Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on May 26, 2014

 

CNN and Newsweek recently launched dubious tirades against what they called "conspiracy theories." 

Dag HammarskjoldMeanwhile, the Wall Street Journal published U.N. Considers Reopening Probe into 1961 Crash that Killed Dag Hammarskjöld, a report that broached the possibility that the United States may have been involved in the death of the secretary-general, who is shown in a file photo.

As a way to understand such varied messages, I urge readers to evaluate evidence with an open mind -- and regard with special suspicion those commentators who slant their coverage with the loaded smear words "conspiracy theory" without citing specific evidence.

No one has time to investigate everything without preconceptions. For efficiency, we rely in part on slanted commentary by our favorite sources. But if the stakes are high and we want to be honest we should admit (at least to ourselves) that our preliminary conclusions should be subject to change based on new data. 

My suggestions follow the spirit of the Justice Integrity Project's JFK Assassination "Readers Guide" last fall. That 11-part series began with a catalog of books, archives, reports and videos. Then it proceeded to assess various theories of President Kennedy's 1963 murder.

By now, we know from declassified documents that the CIA undertook a massive secret campaign to smear critics of the Warren Commission with the label "conspiracy theorist."

The campaign used members of mainstream media friendly to the CIA, for example, to discredit New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, shown below in a photo by Lynn Pelham. Garrison was prosecuting New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw in what Garrison alleged was a conspiracy to murder Kennedy. Shaw, an OSS liaison to high-ranking British officials during World War II, founded a major regional trade mart in New Orleans shortly after the war. Garrison alleged that Shaw met with rightist opponents of JFK to plan the death.

Jim GarrisonA 50-page CIA memo, known as "CIA Dispatch 1035-960," instructed agents to contact their media contacts and disparage those, like Garrison, criticizing the Warren Commission findings that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and acted alone. The 1967 document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary.

Minutes of CIA meeting that same year indicated fear that Garrison would win a conviction.

But a jury promptly acquitted Shaw following more than a dozen deaths (including suicide) of potential witnesses and an intense smear campaign against Garrison by the national media. NBC News hired former high-ranking Justice Department official Walter Sheridan, who had been an early recruit to the super-secret NSA in the 1950s. Publicly an investigative reporter, Sheridan was involved also in operational efforts to undermine Garrison.

More generally, Operation Mockingbird was the CIA's secret program to plant stories in the nation's most prestigious news outlets.  

"With this [CIA] memo and the CIA’s influence in the media," author Peter Janney wrote in a guest column on our site last fall, "the concept of 'conspiracy theorist' was engendered and infused into our political lexicon and became what it is today: a term to smear, denounce, ridicule, and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services."

Janney, whose late father Wistar Janney had been a high-ranking CIA executive, continued: "People who want to pretend that conspiracies don’t exist -- when in fact they are among the most common modus operandi of significant historical change throughout the world and in our country -- become furious when their naive illusion is challenged."

After that background, let's look at more recent uses of the term by the mainstream media to discredit those who suggest government complicity in notorious events. 

CNN, Newsweek Lash Out Against Government Critics

Last week, CNN's Jake Tapper engaged in little more than name-calling in his segment 'Truthers' to protest 9/11 Museum. Tapper brought in a like-minded guest, Slate columnist Emily Bazelon, who relied on the same kind of seat-of-the-pants speculation to denounce protesters. 

Another example of selective analysis was a Newsweek cover story May 15, The Plots to Destroy America, written by Kurt Eichenwald. Oddly, Newsweek's sensationalistic title itself implied a conspiracy -- that the diverse government critics on the right and left whom the magazine attacked intended to "destroy" the nation with their "plots."

I recognized the pattern. Three years ago, I hosted author Jonathan Kay on my weekly public affair radio show, Washington Update. Kay, a Canadian newspaper editor and law school graduate, had authored Among the Truthers, a 340-page book. Upon reading it, however, I saw that it raised alarm and mocked critics of 9/11 official accounts but did not analyze their arguments.

Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein White House Photo

Similarly, Eichenwald cited as authority a handful of establishment "experts" who mocked those who criticize government or other establishment institutions.

Among the experts the Newsweek author repeatedly quoted was Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor, author of the recent book Conspiracy Theories, and a former high-ranking Obama administration official. During the Obama first term, Sunstein in effect oversaw all federal regulation at the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

A White House photo shows Sunstein wiith his wife, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, when Vice President Joe Biden swore her into office last summer. Her appointment followed her high-level work in national security at the White House and State Department during Obama's first term. As noted in my book, Presidential Puppetry, she is a leading proponent for regime change and military intervention globally on the grounds of humanitarian principles.

Also last summer, Obama appointed Sunstein along with four others to the president's review commission for a response to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations of massive illegal spying on the American public.

Eichenwald glosses over this heavy national security background and the rhetoric needed to foster public support for global interventions.

Even more relevant is that Eichenwald failed to note that Sunstein co-authored in 2008 what has become a notorious paper advocating propaganda techniques.

In the paper "Conspiracy Theories," Sunstein advocated that the government secretly hire academics and journalists to thwart the dissemination of what federal authorities might regard as dangerous beliefs held by millions of voters, such as suggestion that officials were complicit in 9/11 or a cover-up.

Sunstein's own proposal sounds, in other words, like the kind of plot government critics most fear as a violation of constitutional rights by an Orwellian, Big Brother state.

Yet Eichenwald argued that "not a scintilla of evidence" exists for the theories he disparaged. He called them "unsubstantiated nonsense." But he failed, like most with his mind-set, to refute the best arguments of his targets.

Instead, he repeatedly cited well-credential experts, who applauded government officials for the most part and trivialized the concerns of complainers.

Such elitist, slanted reporting by Newsweek and CNN suggests why their audiences are plunging and the outlets find themselves focused on half-truths important to someone, but not audiences. The Internet provides alternative news sources.

In 2010, the Washington Post sold Newsweek for just $1 and assumption of debts. The Post announced that it wanted to place the publication into the hands of a like-minded publisher. This was Sidney Harman, the husband of Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA), a Harvard Law grad and prominent advocate of the intelligence-military complex. Newsweek, much like CNN, retains only a shell of its former clout and has twice been sold since Sidney Harman died.

Joe LauriaThat said, most of us still rely heavily on the mainstream media to complement our information from other sources.

A striking example last week was a bold, exclusive report by Joe Lauria, the Wall Street Journal's United Nations correspondent.

Lauria (shown in a file photo) drew on his years on the beat to report for the Journal that the United Nations may reactivate on the basis of new evidence its dormant inquiry on whether its late leader, Hammarskjöld, was intentionally killed during his 1961 peace-keeping mission.

As a former stringer for the Journal for two years earlier in my career, I can imagine how much research the reporter must have produced before such a story would make it into print. His achievement is especially striking at a Murdoch-owned paper, whose owner is better known for benefiting from high-level intrigues than exposing them.

And what if the United Nations proceeds -- and finds that the secretary-general died from foul play?

For one thing, that would not be good news for those who deny conspiracies. But they would surely find a way to avoid in-depth reporting.

 

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Related News Coverage

Jonathan Kay

Washington Update, Interview of author Jonathan Kay, Andrew Kreig and Scott Draughon, April 12, 2011. Newspaperman Jonathan Kay discussed his new book, Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground. Its promo says: "Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices." Jonathan Kay Kay and his book reject the 9/11 Truth movement, which he calls "merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups." Kay, a graduate of Yale Law School, is a managing editor, columnist and blogger at Canada's National Post newspaper. His freelance articles have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, Commentary magazine, Salon, Reader's Digest and Newsweek. He is a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.

Wall Street Journal, U.N. Considers Reopening Probe into 1961 Crash that Killed Dag Hammarskjöld, Joe Lauria, May 18, 2014. New Evidence of Possible Foul Play Has Emerged. The United Nations is considering reopening its investigation into the mysterious 1961 plane crash that killed then-U.N. chief Dag Hammarskjöld after new evidence of possible foul play emerged. The U.N. General Assembly put the case back on its agenda in March at the recommendation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after more than half a century of speculation that the Swedish diplomat's plane was either sabotaged or shot down. Ban's recommendation came after a report by the independent Hammarskjöld commission, formed in 2012 with the participation of South African jurist Richard Goldstone. The report in September raised the possibility the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies have a tape-recorded radio communication by a mercenary pilot who allegedly carried out an aerial attack on the secretary-general's plane. Hammarskjöld was on his way to Northern Rhodesia—now Zambia—when his Swedish DC-6 airliner plunged into a forest nine miles from the airport in the city of Ndola just past midnight on September 18, 1961.

Bloomberg, Pssst! Everything's a Conspiracy, Cass R. Sunstein, March 18, 2014. Conspiracy theories surround us. Witness the reactions on the Internet to the tragic and mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Perhaps North Korea hijacked the plane. Perhaps the Chinese are responsible. Maybe aliens did it. Or, as an influential legislator in Iran contended to the New York Times, perhaps the U.S. "kidnapped" the lost plane in an effort to “sabotage the relationship between Iran and China and South East Asia.” Pick your topic: Ukraine, the National Security Agency, assassinations of national leaders, recent economic crises, the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays -- it's child’s play to assemble a host of apparent clues, and to connect a bunch of dots, to support a relevant conspiracy theory. In recent years, for example, many Americans have become convinced that the U.S. (or Israel) was responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, that the U.S. government concocted HIV/AIDS, and that federal agencies have conspired to hide the association between vaccines and autism. Why do people accept such theories?

Salon, Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal, Glenn Greenwald, Jan. 15, 2010. In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert Glenn Greenwaldagents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. What is most odious and revealing about Sunstein’s worldview is his condescending, self-loving belief that “false conspiracy theories” are largely the province of fringe, ignorant Internet masses and the Muslim world. That, he claims, is where these conspiracy theories thrive most vibrantly, and he focuses on various 9/11 theories — both domestically and in Muslim countries — as his prime example. It’s certainly true that one can easily find irrational conspiracy theories in those venues, but some of the most destructive “false conspiracy theories” have emanated from the very entity Sunstein wants to endow with covert propaganda power: namely, the U.S. Government itself, along with its elite media defenders. Moreover, “crazy conspiracy theorist” has long been the favorite epithet of those same parties to discredit people trying to expose elite wrongdoing and corruption.

Harvard Law and University of Chicago Law School Working Papers, Conspiracy Theories, Cass R. Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule, Jan. 15, 2008. Abstract Excerpt: Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.

Daily Paul, The Taming Of Deluded 'Conspiracy Theorists,' Pater Tenebrarum, March 21,2014. Look who is warning us again about the great harm conspiracy theories are doing to the minds of impressionable citizens everywhere: Cass Sunstein has emerged at Bloomberg, to once again plead for 'correction' of the many conspiracy theories that are disseminated on that pesky new medium, the intertubes, seemingly without inhibition. Contrary to the infamous paper in which he described how to precisely combat the spreading of false information that lacks the government's seal of approval, he doesn't list his favored censorship and disinformation techniques outright this time, but it is certainly implied that 'something must be done.'

Wayne Madsen Report, Cass Sunstein's new book: Conspiracy theories are dangerous thoughts, Wayne Madsen, March 11, 2014 (subscription required). Author and broadcast commentator Wayne Madsen, shown in a photo, is a former Navy Intelligence Officer, NSA analyst and defense contracting vice president specializing in computer security and privacy. President Obama's former director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein not only believes that conspiracy theorists are dangerous members of society but that they tend to lump all conspiracies into one master grand conspiracy, with the Illuminati and Freemasons behind them all. Sunstein's generalizations and the wide brush he uses to criticize those who demand accountability from their government is typical behavior for academic elitists. In his book, Sunstein describes what he considers to be the most dangerous conspiracy thought crimes in America:

1. Those who believe that the U.S. government or Israel were ultimately behind the 9/11 attack.
2. Those who believe that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
3. Those who believe Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by U.S. government agents.
4. Those who believe that TWA 800 was brought down by a missile.
5. Those who believe that the Illuminati secretly run the world's affairs.

Sunstein mentions other "conspiracy theories" but the aforementioned appear to be his Top Five. Sunstein's book comes at a time when his wife, Samantha Power, is busy shooting down proven "conspiracy theories" identifying the Ukrainian coup plotters as being behind the sniper attacks on Maidan Square protesters and police. In addition, there is emerging strong evidence that State Department European Affairs official Victoria Nuland's favorite, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, a cult founded by CIA and Tavistock mind control practitioner L. Ron Hubbard. Even before the overthrow of democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by pro-Western forces, which included mercenaries working for Academi (the former Blackwater/Xe), the Scientologists had penetrated Ukraine's Ministry of Youth and Family Affairs. Scientology's Applied Scholastics Logos program was introduced into Ukrainian middle, trade, secondary, liberal arts, foreign language, and social engineering schools as a favored teaching methodology. Yatsenyuk's Wikipedia entry included his ties to Scientology but the U.S. intelligence-infiltrated "on-line encyclopedia" deleted all references to his ties to the cult. Sunstein's book appears thanks to a sweetheart book contract with Simon & Schuster, a division of leading neo-con Sumner Redstone's CBS Corporation. The real news is the timing of the book's release amid his wife's machinations in the United Nations with neo-cons like UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and his State Department-based co-conspirators, Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt.

CNN, 'Truthers' to protest 9/11 Museum, Jake Tapper, May 19, 2014. The National September 11 Memorial Museum opens to the public this week in lower Manhattan, and some conspiracy theorists, who are apparently no strangers to Photoshop, plan on attending. The group "Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth" plan on standing outside the entrance on opening day to hand out fake museum brochures, designed to look exactly like the real ones, according to The Village Voice, which first reported the story. Inside the brochure, they claim they've compiled "a vast amount of evidence proving that all 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers were deliberately destroyed by explosives on 9/11." They actually don't prove anything, except man's capacity for believing crazy things, and man's insensitivity to the families of the 2,753 people killed in New York, the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania, killed by Islamic terrorists with al Qaeda as every credible investigation has actually proven. Why do so-called "truthers" have such staying power?

Architects and Engineers for 9/11Truth, CNN’s 'Yellow Journalism' Rating Hits All-Time High, Craig McKee, May 22, 2014. The Tapper report is a hysterical compendium of all the empty slogans and anti-conspiracy-theory talking points that make up the mainstream media's continuing attack on the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Newsweek, The Plots to Destroy America, Kurt Eichenwald, May 15, 2014. Conspiracy theories have been woven into the fabric of American society since before the signing of the Constitution. But what was once dismissed as the amusing ravings of the tin-foil-hat crowd has in recent years crossed a threshold, experts say, with delusions, fictions and lunacy now strangling government policies and creating national health risks. “These kinds of theories have the effect of completely distorting any rational discussion we can have in this country,’’ says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center who recently wrote a report on the impact of what is known as the Agenda 21 conspiracy. “They are having a real impact now.”

Vanity Fair,The Creeping Danger of Conspiracy Theorists, Kurt Eichenwald, April 4, 2014. The results are in: we’re a nation of idiots. Well, that might overstate the case a bit. But some of the latest polling data does seem to show that at least 30 percent of American citizens—and maybe lots more—are as dumb as a bag of inbred hammers. The poll in question is a delightful one put out this week by Public Policy Polling, a concern ranked by Fordham University as the best out of 28 organizations for the accuracy of its national pre-election estimates in 2012. This time, the folks at P.P.P. decided to have a bit of fun, and rather than polling about which political party is up or down, opted to ask Americans about their beliefs in conspiracy theories. I can just imagine the laughter at the P.P.P. offices when they started putting together the questions. The results, though, were no comedy. More like a horror movie—and one with a plotline that goes beyond any level of belief.

New American Man, Don’t Like Or Agree With Something? Call It A Conspiracy Theory! Viper, May , 2014. Vanity Fair has just published a vitriolic and insulting piece by Kurt Eichenwald called, “The Creeping Danger Of Conspiracy Theorists.” In it, he calls us all “a nation of idiots,” “dumb as a bag of inbred hammers,” and too dumb to “even start a math test.” He starts with the premise that every item in a recently-published poll was a conspiracy theory, and proceeds to mock Americans (sometimes more than 50% of the respondents) who believed various items on the list were true. Apparently Mr. Eichenwald got the message loud and clear in 1995, when the Clinton White House circulated a memo directing the press to publicly try to discredit any non-mainstream (i.e., non-approved) news story as “conspiracy theory.”  What this memo says, in essence, is that the government is afraid of the Internet because it gives voice to people outside the establishment, old-guard media, and it gives everyone access to information from sources other than that same dinosaur media.  They fear what they cannot control, so their directive is to discredit anyone not working under the aegis of a respected, establishment news agency.

Global Research, Cracking The 'Conspiracy Theories’ Psycholinguistic Code: The Witch Hunt against Independent Research and Analysis, James F. Tracy, May 21, 2014. A new crusade appears to be underway to target independent research and analysis available via alternative news media. This March saw the release of “cognitive infiltration” advocate Cass Sunstein’s new book, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. In April, the confirmed federal intelligence-gathering arm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), released a new report, “Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory.” This propaganda campaign is using the now familiar “conspiracy theory” label, as outlined in Central Intelligence Agency Document 1035-960, the 1967 memo laying out a strategy for CIA “media assets” to counter criticism of the Warren Commission. At that time, the targets included attorney Mark Lane and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who were routinely defamed and lampooned in major US news outlets. Declassified government documents have proven Lane and Garrison’s allegations of CIA-involvement in the assassination largely accurate. Nevertheless, the prospect of being subject to the conspiracy theorist smear remains a potent weapon for intimidating authors, journalists, and scholars from interrogating complex events, policies, and other potentially controversial subject matter.

YouTube, Clay Shaw Video Interview on JFK Murder Charge, 1967 (4:17 min.) 

 

NBC News via You Tube, Jim Garrison Video Interview on JFK Murder Charge, July 15, 1967 (27:05 min.).  On July 15, 1967, NBC allowed New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to respond to an NBC program that was highly critical of Garrison's pursuit of alleged Kennedy assassination conspirators in New Orleans.

Before It's News, CIA Invention of the Phrase, ‘Conspiracy Theory’ to Block Questions on JFK’s Assassination, is “One of the Most Successful Propaganda Initiatives of All Time,” Staff report, July 17, 2013. The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events. The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites. The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to (believe) so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones. Update FireDogLake, Meeting Logs: Obama Quietly Coddling Big Oil on 'Bomb Trains' Regulations, Steve Horn, June 15, 2014. When Richard Revesz, Dean Emeritus of New York University Law School, introduced Howard Shelanski at his only public appearance so far during his tenure as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Revesz described Shelanski as, “from our perspective, close to the most important official in the federal government.” OIRA has recently reared its head in a big way because it is currently reviewing the newly-proposed oil-by-rail safety regulations rolled out by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). A DeSmogBlog review of OIRA meeting logs confirms that in recent weeks, OIRA has held at least ten meetings with officials from both industries on oil-by-rail regulations. On the flip side, it held no meetings with public interest groups. OIRA was created in 1980 by President Ronald Reagan with the goal of getting rid of “intrusive” regulations. Cost-benefit analysis was put on the map by Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein, “regulatory czar” and head of OIRA for President Barack Obama before Shelanski. Global Research, How Government and the Media Equate Political Dissent with 'Conspiracy Theories' and 'Home Grown Terrorism,' Joachim Hagopian, June 15, 2014. Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. In this age of propaganda and disinformation when mainstream media outlets act as presstitutes for the corporatized federal government, there has been an overt movement in recent years to label dissenters, patriots, government critics and even returning US soldiers from the warfronts as potential homegrown terrorists. For decades, the government and co-opted mainstream media’s onetime favorite tactic heavy-handedly used to customarily dismiss their critics was to simply label those exposing government deception as “conspiracy theorists.” However, with distrust mounting amongst Americans toward both their leaders (86% distrust government) and the media (over 60% little or no trust toward media), this strategy is no longer working because so many conspiracies have been proven to be real. Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues Washington Post, Edward Snowden says he was ‘trained as a spy,’ Sean Sullivan, May 27, 2014. Fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said in his first U.S. network television interview that he was "trained as a spy" and rejected the notion that he was a low-level operative. "I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas -- pretending to work in a job that I'm not -- and even being assigned a name that was not mine," Snowden said in an interview with NBC News, a portion of which aired Tuesday. The full interview will air Wednesday evening. "I've worked for the Central Intelligence Agency undercover overseas, I've worked for the National Security Agency undercover overseas and I've worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world," Snowden said. He added, "So when they say I'm a low-level systems administrator, that I don't know what I'm talking about, I'd say it's somewhat misleading." Snowden is shown at right in a portrait via the San Francisco-based Freedom of the Press Foundation, on whose board he serves. Infowars, Official Bilderberg 2014 Membership List Released, Alex Jones and Daniel Estulin, May 27, 2014. Globalist confab reveals this year's list of participants, set to attend in Copenhagen, Denmark from May 29 to June 1, 2014. Official Bilderberg 2014 Membership List Released. Chairman, Castries, Henri de Chairman and CEO, AXA Group, France, with 120 other names. Infowars analysis note: There are always members who will be attending, but who don’t want to be included in the list, due to laws such as 18 U.S. Code § 953, otherwise known as the Logan Act, which makes it a felony offense – punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years – for any member of federal or state government to meet with members of a foreign government without the express authority and authorization of the president or congress. See also, Bilderberg Meetings, Official Conference Site. Washington's Blog, Memorial Day 2014: Just Following Orders, Charles Hugh Smith, May 26, 2014. This is a memorial outside the village where my brother lives in the south of France. It is a typical village, quite small, perhaps a few hundred residents. The memorial commemorates three young French civilians who were taken out and shot by Nazi soldiers, either for “crimes” of resistance or perhaps as a “lesson” to the restive civilian populace. The German soldiers who pulled the triggers were of course “just following orders.” Evil must be resisted, corralled, vanquished. Truth-tellers will lose their prestigious positions, their generous salaries and the acceptance of their peers, and perhaps their lives. In exchange for this sacrifice, the truth-teller receives only the glowing, ephemeral shards of his/her integrity: in the current zeitgeist, that literally has no value. The machine will grind on without them, impervious to the tiny pricks of truth; the machinery of propaganda, artifice, misdirection and misrepresentation is well-oiled and masterful in the reach and scope of its operation. In this context, it is worth watching The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg, shown in a file photo, had given excerpts of The Pentagon Papers, the secret and oh-so-dangerous unvarnished truth about America’s involvement in Vietnam, to various members of Congress; all but one did nothing. Only Rep. Pete McCloskey (R) thought the American people deserved the truth. McCloskey is a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran of combat during the Korean War, recipient of the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and two awards of the Purple Heart. Washington Post, Data firms build intimate profiles of consumers, Craig Timberg, May 27, 2014. Officials say the industry produces portraits of Americans so detailed that some would find them unnerving. Calling for more protections, an FTC report provides an unusual window into the system of commercial surveillance. First Look / Intercept, A Response to Michael Kinsley, Glenn Greenwald (Gage Skidmore photo via Flickr), May 23, 2014. Michael Kinsley is the person whom Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, chose to review my book, No Place to Hide, about the NSA reporting we’ve done and the leaks of Edward Snowden: someone who has expressly suggested that journalists should be treated as criminals for publishing information the government does not want published. And, in a totally unpredictable development, Kinsley then used the opportunity to announce his contempt for me, for the NSA reporting I’ve done, and, in passing, for the book he was ostensibly reviewing. Kinsley has actually done the book a great favor by providing a vivid example of so many of its central claims. By far the most remarkable part of the review is that Kinsley -– in the very newspaper that published Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers -- expressly argues that journalists should only publish that which the government permits them to, and that failure to obey these instructions should be a crime. Huffington Post, Whistleblower Says Dean Baquet Had A 'Lame Excuse' For Killing NSA Story, Ryan Buxton, May 19, 2014. Days after Glenn Greenwald blasted Dean Baquet for being "subservient to the American national security state," a man who blew the whistle on AT&T told HuffPost Live about his own experience with what he described as Baquet's reluctance to publish damning information about the government. Back in 2006, former AT&T employee Mark Klein revealed information that proved the communications giant was allowing the NSA to monitor Internet traffic "without any regard for the Fourth Amendment." Klein initially brought the story to the Los Angeles Times, but it never made it to print under Baquet, who recently replaced the fired Jill Abramson as executive editor of the New York Times. Klein told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski that he gave 120 pages of AT&T documents to an LA Times reporter who "was promising a big front-page expose" on the story. But the reporter eventually told Klein there was a "hangup," and the story was abandoned. Washington Post, CIA: No more vaccination campaigns in spy operations, Lena H. Sun, May 19, 2014. Three years after the CIA used an immunization survey as a cover in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, the White House has promised that the agency will never again use a vaccination campaign in its operations, an official said Monday. Responding to a letter from the deans of 12 U.S. public health schools, Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, informed them last week that the CIA will no longer conduct such campaigns. The deans wrote to President Obama in January 2013 to protest the precedent set when the CIA used Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani surgeon, to seek information about bin Laden under the guise of conducting a hepatitis immunization survey in the northwest city where the al-Qaeda leader was later killed in a raid. International aid organizations were forced to move some of their staff members out of Pakistan, and some health workers were killed in a backlash against a polio vaccination effort. Attacks have continued sporadically. Last year, 83 new polio cases were reported in Pakistan, more than in Afghanistan or Nigeria, the other countries where it is endemic. WGBH News, Not Just Tsarnaev: Right to Counsel Dwindles, Harvey Silverglate (in photo) and Juliana DeVries, May 22, 2014. On May 7th, defense attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev filed a motion to suppress statements that FBI agents claim Tsarnaev made during an interrogation in the Intensive Care Unit of Beth Israel hospital. The pre-trial wrangling over whether this interview, which took place before Tsarnaev was read his Miranda rights, may be admitted into evidence raises important questions about the right to counsel and the privilege against self-incrimination. The Supreme Court has in recent years allowed for the serious erosion of these key Constitutional protections. Washington Post, Inside the battle for the soul of Reddit, Caitlin Dewey, May 16, 2014. Think of Reddit, the Internet’s self-proclaimed front page, as the plankton of the digital information ecosystem. The vast, labyrinthine network of forums, founded in 2005, is the site where all other sites go to feed: on memes, on news stories, on ideas or whiffs of them. But contrary the view from 10,000 feet, Reddit does not surface stories on the force of the crowd alone. Behind the Internet’s great trend-machine sits a complex, faceless hierarchy of volunteer moderators, called “mods.” Casual users never see them, and even avid Redditors — as the site’s denizens call themselves — have limited power to challenge them. That has provoked something of an existential struggle in the Internet’s largest news forum, though few have articulated it that way. Is “the front page of the Internet” a democracy that is crowdsourced by virtual millions? Or is it a series of allied feudal kingdoms, steeped in abstract politics? Two of the site’s most popular forums, r/news and r/worldnews, repeatedly deleted a major scoop about British intelligence by Glenn Greenwald. Less than three weeks later, a user in another major forum, r/technology, reported that mods systematically blocked terms like “NSA” and “net neutrality.” The incident exposed a more troubling and more systemic drawback of the site: When you hand such profound power to anonymous moderators, the Internet is essentially at their whim. Hartford Courant, No More Vietnams: A Tragic Lesson Forgotten, Tom Condon, May 23, 2014. Vietnam Veteran Reflects On 'American War' Of Choice. I knew Arnie Holm slightly when we were growing up in southeastern Connecticut. He was a couple of years older than I, and we both caddied at the New London Country Club in Waterford. He was a big, blond, outgoing kid; a fearsome football player at Waterford High School. I wasn't surprised to learn he'd become a chopper pilot.... Supported Event AARC Conference “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures.” September 25-28, 2014 learn more here Please click on scroller below to stop Latest News jQuery.noConflict(); // code here jQuery(document).ready(function() { var opt = { direction: 'up', speed : 17, behavior: 'circle', mouseover: function(o){ o.stop(); o.css({cursor: 'pointer'}); }, mouseout: function(o){ o.start(); } } jQuery('.ScrollBoxPro161').mscroller(opt); }); div.ScrollBoxPro161{ position:relative; width:275px; display:block; overflow: hidden; padding:0; margin:0 auto; background-color:#FFFFFF; font-family: ''; font-size:12px; font-weight:normal; color:#000000; } #scrollPro > li { list-style: none outside none; margin: 0; padding: 0; } ul#scrollPro { padding: 5px; position: relative; } #scrollPro li a { display: inline!important; } .box-s{ height:800px; overflow:hidden; } Editor's Choice: Scroll below for August 2014 news our monthly roundup Aug. 31 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is shown in a photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks distributed by flickr. OpEdNews, Memorandum For: Angela Merkel: Beware of Fixed Intelligence on Ukraine-- Think WMDs, Coleen Rowley, Aug. 31, 2014. MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5. You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Aug. 28 New York Times, Ukraine Orders Draft as Rebels Claim Aid of Russian Troops, Neil MacFarquhar, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine President Petro O. Poroshenko’s national security council reinstituted mandatory conscription, while a separatist leader said that up to 4,000 Russians had been fighting Ukrainian forces. Poroshenko is shown at right being greeted in June by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambasasador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt as Secretary of State John Kerry is shown at right. Aug. 27 Washington Post, Former Iowa state senator pleads guilty in Ron Paul endorsement-for-pay scheme, Matea Gold, Aug. 27, 2014. A former Iowa state senator pleaded guilty Wednesday to concealing campaign expenditures and obstructing justice as part of an endorsement-for-pay scheme that roiled the Iowa Republican caucuses in 2012. Kent Sorenson, of Milo, Iowa, admitted in federal district court that former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign secretly paid him $73,000 after he dramatically dropped his backing of Rep. Michele Bachmann in late 2011 and endorsed Paul’s White House bid. Fishbowl DC, C-SPAN to Broadcast 100 Senate, House, and Governor Debates, Nick Massella, Aug. 27, 2014. In the run up to the 2014 midterm elections, C-SPAN plans to air more than 100 Senate, House, and governor debates, with simulcast support from local broadcast stations and cable channels. The public affairs cable network also launched a landing page for video coverage of said debates, named Campaign 2014. Fall debate coverage on C-SPAN begins Sept. 3. Journal Inquirer, Courant, TV stations won't explain new relationship, Harlan Levy, Aug. 27, 2014. The former Tribune Co. this month separated its newspaper group, including The Hartford Courant, from its broadcast entities, including WTIC-FOX61, into new companies, Tribune Publishing and Tribune Media. But the Courant and WTIC-TV still share an address. Whether they’ll continue to share content is unclear. The two had shared space since 2009 when WTIC moved its studios into the Courant newsroom, and the television station regularly interviewed Courant reporters during its newscasts. In May, Courant officials announced that the newspaper’s newsroom would move to the first floor at 285 Broad St., with the TV station taking over the third floor. And as of Aug. 4 Tribune Media became the owner of the building. Will they still collaborate? WTIC News Director Coleen Marren did not respond to requests for comment on whether the collaboration and the previous advertising relationship have ended. Public relations specialist Emily Pangakis, speaking for the Courant, said, “Unfortunately, we cannot comment on the relationship between The Hartford Courant and Channel 61.” Editor's note: This editor worked at the Courant 14 years from 1970 to 1984, and wrote a 1987 case study about its transformations: Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America's Oldest Newspaper. OpEdNews, The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria, Glenn Greenwald, Aug. 27, 2014. Nobody disputes the brutality and extremism of ISIS, but that is a completely different question from whether the U.S. should take military action against it. To begin with, the U.S. not only ignores, but actively supports, all sorts of brutal and extreme parties in the region. More important, what are air strikes going to accomplish? All one has to do is look at the horrific chaos and misery in Libya -- the Successful Humanitarian Intervention -- to know that bombing Bad People out of existence accomplishes little in the way of strategic or humanitarian value. It seems pretty clear at this point that U.S. military action in the Middle East is the end in itself, and the particular form it takes -- even including the side for which the U.S. fights -- is an ancillary consideration. That's how the U.S., in less than a year, can get away with depicting involvement in the war in Syria -- on opposite sides -- as a national imperative. Aug. 26 The disgraced Alabama federal judge Mark E. Fuller is shown at his court appearance in Atlanta Aug. 11 following his arrest in the early morning hours on a charge of battery against his wife. Montgomery Advertiser, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller should resign, Editorial board, Aug. 26, 2014. A federal judgeship exemplifies the concept of an office of public trust, perhaps more than any other. Federal judges wield great authority and exercise great influence in the judicial system — and they do so with the Constitution's provision of a lifetime appointment. Therein lies the case against U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama's Middle District – and the basis for our call for him to resign. The Constitution states that federal judges "shall hold their offices during good behavior...." Therein lies the case against U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama's Middle District – and the basis for our call for him to resign. That's Politics via Facebook, Breaking News on Mark Fuller's Case, Donald V. Watkins, Aug. 26, 2014. The judges, magistrates, court clerk and chief deputy clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama have all been summoned to Atlanta until Thursday. This action is part of an ongoing judicial inquiry into the wife-beating and marital infidelity scandal engulfing federal judge/criminal defendant Mark Fuller. The spotlight on Fuller's scandal brightened yesterday after I sent a letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (shown in a photo). The letter exposes the hypocrisy inside the federal judiciary in Alabama and seeks Fuller's removal from the federal bench. My news sources, who have requested anonymity on this subject due to the sensitive nature of the judicial inquiry, have confirmed the accuracy of the information in my letter to Chief Justice Roberts regarding the forced resignation of Judge H. Dean Buttram from the Birmingham federal bench in 2002 for womanizing conduct similar in nature to the misconduct engaged in by Fuller. Mainstream news organizations have not reported on my letter to Chief Justice Roberts even though they were provided a copy of the letter. Not one such organization in Alabama has engaged in any investigative reporting on the growing Fuller scandal. Aug. 25 FireDogLake, Ferguson’s Municipal Court System Makes Millions Off Targeting Black and Poor People, Kevin Gosztola, Aug. 25, 2014. A small nonprofit organization, which provides “holistic legal advocacy” to poverty-stricken residents in St. Louis County, conducted a “court watching” program and observed about 60 different courts. It produced a report that largely confirmed the allegations of clients and highlights how fines issued by the Ferguson municipal court earned the small suburb of St. Louis $2.6 million in revenue in 2013. Aug. 24 Salon, Exclusive: Cornel West talks Ferguson, Hillary, MSNBC -- and unloads on the failed promise of Barack Obama, Thomas Frank, Aug. 24, 2014. Cornel West, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, on President Obama: "He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency....The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility." New York Times, NBC News president rouses the network, Bill Carter, Aug. 24, 2014. In her first year as president of NBC News, Deborah Turness received one message loud and clear: Welcome to the feeding frenzy. It didn’t take long for Ms. Turness to realize that the attention paid to broadcast journalism in America — the ratings, the rumors, the gossip — is exponentially more intense than anything she experienced during her TV news career in her native Britain. When Ms. Turness, 47, took over last August, the division’s ratings had gone to seed. Rock runs in the family. Her first husband, Damien Steward, a television journalist, was once a roadie for the Clash. Ms. Turness once competed in a 33-day Peking-to-Paris off-road car rally. She is now married to John Toker, former director of communications for Britain’s security and intelligence. The couple moved from London to Bronxville, N.Y., where they live with their two young daughters. Editor's note: Notice the paranthetical aside in red, as if the relationship is yet-another minor biographical detail. Washington Post, Cellphones used as secret trackers worldwide, Craig Timberg, Aug. 24, 2014. Any tin-pot dictator with enough money” can buy systems marketed to foreign governments to gather users’ global location data. First Look Intercept, U.S. military bans the Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, Aug. 24, 2014. The U.S. military is banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked government secrets. According to multiple military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information. The ban appears to apply to all employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news outlets in the past after leaks of classified information. Aug. 23 Intercept via OpEd News, Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? Glenn Greenwald, Aug. 23, 2014. This week, the announcement by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo that the company would prohibit the posting of the James Foley beheading video and photos from it (and suspend the accounts of anyone who links to the video) met with overwhelming approval. Given the savagery of the Foley video, it's easy in isolation to cheer for its banning on Twitter. The question posed by Twitter's announcement is not whether you think it's a good idea for people to see the Foley video. Instead, the relevant question is whether you want Twitter, Facebook and Google executives exercising vast power over what can be seen and read." President Obama meets with Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and other advisors (White House file photo). Washington Post, Obama orders review of police use of military gear, David Nakamura and Niraj Chokshi, Aug. 23, 2014. The step follows widespread denunciation of the heavily armed response by local law enforcement agencies to protests in Ferguson, Mo. “This equipment flowed to local police forces because they were increasingly being asked to assist in counterterrorism,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement Saturday. “But displays of force in response to mostly peaceful demonstrations can be counterproductive." On Capitol Hill, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said she will hold a congressional hearing in September to examine whether local police have become too militarized. “This kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution,” she said. New York Times, Truck Convoy Returns to Russia From Ukraine, David M. Herszenhorn, Aug. 23, 2014. The huge convoy of Russian trucks that entered war-torn eastern Ukraine on Friday, sharply escalating tensions, returned to Russia on Saturday after unloading food and medicine in the city of Luhansk, and the Russian government quickly declared its satisfaction with the operation. See also, Washington Post, Russian trucks begin leaving Ukraine as Merkel arrives, Annie Gowen, Karoun Demirjian and Michael Birnbaum, Aug. 22, updated Aug. 23, 2014. The German chancellor came to ease escalating tensions after the convoy’s arrival — called a “direct invasion” — and reports of Russian artillery fire in Ukraine. Aug. 22 AP via Huffington Post, Documents Allege Scott Walker Pressured Groups To Donate To Campaign, Todd Richmond and M.L. Johnson, Aug. 22, 2014. Newly released court documents include excerpts from emails showing that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recall election campaign team told him to instruct donors to give to a key conservative group that would run ads for Walker and distribute money to other conservative groups backing him. Walker is shown in an official photo. Guardian, UK should join US in bombing Isis militants, says ex-head of army, Andrew Sparrow, Aug. 22, 2013. Lord Dannatt also says Britain should open talks with Assad in Syria, after Washington signals it might extend fight against Isis. Washington Post, Obama weighs combat options against militants, Karen DeYoung, Aug. 22, 2014. A mandate from Congress could provide domestic legal justification for the unlimited use of force against the Islamic State across Iraq and Syria, a senior administration official said. Aug. 21 Al.com, Personal failings should lead federal judge to resign: opinion, Editorial Board, Aug. 21, 2014. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller should resign. There are some occupations where second and third chances are appropriate, even necessary. But others have less margin for error. We believe the men and women who sit in judgment of those accused of wrongdoing are in that second category. Judges must apply the law to those who have done harm and do it without fear or favor. It's all too much. It's all too tawdry. Fuller's actions show his ability to make good decisions is impaired. Fuller is shown in his jail mugshot. See also, 11th Circuit Files Complaint Against Alabama Federal Judge Mark Fuller. Associated Press via WKRG (Birmingham), Judge Could Avoid Prosecution in Atlanta, Staff report, Aug. 21, 2014. An Alabama federal judge could avoid prosecution for domestic violence in Atlanta. Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County. The defense says Fuller is entering treatment for an unspecified reason, and the Atlanta court offers pre-trial intervention and diversion programs for some defendants. One of the programs is for people in treatment programs. Fuller's defense attorney Jeff Brickman says he plans to talk to a prosecutor soon about the possibility. Brickman says Fuller would welcome the chance to end the case without prosecution. A prosecutor didn't return a message seeking comment. Huffington Post, St. Louis Police Release Video Of Kajieme Powell Killing That Appears At Odds With Their Story, Ryan Grim and Ashley Alman, updated Aug. 21 from report Aug. 20, 2014. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released cell phone footage Wednesday of the police shooting of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man killed on Tuesday in St. Louis, according to St. Louis Public Radio. A convenience store owner called 911 on Tuesday when he suspected Powell stole drinks and donuts from his shop, according to a recording of the call. Another woman called to report Powell was acting erratically and had a knife in his pocket. Two officers in a police SUV responded to the calls, the cell phone video shows. When the officers got out of their vehicle, Powell walked in their direction, yelling and telling them to shoot him already.St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within a three or four feet of them holding a knife "in an overhand grip." But the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets. Warning: The below video includes graphic content. {source}

Aug. 20

Associated Press via ABC News, 11th Circuit Files Complaint Against Alabama Federal Judge Mark Fuller, Staff report, Aug. 20, 2014. U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat, acting as the chief judge of the 11th Circuit, sent U.S District Judge Mark Fuller a complaint following his arrest to begin the judicial discipline process outlined under federal law, Fuller's attorney, Barry Ragsdale said. While federal judges serve lifetime appointments and can be removed only through impeachment, legal experts say they also are subject to administrative procedures that can result in censure, reprimands or a request for their resignation. Fuller has three weeks to respond to the complaint by Tjoflat. The 11th Circuit already has stripped Fuller of his cases and stopped sending him new ones. Atlanta police arrested the 55-year-old judge on Aug. 10 and charged him with misdemeanor battery after his wife called 911 from a hotel and said he was beating her. 

Washington Post, Islamic State claims to behead U.S. journalist, Karen DeYoung and Adam Goldman, Aug. 20, 2014. A video purported to show the death of James Foley in retaliation for strikes in Iraq. A second prisoner, also said to be American, was threatened in the video.

Aug. 19

Washington Post, Two governors on trial, Ruth Marcus, Aug. 19, 2014. Aug. 20, 2014. Bob McDonnell and Rick Perry cases are lessons on criminalizing political behavior.

Reuters via Toronto Globe and Mail, Egypt urges U.S. to show restraint in Ferguson protests, Staff report, Aug. 19 2014. Egypt urged U.S. authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo. – echoing language Washington used to caution Egypt as it cracked down on Islamist protesters last year. It is unusual for Egypt to criticize such a major donor, and it was not immediately clear why the government would have taken such a step.

Aug. 18

Julian Assange, Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli and Jennifer RobinsonAssange To Give Up Asylum? What Happens Next?

Washington Post, Julian Assange will leave embassy ‘soon,’ Justin Moyer, Aug. 18, 2014. At a press conference Monday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said he would "soon" leave Ecuador's London embassy, where he been hiding in plain sight, The Guardian reported. “It has been two years since I have been granted political asylum in this embassy,” said Assange, sporting a white beard. He added: “I have not been charged with an offense in the United Kingdom or in Sweden, and there has been no public indictments in relation to my work in the United States.”

Editor's note: In the 2011 photo in London, Assange is at right with his attorney Jennifer Robinson greeting retired Swedish medical school professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli. The latter is a Sweden and Italy-based human rights activist, torture victim and publisher of the Professors Blogg, which has published scores of columns analyzing the Assange case as exemplifying a hidden strain of Friedrik Reinfeldthypocrisy in Swedish culture. The professor consolidated his findings into a 2013 book, Human Rights Issues in the Swedish Case vs. Julian Assange. He argued that Sweden's neutrality has been compromised by secret cooperation with the CIA. Similarly, Assange claimed in 2012 that Wikileaks had electronic evidence that U.S. authorities have a secret grand jury indictment against him on charges of spying that Sweden could use to extradite him. Sweden seeks to renew questioning on allegations by two women who claimed he acted illegally in bed after they separately invited him to sleep with them during a speaking trip.

The Justice Integrity Project broke cutting-edge stories three years ago undercutting Sweden's claims to neutrality. One report was that former White House advisor Karl Rove had called for Assange's death while also being listed as an advisor to Sweden's conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, shown in a file photo. Another column revealed that Thomas L. Bodström -- a name partner in the law firm Borgström and Bodström representing Assange's accusers -- was a spy novelist and former minister of justice who had once cooperated in a CIA rendition plan to return to Egypt for torture a man who had fled to Swedish seeking asylum. Our reports were widely republished in 2011 on Professors Blogg and in Sweden's alternative media such as the Swedish Wire.

Professors Blogg (Europe), What Hidden Dangers Now Await Assange? Andrew Kreig, Aug. 18, 2014. The Washington-based Justice Integrity Project comments on media reports on Assange’s stance and his asylum situation, who is at present in political asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador in London.

Cato Institute, Transparency Time: Wikipedia-Editing for Congress, Aug. 18, 2014. Featuring Jim Harper, (User:JimHarperDC), Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; Michelle Newby, (User:HistoricMN44), Legislative Researcher/Writer, Cato Institute; and Jim Hayes, (User:Slowking4), Member, Wikimedia DC Public Policy Committee; moderated by John Maniscalco, Director, Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute. In a recent 90-day period, there were almost 400,000 hits on Wikipedia articles about bills pending in Congress. The collaboratively edited Internet encyclopedia is a major source of information about congressional activity for average Americans. But past editing controversies have caused some of the most knowledgeable potential editors — congressional staff — to steer clear of providing information to the public this way. Wikipedia could deliver government transparency on a grand scale, positioning the public to demand better outcomes. Congressional staffers can aid that process by learning how to edit Wikipedia and how to navigate its rules around notability, neutrality, and conflicts of interest. Join us for a discussion of congressional Wikipedia editing and the sea change to government transparency it might produce.

Aug. 17

Washington Post, Rick Perry claims felony indictment part of larger ‘rule of law’ problem, Sean Sullivan, Aug. 17, 2014. Perry insists he did nothing wrong when he vetoed $7.5 million in funding for an anti-corruption unit.

Aug. 16

Facebook, Fuller the Wife-Beater, Dana Jill Simpson, Aug. 16, 2014. I thought you all might enjoy Andy Kreig's new article in Alabama's Milbrook Independent, Siegelman’s Judge Charged With Wife Beating. Andy highlights all that I said about Mark Fuller's role in the Siegelman case years ago. He also mentions how I was furious at the University of Alabama Law School for allowing Fuller to speak on ethics several years back. I thought I would share before you read it exactly why I thought it was so horrible that the university brought Fuller to campus that year.

NBC News, Michael Brown Killing: Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas Amid Looting, Cassandra Vinograd and Erin McClam, Aug. 16, 2014. Armored vehicles rolled back onto the streets of Ferguson early Saturday, as riot police faced off with looters in the Missouri town gripped by protests since the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen. The violence broke the brief period of calm that had settled over Ferguson, Missouri, after outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown spilled over.

Aug. 15

Above the Law, Clerkships, Crime, Federal Judges, Sex, Sex Scandals, Violence, Staci Zaretsky, Aug. 15, 2014. Federal Judge Accused Of Beating His Wife Allegedly Has Sleazy History With Women. Earlier this week, we brought our readers the sordid tale of Judge Mark Fuller, a federal jurist facing allegations of domestic violence brought by his wife, Kelli Fuller. The judge is also accused of having an affair with one of his law clerks. Today, we’ve got some additional updates. Fuller’s marriage to his ex-wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, was allegedly rife with troubles, ranging from adultery to abuse to addiction. His alleged affair with his then-deputy may have contributed to his divorce from his former wife. As to the current case, the Associated Press obtained audio from the 911 call made by his wife. About a minute into the call, as the initial dispatcher patches an ambulance dispatcher into the call, the woman identified as Kelli Fuller, 41, can be heard saying ‘I hate you, I hate you.” A male voice responds: “I hate you too” followed by dull noises in the background. This is absolutely disgusting behavior for a federal judge if the allegations turn out to be true.

Rick PerryWashington Post, Texas Gov. Perry is accused of abuse of power, Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2014. A grand jury indicted the possible GOP presidential hopeful, shown in a file photo from earlier in his career, for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funds for state prosecutors investigating public corruption. Attorney: Perry did not break laws,

Washington Post, U.S. firm helped spyware industry build digital weapon, Barton Gellman, Aug. 15, 2014. The potent systems can allow foreign security services to slip malicious code into YouTube videos and Microsoft pages.

Washington Post, Will apps that don’t burn through your data plan destroy the Internet or save it? Nancy Scola, Aug. 15, 2014. When you're on a data-limited cellphone plan, keeping tabs on how much data you're burning through can be time-consuming. Watching online videos or hopping between Web sites can quickly spend your monthly data allowance. Under a free feature on some plans, T-Mobile users can now stream music services like Pandora, iTunes Radio, Rhapsody, and Spotify all day long without having to worry about sapping their data caches. What's the worry? A chief one is that by making some apps exempt from data caps, users will be discouraged from trying out other data-consuming alternatives. And that, in turn, will upset the Internet's competitive free-for-all. Battle line are now being drawn. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, caused a stir at the beginning of August when an official there said that its Wikipedia Zero service, now available in 29 countries but not in the United States, can peacefully co-exist with the spirit of net neutrality, mostly because no money changes hands. Raegan MacDonald, European policy manager for the digital rights group Access, shot back that she was “shocked” by that position. Wikipedia Zero is, she blogged, “is an attack on the future of the open internet.”

Aug. 14

The Real News.com via YouTube, Understanding the Ferguson Uprising in the Context of Mass Incarceration, Anchored by Paul Jay, produced by Jaisal Noor, Aug. 12 and updated Aug. 14, 2014 (9:50 min.). Protests are continuing in St. Louis after the fatal police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. On Aug. 9, police shot dead Michael Brown an unarmed African-American teenager. Authorities say officers were defending themselves, but eyewitnesses offered a different account. After hundreds attended a peaceful vigil on Sunday, headlines were dominated by the burning and looting of several area businesses. The Brown family released a statement condemning those actions.

 

Washington Post, In Ferguson, sweeping steps set a new tone, Wesley Lowrey, Jerry Markon and Mark Berman, Aug. 14, 2014. Amid criticism of the police response to protests over the killing of a young black man, Missouri’s governor put security in the hands of the Highway Patrol, whose leader joined protesters in a march.
Scene: Hugs, kisses replace tear gas

Barack Obama and Eric Holder discuss Ferguson protests, Aug. 14, 2014President Barack Obama talks with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo., in Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Aug. 14, 2014 (White House Photo).

Washington Post, Images reveal uneasy truths, Philip Kennicott, Aug. 14, 2014. The images coming out of Ferguson are deeply connected to larger national trends.

Washington Post, In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest, Wesley Lowrey, Aug. 14, 2014. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery was detained by police on Wednesday while reporting on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by police over the weekend. (The Washington Post)

 Democracy Now! Glenn Greenwald Criticizes NPR for Relying on CIA-Linked Firm in Report on Impact of Snowden Leaks, Amy Goodman & Juan González, Aug. 13, 2014. Glenn Greenwald's new article for The Intercept is "NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting." Greenwald takes a highly critical look at a story by NPR’s counterterrorism correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston, which aired on earlier this month. Temple-Raston’s report focused on claims by the tech firm Recorded Future that it has "tangible evidence" that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden harmed national security by prompting terrorists to develop more sophisticated encryption programs. Greenwald says the NPR report erred in failing to mention that the firm is funded by the CIA. "This was such a pure and indisputable case of journalistic malpractice and deceit," Greenwald charges. "NPR radically misled millions of people with this report."

Ron UnzUnz Review Publisher Ron Unz is a businessman, Harvard-educated physicist, and former publisher of The American Conservative Magazine. Our "Washington Update" radio show has hosted the former Republican candidate for governor in California, who was once featured on a New Republic cover story, as shown. 

Unz Review, American Pravda: Who Shot Down Flight MH17 in Ukraine? Ron Unz, Aug. 14, 2014. Last year I published "Our American Pravda," making the case for the utter corruption and unreliability of the mainstream American media, both in the past and especially in recent years. The enormous lacunae I daily noticed in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other leading media outlets were a major motivation behind my creation of The Review, whose readership has grown enormously in recent weeks. A perfect example of this dangerous MSM “conspiracy of silence” may be found in the growing confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, greatly accelerated by the death of almost 300 passengers aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down last month over Eastern Ukraine. The American media and its Western counterparts have almost unanimously placed the blame on anti-government rebels backed by Russia, and darkly insinuate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has the blood of those hundreds of innocent lives on his hands. There is the serious likelihood of a renewed Cold War against Russia and with the neoconized Republicans in Congress proposing legislation to incorporate Ukraine as an American military ally and deploy American forces there, the actual possibility of a military clash near the Russian border. As readers know, I have been overwhelmingly consumed with my own software work in recent months and aside from closely reading the NYT and WSJ every morning, have devoted little time or effort to following the disastrous Ukraine situation. But just carefully reading between the lines of our elite MSM outlets and glancing at a few contrary perspectives presented on alternative websites have left me highly suspicious of our media narrative, leading me to wonder where the finger of guilt actually points.

Associated Press via Yahoo, Ukrainian MP punches colleague in face in parliament, staff report, Aug. 14, 2014. A Ukrainian parliament member who cultivates the image of a fighter against separatists didn't fare well against one of his legislative colleagues, taking a punch in the face and staggering into the arms of spectators. Oleh Lyashko and Oleksandr Shevchenko got into an argument on Thursday in the parliament building, with Shevchenko alleging that Lyashko has never been in the eastern area where Ukrainian forces are fighting separatist rebels. Lyashko, who surprised many by running third in the May presidential election, has built his image as a nationalist through escapades including posting a picture on Facebook of himself standing over a suspected separatist who had been stripped, bound and loaded into a car trunk. After several minutes of argument, Shevchenko hit Lyashko with a quick right to the cheek.

Oleh Lyashko, the leader of Ukraine's populist Radical Party, is punched by a colleague after an argument over soldiers fighting in east Ukraine. Lyashko and independent deputy Oleksandr Shevchenko square-off in front of media, exchanging profanities and engaging in a brief scuffle.

Aug. 13

Huffington Post, LAPD Suggests Mentally Disturbed Man They Killed Was In A Gang, Maybe, Matt Ferner, Aug. 14, 2014. An eyewitness to the killing of Ezell Ford told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that he heard an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department shout "shoot him" before three bullets were unloaded into the unarmed, 25-year-old black man, who was on the ground.

Scott DesJarlaisNational Interest, Scott DesJarlais: A family values fraud gets a pass, Dick Polman, Aug. 13, 2014. It's amazing sometimes what politicians get away with. Congressman Scott DesJarlais, a self-described "family values" conservative, was widely expected to succumb to his challenger. Because surely the Republican voters in DesJarlais' district wouldn't reward an incumbent who publicly preaches conservative values ("pro-marriage and proud of it") and anti-abortion zealotry ("all life should be cherished and protected") -- while, in private, engaging in multiple extramarital affairs and encouraging several women to have abortions. Uh, nope.

Washington Post, Republicans embrace their phoniness, Dana Milbank, Aug. 13, 2014. The Republican Party has finally admitted what has been fairly obvious for much of the past six years: It produces fake news. “NRCC Launches Fake News Sites to Attack Democratic Candidates” was a headline in the National Journal on Tuesday. As Shane Goldmacher reported, “The National Republican Congressional Committee, which came under fire earlier this year for a deceptive series of fake Democratic candidate websites that it later changed after public outcry, has launched a new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources.” These two dozen sites, with names such as “North County Update,” look like political fact-checking sites.

Michelle Rhee JohnsonMichelle Rhee Johnson is shown in a file photo via Wikipedia and Creative Commons

Washington Post, Michelle Rhee reported to be stepping down as StudentsFirst chief, Valerie Strauss, She says she wants to focus on her family. Michelle Rhee has been the most visible star in the nation’s galaxy of school reformers since she became D.C. schools chancellor in 2007, abruptly quit in 2010, and started an advocacy organization called StudentsFirst in 2011. Now, she is preparing to step down soon from her role as head of StudentsFirst at a time when the organization is facing questions about its effectiveness, and when she is ready, she said, to focus “on my family and supporting my husband.” Rhee has been quietly telling friends of her plans, Resmovits reported. Rhee, who is married to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, apparently has changed her last name to Johnson. The Scotts Miracle-Gro announcement of her appointment says her name is Michelle A. Johnson she takes up a new position as board member of the Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., a company that makes lawn, garden and home protection products.

Mark Fuller Mug ShotWSFA-TV, Federal Judge Mark Fuller's caseload reassigned in wake of arrest, Staff report, Aug. 13, 2014. All cases that were pending before Federal Judge Mark Fuller, who presides over legal matters in Alabama's Middle District, are being reassigned to other judges, effective immediately. The order to remove the judge's caseload was given by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and comes in the wake of the judge's own legal troubles in which he was arrested over the weekend and charged with assaulting his wife.

Barack Obama head shot Aug. 4, 2014President Obama is shown in a White House photo this month.

OpEd News, Will President Obama Maintain Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence in the Case of Federal Judge Mark Fuller? Dana Jill Simpson, Aug. 13 2014. This October President Obama and Vice President Biden will be faced with a challenge to the seriousness of their commitment to zero tolerance for domestic violence. They are now confronted by a sitting federal judge in Alabama named Mark Fuller who has been arrested for battery against his wife in the "ritzy" Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta Georgia. Fuller has been quoted in the press on the day of his release stating that he "just pushed" his wife (Kelly Gregg Fuller) to the ground and was defending himself from an attack by her, triggered by her concerns over his possible infidelity.

Aug. 12

AP via USA Today, Kerry condemns image of boy with severed head, Aug. 12, 2014. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday described a photograph of a Sydney-born 7-year-old boy clutching the severed head of a Syrian soldier as "disturbing" and "grotesque," and called for international cooperation against the terrorist threat posed by foreign fighters returning home from Iraq and Syria. An Australian newspaper reported Monday that the image was taken in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa and posted on Twitter by the boy's convicted terrorist father, Khaled Sharrouf, an Islamic State fighter.

Aug. 11

 

Wikipediocracy, Wikimedia 2014, Andreas Kolbe, Aug. 11, 2014. The Wikimedia movement’s 10th Wikimania conference at the London Barbican (6–10 August 2014) concluded on Sunday. Two years ago, when discussing the London bid for the event, Jimmy Wales had confidently stated, "I spend a lot of time in London, and believe I can help significantly with ensuring a well-funded conference at a great venue, with VIP speakers (academics, politicians, media, entertainment)." Unfortunately for Jimbo, those extensive and good relationships weren’t quite enough to overcome the healthy skepticism of the UK press towards his almost blatant contempt for the EU’s recent “Right to be Forgotten” ruling. Wales appears to have completely missed the whole point of the last three years for the “UK press,” in which some of their most prominent members were involved in a phone-hacking scandal that ultimately sent one of them to jail for 18 months, among other not-so-nice things. Earth To Jimbo: The UK press is all about privacy now – your timing could, well, maybe use some work.

Associated Press, Navy professor resigns after racy photo inquiry, Jennifer McDermott, Aug. 11, 2014. A U.S. Naval War College professor has resigned following an investigation into a complaint that he took a racy photo that wound up online. John Schindler voluntarily resigned his post as a professor of national security affairs, effective Aug. 29. The former National Security Agency intelligence analyst has been on administrative leave since late June. John SchindlerA May text message conversation with a photo of a penis and Schindler’s name atop it was circulated in June on Twitter. It was unclear who sent it and who posted it. A blogger sent a complaint to college administrators in Newport, and the college’s president ordered an investigation. Schindler, shown in a Facebook photo, has been critical of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and others and frequently engaged in heated exchanges with critics on Twitter. Schindler had taught at the college since 2005. He posted a statement on his website in June addressing the controversy and apologizing for actions that he said “showed poor judgment and were inexcusable.” He emphasized that he did not break the law, and said he also recognized he had been “rude and dismissive of other people’s views” on Twitter. Schindler took a brief break from social media but now posts again regularly. Lately he has been vocal about the conflict in Ukraine. The war college is a one-year, resident program that graduates about 600 students a year.

Walter "Ted" CarterEditor's Note:  News coverage and Senate hearings have avoided focus on the Navy War College President, Admiral Walter "Ted" Carter, who fostered Schindler's high profile media activities at the War College both on social media and on traditional news programs before Carter ordered the investigation in June. The media-savvy Carter won an annual award from the Association of Opinion Journalists in 2013 while also enabling Schindler's attacks on politicians, ethnic minorities, whistleblowers and other dissidents. At the time Schindler's sex scandal arose, Carter had just been nominated to become superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Senators rushed through the confirmation process shortly afterwards without a hearing on Carter's track record at the War College and approved him via a voice vote.

Associated Press via Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, Federal judge accused of hitting wife in argument, Bill Barrow, Aug. 11, 2014. A federal judge known for sentencing a former Alabama governor to prison in a corruption case was released from an Atlanta jail Monday after he was accused of hitting his wife when she accused him of infidelity. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, 55, posted a $5,000 bond after a hearing in Fulton County Magistrate Court.  Atlanta police arrested Fuller early Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta after responding to a complaint from his wife, Kelli Fuller. Fuller did not return a telephone message left in his chambers. Kelli and Mark Fuller married after the judge and his previous wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, divorced in 2012. The divorce file, held in Montgomery County, was sealed at Mark Fuller's request. Through the attorney who represented her in the divorce, Lisa Boyd Fuller declined comment Monday.

Charles SchumerOpEdNews, The De-industrialization of America, Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler, and John Titus, Aug. 11, 2014. On January 6, 2004, Paul Craig Roberts and US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), shown at right, published a jointly written article on the op-ed page of the New York Times titled "Second Thoughts on Free Trade." The article pointed out that the US had entered a new economic era in which American workers face direct global competition at almost every job level -- from the machinist to the software engineer to the Wall Street analyst. Roberts and Schumer challenged the correctness of economists' views that jobs off-shoring was merely the operation of mutually beneficial free trade. Before one asks, "What's the problem? America is the richest country on earth," consider the recently released report from the Federal Reserve that two-thirds of American households are unable to raise $400 cash without selling possessions or borrowing from family and friends.

New York Times, Clinton Criticism of Obama’s Foreign Policy Exposes Rift, Mark Landler, Aug. 11, 2013. In a blunt interview with The Atlantic, Hillary Clinton shattered an image of unity with the president, criticizing his “don’t do stupid stuff” approach.

New York Times, Russian Intervention in Ukraine Is Likely, NATO Says, Andrew E. Kramer, Aug. 11, 2013. As the Kremlin announced it had sent a convoy of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, NATO said there was a “high probability” of a Russian attack.

Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle, Obama's great-uncle Charles Payne dies at age 89, staff report, Aug. 11, 2014. Charles T. Payne, 89. a World War II veteran and great-uncle of President Barack Obama who was briefly in the public eye during his nephew's first presidential bid, has died.

Aug. 10

Daily Mail Online, The top 10 most-corrupt states in the USA revealed, Joel Christie, Aug. 10, 2014. A joint venture between the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University, the study was based on research of more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws. Mississippi named No. 1, with other southern states like Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky listed. A new study claims to have determined the most unscrupulous states in the USA, based on research of more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008.

OpEd News, Half the country doesn’t think Watergate was a real scandal!? Why? Philip Bump, Aug. 8, 2014. Over 40 percent of the country, including more than half of people under the age of 35, think the Watergate scandal was just a symptom of political wrangling and mud-slinging -- what we might now call politics as usual. But, why? Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon, CNN/ORC International released a poll Friday evaluating Americans' attitudes toward the scandal that led to Nixon's downfall. And the differentiation on ages jumped out at them. There's a big generational divide over the significance of the scandal, with a majority of those older than 40 describing Watergate as a very serious problem and those under 40 saying it was just politics.

Mark Fuller Mug Shot

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Federal judge arrested in Atlanta; accused of assaulting wife, Chris Joyner, Aug. 10, 2014. Atlanta police arrested a federal judge Saturday evening on charges that he assaulted his wife. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller was charged with misdemeanor battery and taken to the Fulton County jail around 2:30 Sunday morning. Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fulller, nationally notorious in human rights circles for helping railroad former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman into prison on corruption charges, is shown in a mug shot after being arrested in Atlanta late June 9 on a charge of battery against his wife.

Aug. 9

Barack Obama phones David Cameron Aug. 9, 2014President Barack Obama talks on the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

OpEdNews, Obama Calls ISIL 'Barbaric Terrorists,' Rob Kall, Aug. 9, 2014. Is ISIS/ISIL a terrorist organization? Or is it being labeled as one so Obama and congress can avoid constitutional and legal requirements to authorize war? In a statement today, President Obama called ISIL "barbaric terrorists," as he described the air onslaught and ground materials support being provided to defend Mosul, Iraq. That's an intentionally misleading political label. ISIL is terrifying, deplorable in many ways and murderous and brutal, so brutal that in 2014, according to Wikipedia: "al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its brutality and "notorious intractability." But that's not the same as terrorist. Terrorists do not claim to be nations. ISIL is bad news. Mis-labeling it is also bad news. It further worsens the fog of war and perpetuates the failure to hold the president and congress accountable.

Washington Post, Fighters abandoning al-Qaeda affiliates to join Islamic State, U.S. officials say, Greg Miller, Aug. 9, 2014. U.S. spy agencies have begun to see groups of fighters abandoning al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Africa to join the rival Islamist organization that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and been targeted in American airstrikes, U.S. officials said. The movements are seen by U.S. counter-terrorism analysts as a worrisome indication of the expanding appeal of a group known as the Islamic State that has overwhelmed military forces in the region and may now see itself in direct conflict with the United States.

Purported ISIL video showing 1,500 victims being killed. Warning: extremely brutal images of killings (4:48 min.).

 

 Bob McDonnell poses with Anatabloc (U.S. District Court photo)Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (2010-January, 2014) poses at an event with the controversial vitamin supplement Anatabloc launched by Star Scientific, whose president showered McDonnell and his wife Maureen McDonnell with more than $150,000 in gifts and loans to help publicize the product. Federal prosecutors introduced the photo Aug. 8 during the trial of corruption charges against the McDonnells.

Washington Post, Prosecutors use McDonnells’ friends, aides as witnesses against couple, Rosalind S. Helderman, Aug. 9, 2014. As prosecutors concluded the second week of their federal corruption case against the former first couple Friday, it became increasingly clear how they hope to corroborate Williams’s account that he tried to bribe the first couple with more than $150,000 in luxury gifts, vacations and loans: They want to use the words of the people who have worked most closely with the McDonnells against them. It is a potentially powerful strategy, made all the more so by the obvious discomfort of many of the prosecution’s witnesses with their roles in the soap opera-esque trial. Some still profess loyalty and friendship with the onetime governor.

ORA TV, Jesse Ventura: Anderson Cooper, Sarah Palin & Bill O'Reilly are Wrong, Jesse Ventura, Aug. 9, 2014. Anderson Cooper, Sarah Palin, and Bill O'Reilly have been critical of the jury's verdict in Jesse Ventura's recent lawsuit against the estate of Chris Kyle. Jesse Ventura explains that none of these pundits reviewed the actual evidence. He responds to these pundits on his podcast, "We the People with Jesse Ventura" available on iTunesand AdamCarolla.com.  One of the biggest misleading points fueled by Cooper, Palin, and O'Reilly is that Jesse Ventura's award money is coming from Chris Kyle's widow, Taya. However, this is completely false. The insurance company for Chris Kyle's book publisher (HarperCollins) not only paid all fees associated with the trial, but will also be paying the full $1.8 million that the jury awarded Ventura.

Consortium News via OpEd News, The Heinous Crime Behind Watergate, Robert Parry, Aug. 9, 2014. To fully understand the Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation 40 years ago, you have to know the back story starting in 1968 when candidate Nixon took part in a secret maneuver to scuttle the Vietnam peace talks and salvage a narrow victory over Vice President Hubert Humphrey. In essence, what Nixon and his Richard Nixoncampaign team did was to contact South Vietnamese leaders behind President Lyndon Johnson's back and promise them a better deal if they stayed away from Johnson's Paris peace talks, which President Nguyen van Thieu agreed to do. So, with Johnson's peace talks stymied and with Nixon suggesting that he had a secret plan to end the war, Nixon edged out Humphrey. After his election, Nixon learned from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that President Johnson had amassed a detailed file on what Johnson called Nixon's "treason," but Nixon couldn't locate the file once he took office and ordered an intensive search for the material that explained why the Paris peace talks had failed. But the material stayed missing. Nixon's worries grew more acute in mid-June 1971 when the New York Times and other major U.S. newspapers began publishing the Pentagon Papers leaked by former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg. Though the Pentagon Papers -- covering the years 1945 through 1967 -- exposed mostly Democratic deceptions, Nixon knew something that few others did, that there was a potential sequel that could be even more explosive than the original. So, Nixon recognized the political danger if someone revealed how Nixon's pre-election maneuvers in 1968 had prevented President Johnson from bringing the war to an end.

San Diego News Online, Dollar Democracy: With Liberty and Justice for Some, Book by Peter Mathews, Review by Kam Williams, Aug. 9, 2014. In recent years, the American Dream has proven to be increasingly elusive for most of us. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably working longer hours for less pay. Meanwhile, millions of jobs are being outsourced to China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and other countries that don’t have decent child labor, minimum wage and/or occupational health and safety standards. Consequently, it’s no surprise that there have been several suicides at Apple factories by disgruntled peasants paid only pennies per hour to perform repetitive tasks for 10-12 hours, 7 days a week, with no compensation for overtime.

Aug. 8

Mayaysia airliner comparison with Putin airplaneSee: A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Consortium News, Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination? Robert Parry, Aug. 8, 2014. Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry, the much-honored reporter who broke the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s while working for the Associated Press and Newsweek. U.S. intelligence analysts are weighing the possibility that the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a botched attempt by extremists in the Ukrainian government to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin whose aircraft was returning from South America the same day, according to a source briefed on the U.S. investigation. If true, the direction of the investigation into the July 17 crash has veered dramatically from initial U.S. government allegations that eastern Ukrainian rebels, using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft battery, were responsible for bringing down the plane killing 298 people onboard. The Obama administration used those claims to whip up an anti-Russian hysteria that prompted European countries to ratchet up economic sanctions against Moscow, starting what now looks like an incipient trade war. But the U.S. analysts dismissed those original suspicions because they could find no evidence that such a missile battery had been supplied by the Russians or was in the possession of the rebels, prompting a shift in thinking toward a scenario in which Ukrainian hardliners working with elements of the air force may have tried to ambush Putin’s plane but instead hit the Malaysian airliner, said the source speaking on condition of anonymity. Putin flies in a plane with similar red, white and blue markings as the Malaysian airliner and was known to be on his way home after a six-day visit to South America. But his plane took a different route and landed safely in Moscow.

ISIL Victims in TikritA photo via YouTube shows victims of ISIS in the Iikrit region of Iraq in June

Intercept/First Look, U.S. 'Humanitarian' Bombing of Iraq: A Redundant Presidential Ritual, Glenn Greenwald, Aug. 8, 2014. For those who ask “what should be done?” The suffering in Iraq is real, as is the brutality of ISIS, and the desire to fix it is understandable. There may be some ideal world in which a superpower is both able and eager to bomb for humanitarian purposes. But that is not this world. Just note how completely the welfare of Libya was ignored by most intervention advocates the minute the fun, glorious, exciting part – “We came, we saw, he died,” chuckled Hillary Clinton – was over.

Bob Riley

Alabama Political Reporter, Riley/Hubbard Funding of Non-Profit Raises Serious Questions, Bill Britt, Aug. 8, 2014. In February, 2013, the Alabama Political Reporter revealed that in 2010, Governor Bob Riley, in conjunction with then Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, funneled money from various PACs, and from the RSLC to Citizens for a Better Alabama, (CBA), to stop bingo-style gaming from becoming legal in the State. But, certain statements made by the group's founder, A. Eric Johnston, and various suspect actions by Riley and Hubbard, indicate there is more to this story than just one group's battle against gambling.

Editor's note: Former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican who served from 2003 to 2011, is shown in an official photo. Riley's Democratic predecessor, Don Siegelman, is serving a prison sentence on corruption charges stemming from reappointment to a state board of a donor to a non-profit that Siegelman supported. The Justice Integrity Project and others have demonstrated gross irregularities in the Siegelman prosecution.
 
Al.com, Mike Hubbard says scathing contribution memo 'isn't worth the paper,' it's written on, Leada Gore, Aug. 8, 2014. Alabama speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said a report tying him to a plan to use a GOP organization to hide campaign donations from Alabama gambling interests "isn't worth the paper it's written on." Hubbard, a Republican from Auburn, told the Opelika-Auburn News the report has more to do with troubles from within the national Republican State Leadership Committee than anything that occurred in Alabama.

Aug. 7

Washington Post, U.S. will also drop food to besieged Iraqi minorities, Karen DeYoung and Loveday Morris, Aug. 7, 2014. President Obama authorized possible airstrikes against Sunni extremists who punctured Kurdish defenses in a powerful offensive in northern Iraq. See also, Islamic State militants seize Christian town in northern Iraq; thousands flee, Loveday Morris, Aug. 7, 2014. Sunni Muslim extremists seized control of a Christian town in northern Iraq on Thursday, puncturing Kurdish defenses and sending thousands of civilians fleeing. Kurdish officials pleaded for international assistance as they appeared to be losing control of the 650-mile border that the semi-autonomous region now shares with militants from the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda splinter group. The ancient Christian town had become home to thousands of displaced Christians from the northern city of Mosul after the extremists gave them an ultimatum with three choices: convert to Islam, remain Christian but pay special taxes, or die. The setbacks compound an already desperate humanitarian situation.

Barack Obama and security staff Aug. 7, 2014In recent White House file photos, President Obama meets Aug. 7 with his national security team. Separately, Obama is shown with Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outside the Oval Office.

Barack Obama and Martin Dempsey June 19, 2014New York Times, Obama Weighs Airstrikes or Aid to Help Trapped Iraqis, Officials Say, Helene Cooper, Aug. 7, 2014. President Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 religious minorities in Iraq who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, administration officials said on Thursday. The president, in meetings with his national security team at the White House on Thursday morning, has been weighing a series of options ranging from dropping humanitarian supplies on Mount Sinjar to military strikes on the fighters from ISIS now at the base of the mountain, a senior administration official said. “There could be a humanitarian catastrophe there,” a second administration official said, adding that a decision from Mr. Obama was expected “imminently — this could be a fast-moving train.”

American Historical Association, Black Holes in the Predecisional Universe: Agencies Gain a New Justification for Secrecy, Nate Jones, August 2014. The National Security Archive was disappointed, but not surprised, that in a two-to-one decision the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, in May 2014, agreed with the Central Intelligence Agency that a volume of its 30-year-old history of the 53-year-old Bay of Pigs Invasion could "confuse the public" and should thus be kept secret. To win this argument, the CIA successfully convinced Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Stephen Williams (Judge Judith Rodgers identified multiple contradictions in her strong dissent) that any document the agency deems "predecisional" can be withheld ad infinitum. This means that if a historian requests records for, say, Operation Phoenix, the CIA-led assassination program conducted during the Vietnam War, the William McRavenCIA will reply--less than completely forthcomingly--that its search has returned no results. Admiral William McRaven, the Joint Special Operations Commander who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, knew about this transparency black hole: he ordered the FOIA-complying Department of Defense to purge its computers of all files on the Navy SEALs raid on bin Laden and send them to the CIA, where the Operational Files Exemption would keep them "safe" from search and review for release.

Editor's note: Admiral William McRaven, shown above, was described by the well-connected Washington Post columnist David Ignatius as one of President Obama's favorites in the military and intelligence ranks. He retired this summer. 

Brookings Institute, Five Points from a Brookings Event on the Israel-Hamas Conflict in Gaza, Fred Dews and Elina Saxena, Aug. 7, 2014. The event was introduced by Tamara Coffman Wittes, senior fellow and director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, who stressed that the “primary obstacles to a peace agreement lie in the domestic politics of the two sides.”

Bob McDonnellWashington Post, Updates: Day nine of the McDonnell corruption trial, Staff reports, Aug. 7, 2014. Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, are battling a 14-count public corruption indictment that alleges they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to a Richmond area businessman, and in exchange, the businessman lavished them with gifts and money. The McDonnell trial has concluded for the day with the end of Communications Director Tucker Martin’s testimony. McDonnell is shown in a Gage Skidmore photo distributed via Creative Commons and Wikimedia.

Washington Post, What’s in Maureen McDonnell’s Louis Vuitton handbag? Status, insecurity and maybe jail time, Robin Givhan, Aug. 7, 2014. The designer goods at the center of the government’s case against former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen were splayed out on tables in a most undignified way, photographed and entered into evidence. Separated from the woman who risked so much to get them, the clothes, with their sizes visible, looked like so many specimens of human weakness, social status and cultural detritus awaiting dissection.

John KiriakouFireDogLake, CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Was Marked Dangerous After BOP Categorized His Crime as ‘Espionage-Related,’  Kevin Gosztola, Aug. 7, 2014. CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou (shown in photo) who has been serving a prison sentence in a federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania for over a year, was given a special designation marking him dangerous. This led to him not being sent to a minimum security camp, and he reveals the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inappropriately categorized his offense as one related to “espionage.”

Barack ObamaAug. 6

Editor's note: President Obama promised while campaigning to make his administration the "most transparent" in history.

Washington Post, Dozens of inspectors general say federal agencies hindering oversight, Josh Hicks, Aug. 6, 2014. At least three federal agencies have hindered the oversight efforts of independent watchdogs by limiting their access to records, according to a complaint from more than half of the government’s inspectors general. The officials, 47 of them, signed a letter to congressional oversight leaders on Tuesday saying the Justice Department, the Peace Corps and the Chemical Safety Board have withheld information on the basis that it was privileged.

Editor's note: Jimmy Carter was United States president from 1977 to 1981. Mary Robinson has been president of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Carter's most recent book, A Call To Action, described how they are members of a group call The Elders comprised of former national leaders and human rights advocates organized by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to advocate for world peace.

Jimmy Carter Call To Action on Women, ReligionForeign Policy, How to Fix It, Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, Aug. 4, 2014. There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas's indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

Channel 4 News London, Exclusive: Wikipedia edits from government computers, Fatima Manji, Aug. 6, 2014. 3:21 min. Channel 4 News reveals controversial edits to the Wikipedia pages for Jean Charles de Menezes, Lee Rigby and Damilola Taylor have been made from government computers.

 

 

Washington Post, Amid the ruins in Gaza, more tragedy, Sudarsan Raghavan, Aug. 6, 2014. Homes and hospitals obliterated. Children suffering from trauma. Cities without electricity. After 30 days of war, Palestinians and aid workers face devastation far worse than that of previous conflicts.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks and participates in the Leaders Session One: “Investing in Africa’s Future” during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

Barack Obama at U.S.-Africa Summit Department of State Aug. 6, 2014

 

 

Aug. 5

Steve ScalisePolitico via Huffington Post, To pick staff, Scalise turns to lobbyist, Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, Aug. 5, 2014. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (shown with his official photo) got some help interviewing potential new hires for his press shop from an unlikely source: a federal lobbyist. Quinn Gillespie & Associates’ John Feehery sat in on and participated in multiple official interviews with job candidates last month for the new majority whip’s press operation.  Inviting a lobbyist into an interview is highly unusual. Several ethics lawyers and current and former leadership aides said they have never heard of a similar arrangement. Feehery is registered to lobby on behalf of major corporations like AT&T, Sony Corp., Qualcomm, 21st Century Fox and others that have interests before Congress and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Scalise is a member.

Dianne FeinsteinNew York Times, Senator Denounces Redactions of Report on C.I.A. Detention Program, Mark Mazzetti, Aug. 5, 2014. The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday that heavy censorship by the Obama administration of her committee’s voluminous report on the C.I.A.’s detention program eliminates or obscures “key facts” buttressing the document’s conclusions, and pledged to fight for more of it to be declassified. The statement by the chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, seemed to dim the prospects of the long-delayed report’s being released in the coming days. Feinstein, shown in a file photo, said she was writing a letter to President Obama with a list of items she believes were improperly redacted.

Malaysia Flight WreckageOpEdNews, Eyewitness Evidence of Machine Gun Fire on MH17, Michael Collins, Aug. 5, 2014. A monitor for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) investigative team at the MH17 crash site observed clear signs of machine gun fire on the fuselage of MH17. He revealed this in a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) interview July 29. Michael Bociurkiw, Monitor, OSCE, was clear on his observation of "machine gun fire" but demurred on any evidence of a missile attack. Evidence of a high-powered machine gun attack on MH17 was also offered by a thirty-year Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko. His analysis of the MH17 crash in AnderweltOnline.com, a German blog, appeared on July 30. Noting the paucity of photo evidence of the wreckage, Haisenko provided what he described as a high-resolution photo of the cockpit of MH17. Haisenko obtained this version of the image before it vanished from the Internet. The eyewitness report of the OSCE monitor and the analysis of high-resolution imagery by the German pilot both crack a big hole in the relentless charges that MH17 was brought down with a BUK class missile fired by "pro Russian separatists." This information also ties into publicly released evidence from the Russian Defense Ministry that there was a Ukraine fighter jet in the vicinity of MH17 just before the crash.

Jeanne BishopEditor's note: Jeanne Bishop, a guest on our Washington Update radio program, is an attorney in the Cook County public defender's office who suffered the loss of the family members in a notorious thrill-killing murder shooting two decades two decades ago in Winnetka, IL

Chicago Sun-Times, I stood on tiptoes to see a hero, Jim Brady, Jeanne Bishop (shown in file photo), Aug. 5, 2014. We were waiting for a hero: Jim Brady. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, named for James “Bear” Brady. He was supposed to have died years before, on March 30, 1981, the day a troubled man named John Hinckley Jr. pulled out a gun in front of the Washington Hilton Hotel and started firing. Brady survived, but lived from then on with slurred speech, impaired memory and partial paralysis. The bullet did something else, though: it turned Brady into a passionate supporter of sensible gun laws. A Republican from downstate Illinois, like my dad, Brady quickly became the most respected advocate for gun violence prevention in the nation. 

Ruth Bader GinsburgJonathan Turley.com, Ginsburg: Male Justices Do Not Understand Issues Affecting Women In Hobby Lobby, Jonathan Turley, Aug. 5, 2014. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is again making news in public comments made about the Court and its cases. In two different public events, Ginsburg suggested that the Supreme Court majority has a bias due to the gender of the majority of the Court and engaged people in the political debate over whether she should retire and who should replace her. Putting aside the merits of these debates, I remain deeply disturbed by the active public speaking tours of justices who appear to relish the attention and feed public controversies, including many with political aspects.

A Just Cause, Decision By Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Raises More Questions Than Answers In The IRP6 Case, Staff report, Aug. 5, 2014.  A Just Cause announces today that it is asking the federal government to launch a full investigation into operations of the federal courts in Denver surrounding the handling of the IRP6 case in light of the decision handed down on Monday denying the IRP6 appeal (D.C. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA, Appellate Case: 11-1492, Document: 01019289332, 8/4/14). The IRP6 case concerns a Colorado-based company, IRP Solutions Corp., that developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) criminal investigations software for federal, state, and local law enforcement. The IRP6 (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A Stewart, David A Zirpolo and David A Banks) were convicted in 2011 of mail and wire fraud. “It appears that the court sidestepped one of the most critical issues at hand, that being the Fifth Amendment violation and the over 200 pages of missing transcript that supports that argument," says A Just Cause President Sam Thurman.

Aug. 4

Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Tony Blinken Aug. 1, 2014President Obama meets National Security Advisor Susan Rice in the Oval Office in early August.

New York Times, Gaza War Strains Relations Between U.S. and Israel, Mark Landler, Aug. 4, 2014.  When the State Department condemned Israel’s strike on a United Nations school in Gaza on Sunday, saying it was “appalled” by this “disgraceful” act, it gave full vent to what has been weeks of mounting American anger toward the Israeli government. The blunt, unsparing language — among the toughest diplomats recall ever being aimed at Israel — lays bare a frustrating reality for the Obama administration: the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has largely dismissed diplomatic efforts by the United States to end the violence in Gaza, leaving American officials to seethe on the sidelines about what they regard as disrespectful treatment.

Politico, Exclusive: Powerhouse GOP group snared in money scheme, Alexander Burns, Aug. 4, 2014. Since the Republican State Leadership Committee burst into national politics, it’s become one of the most influential outside players on the right: It spent tens of millions of dollars to flip state legislative chambers and redraw the congressional map in Republicans’ favor — and is poised to pump millions more this fall into locking down state capitals for the GOP. But the group’s swift ascent has not come without controversy — or lingering legal hazard. At the height of its political emergence, the RSLC was implicated in a risky campaign finance scheme that an internal report warned could trigger “possible criminal penalties” and “ultimately threaten the organization’s continued existence,” according to a confidential document Politico obtained from a source. The September 2011 report, prepared by the prominent Washington law firm Baker Hostetler, was presented to an RSLC board then helmed by former Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie — RSLC’s chief financial rainmaker starting in 2010 and now a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Never disclosed until now, the document detailed an investigation into alleged misconduct by multiple RSLC officials during the crucial 2010 election cycle: It charged that national RSLC leaders conspired improperly with the leader of the Alabama Republican Party to use the RSLC as a pass-through for controversial Indian tribe donations, essentially laundering “toxic” money from the gaming industry by routing it out of state and then back into Alabama. “If these events are made public, the resulting media frenzy will be a political disaster for Alabama Republicans, a disaster with which RSLC will forever be associated,” the report concluded.

Washington Post, Men’s rights activists think a “hateful” feminist conspiracy is ruining Wikipedia, Caitlin Dewey, Aug. 4, 2014. A Voice for Men, the controversial men’s rights Web site, sees feminist conspiracies in many unassuming places: college stadiums, women’s shelters, hospital delivery rooms. But on Saturday, AVfM managing editor Dean Esmay published an essay decrying “censorship” and “misandry” on a new platform: Wikipedia, that sum of all human knowledge, where Esmay says editors “infected” by a “hateful Gender Feminist dogma” have conspired to silence him and other members of his movement.

Aug. 3

Veterans Today, How Big Money Controls the White House, Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall (shown in file photo), Aug. 3, 2014. Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters by Andrew Kreig (Eagle View Books, 2013) is a comprehensive expose Dr. Stuart Bramhallof the wealthy corporate interests who are the real power behind the federal government. Kreig orients his book around Obama and Romney, the major presidential candidates in the 2012 elections. However in discussing Mitt Romney’s hidden ties to the financial oligarchy, he also explores the Bush family’s Wall Street connections, the history and structure of the Mormon Church (especially as it relates to corporate America) and Karl Rove’s role in orchestrating Republican dirty tricks and voting fraud. Presidential Puppetry HandKreig, a lawyer and respected Washington DC journalist, takes the 2012 presidential debates as his point of departure, noting the deliberate secrecy of both candidates around their personal background. This deliberate secrecy should have been a campaign issue. Yet neither raised it in the debates – there seemed to be a gentleman’s agreement not to do so. Kreig is also scathingly critical of the mainstream media’s failure to challenge either the secrecy or corrupt corporate influences it concealed. By tracing the background of the Bush, Carter, Clinton and Reagan presidencies, Kreig makes a very compelling case that the ruling elite selects and grooms individuals it offers up to us as presidential candidates. Romney’s big secret was his tax returns. It’s standard for presidential candidates to release ten years of returns. What the Republican candidate sought to conceal, according to Kreig, was systematic tax avoidance that included a Swiss bank account and tax shelters in the Cayman Islands. Both the Democrats and the corporate media failed in their duty to the public by refusing to bring any of this to light.

Salon, NYPD drags a 48-year-old naked woman from her apartment as neighbors protest and tape arrest, Staff report, Aug. 3, 2014. Disturbing video captures the NYPD arresting a woman as she shouts that she needs her oxygen. Denise Stewart, a 48-year-old Brooklyn woman was dragged by NYPD from her apartment and arrested in the late hours of July 13, New York Daily News reported. The grandmother had just taken a shower and was only wearing a towel and pair of underpants when NYPD pounded on her door. The NYPD officers were responding to a domestic violence 911-call made from the Brownsville apartment building.

HBO via FireDogLake, Finally, Fake News Done Right, David Swanson, Aug. 3, 2014. John Oliver is what I always wished Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert would be. In fact, he’s what I always wished Ted Koppel or Jim Lehrer would be. Most comedy news up until now, as far as I have seen, has mocked everyone from the powerful and corrupt to the sincere and righteous. Now, watch John Oliver on nukes [via WEBN-TV, 15 min.]. If you knew and were outraged by what he said, you’re probably thrilled that he’s said it. If you didn’t know, you’re importantly better informed. Here’s news that’s intended for a government of, by, and for the people, encouraging people to get active around an issue of the greatest importance and about which most people have lost interest.

Aug. 2

Benjamin Netanyahu FrownAssociated Press via Huffington Post, Netanyahu Tells U.S. 'Not To Ever Second Guess Me Again' On Hamas, Matthew Lee, Aug. 2, 2014. Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel. Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration "not to ever second guess me again" on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be "trusted" on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks. The Obama administration on Friday condemned "outrageous" violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a "barbaric" action. The strong reaction came as top Israeli officials questioned the effort to forge the truce, accusing the U.S. and the United Nations of being naive in assuming the radical Hamas movement would adhere with its terms. The officials also blamed the Gulf state of Qatar for not forcing the militants to comply.

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jan 12, 2014 Peter Souza.jpg

President Obama is shown in a White House photo talking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone in January, 2014.

MondoWeiss, Inhuman shield: How ‘The New York Times’ protects US elites from Gaza’s brutal reality, Patrick Connors, Aug. 2, 2014. The New York Times’ reporting on Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has been a rollercoaster. Unfortunately the high points have been few, short and quickly followed by dizzying and prolonged plunges back into a morass of lazy, credulous recitations of Israeli government talking points.

Washington Post, Amid Ebola outbreak and conflict, Obama to host 50 African leaders, Juliet Eilpirin, Aug. 2, 2014. The summit will focus largely on the economic potential that Africa offers the United States. Nearly 50 African heads of state and government will gather this week for an unprecedented meeting in Washington that holds the prospect of reframing the continent’s image, from one defined by conflict and disease to one ripe with economic promise. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit — which will mark the first time an American president will convene Africa’s leaders at one conference — faces major hurdles, including the ongoing distraction of conflicts elsewhere and domestic budget constraints. Obama administration officials have deliberately played down their expectations, saying the event will not conclude with the sort of flashy financial commitments that Chinese leaders have announced at African summits in Beijing.

Mitt RomneyWashington Post, As Democrats avoid Obama, Romney is in demand on the midterm campaign trail, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Aug. 2, 2014.  During a summer in which Democratic candidates are keeping their distance from an unpopular president, Mitt Romney is emerging as one of the Republican Party’s most in-demand campaign surrogates. Over three days in mid-August, Romney will campaign for GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas, aides said. In September, he is planning visits to the presidential swing states of Colorado and Virginia. Romney is filling up his October schedule, as well. Senate hopefuls in Iowa and New Hampshire are eager for him to return before November’s midterms, while Romney is weighing trips to other Senate battlegrounds. At least one high-profile Senate campaign said it has produced a television advertisement featuring Romney ready to air in the fall.

George OrwellAug. 1

Truthout, Antiwar Protests Spreading in Ukraine as Government Wages All-Out War in the Southeast and NATO Threatens Russia, Roger Annis, Aug. 1, 2014. A rising wave of antiwar and anti-conscription protest is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine. The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko ten days ago that a "third" military mobilization is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an "anti-terrorist operation." The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders. Poroshenko's mobilization proposal was approved by the Ukraine Rada on July 22. The measure means that more people will be conscripted into military service and that more reserve army units will be thrown into the battle theater. Since the crash of Malyasia Airlines Flight 17, Kyiv has embarked on a frenzied military push into southeast Ukraine to try and defeat a pro-autonomy rebellion there. Kyiv is in a race to defeat the rebellion before the crippling cost of it all as well as rising antiwar protests and army desertions bring its offensive to a halt.

Counterpunch, The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War: On Israel, Ukraine and Truth, John Pilger, Aug. 1, 2014. The other night, I saw George Orwells’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell (shown in a file photo) himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.” Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesized in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device. Peace is “perpetual war.” “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

Andrew CuomoFireDogLake, Governor Cuomo Receives Warning From US Attorney About Obstructing Justice and Witness Tampering, DS Wright, Aug. 1, 2014. On the heels of reports that New York Governor Cuomo’s staff interfered with investigations into corruption involving firms connected to the governor, the US Attorney for New York, Preet Bharara, has warned Cuomo, shown in a photo, and staff about obstructing justice and witness tampering. Governor Cuomo’s staff have reportedly already told a New York state commission investigating corruption, the Moreland Commission, to pull back subpoenas from political consulting firms that work with Governor Cuomo’s re-election campaign. This despite Governor Cuomo himself establishing the commission to respond to a wave of corruption plaguing New York state government. The letter from the US Attorney came after Cuomo’s staff issued public defenses of their behavior in response to a New York Times story detailing the interference with the commission from Governor Cuomo’s office.

Washington Post, Brennan under fire from lawmakers after CIA search of Senate computers, Greg Miller, Aug. 1, 2014. Some call for the resignation of the CIA director, but President Obama has “full confidence” in him. An internal CIA report released Thursday included findings that were seen by many as fundamentally at odds with Brennan’s public assertions about the case earlier this year when he denied any wrongdoing on the part of the agency. The report found that five CIA employees had been involved in improperly searching computer files and reading e-mails of Senate investigators probing the agency’s use of harsh interrogation measures on terrorism suspects.

In a 2013 White House photo, President Obama nominates career CIA official John Brennan, most recently a White House aide, to become CIA director. Brennan is at far right as outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta, at far left, and Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel look on.

OpEdNews, Good Idea?-- Allowing an Ebola Patient Into the US? Rob Kall, Aug. 1, 2014. Two American health care workers who have contracted the so-far uncurable Ebola virus are coming to the USA-- at least one going to a supposedly safe facility at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. A private jet is winging it's way to Liberia to pick up Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who are in grave condition 13, Fox.com reports. Huh? I just don't get the thinking that would allow such a disease through our border. Seriously. Why aren't the heads of the house and senate Health, Transportation, Ways and Means, Homeland Security and immigration committees putting a stop to this? I feel sorry for the people. They have been compassionate and put their lives on the line. But they knew the risks in what they were doing. This kind of situation is why there are quarantines. Meanwhile, what do you think?

Times of Israel, When Genocide is Permissible, Yochanan Gordon, Aug. 1, 2014. Judging by the numbers of casualties on both sides in this almost one-month old war one would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in fighting a far less-capable enemy....I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals? Times of Israel Editorial Note: The contents of this post have been removed for breaching The Times of Israel's editorial guidelines.

Eric CantorWashington Post, Eric Cantor to leave Congress altogether on Aug. 18, Paul Kane and Sebastian Payne, Aug 1, 2014. Rep. Eric Cantor, the just-departed House majority leader, announced Friday morning that he would also resign altogether from Congress, effective Aug. 18. The seven-term congressman, stunned by a June 10 upset in Virginia's primary, stepped down from his Republican leadership position on Thursday. The surprise decision caps off a nearly 14-year career in Congress for the hard-charging 51-year-old Virginian, whose name became synonymous with ambition as he soared through leadership ranks at a relatively young age and charted the course for a new generation of Republicans in the Capitol. Cantor’s move remains unique because he’s the highest ranking House member to ever lose his own party’s nomination. Rather than stay in the House through the end of December, he said he would pave the way for his successor — presumably Brat in the Republican-tilting district surrounding Richmond — to be an active participant in the expected lame-duck session after the November elections.


 

 

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Call to Action

The Justice Integrity Project urges readers to sign the petition to President Obama for clemency for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (1999-2003), whom our research indicates was unjustly convicted in 2006 on politically motivated corruption charges. The petition is here. The goal is 100,000 signatures, with more than 50,000 already. Siegelman is shown above with his wife (at center), son and daughter. He was re-imprisoned at age 67 in September 2012 for nearly six more years in Louisiana.

The Project has extensively documented injustice in the case. An unprecedented coalition of former law enforcers, scholars, and others has denounced the prosecution as selective punishment for a non-crime: As governor in 1999, Siegelman reappointed to an unpaid state board a donor to a non-profit foundation, with Siegelman receiving no money. For this, authorities destroyed his life with more than a dozen years of investigations costing taxpayers vast amounts. For background, see the official site by his supporters and our recent column.

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November 14, 2013

This is one of the most serious, detailed public interest books I have ever read, and I do read quite a bit.

I am in Afghanistan, with very little time to myself, and regret I have not been able to sit down with this book and give it the double read that it merits. As with any book that I consider a potential blockbuster, I started with the index, notes, and bibliography. All three are deep. This book is both a citizen's primer, and a reference work that will stand the test of time in helping future generations of students. It is a starting point for truth in the public interest.

I am one of those very few non-fiction reviewers that is also a former CIA clandestine case officer and a career intelligence officer. My reviews of over 300 books on intelligence are easily found (each review leading back to their Amazon home page) are easily found by searching for < Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)> without the brackets.

Imagine my astonishment, then, when I get through the first part of the book and discover that Obama may be CIA's second wholly-owned president. Obama's parents appear clearly documented as non-official cover CIA officers (officers spy, agents are the people they recruit) responsible for spotting, assessing, and recruiting among the Islamic up and comers. This section alone makes this book priceless. Read More...

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