People Remembered: John Kelly, NBC, CBS Newsman, CIA Officer and JIP Co-Founder

 

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  Introduction: The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) published this column about the late John Kelly, a co-founder and director of the Justice Integrity Project and longtime member of the OPC. The press club's membership also includes this editor.

John Kelly, below left, a longtime OPC member who combined an eventful career in broadcast network news with government service and a lifelong passion for journalism, died john kelly 1early this year at age 85 in Connecticut.

His career included work as a news editor and correspondent on the national staff of NBC News and CBS News. He was the last surviving reporter to have covered the 1960 Election Night victory party in Hyannis, Massachusetts of Democratic Presidential nominee John Kennedy, jfk nixon presidential debateshown below right in a poster with Republican rival Richard Nixon.

Kelly went on to cover civil rights stories, early 1960s operations in Laos, the FBI and the Watergate scandal. In doing so, he worked with such iconic anchors as Chet Huntley and David Brinkley at NBC Nightly News and Walter Cronkite at CBS News.

In one career interlude in the late 1960s, he worked for the CIA in Indochina during the Vietnam War. He later served during the 1970s in the administration of New York Gov. Hugh Carey as deputy commissioner and director of the State Office of Taxation and Finance, where he helped to unravel and expose to Congress corruption schemes that were hurting taxpayers.

In appreciation for John’s impressive career and inspiring personal qualities, Wayne Madsen, left, and this editor collaborated last year in creating a 30-minute video homage, “Mr. Kelly Goes To Washington,” chronicling career highlights that recall the James Stewart film, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallwith scenes from the movie shown below.

The Kelly video was viewable only privately until now. But we make the video public on YouTube for this column, particularly for OPC colleagues whom he so much admired.

 

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Analysis: 'No Mandates! Mandates!' Cries the Republican Religious Right

We at the Justice Integrity Project are pleased to present another guest column on a timely topic by Dr. Steven Jonas, right, MD, MPH, MS, a professor emeritus stephen jonasof 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 archive 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), who is now retired from the sport.

His latest book is Ending the ‘Drug War’; Solving the Drug Problem: The Public Health Approach, Punto Press Publishing, (Brewster, NY, 2016). It 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, and also available on Amazon.

By Dr. Steven Jonas

"No Mandates! No Mandates!! No Mandates!!!" This seems to be the common approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic adopted by the vast bulk of the Republican Party, elected and otherwise. "It's my body. They're my children," and "And I get to decide," etc.

That is the common response emanating from the Right whether we are dealing with company- or government-mandated COVID-19 vaccination for their employees, or mandatory mask-wearing in schools and restaurants, and everything in-between,  (By the way, while I have not seen any calls from any responsible sources calling for mandatory vaccination of the population in general, the far extremes of the anti-vaxx movement, both Right and Left -- [and yes there is a small, but very vocal, left-anti-vaxx movement] -- scream about that possibility on a regular basis.)

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2As many of the readers of these columns know, it happens that I come to this subject from a career as a public health physician.

In that light, a couple of weeks ago my oldest son asked me if I knew of any other major pandemic in history that had been politicized the way this one has been. I replied that while I certainly had not studied the history of pandemics in any detail, I certainly did not know of any major one in which political forces had intervened to promote interventions or lack thereof that would actually end up promoting the spread of the disease. Which the anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, let's-wait-until-people-get-sick-and-then-treat-them crowd do. Although COVID-19 is a particularly challenging type of viral respiratory disease, the public health basics for dealing with it are still very straightforward: "social distancing," masking, testing-contact-tracing-isolation, and, when available, vaccination.

ron desantis oBut what we have here -- and it started with Donald Trump -- is on the Right the politicization for electoral purposes of the responses or non-responses to it. (For example, see the first ten paragraphs or so of my recent column on this same subject, "Why Anti-Pandemic Control: from the Right" for a summary of my writings over time on that subject.)

This is all precisely what Republicans from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are doing. Florida recently suffered its highest increase in number of COVID-19 deaths yet. And they intend to go beyond their own states in spreading their disease-spreading policies.

In a fund-raising letter of August 9, 2021, DeSantis, left, made this very clear, when he said: "The Left is currently doing everything they can to take [your] God-given rights away from you." (Further, on a different note, do note there that DeSantis is talking about "God-given" rights, not those that are protected by, say, the Constitution, for all Americans, believers or not.)

  • Editor's Note: See below in an appendix for a daily update of pandemic news and views, beginning Sept. 1.
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California Parole Board Votes To Release Sirhan; Governor To Makes Final Ruling

sirhan sirhan cdcr

Sirhan B. Sirhan is shown at a California parole board hearing on Aug. 27 in San Diego a photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

A California parole board voted on Friday to recommend the release of Sirhan B. Sirhan, who has served more than 50 years in prison following his 1969 conviction for murdering U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 following Kennedy's victory speech in California's Democratic presidential primary that year.

"The recommendation from the two commissioners does not necessarily mean Mr. Sirhan, 77, will walk free," the New York Times reported, "but will most likely put his fate in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat facing a recall election that will determine his political future. A spokeswoman for Mr. Newsom declined to robert f. kennedy 1964 wsay whether he would approve the recommendation, only that he would consider the case after it is reviewed by the parole board’s lawyers."

Kennedy is shown at right in a photo when he was U.S. attorney general in his brother John F. Kennedy's administration.

"The slaying of Kennedy (D-N.Y.), then a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, likely changed the course of American history," reported the Washington Post's Thomas Jackman, who has followed the case closely. "But Sirhan’s lawyer argued that was an irrelevant consideration for parole — that the criteria of rehabilitation, remorse and future dangerousness applied to all prisoners should also be applied to Sirhan, now 77."

“Over half a century has passed,” Sirhan told the two parole commissioners, according to the Post report, “and that young impulsive kid I was does not exist anymore...Sen. Kennedy was the hope of the world and I injured, and I harmed all of them and it pains me to experience that, the knowledge for such a horrible deed.”

The Post further reported:

Kennedy’s family made a late decision to appear at the hearing, with son Douglas H. Kennedy speaking in favor of Sirhan’s parole. “I really do believe any prisoner who is found to be not a threat to themselves or the world should be released,” Douglas Kennedy said, according to the Associated Press. “I believe that applies to everyone, every human being, including Mr. Sirhan...I was very deeply moved by Mr. Sirhan’s expression of remorse and at times it brought tears to my eyes and affected me very deeply.”

Another son, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., sent a letter to the parole board on Friday in support of Sirhan after learning that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had sent a letter opposing parole “on behalf of the Kennedy family.”

“Please know that that letter was not at the direction of the ‘family,’ and certainly not me,” Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote. “As you may know, I have been a strong advocate for the release of Mr. Sirhan B. Sirhan since I learned of evidence that was not presented to the court during his trial.”

After the ruling, Robert Kennedy Jr. said, “My father, I think, would be really happy today. My father believed in compassion. The ideals of our justice system are the possibility of redemption and the importance of forgiveness. He didn’t believe the justice system was just about revenge.”

Sirhan's lead attorney for the parole hearing was Angela Berry of Encino, Calfornia. She has been working also with Dr. William F. Pepper of New York, who became Sirhan's lead attorney in 2008 after becoming convinced that he did not fire any bullet that fatally wounded Kennedy, a friend and political ally of Pepper's beginning in william pepper headshot1964.

"It's been a long struggle," Pepper, left, told this editor on Friday evening in a phone interview, "but justice has finally triumphed."

The Justice Integrity Project has been working with Pepper on a pro bono volunteer basis on Sirhan's behalf for more than four years and more recently with Berry also. This editor also has submitted multiple comments about the case to civic groups and the reader comment sections of Jackman's recent coverage for the Washington Post.

We have emphasized repeatedly that, contrary to most reader comments, considerable doubt exists whether Sirhan fired the fatal shots. Also, we have noted that the parole board's focus is largely on current considerations. The defense has been barred from obtaining evidentiary hearings.

cyril wecht with quote latest smallDr. Cyril H. Wecht, (shown above in a graphic prepared by our project five years ago), has followed the case closely since Los Angeles Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi called him after the killing to seek his continuing counsel. Wecht phoned the Justice Integrity Project on Aug. 26 to share his view that the forensic problems with the RFK prosecution were even more obvious than in the John F. Kennedy Assassination, which he has also studied and written about extensively.

This editor posted a ccomment on the Washington Post website of a story published yesterday, as follows, in response to many comments by readers who thought they knew the evidence and that it proved that Sirhan killed RFK.

I owe it to one of America's greatest civic heroes -- who just phoned me about this story -- to try to respond once more to these reader comments. Nearly everyone seems eager for vengeance against Sirhan but unaware of key facts.

My caller was Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., now age 90, the famed forensic pathologist based in Pittsburgh, where he was county coroner for 20 years. He was longtime chair of county's Democratic Party, a medical school professor, a strong supporter of his region's Jewish community, and a Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. senate, among other civic projects. He authored or co-authored about 60 books, including textbooks, and still performs hundreds of autopsies a year (500 last time I checked two years ago).

Most relevantly, he has lived with this case since Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Thomas Noguchi called on him as trusted advisor during the RFK autopsy. Dr. Wecht was an official consultant also on the JFK death.

On a forensic and other scientific basis, he told me this evening, the disturbing problems with the case against Sirhan exceed even those in the JFK murder. He listed many examples. They include evidence of 12 to 14 shots fired when Sirhan's gun could hold just eight, and evidence that RFK had been shot from a distance of between 1 and 1.5 inches from the rear. All of this is detailed in documents, books and other materials for anyone willing to learn.

The stakes, Dr. Wecht continued, go far beyond this defendant's fate. Unlike most commenters here, his focus is not vengeance. Instead, in the RFK spirit, he cares about the integrity of the U.S. justice and democratic institutions -- and fears that if they continue to fail in this case the dangers fester.

This is not an abstraction. Those like Dr. Wecht who perform independent autopsies are the front line in holding police and prosecutors accountable for accurate reports in everyday cases. This hero has called out gross misconduct many times and paid the price.

Additional coverage is shown below. This includes a link to our Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives, which presents key books, videos, documents, websites and other archives most relevant to his career and murder. The materials include both those affirming and those questioning whether Sirhan fired the fatal shots.

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Whistleblower Summit Highlighted 50 Years of the Pentagon Papers and Investigative Journalism

 

The annual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival last 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 presented 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 was 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 at Amherst, which now houses his collected papers, made disclosures first via the New York Times and later via other news organizations that risked federal mike gravel offical photoprosecution. The late U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), right, who died last month, helped publicize the revelations by reading them on the Senate floor.

Ellsberg delivered highly newsworthy remarks praising the need for whistleblowers currently and described his goal in the Pentagon Papers of showing that four previous presidents to Richard Nixon, who took office in January 1969, had been lying to the American people about the horrific and then-ongoing Vietnam War. Therefore, he said he hoped, the public, Congress and other institutions would scrutinize Nixon with the strong suspicion that he might be lying also about the war.

Ellsberg suggested that the charge of second-degree murder, sometimes described as homicide with "depraved indifference," might be valid against former President Trump and others who deliberately downplayed the coronavirus to advance their political agendas. He said at least half of the more than 600,000 American deaths from Covid-19 are probably attributable to Trump's policies of minimizing warnings and preventive measures.

He noted also deadly threats to Americans and those around the world to disasters caused by climate change, which he described as similarly downplayed by officials for political reasons.

He praised whistleblowers who risk everything to help the public. Also, he noted with alarm what he called a dangerous tendency by American policymakers almost across the political spectrum to describe China and Russia as "the enemy." He said such name calling increases the chances of nuclear war. 

Among those in the audience for Ellsberg, who received a lifetime achievement award for his whistleblowing, were other Summit and Film Festival honorees. This year's expanded Pillar Award ceremony recognizes notable civil and human rights champions among  politicians, community activists and journalists — including documentary filmmakers.

Madison Mosier accepted an award on behalf of her late father, Sen. Gravel. Another honoree was former Defense Department contractor Reality Winner, who was recently released from prison after being convicted on espionage charges for releasing in 2017 to The Intercept news site documents showing that Russians had interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win. She is currently under home detention and was limited in her comments as a condition of release. But she thanked the Summit leaders for lifting her spirits after what her attorney described as an especially difficult prison term, in which she suffered from Covid-19. 

This year's Summit and Festival included 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.

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 the schedule, also visible at https://filmfestivalflix.com/Whistleblower/Purchase-Tickets/%20. The panels were free, with film views purchased either individually or with a full-conference pass.

Our Justice Integrity Project, a member of the Summit host committee for a half dozen years, opened the panel segment on 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 was Pentagon Papers and Watergate Revelations After Five Decades: What’s the Rest of the Story? 

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 was 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.

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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?

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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!” 

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