCarlson (a former Miss America shown at right) and Andrea Tantaros.

Carlson and Tantaros filed separate lawsuits this summer against Ailes in a scandal that prompted his resignation as chairman/CEO of the network he founded in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch's global empire.

More than a score of other Fox employees or former employees besides those plaintiffs are reputed to have exposed Ailes on similar grounds either privately or publicly in recent weeks. That's according to New York Magazine's intrepid reporter Gabriel Sherman, author of the 2014 biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

Gabriel Sherman 2014 Ailes biographyTantaros claimed in her suit that the network "operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult."

But as of Aug. 14, Fox had devoted just 11 minutes of airtime to six weeks to the scandal even though it prompted the chairman's resignation, according to a Washington Post story, Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house.

That self-censorship fits Fox's suppression of many other legitimate news stories and its biased treatment through the years hoking up phony scandals, including its transparently bogus reports this month claiming that Hillary Clinton is medically unfit for the presidency. Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer debunked that story in her first-person account of a supposed uncontrollable fit by Clinton: Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.

Today’s column reports these specifics in the context of the long, disgraceful pattern whereby Fox and other major U.S. media have worked through the decades to spike vitally important stories and manufacture phony crusades for political purposes, ranging from presidential politics to more narrow back-stabbing. Last week, for example, it CNN reported: Revealed: Fox News' 400-page oppo file on Gabriel Sherman.

Slanted stories on the nation's most important events have always been a major problem, as indicated by the cover-up of the true facts behind President Kennedy's 1963 assassination, which all major media continued five decades later as we reported in Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory as part of a 30-part "Readers Guide" to coverage of the murder.

Yet Fox News is especially corrupt even amidst such a grim landscape, in which public opinion polls rate the media as among the most dishonorable American organizations and occupations.

Laurie Luhn (personal photo)That should cause no surprise. Ailes and Murdoch are notorious in employing ruthless methods to achieve power, including brilliant strategies for combining patriotism, entertainment and sex into money-making success. Along with business and political success, Ailes is the author of the iconic best-seller You Are the Message, and worked with political hit man Lee Atwater on the Willie Horton smear campaign in the 1988 presidential election. His boss Rupert Murdoch has presided over many, many internal scandals through the decades.  

Now, Ailes is also the target of particularly repulsive allegations that he used a form of mind-control to sexually and professionally subjugate a longtime staffer, Laurie Luhn, for 20 years, as described below.

Ailes, like Fox, has declined to respond in detail. But as one of the never-ending surprises of the 2016 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Donald Trump is reported to be drawing on Ailes for advice in debate and other campaign strategies. 

Coverage of sex scandals provides solid evidence for serious criticism of this multi-billion-dollar new operation, strange as it might seem.

The reasons? For one, Fox and a number of its affiliates founded much of their success on sexually oriented content, including the New York Post's revelations Aug. 28 breaking up the marriage of Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin and former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. Anthony WeinerSo there's nothing more apt than an apples-to-apples comparison of how the Murdoch empire treats its own scandals.

Also, media revelations of sex scandals are often linked to political goals, both the ruthless destruction of targeted opponents and blackmail intimidation of other political targets who fear exposure unless they comply with secret demands for favorable decisions on policy.      

Murdoch's companies, like some competitors, are well-acquainted with the dark side of such scandal manipulation. In 2011, for example, several top executives at Fox's parent company News Corp. were arrested on charges of using illegally hacked cellphone data to blackmail high-ranking officials in Britain on government policy, as we reported here in the 2012 column PBS Report on Murdoch Shows How ‘Hacking’ Led to Political Blackmail. The scandal reached to the highest levels of the company. 

More generally, two score of the leading newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and wire services in the United States worked cooperatively with the CIA to foster CIA-friendly coverage in the Operation Mockingbird program during the 1950s and 1960s to misreport, among other matters, investigation into the JFK assassination, the crime of the century. That pattern has continued in many ways, as indicated below, tainting coverage to some degree at virtually all of the remaining media organizations on their current coverage.

We begin with a brief overview of the history of the Fox Network and its parent company's blackmailing and political intrigues, before before addressing more recent revelations of longstanding sex scandals at the Fox News.

The larger context of other such propaganda by media barons shows that news outlets have always been biased to some degree. But the manipulations at Fox are especially insidious because they are crafted with largely subconscious psychological tools to enrage viewers, helping foster angry voters without the basic information to take effective action. 

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