United States mainstream news coverage of the current U.S.-Iran-Iraq crisis is extensive yet still overlooks almost entirely important factors necessary for public understanding of the developments regarding the U.S. drone assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, rightqassim soleimani.

Our survey below of recent developments highlights those factors. For context, it also provides excerpts and links about the crisis drawn from mohammad mossadeqmajor Western news organizations and from one alternative source.

The CIA-led overthrow in 1953 of Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh (sometimes spelled "Mossadeq"), shown at left, was the first of these overlooked factors, both in terms of importance and chronology.

Commentaries on the current crisis published by Western outlets typically begin their analysis with the date 1979, when religion-inspired Iranian revolutionaries seized 52 American hostages in the course of overthrowing the Shah Mohammad Reza Pavlavi, the cruel and arrogant "King of Kings" that U.S. and British intelligence agents had installed in 1953 to replace the leftist Mosaddegh, who was imprisoned and died in 1967 in exile. The shah and his wife are shown below at right as they fled Iran in 1979 for protection and his medical treatment in the United States.

To report only on the 1979 Iranian reaction to the 1953 coup without mentioning the shah's Western-imposed reign mohammad reza pahlavi wife farah diba 1979 airport departure Customand 1979 protection from accountability confuses the public. That kind of omission is replicated in other "overlooked" factors below, which tend to involve controversial U.S. actions and allegations that officials prefer to ignore, as do most news organizations.

The Justice Integrity Project provides a list of these other overlooked factors below: They are:

  • 1953 Overthrow of Mosaddegh
  • October Surprise Claims Regarding 1980 U.S. election and hostage release
  • Iran-Iraq War 1980-89
  • Responsibility for 2001 9/11 Attacks
  • WMD Claims Prompting 2003 U.S.-led Iraq invasion
  • Irani-led efforts to defeat their arch-enemy ISIS and Al Qaeda jihadists funded by, among others, Saudi Arabia and Qatar

qassem soleimani exploded car Custom 2Further below is a roundup of news coverage by date of current developments during the past week. This coverage includes a number of outstanding reports and commentaries by major news organizations, especially the New York Times and Washington Post. In other words, our criticism of a pattern of omissions and missed judgments does not negate the value of what is published in most circumstances.

We include also in our news roundup below selected alternative, foreign and independent media.

For example, the Wayne Madsen Report, published by author and former Navy Intelligence officer and NSA analyst Wayne Madsen, below left, provided this summary on Jan. 6 entitled Soleimani's Revenge of the death toll from the U.S. strike. Soleimani's car is shown at right. Madsen's description below was a prelude to his detailed description of battle-hardened allies from around the world that Iran can call upon for revenge against the U.S. military:

Killed, along with Soleimani (also sometimes spelled "Suleimani") in the U.S. attack on their vehicle within Baghdad International Airport was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of the Iraqi Shi’a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as the Hashed al-Shabi. Al-Muhandis was also the founder of Kataib Hezbollah, which is part of the PMF. The PMF serves as a virtual Iraqi National Guard, with Shi’a, Sunni, Yazidi, Christian, and Iraqi Turkmen components.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the unusual step of declaring the IRGC and the Quds Force “foreign terrorist organizations” last year. The designation had only been applied to non-state entities in the past. Hours after the strike on Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, the State Department declared the Iraqi Shi’a militia group and political party, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), a foreign terrorist organization.

Almost simultaneous to the designation of AAH, two leaders of AAH -- Qais al-Khazali and his brother, Laith al-Khazali -- were targeted in a further U.S. missile attack on their convoy in north Baghdad.

The two militia leaders and other passengers in their convoy were reportedly killed, an act that further inflamed passions in the region, javad zarif 2014 wparticularly in Iran and among Iraq’s majority Shi’a population.

Madsen's column on Jan. 7, News on the Iran crisis the corporate media is largely ignoring, led off with: "The Trump administration, in violation of the 1947 United Nations-United States UN Headquarters Agreement, denied Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, a visa to attend a January 9 meeting of the UN Security Council in New York to condemn the American assassination of Iranian Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3."

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Three conferences in the Dallas Metro area this month will convene JFK assassination researchers on overlapping dates in recognition of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in the city on Nov. 22, 1963. He is shown delivering his iconic speech earlier that year at American University calling for world peace as a top priority.

jfk american universityFirst, beginning on Thursday, Nov. 21, is the four-day JFK Dallas Conference at the Doubletree Market Center (2015 Market Center Blvd.), organized by Trine Day book publisher Kris Millegan and one of his authors, Judyth Vary Baker.

Among the other scheduled speakers among the forensic physicians, public safety experts, attorneys, authors, professors and witnesses populating the speaker programs of all three conferences are" Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Robert Tanenbaum, Ed Haslam, Dick Russell, Edgar Tatro, Roger Craig, Jr., Chris Fulton, Dr. John D. Williams, David Denton, Damon Ise, Hugh Clark, Dr. Mal Hyman, Vincent Palamara, Robert Groden, Barbara Honeggar, Gary Shaw and Ryan M. Jones. Highlights include an awards banquet. Details are here:

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 22 is a two-day November in Dallas conference organized by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) in cooperation with JFK Lancer Productions and held at the new Marriott Courtyard hotel (310 South Houston Street).

Among scheduled speakers are Oliver Stone, John Curington, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, David Denton, Dr. Gary Aguilar, Dr. David Mantik, James DiEugenio, James Wagenvoord, Russ Baker, Dr. John Newman, Bill Kelly, Dan Storper and Bill Simpich. The conference will feature a mock Court of Inquiry (with Judge Jay Karahan, retired, as the presiding judge), a banquet and an archivists' panel that includes Stephen Fagin, John Slate, Mary Goolsby, Britney Crawford, David Knight, and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen. Details are here.

Sunday, Nov. 24 is the date for the one-day JFK: The Continuing Inquiry conference in Mansfield (located just south of Dallas) organized by Chris Gallop. The event will be at the at the Dirty Job Brewing, 117 N. Main Street, Mansfield from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among speakers will be Bill Simpich, Roger Craig Jr., Hank Slaughter, Steve Cameron, Jr., Gary Shaw and Dr. Michael Marcades. Details on Facebook: JFK: The Continuing Inquiry here.

Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig, a board member of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee studying the death, plans to attend as much of the three conferences as possible, including a meeting of other Truth and Reconciliation board members and supporters.

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Today's column announces a new way for the Justice Integrity Project to report on the many important daily developments regarding the U.S. presidency and its global implications. 

Given the large number of explosive news stories arising recently, we have shifted resources on a temporary basis toward more excerpts of news reports from elsewhere on the most important topics, such as Trump impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives and the related developments.

This means less emphasis on publishing our original columns while we evaluate the credibility of complex, far-flung global events during an era of strong bias and outright disinformation efforts from both government and private outlets.

Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)Our main subsite for the material that we excerpt (with occasional original reporting) will be "Trump Watch," which overlaps in content with our more general "News Reports" section. Other specialized sections are "Media News," "#MeToo scandal" and "Deep State."

The subsites include reporting on, for example, continuing Jeffrey Epstein — Donald Trump revelations that straddle several categories of news. For example, we have reported extensively on teen rape allegations against the two men that are seldom noted elsewhere in depth aside from the Wayne Madsen Report, edited by our colleague of that name. He co-authored a series that we reported jointly on the topic in early 2018.

U.S. House logoUnder this new format, the Justice Integrity Project plans to continue research as usual, including attendance at major congressional and court hearings and interviews of sources.

Realistically, however, presenting a curated selection of the most meaningful reporting and commentary from elsewhere in a "Readers Guide" — in the spirit of our longstanding guides on the key books, films, archives and evidence regarding assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy — is likely to provide a greater service to our readers at this juncture in United States history than a forced schedule of columns.

A dozen or more daily developments are frequently important to know, as illustrated by the events of the past week. 

Outstanding work is being done by other journalists many times a day, of course, some in the mainstream and some in the alternative media. These are reports about such inherently secret or far-flung topics as national security whistleblowers, corruption intrigues in Ukraine, battle front coverage on the Turkish-Syrian border and the supposed "fake news" allegations regarding all Justice Department logosuch topics.

It would be arrogant — and not especially effective — for us to try to replicate the most important work in our own columns instead of encouraging readership of the best reporting from elsewhere on these complex topics.

john durham CustomThat said, we are confident of providing value added by focusing what attention we can on useful reporting and commentary.

That's especially so because this project was founded nearly a decade ago to examine in depth precisely the kinds of allegations of rigged corruption prosecutions and related propaganda that form part of the core of the current House impeachment inquiry.

That inquiry has focused most notably on alleged efforts by the Trump administration to pressure Ukraine's government to undertake corruption investigations implicating former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-running Democratic presidential candidate last summer, in advance of the 2020 elections.

We plan to publish soon our findings from a multi-year examination of the career of U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, right, a career federal prosecutor whom Trump nominated to the top federal post in Connecticut. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has appointed Dunham this year to undertake what is now a criminal investigation of allegations that Justice Department and intelligence officials improperly tarnished the Trump campaign and presidency.

Nearly all media reports assert that Durham has a stellar reputation. Yet there's another side to Durham's background suggesting a deference to political considerations in his prosecutorial work. Therefore, any examination of his current investigation requires consideration of ongoing developments elsewhere.

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Award-winning journalist Thomas Maier's new book All That Glitters traces the 1980s rise of Donald Trump in significant part to the magazine world of billionaire S. I. Newhouse Jr. and his editorial team.

In the 1980s, Newhouse fostered Trump's rise via their mutual friendship with Trump mentor Roy Cohn as well as the celebrity journalism practiced by Newhouse editors Anna thomas maier portrait2Wintour and Tina Brown, according to Maier, left, in the book published this month. He amplified the themes in two lectures on Sept. 19 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The tale unfolds this way in Maier's words:

Wintour and Brown were bold and talented British women who fought their way to the top of this male-dominated American industry driven by greed and betrayal.

thomas maier all that glitters cover SmallWintour became an icon of fashion and New York’s high society, while Brown helped define the intersection of literary culture and Hollywood celebrity, according to this account: They jockeyed for power in the hypercompetitive “off with their heads” atmosphere set up by Newhouse and his longtime creative guru Alex Liberman, two men who for years controlled the glossy Condé Nast magazines that dictated how women should look, dress, and feel.

In turning this world upside down, Wintour and Brown challenged the old rules and made Newhouse’s company internationally famous.

Ultimately, one of them won in their fascinating struggle for fame and fortune during the height of New York’s gilded age of print — a time before the Internet, before 9/11, when the Reagans ruled the White House and Donald Trump was a mere local developer featured on the cover of Newhouse’s publications. This book traces the careers of Wintour and Brown and shows how they and the Condé Nast media empire were major media enablers in the rise of Donald Trump and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

At its heart, All That Glitters is a parable about the changes in America’s media, where corruption and easy compromises are sprinkled with glitter, power, and glory. Originally titled Newhouse -- before being retitled, revised and updated with a new introduction and afterword — the book won the 1994 Frank Luther Mott Award for best-researched media book of the year.

For reporters, voters and McClendon Group members these days, such topics are highly relevant, this editor believes. That was the rationale to organize a book lecture on Sept. 19 via the press club's Sarah McClendon speaker society, which since 1946 has organized speaker dinners at the club. 

McClendon, a longtime White House correspondent and former president of the club, led the discussions for decades along with her colleague John Edward Hurley, the group's current chair and also a founding director of our Justice Integrity Project.

Maier shone in two well-received talks.

The first was focused heavily on career tips to the Club's Young Members Committee, a different group than the McClendon speaker society.

Maier urged the young reporters to keep "balance" in their careers by undertaking major journalism projects outside of their main responsibilities (as he has by book, television and university teaching work). Also, he encouraged his audience to distribute their news stories in both video and print platforms. While most of his work has been in print during his more than three decades at Newsday in New York, for example, he said that he is also one of his newsroom's major advocates for creating major video treatments of major print articles.

His second talk was to the McClendon group about his latest book, which is subtitled, Anna Wintour, Tina Brown, and the Rivalry Inside America’s Richest Media Empire. Maier stressed his belief that journalism must provide the basic information necessary for informed citizens in a democracy and not just lapse into celebrity and other non-serious genres.

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Last week's prompt acquittal by a federal jury of Democratic power broker Gregory Craig from a false statement charge shows the partisan decision-making under the corrupt Trump Attorney General William Barr.

The Washington, DC, jury acquitted Craig, shown at right, in just over four hours Wednesday following a three-week trial stemming from a seldom-enforced law requiring “foreign agents” to register.

greg craig smiling cropped headshot 9 4 19 IMG 6685In a prosecution launched on April 11 following the Republican Barr’s installation in February, the Attorney General’s team claimed Craig made a false statement to investigators probing his failure to register as a foreign lobbyist seven years ago for Ukrainian interests.

This discretionary prosecution reportedly raised internal questions at the time among Justice Department prosecutors on whether a conviction was possible. The Republican leadership proceeded anyway, with the effect of tainting a prominent Democrat in special counsel investigations that previously had implicated only Republican officials and former officials.

Such internal decisions have career-ending and personal consequences for the targets, even experienced and eminent ones.

As Craig, a former top legal advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, stood up to hear the jury verdict on Sept. 4, his thick white hair contrasted sharply with his reddened face. If convicted he faced a potential prison sentence of five years.

When the "not guilty" verdict was announced, the veteran litigator appeared near tears and he audibly sniffled. That illustrated once again to this observer the tension and drama inherent in a major criminal trial. Craig then hugged members of his defense team and such friends as former law partner David Kendall, Craig’s co-counsel in defending Clinton from impeachment charges two decades ago.

As shown by the Justice Integrity Project photos for this column, Craig was smiling by the time of his brief news conference outside the court. He thanked jurors for their service and his lawyers, friends and family for their support.

Moments earlier, defense counsel William Taylor Jr. had said Craig had been hounded by prosecutors. “The question that you need to ask,” Taylor told reporters, “is not why this jury acquitted Mr. Craig but why the Department of Justice brought this case against an innocent man in the first place.”

“Why, after the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York rejected this prosecution, did this Department of Justice decide it had to hound this man and his family without any evidence and without any purpose,” the defense lawyer asked. “It’s a tragedy. It’s a disgrace. I’m glad it’s over.”

greg craig lawyers 9 4 19 cropped IMG 6681

Washington attorney Gregory Craig, center, holds a brief news conference surrounded by his lawyers on Sept. 4 following his acquittal on a false statement charge in the federal district court in Washington, DC (Justice Integrity Project photo).

A juror made similar comments to reporters at an impromptu press conference shortly after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson thanked the jurors and dismissed them.

“I just could not understand why so many resources of the government were put into this when, in fact, actually the republic itself is at risk,” said the juror, who described himself as age 60 and his profession as working in the health field.

The juror gave his name but we refrain from using it in this column. In our view, the stakes have become too high to subject an ordinary American citizen without a full briefing as warning to the risks involved in reporting criticism of Trump, Barr and their out-of-control Justice Department and cult-like supporters, some of them angry, armed and supportive of police state tactics.

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The stabbing of Sirhan Sirhan on Aug. 30 in a California prison is bringing renewed attention to claims that he was unfairly convicted for the 1968 assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy — and has since been denied justice because of a monumental cover up.

sirhan sirhan 2016Sirhan, now 75 (shown in a 2016 prison photo), was hospitalized in stable condition following his stabbing at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, near San Diego. A Los Angeles Times story, Sirhan Sirhan is reportedly stabbed at prison in San Diego, drew from California corrections authorities and other sources to report that Sirhan suffered neck wounds and that his assailant has been identified. Sirhan was then returned to the prison in weakend condition and with a wound.

The Justice Integrity Project sought reaction from experts, particularly those who have published recent books or otherwise argued that California authorities — including U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris when she was California's attorney general — have unfairly resisted efforts to provide Sirhan with a hearing.

A hearing would enable scientific evidence to be introduced and argued for the first time to show that Sirhan could not possibly have fired the shots that killed Kennedy after his 1968 presidential campaign speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Sirhan's lead counsel, Dr. William F. Pepper — one of a number of experts who has become convinced of the defendant's innocence of firing fatal bullets — noted for us on Saturday the 213-page petition that he had filed in 2017 on Sirhan's behalf. It sought from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the first hearing that would evaluate ballistic and other forensic evidence. The petition summarized the evidence.

"I believe that it is no coincidence," Pepper wrote us in an email, "that Sirhan has received a potentially fatal attack at a time when the IACHR is being compelled to consider granting an william pepper headshotevidentiary hearing that could, finally, establish his innocence of the assassination of Senator Kennedy."

"The forces against the truth being revealed in this horrific case," Pepper continued, "are as powerful now — over 50 years later — as ever."

Pepper is shown at left in a file photo.

Defense co-counsel Laurie Dusek, who promptly left her home in New York after the news to travel to California, wrote us that authorities failed to notify either Sirhan's immediate family and counsel of record regarding the stabbing.

Also, she told us on Saturday afternoon that Sirhan's brother Munir Sirhan had been unable to obtain information from the hospital treating the prisoner.

Sirhan's original defense lawyer — Grant Cooper, a prominent Los Angeles trial attorney whose independence had been compromised by a secret contempt of court case that authorities brought in an unrelated matter, with potential jail time reduced to a fine after Sirhan's conviction — conceded Sirhan's guilt in the defendant's 1969 trial and unsuccessfully sought mercy.

The defense counsel, who died in 1990 at age 87, failed to argue to the jury, for example, that Los Angeles Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi had determined that Kennedy was killed with three shots fired from the rear (whereas Sirhan was in front of the late senator, according to witnesses).

Cyril M. Wecht, M.D., J.D., the famed forensic pathologist and attorney who assisted Noguchi on the RFK autopsy, told us in a phone conversation this weekend that it remains incomprehensible that Cooper would not have retained a forensic expert to analyze the scientific evidence and challenge the government's findings during Sirhan's trial, especially since the government medical examiner's own evidence provided a solid basis for such a challenge. "Any first-year law student would have done a better job than Sirhan's counsel [Cooper]," Wecht told us.

A recent quotation from the medical examiner Noguchi is shown below.

 

thomas noguchi sirhan quote 5 23 18

Pepper — who had been Westchester County campaign chairman to Kennedy in his New York Senate race and went on to a legal career that has included teaching human rights law for years at Oxford University in England — filed the 2017 petition on Sirhan's to IACHR, a body within the Organization of American States (whose logo is at right).

oas sealIACHR has not yet set a hearing on the petition despite numerous inquiries by Pepper and this editor, who collaborated on a 2018 Consortium News column about the case, OAS Facing Call for New Probe into RFK Murder. Here is a link to the filing.

lisa pease rfk coverIn a separate comment on Saturday, author Lisa Pease urged the public to sign a petition to California Gov. Gavin Newsom to free him. "We'd all love a new court proceeding," she wrote. "But he just wants to go home." The Change.org petition is here

Earlier this year, Pease, a former aide in 1992 to California Gov. Jerry Brown during his presidential run, authored the 512-page account of the case, shown at left, A Lie Too Big To Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

In 2018, the Washington Post published a multi-part series by longtime criminal justice reporter Tom Jackson, Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan.

It reported that two of the late senator RFK's children, law professor, author and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Georgetown University scholar and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend were among those calling for a new investigation of the case based on evidence that Sirhan did not fire the fatal shots.

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