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.

Mission Statement Andrew Kreig JIP Director The Justice Integrity Project (JIP) researches official misconduct To stop scroller, please click it below Latest News jQuery.noConflict(); // code here jQuery(document).ready(function() { var opt = { direction: 'up', speed : 20, 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 our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative November 2015 news and views Nov. 25 Washington Post, Russian foreign minister calls warplane downing ‘planned provocation,’ Andrew Roth, Hugh Naylor and Brian Murphy, Nov. 25, 2015. The Kremlin sharpened its accusations Wednesday in the wake of Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, as Moscow’s top diplomat called the incident a “planned provocation” that has dealt a major blow to already fragile relations with NATO. But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also tamped down speculation of a military response by Russia after the jet broke apart in flames along the Turkish-Syrian border. “We’re not going to war against Turkey,” he said after talks with his Turkish counterpart. Still, Russia moved to strengthen its forces in Syria, saying new anti-missile systems would be deployed at an air base less than 20 miles from the Turkish frontier. Lavrov’s comments offered the clearest signals that Moscow views the downing as more than an accidental mishap while Russia steps up its airstrikes in Syria to support the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad. In a show of Russia’s deepening military involvement, it plans to deploy powerful S-400 anti-missile systems to Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in northwestern Syria. The batteries — with a range of 250 miles — has the potential to create headaches for Turkish and other aircraft in the U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State. RT, Moscow to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria, Staff report, Nov. 25, 2015. The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border. One pilot died in the incident. The second one was rescued and brought to the Russian airbase in Latakia. Moscow maintains the jet did not violate Turkey's airspace. It ditched on Syria's territory four kilometers from the border. Turkish officials have financial interest in oil trade with group - PM Medvedev Shortly afterwards, the MoD announced three steps to be taken following the attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber, including providing aerial cover by fighter jets for every airstrike, boosting air defense by deploying guided missile cruisers off the Latakia coast, and suspending all military-to-military contacts with Turkey. The S-400 is Russia's most advanced anti-aircraft defense system. It is as an upgrade of the S-300 Growler family, designed and developed by Almaz Antei. The S-400 is employed to ensure air defense using long- and medium-range missiles that can hit aerial targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers. The S-400 is capable of hitting tactical and strategic aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles. The system includes a set of radars, missile launchers and command posts, and is operated solely by the Russian military., Peter Dale Scott: Ask the 2016 candidates to make this JFK pledge, edited by Jefferson Morley, Nov. 24, 2015. Peter Dale Scott, a retired professor at the University of California at Berkeley shown in a file photo, is the author of many important books, including "Deep Politics and the Death of JFK" (1993). He offered the following words at a ceremony in Dallas Nov. 22 on the anniversary of the JFK assassination: How can we best fulfill what we now know to have been the intentions of Robert Kennedy with respect to his brother’s murder? I suggest that truth, justice, and an open society will be best served if all of us can persuade presidential candidates in 2016 to pledge: “2017 is the year scheduled, by law, for the release of all remaining governmental records pertaining to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. If elected, I promise to appoint an independent committee to review those records and other relevant evidence, and I promise also to pursue vigorously whatever recommendations that committee may make for further investigation.” White House, Remarks by the President After Meeting with National Security Team, President Obama, Nov. 25, 2015. THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I just had a chance to meet with my national security team, including my Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson; my FBI Director, James Comey; and my Attorney General, Loretta Lynch for a regular update on our security posture post-Paris and going into the holiday season. I think all of us recognize how horrific and heinous what took place in Paris was. And as I said yesterday, for many of us, the events there touched a deep chord, given the connection between the United States and France, the degree to which Americans see in Paris a way of life that’s so familiar to us here in American cities. And given the shocking images, I know that Americans have been asking each other whether it’s safe here -- whether it’s safe to fly or gather. I know that families have discussed their fears about the threat of terrorism around the dinner table, many for the first time since September 11th. And it’s understandable that people worry something similar could happen here. Watching the events in Paris made the threat feel closer to home. So as we go into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know -- is that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe. Alex Jones Radio Show, Mafia Don Erdoğan Retaliates for Russian Strike on Family Crime Syndicate, Kurt Nimmo, Nov. 25, 2015. Dirty business deals and terrorism by the Erdoğan clan. Like a vengeful Mafia don, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shot down a Russian plane and nudged the Middle East a step closer to all-out war. A few hours after the attack Obama climbed up on his soap box and said Turkey has a right to protect its national sovereignty. Erdoğan’s attack, however, had nothing to do with sovereignty or airspace. It was retaliation for Russia messing with his family business. The son of Turkey’s president is accused of making a fortune on the sale of oil stolen by the Islamic State. “Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies,” writes F. William Engdahl. “He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.” According to Gürsel Tekin, the vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, “Bilal Erdoğan is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.” Tekin explains Bilal’s maritime company dealing in stolen oil and trading with the Islamic State, BMZ Ltd, is “a family business and president Erdoğan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.” In addition to working with a fundamentalist Turkish Muslim sect to train Islamic State fighters and providing logistical support, Erdoğan “organized the pillage of Syria, dismantled all the factories in Aleppo, the economic capital, and stole the machine-tools,” according to Thierry Meyssan. “Similarly, he organized the theft of archeological treasures and set up an international market in Antioch.” The Russians are threatening to put these Mafia operations out of business and that provided the motivation to shoot down a Russian jet and stir the cauldron that is the Syrian “civil war,” in fact a manufactured proxy war designed to carve up the country and turn it over to a gang of psychopaths who follow a deviant sect of Saudi Wahhabism. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton (Karen Smith Murphy photo via Flickr) OpEdNews, Clinton Foundation Laundering Foreign Money, Transcript of Rob Kall "Bottom Up Radio" interview of investigative journalist Ken Silverstein, Nov. 25, 2015. (Karen Smith Murphy photo via DMCA and Flickr.). Rob: Welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township, reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. My guest tonight is Ken Silverstein. He just wrote an article for Harper's titled "Shaky Foundations: The Clintons' so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends." So this is pretty serious accusations that the Clintons have used their foundation for crass profiteering and influence peddling. KS: And as I was writing it I realized that people would go, this is extreme, this is right-wing propaganda. But I am total confident in what I wrote and I think the Clintons love to portray all of their enemies as right-wing nuts and you know, so I'm happy to say that I'm a Libertarian, lefty for the most part. But not part of the right-wing attack machine and anybody who reads my work can see that I attack all sides equally. But it's serious allegations, but well documented. If you actually go through the Clinton Foundation financial filings their IRS filings as a non-profit and their audits, you can see that they are taking in a lot of money, millions, tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars and they spend a lot less for true charitable causes. They promote themselves, they pay their friends very very lavishly. New York Times, Pfizer’s Plan to Leave U.S. Unsettles Drug Lobbyists, Gardiner Harris, Nov. 25, 2015. Escalating drug prices and now a major company’s pending move overseas have led to concern about “too much obvious greed” in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has long been the most politically active drug maker in Washington, and its representatives have tended to wrap themselves in the American flag while pressing their concerns with lawmakers and regulators. So when the company announced this week that it would abandon not only the flag but the United States, its planned move to Ireland stunned the medicine industry’s lobbying corps — not the least because Pfizer’s chief lobbyist, Sally Susman, is the daughter of one of President Obama’s biggest, most generous benefactors, Louis Susman. The pharmaceutical industry was once the world’s most profitable, its companies topping lists of the world’s most admired corporations and Washington’s lists of its most influential. The industry has for years invested more in lobbying than any other. But a series of criminal cases, multibillion-dollar fines and other scandals has diminished its reputation, and its prices — the last 10 cancer drugs approved before July 2015 have an average annual price of $190,217 — are again becoming a major political issue. Even with discounts and insurance coverage, a growing number of Americans find themselves choosing between their lives and lifetime savings. Washington Post, Russian provocations led to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey, Editorial board, Nov. 25, 2015. Following Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian military jet Tuesday, Western leaders rightly addressed themselves to heading off an escalation between Moscow and a NATO member. In the process, they were not as clear as they could have been about where responsibility for the incident lay. So we’ll say it: The first shoot-down by a NATO member of a Russian plane in 60 years is the result of the reckless and increasingly dangerous behavior of Vladi­mir Putin’s regime. Huffington Post, Kochs Embedded In Major Rift On Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform, Zach Carter, Nov. 25, 2015. A major rift is opening among criminal justice reform advocates over how to deal with conservative efforts to write off white-collar crimes ranging from environmental pollution to food safety. Most of the discussion surrounding criminal justice reform has dealt with mass incarceration and policies surrounding mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. But right-wing players including the Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundation and the Manhattan Institute have been advocating for another provision that would make it much more difficult for prosecutors to pursue white-collar crime. A measure approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week would eliminate a host of criminal penalties for negligence, gross negligence and reckless behavior. Consortium News via OpEdNews, Turkey Provokes Russia, Robert Parry, Nov. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama -- always sensitive to neocon criticism that he's "weak" -- continues to edge the world closer to a nuclear confrontation with Russia as he talks tough and tolerates more provocations against Moscow, now including Turkey's intentional shoot-down of a Russian warplane along the Turkish-Syrian border.Rather than rebuke Turkey, a NATO member, for its reckless behavior -- or express sympathy to the Russians -- Obama instead asserted that "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace." It was another one of Obama's breathtaking moments of hypocrisy, since he has repeatedly violated the territorial integrity of various countries, including in Syria where he has authorized bombing without the government's permission and has armed rebels fighting to overthrow Syria's secular regime. Obama's comment on Turkey's right to shoot down planes -- made during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday -- was jarring, too, because there was no suggestion that even if the SU-24 jetfighter had strayed briefly into Turkish territory, which the Russians deny, that it was threatening Turkish targets. Russian President Vladimir Putin angrily called the Turkish attack a "stab in the back delivered by the accomplices of terrorists." He warned of "serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations." Further provoking the Russians, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels then killed the two Russian pilots by riddling their bodies with bullets after they parachuted from the doomed plane and were floating toward the ground. Another Russian soldier was killed when a U.S.-supplied TOW missile brought down a Russian helicopter on a search-and-rescue mission, according to reports. But Obama, during the news conference, seemed more interested in demonstrating his disdain for Putin, referring to him at one point by his last name only, without the usual use of a courtesy title, and demeaning the size of Putin's coalition in helping Syria battle the jihadist rebels. Obama and the U.S. mainstream media also have pretended that the only terrorists that need to be fought in Syria are those belonging to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh), but Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and its ally, Ahrar al-Sham, which was founded in part by Al Qaeda veterans, make up the bulk of the Turkish-and-Saudi-backed Army of Conquest which was gaining ground -- with the help of those American TOW missiles -- until Russia intervened with air power at the request of Syrian President Assad in late September. Nov. 24 New York Times, Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Syrian Border, Ceylan Yeginsu and Neil MacFarquhar, Nov. 24, 2015. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia confirmed that an F-16 Turkish fighter jet brought down a Russian jet, but he said it had remained in Syrian airspace and never threatened Turkey’s territory., Turkey Has Destroyed Russia’s Hope Of Western Cooperation, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 24, 2015. The conservative scholar Dr. Roberts is the author of a new collection of his columns, The Neoconservative Threat to World Order: Washington's Perilous War for Hegemony. Turkey’s unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbor unless Washington had cleared the attack. If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit? Clearly the neoconservatives are disturbed by the French president’s call for unity with Russia against ISIL and easily could have used their connections to Turkey to stage an event that Washington can use to prevent cooperation with Russia. Washington’s complicity is certainly indicated, but it is not completely out of the question that the well-placed Turks who are purchasing oil from ISIL took revenge against Russia for destroying their oil tanker investments and profitable business. The responses to the shoot-down are also interesting. From what I heard of Obama’s press conference, Obama’s definition of “moderate Syrian rebels” includes all the extremist jihadish groups, such as al Nursa and ISIL, that are the focus of the Russian attacks. Only Assad is an extremist. Obama, following the neocon line, says that Assad has too much blood on his hands to be allowed to remain president of Syria. And what about the blood on Obama’s hands? Here we are talking about a very large quantity of blood: the blood of entire countries — Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and the blood that Obama’s puppet government in Kiev has spilled of the ethnic Russian inhabitants of Ukraine, not to forget the Palestinian blood spilled by Israel using US supplied weapons. If the blood on Assad’s hands disqualifies Assad from office, the much greater quantity on Obama’s hands disqualifies Obama. And Cameron. And Hollande. And Merkel. And Netanyahu. RT, Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger, Staff report, Nov. 24, 2015. Moscow plans to suspend military cooperation with Ankara after the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces, Russian General Staff representatives said on Tuesday. Further measures to beef up Russian air base security in Syria will also be taken. Sergey Rudskoy, a top official with the Russian General Staff, condemned the attack on the Russian bomber in Syrian airspace by a Turkish fighter jet as “a severe violation of international law.” He stressed that the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory. The crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, he said. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber. The Turkish fighter jet made no attempts to contact Russian pilots before attacking the bomber, Rudskoy added. CounterPunch, An Invisible U.S. Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness, Dave Lindorff. Nov. 24, 2015. In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.hat makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense. Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc. This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure. Washington Post, Obama: Turkey has the right to defend its airspace, Juliet Eilperin and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 24, 2015. During a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande, President Obama reassured the public that the Islamic State will be defeated. Addressing the American public directly, Obama said "We cannot and will not succumb to fear, nor can we allow fear to divide us." President Obama urged Russia and NATO allies to take all steps Tuesday to “discourage any escalation” after a Russian warplane was downed along Turkey’s border with Syria. The incident has been denounced by Russian President Vladmir Putin as a “stab in the back.” “Turkey like every country has the right to defend its territory and its airspace,” Obama said during a joint news conference in Washington with French President François Hollande. Their talks focused on the Paris attacks and the broader strategies against the Islamic State. {source}

President Obama holds a joint press conference with President Hollande of France in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2015, Turkey’s Stab in the Back: Downing of Russian plane by Turkey augurs World War III, Justin Raimondo, Nov. 24, 2015. War is the great clarifier, and in the case of the battle against Islamist insurgents, including ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, the downing of the Russian war plane by the Turkish military has demonstrated this principle quite dramatically. The U.S.and its NATO allies, including Turkey, claim to be fighting ISIS, otherwise known as the “Islamic State,” but the Turks’ main fire has been directed at the Kurds and the Syrian regime itself. Turkey has been the main conduit for aid to the Islamic State, and the Turkish intelligence agency has long collaborated with Islamists in the region.

This incident has revealed what the real sides are in the Syrian civil war: who is fighting whom, and for what. The Russian plane crashed into Syrian territory and one of the pilots was shot from the skies as he parachuted: this barbaric act was captured on video by the rebels. The area is controlled by an alliance of rebel forces dominated by the al-Nusra Front, which is the official Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda. The jihadists took control of the area in March of this year, and it has been the focal point of recent fighting between al-Qaeda and Syrian government forces backed by the Russian air offensive. Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn’t a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world.

Wall Street Journal, Russia Says Marine Killed During Mission to Find Downed Pilots, Thomas Grove, Nov. 24, 2015 (subscription required). Defense Ministry says marine killed when helicopter fired upon during search for Su-24 fighter pilots.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Turks and ISIL have in common the downing of Russian aircraft, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 24, 2015 (subscription required). Wayne Madsen, a widely published author and Wayne Madsencommentator shown in a file photo, has authored 13 books and is a former Navy intelligence officer. Turkey, a NATO member, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been aided and abetted by Turkish military, intelligence, recruitment, and logistics support, have shown they have something in common: both have downed Russian aircraft in the last three weeks.

Guardian, Putin condemns Turkey after Russian warplane downed near Syria border, Kareem Shaheen, Shaun Walker and Julian Borger, Nov. 24, 2015. Russian president calls Turkey ‘accomplices of terrorists’ and says it was ‘obvious’ that plane posed no threat, Russian fighter Vladimir Putinjet shot down near Turkey-Syria border. Vladimir Putin (shown in a file photo) has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire over the crisis in Syria. The Russian president, speaking before a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, said the plane had been shot down over Syrian airspace and fell 4km inside Syria. Putin said it was “obvious” the plane posed no threat to Turkey. “Our military is doing heroic work against terrorism....But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” he said. Putin suggested the Turks were shielding Islamic State terrorists from Russian attacks, saying: “Do they want to make NATO serve ISIS?”

The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down. A government official said: “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15km or less away from the border. The aircraft didn’t heed the warnings and proceeded to fly over Turkey. The Turkish air forces responded by downing the aircraft. This isn’t an action against any specific country: our F-16s took necessary steps to defend Turkey’s sovereign territory.” Russia’s defence ministry, in a series of tweets, confirmed that a Russian Su-24 had been shot down, but insisted the plane had never left Syrian airspace and claimed that fire from the ground was responsible. “At all times, the Su-24 was exclusively over the territory of Syria,” the defense ministry said. “The Su-24 was at 6,000 metres and preliminary information suggests it was brought down by fire from the ground. The circumstances are being investigated.” There were unconfirmed reports that both pilots were killed after parachuting from the jet. A graphic video purporting to show a dead Russian pilot has been widely circulated.

Turkey-Syria Border with buffer zone (Global Research map)

Turkey-Syria Border with new buffer zone unilaterally declared by Turkey (Global Research map)

Global Research, Russia “Violated” Turkish Airspace Because Turkey “Moved” Its Border, Syrian Free Press, Nov. 24, 2015. Global Research Editor's Note: This article, originally published on October 7, 2015, is of utmost relevance in understanding the action taken by Turkey to down a Russian jet fighter over Syria airspace. One Russian plane may even indeed have slightly crossed the border [in October] while maneuvering. But the real reason why the U.S. military official and Turkey claim the above “violations” is because Turkey unilaterally “moved” the Turkish-Syrian border five miles south: "Turkey has maintained a buffer zone five miles inside Syria since June 2012, when a Syrian air defense missile shot down a Turkish fighter plane that had strayed into Syrian airspace. Under revised rules of engagement put in effect then, the Turkish air force would evaluate any target coming within five miles of the Turkish border as an enemy and act accordingly."

"If Syrian rules of engagement would “move” its northern border up to the Black Sea would any plane in eastern Turkey be in violation of Syrian air space? No one would accept such nonsense and that is why no one should accept the U.S.-Turkish bullshit [sic] here."

Washington Post, Turkey says it shot down Russian warplane near Syrian border, Hugh Naylor, Andrew Roth and Daniela Deane, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian jet Tuesday after NATO-member Turkey says it violated its airspace near the border with Syria, a major escalation in the Syrian conflict that could further strain relations between Russia and the West. Russian officials confirmed that a Russian Su-24 warplane had been shot down but insisted it had not violated Turkish airspace.

The downing highlights a scenario feared by the Pentagon and others: a potential conflict arising from the overlapping air Syrian missions between Russian warplanes and the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes the Islamic State. It also could complicate a diplomatic push by France to bring greater international coordination to the fight against the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that claimed at least 130 lives.The Russian Defense Ministry said the plane, flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet), was likely shot down “due to shelling from the ground.” It said it wanted to “stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.”


Huffington Post, Video Shows Chicago Victim Hit 16 times, Staff report, Nov. 24, 2015. The much-anticipated police dashboard cam video of a Chicago Police officer shooting and killing a 17-year-old was released Tuesday evening, offering a graphic and chilling view of what prosecutors say was first-degree murder.

New York Times, Murder Charge for Chicago Officer in Black Youth’s Death, Monica Davey and Mitch Smith, Nov. 24, 2015. The charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke were announced days after a judge ordered the release of a video showing Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times in 2014. As this city prepared to make public a video from the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old by a white Chicago police officer, prosecutors charged the officer with first-degree murder on Tuesday. The charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke come more than a year after the shooting, but only days after a judge ordered Chicago officials to release the video from the shooting, captured by a dashboard camera in a police car. The judge had ruled that the video, described by some who have seen it as graphic and deeply disturbing, must be released by Wednesday. The judge, Donald Panarese Jr., ordered Officer Van Dyke held without bail.

Information Clearing House, Signs of a Dying Society, Paul Buchheit, Nov. 24, 2015. While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his “Outstanding Contributions to Society.” This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as ‘Honest Mistakes’....

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with PM Ahmet Davutoglu Nov. 24, 2015 AFP

A handout photo released by the Turkish Presidential Palace Press Office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
in the capital, Ankara, on November 24, 2015. (AFP photo).

Press TV, Turkish President Erdogan approves new cabinet, son-in-law named energy minister, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a new elected cabinet, following a victory by his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in recent parliamentary elections. Erdogan on Tuesday approved a list presented by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. According to some Turkish sources, Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of Erdogan, has been appointed as the energy minister, while Ali Babacan, the once popular and powerful head of the economy, is not included in the list. Babacan’s portfolio will go to former Finance Minister Mehmet Sismek. Mevlut Cavusoglu has returned to the government as the foreign minister, while Volkan Bozkir will act as the European Union minister.

The AKP stormed to victory in the November 1 elections and regained its parliamentary majority, which it had lost in June. Erdogan had ordered the snap votes after Davutoglu failed in his efforts to form a coalition government. Before the Tuesday announcement, the Turkish prime minister was heading an interim cabinet. The approval of the new cabinet came only hours after the Turkish military said it had downed a Russian fighter jet after, Ankara stated, the aircraft violated Turkey’s airspace.

Politico, Feds ask Supreme Court to hear immigration case this term, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 24, 2015. The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday not to allow a month-long delay that could jeopardize the justices' issuing a ruling this term on whether to lift an injunction blocking a key part of President Barack Obama's immigration legacy: his plan to offer quasi-legal status and work permits to millions more illegal immigrants. In a letter to the high court's clerk, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. urged the court to reject a request Monday from Texas and 25 other states for a 30-day filing extension. Such extensions are routinely granted by the court, but doing so in this case would push arguments in the case from this year to next under normal procedures -- leaving a major part of Obama's immigration policy in limbo until around the time he is set to leave office.

"If the Court were to grant the petition, but set review for next Term, it is possible that a decision on the merits would not be issued until June 2017, over two-and-half years after the policy was first announced," Verrilli wrote in his letter. "The effect of such a delay would be to prolong for an additional year the disruption of federal immigration policy and the irreparable harm of denial of work authorization and other protections to millions of people who would be eligible for those protections if the policy is upheld."

NewsVoice (Sweden), How involved is Sweden in the US targeted drone killings and why is Swedish young gamers becoming US drone pilots? Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Nov. 24, 2015. How substantial Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noliis the Swedish collaboration with the U.S. military in the development and operational use of civilians-killer drones and why are Swedish young computer gamers recruited to be drone pilots? There seem to be indications that Sweden is highly involved in both ways. A recent interview with Tonje Hessen Schei, the director of the new documentary film Drone indicates that Swedish gamers have been recruited together with German and Norwegian ones. The above raises the issue on whether it is ethically defendable, or legal, that citizens of a nation not forming part of NATO can work for the U.S. military.

Nov. 23

AP via Los Angeles Times, Backed by Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops retake central areas from Islamic State, Nov. 23, 2015. Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes captured areas from the Islamic State group in the central province of Homs on Monday, in the latest push since the aerial campaign began nearly two months ago, state media and a monitoring group said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops backed by pro-government gunmen entered the town of Mheen and the nearby village of Hawareen after midnight Sunday and were in full control of the area hours later. Syrian state TV also reported that Mheen and Hawareen were captured, adding that government forces were removing the mines and explosives left behind by the extremist group to try to slow down the army's advance. JIP Editor's note: The Associated Press, like most Western media, rely on the anti-Assad, Britain-based one-person "Observatory for Human Rights" to deliver supposedly independent news about Syria.

National Journal, Leaderless, Ron Fournier, Nov. 23, 2015. I once asked, “What if Obama can’t lead?” The answer after Paris is painful. Per­son­ally, I’m no hawk. I’m not con­vinced the United States needs more ground troops in the Middle East, cer­tainly not without a rad­ic­al re­think­ing of how the war against IS­IS would re­quire shared sac­ri­fice. I am sym­path­et­ic to the fact that Obama faces no easy op­tions after in­her­it­ing Pres­id­ent Bush’s ill-con­ceived war in Ir­aq. And I’ve got ab­so­lutely no pa­tience for the GOP pres­id­en­tial field’s hy­per­bol­ic, dis­hon­est, and big­oted rhet­or­ic.

But there is only one com­mand­er-in-chief, and ours is stub­bornly cling­ing to a strategy against IS­IS that lacks clar­ity, cre­ativ­ity, and ur­gency. There is only one pres­id­ent, and ours doesn’t seem to know how to rally us to a com­mon cause.

MailOnline US, Granddaughter sues for $10 million over her grandfather's JFK assassination film 'lost' by government investigators, Associated Press and Belinda Robinson, Nov. 23, 2015. A Texas woman said that she's suing a federal agency to force the return of a film shot by her grandfather that shows a portion of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Gayle Nix Jackson, who lives in the Fort Worth area, is seeking $10 million in compensation for the film shot by Orville Nix on November 22, 1963. In the days after the killing, he gave the film to the UPI news agency with the understanding that after 25 years it would be returned to the family. 

MailOnline US, Researcher reveals how Hitler’s SUPERGUN worked, Staff report, Dr Hugh Hunt at Cambridge University has analysed photographs and documents of the V3 gun to understand the technical difficulties that plagued the project.

Breitbart, Roger Stone: New Media Holding Hillary Accountable for Arming ISIS, Putting Americans in Danger, Tony Lee, Nov. 23, 2015. Political strategist and author Roger Stone says the rise of new media outlets such Breitbart News and cable television will prevent the mainstream media from giving President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton a pass for enabling ISIS’s rise and putting Americans in danger. Stone, the author of The Clintons’ War on Women, told host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily that “America is in danger” and the ISIS terror threat reveals the “the wide dichotomy between the American media and the American people.”

He said that when there were just three television networks in the 1960s, “they said Oswald killed Kennedy and there was no alternative theory that was ever allowed to be examined.” “So it is with ISIS,” Stone said. “You have the New York Times and the three networks parroting the administration line.” On Monday, President Barack Obama even asked the media to help get out the administration’s spin on terrorism, which would have been a lot easier in a world in which there were only three networks that served as gatekeepers. Stone said that “this is not some abstract concept,” but since 9/11 happened a long time ago, “unfortunately people forget” and “their views soften… they begin to believe that we are safe again.”

Nov. 22

Dallas Morning News, On 52nd anniversary, Dealey Plaza visitors reflect on JFK assassination, Adam Schrader, Nov. 22, 2015. Dealey Plaza welcomed a small crowd of conspiracy theorists and tourists Sunday, as usual. Most visitors said they were unaware it was the 52nd anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. But many said the assassination profoundly affected their lives. North of Elm Street, Beverly Oliver led a group in the national anthem, and a moment of silence marked the 12:30 p.m. shooting. Oliver, a controversial figure in the assassination research community, claims to be “The Babushka Lady” featured in several photos of the incident. Clark Phillips, 60, was one of the conspiracy theorists attending the memorial ceremony. He was in third grade the day of the assassination.

“It made an impression on me,” Phillips said. “I remember the teacher being called out into the hallway. She came back in as white as a sheet and said we had to pray.” Denver residents Katie and Brent Goebel said they coincidentally had a Dallas trip scheduled and wanted to walk the plaza. The Goebels drew comparisons between the assassination and 9/11, the major tragedy of their youth. “Both the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 violated the American spirit,” Katie Goebel said. “They stand starkly against the things we take pride in, like being a welcoming place of equality and protection.”

Kenneth Zediker, 23, flew in from Titusville, Fla., a week ago. He first visited Dealey Plaza five years ago when he came to visit his fiancee. On Sunday, he sat on the south end of Elm Street with about a dozen old cameras — the exact models used by assassination witnesses. “I really hate the ludicrous conspiracy theories that put into question the authenticity of the films and photos,” Zediker said. “If you question the authenticity of the film, then we truly don’t know what occurred.” Also on Sunday, the Sixth Floor Museum held its first event on an anniversary of the assassination. Associate Curator Stephen Fagin presented “Moments & Memories,” walking guests in the packed museum through new additions. “This event touches people of all ages from all over the world,” Fagin said. “Dealey Plaza is a necessary pilgrimage for many people, so it makes sense to have a sampling of our newest films, photos and oral histories available.”

Nov. 20

Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, They will kill him before they let him be president, William J. Bennett, Nov. 20, 2015. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump. Don't be surprised if Trump has an accident. It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media.They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one. It's a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people.

It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a oood old boys club. They talk big, but they won't change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations. . .like Big Pharma or Big Oil. These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone. There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Nov. 19

Washington Post, $3 billion over 41 years: How the Clintons methodically cultivated donors, Matea Gold, Tom Hamburger and Anu Narayanswamy, Nov. 19, 2015. A Washington Post investigation found that the couple has raised $3 billion through an unrivaled global network of donors and pioneering fundraising techniques that have transformed modern politics and paved the way for them to potentially become the first husband and wife to win the White House.

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spoke Nov. 18 at the National Press Club to protest ramped-up lobbyist efforts to revise the U.S. tax code (Justice Integrity Project photo).

National Press Club, Sen. Warren says she's concerned about Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street, Wesley G. Pippert, Nov. 19, 2015. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Club audience Wednesday that she was was concerned about former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street but when asked if she wished she had run for president, the Massachusetts senator said, "No." Asked about Clinton's Wall Street donations to Clinton, Warren said: "I"m concerned about everybody's ties to Wall Street. Look around Washington. I am worried about the influence Wall Street has on Washington."

Warren devoted her entire prepared speech -- as well as her answers to questions from the audience -- to the wealth accumulated by huge corporations at the expense of average Americans. Her speech particularly targeted the overseas tax havens used by corporations. She said the proposals by chief executives and lobbyists for corporations to pay taxes on only half of what they bring back home were nothing more than "a giant wet klss." Warren said the tax code was too complicated but said "what worries me most" was that the tax code had been reshaped, particularly in the last decade, to help billion-dollar multinational corporations.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Austin Scott Introduce Legislation to End Illegal U.S. War to Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad, Nov. 19, 2015. Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HawaiiAustin Scott (R-GA), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced H.R. 4108, a bipartisan bill to end U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, said the intent of the bill is to “Bring an immediate end to the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard explained,“The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria. The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11. The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. “The war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria—which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world.  Also, the war to overthrow Assad is illegal because Congress never authorized it.”

Congressman Austin ScottRep. Austin Scott (R-GA), shown in an official photo, said, “Our primary mission should be the war against ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic extremists that have operations both inside and outside of Syria and Iraq.  Those groups have carried out attacks on American allies, and are currently threatening attacks on our homeland. This represents a clear and present danger to our citizens, and I support eliminating these radical Islamic terrorists through any means necessary. Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be.”

Nov. 18

Consortium News, Neocons Make Rubio Their Favorite, JP Sottile, Nov. 18, 2015. With Sen. Marco Rubio surging in the polls – closing the gap on Donald Trump and easily besting Hillary Clinton in some general-Marco Rubio officialelection match-ups – the neocons have found their favorite candidate, a fresh face who would put them firmly back in the driver’s seat of U.S. foreign policy.

This is Sen. Marco Rubio’s best chance yet to turn his national security candidacy into the Establishment’s main alternative to both Trump and to the Evangelical-fueled anomaly of Dr. Ben Carson. Rubio’s recent move to the Establishment’s pole position — complete with the public backing of billionaire Paul Singer and the Weekly’s Standard’s recent pronouncement that Jeb’s flaccid candidacy was “dead” — also presents the best opportunity for neoconservatives eager to retake control of U.S. foreign policy. Ironically, Trump may have done them a favor. By burning Bush on his well-funded ties to SuperPAC puppet-masters and by relentlessly linking him with the worst memories of his brother’s tenure, Trump cleared the way for the ultimate neoconservative dreamboat — Marco Rubio.

Washington Post, Why French airstrikes on ISIS’s ‘capital’ probably haven't done much, Hugh Naylor, Nov. 18, 2015. Despite heavy French bombardment of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa this week, damage to the extremist group appears to be minimal, according to analysts and Syrian activists. The airstrikes — retaliation for Friday’s attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Paris — hit such targets as a command post and militant-training center in and around the Syrian city, French officials said. But after over a year of U.S. coalition airstrikes, the Islamic State has learned to secure its weapons, communications systems and fighters in fortified bunkers or densely populated residential areas where bombing would inflict intolerably high civilian casualties, analysts and activists said. The French attacks highlight a limitation of air power, said Theodore Karasik, a Dubai-based expert on military issues in the Middle East. Rarely is it enough to subdue enemies, he said.

Washington Post, Alleged ringleader in Paris attacks killed in raid, officials say, Souad Mekhennet, Anthony Faiola and Missy Ryan, Nov. 18, 2015. Fugitive militant found hiding north of Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian national and Islamic State operative, was killed during a massive police raid that also killed another suspected terrorist, senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant could be plotting another wave of violence.

Washington Post, Islamic State releases photo of bomb it says downed Russian jet, Andrew Katz and Andrew Roth, Nov. 18, 2015. The latest issue of the group's online propaganda magazine features an image purporting to show the bomb.

National Press Club, Kasich: U.S. must lead response to ISIS terrorist attacks, Mark Schoeff Jr., Nov. 18, 2015. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich called Tuesday for the U.S. to lead a global response to last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Speaking at the Club, he urged the formation of an international coalition to fight ISIS, the terrorist group entrenched in Iraq and Syria that is blamed for the carnage in France that left at least 129 people dead. The effort would involve ground troops. “We must join with our NATO allies and, importantly, with allies in the region as well – the Turks, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Gulf States, the Saudis – to organize an international coalition to defeat ISIS on the ground in its heartland,” said Kasich, who is in his second term as Ohio governor. In a question-and-answer session moderated by Club Vice President Tommy Burr, Kasich said the number of U.S. troops he would commit to the fight would be determined by military and civilian advisers.

 Washington Post, D.C. police framed man imprisoned decades for rape and murder, jury finds, Spencer S. Hsu, Nov. 18, 2015. The city is now liable for punitive damages after the verdict sided with Donald Gates, who was exonerated in 2009 through DNA testing.

Daily Mail, 66 arrested in America over ISIS and they include refugees, Staff report, Nov. 18, 2015. Dozens of people have been arrested in the US and charged over plotting for ISIS. Some entered the US as refugees. Republicans are trying to stop the US accepting tens of thousands of Syrians.

Nov. 17

AP via Huffington Post, German official says Syrian passport may have been used as a false flag to stir fear of refugees, Staff report, Nov. 17, 2015. Searches For Second Fugitive Suspect In Paris Attacks. In Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin that a Syrian passport found with one of the Paris attackers with the name Ahmad al Mohammad may have been a false flag intended to make Europeans fearful of refugees. The passport showed registrations in Greece, Serbia and Croatia, which he described as "unusual." He said the multiple registrations by a person using the passport were "evidence that this was a trail that was intentionally laid, but it can't be ruled out at the moment that this was an IS terrorist who came to France ... via Germany as a refugee.”  French police are hunting for a second fugitive directly involved in the deadly Paris attacks, officials said Tuesday after France made an unprecedented demand that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group.  

German Economic News, In Paris Tragedy, It’s Necessary to Know Who’s Pulling the Strings, Staff report translated by David Norris, Nov. 17, 2015. Putin demands a real investigation, but the Western Syria's Flagestablishment has already decided how to use the massacre. The attacks on Paris could lead to a massive military operation of NATO in Syria, whose flag is shown. Russia’s president Putin has consequently asked the question as to who is pulling the strings. The question is related to the Russian military successes in Syria – and with the efforts of the US neocons and intelligence agencies to seize the opportunity to extend the war in Syria as quickly as possible. What do we actually know? Basically, we know very little. We should note: As unprepared for the attacks as the French security services were, they were quick with ready answers on the day.

OpEdNews, More Paris Puzzles, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 17, 2015. ISIL seems to be what Washington used to overthrow the government in Libya and afterward was sent by Washington to Syria to overthrow Assad. Terrorism has been unleashed in the Western World, and it is the terrorism of Western governments against Western peoples. Some people who are not inclined to believe the official story of the Paris attack are troubled by the question why Muslim suicide bombers would blow themselves up for a false flag attack. The answer to this question is very simple.

But first we should dispose of the question whether suicide bombers did blow themselves up. Is this something that we know, or is it part of the story that we are told? For example, we were told that during 9/11 passengers in hijacked airliners used their cell phones to call relatives, but experts have testified that the technology of the time did not permit cell phone calls from airliners at those altitudes.

RT, Russia’s long-range bombers start hitting ISIS targets in Syria, Staff report, Nov. 17, 2015. The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video of its fleet of strategic bombers conducting their first airstrikes against Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria on Tuesday. Groups of Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear), Tu-22 (Blinder) and Tu-160 (Blackjack) long-range bombers took off from Russian airfields and returned to base after striking the jihadists in Syria.

Reporters Without Borders, Arbitrary arrest of journalist while covering protest in Minnesota, Staff report, Reporters Without Borders condemns the arbitrary arrest of local reporter Jack Highberger on Monday evening while he was covering a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jack Highberger, an emmy-award winning reporter for Fox 9 (KMSP-TV) in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, was arrested Monday evening while covering a Black Lives Matter protest on the side of highway I-94. A video posted on his facebook page depicts him speaking into a microphone and covering the arrest of several protesters around him. The video then captures his own arrest by an officer who told him “you’ve gotta get going or you’re going to be next...we already told you many times to get out of here.”

Nov. 16

Washington Post, Raids spread across France and Belgium amid manhunt for suspects, Anthony Faiola, Daniela Deane and Brian Murphy, Nov. 16, 2015. Authorities launch manhunt for Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam. Police in France and Belgium staged more than 160 anti-terrorism raids on Monday as authorities launched widespread crackdowns and cast their nets wider for suspects in the Paris attacks, including the alleged mastermind. The intense manhunt for the possible lead plotter — identified as Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud — came as clearer portraits emerged of the network behind Friday’s carnage that left at 132 people dead and scores wounded. Meanwhile, authorities have sketched out the possibility of a larger network linked to the Islamic State that could involve as many as 20 plotters with links stretching to war-ravaged Syria.

President Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Susan Rice confer in Turkey 11-15-15

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

AP via Washington Post, Paris attacks deepen GOP opposition to Syrian refugee influx, Laurie Kellman, Nov. 16, 2015. Governors across the country are scrambling to close off their states to resettled Syrian refugees in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris that are linked to Islamic State extremists. The list of states climbed quickly to 23 by Monday evening, after President Obama said that the U.S. would continue to accept refugees and denounced efforts to stop those fleeing violence from coming to the United States as "shameful." Governors of Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas — a majority of them Republican — have said that they are seeking to stop the relocation of new Syrian refugees to their states out of fear that violent extremists posing as refugees might gain entry to the country.

See also the controversial video (denounced by some as inflammatory propaganda):

Breitbart, The Anti-Migrant Video Going Viral Across Europe, Oliver Lane, Nov. 11, 2015.  After gaining a million and a half views in less than five days, the Open Gates video was taken down by YouTube following a copyright infringement. Although the rights company involved in the claim has been named in allegedly spurious claims in the past, there is no reason to suggest that is the case with this video. This article now links to a video mirror on Dutch website Dumpert. The original article follows. ‘With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations’, a slick, hard-hitting film about the European migrant crisis is going viral in Europe, already watched at least half a million times. Although the 19-minute film may feel like a dispatch from the future, it is cut entirely from recent news reports, police camera footage, and interviews. Kicking off with scenes of a modern car ferry disgorging thousands of illegals into Greece, the film then cuts to dozens of aerial shots of columns of migrants marching north into Europe. The film then changed to the harrowing testimony of one young Greek woman who was unable to hide her horror and despair at the scale of the migrant crisis sweeping over her home island of Lesbos. Just six miles from the Turkish coast, the island was subjected to migrant riots in September as newcomers turned on their hosts for not moving them to mainland Europe fast enough.

Francois Hollande Nov. 16, 2015 French pool report distributed by APSputnik (Russia), Assad is not the Enemy of France, ISIL is: Hollande, Staff report, Nov. 16, 2015. French President François Hollande (shown in a pool report Nov. 16 distributed by AP) said that the Islamic State is his country's biggest enemy, not Syrian president Bashar Assad. "Our enemy in Syria is ISIL," Hollande said during the emergency meeting of the French parliament. Hollande skipped the weekend's G20 summit in Turkey due to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Sputnik (Russia), ISIL Financed by 40 Countries, Including G20 Member States: Putin, Staff report, Nov. 16, 2015. Vladimir Putin said at the G20 summit that Russia has presented examples of terrorism financing by individual businessmen from 40 countries, including from member states of the G20. "I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members," Putin told reporters following the summit. Russia has also presented satellite images and aerial photos showing the true scale of the Islamic State oil trade. "Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters," Putin told reporters.

New Yorker, Jeb Bush’s Call for War, John Cassidy, Nov. 16, 2015. On Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” Jeb Bush said that it was time for the United States to go to war with ISIS, and to put together an international coalition to rout the jihadis from their strongholds in Syria and Iraq. “We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear, both diplomatic and military of course, to be able to take out ISIS,” Bush, who is trailing badly in the G.O.P. Presidential polls, said. “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”

There is much that could be said about Bush’s proposal, which he said would include efforts to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, if necessary, to confront his military forces, too.  I was struck, in particular, by how he foresaw that such a military campaign would be sequenced. “Well, you take it to them in Syria and Iraq,” Bush explained. “You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace loving.”

Think Progress, No, State Governors Can’t Refuse To Accept Syrian Refugees, Ian Millhiser, Nov 16, 2015. More than half a dozen state governors have come out against President Obama’s plans to relocate several thousand Syrian refugees within the United States. The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.” States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.

Think Progress, Trump Says He Would ‘Strongly Consider’ Shutting Down Mosques In The U.S.,  Kay Steiger, Nov. 16, 2015. Calling in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques with suspected terrorist ties and slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for discontinuing surveillance of them.

Nov. 15

Washington Post, Obama must wage war on the Islamic State, not merely harass it, The lesson of Paris is that we must fully commit to ending the terrorist threat. Mitt Romney, Nov. 15, 2015. Mitt Romney, shown in a file photo, is Mitt Romneyformer governor of Massachusetts. In 2012, he was the Republican nominee for president. Friday morning, hours before news broke that terrorists killed more than 100 people and wounded hundreds of other innocent victims in coordinated, bloody attacks all around Paris, President Obama told Americans that “we have contained” the advance of the Islamic State. Now that the Islamic State is claiming credit for these attacks, we know just how wrong he was. After Paris, it’s clear: Doing the minimum won’t make us safe. It’s time the president stopped hedging and took meaningful steps to defend us and our allies.

Washington Post, France launches fierce assault on ISIS targets in Syria in coordination with U.S. defense officials, David Nakamura and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 15, 2015. French warplanes launched a ferocious retaliatory assault late Sunday on targets in Raqqa, Syria — the Islamic State’s de facto capital — after coordination with U.S. defense officials who helped with the targeting. The French Defense Ministry said that 10 aircraft dropped 20 bombs on facilities used by the militant group, which has claimed responsibility for Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, striking a command center, a militant-training facility and an arms depot.

Opposition activists reached in Raqqa said they counted at least 30 bombs, which they said had hit, among other things, a local football stadium, a museum and medical facilities. They said the strikes had knocked out electricity in the city of about 200,000 people. The French statement said the operation, launched from bases in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, was conducted in coordination with U.S. forces, which have compiled an extensive target list in Raqqa. American officials, speaking at the G-20 summit here that President Obama is attending, said the French operation was discussed between the two militaries.

The Hill, Former CIA deputy director: ISIS strategy not working, Bradford Richardson, Nov. 15, 2015. A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says the U.S. strategy toward the Islamic Michael MorelState in Syria (ISIS) “is not working.” Michael Morell said recent attacks by the terrorist group in Paris and on a Russian passenger plane show it’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its strategy. “I think it’s now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy vis-à-vis ISIS is not working, and it’s time to look at something else,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He said the U.S. may need to rethink its opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

“You know, clearly he’s part of the problem, but he may also be part of the solution, right?” said Morell, shown in a file photo. “An agreement where he stays around for a while and the Syrian army, supported by the coalition, takes on ISIS may be the best result here.” He said the U.S. needs to take seriously the sophisticated attacks ISIS has proven capable of carrying out. “You’ve got a large number of operatives. They have to get explosives. They have to get weapons. They have to communicate among themselves and communicate back to Iraq and Syria,” Morell said. “This is a level of sophistication that we have not seen since the London bombings in 2005.”

World Crisis Radio, How France Must Retaliate Against Terrorism: Cut the ISIS Supply Lines Crossing the Syrian-Turkish Border Between Jarablus and Aleppo, Quickly Destroy the Islamic State, and Bring the War in Syria and Iraq to an End, Webster G. Tarpley, Nov. 15, 2015.

Paul Craig, “Paris Changes Everything,” Say Merkel’s German Political Allies, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Nov. 15, 2015. In my recent writings I have explained the many agendas served by the false flag Paris Paul Craig Robertsattack. I also predicted that other countries would follow France’s lead in closing their borders, thus dispossessing the dissenting political parties of their issue and preserving the political power and control of the European establishment. Germany is now moving in the direction of repulsing refugees. By the time the Paris attack and all that will come in its wake run their course — new military measures against ISIL, Western intervention without Syrian government approval, PATRIOT Acts for European countries, and possibly a new and more draconian PATRIOT Act for the US, increased association of dissent with ISIL terrorism — Trump and Sanders will no longer command attention. Pushed aside, they will not regain the limelight.

Just as with 9/11, Charlie Hebdo and the Boston Marathon Bombing, the media was scripted with the story and ready to go the minute the happening was reported. There is no investigation, no questioning, just the media moving in lockstep with the scripted official story. Again, the perpetrators conveniently leave their ID. Again, the attack coincides with an official drill of the attack. No matter how transparent the false flag attack and the agendas served by it, patriotism whipped to a frenzy blinds people to the reality.

Nov. 14

French President Francois Hollande after 11-13-15 attack

A television watcher sees French President François Hollande after attacks on Nov. 13, 2015


Washington Post, Hollande: Paris attacks an ‘act of war’ by Islamic State, Pope: Attacks leave scars from ‘piecemeal Third World War,’ Maura Judkis, Griff Witte and Brian Murphy, Nov. 14, 2015. The deadliest attacks in France since World War II have had a ripple effect in Europe and beyond as border checks were imposed, and Iran's president canceled a planned trip. Extra security measures are also in place in major U.S. cities. French President François Hollande decried the massacres across Paris as an “act of war” by the Islamic State, amplifying signals Saturday of a major response from France and its allies after coordinated gunfire and bombings that killed at least 127 people.

Moments later, a message attributed to the Islamic State asserted responsibility for the worst attacks in France since World War II and among of the most deadly terrorist strikes on Western soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Left behind were the latest scars, said Pope Francis, from the “piecemeal Third World War.” One survivor described the gunmen coldly picking off hostages in a packed concert hall as if “we were birds.”

Parisian Bombing 128 Dead

Reuters via Huffington Post, Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Deadly Paris Attacks, Eric Knecht, Nov. 14, 2015. The militant group also redistributed a video threatening to attack France if bombings continue. Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for attacks that killed 127 people in Paris, saying it sent militants strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of the capital. The attacks were designed to show the country would remain in danger as long as it continued its current policies, Islamic State said in a statement. "To teach France, and all nations following its path, that they will remain at the top of Islamic State's list of targets, and that the smell of death won't leave their noses as long as they partake in their crusader campaign," said the group.

Daily Mail, From SS butcher to drugs kingpin: The astonishing story of the notorious Nazi who helped kill Che Guevara and worked for cocaine boss Pablo Escobar, Brendan Cole, Nov. 14, 2015. German SS officer and Nazi war criminal Klaus.

Nov. 13

Bashar Assad Terror Quotation


OpEdNews, Another Paris False Flag Attack? Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 13, 2015. At 7 pm on Friday 13th, we do not have much information about the "terrorist attacks" in Paris other than that Paris is closed down like Boston was after the "Boston Marathon Bombing," also a suspected false flag event. Possibly believable evidence will be presented that the Paris attacks were real terrorist attacks. However, what do refugees have to gain from making themselves unwelcome with acts of violence committed against the host country, and where do refugees in France obtain automatic weapons and bombs? Indeed, where would the French themselves obtain them?

The millions of refugees from Washington's wars who are overrunning Europe are bringing to the forefront of European politics the anti-EU nationalists parties. By supporting for 14 years Washington's neoconservative wars for US hegemony over the Middle East, establishment European governments eroded their electoral support. Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France's borders. Some people are so naive and stupid as to think that no government would kill its own citizens. But governments do so all the time.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service.

Salon, The real reason George Will is fuming at Bill O’Reilly: The Fox Newser told the truth about Ronald Reagan, Sean Illing, Nov. 13, 2015. O'Reilly vs. Will is about much more than a sensationalist book. It goes Ronald Reaganto the very core of modern conservatism. There’s an amusing squabble afoot between blowhard Bill O’Reilly and conservative columnist George Will. The two have taken shots at each other in recent weeks, both in print and on air. The dispute is over O’Reilly’s latest book (if we can call it that), Killing Reagan.

On Will’s view, O’Reilly slanders the conservative icon by suggesting he was mentally incompetent for much of his presidency. Indeed, O’Reilly implies that “the trauma of the March 1981 assassination attempt somehow triggered in Reagan a mental decline, perhaps accelerating the Alzheimer’s disease that would not be diagnosed until 13 years later.  “I think we were pretty clear,” O’Reilly says in a recent interview, “that by every account, Reagan had his good days and his bad days. On his bad days, he couldn’t work. On his good days, he was brilliant.”

See also, The O'Reilly Factor / Fox News, An attack on 'Killing Reagan,' host Bill O'Reilly interviews George Will, the Washington Post syndicated columnist, Fox News contributor and husband of a former Reagan administration staffer, Nov. 6, 2015 (7:01 min. video).

Nov. 12

Mitt RomneyWashington Post, GOP elites near panic over dominance of Trump, Carson, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Nov. 12, 2015. The party’s establishment and donors fear that nominating either outsider would virtually ensure a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency. Some are so concerned, they want to draft Mitt Romney.

Reuters via Huffington Post, Trump Reenacts Carson's Alleged Stabbing, Says He'll 'Bomb The S**t Out Of [ISIS],' Staff report, Nov. 12, 2015. "I would just bomb those suckers." Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on his most significant rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, telling an audience in Iowa on Thursday (November 12) that Carson described himself as "pathological" in his memoir. Trump, who addressed supporters at an election rally in the key primary state, said the man with whom he has recently traded the lead in national polls was an "enigma."

Donald Trump Pointing Finger Gage Skidmore DMCA"Because he wrote a book and in the book he said terrible things about himself. He said that he's pathological and that he's got basically pathological disease. Now he wrote this, I guess before he was running for office or thought that he was running for office, and I don't want a person that's got pathological disease. I don't want it," said Trump, shown above in a file photo by Gage Skidmore. Trump also questioned the veracity of an incident from his Carson's youth in which he claimed that he attempted to stab a friend, but that his knife broke on this friend's belt buckle.

Huffington Post, Scenes from a Marriage: Obama and Netanyahu, Amir Tibon and Tal Shalev, with Ryan Grim. Nov. 12, 2015. The worst relationship between a U.S. president and an Israeli prime minister ever — as autopsied by the people closest to them. No matter who the next president is, Netanyahu will have to deal with the fallout from the Obama years. Many Israelis are especially concerned that they have lost the once-ironclad support of the American Jewish community — that there are many people whose love for Israel may have diminished over Netanyahu’s term. "Bibi stands up and says he is the leader of world Jewry, but he is not the pope,” a former Obama adviser told us. "He's just the guy who happens to have enough votes to form a coalition government in Israel." Another Jewish leader speaks of a potentially “irreparable rift” between American Jews who blame the current tension on Obama and those who think it’s Netanyahu’s fault.

Then there is the question of whether Netanyahu’s fractious union with Obama has given America’s allies permission to distance themselves from Israel. Just this week, the European Union published new labeling guidelines that would inform consumers if products were made in Israeli settlements. Israeli officials believe that more restrictions and sanctions are possible—and that the deterioration of the American relationship is to blame.

If Netanyahu is still in office by 2018, he will become the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. He has hinted that he’d like ten more years in office, which isn’t implausible, given the state of the Israeli opposition. Netanyahu likes to say that “when I want something, I get it.” But the failure of the Obama years calls that theory into question. "The world used to be convinced that Israel had influence in the U.S.,” says a top Israeli official who has dealt with many American administrations. “Nobody thinks that way anymore.”

Politico, Judge ramps up releases in FOIA suit for Clinton aides' records, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 12, 2015. A federal judge issued an order Thursday that will sharply ramp up the volume of documents being release in a lawsuit demanding memos and emails from top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras instructed the State Department to move toward production of 2,200 pages of documents per month in the case by next summer, up from a rate of 700 pages per month he set at a hearing earlier this week.

Washington Post, Uniformed Secret Service officer charged with soliciting minor for sex, Peter Hermann, Nov. 12, 2015. A Secret Service officer has been charged with soliciting a minor for sex after he allegedly texted an undercover detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. Court documents say he admitted to sending some of the texts from his job at the White House. Lee Robert Moore, 37, faces a federal charge of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. The criminal complaint says the investigation began when a Delaware state trooper created a computer profile of a girl on an Internet site called “Meet24” and started chatting online with a person called “Rob.”

Nov. 11

Sergei Lavrov, John Kerry, Saudi Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu (Pool/Reuters)

From left to right, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu stand together before a meeting in Vienna last month. (Pool/Reuters)

Washington Post, Administration will soon be forced to confront big decisions on Syria, Karen DeYoung, Nov. 11, 2015. The Obama administration will be forced this weekend to grapple with major decisions on Syria that it has long resisted making but may now be unavoidable if the president’s diplomatic and military strategies there are to succeed. In a meeting Saturday in Vienna, Secretary of State John F. Kerry will try to build momentum for a Syrian political transition. Allies at the table plan to challenge him to expand the narrow list of U.S.-approved opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to recognize Islamist groups the administration has shunned as extremist.

Newsmax, Killing O'Reilly: George Will Should Quit Fox News, Christopher Ruddy, Nov. 11, 2015. Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. I was shocked by last week's exchange between Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and esteemed syndicated columnist George Will on "The O'Reilly Factor." It was probably one of the most dramatic and angry exchanges ever witnessed on-air between two members working for the same network. It was the first time I had ever seen a paid commentator accuse the network’s top news host of being a liar and purposely misleading people.

Will is a highly regarded commentator and paid analyst for Fox News. The world knows O'Reilly as the king of cable news, the man who put Fox on the map, who has dominated cable news ratings for almost two decades. The controversy at hand involves O'Reilly's newest book, Killing Reagan — one in a slew of runaway bestsellers he has co-authored. Will and other historians like Craig Shirley have made legitimate criticisms of the historicity of O'Reilly's book. Newsmax has published those criticisms. The crux of the controversy is O'Reilly's assertion in "Killing Reagan" that the president, after being almost fatally shot in 1981 by John Hinckley, spent the rest of his presidency addled with diminished mental acuity and a lack of engagement in running the federal government.

Nov. 10

President Obama for OUT Magazine

Washington Post, Obama is named OUT magazine’s ‘Ally of the Year,’ Juliet Eilperin, OUT Magazine named President Obama it's "Ally of the Year" Tuesday. Obama's image on the cover marks the first time a sitting American president has been photographed for an LGBT magazine. Aaron Hicklin, the magazine's editor, boasted in a letter to readers: "I did get that selfie." Even the short time Hicklin spent at the White House made an impression.

Center for American Progress, A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nov. 10, 2015. The Center for American Progress hosted a moderated conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and CAP President Neera Tanden. They discussed a range of issues, including Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and regional concerns, as well as ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

Politico, Report faults U.S. treatment of whistleblowers, Staff report, Nov. 10, 2015. A new report from a group of prominent writers and authors argues that the U.S. government is doing too little to protect whistleblowers critical to informing the public about controversial activities like phone and email surveillance as well as hidden foul-ups in federal programs. The thrust of the 42-page analysis from PEN American Centre is not that the government isn't doing anything to try to protect those blowing the whistle on malfeasance, but that the policies and laws are widely varied and contain conspicuous gaps certain to undermine the confidence of many considering bringing improprieties to public knowledge.

The PEN report argues that the public debate over the actions of Edward Snowden in revealing National Security Agency surveillance programs illustrates how many politicians, public officials and members of the public believe whistleblower protections to be more robust than they actually are. Many have faulted Snowden for not using official government channels to complain about the programs he thought went too far. But as the report notes, that doesn't appear to be so. For one thing, Snowden worked for an NSA contractor, not the agency directly. The Obama Administration has put in place policies to protect the security clearances of whistleblowers who work for contractors, but a senior intelligence community officials acknowledged last week that protecting the jobs of such individuals would likely require legislation.

Washington Post, David Vitter is in trouble, James Hohmann, Nov. 10, 2015. The Louisiana governor’s race is becoming a referendum on David Vitter, not Barack Obama, and that’s a race that Vitter can’t win. With the runoff just 11 days away, public polls put the Republican senator down anywhere from 11 points to 20 points. Early voting has already started. Now under heavy fire on TV for his participation in a prostitution ring, something he admitted only elliptically to in 2007, Vitter is up today with a television ad that shows him sitting with his wife and kids around a kitchen table. “Fifteen years ago, I failed my family but found forgiveness and love,” the senior senator says to camera. “I learned that our falls aren’t what define us, but rather how we get up, accept responsibility and earn redemption. Now Louisiana has fallen on hard times … And as your governor, I’ll get up every day to fight for you.”

Democrat John Bel Edwards went on the air over the weekend with the most provocative attack ad of the year. A female narrator notes that Edwards served as an Army Ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division before noting that Vitter missed a 2001 House vote honoring 28 slain soldiers at roughly the same time that he took a call on his cell phone from the D.C. Madam. “David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots,” a female narrator says. “Now the choice is yours.”

Washington Post, Another odd Ben Carson story: How he refused a DNA test to settle a ‘blackmail’ paternity suit, Justin Wm. Moyer, Nov. 10, 2015. The week before the fourth Republican presidential primary Ben Carsondebate on Tuesday, sometime Republican presidential front-runner Ben Carson has faced some tough questions about his past. In a twist perhaps unique in modern presidential politics, he’s had to defend the veracity of stories he’s often repeated about behaving badly.

And, as Republicans gather in Milwaukee for the Fox Business Network debate Tuesday night, one very strange Carson tale has yet to be delved into: the candidate’s contention, discussed in speeches and an op-ed as recently as last year, that he was sued for paternity by an unnamed woman in Florida and refused to give a DNA sample to resolve the case. Though he’s told the story as early as 2003, as Mediaite reported, Carson wrote about the paternity suit at length in a Washington Times op-ed in 2014. The piece was a condemnation of “Chicago-style politics” and political corruption.

Nov. 9

Huffington Post, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Injunction Against Obama's Executive Action On Immigration, Cristian Farias, Nov. 9, 2015.  A federal appeals court on Monday agreed to keep on hold President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration -- nearly a year after he announced it as a backstop measure to Congress' failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The divided court's, 124-page ruling deals a blow to the administration's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, known as DAPA, and there likely isn't enough time for a formal appeal to the Supreme Court to be resolved ahead of the 2016 election.

In ruling against the government, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit largely agreed with a lower court judge, who in February issued a “nationwide injunction” that effectively stopped DAPA from taking effect, and concurred that Texas and other states that sued the president over the program had legal “standing” to challenge its constitutionality in federal court. The appeals court accepted Texas’ argument that an expansion of immigration relief to include a wider class of undocumented immigrants would cause the state to “incur significant costs in issuing driver’s licenses to DAPA beneficiaries.”  “If permitted to go into effect, DAPA would enable at least 500,000 illegal aliens in Texas to satisfy that requirement with proof of lawful presence or employment authorization,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith for the 2-to-1 appeals court. “Texas subsidizes its licenses and would lose a minimum of $130.89 on each one it issued to a DAPA beneficiary. Even a modest estimate would put the loss at several million dollars.”

The court rejected the federal government's argument that extending relief to a wide swath of immigrants would offset the injury to the state by bringing in increased tax revenue and other benefits. A study by the Center for American Progress estimated DAPA, if implemented, would benefit up to 3.7 million individuals.

Mississippi State Flag (Adopted 1894 and readopted 2001)

The Mississippi State Flag remains unique among U.S. state flags because it is the only one that still depicts the Confederate battle flag's saltire

AP via Tupelo Daily Journal, One-party rule returns in Mississippi with GOP in charge, Jeff Amy, Nov. 9, 2015. Democrats’ performance this year in Mississippi suggests, at least among the state’s white residents, that the party is not only a permanent underdog, but is coming perilously close to dissolution. With continued Republican gains in the state House pushing the GOP to a supermajority, Democrats won’t be able to block most things that a unified GOP wants. Democrats have not fallen so low that they’ve reached the status of Republicans in the old one-party South.

In the wake of another electoral debacle for Mississippi’s Democrats, it’s time to pull V.O. Key down off the bookshelf. Key was a political scientist who literally wrote the book on politics in Dixie. Southern Politics in State and Nation, published in 1949, remains a master work, the founding text of an entire specialty of American political science. Key was fundamentally interested in how politics functioned in states with only one dominant political party. At the time, of course, that was the Democrats. But now, more than 50 years after he died, Republicans are getting close to assuming that position of dominance in Mississippi and some other southern states.

Washington Post, Benjamin Netanyahu further damages U.S.-Israel relations, Dana Milbank, Nov. 9, 2015. Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t do regret. Last week, Netanyahu appointed as his new chief of public diplomacy a man who called Obama an anti-Semite and who said Secretary of State John Kerry has the intellect of a 12-year-old. Now, as Netanyahu visits the United States, he decided to accept, on the same day he met Obama in the Oval Office, an award from a group of neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute who applaud his stand against the Obama administration. The acceptance of the award, which has previously gone to, among others, Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia, led the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to conclude that “Netanyahu has decided to troll Obama.”

The White House meeting was a tense and perfunctory affair. The two leaders, as usual, didn’t hold a press conference. The White House allowed only a small pool of journalists to film the two leaders trade statements in the Oval Office. Obama, grim and barely glancing at Netanyahu, acknowledged the “strong disagreement” on the nuclear deal, but he said, defensively, that “we have closer military and intelligence cooperation than any two administrations in history.”

President Obama meets with John Kerry, Susan Rice, other advisors Nov. 9, 2015

President Barack Obama talks with advisors, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, prior to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

OpEdNews, The Re-enserfment of Western Peoples, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 9, 2015. The Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships eliminate political sovereignty and turn governance over to global corporations. These so called "trade partnerships" have nothing to do with trade. These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations on corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine "sovereign" governments. For example, the ban in France and other countries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership.

Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule. Once these partnerships are in effect, government itself is privatized. There is no longer any point in legislatures, presidents, prime ministers, judges. Corporate tribunals decide law and court rulings. Once people discover that they have lost all control over every aspect of their lives, then it is possible that their only choice is revolution or death.

Washington Post, Top Russian athletes participated in systemic, state-sanctioned doping, report says, Will Hobson, Nov. 9, 2015. Top Russian athletes have for years participated in a systemic doping regime involving bribery, extortion and destruction of evidence, according to an international anti-doping agency report released Monday in Geneva. The report released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which investigated allegations made in a German documentary, recommended Russia’s suspension from international athletics competitions such as the Olympics. The report found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russia’s track and field program and “documented cases where athletes who did not want to participate in ‘the program’ were informed they would not be considered as part of the federation’s national team for competition.” The report recommended lifetime bans for five Russian runners. “This was an absolutely politically motivated statement like anti-Russian sanctions,” Vladimir Uyba, the head of Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency, told the Interfax news agency. “It has no grounds whatsoever, because those doping tests for athletes are conducted by the WADA commissioners themselves.”

Nov. 8

New York Magazine, The Math on Rubionomics Is Way, Way Crazier Than You Think, Jonathan Chait, Last week, Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal think tank that uses mainstream economic tax modeling, Marco Rubio officialanalyzed Marco Rubio’s tax-cut plan. Thirty-four percent of the benefits of the plan would go to the highest-earning one percent of Americans (who, by the way, earn about 21 percent of all income). Rubio’s proposal deliberately provides some benefits to Americans of modest income, which means that its enormous tax cuts for the very rich come alongside some pretty decent-size tax cuts for the rest of us. All told, Rubio’s plan would reduce federal revenue by $11.8 trillion over the next decade. The entire Bush tax cuts cost about $3.4 trillion over a decade, making the Rubio tax cuts more than three times as costly.

How would Rubio’s plan fit into the overall federal budget? One way to consider the scale of this plan is to look at the overall federal budget. Over the next decade, Washington is projected to collect $41.6 trillion in revenue under current policies. Rubio would reduce that to about $30 trillion. Rubio proposes to increase the defense budget. He likewise promises not to touch benefits for current or near-retirees, leaving those programs unavailable for cuts over that time. So Medicaid, veterans’ health insurance, transportation, border security, and education, not to mention the entire federal anti-poverty budget other than Medicare and Social Security, would have to go. Oh, and Rubio has also called for an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget every year.

Oh, one more thing: Among the Republican presidential candidates, Rubio is widely considered to be a moderate on fiscal issues. The clarity with which we can now examine Rubio’s plan, juxtaposed against recent events, provides a sense of the ongoing relationship between the Republican Party and economic reality. It remains deeply hostile.

GOP Presidential Debaters Aug. 6, 2015

Top GOP 2016 presidential contenders before their August debate. Next debate: Nov. 10.

Daily Mail Online, Mob hitman James Files claims he killed JFK as he is to be released, Staff report, Nov. 8, 2015. James Files, 72, who claims he was the one who assassinated President John F. Kennedy has been moved to a less secure jail in Illinois in preparation for his release next Spring. JIP Editor's Note: Even many critics of the Warren Commission Report doubt the Files story.

Nov. 7

JFK, Charles Briggs, retired CIA officer who assisted JFK museum, was accused of deception by a federal judge, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 7, 2015. Charles Briggs, a retired CIA official who assisted the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas as a researcher and writer, once submitted a “dishonest” sworn affidavit in a high-profile arms smuggling case in Texas, according to a federal judge. Briggs, who died November 4, served the CIA as a private contractor while assisting in the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas in 1986. The Museum, which commemorates the assassination of President Kennedy, consistently endorses the official theory that one man, alone and unaided, caused Kennedy’s death. The Museum’s exhibits do not depict or make mention of the long-running debate about the causes of JFK’s assassination, and the Museum’s bookstore carries few books by JFK scholars who dispute the official theory.

Nov. 6

Politico, Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point 'scholarship' but never applied, Kyle Cheney, Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from Politico, that a central point in his inspirational personal Ben Carsonstory was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, Gifted Hands, the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy. West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.

When presented with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false. “Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to Politico. “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett added. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.” Carson would have needed to seek admission in order to receive an offer of free education from West Point. Also, according to West Point, there is no such thing as a “full scholarship” to the military academy, as Carson represented in his book.

Politico editor’s note: Politico stands by its reporting on this story, which has been updated to reflect Ben Carson’s on the record response. The original story and headline said that Carson’s campaign had admitted he "fabricated" a "full scholarship" from West Point, but now Carson denies that his campaign’s statement constituted such an admission, and the story and headline were changed to reflect that.

Ben Carson and George Bush in 2008 Medal of FreedomCarson, a former neurosurgeon and a GOP front-runner in the 2016 presidential race, is shown in a White House photo receiving the Medal of Freedom in 2008 from President George W. Bush.

Fox News, Carson campaign admits West Point story was inaccurate, Staff report, Nov. 6, 2015. Ben Carson's presidential campaign pushed back Friday at a published report questioning a seminal moment in the personal narrative of the Republican candidate -- that the top U.S. general in the Vietnam War had been so impressed during a dinner with the young Carson that he was guaranteed a "full scholarship" to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Academy officials, responding to the Politico report Friday, confirmed that there is no record of Carson ever applying to the elite military academy, much less gaining entrance or a scholarship offer. But in Carson's 1996 memoir Gifted Hands, he appears to tell a different story: that the young Carson, a 17-year-old top ROTC officer from Detroit, had dined with Gen. William Westmoreland, who was a fresh out of his command in Vietnam, in 1969. He said he was immediately offered a full scholarship by West Point. He has said in the retelling of the story that that he turned down the supposed offer because he wanted to be a doctor. He later graduated from Yale University in 1973.

A West Point spokesperson told POLITICO that that it was "certainly possible" that Carson spoke with the general, and the four-star may have even encouraged the teenager to apply, but the school has a rigorous entry process that would not have allowed Westmoreland to guarantee anyone entry. Furthermore, there are no "full scholarships" to the academy. According to Westmoreland's schedule, he wasn't even in Detroit at the time. Republican strategists who spoke with following the revelations Friday said this could be more than just a hiccup for the Carson campaign. The candidate's backstory has come under increased scrutiny as he enjoys the top slot in many of the latest primary polls. "When you're not a politician and you don't have a voting record, and you are running on your own narrative (like Carson) .. then this is all fair game," said media strategist Pete Snyder. "I think people realize that people who run for office tend to embellish, but they don't take kindly to fabrication of military service or West Point applications," he added. "This is dangerous ground for Ben Carson." See also: Fox News, Poll: Carson only honest and trustworthy candidate, Dana Blanton, Nov. 4, 2015.

Wall Street Journal, Ben Carson’s Past Faces Deeper Questions, Reid J. Epstein, Nov. 6, 2015. In harsh light of presidential politics, parts of his inspirational biography are questioned. The day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Ben Carson’s black classmates unleashed their anger and grief on white students who were a minority at Detroit’s Southwestern High. Mr. Carson, then a junior with a key to a biology lab where he worked part time, told the Wall Street Journal last month that he protected a few white students from the attacks by hiding them there. It is a dramatic account of courage and kindness, and it couldn’t be confirmed in interviews with a half-dozen of Mr. Carson’s classmates and his high school physics teacher.

Mr. Carson’s biography, a rise from poverty to become a top neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, is central to his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Now, his story — told in nine books and countless inspirational speeches over the past 25 years — has come under the harsh scrutiny of presidential politics, where rivals and media hunt for embellishments and omissions that can hobble a campaign. The threat to the Carson candidacy is that the inconsistencies or hard-to-check anecdotes, which were told long before he ever considered a presidential run, will put off voters only now getting to know him.

Daily Wire, No, Ben Carson Didn't Lie About West Point. It's Another Media Hit Job. Ben Shapiro, Nov. 6, 2015. The story began with Politico, which ran with the audacious headline, “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” Even I was taken in by the headline – after all, that’s a pretty bold claim! The key word here is “fabricated.” Did the Carson campaign admit any such thing? Absolutely not. The facts reported by Politico don’t even support this interpretation of the Carson campaign’s response. Politico followed up on this story. They reported one additional piece of information that seems to conflict with Carson’s story: Carson never applied to West Point, and was never extended admission. But Carson never said he applied. He said he was extended a full scholarship offer., Republican Candidates Call for War, Kurt Nimmo, Nov. 6, 2015. Republicans want intervention in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Huffington Post, Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline After 7 Years, Kate Sheppard and Laura Barron-Lopez, Nov. 6, 2015. Environmental activists praised the decision. President Obama Friday rejected TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil across the United States-Canada border. His rejection came after meeting earlier Friday with Secretary of State John Kerry, whose department oversaw the review. TransCanada submitted its permit application for the 1,600-mile, $7 billion project to the State Department in 2008. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the State Department is responsible for determining whether granting a permit for the project would serve the national interest.

B arack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, George Mitchell, Rahm Emanuel at White House

During President Obama's first term, he is shown meeting with his top staff Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a White House photo.

Foreign Policy/Middle East Daily, U.S. and Israeli Officials Prepare for Meeting Next Week, Staff and wire reports, Nov. 6, 2015. Israeli and U.S. officials are staking out the subjects that will be discussed when Benjamin Netanyahu FrownPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington, DC, next week. It will be the first time President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in person in more than a year.

Israeli officials say they are hoping to use the trip to secure a new military aid package worth $5 billion annually, taking effect in 2017; Israel’s current aid package is worth $3 billion. Obama administration officials say that they have accepted there are no realistic options for reaching a two-state solution during the remainder of President Obama’s term and that his concern in the meeting will be to push for policies that preserve a two-state option at some point in the future.

Political tensions between the United States and Israel were strained again this week when Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Ran Baratz as his new government spokesman. Reports of Baratz’ Facebook posts calling President Obama anti-semitic and insulting Secretary of State John Kerry surfaced shortly after the appointment. Baratz has apologized for his comments and will not be part of the delegation traveling to Washington.

Cynthia McKinneyFormer 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, recent recipient of an earned doctorate degree and former Democratic member of Congress from Georgia, is shown in the photo at left and wrote the column below about sex scandal cover-up.

Dissident Voice, Why is FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Boiling over Former Speaker Hastert’s Plea Deal? , Nov. 6, 2015. She’s Launching a Campaign to Blow the Cover Off the Cover-Up! Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, founder of Boiling Frogs Post, is boiling mad these days and has launched a campaign to blow the cover off the cover-up of powerful criminals, including pedophiles, operating at the highest levels of the United States government. The abject failure of federal investigators, as well as the U.S. media, to cover the rest of the Hastert crimes is what upsets Edmonds today. What exactly were Hastert’s crimes and what was he indicted for?

Edmonds, a Farsi and Turkish language speaker, was hired by the FBI to translate wiretaps and other intelligence on targeted individuals. In the course of her duties, according to Edmonds, with her Top Secret clearance, she learned of treason, blackmail of Members of Congress, bribery, and other criminal activities, including pedophilia. When Edmonds reported the content of this intelligence to her superiors, she eventually was slapped with a “State Secrets” gag order and prohibited from talking about what she learned. She skirted that gag order by placing photographs online of the targeted individuals whose conversations she had translated, thereby discovering their criminal activities. [Edmonds recounted her experiences in the memoir Classified Woman.]

The renewal of Edmonds’s ire came as the former Speaker Hastert appeared in court defending himself against two felony accusations: one, that he withdrew cash from his bank account in a way to evade federal scrutiny and two, that he lied to investigators about the reason he was making the withdrawals. The media awkwardly reported Hastert’s clumsy situation; mentioning the indictment, even mentioning the “prior misconduct” against “Individual A,” while giving a complete pass on why “Individual A” was being paid $3.5 million by Hastert for hush money.

To be fair, the problem is not only the media’s, but mainly belongs to the federal investigators. Why on earth would a federal investigator examine only half of a crime? I’m sure a regular television news viewer must be left scratching her head trying to make sense of a narrative that just doesn’t make sense. Here, Hastert gets indicted for withdrawing his own money from his own bank account in order to hide something so valuable that it’s worth millions of dollars to Hastert to hide, yet not one day does the federal investigator even inquire what that might be. The indictment merely reads, “He had been withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reporting requirements because he wanted his agreement to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his past misconduct.”  Neither the Feds nor the indictment goes any further.

Middle East Eye, The sham Syrian peace conference, Gareth Porter, Nov. 6, 2015. It is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start. Now the price of Obama’s fateful political-diplomatic strategy is a sham peace conference that misleads the rest of the world about the lack of any realistic solution to the war.

Politico, Source: Key Clinton emails did not contain highly classified secrets, Josh Gerstein, Nov. 6, 2015. 'The initial determination was based on a flawed process,' a source says. The U.S. intelligence community Hillary Clintonhas retreated from claims that two emails in Hillary Clinton’s private account contained top-secret information, a source familiar with the situation told Politico. After a review, intelligence agencies concluded that the two emails did not include highly classified intelligence secrets, the source said.

Concerns about the emails' classification helped trigger an ongoing FBI inquiry into Clinton's private email setup. Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III made the claim that two of the emails contained top-secret information; the State Department publicly stated its disagreement and asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s office to referee the dispute. Now, that disagreement has been resolved in State’s favor, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. A spokesman for Clapper said the review of the emails has not been completed. "ODNI has made no such determination and the review is ongoing," Clapper spokesman Brian Hale said., 35 House War Opponents Push for Vote on ISIS War, Jason Ditz, Nov. 6, 2015. New Letter Cites Syria Deployment as a 'Significant Escalation.'  A bipartisan group of U.S. Rep. Walter Jonesmembers of the House of Representatives have issued an open letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R – WI), calling for a vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS, citing “deepening entanglement” in the conflict by President Obama. Under the War Powers Act, the president must seek Congressional approval for any overseas military operation within 60 days. The launching of the war against ISIS in summer of 2014 put that vote in the middle of a mid-term election, and most Congressional leaders on both sides simply chose to ignore the law. Over a year later, the president made only one token effort to get an AUMF through, and that died when the White House openly bragged they made the wording so vague it would allow them to do basically anything they wanted. Without an authorization the war should’ve ended, instead it escalated.

One of the letter-signers is U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (shown in an official photo), a senior Republican representing the North Carolina district that is home to Fort Bragg. The new letter particularly draws attention to the recent White House announcement of ground troops being deployed to Syria, something previous AUMF attempts explicitly ruled out, saying this is a “significant escalation” of the war and proof that Congress needs to at some point vote on the matter., Proxy War: US, Russia Send Arms to Syrian Factions Meant to Target One Another, Jason Ditz, Nov.  6, 2015. Aid in Protracted Ground War Increasingly Involves Anti-Aircraft Missiles. As both Russia and the US escalate their respective wars in Syria, both nominally targeting ISIS primarily, they are each making much of their arms shipments to their allies in the nation, insisting those new influxes of arms will shift the long-stalled civil war in their favor. Yet increasingly in both cases, those arms shipments are including not only some ammunition and small arms useful for the drawn-out ground war, but anti-aircraft weapons which are of primary utility in targeting one another’s airplanes, adding to the evidence that the US and Russia are steaming headlong into a full-scale proxy war against one another in Syria.

Washington Post, Four U.S. spies who later led the CIA, Peter Finn, Nov. 6, 2015. In “Disciples,” Douglas Waller (shown at right) chronicles the World War II careers of four future CIA directors.  After reading Douglas Wallerjournalist Douglas Waller’s entertaining and richly detailed Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan (Simon & Schuster), it’s hard not to conclude that all great lives in espionage end in tragedy. The tenaciousness, the risk-taking, the cold-bloodedness and the towering self-confidence — the qualities that make a spymaster — eventually consume their carriers.

The disciples in this book are the four future CIA directors who served under William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan in the Office of Strategic Services, the American spy agency during World War II: Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby and William Casey. Waller is already the author of an accomplished biography of Donovan, and I came to this latest book with the slight suspicion that it might involve some clever repurposing. There is, of course, some cross-pollination, but “Disciples” stands on its own: a textured adventure story that emerges from Waller’s command of the archival material and his fluid writing style.

Dulles’s career ended on “a swampy beach along Cuba’s coast,” with the Bay of Pigs disaster. Helms wound up in federal court “striking a plea deal to avoid a felony conviction” for lying to Congress. Colby, in contrast, cooperated with Congress, turning over the “Crown Jewels,” a catalogue of CIA dirty tricks. For that he became “a pariah to many in his agency.” Casey was the subject of “accusation and ridicule” for the Iran-contra affair, the scandal that tarnished President Ronald Reagan as well as the agency Casey was trying to reinvigorate.

“They returned home, invigorated with high hopes, affected profoundly by their service in the OSS, determined to take up arms against communism in the way they had learned to wield those weapons against Nazism,” Waller writes. “It made it all the more tragic that their Cold War after the guns of Europe fell silent finished so badly for each of them.”

Peter Finn is the Washington Post’s national security editor and the co-author of “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book.”, CIA man assisted in the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 6, 2015. His name was Charles Briggs and he served as Executive Director of the Agency, which is the number Charles Briggsthree position in the agency’s hierarchy. His obituary in the Washington Post states: "A notable contribution was serving as liaison for the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, TX dedicated to the JFK Assassination." The CIA’s intervention in the creation of popular culture is not unprecedented – witness its support for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop -- but this episode of cultural production is especially intriguing. Presumably, Briggs was acting in a public affairs capacity in assisting with the creation of the Museum, not in an operational role. The CIA is a foreign intelligence agency and its charter charter forbids operations on U.S. soil. But even if the Briggs did act legally, his motivation still seems mysterious.

Nov. 5

President Obama gestures to senior staff 6-22-2015

President Obama makes a point to his senior staff during a meeting June 22, 2015 (White House photo)

Reuters via Huffington Post, U.S. Finally Reveals Specifics Of Massive Trade Deal, Staff report, Nov. 5, 2015. It is opposed by labor unions and many of Obama's fellow Democrats. The long-awaited text of a landmark U.S.-backed Pacific trade deal was released on Thursday, revealing the details of a pact aimed at freeing up commerce in 40 percent of the world's economy but criticized for its opacity. If ratified, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a legacy-defining achievement for U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration's pivot to Asia, aimed at countering China's rising economic and political influence. China has responded with its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed 16-nation free-trade area including India that would be the world's biggest such bloc, encompassing 3.4 billion people. But TPP, which will set common standards on issues ranging from workers' rights to intellectual property protection in 12 Pacific nations, was kept largely from public scrutiny, angering transparency advocates concerned over its broad implications.

New York Times, Elder Bush Says White House Aides Served His Son Badly, Peter Baker, Nov. 5, 2015. In a biography by Jon Meacham, former President George Bush calls Donald H. Rumsfeld an “arrogant fellow” and criticizes Dick Cheney, giving voice to sentiments many suspected he has privately harbored for years. After years of holding back, former President George Bush has finally broken his public silence about some of the key figures in his son’s administration, issuing scathing critiques of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In interviews with his biographer, Mr. Bush said that Mr. Cheney had built “his own empire” and asserted too much “hard-line” influence within George W. Bush’s White House in pushing for the use of force around the world. Mr. Rumsfeld, the elder Mr. Bush said, was an “arrogant fellow” who could not see how others thought and “served the president badly.”

Mr. Bush’s sharp assessments, contained in a biography by Jon Meacham to be published by Random House next week, gave voice to sentiments that many long suspected he had harbored but kept private until now. While he continued to praise his son, he did tell Mr. Meacham that the younger Mr. Bush was responsible for empowering Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and was at times too bellicose in his language. 

The biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, is coming out as the country is focused once again on the Bush family and its place in the American firmament. With Jeb Bush, Mr. Bush’s second son, struggling in his campaign for the White House, the family that has held the White House the longest in the modern age now faces the possibility that its time has passed.   

Reuters via Huffington Post, Russia Sends Missile Systems To Syria To Protect Military Forces, Jack Stubbs and Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Nov. 5, 2015. Russia has sent missile systems to Syria to protect its military forces there, the head of Russia's air force said on Thursday.Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said fighter jets could be hijacked in countries neighboring Syria and used to attack Russian forces. "We have calculated all possible threats. We have sent not only fighter jets, bombers and helicopters, but also missile systems," Bondarev told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "We must be ready."

OpEdNews, The "War On Terror" Is The Hoax Foundation Of The Police/Spy State, Paul Craig Roberts, The "war on terror" was a hoax. Americans were deceived by policymakers, who are pursuing a Paul Craig Robertshegemonic agenda. The American people were too trusting and too gullible and, consequently, Americans were easily betrayed by Washington and by the presstitute media. The consequences of the deceit, gullibility, and betrayal are horrendous for Americans, for millions of peoples in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine, and for Washington's European vassals. The consequences for Americans are an aborted Constitution, a police/spy state and rising resentment and hatred of America around the world.

The consequences for Washington's European vassals is that the millions of refugees from Washington's wars are now overrunning Europe, causing social and political discord and threatening the European political parties that enabled, and participated in, Washington's massive war crimes in eight countries. As for Americans, they seem to have settled into acquiescence to the brutal police/spy state that has crowded out freedom and democracy. But Americans could do something about it. It is a proven fact that the police/spy state rests on a foundation of lies and deceptions. Are the American people really such washed-up sheeple, such cowards, that they acquiesce to a police/spy state?

Wall Street Journal, US Allies To Boost Aid To Syria Rebels, Staff report, Nov. 5, 2015. The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said. The deliveries from the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia and other allied spy services deepen the fight between the forces battling in Syria, despite President Barack Obama’s public pledge to not let the conflict become a U.S.-Russia proxy war.

Kathleen Kane

Indicted Pennsylvania Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane refuses to resign and releases sexually explicit emails from officials and former officials (file photo from news conference).

AP via Huffington Post, Top Prosecutor Keeps Releasing Raunchy Emails, Stirring Further Scandal, Marc Levy, Nov. 5, 2015. The state attorney general has rejected calls for her resignation as she awaits trial.  Kathleen KaneFacing criminal charges, relieved of her law license and threatened with removal by the Legislature, Pennsylvania's attorney general seems to have decided that if she has to go, she's going to take others down with her. Since all three branches of state government began moving against her over the past year, Kathleen Kane (shown in a file photo) has released hundreds of sexually explicit or otherwise crude emails that had been sent or received by current or former public officials on their government accounts.

The tangled scandal has led to the downfall of a state environmental secretary and shamed a state police commissioner, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and several former top officials in the attorney general's office. Another high-court justice resigned after newspapers disclosed his involvement. Kane has threatened to release more, and the state Capitol is ablaze with speculation about whose emails may be next in the drip-drip-drip of disclosures. "It's a mess. It's just a freaking mess," said John Morganelli, the Northampton County district attorney and a Democrat who at one time supported Kane. "Accusations and counter-accusations. And it gets worse every day. It's like going into a war zone."

Kane, 49, was a little-known former assistant county prosecutor when she was elected attorney general in a landslide in 2012, becoming the first woman and first Democrat to win the office. Democrats embraced her as a rising star. On the campaign trail, she promised to investigate why it took her Republican predecessors three years to charge Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of sexually abusing boys, and whether politics played a role. After Kane took office, a special appointee concluded that the Sandusky case had not been dragged out for political reasons. But the inquiry unearthed a trove of office emails containing porn and jokes about women and minorities that many found offensive., AG Luther Strange: gambling case goes forward, despite order removing him from enforcing gambling laws, Charles J. Dean, Nov. 5, 2015. In his first reaction to an executive order by Gov. Robert Bentley that attempts to remove him from enforcing the state's anti-gambling laws, Attorney General Luther Strange said he has been assured the order will have no impact on pending gambling litigation. That pending case is a request by Strange to the state Supreme Court that an order of a circuit judge clearing the way for gambling to resume at VictoryLand Casino be stayed. Strange has also appealed the ruling by Circuit Judge William Shashy clearing the way for VictoryLand to reopen before the high court. Strange does not address whether Bentley has the authority to tell him what state laws he will or will not enforce.

The Intercept, Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 5, 2015. Leaked internal emails from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis — including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel. The emails also provide crucial context for understanding CAP’s controversial decision to host an event next week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That event, billed by CAP as “A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” will feature CAP President Neera Tanden and Netanyahu together in a Q&A session as they explore “ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.”

The emails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden (right), a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s and Lewis’ vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.

Nov. 4

Washington Post, Former State Department official to be sentenced for shooting illicit videos, Justin Jouvenal, Nov. 4, 2015. A former State Department official who prosecutors say crept around the back alleys of D.C. surreptitiously filming hundreds of videos of women in private moments inside their homes is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Daniel Rosen, 45, of the District, faces up to 11 years in prison for filming at least 25 women undressing, bathing, grooming and even having sex with partners between 2010 and 2014. Rosen pleaded guilty to 11 misdemeanor counts of stalking and voyeurism in July as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Prosecutors will seek a 5 1/2 year sentence Wednesday when Rosen appears before a D.C. Superior Court judge, citing the “extraordinary scope” of Rosen’s crimes which he often carried out under the guise of walking his dog, according to court documents. The activities of Rosen, once the director of counterterrorism plans, programs and policy for the State Department, were discovered in March after he was caught in an online sting carried out by Fairfax County police.

Washington Post, ‘Disgusting’ — or ‘sexy’ — image of Hillary Clinton adorns new anti-Clinton book, Justin Wm. Moyer, Nov. 4, 2015. Doug Henwood, contributing editor for the Nation, isn’t known for his Hillary Clintonnuanced political positions. From the far left of mainstream Democrats, he’s criticized Wall Street, the 1 percent, the “sharing” economy, the Washington Post, President Obama, and leading Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. So when Henwood released a new book last month about Clinton — My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency — arguing that “little trust can be placed in her campaign promises” and that she lacks “a meaningful program other than a broad fealty to the status quo,” it wasn’t surprising. What was: the striking image of Clinton holding a gun on the cover. While praised by some, others found it offensive.

Washington Post, How federal agents can kill someone and avoid prosecution, Wesley Lowery, Nov. 4, 2015. Families of people killed by police rarely see the officers taken to trial. It was supposed to be different for the children of Larry Jackson Jr.: The Austin police detective who shot and killed Jackson was scheduled to be tried this week for manslaughter. At the last minute, however, a judge dismissed the charges against the white detective, Charles Kleinert, ruling that he was acting as a member of a federal task force when he shot Jackson, an unarmed black man, in 2013. As a federal agent, the judge ruled, Kleinert is shielded from state prosecution. The ruling stunned Jackson’s family, whose attorney called it a “great civil rights injustice,” and dismayed the local prosecutor, who has vowed to appeal. Meanwhile, the case is shining a spotlight on a legal tactic rarely used in criminal cases, one that raises the question of when, if ever, a federal law enforcement officer can be charged with a crime for killing someone in the line of duty. The question is not theoretical: So far this year, federal officers have been involved in 33 fatal shootings nationwide, according to a Washington Post database tracking shootings by police — more than any state or local department.

Student Operated Press (SOP), JFK Case Clouded by Historic Mix-Up by Top Forensic Experts, John Canal, Nov. 4, 2015 (updated from 2013). For decades nothing has stoked the fires of controversy over whether or not there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK more than the conflicts pertaining to the medical evidence. While numerous eyewitnesses, for example, reported seeing an exit-like opening in the back of JFK`s head (BOH), which strongly suggested he was shot from the front, e.g. the infamous Grassy Knoll, three panels of forensic experts commissioned by the government in 1968, 1975, and in the late seventies concluded in concert, based mostly on certain autopsy photographs, that there had been no such exit-like BOH wound -- and, incredibly, that the recollections of the eyewitnesses were wrong.

All three aforementioned panels of forensic experts, none of whom had seen, much less examined, JFK`s body, incredibly discredited the reports of the autopsy doctors and other eyewitnesses who literally had held his body in their hands, basing their findings for the most part on certain photographs.

Nov. 3

New York Magazine, Is Ben Carson Running for President? Jonathan Chait, Nov. 3, 2015. On February 7, 2013, Ben Carson appeared at a National Prayer Breakfast, where he visibly annoyed President Obama by Ben Carson NPC Oct. 8, 2015delivering a right-wing speech denouncing Obamacare and cultural liberalism, and calling for a flat tax based on the biblical tithe. Conservatives, still devastated by Obama’s reelection, took delight in the appearance on the scene of a surprising new presidential antagonist, who until that point had no political profile.his professional experience has brought him into contact, is gibberish. 

The Week, Obama's catastrophic Syria folly, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Nov. 3, 2015. President Obama has broken lots of promises on foreign policy. And now, contrary to promises made in years past, the president is sending (a very limited number of) ground troops to support and advise rebel groups in Syria. The president's approach to the Middle East is hardly one of shirking cowardice, as his opponents often cast it. Instead, it is one of dangerous, thoughtless intervention. This broken promise — this increased intervention in Syria — is the most stupid and potentially ruinous foreign policy decision of Obama's presidency.

By sending special forces in this open way, Obama is involving America ever more deeply in the outcome of a civil war, where America's supposed allies — rebels who we are assured are "moderate" — have almost no chance of winning. It is a civil war in which Russia has involved itself on the side of an ally who can win: Syria's longtime dictator Bashar al-Assad. Obama has announced no other goal in this conflict beyond providing assistance to people we like. The New York Times also reported that Americans were sent not to win a conflict, but to bolster diplomatic efforts. How can this possibly be the rationale for risking American blood, treasure, and honor? If U.S. forces are not there to help win the war, then they are there only to prolong it — an immoral act that will exacerbate the refugee crisis already putting intolerable pressure on European political settlements.

ABC News, Ahmed Chalabi: Iraqi politician who pushed Bush to invade Iraq dies of a heart attack, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. Ahmed Chalabi, the smooth-talking Iraqi politician who pushed Washington to invade Iraq in 2003, has died of an apparent heart attack.

U.S. News & World Report, Bill: Give Cops Up to 10 Years in Prison for Warrantless Phone Tracking, Steven Nelson, Nov. 3, 2015. The maximum penalty 'is there as a deterrent,' the bill's co-sponsor says. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont say authorities should get a warrant before intercepting cellphone transmissions. Police officers and federal agents who track Americans' cellphones without a judge’s permission could face up to 10 years in prison if new bipartisan legislation becomes law. The Stingray Privacy Act, introduced Monday, would require authorities to get a warrant under most circumstances before using cell-site simulators. The devices, commonly known as Stingrays, imitate cell towers to acquire real-time location information and other data from nearby phones.

KHOU-TV and USA Today, Man killed for grabbing last piece of chicken, cops say, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. One man is dead Reinaldo Cardoso Riveraand another is accused of fatally stabbing him — all over a piece of chicken. Reinaldo Cardoso Rivera, 38, of Houston was charged late last week with murder in connection with the Friday death of Darwin Perez Gonzalez, 34, of Houston. Five men had been making dinner and drinking in an apartment in western Houston. But police said Rivera (Photo: Houston Police Department) became angry when Gonzalez took the last piece of chicken. An argument escalated into a fist fight. Rivera then stabbed Gonzalez, police said. Rivera later admitted to police that he had stabbed Gonzalez. Rivera, whose case file says he is not a U.S. citizen, was arrested, and is being held on $200,000 bond.

London Review of Books, Too Weak, Too Strong, Patrick Cockburn, Nov. 3, 2015. Patrick Cockburn reports regularly from the Middle East. He is the author of "The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the New Sunni Revolution," among other books. The military balance of power in Syria and Iraq is changing. The Russian air strikes that have been taking place since the end of September are strengthening and raising the morale of the Syrian army, which earlier in the year looked fought out and was on the retreat.

The drama of Russian military action, while provoking a wave of Cold War rhetoric from Western leaders and the media, has taken attention away from an equally significant development in the war in Syria and Iraq. This has been the failure over the last year of the US air campaign – which began in Iraq in August 2014 before being extended to Syria – to weaken Islamic State and other al-Qaida-type groups. By October the US-led coalition had carried out 7323 air strikes, the great majority of them by the US air force, which made 3231 strikes in Iraq and 2487 in Syria. But the campaign has demonstrably failed to contain IS, which in May captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. The US failure is political as much as military: it needs partners on the ground who are fighting IS, but its choice is limited because those actually engaged in combat with the Sunni jihadis are largely Shia. As a result the US can only use its air force in support of the Kurds.

BBC, Commons committee warns David Cameron against Syria vote, Staff report, Nov. 3, 2015. An influential Commons committee has urged David Cameron (shown in file photo) not to press ahead with a vote on UK air strikes David Cameronagainst Islamic State militants in Syria. The Foreign Affairs Committee -- which has a Conservative majority -- said the prime minister should instead focus on efforts to end Syria's civil war. It also raised concerns about the legal basis for any UK action. Downing Street has strongly denied reports Mr Cameron has abandoned plans for a vote altogether. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there had to be a political solution and he did not believe that "more bombing is going to help in this."

CNN, Caged and in danger: Syrian soldiers become human shields for rebels, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ed Payne, Nov. 3, 2015. Rebels are caging captured Syrian soldiers and others loyal to the regime and using them as human shields to fend off government attacks, Human Rights Watch and a Syrian opposition group reported. Videos posted to social media over the weekend show trucks transporting cages filled with up to eight men or women, the opposition Shaam News Network reported. "Rebels ... have distributed 100 cages, with each cage containing approximately seven people and the plan is afoot to produce 1,000 cages to distribute ... in different parts of Douma city, particularly in public places and markets that have been attacked in the past by the regime and Russian air-force," text in one of the videos says, according to the opposition network., Netanyahu Seeks $4.5 Billion-a-Year in US Arms, Jason Ditz, Nov. 3, 2015. Planned Billion Dollar Increase Not Enough for Israeli PM. Heading to Washington for a Benjamin Netanyahu smile Twitterhigh-profile visit next week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is once again bringing a substantial wishlist of military gear. That was not wholly unexpected, as plans are to announce a $1 billion annual increase to the US aid budget to Israel.

That may not be enough, however. Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said the visit was going to see Netanyahu laying out what is necessary to “deter Iran,” and that it is going to cost America $4.5 billion annually. The current aid budget is around $3.1 billion, and the planned hike was to get it in the range of $4-$4.1 billion per year. This hike in annual spending will be above and beyond the multi-billion dollar one-off military aid package the US is planning to give to Israel as “reparations” for the international nuclear deal with Iran. Israel is said to be trying to avoid talks on this aid until after the annual deal is finalized, likely to avoid asking for things they were going to get anyhow.

Washington Post, Nearly 2,000 wild horses sent to slaughterhouse instead of pasture after government sale, probe says, Lisa Rein, Nov. 3, 2015. A federal watchdog found that the Bureau of Land Management, which must only sell wild horses to good homes, broke its own rules.

Shadowproof, Letter from Leavenworth: Chelsea Manning on Struggle to Be Herself in Military Prison, Kevin Gosztola, Nov. 3, 2015. Chelsea Manning and Kevin Gosztola exchanged letters in September and October during and just after she was punished by the Army for having expired toothpaste and LGBTQ literature. The first round of letters appears below. The second round of letters will be published Nov. 10.

Washington Post, In lawsuits over police shootings, some families get millions. Some get nothing, Marc Fisher, Scott Higham, Derek Hawkins, Kat Downs, Ted Mellnik and Matt Callahan, Nov. 3, 2015. Society is loath to convict cops, so civil court is often the best place for families to seek justice for improper shootings. But awards in such cases vary widely.

Nov. 2

New York Times, In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System,’ Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, Nov. 2, 2015. Forced individual arbitration often bears little resemblance to court: The rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries are replaced by arbitrators whose rulings are difficult to appeal.

Recep ErdoganNational Press Club, Club calls on Turkish government to protect press freedom, John Hughes, Nov. 2, 2015. The National Press Club is deeply concerned the Oct. 28 raid on the Koza-Ipek media group in Ankara is politically motivated and is another sign of the deteriorating press freedom in Turkey. An Ankara court recently ordered the seizure of the company's assets as part of an ongoing investigation that accuses it of financing terrorism and promoting terrorism propaganda.

“This isn't the first time the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [shown above in a file photo] has clamped down on news media in the country,” said NPC President John Hughes. “We are deeply concerned this pattern shows a continued disregard for a free and independent press that are cornerstones of democracy and a civil society.” The Koza-Ipek media group is linked to Fethullah Gulen, a political rival of Erdogan. After Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in June in a general election the government called for a snap election set for Nov. 1. Since then however, the Intercept reports at least 40 journalists have been detained. That's a sixfold increase compared to last year in a country where press freedom has already been a concern for international observers.

OpEdNews, Erdogan Gang Heist: Election Fraud in Turkey, Michael Collins, Nov. 2, 2015. The Erdoğan gang, also known as the AK Party (AKP), stole the snap elections held in Turkey on Nov. 1. This was a Flag of Turkeymake-or-break election for Turkish President Recep ErdogŸan. Any outcome other than single party rule by the AKP threatened ErdogŸan with prosecution for well-documented financial crimes and support for terrorists in Syria. Against the record of recent elections and against public opinion polling results, AKP increased it vote share over the June elections just enough to assure an absolute majority in parliament. The would-be Sultan was saved, at least for now. The implications for Turkey are profound. The lessons learned about the decline of the rulers and elites in Europe and the United States are of great interest as well.

To believe that ErdogŸan's AKP won the election, you need to believe the following: AKP party support increased 16% above the public opinion poll predictions and 20% over the June general election total.  The two-week period to the election when public polling is legally banned should have held the AKP at its high point of 42% or degraded its support somewhat. A clear majority of Turkish citizens oppose Turkey's support for Syrian rebels, including ISIS. Two public events were bombed killing nearly 200 HDP (Kurdish party) demonstrators. Both of these bombings were linked to ISIS, the worst of the Syrian rebel factions supported by the ErdogŸan gang. How can a party gain 20% in two weeks when its policies, support for Syrian rebels, came home in the form of terrorist bombings?

Sputnik News, Russian airliner rules out human, technical error in crash, Andrew Roth, Erin Cunningham and Daniela Deane, Nov. 2, 2015. The crash that killed 224 people could not have been caused by bad fuel or engine failure, as neither would have led to the plane's midair breakup over Egypt on Saturday, the official said.

Jerusalem Post, What’s Syrian about the Syrian war? Hakim Khatib, Nov. 2, 2015. After five years of the Syrian civil war, four conflicting parties can be identified on the ground: the Assad regime, Islamic State, Syria's Flagrebel groups and the Kurds. Each of these conflicting parties has regional and international backers, who ironically do not agree with each other about who they are fighting for or against. The Syrian regime is backed by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Iraqi militias. Islamic State (IS) is backed by the flood of global jihadists from all over the world. Rebel groups are backed by Gulf States, Turkey, Jordan and the US. The Kurds are supported by the US. The war has been waged in Syria, it’s true, leading to over 50 percent of Syria’s population being displaced, over 220,000 killed and many more wounded or imprisoned. According to Amnesty International, more than 12.8 million Syrians are in “urgent need of humanitarian assistance.” In addition to this humanitarian catastrophe, most of Syria’s infrastructure has been destroyed.

By 2014, foreign jihadists fighting in Syria were estimated to number between 10,000 and 12,000, with more than 3,000 coming from Western countries. Accompanied by constant calls from mainly non-Syrian, Sunni clergymen for “material and moral” support for the Syrian rebels, thousands of foreign fighters flood into Syria for jihad every year. Not a single Syrian citizen has been left unaffected by the crisis; Syria is the site of a bloody war with no prospect of reconciliation in sight. So what is Syrian about the Syrian war? Perhaps, it is only the humanitarian catastrophe.

The Intercept, A New Biography Traces the Pathology of Allen Dulles and His Appalling Cabal, Jon Schwarz, Nov. 2, 2015. As I read The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret David Talbot "The Devil's Chessboard" Dulles Book coverGovernment, a new book by Salon founder David Talbot, I couldn’t help thinking of an obscure corner of 1970s history: the Safari Club. Dulles — the Princeton man and white shoe corporate lawyer who served as CIA director from 1953 to 1961, still the longest tenure in agency history — died in 1969 before the Safari Club was conceived. And nothing about it appears in The Devil’s Chessboard. But to understand the Safari Club is to understand Allen Dulles and his milieu. Any normal person would likely hear the Safari Club saga as a frightening story of totally unaccountable power. But if there’s one thing to take away from The Devil’s Chessboard, it’s this: Allen Dulles would have seen it differently — as an inspiring tale of hope and redemption.

Because what the Safari Club demonstrates is that Dulles’ entire spooky world is beyond the reach of American democracy. Even the most energetic post-World War II attempt to rein it in was in the end as effective as trying to lasso mist. And today we’ve largely returned to the balance of power Dulles set up in the 1950s. As Jay Rockefeller said in 2007 when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Don’t you understand the way intelligence works? Do you think that because I’m chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say ‘I want it, give it to me’? They control it. All of it. All of it. All the time.”

New York Times, New U.S.-Backed Alliance to Counter ISIS in Syria Falters, Ben Hubbard, Nov. 2, 2015. Weeks after the Obama administration canceled a failed Pentagon program to train and arm Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State, American officials announced a new effort to equip newly named ground forces in Syria to fight the jihadists. But 10 days of interviews and front-line visits across northern Syria with many of the forces in the alliance made clear that so far it exists in name only, and that the political and logistical challenges it faces are daunting. Beyond the early logistical factors, the new alliance faces what is perhaps a more serious challenge in the long term: Though it is intended to begin clawing back territory from the Islamic State in mostly Arab areas, nearly all of the group’s fighting power comes from ethnic Kurdish militias. That demographic reality is likely to further alarm Turkey, a vital American ally that considers Kurdish autonomy near its southern border a security threat. It also limits the forces’ ability to strike the jihadists in predominantly Arab communities — Kurdish fighters have less motivation to fight for those areas, and could deeply anger residents by doing so.

WhoWhatWhy, GMO Makers, Their Puppets in Academia, and The New York Times, Jonathan Latham, Nov. 2, 2015. Monsanto et al Mislead Public Using Every Trick in the Book.

Nov. 1


Turkey Election Results Nov. 1, 2015 Anadolu Agency

Turkey Election Results Nov. 1, 2015 Anadolu Agency

BBC, Turkey election: Ruling AKP regains majority, Staff report, Nov. 1, 2015. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won a critical parliamentary election, regaining the majority it lost in June. With almost all ballots counted, state-run Anadolu Agency said AKP had won 49.4% of the vote, with the main opposition CHP on 25.4%. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the result was a "victory for our democracy and our people." The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold needed to claim seats. The nationalist MHP will also take seats in Ankara. Polls had indicated the AKP would received only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

Attempts to form a coalition government after the June election failed. With almost all of the results counted, the AKP is set to win substantially more than the 276 seats needed to win a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own. However, it will fall just short of the amount of seats needed to call a referendum on changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the president, AKP founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The AKP's opponents had said the vote was a chance to curb what it sees as the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of Mr. Erdogan.

Washington Post, Russian official says airliner broke up in midair over Sinai, Erin Cunningham, Nov. 1, 2015. It was too early to tell what caused the plane to break apart and crash, killing all 224 aboard, the official said. Egyptians, meanwhile, are examining the two flight data recorders for clues to the cause of the crash.

AP via Huffington Post, Hundreds of Cops Kicked Off Force for Committing Sex Crimes, Matt Sedensky and Nomaan Merchant,  Nov. 1, 2015. In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, the Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.

The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action. California and New York - with several of the nation's largest law enforcement agencies - offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct. And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records. How many law enforcement officers are accused of sexual misconduct has no definitive answer. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, which collects police data from around the country, doesn't track officer arrests, and states aren't required to collect or share that information.

To measure the problem, the AP obtained records from 41 states on police decertification, an administrative process in which an officer's law enforcement license is revoked. Cases from 2009 through 2014 were then reviewed to determine whether they stemmed from misconduct meeting the Department of Justice standard for sexual assault - sexual contact that happens without consent, including intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.

Tikun, Pro-Israel Hedge Fund Billionaire, Paul Singer, Buys Large Stake in Rubio Inc., Richard Silverstein, Nov. 1, 2015. Sheldon Adelson and Marco Rubio (in an official photo) have been seen snuggling together for months now. The Marco Rubio officialGuardian reports the casino magnate is poised to buy his first stake in Rubio Inc. Rubio needs billionaires to ride to the GOP presidential nomination and Adelson is looking for a pro-Israel horse to ride to victory the sweepstakes. After this week’s dismal debate performance by Jeb Bush and Rubio’s supposedly cool-as-ice performance, another critical pro-Israel billionaire donor is laying his bet down on the Florida contender. Paul Singer, founder of the hedge fund powerhouse, Elliott Management, and largest individual donor to GOP election races, has gone “all in” on Rubio. To give a sense of the king of Republican bundlers prowess, he’s the third largest individual donor ($11.5-million) among all contributors to either party in 2014. And that’s just counting how own money and not the bundling he does by schnorring from his partners and other Wall Street vultures.

This means two things: Jeb Bush is dead meat. And Marco Rubio will likely (but not necessarily) be the eventual GOP nominee. If he is, we can expect more of the same sort of slavish pro-Israelism we saw in Newt Gingrich (Adelson’s early favorite) and Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign. But we shouldn’t expect much pushback from the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, because Haim Saban has bought a majority stake in Hillary Inc. Saban, is very well-connected and engaged in active Inside the Beltway machinations, will ensure Hillary will toe a pro-Israel line. In a Hillary-Rubio matchup my money is on Hillary. Rubio is a callow, empty suit. While he has moxie in spades, he has no gravitas, no mastery of any issues. He has a good backstory, child of immigrants makes good, which is what appeals to Adelson (who prides himself on his own Horatio Alger story). But a campaign and presidency needs more than a backstory.



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Ready For Freedom?

Nov. 18 In Hartford, CT

The free conference Ready for Freedom? will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Hartford Public Library. Moderated by syndicated columnist and Cool Justice author Andy Thibault, the panelists address "Life After Prison In Connecticut." Experts include State Corrections Commissioner Scott Semple, Judge Robert J. Devlin, Jr., Bonnie Foreshaw, Deb Rogala, Robin Cullen, Gary Roberge, and the Rev. Jeff Grant. Click for details.


Ready for Freedom? Conference in Hartford Nov. 18, 2015 

Urge Presidential Pardon

For Secret Service Officer

Abraham Bolder (recent)Please ask President Obama to pardon Abraham Bolden, the first African American to serve on the White House detail guarding a president. Now 80, he was framed on corruption charges as he tried to warn the Warren Commission about security threats to President Kennedy, who had invited him to break the color barrier on the White House staff. Details of the injustice are in many places, including well-regarded historical books, his own 2008 memoir, The Echo from Dealey Plaza, and JIP coverage, which includes an update on his exemplary life since serving his harsh, unjustified five-year sentence under horrible conditions.

Emails on his behalf addressed to President Obama can be brief, and can be coordinated for delivery via the University Justice Coalition.


2015 JFK Murder Events

John F. Kennedy SmilingNovember

JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, Nov. 20-22, Adolphus Hotel, Dallas, TX. Details.

JFK Historical Group's Annual JFK Assassination Conference, Nov. 20-22, Crown Plaza Hotel, Dallas. Among speakers: JIP Director Andrew Kreig. Details.

Reopen Kennedy Case, Nov. 21-22, Mercure, Melbourne, Australia. Sponsor:


Civil Rights Film Premiere

More Than A Bus Ride (Shown at the Alabama Archives and History Department in Montgomery on Dec. 3, 2015).

This portrays the civil rights struggle for justice in the Montgomery bus strike against segregation from 1955-56. Produced by William Dickerson-Waheed. Featuring: Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Sue McDonald, Mary L. Smith, Charles Langford, Fred Gray, Sr. This film profiles a fascinating, courageous group of female icons and their lawyers fighting discrimination.






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. Siegelman is shown above with his wife (at center), son and daughter. He was re-imprisoned at age 67 in September 2012 in Louisiana.

The Project has extensively documented injustice here. For background, see the official site by his supporters and our recent column.

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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