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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OpEdNews, Rethinking Conspiracy, Shawn Hamilton, Sept. 14, 2014. The terms "conspiracy theorist" and "conspiracy nut" are used frequently to discredit a perceived adversary using emotional, rather than logical, appeals. Too many people smugly chide "conspiracy theories" as if they imagine that such a derisive characterization reflects superior intellect--whether or not they know anything about the issue in question. It's a pitiful display of ego inflation and intellectual dishonesty, yet it appears to be a common approach preferred by those short on information and critical thinking skills. Here are a few examples of past "conspiracy theories" that were commonly derided at the time of their occurrence but were later determined to be credible.

National Archives via YouTube, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas, Lecture by Cass R. Sunstein, Sept. 8, 2014 (video: 1 hour, six miinutes). Cass Susntein is a Harvard Law Professor, former top White House staffer in the Obama Administration and author of Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. Sunstein served Obama as his administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein's wife is Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador at the United Nations.

As reported by longtime journalist Louis Wolf: Sunstein's largely vague but self-serving analysis of history and contemporary social thought revolves around his favorite recent subject -- conspiracy theories. He spoke briefly about some "true conspiracy theories" -- the ones he has had to accept as valid which he danced around largely without specifying which. Be sure to watch his eyes and his body language closely in the online video of the event. He built his conspiracy theories case on about what he called an "informational cascade" and an "reputational cascade."He then asserted that groups that have conspiracy theories "which are most dangerous and threatening to the United States" flow from these two 'cascades' [hear at: 28:35]. He said "we need to correct the record." This reference alludes to the mostly secret operations around the world of the National Endowment for Democracy. He also alluded to people he termed "conspiracy entrepreneurs." Louis Wolf's comments and Sunstein's answer can be heard at: 42:32-48:01 min. George Ripley's comments and Sunstein's answer at: 57:43-1:02:17. In the wake of the explosive disclosures by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Obama chose Sunstein to be part of a five-person advisory group of intelligence and legal experts, several of whom have long connections to Obama, Two other members are Richard A. Clarke, who served in the Clinton administration and both Bush administrations and has become an expert on digital conflict; Michael J. Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA.

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Author, speaker and Freedom of Information advocate Andy Thibault will join Bonnie Foreshaw to discuss his latest book, more Cool Justice, during a forum with students and faculty in the university's library, Dec. 2. Thibault’s second collection provides hard-hitting essays credited with helping to free Foreshaw from prison 27½ years after she was unjustly convicted of first-degree murder of a person she had never met. Foreshaw is a contributor to prison journals "Couldn’t Keep It To Myself" and "I’ll Fly Away." In a foreword to more Cool Justice, the Justice Integrity Project states, “More than ever, the public needs bare-knuckle advocates. One such fighter is Andy Thibault, author of the superb more Cool Justice. His fifth book exposes injustice much in the style of his Law and Justice in Everyday Life, which he authored in 2002 to much acclaim.” Nov. 25 Washington Post, Darren Wilson explains why he killed Michael Brown, Terrence McCoy, Nov. 25, 2014. It’s a scene that plays out thousands of times every year all over America: A white cop stops a black teen he thinks is up to no good. That’s what happened in Ferguson, Mo., where an Aug. 9 encounter between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson ended in death, explosive violence, protest and another bout of national soul-searching about race. In the months since, Wilson (shown in a county photo distributed by AP) was absent from public view while his name became famous. The September testimony he delivered to the grand jury, released Monday after a prosecutor announced that Wilson would not be charged, provides the first and most detailed account directly from Wilson of Brown’s shooting. It varies from many previously published stories — and accusations — about a cop who brazenly shot a youth trying to surrender, some said, with his hands up. Washington Post, Protests erupt in Ferguson, Grand jury declines to indict officer in fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager, Chico Harlan, Wesley Lowery and Kimberly Kindy, Nov. 25, 2014. At least two police cars and a half-dozen buildings were torched when violence erupted following a grand jury’s decision. Nov. 24 Washington Post, White House seeks a stronger hand in the next defense secretary, Greg Jaffe and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Nov. 24, 2014. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, shown in a file photo, worked behind the scenes but seemed too deferential to generals in strategy meetings, officials say. OpEd News, Rob Kall and David Swanson Debate David's Article "Can We Really Blame Sociopaths?" Nov. 24, 2014. The estimates say 1% of the population are psychopaths. That's 3 million plus in the US. Eight percent are sociopaths. That's 24 million in the US and about 11 or 12% are psychopaths, sociopaths or narcissists. That's a lot of people! And now, about 30 or 40% of the people in jail are identified as sociopaths or psychopaths. Washington Post, Is the Benghazi scandal hunt finally over? Paul Waldman, Nov. 24, 2014. Is the Benghazi scandal hunt finally over? And if there’s no Benghazi scandal, could that actually mean that President Obama will reach the end of his eight years in office without an era-defining, presidency-threatening scandal on the order of Watergate or Iran-contra? To conservatives who have believed for the past two years that Benghazi would eventually show the world the true villainy of this president, this is a horrifying prospect, but it could come true. You may have missed it in the traditional Friday news dump, but at the end of last week, the House Intelligence Committee – which, don’t forget, is run by Republicans – released a report that all but exonerated the Obama administration of having done anything, well, scandalous. “An investigation by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has concluded that the CIA and U.S. military responded appropriately to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012,” The Post reported, “dismissing allegations that the Obama administration blocked rescue attempts during the assault or sought to mislead the public afterward.” It also found that while the talking points Susan Rice delivered in the wake of the attack were inaccurate, it was because of conflicting information coming in and not a scheme to hoodwink the public. All the conspiracy theories about a “stand-down order” and whatever else they’ve been talking about on Fox News were emphatically rejected. Nov. 23 Washington Post, Former D.C. mayor rose, then fell and rose again with his city, Bart Barnes, Nov. 23, 2014. Marion Barry Jr., who died early Sunday, was the most powerful local politician of his generation and a symbol of self-governance for urban blacks, even as his life was fraught with the drama of a drug arrest and a jail sentence. WhoWhatWhy, The Benghazi story made the rounds yet again, Sunday Round-Up, Russ Baker, Nov. 23, 2014. This time, though, the only one calling “B.S.” on the erstwhile scandal was Sen. John McCain’s perennial understudy—Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). That’s because the latest GOP-led investigation released an exculpatory report during the news cycle's dead zone of late Friday—a common practice by DC insiders seeking to bury a hot story. The lead Republican on the investigation—Congress’ main NSA supporter Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)—seemed to want to put the whole matter to rest. That was echoed by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Meet the Press. Of course, the White House is criticized for mishandling the affair, but—like all five previous inquires—little was said about the use of the port at Benghazi to ship weapons from the US & NATO-toppled regime of Col. Gaddafi to rebels fighting another long-standing target of the US—President Assad of Syria. Thus far, the claims made by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in a detailed story last April remain off the table in official circles … and now, it seems, they have finally circled the wagons around the CIA. The report determined that the CIA was simply “tracking” the movement of weapons from their catbird seat inside the infamous annex to the Benghazi compound. Nov. 22 AP via Boston Globe, House finds no government wrongdoing in Benghazi, Ken Dilanian, Nov. 22, 2014. A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, and no missed opportunity for a military rescue. World Crisis Radio, Obama Repudiates Allen-Gates-Petraeus-Kerry Campaign to Spare ISIS, Bomb Assad; Pressure Mounting on Turkey’s Erdogan to Slam Terrorists, Webster G. Tarpley, Nov. 22, 2014. The world economy is now harvesting the bitter fruits of the neoliberals’ killer austerity. The main central banks are now falling back on the discredited Quantitative Easing, meaning massive purchase of bankrupt and toxic derivatives, with the hope of saving the zombie banks from another round of bankruptcy. But six years of Quantitative Easing have already failed to produce a recovery in the US, where stagnation continues. Reuters via Huffington Post, Woman With Gun Arrested Outside White House After Obama's Immigration Speech, Staff report, Nov. 20, 2014. A woman demonstrating outside the White House on Thursday night was arrested for carrying a gun, the Secret Service said, shortly after President Barack Obama began a speech unveiling sweeping reforms to the U.S. immigration system. April Lenhart, 23, of Mount Morris, Michigan, was arrested around 8:30 p.m. local time. Obama had started his speech some 30 minutes earlier, during which he imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation. Hoback said Lenhart, shown in a file photo, was demonstrating along the north fence of the White House complex when authorities saw a holstered handgun on her hip. She was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and ammunition, and carrying a pistol without a license. Nov. 21 Politico, House Intel Committee dismisses some Benghazi myths, Lauren French, Nov. 21, 2014. The House Intelligence Committee dismissed on Friday a number of the most persistent myths about the 2012 terrorist attacks at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. The committee, chaired by Republican Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan, found the U.S. government didn’t fail to send assistance to the Americans under siege by Islamic militants and there was no “stand down order” from the State Department. The committee also dismissed the notion that there was an “intelligence failure” the allowed the attacks to occur. But the committee did rule that a number of individuals involved with Al Qaeda were involved with the attacks and Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a Libyan national, “probably played some role” in the attacks. Qumu was a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay before he was transferred to Libya in 2001. “We spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 Committee events and hearings. We conducted detailed interviews with senior intelligence officials from Benghazi and Tripoli as well as eight security personnel on the ground in Benghazi that night,” Rogers and Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the committee said. “Based on the testimony and the documents we reviewed, we concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes. Their actions saved lives.” Some Republicans in Congress have continued to cling to initial reports that surfaced after Ambassador Chris Stevens and two others were killed in the attacks. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House have been routinely criticized for failing to protect Stevens and for not quickly sending aide to protect the Americans. Inter Press Service, Proposal for International Anti-Corruption Court Seeing “Significant” Momentum, Carey L. Biron, Nov. 21 2014. The key U.S. advocate of a proposal to create a multilateral body mandated to investigate allegations of political corruption says the idea is receiving significant interest from civil society, politicians and major business leaders. Mark L. Wolf, a U.S. federal judge, first proposed the idea of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) in two articles this summer (available here and here). Since that time, Wolf told a recent briefing at the U.S. Congress, the proposal has seen “remarkable progress.” Politico, The Never-Ending Replay of November 22, 1963, Will we ever stop reliving the Kennedy assassination? Larry J. Sabato, Nov. 21, 2014. A year ago this week, no one could escape the wall-to-wall coverage of the Kennedy assassination’s 50th anniversary. One effect of the previous November’s concentrated focus on JFK is that people have come forward with new information. None of it, at least that I’ve seen, dramatically re-writes the story of the assassination, but useful details have been added. Larry J. Sabato, shown in a file photo, is Director of the Center for Politics and University Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Kennedy Half-Century. Nov. 20 Stone Zone, Clearing the Deck for Jeb? Roger Stone, Nov. 20, 2014. President George W. Bush’s biography of his father George Herbert Walker Bush is a whitewash of history and a warm-up act for the latest White House contender from the House of Bush, Jeb. Missing is the entire Bush back-story: the family providing financing to the Nazis to buy arms; the support for eugenics; 41’s involvement with the CIA in the Bay of Pigs; his evasions about November 22, 1963; his name appearing in the address book of Lee Harvey Oswald’s handler George de Mohrenschildt; his involvement in the CIA drug running; the murder of drug runner Barry Seal; the real reason Bush fell out with Ross Perot and the real Bush role in both the attempted assassination of Reagan and the attempt to set Reagan up in Iran-Contra. These have all been air-brushed out of 41- A Portrait of My Father. All are missing in this book which is a sanitized campaign biography. Washington Post, CIA Director John Brennan considering sweeping organizational changes, Greg Miller, Nov. 20, 2014. An internal committee at the clandestine agency is evaluating a proposal to combine long-separate spying and analysis divisions into hybrid units focused on specific regions or threats. WhoWhatWhy, George W’s New Gig: Cold Cash for Hot Air, Joseph L. Flatley, Nov. 20, 2014. George W. Bush is raking in millions on the celebrity speaking circuit. Some of the outfits he’s taken money from have less-than-stellar reputations for integrity. And, frankly, the whole thing stinks. Stone Zone, Miami Book Fair Faux Pas, Roger Stone, Nov. 20, 2014. John Dean Says His Ghost Writer Was High on Pot. The Miami Book Fair this November 22nd has probably made an egregious error in its decision to feature both former White House Counsel John Dean and liberal author Rick Perlstein as both have new books that are now under fire. Dean is fighting to maintain his narrative about Watergate, one that hides his true role and culpability in the scandal against mounting new evidence that Dean is the man who planned, executed and then covered up Watergate and the involvement of him and wife in a call girl ring. Investigative Journalist Phil Stanford, using new documentation, proves this in his explosive new book, White House Call Girl. I confronted Dean about his lies on C-SPAN at the Texas Book Festival. In his new book, The Nixon Defense, Dean largely omits his own role in Watergate, saying those who want to understand what he did should read his book, Blind Ambition. Yet when confronted under oath about discrepancies between his sworn testimony and that book, Dean said he didn't write Blind Ambition, blaming it on ghost writer Taylor Branch–(who Dean said was smoking pot!)–and later on his editor Alice Mayhew, both of whom denied those allegations. In fact Dean said he never even read Blind Ambition before it was published. Mr. Dean has airbrushed himself out of the story all right. Gone is Dean’s role in paying hush money to the burglars. Gone is the fact that it was Dean who dangled executive clemency for Watergate burglar James McCord to buy his silence. Gone is the fact that it was Dean who destroyed the operational notebook recovered from E. Howard Hunt’s safe; and it was Dean who added the Watergate break-in to the Gemstone plan. Nov. 18 WhoWhatWhy, Boston Bombing Prosecutor: Witnesses ‘Afraid’ to Testify, Joseph L. Flatley, Nov. 18, 2014. Prosecutors in the Boston Bombing case claim that government witnesses are scared to testify. Yet it's the defense witnesses who should be afraid, given the long official intimidation campaign against them. The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the defining domestic national security event since 9/11—and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. We will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the January trial of the accused co-conspirator Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches. Nov. 17 Washington Post, With the end of FOSE, government-dependent trade shows take yet another hit, Nov. 17, 2014. The government technology show is being canceled after 37 years as organizers focus on new projects. Nov. 16 Washington Post, Islamic State claims to behead 3rd American, Adam Goldman, Nov. 16, 2014. Abdul-Rahman Kassig, 26, a former U.S. Army Ranger known as Peter Edward Kassig, was on a humanitarian mission when captured in Oct. 2013 in Syria. Kassig, 26, is the fifth Western hostage to be killed by the Islamic State in a series of gruesome videos. The latest video was the longest in length, running more than 15 minutes and showed other men, apparently Syrian government soldiers, being decapitated. Kassig traveled to Lebanon while on spring break at Butler University in March 2012 to work as a volunteer emergency medical technician. C-SPAN3 American History TV, Kennedy Assassination Records (29:30 min.), Nov. 16, 2014, scheduled at 4:39 p.m. (ET), first cablecast Aug. 5, 2014. Martha Wagner Murphy, head of the Special Access and Freedom of Information Act staff at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, discusses the Archives process for JFK records release. Nov. 15 C-SPAN3 American History TV, Medical Experts and the Kennedy Assassination, (56:22 min.), Nov. 15, 2014. Gary Aguilar, M.D. (shown in a file photo), talked about medical evidence related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Using medical reports and diagrams of JFK’s wounds provided to the commission in 1964, he argued that based on eyewitnesses, autopsy photos and x-rays of the wounds, this evidence used by the Warren Commission was flawed. "Junk Science and the Death of JFK: What We Now Know that We Didn't Know Then" was part of a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center. Washington Post, U.S. weighs expanded CIA training, arming of Syrian allies struggling against Assad, Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 15, 2014. The move would ease an urgent need while the Pentagon builds a similar but slower-to-assemble program. New York Times, More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations, Eric Lichtblau And William M. Arkinnov, Nov. 15, 2014. The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show. Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I. and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents. Washington Post, Lethal mix: Lawyers’ mistakes, unforgiving law, Ken Armstrong, Nov. 15, 2014. The rigidity of a 1996 law — and the lack of recourse to address attorneys’ errors — stripped scores of death-row inmates of a critical safeguard. Sixteen have been executed. Nov. 14 President Barack Obama is shown in a White House photo meeting with his national security advisors in the Situation Room last August. Washington Post, U.S. weighs expanded CIA training, arming of Syrian allies struggling against Assad, Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 14, 2014. The Obama administration has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S. support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases, U.S. officials said. The proposed CIA buildup would expand a clandestine mission that has grown substantially over the past year, U.S. officials said. The agency now vets and trains about 400 fighters each month — as many as are expected to be trained by the Pentagon when its program reaches full strength late next year. A decision to expand the CIA program would deepen U.S. involvement in Syria, where the United Nations says 200,000 people have been killed during more than three years of civil war. The agency’s mission is a central but secret component of a broader U.S. effort that also involves airstrikes and an influx of U.S. military advisers into Iraq. {source}

YouTube from LarouchePAC, The Untold Story of 9/11: A Luncheon with Bob Graham, Nov. 14, 2014, (1:28 hours). On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014, Bob Graham, former U.S. Senator and Florida governor, and former co-chairman of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was the featured speaker at a Veteran's Day event in Naples, Florida. Graham was joined by investigative journalist Dan Christensen of the Broward Bulldog to deliver a thorough account of the untold story behind 9/11. Also, they described their ongoing effort in cooperation with 9/11 families, three members of Congress and others to obtain release of 28 pages of still-classified reports from the original 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry exposing the role of the Saudi kingdom in supporting the terrorist attack. The three Members of Congress co-sponsored HR 428, which calls on President Obama to release the secret 28 pages. The event at the Naples Sailing & Yacht Club was organized by Loreen and Matt Sellitto, whose son was a victim of the 9/11 attacks. Also speaking was Terry Strada, widow of Tom Strada and co-chair of the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. She introduced Graham and Christensen by saying: "They are here to tell you the untold story of 9/11. It is both riveting and frightening. And no matter what you think you may know about that day, I promise you, by the end of this program, you will learn so much more."  declassify the 28 pages from the original 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry exposing the role of the Saudi kingdom in supporting the terrorist attack. The three Members of Congress are all co-sponsors of HR 428, which calls on President Obama to release the secret 28 pages, and on all Members of the House and Senate to read the hidden chapter. Details.

Washington Post, Five principles that should govern any U.S. authorization of force, Jack Goldsmith, Ryan Goodman and Steve Vladeck, Nov. 14, 2014. Jack Goldsmith is a professor at Harvard Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Ryan Goodman is a professor at New York University Law School. Steve Vladeck is a professor at American University Washington College of Law. President Obama has stated that he wants “to begin engaging Congress” over a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also that he wants to “right-size and update” the 2001 AUMF “to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights.” It appears that Congress, too, is finally getting serious about putting U.S. counter-terrorism operations on a contemporary and more rigorous statutory footing. An important foundational consensus can be reached — across branches and parties — on five core principles. Editor's Note: This column fails to include any recommendation for public disclosure of hidden facts behind the Mideast wars, ass typical in such coverage from the Post and other outlets for the neo-con and neo-liberal bipartisan pro-war coalition. 

Nov. 13

Jonathan Gruber and bookWashington Post, The Gruber Confession, Charles Krauthammer, Nov. 13, 2014. The just-resurfaced Gruber Confession shows MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare (show with his book on the topic), admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. It constitutes the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” This was no open-mic gaffe. It was a clear, indeed enthusiastic, admission to an academic conference of the mendacity underlying Obamacare.

FireDogLake, Remembering Obama’s Biggest Broken Health Care Promise, Jon Walker, Nov. 13, 2014. Since there has been a lot of media focus on Jonathan Gruber’s recently uncovered remarks about the American voters, I want to put it in the proper historic context. During the 2008 election, Obama spent months convincing the American public that any change to the tax exempt status of employer-provide health insurance was a Republican idea. Yet almost immediately after getting elected President Obama became determined to end the full tax-exempt status of employer-provided health insurance.

Mark Fuller Fulton County Courthouse screen shotBirmingham News, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell calls for (Don Siegelman judge) Mark Fuller's impeachment, Nov. 13, 2014. Embattled U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is still in office, leading U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell to urge ranking House Judiciary members to investigate the possibility of his impeachment. Sewell sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers asking them to investigate whether Congress should impeach Fuller. In September, Sewell gave Fuller a Nov. 12 deadline to resign after his Aug. 9 domestic violence arrest. All of Alabama's congressional delegation, including senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, called for Fuller's resignation. The judge is shown in his first courtroom appearance on a Monday in August after being held since his Saturday night arrest.

Mark L. WolfTom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing, An International Anti-Corruption Court to Mitigate Grand Corruption and Human Rights Abuses, Nov. 13, 2014. The House Human Rights Commission, named in honor of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, held a briefing Nov. 13 at the U.S. Capitol on a proposed International Anti-Corruption Court. Senior Boston federal judge Mark L. Wolf drew on his July 22 Washington Post column, We need an international court to stamp out corruption, condensed from a Brookings Institution article. "In too many nations," the judge said, as excerpted, "corruption is endemic at the highest levels of government. Corruption is extraordinarily costly, consuming more than 5 percent of the global gross domestic product. Developing regions lose more than 10 times in illicit financial flows than what they receive in foreign aid. Similar circumstances concerning the evils of genocide and other intolerable human rights abuses led to the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002. An International Anti-Corruption Court is now equally necessary." Professor Ruth Wedgwood of Johns Hopkins University reprised her recent dialog with the judge published by American Interest. Arvind Gansan, an executive with Human Rights Watch, provided additional commentary. Note: Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig served as law clerk to Judge Wolf from 1990-1991. This was an early stage of the judge's supervision of the federal prosecution of New England's Mafia leadership. Those convictions later led to a judge-initiated corruption investigation of the Justice Department resulting in misconduct findings against 22 federal prosecutors and FBI agents. Two FBI executives were later indicted on murder conspiracy charges. One was convicted, and the other died pre-trial. The investigation also led to this year's conviction of mob leader and former FBI information James "Whitey" Bulger on federal murder charges. Wolf, a former federal prosecutor shown at right, took senior status in January after a term as chief Massachusetts federal judge following appointment to the bench in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.

Washington Post, In D.C. to talk education, Newark schools chief faces protest over reforms, Lyndsey Layton, Nov. 13, 2014. Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country. “For us, what’s going on in Newark is not a triumph, it’s a tragedy,” said Sharon Smith, who has three children in that city’s public schools and was among about 40 parents and students who filled the 12th floor conference room at the American Enterprise Institute.

Martin DempseyGuardian, US military considers sending combat troops to battle ISIS forces in Iraq, Spencer Ackerman and Raya Jalabim Nov. 13, 2014. General Martin Dempsey (shown in photo) tells House committee that he would consider abandoning Obama’s pledge and send troops to fight Isis in Iraq. The top-ranking officer in the American military said the US is actively considering the direct use of troops in the toughest upcoming fights against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, less than a week after Barack Obama doubled troop levels there. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, indicated to the House of Representatives armed services committee that the strength of Isis relative to the Iraqi army may be such that he would recommend abandoning Obama’s oft-repeated pledge against returning US ground troops to combat in Iraq.

Naomi Wolf FacebookFacebook, Analysis of Guardian column, Naomi Wolf (shown in Facebook photo), Nov. 13, 2014. Read this Guardian piece (Military considers sending combat troops to battle ISIS forces) carefully. You see that the military is telling the press that they will consider acting in opposition to the wishes of the president. That is the textbook definition of a military coup.

Nov. 11

New York Times, What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals, Beverly Gage, Nov. 11, 2014. Beverly Gage is a professor of American history at Yale. The note is just a single sheet gone yellow with age, typewritten and tightly spaced. It’s rife with typos and misspellings and sprinkled with attempts at emending them. The unnamed author suggests Martin Luther King Jr.intimate knowledge of his correspondent’s sex life, identifying one possible lover by name and claiming to have specific evidence about others. “There is only one thing left for you to do,” the author warns vaguely in the final paragraph. “You know what it is.”  When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received this letter, nearly 50 years ago, he quietly informed friends that someone wanted him to kill himself — and he thought he knew who that someone was. Despite its half-baked prose, self-conscious amateurism and other attempts at misdirection, King was certain the letter had come from the F.B.I. Since then, the so-called “suicide letter” has occupied a unique place in the history of American intelligence — the most notorious and embarrassing example of Hoover’s F.B.I. run amok. Hoover decided to escalate his campaign. On Nov. 18, 1964 — 50 years ago this week — Hoover denounced King at a Washington news conference, labeling him the “the most notorious liar in the country.” A few days later, one of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan, apparently took it upon himself to write the anonymous letter and sent an agent to Miami, to mail the package to Atlanta.

David MantikCitizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination, The Harper Fragment Revisited -- and JFK's Head Wounds: A Final Synthesis, David W. Mantik, MD (shown in photo), Nov. 11, 2014.  On Saturday, November 23, 1963, Billy Harper found a skull fragment on the infield grass at Dealey Plaza. Three Dallas pathologists agreed that it was occipital bone. After photographs were taken in Dallas, the FBI took possession of the bone, and then gave it to Admiral George Burkley, MD, the president's personal physician. Before Burkley lost the bone (forever), the FBI X-rayed it, but then these X-ray images also disappeared for many decades. This monograph  examines the photographs and X-rays of the Harper fragment and lists 15 independent and self-consistent signs for its origin from JFK's upper occiput. The fragment has great importance: If it derives from the occiput a frontal shot is strongly implied and that means conspiracy.

Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer, Federal Judge Clay Land assigned Don Siegelman's case, Chuck Williams, Nov. 11, 2014. After all of the federal judges in the Middle District of Alabama recused themselves, Judge Clay Land of the Middle District of Georgia has been appointed to hear the appeal by former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Land wasted not time in setting a hearing on Siegelman’s motion to be free while he appeals his conviction. Land set a Dec. 15 hearing for 10:30 a.m. in Montgomery. Siegelman, who is 68 and currently in a Louisiana prison, will be present. The case had been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller. All of Fuller’s cases have been reassigned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals following his arrest this year on domestic battery charges in Atlanta. Siegelman, a Democrat, served as Alabama governor from 1995-1999. He was in a campaign to be elected governor again when he was facing corruption charges. A native of Mobile, Ala., Siegelman previously served as secretary of state and attorney general. Editor's note: Siegelman is shown in a CBS 60 Minutes expose in 2008 documenting his frame-up by federal authorities, including his now-disgraced trial judge Fuller.

OpEdNews, The Prospect of Nuclear War, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Nov. 11, 2014. Most Americans live in their myths, and these myths are immune to facts. I began learning this back in the newsprint era from letters, and the lesson Paul Craig Robertshas continued from emails and comment sections on websites. In several columns this year, I have pointed out that Washington's consistent and aggressive lies about Russia and Putin's intentions, Washington's coup in overthrowing the elected Ukrainian government and installing Washington's puppets, and Washington's whipping up NATO into a military frenzy against Russia are reckless and dangerous actions that could lead to nuclear war. Trolls portrayed this concern as the ravings of an unbalanced person. Nuclear war, they said, is irrational and therefore could not happen, and doomsayers should be ignored. But neoconservatives are advocates for nuclear weapons and their use, a majority of Americans have been convinced by propaganda that Putin is a "thug" and "worse than Hitler," and the New York Times reports that "US Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms."

Washington Post, Who is Jonathan Gruber?  Jose A. DelReal, Nov. 11, 2014. The MIT economics professor, best known until now for his key role advising the Obama administration on the Affordable Care Act, has come under attack after year-old video of a University of Pennsylvania panel surfaced that featured him referring to the "stupidity of the American voter" and a “lack of transparency” as crucial to the passage of the 2010 health reform law.

Washington Post, A former president makes an appearance on ‘Between Two Bushes,’ Staff report, Nov. 11, 2014. The Bushes are back — big time. Former president George W. Bush is out promoting his new book, a biography of his father who, yes, was also president. George W. and George H.W. were at Texas A&M University, where the elder Bush's presidential library resides. And, of course, there was talk about a Bush — Jeb — who is George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush thinking about running for president in 2016. Both brother and father are in favor of it.

Investigation Discovery Channel, Alabama murder case to be examined Dec. 3 in 'Love the Way you Lie,'  Nov. 11, 2014. On Dec. 3, the Investigation Discovery Channel will examine the controversial investigation of former Mobile commissioner Stephen Nodine, who was released from custody Oct. 13, 2014. He admits to immoral actions in having an affair and pleaded no contest to reduced charges involving the report of her gunshot-death, but has denied murdering her. The case has been the subject of investigative reports by CBS "48 Minutes" in "Power and Passionand by's Brendan Kirby, “The Prosecution or Persecution of Stephen Nodine: How a Suicide Became a Murder.”

Nov. 10

WhoWhatWhy, New Bush Book Fun With Numbers: 41-43=45, Nov. 10, 2014 by Russ Baker (shown in file photo). Tuesday, November 11, is not just Veterans Day. On that day a most peculiar event will unfold: One former president named George Bush will release his “personal biography” of another president named George Bush—his father. From the advance notices (flacked by a heavy publicity campaign), we know that this singular two-generation duo plans on telling an Russ Bakerinspiring story of a heroic and selfless individual who shaped national and world events. This is clearly part of a larger effort playing out in the media since the last presidential election. Could it be that this quintessentially ambitious clan wishes to nudge the Bush brand away from the George Bush of “Mission Accomplished” and “heckuva job, Brownie” by turning our attention to carefully reformulated memories of the “kinder, gentler” George Bush? Might this odd literary project be driven by an ulterior motive: to clear the way for a third president Bush—George W’s brother, Jeb?

Washington Post, Unusual lawsuit challenges police seizure tactics, Robert O’Harrow Jr., Nov. 10, 2014. Two men contend Iowa officers violated their constitutional rights by taking $100,020, cellphones and computer during a traffic stop. compelled to return 90 percent of the money. Now the men are questioning the police tactics in an unusual  federal civil rights lawsuit. They contend the stop was part of a pattern connected to the teachings of a private police-training firm that promotes aggressive tactics. If allowed to proceed, the lawsuit could illuminate the widespread but little-known police practice known as “highway interdiction.” The suit names Desert Snow, the Oklahoma-based training firm, and its founder, Joe David, and two Iowa State Patrol troopers who were trained by Desert Snow.

Huffington Post, Here's One More Reason Mitt Romney May Not Be Out Of The 2016 Presidential Race, Sam Levine, Nov. 10, 2014. Advisers to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are trying to talk the one-time Massachusetts governor into running for president in 2016. Those close to Romney believe he is concerned the Republican field isn't strong enough to beat Clinton, and that Romney would consider running if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) does not. During a Sunday appearance on "Face The Nation," former President George W. Bush described his brother's chances of running as a "toss-up." Editor's Note: We have predicted here that the two former governors are the most likely GOP nominees because of their dynastic ties, as portrayed in Presidential Puppetry.

Nicholas Kristoff, Sheryl WuDunn at opc 11_10_2014Overseas Press Club Member Newsletter, WuDunn, Kristof Examine Philanthropy in ‘A Path Appears,’ Chad Bouchard, Nov. 10, 2014. OPC Photo: Sheryl WuDunn, Nicholas Kristof and Seymour Topping during a book night on Nov. 7. After winning worldwide praise for their book Half the Sky, which explored oppression and opportunity for women around the world, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn set out to help people make significant changes through philanthropy and fight hopelessness in the face of overwhelming problems in the world. Their new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, includes vignettes about people who have made a difference by volunteering or making small contributions.

War Is a Crime, No to Republibama Government, David Swanson, Nov. 10, 2014. Democracy worked in this month's U.S. midterm elections while representative democracy failed miserably. On ballot initiatives all across the country, people in so-called red and blue states voted for raising the minimum wage, banning fracking, funding schools, taxing millionaires and billionaires, legalizing marijuana, reducing prison sentences, providing paid sick leave, and imposing background checks on gun purchases. Want smaller government? Let people govern themselves.

Nov. 9

Daily Howler, Imitations of News, Bob Somerby, Nov. 9, 2014. The new Salon is a faux news site that comes from the corporate pseudo-left. The headlines fail to capture the actual point. “Why Chris Hayes is right,” the encouraging headline screamed. Unfortunately, author Bill Curry had rather plainly said MSNBC host Chris Hayes was wrong. Curry didn’t focus on Hayes. Salon wanted to. In its upbeat headline, Salon simply changed “wrong” to “right.” Presto! The news had been improved!

Dr. Cyril Wecht C-SPAN 2014C-SPAN 3 American Archive, Medical Aspects of the Kennedy Assassinations, Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D. Nov. 9, 2014 cablecast of Sept. 27 lecture. Dr. Cyril Wecht talked about the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Dr. Wecht has criticized the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President Kennedy, and the official findings in the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy. He spoke at a conference on the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center.

Nov. 8

CBS KMOX (St. Louis), Sharyl Attkisson Joins KMOX’s Mark Reardon To Discuss Controversial New Book, Nov. 8, 2014. Former CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkison joined KMOX’s Mark Reardon to talk about her new book, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington. "There is a consensus in the media that’s been expressed by journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today...that this is the most difficult transportation for transparency that we’ve ever dealt with."

Washington Post, U.S. strikes convoy of Islamic State leaders in Iraq, Erin Cunningham and Missy Ryan Nov. 8, 2014. U.S. warplanes launched airstrikes on what U.S. officials said was a gathering of Islamic State commanders near the militant-held city of Mosul on Friday, in one of the most prominent assaults on the Islamist group’s leadership since the air war started here in August.

OpEdNews, Gerrymandering, Media Control, Black Box Voting -- We've Lost our Democracy, Jonathan Simon (shown in file photo), Nov. 8, 2014. These are my thoughts in response to Lee Fang's article, "Gerrymandering Rigged the 2014 Election for Jonathan D. SimonGOP Advantage." It's actually much worse than Lee Fang thinks. In 2012 in Pennsylvania, the Democratic House candidates won a majority of the statewide vote and still only managed to win 5 seats out of 18. The gerrymandering is considerably more effective than Fang's 2014 example suggests. Bear in mind that the pretty much unstoppable ALEC plan now is to gerrymander the presidency, by allocating Electoral College votes by CD rather than statewide winner-take-all (and note that, on the surface, it is hard to argue with the fairness of this "reform") in all of these presidential blue states where they got state legislative control. So you can kiss the US House and White House goodbye for the rest of our lifetimes. It's little understood that, even if they tried to be just as ruthless, the Democrats cannot match the GOP in gerrymandering because their constituency is crowded into urban centers, which makes it much easier to create 100% Democratic districts. Let's face the grim reality of what Karl Rove and his troops (with the full-supine acquiescence of "losing" candidates, the Democratic Party, and virtually the entire journalistic caste, including the progressives) have done to this nation's voting system, and let's do something about it.

Washington Post, Rabbi facing voyeurism charges led a life with a disturbing paradox, Michelle Boorstein, Nov. 8, 2014. Barry Freundel was a trusted adviser to the likes of retired U.S. senator Joe Lieberman and his judgment was respected by rabbis around the world. But he seemed to have a parallel life with its own distorted rules and rituals.

Washington Post, Attorney general nominee Lynch called ‘the soul of grace under pressure,’  Sari Horwitz, Nov. 8, 2014. Attorney general nominee has a long history with the man she may replace. In 1980, Loretta Lynch was part of a sorority with Eric Holder’s wife. Now she is on the path to take his job. Decades later, Lynch, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, stood at a podium Saturday in the White House with Malone’s husband, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and was nominated by President Obama to be the first African American woman to serve as attorney general. From Harvard, she went on to Harvard Law School. She joined one of the nation’s premier U.S. attorney’s offices, the Eastern District of New York, as a prosecutor. 

President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, to succeed Eric Holder, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. Editor's note: Presidential senior advisor Valerie Jarrett occupied the front row center seat.Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch Nov. 8, 2014 (White House Photo)

Nov. 7

Washington Post, Obama’s pick for attorney general breaks ground, Sari Horwitz and Juliet Eilperin, Nov. 7, 2014. If confirmed by the Senate, Loretta Lynch would be the first African American woman to hold the attorney Loretta Lynchgeneral’s post. She was said to be the least controversial of Obama’s final choices. She is shown in a file photo.

New York Times, Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game, Ashley Parker, Nov. 7, 2014. The Republican Party took hard lessons from 2012 and built a formidable turnout and digital strategy for the midterms.

Salon, Even a humiliating midterm defeat can be recovered from -- if Democrats learn the right lessons and battle back, Bill Curry, Nov 7, 2014. Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut.The morning after their humiliating defeat, Democrats looked out at a landscape strewn like a Civil War battlefield with the corpses of their dead. This election exposed their weaknesses, shredded their alibis and cast doubt on the notion that there was ever such a thing as a blue state. Many liberal pundits had urged Democrats to stand by their man. They’re all wrong. Obama left the Democrats in Congress long before they left him. They know their districts and states better than any pundits do and only bailed on Obama when voters started bailing on them, by which time it was too late. Their real mistake was failing to speak up years ago when Obama abandoned many of their party’s principles, or even to realize he’d done it. The MSNBC analysis is part of a larger fallacy; that the problem is merely tactical; a matter of message, not policy. Americans can feel the vital organs of their democracy shutting down. They want answers. If Democrats had some, they’d have won. The election has many lessons for them but until they pierce their denial they can’t absorb them. 

Washington Post, Investigators: Nepotism was rampant with U.S. immigration court’s interns, Josh Hicks, Nov. 7, 2014. Federal investigators found rampant nepotism in recent years within the agency that oversees U.S. immigration courts, including three top officials who used their positions to help relatives land paid internships. In a report this week, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said about 16 percent of the interns hired between 2007 and 2012 for the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Student Temporary Employment Program were family members of employees.

Washington Post, President plans to double number of troops for Iraq, Missy Ryan, Nov. 7, 2014. The move to send up to 1,500 additional troops deepens the U.S. involvement in the battle against the Islamic State.The White House said it would request $5.6 billion for the military campaign.

Oriental Review, German politicians are US puppets, Udo Ulfkotte, Nov. 7, 2014. “Now the Americans are even considering blowing up a nuclear power plant in Ukraine and then insisting that the culprits were either separatists or Russians,” claims the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, former correspondent from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the largest German newspapers. He has published a book, Gekaufte Journalisten (“Purchased Journalists”), in which he describes how American and German politicians sway the German media, so that those journalists give the desired spin to world events. Ulfkotte claims that reporters are urged to bias their writing primarily to favor the American position and to oppose Russia.

Nov. 6

Rolling Stone, The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare, Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking, Matt Taibbi, Nov. 6, 2014. She tried to stay quiet, she really did. Eric Holder But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore. "It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'" Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her. She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up.

Nov. 5

Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett and other senior advisors (Nov. 5, 2014)President Barack Obama walks with senior advisors, including Valerie Jarrett gesturing at front, on the Colonnade of the White House, Nov. 5, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Huffington Post, Sharyl Attkisson Is Just One More Journalist Who Says This Is 'Worst' White House For Press Freedom, Catherine Taibi, Nov. 5, 2014. Sharyl Attkisson isn't afraid to criticize the Obama administration, because she believes she's just saying what every journalist already knows. The former CBS News investigative Sharyl Attkissonreporter sat down with HuffPost Live on Wednesday to discuss her new book, Stonewalled, which dives into how she claims she was surveilled and heavily monitored while reporting on the White House administration. During the interview, Attkisson, shown in photo, said that there is now full "consensus" among the media that the current administration is the "worst White House they have dealt with in recent times for transparency and freedom of the press." Attkisson joins several other prominent journalists and news organizations, including former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who say that this is "the most secretive" and most "dangerous" White House for the press in U.S. history.

Nov. 4

New York Times, Riding Wave of Discontent, G.O.P. Takes Senate; Election Results: Republicans Win Senate Control With at Least 7 New Seats, Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, Nov. 4, 2014. Resurgent Republicans took control of the Senate on Tuesday night, expanded their hold on the House, and defended some of the most closely contested governors’ races, in a repudiation of President Obama that will reorder the political map in his final years in office. Propelled by economic dissatisfaction and anger toward the president, Republicans grabbed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a shrewd Republican tactician, cruised to re-election and stood poised to achieve a goal he has pursued for years — Senate majority leader.

WhoWhatWhy, The 'Double Government' Secret Gets Out, Russ Baker (shown in photo), Nov. 4, 2012. You know something is going on when the cautious Boston Globe publishes not one, but two, pieces dealing with the “double government.” This cryptic phrase encapsulates a serious claim about the American body politic: That a permanent and largely unaccountable bureaucracy keeps on doing what it wants to do, no matter who the voters elect to Russ Bakerthe White House. Both of the Globe articles refer to National Security and Double Government, a book by Michael J. Glennon, professor of international law at Tufts University. From the descriptions of its contents (we haven’t read the book yet, but we will—and perhaps excerpt), the author is talking, with due academic caution, about an out-of-control security/military apparatus. The fact that the Globe thinks this book is important enough to warrant not one but two analytical pieces is significant, because Boston was the scene of the mysterious Boston Marathon Bombing. The genesis of the book was a question that confounded Glennon about President Obama: How did a man who won election pledging to change the national security policies of his predecessor effect so little of that? Here’s what Edwards wrote in his review: "The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government—in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy.” Next (though we aren’t holding our breath for this) we hope to see the Boston Globe publish an in-depth investigation of that sub rosa “Double Government” and its peculiar handling of the Boston Marathon Bombing—which to our eyes has, at best, the hallmarks of a security-fail cover-up. And an incident that considerably expanded the rationale for, and power of, the same NatSec establishment that has belatedly so alarmed the Globe.

Nov. 2

C-SPAN 3, JFK AARC Warren Report 50th anniversary conference opening, "Conference Preview" by AARC President James H. Lesar and "Current Implications of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up" by historian and author Andrew Kreig with introduction by moderator Alan Dale, Sept. 26, 2014, cablecast Nov. 2, 2014 (55 min.). Researchers talked about assassination related documents that have been declassified in the past 50 years.  In September of 1964, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy released their findings to the public in the “Warren Report” -- named after the commission’s chairman -- Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. This was part of “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures,” a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report. People in this video: "JFK Conversations" Host Alan Dale, AARC President James Lesar and author/attorney Andrew Kreig, speaking on Current Implications of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up.

Other episodes in series:

  • C-SPAN 3, JFK Assassination and the CIA, Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), Oct. 26, 2014, recorded on Sept. 26, 2014 (90 min.). In "Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City," retired U.S. Army Intelligence officer and former assistant to the NSA director Dr. John M. Newman discussed declassified documents and code-names related to the CIA, Cuba and the assassination. A longtime professor, Newman is the author of JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA. This is part of a conference by AARC marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren report entitled, The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures. The first of many panels/sessions was on C-SPAN 3.
  • In "The HSCA and the CIA," former HSCA researchers Edwin Lopez and Dan Hardway described their time in the late 1970s working for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Sept. 26, 2014, cablecast Nov. 2, 2014 (1:23 hours). Introduction by Alan Dale.
  • In "U.S.-Cuba Back-channel Communications After the Bay of Pigs," Dr. Peter Kornbluh, Director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, talked about President Kennedy’s attempts to open up private channels of communication with Cuba. Introduction by Brenda Brody. Sept. 27, 2014.
  • In "CIA and the HSCA: How CIA Controlled the HSCA and the Writing of Its Final Report," Dr. Joan Mellen discussed the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) relations with the HSCA. Sept. 27, 2014.






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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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