Dr. J and Roger Stone

Connecticut's tradition of a vigorous civic institutions and a concerned citizenry remains intact as a force for reform, I can report following my lecture tour there last week. 

This is good news for the rest of the country. Given the decline if not decay in the nation's capital and its largely captive watchdog institutions, vitally needed remedial action can only come "bottom up" from true grassroots, not the phony "grasstop" organizations DC lobbyists create to manipulate public opinion.

Roger Stone's Living Room via TwitterToday, I'll try to show signs of hope by reporting developments during my trip and related occurrences. The events included my lectures at a library in the historic town of Litchfield and at the Hartford Club in the state capital.

Beyond that, I attended the annual awards luncheon of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information and saw up close how dedicated volunteers are using their expertise in the difficult fight against secrecy in government. Among them are council Chairman James Herbert Smith, shown at right in presenting to columnist Andy Thibault the group's annual award to a journalist whose work best fostered open government. 

Reported below also is a major sex scandal this week involving a Naval War College professor who for the past year has led a national propaganda campaign to justify surveillance, privacy violations and other elements of a police state. The scandal apparently involving at least Weiner-like from the married professor seems, based on information so far, to show the arrogance, hypocrisy and presumptions to power of those who fight against freedom of information in the name of the national security.  

On a lighter note, I'll share several personal encounters that illustrate my theme that we should try to be happy warriors in this battle. We can only do so by remaining willing to explore new information and alliances with a minimum of preconceptions as we pursue the larger goal of preserving a free and just society.

In that spirit, I learned this weekend that Roger Stone, one of the nation's leading political insiders, black arts operatives and strategists for the more than four decades on behalf of Republicans, prominently showed my recent book Presidential Puppetry on his Twitter feed, as illustrated in his photo.

Subtitled Obama, Romney and Their Masters, my book can be seen at the top of a small stack of books in a section of Stone's living room focused on his late mentor, President Richard Nixon. I do not yet know why Stone acquired it placed it in this display. But based on everything else going on and Stone's recently expressed desire to expose what he knows, we can speculate on likely reasons why even such a wildly successful politico might find interest in comparing notes on revelations.

My main focus today, however, is what I saw working in Connecticut and how the procedures can be helpful elsewhere. The work of the freedom of information council, CCFOI, is a great place to start.

Andrew Kreig and Claude Albert CCFOI Robert Theisman June 18, 2014CCFOI is a private group that advocates in support of the state's 1975 Freedom of Information law and similar initiatives. Its annual budget the past year was just over $11,000 primarily raised from dues provided by the state's newspapers.
 
Its major spending was for lobbying at the state capital to right relentless efforts to curtail government information provided to the public. Smith, its chairman, has been a prominent editor at multiple Connecticut newspapers, including the Hartford Courant during my reporting years there from 1970 to 1984.
 
Former Courant Managing Editor G. Claude Albert is the volunteer leader of the group's advocacy at the state legislature. He was at my left near the door in the adjoining photo taken at the Hartford Club during the CCFOI event. The photo, like all other photos of the June 18 event, was by Robert Theisman, a freelance photographer who volunteered his work in th spirit of community service.
 
Matthew Reed and Mitchell Pearlman Robert Theisman PhotoSuch efforts cumulatively help protect the public in the face of substantial efforts to clamp down on what has historically been regarded as public information.
 
Helping sustain open government by force of example were the government-employed award winners, including South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed and State Sen. Edward Meyer III (D-Guilford). Reed, shown in a photo with longtime state Freedom of Information Commission Executive Director Mitchell Pearlman, told the luncheon audience that he instinctively leans toward public disclosure, unlike some of his peers in other communities, unless compelling reasons for secrecy exist.
 
As reported further in such coverage as that by the New Haven Register in Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information announces open government award recipients:
Meyer, a Yale Law School graduate and politician of long experience, was recognized for making sophisticated and at times unpopular arguments before the state legislature about public benefits of photos and other information about crime scenes.
 
Most notably, he argued that information about the site of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown was historically important, much like photos of war zones or concentration camps, even though parents of schoolchild victims and their legislators might understandably prefer privacy with their grief.
 
Hugh McQuaid, a reporter for the website Connecticut News Junkie, was recognized for his nuanced coverage of that tragedy.
 
Thibault, a syndicated columnist and author, received his award for, among other things, his relentless and successful efforts to vindicate a Connecticut woman falsely convicted nearly three decades ago for a homicide. The trip provided me an especially close-up view of Thibault's commitment to investigative reporting, high energy and wide contacts.
 
He followed up his favorable review of Presidential Puppetry in Road map to master manipulators by setting in motion arrangements for me to speak at the Hartford Club the evening after the awards luncheon, and then on June 19 at Litchfield's Oliver Wolcott Library.
 
Last week, I previewed the content of those talks in Past, Present Connecticut Activists Provide Models For Reform. Today, my post mortem argues that the kind of free and open dialog I experienced has roots in the Connecticut civic landscape I observed as a reporter there and also researched historically for my first book, Spiked, a 1987 case study of the Courant and changes underway in the news industry as of the late 1980s. 
 
More important, the kind of free discussion I observed in Hartford and Litchfield contrasts sharply with the often partisan, selfish and narrow-minded strategies I have observed in Washington for the two decades leading to Puppetry.
 
Even more important, the Connecticut trip illustrated the kind of reform action plan I advocate in Puppetry in the final chapter on what individuals can do if they fear for their security and the future, as so many of us do. I recommend joining a group and advocating serious discussions on important issues, including with visiting researchers and other reformers.
 
That is exactly what happened to me with superb exchanges at both the Hartford and Litchfield venues, followed by broadcast and newspaper coverage. The newspaper coverage included a Sunday column in the Torrington Register Citizen, Andrew Kreig makes an impact with new book. The author was Owen Canfield, 80, a former Courant sports editor who had begun at the newspaper in 1965 and whose work there overlapped with my entire 14 years.
 
I was thrilled that my passionate albeit controversial message resonated favorably with such a prominent professional and all-around good guy -- a trait not always present in today's news industry or anywhere else. On an even more personal level, I enjoyed how his column wove Puppetry's message into memories of one of my own most fondly recalled newspaper adventures.
 
This was a a 1976 one-on-one basketball game against Julius "Dr. J" Erving just after he had let the New Jersey Nets to the American Basketball Association championship with a buzzer-beater and otherwise remarkable performance in which he scored 18 of the Nets' last 22 points.Andrew Kreig and Julius Erving 1976 A photo at right illustrates the game.
 
One of Erving's associates said at the time that probably no other pro player was pleasant enough to have would have gone along with such a stunt for a feature story. But in those days, as ever, we as reporters did what would could get at some larger reality -- in this case an unusual look at what a legendary but relatively little-seen incoming star to the NBA that fall was "really like."
 
In a sense, that is what I have been trying to do here in my columns about justice and our nation's watchdogs, and in the century-long historical panorama of Presidential Puppetry and the importance of its disclosures to readers otherwise uninvolved with national government or politics.
 
Among the coverage was an hour-long show on West Hartford local cable access television with hosts Cheryl Curtis and Mike DeRosa. That led to invitations this week for further discussion that will be aired on De Rosa's shows on WWUH, WHUS and WESU at the Universities of Hartford and Connecticut and at Wesleyan University, respectively.
 
Additionally, Litchfield Times reporter Shako Liu and the staff of the Litchfield public library stepped forward to make available the gist of the book's disclosures, which self-censorship in much larger media prevents the public from ever hearing about, much less discussing pro or con.
 
During our drive to the West Hartford cable studio June 19, Curtis and I spoke of the challenges in airing on broadcast stations key facts that make understandable major political issues and personalities. In particular, we discussed our hope that those whom we knew at WNPR, the radio service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, would step up their efforts to provide facts missing from news accounts on commercial networks. Curtis is an unpaid volunteer host at both the cable access show and WWUH-FM.
 
By coincidence, two young staffers for WNPR us for a taped survey for potential on-air use as we walked toward the West Hartford studio. The staffers asked us to describe (apparently for potential on-air use) our favorite bizarre sport, favorite TV game show, etc., in a five-question survey. 
 
Seizing the opportunity, Curtis said her favorite sport was making fun of time-wasting surveys on trivia when networks like WNPR should be addressing important issues. In a firm but engaging manner, she described how she was herself a radio host.
 
At the end, one of the young staffers, an intern, said to her off microphone, "When I graduate I want to do topics like yours!"
 
I used the anecdote in my Litchfield talk to illustrate how the mainstream media's tendency is to dwell on entertainment and other non-controversial topics, but that each of us can find ways if we try to refocus attention on what is important.
 
Yet we must appreciate also the immensity of the problem. Therefore, I explained: The Washington Post until last year was receiving just 4 percent of its income from newspaper sales, and only about 14 to 15 percent additionally from advertising. About 60 percent was instead coming from its Kaplan education subsidiary, which relied heavily on favorable federal regulation and government-guaranteed income. This created an inherent conflict of interest with aggressive news coverage of government officials that was virtually unknown  by anyone except those directly involved.
 
A year ago, I continued, Amazon.co founder Jeffrey Bezos attended the secretive annual Bilderberg meeting outside of London, where attendees included longtime Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham and such other eminences as David Rockefeller among the 130 or so attendees. About a month later, Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million (minus Kaplan). Later in the year, Amazon.com won a $600 million contract from the Central Intelligence Agency to handle is advanced cloud network computing needs.
 
These are the kinds of relationships that obscure the pure news-gathering role of mainstream media regardless of whether the Post (or others) occasionally publish penetrating news accounts of prize-winning caliber.
 
To be sure, many in the mainstream media become defensive and otherwise dispute any suggestion they are not delivering all newsworthy information that meets publication standards. That pride in work is understandable.
 
But a vast number of unreported or under-reported major news stories are occurring, as indicated by the Presidential Puppetry narrative documented with more than 1,100 endnotes. The book shows, for example, that the CIA, acting on behalf of Wall Street and other elite interests, helped lead the way toward heavy control of the United States domestic political process, including influence over the news media through such programs as the long-secret and declassified Operation Mockingbird.
 
The Graham family at the Post was heavily involved along with leaders of most other major print and broadcast media in cooperating with CIA leaders in Operation Mockingbird, we now know. I documented these facts in my preview of my Connecticut speech, and of course in the book. These facts are almost unimaginable to those reared to revere the Post's Watergate saga. But the facts are readily authenticated by those who simply read the source and secondary documentation.
 
Furthermore, Puppetry describes how all recent United States presidents, including President Obama, developed relationships with the CIA or FBI before they entered politics.
 
President Obama's post-college work for the CIA front company Business International Corp. thus places a new interpretation on his later work as a community organizer in Chicago's ghetto and his relationships with radicals. Important though this new information might be to the public, it is not attractive to partisan Democrats who would reject any notion that their leader has failed to disclose his past fully. Similarly, partisan Republicans prefer to portray Obama as a dangerous radical. And those in the major media prefer to ignore any such evidence because examination would show that they failed their watchdog role either because of group think, deadline pressures on other matters, or self-censorship.
 
Much of this may seem almost unimaginable to those who follow the news with care, but are not in position to undertake deep research because of the time commitment. Therefore, I am going to cite several examples of matters in the news recently to illustrate themes organized more coherently in Presidential Puppetry regarding the information missing from standard news accounts regarding the CIA, National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies that have had massive, secret operations to affect United States public opinion, politics and communications, especially recent electronic communications.
 
Above, I noted that Connecticut's CCFOI council bestowed an award on State Sen. Meyer, shown at right with his State Sen. Ed Meyeraward. From the remarks of the presenter, I sensed that the recipient, age 79, had accomplished many impressive goals during his career, a finding readily confirmed by available news clippings. To learn more, I approached him and his wife as they were rushing to another appointment. In a brief but friendly conversation, he mentioned that his uncle had been the late author and pioneering CIA executive Cord Meyer, Jr.
 
A New York Times obituary in 2001, Cord Meyer Jr. Dies at 80; Communism Fighter at C.I.A., summarized his career as "an articulate and passionate strategist who helped guide the young Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to contain Soviet communism at home and abroad," adding:
 
Mr. Meyer, whose career took extraordinary turns, from soldier to author to liberal activist to spy to newspaper columnist, died of lymphoma and other ailments at the Washington Home, a long-term health care facility. In his 26 years at the C.I.A., where he held management positions in the covert operations branch, Mr. Meyer drew criticism from many liberals for his role in efforts to subsidize student and labor groups in this country as counterweights to Soviet-backed groups in Europe. Yet, for all his ardent anti-communism, which associates said was a lifelong principle, Mr. Meyer faced accusations at the height of the McCarthy era that he was a Communist sympathizer.
 
A World War II hero, Yale-educated scholar and world-renowned peace advocate, Cord Meyer had also been one of the key implementers of Operation Mockingbird-style programs. His CIA colleague Frank Wisner dined on a weekly basis with Philip and Katharine Graham of the Washington Post, according to contemporary accounts, including Katharine Graham's memoir, Personal History
 
 
 

Torrington Register Citizen, Andrew Kreig makes an impact with new book, Owen Canfield, June 21, 2014.  Andrew Kreig has written an important book and Thursday he came to Litchfield’s beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library to speak about it. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, which is 469 pages long, including more than 1,100 footnotes, index, etc. But I heard most of what Kreig had to say and the exhaustively researched information in the book is unsettling. Here is a quote taken from one of the many endorsements printed in the front of the book. John Edward Hurley, a Washington commentator, civic leader and historian wrote, “Presidential Puppetry gives remarkable insight into how our Constitution has disintegrated at the hands of a few secret oligarchs who are calling the shots in domestic and foreign affairs. And if anyone should know the subject it would be the author, who is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.’’ That about sums up Andy and his terrific book. We knew each other very well when we were both employed by The Hartford Courant, he as an investigative reporter and I as a sports columnist. Kreig’s great strength was in uncovering various and sundry scandals and misdeeds perpetrated upon the public. He could write like blazes and he had more guts than a second-story burglar. It was great to see him again and even greater to listen and absorb his very important message.

Justice Integrity Project, Past, Present Connecticut Activists Provide Models For Reform, Andrew Kreig, June 17, 2014, updated June 20.  Revolutionary-era Gov. Oliver Wolcott and open government advocate Andy Thibault are two Connecticut patriots who inspired me as I prepared for a series of hard-hitting lectures this week in the state where I began my reporting career. My lecture theme in Hartford was, "Protecting Connecticut’s Civic Culture from the National Surveillance State." The topic in Litchfield was more general call for reform of disgraceful Washington-based activities hurting the nation. Wolcott and Thibault exemplify a reform impulse once far more widespread and powerful across the country than now. We need that more than ever. 
 
 June 21, 2014. Andrew Kreig has written an important book and Thursday he came to Litchfield’s beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library to speak about it. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, which is 469 pages long, including more than 1,100 footnotes, index, etc. But I heard most of what Kreig had to say and the exhaustively researched information in the book is unsettling. Here is a quote taken from one of the many endorsements printed in the front of the book. John Edward Hurley, a Washington commentator, civic leader and historian wrote, “Presidential Puppetry gives remarkable insight into how our Constitution has disintegrated at the hands of a few secret oligarchs who are calling the shots in domestic and foreign affairs. And if anyone should know the subject it would be the author, who is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.’’ That about sums up Andy and his terrific book. We knew each other very well when we were both employed by The Hartford Courant, he as an investigative reporter and I as a sports columnist. Kreig’s great strength was in uncovering various and sundry scandals and misdeeds perpetrated upon the public. He could write like blazes and he had more guts than a second-story burglar. It was great to see him again and even greater to listen and absorb his very important message.

Justice Integrity Project, Past, Present Connecticut Activists Provide Models For Reform, Andrew Kreig, June 17, 2014, updated June 20. Revolutionary-era Gov. Oliver Wolcott and open government advocate Andy Thibault are two Connecticut patriots who inspired me as I prepared for a series of hard-hitting lectures this week in the state where I began my reporting career. My lecture theme in Hartford was, "Protecting Connecticut’s Civic Culture from the National Surveillance State." The topic in Litchfield was more general call for reform of disgraceful Washington-based activities hurting the nation. Wolcott and Thibault exemplify a reform impulse once far more widespread and powerful across the country than now. We need that more than ever.

Forbes, Did Gawker Just Break Hawaiian State Law? Sarah Jeong, June 24, 2014. John Schindler, a professor at the Naval War College and prolific tweeter under the handle @20committee, sent a nude photo to a woman on Twitter. She screencapped the text he sent her, along with awkwardly amorous e-mails he had written her. Schindler has since deleted his Twitter account, gone silent on his blog, and has been placed on leave from the Naval War College. It’s unclear whether the woman actually wanted to humiliate him, but the ways in which it’s been tweeted and retweeted are a little more straightforward in intent and effect. People are glad that Schindler, who often went out of his way to bully others in the course of defending the NSA and its spying programs, has been taken down a peg. It feels karmic. A just retribution. Maybe even something like revenge? Hawaii is the tenth state to enact revenge porn legislation. The new statute criminalizes the “unlawful distribution of sexual representation.”  The statutory language contains a number of troubling defects, including the lack of an intent requirement. But the one to note this week is that the law lacks an exception for “newsworthy nudity.” In other words, John Schindler’s status as a public figure is no defense to publishing the screencaps on Gawker.

One example has been his relentless search on behalf of a Westchester, NY family for a long-missing member, a businessman who journeyed to New Orleans decades ago. From such efforts overlapping our work here, I got better acquainted with his passion for justice after a gap of several decades from our first encounter, when I covered courts for the Hartford Courant.

Five months ago, he reviewed my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters in three Connecticut newspapers with an uncompromising appraisal under the bold headline, Road map to master manipulators.

New Haven Register, Ted Kennedy Jr. considers run to succeed retiring Connecticut Sen. Edward Meyer, Ed Stannard, New Haven Register, March 24, 2014. Ted Kennedy Jr. will decide within two weeks whether to run for the 12th Senatorial District seat being vacated by state Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford. In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Kennedy thanked Meyer “for his outstanding service … and for the exceptional work that he has done for the entire state of Connecticut.” Meyer, 79, announced earlier Monday that he plans to step down after this current term and said he hoped Kennedy would run for his seat, so he would “be succeeded by someone who will be a real star if he gets elected." Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, is nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York. Meyer moved to Guilford from New York state, where he served in the Legislature and participated in the creation of the State University system and the reform of New York’s mental health system. He said that the end of the death penalty and the legalization of same-sex marriages were among his proudest moments. “I couldn’t imagine 10 years ago that we could have had civil unions and then same-sex marriage. We’ve done it all,” he said. Meyer serves as co-chairman of the Environment Committee. He has six children and 13 grandchildren. His son, Jeffrey Meyer, a former law professor at Quinnipiac University, was recently confirmed as a U.S. District Court judge.

New York Times, Cord Meyer Jr. Dies at 80; Communism Fighter at C.I.A., Christopher Marquis, March 16, 2001. Cord Meyer Jr., an articulate and passionate strategist who helped guide the young Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to contain Soviet communism at home and abroad, died here on Tuesday. He was 80. Mr. Meyer, whose career took extraordinary turns, from soldier to author to liberal activist to spy to newspaper columnist, died of lymphoma and other ailments at the Washington Home, a long-term health care facility. In his 26 years at the C.I.A., where he held management positions in the covert operations branch, Mr. Meyer drew criticism from many liberals for his role in efforts to subsidize student and labor groups in this country as counterweights to Soviet-backed groups in Europe. Yet, for all his ardent anti-communism, which associates said was a lifelong principle, Mr. Meyer faced accusations at the height of the McCarthy era that he was a Communist sympathizer.

New Haven Register, Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information announces open government award recipients, June 18, 2014. South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed, left, accepts the Bice Clemow Award from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information at The Hartford Club Wednesday. He is seen here with Mitch Pearlman. A police chief, a state senator, an FOI Commission employee and two journalists have won the annual open government awards from the nonprofit Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, which has been advocating for freedom of information for six decades. Blogger and Digital First Media columnist Andy Thibault received the Stephen A. Collins Award for his dogged pursuit on virtually every FOI battlefront in the past year. Thibault was instrumental in ensuring that the clemency hearing of convicted murderer Bonnie Foreshaw proceeded in public, according to the CCFOI. South Windsor Police Chief Matt Reed was presented the Bice Clemow Award for his goal to “put out as much information as possible” to the public about crime in his community. State Sen. Edward Meyer received the Champion of Open Government Award for consistently voting for transparency in government and the people’s right to know. “He was one of only two senators to vote against making secret crime scene photos and emergency phone calls after the Sandy Hook school shooting,” the CCFOI said in its statement. Champion of Open Government awards also went to reporter Hugh McQuaid of the CTNewsjunkie for his “nuanced, straightforward, fair, insightful and alert” coverage on the governors task force on Victim Privacy and the People’s Right to Know, and the debates over the issue in the General Assembly; and to Thomas Hennick, public information officer of the FOI Commission.

“If a good measure of the FOIC’s practical success in opening up documents and meetings can be attributed to enlightenment and persuasion – and it can – then Tom Hennick is the chief enlightenment officer, the persuader-in-chief,” said Claude Albert of CCFOI in presenting the award.

CCFOI re-elected its officers for another year: retired newspaper editor James H. Smith, president; retired TV news director Dick Ahles, vice president; retired Danbury News-Times Editorial Page Editor Marry Connolly, secretary; WSHU General Manager George Lombardi, treasurer; retired Hartford Courant Managing Editor G. Claude Albert, legislative chairman.

Torrington Register Citizen, Andrew Kreig makes an impact with new book, Owen Canfield, June 21, 2014. Owen Canfield, shown in a file photo, started writing a Sunday column for The Register Citizen on Sept. 14, 2008. He had started his career at The Torrington Register 50 years ago, before leaving for a job at the Hartford Courant in 1965. Andrew Kreig has written an important book and Thursday he came to Litchfield’s beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library to speak about it. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, which is 469 pages long, including more than 1,100 footnotes, index, etc. But I heard most of what Kreig had to say and the exhaustively researched information in the book is unsettling. Here is a quote taken from one of the many endorsements printed in the front of the book. John Edward Hurley, a Washington commentator, civic leader and historian wrote, “Presidential Puppetry gives remarkable insight into how our Constitution has disintegrated at the hands of a few secret oligarchs who are calling the shots in domestic and foreign affairs. And if anyone should know the subject it would be the author, who is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.’’ That about sums up Andy and his terrific book. We knew each other very well when we were both employed by The Courant, he as an investigative reporter and I as a sports columnist. I have nothing but good memories of Andy. It was great to see him again and even greater to listen and absorb his very important message.

Torrington Register Citizen, Owen Canfield, June 21, 2014. http://www.registercitizen.com/opinion/20140621/owen-canfield-andrew-kreig-makes-an-impact-with-new-book  

Andrew Kreig has written an important book and Thursday he came to Litchfield’s beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library to speak about it.

Shame on me. I was late arriving because I had the time wrong. But I still got there in plenty of time to consume the red meat of the message that Kreig, an old friend and former colleague, served up in his reserved but very knowledgeable way.

The book, published by Eagle View Books of Washington, D. C., is called “Presidential Puppetry,’’ with the sub-head “Obama, Romney and Their Masters.’’

I haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, which is 469 pages long, including more than 1,100 footnotes, index, etc. But I heard most of what Kreig had to say and the exhaustively researched information in the book is unsettling.

Here is a quote taken from one of the many endorsements printed in the front of the book. John Edward Hurley, a Washington commentator, civic leader and historian wrote, “Presidential Puppetry gives remarkable insight into how our Constitution has disintegrated at the hands of a few secret oligarchs who are calling the shots in domestic and foreign affairs. And if anyone should know the subject it would be the author, who is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.’’

That about sums up Andy and his terrific book.

We knew each other very well when we were both employed by The Hartford Courant, he as an investigative reporter and I as a sports columnist. It was a time when that newspaper was owned by Times Mirror and had few qualms about spending money. The sports department was growing along with the rest of the paper.

For a while Kreig , a tall, slim drink of water who loved basketball, moved to the sports side. His assignment was to cover the Boston Celtics, which he did expertly.

But Kreig’s great strength was in uncovering various and sundry scandals and misdeeds perpetrated upon the public. He could write like blazes and he had more guts than a second-story burglar.

When new management arrived, most from the west coast (we called them the Beach Boys), trouble came with them. Later on it really got serious. There were changes at the top. A new publisher/editor/CEO appeared to be ruthless in his methods. They were tense and unpleasant times for the news staff at the paper. People were afraid for their jobs. Kreig then wrote a book called “Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America’s Oldest Newspaper.’’ It had earthquake-like repercussions.

It was not until a man named Michael Waller arrived to take over as editor (and later publisher and CEO) that things began to settle down. Waller was a gifted newspaper executive, had a shining sense of humor and the ability to put people at ease. In short, everyone trusted him and liked him.

Back up a few years. Kreig loved playing basketball and jumped at the chance to play a game of 21 with the great Julius Erving. Dr. J ran a summer basketball camp at Westminster School. The Doctor agreed to play Andy one on one. We had a photographer there and I went along to write a column, having fun with it.

Before they began, Erving asked me, “What do you want me to do?’’ I said, “Shut him out, if possible.’’ So they played, the photographer snapped his photos, and Dr. J, tried to do as I had asked. But, it didn’t happen. Kreig scored two baskets on him, if memory serves. But what fun.

I have nothing but good memories of Andy, a man of integrity who has established a shining record. A thumbnail sketch on the back flyleaf of the book reports: “Andrew Kreig is an accomplished investigative reporter, attorney, author, business strategist, and non-profit executive based in Washington, D.C. ‘Presidential Puppetry’ grew out of his work leading the Justice Integrity Project, a non-partisan legal reform group that investigates official misconduct. He has advocated for powerful companies and investigated Mafia chiefs, Karl Rove and top Obama administration officials. Listed since the mid-1990s in the major Who’s Who reference books, he holds law degrees from Yale and the University of Chicago. At Cornell, he earned a b.a. in history, rowed and fought in the Golden Gloves.’’

It was great to see him again and even greater to listen and absorb his very important message.


 http://ow.ly/yjshg


Roger is about to be arrested again & the Gadsden PD is investigating me on some bogus charges.

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2014/06/shelby_county_judge_orders_arr.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Ricky Stokes who was instrumental in getting the story out has also been arrested.

http://www.al.com/news/montgomery/index.ssf/2014/06/dothan_bail_bondsman_arrested.html#incart_river_default

 
 
 
 
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Related News Coverage

'Presidential Puppetry' Lectures

Andrew Kreig and Julius "Dr. J" Erving 1976 Torrington Register Citizen, Andrew Kreig makes an impact with new book, Owen Canfield, June 21, 2014. Owen Canfield, shown in a file photo, started writing a Sunday column for The Register Citizen on Sept. 14, 2008. He had started his career at The Torrington Register 50 years ago, before leaving for a job at the Hartford Courant in 1965. Andrew Kreig has written an important book and Thursday he came to Litchfield’s beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library to speak about it. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the book, which is 469 pages long, including more than 1,100 footnotes, index, etc. But I heard most of what Kreig had to say and the exhaustively researched information in the book is unsettling. Here is a quote taken from one of the many endorsements printed in the front of the book. John Edward Hurley, a Washington commentator, civic leader and historian wrote, “Presidential Puppetry gives remarkable insight into how our Constitution has disintegrated at the hands of a few secret oligarchs who are calling the shots in domestic and foreign affairs. And if anyone should know the subject it would be the author, who is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.’’ That about sums up Andy and his terrific book. We knew each other very well when we were both employed by The Courant, he as an investigative reporter and I as a sports columnist. I have nothing but good memories of Andy. It was great to see him again and even greater to listen and absorb his very important message. 

Justice Integrity Project, Past, Present Connecticut Activists Provide Models For Reform, Andrew Kreig, June 17, 2014, updated June 20. Revolutionary-era Gov. Oliver Wolcott and open government advocate Andy Thibault are two Connecticut patriots who inspired me as I prepared for a series of hard-hitting lectures this week in the state where I began my reporting career. My lecture theme in Hartford was, "Protecting Connecticut’s Civic Culture from the National Surveillance State." The topic in Litchfield was more general call for reform of disgraceful Washington-based activities hurting the nation. Wolcott and Thibault exemplify a reform impulse once far more widespread and powerful across the country than now. We need that more than ever.

Open Government

Owen Canfield

Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly roundup of June 2014 news

Andy Thibault Connectcut Council on Freedom of Information (Robert Theisman) June 24

21st Century Media, Post-Watergate Motto: 'We Eat Lawyers Bones for Breakfast,'  Andy Thibault, June 24, 2014. This will be the last regular installment of Cool Justice for 21st Century Media in Connecticut. I have the pleasure of digging into a couple special assignments and expect to have some work in print with our group over the next few months. As Cool Justice concludes this chapter, I thought it would be fun to share a few remembrances. Syndicated columnist and author Andy Thibault is shown in a June 18, 2014 Robert Theisman photo accepting the annual open government prize conferred by the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information at its annual awards luncheon for his investigative work advancing the cause of freedom of information in the state.

New Haven Register, Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information announces open government award recipients, June 18, 2014. South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed, left, accepts an award from Mitchell Pearlman of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information at the Hartford Club Wednesday. At right, Council Chairman James Herbert Smith bestows the Stephen Collins open government award on Andy Thibault (Robert Theisman Photos). A police chief, a state senator, an FOI Commission employee and two journalists have won the annual open government awards from the nonprofit Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, which has been advocating for freedom of information for six decades. South Windsor Police Chief Matt Reed was presented the Bice Clemow Award for his goal to “put out as much information as possible” to the public about crime in his community. Blogger and Digital First Media columnist Andy Thibault received the Stephen A. Collins Award for his dogged pursuit on virtually every FOI battlefront in the past year. Thibault was instrumental in ensuring that the clemency hearing of convicted murderer Bonnie Foreshaw proceeded in public, according to the CCFOI. State Sen. Edward Meyer received the Champion of Open Government Award for consistently voting for transparency in government and the people’s right to know. “He was one of only two senators to vote against making secret crime scene photos and emergency phone calls after the Sandy Hook school shooting,” the CCFOI said in its statement. Champion of Open Government awards also went to reporter Hugh McQuaid of the CTNewsjunkie for his “nuanced, straightforward, fair, insightful and alert” coverage on the governors task force on Victim Privacy and the People’s Right to Know, and the debates over the issue in the General Assembly; and to Thomas Hennick, public information officer of the FOI Commission.

New Haven Register, Ted Kennedy Jr. considers run to succeed retiring Connecticut Sen. Edward Meyer, Ed Stannard, New Haven Register, March 24, 2014. Ted Kennedy Jr. will decide within two weeks whether to run for the 12th Senatorial District seat being vacated by state Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford. In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Kennedy thanked Meyer “for his outstanding service … and for the exceptional work that he has done for the entire state of Connecticut.” Meyer, 79, announced earlier Monday that he plans to step down after this current term and said he hoped Kennedy would run for his seat, so he would “be succeeded by someone who will be a real star if he gets elected." Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, is nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York. Meyer moved to Guilford from New York state, where he served in the Legislature and participated in the creation of the State University system and the reform of New York’s mental health system. He said that the end of the death penalty and the legalization of same-sex marriages were among his proudest moments. “I couldn’t imagine 10 years ago that we could have had civil unions and then same-sex marriage. We’ve done it all,” he said. Meyer serves as co-chairman of the Environment Committee. He has six children and 13 grandchildren. His son, Jeffrey Meyer, a former law professor at Quinnipiac University, was recently confirmed as a U.S. District Court judge.

New York Times, Cord Meyer Jr. Dies at 80; Communism Fighter at C.I.A., Christopher Marquis, March 16, 2001. Cord Meyer Jr., an articulate and passionate strategist who helped guide the young Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to contain Soviet communism at home and abroad, died here on Tuesday. He was 80. Mr. Meyer, whose career took extraordinary turns, from soldier to author to liberal activist to spy to newspaper columnist, died of lymphoma and other ailments at the Washington Home, a long-term health care facility. In his 26 years at the C.I.A., where he held management positions in the covert operations branch, Mr. Meyer drew criticism from many liberals for his role in efforts to subsidize student and labor groups in this country as counterweights to Soviet-backed groups in Europe. Yet, for all his ardent anti-communism, which associates said was a lifelong principle, Mr. Meyer faced accusations at the height of the McCarthy era that he was a Communist sympathizer.

Andy Thibault & 'Cool Justice' Report

Andy Thibault book, Law and Justice in Everyday LifeAndy Thibault is a syndicated columnist, award-winning feature writer, investigative reporter, and author or co-author of four books, with a fifth due in the fall. His numerous publications have appeared in such places as Connecticut Magazine, the Connecticut Law Tribune and the Hartford Courant’s Northeast Magazine. He resides in Litchfield, Connecticut with his wife and children.

The Cool Justice Report exposes wrongdoing in the politically-charged worlds of cops and courts. Also, it runs compelling stories of general interest about such diverse topics as boxing, literary and political items, as well as selected poems and pieces of fiction. Many columns written after 2002 publication of Law and Justice In Everyday Life were posted at AndyThibault.com. The book's introduction was by Howard Zinn, a former professor of Thibault's at Boston University. The foreword was by famed New England litigator F. Lee Bailey. 

Thibault, a native of New London who began his newspaper career as a 17-year-old sports writer, is the 2014 recipient of the Stephen Collins Award presented each year by the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information to a journalist for contributing to open government. The award is named after a longtime Danbury News-Times editorial director who advocated for a state Freedom of Information Act, passed in 1975. The ceremony was at the Hartford Club June 18 in Hartford. Relevant recent work by Thibault included a series of columns documenting an unfair trial for Bonnie Jean Foreshaw, who had been wrongly convicted for premeditated murder of a person she had never met. Four others received awards also, including a police chief, a state senator and an educator specializing in instruction on the public benefits and techniques for obtaining more government information under freedom of information law.

Navy War College Professor John Schindler

John SchindlerForbes, Did Gawker Just Break Hawaiian State Law? Sarah Jeong, June 24, 2014. John Schindler, a professor at the Naval War College and prolific tweeter under the handle @20committee, sent a nude photo to a woman on Twitter. She screencapped the text he sent her, along with awkwardly amorous e-mails he had written her. Schindler, shown in his Twitter photo, has since deleted his Twitter account, gone silent on his blog, and has been placed on leave from the Naval War College. It’s unclear whether the woman actually wanted to humiliate him, but the ways in which it’s been tweeted and retweeted are a little more straightforward in intent and effect. People are glad that Schindler, who often went out of his way to bully others in the course of defending the NSA and its spying programs, has been taken down a peg. It feels karmic. A just retribution. Maybe even something like revenge? Hawaii is the tenth state to enact revenge porn legislation. The new statute criminalizes the “unlawful distribution of sexual representation.”  The statutory language contains a number of troubling defects, including the lack of an intent requirement. But the one to note this week is that the law lacks an exception for “newsworthy nudity.” In other words, John Schindler’s status as a public figure is no defense to publishing the screencaps on Gawker.

Atlantic, How Surveillance-State Insiders Try to Discredit NSA Critics, Conor Friedersdorf, Dec. 3 2013. Who has done more than anyone else to increase public understanding of what the National Security Agency does? A top-10 list would have to include James Bamford, its first and most prolific journalistic chronicler, and Glenn Greenwald, a primary recipient of classified documents leaked months ago by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Over the weekend, I engaged in a back-and-forth with a former NSA employee who harshly criticized both (and me, too) with words that illuminate how some insiders view the press and the national-security state. His name is John R. Schindler. In his own words, he is a "professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, where he’s been since 2005, and where he teaches courses on security, strategy, intelligence, terrorism, and occasionally military history." He previously spent "nearly a decade with the National Security Agency as an intelligence analyst and counterintelligence officer," and he is "a senior fellow of the International History Institute at Boston University and is chairman of the Partnership for Peace Consortium's Combating Terrorism Working Group, a unique body which brings together scholars and practitioners from more than two dozen countries across Eurasia to tackle problems of terrorism, extremism, and political violence." In addition, his blog has some smart commentary on it. As Schindler and I interacted on Twitter, a predictable divide opened up between his followers, who are generally supportive of the surveillance state, and mine, who are more skeptical of it. Highlighting parts of our exchange* will permit me to better explain what it is that many of us "outsiders" find so frustrating about how "insiders" treat this subject.

Related News Coverage

Oliver Wolcott'Presidential Puppetry' Author Speaks on NSA in Litchfield, CTOliver Wolcott Library Litchfield, CT, 'Presidential Puppetry'+ with Author Andrew Kreig, Staff Report, Event from 7 to 8 p.m. June 19, 2014. Presidential Puppetry is a book about the nation’s leading political families providing a “Rosetta Stone” to understanding current Washington political standoffs and strategies. Unfolding as a DC-based mystery story, it leads the reader step-by-step to a deeper understanding of 2014 political controversies on a range of issues, including austerity, budgets, national security, privacy, political candidates, and press freedom. In non-partisan fashion, author Andrew Kreig shows via a century of history h ow the nation’s behind-the-scenes power structure empowered the Bushs, Clintons, Romneys, and Obamas. To research Puppetry, Kreig drew on mainstream reporting augmented by a rare blend of right, left, academic, and global intelligence experts. Its explosive 350-page narrative is documented with more than 1,100 endnotes. Andrew Kreig is an investigative reporter, attorney, author, business strategist, and non-profit executive based in Washington, DC.  A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. Registration is free but required. 

Torrington Register Citizen, Author Andrew Kreig to talk government secrets in Litchfield, Shako Liu, June 11, 2014. Author and attorney Andrew Kreig is going to tell secrets of the federal government in his new book Presidential Puppetry. He will talk at the Rotary Club of Litchfield-Morris, and then the Oliver Wolcott Library on June 19. An average American commits three felonies a day, Kreig cited from the book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate. The dysfunctional criminal justice system has exposed scores of people—doctors, lawyers, journalists, businesspeople—to sudden, arbitrary prosecution, according to the book.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Roger Stone and Richard NixonWebProNews, Will Policy Changes Make Wikipedia More Trustworthy? Chris Crum, June 16, 2014. The Wikimedia Foundation announced changes to its terms of service to address the problem of black hat paid editing of content such as Wikipedia articles. With half a billion people using Wikipedia every month, and the major search engines drawing from its information for quick answers to users’ queries, it’s pretty important that the content remains unbiased and factual, and not tainted by the influence of money in an undisclosed manner. “This new change will empower Wikipedia’s editor community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny,” a spokesperson for the foundation tells WebProNews. “In addition, the change will help educate good-faith editors as to how they can continue editing in the spirit of the Foundation’s mission and provide additional tools in enforcing existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.” Those who are being paid to edit will need to disclose the paid editing to comply with the new ToS, and add their affiliation to their edit summary, user page, or talk page, and “fairly disclose” their perspective. There’s an FAQ about this here. Those who edit Wikipedia as volunteers and “for fun” don’t have to worry about anything changing with the new terms. Those employed by galleries, libraries, museums, etc. that pay employees to make “good faith” contributions are considered “welcome to edit” as long as the contributions aren’t about the actual institutions themselves.

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