JIP research

The Justice Integrity Project’s research trip to Ohio and Chicago last week developed a number of highly promising new angles on federal abuses, especially regarding high-level political corruption investigations involving some of the nation’s best-known figures.

Details will follow in future columns here and this fall in my revised and updated book, Presidential Puppetry 2016: The Candidate Charade Continues.  

Unfortunately, the trip revealed also widespread disillusionment with the mainstream media from sources in finance, politics, law, policing, and other governmental operations. Several sources criticized local reporters as cowardly, incurious about new evidence, and otherwise unwilling to research complicated or controversial issues.

For such reasons, the trip represented an evocative if not bittersweet homecoming for this Washington-based editor, who was born on Chicago’s South Side and whose first big story was coverage of the riotous 1968 Democratic National Convention in the city during the reign of “The Boss,” former Mayor Richard Daley. My late mother, Margaret Kreig, had been a crusading freelance magazine writer and author, and my first journalism compensation came from tiny stringer’s checks from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Daily News.

That was enough to foster the notion journalism can be a high calling of fearless souls despite the demonstrably low tactics and methods of some of its most famous practitioners even in Hollywood portrayals.

Ben Hecht, who began his Chicago newspaper career as a “picture-snatcher” stealing family photos of crime victims, co-authored the iconic love-letter to the profession, The Front Page. The comedy’s 1931 film adaptation directed by Howard Hughes shows a tyrannical editor orchestrating the kidnapping of his reporter’s prospective mother-in-law to protect a scoop. More generally, it portrayed with faux glamor amoral Chicago officials and journalists puffing up a murder case against a hapless defendant they all wanted to hang in time for headline acclaim just before an election.

That’s part of the tradition. So are the countless and usually prosaic daily efforts of journalists seeking simply to get a story right and thereby advance both their careers and civic purposes, in keeping with the commitment of courageous sources. The death last week of the illustrious U.S. Food and Drug Administration researcher, Dr. Frances Kelsey, illustrates this other tradition.

As courageous fighter against the dangerous morning sickness drug Thalidomide, Kelsey had been a source and friend to my mother, a former medical editor of Parent’s Magazine whose globe-trotting investigative work took her to the Amazon jungle in a search for plants that heal, to congress to testify against mob-produced counterfeit medicine, and to Communist China examine medical facilities (and later report back to a CIA liaison).  At right is a photo President Kennedy awarding Kelsey the nation’s top award for a civilian federal employee. At left is a surveillance of photo of my mother, working undercover for the FDA to get material and pretending to be a madam seeking illegal prescription drugs for “my girls.”

The Justice Integrity Project completed a wide-ranging research trip to Ohio and Chicago last week confirming a number of investigative leads on corrupt practices and confirming with new information themes previously reported here.

The trip extended from Aug. 1 to 6. The first part of the trip encompassed, most notably in Ohio’s state capital of Columbus, such topics as threats of electronic voting machine fraud, sex trafficking, and advanced warrantless surveillance techniques used by local police departments.

Tom Haugh Stocks and Jocks logoThis editor and a colleague, investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen, met in Ohio with attorneys Robert Fitrakis and Clifford Arnebeck and focused especially on their expertise in use of electronic voting machine software to distort election results. Fitrakis also hosted us on his  weekly public affairs radio show and shared insights from the dozen books he has authored during his years as an attorney, professor, election candidate, and civic activist.

The second stage of research centered   

JIP Director Andrew Kreig investigated political scandal in Chicago and Ohio the past week, resulting in appearances with author and political commentator Wayne Madsen on radio shows in both locales to disclose findings.

Bob FitrakisOn Aug. 4, they joined Chicago morning drive radio show hos Tom "The Big Chief" Haugh on his Shocks and Jocks show WAIT (850 on the AM dial and streamed from here). The host is chief investment officer of PTI Securities and is a past president of the Professional Trader’s Institute and member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange board of directors.

On Aug. 2, they compared political developments in the nation's capital to that of Ohio's capital city, Columbus on The Other Side of the News show hosted there by longtime host, lawyer, professor and author Bob Fitrakis. His weekly public affairs show on WCRS Columbus Community Radio is at 102.1 on the FM dial, and is archived here. Topics included threats to the public's civil rights posed by federal surveillance of all Americans without warrants. Another topic was frame-up of political targets on a selective basis, sometimes implemented by trial judges compromised by scandals known only to prosecutors.

 Washington Post, Frances Oldham Kelsey 1914-2015: Heroine of thalidomide tragedy kept the drug off U.S. market, Adam Bernstein and Patricia Sullivan, Aug. 7, 2015. The scientist Frances O. Kelsey receives medal from President Kennedy FDA photoraised concerns about the morning-sickness drug that was found to cause severe birth defects. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded Frances O. Kelsey the President's Award for Distinguished Civilian Federal Service.
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Wayne Madsen Report Related Coverage

Strategic Culture Foundation, Partners in Crime: NSA, U.S. Justice Department, and Telecom Firms, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 10, 2015. The so-called USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 is a placebo law designed to placate NSA Official Logocertain ignorant and uninformed quarters in America concerned about the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of "metadata" on individuals. The USA FREEDOM Act, which is a ridiculous-sounding "backronym" that actually stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act," is a ruse designed to continue ad infinitum NSA’s illegal surveillance.

NSA was angling for warrantless eavesdropping even before 9/11. Thanks to courageous NSA whistleblowers like former Chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications Joseph Nacchio, AT&T engineer Mark Klein, former NSA system architect William Binney, NSA senior executive Thomas Drake, and NSA employees Kirk Wiebe, Russell Tice, and Edward Snowden, it is now known that NSA was bent on massive bulk collection of personal data prior to 9/11. The terrorist event merely served as an opportunity for the NSA to turn its foreign intelligence apparatus on the American people.

WMR, Beyond 2016: the Rise of Rahm, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 7, 2015 (subscription required). On the day after the two-tier Republican presidential debate, the major media pundits are all focused on 2016. However, many Chicago political and financial insiders, both Democrats and Republicans, have told WMR that the real ominous specter for the future of America is not found among the over 20 GOP and Democratic presidential candidates running for their party's respective 2016 nods, but a candidate who has initiated his stealthy and nascent run for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. That candidate is Chicago mayor Rahm Israel Emanuel.

WMR, Chicago, IL -- Massive movement of cash from Fed prior to 9/11, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 5, 2015 (subscription required). Although the 9/11 Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed they thoroughly investigated suspicious "put options" placed against the shares of United and American Airlines, as well as Swiss Re and Munich Re prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they failed to investigate another set of suspicious financial transactions prior to 9/11.

WMR, NSA requested warrantless wiretapping in February 2001, Wayne Madsen, July 30, 2015 (subscription required). Officials of the National Security Agency requested warrantless wiretapping from the chairman of the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council (NSTAC) at a meeting at NSA headquarters on February 27, 2001, seven months before Joseph  Nacchio at NPCthe 9/11 attack. This stunning revelation was made by the former NSTAC chairman, Joseph Nacchio, who cited court documents from the government's retaliatory 2005 case against him for insider trading. Nacchio made his remarks at a Newsmaker press conference at the National Press Club on July 29. (Photo courtesy of Noel St. John.)

WMR, In 2006, WMR reported on Hastert's blackmailable "misconduct," Wayne Madsen, May 29, 2015 (subscription required). Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was indicted in Chicago on May 28 for lying to FBI agents about his cash withdrawals from his various bank accounts. Hastert withdrew the money, allegedly beginning in 2010, to pay an individual described only as "Individual A" in the federal indictment as blackmail over "prior misconduct" on the part of Hastert. The Chicago Tribune only referred to the blackmail as "Dennis Hastert's dark secret," but northern Illinois was abuzz with credible rumors that dark secret had something to do with Hastert's earlier years as a wrestling coach for boys at Yorkville High School outside of Chicago.

The indictment indicates that Individual A had something to do with Hastert's coaching years because it begins, "from approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois." The indictment also states that from 2010 Hastert paid Individual A, who is said to be from Yorkville, a total of $3.5 million to "compensate for and conceal (Hastert's) prior misconduct" with the unnamed person from Hastert's past. There is no mention of his having been blackmailed as a result of his activities as Speaker. Since leaving Congress in 2007, Hastert has been a lobbyist for the Washington law firm of Dickstein Shapiro.

Hastert was charged with one count of structuring currency transactions -- withdrawing cash in increments of just under $10,000 -- to avoid mandatory federal currency transaction reporting requirements by his banks and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. Hastert began paying the blackmail,  from June 2010 to April 2012, by making 15 withdrawals of $50,000. He then began withdrawing just under the $10,000 reporting threshold. Hastert lied to the FBI by claiming the withdrawals were because the former Speaker and third in line to the presidency of the United States, lost faith in the U.S. banking system.

Hastert met with the individual in question, believed to be a male, several times in 2010 and agreed to pay him $3.5 million to prevent the person from going public with Hastert's past wrongdoing.

In 2006, WMR scooped the Washington media by reporting that Hastert was involved with the cover-up of a major sex scandal involving Republican congressmen and underage male pages.

WMR led off its reporting on Hastert with this September 30, 2006 report:

"Congressional sources told WMR that Hastert, while working from 1964 to 1980 as a popular history/government teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School, in Yorkville, Illinois -- a suburb of Chicago -- was the subject of persistent rumors about inappropriate contact with male members of his high school wrestling team. The culture of the times usually resulted in such alleged behavior being covered up by public and parochial school authorities. However, the rumors were enough for his Yorkville constituency to reject him when he ran for an open seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980. However, Hastert lucked out when another sitting Republican House member who represented the three-seat district had a stroke and declined to run for re-election. The GOP machine bosses selected Hastert as the replacement candidate.

Hastert served in Springfield from 1980 to 1986, six years to make the transformation from wrestling coach with a cloud surrounding himself to politician. In 1986, Hastert received an unexpected promotion. After incumbent Republican Rep. John Grotberg was nominated by the GOP for a second term, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and fell into a coma. The Illinois Republican Convention selected Hastert as the replacement on the ticket, a virtual election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the strongly Republican district.

In 1989, when the allegations of homosexuality among GOP congressmen arose during the first 'Pagegate"' scandal [the so-called "Franklin cover-up], Hastert's name was one of those whispered. In 1995, Hastert became Chief Deputy Whip under now-disgraced GOP Majority Whip Tom DeLay. Hastert would luck out again. In late 1998, amid scandal, House Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned. After Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston was elected as Speaker by the GOP House Caucus, he too resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair -- an amazing development since the House had impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about his own extramarital affair. Hastert, without much scrutiny, emerged as the compromise candidate for Speaker, after the GOP deadlocked on Majority Leader Dick Armey (also the subject of various rumors after he called Barney Frank, "Barney Fag") and Majority Whip DeLay.

Now Hastert is fending off allegations that he knew about the page problem with Mark Foley for 11 months and refrained from taking any action. It is also noteworthy that the Chairman of the House Page Board is Republican Rep. John Shimkus, a close ally of Hastert's from Illinois. Allegations of cover-up are also surrounding Louisiana GOP Rep. Rodney Alexander, the sponsor of the 16-year old Louisiana page to whom Foley sent messages concerning masturbation and erections, and New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Both representatives stand accused of covering up Foley's activities for as long as 11 months.

And the Pagegate scandal threatens to turn into a tsunami that could sweep a number of GOP congressmen from office on November 7. Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, a Christian fundamentalist activist lawyer who was a legislative aide for California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and a close associate of Orange County GOP chairman Scott Baugh, has been charged by Orange County, California police with repeatedly engaging in sex with a 14-year old Westminster, California high school freshman male in 2003 and amassing a large amount of child pornography in his Ladera Ranch condo. Nielsen, an attorney for Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, also reportedly engaged in sexual activities from 1994 to 1995 with a northern Virginia boy, who was 13 and 14 at the time. Nielsen, at the time, was a legislative assistant to Rohrabacher. Prosecutors in Orange County have been accused of dragging their feet on the Nielsen case -- charges that involve political pressure from the GOP."

On October 2, 2006, we reported:

"In August 2004, the GOP House leadership, which included Speaker Dennis Hastert, then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, took no action against Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida for his repeated salacious contact by email with underage male teens even though a heterosexually-married Republican congressman resigned over trolling gay web sites for 'younger men.' In August 2004, one-term Republican Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia resigned after it became public that he was surfing gay and dating web sites in search of younger men for sex. Schrock, a political ally of his Virginia Beach constituent TV evangelist Pat Robertson and a retired U.S. Navy Captain, resigned after he was outed by a Washington, DC web site.

However, rather than dealing with Foley's sexual habits on the Web, the GOP leadership sank deeper into cover-up mode, burying the Foley matter lest it shine a light on other GOP gay hypocrites in Congress whose anti-gay agenda would embarrass the party a few months before a critical presidential and congressional election.



Related News Coverage


Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Tampa Bay Times, Why did the FBI detain Bob Graham?  Lucy Morgan, August 7, 2015. Going to lunch with former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham can be hazardous to retirement. And extremely interesting. He told us Bob Graham with Keys to the Kingdomabout the day in 2011 when he and Adele were heading to the Washington, D.C., area to spend Thanksgiving with one of their daughters. As they stepped off an airplane at Dulles International Airport, two FBI agents approached and asked the Grahams to accompany them to a nearby agency office. Graham had not informed the FBI that he was traveling to the Washington area and to this day does not know how they knew where he planned to spend Thanksgiving or what airplane he would be aboard. A little scary huh? Perhaps his phone is on the NSA's list.

Editor's note: In a photo by the Justice Integrity Project taken at the National Press Club, Graham is shown with his novel Keys to the Kingdom —  which portrays in semi-fictional form his understanding of how entities affiliated with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia funded 9/11 attackers, whose role has been suppressed by authorities. Although Graham was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-authored its 2003 report on the attack he and other elected representatives supposedly providing oversight to the powerful U.S. intelligence community face imprisonment if they tell the public what they know, except in circumstances carefully controlled by the intelligence agencies themselves.

Washington Post, Former top CIA official arrested at BWI for allegedly trying to bring gun through security, Luz Lazo and Greg Miller, Aug. 8, 2015. A former top CIA official was arrested Thursday evening after allegedly trying to bring a loaded gun, in his carry-on luggage, through a security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. Authorities said Alvin Bernard Krongard, 78, of Baltimore County, Md. — who served as executive director of the CIA during George W. Bush’s presidency — was intercepted when he tried to bring a 9mm handgun loaded with five rounds of ammunition past security. Also known as A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, he served as the third-ranking CIA official from 2001 to 2004, when the agency was employing the use of harsh interrogation practices. Editor's note: The importance here is not so much the incident but a reminder of a mysterious and important chapter in CIA history.

Richard SchweikerJFK Facts, The late Richard Schweiker on the Warren Commission, Jeff Morley, Aug. 7, 2015. Regarding:  Richard Schweiker, Republican Critic of JFK Assassination Probe, Dies at 89, here is what the late Senator Richard Schweiker (R-Pennsylvania) said on Face the Nation in 1976. When asked about the Warren Commission report, Schweiker replied:

I think that the report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards, and I think the people who read it in the long-run future will see that. I frankly believe that we have shown that the [investigation of the] John F. Kennedy assassination was snuffed out before it even began, and that the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up.

Washington Post, Frances Oldham Kelsey 1914-2015: Heroine of thalidomide tragedy kept the drug off U.S. market, Adam Bernstein and Patricia Sullivan, Aug. 7, 2015. The scientist Frances O. Kelsey receives medal from President Kennedy FDA photoraised concerns about the morning-sickness drug that was found to cause severe birth defects. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded Frances O. Kelsey the President's Award for Distinguished Civilian Federal Service.

Huffington Post, CIA: OK, So Maybe We Work With Bad Guys, We don't want to, but sometimes, you know, we have to..., Ali Watkins, Aug. 8, 2015. The CIA is willing to overlook some of its shadier partners’ human rights records if they can still get the goods, according to agency Director John Brennan. In a letter sent to a trio of lawmakers, Brennan expanded on the agency’s controversial relationships with less-than-desirable characters, offering an unusually candid glimpse into the spies' liaison partnerships.

Wall Street Journal, How Jeb Bush Spent His Years on Wall Street, Justin Baer, Aug. 4, 2015 (Subscription required). Former governor’s time at Lehman and Barclays sets him apart from other presidential hopefuls. Ten weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a financial disaster that ushered in the global economic crisis in September 2008, Jeb Bush was in Mexico City to seek help from billionaire Carlos Slim. Mr. Bush signed on with Lehman after leaving the Florida governor’s mansion, making it clear he wanted work as a hands-on investment banker rather than hold a ceremonial role typically given ex-politicians. Now was his chance. Mr. Bush was a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Slim, at the time ranked as the world’s second wealthiest individual and one of several deep-pocketed investors on Lehman’s radar. “Project Verde” was supposed to bring home badly needed cash and confidence. Mr. Slim, however, was more interested in talking baseball than investing in the troubled firm.

Wayne Madsen Report, The Surveillance State is upon us, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 3, 2015 (Subscription required). When it comes to investigative reporters probing the activities of the rich and powerful, we are the virtual "canaries in the coal mine." And nothing points to the current state of surveillance powers as our current investigation, the details of which will become known to all of our members and readers in due time. So far, there is little doubt that from the National Security Agency and its meta-databases down to small town police departments that have the capability of fusing data from such law enforcement networks as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (NLETS) with private data from credit card companies, telecommunications providers, and social media, a reporter on special assignment cannot remain anonymous for very long.

Guardian, Ted Heath: IPCC to probe alleged failings in child abuse investigation, Peter Walker, Aug. 3, 2015. The independent police watchdog has launched a formal inquiry into claims that Wiltshire police did not properly investigate allegations of sexual offences against children involving the former Conservative prime minister Edward Heath. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the inquiry, linked to a wider investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse, was triggered by claims made by a retired senior police officer. It centers on claims, not that the force failed to pursue a case against Heath himself, but against another person, who had threatened to make allegations against the politician, the IPCC said. It added: “The IPCC is to investigate allegations Wiltshire police didn’t pursue a prosecution when a person threatened to say Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children.” Heath, who died aged 89 in 2005, was prime minister from 1970 to 1974. He lived in Salisbury, Wiltshire, for many years. His former home Arundells is now open to the public.

  Joseph  Nacchio at NPCJoseph P. Nacchio, former chairman/CEO of Qwest Communications, at July 29 Newsmaker on NSA reform. Mike Smith (seated) of the Newsmakers Committee moderated the event. Photo/Image: Noel St. John.

National Press Club, Nacchio, at NPC Newsmaker, warns of NSA overreach on phone records, Mike Smith, Aug. 2, 2015. Joseph P. Nacchio, the former chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications International and convicted felon on insider trading who spent 72 months in federal prison (and forfeited $62 million), warned that the newly passed USA Freedom Act doesn't go far enough to rein in National Security Agency scrutiny of Americans’ digital and phone records. At a July 29 National Press Club Newsmaker, Nacchio, the Brooklyn-born son of a longshoreman who earned an MBA from New York University and a master’s in engineering from MIT, charged that the USA Freedom Act does not adequately reform the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was ruled unlawful by an Appeals Court in May, 2015. On June 2, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act just hours before all surveillance authority was stripped from NSA and other intelligence-gathering agencies. The new law provides limits on bulk collection of phone records.

Reuters via Huffington Post, In Effort To Neutralize ISIS And Protect American-Trained Forces, U.S. To Conduct Airstrikes In Syria, Phil Stewart, Aug. 2, 2015. Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith refused to comment on the rules of engagement, but said the U.S. military's program focuses "first and foremost" on combating Islamic State militants.

Huffington Post, Journalists Attend Private Koch Brothers Gathering, But Agree Not To Name Donors, Michael Calderone, Aug. 2, 2015. Aren't they a big part of the story? Several news organizations gained rare access Saturday into a private gathering of influential Republican donors hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization backed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. But journalists covering the three-day event, held at a luxurious California resort, had to agree to an unusual restriction. They weren’t allowed to report the names of any of the 450 donors attending without the individual’s permission. The Washington Post’s Matea Gold disclosed in a Saturday night piece that her paper was “one of nine news organizations allowed in to cover the traditionally private confab, on the condition that the donors present not be named without their permission.”

Bloomberg, Richard Schweiker, Republican Critic of JFK Assassination Probe, Dies at 89, Aug. 3, 2015. Richard Schweiker, the former senator who helped reveal the U.S. intelligence community’s shortcomings in Richard Schweikerthe investigation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, has died. He was 89. The former congressman, who represented Pennsylvania for eight years in the House and 12 years in the Senate, became secretary of the Health and Human Services Department under President Ronald Reagan in 1981. A Republican with a moderate-to-liberal voting record, Schweiker was an anomaly in Reagan’s conservative administration and belonged to a party wing that no longer exists. As a senator, Schweiker (shown in a file photo) had bucked his fellow Republicans by voting against President Richard Nixon’s antiballistic missile system, rejecting two of Nixon’s Supreme Court nominees, speaking out against the Vietnam War and being one of the first Republicans to call for Nixon to resign following the Watergate scandal.

In related news: A funeral service, interment and a reception are to be held starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Central Schwenkfelder Church, 2111 Valley Forge Rd., Lansdale, PA. The following day, Sunday, Aug. 30, there is to be a 12:30 p.m. celebration of life service and a reception at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 4900 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington. The public is welcome at both memorial events.

JFK Facts, The late Richard Schweiker on the Warren Commission, Jeff Morley, Aug. 7, 2015. Here's what the late Senator Richard Schweiker (R-Pennsylvania) said on Face the Nation in 1976. When asked about the Warren Commission report, Schweiker replied:

I think that the report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards, and I think the people who read it in the long-run future will see that. I frankly believe that we have shown that the [investigation of the] John F. Kennedy assassination was snuffed out before it even began, and that the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up.