Justice Integrity Project
Four major national security scandals were revealed this week after being ignored for many months by corporate-controlled mainstream outlets.
My new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, treated all four scandals by connecting previous findings that have been ignored or suppressed for the most part.
Most visibly, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein created headlines on March 11 by denouncing CIA spying on the Senate. Allegations of such spying have long been apparent to those monitoring such claims. Last summer, for example, former NSA analyst Russell Tice said he knew first-hand from his work that the NSA had been monitoring then-Sen. Barack Obama, among others, to obtain leverage.
As for Feinstein, the California Democrat's track record so far has been to protect the intelligence agencies from scrutiny or accountability for their budgets and operations. Therefore, her attack this week on CIA spying was remarkable.
The CIA is headed by John Brennan, shown at left, a former chief of the CIA's Saudi Arabian station with a 25-year CIA career. He rose to high posts in the Bush administration before he served in the Obama White House during the first term as a national security aide.
In Presidential Puppetry, I describe Brennan as one of the "puppet strings" who help instruct other government officials at the behest of more secret and powerful "puppet masters" in the private sector secret government. The private sector oligarchs have various nicknames such as "Wall Street," the "Deep State", the "Military Industrial Complex," or in the words of former CIA-Pentagon Liaison Fletcher Prouty, "The Secret Team."
By whatever name, this hidden government is primarily comprised of the U.S. financial, munitions, mining, media, and manufacturing leaders, along with their longstanding financial allies from such other nations as the United Kingdom and, more recently, Saudi Arabia.
Separately, Republican Congressmen Walter Jones of North Carolina, freshman Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Democrat Steve Lynch of Massachusetts led a press conference March 12 on Capitol Hill with 9/11 family members of victims. They seek release of the secret 28 pages of the Senate-House joint investigative report on alleged Saudi Arabian government support for 9/11 hijackers before the attack.
The three Congressmen have courageously led an effort at the risk of antagonizing those in Congress worried about irritating wealthy and powerful Saudis who help fund the United States war and related high-tech industries.
Also, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham -- Feinstein's predecessor as Intelligence Committee chairman -- delivered a video to back the demand by the congressmen. For years, the former three-term Democratic senator and governor has sought release of the report after he headed the Senate-House Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) investigation of the attack. Members of Congress who have seen the report are forbidden to discuss it under the national security rules imposed on them.
The CIA spying and the continued secrecy of the Saudi section of the 9/11 investigation dramatically underscore how U.S. intelligence agencies (and the entities they represent) are controlling elected politicians for the most part, not vice versa.
Two other scandals involving the Ukraine and Boston Marathon bombing are at a lower profile in the news right now -- but have the potential to create disturbing issues about national security initiatives and media complicity in suppressing legitimate public debate.
Ukrainian Rock Star Gets U.S. Award, Calls for Putin's Overthrow; Leaked Tape Claims West-Backed Leaders Killed Demonstrators
White House, other Western and Russian leaders restrained their rhetoric regarding the Ukrainian crisis even as other players on all sides ramped up claims of murder, conspiracy, torture and other unethical conduct rarely leveled so bluntly regarding large governments.
To be sure, the official rhetoric was tough -- but not in comparison with the claims by non-government players alleging state-sponsored, murderous, false flag operations -- or else schemes to falsify such evidence.
Ukrainian rock star Ruslana Lyzhychko, for example, told a National Press Club audience March 5 that Russians and their leader are undertaking vast propaganda efforts, torture and killing to maintain influence in the Ukraine following street protests that toppled a pro-Russian leader late last month.
But Ruslana -- known by her first name, shown in my photo and fresh from receiving White House honors this week for years of advocacy against Russia -- did not directly answer my question about whether she thought controversial leaked tapes were genuine in their implications. (The question is at the 30-minute mark of the 70-minute video below.)
One implication was that the Western-backed snipers intentionally killed fellow protesters, and another was that Western leaders were involved in the selection of the Ukraine's new leaders. The phone call the first week of February is now being virtually ignored, U.S. diplomat apologizes for profane remarks on E.U. in leaked phone call.
In a response of at least eight minutes, Ruslana instead argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin is capable of boundless evil and should be thwarted in the Ukraine -- and overthrown in Russia by its people.
Meanwhile, Putin, President Obama (shown calling Putin), Ukranian, NATO, United Nations and other leaders exchanged threats to opponents and promises of massive aid to allies.
But no major new violence or troop movements were reported. The leading players, including Russian and the Ukraine, have many inter-dependent ties, and thus risk hurting themselves if actions are not sufficiently planned or explained to various national and global constituencies.
Among major developments, Russia tightened its hold on the Crimean Peninsula, and European nations promised $15 billion in aid to the Ukraine.
Additionally, Republican former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Democratic former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote op-eds in the Washington Post providing their views, excepted below.
The columns, How the Ukraine crisis ends and What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response are by two of the longest-term foreign policy advisors of the powerful. My new book, Presidential Puppetry, points to the important role of these two foreign policy gurus in particular.
Also, two United States-reared anchors on the Russian-government funded television station RT made news by on-air criticism of the Russian government and RT.
March 9 marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic New York Times v. Sullivan ruling that protected journalists and Alabama civil rights protesters. One of the nation’s most important libel rulings created a tough requirement for public figures to prove liability.
But that precedent has not protected jailed Alabama journalist Roger Shuler during his five months behind bars in Shelby County.
After Shuler alleged an affair last year between the regionally prominent lawyer Robert Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke they filed a libel suit kept under seal.
County deputies tried with disputed success to serve him with papers. Shuler was then arrested and beaten at his garage Oct. 23. He has been held since then without bond for failure to follow a secret pretrial order from a judge to spike his columns alleging the affair. Shelby County is shown in red on a map.
Its courthouse looks pleasant enough in a file photo. Inside can be another story.
During a hastily convened trial of the libel issues in November, authorities brought Shuler from jail to defend his reporting. Shackled in chains from waist to ankles throughout the proceeding, Shuler had no defense lawyer, jury, witnesses or time to prepare his case.
Court security barred all observers except for one friend Shuler's permitted entrance because guards mistakenly assumed him to be the judge’s brother. The judge’s brother came in through a private rear door, according to Shuler, to chat before the proceeding with Riley, the wheeler-dealer son of a two-term GOP former governor Bob Riley (2003-2011). At the time, the younger Riley was reputedly candidate for a congressional seat in 2014 but he failed to file last month for the GOP primary.
Separately, Shuler was convicted of resisting arrest in a bench trial without a lawyer. Shuler protested without success that his arrest had been illegal because authorities have never shown him a warrant despite repeated requests, including in court.
With scattered exceptions, the nation’s major news outlets, associations and journalism professors have responded with near-silence even as additional problems pile up for the jailed Shuler.
Shuler faces a hearing March 5 in a libel suit brought by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (shown in his official photo) and his former campaign manager, Republican Attorneys General Association Director Jessica Medeiros Garrison. Shuler has alleged they had an affair. They have denied the claim.
So, the facts are disputed regarding Shuler’s claims of affairs by the four married plaintiffs.
But the Sullivan precedent sets a high bar for public figures in libel cases. Plaintiffs must prove that a reporter knew the facts were false or distributed them with “reckless disregard” of the truth. Such "reckless disregard" proof normally requires a full trial, especially if a reporter has sought comment pre-publication from the news subjects.
Among other long-established precedents seemingly being flouted the first case, at least, involve the court-ordered “prior restraint” before trial. Questions arise also regarding the sealed docket and courtroom, the absence of a full trial, and the suspect's violent arrest and jailing for an unlimited period on a contempt charge.
"I was surprised,” Alabama’s ACLU Director Randall Marshall told me, “that there wasn't more of an outcry from the media world when this first happened." The ACLU filed a friend of the court brief, but is not representing Shuler.
The Ukraine's new deputy national security director has urged that Russia's most feared terrorist take action against Russia.
In a shocking statement largely ignored by the Western media, Dmitry Yarosh asked the fugitive Doku Umarov March 1 to take advantage of the "unique chance to win" arising from disturbances in the Ukraine.
Yarosh was appointed to the Ukraine's new government after leading the Right Sector group of ultra-rightists. The Right Sector was the best organized and otherwise most effective of the Western-backed street fighters who toppled the Ukraine's government last week.
Umarow, a native of Chechnia described as Russia's equivalent to Osama bin Laden, has not been reported seen since last summer, when he urged terror attacks to prevent the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He is shown in a file photo courtesy of Creative Commons and Wikipedia.
In an interview on RT March 1, I described Yarosh's request to the terrorist as dangerous because it is so inflammatory and comes from an official of the new government.
But the Yarosh statement serves also as a valuable illustration to Western audiences of the violent tendencies of the street demonstrators who took power after they were encouraged by the West.
Meanwhile, Russian troops deployed through pro-Russian Crimean Peninsula of the Ukraine, which is the locale for a vital warm-water naval base of the Russians.
Russian troops also massed near the Ukraine border at a reported strength of 150,000. The Crimea is colored tan on the adjoining map, which is courtesy of Wikimedia.
United States and allied Western officials threatened reprisals against Russia but appeared to have few military or other meaningful options without risking world war.
Despite the bluster of U.S. politicians, a war-weary American public is hardly likely to support a new one that could escalate to a tragedy beyond anyone's understanding or control. Also, any action by the United Nations Security council would be subject to a Russian veto, and "a coalition of the willing" is unlikely for similar reasons.
President Obama and allied powers denounced the Russians following a mid-day meeting Saturday at the White House of such top administration officials as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
However, the actions so far of the Obama team show them as seeming unprepared for what appears to have been the most logical outcome of the West-orchestrated overthrow of the Ukraine's elected government. Republican leaders had little more to add aside from recriminations against Democrats for not acting more aggressively and spending more money on war-preparations and offers of aid.
More generally, the vast suffering created in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria all began with optimistic rhetoric from Western leaders about the benefits of collective action to support such attractive-sounding goals as national security, peace, democracy, and human rights.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was among those who followed that pattern March 1 as she warned Russia against interference in the Ukraine.
Curiously lost in most U.S. coverage, however, has been the clear trail of United States and other Western interference in the Ukraine leading to coup last week overthrowing elected President .
Western intelligence agencies secretly use social media to inflict dirty tricks on enemies and to manipulate the public's political perceptions, according to a major investigative report last week by Glenn Greenwald.
Based on documents provided last year by former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden, Greenwald published How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations in cooperation with NBC and via the First Look Intercept site.
"I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents," Greenwald wrote Feb. 24. "Namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself."
Greenwald is shown in a file photo describing the implications of secret western national security documents that Snowden took when he worked as an NSA contractor.
The revelations extend via new documentary evidence in a more visible way similar dirty tricks previously reported. In 2011, for example, the hacktivist group Anonymous released hacked documents from a federal contractor showing elaborate plots to smear Greenwald and other journalists -- and also to create phony sock puppets to gather information via social media.
Lee Fang of Think Progress first reported, for example, that "Holly Weber" was an avatar created for Facebook by contractors, and not a real person. I reported the implications of that story in Feeling Friendly This Week? Beware, and also in my recent book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters.
This week's revelations have sparked a wider ranging debate on the extent of Western intelligence to use social media -- which includes such platforms as Facebook and Wikipedia -- to distort the operations of users, and undertake propaganda and other political operations.
We have been writing separately about potential intelligence uses to use Wikipedia through its network of anonymous editors to shape public perceptions. Aside from the intelligence agencies, the Naval War College in Rhode Island is a major center for such operations with the traditional and social media in the United States.
Related issues arising last week included how much prominence social and traditional media would grant such revelations. Reddit, for example, banned links to the Greenwald story form one of its major distribution platforms.
Greenwald said the report was based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance that includes the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The GCHQ is the UK's equivalent to the NSA. The document below is from a stash of secrets within the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, JTRIG, a previously secret unit with the GCHQ.
Greenwald described the importance as follows:
"By publishing these stories one by one," he wrote, "our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse 'hacktivists' of using, the use of 'honey traps' (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses."
Investigative reporter, author and former Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen has reported a major new development in the long-running smear campaign that Wikipedia has undertaken against him.
Wikipedia this week rejected a corrected biographical entry for Madsen submitted by a longtime Wikipedia volunteer editor and professional journalist.
Instead, Wikipedia reinstalled the smear-biography designed primarily by anonymous editors using a false birthday and, more important, designed to portray Madsen falsely as exceptionally untrustworthy and unworthy of consideration.
The new biography that was rejected accurately reports that Madsen has recently published op-ed essays in scores of traditional, print newspapers around the United States. Also, he has been an invited national security and political expert on almost all major United States network and cable news channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox News, and NBC.
Wikipedia this week refused to include that kind of career data in Madsen's bio even though the information, routinely included in bios of other journalists, was documented in the standard Wikipedia submission format. This includes hot links to the specific network programs, newspaper columns, and other sources.
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner passed the request for comment to a communications aide, Jay Walsh. Gardner has previously said that Wikipedia opposes deceptive entries by opinion advocates and paid "sockpuppets." Walsh defended all of Wikipedia's actions, including its practice of relying on volunteer editors who are under voluntary requests to disclose any conflicts of interest.
That answer (amplified below) begs the question of what happens if several editors have a financial or fanatical antipathy to a fairly obscure biography subject, and are able to work with like-minded bloggers and other journalists to create a propaganda-like biography. Anyone involved in such a plan would have no incentive to step forward with a confession. The CIA and other intelligence agencies, for example, forbid their covert assets by the terms of their non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) from revealing their work to the public.
For nearly a decade, Wikipedia's vulnerability if not complicity to such tactics has been well-documented. One such article was in Wired in 2007 by John Borland, See Who's Editing Wikipedia -- Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign,. Another was Censorship at Wikipedia by Peter Meyer in 2006 at Serendipity.com.
In the recent case of the ongoing smear on Madsen, Wikipedia relies heavily on an anonymous editor, “Capitalismojo,” who launched Madsen's bio in 2009. The editor has tweaked the bio with hundreds of disparaging edits so far in tandem with another anonymous smear-artist, who is identified only as "brewcrewer (yada, yada)." The latter name that underscores the cocky, sophomoric attitude of the editors who wield their poison pens with the protection of anonymity.
Capitalismojo has even published a comment questioning whether Madsen ever served in the U.S. Navy.
By contrast, a Navy colleague who served with Madsen and later became a Navy captain has told me that Madsen was an outstanding Navy officer, patriot, and investigative reporter.
More generally, the Wikipedia defamation campaign against Madsen shows a fundamental weakness in Wikipedia's operations that has victimized many other news subjects and readers. A class on Wikipedia at the National Press Club last summer described major problems especially in bios and political items with the Wikipedia system of relying on anonymous volunteer editors for most content.
I use Wikipedia almost every day because of its useful features. But I published also a three-part series last summer on the problem excerpted below. The most relevant segment was For Trustworthy Commentary, Beware of Wikipedia, Daily Beast, CNN, Poynter -- and Many More.
Wikipedia's treatment of Madsen, a former NSA analyst, parallels its cavalier treatment nine years ago of First Amendment advocate and USA Today editorial page editor John Seigenthaler, shown giving a speech in a file photo.
Wikipedia falsely described Seigenthaler in 2005 as a onetime suspect in the 1960s assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy. Seigenthaler responded by writing an eloquent op-ed in USA Today explaining why Wikipedia does not stop character assassins from posting false information.