Whistleblower Summit This Week Highlights 50 Years of the Pentagon Papers and Investigative Journalism

 

The annual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival this week continues to empower whistleblowers and advocates and encourages others to stand for truth. Film presentations began July 23 and the panel program begins Sunday with the program extending to Aug. 1. Because of the continuing pandemic this year's expanded, video-only program replaces the traditional live presentations on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The event presents more than 50 film screenings and panel presentations over ten days.

The films focus on whistleblowing, free speech/press freedom, civil and human rights, or social justice themes. Check out Film Festival Flix to see the titles, which are also listed below.

daniel ellsberg umassThis year's keynote speaker on July 30 will be former U.S. Department of Defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg, thereby marking the 50th year anniversary of his courageous release of what are now known as "The Pentagon Papers" disclosing scandalous aspects of the Pentagon's secret operations during the then-raging Vietnam War.

Ellsberg, shown at left in a photo by the University of Massachusetts, which now houses his collected papers, made disclosures first via the New York Times and later via other news organizations that risked federal prosecution, as mike gravel offical photoendured by Ellsberg. The late U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), right, who died last month, helped publicize the revelations by reading excerpts on the Senate floor.

This year's Summit and Festival includes more than 30 documentary films and shorts, plus special segments. The segments include sessions led by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a co-host of the event, and the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), both long-time partners at the Summit. A day-long segment on July 30 by the National Whistleblower Center, another major partner, features prominent U.S. elected and appointed officials regarded as welcoming to whistleblowers and their causes.

This year's expanded Pillar Award ceremony recognizes notable civil and human rights champions among  politicians, community activists and journalists — including documentary filmmakers.

The main organizers of the event are former ACORN whistleblowers Michael McCray and Marcel Reid, who were both honored earlier this year by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners at the world's largest anti-fraud conference. The two were among the "ACORN 8" activists who helped expose gross corruption and self-dealing in the inner circle of leadership at the community activist organization ACORN.

The Summit is organized in collaboration with such longtime partners as the Pacifica Foundation.

  • Click here for schedule and ticket information for the sessions. Please note that this is a corrected link, https://filmfestivalflix.com/Whistleblower/Purchase-Tickets/%20, from one previously published here. The panels may all be accessed for free, with film views purchased either individually or with a full-conference pass for $150. To access the panels, register and then locate the panels section at the top of the next page. Click on your preferred panel. Registration is for functionality and security purposes. So, you have to be registered and logged into your Film Festival Flix (FFF) account to activate the Zoom links. Here is a short video that informs you how to create a Film Festival Flix account if you have a problem: https://vimeo.com/578502564

Our Justice Integrity Project, a member of the Summit host committee for a half dozen years, opened the panel segment at noon EDT on Sunday, July 25, with a major panel on Watergate that featured former Washington Post editor Barry Sussman and two critics of the Post's coverage, authors Jim Hougan and John O'Connor.

The session title is Pentagon Papers and Watergate Revelations After Five Decades: What’s the Rest of the Story? The session remains available for viewing after its start time, like all Summit sessions.

barry sussmanSussman, right, was Washington Post city editor when DC police arrested burglars for breaking into a suite of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office and residential complex in Washington, DC. Sussman was soon named special Watergate editor, helping direct the coverage that won a Pulitzer grand prize for the newspaper. In 1974, he authored The Great Cover-up: Nixon and the Scandal of Watergate, a best-seller and widely praised account whose fifth edition will be published at the end of this year with an update focused on the enduring lessons for today of the abuses of presidential power that the scandal uncovered.

This panel is rare because critics such as Hougan and O'Connor of the Post's coverage almost never appear alongside the most noted Watergate-era journalists or officials.

Hougan, former Washington editor of Harper's Magazine, and O'Connor, a prominent San Francisco attorney who represented the late former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, are at jim hougan photo2the forefront of such criticism, which tends to focus on the role of the CIA and on other elements of the scandal that critics regard as under-reported by major news organizations.

In 1984, Hougan, shown at left, authored Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA. By then, he had authored two previous books, with one focused on private spies affecting American civic and government operations. In Secret Agenda, he reported that "accounts of the break-in have been deliberately falsified by a CIA cover story" and that "The President was spied upon by his own intelligence agents." He reported also, CIA Logo"False evidence was planted for the FBI to find...Sexual espionage and not election politics was at the heart of it all."

Hougan's book is one of a score or so volumes since then illuminating such themes. Another pioneering effort was Silent Coup by the late Len Colodny and his co-author Robert Gettlin in 1991 (republished in 2015). These books included accounts by CIA-affiliated burglary participants such as G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord, and accounts by whistleblowers and historians. One multi-year research project by USA Today DC Enterprise Editor Ray Locker, who as a Tampa-based reporter had met Colodny, resulted in Nixon's Gamble (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Haig's Coup: How Richard Nixon's Closest Aide Forced Him From Office (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). Both Gettlin, now retired from a career in journalism and as an executive in a federal inspector general's office, and Locker have spoken at previous Whistleblower Summit conferences.

In O'Connor's Postgate published in 2019, he argued that famed Washington Post reporter and editor Bob Woodward and his powerful allies within the news and publishing industries "betrayed" Woodward's' source Mark Felt, who became O'Connor's client beginning in 2005 after O'Connor confirmed that the aging and memory-impaired former FBI executive had been "Deep Throat."

O'Connor, left, argues that John OConnor headshot high resWoodward and his allies have sought to diminish Felt through malicious tactics to preserve what O'Connor describes as "historically significant misrepresentations woven throughout the Post's Watergate journalism."

The 64-minute panel was organized and moderated by this editor (Andrew Kreig), a former newspaper reporter during the 1970s and more recently director of the Justice Integrity Project, and, among other civic volunteer efforts, a member of the Colodny Collection Board of Advisors at Texas A & M University. The advisory board includes the university's liberal arts college dean, Dr. Jerry Jones, among the 24 author, historian and other research members. The collection houses some 500 tape-recorded interviews by Colodny len colodny croppedand his co-author Gettlin of key figures in the scandal and its follow-ups.

Colodny died last month in Florida after working exhaustively for many years to help new researchers, including this editor and the university. Colodny and the university have been digitizing the research to make the materials more widely available, including via the site Watergate.com.

Shown below at the bottom of an appendix is additional information on this panel's participants, their credentials and their views.

More generally, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) published on Friday a lengthy account of the program, including a special focus on its own SPJ panel presentation July 27. That panel describes new government restrictions on reporters' access to newsmaking officials and public records. The SPJ account, a listing of the films being shown and other event details are provided on a runover-page below.

The film program began on July 23 and continues through the weekend before the opening plenary session July 26. The schedule is here. Each film will be available at the scheduled release time and date, and available for viewing also 72 hours after its release window.

Read more ...

Analysis: COVID-19, China, the CDC, and Trumpist Politics / Policies

stephen jonasWe at the Justice Integrity Project are pleased to present this guest column on a most timely topic by Steven Jonas, right, MD, MPH, MS, a professor emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook Medicine (NY) and author /co-author / editor / co-editor of over 35 books. He has been published also on many current affairs news sites. His own political website,stevenjonaspolitics.com, will eventually be an archive of the close to 1,000 political columns he has published since 2004.

He was also a stony brook medicine2career triathlete (36 seasons, 256 multi-sport races), now retired from the sport.

Dr. Jonas’ latest book is Ending the ‘Drug War’; Solving the Drug Problem: The Public Health Approach, Brewster, NY: Punto Press Publishing, (Brewster, NY, 2016, is available on Kindle from Amazon, and also in hardcover from Amazon). In 1996, he published a ‘future history’ of the United States entitled The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel (Third Edition published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY), and available on Amazon.

  

By Dr. Steven Jonas

Dr. Deborah Birx speaks at a White House press conference in the spring of 2020 as then President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci look on.

Dr. Deborah Birx speaks at a White House press conference in the spring of 2020 as then President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci look on.

I wrote frequently on this subject in 2020, as Donald Trump appeared to be fumbling the ball-of-control.

But then I came to the conclusion that what he was doing/not doing was all part of a plan, to the degree that Trump ever plans for anything, like, let us say, dealing with his upcoming probable indictment[s] in New York City and/or State, other than by a) screaming about how he is being persecuted politically and otherwise (poor baby); b) creating his WMD --- Weapons of Mass Distraction; and c) figuring out who else he can blame/finger/get-to-go-to-prison for him (see Manafort, Cohen, and etc.).

As I said back in March of 2020:

"Apparently the COVID-19 virus broke out publicly in epidemic form in China sometime in early January 2020. At least its existence became public at that time. Given the power of the US international intelligence services various authorities in the United States likely knew of it before then. And that knowledge ought to have made it to the desk of the Director of National Intelligence, and then to the china flagdesk of the President. However, nothing much happened in the U.S. in terms of a response until about a month later. At the same time, there was significant international spread, to countries such as South Korea, which, for example, undertook a swift and massive response to the threat.

"However, while both China and South Korea were responding vigorously to the rapidly expanding epidemic, as is well-known the U.S. President was telling his people and the world that there was nothing much to worry about. This in the face of the fact that various infectious disease/epidemic experts outside the government were sounding the alarm very loudly, both about the possible extent of the epidemic and the likely major deficiencies in the U.S. response to it were it to occur here.

For example, in a Jan. 28, 2020 article entitled "Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic," from the American Enterprise Institute of all places, published here in the Wall Street Journal of all places, Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb said:

" 'The novel coronavirus now epidemic in China has features that may make it very difficult to control. If public-health authorities don't interrupt the spread soon, the virus could infect many thousands more around the globe, disrupt air travel, overwhelm health-care systems, and, worst of all, claim more lives. The good news: There's still an opening to prevent a grim outcome.' [Emphasis added.]"

In January of 2020 Joe Biden himself published a warning both about the oncoming epi/pandemic and dealing how ill-equipped Trump and his people were to deal with it.

Of course Trump didn't follow the control-the-pandemic road (although if he had done, as I said in March 2020 in the title of the column of mine from which I quoted just above: "An Ounce of Prevention --- and Trump Could Have Been on a Glide-path the Re-election"). It did take me some time to figure out what, in my view anyway, what was Trump's plan for winning the November election (the only thing he ever cared about during 2020 --- hardly an original observation[!]). In the end, after considering a variety of alternatives, I decided that it was to create chaos (as I said in my Oct. 8, 2020 column entitled "Trump, COVID-19, the Election, and Planned Chaos").

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2And so, in the meantime he set about doing just that, with a variety of measures. The cause was the "China virus" or the "Kung Flu." And claimed, and does to this day with a generous assist from Hannity (over and over again) that he stopped it by his early "China ban" (except that his version was not that early and was certainly quite leaky). In fact, the "Ban" was described as "closing the barn door after the horse has gone" [which is as original to me as anything Trump did to effectively deal with COVID-19 was original to him --- which of course wasn't much]). And we all know what Trump did and didn't do deal with COVID-19 in the U.S., which eventually led to cases/disease numbers considerably out of proportion to those that occurred in any other advanced capitalist nation.

So where did the virus come from?

Read more ...

In Memoriam: John Edward Hurley (1935-2021)

 

 

john hurley cropped screenshot 2010 press club bill hughes david swanson vimeo

John Edward Hurley, a longtime civic leader in the Metro Washington region and a co-founder of the Justice Integrity Project, died earlier this month at age 85 following complications from cancer.

He is shown above in a photo at the National Press Club that illustrated his characteristic good humor and desire to spread learning. He was a close friend, colleague and advisor to this editor and to many, many others.

To mark his passing on May 7, we have assembled below three obituaries, two of them tributes authored by two of his other close friends and admirers. One, John Edward Hurley, chairman of McClendon Group, friendly Reliable Source regular, 85, was by Kenneth Dalecki of the National Press Club (and also its American Legion Post, which John Hurley led for many years as Commander).

The other, Sad announcement, was by investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, who is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report and the author of 20 books.

The third, Obituary of John Edward Hurley, was prepared by his family for publication by Advent Funeral and Cremation Services. 

We include also selected comments offered by others who worked with him during his long and varied career, which included White House news coverage working with the late, iconic Sarah McClendon, founder of the McClendon News Service that began in 1946.

Among other civic projects, he was a co-founder of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable and he developed the public relations program that brought together the various breed registries that comprise the American Horse Council. He volunteered also to promote the Medical Musical Group, a symphony orchestra made up of doctors and care-givers in the Veterans Administration Hospitals who perform  concerts worldwide to benefit U.S. veterans.

Throughout his career, he had a special interest in the integrity of the court system and hosted many news events on the subject. These included what for many years were presentations every month or so of newsworthy topics via the McClendon Speaker Group at the National Press Club, plus other events meriting coverage, including by C-SPAN.

The portrait above is a screenshot from a video interview in which he explained why he continued the McClendon tradition of a speaker group that featured diverse experts whose revelations and oft-controversial views might not receive the attention they deserved. Speakers would submit to questioning over small dinners at the Club. This editor, deputy chair of the group in recent years while its leader John Hurley was in failing health, plans to continue the dinner meetings under an updated name: The McClendon-Hurley Group.

Among those fondly remembering Hurley in recent days was Tony Culley-Foster, founder & director of the International Youth Peace Forum Inc. in Washington, DC. He shared this overview:

Once again the page has turned in the National Press Club history book with the passing of a true gentleman who had a great love of journalism, people and horses. 

I reveled in introducing John to hundreds of NPC members and guests over the past 20 years, as he was indisputably one of the standard bearers of the small but mighty NPC Irish Division — and of those ‘wanna be’s,’ all of whom he gladly embraced, as “Irish by Association!“

three leaf cloverIt was my privilege to call John Hurley friend. I treasure all the golden memories of good times shared in his company, his mischievous sense of humor and wonderful twinkling eyes and smile.

In Ireland, one of our highest compliments to others about the death of a decent man like John Hurley is “Take a good look at that man. For when he is gone, it will be a long time before you will see his like again!” 

Read more ...

Medical Expert, Oswald's Friend, Debunks Accused JFK Killer’s Portrayal

lee harvey oswald minsk radio factory friends no glasses  

Lee Harvey Oswald, accused in 1963 of being the lone assassin in Dallas of President John F. Kennedy, is shown at center relaxing with fellow radio factory workers in the Soviet Union city of Minsk during his trip from 1959 to 1962 before his return to the United States. Oswald's friend from that period, Ernst Titovets, states that the most frequently displayed version of this photo shows Oswald wearing sunglasses, underscoring erroneous conventional wisdom that he was a sinister figure. Instead, Professor Titovets, an on-the-scene observer in Minsk, says that the young men were passing around one pair of sunglasses to look cool as they joked around together (Photo from the Titovets memoir, "Oswald: Russian Episode"). 

 

A new book disputes false portrayals of Lee Harvey Oswald, whom officials promptly named in 1963 as the sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. 

Oswald: Russian Episode reveals john f kennedy smilingOswald’s true character and rebuts claims that his personality made him a likely assassin of JFK, shown at right.

“The real Oswald,” concludes the author, Professor Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D., based on his close friendship with the American six decades ago, “had no reason whatsoever – either political or personal – to murder John F. Kennedy.”

This book culminates the scientist’s painstaking research conducted over many years to reveal the character of Oswald, which is still largely unknown to the general public.

The book, initially privately published, has been updated and is now widely available in Western nations for the first time.

This follows publication on May 6 by Eagle View Books, based in Washington, DC. The book launch was ernst titovets new covertimed for continuing interest in both the JFK assassination, as indicated by a continued publication of new books in recent months, as well as ramped-up interest in so-called "conspiracy theories."

At a major annual research conference last Nov. 20-22 about the JFK assassination organized by Citizens Against Political Assassination (CAPA), investigative reporter Andrew Kreig, Eagle View’s book editor on this project and also editor of the Justice Integrity Project, moderated a CAPA panel of experts reviewing media coverage of JFK’s death.

Kreig has written and spoken extensively on the topic, documenting how criticism of the Warren Commission report on the JFK can be solidly researched and thus far different from wild and otherwise unsupported claims commonly derided as "conspiracy theory." The Justice Integrity Project also has published a 55-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives, Commentary," which is excerpted below with links to the catalogs and articles.

Professor Titovets, who is still active as an accomplished researcher on brain functions, provides a gripping and historically important challenge to conventional wisdom regarding the 1963 assassination.

His account describes first-hand appraisals of what he regards as the shockingly misguided research of such Oswald biographers he met as Norman Mailer.

To recap JFK’s history-changing death: Oswald, an ex-Marine, was arrested soon after Kennedy’s murder by gunfire in downtown Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Oswald denied killing the president. ernst titovets book back cover portrait newTwo days after Oswald’s arrest, nightclub owner Jack Ruby murdered him in a Dallas police station. That enabled authorities for the most part to condemn Oswald as JFK’s sole assassin without trial, despite vast and still-lingering public skepticism about the official story.

Professor Titovets, shown at right, expertly refutes the standard portrayals of Oswald as a loner and mentally deranged man prone to violence. He draws on their friendship during the years Oswald spent in the former Soviet Union, beginning in 1959 at the height of the Cold War.

Oswald, who previously had worked as a U.S. Marine technician in Japan with clearance for high secrets on the then-highly classified U-2 spy plane missions, undertook a supposed “defection” to the Soviet Union that in some ways previewed the plot of the future James Bond thriller “From Russia With Love.”

Read more ...

Matt Gaetz Probes: Latest News, Timeline, Who's Who

 

matt gaetz djt resized amazon public images rally

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican representing the Panhandle region of Florida, has been a fervant supporter of Donald Trump, who reportedly refused Gaetz's request for an open-ended pardon to cover unspecified matters and other associates, according to news reports.

The Justice Integrity Project is publishing a compilation of news clips about the reported federal probe of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), right, and several of his associates, matt gaetz o Customincluding Joel Greenberg, a former Florida county tax collector facing 33 felony charges related to claims of sex trafficking, including of a 17-year-old. This compilation, arranged in reverse chronological order, is updated with new materials as they arise.

Several of the stories pertain not directly to Gaetz, but to the larger Capitol riot and pro-Trump insurrection on claims of vote theft that he advanced. The allegations of widespread vote theft that could have affected the 2020 elections have been debunked but led to the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., and a number of follow up investigations.

This compilation focuses primarily on stories and columns directly mentioning Gaetz and his associates, including former President Trump, but includes also some material also pertaining to major stories about election integrity and voter suppression.

The materials contain some repetition because it is intended a research guide, arranged in reverse chronological order, and not as an article.

Read more ...

Comprehensive New Cut-Rate Directory Opens Public Window To World Leaders' Identities

 

Longtime global affairs commentator and author Wayne Madsen last week published a comprehensive, 888-page directory of world leaders that provides a rare if not unique low-cost tool for businesses, non-profits and governments that seek to foster relationships around the world.

Madsen — author of nearly a score of previous books and also a prolific investigative reporter whose cutting-edge stories are frequently cited here by the Justice Integrity Project, as elsewhere — published the directory via the subscription news and investigative site that he publishes, The Wayne Madsen Report (WMR).

WMR announced on April 2 that the titled WMR International Political Handbook "provides information on every government in the world" regarding leaders. In an interview, he said that directory includes many government entities and personnel who are typically ignored for political reasons in other directories.

wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMadsen, shown at left in a photo by our project taken at one his lecture appearances, said that one of his goals in the English-language directory was to provide more comprehensive information than readily available elsewhere, in part to enable American entities and their personnel to compete effectively in the international arena.

Madsen believes that well-financed foreign and domestic operatives with authoritarian and/or corrupt track records are solidifying their influence over international officials who remain unknown to many Americans with relevant interests. Former Trump White House aide Steve Bannon with his backer, billionaire Guo Wengui, a fugitive from his native China.

Madsen has frequently reported, for example, on what he regards as dangerous efforts by Trump advisor Steve Bannon to foster a worldwide neo-fascist alliance of nations and key officials. Bannon is shown at right with one of his billionaire backers, Guo Wengui, right, a fugitive from his native China. Bannon, pardoned by Trump from felony charges in a massive grifting scheme, also has been financially supported in his political efforts by the vulture capitalist Mercer family. The Italian government recently forbade Bannon from operating a global right-wing political academy in castle that he and his backers had acquired.

In the interview, Madsen expressed hope that his new directory could help provide new opportunities for both Americans and local officials to withstand such pressures by providing government information more widely. The directory, currently published only in electronic format, lists its price as $35 but is available on an introductory basis at half that cost, or $17.50, via the WMR "special studies bookstore" here:   

wmr international political handbookMadsen is a computer security and data privacy specialist, as well as an investigative journalist specializing in intelligence and technology matters. He previously served in computer security positions in the Department of State, the National Security Agency, Department of the Navy, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). His reporting and military service have taken him to five continents and many small island nations, with projects that included street reporting investigating genocide in Rwanda and sex trafficking in Southeast Asia involving VIP American officials.

A former Navy intelligence officer and analyst with the National Security Agency, his first book was The Handbook of Personal Data Protection, published in 1992 by Palgrave / Macmillan while he was chief scientist at CSC. The book extended to 1,045 pages. It summarized in English the data protection laws in dozens of nations at a pivotal time when the Internet and Net-enabled services were rapidly expanding, with relevant law evolving quickly but difficult to ascertain because it was being enacted for the most part in non-English languages.

Later, Madsen became a Senior Fellow with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the principal author of two of its reports: Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Endangerment of Civil Liberties and Cryptography and Liberty. In that role, he was a frequent guest commentator on nearly all of the major U.S. network and cable news programs.

More recently, he has been a syndicated columnist with opeds appearing hundreds of times in U.S. newspapers and an investigative reporter on controversial topics, many of them receiving little or no coverage by mainstream media. His outlets have included controversial U.S. and international ones, including in years past RT and the Alex Jones "Infowars" show.

He has often broken with past outlets and their managements, such as Jones, when he believes the facts warrant, and has frequently received death threats as a consequence from political zealots who believe he should not break new ground on stories that reflect poorly on past outlets and their political positions.

The Justice Integrity Project has worked closely with him on many stories, including major investigations of sex scandals involving House Speaker Dennis Hastert and, separately, ones involving Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.

As such, this editor is in a position to recommend strongly this new book as a highly cost-effective tool — indeed one that is vastly underpriced, considering the value of the information. The publisher's announcement is republished below.

Read more ...