June 2015 News Reports

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Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative June 2015 news and views

June 30

Washington Post, With court approval, NSA resumes bulk collection of phone data, Ellen Nakashima, June 30, 2015. A secret surveillance court says the government can resume collection for a 180-day transition period. The National Security Agency on Tuesday restarted its bulk collection of Americans’ phone records for a temporary period, following a federal court ruling this week that gave it the green light. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Monday ruled that the NSA could resume gathering millions of Americans’ phone metadata — call times, dates and durations — to scan for links to foreign terrorists. [Court’s opinion.] But the resumption is good for only 180 days — or until Nov. 29, in compliance with the USA Freedom Act. That law, which President Obama signed June 2 after a contentious congressional debate, will end the government’s bulk collection of metadata. It provided, however, for a transition period to allow the NSA time to set up an alternative system in which the data is stored by the phone companies. After the law took effect, the government immediately applied to the surveillance court to restart its collection. Because Congress passed the bill a day after the underlying statute authorizing the NSA program had expired, there was a question as to whether lawmakers had authorized the government’s temporary harvesting of phone records.

Huffington Post, Fire At Black Church In South Carolina Is Latest In String Of Blazes At Places Of Worship, Andrew Hart, June 30, 2015. A fire broke out at a prominent black church in South Carolina on Tuesday night, the latest in a series of blazes at places of worship in the South that serve the African-American community. The Greeleyville church had previously burned down by arsonists 20 years ago.

Center for Public Integrity, Gridlocked elections watchdog goes two years without top lawyer, Dave Levinthal, June 30, 2015. FEC's inaction hamstrings enforcement process, critics say. The Federal Election Commission, a bipartisan agency charged with enforcing and administering the nation’s campaign laws, will next month zoom past a fairly preposterous milestone given its mission: two years without anyone leading its nonpartisan legal office. Such a power vacuum persists amid what will assuredly become the longest and most expensive presidential race in U.S. history, with candidates of all political persuasions waltzing along the increasingly blurry boundaries of what’s legal during federal elections and what’s not. The general counsel stalemate is emblematic of the FEC's broader ideological cold war with itself. Three FEC employees familiar with the general counsel hiring process tell the Center for Public Integrity that conservative commissioners insist on a person who reliably supports political actors’ ability to campaign with minimal restrictions. Liberals, for their part, refuse to back someone who won’t press for a more tightly regulated election environment.

WLIS-AM / WMRD-AM News / Connecticut, Point to ponder on South Caroline Shootings: Has anyone asked about the medication? Phil Mikan, June 29, 2015. Yet another full-fledged moment of madness and Phil Mikan Showthe world watches in wide eyed disbelief …. People in a prayer group are shot down as they tried to bring their reality of God’s world to their reality. This young white man, like the last “17,” was probably on high-octane drugs that have a side effect of causing strange madness to the users. We saw it in Sandy Hook, the Denver movie house, and on and on. The drug companies try and minimize major reactions to drugs by saying they are not normal or frequent, just something that might possible happen. Do you believe that? Every early photo released by the media of these young men show them to look out there, disconnected, and out of touch, out there on another planet. Yet no one questions the drugs. They attack the guns. Note: Long time Connecticut broadcaster Phil Mikan  scheduled the editor of the Justice Integrity Project July 1 to discuss the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Washington Post, Bush tax forms show income of $29 million since 2007, Ed O'Keefe, Matea Gold and David A. Fahrenthold, June 30, 2015. Jeb Bush has made more than $29 million since he left the Florida governor’s Jeb Bush office in 2007 — vastly increasing his wealth through a combination of speaking fees, corporate board memberships, investments and a consulting contract with a global bank that paid $2 million a year. That income was detailed in 33 years of tax returns that Bush, now a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, published online Tuesday evening. The campaign also said Bush is worth between $19 million and $22 million — at least 14 times as much as when he left office in Florida. The tax returns, which Bush’s campaign said were the most ever released by a candidate, were intended to show how transparent the candidate is willing to be — and in the process to set up a contrast with Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Still, the information Bush released, though vast, was incomplete. Wayne Madsen Report comment: Bush does not release returns from 1977, '78, and '79 when he was Texas Commerce Bank's top dog in Caracas.

 

Barack and Michelle Obama with Bush family May 31, 2014 WH Photo

The Obama and Bush families are shown dining together in a White House file photo taken in May 2014.

OpEdNews, The American Worker: Crushed Again by the Overwhelming Power of Corporatism, Michael Payne, June 30, 2015. The American worker, already hemorrhaging from corporate administered beatings over several decades, has just received what may be a knockout punch by President Obama and his team of corporate bullies who have combined their power to successfully force Fast Track legislation for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) through Congress. If this TPP gets fully approved and its provisions are put into effect as planned then it has the potential to open up large new markets in Asia for U.S. corporations. But does anyone believe that these corporations are going to take this opportunity to hire American workers? You can bet that they will hire more overseas ultra-cheap labor in various countries; and when they produce and then sell these slave-manufactured products across these new markets their profits will reach new highs; the sky is the limit for these masters of Corporatism and they have this president to thank for this great gift.

An American president who truly loved his country and its people would have done everything in his power to stop the continued dismemberment of this most important foundation of America that has seen the closure of some 70,000 factories in the last 14 years. He and his predecessor G.W. Bush did no such thing. {The Obama and Bush families are shown dining together in a White House file photo.] And all the while this has been going on the "servants of the people" in this Congress have looked the other way. All of them should hang their heads in shame.

Did we hear President Obama go before the American people and explain what this TPP is all about? Did he take extra pains to tell the American workers that this agreement will create new jobs here in this country and that they should have no reason to fear it? He did not because he knows it will not happen. He explained nothing; the entire process was secretive; everything in it was developed by this president and the corporations of America behind closed doors.

Townhall.com, Are Key Republican Leaders in D.C. Being Blackmailed? Wayne Allyn Root, June 30, 2015. Are key Republican leaders in D.C. from the Senate, House and Supreme Court being blackmailed? Tell me you haven’t thought the exact same thing? Something is very wrong. Something smells rotten in DC. Think 2 words: Dennis Hasert. Somehow the government knew he was taking his own money out of his own bank account. I didn’t even know that was a crime warranting an interview by the FBI. But this government knew. That’s because they know everything. They are watching everything we do, everything we say, text, email, take out of our bank accounts. Why is all that important? Because if you only use that information against the key members of one party, you control the country. Ask Dennis Hasert. Ask General David Petreaus- they knew he was having an affair. Now he has a criminal record.

TPM, Jeb Bush Will Release 33 Years Of Personal Tax Returns, Staff report, June 30, 2015. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush plans Tuesday to release 33 years of his personal income tax returns, including before and after his two terms as Florida governor. Campaign spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger says Bush's decision "is consistent with the high level of disclosure he has practiced during his life in public office." Bush aides contend the information is more than any previous presidential candidate. The voluntary disclosure also is aimed at drawing a contrast with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. She has filed the filed the financial disclosure form required by the Federal Election Commission for presidential candidates but has not made public her tax returns, a more precise record of income.

Fox News, At least 1,200 inmates escape as Yemen fighting intensifies near prison, June 30, 2015. A Yemeni security official says some 1,200 inmates fled a prison in a southwestern city after guards deserted their posts amid fierce fighting between Shiite rebels and their opponents. The official says the Tuesday jailbreak in Taiz came after the city's main prison was caught in crossfire between southerners fighting for autonomy or outright independence and the rebels, known as Houthis, who are backed by army units loyal to a former president. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. It was the third major jailbreak in Yemen since a Saudi-led air campaign against the rebels began on March 26. The Iran-backed rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, last September and control much of the country's north

June 29

WGBH News (Boston), What Happens When A Judge Decides He's On The Prosecution's Side? Harvey Silverglate, June 29, 2015. The Boston Marathon bombing has produced much wreckage – personal as well as Harvey Silverglateinstitutional. Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, is the author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. When a judge views his position on the bench as an adjunct to law enforcement rather than a referee over the police authorities’ adherence to the rule of law, it’s time for him to get another job. Failing that, a conscientious judge should at least remove himself from a case ("recuse himself,” in legal jargon) when he feels that his role as neutral arbiter of justice is in danger of being compromised.

Khairullozhon Matanov (Facebook)A recent Boston Globe report by Milton Valencia, published the day after the sentencing of Khairullozhon Matanov (shown in a Facebook photo), provides sufficient grounds for questioning the ability of U.S. District Judge William Young to provide neutral justice in “terrorism” cases, particularly those growing out of the Boston Marathon bombing. The attack on our city’s iconic event has tested our society’s ability to apply the fabled “rule of law” with sufficient objectivity, as evidenced by Judge Young’s own words. Valencia reported that when Judge Young sentenced Matanov to a rather lengthy 30 months in prison for misleading, rather than cooperating with, FBI agents investigating the Boston Marathon bombing, Young “huffed” the following admonition to the now 24-year-old defendant: “All we asked you was to give us a hand. All we wanted was for you to help us out, and you didn’t do that.” [Emphasis added.]

The Washington Post, Justices rule 5-4 that independent panels can draw election district lines, Robert Barnes, June 29, 2015. The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that independent U.S. Surempremecommissions may draw electoral district lines. The case arose after Arizona voters opposed to congressional gerrymandering had taken the power away from state legislators. Arizona voters tried to take care of the problems themselves in 2000, when they turned over redistricting to an independent commission. But Republicans who control the legislature say the Constitution gives them the right to draw congressional districts, and they cannot be cut out of the power.

Huffington Post, Supreme Court Blocks Restrictions On Texas Abortion Clinics, Laura Bassett, June 29, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Monday to stay a recent lower court ruling that would have shuttered all but nine abortion clinics in Texas. The high court will allow the clinics to remain open while it decides whether to hear an appeal over a Texas law that requires all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers -- essentially, mini-hospitals. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined with his four liberal colleagues — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — to keep the clinics afloat. Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservatives Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opposed the stay. A wave of new abortion restrictions in Texas has already forced roughly half of the state's 41 clinics to shut down over the past four years. If the new law regulating clinics is allowed to go into effect, the number of abortion providers will dwindle to just nine, concentrated in four urban, higher-income areas of the state.

Atlantic, A Former Israeli Ambassador Takes Aim at Obama — and American Jewry, Jeffrey Goldberg, June 29, 2015. The historian and Knesset member Michael Oren accuses the president of distancing the U.S. from Israel, and calls out left-wing Jews and Israel’s Jewish critics in the American press. Goldberg: For four decades, successive Israeli governments have publicly rejected American demands to stop planting settlements on the West Bank. A president comes along who makes the traditional American case with a bit more alacrity, and all of a sudden the sky is falling. It is Israel’s policy of continued settlement in the West Bank — settlement that endangers the two-state solution, and therefore Israel’s future as a democracy and as a haven for the Jewish people — that puts daylight between Jerusalem and Washington, not a president who calls Israel out for its settlement policy.

June 28

Daily Beast, Turkey Plans to Invade Syria, But to Stop the Kurds, Not ISIS, Thomas Seibert, June 28, 2015. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning a military intervention into northern Syria to prevent Syrian Recep Tayyip ErdoganKurds from forming their own state there despite concerns among his own generals and possible criticism from Washington and other NATO allies. The Turkish military is not enthusiastic and Washington may have its doubts, but President Erdogan (shown in a file photo) appears determined to set up a buffer zone. Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria following gains by Kurdish fighters against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in recent weeks. The reports said up to 18,000 soldiers would be deployed to take over and hold a strip of territory up to 30 kilometers deep and 100 kilometers long that is held by ISIS.  There has been speculation about a Turkish military intervention ever since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. Ankara has asked the United Nations and its Western allies to give the green light to create a buffer zone and a no-fly area inside Syria.

 

 

CIA Secret Prisons Creative Commons (Open Society Foundation)

Countries involved in the CIA Extraordinary Rendition and Detention Program according to a 2013 Open Society Foundation

FireDogLake, New Evidence on CIA Medical Torture, Jeff Kayem June 28, 2015. Recently, U.S. authorities allowed the declassification of notes from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) attorney Wells Dixon that CIA Logodescribed what his client, high-value detainee Majid Khan, told him about his torture at the hands of the CIA. Khan, a Pakistan citizen, is currently at Guantanamo, and awaits trial by military commission. Dixon has described the hideous torture of his client, which comes on the heels of revelations in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence executive summary of their report on the CIA’s torture program. According to a CCR press release on Khan’s torture, CIA doctors onsite were among the “worst torturers.” Both Reuters and CCR have noted how doctors would check Khan’s condition, ignore his appeals for help, and send him back into extreme forms of torture.

Washington Post, Jeb Bush dogged by questions on business deals, Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Tom Hamburger, June 28, 2015. Decades of records and interviews present a picture of a man who, before he became Florida Jeb Bush governor, often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment.

Washington Post, Puerto Rico says it can’t pay more than $70 billion in debt, Michael Fletcher, June 28, 2015. A default on the island’s massive debts could roil the stock and municipal bond markets and raise borrowing costs for state and local governments. Puerto Rico’s move could roil financial markets already dealing with the Puerto Ricoturmoil of the renewed debt crisis in Greece. It also raises questions about the once-staid municipal bond market, which states and cities count on to pay upfront costs for public improvements such as roads, parks and hospitals. For many years, those bonds were considered safe investments — but those assumptions have been shifting in recent years as a small but steady string of U.S. municipalities, including Detroit, as well as Stockton and Vallejo in California, have tumbled into bankruptcy.

Washington Post, Greece’s crisis has almost reached the point of no return, Matt O'Brien, June 28, 2015. What's going on in Greece and why it matters. At some point, the unthinkable Greekbecomes the inevitable. That moment — leaving the eurozone — may be coming for Greece now that its latest bailout battle with Europe has degenerated into the fiscal equivalent of trench warfare. It's bad enough that Greece's ruling party, Syriza, has resorted to calling a referendum next Sunday on whether or not they should accept Europe's terms. If Greece votes Yes, there would probably be new elections and another bailout. But if Greece votes No, it would probably have to ditch the euro and bring back its old currency, the drachma. In the meantime, though, Athens is closing the country's banks, and preventing people from moving much money abroad in a capitulation to the panic gripping its financial system. That became its only option after the European Central Bank announced on Sunday that it wouldn't approve any more emergency loans to Greece's banks. Now it might be hard to believe, but Greece and Europe really aren't that far apart on a deal.

June 27

New York Times, Greek Debt Crisis Intensifies as Extension Request Is Denied, Jams Kanter and Jim Yardley, June 27, 2015. Europe’s long standoff over Greece’s debt moved into an unpredictable stage on Saturday, with tensions reaching their highest levels yet and the risk growing rapidly that Greece could crash out of the European currency. On a hectic, fast-moving day, eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels rejected Greece’s request to extend its existing bailout program past a Tuesday deadline.

New York Post, Photos surface of NYT editors re-enacting massacres, Keith J. Kelly, June 23, 2015. Old photos of top New York Times editors and journalists on the foreign news desk re-enacting grizzly death scenes as part of an annual summer tradition surfaced recently and are causing some major embarrassment in the present day. The photos were apparently posted by Anne Cronin on a New York Times alumni forum, where Gawker found them and then posted them on its site. Cronin, now in Bloomberg’s Washington bureau, did not return emails or calls. One photo from June 2001 shows current Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal when he was a foreign news editor presiding over a re-enactment of a deadly Nepal royal murder spree. Rosenthal is seen holding a mock M-16 over the dying foreign news desk scribes. In an earlier photo, the paper’s future Executive Editor Bill Keller is seen re-enacting the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide from 1997, with journalists from the foreign desk adopting fake death poses on the floor.  “These photos are in poor taste, not reflective of the values of he New York Times and deeply regrettable,” NYT’s publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr told Gawker in a statement. Schulzberg [sic] is also the chairman of the paper’s owner. 

New York Times Andrew Rosenthal poses re-enact 2001 Nepalese royal massacre Screengrab/Gawker

New York Times opinion editor Andrew Rosenthal poses with a toy M-16 to re-enact the Nepalese royal massacre with colleagues. Photo: Screengrab/Gawker

June 26

The Atlantic, Gay Marriage Is Now a Constitutional Right in the United States of America, Emma Green, June 26, 2015. The first line of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, on the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States, is as breathtaking as it is legalistic. The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. The Court’s opinion — authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic who has long been seen as the possible swing vote on gay marriage, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, and with four separate dissents authored and joined by combinations of  Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas — lists four major reasons for its decision.

Time Magazine, Gary Hart: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption, Gary Hart, June 26, 2015. Gary Hart is a former United States senator and presidential candidate and the author of 21 books. This essay is excerpted from his latest book, The Republic of Conscience

Can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.

What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class. Worst of all, the army of lobbyists that started relatively small in the mid-twentieth century has now grown to big battalions of law firms and lobbying firms of the right, left, and an amalgam of both. And that gargantuan, if not reptilian, industry now takes on board former members of the House and the Senate and their personal and committee staffs. And they are all getting fabulously rich.

This development in recent years has been so insidious that it now goes without notice. The key word is not quid-pro-quo bribery, the key word is access. In exchange for a few moments of the senator’s time and many more moments of her committee staff’s time, fund-raising events with the promise of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars are delivered. Corruption in a federated republic such as ours operates vertically as well as horizontally. Seeing how business is conducted in Washington, it did not take long for governors of both parties across the country to subscribe to the special-interest state. Both the Republican and Democratic governors’ associations formed “social welfare” organizations composed of wealthy interests and corporate executives to raise money for their respective parties in exchange for close, personal access to individual governors, governors who almost surely could render executive decisions favorable to those corporate interests.

A series of judicial decisions enabled these “social welfare” groups, supposedly barred from political activity, to channel virtually unlimited amounts of money to governors in exchange for access, the political coin of the realm in the corrupted republic, and to do so out of sight of the American people.

AFP via New York Times, Russia: Diplomat Rejects U.N. Tribunal on Malaysian Jet Shot Down in Ukraine, Staff report, June 26, 2015. A senior Russian official rejected calls Friday for the establishment of a United Nations tribunal to try those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine last year. The Netherlands, Malaysia and three other countries want a tribunal to investigate the crash in July 2014 that killed all 298 passengers and crew members. The passenger jet was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down during some of the worst fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

June 25

New York Times, In Charleston Funerals, Remembering Victims of Hate as Symbols of Love, Lizette Alvarez, Nikita Stewart, and Richard Perez Penajune, June 25, 2015. In life, they did not mingle with the powerful, leading modest lives centered on family and church. In death, the powerful turned out Thursday, along with the people who knew Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton best, to celebrate a different kind of power they wielded. “She has to represent something we all know is there — love,” said Brandon Risher, a grandson of Ms. Lance. “She is a victim of hate, but she can be a symbol for love. That is what she was in life. Hate is powerful but love is more powerful.” For a region grieving since a gunman killed nine people in a Charleston church last week, a new phase of mourning began Thursday, with the first of the victims’ funerals, for Ms. Lance, 70, and Ms. Coleman-Singleton, 45.

Washington Post, Affordable Care Act survives Supreme Court challenge, Justices agree with Obama administration; subsidies should be available to all, Robert Barnes, June 25, 2015. By a 6-3 vote, a divided court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that the subsidies should be available in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange. The decision for the second time defused a potential conflict between President Obama and the Supreme Court over his most notable domestic achievement. While there are more challenges to come, an adverse ruling in this case would have been close to a mortal blow to the act that continues to divide the nation and its political conversation.

U.S. Surempreme

Washington Post, In 5-4 ruling, court upholds tool for fighting housing bias, Robert Barnes, June 25, 2015. Justices determined that intentional discrimination does not have to be proven for policies to be illegal.

Huffington Post, Florida Voter Purge Fiasco May Complicate Jeb Bush's Appeal To Minorities, Scott Conroy, June 25, 2015. As the 2016 campaign heats up, an episode from his tenure as Florida governor reveals why Jeb Jeb Bush Bush's image as a “uniter, not a divider” may not stand up. The state's deeply flawed purge of felons from its voting rolls in advance of the 2000 presidential election remains a scar that still has not healed for many in the state. The felon purge wrongfully denied thousands of legitimate voters the ability to participate in a presidential election pitting Republican George W. Bush against Democrat Al Gore. Ultimately, a few hundred Florida ballots would determine the presidency, and with it, the nation’s path for the next eight years and, really, well beyond.

Al.com, VictoryLand set to reopen after court ruling, Kent Faulk, June 25, 2015. Alabama can't keep 1,615 electronic bingo machines and $263,105 state law enforcement seized in raid on the VictoryLand racetrack's gaming facility two years ago, a judge ruled. Circuit Judge William A. Shashy stated that it appeared state officials had "cherrypicked" which bingo facilities it would allow to remain open and those it wanted closed. Shashy, citing the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, dismissed the state's lawsuit seeking forfeiture of the machines and cash. "This court refuses to be used as an instrument to perpetuate unfair treatment," the judge stated in the order.

Radar, Who’s The Daddy? Father Of Bristol Palin’s New Baby Revealed, Staff report, June 25, 2015. When Bristol Palin announced Thursday afternoon that she is pregnant, she neglected to mention who is the father of her baby-to-be.

Lyndon B. Johnson, John Kennedy

June 24

Huffington Post, Obama Administration On Plan To Take Away CIA's Drones: Nevermind, Keep 'Em, Ali Watkins, June 24,2015. President Barack Obama has abandoned his two-year push to consolidate his controversial targeted killing program under Pentagon control and has spent the past several months finalizing a new plan that would give the Defense Department and the CIA joint control of drone strikes, sources tell The Huffington Post. Two years ago, Obama promised during a speech at the National Defense University that he would move the CIA's controversial drone program out of the covert shadows and into the relative sunlight of the Defense Department. Drone critics greeted the announcement with cautious optimism, hoping that a Pentagon-run drone program would be more transparent and allow more oversight of targeted killings. The CIA and its allies on the congressional intelligence committees resisted Obama's proposal. But until recently, the Obama administration was still publicly pushing forward, saying as recently as April that it wanted to take the trigger out of the CIA's hands for good.

Huffington Post, Pelosi Stands Down On TAA, Clearing Way For Obama's Trade Agenda, Laura Barron-Lopez. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) waved the white flag on Wednesday, telling her caucus she Nancy Pelosi would support passage of a key measure tethered to President Barack Obama's broader trade agenda. Her support all but guarantees that the measure will succeed, thereby handing Obama a major victory on trade. Pelosi and House Democrats were the last obstacle against Republican and pro-trade Democrats' efforts to grant Obama so-called "fast-track" authority to clear major trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, through Congress with ease. Obama is currently negotiating the TPP with 11 Pacific nations. The TPP and two other large trade deals that the administration is working on, together encompass over half of the world's economy. The passage of the agreements depends on Congress granting him fast-track powers. Pelosi and a majority of House Democrats oppose fast-track, as well as the massive trade deals that the administration is pushing. They argue that such deals fail to protect workers at home, lack sufficiently robust environmental standards and financial regulations, and do nothing to stop unfair currency manipulation. 

New York Times, President Obama Must Use Trade Authority to Reach Better Agreements, June 24, 2015. Congress is about to give President Obama the authority to sign trade agreements that lawmakers will be able to vote up or down but not amend. Now, it is up to the administration to reach deals with other nations that live up to the high standards on labor rights, environmental protection, access to medicines and other issues that Mr. Obama has said he supports. On Tuesday, the Senate narrowly voted to close debate on a bill that would clear the way for Mr. Obama to conclude two big trade deals — the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 countries, including Australia, Japan and Vietnam; and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. The House approved the bill last week and the Senate is expected to approve it on Wednesday. The passage of this bill — primarily with Republican votes — will be a big victory for Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama has dismissed critics of his trade agenda like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, saying their concerns are misplaced and hypothetical. Because trade agreements are understandably secret while they are being negotiated, it is hard to determine who is right. But now the burden of proof will rest squarely on the shoulders of the president and his trade representative, Michael Froman.

Reuters via Yahoo! Buhari vows to restore Nigeria's financial "sanity," Felix Onuah, June 24, 2015. Nigeria's president vowed on Tuesday to recover billions of dollars allegedly stolen by officials and restore financial Muhammadu Buhari Chatham House."sanity", accusing previous governments in Africa's biggest economy of throwing the rulebooks "to the dogs". Muhammadu Buhari's strong words came after a meeting with the governors of Nigeria's states, in which they said they were 658 billion naira ($3.3 billion) in debt and needed federal government support to offset a funding crisis. Zamfara state governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar said the governors had suggested three ways out: the government could refund money spent on federal projects such as roads, banks could extend existing loans to up to 20 years, or the government could share out oil revenues usually saved in the so-called Excess Crude Account.

Washington Post, Two men serving life in prison for 1987 murder ask MD judge to reopen case, Spencer S. Hsu, June 24, 2015. Two of three men convicted in a grisly 1987 murder on Maryland’s Eastern Shore have asked a judge to appoint Attorney General Brian Frosh to take over the case after state prosecutors disclosed that new handprint evidence points to a different suspect in the case.

Daily Beast, Hackers Stole Secrets of U.S. Government Workers’ Sex Lives, Shane Harris, June 24, 2015. Infidelity. Sexual fetishes. Drug abuse. Crushing debt. They’re the most intimate secrets of U.S. government workers. And now they’re in the hands of foreign hackers. It was already being described as the worst hack of the U.S. government in history. And it just got much worse. A senior U.S. official has confirmed that foreign hackers compromised the intimate personal details of an untold number of government workers. Likely included in the hackers’ haul: information about workers’ sexual partners, drug and alcohol abuse, debts, gambling compulsions, marital troubles, and any criminal activity. Those details, which are now presumed to be in the hands of Chinese spies, are found in the so-called “adjudication information” that U.S. investigators compile on government employees and contractors who are applying for security clearances. The exposure suggests that the massive computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management is more significant and potentially damaging to national security than officials have previously said. Three former U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the adjudication information would effectively provide dossiers on current and former government employees, as well as contractors. It gives foreign intelligence agencies a roadmap for finding people with access to the government’s most highly classified secrets.

June 23

Washington Post, Judge approves settlement over U.S. Park Police's handling of protests, Spencer S. Hsu, June 23, 2015. U.S. to pay $2.2 million for arrests in 2002 World Bank demonstration at Pershing Park, adding to D.C. total.

AP via New York Times, WikiLeaks Files Said to Show N.S.A. Spied on French Leaders, Staff report, June 23, 2015. WikiLeaks published documents late Tuesday that it says shows the United States National Security President Obama and President Hollande Press Conference Feb. 11, 2014Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents. President Obama and his national security team have insisted that broad surveillance powers are vital to tracking terrorist threats. Claudine Ripert-Landler, a senior spokeswoman for President François Hollande of France, said on Tuesday night that Mr. Hollande would convene “the Defense Council to evaluate the nature of the information reported in the media and draw the necessary conclusions.” An aide to Mr. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, said the former president considered these methods unacceptable, generally speaking and especially from an ally. The aide was not authorized to be publicly identified. Obama and Hollande are shown at a press conference in February 2014.

JFK Facts, National Archives Details Plans for JKF Disclosures in 2017, Jeff Morley, June 23, 2015 (2:04-hour video.) The Justice Integrity Project's questions and answers by this editor are in a five-minute period from 1:37 to 1:42 urging government research personnel to prioritize the JFK materials and apprise the public of any resource issues or other obstacles.) The National Archives is getting serious about a big JFK records data dump in October 2017, according to officials who spoke at a public meeting in Washington. At the 25:00 mark in this video Martha Murphy of the National Archives outlines plans for declassification of still-classified JFK files in 2017. A JFK Facts reader was there and filed this report. “The program consisted of two presentations and a panel. The second presenter was Martha Murphy whose topic was an update on how the Archives are handling JFK Assassination records. She said the JFK collection consists of approximately 5 million pages. During fiscal 2014 they analyzed the scope of the project to release withheld records in 2017. As of Oct. 2014 they have assigned four archivists to work on the project along with three technicians for scanning.

“The date Murphy posted for the effective date of the JFK Act was October 26, 1992, so presumably the release date is October 26, 2017, twenty-five years later. She used a slide that said 88 percent of the records in the collection were released in full; .01% were withheld in full; and 11% were partially withheld .... Murphy made it clear that in 2017 all withheld information will be released unless the President orders otherwise, whether withheld in full or partially withheld. She said they are currently perfecting the index because there are errors or missing information in the index as to the status of records. Also they are notifying agencies that information will be released in 2017 unless the President orders otherwise, i.e. that release is the default position.

June 22

President Obama gestures to senior staff 6-22-2015President Barack Obama gestures during a meeting with senior advisors in the Oval Office, June 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

Washington Post, Hackers warned the Internet would be a security disaster, Craig Timberg, June 22, 2015. Little was done. As the Web arrived in the ’90s, tech giants churned out flawed products, unleashing bugs that persist today.

AP via Washington Post, Man who landed gyrocopter at the US Capitol rejects deal, Jessica Gresko, June 22, 2015. A man who flew a gyrocopter through some of America's most restricted airspace before landing outside the U.S. Capitol said Monday that he's rejected a plea deal that would have involved several years in prison.

June 21

New York Post, Clinton confidant cuts ties with the formidable family, Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein, June 21, 2015. Just weeks before Hillary Clinton kicked off her campaign for president on Roosevelt Island, a Clinton family loyalist quietly parted ways with the powerful clan. Doug Band, a man once so close to President Bill Clinton that he was considered a surrogate son, left the Clinton Foundation, where he had various board appointments. The departure marks the end of a complicated relationship between Band’s controversial consultant corporation, Teneo, and the Clintons. And while the Clinton Foundation has been under fire for allegedly trading millions of dollars in donations for access to Bill and Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, Teneo’s role is less well-known. But Teneo played a part in what author Daniel Halper in his 2014 book Clinton Inc., described as a vast money-making machine. 

Huffington Post, Wife Of Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom Apologizes For Obama Tweet, James Gerken, June 21, 2015. Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, an Israeli TV and radio personality and the wife of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, apologized on Sunday after tweeting, and then deleting, a joke (below) about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Judy Mozes Twitter

Washington Post, How leaked Saudi documents might really matter, Marc Lynch, June 21, 2015. Marc Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. On Friday, WikiLeaks and the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar released just over 60,000 out of a half-million leaked diplomatic cables from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Don’t expect the cables to cause uprisings in Riyadh or the expulsion of Saudi diplomats from Arab capitals anytime soon. However, it would be a mistake to dismiss the significance of these leaks. They are likely to matter more than many of the previous such leaks because of how they resonate with two of the most potent issues in today’s Middle East: the regional proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran; and fierce Arab regime efforts to control an inexorably expanding Arab public sphere and erase the gains of the 2010-2011 uprisings.

Guardian, Saudi Arabia tells citizens to ignore latest WikiLeaks release, Ian Black, June 21, 2015. 61,000 leaked cables give rare insight into kingdom’s habit of buying influence and monitoring dissidents. Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens to ignore thousands of its diplomatic documents leaked by the transparency site WikiLeaks, which give a rare insight into the kingdom’s habit of buying influence and monitoring dissidents. The 61,000 Julian Assange 2014Saudi cables, the first tranche of 500,000 promised by Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder (shown in a file photo), also show the country’s sharp focus on its strategic rival Iran and the revolution in Egypt, and support for allies and clients in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.

June 20

New York Times, Cables Released by WikiLeaks Reveal Saudis' Checkbook Diplomacy, Ben Hubbard, June 20, 2015. Revelations appear in a trove of documents said to have come from inside the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and released on Friday by the group WikiLeaks. While the documents appear to contain no shocking revelations about Saudi Arabia, say, eavesdropping on the United States or shipping bags of cash to militant groups, they contain enough detail to shed light on the diplomacy of a deeply private country and to embarrass Saudi officials and those who lobby them for financial aid. And they allow the curious to get a glimpse of the often complex interactions between a kingdom seen by many as the rich uncle of Middle East and its clients, from Africa to Australia. The documents also indicate concerted Saudi efforts to shape news media coverage, both inside and outside the kingdom.

OpEdNews, WikiLeaks publishes the Saudi Cables, WikiLeaks Staff, June 20, 2015. On June 19 at 1pm GMT, WikiLeaks began publishing "The Saudi Cables," more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world. The publication includes "Top Secret" reports from other Saudi State institutions, including the Ministry of Interior and the Kingdom's General Intelligence Services. The massive cache of data also contains a large number of email communications between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign entities. The Saudi Cables are being published in tranches of tens of thousands of documents at a time over the coming weeks. WikiLeaks is releasing around 70,000 documents from the trove as the first tranche. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks publisher, said: "The Saudi Cables lift the lid on a increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself."

Just Security, The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight, Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman, June 20, 2015. On Tuesday, hardly before the dust in Yemen had settled [on a CIA drone strike], Bloomberg’s Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, relying on information provided by anonymous sources, supplied the public with one narrative. In this version, the CIA killed Nasir al-Wuhayshi, “general manager” of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “by building a methodical case on his whereabouts over months from information collected through technical means.” On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, also relying on information provided by anonymous officials, supplied the second narrative. Rarely do the rival motives of anonymous officials come so nakedly into view, and conflict, around a single event. They can’t all be right, and their competing stories serve as another reminder — in case any were needed — that the statements of anonymous intelligence officials are often efforts to mislead and manipulate, and that much of the “information” the government has provided the public about the drone program is merely propaganda.

June 19

Newsweek, FBI Agent: The CIA Could Have Stopped 9/11, Jeff Stein, June 19, 2015. Mark Rossini, a former FBI special agent at the center of an enduring mystery related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says he is “appalled” by the newly declassified statements by former CIA Director George Tenet defending the spy agency’s efforts to detect and stop the plot. Rossini, who was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) at the time of the attacks, has long maintained that the U.S. government has covered up secret relations between the spy agency and Saudi individuals who may have abetted the plot. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a failed effort to crash into the U.S. Capitol, were Saudis. A heavily redacted 2005 CIA inspector general’s report, parts of which had previously been released, was further declassified earlier this month. It found that agency investigators "encountered no evidence" that the government of Saudi Arabia "knowingly and willingly supported" Al-Qaeda terrorists. It added that some CIA officers had “speculated” that “dissident sympathizers within the government” may have supported Osama bin Laden but that “the reporting was too sparse to determine with any accuracy such support.”

June 18

Dylann Roof pistol and flag FacebookReuters, White suspect arrested in killing of nine at black U.S. church, Harriet McLeod, June 18, 2015. A white man suspected of killing nine people in a Bible-study group at a historic African-American church in Dylan Roof mug shotCharleston, South Carolina was arrested on Thursday and U.S. officials are investigating the attack as a hate crime. Law enforcement officials detained alleged gunman Dylann Roof, 21, after a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, about 220 miles (350 km) north of Charleston, said police chief Gregory Mullen. Wednesday's mass shooting, which occurred after the suspect had sat with parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for an hour, follows months of protests over killings of black men which have shaken the United States. In a Facebook profile apparently belonging to Roof, a portrait showed him wearing a jacket emblazoned with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and of the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, both formerly ruled by white minorities.

Dylan Roof

From wire reports: FBI identified Dylann Storm Roof, 21, as the suspect in the shooting. He is shown in a Facebook photo before his arrest displaying patches honoring racist causes, and later in a police mug shot. Roof was captured on Highway 74 in west Shelby, N.C., which is 245 miles northwest of Charleston. Dylan Roof drove a car with a Confederate flag front plate, wore a jacket that sported the patches of apartheid South Africa and the formerly white-ruled African country of Rhodesia, had minor run-ins with police, and hung with the outcasts in his South Carolina high school.

Huffington Post, House Passes Fast-Track Trade Do-Over, Michael McAuliff and Laura Barron-Lopez, June 18, 2015. The GOP-led House of Representatives started over on trade Thursday, passing a fresh bill to give President Barack Obama sweeping powers to negotiate massive international agreements. The measure would grant Obama and the next president what's known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), allowing the White House to fast-track through Congress a string of enormous trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement -- covering well over half the global economy. The House voted 218 to 208 for the bill, with 28 Democrats in favor and 50 Republicans opposed.

These 14 Senators voted in favor of TPA: Michael Bennet, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Chris Coons, Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein, Heidi Heitkamp, Tim Kaine, Claire McCaskill, Patty Murray, Bill Nelson, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Warner, and Ron Wyden.

In the House, these 28 Representatives have voted for TPA twice: Brad Ashford (NE-2), Ami Bera (CA-7), Don Beyer (VA-8), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Jim Costa (CA-16), Jim Cooper (TN-5), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Susan Davis (CA-53), John Delaney (MD-6), Suzan DelBene (WA-1), Sam Farr (CA-20), Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15),  Jim Himes (CT-4), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Derek Kilmer (WA-6), Rick Larsen (WA-2), Ron Kind (WI-3), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Beto O'Rourke (TX-16), Scott Peters (CA-52), Jared Polis (CO-2), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Kathleen Rice (NY-1),  Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Debbie-Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Terri Sewell (AL-7).

June 17

Washington Post, Government conditions Hinckley release on ‘no expectation of privacy,’ Spencer S. Hsu, June 17, 2015. Federal prosecutors, attorneys for John W. Hinckley Jr.John Hinckley mugshot and experts at the government psychiatric hospital where he has mostly been confined since 1981 agreed Wednesday on many conditions for the potential release of President Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin but remained sharply split over a government demand that he have “no expectation of privacy” over his future movements, electronic communications or computer use. In a 23-page proposed order filed in federal court, the three sides agreed to a detailed mental health regimen; that he be required to work or volunteer at least three times a week if he is allowed to live with his 89-year-old mother in Williamsburg; and that he could be returned to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington if there are any “negative incidents in the community regarding the public or media.”

Huffington Post, Charleston Church Shooting: White Gunman Kills 9 At Historic Black Church, Ed Mazza, Jade Walker & Kelly Chen, June 17, 2015. Nine people were shot to death by a white man at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, the Charleston Police Department confirmed at a news conference early Thursday. The gunman entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a weekly bible study meeting and opened fire at around 9 p.m., police said. Eight people were found dead at the scene. Two others were transported to a hospital, where one later died.

WhoWhatWhy, Russ Baker’s Jeb Bush Analysis, radio interview, June 17, 2015 (21 mins.). WhoWhatWhy Founder and Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker, author of the Family of Secrets on the Bush dynasty, offers insights into Jeb Bush you may not hear elsewhere.

New York Magazine, Roger Ailes’s Demotion Signals Power Shift Within Murdoch Empire, Gabriel Sherman, June 17, 2015. For much of the past 15 years, Roger Ailes (shown in a file photo via Wikimedia) has operated with virtual impunity inside Roger AilesRupert Murdoch’s media empire. Nothing, it seemed, could induce Murdoch to rebuke Ailes publicly, even if Ailes forced Murdoch to choose between him and his sons. Such was Ailes’s power that he has been able to run a right-wing political operation under the auspices of a news channel.

This week, for the first time, there are signs that this remarkable era may be entering its twilight. Yesterday, 21st Century Fox announced that Ailes would be reporting to Lachlan and James Murdoch. For Ailes, it was a stinging smack-down and effectively a demotion.

Guardian, Julian Assange says Swedish prosecutor is 'reckless' for scrapping interview, Ben Quinn and David Crouch, June 17, 2015. A Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to the Wikileaks founder, who has been living in the building for nearly three years to avoid extradition. Assange said Marianne Ny had led his lawyers to believe that an appointment to take a statement from him would take place on Wednesday and described the cancellation as reckless. But Ny said the meeting would have to be called off because she had not received official permission from Ecuador to enter its London embassy.June 16

Donald Watkins Facebook, A News Exclusive --The Straw That Broke Mark Fuller’s Back, Donald V. Watkins, June 16, 2015. Yes, federal judge Mark Fuller is a wife beater. But, it was Fuller’s appetite for sex with a young Donald Watkinswoman who was not his wife that forced his resignation. Last August, Mark Fuller’s second wife, Kelli Fuller, told police that her husband became violent after she accused him of having an affair with a law clerk in his Montgomery office. Our Facebook news team has learned that Kelli was right when she accused Fuller of cheating. In fact, Fuller and his young paramour were caught in a compromising position in his office one night by Judge Mark Fullera custodian in the courthouse. Federal investigators for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ judicial investigatory panel confirmed the affair and this sexual encounter. Editor's Note: Donald Watkins, shown in his Facebook photo, is a prominent Alabama attorney and businessman who took the lead amongst members in the Deep South bar in calling for the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who presided over the controversial imprisonment of Watkins client Richard Scrushy on corruption charges. Under pressure from many sources, Fuller (shown in a photo from one of his courtroom appearances as a defendant) offered to resign his lifetime appointment effective Aug. 1.

Huffington Post, ‘Rat Cop' Joe Crystal Shunned From Baltimore Police Department After Reporting Officer Brutality, Sebastian Murdock, June 16, 2015. Former Detective Joe Crystal sat at a back table in Martin’s West Ballroom last Thursday, scanning the room filled with police officers for any friends he still had left. Under glowing chandeliers, more than 500 law enforcement officials and their families mingled prior to an awards ceremony honoring Baltimore’s finest. Crystal, 34, was one of the people up for an award, though few had expected him to show. He was a pariah. He had informed on two other cops who engaged in police brutality. And it had cost him his livelihood. The threats and intimidation -- which included someone putting a dead rat on Crystal's windshield -- are outlined in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that Crystal filed against Commissioner Anthony Batts and the Baltimore Police Department.

OpEdNews, Hollywood Filmmakers To Be Honored at Annual Whistle Blower Summit on Capitol Hill, Michael McCray, June 16, 2015. Over the last eight years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged Michael McCrayan assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. Host committee members -- ACORN 8, Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year's Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights on Capitol Hill. The theme for the annual conference this year is Black Lives Matter--This Is The Movement!

Telegraph, Perhaps the world's conspiracy theorists have been right all along, Alex Proud, June 15, 2015. We used to laugh at conspiracy theorists, but from Fifa to banking scandals and the Iraq War, it seems they might have been on to something after all, says Alex Proud. Editor's note: The Telegraph is one of London's most conservative dailies.

World Beyond War, Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance, David Swanson, June 16, 2015. I’m not sure if there’s been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I’m confident there’s not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them. The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why, and authors Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong explain it all quite clearly. Go ahead and tell me there’s nothing you’re now spending your time on that’s less important than this. This book may very well be the best written one I’ve read this year. It puts all the relevant facts — those I knew and many I didn’t — together concisely and with perfect organization. It does it with an informed worldview.

June 15

Jeffrey SterlingFireDogLake, Bureau of Prisons Puts CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling in Prison Around 900 Miles from Wife & Family, Kevin Gosztola, June 15, 2015. CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling (shown above) was notified at the end of last week that he will serve his prison sentence of three and a half years at Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a medium-security facility in Littleton, Colorado, that is around 900 miles away from where his wife and family live in St. Louis. That is at least a 12-hour drive. Sterling was convicted of committing Espionage Act violations and other offenses after the government convinced a jury, through largely circumstantial evidence, that he had leaked information on a top secret CIA operation to New York Times reporter James Risen. He begins his sentence on June 16.

“I am certainly devastated beyond belief that I won’t be near my wife and family,” Sterling stated. “My wife, family, and friends have been an important support system for me and being so far away is like a wedge being driven between me and those who continue to love, support, and believe in me.”

“The government likes to isolate whistleblowers from their natural allies, and now the Bureau of Prisons is trying to isolate them from their families,” declared Jesselyn Radack, the director of the Government Accountability Project’s National Security and Human Rights Division. “Once again, the Bureau of Prisons proves that ‘rehabilitation’ is not their priority or else they’d place prisoners near their families.”

Reuters, Swedish prosecutors plan to question Assange in June or July, Daniel Dickson, June 15, 2015. Swedish prosecutors plan to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (shown in a file photo) at Ecuador's embassy in London in June or Julian Assange 2014July, the prosecutor said on Monday. The prosecutors have submitted a request for legal assistance to the English authorities and a request to Ecuador for permission to interview Assange during those two months, the prosecutor said in a statement. The 43-year-old Australian has been in the embassy building since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010. He denies the accusations. Prosecutors first insisted Assange should travel to Sweden for questioning, but in a U-turn in March agreed to conduct the interview in London.

Editor's note: Assange has not been charged with any offense by Sweden during his long legal ordeal. Speculation in legal circles is that the most relevant five-year statute of limitations are likely to expire this summer and so authorities feel pressure to justify their huge expenses in investigating him.

Center for Public Integrity, 12 things to know about Jeb Bush, Carrie Levine and Jared Bennett, June 15, 2015. Part of a series on money-in-politics resources about 2016 hopefuls:
Republican Jeb Bush is finally going to answer to "candidate." Bush has built a formidable operation that includes a roster of well-known campaign operatives, a super PAC named Right to Rise and an accompanying nonprofit group that will reportedly concentrate on policy. Here's more on Bush's political and financial history.

Huffington Post, The Bushes Are Back, Howard Fineman, June 15, 2015. America’s founders hated what Thomas Jefferson called “an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth.” Is Jeb Bush “artificial” and thus doomed to be resented and dismissed by average (Jeffersonian) American voters? Is he the kind of aristocrat -- self-made of his own “virtues and talents” -- that Jefferson praised and that American voters often have elected? We’re about to find out. Bush unveiled his campaign slogan Monday and it was one word and an exclamation point -- "Jeb!" -- with no mention of "Bush."

War is a Crime, Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit, David Swanson, June 15, 2015. The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency's director to "approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research." Human what? At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent. Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it "a good code for barbarians." Thus far, the United States has never really accepted the Nuremberg Code. While the code was being created, the U.S. was giving people syphilis in Guatemala. It did the same at Tuskegee. Also during the Nuremberg trial, children at the Pennhurst school in southeastern Pennsylvania were given hepatitis-laced feces to eat.

OpEdNews, Debunking Magna Carta Leads Back To Serfdom, Paul Craig Roberts, June 15, 2015. The Magna Carta is the most important document in Anglo-American history. It launched a long struggle culminating in the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century. The Magna Carta gave Americans the Constitution and Bill of Rights. These are massive human achievements. The rule of law is a shield of the people. Rule by decrees is a weapon in the hand of tyranny.

Guardian, CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation, Spencer Ackerman, June 15, 2015. Watchdogs shocked at ‘disconnect’ between doctors who oversaw interrogation and guidelines that gave CIA director power over medical ethics. The Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research. 'Human experimentation' and the CIA: read the previously classified document. Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.”

June 14

Washington Post, On the eve of a presidential run, Jeb Bush becomes just ‘Jeb!,’ Robert Costa, June 14, 2015. Now “Jeb!” is back. Jeb Bush revealed Sunday on Twitter that he’s reviving his “Seinfeld”-era old-school Jeb Bush logoinsignia to be the symbol of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, which he will announce Monday in Miami. This time, the colors have been flipped: ruby characters over white, underlined by “2016” in navy blue. The choice was perhaps a natural one for Bush, 62, recalling his early tenure in Tallahassee, long before the rise of the tea party, when he was the definition of a national conservative star and his family was as popular as ever with GOP voters.

Washington Post, After initial loss, ‘wandering’ years led to a new Bush, Karen Tumulty, June 14, 2015. Humbled by defeat the first time he ran for office in Florida, Jeb Bush evolved from a “head-banging conservative” view to an approach that includes human faces and personal stories. “I learned tone,” the presidential hopeful said. Humbled by defeat the first time he ran for office, Bush spent the mid-1990s broadening and deepening his knowledge of how his state worked, forging relationships that softened his profile and striving to talk about what he believed in a way that would bring people together. “I learned tone,” Bush said in an interview. “You can say the same thing that represents your core beliefs in a way that draws people toward your message, rather than pushes people away. “And that’s a lesson in 2016,” he added. “To win, you’ve got to get to 50. To get to 50, you draw people toward your message, not use language that makes the dramatic point, which is effective in political discourse but turns some people away.”

Washington Post, Clinton calls on Obama to negotiate a better trade deal, Philip Rucker, June 14, 2015. The presidential candidate said she sides with House Democrats who want better protections Nancy Pelosi for American workers. If the president doesn’t get them, she said, “there should be no deal.” Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton broke weeks of silence on the trade debate that has deeply divided her party, telling a crowd here Sunday that she sides with House Democrats who led a rebellion against President Obama's trade agenda. Clinton called on Obama to listen to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic rank and file in Congress who want the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement to include better protections for American workers. See also, Politico, Clinton addresses trade deal controversy; She urges a resolution of the matter, Kyle Cheney, June 14, 2015. Hillary Clinton, facing criticism from rivals for her silence on a stalled international trade agreement, spoke out Sunday during a campaign stop in Iowa, urging President Barack Obama to collaborate with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (shown in an official photo).

AFP via Yahoo! News, Yemen rebels head to Geneva talks as forces gain ground, Jamal al-Jabiri with Fawaz al-Haidari, June 14, 2015. After repeatedly delaying their departure, the delegation left from the capital Sanaa aboard a UN plane for the Swiss city, where the talks are due to start on Monday, a day late. The rebels, supported by military units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have seized control of large parts of the country including Sanaa, forcing Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Info Wars, Bilderberg Media Mogul Confronted at Airport, Members of elite confab grilled on Bilderberg secrecy, Paul Joseph Watson, June 14, 2015. Austrian media mogul Oscar Bronner, along with several other Bilderberg members were confronted by Infowars reporters as they arrived at Innsbruck Airport after the conclusion of the secretive conference. Bronner, publisher of Der Standard, a major national daily broadsheet newspaper published in Vienna, spent the last few days meeting with influential power brokers from the world of politics, media, academia, business and banking at the elitist confab in Telfs, Austria, safely enclosed behind a huge security operation enforced by over 2,000 police. Bronner stated, “It was a very interesting meeting,” before referring to the Bilderberg Group’s official website for the list of topics that were discussed (the topics are so vague as to be almost meaningless).

June 13

New York Times, U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe, Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers, June 13, 2015. In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries, American and allied officials say. The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence. The idea of moving prepositioned weapons and materials to the Baltics and Eastern Europe has been discussed Vladimir Putin Il Corriere Della Serabefore, but never carried out because it would be viewed by the Kremlin as a violation of the spirit of the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia that laid the foundation for cooperation.

In an interview before a visit to Italy this week, Mr. Putin dismissed fears of any Russian attack on NATO. “I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO,” he told the newspaper Corriere Della Sera (which published his photo). “I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia,” he said, as quoted in Vladimir Putin Interview: The Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera Ahead of his visit to Italy.

OpEd News, Has the U.S. Learned Anything From Edward Snowden's NSA Revelations? David Sirota (shown in a file photo), June 13, 2015. While Snowden's critics say he should come back to the United States to air out his grievances in open David Sirotacourt, journalist Glenn Greenwald notes: "He's barred under the Espionage Act even from arguing that his leaks were justified; he wouldn't be permitted to utter a word about that."

OpEd News, American dreaming, from G1 to Bilderberg, Pepe Escobar, Neocons — with Obama in tow — knock themselves out dreaming that Russia has become "isolated" from the rest of the world because of their sanctions. Since then Moscow has signed major economic/strategic contracts with at least 20 nations. Next month, Russia will host the BRICS summit — 45 percent of the world's population.

June 12

Special News Exclusive in Advance of Bush Presidential Campaign Announcement June 15:

Wayne Madsen Report logoWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Jeb Bush received comprehensive CIA briefing when he worked for bank in Caracas, Wayne Madsen Report, June 12, 2015 (Subscription required, $7 per month or $30 per year). WMR has obtained a copy of a letter sent to the Central Intelligence Agency by Jeb Bush (shown in a file photo) when he served as the top official of Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas, Venezuela. Editor's note: The Wayne Madsen Jeb Bush report has unearthed from CIA files a 1977 letter from the young Jeb Bush thanking the CIA's director of security for a "comprehensive" briefing before Bush began what Madsen reports as covert intelligence work under the cover of a bank vice presidency. The Justice Integrity Project can confirm the relevant document as authentic.

Washington Post, Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut, Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, June 12, 2015. Key lawmakers have moved to slash funding of a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria, a Adam Schiffmove that U.S. officials said reflects rising skepticism of the effectiveness of the agency program and the Obama administration’s strategy in the Middle East. The House Intelligence Committee recently voted unanimously to cut as much as 20 percent of the classified funds flowing into a CIA program that U.S. officials said has become one the agency’s largest covert operations, with a budget approaching $1 billion a year. “There is a great deal of concern on a very bipartisan basis with our strategy in Syria,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel. Shown in a file photo, he declined to comment on specific provisions of the committee’s bill but cited growing pessimism that the United States will be in a position “to help shape the aftermath” of Syria’s civil war.

Mitt RomneyWhoWhatWhy, Mitt Romney’s Coup, Dan Engelke, June 12, 2015. For the fourth consecutive year, Mitt Romney is hosting a summit of  GOP political figures, money men, and right-leaning theorists. Some of these bigwigs include Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Lindsey Graham. While many Romney voters feel the country made a big mistake in 2012 by re-electing Barack Obama and not listening to “foreign-policy prophet” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor broke hearts by saying running in 2016 “just didn’t feel right.” Yet Romney has made sure that he is keeping himself in the spotlight. From a boxing match, numerous Fox News appearances, to speeches about the bad shape the U.S. is currently in. All the press coming out of Camp Romney has led Brent Budowsky at The Hill to speculate that Romney is planning a ‘nomination coup’: "Readers of my columns know that within hours of Romney removing himself as a contender for the 2016 nomination, I warned that his withdrawal could well be part of a brilliantly clever plan for him to stay above the fray, let Republican candidates beat each other up and be raked over the coals by the media during the primary season, and then emerge as a consensus compromise nominee of the party."

“It just so happens that if political events were to take certain turns, and the 2012 GOP nominee for president makes a surprise bid for the 2016 nomination, or more likely if a divided and gridlocked GOP turns to Romney as a compromise candidate and statesman, the participants in the Romney summit could raise a billion dollars overnight to support another Romney presidential candidacy, and the political organizers attending the event could organize a full-blown presidential campaign within days, if not hours!”

Reuters via Huffington Post, Declassified 9/11 Documents Show Bitter Dispute Between CIA officials, Warren Strobel, June 12, 2015. Top CIA officials fought bitterly in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks over whether U.S. intelligence agencies could have done more to stop the deadliest terrorist strikes in American history, documents released on Friday show. The once-secret documents include George Tenant Official photoa more complete version of a 2005 report by the spy agency's inspector general, which found that the CIA did not have a comprehensive strategy or marshal adequate resources to combat al Qaeda before hijacked planes hit New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11. A redacted summary of that report was first made public in 2007. But the documents released by the CIA on Friday also reflect the arguments of former CIA Director George Tenet (shown in an official photo) and his lieutenants that U.S. intelligence was intently focused on al Qaeda and leader Osama bin Laden. At stake in the years-long dispute are the legacies of former top CIA officials and the agency itself.

Consortium News, U.S. House Admits Nazi Role in Ukraine, Robert Parry, June 12, 2015. The U.S. House of Representatives has admitted an ugly truth that the U.S. mainstream media has tried to hide from the American people – that the post-coup regime in Ukraine has relied heavily on Nazi storm troopers to carry out its bloody war against ethnic Russians, reports Robert Parry.

Reader Supported News, Obama Reminds Allies: “Remember What Happened to Dr. King?” Bill Simpich, June 12, 2015. Christopher Edley, dean of UC Berkeley’s law school and Obama transition team member: If there were prosecutions for Bush-era crimes “the CIA, NSA and military would revolt.”  In 2008, people united around Obama with the hope that he would turn the ship of state away from war and toward peace. Edley provides to all interested a careful description of the transition team’s fears about what would happen if there were prosecutions for Bush-era crimes. The consensus was that “the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt.” Edley sums it up neatly: “Sometimes politics trumps rule of law.”

Shortly before his re-election in 2012, Obama reportedly was braced at a small dinner party by wealthy donors who wanted to know whatever happened to the ‘progressive Obama.’ The President did not take kindly to the criticism, rose from the table, and said, ‘Don’t you remember what happened to Dr. King?’”

It is, of course, a fair question as to whether Obama should have run for President if he knew such fears might impinge on his freedom of decision. But let’s ask the other question: What did happen to Martin Luther King Jr.? Would you believe that the vast majority of Americans know only that he was killed and have no idea as to who killed him and why?

 OpEdNews, Fast Track Fails, Rob Kall (shown in file photo) June 12, 2015. A bi-partisan vote in the house gave President Obama, who made a special, emergency trip to Capitol Hill this morning, a big middle finger on Rob KallFast Track for the trade deals he's been pushing for several years. The NY Times reports, "In a remarkable rejection of a president they have resolutely backed, House Democrats voted to kill assistance to workers displaced by global trade, a program their party created and has stood by for four decades. By doing so, they brought down legislation granting the president trade promotion authority -- the power to negotiate trade deals that cannot be amended or filibustered by Congress -- before it could even come to a final vote." Passing trade bills opposed by a majority of Americans does not get easier with delay because the more time people have to understand what's at stake, the angrier they get and the more they demand that their congressional representatives represent their will.

June 11

AP via Huffington Post, Social Security Numbers Of Every Federal Employee Stolen In Data Breach, Union Says, Staff report, June 11, 2015. Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, asserting that the cyber theft of U.S. employee information was more damaging than the Obama administration has acknowledged. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by "the Chinese" without specifying whether he meant the Chinese government or individuals. Reid is one of eight lawmakers briefed on the most secret intelligence information. U.S. officials have declined to publicly blame China, which has denied involvement.

Anita Harris "Ithaca Diaries"WBUR-FM (Boston) National Public Radio, Here and now: ‘Ithaca Diaries’ Looks Back On College In The ’60s, Author Anita Harris interviewed by Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, June 11, 2015 (10:04 mins.). “It was a time of trauma and transformation,” Harris writes in her new book “Ithaca Diaries: Coming of Age in the 1960s.” In this memoir, Harris went from an obsession with fraternity boys and football games to aiding black students in their takeover of the student union building and leading campus protests against the military.

Bill Moyers & Co., This Small Town’s History Shows Why the TPP Could Be a Disaster for US Workers, Peter Cole, June 11, 2015. Galesburg residents saw their jobs disappear after the Maytag Drive in Galesburg, IL (Tom Fucoloro photo via flickr)passage of NAFTA. The Trans-Pacific Partnership won’t be any different. (Site of former Maytag manufacturing plant by Tom Fucoloro photo via flickr.)  Every time politicians look to pass a new free trade agreement like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), they reassure the American people that this time around, workers will be protected. But my research on and experiences in a small industrial town in Illinois — not to mention even a cursory glance at the broader data on the impact of such deals — reveals that “free trade” has been a nightmare for most of the American people. And Galesburg, Illinois — which, oddly enough, has a long-standing history with President Obama — is a poster child for why free trade deals are a problem rather than a solution to the precarious reality experienced by most working- and middle-class Americans. What is clear is that Obama still thinks that the US government must make it even easier for corporations to move production and capital around the world while American workers drop further and further behind.

Washington Post, ‘I failed them’: Whistleblowers testify about retaliation for reporting wrongs, Joe Davidson, June 11, 2015. Workers discussed reprisals military personnel can face from the government. “Warren Weinstein is dead. Colin Rutherford, Joshua Boyle, Caitlin Coleman and the child she bore in captivity are still hostages in Pakistan. I failed them. I exhausted all efforts and resources available to return them but I failed.” So began Army Lt. Col. Jason Amerine’s testimony before a Senate hearing Thursday on retaliation against whistleblowers. He was the first witness in what was a sometimes-emotional hearing into the reprisals military personnel and civilians can face from the government they serve.

Guardian, Bilderberg 2015: where criminals mingle with ministers, Charlie Skelton, June 11, 2015. Even a lecture on the convicted criminals due to arrive or a chat about ‘shameless’ HSBC didn’t deter Austria’s officers David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, NBC_TVfrom yet another ID check. I had three Austrian policemen in my hotel room last night. They stood there all grim faced with their fluorescent bibs, torches and sidearms. It was like the worst ever fancy dress party. A little while later, bored and a bit cold, I decided to point out to the officers that while they were treating a journalist like a criminal, there were actual criminals about to arrive at the hotel they were guarding. Convicted criminals. Such as disgraced former CIA boss, David Petraeus, who’s just been handed a $100,000 (£64,000) fine and two years’ probation for leaking classified information. Petraeus (shown with his biographer and then-lover Paula Broadwell, to whom he leaked classified documents) now works for the vulturous private equity firm KKR, run by Henry Kravis, who does arguably Bilderberg’s best impression of Gordon Gecko out of Wall Street. I continued my list of criminals. Don’t forget, the first chairman of the group, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, was the biggest fraudster of the lot; he was caught back in the 70s organizing bribes from Lockheed and Northrop for the same arms contract. It was such a scandal that in 1976, Bilderberg had to skip a year out of sheer embarrassment.

OpEdNews, Creationist Evangelicals Kindred Spirits With ISIL, See Antiquity Destruction as Hopeful Sign, Rob Kall (shown in file photo), June 11, 2015. Evangelicals are kindred spirits with with leaders of the Islamic State, also know as ISIL or Rob KallISIS. Both groups oppose the teaching of evolution -- of Darwin's theory -- in schools. But the evangelicals must envy ISIS, which, when the religious extremists are not chopping off heads of non-believers or people who don't rise to their standards of fanaticism, have totally banned the teaching of evolutionary theory, rather than what the Evangelicals currently settle for -- calling for teaching creationism alongside evolution theory. "Young Earth" creationists believe that the world was created between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. So you think this is some remote, fanatic sect? Actually, Wikipedia reports: "Since 1982, between 40% and 50% of adults in the United States say they hold the view that 'God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years' when Gallup asked for their views on the origin and development of human beings." So, we're talking about somewhere between 50 and 165 million people who must love that ISIS is destroying antiquities that show that humans had a culture long ago.

WhoWhatWhy, Editorial: Sheriff Out of Town, Election Cash Outlaws Rule, Klaus Marre, June 11, 2015. A WhoWhatWhy editor laments the FEC’s regulatory collapse in the face of blatant election law dance-arounds. A problem that should be deeply disconcerting to all Americans: the Federal Election Commission (FEC)’s complete inability to enforce the few remaining campaign finance regulations still on the books. Candidates see the loophole where undeclared candidates can do as they please, and are gleefully and blatantly violating the purpose of the laws. While “non-candidate” Jeb Bush has drawn the most attention for his  behavior, he is not the only aspirant who does it. Several White House hopefuls have run de facto campaigns while waiting to announce the official start of their candidacy. This allowed them to avoid having to comply with pesky things like reporting requirements, coordination bans and contribution limits. But despite these rule-stretching runarounds, everybody would agree that Jeb Bush, for one, is already a candidate and has been for a few months. Campaign finance experts on both sides of the aisle have stated that he is making a mockery of the process.  The most alarming thing isn’t that Bush and other candidates have for quite some time been flouting both the spirit and letter of the law. It is that they got and continue to get away with it — because the FEC is, according to its own chairwoman Ann Ravel, “worse than dysfunctional.”

Washington Post, Secret recordings, posh restaurants, Cuban cigars and intrigue finally catch up to Polish government, Michael E. Miller, June 11, 2015. Beginning in 2013, a handful of Poland’s top politicians were recorded eating $500 meals while discussing less than savory things. In July 2013, Marek Belka, governor of the central bank, was recorded telling the interior minister that he could help the government win reelection by easing monetary policy in exchange for axing the finance minister. That exchange was just an appetizer, however, compared to the juicy conversation captured between Radosław SikorskiRadosaw Sikorski 2005, Poland’s foreign minister at the time, and then-finance minister Jacek Rostowski. Sikorski (shown in a 2005 file photo via Wikipedia) called Poland’s alliance with the United States “bull—-” and “worthless” before comparing the relationship to oral sex. Sikorski had led student strikes in Communist Poland during the political unrest of the early 1980s, later receiving political asylum in Britain. He studied at Oxford before becoming a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan and Angola. He later married Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and journalist who writes a column for the Washington Post. The recordings roiled Poland.

June 10

AP via Washington Post, Hastert enters not guilty plea during 1st court appearance, Michael Tarm and Sara Burnett, June 10, 2015. Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded not guilty to charges that he violated banking rules and lied to the FBI about promising to pay $3.5 million in hush money to conceal misconduct from his days as a high school teacher. See also, Washington Post, Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty. Now what?

28 Pages.org, Christie: Members of Congress Should Read 28 Pages on 9/11 Only “If They’re Interested,” June 10, 2015. Prospective presidential contender Chris Christie routinely accuses rivals of having “9/11 amnesia,” Chris Christiebut is at peace with the fact that the vast majority of Congress is in a state of willful ignorance about indications of foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers found in 28 classified pages of a 2002 congressional report. At a Monday town hall in Goffstown, New Hampshire, a member of the audience provided a detailed overview of the 28 pages and why there’s a growing movement to declassify them. She concluded by noting the fact that very few members of Congress have read them and asked the New Jersey governor if he felt people making life-and-death decisions should spend a half hour reading what Congressman Thomas Massie recently called “some of the best intelligence we have” in the war on terror. “Different people in Congress are interested in different things,” said Christie, shown in a file photo. “If they have an interest, they should go and they should read it. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have an interest, but I’m not going to sit here and dictate to people what they spend their time on.” (Watch the full exchange on the embedded video below.) It was quite a display of casual ambivalence from a politician who — like any other — routinely prescribes actions that others in government should take on countless issues, including many where human lives don’t hang in the balance.

Financial Times, Ukraine warns of debt moratorium, Shawn Donnan, June 10, 2015. Ukraine could stop paying its sovereign creditors within weeks if they do not agree to a debt restructuring, the country’s finance minister said on Wednesday, offering a provocative option over one of the country’s economic problems amid signs of a deadlock in negotiations. The government in Kiev and the International Monetary Fund have set the end of this month as a target to agree on a restructuring of Ukraine’s $70bn in sovereign debt aimed at saving it more than $15bn in debt payments over the next four years.

June 9

Politico, Dennis Hastert’s legal troubles echo the scandals of his speakership. Peter H. Stone, June 9, 2015. Congress today has among the lowest approval ratings that it’s ever had — down there with cockroaches and Dennis Hastert official photo from 109th Congressroot canals. Dennis Hastert helped get it there, tolerating, and at times even fostering a culture of sleaze. During his speakership — the longest ever by a Republican — the House’s morass of scandals, both in breadth and depth, was unprecedented, blow after blow for an institution that on its best day is still the punchline of too many jokes. As House speaker, Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) didn’t really do anything about it. Worse, Hastert caved on reform legislation and was oblivious to early warnings about at least one scandal. What Hastert did do was protect his closest ally and mentor, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, from tough investigation of misconduct by intervening with the House ethics oversight committee. “Hastert clearly took steps to insulate DeLay from proper investigation,” former Majority Leader Dick Armey, who preceded DeLay in that job and then left Congress in 2002, told me in a recent interview. Armey's blunt criticism is an indication that old conservative allies are washing their hands of a man who was once well respected in Republican circles now that Hastert, who was arraigned Tuesday in Illinois, is facing criminal charges himself. Those charges include lying to the FBI about improper bank withdrawals that skirted reporting requirements. Those withdrawls are allegedly connected to hush money payments by Hastert to hide what reportedly was an old incident of sexual abuse of a young boy.

Washington Post, College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one, Hunter Rawlings, June 9, 2015.What truly makes an education valuable: the effort the student puts into it. Hr. Hunter Rawlings is president of the Association of American Universities and a former president of Cornell University and the University of Iowa.

Editor's comment left of Washington Post reader comment section:  This excellent column mirrors what I heard at an introductory lecture at Cornell University in 1966. Am glad the tradition is carried on there and is extended to wider audiences. 

JFK Facts, Vincent Bugliosi, JFK Conspiracy Skeptic, Dies at 80, Jeff Morley, June 9, 2015. Vincent Bugliosi, former prosecutor, best-selling author, and prolific skeptic of JFK conspiracy theories, has died. My dealings with Vincent Bugliosi Reclaiming Historythe man were always cordial, though not productive. I read as much of his mammoth Reclaiming History as I could. I came away agreeing with him that there were many implausible JFK conspiracy theories out there – in addition to the also-implausible anti-conspiracy theory that he advocated. And that was what was problematic about Bugiliosi’s intellectual approach to the JFK story. The idea that you could get at the truth about JFK’s death by refuting every false theory strikes me as very odd. Why would you address the JFK story in such a backhanded way? “Because there are so many bad theories out there,” he said when I met him. The problem with that approach is that Reclaming History was ultimately less about the events that culminated in JFK’s death, and more about things that didn’t happen and implausible theories about things that didn’t happen. As for the question interests people – what did happen in Dallas? – Vince had not that much new to say. Despite its girth, Reclaiming History is actually amounts to a slender book that restates the conclusions of the Warren Commission, without addressing most of the basic objections to it.

Huffington Post, Jeb Bush In 1995: Unwed Mothers Should Be Publicly Shamed, Laura Bassett, June 9, 2015. Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, Jeb Bushmisbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), shown in a gubernatorial portrait, argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character. In a chapter called "The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”

June 8

Guardian, Forget the G7 summit – Bilderberg is where the big guns go, Charlie Skelton, June 8, 2015. Thursday sees the start of the influential Bilderberg policy conference, which this year is being held in Austria, just 16 miles south of the G7 Summit, and in a similarly inaccessible luxury alpine resort. The participant list for the conference has just been released. Three serving European prime ministers will be attending, from the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium. They will be discussing “European strategy” with the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the president of Austria, Heinz Fischer. Two European finance ministers are on the list. Europe’s hottest financial potato, Greece, is on the conference agenda, and it’s good to know Benoît Coeuré, a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, will be there to discuss it in strictest privacy with interested parties, such as the heads of Deutsche Bank, Lazard, Banco Santander and HSBC. The scandal-hit HSBC and everyone’s favourite vampire squid, Goldman Sachs, are both extremely well represented at this year’s conference. Airbus is one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers, and the 2015 conference agenda has a distinct whiff of war. For now, the story is: Bilderberg 2015 has an extremely high-powered participant list. With participants this powerful, and an agenda containing this many hot topics, the Telfs policy conference is sure to be covered in depth by the world’s press. And by “sure to be,” I mean probably won’t be.

 

President Obama and Angela Merkel, at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8,2015

President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Courthouse News Service, CIA Search for JFK Records Mostly Sufficient, William Dotinga, June 8, 2015. A federal judge denied most of an attorney's bid for CIA records on the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy (shown in a file photo), Robert F. Kennedyfinding the agency had searched diligently enough to satisfy the law. Anthony Bothwell — representing himself — sued the CIA in November 2013 for denying his records request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relating to five people who he claims may have been involved in the Kennedy assassinations in 1963 and 1968. His initial FOIA request sought all records related to three people allegedly connected to JFK's assassination: Johnny Roselli, Jean Souetre and David Morales. As to RFK's assassination, Bothwell sought records Thane Eugene Cesar and Enrique Hernandez. The CIA denied Bothwell's request as to the JFK connections, saying that if any documents existed they would be exempt from release as "intelligence sources and methods information." For the two individuals allegedly connected to the Bobby Kennedy assassination, the agency said those records were "operational files" also exempted under FOIA. Editor's note: The decision illustrates the continuing difficulty for the public in learning who killed the Kennedys and why.

June 7

BBC, Turkey ruling AKP loses majority in surprise result, Mark Lowen, June 7, 2015. Turkey's governing AK party has lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 13 years, near-complete election results show. The Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Erdogansurprise outcome also sees the pro-Kurdish HDP crossing the 10% threshold, securing seats for the first time. With 99% of the vote counted, the AKP has 41% of the vote, state-run TRT television reports. The result is a blow to President Recep Erdogan's plans to boost his office's powers. President Erdogan, who first came to power as prime minister in 2003, had been seeking a two-thirds majority to turn Turkey into a presidential republic. The AKP has polled worse than it ever feared and lost its majority. President Erdogan (shown in a file photo with President Obama) will be unable to change the constitution and extend his powers. This could be the start of a new political era here; a major setback for a president who has polarised this nation. In a volatile Middle East, Turkey matters greatly — and so the path it takes, the nature of its democracy and the leaders it produces, all have implications far beyond its borders. The party that once seemed unstoppable for 13 years under Mr Erdogan may now struggle to form a government. "This was a victory of democracy over political corruption... of peace over war," HDP deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder said. The HDP is projected to get between 75 to 80 seats after successfully attracting votes beyond its Kurdish support base. The Republican People's Party (CHP) is set to be the second largest party, as in the previous parliament, with around 25% of the vote.

Washington Post, Nothing gay about Hastert hypocrisy, Jonathan Capehart, June 7, 2015. In discussing the scandal engulfing former House speaker Dennis Hastert, who is due in court this week, one thing must be made absolutely clear. What he is alleged to have done to young boys has absolutely nothing to do with being gay or gay rights. The indictment against Hastert, revealed May 28, charges the Illinois Republican with lying to federal officials about why he had evaded bank regulations by making withdrawals of less than $10,000 between 2012 and 2014. Almost immediately after the news broke of Hastert’s indictment, folks looked to Congress for signs of hypocrisy. Former representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is gay, made an assertion during an appearance on Huffington Post Live last Monday that was flat-out inappropriate. Now, where Frank gets it right is on the moral hypocrisy displayed by Hastert and so many other holier-than-thou Republicans thundering about values. obbyist. So…these people leading the charge against Clinton. Clinton was the choir boy."

June 6

New York Times, SEAL Team 6’s Secret History: Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines, Mark Mazzetti, Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Serge F. Kovaleski, Sean D. Naylor and John Ismay, June 6, 2015. The unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been converted into a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.

WhoWhatWhy, Missing Evidence of Prior FBI Relationship with Boston Bomber, James Henry, June 6, 2015. Almost universally overlooked congressional testimony from then-FBI director Robert Mueller directly contradicts a deliberately-propagated misconception: that the Boston Marathon bombers were unknown to the US government until the Russians issued a vague warning that was dismissed as inconsequential. This revelation calls into question the precise nature of the FBI’s relationship with the bombers — before they became bombers. Ever since the early days of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, it’s been commonly understood that Tamerlan Tsarnaev first came to the attention of the FBI thanks to a March 2011 “warning” from the FSB, Russia’s security services. We now know this to be false.

Huffington Post, Dennis Hastert Hid His Skeletons As He Helped Push GOP's Anti-Gay Agenda, Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein, June 6, 2015. During the 2004 elections, George W. Bush's campaign, managed by a closeted Dennis Hastert Gavel Wikipediagay man, pushed a series of anti-gay ballot initiatives across the country. The House of Representatives, led by a male speaker who allegedly sexually assaulted a male minor, moved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage after beating back attempts to strengthen hate crimes legislation. And the White House, led in part by a vice president with a lesbian daughter, eagerly encouraged a conservative evangelical base hostile to gay rights. Though only slightly over a decade ago, that election seems increasingly like the relic of a far-off era as the country moves closer toward acceptance of legalizing marriage equality nationwide. But it's being revisited in light of recent revelations that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) may have sexually abused at least two male students during his time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach, and later lied to the FBI about the hush money he was paying one of them. Hastert wasn't a strident culture warrior during his time in Congress. But he was a vital cog in the anti-gay political machinery that the GOP deployed for political benefit. And now it appears his involvement carried the same elements of duplicity and deceit as that of other Republican operatives of that era.

Washington Post, Unwinding the drug war: He issues drug sentences that go against his better judgment, Eli Saslow, June 6, 2015. In a Midwestern meth corridor, a federal judge comes face to face with the reality of penalties mandated by Congress. U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett entered and everyone stood. “Another hard one,” he said, and the room fell silent. He was one of 670 federal district judges in the United States, appointed for life by a president and confirmed by the Senate, and he had taken an oath to “administer justice” in each case he heard. For more than two decades as a federal judge, Bennett had often viewed his job as less about presiding than abiding by dozens of mandatory minimum sentences established by Congress in the late 1980s for federal offenses. Those mandatory penalties, many of which require at least a decade in prison for drug offenses, took discretion away from judges and fueled an unprecedented rise in prison populations, from 24,000 federal inmates in 1980 to more than 208,000 last year. Half of those inmates are nonviolent drug offenders. Federal prisons are overcrowded by 37 percent. The Justice Department recently called mass imprisonment a “budgetary nightmare” and a “growing and historic crisis.”

Washington Post, Jeb Bush struggling to make 2016 about Jeb, not Bush, Ed O'Keefe, June 6, 2015. Kennebunkport, Maine — A banner in the town square says “Happy 90th Barbara Bush.” In this coastal hamlet made famous by George H.W. Bush and his cigarette boat, it is hard to escape the Bush family — but Jeb Bush is trying hard to do so. After festivities this weekend to celebrate his mother’s 90th birthday, Bush will jet overseas for a foreign-policy tour and then launch his 2016 presidential campaign 1,500 miles to the south, in Miami. The iconic family compound here, called Walker’s Point, is a fitting metaphor for what has emerged as Jeb Bush’s central political challenge: how far to distance himself from his family’s political legacy. The past month has brought into stark relief the fundamental dilemma posed by Bush’s lineage, even as his front-runner status fades. He repeatedly stumbled to answer questions about the now-unpopular Iraq war started by his brother and has been visibly conflicted about whether to embrace or play down the policies and reputations of his closest relatives.

Government of Russia, Vladimir Putin Interview: The Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera Ahead of his visit to Italy, Staff report, edited transcript, June 6, 2015 (Putin photo by newspaper). 

Vladimir Putin Il Corriere Della SeraLuciano Fontana: I would like to satisfy my curiosity and ask you one more question about Italy. You have known several chairmen of the Italian Council of Ministers – Romano Prodi, Silvio Berlusconi, Massimo D'Alema and Matteo Renzi. With whom did you find that you understood each other best? And how much, in your opinion, does the existence of a personal relationship – like the one you had with Silvio Berlusconi – contribute to good relations between countries?

Vladimir Putin: One of the people you have just mentioned once told me, “You must be the only person (meaning I was the only person) – who has a friendly relationship with both Berlusconi and Prodi.” I can tell you that it was not difficult for me, I still don’t find it difficult, and I can tell you why. My Italian partners have always put the interests of Italy, of the Italian people, first and believed that in order to serve the interests of their country, including economic and political interests, they must maintain friendly relations with Russia.

Washington Post, Here’s why Joe Biden chose Obama to deliver his son’s eulogy, Juliet Eilperin, June 6, 2015. The 44th president is poised to deliver a eulogy for Beau Biden at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del., on Saturday. The vice president has asked Obama to take on the task of giving voice to the intense private grief of a family that has spent decades in the public limelight. The request underscores just how much the personal relationship between the two men has evolved in the seven years since they first forged their political partnership.

OpEdNews, Whistleblowers "LEAP" onto Capitol Hill to Salute Black Lives Matter at Annual Whistle Blower Summit, Michael McCray, June 6, 2015. Whistleblowers "LEAP" onto Capitol Hill to Salute Black Lives Matter at Michael McCrayAnnual Whistle Blower Summit. ACORN 8--Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year's Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights in Washington, DC on July 29-31, 2015. This year's conference theme is "Black Lives Matter -- This Is The Movement!"

Washington Post, ISIS presents main threat in Libya’s civil war, Hassan Morajea and Erin Cunningham, June 6, 2015. As the Islamic State scores new victories in Syria and Iraq, its affiliate in Libya is also on the offensive, consolidating control of Moammar Gaddafi’s former home town and staging a bomb attack on a major city, Misurata. The Islamic State’s growth could further destabilize a country already suffering from a devastating civil war. And Libya could offer the extremists a new base from which to launch attacks elsewhere in North Africa.

June 5

Whistleblowers Kurt Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Ray McGovern, Daniel Ellllsberg, William Binney, Jessyln Radack, Thomas Drake, Photo by Kathleen McClellan via Twitter

"Stand Up for Truth" Whistleblowers Tour of Europe (Left to right]: Whistleblowers Kirk Wiebe (NSA), Coleen Rowley (FBI), Raymond McGovern (CIA), Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon), William Binney (NSA), Jesselyn Radack (Justice Department), and Thomas Drake (NSA) (Photo image by Kathleen McClellan via Twitter and DMCA)

OpEdNews, A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program, Norman Solomon, June 5, 2015. The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is "a new spy program." It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights. Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a "Stand Up For Truth" tour, Drake warned at a public forum that "national security" has become "the new state religion." That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA's massive surveillance program after 9/11. Drake understands how the NSA operates from the highest strategic levels. He notes a telling fact that has gone virtually unacknowledged by anti-surveillance boosters of the USA Freedom Act: "NSA approved." So, of course, did the top purveyor of mendacious claims about the U.S. government's surveillance programs — President Obama — who eagerly signed the "USA Freedom" bill into law just hours after the Senate passed it.

See for comparison: University of Chicago School of Law, The View from Inside the NSA, Harper Lecture with Geoffrey R. Stone, JD '71, May 20, 2015. (Video: 79 mins.) How can the US government protect our national security and advance our foreign policy while also respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties? After the leaks by Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden, that’s the question President Obama put to Geoffrey R. Stone, JD’71, University of Chicago law professor and leading constitutional scholar. In this lecture Stone will recount his work on the a presidential commission recommending reforms for the National Security Agency (NSA).

 

 

New York Times, Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School, Julie Bosman And Dave Philipps, June 5, 2015. As an enthusiastic young teacher and wrestling coach at the high school here, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reliably had one student at his side, former classmates say. Stephen Reinboldt, a smart, slender, likable student who rose to become class president, was the wrestling team’s equipment manager. For four years, he arrived at practice early and stayed late, traveled with Mr. Hastert to overnight tournaments, even when only one wrestler was competing, and went for long rides in the coach’s sports car, sometimes driving it. On Friday, Mr. Reinboldt’s younger sister, Jolene Burdge, said her brother, who died in 1995, was also sexually abused by Mr. Hastert, but hid the fact for years because he thought no one would believe him. The allegation comes a week after Mr. Hastert, who served for eight years as House speaker, was indicted on charges of making cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by the authorities and lying to investigators.

Washington Post, Will U.S. back new Nigerian leader’s tough stance against Boko Haram? Kevin Sieff, June 5, 2015.  In the week since Muhammadu Buhari (shown in a file photo) was inaugurated as president of Nigeria, vowing to eliminate Muhammadu Buhari Chatham House.Boko Haram, the extremist group has responded with a series of deadly bombings that have killed dozens of people across the country’s northeast. Those attacks have underscored the enormous task ahead for Buhari, a former military dictator who was seen by many as the right man to rid the country of terrorism. They have also highlighted the challenge for the United States, which is eager to defeat Boko Haram, but leery of offering a large increase in military assistance to Nigeria before its security forces — known for serious human rights abuses — are restructured.

June 4

OpEdNews, Ukrainians Dispossessed — Americans are next, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), June 4, 2015. Over the last 15 months Ukrainians have paid for Washington's overthrow of their elected Paul Craig Robertsgovernment in deaths, dismemberment of their country, and broken economic and political relationships with Russia that cost Ukraine its subsidized energy. Now Ukrainians are losing their pensions and traditional support payments. On June 1 the TASS news agency reported that Ukraine has stopped payments to pensioners, World War II veterans, people with disabilities, and victims of Chernobyl. The same looting is underway in Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.

Politico, Jeb Bush to announce 2016 bid on June 15, Nick Gass, June 4, 2015. In a tweet [via @JebBush] sent Thursday morning, Bush teases “Coming soon.” Jeb Bush will officially enter the presidential Jeb Bush logorace on June 15 in Miami, nearly six months after announcing that he was “actively” exploring running for the Republican nomination. Bush teases “Coming soon,” linking to jebannouncement.com, which features a 06.15.15 date and says it was paid for by “Jeb 2016, Inc.”

Salon, Chris Christie stunner: Former associate says New Jersey guv broke the law, Sophia Tesfaye, June 4, 2015. Former Port Authority official David Wildstein claims Christie violated the law by divulging grand jury Chris Christiedetails. A former Chris Christie schoolmate and Port Authority official swore under oath that the New Jersey Governor and former federal prosecutor violated the law by revealing the secret proceedings of a grand jury investigating the Bridgegate scandal. According to the New York Times, David Wildstein, the former head of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey who pled guilty to federal charges for his involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, claimed in a sworn statement that Christie illegally disclosed information from a grand jury investigation. This allegation comes from Wildstein’s defense in a separate case, in which Christie [shown in a file photo] is again accused of unsavory political maneuvering. In that case, Christie allegedly held a secret meeting to plot the firing of the then-deputy superintendent of the Port Authority, Arthur Cifelli, replacing him with three-term New Jersey sheriff, Gerard J. Speziale. Wildstein swore under oath last week that “Christie told Wildstein and the others that he wanted to get Speziale to drop his re-election bid to help Republicans win the post, and to take Speziale’s campaign war chest out of the race.” Speziale, a Democrat, subsequently dropped his bid for reelection and took a $199,000-a-year job with the Port Authority.

Legal Schnauzer, Here's how the "breaking" story of Dennis Hastert's taste for young wrestlers actually broke nine years ago, Roger Shuler, June 4, 2015. The No. 1 news story in the country right now is about former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and his efforts to cover up the sexual molestation of at least one youth wrestler during his days as a high school teacher and coach. Hastert was schedule to make a court appearance today, but that has been postponed until next week. It took a federal indictment last week for the story to become national news. But it actually broke almost nine years ago, thanks to the investigative work of D.C.-based journalist Wayne Madsen. In fact, Madsen provided details that the mainstream press still seems afraid to touch. See also: NewNextNow, Sen. Larry Craig Frequently Hired Male Escorts, Former Pimp Alleges.

Barack Obama with Ella Rhodes, daughter of advisor Ben Rhodes (June 2, 2004 photo by Pete Sousa)

President Barack Obama plays with Ella Harper Rhodes, daughter of Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, during an Oval Office drop by, June 4, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Atlantic, The Mysterious Columba Bush, Hanna Rosin, June 2015. Who is Jeb’s wife, what effect will she have on his campaign — and what effect will his campaign have on their marriage? Now and then in an otherwise unmemorable speech, Jeb Bush will drop a mention of his wife, like a sudden pop of color. At an event in Nevada this March, one of his first speeches of this campaign season, before a crowd of what The Washington Post called “everyday Americans,” Bush opened with a husband-still-in-thrall routine. His life, he said, can be divided into two parts: “b.c. and a.c. — before Columba and after Columba,” referring to Columba Garnica de Gallo, the woman he fell madly in love with while on a high-school trip to Mexico and then married 41 years ago.

June 3

Martin O'Malley and US HCC President Javier Palomarez at Newseum June 3, 2015 (Andrew Kreig photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor at right, makes a point during a June 3 forum hosted by U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Javier Palomarez at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The scene was O'Malley's first public engagement after formally announcing his candidacy (Andrew Kreig photo for the Justice Integrity Project.

The Washington Post, As FIFA allegations swirled, Clintons gave Qatar a stage — and legitimacy, Rosalind S. Helderman, June 3, 2015. During the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2013 annual meeting, Bill Clinton called to the stage a former rival named Hassan Abdullah Al-Thawadi. For the Qataris, the moment offered a touch of Clinton-blessed legitimacy amid a brewing controversy. For the Clinton Foundation, it came Bill Clintonwith a major donation. A foundation official said the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee headed by Al-Thawadi “sponsored” the 2013 CGI event, a status that generally requires a donation of at least $250,000. The donation from the Qatari committee serves as the latest example of the willingness of the Clinton Foundation to accept big-dollar contributions from controversial and, sometimes, politically problematic sources. Donors have included foreign governments, Wall Street banks and some of the world’s richest business tycoons. As the foundation’s practices have come under increased scrutiny, Bill Clinton has defended accepting money from imperfect actors. The way the foundation thinks about it, Clinton has said, is not whether a potential donor has done something questionable in one area, but whether there’s an intent to do something positive with the foundation.

HuffPost Live, Is The War On Sex Workers Like The War On Drugs? Alyona Minkovski, June 3, 2015. President Obama signed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to increase penalties to fight human trafficking. But with mandatory minimum sentencing, incentivizing arrests, and targeting prostitution, will it fail just like the War On Drugs?

OpEdNews, Washington Politicizes Football, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in a file photo), June 3, 2015. Washington's attack on world soccer is following the script of Washington's attack on the Russian-hosted Sochi Olympics. The difference is Paul Craig Robertsthat Washington couldn't stop the Olympics from being held in Sochi, and was limited to scaring off westerners with lies and propaganda. In the current scandal orchestrated by Washington, Washington intends to use its takeover of FIFA to renege on FIFA's decision that Russia host the next World Cup. This is part of Washington's agenda of isolating Russia from the World. This Washington-orchestrated scandal stinks to high heaven. It seems obvious that the FIFA officials have been arrested for political reasons and that the recently overwhelmingly-reelected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was forced to resign by Washington's threats to indict him as well. In Washington's hands, law is a weapon that is used against everyone, every organization, and every country that takes a position independent of Washington.

C-SPAN 3, U.S. Interests at the UN, June 4, 2015.  Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador United States, is questioned by U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on "Advancing United States' Interests at the United Nations.

June 2

Politico, Rand Paul: Declassify 9/11 report pages on Saudi Arabia, Burgess Everett, June 2, 2015. Rand Paul is already zeroing in on his next national security battle: urging the declassification of a 28-page document many believe implicates Saudi Arabia as a financier in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Kentucky senator and GOP presidential candidate said on Tuesday that he will seek to force a vote that would make it the sense of Congress that President Barack Obama should reveal the redacted pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001. Paul said he will push to vote on his legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is expected to take up this week.

Washington Post, Congress rolls back a post-9/11 spy program, Mike DeBonis, June 2, 2015. The USA Freedom Act, which Obama signed into law Tuesday, will end the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data after a six-month transition period.

Washington Post, The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire, David A. Fahrenthold, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, June 2, 2015. Today, the Clinton Foundation is unlike anything else in the history of the nation and, perhaps, the world: It is a global philanthropic empire run by a former U.S. president and closely affiliated with a potential future president, with the audacious goal of solving some of the world’s most vexing problems by bringing together the wealthiest, glitziest and most powerful people from every part of the planet. The evolution of the foundation, which began as a modest nonprofit focused largely on the ex-president’s library in Arkansas, is a nearly perfect reflection of the Clintons themselves. It was not designed as a master plan but rather has grown, one brainstorm at a time, in accordance with the ambitious, loyal, restless and often scattered nature of its primary namesake. Many programs were sparked by chance encounters in Bill Clinton’s life. A meeting with a Harlem shopkeeper. A friend’s plan to fight AIDS. The flight to Davos. Emergency heart surgery.

Legal Schnauzer, Author who revealed Dennis Hastert's taste for young males also broke story about Bill Pryor and gay porn, Roger Shuler, June 2, 2015. Who looks worst in the Dennis Hastert sex scandal? That Dennis Hastert Gavel Wikipediaundoubtedly would be the former U.S. House speaker himself, who now stands accused of agreeing to pay $3.7 million in hush money to a former high school wrestler Hastert sexually abused during his teaching and coaching days in rural Illinois. Who looks best from this sordid mess? That might be Wayne Madsen, a D.C.-based investigative journalist who first reported in fall 2006 on Hastert's predilection for youthful male wrestlers. Madsen also reported in the same time frame that Hastert's sexual preferences were well known among the D.C. gay community.

June 1

Al.com, Panel found possible grounds for impeaching judge Mark Fuller, Kyle Whitmire, June 1, 2015. A panel of federal judges found possible grounds for impeachment of District Judge Mark Fuller. Fuller, who was arrested last year in an Atlanta hotel room on charges of domestic abuse, resigned his appointment to the federal bench on Friday. In a two-sentence letter to the president, Fuller said that his last day would be August 1. Fuller will not handle casework before then, his lawyer said. However, it now appears that Fuller's resignation was meant to stop a process of impeachment before it began.

Informed Comment, Thank you, Edward Snowden: An End to General Warrants as so-called PATRIOT Act expires, Juan Cole, June 1, 2015. The US government behemoth dedicated to spying on us all in contravention of the Constitution will likely be only slightly inconvenienced by the expiration of the misnamed “PATRIOT Act”, forced by Sen. Rand Paul late Sunday night. But at least a few baby steps back toward democracy will be taken as a result. These steps toward restoration of Americans’ privacy would not have occurred without the revelations of Edward Snowden about just how out of control the National Security Agency has been. Even senators like Ron Wyden of Oregon, who knew what the US government was doing in secret, could not openly blow the whistle because they would have instantly been arrested.

Foreign Policy, In Search of the Real Barack Obama, David Rothkopf, June 1, 2015. A conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg on why he thinks “the most Jewish president we’ve ever had” is having such a tough time in the Middle East. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the most incisive, respected foreign policy journalists around, recently conducted an in-depth interview with U.S. President Barack Obama covering many dimensions of his administration’s Mideast policy. (Here is a link to the interview, well worth your time if you haven’t read it yet.) Later the same week in late May, Goldberg was in attendance when the commander in chief visited Washington, D.C.’s Adas Israel synagogue, again to help make the case for his Mideast policies and to discuss in depth his sometimes troubled relationship with Israel’s leadership.

David Rothkopf: I re-read your most recent interview with Obama. It is the first interview with the president in which you seemed to really express your discomfort with some of his views. In fact, in my view, it is one of the most candid and direct interviews I have ever seen done with him. What was your takeaway?

Jeffrey Goldberg: For me, it’s a mix — the main frustration, of course, is technical — there’s never enough time, and this president talks in perfectly formed paragraphs, and he’s given to filibustering on occasion, and it is, of course, hard to interrupt any president in the Oval Office. So most of the time I’m just worrying about getting in the questions I want answered. (Actually, by the way, it’s something deeper and more interesting than filibustering — I think he takes pride in deducing the next three questions in an interview, and so he answers these imagined questions before you get a chance to ask. The flummoxing part of this is that he’s very often right about the questions. Maybe it’s a lawyer trick, I don’t know.)

Schuster Institute For Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University, Prosecutors will not appeal judge's decision to overturn Angel Echavarria's murder conviction, Staff report, June 1, 2015. Angel Echavarria, who served Angel Echavarria (Schuster Institute at Brandeis University)21 years of a life sentence for murder, cleared one more hurdle on the path to freedom for a crime he has always insisted he did not commit. The Essex County District Attorney's office confirmed today that it will not appeal Judge David A. Lowy's decision overturning Echavarria's conviction and ordering a new trial. Echavarria was released May 18 at his bail hearing when Judge Lowy vacated his murder conviction. Judge Lowy overturned Echavarria’s 1994 murder conviction on April 30 based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The weakness of the evidence against Echavarria, in combination with the ineffective performance of his trial counsel, left Judge Lowy with a “compelling belief that justice may not have been done in this case.” Shown in a Schuster Institute photo with his daughter at his side, Angel Echavarria talks to reporters after his May 18 bail hearing. He was released that day after serving 21 years in prison for a murder he has always insisted he did not commit. H

Huffington Post, The Supreme Court Case That Could Gut Obamacare Explained In 2 Minutes, Jeffrey Young, June 1, 2015. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a hotly anticipated decision soon in a lawsuit that could do major damage to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.  What's it all about, and who would be affected? Huffington Post health care explains in this video.

Washington Post, Beau Biden prosecuted one of the worst pedophiles in American history, Justin Wm. Moyer, June 1, 2015. In 2010, just five years before his death this weekend, the time was never better for Beau Biden Earl Bradley, former physicianto make a run for the U.S. Senate. He was performing well as Delaware’s attorney general; his father, Joe Biden, had left Capitol Hill in 2008 to join President Obama in the White House; a family friend had been keeping the seat warm for the young man. But Biden declined. But “the case of great consequence” Biden stuck around to prosecute involved Earl Bradley — a pediatrician (shown in a prison mug shot) who perpetrated what some called “one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse” by sexually assaulting dozens, if not hundreds, of his young patients.

Legal Schnauzer, Order released today by Eleventh Circuit shows that Fuller was staring down the barrel at impeachment, Roger Shuler, June 1, 2015. A judicial panel today issued an order saying the conduct of Alabama federal judge Mark Fuller might "constitute one or more grounds for impeachment." That means Fuller was facing serious consequences when he announced his resignation last Friday, in the wake of his arrest last summer on domestic-abuse charges. U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat acted as chief judge in the Fuller matter. Ironically, Tjoflat also served on a three-judge panel that denied initial appeals in the Don Siegelman case. Fuller is best known for overseeing the Siegelman trial, which has come to be seen by many legal experts as perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in U.S. history. From an article by Alyson Palmer at the Atlanta-based Daily Report: When U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama tendered his resignation on Friday, his fellow judges apparently were preparing to send his case to a national judicial body for consideration of possible impeachment by Congress.

On Monday the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an order saying the conduct of Fuller, who was arrested on domestic abuse allegations in Atlanta last summer, "might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment." The order referred the matter to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which has the ability to send a judicial discipline matter to the House of Representatives for impeachment.

OpEdNews, Rule by the corporations -- TTIP: The Corporate Empowerment Act, Paul Craig Roberts, June 1, 2015. The Transatlantic and Transpacific Trade and Investment Partnerships have nothing to do with free Paul Craig Robertstrade. "Free trade" is used as a disguise to hide the power these agreements give to corporations to use law suits to overturn sovereign laws of nations that regulate pollution, food safety, GMOs, and minimum wages. The first thing to understand is that these so-called "partnerships" are not laws written by Congress. The US Constitution gives Congress the authority to legislate, but these laws are being written without the participation of Congress. The laws are being written by corporations solely in the interest of their power and profit. The office of US Trade Representative was created in order to permit corporations to write law that serves only their interests. This fraud on the Constitution and the people is covered up by calling trade laws "treaties."